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Concerns
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Author Topic: Concerns  (Read 15066 times)
Manufacturing Dissent
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« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2008, 06:56:41 EDT »

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

As I said to Medivh on MSN earlier today, leaving in solidarity doesn't work if the friend I'm leaving with decides to stay.
It looks like things are improving from a grassroots level as well as top down, so I'm happy to say that I will be staying after all.  I think that Alice might be back to take a look at how things are going and may become active again if the trend continues.

Thanks everyone for really taking the time to hear out my concerns and to really take them to heart.  It gives me a lot of hope for the future of the forum.
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"If it had not been for the discontent of a few fellows who had not been satisfied with their conditions, you would still be living in caves. Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.

Progress is born of agitation. It is agitation or stagnation."
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« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2008, 12:16:26 EDT »

I've been thinking of a couple of potential compromises over the issue of topic drift, since some people are in support of leaving it "unregulated".  Topic splitting is probably the best way to handle it, here are a couple of other suggestions:

Limitted drift:  Much like the occasional double post is overlooked, we tolerate some topic drift, and only move it to a new topic if it moves beyond four or five total posts.

Designated Open Thread areas:  This is a bit trickier, but have certain areas of the forum unrestricted when it comes to drift, other areas have topics strickly enforced.  I personally don't like this one, because it adds to the workload of the mods, since they have to also track what threads are open.  But it may be worthwhile to have specific threads noted by their creators designated as open (maybe with an "OT:" at the beginning), or to have weekly open threads in Anything that will be locked at the end of the week (give or take a few hours).

Any thoughts?
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"If it had not been for the discontent of a few fellows who had not been satisfied with their conditions, you would still be living in caves. Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.

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« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2008, 13:29:14 EDT »

I'm pleased you've both decided to stay.
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« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2008, 15:35:10 EDT »

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*.

Having a forum with threaded structure instead of linear isn't really a conceptual problem to overcome, but a technical one.  Processing threaded-style threads is extremely inefficient (requires recursion for every single post in the topic), difficult, and tends to only show up in custom-coded single-site applications.  Which is why linear-style is so popular; it's not necessarily because people like it better, but it's far easier to build well.

Limitted drift:  Much like the occasional double post is overlooked, we tolerate some topic drift, and only move it to a new topic if it moves beyond four or five total posts.

This is how I generally deal with thread drift; an off-topic post here and there isn't a big deal, but when an off-topic discussion pretty much becomes its own discussion, it needs to be split from the rest.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 15:37:19 EDT by Felix J. Lockhart » Logged
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« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2008, 15:55:14 EDT »

random idea:

Mayhap Eon's "Bye Bye to the Beard" thread could be rescued? I'm thinking it could be split where it completely derails from the topic. (Which looks to be all posts after reply #7.) Keep the pages-long tangent of bickering part locked, and rename the newly unlocked thread "Bye Bye to the Beard II." Or something like that. I think there is much more potential for discussion in the topic of Castro's retirement and other issues related with Cuba.

Or maybe it would be better to just start a fresh thread. If we did do that, Eon should be the one who gets to start it. It was his thread that we drove into the ground, after all.

~edit

More Ideas:

For member etiquette in the area of thread drift: If you feel you must reply to a post in a way that will stray off topic; first start a new thread with the specific quote and your response. Then, in the original thread, leave a post with only the specific quote you are replying to, and a link to the new thread. This will make it easier to navigate to tangents that conversations naturally go into, reduce intra-thread drift, and save the mods the work of identifying and splitting threads that have gone astray.

/brainstorming
« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 16:12:11 EDT by Vicious Reasoning » Logged
rogue-kun
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« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2008, 21:24:19 EDT »

random idea:

Mayhap Eon's "Bye Bye to the Beard" thread could be rescued? I'm thinking it could be split where it completely derails from the topic. (Which looks to be all posts after reply #7.) Keep the pages-long tangent of bickering part locked, and rename the newly unlocked thread "Bye Bye to the Beard II." Or something like that. I think there is much more potential for discussion in the topic of Castro's retirement and other issues related with Cuba.

Or maybe it would be better to just start a fresh thread. If we did do that, Eon should be the one who gets to start it. It was his thread that we drove into the ground, after all.

no need to change it's name, it has been now split into 3 threads, the original thread (unlocked), Different dimonation of Chritianity (unlocked), and properties of water (locked)

ps yes I moved this thread, we actully do have a section on this forum for this type of open discussions Cool
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« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2008, 01:40:22 EDT »

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*.

Having a forum with threaded structure instead of linear isn't really a conceptual problem to overcome, but a technical one.  Processing threaded-style threads is extremely inefficient (requires recursion for every single post in the topic), difficult, and tends to only show up in custom-coded single-site applications.  Which is why linear-style is so popular; it's not necessarily because people like it better, but it's far easier to build well.

The processing isn't the problem, (or at least it's a problem that was solved back in the 1980s), it's the interface.

Webboard style interfaces tend to run into one of two problems with threading:  They either choke on large threads, (like DCForum does), or there is nothing to keep the threads from breaking up, (which is one of the problems VBulletin has with threading).
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« Reply #37 on: April 10, 2008, 05:13:32 EDT »

Well, I can think of computer programming methods that could be used to avoid problems with threads and sub-threads.  Tree like structures in programming can actually be handled very efficiently if you learn about that part of the subject.

The processing isn't the problem, (or at least it's a problem that was solved back in the 1980s), it's the interface.

Webboard style interfaces tend to run into one of two problems with threading:  They either choke on large threads, (like DCForum does), or there is nothing to keep the threads from breaking up, (which is one of the problems VBulletin has with threading).
Do you mean the "staircase effect" caused by multiple sub-threads eventually rolling of the edge of a page?
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« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2008, 09:30:06 EDT »

Well, I can think of computer programming methods that could be used to avoid problems with threads and sub-threads.  Tree like structures in programming can actually be handled very efficiently if you learn about that part of the subject.

...Technically that's a data structures and algorithms thing rather than being a purely programming thing, but yeah, just using a tree for that would work easially, and is the obvious way of doing it (Board as the head of the root of the tree, each subboard being child nodes of the root, each thread opening post being a childnode of the subboard it's in, each reply being a childnode of the post it's replying to.). Sure, you program the data structure, but the solution rests with half decent knowledge of data structures rather than good knowledge of programming, and yes, it is possible to be good at the former without any knowledge of the latter, although you're bound to pick up some of the former while doing the latter.

I was simply saying that the tree style and the linear style have different pros and cons (which I think are about even), purely down to the conceptual structures they force upon you when reading.
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« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2008, 11:04:41 EDT »

linear main advantage is much easier to eliminated double (or more) when you reply to more than one person. both of which could be on topic but in widely different parts of the tree.
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« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2008, 16:32:05 EDT »

Well, I can think of computer programming methods that could be used to avoid problems with threads and sub-threads.  Tree like structures in programming can actually be handled very efficiently if you learn about that part of the subject.

Even easier is to have any given post include a list of the past few posts in the reply chain, then let the reading software construct the tree.

As I said:  This was solved two decades ago with software like trn.

The processing isn't the problem, (or at least it's a problem that was solved back in the 1980s), it's the interface.

Webboard style interfaces tend to run into one of two problems with threading:  They either choke on large threads, (like DCForum does), or there is nothing to keep the threads from breaking up, (which is one of the problems VBulletin has with threading).
Do you mean the "staircase effect" caused by multiple sub-threads eventually rolling of the edge of a page?

No, the single biggest problem with threading in VBulletin is that people viewing in linear or hybrid mode will often just hit the quickreply link on whatever post is at the bottom.  This results in the threading having all kinds of random jumps with replies linked to semi-random articles.

The other big problem is that the hybrid and threaded display modes are so badly designed that they are a royal pain to use.
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« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2008, 06:37:28 EDT »

random idea:

Mayhap Eon's "Bye Bye to the Beard" thread could be rescued? I'm thinking it could be split where it completely derails from the topic. (Which looks to be all posts after reply #7.) Keep the pages-long tangent of bickering part locked, and rename the newly unlocked thread "Bye Bye to the Beard II." Or something like that. I think there is much more potential for discussion in the topic of Castro's retirement and other issues related with Cuba.

Or maybe it would be better to just start a fresh thread. If we did do that, Eon should be the one who gets to start it. It was his thread that we drove into the ground, after all.

~edit

More Ideas:

For member etiquette in the area of thread drift: If you feel you must reply to a post in a way that will stray off topic; first start a new thread with the specific quote and your response. Then, in the original thread, leave a post with only the specific quote you are replying to, and a link to the new thread. This will make it easier to navigate to tangents that conversations naturally go into, reduce intra-thread drift, and save the mods the work of identifying and splitting threads that have gone astray.

/brainstorming

I like the latter idea personally, but it'd require everyone's cooperation to work, which would probably mean it'd have to be an enforceable rule. I don't object to that myself, but others might.
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« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2008, 18:45:11 EDT »

random idea:

Mayhap Eon's "Bye Bye to the Beard" thread could be rescued? I'm thinking it could be split where it completely derails from the topic. (Which looks to be all posts after reply #7.) Keep the pages-long tangent of bickering part locked, and rename the newly unlocked thread "Bye Bye to the Beard II." Or something like that. I think there is much more potential for discussion in the topic of Castro's retirement and other issues related with Cuba.

Or maybe it would be better to just start a fresh thread. If we did do that, Eon should be the one who gets to start it. It was his thread that we drove into the ground, after all.

~edit

More Ideas:

For member etiquette in the area of thread drift: If you feel you must reply to a post in a way that will stray off topic; first start a new thread with the specific quote and your response. Then, in the original thread, leave a post with only the specific quote you are replying to, and a link to the new thread. This will make it easier to navigate to tangents that conversations naturally go into, reduce intra-thread drift, and save the mods the work of identifying and splitting threads that have gone astray.

/brainstorming

I like the latter idea personally, but it'd require everyone's cooperation to work, which would probably mean it'd have to be an enforceable rule. I don't object to that myself, but others might.

Usually, the tangents don't make sense without the thread that spawned them there as well. With proper quoting, there's no reason a main topic and a tangent can't coexist in the same thread. It really isn't as big a problem as people are making it.
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« Reply #43 on: April 14, 2008, 08:51:21 EDT »

random idea:

Mayhap Eon's "Bye Bye to the Beard" thread could be rescued? I'm thinking it could be split where it completely derails from the topic. (Which looks to be all posts after reply #7.) Keep the pages-long tangent of bickering part locked, and rename the newly unlocked thread "Bye Bye to the Beard II." Or something like that. I think there is much more potential for discussion in the topic of Castro's retirement and other issues related with Cuba.

Or maybe it would be better to just start a fresh thread. If we did do that, Eon should be the one who gets to start it. It was his thread that we drove into the ground, after all.

~edit

More Ideas:

For member etiquette in the area of thread drift: If you feel you must reply to a post in a way that will stray off topic; first start a new thread with the specific quote and your response. Then, in the original thread, leave a post with only the specific quote you are replying to, and a link to the new thread. This will make it easier to navigate to tangents that conversations naturally go into, reduce intra-thread drift, and save the mods the work of identifying and splitting threads that have gone astray.

/brainstorming

I like the latter idea personally, but it'd require everyone's cooperation to work, which would probably mean it'd have to be an enforceable rule. I don't object to that myself, but others might.

Usually, the tangents don't make sense without the thread that spawned them there as well. With proper quoting, there's no reason a main topic and a tangent can't coexist in the same thread. It really isn't as big a problem as people are making it.

Except people abandon the original topic in favour of the tangent, and when someone tries to return to the topic, they're generally ignored (look at the Steve Drew This topic).

Plus, it becomes very difficult to follow a thread if people are talking about two completely different things in it.

As I said earlier, a forum is not a chat room.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 08:52:56 EDT by Eon » Logged


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« Reply #44 on: April 14, 2008, 12:40:17 EDT »

As I said earlier, a forum is not a chat room.

True, a forum isn't a chat room.

A chat room is an arena for real time conversation between a group of people, a forum is an arena for non-real time conversation between a group of people.
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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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