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Philforum Focus Group

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 11:10 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:

You aren't showing me a Simon and Garfunkle forum, but rather the threads you tagged as such.


the tags can create a "forum"

I probably have the technical description wrong - but forums are created bottom-up as well as top-down




(I wonder if our definitions of forums are simply different)
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 11:13 am
I stand corrected!

<bows deeply and humbly>

I just did a test here:

http://able2know.org/topic/153115-1

"Test" was one of the first tags I added. I checked, there was a Test forum. My test thread was at the top of the page.

I added a passel of other tags until the "Test" tag was booted from the top five.

Went back to the Test forum -- my thread wasn't there anymore.

So, you're right. That's a problem, and one that I'd presume is due to some incomplete work Robert is doing (trying to limit the impact of prank tags).

I think adding the "Philosophy" tag to anything that should be in Philosophy but isn't would be a short-term fix. But I agree that you'd want the "Philosophy" tags to stick.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 11:42 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
So, you're right. That's a problem, and one that I'd presume is due to some incomplete work Robert is doing (trying to limit the impact of prank tags).

Noobie question (non-rhetorical - I just want to know, never having "tagged" anything in my life):

In what way do "prank" tags cause a problem?

Suppose I add a tag "chronosynclastic infundibula" to this thread. Suppose all tags added to a thread are kept in a list, the most recently added tag being placed at the head of the list, and (say) the 5 most recently added tags displayed as part of the display of the thread, along with a URL link to the whole list, captioned (say) "More ...". All tags are kept, and any thread having X as a tag is displayed when someone looks at "forum" X. How is there a problem if there is now a silly forum called "chronosynclastic infundibula", with only one thread, which no-one ever visits?

I'm just asking, because I'm still not clear how things work around here, although (until now) I've had no problems.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 11:44 am
@Twirlip,
When it's been a problem it's been more along the lines of you starting a thread on Existential Philosophy and it's given the following tags:

Yawn, Bo-ring, Twirlip wears wifebeaters, Existential *this*, Duhhhhhhh

If you get the picture. Very Happy
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:00 pm
@sozobe,
Yes, I presumed that that was exactly the kind of thing that had been happening, but I can't see how it constitutes any actual impediment to the use of the forum.

Can't that sort of thing just be ignored?

If necessary (and I don't feel any need for it myself), can't users be given a facility to filter out all tags they don't want to see?

(Not to be confused with filtering out posts or threads based on how they are tagged. I can see that that could lead to problems, if sensible-looking tags are added to threads in a mischievous way, e.g. "alien conspiracy theory" added to any thread about religion.)

And moderators could have (and presumably do have?) the power to simply delete any obviously silly tags.

Is there a "sticky" thread, or forum somewhere, where all this sort of thing is explained once and for all, so that I don't have to ask questions that have probably been asked 1,000 times before?
salima
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:13 pm
i never understood the concept of 'sticky'...

to me there are no forums here-what is called a forum is only whatever tags are on it at the moment, so it would be like going to a hotel and every time you go out and come back in your key doesnt fit the door. that is why the directory here is useless. that is why when i joyfully find something i really need, like a linux forum, i find it is only a single thread about four years old. so i am only going by tags now...the ones i have put in.

but it's ok, i can live with that...would be worse if the key fit all the doors but your room was changed and you never knew whose room you were going to bust into.
0 Replies
 
Theaetetus
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:17 pm
@sozobe,
Well, there is a good solution which combines tagging things "philosophy" for the time being, and more members starting to tag threads they start, participate in, or just read. As more people tag things correctly, it moves more relevant tags to the front of the line.

I have also been making it a habit to take things philosophy that are relevant to the old community so that more members may see it until they get the hang of the new software.
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:18 pm
@Twirlip,
I tend to agree with you. But it did bother people whose topics were so tagged, and I used the PG versions.

An overriding ethos of A2K is for the users to be given a great deal of the power to customize their experience here, rather than something more top-down. For example, people are very infrequently banned, but users can be ignored. What one person finds offensive another might find funny. So the user who finds a given poster offensive can ignore him (and not see his posts to be offended by them), while another user who finds that poster merely funny can still see him.

So for example, rather than having moderators delete "silly" tags (who decides? where's the line? who has time to keep an eye on these things?), things are more likely to be tweaked with code and such. It's unlikely that more than one person would tag your thread on Existential Philosophy "Twirlip wears wifebeaters," but a few would probably tag it "Philosophy," "Existential Philosophy," etc. So if the tags that have been applied several times crowd out the tags that have been applied once, then the community can take control.

I suspect (without knowing for sure, I am not speaking authoritatively here, just musing) that something like that is resulting in the "philosophy" tags not sticking, if they were only applied once. The community can take control there by tagging anything that looks like it belongs in the Philosophy forum with "philosophy," to help it not get crowded out by other tags.

I'm really not sure of the latest on the whole tag thing, I know a lot of things are in process and in flux. That goes to the "sticky" idea, too, I don't think things are really finalized enough yet for something like that. Feel free to ask questions though and we'll do our best to answer.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:19 pm
@Theaetetus,
I was writing before I saw this, yes, exactly.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:27 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip wrote:


Is there a "sticky" thread, or forum somewhere, where all this sort of thing is explained once and for all, so that I don't have to ask questions that have probably been asked 1,000 times before?


This isn't exactly a general FAQ or sticky sort of thread, but it does have a lot of the recent updates on it, with explanations:

http://blog.able2know.org/
0 Replies
 
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:33 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

I tend to agree with you. But it did bother people whose topics were so tagged, and I used the PG versions.

PG?
sozobe wrote:
So if the tags that have been applied several times crowd out the tags that have been applied once, then the community can take control.

What I'm still not getting is how any tag, whether "prank" or serious, exerts "control".

At worst, surely, a prank tag causes irritation, offence, and distraction, for as long as it remains near the head of the list. But this, I was taking for granted, and has been observed several times already, will not be for long, if (as seems to be being said) people are constantly adding new tags, or bumping up the use count of existing tags attached to a thread.

What is the point of making tags inoperative when they have been pushed towards the back of the list? Why isn't enough for them just to be made invisible, but still operative, and still accessible by clicking on some URL labelled "More tags ..." or something like that? I'm still not getting it! It seems as if an unnecessary effort to 'punish' prank tags is crippling useful tags, and I still can't understand why this is happening at all.
sozobe wrote:

I suspect (without knowing for sure, I am not speaking authoritatively here, just musing) that something like that is resulting in the "philosophy" tags not sticking, if they were only applied once. The community can take control there by tagging anything that looks like it belongs in the Philosophy forum with "philosophy," to help it not get crowded out by other tags.

It seems a bit of a nuisance to have to keep tagging threads manually every time one responds to a post! Or is that not what is being suggested? I've just been taking it for granted that any thread I respond to already has whatever tags it needs. Should I not have been doing that?
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:37 pm
@Twirlip,
Tagging threads helps organize the forum by relevant topic connections. It helps place threads in places where the intended audience will be more likely to find them.

Not every time you report to a post, but if you visit a thread, tagging it with relevant terms will help the forum be better organized.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:42 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip wrote:

sozobe wrote:

I tend to agree with you. But it did bother people whose topics were so tagged, and I used the PG versions.

PG?


There have been much more obscene tags.

Quote:
sozobe wrote:
So if the tags that have been applied several times crowd out the tags that have been applied once, then the community can take control.

What I'm still not getting is how any tag, whether "prank" or serious, exerts "control".


Hmmm... well, Theaetetus was talking about how threads that should be in the Philosophy forum were not in fact in the Philosophy forum. HE can take control of that (rather than waiting for a moderator to do something, or just complaining about it), by going ahead and tagging those threads with "philosophy." That's something he can do to control his experience here (having the threads that he thinks should be in the Philosophy forum actually appear in the Philosophy forum).

Quote:
What is the point of making tags inoperative when they have been pushed towards the back of the list? Why isn't enough for them just to be made invisible, but still operative, and still accessible by clicking on some URL labelled "More tags ..." or something like that? I'm still not getting it! It seems as if an unnecessary effort to 'punish' prank tags is crippling useful tags, and I still can't understand why this is happening at all.


This is the part that surprised me too. I'm not sure it's intentional, it may be an issue with the current code (which may be meant to merely push the graffiti tags into invisibility). I would expect that Robert is working on that, but he's working on a lot of things. A definitive answer would need to come from him.

Quote:

It seems a bit of a nuisance to have to keep tagging threads manually every time one responds to a post! Or is that not what is being suggested?


Oh god no.

Quote:
I've just been taking it for granted that any thread I respond to already has whatever tags it needs. Should I not have been doing that?


Well, check. If the thread does not have the tags that you think are appropriate for that thread, go ahead and tag it. Once should be sufficient.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:44 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:

Tagging threads helps organize the forum by relevant topic connections. It helps place threads in places where the intended audience will be more likely to find them.

Yes, I understand that, and have always understood that. What I don't understand is how the presence of a few (or even a lot of) silly "prank" tags interferes in any way with the proper operation of the forum.

I'm vaguely aware that people repeatedly tagging threads with the same useful tags (e.g. "Philosophy", as in this instance) - even though I haven't been doing this myself - helps to provide some objective, user-defined measure of the usefulness of said tags, so that only the most useful tags get displayed by default, and any less useful ones, while still remaining, have to be explicitly searched for.

But (a) it still seems like a lot of manual effort, and (b) if people are doing this, then how can there still be a problem with "prank" tags?

I'm not sure if I'm being clear; I'm getting a bit of a "banging my head against a brick wall" feeling now!
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:44 pm
@Theaetetus,
i am only aiming to organize myself for now. i thought if i tag threads with names no one else would use, mine would automatically be bumped out and not matter to anyone else. for instance if one is tagged religion by most people (plus philosophy, ethics, who knows what else someone else might choose) and i tag it 'god' no one is going to be seeing it or looking for it but me. that way when i see something i like i can collect it and keep it in a place where i know it wont disappear. hope i am not polluting the neighborhood...because i really am not into religion etc threads, so i wouldnt want to look at that for a tag, it would show me way more than i wanted to see...you know what i mean?
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:51 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip wrote:
What is the point of making tags inoperative when they have been pushed towards the back of the list? Why isn't enough for them just to be made invisible, but still operative, and still accessible by clicking on some URL labelled "More tags ..." or something like that? I'm still not getting it! It seems as if an unnecessary effort to 'punish' prank tags is crippling useful tags, and I still can't understand why this is happening at all.


To allow the community some way to remove a tag. Otherwise someone can decide to ruin a forum by tagging unrelated topics with that tag and the community would have no way to get the topics out of that forum. With topics appearing only in a limited number of tags it allows the community to clean up after that kind of thing.

But as to the "graffiti" tags, I recently had a very interesting idea that we'll implement that I think will eliminate them altogether, and a couple of other ideas that will also help (e.g. use term extraction algorithms to gauge relevancy etc). Typically forums are entirely top-down with forum creation, here it's nearly entirely bottom-up. I think the right balance is a mix of curation, user input and semantic analysis and I think they'll get a lot better when we implement the changes I have planned for them.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:56 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Quote:

It seems a bit of a nuisance to have to keep tagging threads manually every time one responds to a post! Or is that not what is being suggested?


Oh god no.

I'm glad to hear it!

Then scratch what I said about people constantly bumping up the "use count" of existing tags - I could never see the point of that, anyway, but I thought it was being said that this was how prank tags were getting pushed towards the back of the list, which still left me wondering why any other mechanism of control was needed.

OK, leaving aside that misunderstanding of mine, I can see how there is a problem with "prank" tags cluttering things up. So, tell me again, someone: what is actually being done about this problem, which (as in the present instance) has the unfortunate side-effect of crippling some perfectly good tags?

It looks as if something like what I imagined was taking place is taking place (but without the "use count" nonsense): the least recently added tags are made invisible by default

But why are they being made inoperative as well? That is what I still can't see any reason for. What harm is done by silly or obscene or mischievous tags being made invisible but still operative? The only problem I can imagine is the one I mentioned already, that of tags which superificially look meaningful actually being added inappropriately for the sake of mischief. But I have no idea what, if anything, is being done about that actual or potential problem.
0 Replies
 
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 01:06 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
[...] someone can decide to ruin a forum by tagging unrelated topics with that tag and the community would have no way to get the topics out of that forum. With topics appearing only in a limited number of tags it allows the community to clean up after that kind of thing.

Yes, I mentioned that I could see that as a potential problem, back in one of my earlier posts (at about 7:00 p.m. BST - I don't have a reference number for it).

What was confusing me was that people were saying that the problem was the creation of meaningless or offensive tags, and I couldn't see why this relatively minor problem needed to be handled in any other way than by making the least recently added tags invisible by default (but still operative, and still accessible on demand).

It's not obvious what to do about the problem of people michievously adding functional but misleading tags to threads. I'll leave that one to you for the moment!
Theaetetus
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 01:42 pm
For anyone interested, I have been going through and tagging some of the better threads from the General Discussion forum as "philforum." So if you are interested, some of our general discussions can be found in that forum.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 02:21 pm
@Theaetetus,
This would be a major change to the operation of the forum (to which I'm new, and which I have hardly thought much about), so take it with a pinch of salt, but: why can't the power to tag threads be limited to (a) the originator of the thread, (b) moderators? That would surely solve the problem of mischievous tagging, and if anyone genuinely wanted a tag to be added, they could ask the originator to do it. Is that a bad idea?
 

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