sometime sun wrote:
So the reason for this is to ease your own judiciary?
(enquiring not judging)
It's a small part of the motivation, as top-down censorship is hard to scale. But the primary motivation is recognition of different tastes, and democratization of the role of community management.
It's a desire to treat everyone here like adults (you won't see anyone pull any authoritarian crap on you) and to let people shape their own community as well as make a very customized personal experience.
So that is why here you can tag topics and the forum adapts. If a particular tag is used a lot it will end up on the home page (and elsewhere) as a forum. That is why we censor as little as we can (mainly spam and porn) and let the members censor things like flaming which is often in the eye of the beholder.
But I have felt as if my civil liberties have not been taken into account.
I choose not to censor but this does not mean I can choose not to be censored. Some thing just does not feel equal is all I am feeling.
I do not ever mean to upset people, but if I do it should be with my words and not a bullet.
The only kinds of forums online that censor less than we do are imageboards like 4chan. Your post, if it's not spam or some of the few things we remove, will always be there and everyone else can choose whether they want to see it or not.
I think this is fair. Most people here want to see everything by the way, like I suspect you might. But the bottom line is that we need to let others have the tools to peruse the posts they are interested in more efficiently.
We are still doing pretty poorly in my opinion, and this merger has moved a couple of additional features (read tracking, ability to select which forums you see on your topic lists) up in priority for me.
But the thing is, I also see value in more curated communities. And the groups feature is currently our top priority as it will allow for microcosms to be run how they want. So soon you'll be able to select forums that do not contain such features and are run by the group creators (you can even make your own).
Maybe then you need to be a more present law, as the laws in the hands of the
citizen encourages them to not only customise the law but to break them.
Citizens need to be owned by the law not to make up their own.
If what you mean by that is that we need to have more top-down control over the forums I don't think that is the best solution to foster an open marketplace of ideas.
However I do see value in such forum management philosophy, and when groups are around I'll be making my own curated groups of niche interests as well (it's particularly good for niches others aren't very interested in, and as an example I would encourage the word games folks to carve out their own area of the site using a group as an example.
If you want a top-down community my goal is to build you the tools to have that as well if you want.
As said perhaps you need to be the law enforcers and not give the population a fire arm, perhaps you sometimes need to be unpleasant.
Oh I'd say I'm pretty damn unpleasant. But I think this is just one of those agree to disagree moments, where I place greater value in vibrant exchanges of ideas instead of curated culture.
I don't mind having to wade through a bit of daftitude to find something edifying. And the more democratic system I espouse allows for a larger tent as there are many folks here who would not accept more authoritarian site.
The idea of the tools at question is to let you take matters into your own hands and be your own law for yourself. It also allows for others to take your input into consideration if they want or not.
If you want a completely visible site, you can go to your preferences page and make it that way. Anyone can. Very little here is actually affected by the system in aggregate and it's largely a very personal thing (e.g. "I don't want this thread, which is always coming up on the list, on my list of new posts anymore" so a click and it's gone for them only.
Okay now I agree with this, but I still should not be penalised for someone elses preferences.
You by giving the law to everyone make everyone a criminal as well as a police officer.
I think that is a reasonable concern, of putting the inmates in charge of the asylum, but I think you'll find that it doesn't tend to work out the way I think you fear.
The voting tends to only hurt some particular niches that most of the community doesn't like seeing all the time (word games, crosswords) and that is one thing I'm going to fix, by letting people customize their interests (so instead of voting down crosswords they'd just block all those threads).
We are also going to be changing the rating system to one that is more nuanced (not simple vote totals but a weighed Bayesian rating algorithm) that will make that less ugly, for lack of a better word.
I hope you do not think by me question this feature I am being combative without trying to be constructive.
I don't mind it at all, I think it's useful for me to test my ideas and listen to feedback. I hope you don't mind if we don't necessarily see eye-to-eye on all matters of running a forum though, in any forum there are as many opinions on how it should be run as there are members in the forum and our philosophy of an open and democratized community is unlikely to change. But we also want to allow for different microcosms to develop so I think you will be able to find that kind of forum culture here if you want it once the groups are underway (I'm hoping within weeks).
Some one said something about this feature being up for review.
Is it likely to be restructured with some of my concerns in mind?
It's being tweaked, right now the overwhelming use of the voting systems breaks down like this:
1) Posting votes on a thread, and together with manual votes provides a popularity metric. And before you choke on that concept remember that the old philosophy forum had features that showed the top threads based on most replies. Well here the popularity list tends to be the same, based on most replies plus manual votes (which allows members to recommend content that they might not want to post a "me too" or "I like" on). It's essentially the same as the top threads features vbulletin has, but with a little more nuance instead of relying entirely on the post volume signal.
This kind of voting mainly drives the popular page, which tends to be used by those who use the site the least, as most regular members will tend to prefer a main topic sort based on latest post. In short, that page is very useful for someone who doesn't come along often and wants a Reader's Digest version of the site. Many other forums had moderators "feature" or "sticky" threads but this often doesn't keep up well with the community (we used to do it here for e.g. and we had some pretty stale featured threads in some forums) so that is what it is there for. The large number of occasional site users find that useful and the more regularly you use the forum (basically the core members as the core members tend to see it) the less likely you are to use it.
2) Removing threads that keep showing up on your topics list. This is the biggest use of negative voting around. Some topics have high volume with infrequent site users, but low interest among core members.
Here are some examples:
That is currently my biggest qualm with this system, and what we will resolve through more personalization of topic lists (namely ability to filter out forums instead of vote their topics down).
3) In-topic voting tends to be the most likely to be about censure. If you have a 0 on your topic it might just mean it's not a popular subject on this site (start a thread about video games or programming right now and it's likely to be rated poorly which is the case #2 scenario we will fix) but posts tend to be feedback about the post itself.
It's very rare for there to be any significant negative feedback on posts. The threshold at which it would matter is around -5 and you really have to go out of your way to be a jerk to get there most of the time on posts. What I think started your complaints about the voting was that you saw a post of yours go up to 3 and then go down to 2 and that is really not something I think should affect any of us that much. People will try to balance out things. If they see a post voted down they will often vote it up even if they wouldn't have if it had not been voted down, and sometimes you'll see the reverse where someone will see a post gaining votes and think it's not all that it's cracked up to be.
But beyond personal pride this is not going to have much impact at all. We use community input with subtlety and that kind of scenario doesn't change the core forum dynamics at all (nobody noticed the 3-2 but you, in all likelihood, and nobody really even notices ratings at all unless they become extreme, and even then they usually prefer to form their own opinion).
There could easily be a qualifying question that asks if the user is being merely dismissive or has reason and should ask for a brief description of it even if they so decide never to make the creator aware it will make people stop and think and rationalise before they pull the trigger.
And the dismissal need not count toward any rating of the topic.
If you mean something like when voting down you select a "reason" (e.g. spam, trolling, flaming etc) it's something I've seriously considered. I even considered an option of "not interested" that wouldn't count as a vote.
And yes, I've also long considered the dynamics of the voting and whether to slow it down. Initially the dynamics were skewed negative. Voting down for everything does something for the user (hides stuff), voting up didn't (nothing more than changing a number really) so the balance of motivations was skewed (it's also why posting to a topic automatically votes it up unless the user elects to vote it down).
I've considered other things like not letting votes happen from topic index pages (requiring a click to the thread would make for less impulsive use) and we put an awful lot of thought into little details like that and how it might affect the community culture.
Right now what I'm doing towards these goals are forum filtering (eliminating most of the negative votes right there) and possibly also a hide with no signal option (i.e. hide the item but don't rate it) if the former doesn't do enough to tip the balance). We are also considering UI changes that decouple the ratings and stop using charged thumb symbols (arrows maybe, instead of thumbs) as well as moving to a system that is less "harsh" (topic ratings would end up being something like 5.8 with a lot of the topics that are at 0 now being something like 4.8, basically more nuance).
Thanks and please don't take me for a boor, I am really just trying to understand so I can start putting down some roots.
I really think it is a rather good forum.
You will see I often do not understand and will be the one asking the questions.
Don't mind it at all. Some folks get ideological about the forum features though, and insist that they do things that they don't, so I just caution against letting concerns become certain reality.
You've already heard hawkeye predict the eventual end of a2k at my hands, he's been doing that for over a year now about the introduction of these very same features and nothing much has changed and a2k started growing again when they were introduced.
So basically, he's claimed that my intention is to stifle users (to "silence" him he specifically claimed) but my intentions are to create a very dynamic and vibrant marketplace of ideas with individual customization controls. It's one thing to have a difference of opinion on what a feature will do to community culture and it's another entirely to just lie about people's motivations (he knows damn well my motivations aren't to "silence" him, he'll occasionally even toss me a kudos that he's not banned, as most forums would ban such an antagonistic troll) which is what he's been doing here. He went on a big crusade against the new site features spelling out the sites doom and then whenever someone else expresses concern about the features he latches on and makes a new gloom and doom prediction.
Thing is, I care if those cultural shifts take place and would work to stop them. I don't want to "silence" expression here and the FUD
he keeps spreading is just his only stock and store. He does it about the society at large as well by the way, and if you listen to him the "moderns" are all doomed for having laws like not being able to screw children and all. He's a prophet of doom and that's what prophets of doom do (even if their predictions don't come true).
So if thing trend that way, show me (I have asked hawkeye to show me dozens of times, he always just disappears as he has no evidence for his claims) and I'll think of ways to reduce that kind of impact on community culture, but otherwise don't buy his snake oil, we have done just fine with the features and it has not resulted in the doom he is peddling.