The atmosphere of the forum...

Questions and comments
Tyler9000
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Tyler9000 »

I'm apparently more similar to JP, as the idea of only reading certain categories doesn't even occur to me. It's always "Active Topics" that shows me everything. I read what looks interesting and skip anything that doesn't strike my fancy, and I find lots of interesting things that way that I'd never think to look for. In the spirit of Jacob's call to be the example you want to see in the world, I think we'd all benefit from focusing less on filtering out what you don't want and more on posting the quality content that you do want.

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C40
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by C40 »

Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:07 pm
Yeah, no one sitting at the freaks table is asking anyone to leave the cafeteria. We are just emphasizing the right to fling peas everywhere because divergence is intregral to the advance of civilization and the evolution of mankind, or something.
One of the problems with the internet and forums: people can fling peas all day long on anyone and everyone, and there is no possibility/option for someone who got hit with one too many to walk over and smash the pea flinger in the head with a lunch tray.

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

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

Usually it would not have too much of an effect considering many pea flingers already had their heads smashed repeatedly in childhood and are now just demonstrating that the human spirit is irrepressible.

But I do feel bad in a way for those who never had their heads smashed and now feel the delicate rain of peas to be an unbearable onslaught.

m741
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by m741 »

I wrote the script because I get nothing out of the political topics (that's the subforum I filter out). It's not why I'm here and I want to read more ERE-focused content. In general I get too much exposure to politics in my day-to-day life as it is, so I'd rather not repeatedly see the politics threads which seem to clog the board (given the nature of politics, they're always at the top of the forum since they often go into 5+ pages of responses). It's a waste of time and energy for me.

Go ahead and manually ignore whatever posts you want; I'll use my script.

---

In general I'm happy with the moderation of the forum, though related or not I feel that the composition has changed and people tend to seem more combative and just... angrier than I remember 7-8 years ago. When I joined, it felt to me like everyone was stumbling onto this amazing new world with so much to learn. I see people with this attitude pass through occasionally still, but my impression is that they don't last as long as they used to. Maybe I'm misremembering or just have a mental bias. It could be that the pool of forum regulars has depleted the core ERE-related topics. I do know that at one point I would have enjoyed meeting *all* of the forum regulars in person... and that's no longer the case for me.

---

For a smart take on moderation and perception of online communities, I'd point to this Slate Star Codex post. I really respect the author as a critical thinker, and I think it provides a lot of insight into what can go wrong with online discussions.

suomalainen
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by suomalainen »

I'll venture a few reactions even though I deleted my first post on this thread a few days ago.

1) Kudos to @jacob. The ability to be and think "above the fray" is just...incredible. THAT is the unique skill that makes this forum what it is. I hope others can see that too.

2) I find it interesting to see what biases people bring to this forum and how it could divide them into opposing groups such as purists vs free-for-allers or jokesters vs anti-jokesters or whatever. The question I have to all of it is: why? Why do you want some control over this thing that isn't yours and it's done very well by itself without your "help" thankyouverymuch. So, I go back to #1 - you initially came (and stayed) because of #1. If you don't like the direction or feel of the forum any more, you have two options: 1) leave or 2) try to influence it with the content, quality and quantity of your posts (or your silence). The option you don't have is to control other people's posting habits. You sure as shit aren't going to convince @jacob to change his mind. Guaranteed he's thought about this waaaaaaayyyy more than you and he's comfortable with his decision of how to keep his own house.

3) @jace has rubbed me the wrong way, sure (@jace PM me and I'll teach you how to rub me the right way), but so have a lot of other people and I'm CERTAIN I've rubbed people the wrong way. That's life. Adults can ignore shit they don't like or they can push back and/or try to influence it. Or they can leave in a huff.

4) I didn't know this forum had a mission statement or a point or whatever. That's what a blog with an ex ante mission statement is. A forum's "mission" is more an ex post emergent quality of group dynamics - it's formed as it goes; it's fluid. Why try to shoehorn the latter into the former when it is impossible? They are two different things.

5) And in any event, even if the forum DID have a mission statement, it doesn't stop a schmuck like me from joining and ruining the party (much to the chagrin of the controllers pointed out in #2). Personally, I find the personal finance stuff very boring. Work, save, frugality, yada yada yada. As I think @fish once said, he thought about starting his own blog once but realized it was a crowded space already and he would have nothing new or unique to add. I MUCH prefer the tangents and the unique thoughts and the jokes and the personal life details be they successes or failures in or out of the finance realm. THAT to me is fascinating. This forum is a great messy ball of humanity - would be a shame to sterilize it.

6) Which brings me to the final point - this forum already has a bunch of lunch tables. Some people eat primarily in the journal section and even there, some prefer the "journey to my number" journals and others prefer the "what wild adventure is this cat going on this month" journals. Others like the politics or the (there are other sections, right?), you know, the ____ section. You pick your poison every time you click on a link. If you find yourself always getting offended or pissed off in one section, just change the channel, man. It ain't hard. Life's too short to always be choosing a higher blood pressure.

7) All that said - I will offer one opinion along the "what I would moderate if I were the ERE god" lines -- I'm super tired of the gender wars, the "white-knight" bashing. But, you know, some people have some shit they need to work through and since I'm not in control, I will simply do my part to try to influence/push back discussions when that kind of bullshit arises and I feel up for a fight. Otherwise, I'll just ignore it. For those of you who always want to equate silence with X, it just isn't so. You don't get to put words into someone's mouth when it suits your purposes.

prognastat
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by prognastat »

Also though I don't use the script to filter the forum myself, I don't even tend to use the home page at all instead living on the unread posts page, but if improving the script helps some people filter stuff they don't like out of their information feed and keeps them around rather than leaving I don't think it's wasted time/effort.

Jason
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Jason »

suomalainen wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:59 pm
(@jace PM me and I'll teach you how to rub me the right way)
God, I'd thought you'd never ask.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by SavingWithBabies »

I like this forum and typically I don't post as much outside of my journal. I found @Fish's "debacle" post to be a net negative as we've already discussed in this thread. Perhaps this will help explain why: at work, you and the rest of the team see someone screw something up but there is no feedback loop until days later, the boss talks in ambiguous terms about some issue that is almost impossible to relate to this prior screwup (but is in fact the direct cause) -- the person who screwed up is one of those least likely to figure this out and "for the good of the company" a new arbitrary rule is put in place going forward to "address the issue once and for all." I hate that. It doesn't work. That isn't exactly what your thread was about but it was that same kind of thing to me. Then I thought about it some more and decided it was just your opinion and maybe you didn't mean whatever I read into it so meh. Move on. In general, I enjoy your posts @Fish and hope you stay. I just wanted to relate one reaction so it might help you (as others have provided feedback) in calibrating where it lies on your sucks-o-meter (in terms of "leaving the forum" at the top and "posting this again" or whatever is good).

To go back to the overall topic of the atmosphere of the forum, the only thing I've taken a bit personal is the griping about tech salaries and soft software developers. I get it. I think the compensation is ridiculous. But if someone offers me that kind of money, I'll take it. I share all the numbers because it is so far out there that... I think people should know it's going on? I'm not sure. I don't share them to boast. I know that most of the griping is aimed at the people living on a budget of say $50,000/year or $60,000/year or whatever figure we've decided here makes them a "them" versus an "us". I feel like I'm on the cusp of being a "them" here however within the last 3-6 months, I've decided to try to figure out how to get closer to the "us" budget and we're making progress. And I think that is really important. But I've also noticed that posters here seem to post more about numbers if they are clearly an "us" and then they leave it more ambiguous if perhaps they are outside the norms. Maybe this is all down to EXTREME and perhaps it's part of the core value of this forum so I don't know if anything should be changed except perhaps realizing that "them" not being here is against diversity. One doesn't want to be overwhelmed but at the same time, those outside the norms can contribute differing views that challenge the norms and are healthy. I have chalked this up to taking it too personal and decided to ignore it but others (who might want to depart the MMM-set and go more EXTREME) might get turned away.

bigato
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by bigato »

jp, the way i'd like to browse the forums is:
- i want to see every new thread once and decide from its title if i want to look further;
- if i decide i don't, i also don't want to ever see it in my face again;
- if i am interested in the thread, i want a way to know every time there's a new post in it.

The reason i would like it to work this way is the same as m741, i like efficiency and don't want to waste time nor want to get irritated. Except that I don't want to filter by forum theme, i'd like to look into every thread title once and decide myself. I don't keep on inviting people I find irritating or boring to hang out and talk in real life, so I don't see why I wouldn't filter it here if possible.

I just hope this is not eternal september all over again.

Seppia
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Seppia »

@bigato
Assuming you will respond to a thread that interests you, you can use the “your posts” view mode.
Not exactly what you need but fairly close.
This is why on some forums you sometimes find one line replies such as “posting to follow”.

bigato
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by bigato »

thanks, that is useful, but sometimes i am just curious and don't really want to post anything at the thread, nor "polute it" with "posting to follow" or something

Campitor
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Campitor »

I was educated via the socratic method; grades 6 through 12. It isn't the most pleasant style of education but it really sharpens critical thinking. We were given problems first, had to defend the methodologies used for our conclusions, and point out the flaws in each other's work. We were expected to defend and argue vigorously but professionally. Only after this inter-student and proctor critique/debate phase was finished, were we given the actual lesson plan and shown how to resolve the problem properly. Bonus points were awarded to those who arrived/intuited the correct steps and answers. This teaching method was brutal but boy does it pay dividends in so many ways.

It's a shame that most people are not educated this way. Mental resilience and inductive reasoning skills are sharpened to a very high point. It makes you formidable in so many ways and less susceptible to binary thinking and charlatanism. And you're more apt to seek truth via facts and critical thinking than arriving at half truths pushed by demagoguery.

What I find most lamentable is that smart people would rather stay in their own echo chambers. They seek the warmth and safety of their erudite cocoons instead of exposing themselves to various viewpoints that push the boundaries of their beliefs even if it hurts their sensibilities. And even worse, the less erudite are deprived of the deepening of the mind that comes from reading topics of substance. If you don't like the way the wind is blowing adjust the sails and help tack the ship back on course. Don't just hop into the life raft and call it a day.

Who decides what is appropriate to read or express? What kernel of truth will be left undiscovered in the explosion of error? How are we to come to understanding if we shut ourselves off from those who don't think, talk, or write as we do? I prefer heated debate underscored by logic than a cordoning off of ideas which causes us to divide into increasingly narrow echo chambers. In the end the only means of being heard will be via violence or extreme vulgarity that can't be ignored. No thank you.

What drew me to this forum was Jacob. Where else will I get a nuclear astrophysicist's opinion on so many different subjects? But what kept me here were the different voices and opinions so tangential to my own. Yes some forum members may be crude at times or controversial or skirt the forum rules. But when someone does cross Jacob's line in the sand, he handles it professionally. At the end of the day this is Jacob's house. His house, his rules. I'm sure if someone wants to talk to Jacob about amending his rules, in a well reasoned manner, he would be open to changes that still conform to his overall blueprint of what a good forum is.

Everyday I open this forum to see what new topic is being discussed. I read a lot of it and just let it marinate. Other topics I join because they are interesting from a critical thinking point of view and seem to be good opportunities to strengthen fact finding and inductive skills. This place is a cornucopia of topics and dangling threads begging to be pulled. IlliniDave, Rigger, Jason, CS, Seppia, Jacob, 7WB, Jennypenny, Dragline, and too many more to mention - your posts are never dull and always interesting. If this forum devolved to nothing but topics about spreadsheets, the speeds of neutrinos, sipping tea with pinkies held out, and utterance of grey poupon, that would be a sad day.

jacob
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by jacob »

Campitor wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:30 pm
Who decides what is appropriate to read or express? What kernel of truth will be left undiscovered in the explosion of error? How are we to come to understanding if we shut ourselves off from those who don't think, talk, or write as we do? I prefer heated debate underscored by logic than a cordoning off of ideas which causes us to divide into increasingly narrow echo chambers. In the end the only means of being heard will be via violence or extreme vulgarity that can't be ignored. No thank you.
I'd like to combine this into a compromise. It was suggested above that perhaps the forums need more subforums. This way it would be easier to divide the topics without dividing the people. As for mission statements, this forum has also---and I believe correctly---been described as "a place for FIREd people who talk about all things other than FIRE" cf. most other FIRE-forums that are better described as "a place for wannabe-FIRE people to talk about FIRE" (i.e. noob stuff). So primarily, this forum is about the people discussing the topics moreso than the topics themselves.

However, I'll second @Soumalainen's lament above about the gender wars. It's not that I mind the discussion per se (out of principle of not minding any discussion) but I do mind how the constant MGTOW/relationship bitching (for lack of a better word) tend to spill into other threads all the time---usually due to the same few people(*). I also understand that there are clearly some issues to be worked out there and that relationships have ERE relevance.

(*) There was even a relationship derailment thread established as a catch all.

Making up categories is super-hard classification problem (the "librarian's problem"), but I'm thinking that maybe adding (it's practically impossible to subtract) a subforum on relationships would be a good idea and take some of the pressure off the other threads. The risk is that [isolating] it will develop/devolve into its own little red pill/PUA hell scape. The benefit is that people who don't want to see it can ignore it. The downside is that it doesn't make the problem go or away nor does it solve it. In particular, I believe that this whole idea of establishing segregated safe zones that very many people seem to want/enjoy is the meta-problem in our current culture. I believe it's what led to the election of Trump... (and populists in general) in the sense that if people (the winning coasts) deliberately ignore a segment (the losing rust belts) for too long, the latter is going to find some destructive way to direct attention back to themselves. (We also see this in the rise of provocative internet vulgarity and extreme violence.) simply tossing out the "misfits" (or ignoring them with technological filtering) is not a systems-solution. While solving the individual problem, it does not solve the systems problem. It postpones and exacerbates it.

So in short, I'm kinda torn on what to do.

Running an adult daycare center is sometimes really hard... and not really my preferred way of spending my time.

Campitor
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Campitor »

I find the gender war/PUA/MGTOW comments and threads to be so logically wrong. When I read these occasional comments, I'd love nothing more than to start poking holes in the logic and assumptions displayed therein. But I refrain because I either don't want to derail the thread or because I don't want to risk elevating the "heat" of the discussion to the point where I'm instigating or participating in forum rule breaking or a thread lock. But these PUA/MGTOW ideas are caustic. To assign behavior and mental functioning ONLY to a set of chromosomes ignores years of psychology and the effects of culture on beliefs and behaviors.

If these PUA/MGTOW ideas were placed into their own forum subtopic, I'd be more inclined to roll up the sleeves and tackle the bad logic implicit in this belief system. The real conundrum is whether these PUA/MGTOW adherents are open to having their minds changed or just perceive my writings as grenades being tossed by a "beta". LOL.

Riggerjack
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Riggerjack »

Running an adult daycare center is sometimes really hard... and not really my preferred way of spending my time.
I can believe it. I wouldn't want to do it, and I admire the way you have done it so far.

That being said, it's part of what you seem to want. Being open to ideas and expression means being exposed to the ideas and expressions of all skill levels. The people with the highest skill levels tend to often have areas of extremely underdeveloped skills. One cannot get the best, without getting some of the worst.

You once said that poverty is a lack of skill, rather than a lack of cash. I believe this is true. But I also believe lack of skill applies to all of us in one area or another, to one degree or another, and exposing our poorly developed skills allows us to see and correct this deficiency. It ain't pretty, but it is useful. If one wants to be surrounded by the thoughts of highly skilled people, one must allow people to expose their deficiencies to a critical but mildly supportive culture, to correct these deficiencies.

So when male spinsters (MGTOW) clash with white knights, neither is likely to learn from the other, but people who could be tempted to join either low skill group can see the errors pointed out in the group for which they have an affinity. Allowing this flamewar to happen in a critical environment doesn't help members of each tribe, but I believe it helps those on the fringe to see their own issues and opinions in a different light, hopefully saving them from joining such low skill groups. This inoculation is good for the group, even if the flamewar is unpleasant to watch (or to host).

I agree it would be nice if we were all higher skilled in all aspects of our selves. But I also believe those skills need to be developed somewhere, and I think this is a very good place for that to happen, when it hasn't happened elsewhere. Low skilled people will never learn from similarly skilled people. Addressing one's own weaknesses engages all of the ego saving defense mechanisms that allowed one to get to this point without addressing them previously. So having criticism from someone that one has learned to respect in other realms is very helpful in disengaging the defense mechanisms, and actually developing the poorly developed skills.

When I post, it's with the intent of helping others to see things in ways I have found useful. Often, I discover the ways others have found useful, to be better than my own. I could not do that as effectively anywhere else. Exposing my own weaknesses, and being exposed to the weaknesses of others is necessary for this to happen.

So again, I thank you, and don't envy you. But maybe take a look at the long time posters, I think you will find a general improvement in skill levels; and maybe you can take some pride in that.

I know I do.

Jean
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Jean »

I think MGTOW are wrong on many things (right on some too), but that if there is one place were they could meet people with both the knowledge and empathy to help them, it's this forum.

theanimal
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by theanimal »

bigato wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:17 pm
thanks, that is useful, but sometimes i am just curious and don't really want to post anything at the thread, nor "polute it" with "posting to follow" or something
You can do what you are looking for without posting. Go to the individual thread that you wish to follow. At the top near the title you'll see a wrench with a drop down button adjacent to it. Opening the list you'll see "subscribe to topic." Clicking that will give you a notification every time someone posts in that particular thread. Hope that helps.

IlliniDave
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by IlliniDave »

I was labeled MGTOW by someone here along the way. I googled the acronym and it was certainly apt when taken literally. I didn't realize it set me apart as an object for pity and rehabilitation. I thought it was just a new way to say "incorrigible bachelor".

Jean
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Jean »

Well, it usually include a strong belief that women are best aproximated as evil.

bigato
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by bigato »

Yeah, thanks, I know about the subscribe thing, but it's even less convenient for me than browsing everything (i think).

Also, I understand the positions written above about not ignoring people who disagree with you, the value of discussion, the echo chambers phenomenon and stuff. And yet I really prefer to use my time in another way that does not include arguing politics or watching people being rude at each other or at me. I may end up trying to find some kind of mechanics that works for me or just give up. I think some of you may want to read the Karl Popper's Paradox of Tolerance:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

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