Author Topic: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community  (Read 14593 times)

pepsi_alum

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #45 on: September 29, 2019, 11:19:58 AM »
I'm just now catching up on this thread, but I wanted to say that I'm glad this community exists and look forward to continuing the discussion. A big "thank you" to Polly and other people who volunteer their time as board administrators. Please let me know what I can do to help.

As for the structural issues that Polly mentions, these are discussions that I welcome, even if the implications are uncomfortable. I think Polly is asking the right questions, and although I take a different view than she does of certain underlying ideological issues, I think her overall diagnosis of the situation is correct and worth attending to in the years ahead. And I say this as someone who is far from certain to stay in academia for the remainder of my career.

Hibush

  • blueberries
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1614
  • CHE Posts: 942
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #46 on: February 20, 2021, 10:28:23 AM »
I'm posting an update on membership and activity for the historical record. We are 19 months into this venue. The last update was four months in.

We currently have 2446 members of whom 582 are active in that they have posted more than their single activation post.
Among the regulars are 103 people with more than 100 posts, and 14 with more than 1000.
On the other hand, 1312 have never posted, 148 have posted only once (to activate).

There is a slow but steady increase in participants. We continue to net one to three registrations a day. Of the last 50 people to register (about 5 weeks), 43 have not posted, 4 have posted only once, 3 have multiple posts.

There have been over 63,000 posts, and we have peaked at 477 people online and average 63 unique visitors per day.



Here is an update on membership and activity. It looks like the site is reasonably active and continues to recruit active new members.

We currently have 731 members of whom 380 have not posted, 90 have posted once (to activate mostly), 261 have multiple posts.
Of the last 50 people to register (about 3 weeks), 35 have not posted, 6 have posted once, 9 have multiple posts.
We continue to get two or three registrations a day.

There have been almost 10,000 posts, and we have peaked at 97 people online and average 44 unique visitors per day.

A hundreds post per day seems to feel active, where 50 during the summer felt a little quiet.

(These numbers are from the member list. The Forum History table on the stats page claims 2016 new members, but that is clearly incorrect, or reflects a whole lot of rejected signups. The daily-activity table shows 15-10 new members per day but only a few end up on the member list.)

The Fora appear to have a good future. I'm looking forward to more of the lurkers piping up.

Ruralguy

  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2140
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #47 on: February 20, 2021, 11:09:40 AM »
Pretty good. I don't think I'd buy stock in it, but pretty good.

polly_mer

  • The Voice of Doom
  • Senior Moderator
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4043
  • Have you hugged your family today?
  • CHE Posts: lots!
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #48 on: February 20, 2021, 01:19:20 PM »
You didn't cite the spam statistics. 

We have many more attempts to register every day than the 1-3 that are approved.

 We have a handful of first posts denied every month because they are clearly spam.

Most of the reports are people miffed at me or an example of SPADFY, not real violations of rules.

Seldom do we get a true spam report of something that slipped through the cracks.

The registration by real humans for each new account is a pain, but very effective in reducing spam.
Do whatever you want--I'm just the background dancer in your show!

Ruralguy

  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2140
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #49 on: February 20, 2021, 01:26:23 PM »
Impressive. Maybe I will buy the stock after all.

Parasaurolophus

  • near crested lizard
  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4265
  • CHE Posts: 1640
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #50 on: February 20, 2021, 02:40:51 PM »
I probably deny or ban about 30-50 spammers a day, and that's just me.

One thing I hear a lot from lurkers and occasional posters, however, is that they're hesitant to contribute because the general atmosphere seems kind of shitty to them and, frankly, I don't think they're wrong. That's a very real side effect of being as laissez-faire about posting as we are. The Millian 'more speech' solution results in a much less friendly atmosphere, if it even works at combatting the bad speech (and I don't think it does).
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 02:45:08 PM by Parasaurolophus »
I know it's a genus.

marshwiggle

  • Finally, a
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3439
  • Old Narnian
  • CHE Posts: 3299
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #51 on: February 20, 2021, 04:23:05 PM »
One thing I hear a lot from lurkers and occasional posters, however, is that they're hesitant to contribute because the general atmosphere seems kind of shitty to them and, frankly, I don't think they're wrong. That's a very real side effect of being as laissez-faire about posting as we are. The Millian 'more speech' solution results in a much less friendly atmosphere, if it even works at combatting the bad speech (and I don't think it does).

From what I've seen, there are a relatively small number of threads that have heated debate. (I only look at a tiny fraction of them, so I may be wrong.) The interesting thing is that many of those threads get many more comments and many more views. Presumably people who are intimidated by the tone of those threads would be likely to lose interest in them, but there seem to be something like 10-20 views for each post on a thread, including those. If a discussion became just a slanging match between a few people then presumably the total number of views would stop rising as everyone else lost interest.

And as for combatting "bad speech", history is rife with examples of how things are when "bad speech" is forbidden. Everyone will have ideas that, at some point, will be unpopular. If you allow authorities to silence people, sooner or later they will come for you as well.

It takes so little to be above average.

dismalist

  • Hardly a
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • CHE Posts: 1513
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #52 on: February 20, 2021, 04:27:44 PM »
One thing I hear a lot from lurkers and occasional posters, however, is that they're hesitant to contribute because the general atmosphere seems kind of shitty to them and, frankly, I don't think they're wrong. That's a very real side effect of being as laissez-faire about posting as we are. The Millian 'more speech' solution results in a much less friendly atmosphere, if it even works at combatting the bad speech (and I don't think it does).

From what I've seen, there are a relatively small number of threads that have heated debate. (I only look at a tiny fraction of them, so I may be wrong.) The interesting thing is that many of those threads get many more comments and many more views. Presumably people who are intimidated by the tone of those threads would be likely to lose interest in them, but there seem to be something like 10-20 views for each post on a thread, including those. If a discussion became just a slanging match between a few people then presumably the total number of views would stop rising as everyone else lost interest.

And as for combatting "bad speech", history is rife with examples of how things are when "bad speech" is forbidden. Everyone will have ideas that, at some point, will be unpopular. If you allow authorities to silence people, sooner or later they will come for you as well.

There is the occasional stupidly aggressive post, but otherwise it's just disagreement. This is healthy!
We have met the enemy, and they is us.
--Pogo

Hibush

  • blueberries
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1614
  • CHE Posts: 942
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #53 on: February 20, 2021, 04:48:23 PM »
I probably deny or ban about 30-50 spammers a day, and that's just me.

Thank you Member #1 and the mod squad for all this cleaning!
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 04:57:30 PM by Hibush »

dismalist

  • Hardly a
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • CHE Posts: 1513
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #54 on: February 20, 2021, 04:50:52 PM »
Quote
If you allow authorities to silence people, sooner or later they will come for you as well.

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out.  And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
--Pastor Martin Niemӧller
We have met the enemy, and they is us.
--Pogo

writingprof

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 598
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #55 on: February 20, 2021, 05:53:37 PM »
I remain grateful to those whose work keeps this place running. Thank you.

Langue_doc

  • Flâneur par excellence
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1932
  • "Not all those who wander are lost."
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #56 on: February 20, 2021, 07:41:31 PM »
I remain grateful to those whose work keeps this place running. Thank you.

Me too (ungrammatically speaking).

Quote

Posted by: dismalist
« on: Today at 04:27:44 PM »Insert Quote
Quote from: marshwiggle on Today at 04:23:05 PM
Quote from: Parasaurolophus on Today at 02:40:51 PM
One thing I hear a lot from lurkers and occasional posters, however, is that they're hesitant to contribute because the general atmosphere seems kind of shitty to them and, frankly, I don't think they're wrong. That's a very real side effect of being as laissez-faire about posting as we are. The Millian 'more speech' solution results in a much less friendly atmosphere, if it even works at combatting the bad speech (and I don't think it does).

From what I've seen, there are a relatively small number of threads that have heated debate. (I only look at a tiny fraction of them, so I may be wrong.) The interesting thing is that many of those threads get many more comments and many more views. Presumably people who are intimidated by the tone of those threads would be likely to lose interest in them, but there seem to be something like 10-20 views for each post on a thread, including those. If a discussion became just a slanging match between a few people then presumably the total number of views would stop rising as everyone else lost interest.

And as for combatting "bad speech", history is rife with examples of how things are when "bad speech" is forbidden. Everyone will have ideas that, at some point, will be unpopular. If you allow authorities to silence people, sooner or later they will come for you as well.

There is the occasional stupidly aggressive post, but otherwise it's just disagreement. This is healthy!


This is my impression as well. There are several "tame" threads where there are no debates, heated or otherwise.

Parasaurolophus

  • near crested lizard
  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4265
  • CHE Posts: 1640
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #57 on: February 20, 2021, 08:53:24 PM »
Shrug. I'm just reporting on about 5-6 PMs I've gotten from members who are otherwise primarily lurking. It doesn't take a lot to push people away, especially if the content seems particularly bad. Remember, a few rotten apples spoil the bunch. Especially when they're the loudest apples.

I agree with the lurkers who have messaged me: I don't think it is healthy, and I think the record here bears that out. But I understand that the community does not seem to want more moderation. I think that's a mistake, and too bad. But I respect the desire.


But let's not start screaming about censorship and Stalin and Hitler and all that shit, either. You know I'm not suggesting anything like that. And if you don't, you should.
I know it's a genus.

Liquidambar

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 219
  • This is my personal text.
  • CHE Posts: pi
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #58 on: February 20, 2021, 10:38:37 PM »
Most of the reports are people miffed at me or an example of SPADFY, not real violations of rules.

I find this problematic.  Because you're a moderator, when someone reports you it isn't confidential--you read the report.  And not only do you read it; you feel comfortable mentioning in public that people are reporting you.  That just rubs in the lack of confidentiality.

Why do you keep bringing this up?  Are you trying to tell people that it's pointless to report you?  What is the appropriate response if someone has a problem with your posts?

---

Unrelated...  How does the moderation team prefer us to use the report post feature?  Polly brought up that most reports aren't about violations of the rules.  I'm a moderator on another site with much higher standards for people speaking respectfully to each other.  We like it when members report posts to alert us that something is trending in a problematic direction, or if members blow off steam by ranting in their reports instead of attacking each other.  If we only got reports of rules violations, we would feel underinformed.  (On the other hand, it's a bigger site so none of the mods read all the posts, and the topic tends to attract some creepers.  Plus, like I said, we are stricter about members being respectful.)
Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all. ~ Dirk Gently

marshwiggle

  • Finally, a
  • Distinguished Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3439
  • Old Narnian
  • CHE Posts: 3299
Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #59 on: February 21, 2021, 06:02:31 AM »
Shrug. I'm just reporting on about 5-6 PMs I've gotten from members who are otherwise primarily lurking. It doesn't take a lot to push people away, especially if the content seems particularly bad. Remember, a few rotten apples spoil the bunch. Especially when they're the loudest apples.

I agree with the lurkers who have messaged me: I don't think it is healthy, and I think the record here bears that out.

In what way? I'm curious how you evaluate the health of the fora.

It would be very informative to see the fora posts, sorted in different ways:
  • Descending order of number of views: My hunch is that the most viewed posts are also some of the most contentious.
  • Descending order of ratio of views to posts: This would identify the topics with the highest number of people following even if they don't post.

Honestly, I don't see how the fact that people disagree (even strongly) is inherently unsettling, especially in a pseudonymous forum where there are no "real world" consequences to arguing with someone. There is no doxxing or swatting, and there is virtually never anything like a personal attack. The most that tends to happen is sarcasm, and even that only tends to arise during very heated debate, and occurs on both sides.

Quote
But I understand that the community does not seem to want more moderation. I think that's a mistake, and too bad. But I respect the desire.


But let's not start screaming about censorship and Stalin and Hitler and all that shit, either. You know I'm not suggesting anything like that. And if you don't, you should.

I would be interested in the distinction you would make between "moderation" and "censorship". There's no absolutely clear line, and probably virtually everyone here agrees that some moderation is a good thing.
It takes so little to be above average.