58 votes

A general introduction to tildes

Lots of new folks seem to be coming in these past days, so I wanted to make a post that compiles some useful things to know, commonly asked questions, and a general idea of tildes history (short though it may be). Please keep in mind that tildes is still in Alpha, and many features that are usually present such as repost detection haven't been implemented yet.

Settings

First of all, check out the settings page if you haven't yet. It's located in your user profile, on the right sidebar. There are different themes available, the account default is the 'white' theme, which you can change. I recommend setting up account recovery in case you forget your password, and toggle marking new comments to highlight new comments in a thread. There are more features available but you should go look in the settings yourself.

Posting

You can post a topic by navigating to a group and clicking on the button in the right sidebar. Tildes uses markdown, if you are not familiar with it check the text formatting doc page. Please tag your post so it is easier for other people to find, and check out the topic tagging guidelines. Some posts have a topic log in the sidebar that shows what changes were done to the post since it was posted. You can see an example here. Some people have the ability to add tags to posts, edit titles, and move posts to different groups. They were given the ability by Deimos, see this post.

Topic Tags

You can find all posts with the same tag by clicking on a tag on a post, which will take you to an url like https://tildes.net/?tag=ask, where ask is the tag you clicked on. Replace ask with whatever tag you want to search for. You can also filter tags within a group like this: https://tildes.net/~tildes?tag=discussion, and it will only show you posts within that group. Clicking on a tag while you are in a group achieves the same effect.

You can also filter out posts with specific tags by going to your settings and defining topic tag filters.

Comment Tags

Comment tags are a feature that was present in the early days of tildes, but was removed because of abuse. There were five tags you can tag on someone else's comment: joke, noise, offtopic, troll, flame. The tags have no effect on sorting or other systematic features; they were only used to inform the user on the nature of a comment. The tags would show up along with the number of people who applied them, like this: [Troll] x3, [Noise] x5

People used these tags as a downvote against comments they disliked, and because the tags appeared at the top of a comment in bright colors, they often would bias the user before they read the comment. The abuse culminated in the first person banned on the website, and the comment tags were disabled for tweaking.

As of September 07, 2018, the comment tags have been re-enabled and are experimented with. Any account over a week old will have access to this ability. The tagging button is located on the centre bottom of a comment. You cannot tag your own comment. Here are the comment tagging guidelines from the docs.

Currently, the tags are: exemplary, joke, offtopic, noise, malice. The exemplary tag can only be applied once every 8 hours, and requires you to write an anonymous message to the author thanking them for their comment. Similarly, applying the malice tag requires a message explaining why the comment is malicious. The tags have different effects on the comments, which you can read about here, and here.

Search

The search function is fairly primitive right now. It only includes the title and text of posts and their topic tags.

Default sorting

The current default sorting is activity, last 3 days in the main page, activity, all time in individual groups. Activity sort bumps a post up whenever someone replies to it. 'Last 3 days' mean that only posts posted in the past 3 days will be shown. You can change your default sort by choosing a different sort method and/or time period, and clicking the 'set as default' button that will appear on the right.

Bookmarks

You can bookmark posts and comments. The "bookmark" button is on the bottom of posts and comments. Your bookmarked posts can be viewed through the bookmark page in your user profile sidebar. Note: to unbookmark a post, you have to refresh first.

Extensions

@Emerald_Knight has compiled a list of user created extensions and CSS themes here: https://gitlab.com/Emerald_Knight/awesome-tildes

In particular, I found the browser extension Tildes Extended by @crius and @Bauke very useful. It has nifty features like jumping to new comments, markdown preview and user tagging.

Tildes Development

Tildes is open source and if you want to contribute to tildes development, this is what you should read: https://gitlab.com/tildes/tildes/blob/master/CONTRIBUTING.md

For those who can't code, you might still be interested in the issue boards on Gitlab. It contains known issues, features being worked on, and plans for the future. If you have a feature in mind that you want to suggest, try looking there first to see if others have thought of it already, or are working on it.


Tildes' Design and Mechanics

In other words, how is it going to be different from reddit? Below are some summaries of future mechanics and inspiration for tildes' design. Note: most of the mechanics have not been implemented and are subject to change and debate.

  1. Tildes will not have conventional moderators. Instead, the moderation duties will be spread to thousands of users by the trust system. [Trust people, but punish abusers]. More info on how it works and why it is designed that way:

  2. Instead of subreddits, there are groups, a homage to Usenet. Groups will be organized hierarchically, the first and only subgroup right now is ~tildes.official. Groups will never be created by a single user, instead, they will be created based on group interest [citation needed]. For example, if a major portion of ~games consists of DnD posts and they are drowning out all the other topics, a ~games.dnd subgroup would be created - either by petition, algorithm, or both[citation needed] - to contain the posts, and those who don't like DnD can unsubscribe from ~games.dnd. There is currently no way to filter out a subgroup from the main group.

  3. Tildes is very privacy oriented. See: Haunted by data


Tildes History/Commonly answered questions

I recommend you check out this past introduction post by @Amarok before anything else, it's a bit outdated but contains many interesting discussions and notable events that have happened on tildes. @Bauke also tracks noteworthy events each month on his website https://til.bauke.xyz/. Also see the FAQ in the docs. Other than that, the best way for you to get an idea of how tildes changed over time is to go to ~tildes.official and look at all the past daily discussions.

Below are some scattered links that I found interesting, informative, or important:


If anyone thinks of a link that should be included here, post a comment with the link and I'll edit it in.

Markdown source for this post: https://pastebin.com/Kbbh7pYU (outdated, and probably will not be updated unless someone explicitly asks for it)

To the rest: have fun!

34 comments

  1. [11]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [10]
      Batcow Link Parent
      While I agree that Tildes is not Reddit and won't (and shouldn't) become Reddit, I think the comparison is useful. When I'm trying to talk to Redditors about Tildes and give them a quick...

      While I agree that Tildes is not Reddit and won't (and shouldn't) become Reddit, I think the comparison is useful. When I'm trying to talk to Redditors about Tildes and give them a quick explanation, "Reddit but not shit" is a pretty helpful starting point. It's also a helpful benchmark when talking/thinking about what's good or bad about Tildes. Obviously Tildes is its own thing and will continue growing into a unique community, but acting like Tildes has no ties or inspiration from Reddit comes off as a smidge disingenuous to me.

      15 votes
      1. [5]
        EscReality Link Parent
        Asking people not to compare it to Reddit is just silly. Our founder is an ex Reddit developer and the site is the oldest active and populated discussion based website in existence (other than...

        Asking people not to compare it to Reddit is just silly.

        Our founder is an ex Reddit developer and the site is the oldest active and populated discussion based website in existence (other than 4chan). Not to mention a large part of our user base is migrating here from Reddit. A lot of our future user base will also come from Reddit.

        If anything we should be comparing Tildes to Reddit (and of course 4chan, HackerNews, Voat, Digg, Slashdot, ect ect). There is a lot Reddit did do well (originally) and there is a lot they messed up over the years, as they got more and more greedy. Understanding all of these are important to our future and the success of our community.

        We should learn from their failures and emulate their successes.

        17 votes
        1. Amarok Link Parent
          Tildes is basically 'things we wish reddit would do' over the years - all the lessons learned, every embarrassingly massive theoryofreddit meta-discussion and forgotten ideasfortheadmins post. It...

          Tildes is basically 'things we wish reddit would do' over the years - all the lessons learned, every embarrassingly massive theoryofreddit meta-discussion and forgotten ideasfortheadmins post. It simply couldn't exist if reddit hadn't been there first and fucked up so spectacularly. I don't think given that heritage of ideas that we can avoid the reddit comparisons.

          15 votes
        2. [3]
          vakieh Link Parent
          This is only true if you take a particularly meaningless threshold for what 'active' and 'populated' mean - there are plenty of older websites well and truly still kicking. Usenet holds the record...

          the site is the oldest active and populated discussion based website in existence

          This is only true if you take a particularly meaningless threshold for what 'active' and 'populated' mean - there are plenty of older websites well and truly still kicking. Usenet holds the record by a wide margin, but bodybuilding.com, somethingawful, fark, hell even Stormfront well and truly outdate Reddit and maintain a highly active userbase. Where Reddit is different is in the sheer numbers involved, which have not been seen by any other forum, due in large part to the massive increase in internet access and social use normalisation during the 00s and 10s.

          This distinction is important for Tildes, because it shows that you don't need many millions of users to be 'successful'. You can be a vibrant, active, useful forum for decades while maintaining a smaller, more focused userbase.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            EscReality Link Parent
            We have very different definitions of active and populated.

            We have very different definitions of active and populated.

            1 vote
            1. vakieh Link Parent
              By Reddit's standards it is the only active and populated forum. The only sites that come close are social networks like Facebook. Everyone will have different standards.

              By Reddit's standards it is the only active and populated forum. The only sites that come close are social networks like Facebook. Everyone will have different standards.

              3 votes
      2. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        There's a difference between comparing Tildes to Reddit and expecting Tildes to be Reddit. Because of this comparison, a lot of people come here expecting this site to be just like that other...

        While I agree that Tildes is not Reddit and won't (and shouldn't) become Reddit, I think the comparison is useful.

        There's a difference between comparing Tildes to Reddit and expecting Tildes to be Reddit. Because of this comparison, a lot of people come here expecting this site to be just like that other site.

        In actuality, I find Tildes (as it's planned) to be a hybrid of Reddit and StackExchange, both of which I've used: the front-end of posting and commenting operates like Reddit, but the proposed back-end of moderating and administration will operate like StackExchange. Of course there's more nuance and detail to Tildes than that, but those broad comparisons work for me.

        So, telling someone that Tildes is "Reddit but not shit" is drastically under-stating the differences, and unrealistically raising certain expectations which just won't be met - as, for example. we see every time someone asks "Why can't users create their own groups here?"

        Tildes is much more than just "Reddit but not shit". I think "Tildes is not Reddit" is a valid thing to say.

        8 votes
        1. Batcow Link Parent
          Like I said, I agree that "Tildes is not Reddit", I just think the comparison is a useful jumping off point. Obviously after establishing that there's a similarity, I go on to talk about the...

          Like I said, I agree that "Tildes is not Reddit", I just think the comparison is a useful jumping off point. Obviously after establishing that there's a similarity, I go on to talk about the differences, and I'm always sure to link the blog so that people can do more reading for themselves. I just don't think there's any harm in starting with the comparison, and acknowledging it when relevant.

          3 votes
      3. [2]
        spit-evil-olive-tips Link Parent
        In software design there's the notion that you should separate mechanism from policy. I think that's a good way to think about the difference. The mechanisms are broadly similar between the two...

        In software design there's the notion that you should separate mechanism from policy.

        I think that's a good way to think about the difference. The mechanisms are broadly similar between the two sites - submit a link or text post, vote on it, comment on it, vote on comments, etc. However the policies on Tildes and Reddit will be very different.

        Another way to explain it to new users might be that differences between Tildes and Reddit aren't necessarily missing features, many of them are deliberate design decisions.

        6 votes
        1. Algernon_Asimov (edited ) Link Parent
          That's only a subset of the mechanisms that Tildes will have: the "front-end" mechanisms that users will interact with every day. Meanwhile, the planned mechanisms for moderation and...

          The mechanisms are broadly similar between the two sites - submit a link or text post, vote on it, comment on it, vote on comments, etc.

          That's only a subset of the mechanisms that Tildes will have: the "front-end" mechanisms that users will interact with every day. Meanwhile, the planned mechanisms for moderation and administration (the "back-end") are going to be very different on Tildes to Reddit. To my mind, the back-end of Tildes will operate a lot like StackExchange; I've used StackExchange in the past, and what Deimos and his offsiders are proposing for moderation mechanisms here sounds a lot like the moderation mechanisms on StackExchange.

          7 votes
  2. [4]
    starchturrets Link
    The comment box being at the bottom is a deliberate design choice. Since Tildes is still Alpha, many features, such as search or repost detection haven't been implemented yet.
    • The comment box being at the bottom is a deliberate design choice.

    • Since Tildes is still Alpha, many features, such as search or repost detection haven't been implemented yet.

    12 votes
    1. [3]
      Cirrus Link Parent
      Would you mind giving me a link that talks about the alpha?

      Would you mind giving me a link that talks about the alpha?

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        starchturrets Link Parent
        Talks about the alpha?

        Talks about the alpha?

        2 votes
        1. Cirrus Link Parent
          Sorry for the bad wording, I'm trying to give a source to every claim. I found the link I'm looking for, no worries.

          Sorry for the bad wording, I'm trying to give a source to every claim. I found the link I'm looking for, no worries.

          5 votes
  3. [17]
    Whom (edited ) Link
    Thanks for including the regular stuff over on ~music :) Maybe it would be worth mentioning something about the removal of the comment tagging functionality? I feel like that's come up enough...

    Thanks for including the regular stuff over on ~music :)

    Maybe it would be worth mentioning something about the removal of the comment tagging functionality? I feel like that's come up enough times to be worth including.

    I think maybe something describing the current state of meta conversations might be worth putting in as well. There seems to be a bit of a fatigue for the active users over this and conversations about elitism happen frequently. Maybe these could be more efficient and break new ground if we make more new users aware that this is already a conversation happening in the first place.

    10 votes
    1. Catt Link Parent
      Including the just relax post might be nice too.

      Including the just relax post might be nice too.

      10 votes
    2. [15]
      Cirrus Link Parent
      On your point about the current state of meta-conversations, I'm not sure what to do other than link to past discussions and hope they get visibility. New people come in and they're excited about...

      On your point about the current state of meta-conversations, I'm not sure what to do other than link to past discussions and hope they get visibility. New people come in and they're excited about tildes, some will dig into older posts, and some will post straight away. It seems like a regular part of user waves.

      2 votes
      1. [14]
        Whom Link Parent
        Oh, I didn't mean that we should be trying to kill them off or anything. Just linking to a past discussion on how we argue about "high quality content" all the time might be a good idea. I guess...

        Oh, I didn't mean that we should be trying to kill them off or anything. Just linking to a past discussion on how we argue about "high quality content" all the time might be a good idea.

        I guess I'm looking at this as more of a "what is going on here already" type thing than a simple introduction, mostly because of the history section, and I think the attempts to define what high quality content is have been a major part of what we've done here. Of course, this is your baby and you should take it where you want.

        4 votes
        1. [13]
          Cirrus Link Parent
          I'm viewing this as more of a wiki, so I'm open to suggestions. I added the just relax post.

          I'm viewing this as more of a wiki, so I'm open to suggestions. I added the just relax post.

          3 votes
          1. [12]
            Whom Link Parent
            Ever think about doing, like, a straight-up wiki? I remember it being mentioned once a long time ago but I have no idea where it'd be. It seems like the userbase we have now would be plenty active...

            Ever think about doing, like, a straight-up wiki? I remember it being mentioned once a long time ago but I have no idea where it'd be.

            It seems like the userbase we have now would be plenty active in maintaining that, myself included.

            3 votes
            1. Amarok Link Parent
              Wiki integration is planned, but as to when it'll happen, that's up in the air. I'm also thinking we need to be able to shortlink to $wikipages like we do with @usernames and ~groups. It should...

              Wiki integration is planned, but as to when it'll happen, that's up in the air. I'm also thinking we need to be able to shortlink to $wikipages like we do with @usernames and ~groups. It should save a hell of a lot of time and let groups build up a nice big public record for themselves.

              5 votes
            2. [2]
              Cirrus Link Parent
              I am for that idea. @Deimos would need to code it first though, and seeing how busy he is, it might get put to the back burner.

              I am for that idea. @Deimos would need to code it first though, and seeing how busy he is, it might get put to the back burner.

              4 votes
              1. Deimos Link Parent
                I'd definitely like to have a proper wiki system eventually so that different groups can have their own information/resources. For the moment though, something like this seems like it'd be pretty...

                I'd definitely like to have a proper wiki system eventually so that different groups can have their own information/resources. For the moment though, something like this seems like it'd be pretty reasonable to be a page on the Docs site? It's not a wiki, but to make any changes you'd just have to make a merge request on the repository. It's more process, but not really that onerous.

                (Thanks for writing this up, by the way)

                6 votes
            3. [9]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. [8]
                Whom Link Parent
                Seems like a good idea to me. Site integration is cool and a solid goal, but I don't think waiting for it should get in the way of doing things to make the community better. This could also...

                Seems like a good idea to me. Site integration is cool and a solid goal, but I don't think waiting for it should get in the way of doing things to make the community better. This could also possibly lead to some community resources, which I think are pretty important to a site like this.

                3 votes
                1. [8]
                  Comment deleted by author
                  Link Parent
                  1. [6]
                    Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                    Oooh... a wiki! I like wikis! I became quite expert at wikis over on Reddit (I created/revised/maintained FAQ-type wikis for three different subreddits in my time). But aren't you just duplicating...

                    Oooh... a wiki! I like wikis! I became quite expert at wikis over on Reddit (I created/revised/maintained FAQ-type wikis for three different subreddits in my time).

                    But aren't you just duplicating what already exists? I learned during my time working in IT that duplication always leads to problems: one copy gets updated, the other copy doesn't, and suddenly people don't know what's what.

                    1 vote
                    1. [6]
                      Comment deleted by author
                      Link Parent
                      1. [5]
                        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                        We already have the documentation. One of Deimos' helpers (cfabbro, I think?) is currently working on updating this documentation to include more material, to reflect Tildes' changes since the...

                        We already have the documentation. One of Deimos' helpers (cfabbro, I think?) is currently working on updating this documentation to include more material, to reflect Tildes' changes since the documentation was first written.

                        I feel like your wiki is duplicating this official documentation.

                        Don't get me wrong - I would much prefer a wiki to the GitLab-based system Deimos is currently using. My fingers have been itching to write an FAQ-type page for Tildes, but that GitLab system is just a huge barrier for me as a non-developer. But I'm still wary of potential duplication.

                        3 votes
                        1. [2]
                          Comment deleted by author
                          Link Parent
                          1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                            Ah. Okay. Don't mind me. I'll just... go away now...

                            Ah. Okay. Don't mind me. I'll just... go away now...

                            2 votes
                        2. [3]
                          Comment deleted by author
                          Link Parent
                          1. [2]
                            Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                            If cfabbro's updates are good enough (and I see no reason to think they wouldn't be), there shouldn't be a need for an FAQ/help page. That's one reason I haven't pushed for it: because I know...

                            If cfabbro's updates are good enough (and I see no reason to think they wouldn't be), there shouldn't be a need for an FAQ/help page. That's one reason I haven't pushed for it: because I know cfabbro's already doing it. Another reason is the technical hurdle of not knowing how to get text from my computer into GitLab, and not wanting to hassle other people just because I feel like writing an FAQ/help page.

                            2 votes
                        3. super_james Link Parent
                          If you want to contribute to docs I'm happy to either apply your changes for you (you can just e-mail them to me) or else talk you through getting set up with gitlab & git on whatever OS you're...

                          If you want to contribute to docs I'm happy to either apply your changes for you (you can just e-mail them to me) or else talk you through getting set up with gitlab & git on whatever OS you're using.

                          I'll drop you a DM with my e-mail.

                          1 vote
                  2. Whom Link Parent
                    Oh, awesome! I'll have to familiarize myself with DokuWiki, but I would appreciate that. I'm on there with this same name, if that's all you need.

                    Oh, awesome! I'll have to familiarize myself with DokuWiki, but I would appreciate that. I'm on there with this same name, if that's all you need.

                    1 vote
  4. Amarok Link
    If I may, I think linking to Shirky's 'group enemy' and to the game of trust is a good idea. Those will help people to think better about online forums. They are a cornerstone of sorts for what...

    If I may, I think linking to Shirky's 'group enemy' and to the game of trust is a good idea. Those will help people to think better about online forums. They are a cornerstone of sorts for what Tildes is trying to become, making the issues of social forum governance easier for everyone to wrap their heads around.

    Thanks for making this roundup, I'll be including it in the PMs to new invitees from now on. <3

    4 votes
  5. [2]
    qbee Link
    The account recovery mechanism is really neat! Only the has of my email address is saved, more sites should do it like that.

    The account recovery mechanism is really neat!

    Only the has of my email address is saved, more sites should do it like that.

    4 votes
    1. Eugene Link Parent
      I was so impressed when I set up account recovery and read the privacy policy (I have never done that before, but this one was so short and simple). Tildes is definitely earning my respect.

      I was so impressed when I set up account recovery and read the privacy policy (I have never done that before, but this one was so short and simple). Tildes is definitely earning my respect.

      3 votes