21 votes

Proposal: tag own comments as offtopic, joke or noise?

Sometimes one may knowingly add a comment that should be tagged as one of those, and sometimes I see people say (me included) things like "BTW this should be tagged <as such>." Maybe allowing a user to tag their own comment proactively with these three tags would be useful?

Edit: My main focus is the offtopic tag because I think that it's not necessarily bad or low-quality. Partially off-topic content can be very interesting and useful. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the use of that tag, was it intended for completely off-topic stuff in the first place?

Edit 2: I've opened an issue on Tildes Gitlab for this.

26 comments

  1. [19]
    emdash
    Link
    I'd argue many of the comments that would fall under this proposal shouldn't be made in the first place, if Tildes is to satisfy one of its core tenets laid out in Deimos' vision for the project:...

    I'd argue many of the comments that would fall under this proposal shouldn't be made in the first place, if Tildes is to satisfy one of its core tenets laid out in Deimos' vision for the project:

    Tildes prioritizes quality content and discussion through its mechanics, design, and organization. Fixation on growth and related metrics results in a bias towards high-appeal, low-depth content like funny images, gifs, and memes.

    It's very, very hard to find good places with high quality online discussion where one doesn't have to manually sift though noise to find signals. Is it unreasonable to ask for just, one—one—location on the internet where high quality intent is a given?

    15 votes
    1. [6]
      Whom
      Link Parent
      You wouldn't be manually sifting through them, comments having labels changes where they are on the page in the default comment sort. There's also things in each of the labels (besides maybe...

      You wouldn't be manually sifting through them, comments having labels changes where they are on the page in the default comment sort.

      There's also things in each of the labels (besides maybe "Malice") that are okay to be there but shouldn't be super visible. Think "thank you" comments and such that are certainly noise, but are still worth keeping around just for the sake of keeping this from being too cold and dry of a place to be.

      10 votes
      1. [5]
        emdash
        Link Parent
        Now I may be understanding incorrectly, but wasn't the goal of comment labels not so much as to allow for low-quality discussions, but to avoid them in the first place by specifically allowing us...

        Now I may be understanding incorrectly, but wasn't the goal of comment labels not so much as to allow for low-quality discussions, but to avoid them in the first place by specifically allowing us to reduce the visibility of comments which have negative aspects to them?

        This proposal seems to be indicating that comment labels could be used to encourage discussion that is exactly what is attempting to be discouraged in the Tildes site goals.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Whom
          Link Parent
          I think you're assuming that emphasizing high quality content / de-emphasizing low quality content is the same thing as explicitly disallowing the low quality stuff, which is a bit of a jump. If...

          I think you're assuming that emphasizing high quality content / de-emphasizing low quality content is the same thing as explicitly disallowing the low quality stuff, which is a bit of a jump.

          If these things were to be treated as not belonging on the site in any form, why do they just have an effect on sorting, instead of all being direct reports?

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            emdash
            Link Parent
            I was under the impression that in some effect the labelling can—depending on which label is applied—act as a form of "soft discouragement" on those style of posts; rather than merely grouping...

            I was under the impression that in some effect the labelling can—depending on which label is applied—act as a form of "soft discouragement" on those style of posts; rather than merely grouping them into different bins of "funny", "noise", "malice", etc.

            Not as harsh as a direct removal, but guiding a user to invest more time into creating high quality commentary that contributes to discussion; which would act in tandem with the "High Quality" points Deimos mentions in the docs.

            1 vote
            1. Whom
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I fail to see how self-labeling would remove that soft discouragement, if it has the same effects. The default comment you make shouldn't be noise, off-topic, or a joke...but all of those things...

              I fail to see how self-labeling would remove that soft discouragement, if it has the same effects. The default comment you make shouldn't be noise, off-topic, or a joke...but all of those things have their place, in some way. Off-topic is the most obvious, sometimes tangents can be super interesting. Noise can be simple pleasantries like "thank you" or saying "okay, I get it now". They aren't contributing much directly, but they keep things from being too robotic, can close conversations without weird open-endedness, etc. Jokes are a little harder to determine and I'm not sure where that line will or should be drawn, but I think most users would agree that humor can still exist on the site.

              But again, I don't see how self-labeling disrupts that. It just adds another potential user to push it down the page.

              5 votes
    2. [9]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I’d argue that “funny images and memes” can be a form of high-quality content and, by entirely excluding such content, Tildes distances itself from the rest of the internet's culture and risks...

      I’d argue that “funny images and memes” can be a form of high-quality content and, by entirely excluding such content, Tildes distances itself from the rest of the internet's culture and risks irrelevance. It’s a form of logocentrism that comes off as an elitist reaction to Reddit rather than an attempt to conceive an awesome community from scratch.

      6 votes
      1. [6]
        Deimos
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It's not really a reaction to reddit (other than reddit being an especially good demonstration of what that type of content does to communities). I started /r/Games on reddit 7 years ago with the...

        It's not really a reaction to reddit (other than reddit being an especially good demonstration of what that type of content does to communities). I started /r/Games on reddit 7 years ago with the same sort of focus—informative and interesting content and discussions, not "quick entertainment".

        There's no reason that it needs to be encouraged on Tildes. If you want that type of content, you can easily find it on other sites. There are tons of them completely dominated by it, and they'll do a better job of it than Tildes will, because I have no intention of ever implementing things like image-uploading, embedded images, autoplaying gifs, etc.

        13 votes
        1. [5]
          mrbig
          Link Parent
          I have no intention to use another site, I like it here! I do disagree with that stance, though. I’m planning to write a long post about this and other stuff.

          I have no intention to use another site, I like it here! I do disagree with that stance, though. I’m planning to write a long post about this and other stuff.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            In that case, please make sure to read the old topics about "Fluff" because the general consensus so far has been that fluff content (memes, gifs, cat pics, etc) should be disallowed, and...
            • Exemplary

            In that case, please make sure to read the old topics about "Fluff" because the general consensus so far has been that fluff content (memes, gifs, cat pics, etc) should be disallowed, and rehashing the same points over and over again can get a bit tiring. I wouldn't be opposed to hearing a fresh take on fluff if you have one though.

            ~tildes.official topics on fluff:
            Daily Tildes discussion - why should we allow (or not allow) fluff content?
            Daily Tildes discussion - quality concerns

            ~tildes topics on fluff:
            What's Wrong With Fluff?
            What groups and subgroups should we allow before there's too much fluff on Tildes?
            How do we ensure the site stays un-fluffy?

            10 votes
            1. mrbig
              Link Parent
              Will read, thanks!

              Will read, thanks!

              3 votes
          2. [2]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            I believe that Deimos' point was that, if you want content like "funny images and memes" you could use another site in addition to Tildes, not leave Tildes entirely. Just as you go to another site...

            I have no intention to use another site, I like it here!

            I believe that Deimos' point was that, if you want content like "funny images and memes" you could use another site in addition to Tildes, not leave Tildes entirely.

            Just as you go to another site for porn and you go to another site for buying games and you go to another site for banking, you would go to another site for memes - but still come to Tildes for in-depth discussions. Each website has its own niche, its own individual purpose, and its own specific content. No single site can be, or will be, everything to everyone.

            8 votes
            1. mrbig
              Link Parent
              Yes of course. I should stop answering people on mobile :/

              Yes of course. I should stop answering people on mobile :/

              2 votes
      2. [2]
        emdash
        Link Parent
        It's a strawman argument to say that the desire for a high quality community is somehow an "elitist reaction to Reddit", frankly. You can be in the former camp without somehow being an elitist...

        It's a strawman argument to say that the desire for a high quality community is somehow an "elitist reaction to Reddit", frankly. You can be in the former camp without somehow being an elitist snob, IMO.

        As far as "funny images and memes" being high or low quality; I guess we'll have to disagree—they trend low quality in a very large imbalance, as far as I see it. At the end of the day, I'm just interpreting the Tildes docs as written. If you're after a source of truth you'd have to ask Deimos if that's the intent of the site or not.

        3 votes
        1. mrbig
          Link Parent
          I don't think I was referring specifically to

          I don't think

          the desire for a high quality community is somehow an "elitist reaction to Reddit"

          I was referring specifically to

          "funny images and memes" being [considered] high or low quality

          2 votes
    3. [3]
      unknown user
      Link Parent
      A comment or a thread being slightly (or a bit more, but not totally) off-topic does not necessarily imply it being low quality, IMHO. In fact most of the time such interactions can be very...

      A comment or a thread being slightly (or a bit more, but not totally) off-topic does not necessarily imply it being low quality, IMHO. In fact most of the time such interactions can be very interesting reads and very productive or useful. I tend to agree for "noise" and "joke" because the former is probably inherently a negative thing and a comment that's merely a joke does not add much to a conversation (though not always, sometimes a witty one liner can be quite interesting or even eye-opening), but I did not want to leave them out of the discussion. But I don't think that off-topic content needs be necessarily or is essentially in conflict with the declaration you quote.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        emdash
        Link Parent
        For sure, that's why I said "many of the comments", and not "all" :). For example, I can't see how self-labelling a comment as a joke wouldn't be an example of the issue I'm describing; unless it...

        A comment or a thread being slightly (or a bit more, but not totally) off-topic does not necessarily imply it being low quality, IMHO.

        For sure, that's why I said "many of the comments", and not "all" :). For example, I can't see how self-labelling a comment as a joke wouldn't be an example of the issue I'm describing; unless it was somehow a very high quality joke, which—given how internet communities tend to trend—is rather unlikely. The same goes for self-labelling of "noise".

        Self-labelling as off-topic, now that's not such a bad idea, at least in my opinion. Does the type of label that applied provide any different UX/UI outcomes at this point, or is it still mathematical in nature?

        1. unknown user
          Link Parent
          fI don't know the actual implementation, but quoting from the mechanics page: (emphases mine) it seems to me that offtopic and joke weren't meant as inherently negative things in the first place....

          fI don't know the actual implementation, but quoting from the mechanics page:

          Comments can also be labeled, which is separate from voting (you can vote on a comment, or label it, or do both). Labels help to categorize comments and can have effects such as changing how the comments are sorted. Currently, there are 5 options for labeling comments: [...]

          Comment labels serve multiple purposes overall. Tildes has no downvoting, but some labels can effectively act as "downvote with a reason". Labels will also make it possible to support various methods of filtering comment threads, such as both "show this thread without jokes" and "show only jokes from this thread".

          Overall, voting on a comment should mean something like "this is a good comment and I think other people should read it", while labeling a comment adds more information. With the combination of both [voting and labeling], you can express things like "this is a good comment, even though it's off-topic", and "this is a joke, but it's a good one".

          (emphases mine) it seems to me that offtopic and joke weren't meant as inherently negative things in the first place. I think that a comment tagged offtopic (maybe joke too, with this context) but also voted up should not be collapsed but instead penalised in sorting (so the tag becomes a weighing factor, if the weight is negative, it is collapsed).

          5 votes
  2. [7]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I agree. I think there is a valid need to be able to label one's own comments as off-topic. I have actually gone to the lengths of logging into an alt account to be able to label my own comment as...

    Edit: My main focus is the offtopic tag

    I agree. I think there is a valid need to be able to label one's own comments as off-topic. I have actually gone to the lengths of logging into an alt account to be able to label my own comment as off-topic. This might be in a situation where one has a meta question/comment about the nature of a post, rather than engaging with the content of that post.

    As for jokes and noise comments, I don't think we should implicitly encourage these types of comments by letting people label these themselves.

    7 votes
    1. [4]
      unknown user
      Link Parent
      I definitely agree about noise, but I'm not so sure about jokes: I think I share the sentiment that they are not necessarily detrimental to the experience and the ideals of Tildes. But I should...

      As for jokes and noise comments, I don't think we should implicitly encourage these types of comments by letting people label these themselves.

      I definitely agree about noise, but I'm not so sure about jokes: I think I share the sentiment that they are not necessarily detrimental to the experience and the ideals of Tildes. But I should admit that the presence of the tag may cause the frequency of those to grow, which is detrimental.

      Do you think I should open up an issue on Gitlab for this? IDK how we do that here, frankly I haven't followed that process. If it's okay for me to do so, though, I have an account there and can open an issue (tagged suggestion I think).

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Yeah, feel free to create a Gitlab issue for it and I can label it properly once you do. Or I can create the issue if you would prefer.

        Yeah, feel free to create a Gitlab issue for it and I can label it properly once you do. Or I can create the issue if you would prefer.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          unknown user
          Link Parent
          Thanks, I've opened the issue.

          Thanks, I've opened the issue.

          2 votes
          1. cfabbro
            Link Parent
            Cool, thanks. Labeled it.

            Cool, thanks. Labeled it.

            1 vote
    2. [2]
      Archimedes
      Link Parent
      I don't think that allowing self-labeling is necessarily encouraging or discouraging anything. It might even discourage the prevalence of these comments a bit by allowing people to consider what...

      I don't think we should implicitly encourage these types of comments by letting people label these themselves.

      I don't think that allowing self-labeling is necessarily encouraging or discouraging anything. It might even discourage the prevalence of these comments a bit by allowing people to consider what tags are appropriate and perhaps re-thinking whether they still want to post or not.

      2 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Of course it will encourage these things. Whenever the topic of labelling has been discussed before (sorry, but I'm too lazy today to go back and link/source the various discussions), some people...

        I don't think that allowing self-labeling is necessarily encouraging or discouraging anything.

        Of course it will encourage these things.

        Whenever the topic of labelling has been discussed before (sorry, but I'm too lazy today to go back and link/source the various discussions), some people have indicated that they would like to be able to self-label their comments as "joke" so that they don't have to feel guilty about making jokes here on Tildes. The implication is that, when they can't self-label, they know their joke will sit in the thread, visible to everyone, and that makes them think twice about posting the joke. But if they know they can hide their own joke, they won't have that reluctance to post the joke.

        This has also come up in the context of possible so-called "whisper comments", where someone makes a comment that doesn't register as activity on a thread, and therefore doesn't bump it to the top of the page in the activity-based sorts.

        People (some people) are asking for ways to reduce the visibility of their comments, so that they can make comments they know aren't really acceptable by Tildes' standards. If we give those people those ways to reduce their own comments' visibility, we're going to get more of those sub-standard comments.

        But while we don't give people the ability to hide their own comments, they have to think about whether they still want to post them or not.

        4 votes