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Piecing together the Starlin Castro thread deletion
Posted: 21 February 2012 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 166 ]
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@dp and tshipman, part of this is semantics. Editors can mark threads as “closed” which removes the thread from view on the site but keeps the thread within the database. Deleting a thread removes it from the database. Dan has closed a few threads over time (which I believe I’ve reopened) but I don’t remember him ever deleting a thread. Now, I may have deleted some of the old Lounges, but, frankly, I’d have to check because I don’t remember exactly what I did with them.

Posted: 21 February 2012 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 167 ]
Jim Furtado - 21 February 2012 11:51 AM

@Jolly, I don’t recall a thread ever being deleted. Yes, threads have been closed, but not deleted. As I said in the prior paragraph, moderators have my permission to use their judgement to temporarily close threads when necessary. They don’t have my permission to delete threads. I consider the recent thread closing an isolated incident. If I am proven wrong (and I don’t believe I will be), I will address any change in circumstance when it happens.

For point of information,  threads have indeed been deleted in the past.  Of course the evidence is now inaccessible, but trust me, this isn’t the first time, and I’m not talking about cases of comments having been shut off.

My track record is clear in not wanting to give “a veto power to a small group of determined people” for anything. People will be able to mark a thread as off-topic. At a certain threshold, the thread will come to the attention of editors, who may flag it as off-topic so that it won’t be displayed *to members who don’t choose to include off-topic material in their Hot Topics.* The thread will continue to appear in the Hot Topics of members to choose to view off-topic threads.

That sounds like a very good compromise.

Once the redesign is in place, the practice of moving threads to the forums will be discontinued. I’ll also be increasing the number of catch-all off-topic threads. The basketball, football, and soccer catch-all threads seem to work out well. A political catch-all thread should work out as well.

That’s fine for other sports, but I’m not sure that it’d work for the far more free-flowing topics like politics, music, restaurants, or other topics that usually spring up when the topic of the posted article has been exhausted.  The difference is that whereas the NBA or the NFL usually find every fan of those sports focusing on one or two topics at a time, that’s not the case for politics or other non-sports off-topics. 

In the second phase of my re-design, I will test the ability to post basketball, football, and political news. The content will not be available on the front page but will available in a dedicated off-topic area of the site. Members will also be able to subscribe to this content and view it on their personalized homepage.

Speaking for myself, I have no interest in posting articles that are strictly political, and unrelated to baseball.  In the real life of BTF, there are two ways that “political threads” generally evolve. 

The first is simple and direct:  Repoz posts an article about John Rocker or Luke Scott or a possible All-Star game boycott by Latinos, and nature takes its course.  These posts are clearly political in intent to begin with, and the “baseball” part of it is little more than a figleaf.  Unless you issue Repoz a cease-and-desist order, these political threads will always be a part of BTF, and it’s kind of incongruous to complain about them.

The second way political threads evolve is that a baseball thread hits a dead end, someone interjects a tangentially related political comment, and others pick up on it.  This is the sort of evolution that a few Primates call “hijacking”, but two points about that need to be made:

First, “hijackings” take place all the time, and political hijackings make up a small part of the picture.  I’ve been annoyed by similar thread takeovers on the off-topics of food, wine, beer, rock music, sci-fi/fantasy movies, video games, computers/i-pads/i-pods and countless other subjects I have little interest in discussing.  But I don’t complain, because it’s obvious that the original topic had died a natural death, and there was more interest in these other “off”-topics.  We all have different interests, and as long as mine are respected, I’ll never complain about those of others.

Second, most attempted hijackings die a natural death of their own, and don’t succeed if the interest in the original topic was still there.  When you’ve got 15 Hot Topics showing on the main page, there’s little risk of off-topic threads “taking over” if there’s any interest at all in the purely baseball threads.

And while it’s easy to say to both us and Repoz, “if you want to post a political article, do it off the main page”, what do you do in the far more commonplace instances where a thread gets successfully “hijacked” because there’s more interest in the new topic than the old one?  This is where I see the danger lying, if someone (anyone) is granted the power to summarily remove such threads off the main page, even with the existence of an option that enables those who don’t want to view these threads to opt out of them.  The bottom line to me is that everyone should have the option of maintaining any thread he wishes on his personal main page, and that nobody should have the power to remove it off my main page just because he (or they) decides arbitrarily that it’s “political” or “off-topic” in general.

 

Posted: 21 February 2012 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 168 ]

who may flag it as off-topic so that it won’t be displayed *to members who don’t choose to include off-topic material in their Hot Topics.*

I think OFF_TOPIC should be an opt-out rather than an opt in.  That is, people who don’t want to include off-topic material would have to actively make that choice rather than the other way around.

Posted: 21 February 2012 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 169 ]
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Chicago Joe - 21 February 2012 02:25 PM

who may flag it as off-topic so that it won’t be displayed *to members who don’t choose to include off-topic material in their Hot Topics.*

I think OFF_TOPIC should be an opt-out rather than an opt in.  That is, people who don’t want to include off-topic material would have to actively make that choice rather than the other way around.

Say what you will, but this is still a baseball site.  The default choice should be to discuss baseball - if you want to go beyond that, then you can choose to do so.

The alternative is that everyone new who shows up here and opens an account gets a barrage of off-topic posts in among the baseball stuff - and I won’t be at all surprised under the new system, with both increased tolerance for off-topic threads and the express ability to post threads that have nothing to do with baseball, if the amount of off-topic discussion exceeds the amount of baseball discussion.  You see it with virtually every message board site that is ostensibly dedicated to one topic but which is open to the discussion of everything - the catch-all discussions far outnumber the discussions on the actual topic in question.

Hell, you see it here - look at the # of comments something like the Castro thread can generate, and compare it with the typical baseball threads.  It would probably take 150-200 average baseball threads to get to the # of comments that the Castro thread had (that would be about 40-50 comments per baseball thread, which may still be high).  Now add in 1000s of posts in the NFL thread, college football, NBA, etc…  I’d venture to guess that more than 50% of the posts made to this site in the last year had nothing to do with baseball.

Posted: 21 February 2012 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 170 ]
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Eamus Catuli - 21 February 2012 03:12 PM
Chicago Joe - 21 February 2012 02:25 PM

who may flag it as off-topic so that it won’t be displayed *to members who don’t choose to include off-topic material in their Hot Topics.*

I think OFF_TOPIC should be an opt-out rather than an opt in.  That is, people who don’t want to include off-topic material would have to actively make that choice rather than the other way around.

Say what you will, but this is still a baseball site.  The default choice should be to discuss baseball - if you want to go beyond that, then you can choose to do so.

The alternative is that everyone new who shows up here and opens an account gets a barrage of off-topic posts in among the baseball stuff - and I won’t be at all surprised under the new system, with both increased tolerance for off-topic threads and the express ability to post threads that have nothing to do with baseball, if the amount of off-topic discussion exceeds the amount of baseball discussion.  You see it with virtually every message board site that is ostensibly dedicated to one topic but which is open to the discussion of everything - the catch-all discussions far outnumber the discussions on the actual topic in question.

Hell, you see it here - look at the # of comments something like the Castro thread can generate, and compare it with the typical baseball threads.  It would probably take 150-200 average baseball threads to get to the # of comments that the Castro thread had (that would be about 40-50 comments per baseball thread, which may still be high).  Now add in 1000s of posts in the NFL thread, college football, NBA, etc…  I’d venture to guess that more than 50% of the posts made to this site in the last year had nothing to do with baseball.

To paraphrase a point Jim’s made some 6000 times now, a thread’s comment count does not mirror it’s popularity.  It simply indicates that a few folks have maintained a conversation in that thread for a while.

Another point worth considering is that the off-topic conversations tend to run long on comments *because there are fewer of them* and because the users who comment there tend to keep their conversations in the off-topic ghetto of one particular thread, as long as possible.  It’s actually an attempt to leave the other threads to discuss their actual topics.

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The frost on the ground prob’ly envies the frost in the trees.

Posted: 21 February 2012 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 171 ]
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Eamus Catuli - 21 February 2012 03:12 PM
Chicago Joe - 21 February 2012 02:25 PM

who may flag it as off-topic so that it won’t be displayed *to members who don’t choose to include off-topic material in their Hot Topics.*

I think OFF_TOPIC should be an opt-out rather than an opt in.  That is, people who don’t want to include off-topic material would have to actively make that choice rather than the other way around.

Say what you will, but this is still a baseball site.  The default choice should be to discuss baseball - if you want to go beyond that, then you can choose to do so.

The alternative is that everyone new who shows up here and opens an account gets a barrage of off-topic posts in among the baseball stuff - and I won’t be at all surprised under the new system, with both increased tolerance for off-topic threads and the express ability to post threads that have nothing to do with baseball, if the amount of off-topic discussion exceeds the amount of baseball discussion.  You see it with virtually every message board site that is ostensibly dedicated to one topic but which is open to the discussion of everything - the catch-all discussions far outnumber the discussions on the actual topic in question.

Hell, you see it here - look at the # of comments something like the Castro thread can generate, and compare it with the typical baseball threads.  It would probably take 150-200 average baseball threads to get to the # of comments that the Castro thread had (that would be about 40-50 comments per baseball thread, which may still be high).  Now add in 1000s of posts in the NFL thread, college football, NBA, etc…  I’d venture to guess that more than 50% of the posts made to this site in the last year had nothing to do with baseball.

Also, there’s only so many ways to repeat oneself to the end “It’s really stupid to use WAR like that, you know.”  Or “gosh, this pinata of a much reviled MSM write sure does swing when you punch it with a stick!”

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The frost on the ground prob’ly envies the frost in the trees.

Posted: 21 February 2012 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 172 ]
Jim Furtado - 21 February 2012 01:21 PM

@dp and tshipman, part of this is semantics. Editors can mark threads as “closed” which removes the thread from view on the site but keeps the thread within the database. Deleting a thread removes it from the database. Dan has closed a few threads over time (which I believe I’ve reopened) but I don’t remember him ever deleting a thread. Now, I may have deleted some of the old Lounges, but, frankly, I’d have to check because I don’t remember exactly what I did with them.

Jim - I appreciate and recognize this difference, but why would it be semantics to anyone who isn’t you or Dan?  Your “closed” threads are simply deleted to every member of the site.  That’s pretty deleted.

Posted: 21 February 2012 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 173 ]

Veer bender did nothing that warranted him apologizing, Szym did nothing that warranted him apologizing; it’s still hard to see why and how the thread descended to all that.

As for the broader issues: (1) it’s still a violation of the implicit bargain we all have to blow up everything everyone wrote when there was no demand for that whatsoever; and (2) if people are worried about what seems to be a worry, there’s always the elegant solution of the nombre de ‘net.  Hard as it may be to believe, my first name actually isn’t Larvell.

Posted: 21 February 2012 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 174 ]
Eamus Catuli - 21 February 2012 03:12 PM
Chicago Joe - 21 February 2012 02:25 PM

who may flag it as off-topic so that it won’t be displayed *to members who don’t choose to include off-topic material in their Hot Topics.*

I think OFF_TOPIC should be an opt-out rather than an opt in.  That is, people who don’t want to include off-topic material would have to actively make that choice rather than the other way around.

Say what you will, but this is still a baseball site.  The default choice should be to discuss baseball - if you want to go beyond that, then you can choose to do so.

And that’s fine, as long as neither you or anyone else has the power to move my choice of Hot Topics threads off of my home page.  Just as I wouldn’t deny you the right or the power to remove any Hot Topics thread from your own BTF page.  If this customized model is what Jim’s aiming at, I’m all for it.  Start out by showing a newcomer all Hot Topics threads, and include a blocking / ignore function for each one.  That gives him the power to ignore any thread he doesn’t want to view, regardless of whether it was designated as off-topic from the beginning, or whether it was a baseball thread that veered off into another direction.  Why wouldn’t that satisfy everyone?

But a person who wants to view all Hot Topics threads on his own main page should be able to do that without interruption, and not have to navigate off his own main page to find them.  That’s the real bottom line AFAIC.

The alternative is that everyone new who shows up here and opens an account gets a barrage of off-topic posts in among the baseball stuff - and I won’t be at all surprised under the new system, with both increased tolerance for off-topic threads and the express ability to post threads that have nothing to do with baseball, if the amount of off-topic discussion exceeds the amount of baseball discussion.  You see it with virtually every message board site that is ostensibly dedicated to one topic but which is open to the discussion of everything - the catch-all discussions far outnumber the discussions on the actual topic in question.

And again, if these newcomers don’t like what they see, there should be nothing that stops them from blocking any threads they don’t like.  Just don’t give those newcomers, or anyone else, any more power than that.

Hell, you see it here - look at the # of comments something like the Castro thread can generate, and compare it with the typical baseball threads.  It would probably take 150-200 average baseball threads to get to the # of comments that the Castro thread had (that would be about 40-50 comments per baseball thread, which may still be high).  Now add in 1000s of posts in the NFL thread, college football, NBA, etc…  I’d venture to guess that more than 50% of the posts made to this site in the last year had nothing to do with baseball.

And what would BTF’s ad revenue look like if those posts disappeared?

Posted: 21 February 2012 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 175 ]
Administrator

It makes far more sense to me to only show baseball stuff to more casual visitors than the opposite. The casual visitors check out the site because they are baseball fans, not because they are looking to chat about other stuff. In reality, though, the most important factor in attracting newcomers is the quality of the links. The conversations are more value-added than core. As for the ad revenue, the site would generate far more revenue with one million people viewing one or two pages rather one hundred thousand viewing ten to twenty pages. It’s my belief that you don’t design to maximize revenue. You design to create the best experience that you can. If you do it right more people should visit and stick around. Even if they don’t, however, at least it’s something you can use yourself. I haven’t always had the time, expertise, or money to execute things the way I’d like. I still don’t have the money I’d like to throw into this but I have the time and know a hell of lot more about coding and EE than I did the last time I overhauled the site.

Posted: 21 February 2012 08:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 176 ]
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Jim Furtado - 21 February 2012 11:51 AM

@Jolly, I don’t recall a thread ever being deleted. Yes, threads have been closed, but not deleted. As I said in the prior paragraph, moderators have my permission to use their judgement to temporarily close threads when necessary. They don’t have my permission to delete threads. I consider the recent thread closing an isolated incident. If I am proven wrong (and I don’t believe I will be), I will address any change in circumstance when it happens.

The Taser thread is another that I know about. Dan was an active and aggressive participant until it disappeared. You can see references to it here.

Edited to use preview.tinyurl.com. You can’t link to a URL with quotation marks in it.

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Amtrak train 288 with engine 707’s got a clear signal at CP 188, track 2 east.

Posted: 21 February 2012 08:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 177 ]
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Jolly Old St. Neck Wound, Moral Idiot - 20 February 2012 09:17 AM

The only people backing Dan up here seem to be people who think that political discussions have no place on a baseball site.

I definitely don’t think that, and I back Dan 10,000%, have been there and done much worse than he has. You guys have no comprehension at all that you’re being dealt with incredibly leniently.

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Brett Lawrie ‏ @blawrie13
Wow do it @2Morrow23 that was some sickkkk stuff tonight maaa dudeeee , great game all around by the boyssss , @jparencibia9 swing it budd!!

Posted: 21 February 2012 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 178 ]
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base ball chick - 20 February 2012 11:19 PM
Paul D (AKA The Other Canadian) - 20 February 2012 10:44 PM
base ball chick - 20 February 2012 10:20 PM
Jim Furtado - 20 February 2012 01:54 PM

With the site and CMS changes it really doesn’t matter whether the Lounge is in the Forum or within the main part of the site. I can now more easily hide content from Google and non-members than I could before. With the better server setup and advances in caching that I am integrating into the new site design, it really doesn’t matter to me where/how the Lounge is set up. As a matter of fact, I probably could better blend the Lounge and the rest of the site if it was moved back within the main CMS.

If someone wants to make this a Feature Request/discussion, I invite you to create a thread about it in the appropriate forum. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter to me. If people want it to change, however, they need to tell me fairly soon.

- if it is possible to move the lounge out of the forums, PLEASE PLEASE do it. it is incredibly hard for some of us - especially with reading problems - to follow the lounge in the forum format

For what it’s worth, a number of lounges have commented on this, and so far they’re all against moving the lounge.

WHY???????????

the forum setup SUX

is it because of the google thingy or just wanting to keep me out

There is nothing in the world I want to do LESS than keep you out, bbc. I miss you in the Lounge.

But I am one of those people who does not want to move. We’ve got a really good thing going; moving to the Mainland (and especially moving to somewhere that can be accessed by Google or even by people who aren’t registered) would put it in a lot of danger.

I think we are agreed that the smart guys should try to come up with solutions to help. It would help if you described exactly what about the Lounge format is tough to read - is it all the quoted stuff in the boxes?

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Brett Lawrie ‏ @blawrie13
Wow do it @2Morrow23 that was some sickkkk stuff tonight maaa dudeeee , great game all around by the boyssss , @jparencibia9 swing it budd!!

Posted: 21 February 2012 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 179 ]
J. Lowenstein Apathy Club - 21 February 2012 08:43 PM

I definitely don’t think that, and I back Dan 10,000%, have been there and done much worse than he has. You guys have no comprehension at all that you’re being dealt with incredibly leniently.

Wait, what?  Which guys, and leniently for what?

Posted: 21 February 2012 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 180 ]

There is nothing in the world I want to do LESS than keep you out, bbc. I miss you in the Lounge.

But I am one of those people who does not want to move. We’ve got a really good thing going; moving to the Mainland (and especially moving to somewhere that can be accessed by Google or even by people who aren’t registered) would put it in a lot of danger.

I think we are agreed that the smart guys should try to come up with solutions to help. It would help if you described exactly what about the Lounge format is tough to read - is it all the quoted stuff in the boxes?

it is really hard for me to deal with all the boxes and requoted stuff - it’s really hard to tell where each line came from and i get lost easily.

all the space in between posts is difficult for me too

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i’m a man, yes i am and i can’t help but love it so

   
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