On edit - this whole thing is supposed to be a response to nimh, I hit the last button.
Or take me - sorry, but I wrote at least a dozen posts, some at some length, politely responding to the issues you described and explaining why and how I think they do not need to be the problems you take them to be; sometimes describing practical ways you could yourself use to work around them, sometimes arguing that they might be annoying to you, but have actually made the site easier to use for most users, or for example for newbies. And then I signed off, eventually, with an exasperated rant about the way you were posting, preluded by a warning that this was what was to come. So what did you respond to? For all I know you havent even read most of those prior posts, I didnt see any evidence of it anyway. But you did respond angrily at the last one, asking me why I spent so much time on your personal behavior. Dude, 80% of my posts here addressed the specific website concerns you raised, just like you had seemed to ask.
Sure, I understand that - and of course I read your posts. But two points I found frustrating:
First, it seems to me that you chose to pick the most contreversial statements out of some of my posts, ones which were most tangential to my arguments, to take umbrage with, while ignoring my larger point that: we really don't know what the effect of the new posting order style will have on conversation.
The second point is more important, and that's this: the fact that you like the new features, and think they will work well, doesn't mean everyone likes them or thinks that they will work well. The problem is that you and others seem to feel that if you just explain the way things work well enough, if will bring people around. But life doesn't really work that way.
For example, some of you seemed perfectly baffled that people would attach a value judgment to giving thumbs up/down. It's as if it never even occurred to you. Well, to some other users, it does carry a connotation and it's not something that we are interested in. It's not a comfortable feeling. I wonder how many new people will come along and not know
that they don't have to. I probably would not have stayed, for there is a large 'popularity contest' feel to the site now; if you don't know that people vote threads down to collapse them, it can look like a bunch of topics are unpopular or unliked by people here.
Dagestan. Someone surfs in off of Google to a thread, just like Soz describes. What does that person think when he sees the article has 15 thumbs down? And all the articles on that obscure topic have negative ratings? Associating thumbs down and negative ratings with things has a negative connotation in the minds of many. Is this attractive to the person? I'm not sure.
Now, over the course of the thread, several different topics arose - which I tried to separate out at one point for clarity, as I wonder about old topics dying and suck -but that's my main concern.
The point is, it isn't a mis-understanding of how the site works which has led to my worries, but a different point of view on the psychology of voting up/down. Several posters scoffed at the idea that someone could have a different opinion then they about thumbs up/down. Thomas said 'I adjusted, why can't everyone else adjust, to definitions which might not be the traditional ones?' I even linked to evidence about the use of the system in popular culture to bolster my case. McTag and others came along and helpfully provided additional opinion that they didn't like the voting system either.
I was met with several sorts of responses:
1, get over it.
2, you're whining.
3, if you just understood the site better, you wouldn't worry.
A whole group of people spent a ton of time trying to explain things to me that I didn't need explained. Here's from your post on page 9:
I have watched with admiration how Craven tackled each individual question he came across, even the ones that were no more articulate than "Waaah I hate this site why have they ruined it f*ck you!", which I myself would have just ignored. Even in this thread, you have had the choice between focusing on, say, DrewDad's insults or focusing on the countless posts that have by now been made explaining, once more, solutions to some of the problems you encountered, and arguments for why some of the solutions you suggest would be a cure worse than the illness (what's that expression?).
(that's the right expression)
The thing is, I am not really having problems navigating the site, other then aesthetic issues. Craven has addressed all my complaints specifically, just like you said. But I'm still
worried that new users will have problems having the same experience that I did when I first came here, for some aspects of the new site are confusing and you have to put some time in to learn the way things are done. That's cool, and I don't even mind that, but hey - as someone who is a long-time user of A2K, I'm going to do that, 'cause I'm not going to leave. But will someone new put that time in?
The old A2K was a very
traditional bulletin board system with some smart people and some cool features. It wasn't anything that any random surfer wouldn't understand instantly. And it had problems, and had to go; but it was inviting the new users. This new A2K, is it going to be the same? I think it's important to capture
the casual surfer with the same things that captured me: high quality, ease of use, neat technology.
Explanations on how the current site works don't answer that question. Only time will, I guess. And it's frustrating to me when I read stuff like this, Nimh -
here are features that you really dont like, and you demand your arguments to be heard, acknowledged, listened to and acted upon.
Okay. Can you link to where I demanded anything
? This is a discussion board. I'm not 'demanding' my arguments be heard any more then your last post was a demand that your arguments be heard. I certainly didn't demand that anyone change anything. Can you link to where I did demand this? I think you went a little overboard with this comment (which was contained in a self-described 'rant' at least) and you should think of revising it. For I have done nothing
but ask questions and give my opinion. I stated that I'm not leaving, and I'm just trying to speak my piece at a time when the Devs might read it and take it into account. Maybe they won't, who knows? But it's not wrong of me to state my opinions and I'm not attacking the site.
It got to the point however where you and several others who really like the new site got very defensive when I didn't just accept your explanations (which didn't really address my argument, though I might not have presented my argument as artfully as I could have) and turned confrontational. And yes, it sometimes is difficult to distinguish between those who are being insulting and those who are trying to help, when you write that I have been 'demanding' things, Nimh.
By the way I think the "what about the newbies??" question is interesting. I was taking exception to rather large and messy strawman you'd crafted, as nimh noted.
Well, in a thread where there is a pile on of those who feel a certain way about the new site, against those whose opinions might not be the same, you can see how one would get the impression. There was so much effort to explain me out of my opinion that it came off as callous on the part of several here. And I know that other users who are not happy with the new system have felt the same way; that what starts out as an attempt to help them understand the new system ends up being attempts to convince them that it's better all around then the old one(so why are you complaining?), and turns to frustration when the person isn't argued around.
At the end of the day, the arguments of those who want to defend the new system are often better and more logical; but that does not mean they adequately address people's emotional concerns about the new site. You shouldn't expect to be able to address emotional concerns with logical arguments, for it rarely is a successful tactic. I feel that the failure to convince me that everything was going to be cool, even though the arguments presented were logical, turned to frustration which quickly made the conversation meta-out.
I think OE's post a few pages back is a good example of disagreeing with someone while still acknowledging their right to an emotional position on the subject.