25 votes

Meta - Changes to the recurring topics in ~talk

Tags: meta

On Monday, I asked Deimos if we could make some changes to the recurring topics here in ~talk.

For those who are not aware, we have two topics in this group that get posted automatically:

These topics are very casual, and they are mostly meant to be an easy way for users to participate on the site.

So, what are the changes being made?

  • On Mondays, instead of asking users about plans for their week, we will now be asking them what they did over the past weekend. So "What are you doing this week?" becomes "What did you do this weekend?".

  • On Fridays, predictably, instead of asking users about plans for their weekend, we will now be asking them about what they did over the past week. So "What are you doing this weekend?" becomes "What did you do this week?".

In case you are wondering, yes, inspiration for this change was brought about by activity on Lobsters. Lobsters has its own "What are you doing this weekend?" and "What are you working on this week?" posts. Those posts were the direct inspiration for these recurring topics here on Tildes. In the latest post on Lobsters, a user there asked an interesting question:

Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask for a retrospective, that is “What you did this weekend?”

After giving the idea some thought, I agree with that user that asking for a retrospective makes more sense. In summary, I agree for these reasons:

  • I believe that responding to a prompt with a retrospective is healthier than writing out plans or expectations
  • I believe it will be easier for users to write about what they have done, rather than what they plan on doing
  • I believe that by being easier (and healthier) to contribute to, more users will take part in the discussion

I do not have evidence to support any of my reasons, but I really do believe that having users write out retrospectives of their activities, rather than their plans or intents, is a healthier way to conduct these discussions.

Personally, I have not been very active in the past few recurring topics in ~talk because I have not felt motivated to share my plans or intents. I think a big reason for my lack of motivation is that writing about what I have done feels much better emotionally than writing about what I want to do, because that causes me to set up expectations.

So, after discussing ideas for these changes with Deimos, he agreed to alter the recurring topics in ~talk. The new topic "What did you do this week?" will be posted tomorrow. Hope to see you there!


And of course, if anyone has any questions, comments, or concerns about this change, feel free to give your input. These changes could very well be a "bad move", considering the idea is more or less based on my feelings, so I would love to hear any feedback that anyone has.

Also, if anyone has any ideas for additional changes that could be made to these recurring topics, I would also be very eager to hear those ideas (as well would Deimos, I am sure).

8 comments

  1. kfwyre
    Link
    I like this a lot. Plans are, by nature, abstract while experiences are a story with potentially interesting details and elements. A plan says "I'm going to work on programming" and leaves it at...

    I like this a lot. Plans are, by nature, abstract while experiences are a story with potentially interesting details and elements.

    A plan says "I'm going to work on programming" and leaves it at that, but a retrospective can detail, for example, a baffling error that took a weekend of head-scratching to debug. There's much more potential for substance in top-level posts, as well as greater opportunity for replies.

    I ultimately think this will make those threads more interesting, both to post in and to read. Thanks for taking the initiative to make the change and for taking the time to give us your thorough explanation!

    9 votes
  2. cptcobalt
    Link
    I love this. I have poked my head into previous threads, but I’ve felt weird contributing. I do a lot of creative work where I’m either 1) following a bit of established routine from week to week,...

    I love this. I have poked my head into previous threads, but I’ve felt weird contributing.

    I do a lot of creative work where I’m either 1) following a bit of established routine from week to week, or 2) mentally munching on with a lot of incomplete thoughts. If I posted my plans for continuing to follow my routines here, it’d be about the same post every week. If I posted about my ideas here, I might have already decided to kill them or write them down for another time by the end of the week.

    What I’ve done is usually way cooler than what I want to do. It’s makes it a cleaner outlet for self-promo if you have things you want to share (but may not be worthy of a full post) and also a bit more of a retrospective “what I did, how I did it, and what I’d do better in the future”. (Also, probably better opportunities for feedback!)

    6 votes
  3. AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    I guess I'll be the naysayer in the group. Stating that you are going to do something makes you, in a very tiny way, accountable to carry out that action. I am sure the people here have all had...

    I guess I'll be the naysayer in the group.

    1. Stating that you are going to do something makes you, in a very tiny way, accountable to carry out that action. I am sure the people here have all had things they intended to do and then procrastinated away. We all likely have projects that are piling up that are in the works, but haven't started/finished. The self accountability encourages people to do what they say they will.

    2. Stating what you are going to do allows others to participate, express interest, and provide tips so that you don't go down the wrong path for hours or days on end and have someone that adds to your accountability because they want to hear how your plans went.

    3. I think it'd be better as a double post on Thursday evening as a "What did you do this week?" and "What are you doing this weekend?" as by Thursday evening you'll know if whatever you wanted to get accomplished by the end of the week is possible to conclude on Friday and generally have weekend plans formulated by then.

    6 votes
  4. [3]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Good move. May I suggest a recurring topic? "What have you been thinking about?": a vague question meant to let people share some of the ideas that may not fit elsewhere and may not warrant a post...

    Good move.

    May I suggest a recurring topic? "What have you been thinking about?": a vague question meant to let people share some of the ideas that may not fit elsewhere and may not warrant a post of their own. (Although if I were to run a forum, I would encourage people to make posts about things they think are worth sharing, no matter how vague or imprecisely-worded.)

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      I could see a topic like this working out. You should try posting something like that one day and see how well it works. (I guess either to ~talk or ~misc?) "What have you been thinking about?" is...

      I could see a topic like this working out. You should try posting something like that one day and see how well it works. (I guess either to ~talk or ~misc?)

      "What have you been thinking about?" is a good enough title, but if you're asking about ideas folks have had, maybe something more direct like "What ideas have you had recently?" might get the discussion to be a little more on-point.

      4 votes
      1. ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        I was imagining a thought process crystallized, whether they're finished ideas, or something vague that you can't point your finger to but can maybe try to describe. Being able to express yourself...

        I was imagining a thought process crystallized, whether they're finished ideas, or something vague that you can't point your finger to but can maybe try to describe.

        Being able to express yourself in a purer, less-restrained, less-goal-oriented fashion is rare today. Encouraging that may be of benefit to the forum's members.

        Wording should be adjusted based on the natural assumptions the commenters present when writing under such a topic. No need to make work where work is yet to be necessary.

        4 votes
  5. [2]
    cwagner
    Link
    Great change imo. I often don’t participate in those topics, simply because I don’t know what my plans are ;)

    Great change imo. I often don’t participate in those topics, simply because I don’t know what my plans are ;)

    5 votes
    1. Adys
      Link Parent
      Same, I love the change.

      Same, I love the change.

      4 votes