66 votes

How can we change the site's structure/mechanics/patterns so that we're not discouraging posting "too much" on particular subjects?

Over the weekend, @skybrian posted a topic about feeling like you're posting "too much" if you submit too many links on the same subjects. As I said in my comment in there, I've definitely felt the same way sometimes, and I think we should try making some changes that can improve on this.

One of the most common complaints about Tildes is that there isn't much content overall, and that most of it's very "general interest". This is largely because of how the site is set up now, where instead of having different communities, we basically just have one community that's lightly categorized by the groups. It's mostly the same users posting and discussing topics, regardless of which group they're posted in. This is totally fine and has worked well in a lot of ways, but it's also limiting in other ways, especially that it basically discourages posting "too much" about any particular subject because that will be annoying to all the users that don't want to see so much of that content.

One of the best ways that Tildes will be able to grow is by being a place that's known for having good content on different topics. When I started /r/Games on Reddit, I was one of the heaviest submitters for quite a while, making sure that the subreddit was always full of the type of high-quality content I wanted to see. There weren't many viewers or commenters initially, but continuing to consistently post a lot of good content attracted more and more people, and eventually it became self-sustaining.

We need to be able to take a similar approach here, but the current structure of the site is preventing it. For example, I'm one of the most frequent submitters to ~games (I've submitted about 1/3 of the topics in the last month), but I usually try to only post 1 or 2 topics there per day. I could easily submit 10-20 most days, but I know that will annoy a lot of users that don't care that much about games. That feeling isn't a good thing—it prevents any group from being able to "take off" individually.

So to improve this, I think we're going to need to make some changes, and/or figure out some new patterns that we can use.

First of all, I think it may be time to switch away from the current "opt-out" setup for groups (where you see everything by default) into an "opt-in" one where you have to specifically choose what you're interested in. This is something I've always planned to do eventually, because I think "forcing" everyone to see things that they're not especially interested in is both harmful to quality and causes a lot of strife. Switching will absolutely have some downsides too though, including that the activity in the more-niche groups will probably drop even more.

It may also be best to switch away from "Activity" being the default sorting method. Again, this is something I didn't really expect to keep as the default forever, but it's been helpful while the site is small. However, having every new topic show up immediately in the most prominent position on the site just makes it even more annoying for people that aren't interested in the subject. For them, the top of the site keeps getting taken over by posts they don't care about. We're seeing this happen with ~music right now, because some users are trying to make it more active—which, again, should be a good thing—but I know that it's annoying some others.

Some other things that might be worth considering include making it easier and more obvious that you can ignore individual topics and tags, adding new options for creating and filtering different "views", adjusting site behavior so it balances how many posts it shows from each group (but that would likely be confusing), etc.

Another related topic I wanted to bring up (which @skybrian mentioned and I think is an interesting idea) is that we might be able to use "megathreads" more extensively somehow. For example, maybe having a megathread on a particular topic is a better way to judge the demand for a group/sub-group on a particular topic. Right now it's hard to do that because there isn't really any dedicated place to post if you're interested in something specific, but we might be able to encourage more activity by using a megathreads as almost a "testing ground".

For example, if someone's particularly interested in woodworking, it would feel awkward to post a bunch about it in ~hobbies and effectively take over the group with woodworking content. But if there was a "woodworking megathread", it would be both more encouraging and contained (and easily ignored by other users), and if that thread started getting consistent activity from multiple users it would be a good indication that a ~hobbies.woodworking group would probably be able to stand on its own.

I don't really have any particular plans for that kind of thing yet, but I think it's a possibility with a lot of potential, and we might even be able to find some ways to improve how megathreads work to support it. I'm definitely interested in hearing thoughts about how we could enhance threads to make them work especially well for that, including better ways for users to find and know about megathreads they'd want to read and participate in.

I feel like this was a fairly scattered post with a lot of different thoughts in it, but overall I'm just looking for feedback or other ideas for ways we can adjust so that the site can keep growing and increasing in activity smoothly. This is important to figure out, and I think we're reaching the point where it's starting to become more urgent to do it soon. Let me know what you think.

96 comments

  1. [3]
    Atvelonis
    Link
    The alternative is a weighted voting algorithm or derivative process, which, as others have pointed out, tends to exacerbate the hive mind. But perhaps more importantly, it produces content that...
    • Exemplary

    It may also be best to switch away from "Activity" being the default sorting method.

    The alternative is a weighted voting algorithm or derivative process, which, as others have pointed out, tends to exacerbate the hive mind. But perhaps more importantly, it produces content that is simply not interesting.

    This is in direct contrast to your introductory paragraph, but I'd make the argument that Tildes' threads are more remarkable than what you typically see online because niche content is instantly boosted to the top of the page when it's posted, just like non-niche content. Of course it doesn't appeal to everyone, but only the banal ever does. Tildes may very well lack much of the ultra-niche content of some ultra-niche subreddit or other, but it makes up for this by distributing what moderately niche content it does have to a larger audience than would ever visit said subreddit of their own volition (barring extraordinary, unsustainable publicity, e.g. from a top comment on a large thread), precisely by means of an activity sorting algorithm.

    I understand that people want to see content that appeals specifically to them, but Tildes has the capacity to be a place where culturally under-discussed ideas can be exposed to a larger audience than they ever could elsewhere on the internet. The only way to maintain that ideal is to enforce it on a structural level; getting used to seeing new, unfamiliar material should be the default mindset for people on Tildes. People often use political examples here, but it's a much more encompassing issue than that. Software engineers should be exposed to post-structuralist theory and biologists should be exposed to experimental Norwegian folk metal, just as park rangers should likewise be exposed to contemporary urban planning techniques and street artists should be exposed to theoretical mathematical constructs. It's not about politics, it's about becoming a well-rounded person (my liberal arts background is seeping through here). Naturally everyone's preference is to remain inside their little bubble at all times, but systemically encouraging this approach facilitates an uninspired, homogenous userbase, and one that is comfortable not learning anything.

    I agree that the activity sorting method has a lot of problems that contribute negatively to what we'd like to see on the site. I've complained about the disproportionate number of programming and adjacent threads on here in the past, for example. Even as someone who has interests in computer science, it would be nice to have a bit more variance. And clearly the solution is not to tell people not to post about what interests them, even if it happens to be the dominant subject. But also the solution is not to do away with a system that can directly give historically marginalized or otherwise underrepresented voices a platform equivalent to the overrepresented ones; a voice that they would otherwise not have.

    Whatever changes are made to the sorting procedure, I would suggest emulating neither Reddit's voting system nor its subreddit paradigm—there has to be a way to find a thread about a particular niche subject without specifically searching out that niche subject as a category. The only way for any reasonable number of people to find niche content on Reddit is to already know that it exists, and then navigate to that known subreddit. The site has various little modules to help find new content here and there, but the algorithms used to promote such content are just part of a broader feedback mechanism. Reddit's subreddit system is further undesirable because it doesn't foster any sense of community outside of a given subreddit. Tildes' centralized characteristics encourage an atmosphere approaching that of a traditional forum, which is a good thing.

    I'm not wise enough to realize the implementation of these principles in practice. I can only share what I see and feel. I also don't want this comment to imply support for the status quo per se—as it has plenty of issues—but insofar as so-called "irrelevant" content has so much more capacity to spark meaningful personal growth in users than what they would voluntarily choose to see, it has more value than I think it's being given credit for. The internet is our greatest tool to diversify our body of thought, and most contemporary cultural issues can be boiled down to systemic and self-fulfilling ignorance, not even malice as such. A Tildes that follows in the footsteps of every other social media platform out there by implicitly encouraging that one not break from their worldview is not in keeping with what I think the principles of the site truly should be.

    29 votes
    1. sron
      Link Parent
      And to expand on that, by sorting based on discussion, higher quality content that promotes discussion stays closer to the top. Which looking at the original announcement blog post is exactly the...

      And to expand on that, by sorting based on discussion, higher quality content that promotes discussion stays closer to the top. Which looking at the original announcement blog post is exactly the aim:

      Tildes prioritizes quality content and discussion

      I get to see things on here I wouldn't have done elsewhere. And it is almost all of high quality and from reputable sources. Because the low quality content doesn't promote discussion, which is how activity sort works. You don't see it as much.

      In short, I don't know what the answer is!

      6 votes
    2. Quanttek
      Link Parent
      To add to this excellent comment, whose sentiments I share: I think you can achieve the goals set out in the above comment - the ostensible aims of Activity - while counterbalancing some of its...

      To add to this excellent comment, whose sentiments I share: I think you can achieve the goals set out in the above comment - the ostensible aims of Activity - while counterbalancing some of its drawbacks. I think you could introduce a quality/interest/diversity element to the algorithm by making it smarter, so that "recent activity" only has a very strong weight (~80%) in a scoring algorithm. That other element could consider votes (totals (until a cut-off?) or old Reddit algorithm), look that no one group/tag dominates the front page (aka diversity) or sth else in that direction

      6 votes
  2. [35]
    Amarok
    Link
    I've shared my thoughts on this before. Let what people did repeatedly, and independently, for their communities on reddit be the guide. I'm not sure the mechanics/form it should take, but there's...

    I've shared my thoughts on this before. Let what people did repeatedly, and independently, for their communities on reddit be the guide. I'm not sure the mechanics/form it should take, but there's definitely a place for tag navigation, and using tags to one click hide or unhide content in a group.

    Reddit and Imzy and most other places are/were in a big damn hurry to fragment groups into a hundred dying shards of themselves. I think the lack of site mechanics to tie all of those groups into a sort of super-group is what caused that. When people fragmented like that, they were really trying to specialize their subscriptions - and that's a feature I've never seen tried in a link aggregator before. If anyone knows of examples of this, please share them and let's see how it went in those communities.

    When I think of ~music.streams I see a spiraling nightmare that goes all the way down to ~music.streams.progressive.metal.black.deathcore with hundreds of branches - oh, and we'll need ~music.albums.progressive.metal and ~music.news.metal and on and on it goes. That's the natural evolution played out on usenet and reddit. Yuck.

    Instead I think a ~music.streams that has the genre tags across the top - generated in automatically from the content of the last couple days - could do the job of that entire hierarchy in one group. Click on a tag, all the posts with it disappear, color it red, and remember that setting as a customization of the subscription. Click it again, all the posts reappear, color is transparent. I'd like to click it a third time, highlight it a different color and see just the content with that tag and none of the rest. Kinda like personalized groups on demand. This could work for content well beyond music, might even be a useful sitewide mechanic.

    If you've ever used 5e.tools you can get the gist - though that's an extremely overcomplicated example.

    We're missing a tag-driven subscription or navigation element.

    I'd also like to caution against filters. They are dangerous - but the danger isn't in the filter you set today. It's in the filter you forgot you set three years ago that's been blocking all sorts of other content because things have changed in those three years. I like the idea of keeping the filters (on/off tags) front and center rather than hidden off in some 5-click user settings page alleyway where nobody remembers it or can find it.

    23 votes
    1. [31]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Your suggestion is roughly the same as what my suggestion was going to be too: Add features to more fully utilize the power of the tags we already have in place, by allowing users to...

      Your suggestion is roughly the same as what my suggestion was going to be too:
      Add features to more fully utilize the power of the tags we already have in place, by allowing users to quickly/easily customize what they want to see in groups and on their front page using them. And I also agree that putting those customized filter/view settings somewhere highly visible is a good idea too, so users don't forget they have them set, like the current tag filters can sometimes be. The only hard part would be deciding how to handle what logged out users, and users who haven't customized their settings, will see by default.

      BTW, funnily enough, IIRC @Deimos even talked about experimenting with something like this at one point, calling it "custom pages/views" or something like that (I unfortunately can't find a reference to it anymore).

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        hungariantoast
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Here you go: https://tildes.net/~tildes/ado/whats_the_aimed_lifetime_of_a_discussion_on_tildes#comment-2l1p A nice addition to this idea would be what @aphoenix suggested: having the ability to...

        Here you go:

        https://tildes.net/~tildes/ado/whats_the_aimed_lifetime_of_a_discussion_on_tildes#comment-2l1p

        It's not a fully fleshed out idea at all, and I don't know if I've even talked about it publicly at all before, but I have this general concept in my head of allowing users to create a bunch of different "views" that they can easily switch through and support any combination of things like only showing topics from particular groups, only showing (or filtering out) topics with particular tags, from particular domains, etc., and setting up different sorting and time periods for each view.

        Like you said, kind of like multireddits, but even more customizable. That way you'd be able to have a bunch of different views like "most upvoted news from today", "newest game deals", "most active ~talk posts today", and so on.

        A nice addition to this idea would be what @aphoenix suggested: having the ability to limit the number of topics from group X to N amount on your topic-listing page/custom view.

        8 votes
        1. cfabbro
          Link Parent
          Goddamnit... I actually had the comment bookmarked already! I just totally forgot that was a thing and so didn't think to look there, and instead CTRL-F'd my way down Deimos comments history...

          Goddamnit... I actually had the comment bookmarked already! I just totally forgot that was a thing and so didn't think to look there, and instead CTRL-F'd my way down Deimos comments history instead (but never found it). :(

          Thanks for finding it though. :)
          /noise

          5 votes
      2. [19]
        AugustusFerdinand
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Of which there are very few and keeping them organized, let alone agreeing on a specific approved set, is an issue itself. A perfect example of this is just about any blog-style news site. There...

        Add features to more fully utilize the power of the tags we already have in place

        Of which there are very few and keeping them organized, let alone agreeing on a specific approved set, is an issue itself.

        A perfect example of this is just about any blog-style news site. There will be tags/categories to see related stories, but they are rarely, if ever, set in stone and so attempts to follow them just get lost because even on a single site each author and editor will use the tags slightly differently as there is no set dictionary even if the tags are being used to address the same subject.

        The example @Amarok is giving is another taste of this dysfunction. If we just had ~music.streams and then tagged the genre, would it be progressive.metal or metal.progressive? If you were talking about it in conversation you wouldn't say "metal that's progressive" you'd say "progressive/prog metal", but a progressive subgenre of any music is the child and so to follow the hierarchy it'd have to come afterward even if that's counter to the way it'd be spoken. You can't have prog-rock, death-metal, or acid-jazz without first having rock, metal, and jazz respectively. ~music.streams.progressive.metal.black.deathcore would be incorrect at the outset because metal is the parent genre and if anywhere "progressive" would come last as it's a reaction to the genre above it.

        Tagging locations already follows this hierarchy even if it goes against how you'd normally discuss it. If I asked where you took that great photo you'd say "Berlin, Germany", but it'd need to be tagged europe.germany.berlin.

        So we need to solve the problem of how we manage and educate people on tagging if we go this route.

        3 votes
        1. [18]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Most of these issues you bring up have actually already been "solved" (to varying degrees) by other online communities, standards organizations, and government agencies. E.g. The RYM community has...

          Most of these issues you bring up have actually already been "solved" (to varying degrees) by other online communities, standards organizations, and government agencies.

          E.g. The RYM community has done an amazing job of creating a hierarchy that covers the vast, vast majority of music genres, largely without issue. See: https://tildes.net/~music/wiki/rym_genre_hierarchy

          For country/region hierarchy, we have the Canadian SCCAI (my personal preference):
          https://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/subjects/standard/sccai/2018/index
          https://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3VD.pl?Function=getVD&TVD=1234536

          And also the ISO:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-2

          And even beyond that, IMO things like synonymous tags, a DAG structure, better tag recommendations, and features to help us organize it all (e.g. bulk editing) would also help us greatly in dealing with any issue here as well. I do agree the system probably needs a lot more work and effort by us at standardizing everything though.

          6 votes
          1. [17]
            Amarok
            Link Parent
            One other point - I think focusing on the order of the tags mattering is dangerous. It seems like it risks a lot of over-complication and distractions, I smell scope creep. Focusing only on their...

            One other point - I think focusing on the order of the tags mattering is dangerous. It seems like it risks a lot of over-complication and distractions, I smell scope creep. Focusing only on their presence is probably a better way to do it. Tildes should be table to take a set of tags and know how often it sees them, weight the ones that are most common leftward, least common rightward. Let it remain dynamic as possible, because you're trying to throw a lasso around a mechanic that has humans randomly defining and using these tags. That's an unpredictable target at best.

            If a submission is made - let's say to a general side-wide submission page rather than group submission pages - how hard would it be to take the tags, and find the place in the hierarchy where those tags are attached to a group, the more tags appearing the better the match? Seems like we might lazer our way around this ever changing tag cloud that way. Chart a course rather than try to force the tags to obey set rules.

            4 votes
            1. [16]
              cfabbro
              Link Parent
              I personally think an underlying formal structure is the way to go, even if ultimately most users never see it or notice it due to synonymous tags and it having a DAG structure. That and if I am...

              I personally think an underlying formal structure is the way to go, even if ultimately most users never see it or notice it due to synonymous tags and it having a DAG structure. That and if I am understanding you right, what you suggest sounds like it would be incredibly difficult to implement; Using some sort of automatic classification system based on tag/group relations.

              4 votes
              1. [15]
                Amarok
                Link Parent
                Maybe at the top level. Tags like science and music and games would hit the top anyway, that's why we pick their names. The left-right weighting is just what we do already when we 'define' a group...

                Maybe at the top level. Tags like science and music and games would hit the top anyway, that's why we pick their names. The left-right weighting is just what we do already when we 'define' a group like ~music.rock.punk (which is the same as ~music.punk.rock), so let's cut out the middle man. I just think getting too rigid isn't going to work. If this system isn't dynamic, if it isn't dancing with the users, it's going to have a hard time scaling and adapting to an ever increasing content space. If that requires a lot of time spent micromanaging hierarchies, that's a bad thing. The hierarchy needs an anchor, but it also needs sails.

                7 votes
                1. [2]
                  wirelyre
                  Link Parent
                  I'd be wary of anything that starts to look like reinventing subject headings. Not opposed, but wary. In my experience, almost any project can turn into a library catalog, and cataloging is a...

                  I'd be wary of anything that starts to look like reinventing subject headings. Not opposed, but wary.

                  In my experience, almost any project can turn into a library catalog, and cataloging is a full-time job.

                  6 votes
                  1. Amarok
                    Link Parent
                    Wise words, and that's exactly what I'm worried about if we take a human-centric approach where we must constantly define and categorize new tags as they appear. If we focus that on the root...

                    Wise words, and that's exactly what I'm worried about if we take a human-centric approach where we must constantly define and categorize new tags as they appear. If we focus that on the root groups (and maybe one level down) at most, and let a dynamic system take it from there, we could get the best of both worlds. A formal root structure, and a dynamic mechanic that builds what it can on top of those roots based on whatever the users are placing as tags.

                    I imagine if we run with that for a while we'll start to get a good sense of when a formal definition needs to replace the dynamic one. The dynamic system should suggest those to us over time by replicating the same results over and over and over again.

                    4 votes
                2. suspended
                  Link Parent
                  Excellent metaphor.

                  The hierarchy needs an anchor, but it also needs sails.

                  Excellent metaphor.

                  3 votes
                3. [11]
                  cfabbro
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  I mean, sure, those are lovely ideals and all... but actually developing a system capable of doing all that automatically with no (or very little) human intervention is no small task. So I say...

                  so let's cut out the middle man... If this system isn't dynamic, if it isn't dancing with the users, it's going to have a hard time scaling and adapting to an ever increasing content space... The hierarchy needs an anchor, but it also needs sails.

                  I mean, sure, those are lovely ideals and all... but actually developing a system capable of doing all that automatically with no (or very little) human intervention is no small task. So I say just go with what we already know works (not perfectly, but it can/does work), and is already mostly implemented, instead.

                  3 votes
                  1. [10]
                    Amarok
                    Link Parent
                    For now, it'll do. Long term I'm not so sure. Back when we were discussing all this in slack I remember I shared a few papers on using tag/hierarchy hybrids, seems like it's an area of active...

                    For now, it'll do. Long term I'm not so sure. Back when we were discussing all this in slack I remember I shared a few papers on using tag/hierarchy hybrids, seems like it's an area of active research and development. With all the developers on Tildes I'm surprised nobody works in this niche.

                    6 votes
                    1. [3]
                      mundane_and_naive
                      Link Parent
                      Do you still have links to some of those papers? I want to read more on the subject.

                      Do you still have links to some of those papers? I want to read more on the subject.

                      4 votes
                      1. [2]
                        Amarok
                        Link Parent
                        I don't have the exact links I shared, I was kinda in rampage mode trying to brainstorm and just saving links. That was three years ago and we closed the tildes slack down once the ~tildes group...

                        I don't have the exact links I shared, I was kinda in rampage mode trying to brainstorm and just saving links. That was three years ago and we closed the tildes slack down once the ~tildes group was ready to replace it - the development has to be done in the open.

                        I've been doing some more googling this morning, though, and I found one that applies exactly to this problem. Extracting Tag Hierarchies goes into detail on how to extract a dynamic hierarchy based on tag frequency, and that's the sort of challenge we're looking at. @Deimos you may want to take a gander at this.

                        That paper also cites and reviews several other methods. It's not a bad jumping off point.

                        6 votes
                        1. Amarok
                          Link Parent
                          Forgot to tag @cfabbro too. I'm sure you know an issue in the tracker this could be appropriately attached to as a reference. ;)

                          Forgot to tag @cfabbro too. I'm sure you know an issue in the tracker this could be appropriately attached to as a reference. ;)

                          2 votes
                    2. [6]
                      suspended
                      Link Parent
                      My father used to say: "Do it right the first time." My takeaway from that was the following: If I know that there is a way to produce a product or outcome that involves, let's say, ten...

                      My father used to say: "Do it right the first time."

                      My takeaway from that was the following:

                      If I know that there is a way to produce a product or outcome that involves, let's say, ten fundamental steps and I only complete eight of those, then it will bite me in the ass later.

                      4 votes
                      1. [5]
                        Amarok
                        Link Parent
                        Bingo. It's better to take your time in the design phase. I think we've got the 'anchor' part built already, or the start of it. It's the sails that concern me. We need that expert opinion. What...

                        Bingo. It's better to take your time in the design phase. I think we've got the 'anchor' part built already, or the start of it. It's the sails that concern me.

                        We need that expert opinion. What we're thinking of here as hard could be a well known technique or even three or five - in math, in set theory, in large data sets, just not yet incarnated in forum software. We can't possibly be the only people ever confronted with hierarchy management challenges. Someone who spends all day coding to organize exabytes of data has got to have better insight.

                        5 votes
                        1. [4]
                          suspended
                          Link Parent
                          I'll ping @smores here since I know that they are a software engineer.

                          I'll ping @smores here since I know that they are a software engineer.

                          2 votes
                          1. [2]
                            smores
                            Link Parent
                            Howdy! I’ve just been skimming through this thread trying to catch up. I don’t think my work right now is particularly relevant (I work on a collaborative rich text editor), but I had a brief...

                            Howdy! I’ve just been skimming through this thread trying to catch up. I don’t think my work right now is particularly relevant (I work on a collaborative rich text editor), but I had a brief stint in music information retrieval. One of the key insights when categorizing music for analysis was that music genres are better modeled as free form tags than hierarchical categories. That is, even though it might initially make sense to have a parent “rock genre”, which has children “punk rock”, “classic rock”, etc, people actually think about, talk about, and mentally categorize music more as a series of flat “tags”, where any given piece of music can have any number of tags associated with it.

                            This feels relevant to a lot of the sentiments I’ve heard expressed about Tildes topics, too. Questions about where to put content that is both politics and tech, or music and hobbies, etc etc. I wonder if there’s a way to think about Tildes content that’s entirely tag-based, instead of the hybrid tag/hierarchy model we use now. I could even imagine an on boarding mechanism that’s more like the one used for Apple Music, where users select their interests from a “tag network” of sorts, where tags that are often used together are considered linked.

                            9 votes
                            1. Amarok
                              (edited )
                              Link Parent
                              My thinking was tags for content, hierarchy for communities that contain said content, and possibly where a post appears could be more a function of the tags present than which group it is...

                              My thinking was tags for content, hierarchy for communities that contain said content, and possibly where a post appears could be more a function of the tags present than which group it is submitted to. It seems like the definition of a group needs to include the topic tags that are the most relevant for that group, and then it can use the tags to generate the content view, with the users able to toggle off and on certain tags/content (the ones not part of said definition) to further specialize their subscriptions.

                              That may not be the way to go, though. I am thinking about this from a reddit/usenet perspective. Tildes does not have to mirror the way those places operated or evolved, and honestly, it shouldn't - our goal should be to take a next step rather than just iterate older models with minor improvements. The presence of the tags themselves is the largest difference in content management between Tildes and those older models which did not have them.

                              3 votes
                          2. Amarok
                            Link Parent
                            I worked with exactly two people in twenty years who had these skillsets - the kind of guys who were proud of their 30/120 on the lowell-putnam. The code one of them wrote is still telling a...

                            I worked with exactly two people in twenty years who had these skillsets - the kind of guys who were proud of their 30/120 on the lowell-putnam. The code one of them wrote is still telling a certain name brand printer company what to charge for toner more than two decades after he wrote it. His dogs can hunt, as he would say.

                            4 votes
      3. [10]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [9]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          This is off-topic as well... but I think the biggest problem I have with using that argument against submissions simply because they lack discussions to go along with them, is that that doesn't...

          This is off-topic as well... but I think the biggest problem I have with using that argument against submissions simply because they lack discussions to go along with them, is that that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't a quality submission. Some submissions speak for themselves, and don't require any user comments in order for them to add value to someone's day/life. And when it comes to music, that is especially true IMO, since our enjoyment of them is largely taste based and entirely experiential (which is harder to express and discuss in-depth to begin with).

          And that's why I think allowing people to more effectively filter out things that aren't to their particular tastes is the best way forward. E.g. I hate "top 40" country music, but if a significant portion of users here enjoyed it, I would not begrudge them submitting it to ~music, so long as I was able to filter it out from my own feed.

          6 votes
          1. suspended
            Link Parent
            Thank you for saying this. These are important points to consider when engaged in online forums.

            Thank you for saying this. These are important points to consider when engaged in online forums.

            1 vote
          2. [7]
            Amarok
            Link Parent
            No cocaine country dancing for you then! ;)

            No cocaine country dancing for you then! ;)

            2 votes
            1. [6]
              cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Heh, nah... surprisingly, I actually do enjoy the occasional bit of ironically bad top 40 style country music, and that was a pretty good example of it. Orville Peck is another artist who has a...

              Heh, nah... surprisingly, I actually do enjoy the occasional bit of ironically bad top 40 style country music, and that was a pretty good example of it. Orville Peck is another artist who has a somewhat similar throwback/ironic style and is currently one of my favorite country artists. And I absolutely love oldschool country (e.g. Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, etc), indie/alt-country and bluegrass too (e.g. The Civil Wars, Watkins Family Hour, Sierra Ferrell, etc).

              It's just the top 40 jokers who sing about Trucks, Beer, and the like unironically, in order to pander to their audience (e.g. Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, etc) that drive me nuts. ;)

              1 vote
              1. [4]
                suspended
                Link Parent
                I love bluegrass! I'm gonna go spam the shit out of ~music with bluegrass :P (just kidding).

                I love bluegrass! I'm gonna go spam the shit out of ~music with bluegrass :P (just kidding).

                2 votes
                1. [3]
                  Amarok
                  Link Parent
                  Bluegrass, newgrass, gangstagrass, and thrashgrass. So many broken strings and bloody fingers await.

                  Bluegrass, newgrass, gangstagrass, and thrashgrass. So many broken strings and bloody fingers await.

                  6 votes
                  1. [2]
                    monarda
                    Link Parent
                    I had never heard of gangstagrass, that was freaking awesome. Thank you!

                    I had never heard of gangstagrass, that was freaking awesome. Thank you!

                    4 votes
                    1. Amarok
                      Link Parent
                      If there was ever a genre of music that could save America and country music from themselves, that's the one to do it. Hip hop and bluegrass are long lost cousins, they come together so well it...

                      If there was ever a genre of music that could save America and country music from themselves, that's the one to do it. Hip hop and bluegrass are long lost cousins, they come together so well it should be illegal.

                      5 votes
    2. vord
      Link Parent
      I had chewed on this concept for a while now. As the site grows larger, there's going to be a need for some sort of cross-posting to minimize discussion sprawl. And tags alone won't necessarily...

      When I think of ~music.streams I see a spiraling nightmare that goes all the way down to ~music.streams.progressive.metal.black.deathcore with hundreds of branches - oh, and we'll need ~music.albums.progressive.metal and ~music.news.metal and on and on it goes. That's the natural evolution played out on usenet and reddit. Yuck.

      I had chewed on this concept for a while now. As the site grows larger, there's going to be a need for some sort of cross-posting to minimize discussion sprawl. And tags alone won't necessarily allow for easy 'browsing' for new content. I think the answer is to make everything tags, and groups are just clusters of included/excluded tags, perhaps formal groups/sub-groups form when a sufficient cluster of tags are grouped together (~us.politics, ~music.metal.prog, etc) frequently.

      One of the ideas that drew me to Tildes in the first place was the idea of community-driven moderation, based on participation within the given community.

      And depending on implementation, perhaps we could create our own personal organization of groups for private consumption.

      A functionality that would be nice is that a 'formalized' group could then include/exclude other tags. I could define my curated hierarchy to exclude other tags, say that the classic-rock excluded the 'bon-jovi' tag. It could allow the ~news community and the ~music community to filter out any related news content appropriately for their specific groupings.

      6 votes
    3. skybrian
      Link Parent
      I agree about filters. One problem with them is that I think many of us want the front page to “look nice” for newcomers and we don’t want to lose track of that through too much customization....

      I agree about filters. One problem with them is that I think many of us want the front page to “look nice” for newcomers and we don’t want to lose track of that through too much customization.

      Eventually Tildes might end up like Reddit where everyone has their own view of things, but I don’t think it’s big enough to do that yet? It seems like it would be better to look into ways to organize things better, while still giving an overview of the whole site.

      It seems like pushing more things down to be hidden within a topic would work well, because clicking on a topic is a natural expression of interest in that topic.

      3 votes
    4. onyxleopard
      Link Parent
      Isn’t this what Reddit tried with multi-subreddits? This was only from a users’ perspective, but you could essentially share your set of subreddits with others so they could subscribe to the...

      When people fragmented like that, they were really trying to specialize their subscriptions - and that's a feature I've never seen tried in a link aggregator before.

      Isn’t this what Reddit tried with multi-subreddits? This was only from a users’ perspective, but you could essentially share your set of subreddits with others so they could subscribe to the multi-subreddit you designed. AFAICT, on tildes this would basically just be offering users a way to find special combinations of groups.

      I think the general problem with trying to divide anything up into strictly non-overlapping categories is the problem of ontology engineering and I think it ultimately is infeasible to solve in a way that would please everyone. Rather than divide the Tildes user population up into more granular subgroups, multi-groups may be a nice way to bring different communities together. The issue becomes, how do you provide access to multi-groups in a way that doesn’t fragment things? How can new users find good multi-groups? Is this something @deimos would have to curate? Could the same multi-group customization be extended to customizing meta-groups by tagged content (this would make reliance on non-fragmented and high quality tagging more important)? Is there a channel in which users could submit customized multi-groups/tag queries and users could see the submissions and maybe vote on them (maybe on ~tildes?)?

      I think organizing large communities is just a fundamentally hard problem and I don’t know if I have any particularly great insight to contribute, but I sort of wish there was a way to take advantage of individual submission tags in a way to aggregate content in a more natural way than a fixed hierarchy of groups that users decide they want to be a part of or not.

      3 votes
  3. [4]
    aphoenix
    Link
    I don't have a fully formed idea here, but maybe there's some possibility to "throttle" communities that you're interested in, but don't want to be overwhelmed by. Example - you like ~music, but...

    I don't have a fully formed idea here, but maybe there's some possibility to "throttle" communities that you're interested in, but don't want to be overwhelmed by.

    Example - you like ~music, but don't want to see more than 3 on your "home" page. Activity can still be the sort, but instead of giving you the most active across all groups, you do most active across all groups, but only 3 from ~music.

    Another idea would be sorting by activity, but to not show more than one in a row from any particular group, or no more than one out of every [x] for some relatively small number.

    22 votes
    1. mundane_and_naive
      Link Parent
      I'm also in favor of a partial filter approach if it's about not making some readers overwhelmed. Current filter and subscription mechanisms have the problem of being all-or-nothing and so useless...

      I'm also in favor of a partial filter approach if it's about not making some readers overwhelmed. Current filter and subscription mechanisms have the problem of being all-or-nothing and so useless for these people, who want to see less of certain contents but not not-at-all.

      I'd to modify your suggestion a bit from no more than 3 per your "home" page to no more than 3 per page. When you go to the next page you can still see the next 3, so you don't miss out on anything, the filtered contents are just more spaced out and more balanced against other contents in your feed.

      This could be applied to not just your personal feed of subscribed groups but also tags as a group-based mechanism, which I think fulfills the role of megathreads that Deimos suggests as well. These specialized "megatags" when applied will limit no more than X threads with those tags on each page (in combination with the other usual sorting mechanisms). Megatags can be applied by the posters before submission if they worry they're about to overload the group with this topic. They can also later be enforced by mods in case of oblivious posters, which manifest as default behavior for visitors. Subscribers of a group (or signed in users of Tildes as a whole) could customize X for their personal feed. If a significant number of subscribers restrict X to a minimum, it's time to make it a subgroup. On the other hand, if most subscribers expand X to maximum, that means no one is bothered by the content and so those megatags can be reverted back to normal tags.

      7 votes
    2. [2]
      sron
      Link Parent
      I actually quite like this idea. Strikes a nice balance between seeing everything but not too much, if you get what I mean. Maybe this could be the behaviour by default. Maybe have the biggest,...

      I actually quite like this idea. Strikes a nice balance between seeing everything but not too much, if you get what I mean.

      Maybe this could be the behaviour by default. Maybe have the biggest, most general interest topics like tech, games, news etc all "unthrottled" as they are now, and everything else throttled. It reduces clutter a bit for new accounts while ensuring more niche topics don't get left out.

      7 votes
      1. aphoenix
        Link Parent
        I believe @Deimos has probably already considered it, and can improve upon it as well. I do agree that it has some potential as the "default" or unlogged-in view. But I think it also has a bit of...

        I believe @Deimos has probably already considered it, and can improve upon it as well.

        I do agree that it has some potential as the "default" or unlogged-in view. But I think it also has a bit of artificiality in it unless it's explicitly explained and understood.

        There's another issue which is that people tend to not set / change settings, they just want it to be right and not have to do anything. Tildes might have more than the average number of people who do so (since we skew "techy") but the number of people who adjust their settings is pretty low, so... this is probably a touchy thing to do.

        10 votes
  4. [3]
    Deimos
    Link
    It was included in the post, but I want to make a separate comment to encourage responses about it specifically, because I think it's important and difficult to do well: If we switch from...

    It was included in the post, but I want to make a separate comment to encourage responses about it specifically, because I think it's important and difficult to do well:

    If we switch from "opt-out" on groups to "opt-in", what should the site look like for both logged-out users and newly registered ones?

    Should a logged-out user just be required to pick a specific group to view at all times? That's not necessarily a bad thing (it's basically how most forums work), but it will be a pretty major change.

    Would new users be presented with a list of the groups and they can just set up their "default view" from there? What if they don't do it, does it act like logged-out where they can only view individual groups?

    Is this something we shouldn't change until the site's no longer invite-only, since requiring an invite means that it's harder for logged-out users to be able to register and customize their view, even if they want to?

    10 votes
    1. Amarok
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The logged out users should be getting a sample, I think. Say the group average is ten posts a day, and some group has 100, so now the site looks like it's got 10x more of that group's content....

      The logged out users should be getting a sample, I think. Say the group average is ten posts a day, and some group has 100, so now the site looks like it's got 10x more of that group's content. The simple fix is just having a cutoff on the number of posts shown from any given group, set with either a numerical threshold or perhaps one with votes, or exemplary tokens. Lots of metrics we could try and more will be invented eventually.

      I can imagine a Tildes with 10k posts a day, choosing what 25 of those to start with is a pretty hard thing to do - and whatever your solution is, the users will outgrow it or the site will change so it's an ongoing problem. It might even work out better than we think - if there's a high bar for new content in the root groups, and most of it has to level-up from subgroups, that's quality built in. Diversity too, assuming the subgroups all manage to kick up a post or five a week to their roots, which is what should happen. The sample could just be from the top level someday.

      What's missing for the newbies is a quick how-to-Tildes that shows them the subscription mechanics and a groups listing. Reddit would be a different universe if they'd had a helping hand page to customize subscriptions, something making suggestions based on group topics and tags. This dovetails with the back end needing a submission finder, too. Someone who wants to post a woodworking topic probably isn't going to troll through this sort of mess to get there.

      Perhaps the submission form should be more hierarchy-oriented than group oriented, finding the place in the hierarchy where all the tags on the submission appear (the most it can find, at least) and posting it there. Our tools don't have to be entirely group-specific in nature. Seems like a thorny coding challenge. Do we have anyone who has done a lot of work with hierarchical classification and metadata on Tildes? I feel like I want to ask an expert. There are probably better ways to do this out there already, just not used in forum software yet.

      4 votes
    2. knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      I'd say go Reddit-style: Sitewide aggregation on sort of a default all-subbed page for guests. Don't allow changes until membership, and offer "guests" sort of a sampler, I guess. If they want to...

      Should a logged-out user just be required to pick a specific group to view at all times?

      I'd say go Reddit-style: Sitewide aggregation on sort of a default all-subbed page for guests. Don't allow changes until membership, and offer "guests" sort of a sampler, I guess. If they want to check out a group, they can click it on the sidebar or the topic that made them want to look into it.

      I generally agree with the idea of not forcing people to follow topics, it was an issue for Reddit, as well, and when they changed defaults subs they had a tendency to kill communities with oversaturation and people who probably should've have been in a few of them (/r/TwoXChromosomes comes to mind as having antifeminist problems). Since you have to have some groups for a meaningful feed, a menu where you select them would be a great solution, maybe.

      3 votes
  5. [6]
    spacecowboy
    Link
    When group subscriptions are opt-out then it's a system where each group initially has weight of 1 and you explicitly have to set it to 0 to ignore a group. With opt-in you have the opposite: each...

    When group subscriptions are opt-out then it's a system where each group initially has weight of 1 and you explicitly have to set it to 0 to ignore a group.

    With opt-in you have the opposite: each group starts with 0 weight and you set it to 1 to subscribe to a group.

    Both systems are extremes.

    I want to propose a solution somewhere in the middle. It only requires the user to continue to vote on great topics.

    1. Calculate the weights of groups/tags for a user based on the past votes of the user. For example, if I voted on topics in hobbies, music and religion, then those 3 groups get personalized weight > 0, all other groups/tags get a weight of 0.
    2. Change the "Votes" page to take the personalized weights into account:
      <topic score> = <raw number of votes> * ((1- alpha) + alpha * (<personalized group weight> + sum of <personalized tag weights> for all tags of the topic)
      , where "alpha" is a personalization setting between 0 and 1. When alpha is 0 then the item score is the same as today (the raw number of votes). When alpha is 1 then the scoring is completely personalized - the user only sees posts from groups that they shown interest in in the past.

    A new user can start at alpha = 0.5 - and they will see globally popular items (no votes = all personalized group weights are 0) and as they vote on content they get their mix of groups adjusting to their interests.

    The alpha setting can be controlled by the user so they can make Tildes look more or less personalized.

    This does not require the user to make opt-in or opt-out decisions upfront and the changes would be very incremental to what Tildes has today.

    That's the overall idea. I skipped the details of how to calculate personalized group/tag weights based on past votes of the user. Let me know if you would be interested in those.

    9 votes
    1. Eylrid
      Link Parent
      I like this idea. Deimos has eschewed personalized recommendations on Tildes, but that's because they don't give users control over what they see and the algorithms are opaque (Per the site docs)...

      I like this idea. Deimos has eschewed personalized recommendations on Tildes, but that's because they don't give users control over what they see and the algorithms are opaque (Per the site docs) (@Deimos please correct me if I'm misrepresenting your position here). With this system users stay in control by deciding how much weight they want to give it, and it's a simple and fairly easy formula to understand.

      I suggest letting users manually override group and tag weights.

      5 votes
    2. [4]
      WMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWM
      Link Parent
      I'm interested in the group/tag weights based on past votes system. I already have a decent size dataset where people marked items with not just up/down, but also with adjectives like funny, good,...

      I'm interested in the group/tag weights based on past votes system.

      I already have a decent size dataset where people marked items with not just up/down, but also with adjectives like funny, good, bad, etc.

      My current prototype has only tag-based voting, with tags carrying no numerical value. However, I'm not yet sure how to turn this into sorting or helpful UI.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        spacecowboy
        Link Parent
        The most naive way to turn votes into group weights is to just count the number of times the user voted on topics in each group. And maybe divide it by the total number of votes of the user to...

        The most naive way to turn votes into group weights is to just count the number of times the user voted on topics in each group. And maybe divide it by the total number of votes of the user to make all weights normalized normalize it by the total number.

        There are two problems with the naive approach:

        1. Voting for topics in a high activity group will occur more often just because there are more topics to vote from than in a less active group. E.g., you vote for 5 topics in a group with 500 topics vs 2 votes in a group with only 20 topics. Intuitively we would want votes in less active groups count more.
        2. Time is not taken into account. A vote that you left a year ago should be less important than a vote you left today.

        One way to solve these two issues is to make the contribution of each vote to the personalize weight of a group be equal to: 1 / <the number of topics posted in the group after the topic of the vote>.

        You would notice that this contribution is not static - it changes as more topics are added to the group. The more topics are added to a group after your vote, the less important that vote becomes. For high activity groups that contribution will decay faster, than for lower activity groups.

        The weight of a given group will be the sum of all contributions of the user's votes in that group.

        Where does this sum of 1/N come from? Imagine a graph where users, groups and topics are nodes. Votes - are edges that connect users and topics. Topics have edges to groups that they belong to. And now imagine that you do a random walk in this graph like this:

        1. Start from the user we are calculating the personalized group weights for.
        2. Step into a random topic that the user previously voted on.
        3. Step into the group that the topic belongs to.
        4. Step into another topic from this group, that was added AFTER the topic from step 2. (<-- this is where 1/N is coming from)
        5. We recommend the topic we arrived at with the score that is equal to the probability of taking this path.

        If you follow this path then you will see every new topic in a group will have the probability that is ("sum of 1/N")/<the number of votes of the user>. We can drop <the number of votes of the user> since it is the same for all paths (or keep it, if you want the group weights to be normalized).

        The above was only for groups and did not include tags. Imagine that in "Step 3" instead of going into the group, you go either into the group (50% probability) or into one of the tags attached to the topic (50%/<number of tags>). Then you can similarly get the weight of each tag based on the probability of a random walk going through the tag.

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          Eylrid
          Link Parent
          Note that Tildes deletes individual voting history (while keeping aggregate vote counts per topic) after thirty days for privacy reasons.

          Note that Tildes deletes individual voting history (while keeping aggregate vote counts per topic) after thirty days for privacy reasons.

          7 votes
          1. spacecowboy
            Link Parent
            Yeah, I remembered that too. One way to mitigate this is to store just the group and the date of the vote, but not the topic is after 30 days. That would be less sensitive data to keep since it...

            Yeah, I remembered that too.

            One way to mitigate this is to store just the group and the date of the vote, but not the topic is after 30 days. That would be less sensitive data to keep since it does not tell you which specific topics I voted on. And it will still provide the information we need to calculate group weights. In addition, it could be deleted after some time as well (180 days seems reasonable).

            3 votes
  6. [3]
    culturedleftfoot
    Link
    Perhaps we're at a point where more users need to take responsibility what they'd like to see. If we have a few more people 'adopt' a group that they're particularly interested in, we can start...

    Perhaps we're at a point where more users need to take responsibility what they'd like to see. If we have a few more people 'adopt' a group that they're particularly interested in, we can start building more actual communities. I'm not thinking moderators, more like... informal committees? We'll need to keep in mind that the goal is to boost participation rather than simply make the groups our personal fiefdoms, but I'm willing to trust my fellow users.

    There are some 'power users' that are already invested and contribute across the site; if more of us can step up and follow their examples in just one group, I think we'll be on our way.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      tindall
      Link Parent
      I agree with this, with qualifications. Personally, I'd love to adopt, say, the Linux, Rust, and FOSS politics topics in ~comp, and maybe some more stuff, but I don't want to be responsible for...

      I agree with this, with qualifications. Personally, I'd love to adopt, say, the Linux, Rust, and FOSS politics topics in ~comp, and maybe some more stuff, but I don't want to be responsible for all of ~comp - I'm not qualified at all.

      5 votes
      1. culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        That's why I'm thinking in terms of committee, I imagine you could rustle up a few others in ~comp to round things out. I'd probably lean towards ~sports and/or ~music myself, but I'm not...

        That's why I'm thinking in terms of committee, I imagine you could rustle up a few others in ~comp to round things out. I'd probably lean towards ~sports and/or ~music myself, but I'm not qualified to totally cover either of those on my own.

        3 votes
  7. [3]
    Adys
    Link
    I'll try to give this more thought, but one (manual) mechanism I really like from HN is the "second wind": Interesting topics that didn't catch on at first, and are given a re-post to see if they...

    I'll try to give this more thought, but one (manual) mechanism I really like from HN is the "second wind": Interesting topics that didn't catch on at first, and are given a re-post to see if they fare better and give them more visibility.

    Anyway, I don't think Tildes truly lacks content (relative to its current size), but the way the site is set up kind of does limit the amount of content. This is a problem with Reddit as well (and HN to an extent, but HN rotates quicker and has a lot more front-page real estate). I suspect one of the big "wins" for reddit's redesign is that the infinite-scrolling has created an endless supply of content. I don't think it's particularly better…

    But I wouldn't be opposed to a way of (re)discovering older posts in current posts. For example, in this post, you could showcase some of the other submissions from the vaccines+videos tags from the same group. Related content.

    One of the failings of most of the popular link aggregators is not meeting the long-term view of actually becoming a repository of high quality, curated content. In my ideal aggregator, you would:

    • Resurface old, high quality content
    • Expose the higher quality content to users that haven't necessarily seen it yet
    • But not fall into the trap of infinite scrolling (I don't think Tildes would as it's more of an advertising-centric engagement trick).

    And the website that springs to mind with the absolute best working implementation of that is … TV Tropes.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      Tygrak
      Link Parent
      I really really don't want to see complex algorithms recommending related content in here. I think having an endless stream of content is mostly a bad thing. I am very happy with everything being...

      I really really don't want to see complex algorithms recommending related content in here. I think having an endless stream of content is mostly a bad thing. I am very happy with everything being discovered just from the front page sorted by activity.

      The second wind idea could help, but I think the best solution to resurface old good content is for people to do it manually - to just post it again, maybe with a link to the original post. I think on HN the mods do it manually too, but I am not 100% sure. I think we should probably recreate threads that are open ended and were popular in the past more often too.

      6 votes
      1. Adys
        Link Parent
        I very clearly am not a fan of "endless streams" either, I also think it's a bad thing. But open discovery IMO is not. I mentioned how much I curate my youtube recommendations in the past: My...

        I very clearly am not a fan of "endless streams" either, I also think it's a bad thing. But open discovery IMO is not.

        I mentioned how much I curate my youtube recommendations in the past: My Youtube Homepage is honestly the best discovery mechanism I have for some of the highest quality content I can find. I'm super happy with it. My "watch later" is filled with 20+ minutes videos from it, which eventually make their way to Tildes.

        When done well, and accompanied by human curation, recommendation engines can be insanely good.

        4 votes
  8. nacho
    Link
    I think the key here is to identify where the problem is and make changes there rather than changes that affect other listings on the site. In this case, I think limiting the number of posts from...

    I think the key here is to identify where the problem is and make changes there rather than changes that affect other listings on the site.

    In this case, I think limiting the number of posts from one group in general overviews it the way to go. If people want more on those topics, they should be led towards viewing listings like ~music directly by how the site is designed.

    The number of posts from each group in multi-group listings can be modulated by votes, age or other criteria to ensure a desired mix.

    There has to be some sort of default view both for folks who aren't logged in, and for people who don't tinker with settings. The level of customization users have beyond that is something to consider.

    6 votes
  9. [2]
    nsz
    Link
    There's been so much feedback, so I'm not sure if this will be a repeat. Allowing users to manually sticky posts to their frontpage. For instance, the music best of, it's what I'm most...

    There's been so much feedback, so I'm not sure if this will be a repeat.

    1. Allowing users to manually sticky posts to their frontpage. For instance, the music best of, it's what I'm most consistently checking these past few days, it'd be nice if it was easily accessible. A follow discussion type button. There would need to be some mechanism to let it fade once there is no discussion, say 10 days of inactivity removes it, popping back up if it picks up again.
      I know bookmarks do a similar thing, but that's three page loads from the front page, and separated from the rest of the site's content.

    2. Also, timed filters. Say it's political season, and you'd rather not be inundated with country X politics, setup a timed filter for 2-3 months. That way it returns to normal after the deluge.

    3. Or maybe some way of letting users know how many posts they are filtering out, to deal with this idea of setting and forgetting a filter.

    4. This might already be possible, but filtering of the opposite to your filter settings, this was you can easily assess what you're missing and adjust your filters accordingly.

    6 votes
    1. rish
      Link Parent
      For point 1. Sidebar can be used for showing user bookmarks. In long threads like it is just empty space. See in my user info, I added some post links. If implemented bookmarks will show up like...

      For point 1. Sidebar can be used for showing user bookmarks. In long threads like it is just empty space. See in my user info, I added some post links. If implemented bookmarks will show up like that on sidebar after the settings button.

      4 votes
  10. Staross
    (edited )
    Link
    I think it's important to be able to give some views by default to all content. This could be done by having a dedicated space on the front page for new/undiscovered content, or by having a bit of...

    I think it's important to be able to give some views by default to all content. This could be done by having a dedicated space on the front page for new/undiscovered content, or by having a bit of randomness in the ranking of topics (you are sometimes shown a random topic from a random sub). Whatever the mechanism I think being able to control how views get distributed across subs would be very useful to make sure new subs can be discovered and grow.

    Maybe that requires a third option for subs : subscribed (show me the content), unsubscribed (show me the content occasionally) and blocked (never show me the content).

    In general I think a bit of randomness in the algorithms is a great tool. For example instead of subbing new people to the 10 biggest subs and feed the snowball you can rank the subs by size and then draw a random sample using the size as a weight, so everybody gets a slightly different default experience. Even though on average the large subs get most of the new users that also distribute new users to smaller subs. What's great with this kind of approaches is that you have a continuous parameter that you can tweak (the amount of randomness) as the site grows and changes.

    5 votes
  11. [2]
    gpl
    Link
    I will probably have more thoughts on this later, but in place of “Activity” as a metric you could consider an “Interests” option, which will still sort by Activity but will give a higher weight...

    I will probably have more thoughts on this later, but in place of “Activity” as a metric you could consider an “Interests” option, which will still sort by Activity but will give a higher weight to the groups that user is interested in (perhaps as indicated by the groups they’re subscribed to, perhaps as a separate thing altogether). This would still allow them to see what is happening across the site, but moves the stuff they actually care about to the top. How the weighting is done is an open question.

    5 votes
    1. suspended
      Link Parent
      Could the weighting be handled by, let's say, the amount of activity (voting, posting, commenting) in any given group?

      How the weighting is done is an open question.

      Could the weighting be handled by, let's say, the amount of activity (voting, posting, commenting) in any given group?

      2 votes
  12. sron
    Link
    Maybe there's room for a sort of "hybrid" approach with activity sort. I like it how it is now, so I'd like to see it stay around in some way, maybe as a different sort option. As for changing it...

    Maybe there's room for a sort of "hybrid" approach with activity sort. I like it how it is now, so I'd like to see it stay around in some way, maybe as a different sort option.

    As for changing it maybe you could

    • only move posts to the top when they have a certain rate of comments being made, or
    • separate comments into "updates" and "discussion" and move a post to the top only when there is a significant update to the original post. This could work well with the labelling system, and could work well with megathreads too depending on what the topic is. Like with the whole Trump COVID thing. There's a lot of discussion in that thread, but maybe it's only right to bump it back to the top when there's an update? But then where do you draw the line between a new development being an update to an existing thread or its own new thread?
    5 votes
  13. sron
    Link
    I know this thread is a few days old now but I've had some more ideas on topic tags on another thread and it was suggested I post them here:

    I know this thread is a few days old now but I've had some more ideas on topic tags on another thread and it was suggested I post them here:

    Maybe topic tag filtering just needs a couple of small changes to help people filter out what they don't want to see.

    • a tag like indie could apply both to ~music and ~games, but maybe you still want to see one of them. At the moment it's both or nothing. If topic tag filters could be on a per-group basis that could help.
    • and, filters are global currently. Maybe you don't want to see something on the front page, but you do if you are actively looking for it?
    • options in the menu on posts to hide posts tagged TAG from the front page or hide posts from GROUP from front page as a shortcut
    5 votes
  14. lionirdeadman
    Link
    Regarding sorting, I think defaulting to Votes with 3days on the main page would effectively kill the spam for those uninterested and they'd see what is most popular on the site at the particular...

    Regarding sorting, I think defaulting to Votes with 3days on the main page would effectively kill the spam for those uninterested and they'd see what is most popular on the site at the particular time. Particular groups should continue using the Activity sorting since people going there directly are most likely interested in seeing the newer stuff from there (which would mean their intent is respected).

    As for megathreads and subgroups, I just had the idea which kind of expands on the idea of using megathreads more and I'm not sure it's a great idea but what if they acted as subgroups temporarily? It would allow quick and consolidated tagging and easier to sort than tons of threads of a post?

    4 votes
  15. Emerald_Knight
    Link
    I think that no matter what approach you take, there's always going to be the problem of some communities being incredibly active while others are fairly inactive. And yet this large disparity in...

    I think that no matter what approach you take, there's always going to be the problem of some communities being incredibly active while others are fairly inactive. And yet this large disparity in activity doesn't necessarily mean that you'll want to fully unsubscribe or hide activity from the highly active ones, but instead want to see less of that activity to balance everything out.

    With that in mind, I would personally recommend considering some research into some possibilities around a weighted feed of some sort, which would attempt to balance the number of visible entries. Obviously that won't be compatible with simple sorting options like "Activity" or "New", so it would likely be something else entirely, but providing users with a balanced feed will allow them to see content they're interested in without being completely overwhelmed by it.

    A naive example would be to allow users to opt in to including a group in this feed, with or without being subscribed to it, and to randomly select a number of topics from each group the user has chosen, shuffle those topics, and display a subset of them intended to fit on a single page load. Again, it's a ridiculously naive example and wouldn't be a good fit in practice, but something to that general effect in conjunction with further refining the existing system would provide a more well-rounded set of options to help cover cases that are currently not be handled.

    4 votes
  16. [12]
    Grzmot
    Link
    I see the reason behind this, but I fear that this is just going to starve the lesser frequented parts of Tildes of the attention they get from the people solely getting their content off the...

    First of all, I think it may be time to switch away from the current "opt-out" setup for groups (where you see everything by default) into an "opt-in" one where you have to specifically choose what you're interested in.

    I see the reason behind this, but I fear that this is just going to starve the lesser frequented parts of Tildes of the attention they get from the people solely getting their content off the front page. We already have the problem of being focused too much on tech and I fear that this is just going to end up being too extreme, and Tildes would turn completely into a tech only site. I remember a year or so ago there was this great text post from someone who presented a scenario of space exploration into a new galaxy and tasked the commenters with designing a space ship, but no one commented, perhaps because they felt too intimated by the topic. Funky threads like that would just completely disappear, and Tildes would become just another tech news aggregator with above average quality in the comment section, something that would most likely disappear once the site grows.

    Another related topic I wanted to bring up (which @skybrian mentioned and I think is an interesting idea) is that we might be able to use "megathreads" more extensively somehow. For example, maybe having a megathread on a particular topic is a better way to judge the demand for a group/sub-group on a particular topic.

    I think that's a good idea, but I don't know if megathreads are that great at encouraging discussion. When you hit the right topic, like the threads asking what games you've been playing, you sometimes get a lot of top-level replies, but very little discussion. e.g. look at this thread, lots of replies answering the question in the title, but the majority of top-level comments don't have replies. It's similar with the other recurring threads.

    If we take your woodworking example further, the problem is that it'll eventually just get buried by the activity from ~hobbies, as eventually it'll stop getting pushed up, and then you're back to square one, where people maybe don't feel comfortable posting their woodworking stuff in ~hobbies, especially if they've tried before and gotten no replies. This is a pretty difficult problem to solve, because opening the floodgates by letting everyone register is going to cause chaos and may drown out the high quality discussion that the community here strives for. Maybe charging for registration would be a way to open the gates a little while ensuring the quality stays high? Something like 5-10€ to register, while keeping the ability for members to invite people. To avoid people selling invites for less, we could link accounts, so that when a person gets banned, whoever invited them gets banned for half the time. As far as I know, the site already saves the people you invited, so it's not like more data is being saved.

    4 votes
    1. Deimos
      Link Parent
      I think it's a (very common) mistake to treat the amount of discussion generated as the only important measure of whether topics are worthwhile or not. There are a ton of excellent articles I...

      I think that's a good idea, but I don't know if megathreads are that great at encouraging discussion. When you hit the right topic, like the threads asking what games you've been playing, you sometimes get a lot of top-level replies, but very little discussion. e.g. look at this thread], lots of replies answering the question in the title, but the majority of top-level comments don't have replies. It's similar with the other recurring threads.

      I think it's a (very common) mistake to treat the amount of discussion generated as the only important measure of whether topics are worthwhile or not. There are a ton of excellent articles I read, where the only "discussion" that happens anywhere in response seems to be pedantic bickering about barely-relevant details in the article. The articles are still great and worth reading, but I'd argue that those discussions are only a negative.

      I feel similarly about things like the "what games have you been playing?" threads—I always read them and find out about a lot of new and interesting games from them. The fact that most people's comments don't start discussions doesn't matter, that's not the purpose. If people want to find a way to talk about a particular game with other people that are playing it, it can be a good way for that to happen, but that's not necessary. I think megathreads can work in much the same way—still a good way to share and discover content on a particular topic, with discussions possible as a "bonus".

      Maybe charging for registration would be a way to open the gates a little while ensuring the quality stays high?

      I'll never charge for registration. That locks out a huge number of people for reasons that have no connection to whether they'd be a good user or not.

      9 votes
    2. [6]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      I really like all of your feedback except for this particular part. Please, don't take this personally because it isn't. I don't believe that charging people to register is a good idea. I think it...

      Maybe charging for registration would be a way to open the gates a little while ensuring the quality stays high?

      I really like all of your feedback except for this particular part. Please, don't take this personally because it isn't. I don't believe that charging people to register is a good idea. I think it would drive people away quickly.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yeah, growth has already slowed to an absolute crawl lately (other than a few bumps here and there), and while I don't think growth should be the sole, or even primary, focus of the site... we...

        I don't believe that charging people to register is a good idea. I think it would drive people away quickly.

        Yeah, growth has already slowed to an absolute crawl lately (other than a few bumps here and there), and while I don't think growth should be the sole, or even primary, focus of the site... we honestly do just need more users here, as that would likely solve a lot of these issues regarding content diversity, volume, and such.

        And charging for access would be a surefire way to kill growth almost entirely, IMO. Not to mention it being incredibly unfair to users from parts of the world where credit cards are not common, or where asking for even $5 to register is an unreasonable barrier to entry.

        7 votes
        1. Amarok
          Link Parent
          Depending on the country, even $1 a month can be a steep price tag. One of the things I love about Tildes is that it is the single most zero-bandwidth friendly site on the internet. On a 24kbps...

          Depending on the country, even $1 a month can be a steep price tag. One of the things I love about Tildes is that it is the single most zero-bandwidth friendly site on the internet. On a 24kbps modem this site is still blazingly fast with its svelt asset sizes. That means it is far easier/cheaper to access than any of the major social platforms for people who are constrained on money or bandwidth, or both.

          The open signup page should come next. We need that anyway and I bet we'll be using it for a long time. Let's get the front door built so more people can trickle into this party on their own time.

          6 votes
      2. [3]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        All it does is allow people to get in without already knowing someone while at the same time keeping out those who don't want to engage with the community. I've seen it work elsewhere, which is...

        All it does is allow people to get in without already knowing someone while at the same time keeping out those who don't want to engage with the community. I've seen it work elsewhere, which is why I suggested it. How would it drive people away? The people right now already can't register if they want, we'd honestly just increase the amount of people who can get in.

        3 votes
        1. xstresedg
          Link Parent
          People may view the cost barrier as the ONLY wait to get in, even if it's explained otherwise. To me that just seems like a big detractor to the site.

          People may view the cost barrier as the ONLY wait to get in, even if it's explained otherwise. To me that just seems like a big detractor to the site.

          6 votes
        2. cfabbro
          Link Parent
          Are you thinking of Lobste.rs, where the only method of joining is if a currently registered user chooses to invite you? Because invites to Tildes aren't nearly as difficult to acquire. All...

          Are you thinking of Lobste.rs, where the only method of joining is if a currently registered user chooses to invite you? Because invites to Tildes aren't nearly as difficult to acquire. All someone needs to do is email invites@tildes[dot]net to get one, which is the method mentioned in the announcement post linked to on the login page. And people can also just leave a comment in the /r/tildes official invite request threads I regularly post and check daily, and they will receive one as well.

          5 votes
    3. [4]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I think instead of “what games are you playing” it would be nice to have a topic per game? Here is a previous discussion I started about long-running topics. It seems like it would need to be more...

      I think instead of “what games are you playing” it would be nice to have a topic per game? Here is a previous discussion I started about long-running topics.

      It seems like it would need to be more natural to search for an old topic and revive it.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        Right, that would be leaning far more into the megathreads concept, and if a particular game's topic became consistently active that would be a strong signal that it could support a dedicated...

        Right, that would be leaning far more into the megathreads concept, and if a particular game's topic became consistently active that would be a strong signal that it could support a dedicated sub-group. That's exactly the kind of case I think makes it an interesting possibility, but I think we'd need better ways to both find and avoid megathreads, depending on whether the user is interested in particular games or not.

        3 votes
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          It seems like having old topics reappear when there is activity would work, maybe with a different subtitle about what’s new? This would be a little like the “second wind” on Hacker News. The...

          It seems like having old topics reappear when there is activity would work, maybe with a different subtitle about what’s new? This would be a little like the “second wind” on Hacker News.

          The “ignore topic” action would work pretty well for getting rid of a topic you’re not interested in, and there would be more reason to use it if the topic keeps coming back.

          3 votes
        2. NaraVara
          Link Parent
          I think signals on when to make a sub-group might be easier to come up with than signals on when to prune (i.e. archive) them. Especially the case if there's a kind of seasonality or ebb and flow...

          I think signals on when to make a sub-group might be easier to come up with than signals on when to prune (i.e. archive) them. Especially the case if there's a kind of seasonality or ebb and flow to it, as would be the case with something like DOTA.

          2 votes
  17. NaraVara
    Link
    Maybe it would be possible to still allow people to sub to a master group that acts as a sort of "best of" of all the groups. This way even if you're not opted into certain groups you still get a...

    First of all, I think it may be time to switch away from the current "opt-out" setup for groups (where you see everything by default) into an "opt-in" one where you have to specifically choose what you're interested in. This is something I've always planned to do eventually, because I think "forcing" everyone to see things that they're not especially interested in is both harmful to quality and causes a lot of strife. Switching will absolutely have some downsides too though, including that the activity in the more-niche groups will probably drop even more.

    Maybe it would be possible to still allow people to sub to a master group that acts as a sort of "best of" of all the groups. This way even if you're not opted into certain groups you still get a glimpse of what they have to offer. It wouldn't be dissimilar to /r/All is in Reddit I guess, but it would just allow a general sense for what's happening outside your subscribed pages.

    There's a lot of ways it could be set up. Either selecting the most active and least active X threads in a group. The idea behind least active is that it continues to bring more diverse tastes into the group instead of letting it run a self-selection feedback loop.

    4 votes
  18. tomf
    Link
    I mentioned this ages ago, but I figured that tildes would break down by tags. e.g. So you could post to hobbies with the tag woodworking and then go to ~hobbies.woodworking to see all of these...

    I mentioned this ages ago, but I figured that tildes would break down by tags. e.g. So you could post to hobbies with the tag woodworking and then go to ~hobbies.woodworking to see all of these items or, in the context of this thread, add it to the ignore list.

    In the case of music, an initial tag of daily or something could easily be filtered off while those who want that specific content could go to ~music.daily

    I think the early iteration of facebook had an option to decide how much of x content would be shown. e.g.

    music      -o---
    news       --o--
    hobbies    o----
    tv         ---o-
    

    this most likely opens a whole other can of worms, though.

    Overall, like you said with /r/games, groups need someone to populate it at first to get it going -- and good on the folks who have been doing that. This is a very natural part of growth.

    4 votes
  19. [6]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    I've already lodged an opinion on the default experience, but the rest comes down to finding ways to better engage users better. @skybrian pointed me to this thread after a comment in ~music. I...

    I've already lodged an opinion on the default experience, but the rest comes down to finding ways to better engage users better. @skybrian pointed me to this thread after a comment in ~music.

    I think a hybrid link/comment post type would be great, as opposed to Reddit's link or text posts that are a holdover from .self posts. While I can't offer code, I think being a new site with some new ideas, this would be an interesting innovation. The ~music thing had the potential to be annoying because it was just link dumps, which can be done in a daily or weekly thread, like the "What are you playing/reading/creating/listening to" threads that exist in different groups. A weekly music exchange would be great.

    With this new format, you would have the ability to drop a link and offer an opinion about it, or point to important bits, or just frame questions against the content. I don't know how it could look, but I'm thinking you get the title with the link on the front page, like a standard Reddit-style link thread. Click it, you get to the thread, with the link title and a click-through and poster's description/explanation/discussion of the topic beneath. Then the user can click through, read the topic, and engage in discussion in the thread. Maybe

    TITLE

    link

    Discussion points

    From this, it could potentially sidestep the recent ~music issue, for example, combined with music suggestion/dump megathreads. "Here's <song> by <band>" with a body explaining why you think the song is remarkable or significant. You could link to an episode of a show, or a book in a marketplace, and kickstart these sorts of discussion in a way that isn't yet another bodge where you post a comment and crank out the first comment in the thread. I don't post often, here or on Reddit, but when I do, I try to get a comment in that explains the post a bit anyway.

    4 votes
    1. [5]
      Cycloneblaze
      Link Parent
      It always did annoy me that you can't post a link to something on reddit and also offer commentary as with a text post, only in a comment. Imo it makes sense that you should be able to do so,...

      I think a hybrid link/comment post type would be great, as opposed to Reddit's link or text posts that are a holdover from .self posts.

      It always did annoy me that you can't post a link to something on reddit and also offer commentary as with a text post, only in a comment. Imo it makes sense that you should be able to do so, since you want to present the link and your thoughts on it content together as one post, for others to add comment to.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        Good_Apollo
        Link Parent
        I know! I rarely hear anybody talk about how annoying that is. You have to make a title and add an awkward “:see comment” to get your gist across.

        I know! I rarely hear anybody talk about how annoying that is. You have to make a title and add an awkward “:see comment” to get your gist across.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          Amarok
          Link Parent
          The biggest issue there is one could put up a long, poor quality political rant stuck right on a news story, for example. That's simply inevitable and the larger a site gets, the worse that will...

          The biggest issue there is one could put up a long, poor quality political rant stuck right on a news story, for example. That's simply inevitable and the larger a site gets, the worse that will get with it. Forcing it into the comments allows it to be voted on independently of the story.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            hungariantoast
            Link Parent
            Yeah, when submitting a story, Lobsters lists this among their rules for posting: So maybe, if hybrid topics were to be implemented, it might be best to treat them as a privileged feature than can...

            Yeah, when submitting a story, Lobsters lists this among their rules for posting:

            When submitting a URL, the text field is optional and should only be used when additional context or explanation of the URL is needed. Commentary or opinion should be reserved for a comment, so that it can be voted on separately from the story.

            So maybe, if hybrid topics were to be implemented, it might be best to treat them as a privileged feature than can be enabled or disabled for a user as needed?

            4 votes
            1. Amarok
              Link Parent
              That might even be a good candidate for a group specific setting. There are areas like politics and religion that bring out bad behaviors like this, but you'll rarely see the same thing in science...

              That might even be a good candidate for a group specific setting. There are areas like politics and religion that bring out bad behaviors like this, but you'll rarely see the same thing in science or music groups. Probably also a good candidate for a lowish age or activity threshold to access as well. Put those two limits on it and I bet it'll be less of a problem, and we can turn it off in places where it becomes one.

              5 votes
  20. moocow1452
    Link
    I concur with the idea of having tags be the primary sorting method of the website and saving the nested stuff mostly for navigation. Also if we're making filters more a part of the site, should...

    I concur with the idea of having tags be the primary sorting method of the website and saving the nested stuff mostly for navigation. Also if we're making filters more a part of the site, should we have a vote floor that you can see submissions from a tag or a ~group only after a set number of votes or an average, to let you know that this is pretty important as opposed to being flooded with the newest and latest.

    3 votes
  21. DanBC
    Link
    Excessive gatekeeping by non-mod users stopped me contributing anything. That one time you described a submission as low effort, even though it generated useful discussion (and, at the time, it...

    One of the most common complaints about Tildes is that there isn't much content overall,

    Excessive gatekeeping by non-mod users stopped me contributing anything. That one time you described a submission as low effort, even though it generated useful discussion (and, at the time, it was one of the most discussed links in that group) didn't help.

    2 votes
  22. [7]
    Good_Apollo
    Link
    I think it’s best we don’t let the site devolve into a bunch of little niche echo chamber communities like Reddit.

    I think it’s best we don’t let the site devolve into a bunch of little niche echo chamber communities like Reddit.

    4 votes
    1. knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      The way to avoid that would be to avoid hyper-granular groups, and consensus-based addition of groups that require approval and community justification. Reddit's major problem is if I want to...

      The way to avoid that would be to avoid hyper-granular groups, and consensus-based addition of groups that require approval and community justification. Reddit's major problem is if I want to subscribe to a subreddit about drinking water, I can. If I decide they aren't extreme enough about the coolness of their water, I can start /r/icedwater. When they feel iced water is too warm, I could run off and start /r/trueicedwater, and the cycle continues until you reach a character limit. Each chamber more echo-y than the last.

      There's also the disturbing trend of cyclic behavior modification in these systems that even seem to emerge when it's only people at the wheel. Groups suggesting one product to do a thing, as if there is no other tool for the job, or the One True Way of doing things.

      6 votes
    2. [5]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      I'm with you on this one!

      I'm with you on this one!

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        Reddit's silo effect is the worst. It guarantees busy groups suck just based on the quantity of submissions (/r/music's 1000+ a day for example) and good quality smaller ones starve, then pens...

        Reddit's silo effect is the worst. It guarantees busy groups suck just based on the quantity of submissions (/r/music's 1000+ a day for example) and good quality smaller ones starve, then pens everyone in like cattle to a single community and encourages tribal behaviors with its mechanics. That's a pretty miserable way to run a website, in hindsight. I can't bee that hard on them though - when reddit was new, nobody was thinking like this. They had to make the mistakes so we could learn from them.

        8 votes
        1. [3]
          Good_Apollo
          Link Parent
          Right now what’s neat (and better IMO) about Tilde is the site feels like one community with categorized posts versus Reddit that feels like a thousand communities forced to live with each other....

          Right now what’s neat (and better IMO) about Tilde is the site feels like one community with categorized posts versus Reddit that feels like a thousand communities forced to live with each other.

          I hope it stays that way but I do worry that this may only be a side effect of Tilde’s size and not a design philosophy.

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            Amarok
            Link Parent
            I agree. Some level of fragmentation is inevitable as it grows, but I think resisting that as a default stance is probably the way to go. I'm thinking that the individual hierarchies might end up...

            I agree. Some level of fragmentation is inevitable as it grows, but I think resisting that as a default stance is probably the way to go. I'm thinking that the individual hierarchies might end up being the different communities in the long run. I want submissions to have to fight to get up to the root group, collect enough votes/weight/exemplars to make the climb up from below. It only works if it takes quality rather than quantity to make the climb, like we see on reddit. That's what makes the difference between defaults on reddit (garbage) and the roots on Tildes (quality). If it works. This all depends on mechanics that don't exist outside of theorycrafting yet.

            4 votes
            1. Atvelonis
              Link Parent
              I'll counter that with a suggestion that most of what it makes it to the top of Reddit is not actually of exceptional quality, rather of sufficient quality as to not be disregarded immediately,...

              I'll counter that with a suggestion that most of what it makes it to the top of Reddit is not actually of exceptional quality, rather of sufficient quality as to not be disregarded immediately, and in enough proximity to the basic interests of a large number of people as to receive quick recognition. This is why /r/AskHistorians' topic threads, as interesting as they can be, consistently ask about the Roman Empire and not the Mali (the case studies are of limited import; it's a trend). And actually I see this on Tildes too: already I can predict what the top comment will be on a political thread, not because it's of high quality (it often is not), but because it's something that people can upvote easily. Really what should be considered "high-quality" is that which breaks from the typical, not that which adheres to our expectations of literal, stylistic quality but makes no real attempt to challenge our current modes of thought. Perhaps this is a radical opinion, but I don't think that any userbase can be explicitly trusted to provide an egalitarian soapbox for all manners of content, and needs structural or maybe active (moderational) processes surrounding content to avoid turning into a boring echo chamber.

              8 votes