I'm no saint. When I feel that people are unfairly attacking me, I tend to respond angrily. But I certainly didn't tell anyone that their opinions weren't valid, or try and explain them out of their concerns - and then turn to attacking them when my explanations failed to do that.
I don't recall anyone telling you that "your concerns weren't valid". Otherwise we wouldn't put all this time and effort into discussing a bunch of meta **** about this site with you, eh?
And I think people tried to explain stuff to you because it sounded a bit like "dang, this was so easy before, and now I have to take five steps to achieve the same thing". I don't think it's fair to accuse people of "trying to explain you out of your concerns". People were trying to be helpful.
Yes, I do have the future of A2K in mind, and I did the whole time. Don't you guys realize that I f*cking love this place? Who would put all this time and effort into discussing a bunch of meta **** about a site they didn't care about?
Hey, of course. That's why we're all here, discussing this stuff, eh? Do we come across as argumentative, as attacking a poster rather than discussing our concerns about the site? Why, sure....
Pointing fingers now doesn't really help if our concern is the future of A2K, right?
<casts stern look at Occom Bill>
Much of my concerns stem from my experience when I found A2K. I never even saw the front page when I first came here. I wanted to get more involved in political chat, and googled 'political message board' or something like that. I checked out maybe 10 boards that day, and A2K was the only one that made a meaningful impression on me. Why? Because it's the only place where the posts were far above the average of the others, with a large amount of intelligent commentators on both sides of the isle.
Same here. Basically. Well, except for the fact that I came here googling "prostitute" (no kidding)(okay, there was some context to it).
But that's kinda the point, right? We didn't come here because of the technology of the website. We didn't stay because of the technology of the website.
People were generally receptive when I showed up and it was easy to integrate into the community. A2K had some features I really loved, like a search that worked REALLY WELL and, as I have discussed in the other thread, great nesting quote boxes which led to long-lasting and in-depth conversations with a minimum of clicks. The combination of good features with good posters made this place a solid winner for me.
Oh yeah. Over time, I came to appreciate the search function. I hope it's gonna be re-implemented one way or the other.
Quotes... sure (hey, I saw Craven telling you that he's working on that); I think we will come to appreciate the new "wormhole" feature (as that grumpy bastard Bill called them) - the direct links to the post we're responding to - just as much as we appreciated the old quote feature. Might even end up getting both.
But, again - it wasn't the technology
that got me to stay. (Yahoo Answers has fabulous technology - but the discourse is at the level of "I found it on the internet". Hey, if you want to find a really bizarre explanation to something you already know, post it there!)
So, when the change came - which I was unprepared for, as those of us who didn't venture outside of our niche weren't really informed about; you can say that this is my fault, I'm not trying to argue this point right now, though an email sure would have been nice - some of my favorite features vanished and at the same time, the layout was changed in ways which aren't the best for a 'power user,' as you say; so my reaction was not a positive one.
Totally understandable. It was sheer luck that I caught it. I would have been caught completely off guard as well...
As Bill said above, I have learned to like many of the new features. But I still wonder: if I had shown up now, instead of the way things were when I first did, would I have joined this site for discussion instead of another? I don't know. I really detest the thumbs up/down. I completely understand why it is being used and the utility of it. I see where the Devs are going with it. I'm sure it will be useful in many ways and powerful in many ways. I'm not arguing against Tag Clouds. I just don't see it as being an improvement upon my previous experience. Maybe it will be in the future, and I am not leaving A2K, so I guess I'll find out.
But I do worry that the experience won't be as good as it was before. I'm not making demands of anyone. I'm suggesting things with the hope that someone will either
A) agree with me, which it seems several non-power users do in some ways, or
B) find a way to express my opinions in a forum where those who are still working on the site will read them, and maybe take some of them into account when making decisions about the future. This has already happened with others in other threads, so it's not a silly thing to think.
Oh, yeah, sure. Again, I agree. I guess that I, personally, was slightly miffed when you said, wait, "Well, it matters to ME, and that's the point, isn't it?"
I didn't comment on that one because I see that you probably didn't mean it that way. But at that point in the discussion, people possibly took it the wrong way. You put that into perspective, later on, but then it kinda came across as attacking the same deficits, in your eyes, from the point of "but what about the absolute newbies?"
It's just that it seemed like you were attacking certain aspects from two, mutually exclusive points of view (newbie vs. power user). That potentially leads to frustration.
I feel that Robert Gentel (sp?) was perfectly correct that there are those who love A2K as much as I do, and have seen about 5 days of people attacking it in various ways, and are sick of reading that. And I get that. But they don't seem to get that I love this site as much as they do and that I hope through discussion I can make things better.
Are you sure about that? Look, this thread has been going on for, what, ten, eleven pages? Everyone could leave this thread at any point. Even put you on ignore.
The thing is: if we want to contribute
to improving this website, it seems to make more sense to actually communicate those concerns rather than win an argument. That's what got me frustrated when the debate went back and forth between "but I'm a power user - I don't want to have to click twice
to do this!" and "but what about the newbies - they'll never find the Dagestan threads!"
Is that really concern about the website, or is that Finding An Angle To Attack An Argument. Yaknow?
There also seems to be a pervasive attitude amongst those who think the new changes are great, that if the same things are just explained often enough, everyone will agree with them that the changes are great. I don't think that this displays much knowledge about how people work in these situations. We are discussing a very nebulous thing, which is: how will someone who is unfamiliar with A2K react upon seeing some of the new features for the first time? To me this is a critically important question, as without new users I will not have any place to post much longer, and I don't want that. Some seem to think that this isn't a nebulous question, and the new changes will undoubtedly be helpful to all new users.
Well. You know, not everybody is a genius with this whole interwebs thing. I do
think that not everybody gets something the first time it's being explained to him. Certainly happened to me. So, explaining things often enough is actually important.
That quite apart from the discussion of how newbies will react to this site. Also note that, once a newbie posts, there are usually a bunch of people around to not just say hello, but also help him along with features and functions and such things.
My guess would actually be that it's easier for newbies to work with this site than for oldster. After all, we know
that there was a thread about Dagestan, and now we can't find it. Newbie doesn't know - can't be bothered. We know that there was a powerful search tool. Newbie doesn't know - maybe doesn't even miss it.
I mean, the whole "what about the newbies" discussion is absolutely valid. Just got too much mixed up in the general criticism. In my opinion.
What kills me is that a group of people who are normally quite tolerant of others opinions, don't seem to be tolerant in this case. My fears are valid ones, and I've thought for a few days about them. There are no demands, there are no ultimatums, I'm not whining abou the fact that changes were made. I just wanted to have a discussion about how I felt the changes were going to affect the site, and that discussion was not well received by those who have appointed themselves Defenders of the new A2K.
Well, I think that the majority of posters were exceedingly intolerant. But yes, this whole "will the thumbs kill A2K" topic has certainly been discussed, at length, elsewher. And some of the, uh, concern trolls just came across as a wee bit disingenuous. Hard to tell whether someone is really concerned about A2K, or essentially just bashing the management or trolling for attention.
I'll finish the same way I started: I'm not a saint. I should be able to hold my temper better when insulted by people. But neither are those who have differing opinions of mine, and the sanctimony of some of these posters, as if they occupy some sort of moral high ground that I lack due to my concerns, is galling and leads to posts which are much more confrontational then they have to be.
Well, no one really is, eh? To repeat the point I made earlier: I think that finding solutions or communicating concern possibly
requires a different style of debate than the "winning the debate" kind of discussion that we see in the politics forum.
And hey, all of us here are argumentative enough to enjoy the occasional "I'm so gonna destroy your stupid argument" kind of thing over there.