32
   

Philforum Focus Group

 
 
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 03:00 pm
@Twirlip,
Quote:
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?


Another solution which was suggested after the original conversion to this organization was to make use of a set tag cloud from which people can choose from to tag a thread. Any additional tags added by a user that are not already established in that tag cloud would not be a part of the calculations and formulas that determine rankings. Of course, if an "unclouded" tag reaches a threshold where it becomes popular enough to join the cloud, those earlier tags would then also participate in the calculations and rankings.

A tag cloud consisting of all allowed thread subjects would be cumbersome at best, so perhaps the tag cloud could also have a hierarchy of sub-categories from which to choose from. The process of stepping through the sub categories could also automatically attach those parent tags to the thread as they are stepped through and selected.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 03:06 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:
Another solution which was suggested after the original conversion to this organization was to make use of a set tag cloud from which people can choose from to tag a thread. Any additional tags added by a user that are not already established in that tag cloud would not be a part of the calculations and formulas that determine rankings

But that wouldn't solve the problem mentioned by Robert (which I had also mentioned in passing, as a possible problem, although I didn't know that it had actually been happening in a2k):
Quote:
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
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 03:23 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip wrote:
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).


You are only considering the on-thread implications, you aren't considering the on-forum implications. On the thread you seek to resolve it by making it invisible (but still accessible on the forum) but there is an on-forum potential for problems as well in that miscategorization could never be undone except by the miscategorizer and that opens up the possiblity for on-forum vandalism (not the on-thread vandalism which you are focused on).

What you propose is how we launched by the way (only the top 5 were displayed on thread but the thread remained in the forums of any tag it was given by anyone) and it was the first fire we had to put out. It blindsided us that we had left the door open for forum vandalism that wide and we had to rush to close it,

So right now the way it works is for the top 5 (as determined by number of users) tags to allow the community a way to remove an irrelevant tag. But this is a crude algorithm and I have a number of improvements to make to it. First of all, we will implement a collaboratively-edited pages feature that is going to serve as curation for forums. I don't want to try to explain it now (I just can't do it justice simply and there's no existing example of what I intend to do on the internet that I am aware of) but simply put we are going to have wiki-style forum management that is human-driven but more structured. This will be used as a signal for the tagging in a way that I believe will eliminate all graffiti tagging except for...

Quote:
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!


There are 3 ways I am considering (individually or in combo) to do so:

1) Term extraction - we can run the post text through a term extraction algorithm that tries to do semantic analysis of the post and determine it's own tags. Basically, a computer's attempt at tagging the topic. We can use this to weigh tags that match a computer's attempt more highly.

2) Crude semantic analysis - on a very basic level, there's a huge signal we can use in the presence of the word itself in the post title and text. So if "philosophy" is in the text a tag of philosophy can be weighed differently than a graffiti tag that is typically not in the topic text.

3) Wisdom of crowds - We already use the crowd as a vote but we can do so more explicitly. For example if two people have to blindly tag a topic and only tags that are arrived at by at least two people independently are displayed they are likely to be much more relevant (most of the graffiti tags are not likely to be arrived at by even two people independently).

Anyway, none of those are perfect approaches but a combination of some/all of them will be used to rework the current tag approach from a pure use popularity score to a more nuanced relevance score that takes other signals into account. We'll also start running aggregate data on the user level to detect users whose tags are rarely relevant and to lower the weight of their tags and other such things.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 03:27 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip wrote:
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?


It's an absolute approach to a problem that I think is more ideally solved through more nuance. That is essentially the classic forum approach, where the staff picks forums the users selects from them and the staff then moves the users posts (typically also putting a lil' edit and maybe even leaving a "ghost" topic on the forum it was moved from).

We moved away from that approach for fundamental reasons (democratization is the simplest way to put the main reason) that I don't think the graffiti tags are enough to offset. I think we are better served by taking a more nuanced approach to the less relevant tags.

One of the nuanced approaches, for example, that I have in mind and that you remind me of is to more heavily weigh the OP's tags than that of others making it harder for others to use graffiti tags on any topic whose OP has used tags.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 03:29 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:
Another solution which was suggested after the original conversion to this organization was to make use of a set tag cloud from which people can choose from to tag a thread.


A variation of this is planned. Users will not have to select from the set tag cloud but we will employ the use of suggestions in a way that has a similar effect (and they may even be able to see the tag cloud and select from them, depending on how we do the UI for the tag suggestions).
0 Replies
 
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 04:48 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

You are only considering the on-thread implications, you aren't considering the on-forum implications.

Unless I'm misunderstanding you, I mentioned such possible implications twice, before you mentioned that they had occurred in actuality. In post # 4,176,905:
Quote:
(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 in post # 4,176,988:
Quote:
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.

I seem to be having a lot of trouble making myself understood in this thread. But this is all a bit of a sidetrack, and I wasn't intending to get involved in wrangling. There is a more interesting point, which I will deal with separately, in reply to another of your posts.
0 Replies
 
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 04:50 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Twirlip wrote:
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?


It's an absolute approach to a problem that I think is more ideally solved through more nuance. That is essentially the classic forum approach, where the staff picks forums the users selects from them and the staff then moves the users posts (typically also putting a lil' edit and maybe even leaving a "ghost" topic on the forum it was moved from).

Again this doesn't seem right, unless I'm misunderstanding you. Where did I say that there should be any top-down restriction on what tags the thread originators could create for their threads?
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 04:51 pm
@Theaetetus,
Cool...thank you.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 09:03 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:

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.


i tagged all the ones on this forum where we are talking, like this one, as 'philosophyforum' but maybe with a space, i forgot.

the ones from the forum that i found and have to go back now and investigate which i would use as examples of our best are tagged 'old subscriptions'. of course that was only for my own navigating...bread crumb trail.
0 Replies
 
Bongobong
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 12:02 pm
imo a2k can't possibly offer what phpbb did for a community centered around one theme. I mean, we could as well transfered PhilosophyForum to Yahoo answers. Did anyone really think this trough?
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 12:20 pm
@Bongobong,
Nah, they just flipped a coin, dropped $5,000 bucks and called it a day. Wink
0 Replies
 
Bongobong
 
  0  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 12:36 pm
Money that came from a2k I presume?
Bongobong
 
  0  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 12:58 pm
Disregard that question. It's too obvious to ask.
Green Witch
 
  5  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 01:48 pm
@Bongobong,
Actually, probably not. Robert can answer that best, but he's been pretty honest about he fact that this place is not a gold mine for him. He has various enterprises that support things like this site. The regular members here have always been grateful to him for giving us a home after Abuzz went belly-up. If you stick around, you might find we have a lot to offer people interested in philosophy and we seem most ready to welcome The Philosophers in return.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 07:16 pm
I've been noticing that the lack of multiquoting is causing me to drop bits. It's a good way to engage several viewpoints.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 07:23 pm
@Bongobong,
Bongobong wrote:

Money that came from a2k I presume?


No.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 07:25 pm
@Green Witch,
Well, Bongo could do some reading.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 07:58 pm
@ossobuco,
I'm not sure he's open minded enough. Maybe he will prove me wrong.
0 Replies
 
Bongobong
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 01:23 am
ic, so it might be more like a mutual agreement.

Anyway, after Butrflynet said they just flipped a coin, dropped $5,000 bucks and called it a day I don't think it was wrong of me to expect that a2k just bought philforum because that what happens on the internet 99% of the times.

At least if you didn't read the flyer, which I didn't.

What was abuzz about if I may ask?
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 02:03 am
@Bongobong,
Lol! I just directed you here from another thread and you were already here!

Abuzz was a forum created by the New York Times (and Boston Globe, I think?)

It was meant, I think, to be a fairly stolid question and answer site which the papers could mine for content, or somesuch, but, of course, people being what they are, it quickly turned into a rambunctious community which loved to carry on about all manner of stuff, make friends, brawl about politics and such, and generally be itself.

It was early in the whole forum world, and very exciting to those (like me) just discovering the net. Very intense and exciting.

It sort of died a slow, lingering death after the dotcom crash, and finally tottered to a halt a couple of years after that.



Here's the story on the merging of the two forums:

http://blog.able2know.org/2010/06/17/our-roadmap-and-welcome-philosophy-forum/
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

PhilForum check in - Discussion by sometime sun
Top o' the Mornin' to Ya! - Question by Transcend
The new amalgamated philosophy forum. - Discussion by Soul Brother
Richard Grant - Question by Spock1111
Lily says goodbye - Question by Lily
 
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/15/2019 at 11:00:15