The atmosphere of the forum...

Questions and comments
The Old Man
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:55 pm

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by The Old Man » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:29 pm

This thread is an interesting discussion. My two cents:

The ERE Forums should be a “safe space” for controversial discussions among the ERE life style community. Consequently, doxing and other forms of intimidation should be banned. An incident of doxing did happen on this forum and the person responsible should have been banned. Given the crazies that exist in the right and the left, doxing can lead to violence in the real world. Now, I will admit the doxed person was being disruptive, but the better course of action would have been for a moderator to intercede.

Politics: I generally consider personal finance to be associated with personal responsibility and thus a conservative viewpoint. Other personal finance forums tend to lean conservative. The ERE forums however tend to be mixed although with a liberal bias. I find the resulting discussions to thus be interesting because of the diversity of viewpoint. We should try to retain this diversity.

Relationships: The audience tends to skew young, so naturally this area of life would be important. If the goal is to support an “ERE life style” as opposed to an “ERE finance” forum, then we should retain that area of discussion. Some men that don’t understand women may think that ERE conflicts with attracting women, but in actuality it should not be a barrier. Relationships are an important area of life and perhaps would benefit from having a separate sub-forum.

Ethos: ERE should be about people taking personal responsibility for improving their lives. Consequently, all forms of whining should be banned. As long as we are alive, then we can affect change for the better.

My main complaint with the ERE forums is that I don’t think it is very welcoming to those of limited means and education. People may get the impression that ERE is only for the above average. I also think people talk too much about hating their jobs, which is just whining and not productive.

Scott 2
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:45 pm

The Old Man wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:29 pm
An incident of doxing did happen on this forum and the person responsible should have been banned.
I participated in this. I agree it was a poor response to an extremely polarizing individual. Engaging was a mistake and not one of my prouder moments online.
daylen wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:49 pm
These are cringe worthy statements in absence of an objective.. or in relation to the functioning of any complex system.
I don't understand. Isn't the forum objective open conversation about ERE/FIRE?

Seppia
Posts: 1078
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:34 am
Location: Italy

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Seppia » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:13 am

The Old Man wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:29 pm
My main complaint with the ERE forums is that I don’t think it is very welcoming to those of limited means and education. People may get the impression that ERE is only for the above average.
If by “limited means” you mean low salaries, I would have said I disagree.
If I had to pick a small bias, I would say it may be against those who make above average, maybe (the famous “easy mode”).
If you meant “low net worth”, I haven’t noticed at all.

Regarding education, well, yes.
I have a feeling that the intellectual level here is above average (maybe it’s just wishful thinking, as I love it here and it could be me thinking I am smart, and obviously people I like must be smart too), and even if it’s not very politically correct to say, I think there is a positive correlation between education and intellectual level.

tonyedgecombe
Posts: 250
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:11 pm
Location: Oxford, UK
Contact:

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by tonyedgecombe » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:22 am

I've never noticed much of a bias against the poor, it seems inclusive on that. However if you are more than 2 Wheaton levels away from Jacob then watch out.

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6262
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by jennypenny » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:53 am

I don’t think the forum is as different now as members like bigato and M741 are remembering. We’ve had some epic threads that were very contentious and polarizing but I don't think people left en masse afterwards. There are the classics like the Kids on ERE, Philanthropy, immigration (which included some distasteful stereotypes), political correctness, and whether it’s ok to use public assistance with ERE. There was also one about divorce that had a nasty men vs. women vibe. There were a whole bunch of anti-religion threads over the course of 3 years (don’t you remember Retiree/DevilsAdvocate?) including To Hell with Religion. We even managed to have an ugly disagreement in a thread about Milton Friedman. :lol:

In that thread about divorce, some male forum members posted harsh criticisms of women. They also posted terrible stories about their own divorce and how the legal system is set up to protect women, etc. Most women obviously disagreed or posted counter arguments about being stuck with kids and bills, etc. There was stuff said about women that was much worse than anything I’ve read here recently, and by older forum members with more standing if you will. Still, I don’t remember calls for any of those forum members to be formally censured and I don’t remember the women complaining that the vibe from that thread was polluting the rest of the forum.

I’m not sure why we can’t have those discussions now without a chaser thread like this one to soothe people’s nerves. We used to be able to. People were often annoyed and sometimes offended, but there weren’t cries for heavier moderating or limiting speech on the forum. I remember this pretty well because I was one of the offended in some of those religion discussions. They were difficult. I tried to post quality responses in many of those threads and push back when (IMO) people crossed the line. I also got overheated sometimes and lashed out or took a short break when I needed it. But I’m still here, and a better person for it.

There have also been forum members who, even when they posted frequently and thought they were making a positive contribution, were a net negative. I already mentioned DA but there were others who posted a lot of woo or anti-science stuff or anti-women stuff. Don’t you remember people like oldfart or whatever his handle was who was slut-shaming all the women on the forum who dared to enjoy their sexuality the same way that men do? Or the guy people tried doxxing? Bad apples are a part of life on the interwebs and talking over them until they get the hint and challenging them when they are truly disruptive has worked for years on the forum. I think we tend to remember the ones we miss and forget how many have left with everyone's blessing.


I'm trying to figure out why are things different now. Maybe for some people, it’s because they are the aggrieved party for the first time and they don’t like it? I understand that. I was not a happy forumite during those years that anti-religion posts were an accepted and almost daily occurrence. Maybe it’s that people are “perpetually aggrieved” IRL as J+G put it, so they come to the forum already primed to be offended? Or maybe some forumites have changed over the last few years and no longer wish to participate in such an open environment? (a la Cowen’s self-segregation theory) It’s probably a mix of all three.

It could also be that in the early days of ERE, there was a feeling of us vs. them since ERE received a lot of criticism from uninformed outsiders. Now that FIRE is more widely known and accepted, have we lost the common bond of a shared enemy?

My point is that I don’t think the primary difference is that the forum has changed substantively. The mood IRL has changed and some people are projecting that onto the forum or seeing posts through a new lens. I’m not sure that’s fair or warranted. (I agree with jacob on the damaging effects of filtering and self-imposed bubbles.) Is the difference maybe not a change in the forum but that some long-time forum members have changed how they interpret what they read here? How would Dragline circa 2013 have responded to more recent posts from Dragline? Does that show a change in the forum or a change in some of its members?

If people want a dating subforum, I can see where it might be useful but I'm not sure it would address the underlying angst some members seem to feel. People seem more annoyed when the gender stuff spills over into threads where it has no relevance and a subforum won’t fix that.

Don’t take my word on anything though … I thought my post last week would encourage more women to post and instead it has had the opposite effect. I’ll admit I don’t get it. Many of the struggles women face when trying to be heard IRL — being interrupted or talked over or physically crowded out — aren’t a factor here. Even I’s and E’s have an even playing field. The solution seems easy to me (post more often), but it appears most women prefer formal/structural changes before engaging instead of simply leaning in.

I got a couple of emails accusing me of being an alt-right enabler instead of a defender of women’s rights. That couldn’t be further from the truth and for years I’ve pointed out occasions where I thought the language used was derogatory towards women, including many complaints about the term ‘Renaissance man’ (ask poor jacob how many feminist-themed PMs he’s gotten from me over the years). What I was trying to convey in my other post is that IMO women face far fewer obstacles on the forum than they do IRL and the perceived dearth of posts by women seems like an easy problem to solve, and one that women can solve on their own.


Sorry for another long-winded post that probably doesn't help. :?

Riggerjack
Posts: 2664
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Riggerjack » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:48 am

My interest lies purely in maximal signal to noise ratio. When someone like C40 spends pages convincing people to be civil, we miss out on his time for FIRE related contributions. It's a large opportunity cost.
We have different goals. I guess I should spell that out.

If I were only interested in the signal to noise ratio, I would go to places with much higher barriers to entry. Reading scientific journals does this. But the content, while high signal, is also difficult to relate to my life in most cases.

Here, we don't need to pass peer review before posting. Here, the peer review is documented by the reviewers.

My goal is maximal k posts. To get that, I will deal with r posts. The ratio between the two is fine. Sometimes the ratio skews one way or the other, but the volume of k posts seems linked to the total volume of posts. Any measure that tries to reduce the r posts, will also reduce k posts, I believe.

That seems like a large sacrifice, for little gain.

“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered."
An adventure is some poor bastard you don't know, having a real hard time of it, someplace far from you.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 11317
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by jacob » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:53 am

Riggerjack wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:48 am
My goal is maximal k posts. To get that, I will deal with r posts. The ratio between the two is fine. Sometimes the ratio skews one way or the other, but the volume of k posts seems linked to the total volume of posts. Any measure that tries to reduce the r posts, will also reduce k posts, I believe.
This is also my goal and my impression of how forums work. The r drives the k. As long as the sum total of r+k is manageable, the k/r ratio is less relevant. If the forum was too big to read everything, the ratio would matter. As it is, I think we get 50-100 posts/day. That's easy to follow.

User avatar
Bankai
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:28 am

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Bankai » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:49 am

I'd like to note, in case it's not obvious, that r vs k is different for different people. K, for example, can be any of the following:

* deep, detailed post increasing understanding
* 'good job' type post in someone's journal which boosts the person's motivation to keep going
* very funny post like some of the best Jason's posts that still put a smile on my face when I remember them
* one-liner that triggers 'a-ha' moment and changes your life
* one-liner with book recommendation that can change your life

As well as many others and their permutations.

Any of the above can also be an r post for a person not interested in the subject/already aware of the information/2+ Wheaton levels above etc. Therefore, criticising short posts might be missing the point since there probably are many people who do/could benefit from them (I'm not talking about reddit/4chan quality here, rather just succinct replies etc.). So the k/r ratio is both different for everyone and impossible to work out. An extreme example would be jacob allowing only posts which are k for him personally - this would deprive the vast majority of forumites of posts that would be k level for them.

The only annoying to me posts are when someone:

1) has a problem &
2) blames external circumstances (i.e. women or not living in a rich country) &
3) never does anything to improve their situation despite plenty of helpful advice from other forumites &
4) repeatedly comes back with the same problem/accusations/blame

However, I'm still not sure if these kinds of posts should be removed or just challenged/ignored, no matter how annoying they are.

daylen
Posts: 1152
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by daylen » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:31 am

Scott 2 wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:45 pm
I don't understand. Isn't the forum objective open conversation about ERE/FIRE?
Bankai just made my point for me. r/K or noise/signal is dependent on subjective observers. Any form of strict min-maxing when dealing with human conversation doesn't get anywhere.

Information and complexity need a domain-specific definition to be of much use, and the domain has to be VERY specific. For instance, what if I say "my cat is black" or "the stock market just crashed"? The first statement is probably not of much use to you unless you plan on coming over for tea and like cats; the second statement could be very useful if you didn't already read the news today.

Scott 2
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:41 am

The NZ shooter thread is a good example of what I see as noise, that at the very least, should not be the public face of the forum.

I have no investment in the thread. I get that people develop relationships over years and want to explore hard topics together. But having it public, especially if it devolves, invites large amounts of potentially destructive attention.

Every single person on the internet can see public threads. They become the face of the community.

Dude goes to Alaska, finds himself and becomes a pilot is awesome and inspiring. It invites other similar quality individuals.

Similarly, MGTOW and SJW baiting each other invites more of the same. Controversial topics are oversaturated by people seeking an audience (ie the author of the article in the relationship thread). I think signaling to them is a mistake.

Augustus
Posts: 892
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Augustus » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:19 pm

Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:41 am
I can see the logic of not indexing that subforum with Google, that's a trivial one line add to a robots.txt file. It's not exactly how you want people to discover the forum

Otoh I chose a throwaway generic handle for this forum on purpose, and I'll never reuse it anywhere else. Close friends could probably ID me though.

Does this forum implement gpdr? I am a fan of the right to be forgotten.

fuyu
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:02 pm

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by fuyu » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:56 pm

jennypenny wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:53 am
Don’t take my word on anything though … I thought my post last week would encourage more women to post and instead it has had the opposite effect. I’ll admit I don’t get it. Many of the struggles women face when trying to be heard IRL — being interrupted or talked over or physically crowded out — aren’t a factor here. Even I’s and E’s have an even playing field. The solution seems easy to me (post more often), but it appears most women prefer formal/structural changes before engaging instead of simply leaning in.
I did feel motivated to try posting more ofter after reading your post from last week =). I though it was a really good suggestion that anyone could easily do. (Although I generally don't feel like I have to struggle to be heard in RL, minus a few exceptions like my dad.)

thegreatvoid

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by thegreatvoid » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:13 pm

Mindless head collisions...
I don't have any complaints , just that the topics have been lackluster lately.
There is a US high earners bias. In most other parts of the world salaries are much lower .

IRL I probably couldn't stand 99% of people on this forum, so thank god for the Internet.

Does anybody know why @Brute hasn't posted since january?

User avatar
Stahlmann
Posts: 603
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Stahlmann » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:14 pm

Jacob mentioned somewhere that forum is more hidden place than blog. Yes, i know it was in context of finding him, but still... I think this is a joke.

I know that 30% of people dont know what does 30% mean and prolly there is similar data point for computer literacy, but still...

We are getting more and more archives in/from web archive org anyway.

I would enjoy exclusion of ere forum from search bots based on robots.txt, because:

1) This would set bar higher for people trying to profile users (somebody would need to code web scrapper)
2) it would be actually more difficult to find forum
3) law to be forgotten would be easier to implement
4) yes, those who would be interested staying on the ship could be profiled with searcher included in forum script, but it is piss poor.

Yes, google fu with simple expression would become obsolete (I mean "my life problem site:ere forum"), but it was rather rarely used anyway even in such geeky community.

Ps. This post isnt about fact that I worry about my posts being exposed.

Ps2. For date of this post I still stand for socialism and men's liberation (I m too edgy and snow flakish to be associated with loosely group of people from reddit and receiving all kind of blame of their behaviour, nope this not moving goal post).

Im not neccessary content with rich, privileged men speaking from position of upper hand what is right or not in these issues as they lack much of situational awareness.

Ps2. I became good at meeting eccentric people from internet in real life recently. So dont think about tough internet boy response to this post... better provide me your adress via pm.

thegreatvoid

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by thegreatvoid » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:26 pm

Hey @Stahlmann is back

Scott 2
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:01 pm

Most board software offers native functionally for private sub forums. I would expect the configuration to persist through upgrades with no ongoing effort.

It's unrealistic to make a thousand posts someplace and expect to retain true anonymity. That's a massive footprint of identifying detail. I always post under the assumption content could tie back to me IRL.

Another benefit of making controversial topics private, is it adds a layer of identity protection for members. Obviously for those engaging in the discussion, but also for those tangentially associated via participation on the same website. I'd much rather a coworker who identifies me find discussions about Pyrex than gender politics.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 11317
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by jacob » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:55 pm

It's a very good rule of thumb never to post anything on the internet (or electronically for that matter) that one would not want to appear on the front page of the NYT complete with identifying information. (See e.g. Jeff Bezos's affair).

Those who worry about repercussions based on what they're posting, probably shouldn't be posting it [publicly] in the first place. Especially not here since this is a public forum. I'm NOT going to make threads or parts of the forum private to make it possible to exercise less self-restraint/self-awareness wrt controversial topics. Participating in such topics can make those who do it look really good or really bad based on what is posted. Controversy is not bad per se ...but the controversy leverages the consequences of what is said. Saying something stupid in a controversial topic has bigger implications than ditto in a mundane topic. As we've seen already, there's no guarantee of anonymity on the internet. In short, those who require anonymity/don't want to stand behind what they're saying wrt controversial topics should NOT post on these forums. This is not the place for people to say things they're not willing to stand by IRL.

Basically, with freedom of speech follows personal [IRL] responsibility for one's speech/posts.

TL;DR - I'm not going to make sections private to give controversial topics or posters anonymous protection. There are other websites that satisfies those needs. I have ZERO interest in running a site like that.

Augustus
Posts: 892
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Augustus » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:32 pm

jacob wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:55 pm
Meh, it's just plain better to always be anonymous. I mean this is a high net worth group, some random ax murderer would be mighty tempted to find most of the people here.

My comment wrt google deindexing the forums (not the ere site, just the forums) is why would you want people to stumble upon ERE based off some gender wars or antivaxxer post? I'd want people to find the site by googling for financial independence. I found this place when googling for Walden, found the blog, not the forums.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 11317
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by jacob » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:46 pm

While it is better for the individual (because anonymity equals zero-cost optionality), it is not better for the sum-total of the individuals that is the forum itself. IOW, TANSTAAFL because the cost (of individually free optionality) is then paid by the whole because a few people then get freer reigns to pollute the forum with gender wars or anti-vaxxer posts. If the risk of being googled will make those people think a little harder before hitting the submit button, I'm all for it.

(Just because it's invisible to google doesn't mean it no longer exists on the forum.)

FWIW I care little of what google does or does not do wrt discovery of ERE as a whole, since unlike most sites/blogs, I'm not that dependent on organic search traffic.

Augustus
Posts: 892
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Augustus » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:03 pm

jacob wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:46 pm
My thinking is that the forums will draw the polluters like moths to a flame, they aren't going to be worried about losing face to the rest of the world, because they've already lost it. So instead of causing rational people to think twice, it causes irrational people to post more.

If they get past your blog posts, likely they are not interested in pollution, it's antithetical to being FI, because FI is about being a responsible adult.

Post Reply