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Author Topic: Concerns  (Read 16013 times)
Darkeforce
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2008, 18:40:51 EDT »

I don't see the topic drift as a problem. It's what makes this forum so fascinating; watching the thought processes of a similar-minded collective.

I'm totally against anything that bans thread-drift. Without it, I think this forum would truly be dead. You don't kill a good thing (unless your initials are GWB or DC).
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2008, 20:11:12 EDT »

I don't see the topic drift as a problem. It's what makes this forum so fascinating; watching the thought processes of a similar-minded collective.

I'm totally against anything that bans thread-drift. Without it, I think this forum would truly be dead. You don't kill a good thing (unless your initials are GWB or DC).


... ouch
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Natasha Lockhart
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2008, 04:41:26 EDT »

Alright, I need to say something here, because this place is falling apart.

First off, I need to clarify my relationship with this site.  I never particularly wanted to be the primary admin, it just sort of happened.  This place needs a lot more attention than I have time to give, and RKN is usually even busier than I am (if the site "belongs" to anyone, it's him, not me, since he founded it).  The reason I pulled back even more, in addition to the frustration of dealing with the drama, was the fact that I simply don't have time to work on this site.  I'm aggressively pursuing a web design career, which I've essentially staked everything on financially, and I can't put in the work that IRT needs.

What I was hoping was that someone, anyone, would step up and say "ok, let's do this thing", and make it happen.  And, while catching up on posts this evening, I thought FireyTiger would be the one to do that, until I saw that she seemed to be waiting for me to say something.  Then, I saw the post where she said she was leaving.

Frankly, I can't run this place, not until I have time to make a non-half-assed effort at it, which is a long way off.  To keep IRT from dying, someone else needs to step up to the plate and throw down some rules that will make the majority of members happy.  If such a person materializes, I'm sure they will have the full support of all the staff members here.  The next step, of course, is improving the staff, not just in number, but in quality.  Moderating a forum is not a solo position, we need to work as a team, and everyone needs to know what's going on.

Pertaining to thread drift, it's not a huge pet peeve for me, but it is really excessive here.  Jumping from topic to topic is the natural order of forums, but those with the ability to split threads need to do so more aggressively, to at least keep some semblance of topics.  They're called "topics" for a reason smiley

I don't want this site to collapse, but I can't be the one the save it.  So, who wants to be an admin?
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FireyTiger
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2008, 05:24:25 EDT »

By the way, i'm not sure any of you really know this, but there IS a rule that kindasorta vaguely points out that you should stay on topic. Unfortunately it hasn't been enforced lately.
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Vicious Reasoning
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2008, 05:25:59 EDT »

[...]

You're probably right. You all know better than I do. Just throwing ideas up in the air.

[...]

I wish I could help somehow. I don't have any knowledge of adminstrative tasks, so I am of no use there. I could help out as a mod, though I have no experience in the area. (I can learn quickly enough, though.)
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Medivh
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2008, 07:01:26 EDT »

I could admin, but I wouldn't guarantee that everyone will like it. There'd be a large period where I'd be getting my feet under me, really. Additionally, I have a full time job. Admittedly, it's one where I've got a lot of freedom with the 'net. And the last point I'd bring up is that I wouldn't trust myself to moderate for Darke; we've got a history of being somewhat at loggerheads. Were I admin, I'd pass issues concerning him off to the moderating team and stand back. I also have no idea what the forum could use as a focus...

If none of that's a concern, I volunteer.
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So what you're telling me is that LTV's fudge factor means more than it's independent variable?
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2008, 08:41:02 EDT »

I don't like forums which ban thread drift for a number of reasons.

i) It is impossible, in my mind, to distinguish between 'on topic' and 'off topic' because everything is connected.
ii) As a corollary to that, the reason I don't post to forums which ban off topic discussion outright is that I don't know if I'm being on topic or off topic. My mind goes on tangents, this is a natural part of my brain structure, and it tangents in ways which I can't tell if it's tangenting or not.
ii) It makes the conversations artificial. In the real world, conversations drift, it is only artificial conversations which stay exclusively on a single topic, and an artificial conversation is never a full one.

This isn't a "If this place bans thread drift I'm leaving" blackmail post, simply the reasons that I don't like forums which ban thread drift, and that I can't see myself being as active here if thread drift is banned because not knowing weather I'm breaking a rule of a forum or not discourages me from posting. Also, I'd be entirely incapable of enforcing such a rule myself.

However, I do agree that this place has a bit of an issue with it. Said issue is better resolved by splitting threads when the shift gets out of hand than actually fighting thread drift, and encouraging people of taking obvious tangents into other threads, as I believe used to happen. (Although, I disagree with 'get back on topic!' posts on the principle of i)).
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Eon
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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2008, 08:41:54 EDT »

This reminds of when I started getting the Archie Sonic comic back in January 2001. At first, I thought it was really good. The art was nice and the story was interesting. But it soon started to decline. The artist I liked up and left (apparently he was fired for submitting his work late), and the story became too confusing to follow. Then I began to realise that, if only I'd come to the comic a few years earlier, I'd have seen some of the finest stories and some of the finest artwork in it; I'd have a better grasp of how things came to be the way they were in 2001; and maybe, just maybe, I'd have a greater liking for the comic.

Essentially, how this relates to my experience on this forum is thus; I came at the end of its glory days and for a while, it was good. I even showed this place to my close friend (and former lover) Katsuni. She was really excited about this forum too, but she's gone now. Evidently part of me noticed the decline here, which might be why I've posted infrequently for the last few months. The tangents that topics go off on are really irritating, and I'm sorry, but a good deal of them have devolved into religious 'debates'. I don't like to point fingers, but I think Darkeforce is at least partly responsible for that, and rwpikul doesn't really help by dignifying every claim Darke makes with a response (however good his responses are), because ultimately they both just end up repeating themselves and it's obvious that neither side will back down nor will they agree to disagree and drop the issue. While I can respect Darke's opinion of tangents (to a small degree), there's nothing educational or fascinating about that kind of tangent.

Just to pre-empt any possible retorts to that, yes, I am aware of the fact that I am not entirely guiltless in that department; I did post a  response to Darke after FireyTiger had asked us to stop in that topic. I said what I felt needed to be said, but I appreciate the fact that I should have listened to her and it was disrespectful of me that I didn't. In fact, the amount of disrespect we've shown her is one of the reasons she's quit, which is sad, because she genuinely wants this place to be a great forum and I think she's got the right ideas.

We don't need extensive rules, because we don't have too much trouble here. But I do think we need some basic guidelines to participating that have some force behind them. All they need to cover really is etiquette; sure, we don't all agree, but we can still express our disagreement civilly. That said, I think most of us do, most of the time; but there are definitely one or two ideologues here who have less restraint than the rest of us.

As for staying on topic, it's really not that hard, and most forums do it. I don't think we'd be stifling debate by asking members to start new threads for off-topic tangents that arise. Furthermore, let's stop the religious tangents, please! I'm really pissed off that my Castro topic had turned into a God debate by the second page. How the hell can you find the physical properties of water more interesting than the future of Cuba, a country that has been a thorn in the side of the American government for fifty years? Why not just create a new topic in general discussion called 'God' and let fly the endless argument there, because we're not seeing any new points being made in any of these tangents; they're just variations of old ones (even the ones that have been thoroughly debunked).

Oh, yes. As a student, I have a reasonable amount of free time. I wouldn't necessarily say no if I was asked to step up and moderate. But perhaps that ought to be handed off to someone who's been here longer and posts more often.

Also, Gizensha: I think there is a difference between drift and an irrelevant tangent. Yes, I can see how it might be hard to draw the line, but looking back at my example, please tell me how holy water is relevant to Castro's resignation? There are times when it's obvious that a topic no longer has anything to do with the original post, so unless you get in early, your response will seem out of place with the other latest ones. And, as I learnt yesterday, no one listens to you if you're not up to speed with the latest tangent, even if your post is pertinent to the title of the thread.

Furthermore, debates are not natural conversations, and the whole point of moderators is to keep the debaters on topic. That's why we have Paxman and Dimbleby, rather than just leaving the party leaders to say what they like about anything in hustings. Sure, this isn't a televised election debate, but neither is it a chatroom. So I don't think it's innappropriate to ask our members to stay on topic.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2008, 08:53:45 EDT by Eon » Logged


purplecat
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2008, 15:23:48 EDT »

Hi everyone.

So we've come back to this.

We had a big long thread on moderation and the decline of the forum a while back. I think my comments then still stand.

http://www.ireadthis.org/index.php?topic=3294.msg69583#msg69583

The trouble is, after that one big thread, Things seemed to go a bit better. If we did have a change of rules, I must say that I missed them.

As to the latest thoughts on the problems, I'm sorry if I'm one of the thread drifters. Perhaps we should ask for threadsplits more often. And perhaps in the absence of the blog, we should make more of an effort to start real discussions ourselves. And if you see something that might be getting out of control, do something about it. In reality, we're all responsible for the forum, it's not somebody else's problem.

But then, some people are complaining about the domination of the forum by a few individuals. I know I've got an above average post rate here, and I do tend to kick off the new blog post threads, but I think that that's just an artefact of when I check the forum. I'm not trying to tell eveyone to think like me (ugh, how boring) so do respond. I won't bite your head off, I'll just tell you what I think (Although, to some, this may be seen as worse).

And I do know that I can show industrial-strength snarkiness at times, so if I've managed to offend, please drop me a note, or say something. I'd hate to think that I've driven people away.

So, folks. Let's try and put things right.

For the forum
For each other.
For cute fluffy animals.

I'm Purplecat, and I approve this message

<Added after posting>  Fiery, MD: Please stay. You guys are some of the nicest people about.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2008, 15:29:56 EDT by purplecat » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2008, 16:24:18 EDT »

I'd be happy to try my hand at moderation if you like.

On thread drift: like most have been saying, if it's the natural progression, fine, but getting into a completely unrelated debate can get obnoxious.
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« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2008, 16:50:03 EDT »

Hi everyone.

So we've come back to this.

We had a big long thread on moderation and the decline of the forum a while back. I think my comments then still stand.

http://www.ireadthis.org/index.php?topic=3294.msg69583#msg69583

The trouble is, after that one big thread, Things seemed to go a bit better. If we did have a change of rules, I must say that I missed them.

As to the latest thoughts on the problems, I'm sorry if I'm one of the thread drifters. Perhaps we should ask for threadsplits more often. And perhaps in the absence of the blog, we should make more of an effort to start real discussions ourselves. And if you see something that might be getting out of control, do something about it. In reality, we're all responsible for the forum, it's not somebody else's problem.

I support the concept of splitting more, and will start to do so myself. But I know for a fact I'm one of the worst we have for drifting (although not all my drifts are onto the same-- Oh wait. Voting and hot chocolate), because I'm incapable of telling the difference between on topic and off topic.

Quote
But then, some people are complaining about the domination of the forum by a few individuals. I know I've got an above average post rate here, and I do tend to kick off the new blog post threads, but I think that that's just an artefact of when I check the forum. I'm not trying to tell eveyone to think like me (ugh, how boring) so do respond. I won't bite your head off, I'll just tell you what I think (Although, to some, this may be seen as worse).

It's weird, that, actually. No-one posts as much as I do. Literally. But I don't think anyone complains about me dominating the forum...

Quote
And I do know that I can show industrial-strength snarkiness at times, so if I've managed to offend, please drop me a note, or say something. I'd hate to think that I've driven people away.

I thought "British on the internet" and "provider of industrial-strength snark" were synonymous in the eyes of Americans :p

Quote
For each other.
For cute fluffy animals.

In many cases, I'm not seeing the difference there.

Quote
<Added after posting>  Fiery, MD: Please stay. You guys are some of the nicest people about.

I agree there, but I don't do 'asking people to stay'. I consider that to be quite rude, since if someone isn't enjoying spending time somewhere they shouldn't do so.

Advice to members of the forum - There is a report post button at the top of each thread. It is there for a reason. And while this forum is still of the size where it is possible for mods to read every thread, we're not perfect, and we will and do miss things. If you think a post crosses a line, or is a drift too far, then use it to draw our attention to it.

(And I still like the way the great irony of moderating this forum is that we get accused both of being idea-supressing totalitarian nazis, and being overly permissive. In some cases, from the same person.)
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Interactive Fiction is computer gaming's best parallel with poetry: complex, subtle, and these days absolutely unsaleable.

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FireyTiger
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« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2008, 17:23:33 EDT »

I did post in my leaving thread that i'll consider staying. Like i've said there and i'll say again, I really *don't* want to leave, I like the people here. But before I made that post, it seemed like I was fighting for a lost cause, and I just can't keep straining myself and trying to make things better if nobody else is willing to take part. That said, after that post, I was asked to please stay and help by at least a couple of people on the mod staff, so perhaps I'm *not* alone on this.
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Darkeforce
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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2008, 19:05:06 EDT »


Essentially, how this relates to my experience on this forum is thus; I came at the end of its glory days and for a while, it was good. I even showed this place to my close friend (and former lover) Katsuni. She was really excited about this forum too, but she's gone now. Evidently part of me noticed the decline here, which might be why I've posted infrequently for the last few months. The tangents that topics go off on are really irritating, and I'm sorry, but a good deal of them have devolved into religious 'debates'. I don't like to point fingers, but I think Darkeforce is at least partly responsible for that, and rwpikul doesn't really help by dignifying every claim Darke makes with a response (however good his responses are), because ultimately they both just end up repeating themselves and it's obvious that neither side will back down nor will they agree to disagree and drop the issue. While I can respect Darke's opinion of tangents (to a small degree), there's nothing educational or fascinating about that kind of tangent.

I call foul on that. I personally started exactly one post/thread drift about faith/religion (no, they're not synonymous), and that was about 2 years ago. I never start them. I chime in if I know something relevant, or if someone starts talking smack about faith. I am not the one who initiates them. In truth, rwpikul is the usual initiator of those threads/drifts; I just defend my faith from attack. I do not turn the topics "religious". I go out of my way to avoid doing that, in fact. They are already religious by the time I chime in. I'm getting blamed just because I won't take people talking sh*t about faith.

If people don't want me getting into religious discussions, then don't start them.


Now, with that said. I have the time and ability to moderate. I moderate several forums already. But, of course, no one is going to be sanguine with that.
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rwpikul
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2008, 01:32:49 EDT »

Hi everyone.

So we've come back to this.

We had a big long thread on moderation and the decline of the forum a while back. I think my comments then still stand.

http://www.ireadthis.org/index.php?topic=3294.msg69583#msg69583

The trouble is, after that one big thread, Things seemed to go a bit better. If we did have a change of rules, I must say that I missed them.

As to the latest thoughts on the problems, I'm sorry if I'm one of the thread drifters. Perhaps we should ask for threadsplits more often. And perhaps in the absence of the blog, we should make more of an effort to start real discussions ourselves. And if you see something that might be getting out of control, do something about it. In reality, we're all responsible for the forum, it's not somebody else's problem.

I support the concept of splitting more, and will start to do so myself. But I know for a fact I'm one of the worst we have for drifting (although not all my drifts are onto the same-- Oh wait. Voting and hot chocolate), because I'm incapable of telling the difference between on topic and off topic.

This is one of the things webforums are bad at, there is no simple way to deal with thread drift.

It either involves having someone with admin privileges fiddle with the threads, or having people break the flow of conversation by doing it by manually starting a new thread, (which may not work if there are three or more people involved).

Although, that does call something into question so I'll put up a quick poll about it.  If almost everyone uses the new posts link, then starting new threads won't really break things, (although the mods may need to do a bit of merging).


(Insert wish for someone figuring out how to make proper threading work on a webboard.)
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« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2008, 01:53:15 EDT »

I support the concept of splitting more, and will start to do so myself. But I know for a fact I'm one of the worst we have for drifting (although not all my drifts are onto the same-- Oh wait. Voting and hot chocolate), because I'm incapable of telling the difference between on topic and off topic.

This is one of the things webforums are bad at, there is no simple way to deal with thread drift.[/quote]

Well there is, but it requires a different conceptual structure of the forum which has it's own set of drawbacks to make the two about even in strengths and weaknesses.

Not sure why the linear style seems more popular, but since I don't mind either *shrugs*.
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Quote from: Tim Guest
Interactive Fiction is computer gaming's best parallel with poetry: complex, subtle, and these days absolutely unsaleable.

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Art and entertainment are not terms of type - they are terms of intensity
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