Potential new groups, and general discussion about the purpose and organization of the group hierarchy
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
Something I'd like to see, unrelated (I think) to what's been discussed so far, is some way for a single post to span multiple sub-tildes.
For example, here's a post I made in ~humanities, and tagged with
history, usa, presidency, 1800s, lgbt:
The 175-Year History of Speculating About President James Buchanan’s Bachelorhood and Possible Homosexuality
Instead of posting to ~humanities (or a possible future ~history or ~humanities.history) you could easily see such a post in ~lgbt, but tagged
history. Why not both?
Another example of this would be ~space. Right now we have topics posted to ~tech that are space-related, and topics posted to ~science that are space-related. If and when we create a ~space group, then as the site works now, things posted to ~space only show up there, and not in whichever of the ~tech or ~science group that they'd also fit well into.
For example, the Elon Musk Starhopper video clearly belongs in ~space. And the discovery of an exoplanet 3 times the size of Jupiter, and in a highly elliptical orbit also belongs in ~space. And yet the former also belongs in ~tech while the latter would go to ~science, in the absence of the ~space group.
I see pros and cons to this.
History buffs are going to have different interests in the story and have a different conversation about it than people who are coming at it from an LGBT angle. It may be beneficial to let each group have their own conversation about it. Right now the two groups of people are largely the same because the site is small enough for most people to be subscribed to most groups. But in the future when there are more people and more groups the groups will be more differentiated.
The history buffs have things they can learn from the LGBT community and vice versa. Having interdisciplinary conversations could be a good way to break out of the filter bubbles and find new insights.
If the number of people coming at a post from group A out numbers the people coming from group B, group A could drown out group B. People from group B could get frustrated that they aren't having the conversation they want to have.
Would those problems be solved by having "crossposting", like reddit has introduced? Everyone gets to have their own conversation, but the conversations are linked.
I could easily envision a better implementation than reddit's – maybe instead of explicit crossposts, there's just a list of links below the main post called something like "discussions in other groups", which is automatically generated based on the URL the post links to.
I think that this will more or less prevent distinct separate discussions in each group. Person X commenting on a post in group A sees that there's also discussion about this topic in group B, so they head to that discussion and drop their opinions/comments/takes there too. Of course this can also happen without the feature that you propose, but I think it will be less convenient. In my opinion there should be as many "walls" possible preventing discussions in different groups from mixing with each other.
So multiple threads attached to the same link? Or multiple links entirely?
Good idea! I've sometimes thought this myself. Thanks for making a concrete proposal.
I'll probably subscribe everyone to these, since I think it's reasonable with the activity still being pretty low and helping make sure that people don't miss out on new groups without realizing. I like the idea of having something similar to those options though. I'll have to think about how it will work with some of the future changes (the "views" we've talked about before, where "subscribing" becomes much less of an essential concept).
I would also suggest a fourth option:
(with the notification containing a link to subscribe)
I want to join - or at least be notified of - new top level groups but I don't want to be added to sub-groups of groups I'm not subscribed to.
I think, in light of your explanation about a "hierarchy of interest," a sub-group for user-created things wouldn't a great idea. I imagine there's a lot of people who like arts and crafts but don't care for original short stories, and people who love original poetry but wouldn't go near posts about knitting. Keeping them separate makes a lot more sense, so imo what should happen is that ~arts takes over the "arts and crafts" side, ~creative holds the "original art" side, and people with topic moving permissions do a drive to pick through ~creative and move stuff to the right place.
I think if the scope of ~creative is limited in that way, the addition of ~arts will make things less confusing than they are right now, even.
I like creative as the space for sharing user-created stuff. But then that raises the question about user created stuff that’s not necessarily “creative” like a cool bookmarklet or script.
I'm disappointed that the social sciences didn't warrant their own top-level group.
But, if you're going to divide up ~science, why not go all the way?
This will make things clearer for people.
I also think it's fairer, in that it shows the social sciences on an equal footing with the other sciences. :)
As for the ~arts/~creative split, I totally support @Whom's idea for having one group for people to discuss the arts in general (where they're not already covered, such as in ~books or ~tv), and another group for people on Tildes to share their own creative works. ~creative could cover more than just poetry and photography: it could also include crafts such as knitting and ceramics, and do-it-yourself projects, and things like that. ~creative would be the "look what I made" group, as opposed to ~arts which would be the "let's talk about art" group.
Thanks on behalf of everyone who wants ~space.
Thanks for thanking on our behalf. I've been wanting a ~space group for a while. I'm happy we're finally getting it. You bring the telescopes and I'll bring the rockets and we'll have a party! Hopefully your interest in astronomy and my interest in metal cans with torches at the bottom can get along and be good roommates, at least until we separate out into different subgroups.
Honestly, I'm hoping we can keep the astronomy in ~science for us nerds, while all you cool kids who want to check out the hot rockets can rock out in ~space.
I read through the discussions about it in the proposals thread and there were some pretty good points made for both being a top-level group as well as inside ~science. What do you think the benefit of being a top-level group would be?
Like I tried to explain in the bottom of the post, it's not about what "deserves" to be a top-level group, it's largely related to interest. Do you think that people interested in science shouldn't generally be interested in the social sciences?
I already said in the previous post. It shows that social sciences are welcomed here on Tildes. It makes them visible. I don't have any new arguments to roll out. I can only repeat the old ones I already presented. But if those arguments didn't convince you before, I'm not optimistic they'll convince you now.
I'm just determined to keep arguing this point until I actually lose - which won't be until ~science.social actually exists. Then I'll give up. :)
I believe they should be interested, but I believe they would not be interested. I think there's not much overlap between people who want to read about physics or chemistry and people who want to read about sociology or anthropology.
But, what if someone wants to synthesise a cohabitation-conscious Flores Man... ...in space?!
Then they should be punished for their arrogance. Only Prometheus can create humans. And he needed clay. There's no clay in the sky. Silly scientists!
I can't speak to whether those who are interested in the natural sciences are generally interested in the social sciences as well, but I do know that the inverse isn't always true: I'm highly interested in the social sciences but my personal interest in the typical chemistry or physics article is minimal.
Just to get this out there: I like that the social sciences are being treated as a branch of science but, like @Algernon_Asimov, I support the eventual division of ~science into natural, social, and formal categories.
I know that the group hierarchy is based on interest rather than merit, but I think that if the natural sciences were treated as secondary groups under ~science while the social sciences are tertiary groups (or non-existent) then there's a subtle implication that the Tildes community views the social sciences as 'lesser sciences' which can be safely lumped together and tucked away under one miscellaneous heading.
It's a relatively minor thing, but I could see that deterring some social-science enthusiasts from joining the site and we're already a pretty 'techy' crowd (not that that's a bad thing!).
This has probably been answered, but if there's no formal subgroup for ~tv.drama -- will that automatically go to ~tv and filter for the drama tag?
Not currently, but that might be an interesting thing to try doing.
yeah, I thought this was the path it was taking from the get-go, but I hadn't seen it mentioned. It would cut down the immediacy with creating new groups if we can create our own list of subscriptions (e.g. go to ~music.throatsinging and subscribe.)
Is this something I should post to gitlab?
Let's leave it for now. GitLab's going to go through a big reorganization in the near future, and it could be an aspect of the other major updates that I mentioned I'm working on.
That looks very interesting. Possibly an opportunity for groups to self-start based on tags? All of this chatter about which groups to create doesn't scale well for a large site. Playing subtle tricks with the URL/tags like that might be a way to get the groups generating without so much oversight. Then when one looks 'ripe' we turn it into a group with a wiki/mods/etc.
That would be interesting if you try and make a subgroup that doesn't exist, it makes a super tag with some group permissions, so that we can split the difference between making a subgroup and amping up tags.
Ooh I like all these. My only two "hmm" are on ~science.social (rather than ~socialsciences), and on ~games.game_design which I'd probably prefer without an underscore (bikeshedding mode engaged).
Aside: Has there been discussion on group aliases, that would act as 302s to the primary group? If we're starting to have a lot of groups, especially if we're confused about naming, that might be a practical thing to have. Like the ~arts / ~creative discussion might be better as an alias (unless we explicitly want OC in ~creative).
Yeah, I agree.
~games.designjust seem cleaner to me.
I know this seems like a useless bikesheeding moment, but it's the first instance of a group with an underscore so it sets a precedent!
~games.dev for that newsgroup feel please!
I think ~science.social follows the hierarchy and makes more sense than ~socialsciences, if we went with the latter nearly all of science would, ironically, ignore hierarchies with ~chemistry, ~physics, ~geology, etc. instead of ~sciencel.chemistry, ~sciencel.physics, ~sciencel.geology, ~science.social, etc.
That said, I think ~games.game_design throws a wrench in all of that by allowing duplication and not following the hierarchy to begin with; it should be ~games.design as "game_design" is unnecessary with the parent of ~games.
"Social science" is not a single science, like physics or chemistry. It's a group of sciences (the social sciences), which include sociology, anthropology, economics, psychology, and so on - just like the natural sciences include chemistry, physics, geology, and so on, and the formal sciences include mathematics and logic.
The analogues to ~socialsciences as a top-level group would be ~naturalsciences and ~formalsciences. These groups would include the following sub-groups:
The analogues to ~science.chemistry and ~science.physics as sub-groups would be ~science.sociology and ~science.anthropology - not ~science.social.
But as @Deimos has mentioned, group heirarchy is not about taxonomy, it's about interests and disinterests; so while I understand your point, it seems moot in light of how Deimos has expressed his desire for groups to be structured.
@Deimos and I are still discussing this. I haven't lost this argument until ~science.social is actually created! :)
Also, I'm not discussing taxonomy in this particular comment. I'm refuting the implication in @AugustusFerdinand's comment that social science is equivalent to physics and chemistry. They're not equivalent. Social science is a grouping of many sciences, while physics and chemistry are individual sciences.
This is one of the reasons that I want the social sciences separated out - to counteract the widespread misunderstanding that social science is just a science like any other, when it's actually a high-level grouping of many different sciences. Especially in a forum like Tildes, where most people are interested in the so-called "hard" sciences, the "soft" sciences tend to be treated like second-class citizens.
There is high level grouping, but the borders between groups can also get very fuzzy. Political science, sociology, economics, and anthropology can often end up in very wooly and tangled messes of interrelation. I think tagging systems would probably work much better for our purposes in that context.
There was quite a bit of discussion about how the hierarchy should go in the previous thread on this; check it out if you're interested.
I was a very active and vocal participant in that discussion. :)
Ah--I confused you with @AugustusFerdinand, who I thought I was replying to. Yep, I remember you, you top-level-~socialscience bastard :)
Nor is physics, chemistry, geology, anthropology, archaeology, or pretty much any other science.
Which is why things should follow the hierarchy as happens in science. So it'd be ~science.social.economics ~science.physics.quantum and so on.
Creating individual top level groups as you're suggesting muddys the waters and provides a greater amount of effor on the part of new users to subscribe to them all. If a new users wants to see all ~science related stories in your example they'd have to subscribe to dozens as opposed to one. If they wanted to subscribe to all but the social sciences they'd have to subscribes to dozens minus three as opposed to only subscribing to one and putting in a filter for ~science.social.
No. It'd be ~science.social.economics, ~science.natural.physics.quantum, and so on.
Just as economics and sociology and anthropology (etc) are grouped together as the social sciences, so too physics and chemistry and geology (etc) are grouped together as the natural sciences.
There are three main divisions of science:
(Plus applied science, but we usually call that engineering and/or technology, and it's not really relevant for this discussion.)
Physics is not the top level of categorisation: it's a "child" of the "parent", natural science. Social science is the "parent" of the "child" economics.
Natural science <=> Social science.
Physics <=> Economics.
But the (sub)groups aren't about taxonomy so it doesn't matter? I'd hazard a guess that physics is popular enough for a subgroup of science in itself.
In my replies to AugustusFerdinand, I wasn't talking about groups and sub-groups. I was simply trying to educate them about how western academia classifies the study of the world and our place in it.
I didn't succeed.
Economics and sociology are much further apart in terms of subject and methods than are cosmology and condensed matter physics, for example. I think it is reasonable to say that "physics" is a useful category to denote a collection of studies that are more similar to each other than they are to other things, whereas the same is not true for social science. That is, physics is not as varied as social science writ large, so I don't think @Algernon_Asimov was that off base with their claim.
I feel pretty strongly about starting to use underscores as word separators. It's similar to the reason the url slug for this post is
potentialnewgroupsandgeneral.... Words have spaces between them, and the way to do that in urls is with underscores or hyphens.
I get that it feels weird in some ways, but there are benefits to it, and we can improve the usability/appearance of it like we're already doing with tags (which internally use underscores, not spaces). For example, maybe entering in either
~games.game designalso work as ways of referring to the same group, and maybe we can display spaces in place of underscores, like how tags are already working (clicking a "social media" tag will take you to a url with
Mentions for other people with similar feedback: @Wes @balooga
I realize I already replied to you, but I wanted to talk about this as well.
One of the most in-depth and organized hierarchies is by schema.org. They use aliases when items fit into multiple hierarchies. For example, pediatric. It can be found under these entries:
I don't expect Tildes to get anywhere near as complex as schema.org's hierarchy, but it could be good to learn some lessons from them. Aliases which point to a canonical version could help people find what they're looking for.
I've been wondering about this too, actually. In particular, once groups get nested enough, it also might be worthwhile if we had shorthands. Maybe something like
~games.[genre].[subgenre].GameXYZ(if it existed) could be shortened to
~...GameXYZ? i.e., a period for each level of nesting, just without having to type parent group names.
This is a pretty neat idea for keeping things from getting clunky. No idea if it would scale well as the site gets bigger though.
As I understand it, the main functions of groups on Tildes are 1) to allow users to subscribe to specific topics and thus customise their experience on the site, 2) to create a sense of place, offering focus and allowing sub-communities and sub-cultures to eventually develop, and 3) to allow information to flow from one group to another, related, group. Do correct me if I'm wrong about this assumption or overlook something.
I then wonder, does the relationship model between groups necessarily have to be hierarchical? Have you considered an approach where groups exist on a flat plane, but are connected through relationships of varying strengths? You likely have, but I shall in any case lay out some sort of a basic idea.
With this approach, you could think of Tildes as an island, with each group a village. These villages are connected by roads, some of which are wider than others, as there is more traffic (information flow) between them. Every village is connected to every other village, either directly, or through other villages.
You could also think of it a little like the subreddit map someone once put together about Reddit.
Connections between groups wouldn't need to be symmetrical. The amount of information flowing from ~tabletopGames to ~games could be different than the information flowing from ~games to ~tabletopGames. Keeping with the island metaphor, you might have a four lane highway from A to B, but only a footpath from B to A.
Depending on this "road network", something posted in group A could thus find its way to the connected group B, and further on to C and D, which are both connected to B, and maybe even beyond, if popular and suitable enough. In addition to looking at the popularity of a topic, the system could use other information such as active users and topic tags to decide what topic finds its way where outside of its home group.
As I understand it, in the currently conceived hierarchical model, in terms of the information flow, the system will be trying to answer the question "with the users in group A interacting with this topic to this extent, would it be enough for users in group B above it to also find it interesting, and if yes, how about users in group C that sits on top of this hierarchy?".
In a flat model with a "road network", the question would be the same, except that instead of looking at groups above the source group, the system would be looking at groups directly connected to it, and then again for each group beyond for each connection than qualifies, and so on.
This model could lessen the burden of planning (and endlessly debating) what should be a separate group and what not, and what a group's semantic role should be in relation to other groups. We would not have to decide on things like whether ~arts is above ~creative or the other way around, but just have the two groups exist individually and instead define (and continually tweak) what the roads between them look like. ~arts would likely also connect directly to ~design on some level, as well as to ~books, ~movies, ~music and ~games (yes, I went there). If Tildes ever opens group creation to everyone, I feel this kind of a model would lessen administrative burden considerably, as well as allowing groups to develop and exist side by side that are similar in topic but different in their culture, their sense of place.
This "road network" would likely at first need to be set up manually, but if Tildes grows, the growing amount of data might allow for an efficient use of algorithms or some kind of machine learning to maintain the network. Mods of individual groups could in theory also have some say, for instance in terms of the width of the roads coming into their little village.
I have a tendency to overthink things and to build impossible castles in the sky, and I fear that this may be one of those occasions. But as I've been following the discussions about groups here, I have been repeatedly reminded about some of the attempts to build semantic hierarchies in linguistics or ontologies in information sciences, which haven't necessarily been all that successful despite the enormous amounts of time and effort put into them. I also keep thinking about the mess that usenet newsgroups used to be with their adhoc hierarchies.
None of these examples are of course directly applicable to Tildes, but I have nonetheless been wondering what the underlying need for a hierarchical model here is. Is there a reason why we should prefer a hierarchical approach?
The road idea sounds interesting but I have no idea how you'd implement it. Personally I do most of my Tildesing from the home page. I don't think that makes much data available to the site about the inherent proximity of any two groups I'm subscribed to, based on my browsing habits.
I definitely admit that, from a technical point of view, I have fairly little idea of what I'm really talking about here. However, it would seem to me that these road networks wouldn't be based so much on browsing habits, but rather data such as group subscriptions, posting and liking patterns, types of links posted and tags used. In a perfect world, also some sort of text analysis, although I suppose that starts to be more of a challenge.
Of course, at the moment, the majority of Tildes users are subscribed to almost every group and the activity on the website likely isn't yet on a level where there would be sufficient data to really do much analysis. So at this point, the implementation of networked group relationships would likely have to be more or less fully manual.
Sure, that's an interesting system that could probably work well too if it was implemented well.
In the end, it's just a choice of a system that seems to have the properties you want. Everything can work fine, reddit's worked out decently enough for 14+ years with hundreds of millions of users and thousands of active subreddits with a completely flat system and no formal "connections" at all. You just have to pick something, and for Tildes I've picked a hierarchy.
That's a good point and I think a very healthy approach to take. Ultimately, an online community is only as good as its members. Great communities have existed on platforms like bulletin boards, html chatrooms and mailing lists, none of which are very good at organising discussion.
That said, a platform does of course still have a major impact on how easy or difficult it is to start, discover and engage in quality discussion.
I definitely respect that. I'm just wondering whether hierarchies are problematically restrictive while also generating endless ontological discussions that ultimately aren't a very productive way for the community to spend its time. With hierarchies, you need to take a very strong prescriptive approach to group organization, while with a network type model these relationships could in theory evolve more organically, albeit definitely with more design and programming work.
In any case, I fully recognize that you know how the system here works and what ultimately is the best potential fit for it. I know you hear this a lot, but thanks for what you have created here. It's nothing short of impressive.
Thanks, I really appreciate it! There's still an infinite amount to do (and always will be, I'm sure), but I'm pretty happy with what we've been able to build so far.
At this point, it's probably a lot more important to start pushing to bring more users in, but I've been avoiding that for a long time. I like coding a lot more than I like doing things that are basically marketing, but I think it's going to be needed.
That's a very typical situation for a lot of creative people. I'm exactly the same, although I also notice that when it comes to marketing other people's work, the barriers aren't necessarily there in the same way.
I've seen a lot of creative people struggle with marketing, even to a point where having to deal with the promotional side of things ends up killing their love for what they are doing. If marketing is something that you find difficult to do and challenging to motivate yourself about, perhaps it's worth considering whether it might be something that you would like to outsource to others. Not in the "please spread the word" kind of way, but by setting up a task force to systematically deal with promotional activities. It depends of course on whether suitable individuals are available and what kind of promotion you had in mind to begin with.
Get those larger scale invite links in place and the rest of us can spread them around. Then you can go back to coding. ;)
I like the idea of ~arts replacing ~creative. All the existing content on ~creative could be migrated to something like ~arts.self or ~arts.creators.
Two thoughts about ~games.game_design: First, I had a weirdly strong reaction to the use of
snake_case(words separated by underscores). I do not like that. In addition to just not liking the way it looks, I think people would probably mistype it frequently. Ideally we can find appropriate single-word names for all groups/subgroups, but if not I think I'd prefer not using any word separators, or maybe hyphens. Second, I'd like to recommend ~games.ludology as a better name for this subgroup.
Editing to add: I like the ~finance idea and I'd like to see ~finance.crypto (or the like) available as a subgroup. Seems like a good way to make space for the bitcoin etc. conversations we have on here, while still providing an easy way for those uninterested to separate it from other conversations about stock market, home budgeting, and so on. Since it can be a polarizing subject, I'm thinking it may be prudent to get ahead of that.
I do not like the idea ~arts replacing ~creative. To me ~creative is a place of things made by tildes users be it art, or 3D printing, or welding, or any number of things that aren't "art". Perfect examples would be the automotive projects that are my passion. Sure there is an "art" to some things, I have seen cars I'd refer to as works of "art", including utter masterpieces in metal, but this area can range from fine engineering to break the sound barrier on driven wheels to Macgyver was of using shoestrings and bubblegum to get out from between a rock and a hard place while offroading. The latter is most certainly ~creative, but it is not art.
~creative.art could be used for tildes user art, ~creative.music for tildes user music, ~creative.diy for other projects, ~creative.arduino, ~creative.raspberrypi and so on.
Either of ~creative or ~hobbies could host the type of DIY stuff you mean, so at least one of them would probably need to be renamed at some point regardless. Their connotations are probably too broad/have too much overlap for both to survive.
Similarly to ~arts being discussion about the arts in general, ~hobbies would be discussion about hobbies in general. ~creative would remain the "look what I made" group.
Anyway, not all hobbies are creative. Playing boardgames is a hobby that doesn't result in a made thing to show off. Nor is horse riding. Nor is hiking. Nor is bird-watching.
Can you hear the millions of WH nerds screaming "LOOK AT MY MINI PAINT!"
I think ~hobbies is too broad, that's why it's unpopular. For example, let's assume I am a wood/metal worker or a musician. Every post will be hit or miss, with nothing inbetween, so it makes sense to separate the groups.
Not a fan of ~arts, ~hobbies and ~creative - a better solution would be something like ~arts/~creative, ~crafts and smaller categories.
I agree that ~socialsciences is a better fit than ~science.social.
This is probably going to change when users gain the right to create subgroups. I think that's gonna happen. Not sure if I've read it or not. @deimos?
I think it's unlikely users will ever be able to directly create groups, but definitely at some point we'll want a more integrated and streamlined way of proposing and approving their creation. It should be a fairly routine functionality of the site, not something that requires multiple big threads and weeks of turnaround time.
It's probably been mentioned before on other threads, but I like how Stack Exchange's Area 51 works. New sites go through define, commit, and beta stages to make sure they are well defined and have a critical mass of users. It strikes a nice balance between the extremes of letting users create groups on a whim and not letting users create groups at all. Users can create groups in a controlled, moderated way.
Other rambling thoughts: Top level groups should be harder and more infrequently created. Sub groups should be created (or proposed) by the active trusted users of the parent group, once the trust system is implemented. There's no need to ever let someone walk in off the street and create a group like they can on reddit.
Even though I never used it, this reminds me of Usenet. I have the intuition this bit of information should be made more explicit, this is not a kind of structure most people are used to in 2019. Might be a way to prevent unnecessary frustration.
It is in the docs now, at least.
And quite a few of us were hoping for ~humanities.history! :(
Yes! Hobbies.automotive is done, I love it. Thank you, Deimos.
It seems to me that ~creative is subsumed to ~arts and not the contrary. Therefore, ~arts.creative would make the most sense. They're also deeply related and should definitely be in some sort of hierarchy.
The term "finance" is loaded with very specific meanings. So are your other suggestions. They don't seem broad enough for a top-level. I would suggest something like ~economy because it is very broad and includes all kinds of trade, even those that do not use money, and are not formally organized in the ways we associate with "business" and "commerce".
I agree it would be kinda weird, but I think it might be beneficial nevertheless. Nowadays the word "game" means way too much for it to be useful in this context.
The name makes sense but clearly can lead to confusion. BUT not so much if there are lots of other ~science sub-groups.
I don't think it makes sense for it to be outside ~science. ~space is basically an umbrella for a bunch of science fields. And the audience of this kind of content would probably understand the logic of such hierarchy.
I'd actually put ~comp inside ~science. But I agree with your reasoning.
Is it? What about articles that discuss commercial spaceflight endeavours like Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic outfit? Four submissions, and half of them went in ~tech. How about spaceflight politics, like whether NASA should allow private citizens on the ISS? That went in ~misc. How about the commercialization of LEO for internet broadband? That definitely isn't a ~science topic.
I'd argue ~space stands on its own as a group concerning spaceflight, rocketry, and "light" scientific topics. Purely scientific posts could go in either ~space or ~science, or eventually ~space.astronomy, etc.
Most space-related posts are about companies building rockets or agencies sending out probes - that's technology, not science. That's why I suggested a group for space exploration, rather than a sub-group in ~science.
I really like the idea of migrating ~comp to ~science.comp. That would make the distinction between ~comp and ~tech so much clearer.
I think both you and @mrbig are still thinking about it very differently from me if you think ~comp makes sense inside of ~science. A post like this, which I think is pretty typical of ~comp content, has no connection to science at all.
I think you're right when you point out that the current content of ~comp is not mainly scientific. That's because it is a mix of several kinds of content, which is only natural at this point. We simply don't have enough people to populated highly specialized groups yet. Reddit is divided like that, of course. There's a noticeable difference between /r/learnprogramming, /r/programming and /r/compsci. I'm not suggesting we do anything similar right now.... Tildes will evolve at its own pace, culture, etc. But when I read ~comp I immediately think of science. Maybe that's just me, IDK.
I disagree, I think that's a great example of the sort of CS content typically posted to ~comp.
I guess "computer science" is a sideloading of "science" similar to the ongoing discussion about "social science."
My meaning is mostly that nobody with a general interest in "science" is going to be interested in an article like that at all.
Okay, you make a good point there!
A problem here is that "computer science" has multiple, very different meanings to different people. That post looks to me like an engineering or programming topic, not a science topic, and looking at ~comp, none of the posts are what I'd consider to be computer science: eg, research on computability, algorithmic complexity, etc.
Yeah, exactly. This would be one of the main posts I remember that I would truly consider "computer science", and I did post it in ~science, not ~comp, accordingly: A mathematician has resolved the Sensitivity Conjecture, a nearly 30-year-old problem in Computer Science
That's a good observation. I was using CS in a broader "applied" sense that would include programming and engineering but strictly speaking, it's not CS.
Could we rename ~comp to ~cs if ~space is being broken out into it's own thing?
What would be the purpose of naming the group ~cs instead of ~compsci or just keeping it as ~comp?
~compsci works, I just thought it would be weird to have something with science in the title outside of ~science, but that's probably a flawed argument to begin with.
I like how it is right now, to be honest. ~comp is like hackernews, and ~tech is like reddit boards. But I support the idea of migration - we already have HN, but nothing similar to ~science.comp idea.
What makes you think that? With ~creative as the original art place, it has things that would not fit in ~arts. A post about an original short story would go into ~books if it were not original, for example, but right now it's in ~creative because that group has a broader (confusing) scope than ~arts would.
Art is a very broad concept. It includes every single one of your examples.
I agree, but I don't think ~arts is going to be the place for all art, that would be silly. Unless Deimos has something else in mind, it was proposed to be something of a misc. art place, for things that don't fit into ~anime, ~books, ~food, ~games, etc.
~arts.creative only makes sense if we want a place for original content of the kind that would normally go in arts. That would be fine, but that means there's then not a place for original works that would normally go elsewhere, and we'd want a
.creativefor every artistic group. That's certainly an option, but a unified place for original art is imo preferable and if that's the case, putting it under a group doesn't make sense. You'd be putting something which encompasses all art under something that doesn't.
You mean some people might feel intimidated to post original content because it is inside ~art? That's plausible.
But there's another possibility: we might be so awesome and friendly that people would actually feel welcome under the umbrella of ~art. I'm optimistic, I know! But I wanna be part of it.
Hm? I'm not really sure what you mean. I don't think intimidation has much to do with this, unless you're maybe talking about the idea of having a place for original work at all? Even then, that isn't my only issue with just not having a dedicated place for original art, which has a lot to do with common interest. I'll just repeat something I said in the proposal thread:
I'm probably repeating myself even beyond the quoting, so I'd just suggest looking at my submission in the old thread if I'm not explaining my position well enough.
And there might other subgroups for other types of contents, such as postos about short-stories, for examples.
There should be only a few other top-level groups under ~science; ~science.natural, ~science.formal. Then specific sciences under those.
If that goes well, I'd be interested in a ~hobbies.3d_printing (and I'm sure others will want their own niche hobbies as sub groups). While some designs/prints might fit under ~creative - a lot of 3d printing is the building and tweaking of the printers themselves rather than what you create. Theres a lot of potential for discussions on various printer models, how to tweak print quality, and then printer design decisions (and things like RepRap).
I think it might be a bad idea to bake the hierarchy into group names? Hierarchies are tricky to get right and often they need to be reorganized. When that happens, it would be inconvenient to rename a bunch of groups. It would break lots of URL's. For example, it seems like game_design is a nicer and more stable name than games.game_design which might later change to rec.games.game_design or something else like that.
When all the names are stored in the same database table, hierarchies aren't necessary for naming. Even a namespace as huge as Wikipedia can be flat, with only occasional disambiguation needed for name conflicts.
The other thing I'm wondering is whether groups are eventually going to be separate communities with their own moderators and rules, like subreddits. If that eventually happens, baking in the hierarchy too firmly might be confusing since it's unclear whether governance is also somehow hierarchical.
So it seems like the hierarchy could be a very lightweight concept, just used in the UI to order the group list in outline form and help people find groups of interest? Maybe checking "games" also selects "game_design" in the UI, but there aren't any further consequences?
That's something Deimos has already thought of and it's not an issue here on Tildes. E.g. https://tildes.net/~group.name.doesnt.matter/h23/and-neither-does-the-topic-title redirects correctly to this topic because only the topic ID actually matters. That mechanism is also what allows those of us with the "move [topic to another group]" and "Edit [topic] title" privileges to use them without breaking anything for anyone, not even their preexisting bookmarks.
Well, that's certainly a good thing, but I still think de-emphasizing the hierarchy is good from a UI perspective. In conversation, should talk about the game_design group rather than using longer paths.
This is easier if it's unambiguous, so this would mean the same name shouldn't appear in two places in the hierarchy.
I want to reiterate the idea that we merge ~science and ~humanities into one group, calling it ~research or something better. Especially social sciences are both humanities and science; the humanities vs. sciences divide is not all that sharp and clear anymore. Tags could help us filter and categorise.
A possible downside to this is that more sciency content can overwhelm and bury humanities stuff, but that'd be counteracted with the increased visibillity of rather humanities-y posts.
The benefit here is that topics in say linguistics, psychology, archaeology, etc can be posted more easily w/o deciding whether it is science or humanities.
I agree with the overall problem you've identified...
...but I think we should go in the opposite direction.
~humanities is already starting to "overflow" in terms of topics - history, religion, and linguistics so far seem to be the most common sub-topics.
~science is also overflowing, but in a different direction, we seem to have a clear consensus that the classic "hard" sciences (physics, chemistry, geology, etc) belong; we've got less clarity about mathematics (and its very large offshoot branch called "computer science") and even less clarity about the "soft" / "social" sciences. There's also poor ol' economics, near and dear to my heart, that sits in a dismal no-mans-land between the hard sciences and soft sciences.
Combining them all into ~research would be cramming together too much. Some (but far from all) of the topics that get posted to ~science and ~humanities are true "research". When interesting research is released, it tends to get posted to Tildes, but there are definitely interesting and useful science && social science && humanities topics that wouldn't really fit at all under ~research.
I think we should err more on the side of splitting things up, such as maybe separating ~history out from under ~humanities, or ~social-science out from under ~science.
People are dicks. Is there any more backstory to this? How did you realize this was happening?
I would have found out about it before long on my own anyway, but I realized when dozens of people started phoning me incessantly starting at 6 AM to ask why I charged them ~$1.50 ($2 CAD). I still don't know how so many people got my phone number out of it—it's associated with the Stripe account, but I don't know how people were going from a mysterious charge on their credit cards to a phone number. Maybe other people's cards show a lot more info about the source of charges than mine does.
That's actually really concerning. I know with PayPal they restrict the personal information even in the case of a dispute, only showing the business contact details. Maybe Stripe is similar in this regard but a setting was ticked in the wrong area?
Oh, the phone number is the business phone number. It's a one-person business I run from home, calling the business is just calling me.
I meant that when I'm looking at my credit card statements, I don't see any information like that. I think I'd have to call my bank to get a phone number associated with a charge's source, but at that point I'd probably just be telling them that it looks like my card had been stolen, not trying to investigate individual charges myself.
I think it's super cool that you're running this site solo. One thing I'd maybe change is using a free Google Voice number that routes to your phone instead of your normal primary phone number for an extra layer of privacy, if you'd want that.
Google Voice isn't available in Canada, but it's not a big deal overall. These were the only calls I've ever received because of it.
If it becomes a problem again, you can buy a phone number through Twilio for $1/mo (at least USD, but I assume Canada is similarly priced) and redirect calls to it using Twimlets.
If you have a script call their API as a cronjob, you can change its behavior at different times of day, such as forwarding to your personal phone during daylight hours but automatically going to voicemail at night (running speech-to-text over the voicemail and emailing you the transcription plus an MP3 of the recording).