The atmosphere of the forum...

Questions and comments
daylen
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by daylen » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:52 pm

Ugh.. you are misinterpreting me which is hilarious since it proves my point.

I wrote.. "In the end, this is Jacob's house and his interpretation of the rules is the only one that matters."

Freedom_2018
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Freedom_2018 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:59 pm

@Nobody in Particular

I wonder is this is not an issue of scale: I mean that the forum has too small a number of active participants. Like a somewhat large extended family where everyone is bickering at the table because some family members take umbrage at some others.

Now if the table were to be extended in all dimensions till you had a mega number of family members, there is a good possibility that the actions of some would not affect the others so much. There would be a lot of local conversations on the table with people close to you (as in many different threads on different topics) and the rantings and ravings of someone half a mile down the table wouldn't matter as much.

I guess the whole of the internet could be viewed that way.

So maybe grow the forum both in members and diversity of topics so that a wide range of people are attracted here?

Otherwise if the forum is run as a family dinner table with minimum moderation it is possibly going to lead to a very noisy dinner with mashed potatoes and peas flying everywhere...some will leave without eating and renounce the family and possibly be replaced by newer family members who might be great people but a lot of history might be lost...and the level of forum discussion would not advance beyond a point due to the churn. Family legacy does have its advantages.

On the other hand too much moderation might result in a increasingly shrinking level of like minded family members resulting eventually in incest. And we know how the progeny of that looks.

I also wonder if there is an age component to this. As in are the younger folks getting more offended than the older ones?

What a world! :-)

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Dream of Freedom » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:38 pm

:idea: You might not want to give more control to moderators, but I bet they could use the pm system to give some feedback. This could even mostly automated with a general pm reminding people of the rules.

Riggerjack
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:39 pm

Well, I have been here for a while, and I have had a few posts and even a thread deleted. I have disagreed with Jacob about his moderation policy before.

I am a free speech absolutist, and felt that no opinion should be stifled. His opinion is well documented.

But I can't argue with success. I am here because this place isn't like other places I have found on the net. It's hard to find people worth disagreeing with.

That may sound strange to people who want safe, welcoming places. But that's why I am here.

I love finding people who can both spot the hole in my reasoning, and show it to me in terms I can understand. This requires more time, energy, and intellect than most people are capable of bringing to any aspect of their lives, let alone share with strangers online. Thanks to you all.

I was describing a thread here to a IRL friend, and he looked perplexed. He said, "You seem to be on a different internet than the rest of us". And I think he's right. I do visit a different internet. Part of that is here, and it's only here because Jacob made it the way he has.

While I believe there are ways to tweak the moderation to optimize for a result more personally palatable to me, I also understand tweaks have unintended consequences, that could inadvertently cause far more harm than good.

People will come and go. That's the way the world is. There's no need to make changes to chase after them. We would lose more and gain less.

********

And on a less congenial note, I was really disappointed in how Jason has been treated in this thread. I understand that some folks have strong reactions to profanity, but I think you are selling his contribution short.

Sure, many of his posts are jarring, filled with profanity and/or grotesque imagery, but they are on topic, and absurd. That's pretty much the definition of comedy. No, I don't think he's a hidden comedic genius, but what he is doing is a quick counter to the direction the thread is going, and often, to new and better places (though more often not).

But many of his posts are pretty deep in the K post territory. I think we would definitely lose more than we gain if we lost his contribution.


And here is where the soapbox emoticon belongs.

Seppia
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Seppia » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:37 pm

@Riggerjack

“He said, "You seem to be on a different internet than the rest of us".”

Couldn’t have said it any better. This forum is awesome. I think we must say it often to remind ourselves how unique it is.
I have basically disappeared from all other places on the internet because it was making me sad about the status of humanity.

“I was really disappointed in how Jason has been treated in this thread”

For what is worth, I agree wholeheartedly

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:50 pm

It was offered above that Jason is in a way a genius but that he drives out or repels valuable would-be members who find him offensive.

It was also offered that he can alter thread directions in ways that are useful, but he is no genius.

I will say he is both useful, and a genius.

Were he, and others like him, expunged, how quickly would the forums become solely about bicycle repair and spreadsheets? And nothing against bicycles or spreadsheets, but there is more to life than that. I hate to remind you, but you’re going to die. I hope between now and then you can find the time to laugh a little.

It was said that this forum is competing with others for members. If Dr. Fisker moderated these boards like all the others, how would these boards be in anyway different? Are not the lower numbers a positive, rather than a negative?

*****

It is not lost on me either that I am very irritating to some people. I can assure you that I do not need Jason’s example to be irritating. That would happen by itself.

If I convinced one person to modify their investment strategy instead of going all-in on VTSAX right before a once-in-a-90 year market event, I will have considered my contributions a net positive. Because then that person will not have to calculate on an Excel spreadsheet the optimum trajectory they need to take when riding their bicycle out of a planned Dutch-style city and into a Colorado gorge with the rest of them after everyone drinks the Kool-Aid one final time.

And regarding the social element of life, I would think this is something that has to be considered. Unless your web-of-goals includes being alone forever, the impact of voluntary simplicity on finding a mate is worth discussion as those in the future could take notes from the difficulties that had been recorded here for posterity. And perhaps someone in the present might actually be able to lend a helping hand.

Jean
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Jean » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:37 am

Thé nz topic has been so courteous but informative, that it Can only call praises to the moderation policy.

Fish
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Fish » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:23 am

It’s also not lost on me that my presence is toxic and maybe I should be the one to leave. :? It is remarkable what drama results from all of us trying to inhabit and cultivate this digital space according to what we think would make it better. Anyway, we’ll have to agree to disagree but I’ll concede that the opposition also makes some convincing arguments.

At the same time I am going to retract my request for granting the volunteer mods increased powers, noting the current situation is not broken enough to warrant risking the potential downside. It is hard to fault Jacob and the idealistic set of rules he is using to guide the forum’s development, while the idea of peer mods is reminiscent of Capos and would cause resentment. (Capos were privileged prisoners who performed administrative duties in the Nazi concentration camps, oftentimes more brutal than the guards. This is depicted vividly in Man’s Search for Meaning.)

However, in the spirit of getting some of us to loosen up, I would like to suggest an informal chat area. This could be a designated thread or an entire subforum. The crucial difference is that: 1) there is no expectation of form (though all posts still have to comply with forum rules), 2) all chat threads are temporary in nature and posts would be deleted after a period of time (24-72 hours), and 3) they should only be visible to logged in members.

The way I see it being used is to provide immediate feedback without contributing to the permanent record of a thread. There have been many times where I wanted to acknowledge a “nice post” but had nothing more constructive to offer than that, so refrained and the author never got the feedback. Or refrained from discussing an exceptional post (in the moment) because I didn’t want my comment to draw attention away from it.

Freedom_2018
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Freedom_2018 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:37 am

My $0.02...well since I already posted on this earlier that was my $0.01

Honestly, everyone on here is fine. The reason I can believe that is that while there are no barriers to entry to create a forum ID and start posting, the nature of the forum and its topics is that if someone has been hanging around for a while and posting and replying (i.e. interacting) they are quite unlikely to be your garden variety nuisance who would have gotten bored by now and moved onto something else.

I think most of the problems really are created not by person X or Y but by the nature of how we communicate:

1) Scale - I already mentioned this before...too few active forum participants so that action of a few might seem to have a disproportionate impact.

2) Asynchronous communication - Unlike a discussion in real time which is synchronous (whether in person or say on the telephone)...there are large gaps between stimulus and response and in that time between a post and someone's reply a whole bunch of other people might have posted which changes the direction of the discussion and often even the context of the discussion.

3) Short replies and blurbs - This one is my pet peeve especially since I think the more asynchronous the medium the more context and fleshing out of the thought needs to happen to avoid miscommunication. I understand the need to be efficient and direct but I also think that in human communications, context and social niceties are important. I think I am less likely to piss off someone or conversely I am less likely to consider them hostile if I could see them as a 'person' and less as a forum ID (I can speak less confidently about my ability to not piss off others vs not getting pissed off :-). Again, this is not an attack on someone who wants to post in short bursts but I think laying out a thought with a lead in and then trying to flesh it out helps better understanding (at least to me). Opinions are good, opinions with data even better, opinions with data and personal context perhaps the most persuasive. Heck even opinions with personal context and no data give me some insight into what you think and perhaps why.

1) and 2) we can't do much about but 3) is in our hands

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:47 am

It’s also not lost on me that my presence is toxic and maybe I should be the one to leave.
I don't think this is the case unless I missed something really bad. Is there something specific you are talking about?

Fish
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Fish » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:20 am

@GdP - I should have amended that as “toxic to some.” To understand the concern, see
viewtopic.php?p=186158#p186158 and viewtopic.php?p=186174#p186174 (my response here) and imagine there being several people out there who refuse to participate because I appear to be passing silent (and sometimes not-so-silent) judgment on contributors here. @C40 has also mentioned that my debacle thread also chilled at least one forum regular who stopped posting. So I am aware that I do have an effect on others, through the side effects of my good intentions.

I consider everyone on the forum to be posting with generally positive intent, so I am judging myself not by intentions but rather the same metric that everyone cares about---results.

Add: Just to clear the air, I will take @Seppia’s advice and mention that I was only thinking of @TopHatFox and @frugal as I was writing that forum ethics thread. THF has since upped his game and also proven himself to be a massive generator of serendipity as a conversation starter. I may not have an apology for @frugal (yet) but I certainly owe the forum one.
Last edited by Fish on Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

daylen
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by daylen » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:31 am

@fish Be careful drawing conclusions about what posts / members made other members leave / withdraw. Reality is often more complex, and what someone writes here may not be representative of the attitudes they employ off forum. Sometimes things just need to be delt with elsewhere and recent forum activity could be misleading.

theanimal
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by theanimal » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:49 am

@Fish- FWIW, I think it'd be a major loss to the forum if you left.

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C40
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by C40 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:56 am

Fish wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:20 am
@C40 has also mentioned that my debacle thread also chilled at least one forum regular who stopped posting.
Good news - he is back. :D

Jean
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Jean » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:03 pm

I really like the exposure to people I disagree with. Please don't leave.

Seppia
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Seppia » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:19 pm

Fish wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:23 am
It’s also not lost on me that my presence is toxic and maybe I should be the one to leave. :?
Excuse me for turning this thread into a love fest, but no, don’t leave.
You have some of the best threads and posts I can recall since I joined.
If I could be allowed a sugegstion, while 99.99999% of the internet doesn’t think enough before posting, you may be the only person I know that I would say thinks a bit too much :)

bigato
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by bigato » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:43 pm

Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:50 pm
Were he, and others like him, expunged, how quickly would the forums become solely about bicycle repair and spreadsheets? And nothing against bicycles or spreadsheets, but there is more to life than that. I hate to remind you, but you’re going to die. I hope between now and then you can find the time to laugh a little
Please consider for a moment that:

- some people don’t come here for laughs;
- some people don’t share the taste for jokes;
- some people don’t like jokes;
- some people don’t want to laugh;
- the common reason that brings people here is unrelated to laugh and jokes;
- it is polite to respect people’s sensibilities and it is hard to argue that being respectful make the environment worse;
- improving the signal-to-noise ratio tend to improve quality and engagement of the contributors who are more interested in the signal and may be repealed by some kinds of noise.
Last edited by bigato on Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

daylen
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by daylen » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:32 pm

Some signals require a specific type of noise to emerge. The boundary between the signal and the noise is dependent on biased observers. Bias is path dependent and shared paths are rare with respect to finite human existence. Generally, all paths tend to agree more on signals with very long or very short frequencies; in between is the domain of complexity, emergence, and non-linear behavior. An overly serious interpretation of complexity fails reliably.

Not sure what that means for humor, but some acceptance of chaos is likely required for some long term stability. A stable definition of chaos is another story. :)

TopHatFox
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by TopHatFox » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:19 pm

Looks like the thread on compassion turned into arguments :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

plantingourpennies
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by plantingourpennies » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:43 pm

@black_son_of_gray expressed most of my thoughts better than I could. Two small additions-

1 There are many places on the internet to argue about politics, but really only one to discuss ERE. I would support tighter moderation of political topics, and looser moderation of ERE matters.

2. I am an example of what b_s_o_g stated below-speech silences other speech. Mostly I am a lurker, but the political arguments that consumed the forum in 2016-17 were too much. Yes, their form was appropriate, but their content was too much for me, so I largely left.

We are here to discuss, pontificate, and wax poetically about ERE...if we trade focusing on ERE to focus on constant political bickering then we've surely made a poor trade. ERE unites the forum, politics will almost always divide it.

Good to have Ego back.
black_son_of_gray wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:16 pm
2. Speech silences other speech, and WYSIATI. <snip> When someone makes a "borderline" post right on the edge of community standards, we see that post… but we don't see all the posts that have been stymied (which could be many), we don't hear from users who have been "chilled" (which could be many), we don't see new members sign up that were ready to chime in but reconsidered (which could be many). So, we tend to underestimate the negative effects simply because we can't see them.

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