28 votes

Feedback on removing usernames from link topics and suggestions for a user tagging system

1. What is this topic about

A little over two weeks ago I posted a comment answering a question that Deimos asked me in the penultimate ~tildes.official topic "Experimenting with some changes to information that's displayed on topics, and some other tweaks" and in that comment I mentioned that I would give additional feedback later on, once I had time to live with the changes mentioned in that topic.

For those wondering, the change in question was the removal of displaying usernames for link topics on the listing page, and the movement of the domain that a topic links, to the spot where the username previously inhabited.

On listing pages, the domain for link topics is now shown in the "footer", to the right of the number of comments (replacing the submitter's username), instead of in parentheses after the title. This makes it so that the information about the source of the post is always in a consistent position.

If you want a little more context as to why this change was implemented in the first place, this topic contains a lot of discussion:

"What if we eliminated "ownership" of link topics?"

With all of that out of the way, this topic is my follow up feedback to these changes. I was originally just going to post this as another reply to Deimos, but I figured that I might as well just make it a new topic of its own, potentially generating more discussion this way than it would as a comment in an old thread. This is of course, at the risk of garnering more dissenting opinions to my feedback and suggestions than a comment would have likely received, but oh well, this feels more appropriate.

2. What were my thoughts on the change

My original opinion on the decision to remove usernames from link topics was negative. I mentioned this in my reply to Deimos, but I am the kind of person who likes informative clutter on their screen. I like to be able to see all the details at once and not have to go fishing for them, so it was natural that I would have a negative reaction in the immediacy of this change, as it removed information that I considered (and still do) vital to the way that I browse content on Tildes.

Further thoughts I had on the change generally reflected those of other users, that this change could potentially harm more groups than it helps, especially "taste-based groups." It's arguable that most groups on Tildes are "taste-based groups" so depending on your opinions and how you browse the site, this change could be very detrimental to your experience here.

In the immediate aftermath of this change, I was very much against it, but as mentioned in the last paragraph of the topic announcing this change, I was going to wait for some time before providing my feedback.

Well, that was a mistake, because now I've written this stupidly long topic.

3. What are my thoughts on the change

I think this change was a good move, but it still really messes with how I browse the site, and I think it messes with some other users too.

But, how do I browse Tildes? Well, you can read my reply to Deimos that I linked at the top of this topic for a little more context, but the gist of it is that, using Tildes Extended, I've tagged several users on the site that I think commonly post enjoyable content, that I know have the same interests as me, or dozens of other reasons. When I get on the site for the first time in a given day, I'll skim over all the topics that have been posted since I last visited (since Tildes is still small enough for this to be possible) and typically bookmark any topics that I think I'm going to want to read later on. Topics posted by a user that I've tagged with a certain tag get bookmarked regardless of what the content is, because I've already tagged that user as someone whose content I want to pay attention to, and any other topics posted by users that haven't been tagged are typically bookmarked if I think I'll find them interesting.

I want to stress the meaning behind that last sentence. I'll bookmark a topic posted by a user I haven't tagged if I think the topic will be interesting, but I'll bookmark anything posted by users I have tagged a certain way.

Browsing the site this way moves my interest away from looking for topics with certain tags, and towards diversifying my reading based on the activity of other users. It helps me find new interests, while topic tags help me find established ones.

So, if I tagged a user because they are always posting interesting articles to ~tech, but one day they post an article to ~enviro, I'm probably going to check it out, even if it doesn't stand out to me as something I'd normally be interested in.

After I skim over the dozen or so topics posted since the last time I visited the site, I'll usually start reading them throughout the rest of my day, starting around noon when I am having lunch and later in the evening, once I get home.

By the way, for the unaware, Tildes Extended is a browser extension that allows you to tag users with a message and optionally choose to highlight that message with a color. So when I notice a user has similar interests to me, or if there's a user who is the author of a piece of software, or whatever the case may be, I can tag the user in question to help me remember some detail about them. If you've ever utilized the tagging feature of the Reddit Enhancement Suite extension, you know how tagging works and understand what I am talking about. If you've never used RES and are clueless as to what I mean by "tagging users" then don't worry, there will be pictures later on.

I have to admit, with Tildes currently being small enough that you could probably read every topic posted in a given day, browsing the site like this doesn't matter that much since how you sort content becomes meaningless when you can easily digest it all regardless, but as the user base grows and more content is posted to the website, this approach will grow more important to me, and I suspect others as well.

When this recent change was made and usernames were removed from link topics on the listing page, it removed most of the benefits gained from tagging users, since I now have to check the comment page of each link topic to see who posted it. I understand the benefit of removing usernames from link topics on the listing page, but I think there's a middle ground between this change and tagging users that will deliver to us benefits from both systems while eliminating some complaints others and myself have had about the change.

Okay, I've outlined my concerns, but what should change?

First of all, I think certain groups should get their usernames back on the listing page, for reasons largely explained by @cfabbro in these comments:

on ~music the user who submitted something is also usually a good indication of whether or not I will enjoy it.

E.g. certain users have submitted multiple things to ~music I have greatly enjoyed in the past and so I am more likely to give their next submission a listen immediately too.

in taste-based communities like ~music and ~creative, removing ownership over topics is an absolutely terrible idea IMO since it makes the community feel cold/impersonal and makes cognitive filtering based on shared preferences that much harder.

E.g. User ownership of a topic in ~music is generally a good thing because it lets people get to know one another through their musical preferences

The general idea I extracted from those comments is that there are certain groups on Tildes where being able to see, from the listing page, who posts a link topic, is important for multiple reasons. Perhaps the most prominent being that you can recognize users who share similar tastes to your own (even without tagging them through a browser extension), and know that when the user in question posts a link topic in a specific group, you should probably check it out.

Of course, the inverse of this is also true. Instead of wanting to seek content out based on who posted it, you might actually want to avoid that content because, just as you know that you agree with the tastes of one user, you might find yourself constantly upset by another user's comments and topics.

@cfabbro (sorry for picking on you so much today) discusses this in this comment:

I also think that who submitted a topic is an incredibly valuable piece of information to know at a glance. E.g. There are a number of users I actively avoid reading anything they submit because I know it will just make me angry

So, if there is a user on the site who, while still acting within the rules established for the site, manages to consistently upset you with their content or the content they link, it's going to become very difficult to automatically avoid their topics if you cannot immediately see their username from the listing page.

Before this change, the username of a submitter of a comment or topic was readily visible and you could use the Tildes Extended extension to apply a message and a color to their username, making them immediately identifiable.

With the removal of usernames from link topics on the listing page, it is no longer possible to determine whether the submitter of a link topic is someone you have tagged or not. This discrepancy is the main point I want to address by writing this topic, and hopefully convince some of you along the way that a natively implemented tagging and highlighting tool for users would be an excellent addition to the features available to this community.

To summarize my thoughts on this change so far, I'll say that I think removing usernames from the listing page for some groups is a good idea, while for other groups it could be a negative change. I think the best way to remedy this in the immediate future would be to decide, on a group-by-group basis, whether usernames should be visible from the listing page.

The downside of doing this in a group specific way is that, even in groups where usernames are visible, there will still be some link topics where a submitter's username should be hidden from the listing page, such as to discourage the idea of "ownership" over that topic. However, until this becomes enough of an issue to warrant further implementations, I think deciding the display of usernames from the listing page for each specific group is the way to go.

If we ever do get to the point where we have to prune specific topics in specific groups for the ability to display the submitter's username, we can just leave that choice up to the user by allowing them to include a special tag, select a check box when submitting, or one of a hundred other possible ways. If the feature is abused by a user, we can just take it away from them.

3a. Should we remove usernames from link topics entirely

I want to address the idea that we should remove usernames from link topics entirely. As it is right now, the username of a submitter of a link topic can only be discovered, intuitively, one way, and that is to navigate to the comment section for a link topic, from which you can find the submitter's username beneath the title of the topic. (There are some other places where it's recorded in the HTML, but that's not important.)

If the username for the submitter were to be removed from the comments page of a link topic, there would be no way to easily check who submitted a link topic. I feel this is important to bring up due to @cfabbro's comments about avoiding content posted by certain users.

So, the question we have to answer about this theoretical change is, should we retain a user's right to avoid content based on who posts it, or should we encourage a user agnostic approach that focuses on the content alone, at risk of making the experience worse for some users?

Note that this question only applies if we remove the username of a submitter from link topics entirely and not just from the listing page. I don't think there are immediate plans to go ahead with anything like this, but I wanted to include my thoughts on this idea for the sake of completeness.

4. Let's implement a user tagging system

To remedy a lot of the challenges that this change has created for other users and myself, I feel like a tool built natively into the website that allows us to tag and highlight users is a great idea.

For the record, when I say "tag" a user, I mean that, when you are logged in, there will be a little message displayed next to a user's username. By "highlight" a user, I mean that the message will be surrounded by a shape of a certain color, selected by the user. If a highlight/color is chosen for a user but they are not tagged with a tag/message, then just a simple, colored shape, such as a circle or a square, could display next to the user's username.

This is how Tildes Extended handles user tagging:

Keep in mind that the tags applied to users don't have to exist beside that user's username. If a user you have tagged is the submitter of a topic and you navigate to that topic's comment page, the tag you have created for that user could exist in the sidebar where the normal topic tags go. On the listing page, topics that show the submitter's username could similarly have that user's tag sit next to the topic tags, underneath the title.

I will say that, for username @mentions, it's probably going to be necessary to just include the tag right beside the mentioned username (which Tildes Extended does not do).

For comments, again, the tag for a user doesn't have to go beside their username. It could be displayed below the username, similarly to how the Exemplary... label is displayed now.

I also want to just mention real quick, in order to make sure we are all on the same page still, that the tags you give other users when you are logged in to your account will only be visible to you. Other people won't be able to see them.

Now, I'm partial to just putting a user's tag right beside their username, but I haven't taken the time to see if this would work on the mobile layout or smaller resolutions, and I probably like that solution more just because it's the most common, familiar place to put a user tag, but I'd be interested to hear opinions on where else user tags can go.

The length allowed for user tags is also something else to consider. Eighty characters is probably a safe limit for most user tags, but how will longer tags display in the mobile layout? Should they just be truncated after a certain length, or have a hard limit? What colors should be available to highlight users with? Should we have a set list, a color picker built in somewhere? Well, that really depends on how user tagging is implemented, which I'll get to later on.

At this point, since I didn't explicitly mention it, you might be wondering how this ties in to usernames no longer displaying for link topics. Well, first of all, how would we display a user tag for a link topic that a tagged user is the OP of if we can't see their username? Well, we could just stick that user's tag in with the topic's tags like was mentioned earlier, or we could add a secondary bar to the right side of the topic that's the color of the user's highlight, similar to how our own topics get a purple bar on the left side, there would be a mirrored bar on the right side of a topic, again, colored to whatever color was selected for the tagged user.

If we wanted to be very imaginative, we could just do both.

Doing this keeps the usernames hidden on link topics in the listing page, but does give us some indication that the user who posted that topic has been tagged, perhaps categorically depending on what scheme you used to tag users, and that allows us to retain browsing habits based off of user tags like I wrote about earlier.

Some people might point out that displaying the tag of a tagged user on a link topic, even if their username is hidden from the listing page, kind of defeats the purpose, since the message of that tag could just be the username of the user, thus their username is not really hidden any longer.

Personally, I don't see a problem with this, because I doubt anyone is going to tag all the users on the site, but similarly to how I mentioned adding an additional bar in the color of the user's highlight, we could not include a user's tag in the topic's tags on the listing page and just add some other, non-identifiable indicator that the submitter of the topic in question is a tagged user.

So yeah, there are a lot of ways to go about this, but how should we actually enable users to tag others? Should we use a traditional user interface, similar to what Tildes Extended or Reddit Enhancement Suite does? I think this would be the best approach to adding tags to users for most people on the site, as it's quick, easy, intuitive, and doesn't require navigation to a separate page, but programming a feature like this can be difficult.

Another approach would be to make the tagging and highlighting of users (and even certain topic tags) a text-based process.

Before I continue on, I'm going to assume that everyone reading after this point is familiar with the topic tag filtering page. Adding tags into this input field will hide any topic containing one or more of those tags.

How does this relate to user tagging? Well, we can do the exact same thing here, just with a slightly more complicated syntax.

Let's say I want to tag @cfabbro with the message "cool person" and a red color. A way to do this could be to navigate to a page for adding user tags and input the following syntax into an input field:

cfabbro : cool person: #ef1515

If I wanted to remove the tag, I could type:

remove cfabbro

If I wanted to edit the tag:

edit cfabbro

The input field would then populate with the tag for @cfabbro if it existed, and return a message if it didn't, and I could edit and submit it as if I were just adding a new tag.

You don't even need to call the tag down with the edit keyword if you don't want to. It should probably just be possible to edit existing user tags by submitting them as if you were adding them for the first time.

Hitting the Enter key or clicking a button can then submit the tag to Tildes where it'll obviously be tied to my account and displayed anywhere that I log in.

It doesn't really need to be anymore complicated than that, and we can probably even simplify it more if we wanted to.

Unlike the input field for topic tag filters, the user tags inputted into this field will disappear after being submitted, because that input field would become very cluttered if we just left them there.

If a user wanted to edit their entire list of tagged users, we could have a separate text box below the input field where they can call the entire list of tagged users to and edit it programmatically.

Both this text-based approach and a conventional user interface like what Tildes Extended uses are good solutions and if user tagging does get implemented natively, I'd recommend we eventually add both methods, as the user interface is very convenient and easy, but the text-based method is also incredibly powerful.

With the current size of Tildes still allowing users to digest its daily posted content, these features and suggestions are not that important, but with time and an increasingly large user base their importance and relevance to others and myself will grow.

Thanks for reading.

EDIT: So, in order to get a tag to display next to a @mention of a username, you have to tag the username when it is @mentioned. If you want a tag to display for a username when that username is the author of a topic or comment, you have to tag it there all well.

So yeah, you have to tag @mentions and submitter usernames separately to get them both to show up. Weird.

60 comments

  1. [5]
    Nitta Link
    I'll be direct: there are a couple users whose views I'm quite opposed to I think, and seeing their names under topics was subconsciously repulsing. Now I can just click judging the title, without...

    I'll be direct: there are a couple users whose views I'm quite opposed to I think, and seeing their names under topics was subconsciously repulsing. Now I can just click judging the title, without feeling that that user flexes his presence on the website. So this is a nice change for me in general, even if it needs some fine tuning.

    20 votes
    1. [3]
      hungariantoast (edited ) Link Parent
      Indeed, this is the other side of the argument when I said that hiding usernames can make the experience worse for some users. Well, showing them can do the same thing. That being said, the only...

      Indeed, this is the other side of the argument when I said that hiding usernames can make the experience worse for some users.

      Well, showing them can do the same thing.

      That being said, the only way to prevent you from having to deal with seeing another user's username would to remove usernames entirely, since text topics still display usernames and the comments page for link topics do as well.

      You could use an extension like uBlock Origin to remove content posted by a specific user, but then you lose the content with the username. I'm sure you could create a filter in the extension to just remove usernames (and not the content) matching a specific string, but I've never done it and haven't seen anyone talk about doing it yet.

      If we had a user tagging system, we could go thermonuclear with the possibilities. For instance, a user that you tag with a specific message and color combination gets their username replaced with that tag, so if you have several users tagged that way, they all just become generically tagged users with the same tag replacing all of their usernames. That way you can spot and avoid them without having to know which user is behind the tag.

      Yeah, it really depends on how you want to browse the site. There's so much that can be done with a system like this. My use cases outlined in this topic and this comment really only scratch the surface of what we can play with.

      Regardless of all of that, I think there are some groups that host content that, even when posted as link topics, benefit greatly from having usernames be visible from the listing page. While you may not want to see some user's username, it could be equally important for other users in other groups to be able to see it. Finding a balance between these two experiences is quite difficult and these experiments to the site have opened quite the can of worms.

      7 votes
      1. Nitta Link Parent
        This is fine. Text topics aren't that frequent to make their OP names appear too often, and I don't back out from the opened topics because of the name. I only talked about how nice this little...

        since text topics still display usernames and the comments page for link topics do as well

        This is fine. Text topics aren't that frequent to make their OP names appear too often, and I don't back out from the opened topics because of the name. I only talked about how nice this little change was just for me. It can turn out to be changed again in the future if most users want to, and that won't be a big deal. Especially when the website grows and the OPs become more diverse.

        3 votes
      2. wakawaka Link Parent
        I don't know if someone already suggested this but hidding name of the user yet make it visible with a button might be a good option to solve both issues, we people are lazy but we like to be able...

        I don't know if someone already suggested this but hidding name of the user yet make it visible with a button might be a good option to solve both issues, we people are lazy but we like to be able to enquiry if feels necessary.

        1 vote
    2. user2 Link Parent
      I agree with your sentiment. In fact, I would like an option (in the settings) to do the same for comments ("Hide author of comments' name? yes/no"). @Deimos, do you think something like this...

      I agree with your sentiment. In fact, I would like an option (in the settings) to do the same for comments ("Hide author of comments' name? yes/no").

      @Deimos, do you think something like this could be done?

      6 votes
  2. [16]
    Deimos (edited ) Link
    Thanks for writing up such detailed feedback. Some brief thoughts from me: I hated the change initially too. I didn't want to test it out particularly because it was something that I personally...

    Thanks for writing up such detailed feedback. Some brief thoughts from me:

    I hated the change initially too. I didn't want to test it out particularly because it was something that I personally wanted (in fact I was pretty sure I wouldn't like it), but because I think there are negative effects to prominently drawing attention to who posts everything, and I wanted to see what it felt like if we eliminated it. At this point, I think I mostly like it, or at worst I'm neutral about it. It's certainly not perfect, and I think we do need to get usernames back on some posts where it's more relevant (primarily in ~creative).

    User-tagging is something that I'm very conflicted about. To be honest, I was pretty unhappy that Tildes Extended implemented it so quickly, because I think it has a lot of harmful effects when people use it in certain ways, and I didn't like knowing that those would be starting already on Tildes too. As some other people have mentioned in the comments here, I think user reputation is an important part of community sites, but the main problem I have with user-tagging is that it basically allows people to remember (or even create) reputations for other users that they wouldn't normally retain.

    For example, let's say that I'm reading a thread about video games (to pick a somewhat less controversial example), and someone expresses a really negative opinion about a game I love. Maybe I get in an argument with them about it, maybe I don't, but with user-tagging it's extremely tempting to, as part of my unhappiness with them, put a tag on them like "terrible taste", "idiot", etc. Without the tag, unless I repeatedly get in arguments with that user, I probably won't remember them. But with the tag, I've now added a very strong prejudice to every single time I see one of their comments in the future, and every interaction I have with them.

    People generally don't have very good memories—we can only remember much about a relatively small group of people. But user-tagging lets us (incompletely) remember our previous interactions with an infinite number of people. It lets us take passing disagreements and turn them into eternal grudges.

    This also doesn't include the ability to create reputations by importing user tags, instead of having to input them all yourself. There are all sorts of these lists available that people import into RES, like ones that put a bright red tag on every user that posts in certain subreddits. Now you're forming grudges against people that you may never have even seen before. That's not a very healthy approach, and just furthers this sort of adversarial, clique-like feeling.

    There are absolutely good uses for user tags, but there are also some really harmful ones, and I'm not sure how we can balance those (or if it's even possible).

    14 votes
    1. [13]
      Amarok Link Parent
      I think we're sitting on a goldmine here. That little blank text box was a miniature drawing board for people to use for whatever they like, and just in this thread we've seen several people...

      I think we're sitting on a goldmine here. That little blank text box was a miniature drawing board for people to use for whatever they like, and just in this thread we've seen several people describe how they use it for very different purposes. Some of that's got to have value as possible features or tools. People are going to find ways to do this stuff with or without help from the site, because that's what groups do. There is nothing we can do about it - unless we find a better way to implement the same sort of thing, a way that emphasizes the good, and fades out the bad somehow. Harness people's natural impulses and try to nudge them towards good behaviors just by the form of the implementation.

      I'm not saying we need to crud up the place with a shit-ton of random, tiny little features or implement user tags. I share your worries about the mess that user tags create on reddit, and that was done without any code from reddit to help - users will do this to themselves. They will do it here, sure as day. I think we should do a survey and ask everyone what they use user tags for, and just take it from there. Let's see if we can reduce the need for those tags by providing their value through different mechanisms that aren't so prone to abuse. Those may turn into great features that other websites have never bothered catering to in the past.

      It's worth the talk. I wouldn't have said so two days ago but just in this thread I've seen curious use cases. That silly user tag is a stub/stand in for lots of things and they don't all have to be bad. Even in your example, if our implementation 'forgets' the tags after a while, that solves some of the 'fite me' problems.

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        dubteedub Link Parent
        This got me thinking about one thing that I do like that is related to user reputation from Reddit's RES, which is tracking which users you have upvoted previously. I think it could be interesting...

        There is nothing we can do about it - unless we find a better way to implement the same sort of thing, a way that emphasizes the good, and fades out the bad somehow. Harness people's natural impulses and try to nudge them towards good behaviors just by the form of the implementation.

        This got me thinking about one thing that I do like that is related to user reputation from Reddit's RES, which is tracking which users you have upvoted previously. I think it could be interesting to have a way of showing how often you've Voted up another users comment / post with these tags or some other system. I don't think the whole color shades / exact number of votes would translate here from RES, but maybe there is something there.

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          Amarok Link Parent
          One thing that always bothered me about that was that those [+143] boxes just butted into the interface and looked a mess. We've gotta find better ways than cramming things into the interface....

          One thing that always bothered me about that was that those [+143] boxes just butted into the interface and looked a mess. We've gotta find better ways than cramming things into the interface. Tildes is gorgeously simple, let's not ever spoil that.

          5 votes
          1. frickindeal Link Parent
            Theme and color can have a lot to do with it looking too busy, as can the font size of that information. When ooking at the line on topics on the list page that shows group and tags, it's busy...

            Theme and color can have a lot to do with it looking too busy, as can the font size of that information. When ooking at the line on topics on the list page that shows group and tags, it's busy when there's a lot of tags, but it blends right in and isn't really very busy-looking. A tiny number next to a username is, to me on reddit at least, very useful. It means "I've liked a lot of what this person has to say."

            1 vote
      2. [9]
        cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
        I could kiss you... and while I largely agree with Deimos' worries about the potential problems with user tagging I 100% agree with you as well. It's inevitable that people are going to implement...

        There is nothing we can do about it - unless we find a better way to implement the same sort of thing

        I could kiss you... and while I largely agree with Deimos' worries about the potential problems with user tagging I 100% agree with you as well. It's inevitable that people are going to implement user tagging whether it's native on the site or not, so it's far better to embrace it and try to "do it right" natively (or at least try to minimize the harm it can do) than ignore it, hope it never happens, and decry it when it inevitably does.

        p.s. I think one of the way we may be able to "do it better" is limiting the available tags, like is already done with comment labels, but keep them entirely positive! E.g.

        • Have a "verified user" mechanic similar to lobsters "hats" that allows people to recognize users with expertise in an area, famous users or other developers.
        • Allow friending so people can recognize people they consider friends.
        • And for more "generic" user tags, have ones like thoughtful contributor, good submitter, taste-maker, etc. That help people recognize others whose contributions they appreciate.
        6 votes
        1. [8]
          Amarok (edited ) Link Parent
          I like the hats. Just the idea of Tildes users as colorful snakes with hats. The thing about a nice sparse interface is that something cute and colorful (an icon) is an eye grabber. Now you'd...

          I like the hats. Just the idea of Tildes users as colorful snakes with hats. The thing about a nice sparse interface is that something cute and colorful (an icon) is an eye grabber. Now you'd normally tell me hat icons will piss you off - but what if you were the one that put them there? Other users don't choose hats. We give you a library of hats and let you toss them on whoever you like.

          Advantage is you can choose what hats go in that library, and keep the worst ones at bay, if you're the website handing out the hats. I feel like there's a detective/noir element to be tapped here somehow. Coats are the next step. We are in meme territory now.

          You can change someone's hat whenever you like, and give them a new one. Now this is where it gets interesting. If you have someone wearing some form of 'ass' hat, and you later come across them doing something good, this gives the forgiveness reflex the ability to kick in - you can change their hat back. This breaks the bad memory chain. You're free to forget again.

          This gives us a shot to get that early warning system in for people who were raising eyebrows too. If a lot of Tildes users give the 'ass' hat to someone they can get a private notification about it. "People are starting to look at you funny. Perhaps it's your hat?" That sort of thing. This'd require some opt-in data collection - do you want to share the hats you hand out with tildes security (whatever that is) as a sort of trouble-report? Default to no. Don't even show the option to share that data until the user has some kind of trust level, and that's noise out of the 'reports'.

          Oh yes... I like this. This is a hundred times more sexy than boring old user tags. Far less clicks than any normal user tags implementation and no typing, easier and more colorful. That might help seduce people away from doing it all with user tags. Mobile users are just tapping on colorful icons.

          All the things people use tags for? We'll have a hat for that. Some of those things might be too different for hats or interfere with hats, and those can be other features. Also this hat thing solves that tastemaker problem, just give out creative hats.

          We could even let different groups create their own 'local' hats - or maybe that's what the coats are for. You wear a 'hat' for the website, and a 'coat' for the group. Groups get to define their own coats and we can be more generous here, I think, less restrictive in the topic matter.

          So we need a snake icon next to the username (generic). That's how you know you've never interacted with someone before - they are just a generic snake. Then you hang the hats and coats on that snake somehow.

          There's your personal pronouns. The type of snake could do that job. Different icon for each acceptable personal pronoun, probably in a different position. I think of this like saturday newspaper comics in my head.

          Oh, this makes showing expertise flags so easy. Just toss a feather in their cap. On second thoughts this icon is getting rather large now, so much info to convey at a single, right-brain tapping glance.

          6 votes
          1. [4]
            frickindeal Link Parent
            It's very creative and I like the thought you've put into it, but what would these look like? I see a pretty much gorgeous site right now in its simplicity (especially with the native Dracula...

            It's very creative and I like the thought you've put into it, but what would these look like? I see a pretty much gorgeous site right now in its simplicity (especially with the native Dracula theme, or Bauke's, which I use). I wouldn't want to see too much extraneous color, let alone anything emoji-like.

            4 votes
            1. [3]
              Amarok (edited ) Link Parent
              I have no idea - I'm the last person you want doing artistic work, never had much talent for it at all. Perhaps some creative types can chime in. Let's polish this pebble of an idea and see what...

              I have no idea - I'm the last person you want doing artistic work, never had much talent for it at all. Perhaps some creative types can chime in. Let's polish this pebble of an idea and see what happens.

              I share the sentiments of not cluttering up the interface or making it garish. Almost wish we could do it in ascii somehow.

              A minimalistic implementation is a hat and a coat as separate tiny icons of generic primary colors next to the user name. The color is the 'type' of hat or coat.

              Technically, we can 'test' this with just a simple hat icon. I mean, all the rest of this is wonderful fun to talk about, but let's perhaps stop on something testable. We could just create some basic hats and see how it goes. See how many people use them, how they use them. If that part pans out we'll know we're on to something.

              This is kinda what I see in my head when talking about this stuff. Something like that but next to the username and somehow not making a mess out of the nice page formatting we have now.

              Remember books? The ones where the first letter of a chapter was some kind of large stylized monster? Fitting in like those artistic letters did into those books somehow.

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                frickindeal Link Parent
                I admin'd a small phpBB forum for years that used a horizontal traffic signal layout for tagging users, as odd as that seems. Usernames had three dots next to them, more the size of bullets in a...

                I admin'd a small phpBB forum for years that used a horizontal traffic signal layout for tagging users, as odd as that seems. Usernames had three dots next to them, more the size of bullets in a list. You were able to privately tag a user as green, and if you later tagged them red, it'd go to yellow in the middle. Tag green again and green and yellow were lit. Very simple, unimposing design. I loved it, but I didn't have any contribution to creating it. Just a thought, as I haven't thought about that in years.

                2 votes
                1. Amarok Link Parent
                  You too? Wasn't an Everquest guild or EQ server forum was it? This is doing it like a stoplight. It's different, and it's very focused on general reputation. It's also quite a bit simpler to...

                  You too? Wasn't an Everquest guild or EQ server forum was it?

                  This is doing it like a stoplight. It's different, and it's very focused on general reputation. It's also quite a bit simpler to implement. You get your forgiveness opportunity too. It's a decent paradigm. More importantly it's had real world testing. How well did it work out over there? What did people say about it when it was discussed, and did they occasionally post how awesome/useful it was? Is it still out there in the wild on phpBB and has anyone built up on that idea over the years?

                  I just realized I should probably take a look at what modules people have out there now for phpBB. That's a rack of ready made solutions to various problems with some field testing.

                  2 votes
          2. [2]
            Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            How would these hats fit in with Deimos' "use words, not icons" design philosophy?

            How would these hats fit in with Deimos' "use words, not icons" design philosophy?

            2 votes
            1. Amarok Link Parent
              It wouldn't, unless we could do it in ascii. :) Reputation is a back-of-the-right-brain phenomena. Trying it to visual cues, rather than words, would likely make it work much better.

              It wouldn't, unless we could do it in ascii. :)

              Reputation is a back-of-the-right-brain phenomena. Trying it to visual cues, rather than words, would likely make it work much better.

              1 vote
          3. Nile Link Parent
            this is so damn cute and powerful. Such a fun idea!

            this is so damn cute and powerful. Such a fun idea!

    2. [2]
      hungariantoast (edited ) Link Parent
      So far, in the comments that this topic has received, I've picked up two general sentiments towards user tagging. The first is that it's a rather primitive, basic idea and that it could be...

      So far, in the comments that this topic has received, I've picked up two general sentiments towards user tagging. The first is that it's a rather primitive, basic idea and that it could be implemented in a better way or, the issues it causes and the problems it solves can be handled by a completely different system that still gets us to the same end goal that user tagging does, just in a better way. The second sentiment seems to be that giving users the power to tag and identify a user with a tag forever is incredibly dangerous and very easy to do. Using user tagging in this way creates more problems and irreparable relationships between users. Avoiding falling in to this trap takes more diligence than we can likely expect from an online user base.

      To be honest, I think both of these points are right. I can't say for sure that user tagging would change the dynamic of the site so drastically as to make it noticeably worse, but I do recognize that the effects it could have are certainly more pronounced when the user base is small. Even a user base in the low, six figures range would be much more susceptible to the cons of this system than a user base in the millions.

      I'm not quite ready to give up on user tagging and frankly, I think something native will have to be implemented to replace it eventually, because if not, users will seek out a familiar tagging option like Tildes Extended, so it would be better to pull them into the site's native system (whatever shape that system might take, I don't know) than it would be to have users be forced to seek out a third party alternative that cannot be easily (if at all) identified and controlled.

      As far as I know, neither Hacker News nor Lobsters have any sort of extension that allows for user tagging, which I find odd, considering their size and age, but their limited scopes might have something to do with this and I just might not realize it.


      Another idea I've had since reading the comments that have been posted is a little more bold, and quite a bit different from a traditional user tagging system.

      First of all, link topics? Yeah, they lose usernames entirely. Both from the topic listing page and that topic's comment page. Maybe keep them in certain "taste-based" groups (I'm quite fond of that term now).

      Okay, this sounds disastrous so far. How do we remedy user outrage from this change?

      Link topics become entirely anonymous, at least in some groups, and in those groups, voting for a topic raises a separately tracked score for the submitter, but users also have the option to downvote the score. Regular voting raises the score by one, but for link topics users don't like, they can demote one scored point as well.

      This score never gets associated with usernames and doesn't appear on text topics or any other topic where the username is visible, only for topics it isn't.

      Then, somewhere that makes sense on the listing page and the topic's comment page, we have the positive or negative score be displayed.

      This score is different from the number of votes a topic receives, though voting for a topic in the regular way would be the only way to raise the separate score by one point, and again, topics can be downvoted or downscored by one point, but this does not affect the count for the number of votes a topic receives, it only applies to this separate score. Also, just in case it needs to be said, the separate score would be tracked on a user-by-user basis. These scores aren't shared between users.

      The real question is, do we let these separate scores go in to the negative? Or do we only let them bottom out at zero? Keep in mind, zero is also where they would start at.

      One issue this doesn't solve is users automatically voting for topics that already have a high separate score but I honestly can't think of any systems that could solve that problem.

      So yeah, this is even a little more primitive than user tagging, but I feel like it solves most of the basic problems that users have mentioned about usernames being hidden and user tagging.

      What it doesn't solve, unless we let scores go in to the negative, is allowing users to avoid topics based on who posted them, but allowing these scores to go in to the negative also sets up the same automatic assumptions about a specific topic like user tagging does, though it does remove the username from the mix in favor of focusing on one topic at a time.

      Something else to consider is dropping the score by one or more points over a certain period.

      There's probably something I am missing here, and yes, this is kind of reinventing the wheel and implementing a voting system on top of a voting system, but I think the underlying dynamic it creates is rather safe compared to user tags.

      Are there other, more complicated systems that can solve what this proposed system solves and even do better? Yeah, probably, but the difficulty to implement them and quite frankly, even what shape they would take, is a little more than I am able to conceptualize at the moment.


      Right, I've said all of that, I've provided my thoughts on the feedback this topic has received and given a brand new suggestion that I brainstormed based on that feedback.

      Now let's talk about why we shouldn't implement tagging, score tracking, or any other user-to-user reputation curation features at all.

      I mentioned it when writing this topic, but we have to weigh whether we want to allow users to filter what they see to make their experience better, or stick to a user agnostic, content focused approach.

      Any form of associating another user with a reputation, score, or indefinite category that can be tracked and allows opinions to be formed on is dangerous in ways we've already discussed. The safest route to avoid those issues is to not implement these features at all.

      Of course, this comes at the expense of some users' experiences. If a user cannot get away from things they don't want to see, which might be based around a specific user rather than a category of content, as feedback to this topic has shown, then that user is going to have a worse time on the website. Depending on how prolific these two users are and how much they find each other, this could be enough to cause someone to stop using the site.

      We already have filtering for content and so long as we can maintain the topic tagging system and allow certain users to curate it efficiently, content filtering should work wonderfully and it currently does.

      User filtering, whether it be to recognize or hide users based on liking or disliking them or their content, creates an abundance of issues, and begs the question if it should be bothered with at all.

      So, despite my best judgement, I have to ask, which comes first? The content? Or the preference of users?

      Perhaps we can have both, but I'm tired, and those solutions seem out of my reach at the moment. Perhaps tomorrow.

      2 votes
      1. Amarok Link Parent
        Sleeping on it always helps. I'd just like to point out quick that only the small number of people who use tagging will seek those out. For the rest of the userbase, they've never been offered...

        Sleeping on it always helps.

        users will seek out a familiar tagging option

        I'd just like to point out quick that only the small number of people who use tagging will seek those out. For the rest of the userbase, they've never been offered user tags like this by a website (unless someone out there has done this and if so we need to read about it). So there's an aspect of leveling the playing field at play here, since we know the majority of users will be using the system the site provides rather than a 3rd party extension.

        Perhaps that extension can build on this idea, become a second layer of some kind someday in addition to the other things it does.

        4 votes
  3. [4]
    Amarok Link
    sniff You spoil me. That's a wall of text worthy of one of my angry rants. <3 I wonder though, perhaps we could simplify this and approach it from a more theoretical, less mechanical perspective....

    sniff You spoil me. That's a wall of text worthy of one of my angry rants. <3

    I wonder though, perhaps we could simplify this and approach it from a more theoretical, less mechanical perspective. The core of the issue here seems to be this: a mechanism of user interaction existed, and has been interfered with, and blocked. This wasn't a widely-used form of interaction (tagging with TEx) but it was there.

    Also another form (subconscious association) was interfered with, just recognizing usernames on the page. That was rather the point, and it's had mixed effects but seems more on the good than bad side of things, except for certain communities where you've got a point, tastemakers might matter.

    Ok, that's progress, we learned a few things. Successful experiment.

    This sort of reputation matters a lot - Shirky's talk goes on about that at some length and he's right.

    I did notice, however, that this is focused exclusively on tracking interactions between users over a long time period. You see someone you think posts baller content, you want to make sure you don't miss that content, and you actually give that person's new content preferential treatment (viewing it immediately when you otherwise wouldn't - on a vote-ranked site that's the medal of honor).

    The flip side here is you can also tag users you've had negative interactions with, to ignore them. I want to stress strongly that whenever negative interactions come up, that's a strong chance for a negative feedback loop and those are risky business. Not to say don't look into it, or don't do it - just that you need to be much more careful thinking about it. If you set loose a negative feedback loop it's bad for the site down the road.

    I will say this for myself - I hate hate hate seeing the user tags in the interface. I installed TEx and turned that off immediately because it was messing with the look of my nice clean tildes (and hitting it accidentally brought up that annoying box). I only use user tagging on reddit as part of moderating listentothis, to flag possible spammers, and only then because I have to do it to fight them, it's the best tool we've got. I see the value even if I don't personally make use of it when browsing myself.

    I think it rather inevitable we'll have to add some form of user tags here someday. People are used to them from reddit and that's why it's a part of TEx. It's become an accepted norm even if it's one that most people don't use. We might go further here though, think index card/report card instead of one-liner, though the one-liner would probably be all you got in the UI as space and clean design is paramount. If we're going to do it, let's be able to leave some english notes and not cram it so much.

    This also means friendships and grudges. Some folks might think that's a bad thing - but lest we forget, this is a website for human interactions. Friendship and grudges are inescapable because that's just what humans do, so forget about designing it out. One can only support and then try to harness this and steer it in a beneficial direction. ;)

    So we're kinda-sorta talking about a personal trust system here, aren't we? It's kinda-sorta related to following users and being able to easily spot their content or find it through another page of some kind like reddit's friend feature does over there. I need to think some more about this, but I have a hunch we can come up with some kind of user to user interaction tracker for people to use to manage their own relationships on the site. I'd like that to be more nuanced than friends on reddit, or following on twitter.

    I also smell a risk here. If someone posts good content, and gets lots of friends/whatever we call this, and people can find their stuff easily - doesn't that give them a major advantage in the vote rankings? We can't get into Digg's realm where someone posts and a posse of fifty of their on-site friends geek out voting it up (with their potentially weighted votes!) because that's going to allow them to control content just like Digg's powerusers. We're going to have to be very careful here.

    We can't just stop the votes from counting (I hate that idea), we can't just de-weight them. This was a risk with TEx we weren't even aware was happening, and it's also your typical offsite-brigade problem. Share a link on twitter, everyone who sees it follows it and votes, this was a major source of home-grown astroturfing on reddit. We're in rocky territory here.

    I haven't got a solution for you, but I hope this was a broader perspective. I'll think about this and see if I can stumble onto something that fits in this strange puzzle slot. If anyone has used other forums and sites in the past that have had user-to-user reputation tracking systems, I think we'd all appreciate it if you could tell us about them. Seeing how others have done it will help us do it better.

    12 votes
    1. [3]
      frickindeal Link Parent
      If the amount of "I have you tagged x, but I'm not sure why" posts I see on reddit is any indication, I'd say quite a few people are using RES tagging.

      It's become an accepted norm even if it's one that most people don't use.

      If the amount of "I have you tagged x, but I'm not sure why" posts I see on reddit is any indication, I'd say quite a few people are using RES tagging.

      1. [2]
        Amarok Link Parent
        My point was merely that it's a minority interaction even on reddit. That's a fact just based on the majority of reddit's user base being mobile users, and RES not existing for mobile. The...

        My point was merely that it's a minority interaction even on reddit. That's a fact just based on the majority of reddit's user base being mobile users, and RES not existing for mobile.

        The question for us is if this is a valuable form of social interaction (I think so), and how to make it work better. By that I mean tagging users was just this neat simple idea that got added to a tool that had other primary goals. It wasn't the focus. That means it's probably nowhere near an optimal implementation, and there's room for improvement in the concept, so we should try to help it evolve a bit into something better and more useful.

        2 votes
        1. frickindeal Link Parent
          Understood. I use them on reddit pretty heavily. I spent a lot of time in a sports sub (r/ClevelandCavs), and learned that there are a lot of people I wanted to avoid, and a lot of people who's...

          Understood. I use them on reddit pretty heavily. I spent a lot of time in a sports sub (r/ClevelandCavs), and learned that there are a lot of people I wanted to avoid, and a lot of people who's submissions and comments I always found valuable, so they were tagged appropriately. I agreee that it's valuable, and arguably necessary for a site like reddit, or now Tildes, to have available in some form.

          1 vote
  4. [3]
    Algernon_Asimov Link
    I've previously argued very strongly against dissociating users from the content they post, and I've previously expressed a dislike of hiding usernames on topics. However, reading your post here -...

    I've previously argued very strongly against dissociating users from the content they post, and I've previously expressed a dislike of hiding usernames on topics.

    However, reading your post here - which, theoretically, I should agree with - has shifted me to the other side.

    Let's start here:

    Of course, the inverse of this is also true. Instead of wanting to seek content out based on who posted it, you might actually want to avoid that content because, just as you know that you agree with the tastes of one user, you might find yourself constantly upset by another user's comments and topics.

    So, if there is a user on the site who, while still acting within the rules established for the site, manages to consistently upset you with their content or the content they link, it's going to become very difficult to automatically avoid their topics if you cannot immediately see their username from the listing page.

    Reading this made me realise that I actually believe it is wrong to judge the content by the person who posted it. I previously got caught up in ownership and pride and name recognition, but there's a more important principle: content should stand on its own merits. We should not prejudge a post based on who posted it.

    And I say this as someone who has an intense dislike of the content posted here by one particular person; merely seeing that person's username on my screen is enough to make me cringe. Seeing that person's username is a very quick way for me to assume that a post will contain content I absolutely DO NOT WANT TO SEE.

    However, the converse of your point here also applies:

    So, if I tagged a user because they are always posting interesting articles to ~tech, but one day they post an article to ~enviro, I'm probably going to check it out, even if it doesn't stand out to me as something I'd normally be interested in.

    What if that user I dislike posted something different to their normal stuff - something that I might like? If I saw their username, I would avoid that topic. However, I might miss something I want to see.

    I should therefore not prejudge content based on who posts it.


    User tags are an entirely different matter.

    I used them on Reddit to keep track of my interactions with some users. I had a "Do not engage" tag I used for some people with whom I had had strongly negative interactions, and who I didn't want to waste my time on again in future. Or, I might use tags to track someone's preferred pronouns (I'm convinced, for example, that @cfabbro is not a "cool dude", but a "cool dudette").

    I therefore see a need for user tags - but it's not related to flagging the content they post.

    10 votes
    1. Amarok Link Parent
      That's exactly how I saw it, plus one more thing - the reputation association shifts from the submitter to the site instead, or if it's a site like youtube, the channel (once we're showing channel...

      I previously got caught up in ownership and pride and name recognition, but there's a more important principle: content should stand on its own merits.

      That's exactly how I saw it, plus one more thing - the reputation association shifts from the submitter to the site instead, or if it's a site like youtube, the channel (once we're showing channel names on sites like that which is in the plans someday). Seems like it's kinda putting us in the business of helping people find places and channels and content creators they like online outside of Tildes, no? That's not a bad side effect, not bad at all. It should make it pretty damn clear if one of these sites or channels is pushing an agenda of some kind. People are more likely to notice.

      The tastemaker thing vexes me, though. Coming from a music background, that's kinda how it's done when getting music recommendations. We can probably find a way to work that in somehow, without losing it. Perhaps if it's a separate system/thing of its own we can make it work way, way better than this hackneyed re-purposing of user labels, which would leave the labels free for other things like pronouns or whatever. We did talk about Tildes 'hats' at one point too.

      8 votes
    2. cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
      Nope, I'm a "dude". :) I honestly really don't care which pronoun people use when referring to me though, especially online... but I also totally understand people who would prefer to be addressed...

      Nope, I'm a "dude". :) I honestly really don't care which pronoun people use when referring to me though, especially online... but I also totally understand people who would prefer to be addressed with a particular pronoun, especially those that have had to fight for that right and have had another pronoun thrown in their face to hurt them, so respect people's wishes in that regard.

      7 votes
  5. spit-evil-olive-tips Link
    I'm generally fine with the username hiding as-is, though I don't feel very strongly about it. One thing that raised a red flag for me though: As always, remember the 90:9:1 ratio. One thing we...

    I'm generally fine with the username hiding as-is, though I don't feel very strongly about it.

    One thing that raised a red flag for me though:

    using Tildes Extended, I've tagged several users on the site that I think commonly post enjoyable content, that I know have the same interests as me, or dozens of other reasons. When I get on the site for the first time in a given day, I'll skim over all the topics that have been posted since I last visited (since Tildes is still small enough for this to be possible)

    As always, remember the 90:9:1 ratio. One thing we should be really cautious about in the early days of Tildes is building mechanics into the site that are either only useful to the 1% / power users, or that will reduce in usefulness as the site grows. I view individually tagging users as one of those - it's something that only a relatively small handful of users will do (but those users will also tend to be the most active, resulting in meta threads like this one generating an overestimate of how many people use Tildes Extended and find tagging useful), and as the site grows in users the value of tagging everyone whose submissions you enjoy decreases.

    10 votes
  6. cadadr Link
    I am kind of out of the loop---trying to rather strictly limit my internet usage b/c procrastination issues---but also followed the discussion on this, and am trying to understand the main...

    I am kind of out of the loop---trying to rather strictly limit my internet usage b/c procrastination issues---but also followed the discussion on this, and am trying to understand the main problem. AFAIU, it boils down to detaching link topics from OPs, at least at first sight---i.e. on the topic listings, front page or not. That's because we want to minimise prejudice, to make OPs less possessive, and to (kind of) make link topics belong more to all of us than the OP.

    The absence of the poster's ID does disorient me a bit TBH, I could not really get used to it. But I don't really mind, as long as I can eventually learn who is the poster without much ado. Below is my use case.

    As I said, procrastination is a trouble for me---I lose the track of time I spend on something when I'm enjoying it---and because of that any kind of filtering, software or meatware (i.e. me recognising some red flag, on which I'll elaborate in a bit), it really important for me. I subscribe to a small set of groups here and subs on reddit, and avoid highly-controversial stuff (like politics; as opposed to literary, scientific or tech stuff which is most often at most mildly controversial) stuff. Among the red flags for controversial is certain user names whose owners I know might pull me into long, unproductive debates (and I sometimes just fall for it). I just filter them out mentally in certain areas of the site (they are not evil, but I find I'd rather discuss only some topics with them, whereas some others will cause me trouble). So, to cut it short, I benefit from being able to check who'll receive a notification when I write a reply before I do so.

    On the suggestions here and elsewhere to remove usernames from comments, I don't think it's useful, and it also is harmful. I really do care who I'm communicating with. For example, I run a recurring thread on ~books, and there, I know which users generally post things that I am interested in. When I have a rather crowded inbox, or browsing the thread itself, I know who to look for, and either read theirs first or save it for later. Similarly on other topics, I can recognise users that are apparently more informed on certain topics, and gravitate towards their comments. And apart from these use cases of mine that I can come up with, I think that comments are essentially opinions of persons and necessarily belong to someone.

    To summarise, before trying to make a suggestion, I think that who posted a link and who posted a comment is important information, and I both don't want them removed and think that that's a bad idea. I want the poster's name there on the front page, but can deal with the status quo.

    My suggestion---which I believe I made or read in a previous, similar thread---is that we allow users to opt out of this hiding links' OPs on the front page. If we won't, at least we keep it as it is, and don't remove authorship information further. Just like I can use a user script to make OPs re-appear on the front page (1), people can hide further information using user scripts or content blocking (like uBlock Origin) (2).


    (1) With the caveat that I can't conveniently do it on mobile.

    (2) I am a fairly technical user, IDK if a non-techie can really use either one of these options. And, as in (1), these options can easily create a gap between the UX on mobile and on desktop; thus I think these should be added as settings to the website.

    9 votes
  7. [4]
    Whom Link
    I pretty firmly feel like the change was a bad one and I would rather have the information of who posted everything in every case. As far as I'm concerned, knowing who made a particular submission...

    I pretty firmly feel like the change was a bad one and I would rather have the information of who posted everything in every case. As far as I'm concerned, knowing who made a particular submission and being able to make decisions based on that is one of the most basic and important ways to accomplish "Let(ting) users make their own decisions about what they want to see." The half-measure where some groups like ~music are shown this information seems like a bare minimum to me, but it would be better than what we've got right now. I just want to have all the cards when it comes to deciding what I'm about to look at, I'm so tired of the whole internet obscuring things from me. Not that Deimos has bad intentions with this, but it still makes me feel like I have a bit less control over my experience here, which is a shame. I don't mean to be too dramatic, I realize that it's all experimental :)

    Oh and:

    I will say that, for username @mentions, it's probably going to be necessary to just include the tag right beside the mentioned username (which Tildes Extended does not do).

    It does do this, if I'm not misunderstanding you.

    8 votes
    1. [4]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [3]
        Whom Link Parent
        That screenshot is from Firefox.

        That screenshot is from Firefox.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            Whom Link Parent
            If you click that + next to @mentions, you should be able to add a tag.

            If you click that + next to @mentions, you should be able to add a tag.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. hungariantoast Link Parent
                @whom I think I figured it out. If you want a tag to show for a username, you have to tag the username. If you want the @mentions to also be tagged, you have to tag the @mentions as well. Strange,...

                @whom

                I think I figured it out.

                If you want a tag to show for a username, you have to tag the username. If you want the @mentions to also be tagged, you have to tag the @mentions as well.

                Strange, and not what I would expect, but that's the reproducible result I am getting.

                Screenshot for clarity:

                https://i.imgur.com/2FxMgkk.png

                4 votes
  8. [9]
    cfabbro (edited ) Link
    Okay, so I am a bit late to the party, but I wanted to take some time to actually read what everyone else thought first and then have a think about all this before I responded ... especially since...

    Okay, so I am a bit late to the party, but I wanted to take some time to actually read what everyone else thought first and then have a think about all this before I responded ... especially since my last comment about this change was featured so prominently in the original topic, and mentioned by @hungariantoast so much in the topic text here as well.


    Even though I was on the fence about this change, I do have to admit that the change has actually grown on me quite a lot since it was made. However I absolutely still think, as I originally did and others have also mentioned as well, that the "taste-based groups" (~music especially) have and continue to really suffer from lack of visible usernames!!! And while I don't know what the best solution is, I can think of a few viable options (beyond the suggestions @hungariantoast has made: #4 in particular I think is a good one BTW):

    1. Have usernames off on external link topics by default in all groups, but allow users to individually make their own decision and set which groups they are re-enabled for on their own front page. This would allow those of us ~music-heads to go back to the way things were there, and that being an option would also address the concerns of users like @Whom who feel this change runs contrary to Tildes overall goal of "[Letting] users make their own decisions about what they want to see".

    2. Keep usernames disable on all external link topics, but add a set of particular topic tags that re-enables the usernames; Topic tags like suggestion, original content, self promotion, etc... where usernames are actually vital context to the submission. @Amarok and I discussed the possibilities of that here, on @teaearlgraycold's submission of the original idea. This option wouldn't address the problem with having no usernames in ~music, unless every single submission there was topic tagged with suggestion, but perhaps in concert with option 1) this would be a nice compromise between no usernames ever and always shown usernames on the front page.

    3. Re-enable front page usernames for all but the groups where prominently visible usernames are potentially most problematic, e.g. ~news, and perhaps ~enviro, ~humanities and ~science as well.

    And while I initially suggested 3) in the thread when the usernames were first disabled, I have actually come to think that might be the least appealing option. I now think 1) and 2), perhaps both at the same time, are a better and more nuanced option that could provide the best of both worlds.

    8 votes
    1. [8]
      MetArtScroll Link Parent
      Would it make sense if hovering over the domain name shows the username (where the username is not shown; I agree that in cases like 1. and 2. you mention it makes sense to show the username)?

      Would it make sense if hovering over the domain name shows the username (where the username is not shown; I agree that in cases like 1. and 2. you mention it makes sense to show the username)?

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        Bauke Link Parent
        Hover as a mechanic to reveal information that is substantially different from what's being hovered usually isn't a good idea since it's only accessible to desktop.

        Hover as a mechanic to reveal information that is substantially different from what's being hovered usually isn't a good idea since it's only accessible to desktop.

        11 votes
        1. [3]
          Amarok Link Parent
          Bingo. One can't really 'hover' on a touchscreen. :P

          Bingo. One can't really 'hover' on a touchscreen. :P

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
            Some touchscreen browsers do actually support a psuedo-hover of sorts where touching an element with a hover or focus event will actually activate them and have the hover message stay open /...

            Some touchscreen browsers do actually support a psuedo-hover of sorts where touching an element with a hover or focus event will actually activate them and have the hover message stay open / element stay focused until you do something else. But even in browsers that support that, it either doesn't work when an onclick event is also tied to the same element (e.g. on hyperlinks) since the onclick activates instead, or requires shortpress+drag on the element so only the hover/focus event activates but not the onclick event.

            Regardless, relying on hover is really not ideal since there doesn't appear to be any universal standards for handling hover across the various browsers for touchscreen devices, and accessibility is a huge problem with them even on desktop, so hover should generally be avoided at all costs, IMO.

            4 votes
            1. Amarok Link Parent
              I feel the same. I think at best it's for informational things, rather than interactive things.

              I feel the same. I think at best it's for informational things, rather than interactive things.

              3 votes
      2. [3]
        cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
        I am not a fan of hover, and have previously talked about why before:...

        I am not a fan of hover, and have previously talked about why before:
        https://tildes.net/~tildes.official/a2e/experimenting_with_some_changes_to_information_thats_displayed_on_topics_and_some_other_tweaks#comment-2ip0

        IMO for almost any feature, regardless of it being critical or not, hover is generally a very poor mechanic to rely on for webapps from a UX standpoint. There is often no visual feedback to indicate the hover event is even there in the first place, so the only way to discover them is by accident. From an accessibility standpoint hover is also problematic since it relies on using the mouse and so keyboard navigation users (and screen readers) often don't have any consistently reliable means for accessing them (even with :focus and ARIA role=tooltip properly applied). And the fact that hover doesn't even work on mobile browsers (esp if there is an onclick event tied to the element as well) is just yet another reason not to use it.

        But I do think there is some potential for a mechanism that "reveals" the username only when a particular action is taken... the problem is figuring out an action that works on desktop, mobile and (most importantly IMO) screen reader for accessibility's sake. However it should be noted that a "reveal" action already basically exists in this case: visiting the topic's comment section. :P

        p.s. And the real issue at hand here, IMO, is the value of instantly available information (in this case the username of the submitter) that can be seen at a glance and immediately used by the user, which requiring any action to reveal basically negates.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          MetArtScroll Link Parent
          The domain names used in place of usernames are not linked at the moment; will the title HTML attribute work (no need to employ sofisticated CSS, not to mention JS, solutions when <span...

          The domain names used in place of usernames are not linked at the moment; will the title HTML attribute work (no need to employ sofisticated CSS, not to mention JS, solutions when <span title="...">...</span> works)?

          2 votes
          1. cfabbro Link Parent
            A rose hover element by any other name would smell as sweet foul. ;) The issues with using title are basically the same as with :hover but even worse, since screen readers actually do rely on...

            A rose hover element by any other name would smell as sweet foul. ;)

            The issues with using title are basically the same as with :hover but even worse, since screen readers actually do rely on accurate title information to help their users determine what exactly an element is (particularly visual ones but not exclusively). And as bauke also pointed out, having information conflict like that is not usually a good idea in any case.

            p.s. Domains are most likely going to be linked eventually: https://gitlab.com/tildes/tildes/issues/286

            5 votes
  9. [17]
    dubteedub Link
    I wanted to add that I was originally wary of taking away usernames, but mostly for selfish reasons of wanting to be known as the person who shared a particular article or content, which sounds...

    I wanted to add that I was originally wary of taking away usernames, but mostly for selfish reasons of wanting to be known as the person who shared a particular article or content, which sounds very similar to algernon's mention of "pride and name recognition."

    I was also a bit surprised to see that so many users have at least one person they apparently loathe entirely to the point they feel the need to actively disengage from their posts. It makes me feel a bit anxious to think that I could have pissed someone off with something I had posted here to make them want to filter me out entirely, so I am glad to hear that removing username ownership of posts from the homepage level has reduced that.

    Lastly, I just wanted to say that I think the user tags sounds like a nice feature for some folks, but I would be wary about implementing them as a whole across the site. I agree with comments elsewhere that it could lead to more easily creating Tildes power users that drive the content on the site, as well as allow folks to pile onto certain users they may disagree with more easily.


    On a side note, I have never used github before so I am not sure how I would enable Tildes Extended on my browser. Please forgive my ignorance, but how exactly do you download the extension to use it?

    4 votes
    1. [11]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      In most of those cases, the person they dislike is probably me. You're fine.

      I was also a bit surprised to see that so many users have at least one person they apparently loathe entirely to the point they feel the need to actively disengage from their posts. It makes me feel a bit anxious to think that I could have pissed someone off

      In most of those cases, the person they dislike is probably me. You're fine.

      7 votes
      1. [9]
        dubteedub Link Parent
        I hope not. I like how much world news updates you post and think your comments are usually very high quality, particularly in informing users of past discussions on a topic they have have missed.

        I hope not. I like how much world news updates you post and think your comments are usually very high quality, particularly in informing users of past discussions on a topic they have have missed.

        6 votes
        1. [8]
          cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
          If I'm being honest, dub, you actually are one of the people I was referring to about wanting to avoid the topics they submit. I like you as a person, have enjoyed our conversations in various...

          If I'm being honest, dub, you actually are one of the people I was referring to about wanting to avoid the topics they submit. I like you as a person, have enjoyed our conversations in various places around the site and we even seem to overall have similar political leanings. However, I really need to be in the mood for rage inducing ~news articles, especially about US politics (but not exclusively), and you seem to submit a disproportionate amount of those.

          And while a simple solution to my problem (and to be clear it is "my problem" not yours or your fault) would be for me to filter out 'USA' and 'politics', I don't want to do that since I still want to keep informed, just not to the point I have a nervous breakdown... so it was honestly more effective for me to just mentally filter out any ~news submissions I saw from you (and a few others who post similar highly charged topics) when I know I can't handle reading them at that moment. However because of the username change I can no longer do that.

          p.s. And even though it probably doesn't need to be said, I am not saying this to try and get you to stop posting what you do. Trying to keep people well informed is a good thing and that's what you're doing... it's commendable! It's just that I can only handle so much "being informed" in a given week about particular subjects before my brain melts. :P

          6 votes
          1. Amarok Link Parent
            I love this comment because it perfectly illustrates why thinking of this system as a 'fuck this guy' vs 'love this guy' mechanic is a mistake. It's bigger than that.

            I love this comment because it perfectly illustrates why thinking of this system as a 'fuck this guy' vs 'love this guy' mechanic is a mistake. It's bigger than that.

            5 votes
          2. [4]
            Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            This might be confirmation bias. I've just reviewed @dubteedub's posting history, and there seems to be a broad mix of content there, with USA politics being only one topic among many. It might be...

            you seem to submit a disproportionate amount of those.

            This might be confirmation bias. I've just reviewed @dubteedub's posting history, and there seems to be a broad mix of content there, with USA politics being only one topic among many. It might be that you notice the topics about USA politics more than the others, but @dubteedub submits a broad variety of content here (thank you!).

            4 votes
            1. [3]
              cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
              Re-read what I said. I never said dubteedub didn't submit valuable stuff. Hell, even on ~news, which is very specifically what I was referring to when saying what they submit often makes me angry,...

              Re-read what I said. I never said dubteedub didn't submit valuable stuff. Hell, even on ~news, which is very specifically what I was referring to when saying what they submit often makes me angry, I called dub's efforts and submissions commendable! However even when dub doesn't post about US politics specifically on ~news it's still usually depressing/negative/"bad" news, which I can only handle so much of, and not much of it is positive/"good"/uplifting news.

              p.s. Unlike yourself... since you actually post neutral or even outright uplifting stuff far more frequently by comparison, IMO. Both are valuable contributions... but I can only take so much of the purely negative, so being able to see who posted something was often helpful in that regard.

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                And I never said you never said dubteedub didn't submit valuable stuff! :) You seemed to think they "seem to submit a disproportionate amount of" "rage inducing ~news articles, especially about US...

                I never said dubteedub didn't submit valuable stuff.

                And I never said you never said dubteedub didn't submit valuable stuff! :)

                You seemed to think they "seem to submit a disproportionate amount of" "rage inducing ~news articles, especially about US politics" - and I wanted to point out that, while they do indeed submit these articles, that's only a minority of the content they submit.

                3 votes
                1. cfabbro Link Parent
                  Fair enough. I certainly didn't want to give the impression that anger inducing stuff is all dubteedub submits, and in retrospect it may have come off that way, so your pointing out that they...

                  Fair enough. I certainly didn't want to give the impression that anger inducing stuff is all dubteedub submits, and in retrospect it may have come off that way, so your pointing out that they submit much more than just that is appreciated!

                  p.s. <3 you both, BTW. I honestly do seriously appreciate how much effort and work you both put in to finding and submitting stuff here. :)

                  4 votes
          3. [2]
            dubteedub Link Parent
            Ah nerds. I understand. I do try and vary what I post more than just US politics stuff, because I know US news and US politics in particualr can be tiring to follow. I also fully recognize that...

            Ah nerds. I understand.

            I do try and vary what I post more than just US politics stuff, because I know US news and US politics in particualr can be tiring to follow. I also fully recognize that I'm kind of a junkie for that shit.

            Thank you for letting me know though. I do appreciate the feedback.

            3 votes
            1. cfabbro Link Parent
              Yeah, no problem, and sorry for bumming you out a bit... it's really, really nothing personal and I only ever used do it in ~news. :)

              Yeah, no problem, and sorry for bumming you out a bit... it's really, really nothing personal and I only ever used do it in ~news. :)

              3 votes
      2. Amarok Link Parent
        You've improved immensely my friend. No worries at all. In fact I have a feature idea you inspired. ;)

        You've improved immensely my friend. No worries at all. In fact I have a feature idea you inspired. ;)

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      hungariantoast Link Parent
      On the GitHub page there are links to the Chrome and Firefox sites for installing extensions. Depending on which browser you are using, you'll want to use that page to install the extension. Once...

      On the GitHub page there are links to the Chrome and Firefox sites for installing extensions. Depending on which browser you are using, you'll want to use that page to install the extension.

      Once installed, it should automatically open a new tab where you can go through the various settings and configure it how you like.

      5 votes
      1. dubteedub Link Parent
        Perfect, thanks for sharing that! I thought I had to download some program or something from the links on that github page. I probably should have known there was an actual extension to hit.

        Perfect, thanks for sharing that! I thought I had to download some program or something from the links on that github page. I probably should have known there was an actual extension to hit.

        3 votes
    3. [3]
      Amarok (edited ) Link Parent
      That took me completely by surprise as well. The few people I've felt that way about here have all gone on to get themselves banned of their own volition posting hatespeech or by obvious trolling....

      I was also a bit surprised to see that so many users have at least one person they apparently loathe entirely to the point they feel the need to actively disengage from their posts.

      That took me completely by surprise as well. The few people I've felt that way about here have all gone on to get themselves banned of their own volition posting hatespeech or by obvious trolling. I'm seeing a need here for that user-to-user trust system, if only to minimize those negative interactions for the folks who don't want to deal with them. Let's be proactive about our mental health around here since nobody else will.

      I haven't thought it up yet but I think I know the shape...

      • Data about how you feel about someone (be it numbers/labels/etc) should be private to your user account
      • You should be able to leave yourself notes about how/why you label someone a certain way
      • This mechanism should provide some follow-like and/or highlight-like features (like an * next to a username, or color change, or something subtle but noticeable) for users gaining your trust
      • It should also de-emphasize or hide the content from the users losing your trust, somewhat like an ignore function
      • A tiny blurb from those notes may or may not be visible next to the username - it does make things look a bit ugly, if we can find a way to do this without the actual label text I'd like that, to save that label text for other things in the future
      • This system must treat votes on your friends differently somehow to avoid triggering an upvote brigade every time they submit content - perhaps by putting them into some different kind of bucket from normal votes, so that it's more of a '155 of your friends like this' thing than a 155 upvotes thing
      • I am also now thinking just like the 'topic tag filters are in use on this page' that this may go well with a 'user filters are in use on this page' to both make people aware it's there and give them the opportunity to turn it off occasionally in the views of the content.

      That's all I've got so far. There's also the tastemaker problem which seems separate. People were using user labels for all sorts of things, and each of those things deserves individual consideration to see if they should be tools of their own imo.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        I think this is overkill. We can solve this problem with a plain, simple user-tagging system. If I don't want to interact with someone, I can populate their tag with "do not engage" (or something...

        I think this is overkill. We can solve this problem with a plain, simple user-tagging system. If I don't want to interact with someone, I can populate their tag with "do not engage" (or something similar), and the job is done. I don't need their content suppressed. That "do not engage" (or whatever someone chooses) is sufficient.

        This system must treat votes on your friends

        Can we please not have "friends" here? Please?

        4 votes
        1. Amarok Link Parent
          My thinking was that if people are using tags for all sorts of things, those things must have value and perhaps that value is worth more than being crammed into a tiny text box. This is just pie...

          My thinking was that if people are using tags for all sorts of things, those things must have value and perhaps that value is worth more than being crammed into a tiny text box. This is just pie in the sky stuff, exploring what's possible. Also, anything that follows from real life human behavior is worth exploring. People do make friends and avoid certain people. That happens regardless of features... but if there's a feature for it, laziness means people will use it (rather than force something else to do the job)... and if we code a feature people use out of laziness (the best kind) that means we have an opportunity to harness that behavior. Mostly that just means enhancing positive effects and fading out negative effects but sometimes it can be more.

          You can relax, though - the last thing we want to see here is twitter followers and facebook friends. It's a discussion site, and community trumps individuals. Plus we'd never be so artless in the implementation.

          Just like cfab uses this to avoid triggering content, you use it for 'do not engage'. That's good. Perhaps we should do a survey of what people use user tags for. Who knows, that might open up a giant pandora's box of ideas that nobody's taken a real serious look at before.

          3 votes