It's been almost a month since we had proposals for more groups to add. I apologize for taking so long with it—just as a quick explanation for why it's taken so long to get around to:
I've been working on some major background changes related to how groups and the overall abilities of choosing what to see (and not see) on Tildes work, which I was planning to implement at the same time the new groups were added. However, two weeks ago, someone used Tildes's donation page to test over a thousand stolen credit cards. This made a mess in multiple ways, and it's taken a lot of time to clean up and try to make sure it won't happen again (some of it was my fault for not implementing some protections fully/properly). Dealing with that took priority, and it meant that I wasn't able to finish the changes before being (mostly) away over the last week and a bit.
Anyway, I'm finally getting back on track and am planning to add more groups very soon (and get those larger changes implemented not long after), so let's talk about that as well as some general discussion about the group hierarchy. First, here are the groups I'm currently intending to add and some thoughts and questions about them:
- ~arts - This is one that I'm a little questionable about. I do think we need a space for these subjects, but there's some strange and confusing crossover with the existing ~creative. I'm not sure if ~arts should replace ~creative, and if we should just have a sub-group or something else for "things created by Tildes users". I'd appreciate input here.
- ~design - I really like this idea, and think it can cover topics like graphic design as well as physical ones like fashion and architecture.
- ~finance - This covers some of the other current gaps with existing groups. I'd like to try to fit topics oriented around business in here, as well as ones related more to personal-finance. I'm not certain about the name, but I think it might be the best compared to some of the other comparable options like ~money, ~business, ~commerce, etc.
- ~games.tabletop - I think this will be a good way to start trying to split up the ~games content a little. For now, I want to just leave video game topics in ~games though, instead of splitting it into its own dedicated sub-group. I know this will probably be somewhat confusing and unintuitive in some ways, but I also think making it so that almost no content goes into ~games itself would be very weird.
- ~games.game_design - I think this is a useful way to also split out some of the more "theory-based" topics from the other ones in ~games, which tend to be largely more along the lines of news and "ask" discussions. I also want to be able to do some tinkering with a group having multiple sub-groups, and this will make the first instance of that.
- ~hobbies.automotive - This will be a bit of a test as well. So far, ~hobbies has been quite inactive so it's not truly necessary to split it, but a number of users have expressed interest in it, and I'd like to see if the dedicated sub-group helps motivate more activity about a specific subject.
- ~science.social - Both the name and being a sub-group are a little questionable here. I'm open to changes, but again, please read below about the hierarchy in general first.
- ~space - Fairly heavily requested as well, and I feel like it's distinct enough from the existing groups to be worth trying to give a dedicated section.
Those are all the ones I'm planning to add for now. There are some other groups (and especially some sub-groups) that I think are very good ideas and would work well too, but I want to delay those a little bit to get the structural changes in, since I think that will make a big difference in helping people choose their content too. After these additions we'll have quite a lot of top-level groups (depending exactly what we add, we'll have around 25), and we might want to think about merging some of them before adding even more. On that topic:
General group hierarchy thoughts:
I haven't done a good job of defining the purpose of the group hierarchy, or explaining how I think about it. This has caused a fair amount of confusion and debates about the right place for groups/sub-groups, as well as (completely reasonable) questions like why we need groups at all, instead of just using tags.
I think a lot of the confusion comes from the natural tendency to think about it as a subject-based hierarchy. That is, if subject B is a subset of subject A, it should be a sub-group. However, I think it's going to be more useful to try to treat it as a hierarchy of interest (or disinterest), where the hierarchy is based more around a perspective like "if a user is interested in subject A, they'll probably also be interested in the more-specific subject B".
I think ~tech and ~comp make a good demonstration. From a subject-based perspective, computers are certainly a subset of technology, so it seems like it should really be ~tech.comp instead of two separate top-level groups. But if you look at it from an interest-based perspective, someone being interested in technology in general definitely doesn't imply that they're also interested in reading technical articles about programming. That's why they're split into separate top-level groups.
Similarly, ~anime seems to obviously make sense to be a sub-group of ~tv, but I don't think there's nearly enough "interest crossover" to do that. You'd end up with a huge portion of ~tv viewers wanting to exclude ~tv.anime, since it's such a distinct subject.
Overall, the purpose of the group hierarchy is to help people be able to find and avoid certain types of topics. Using a hierarchy for this will allow us to do things like "I want to see the gaming topics, but not from the League of Legends groups", which are practically impossible to do in a flat structure like reddit has.
You can also think of the groups as something like "forced" or "implied" tags that are always on all of the topics inside those groups. With a tag-only system, every gaming topic would need to manually be tagged something like "video games" so that people uninterested in them can easily filter them out. The groups system makes this automatic and much more convenient and understandable.
In the future, I think it will also be very important for the different groups (and some sub-groups) to be able to act as different "spaces" with their own rules, and possibly even different features or design.
I hope that helps clarify the hierarchy a bit and explain why the organization has been done this way so far (and will likely to continue to be). Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about the hierarchy and the planned new groups, I'm intending to add them later this week unless something else goes horribly wrong.
And as usual, I've topped everyone's invites up to 10. You can get your invite links here: https://tildes.net/invite