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    1. Tildes and multi-dimensional weighted votes

      hello, I've been wondering a little bit about what a well-designed voting system on a website like reddit or Tildes would look like, and as I do not have a definitive answer, I do have a...

      hello,

      I've been wondering a little bit about what a well-designed voting system on a website like reddit or Tildes would look like, and as I do not have a definitive answer, I do have a suggestion to make. I've originally posted this on another website, but I thought that it could also be fruitful to discuss this here, seeing that efforts have already been made in that direction (similar features have even already been implemented).

      Looking forward to reading you!

      I was wondering whether Aether should support downvotes or not, seeing that they are often misused on other discussion platforms to suppress content that is disliked rather than non-contributory or low-quality. People may then not view content that was heavily downvoted, even though it may have been high-quality.

      Should we rather use some other mechanism to serve that function? If so, what would it be?

      Personally, I'd suggest that we experiment with two-dimensional weighted voting.

      In a word, it would allow users to express both whether they agree or disagree with (alternatively, like or dislike) a piece of content (and how strongly so) and whether they think that that piece of content is high-quality or low-quality (and how strongly so).

      In practice, it could look like this (for users): upon clicking on the voting icon, a square with two scaled axes would appear. One for the quality of content, the other for the level of (dis)agreeance. A user, who had for instance found a piece of content to be very high-quality, but who somewhat disagreed with it, could then express that opinion by click and dragging right to the top of the square, but somewhat left of its center.

      That simple mechanism would therefore allow us to distinguish between those two criteria and better capture the intention behind a vote, and help alleviate the issue of seeing deeply unpopular content being buried despite its high quality. It would also allow users to express how strongly they feel about a piece of content by letting them adjust the weight of their vote. Plus, it wouldn't be too cumbersome to use (in my opinion).

      (Voting strongly should be slightly inconvenient or cumbersome to do, so as to deter users from voting strongly every time, thereby rendering strong votes meaningless. In practice, that could mean having to move one's mouse only a little for a soft vote, but more and more as the vote gains more weight.
      Axes should also be sticky, so as to make it easy to vote with respect to one criterion only (we shouldn't need to try and aim precisely).)

      We could also put in place some additional mechanism to let users rate content with regard to other criteria (how informative it is, or impressive, exciting, funny, etc.). I do not expect users to rate all the content they read, but allowing them to do so could still be useful. They may still bother to do it for content they find especially informative, impressive, etc., and that would then allow other users to sort content with regard to one or several of these criteria and find content tailored to their interests.

      (We could then also display for any piece of content a chart (that could look like this) showing how it was rated with regard to all these criteria. That's not really important, but I find that cool.

      We could also plot the number of votes as a function of vote strength, find the average vote strength and so on... That would also be cool, and interesting.)

      What do you think?

      22 votes
    2. Comment and Topic Drafts

      There's a related issue on GitLab: Save draft posts and restore when the browser page is reloaded? And a sort of related discussion from back in March: Prompt for unsaved changes on iOS? However,...

      There's a related issue on GitLab:

      And a sort of related discussion from back in March:

      However, no one has yet, to my knowledge, actually suggested a drafts feature for comments and topics, so I thought I'd take advantage of some free time to write something up.

      Basically, I think it would be nice if, when writing a comment or posting a topic, we could save a draft of that topic or comment to Tildes to be picked back up later on.

      @Deimos very, very briefly mentioned an opt-in '"drafts"-like feature' and I think that's what we ought to shoot for, as opposed to just temporarily storing closed comments or topics in localStorage.

      So, something like a "Save draft" button next to the "Post topic" button on the "new topic" page and a "Save draft" button next to the "Cancel" and "Post comment" buttons when writing comments is how I imagine this working. It could very easily work in other ways though. Also, if this were to get implemented, I think it'd be very nice if there was an opt-in option for comments or topics whose tab gets closed to be automatically saved as drafts (and maybe we should only retain drafts for thirty days, or whatever).

      As for accessing drafts, I'm imagining that a user visiting their own profile page might see a "Drafts" button up near the top, next to the "All posts", "Topics", and "Comments" buttons. After clicking the "Drafts" button the user would be brought to a page listing all of their drafts. Breaking convention a little bit, they would filter between all their drafts, just their topic drafts, or just their comment drafts via a dropdown menu like how you currently sort your posts, topics, or comments on profile pages. So, filtering between the types of drafts would work like how we can sort our posts, comments, and topics on our profile pages.

      I understand that differs a little from what users might expect so, if we really wanted to, we could just add "Topic drafts" and "Comment drafts" buttons at the top of profile pages instead. That would be more in line with how we currently choose to view just our comments or just our topics.

      Anyways, once a user finds the draft they want to open, I imagine they ought to be able to click an "Edit", "Link", or some other button to take them back to the place in a comments page where they were originally writing that comment, or take them back to the "new topic" page with their restored draft. However, it might also be useful for users to be able to post drafted comments directly from their profile page without having to re-visit the comments page the draft was written for. Although, this would mean that users would be allowed to bypass the context of the discussion they're replying to, including any changes made since their last visit, so I'll leave that up to y'all to discuss.

      And that's about it, actually. There are a ton of additional details that (I suspect) would need to be figured out to implement this, but I'm going to leave that to the folks smarter than I.

      10 votes
    3. TAPS, a script that posts topics to Tildes, has been updated to no longer require a web browser or Selenium

      I'm not going to post a topic or comment every time I update this silly thing, but this was a pretty big change that I felt necessitated a new topic. Link to the script Tildes Automated Posting...

      I'm not going to post a topic or comment every time I update this silly thing, but this was a pretty big change that I felt necessitated a new topic.

      Link to the script

      Tildes Automated Posting Script, or TAPS, is a Python script that posts topics to Tildes. Using the script's configuration file, you can define which account you want the topic to be posted under, the group the topic should be posted to, the link for that topic (if any), the comment or text for that topic (if any), as well as what tags the topic should have (if any, but highly encouraged).

      It also now works with accounts that use two-factor authentication.

      I wrote this because every Monday and Friday I post topics to ~talk at 11:00 AM. However, I'm a forgetful person, sometimes wake up late, and will be starting classes soon, so I thought it would be nice to have a script that I can schedule, using something like cron, to post those topics for me.

      The documentation should explain everything that can be done with the script, but anyone with questions or issues can message me for help.

      With these recent changes, the script no longer requires a web browser or Selenium. It should be able to run on pretty much anything. I'll be using the script on a Raspberry Pi Zero W to post my recurring topics.

      I wanted to have this update posted Sunday night, but at the last minute I decided to use @deing's tildee.py library, which made things a lot easier. I finsihed rewriting the script's code last night and updated the documentation today.

      24 votes
    4. A script that posts topics to Tildes, designed to be run on a schedule.

      https://gitlab.com/hungariantoast/taps So yeah, this took a bit longer to get out than it should have, but that's because my summer classes are eating up all my free time. Tildes Automated Posting...

      https://gitlab.com/hungariantoast/taps

      So yeah, this took a bit longer to get out than it should have, but that's because my summer classes are eating up all my free time.

      Tildes Automated Posting Script, or TAPS, is a Python script that, when properly configured, will post a topic to Tildes under the account credentials, to the group, with the title, comment, link, and tags that you set. I created it because every Monday and Friday around 11:00 AM I post a topic to ~talk, but that can be a problem for someone who is forgetful like me, so I wrote a program that posts the topic for me, and now I can just run it on a schedule with something like cron.

      The documentation should explain enough for you to get started with it, but I should have time tonight to answer questions and discuss feedback or suggestions.

      Some features I might add in the future:

      • [Done] An argument that posts all the topics defined in config.py instead of having to name them individually
      • Check that topics defined in config.py have all the necessary values and fail if they don't
      • Check that the username and password variables are set, fail if they aren't
      • Check that the link, title, or tags of a topic will be accepted by Tildes and fail if not
      • Add an "interactive mode" where the program just prompts the user to answer a couple of questions then posts a topic using the provided answers
      • Add the ability to post comments to topics (maybe)
      • Add a config option that waits a certain amount of time between posting topics to avoid the rate limit

      Some quick thoughts about this approach to automating interactions with Tildes:

      • I'd much rather drive a text based browser, but I haven't found anything (yet) with Python bindings

      • I'd much rather just send HTTP requests, but I don't know how to do that (yet)

      • I'd much rather Tildes just have an API, but I don't know how to build one (yet)

      27 votes
    5. By making both "high-quality discussion" and "transparent community development" a core part of its identity, Tildes will always be dominated by people with "moderator/power user" personalities.

      To me, Tildes is caught in a vicious cycle. Certain types of conversations are common on Tildes: Discourse about community building, for a number of reasons: The work-in-progress, experimental...

      To me, Tildes is caught in a vicious cycle.

      1. Certain types of conversations are common on Tildes:
        • Discourse about community building, for a number of reasons: The work-in-progress, experimental nature of Tildes is public; users are encouraged to chime in with thoughts and suggestions; ~tildes and ~tildes.official suscriptions are on by default.
        • Lengthy discussions about "Important" topics, e.g. philosophical ponderings, thinkpieces, commentary on difficult issues. There's a pressure for responses to be weighty and meaningful, or else they might be shunned as Noise. Skilled link finders share only the most thought-provoking and stimulating articles they come across.
      2. With this sort of discussion being so common, I think it results in self-selection bias towards a specific... type? of person. There's a barrier to entry for participation, and discussion carries a specific mood/tone. "Pretentious", "curious", "pedantic", "encyclopedic", "likes to hear themselves think". The sort of qualities you think about when you peer behind the curtain of a Wikipedia talk page.

      This isn't inherently a bad thing! I think the opposite is true: these qualities are a draw for the most active people on Tildes. But that results in <the people who like this sort of thing> sticking around to fuel further discussion, and <the people who can't adapt> taking the path of least resistance and leaving. 1 -> 2 -> 1 -> 2 and the cycle continues.

      I brought up Wikipedia, and I think it's a good comparison to Tildes. Wikipedia has two main "sides" to it: the public-facing and default "Article" pages, and the more internal "Talk" pages. With this division, the people who like to plan and organize and nitpick and talk can do so to their hearts content, while the people who just want the goodies can choose to never click on the Talk tab. With Tildes, though, the two are combined into a sort of mish-mash of discussion by design. The integration is even viewed as critical to the identity and evolution of Tildes as a website. With that said, I'm not sure how Tildes will ever grow to the point where it can transition away from "moderator/power user paradise" with the way things are now.

      What do you think of how I've described the current state of Tildes? And, what do you see as Tildes' path forward?

      (As some context, I'm not sure how long I'll be staying on Tildes. I don't think the kinds of discussions I mention are healthy for me to be falling into. I really only realized it when I tried to recommend Tildes to a friend, and her comments snapped me out of it. But, I thought it would be good to talk about it before I quietly go away like many others.)

      57 votes
    6. Option to temporarily hide read posts

      It would be nice to have an optional feature that filters out posts that a) you have read and b) don't have any new unread comments. When a post gets new comments it should reappear. That way we...

      It would be nice to have an optional feature that filters out posts that a) you have read and b) don't have any new unread comments. When a post gets new comments it should reappear. That way we could see more unread content on the page, but still keep long running topics going. Have it not affect search, so people can still find posts for reference.

      11 votes
    7. Suggestion: Notify topic submitters on Topic Log–related changes

      I suggest that if a user other than the topic submitter makes a change to the topic that is reflected in the Topic Log (e.g., tag/title/group change), then the topic submitter receives a...

      I suggest that if a user other than the topic submitter makes a change to the topic that is reflected in the Topic Log (e.g., tag/title/group change), then the topic submitter receives a notification.

      This may or may not apply to topic deletion and/or topic locking—to be discussed.

      19 votes
    8. Should submitters be able to edit their own topic titles afterwards?

      https://tild.es/55n has some discussion about this already, and now that this feature is actually implemented, I'd be interested what your opinions on allowing users to edit their own topic titles...

      https://tild.es/55n has some discussion about this already, and now that this feature is actually implemented, I'd be interested what your opinions on allowing users to edit their own topic titles after posting are.

      My main argument is that it would allow fixing typos and providing significant updates — think adding a [Solved] marker in the title for topics related to some problem or reflecting a title update of a linked article — without having to contact other users that have permissions to do that. The topic log allows that to happen transparently already.

      14 votes
    9. Merging threads?

      I think it'd be useful to merge duplicate threads when there's two topics that are very close to each other. I don't want the stackExchange style "closed as duplicate of x," but I think it would...

      I think it'd be useful to merge duplicate threads when there's two topics that are very close to each other. I don't want the stackExchange style "closed as duplicate of x," but I think it would be worthwhile to simply have the comments moved to the oldest thread and transfer any votes that are different users on each topic.

      This way, we aren't losing discussion by flat-out deleting topics that are dupes, and we're also able to take some sort of action on threads that are dupes.

      Just a thought.

      8 votes
    10. Feature suggestion: Highlighted text in comment automatically creates quote when you respond to that comment

      I'm fairly sure it's either a Reddit or RES feature, but whenever I select text in a comment and then click Reply, it'll copy that text to the comment box and add a > in front so it'll turn into a...

      I'm fairly sure it's either a Reddit or RES feature, but whenever I select text in a comment and then click Reply, it'll copy that text to the comment box and add a > in front so it'll turn into a quote. It makes it a little quicker to respond to a specific part of someone's message.

      I'm no IT bird and as such I don't know if this is something that can be implemented easily(if at all). It'd also require more JS, not sure if that's an issue as well.

      In any case, let me know what you think.

      Edit: I'd like to suggest something else, should I make a secondary post or append it to this one? I'd like to avoid cluttering up the front page.

      37 votes
    11. Feature suggestion: Bookmark posts from front page

      I'd like to be able to bookmark posts from the front page. Right now it really isn't an issue yet since posting frequency is low, but I often quickly check the front page for interesting reads,...

      I'd like to be able to bookmark posts from the front page. Right now it really isn't an issue yet since posting frequency is low, but I often quickly check the front page for interesting reads, while not having the time to actually read them. I'd like to see a "Bookmark" button on front page posts that allow me to save those posts for later when I actually do have time to read the posts.

      For quick scrolls over the front page, tapping the post and then bookmarking is one click too many.
      You could argue I'm lazy, I call it efficiency.

      While on the subject, if I click "bookmark" on a topic, it'll read "bookmarked" but does not offer an "unbookmark" option until I refresh the page. Since I have big thumbs(large bones) I often tap wrong, so it could be nice if there was a quick way to undo this, similar to how we can undo votes.
      Edit: this seems to be a bug: it does work for comments.
      Edit2: Made this into an issue.

      24 votes
    12. Thoughts on the idea of "subscribing" to a topic?

      Basically, the ability to receive a notification whenever someone comments on a subscribed topic. Currently, there is a save option (Unless it's been removed? I'm looking now and can't seem to...

      Basically, the ability to receive a notification whenever someone comments on a subscribed topic. Currently, there is a save option (Unless it's been removed? I'm looking now and can't seem to find it) which makes for a decent solution for the time being, but personally I know how easy it is to forget all about what you have saved and have it fly completely under your radar. I, for one, think it would be a good idea if you could subscribe to a topic you're interested so you don't completely forget and miss some discussion.

      15 votes
    13. Feedback on removing usernames from link topics and suggestions for a user tagging system

      1. What is this topic about A little over two weeks ago I posted a comment answering a question that Deimos asked me in the penultimate ~tildes.official topic "Experimenting with some changes to...

      1. What is this topic about

      A little over two weeks ago I posted a comment answering a question that Deimos asked me in the penultimate ~tildes.official topic "Experimenting with some changes to information that's displayed on topics, and some other tweaks" and in that comment I mentioned that I would give additional feedback later on, once I had time to live with the changes mentioned in that topic.

      For those wondering, the change in question was the removal of displaying usernames for link topics on the listing page, and the movement of the domain that a topic links, to the spot where the username previously inhabited.

      On listing pages, the domain for link topics is now shown in the "footer", to the right of the number of comments (replacing the submitter's username), instead of in parentheses after the title. This makes it so that the information about the source of the post is always in a consistent position.

      If you want a little more context as to why this change was implemented in the first place, this topic contains a lot of discussion:

      "What if we eliminated "ownership" of link topics?"

      With all of that out of the way, this topic is my follow up feedback to these changes. I was originally just going to post this as another reply to Deimos, but I figured that I might as well just make it a new topic of its own, potentially generating more discussion this way than it would as a comment in an old thread. This is of course, at the risk of garnering more dissenting opinions to my feedback and suggestions than a comment would have likely received, but oh well, this feels more appropriate.

      2. What were my thoughts on the change

      My original opinion on the decision to remove usernames from link topics was negative. I mentioned this in my reply to Deimos, but I am the kind of person who likes informative clutter on their screen. I like to be able to see all the details at once and not have to go fishing for them, so it was natural that I would have a negative reaction in the immediacy of this change, as it removed information that I considered (and still do) vital to the way that I browse content on Tildes.

      Further thoughts I had on the change generally reflected those of other users, that this change could potentially harm more groups than it helps, especially "taste-based groups." It's arguable that most groups on Tildes are "taste-based groups" so depending on your opinions and how you browse the site, this change could be very detrimental to your experience here.

      In the immediate aftermath of this change, I was very much against it, but as mentioned in the last paragraph of the topic announcing this change, I was going to wait for some time before providing my feedback.

      Well, that was a mistake, because now I've written this stupidly long topic.

      3. What are my thoughts on the change

      I think this change was a good move, but it still really messes with how I browse the site, and I think it messes with some other users too.

      But, how do I browse Tildes? Well, you can read my reply to Deimos that I linked at the top of this topic for a little more context, but the gist of it is that, using Tildes Extended, I've tagged several users on the site that I think commonly post enjoyable content, that I know have the same interests as me, or dozens of other reasons. When I get on the site for the first time in a given day, I'll skim over all the topics that have been posted since I last visited (since Tildes is still small enough for this to be possible) and typically bookmark any topics that I think I'm going to want to read later on. Topics posted by a user that I've tagged with a certain tag get bookmarked regardless of what the content is, because I've already tagged that user as someone whose content I want to pay attention to, and any other topics posted by users that haven't been tagged are typically bookmarked if I think I'll find them interesting.

      I want to stress the meaning behind that last sentence. I'll bookmark a topic posted by a user I haven't tagged if I think the topic will be interesting, but I'll bookmark anything posted by users I have tagged a certain way.

      Browsing the site this way moves my interest away from looking for topics with certain tags, and towards diversifying my reading based on the activity of other users. It helps me find new interests, while topic tags help me find established ones.

      So, if I tagged a user because they are always posting interesting articles to ~tech, but one day they post an article to ~enviro, I'm probably going to check it out, even if it doesn't stand out to me as something I'd normally be interested in.

      After I skim over the dozen or so topics posted since the last time I visited the site, I'll usually start reading them throughout the rest of my day, starting around noon when I am having lunch and later in the evening, once I get home.

      By the way, for the unaware, Tildes Extended is a browser extension that allows you to tag users with a message and optionally choose to highlight that message with a color. So when I notice a user has similar interests to me, or if there's a user who is the author of a piece of software, or whatever the case may be, I can tag the user in question to help me remember some detail about them. If you've ever utilized the tagging feature of the Reddit Enhancement Suite extension, you know how tagging works and understand what I am talking about. If you've never used RES and are clueless as to what I mean by "tagging users" then don't worry, there will be pictures later on.

      I have to admit, with Tildes currently being small enough that you could probably read every topic posted in a given day, browsing the site like this doesn't matter that much since how you sort content becomes meaningless when you can easily digest it all regardless, but as the user base grows and more content is posted to the website, this approach will grow more important to me, and I suspect others as well.

      When this recent change was made and usernames were removed from link topics on the listing page, it removed most of the benefits gained from tagging users, since I now have to check the comment page of each link topic to see who posted it. I understand the benefit of removing usernames from link topics on the listing page, but I think there's a middle ground between this change and tagging users that will deliver to us benefits from both systems while eliminating some complaints others and myself have had about the change.

      Okay, I've outlined my concerns, but what should change?

      First of all, I think certain groups should get their usernames back on the listing page, for reasons largely explained by @cfabbro in these comments:

      on ~music the user who submitted something is also usually a good indication of whether or not I will enjoy it.

      E.g. certain users have submitted multiple things to ~music I have greatly enjoyed in the past and so I am more likely to give their next submission a listen immediately too.

      in taste-based communities like ~music and ~creative, removing ownership over topics is an absolutely terrible idea IMO since it makes the community feel cold/impersonal and makes cognitive filtering based on shared preferences that much harder.

      E.g. User ownership of a topic in ~music is generally a good thing because it lets people get to know one another through their musical preferences

      The general idea I extracted from those comments is that there are certain groups on Tildes where being able to see, from the listing page, who posts a link topic, is important for multiple reasons. Perhaps the most prominent being that you can recognize users who share similar tastes to your own (even without tagging them through a browser extension), and know that when the user in question posts a link topic in a specific group, you should probably check it out.

      Of course, the inverse of this is also true. Instead of wanting to seek content out based on who posted it, you might actually want to avoid that content because, just as you know that you agree with the tastes of one user, you might find yourself constantly upset by another user's comments and topics.

      @cfabbro (sorry for picking on you so much today) discusses this in this comment:

      I also think that who submitted a topic is an incredibly valuable piece of information to know at a glance. E.g. There are a number of users I actively avoid reading anything they submit because I know it will just make me angry

      So, if there is a user on the site who, while still acting within the rules established for the site, manages to consistently upset you with their content or the content they link, it's going to become very difficult to automatically avoid their topics if you cannot immediately see their username from the listing page.

      Before this change, the username of a submitter of a comment or topic was readily visible and you could use the Tildes Extended extension to apply a message and a color to their username, making them immediately identifiable.

      With the removal of usernames from link topics on the listing page, it is no longer possible to determine whether the submitter of a link topic is someone you have tagged or not. This discrepancy is the main point I want to address by writing this topic, and hopefully convince some of you along the way that a natively implemented tagging and highlighting tool for users would be an excellent addition to the features available to this community.

      To summarize my thoughts on this change so far, I'll say that I think removing usernames from the listing page for some groups is a good idea, while for other groups it could be a negative change. I think the best way to remedy this in the immediate future would be to decide, on a group-by-group basis, whether usernames should be visible from the listing page.

      The downside of doing this in a group specific way is that, even in groups where usernames are visible, there will still be some link topics where a submitter's username should be hidden from the listing page, such as to discourage the idea of "ownership" over that topic. However, until this becomes enough of an issue to warrant further implementations, I think deciding the display of usernames from the listing page for each specific group is the way to go.

      If we ever do get to the point where we have to prune specific topics in specific groups for the ability to display the submitter's username, we can just leave that choice up to the user by allowing them to include a special tag, select a check box when submitting, or one of a hundred other possible ways. If the feature is abused by a user, we can just take it away from them.

      3a. Should we remove usernames from link topics entirely

      I want to address the idea that we should remove usernames from link topics entirely. As it is right now, the username of a submitter of a link topic can only be discovered, intuitively, one way, and that is to navigate to the comment section for a link topic, from which you can find the submitter's username beneath the title of the topic. (There are some other places where it's recorded in the HTML, but that's not important.)

      If the username for the submitter were to be removed from the comments page of a link topic, there would be no way to easily check who submitted a link topic. I feel this is important to bring up due to @cfabbro's comments about avoiding content posted by certain users.

      So, the question we have to answer about this theoretical change is, should we retain a user's right to avoid content based on who posts it, or should we encourage a user agnostic approach that focuses on the content alone, at risk of making the experience worse for some users?

      Note that this question only applies if we remove the username of a submitter from link topics entirely and not just from the listing page. I don't think there are immediate plans to go ahead with anything like this, but I wanted to include my thoughts on this idea for the sake of completeness.

      4. Let's implement a user tagging system

      To remedy a lot of the challenges that this change has created for other users and myself, I feel like a tool built natively into the website that allows us to tag and highlight users is a great idea.

      For the record, when I say "tag" a user, I mean that, when you are logged in, there will be a little message displayed next to a user's username. By "highlight" a user, I mean that the message will be surrounded by a shape of a certain color, selected by the user. If a highlight/color is chosen for a user but they are not tagged with a tag/message, then just a simple, colored shape, such as a circle or a square, could display next to the user's username.

      This is how Tildes Extended handles user tagging:

      Keep in mind that the tags applied to users don't have to exist beside that user's username. If a user you have tagged is the submitter of a topic and you navigate to that topic's comment page, the tag you have created for that user could exist in the sidebar where the normal topic tags go. On the listing page, topics that show the submitter's username could similarly have that user's tag sit next to the topic tags, underneath the title.

      I will say that, for username @mentions, it's probably going to be necessary to just include the tag right beside the mentioned username (which Tildes Extended does not do).

      For comments, again, the tag for a user doesn't have to go beside their username. It could be displayed below the username, similarly to how the Exemplary... label is displayed now.

      I also want to just mention real quick, in order to make sure we are all on the same page still, that the tags you give other users when you are logged in to your account will only be visible to you. Other people won't be able to see them.

      Now, I'm partial to just putting a user's tag right beside their username, but I haven't taken the time to see if this would work on the mobile layout or smaller resolutions, and I probably like that solution more just because it's the most common, familiar place to put a user tag, but I'd be interested to hear opinions on where else user tags can go.

      The length allowed for user tags is also something else to consider. Eighty characters is probably a safe limit for most user tags, but how will longer tags display in the mobile layout? Should they just be truncated after a certain length, or have a hard limit? What colors should be available to highlight users with? Should we have a set list, a color picker built in somewhere? Well, that really depends on how user tagging is implemented, which I'll get to later on.

      At this point, since I didn't explicitly mention it, you might be wondering how this ties in to usernames no longer displaying for link topics. Well, first of all, how would we display a user tag for a link topic that a tagged user is the OP of if we can't see their username? Well, we could just stick that user's tag in with the topic's tags like was mentioned earlier, or we could add a secondary bar to the right side of the topic that's the color of the user's highlight, similar to how our own topics get a purple bar on the left side, there would be a mirrored bar on the right side of a topic, again, colored to whatever color was selected for the tagged user.

      If we wanted to be very imaginative, we could just do both.

      Doing this keeps the usernames hidden on link topics in the listing page, but does give us some indication that the user who posted that topic has been tagged, perhaps categorically depending on what scheme you used to tag users, and that allows us to retain browsing habits based off of user tags like I wrote about earlier.

      Some people might point out that displaying the tag of a tagged user on a link topic, even if their username is hidden from the listing page, kind of defeats the purpose, since the message of that tag could just be the username of the user, thus their username is not really hidden any longer.

      Personally, I don't see a problem with this, because I doubt anyone is going to tag all the users on the site, but similarly to how I mentioned adding an additional bar in the color of the user's highlight, we could not include a user's tag in the topic's tags on the listing page and just add some other, non-identifiable indicator that the submitter of the topic in question is a tagged user.

      So yeah, there are a lot of ways to go about this, but how should we actually enable users to tag others? Should we use a traditional user interface, similar to what Tildes Extended or Reddit Enhancement Suite does? I think this would be the best approach to adding tags to users for most people on the site, as it's quick, easy, intuitive, and doesn't require navigation to a separate page, but programming a feature like this can be difficult.

      Another approach would be to make the tagging and highlighting of users (and even certain topic tags) a text-based process.

      Before I continue on, I'm going to assume that everyone reading after this point is familiar with the topic tag filtering page. Adding tags into this input field will hide any topic containing one or more of those tags.

      How does this relate to user tagging? Well, we can do the exact same thing here, just with a slightly more complicated syntax.

      Let's say I want to tag @cfabbro with the message "cool person" and a red color. A way to do this could be to navigate to a page for adding user tags and input the following syntax into an input field:

      cfabbro : cool person: #ef1515

      If I wanted to remove the tag, I could type:

      remove cfabbro

      If I wanted to edit the tag:

      edit cfabbro

      The input field would then populate with the tag for @cfabbro if it existed, and return a message if it didn't, and I could edit and submit it as if I were just adding a new tag.

      You don't even need to call the tag down with the edit keyword if you don't want to. It should probably just be possible to edit existing user tags by submitting them as if you were adding them for the first time.

      Hitting the Enter key or clicking a button can then submit the tag to Tildes where it'll obviously be tied to my account and displayed anywhere that I log in.

      It doesn't really need to be anymore complicated than that, and we can probably even simplify it more if we wanted to.

      Unlike the input field for topic tag filters, the user tags inputted into this field will disappear after being submitted, because that input field would become very cluttered if we just left them there.

      If a user wanted to edit their entire list of tagged users, we could have a separate text box below the input field where they can call the entire list of tagged users to and edit it programmatically.

      Both this text-based approach and a conventional user interface like what Tildes Extended uses are good solutions and if user tagging does get implemented natively, I'd recommend we eventually add both methods, as the user interface is very convenient and easy, but the text-based method is also incredibly powerful.

      With the current size of Tildes still allowing users to digest its daily posted content, these features and suggestions are not that important, but with time and an increasingly large user base their importance and relevance to others and myself will grow.

      Thanks for reading.

      EDIT: So, in order to get a tag to display next to a @mention of a username, you have to tag the username when it is @mentioned. If you want a tag to display for a username when that username is the author of a topic or comment, you have to tag it there all well.

      So yeah, you have to tag @mentions and submitter usernames separately to get them both to show up. Weird.

      27 votes
    14. An option to hide topics from the front page.

      As per subject - it'd be nice to hide topics from the front page. The use case is very simple - if I see a topic that I have no interest in, I'd rather for its spot to be taken by some other topic...

      As per subject - it'd be nice to hide topics from the front page.

      The use case is very simple - if I see a topic that I have no interest in, I'd rather for its spot to be taken by some other topic that currently sits "below the fold".

      Hiding a topic should remove it from the front page only, but leave it visible on the group page. It would also probably make sense to mark the topic there in some way and have an "unhide" option there.

      Alternatively, have a switch for the front page to toggle between "full view" and "view without hidden topics".

      12 votes
    15. What if we eliminated "ownership" of link topics?

      It's been a while since we had a topic to generally discuss potential site mechanics, and this is one that I've been thinking about quite a bit lately, so I thought it could make a good...

      It's been a while since we had a topic to generally discuss potential site mechanics, and this is one that I've been thinking about quite a bit lately, so I thought it could make a good discussion.

      This recent "Suggestions regarding Clickbait and misinformation" topic originally started me thinking about this, because a lot of the potential ways of dealing with those kind of topics involve modifying link topics in some way—changing their link to point somewhere else, editing the title, adding additional links, etc. However, one thing I've noticed on the (rare) occasions where I've performed those kind of actions is that some people are extremely protective of the posts they submitted, and can get upset about even minor title edits because it's changing their post. Some users have deleted their posts after they were changed, because they didn't like the change.

      So... what if we made it so that link topics don't really "belong" to any user in particular? We'd absolutely still want a record of who originally submitted the post to be able to notice behaviors like spamming certain domains, but other than that, if it's a good link/story, does it matter much which user submitted it?

      Here are more unorganized, general thoughts about some of the things this might affect and would need to be considered:

      • Text posts would remain as-is, since in that case the submitter is also the author/source of the post.
      • On that note, it could be a bit weird to lose the connection in cases like a user submitting their own content (such as a blog post that they wrote). Maybe we'd need some way to indicate that, through a standardized tag or something (or even a checkbox when submitting)?
      • Are there other cases where the submitter is important and associated with the content?
      • We could use the space in topic listings where the submitter's username is currently displayed to show different, more relevant data instead. For example, maybe the domain could move into that space instead of being after the title in parentheses, or it could display other info like the name of the actual author of the linked content, the channel name for YouTube videos, etc.
      • If the submitter no longer owns the post, they'd probably no longer have control of deleting it. When could that be an issue?
      • How would this affect user pages? Should links that the user originally submitted still be visible there, even if they're no longer considered posts that the user "owns"?

      Please let me know any thoughts on the overall idea, any of the above questions, and also feel free to point out other aspects of it that I've surely missed.

      (And unrelated, but I've bumped everyone back up to having 5 invite codes available, which you can get from the invite page. I'm still working towards making the site publicly-visible fairly soon, and will hopefully post more info about that before long.)

      79 votes
    16. Suggestion: a way to identify extra-good topics

      We have the "Exemplary" label for comments, which identifies comments as particularly good, and even boosts their ranking within threads. Now that we've had this for a while, I keep finding myself...

      We have the "Exemplary" label for comments, which identifies comments as particularly good, and even boosts their ranking within threads.

      Now that we've had this for a while, I keep finding myself want to do the same for topics. I'll read an article and want to give it an extra boost because it's better than average.

      I'm ready for an equivalent to the "Exemplary" label for topics.

      30 votes
    17. News and articles linked on Tildes

      I've been thinking about my experience on Tildes with news and articles. It's mostly been seeing high quality content and discussion that I'm happy with. However for the sake of this, I want to...

      I've been thinking about my experience on Tildes with news and articles. It's mostly been seeing high quality content and discussion that I'm happy with. However for the sake of this, I want to discuss avoiding something negative.

      Lately I've noticed news and articles with headlines that I feel are biasing in nature and potentially inflammatory.

      I would guess that we're all pretty familiar with this method in general. At some point when a forum/aggregate becomes large enough it provides an profitable opportunity for third parties to distribute content. Or an individual is pursuing their fulfillment of a personal ideal.

      I have a few suggestion to handle the issues productively.


      News sources that put a higher priority on traffic versus their reputation tend to do so consistently. It would be valuable for users to be required to tag the parent domain when posting external links to allow users to discern sources case by case using tags.

      Blocking something a news source versus <inciting-phrase> has the benefit of allowing higher quality sources mentioning the same topic to have an impact on the user. That's potentially very valuable in encouraging informed perspective.


      Linking news and articles for commercial or personally motivated reasons is posted on subs that have a marginal relation. E.g. Posting a story on Mike Pence denouncing all white men working in agriculture in an agriculture sub. The connection can certainly be made but I don't think that's a good way of organizing that information. I think it would be more productive to post that in a news or news/political thread. Having the ability to choose when we see and engage with that type of content is important. It benefits the individual and encourages healthy and engaged communities.


      Blocking users ( I wasn't sure if this existed ) Alternatively, a system for linked content reputation per user. But I think that's a bad solution overall.
      I meant filtering users content and comments as a preference for users. I'm not talking about site wide.


      I'm curious if other Tilde users agree with my issues or suggestions.

      13 votes
    18. List Posts

      Yesterday @talklittle posted the topic Halloween game sales are live. What are your Horror/Halloween-themed recommendations?. There have been some good recommendations and whatnot. If you like...

      Yesterday @talklittle posted the topic Halloween game sales are live. What are your Horror/Halloween-themed recommendations?. There have been some good recommendations and whatnot. If you like horror games and weren't aware of the ongoing sales, go check out the comments for some recommendations.

      Being the meta-killjoy that I am, I started this sidebar about the top comment. tl;dr: I don't think this type of content engenders Tildes's discussion forward community.

      Fell free to read the whole thread of comments for some civil discussion on the matter, but I do want to open this up to all of Tildes: should this type of comment be policed on Tildes?

      Also: do you think this type of comment is good? Do you agree with me that it's retroactive to Tildes's goals? Am I just a big killjoy? Given that the comment I'm calling into question is the top comment of that topic, I'm probably David in this arena but I want to hear it from everyone else.

      6 votes
    19. Suggestion: that there be only one all-inclusive topic type on Tildes.

      At the moment, there are two types of topics that can be posted on Tildes: Link topics, which consist of a title and a URL. Text topics, which consist of a title and text. These two types of topic...

      At the moment, there are two types of topics that can be posted on Tildes:

      • Link topics, which consist of a title and a URL.

      • Text topics, which consist of a title and text.

      These two types of topic are supported by having three input fields for new topics: Title; Link; Text.

      I propose that we combine these two topic types into just one topic type. The submission page for all topics will include only two fields: a title field and a general all-purpose text box. The submitter will type a title for their post, and then put anything else into the general all-purpose box.

      If the submitter is posting off-site content, they can put the link to that content in the all-purpose box. If they want to provide a summary of the off-site content, they can write the summary in the all-purpose box, with the link.

      If the submitter is posting their own original content (no link), they can type their text into the all-purpose box.

      The single all-purpose box includes everything that is currently split between the Link and Text boxes. When the topic is posted, everything entered in that all-purpose box is displayed in the main body of the post.

      At the moment, summaries of off-site content are usually being posted as comments under the main topic, as a result of a change made a few months ago. These comments merely clutter up the thread. If these summaries were in the post itself, that clutter would be reduced.

      One topic type, one streamlined submission page, one place for all topic content.

      18 votes
    20. "Discussion threads" for groups

      I'm a big fan of "discussion threads" over on reddit, if you're unfamiliar they're essentially threads a subreddit will pin every day or week where you can post things that don't deserve a full...

      I'm a big fan of "discussion threads" over on reddit, if you're unfamiliar they're essentially threads a subreddit will pin every day or week where you can post things that don't deserve a full post or are slightly frivolous or off topic. To give an example, a while back I wanted to make a post with some thoughts on Coleridge's "Ode to Dejection", but after typing it out didn't think there was enough to warrant making a thread over it. I didn't feel like doing a more extensive analysis or trying to artificially broaden the scope (ie, doing something like "what's a poem you like?" as an excuse for sharing my thoughts), so I just trashed it.

      I like discussion threads because they help save "small" content like that as well as helping to build a sense of community and are just generally quite comfy.

      However, I recognize that there can be some downsides:

      • May end up being "low quality" in the minds of certain users. I know this is somewhat contentious, since the site culture is still being established, I personally don't want Tildes to be that serious but I know some people do.

      • Normal group activity could drop if people opt to use the discussion thread instead of making a post. This is doubly bad because the site is small.

      11 votes
    21. Suggestion: Add a show all posts by x button

      As a lurker on the somethingawful forums one of my favorite features is a button which will show all the posts a single person has made in a thread. It'd be really handy if someone (like the OP)...

      As a lurker on the somethingawful forums one of my favorite features is a button which will show all the posts a single person has made in a thread. It'd be really handy if someone (like the OP) is answering questions about a topic. It's really nice to have on a more traditional forum website, but I'm not sure how useful it'd be here. Regardless, I thought I would suggest it.

      Here is an example: Before and After

      9 votes