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Jim's Lab Notes
— Site News, Baseball Talk, and a Bunch of Other Stuff

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Off-Topics, Politics, and the Redesign

FYI, in the redesign I will restrict off-topic political discussions to a new politics off-topic blog that I am setting up for the purpose. By default, members will not see these discussions in their Hot Topics until they opt-in to see them. In the interim I will restrict off-topic political discussions to a dedicated monthly thread (similar to the football, basketball, and soccer threads), which will be tagged as “politics”, marked as “OT:Politics” in the title, and which will include a disclaimer about the nature and tone of the discussion. I will also begin closing the off-topic political discussions in other threads.

In the redesign I also will be moving the sports-related off-topic threads to their own dedicated area. Like the off-topic political threads these threads will only appear in Hot Topics when members opt-in to see them. When this change takes place members will be able to submit news links to basketball, football, soccer, and golf (whichever sports that generate interest) articles, which will appear in their appropriate off-topic micro.

So, in the redesign people who wish to discuss these topics will be able to do so easily while people who wish to ignore such topics will be able to do so easily as well.


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Jim Furtado Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:44 PM | 1369 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1201. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4147606)
The takeaway from all of this really does seem to be that it's just fine and dandy for the people in the lounge to personally attack others who are not present. Just so we're clear. I have seen absolutely nothing in this thread to suggest otherwise.

Which is fine, whatever, but then that kind of defeats the argument that a major problem with the political threads was tone/insults. And that a major problem with the people posting in the political threads was rudeness. And that a major problem with the political threads was that they did not foster a sense of community on the site.

The TOS do not seem to be applicable in any way to the lounge.
   1202. McCoy Posted: June 04, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4147608)
I have yet to complain about the proposed changes other than to say I don't really think the "insightful/funny" things isn't a good idea. I get what Jim is trying to do but I also don't know what it will do to BTF. Forget OT politics for a moment and just realize that once this thing gets going and working we could very well have 300+ links being posted to the site daily if not way more than that. That is going to profoundly effect this community. It really is going to Balkanize the community and even within those communities it is going to be really hard to have a strong community when 50 to 70 links are flooding your community daily.
   1203. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4147609)
Whatever and fine. That wasn't the motivation as first described; instead, it was that the political threads were "nasty," "contentious," and all the rest -- all of which turned out, particularly upon discovery of the Lounge, to be comically ridiculous.


Yes.
   1204. villageidiom Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4147612)
Whatever and fine. That wasn't the motivation as first described; instead, it was that the political threads were "nasty," "contentious," and all the rest -- all of which turned out, particularly upon discovery of the Lounge, to be comically ridiculous.
The Lounge is not viewable except (a) by members of the site (b) who choose to go there. It is that way so that the Lounge is not the public face of BTF. (This has the - unintended? - effect of allowing the Lounge greater latitude in how it operates.) Also, the Lounge, by its nature, is ADHD, rarely staying on one contentious topic for even a whole day, let alone stretches of several days like some of the threads that become nasty. As such it, in a way, moderates itself. If it gets out of hand, it does so for a short burst, then an hour later it has moved on to thirty unrelated topics of disinterest. But I digress.

The Lounge is part of the whole community, and at times can be a nasty and contentious part. But it is not the public image of the site. Heck, it's not even the private image of the site, given how many members were unaware it exists and what goes on there.

The site changes Jim speaks of will make it easier for the kind of nastiness and contentiousness you like - the kind outside the Lounge - to exist, without affecting the public image of BTF. In the past, offers to redirect such discussion to the forums have resulted in no takers, and the other alternative - closing and deleting threads - is frowned upon by members even more loudly. By allowing the nastier threads to be bumped to a location that the public (and the default user) won't see it but the participants can continue unabated, Jim can keep the site image how he wishes prospective members to see it while allowing the community greater latitude to destroy itself as it sees fit.

Essentially, I think Jim recognizes that this is the internet, and not everyone will choose the most civil form of discourse. However, in this particular corner of the internet, he wants new users to see insightful baseball content and come here for that, and then decide what additional content - insightful or otherwise - they'd like to include.

The drawback of that, such as it is, is that the user would need to know what exists that they didn't opt in for, in order to know whether they should. If a tree falls in the forest, and all that.

   1205. BDC Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4147614)
the "insightful/funny" things

It's a bit limited. What we need is "insightful/funny/unintentionallyunfunny/moronic/SOS/TLDR/brokencode/doublepost."

Not to talk behind their backs, but somebody in the Pablo Sandoval thread just had to type out the whole phrase "This is one of the stupidest things I've ever read." There should just be a button for that.
   1206. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4147618)
There should just be a button for that.


That button should auto-post the name of the user and the comment in question to that day's Lounge, for behind-the-back-talkeration.
   1207. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4147622)
Regardless of how Jim feels, for the loungers to be down there trashing people up here without their knowledge is rude. Yet, this condutct was being denied/excused/justified away.

I love how this has progressed, though:

"Political threads are bad! They are contentious and acrimonious and filled with insults and personal attacks! Political posters are bad!"

"We're not really that acrimonious -- we all pretty much like each other -- but... Whoa, look at what is going on down in the lounge by some of the same people who have a problem with the tone of the political posters..."

"You guys are crybabies. We're not insulting people behind their backs, and if we are just get over it. Do you need to be babysat?"

   1208. Morty Causa Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4147624)
1204

So all this is about keeping up appearances to impress clickers-through?
   1209. McCoy Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4147631)
re 1208, Yes. But I don't say that in bad or snide way. Jim wants to make this place the one stop shop for all baseball links. By flooding the site with hundreds and hundreds of links there has to be some sort of organized system set up so that people can get their hands around the content they want to see. Thus the need for mods and things being put into folder X, Y, and Z.

The only real issue is going to be setting up your personalized folders and once that is done we'll all get used to set up and carry on as normal.*


*Well, the other issue will be the mods. We don't know how that is going to go just yet.
   1210. Downtown Bookie Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4147634)
Regardless of how Jim feels, for the loungers to be down there trashing people up here....


Just for reference sake, exactly which cloud are you on "up there"?

DB
   1211. tshipman Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4147635)
The site changes Jim speaks of will make it easier for the kind of nastiness and contentiousness you like - the kind outside the Lounge - to exist, without affecting the public image of BTF.


I don't actually think that most people who participate in political discussions on the site (including Ray, but I don't want to speak for him), really like nastiness or contentiousness. Most of the participants want an interesting discussion. Name-calling detracts from that. Ad hominems are generally frowned upon by all participants (if not always enforced). I don't like it when Sam H shows up screaming and hollering, as I feel that it detracts from the discussion and has the unfortunate effect of focusing the discussion on Sam (which is much less interesting to me).

Ray has, at times that I can recall, specifically called people out (including myself on at least one occasion) for comments that go past the line (edit: which I accepted). Some people are nasty on the political threads, but I don't think that's the norm at all (edit: at least since around 2009 or so. Things were much more acrimonious with RETARDO and kevin around).



So all this is about keeping up appearances for clickers-through?


Yes, I think so. (I don't mean this as a negative. Appearances for clickers-through are very important to Jim as it really affects how well he can run the site).
   1212. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4147638)
1204

So all this is about keeping up appearances for clickers-through?


I thought that was obvious from the git-go. And I can see Jim's point, even if personally I'd solve the "problem" in a different way if I were running the place. At this point, though, I'm willing to give him a chance and see how it all plays out in the realm of unintended consequences.
   1213. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4147642)
So all this is about keeping up appearances for clickers-through?


Clickers-through! Oh ye unwashed lurking hordes, you too have been NAMED!
   1214. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4147643)
Some people are nasty on the political threads, but I don't think that's the norm at all (edit: at least since around 2009 or so. Things were much more acrimonious with RETARDO and kevin around).

Unless I'm completely misremembering, most of the acrimony surrounding those two came on steroids threads, not political threads. Of course many of the complaints about political threads were made about steroids threads, and often by (and about) the same people.
   1215. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4147645)
I don't actually think that most people who participate in political discussions on the site (including Ray, but I don't want to speak for him), really like nastiness or contentiousness.

Nope. The entire premise that the political threads are nasty and contentious is highly dubious, and we now know entirely hypocritical issuing from many voices who've bleated about it.

Jim's trying to get the casual fan in here, and that's his business. I can entirely see how a link entitled, "Sox claim Bloomquist on waivers," that morphs into the best way to poach Indian Ocean fish and proceeds to the injustices in the Treaty of Ghent might not be the best way to do that.
   1216. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4147647)
I don't like it when Sam H shows up screaming and hollering


An angel just lost its wings.
   1217. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4147649)
Clickers-through! Oh ye unwashed lurking hordes, you too have been NAMED!


Perhaps we can coalesce by insulting them to their faces. Then it's unarguably their own damn fault for not signing up.
   1218. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4147653)
Jim wants to make this place the one stop shop for all baseball links. By flooding the site with hundreds and hundreds of links there has to be some sort of organized system set up so that people can get their hands around the content they want to see.

I'm curious to see how all of this plays out. As much as I don't like it, we're becoming more and more of a Twitter and Facebook world by the day — i.e., less and less demand for anything longer than 140 characters. Who, exactly, is going to be posting these "hundreds and hundreds of links" and/or commenting on them?
   1219. McCoy Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4147660)
re 1218

Mods, admins, and us. Right now their is a bottleneck in place in that everything that is submitted to get posted has to be approved by a very very small group of people. So it can take awhile for submissions to get posted. Under the new system that is supposedly going to be streamlined and the adding of many links looks to be actively encouraged.

As for who is going to comment on them I think the answer is going to be not a lot of people. It's going to take a bit of getting used to but eventually I think people will get the hang of it and they'll find out where they can hang out and get the most sense of community.
   1220. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4147666)
I will add that me being called a whiner by people here is funny, given that I'm the one dubbed the emotionless robot man or whatever. As I think people who engage in discussions with me will affirm, I am attacked routinely all over this site, and the insults don't bother me, and I never react badly to them. And I never call people names.

I am simply commenting on the bizarre juxtaposition of people whining about tone who then go and attack others without those people even being present, and how this seems to be ay-ok just because it occurs down in the lounge. I get that the lounge is a different part of the site and Jim is concerned with the public/googleable face of BBTF, but the behavior of many of the people complaining about the political threads really is hard to believe, and their behavior does violate the TOS without repercussion.
   1221. PerroX Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4147670)
Jim --

Thank you for all you've done for all of us over the years. You've enriched my life and the lives of many others through the connections we've made here. You have no idea how much it's meant to so many.

Kudos.
   1222. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4147672)
I don't actually think that most people who participate in political discussions on the site (including Ray, but I don't want to speak for him), really like nastiness or contentiousness. Most of the participants want an interesting discussion. Name-calling detracts from that. Ad hominems are generally frowned upon by all participants (if not always enforced). I don't like it when Sam H shows up screaming and hollering, as I feel that it detracts from the discussion and has the unfortunate effect of focusing the discussion on Sam (which is much less interesting to me).
Yes. (Now, Sam doesn't even take himself seriously, so his posts don't actually create acrimony, but they can be distracting.) I want interesting discussion. I do want disagreement (not contentiousness) because "Well said" isn't interesting discussion.

Ray has, at times that I can recall, specifically called people out (including myself on at least one occasion) for comments that go past the line (edit: which I accepted). Some people are nasty on the political threads, but I don't think that's the norm at all (edit: at least since around 2009 or so. Things were much more acrimonious with RETARDO and kevin around).
Yes again. As I posted about 1000 posts ago in this thread, nowadays there are only one or two mainland posters (who, I think, are both active in the lounge, too) that seem to go out of their way to engage in personal attacks over political disagreements. The rest is mostly interesting discussion and disagreement. Sometimes even agreement. To be sure, after 100 posts where Andy says the same thing on a particular topic and refuses to acknowledge that his statement has been addressed, I sometimes get frustrated and yell at him. But five minutes later, we're talking civilly again; it's not personal insults.

I think you're right that if you compare current political threads to ones from the Kevin/Retardo days (which you can't easily do because Kevin's posts have been scrubbed), then there's no comparison: these are genteel compared to those. And that's a good thing.
   1223. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4147676)
Ray Ray. I just insulted you in the lounge. Post 525. The link is on the front page of the site. HTH. This will be my last off topic post on the site that is not in an appropriately flagged thread.
   1224. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4147678)
To be sure, after 100 posts where Andy says the same thing on a particular topic and refuses to acknowledge that his statement has been addressed, I sometimes get frustrated and yell at him.

As is often my wont when confronted with repeated legalistic diversions and other rhetorical dodges and obfuscations which are routinely engaged in by the distinguished Government in Exile from New Jersey.
   1225. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4147680)
Also, acrimony isn't confined to the political threads. It's also present in the steroids and Ichiro threads, and probably some others I'm not thinking of (and is often present in a generic baseball thread).
   1226. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4147681)
I will add that me being called a whiner by people here is funny, given that I'm the one dubbed the emotionless robot man or whatever.


Robot Boy, actually. And as a whining robot, it occurs to me that you're probably Skynet. We're all doomed.
   1227. McCoy Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4147683)
On a sidenote does Jim even make money on the forums? Does he lose money on the forums? If I had to to guess I would say he either breaks even or loses money on it but likes having it around since it creates a nice little paddock for him.
   1228. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4147684)
Yes. (Now, Sam doesn't even take himself seriously, so his posts don't actually create acrimony, but they can be distracting.) I want interesting discussion. I do want disagreement (not contentiousness) because "Well said" isn't interesting discussion.


Well said.

EDIT: Technically, I don't take anything *but me* seriously. But, you know, six of one, half dozen of the other. I'll let you slide, Longthreader. This time.
   1229. SoSH U at work Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4147685)
Also, acrimony isn't confined to the political threads. It's also present in the steroids and Ichiro threads.


So, the ones where you're intimately involved. (-:



   1230. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4147686)
I nominate this thread "Most Pithily Self-Aware Thread of the Year."
   1231. Poster Nutbag Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4147689)
Jim-

Echoing #1221. Thanks a TON for all you've done for the "thinking fan". This is THE site on the web for baseball, baseball news, etc. There aren't even appropriate words for how awesome this place is!

Everyone else: Perhaps SOME may just be tired of THESE types of "train wreck" threads, where a lot of the better posters expose their...petty (for lack of a better term) side...seriously, the manner with which some of you have composed yourself and the manner with which you speak to each other is just awful and makes you think differently about folks you assumed were more intelligent and level-headed. If you all could see yourselves objectively, if you were on the outside looking in, you'd be ashamed you visit this site. You'd be ashamed you allowed yourself to believe this is a site for those who have matured beyond this level of inane discourse. You'd be ashamed at your 3 attempts to kill this stupid thread with peaceful jargon....we all like baseball a whole lot...some like lots of neat, kitschy pop-culture things and hip song references, Keefe, etc. Some have different tastes then others. Some are more SABER inclined....in the end...

We're all ###### human.
   1232. formerly dp Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4147692)
I will add that me being called a whiner by people here is funny

Not as funny as you referring to your whining as "commenting" in the post where you whine about being called a whiner.
   1233. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4147693)
We're all ###### human.


Except Ray. Who is a robot.
   1234. Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4147694)
Stupid question: If I subscribe to Red Sox micro, would that mean that all the "extra" Red Sox news would show up on my Hot Topics page, as long as the comments on them were current enough to make the usual Hot Topics cutoff? Or would I have to go to the Red Sox micro page to see anything other than what you call the "best" stories?
Your subscriptions won't impact your Hot Topics. The Hot Topics will work the same way it currently works...the fifteen last threads which have been commented on will get displayed. If you like a thread and want to make sure you don't miss, you will "save" it (replacing bookmarks) and it will show on your personalized Hot Topics. When you subscribe to a micro, a link (in two places) will show up at the top of your page. When you visit the link (say to go to Red Sox Think Factory) you will see the topic-related Hot Topics. You will also be able to click to see your personal Hot Topics. (I will also be making the sitewide Hot Topics an additional option tomorrow.)

It's much easier to understand if you just go to the Beta. Keep in mind the basics are present but a lot of planned additions will be added as time goes on and as I get feedback from the beta testers.
   1235. Poster Nutbag Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4147697)
FWIW - The beta does seem like it's going to be great. I actually like the new design/layout and think the new link system will do wonders for the site and it's users.
   1236. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4147705)
Everyone else: Perhaps SOME may just be tired of THESE types of "train wreck" threads, where a lot of the better posters expose their...petty (for lack of a better term) side...
These "types" of train wreck threads? This is the worst thread in the history of threads. Train wreck? This is the 9/11 of threads. It's not remotely representative of any other thread, at least not since Kevin/Retardo left, and probably not since RossCW left (i.e., Registration). The political threads are much better than this.

While the devil is in the details, I'm not that worried about the whole OT plan that Jim has (which is ostensibly the topic of this thread); I'm actually more concerned about the whole aggregator model. It's Jim's site, and it's been great over the past ~dozen years, but if it caters to click-throughers rather than discussers, it seems to me that the site risks losing what makes it worthwhile. I understand and appreciate Jim's desire to be able to post a bunch of Red Sox stuff without hearing complaints from the non-Boston-fan contingent, but even though I want to read a lot about the Orioles, I don't want 25 links to articles about the team each day. Who's going to have time to discuss that many? Let alone the upcoming presidential election, Clemens' trial, Jamie Moyer's chances of breaking Cy Young's record, and whether Albert Pujols is through?

Incidentally, Jim, I like the look of the Beta a lot; it's cleaner.
   1237. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4147706)
As to the "OT: Politics" thread, what is the "disclaimer about the nature and tone of the discussion" going to be?
   1238. BDC Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4147708)
If you all could see yourselves objectively … you'd be ashamed you visit this site

Well, that's why I keep the New York Times Book Review open in another tab so I can click away from here when my girlfriend walks past.

   1239. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4147717)
If you all could see yourselves objectively


You'd lose all of your humanity.
   1240. CrosbyBird Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4147718)
It's much easier to understand if you just go to the Beta.

How do you get there? I sent you a message through the site if you're still looking for more testers.
   1241. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4147720)
Top right hand corner of the site. I got in. Lookswise, it's fine.
   1242. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4147725)
How do you get there?


Top right hand corner. Blue box. "Beta" link. It's very complicated.
   1243. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4147728)
I plan on opting in for everything. I presume I'll be able to see all of the mainland discussions at that point. As to the aggregating aspect, I too like the current setup where I see a dozen or so new topics a day, spread out over all baseball content (not just the team I follow, i.e., the Red Sox). But I'm interested to see whether I like the changes.

I presume what I'll be seeing after I opt in is 50 or 100 new threads a day rather than 12, and 50 or 100 new threads where people are discussing some of those new threads? It seems like what will be left is a ton of threads with a handful of comments, rather than the state now where there are only a few threads but with more comments in each thread. Threads that go a couple pages or more will be much rarer. Am I incorrect in assuming this?
   1244. UCCF Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4147729)
As to the "OT: Politics" thread, what is the "disclaimer about the nature and tone of the discussion" going to be?

"Thank you for not discussing the outside world."
   1245. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4147734)
Top right hand corner. Blue box. "Beta" link. It's very complicated.

FYI, for me that link shows up in here (one of the Jim's Lab Notes threads), but not from the main page.
   1246. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4147736)
"Thank you for not discussing the outside world."

Politics is the outside world, that's why it's OT.
   1247. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4147740)
FYI, for me that link shows up in here (one of the Jim's Lab Notes threads), but not from the main page.


We're using the Beta to talk behind your backs, that's why.
   1248. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4147741)
I presume what I'll be seeing after I opt in is 50 or 100 new threads a day rather than 12, and 50 or 100 new threads where people are discussing some of those new threads? It seems like what will be left is a ton of threads with a handful of comments, rather than the state now where there are only a few threads but with more comments in each thread. Threads that go a couple pages or more will be much rarer. Am I incorrect in assuming this?

That's my assumption, too. It sounds like the model is something like the Hockey's Future boards, where each team and various categories ("The Business of Hockey," "The History of Hockey," etc.) have their own "micros" and the mods are very tough about keeping comments "on point."
   1249. Morty Causa Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4147743)
So all this is about keeping up appearances for clickers-through?


I thought that was obvious from the git-go.


What has become clearer (that's why you have discussions, folks) is that a definite prospective pecking order to be set in place has emerged. Turns out it is for the little old lady in Dubuque after all. And for Sam, of course--the combination Max Bialystock of little old ladies and toyboy Ganymede between the Hatfields and McCoys (nothing personal, personal McCoy).

   1250. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4147744)
I think there "aggregator" aspects of the redesign are being oversold dramatically. It's not going to suddenly become BBTMZF.org.
   1251. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4147748)
That's my assumption, too. It sounds like the model is something like the Hockey's Future boards, where each team and various categories ("The Business of Hockey," "The History of Hockey," etc.) have their own "micros" and the mods are very tough about keeping comments "on point."


It sounds nothing like that. Unlike HFBoards, this site is run by competent people who want posters to have a good time.
   1252. Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4147749)
The link only shows up on the main page for people who signed up for the beta. Since anyone who is following along with the thread at this point is probably interested. Here is the link to the beta. Send me an email if you want to have the link show up automatically on the main site. Again, the basic functionality works but there is still a lot to be added.

I had hoped to have completed an entry on the status of the beta (including known problems and planned features) but I have been occupied with family stuff since my wife returned from a visit with her son. I have plans with my wife tonight but I will try to get something finished up tomorrow.
   1253. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4147756)
The TOS do not seem to be applicable in any way to the lounge.


The TOS also seem to require that you be 13 years old to use the site. I suppose it is an interpretive question whether it requires that you act like you are at least 13 years old.
   1254. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4147757)
My instinct is that if Jim interpreted it in the latter way, 90% of posters on the site, including loungers, would be banned. HW would have very few primates with whom to communicate.
   1255. Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4147760)
I'm not looking to change the way people interact on the site. A short conversation about pottery (or whatever) which grows organically isn't a problem. It's actually one of the charms of the site. Now if the thread grows to 500 comments in a day and keeps going, I don't think it's unreasonable to move it out of the default Hot Topics while allowing it to appear for people who opt-in to continue seeing such off-topic stuff in their Hot Topics. The same for the controversial threads especially when the hostilities break out.
   1256. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4147762)
It sounds nothing like that. Unlike HFBoards, this site is run by competent people who want posters to have a good time.


We'll see. My worry is that with many more threads -- whether people opt in to all of them or just to some of them -- we will have fewer comments in each thread, and therefore fewer people discussing things in any one thread. I think it will really affect a major aspect of this site, i.e., the commenting aspect. What is nice about the site now is that hot topics will show 8 or 10 threads a day where there is lively discussion going on from a broad spectrum of baseball fans.

For example the team-specific sites now, such as Sox Therapy, seem to be dominated by a handful of Red Sox fans. Which is fine, but contributions from a wider audience are not present.
   1257. Poster Nutbag Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4147765)
I'm not looking to change the way people interact on the site. A short conversation about pottery (or whatever) which grows organically isn't a problem. It's actually one of the charms of the site. Now if the thread grows to 500 comments in a day and keeps going, I don't think it's unreasonable to move it out of the default Hot Topics while allowing it to appear for people who opt-in to continue seeing such off-topic stuff in their Hot Topics. The same for the controversial threads especially when the hostilities break out.


Very well put...how can anyone argue against this? This seems to make the most sense, really. That way, those involved can stay involved and those who don't want to see it, don't see it. Win/win.
   1258. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4147766)
I have plans with my wife tonight but I will try to get something finished up tomorrow.


Okay, but for god's sake man, DON'T TALK ABOUT US BEHIND OUR BACKS! You'll ruin your dinner.
   1259. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4147768)
We'll see.


You are implying that Jim is incompetent and wants to make things miserable for everyone here.
   1260. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4147770)
You are implying that Jim is incompetent and wants to make things miserable for everyone here.


I implied nothing of the sort, and it's unfair of you to say that. I was commenting simply that "we'll see" how the changes turn out. And then I went on to explain my concern. Which had nothing to do with Jim being incompetent and wanting to make things miserable for people.
   1261. CrosbyBird Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4147771)
moved to appropriate forum
   1262. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4147772)
I implied nothing of the sort, and it's unfair of you to suggest that. I was commenting simply that "we'll see" how the changes turn out.


I said that this site is run by competent people (i.e. Jim) who want the posters here to have a good time. Your response was "we'll see."
   1263. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4147776)
I get the Producers ref, but what is this "toyboy Ganymede" of which you speak?
   1264. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4147777)
DA Baracus, I'm not going to respond any further to this particular line of nonsense from you.
   1265. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4147779)
I said that this site is run by competent people (i.e. Jim) who want the posters here to have a good time. Your response was "we'll see."
This is why Ray is a patent lawyer rather than a litigator. He obviously meant, "We'll see whether that actually pans out."
   1266. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4147783)
DA Baracus, I'm not going to respond any further to this particular line of nonsense from you.


Good, because you weren't actually addressing anything I said and were wasting my time.
   1267. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4147784)
Very well put...how can anyone argue against this? This seems to make the most sense, really. That way, those involved can stay involved and those who don't want to see it, don't see it. Win/win.


The hilarious thing is that the changes Jim is making are being made to *better facilitate the Longthreaders.* In the coming world, there will never be a random Dan-Hammering of a political thread, because the front end mods Jim is making will make it okay to have those threads (if you're interested enough in potential OT threads to go in and make a simple opt-in decision.)
   1268. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4147785)
the Forums (the Lounge specifically is just a single forum of many, including a set of "Politics" forums where the Longthreads go to die) were created specifically to put the bleating of sheep into a special sheep pen - the Forums. The Loungers went over there to bleat, and they think poorly of those of us who still bleat bellicose bile over here.


We have this ability to understand and excuse everything we do but are simply incapable of understanding and excusing others.

Longthreaders argue with each other for fun just like loungers snark at each other for fun.
I don't want to speak for Jim or assume this is right, but I will.

The forums were created so that people that wanted to snark at each other or argue about politics or talk about other posters would have a place to do it where casual visitors wouldn't have to see it.

Hey, if you guys ant to act like clowns, do it in the back room. One group (now called Loungers), said "Okay, we'll go make a mess where your guests don't have to see it." So Jim lets it be a mess, as his guests don't have to see it.

The others (we'll call them Longthreaders) said "{Forget} that!. I will continue to make a mess in front of your guests. My posting is CRITICAL to the site! I will not be relegated to some backroom!" So the time has come for someone to put his foot down and that foot is Jim. So, shut it, and take a forum.

Also,I like that Ray is put out by a post from 2.25 years ago. HA!
   1269. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4147787)
This is why Ray is a patent lawyer rather than a litigator. He obviously meant, "We'll see whether that actually pans out."


Yes I understood that very clearly. The only thing "that" could be in response to my post was the competence of the people who run this site, since that is what I was talking about and nothing more.
   1270. formerly dp Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4147790)
DA Baracus, I'm not going to respond any further to this particular line of nonsense from you.

We'll see?
   1271. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4147791)
Is this conduct ok simply because it occurs in the lounge?
Yes - well, in the forums, and it isn't some constant diatribe. The insultposts represent a very small portion of RJs (or Harveys) post total. Whew. Glad we've got that sorted.
   1272. tshipman Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4147792)
The hilarious thing is that the changes Jim is making are being made to *better facilitate the Longthreaders.* In the coming world, there will never be a random Dan-Hammering of a political thread, because the front end mods Jim is making will make it okay to have those threads (if you're interested enough in potential OT threads to go in and make a simple opt-in decision.)


I am just speaking for myself here:

If the changes result in a freedom to discuss, but less diversity of contribution, that would constitute an overall downgrade to me. I think the fear that there will be fewer potential voices is what is driving the slightly negative reaction. I see the POV of people who feel otherwise. I am in the wait-and-see camp.


Also, there's a lot of white space on the sides in the Beta.
   1273. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4147794)
This is why Ray is a patent lawyer rather than a litigator. He obviously meant, "We'll see whether that actually pans out."


I was having a discussion about the changes. My crime was to quote too much of DA's post. I was responding simply to his "It sounds nothing like that" comment.

   1274. Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4147796)
We'll see. My worry is that with many more threads -- whether people opt in to all of them or just to some of them -- we will have fewer comments in each thread, and therefore fewer people discussing things in any one thread. I think it will really affect a major aspect of this site, i.e., the commenting aspect. What is nice about the site now is that hot topics will show 8 or 10 threads a day where there is lively discussion going on from a broad spectrum of baseball fans.
The majority of people will not go deeper than the front page. Since those threads will have greater prominence, those conversations will have a greater chance of remaining in the main/default Hot Topics. Will other threads occasionally pop in? Yes, and the ones from within the micros with the liveliest conversations will stay pop up and stay in Hot Topics so will come to your attention.
For example the team-specific sites now, such as Sox Therapy, seem to be dominated by a handful of Red Sox fans. Which is fine, but contributions from a wider audience are not present.

That's the way they like it. And it's just fine.
   1275. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4147799)
insulting people who aren't there to hear their insults?
If a tree falls in the woods and there's no one to hear it, does it make a sound?
   1276. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4147800)
"It sounds nothing like that" comment.


Which would have been out of context. My "it sounds nothing like that" part had nothing to do with the micro and everything to do with slagging HFBoards management, as that place is truly a cesspool, while this place is not.
   1277. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4147802)
Also,I like that Ray is put out by a post from 2.25 years ago. HA!


There's nothing funny about a sentence that includes Ray and the phrase "put out." Stop it.
   1278. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4147803)
I'm not looking to change the way people interact on the site. A short conversation about pottery (or whatever) which grows organically isn't a problem. It's actually one of the charms of the site. Now if the thread grows to 500 comments in a day and keeps going, I don't think it's unreasonable to move it out of the default Hot Topics while allowing it to appear for people who opt-in to continue seeing such off-topic stuff in their Hot Topics. The same for the controversial threads especially when the hostilities break out.

So there's going to be an "OT: Pottery"? Where is the pottery discussion going to go?

The hilarious thing is that the changes Jim is making are being made to *better facilitate the Longthreaders.*

Right, but then every "Longthreader" came onto the site and expressed reservation and told Jim they didn't think the political threads were as nasty or contentious as they might seem -- which they aren't.
   1279. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4147804)
Right, but then every "Longthreader" came onto the site and expressed reservation and told Jim they didn't think the political threads were as nasty or contentious as they might seem -- which they aren't.


People are often resistant to change. Just because one disagrees with something doesn't mean it's not better.
   1280. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4147805)
The others (we'll call them Longthreaders) said "{Forget} that!. I will continue to make a mess in front of your guests. My posting is CRITICAL to the site! I will not be relegated to some backroom!" So the time has come for someone to put his foot down and that foot is Jim. So, shut it, and take a forum.

Which assumes the Lounge and mainland are equally worthy of being backroomed, which is absurd on its face.
   1281. UCCF Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4147806)
Also, there's a lot of white space on the sides in the Beta.

I see the same thing, though I was chalking it up to the size of my monitor. I haven't had a chance yet to look at the beta with a normal-sized screen.
   1282. UCCF Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4147807)
Which assumes the Lounge and mainland are equally worthy of being backroomed, which is absurd on its face.

You talk about the "mainland" as if it were some homogenous thing, where all threads are the same and accomplish the same thing.

No one would argue that the baseball discussions should be sent to the forums. More than a few people would argue that the off-topic discussions should be sent to the forums (since that's what they were set up for in the first place).
   1283. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4147811)
Right, but then every "Longthreader" came onto the site and expressed reservation and told Jim they didn't think the political threads were as nasty or contentious as they might seem -- which they aren't.


They could be the most civil things on the planet, following Robert's Rules of Order, and they'd still be clogging up the Hot Topics list on the main site, which detracts from the baseball related content of BASEBALLthinkfactory.org. As such, the changes would be worthwhile regardless. I think Jim's primary miscommunication in this thread was in suggesting that the "acrimonious" nature of the threads was the primary driver of the change. The point isn't necessarily to hide the nasty arguments from the public, so much as to make the front page of BASEBALLthinkfactory.org more specifically relevant to baseball, unless the user chooses otherwise.

I also think the worries about losing participants are extremely overblown. It's not like the regulars of the Longthreads aren't going to set their preferences to allow for OT posts going forward, and it's not like we see 10-20 new Longthreaders popping into the game every month either.

Also, not *every* Longthreader. Hi. My name's Sam, and I'm the white ####### buffalo.
   1284. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4147812)
More than a few people would argue that the off-topic discussions should be sent to the forums (since that's what they were set up for in the first place).

I thought nobody really cared, and that it was Jim's decision.
   1285. Morty Causa Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4147813)
"More than a few people would argue that the off-topic discussions should be sent to the forums (since that's what they were set up for in the first place)."

The soccer and basketball and football threads, too?
   1286. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4147816)
The soccer and basketball and football threads, too?


The title of this post is "Off-Topics, Politics, and the Redesign." You'll see that in addition to "Politics" Jim includes "Off-Topics," which would suggest that the OT: NBA and OT: Soccer, etc, are going to have tags/redirects as well.
   1287. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4147817)
I thought nobody really cared, and that it was Jim's decision.


Nobody really cares about education policy either, but that doesn't stop people from arguing about it for 5000+ posts.
   1288. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4147818)
They could be the most civil things on the planet, following Robert's Rules of Order, and they'd still be clogging up the Hot Topics list on the main site, which detracts from the baseball related content of BASEBALLthinkfactory.org. As such, the changes would be worthwhile regardless.

I've never thought of the Hot Topics line as "clogged" in six years on this site and am hard-pressed to even understand the concept. When the "Hot Topics" seem boring, or I just want a survey of baseball, I click on the Newsstand. I do the latter quite a bit. Isn't that the whole point of the Newsstand?
   1289. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4147821)
Sam, it's a bit much being lectured by you about this. Part of the reason people think the political threads are acrimonious is because your posts appear that way to the outsider. I realize you don't take yourself seriously, and we don't take your neck stabbing comments that way either -- we know it's part of your shtick and is harmless -- but they do contribute to the way an outsider views those threads.
   1290. Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4147822)
Right, but then every "Longthreader" came onto the site and expressed reservation and told Jim they didn't think the political threads were as nasty or contentious as they might seem -- which they aren't.
Although I agree that they all aren't nasty, are better than the old steroid threads, and are better than they were before we started closing them down, I disagree. With the new setup, though, except in the most extreme cases, you'll be able to go on and on and on discussing whichever political topic that you wish, even with the normal level of malice and rancor.

Which assumes the Lounge and mainland are equally worthy of being backroomed, which is absurd on its face.
Let it go. You are beating a dead horse with your own head.

Also, there's a lot of white space on the sides in the Beta.
Some of the white space will be taken up with extra material in the sidebar. Eventually I may add additional content for people with extremely large monitors (like the one I use on a regular basic). The design is responsive (it adjusts to the size of your screeen) so it should look much better on mobiles and handhelds (although I still have some tweaking to do). Lastly, studies show that columns which are too wide are harder to read for most people. So it's a balance between using the space on different sized viewing ports and usability.
   1291. Morty Causa Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4147823)
Sam is the pusssy hound who deplores the slutiness of the modern girl.
   1292. BDC Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4147824)
I'll volunteer for "OT: Pottery." Also "OT: Jazz Standards" and "OT: Obscure 19th-Century Presidents."
   1293. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4147828)
Sam is the pusssy hound who deplores the slutiness of the modern girl.


I prefer women. I have no time to waste training them up.
   1294. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4147831)
Hey, if you guys ant to act like clowns, do it in the back room. One group (now called Loungers), said "Okay, we'll go make a mess where your guests don't have to see it." So Jim lets it be a mess, as his guests don't have to see it.
The other group said, "Good riddance. Now there won't be a mess."
   1295. Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4147844)
fra paolo has things essentially correct. The one clarification that I want to make is how the off-topic stuff will be handled. (Keep in mind this will be the initial setup I am implementing. It might change based on feedback during the beta test.)

On the backend, channels of content will be set up: 1) baseball, 2) OT-sports, and 3) OT-other. When an item is submitted into the system, people will select one of the three channels. They will then supply a primary tag (red sox, football, politics, etc., which will control which micro has moderation responsibility) and any other appropriate secondary tags. They will also supply all the other relevant information (link, title, etc.).

One additional channel will be available to admins and the moderator of the primary micro: OT-controversial.

By default members will see baseball on the front page and in Hot Topics. Within each member's preferences, members will be able to select the content they want to show up in the sitewide Hot Topics when they visit the site:
1) baseball
2) baseball+OT-sports
3) baseball+OT-sports+OT-other
4) All (1-3 plus OT-Controversial)

Once a discussion on a baseball thread goes off-topic and gets controversial it will be changed to OT-controversial by either the responsible moderators or the admins. If, using the pottery example above, a thread grows to 500 off-topic comments in a day and keeps going, it will be moved to the OT-other channel. After being moved from the baseball channel a topic will continue to display on the appropriate micros entry list (where the display is driven by tag/micro and status) but will only display in the sitewide HT or micro HT if a member opts-in.

Any topic which you "save" will show up in your personal Hot Topics regardless.

As for the Pottery micro...if members wish to share a link or discuss a topic which is not baseball-related, they will be able to submit a link to the off-topic channel and then tag it appropriately. Again, in this case, it would be submitted to "OT-Other" and be marked as "pottery" and it will show up in the Pottery Think Factory. It will not show up on the main page at all. It will only show up in Hot Topics for people who have opted-in to follow OT-Other posts in their Hot Topics. So, all you pottery fans can discuss your pottery on the site, if you wish, without ruining the experience for everyone else.

Disclaimer: Some topics will stay off limits. There will be no Porn Think Factory, for example.
   1296. PerroX Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4147845)

I prefer women. I have no time to waste training them up.


You're a prince

   1297. Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4147848)
When I moved the Lounge into the forums, the change was not met with great excitement, to say the least. A few years later, when I asked whether they'd prefer to stay where they are or get moved within the new system, they voted quite overwhelmingly to stay put.
   1298. SoSH U at work Posted: June 04, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4147855)
I've never thought of the Hot Topics line as "clogged" in six years on this site and am hard-pressed to even understand the concept.


It's quite simple really. Hot Topics has a limited amount of space in which to feature active threads. If 3 or 4 tenths of the items are devoted to off-topic threads (many of which are quite old, populated by the same handful of posters and easily bookmarkable by its partcipants), then that's limiting the potential of baseball threads, the kind of threads Jim wants the site to be about. And while it's not difficult to retrieve (or find for the first time) other threads from the newsblog, the feeling is that some users simply navigate the site through Hot Topics. Thus, some potential links/threads have been crowded out.

However, it should be noted that this was much more of a problem before the last site tweak when Jim allowed for more threads to appear on the Hot Topics sidebar.
   1299. McCoy Posted: June 04, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4147857)
You mean I have to opt in for potter? Outrageous!
   1300. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4147858)
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