39 votes

How long should Tildes remain an invitation-only platform?

I've seen it argued, here and there, that Tildes should always remain an invitation-only platform. I, certainly, understand that this could solve a great number of problems. Are there any downsides to remaining invitation-only? Should we, periodically, talk about this more? Say once every six months?

78 comments

  1. [12]
    Amarok
    Link
    Explosive growth is the issue. Double a community's size overnight and it changes, sometimes for the better, but usually for the worse - and the larger it is when it doubles, the more likely it's...

    Explosive growth is the issue. Double a community's size overnight and it changes, sometimes for the better, but usually for the worse - and the larger it is when it doubles, the more likely it's for the worse.

    Any invite management scheme is fine as long as it guards against explosive growth. In theory, someday, we'll have a trust system that allows for permanent open signups, but that is assuming the trust system gives communities real self-governance and resilience that works. It still has to be built, and tested, and proven. That can only happen by walking through it one step at a time as the community grows, there are no shortcuts.

    There's nothing stopping Tildes from going open-signup right now, and in the quiet periods like this where the rest of the net doesn't notice the place, that's the best time for it. If the horde shows up, flip the switch, close the gate, and wait it out... then open the doors again much later and see who had the patience to sit on the porch waiting. Be picky. Treat it like fight club.

    There are many possibilities for advanced invite mechanics, too. We've talked about lurker conversion systems, one to many invite links, some kind of publicly-open request-an-invite forum, upgrading temporary guest accounts commenting on public threads to full users... there's a lot of space to explore.

    I think the better question might be, which one of these do we want to play with first? :P I do think we should talk about this from time to time. Perhaps some kind of six-month-ish 'state of tildes' discussion.

    32 votes
    1. [4]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      There's a simpler approach to managing sign-ups. We could limit new sign-ups to X% of the existing population every month. We calculate X to be low enough that the new users don't overwhelm the...

      There's a simpler approach to managing sign-ups.

      We could limit new sign-ups to X% of the existing population every month. We calculate X to be low enough that the new users don't overwhelm the existing community, but high enough to allow the site to grow. As one example, allowing 6% new sign-ups every month would result in the community roughly doubling in size every year.

      So, we could have open registrations that reset every month. At the beginning of each month, an algorithm takes the number of current users in Tildes, and calculates how many registrations will be accepted for that coming month. When those registrations are used up, noone else can sign up until the beginning of the next month.

      10 votes
      1. [4]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [3]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          No, no waiting list. Just a message to the person trying to sign in: "Registrations for Tildes are closed for this month. Please try again next month." I'm not trying to solve the barrier to...

          That would basically be a waiting list?

          No, no waiting list. Just a message to the person trying to sign in: "Registrations for Tildes are closed for this month. Please try again next month."

          Which would solve not being overwhelmed but not the barrier to entry.

          I'm not trying to solve the barrier to entry. I'm just suggesting to @Amarok that if we are going to have a barrier to entry, there are simpler ways to do it than the various ways he keeps suggesting: "lurker conversion systems, one to many invite links, some kind of publicly-open request-an-invite forum, upgrading temporary guest accounts commenting on public threads to full users". They're all creative ways to maintain a barrier to entry, but they all involve some level of complexity. So I'm pointing out that there are simpler ways to keep a barrier to entry if that is what people want.

          So if a barrier to entry remains it is worth considering if there should at least be other ways to join as well.

          What's the point of a barrier if you can just walk around it easily?

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            Amarok
            Link Parent
            Honestly, even that's too much work. All it takes is a simple on/off switch. Turn it on, userbase grows, turn it off a while, let everyone acclimate, repeat forever. The only one of the other...

            Honestly, even that's too much work. All it takes is a simple on/off switch. Turn it on, userbase grows, turn it off a while, let everyone acclimate, repeat forever.

            The only one of the other mechanisms I'll stick up for as being both a good idea and a necessary one is the one-to-many invite links, as those will still be operating even when registrations are closed.

            Then we have our front gates and our back door by invitation only.

            1 vote
            1. Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              If my suggested method is too much work, then what about yours? :P I was just putting a simpler option into the mix. Nothing more sinister than that.

              If my suggested method is too much work, then what about yours? :P

              I was just putting a simpler option into the mix. Nothing more sinister than that.

              1 vote
    2. [3]
      Magneto
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      See what happened to voat.co As soon as reddit banned r/fatpeoplehate and bunch of other questionable sites, all the lovely people from those subreddits moved to voat.co. If you want to see what...

      See what happened to voat.co

      As soon as reddit banned r/fatpeoplehate and bunch of other questionable sites, all the lovely people from those subreddits moved to voat.co.

      If you want to see what that website turned into you should take a look. If you're lazy, it's basically filled with while supremacists and Nazi sympathizers.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        Artrax
        Link Parent
        na, it was filled with nazis before the nazis from reddit migrated.

        na, it was filled with nazis before the nazis from reddit migrated.

        1. Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          No, it wasn't. I was on Whoaverse before it renamed itself as Voat, and it was not full of Nazis. It was full of redditors trying to grab real estate ("verses") on this new copy of Reddit, because...

          No, it wasn't. I was on Whoaverse before it renamed itself as Voat, and it was not full of Nazis. It was full of redditors trying to grab real estate ("verses") on this new copy of Reddit, because they wanted to become power-mods because they'd arrived on Reddit too late. And there were other redditors scoping out this copy of Reddit to see what it might do differently to Reddit.

          But there was a distinct lack of Nazis at that time.

          7 votes
    3. [3]
      hhh
      Link Parent
      maybe some kind of automated switch could trip if the usebase grows by a certain percentage after a day/week/month. and maybe it would open up again after changing to invite only after a few weeks...

      maybe some kind of automated switch could trip if the usebase grows by a certain percentage after a day/week/month. and maybe it would open up again after changing to invite only after a few weeks ago.

      this wouldn’t work well without moderation like you suggested though.

      semi-related: say tilde’s registration were blown wide open indefinitely. would it really reach the explosive growth that everybody keeps predicting? I don’t really see this site mentioned too often except deep in threads of people fed up with reddit because ___ and others suggesting it.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        j3n
        Link Parent
        I don't think it's a matter of whether we would see explosive growth but whether we want explosive growth for exactly the reasons laid out above. Even if it's pretty unlikely that it would...

        I don't think it's a matter of whether we would see explosive growth but whether we want explosive growth for exactly the reasons laid out above. Even if it's pretty unlikely that it would actually happen, is it worth the risk?

        3 votes
        1. hhh
          Link Parent
          that’s true. I guess I didn’t think much about that haha.

          that’s true. I guess I didn’t think much about that haha.

    4. stephen
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      So only invite shitty men with messiah/victim complexes. //s Check. And yes I AM a ton of fun at parties!

      Treat it like fight club.

      So only invite shitty men with messiah/victim complexes. //s Check. And yes I AM a ton of fun at parties!

  2. [4]
    patience_limited
    Link
    Okay, this is gonna be long, and I'm sorry to parachute in from a great height, with a wall of text after a period of relative quiet. These ongoing discussions have more than a few similarities to...

    Okay, this is gonna be long, and I'm sorry to parachute in from a great height, with a wall of text after a period of relative quiet.

    These ongoing discussions have more than a few similarities to immigration policy.

    At what point do we admit that we're saying, "okay, we've got exactly x resources, which can only support y population of people nearly identical to those already here, because people different from us will demand more than their share of our zero-sum pie", or essentially, "these inferior people coming from shithole communities will swarm in, express their criminal, subhuman natures, and wreck the place"?

    I'm not hearing enough people offering the contranarrative, "hey, we really need to broaden our userbase faster because that will provide more hands for development and moderation, broaden the content, engage in more sustained discussions, generate more interesting sub-communities for learning and discovery, and we can be a shining beacon of hope for what the Internet could be."

    Tildes has a very pleasant community right now. There's been an enormous amount of hard work by founders who've generated code and content, and a relatively small steady user base that's built a culture of continually nudging each other towards the behaviors we'd like to see. Unfortunately, it's growing increasingly sterile and repetitive lately. We're going to have to accept that we need to grow faster to maintain the vibrancy and depth that keeps most of us here.

    I've sent a few invitations, but the people I'm sufficiently acquainted with to trust (and like most of the introverts here, that's not a large number) have big, consuming lives offline and/or some language barriers. They wouldn't be inclined to stay unless there are rich enough sub-communities of people who share their interests.

    I know Deimos and others are trying to build out a feature set that will do a certain amount of moderation and policing automatically, as well as recruiting Tilders willing to provide volunteer time for documentation, tagging and other amenities. I'm deeply grateful for everyone's efforts. But building a welcoming, diverse, participatory community isn't just a matter of police work to enforce boundaries, or increasing the resource capacity of the public architecture.

    We need a social and algorithmic infrastructure of welcome. Not to draw the immigrant metaphor out too much, we're going to encounter traumatized refugees from sites which encourage behaviors that Tildes doesn't tolerate, comparatively technologically backward n00bs, people who have extremely high needs for attention and support. And yes, there will be a few criminals who will violate any set of rules for fun and profit.

    The struggle and drama will still be worth it - we're all acquainted with off-line communities that are just generally more exciting and rewarding because of, as much as in spite of, their faults. We need the fresher energies and ideas of people who aren't very much like those already here. We need to learn to work better with brief behavioral excursions, even when they make us uncomfortable and create teaching and policing work - it's not enough to tag "noise" or "malice", ban and move on. And when I say "we", I don't just mean those who are essentially living here to make the site work right now.

    We need to start bigger experiments with "immigration policy", accept and learn from failures, and systematically develop resources specifically for the purpose of integrating newcomers. We've generally agreed that we expect some degree of assimilation - not just that new members will accept and abide by the stated rules, but that they'll accept norms like well-considered posts, use of tagging, preferred gender pronouns, actively working to assume and promote good faith in discussions, and so on.

    It's hard work to integrate people who are coming in from different cultures, whether on- or off-line. However, it gets easier the more you work at it, and the more structures are built to support the process.

    It's an online community - we're working at a higher level of Maslow's Hierarchy than food, water and shelter, but let's be explicit that we exist to meet people's needs for acceptance, belonging, and self-actualization, without compromising safety and security.

    There are working practices we can try or build, based on strategies that work for real-world immigrant integration:

    • numerically restricted entry (e.g. open registration, but only admit at a rate of 1 newcomer for every 50 active "citizens" in some defined time period, to match entry resources with growth, and to avoid diluting the preferred culture or compromising safety);
    • simplified, individualized entry support (only possible with restricted entry, and possibly a chat support system);
    • restricted "citizenship rights" for a defined period (moderated topics, no comment labeling, posts appear only after a time-delayed Preview mode, limited posting rate?);
    • common language requirements (Tildes is not just English-only - we've set a strong cultural norm for coherent, expressive writing with correct grammar and punctuation);
    • small newcomer-support communities (maybe ~welcome?);
    • basic participation opportunities beyond topics and commenting, specifically for newcomers - e.g. curate tags for the ~welcome group, etc.
    • creation of sub-groups before there's high participation, in order to avoid "brain waste" - loss of potentially valuable contributors with specialized knowledge, whose interests aren't met by the current topic feed groups and discussions. [I know sub-groups been discussed ad infinitum , but those vacant spaces for "~science.microbiology" or "~hobbies.sailing" aren't welcoming when you have to do extensive filter setup, or have an army of well-trained taggers even for those second-level buckets.]

    Part of that architecture of welcome includes some stretch feature goals for new participant friendliness and general benefit. These don't exist elsewhere and might help maintain better quality):

    • automatic duplicate topic/link warnings;
    • context-sensitive help;
    • very limited keyword nudges in Preview mode (did you really mean to use that extravagantly hostile, inflammatory adjective or epithet?)

    I do not support "merit-based" admission - questionnaires, code or other mandatory contributions, "Exemplary" comment or other quotas for full user rights, or a resume' of participation on other sites for review... We've already got relatively high cultural barriers to entry, the invite "seeds" are being sown in ways that are likely to provide trustworthy participants.

    So I'm volunteering, to the extent that I can, to join (or even, for my sins, lead) a Welcome Committee. Any other takers?

    15 votes
    1. [3]
      Amarok
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think we need just two things right now. Let's have an open-signup page with Deimos' finger on the on/off switch. Let's make invite links into a reality. That seems like the least effort for the...

      I think we need just two things right now.

      1. Let's have an open-signup page with Deimos' finger on the on/off switch.
      2. Let's make invite links into a reality.

      That seems like the least effort for the most reward. I'd also like to redirect people from /r/tildes to the open signup page here instead, so we don't have to keep PMing everyone on reddit from replies in the invite threads. That's a gigantic time sink.

      Great comment, btw. I think you're right, it's time to move forward.

      Edit: Also, perhaps Algernon's idea of a numerical off switch isn't such a bad idea. If Deimos is the only one that can turn it off, and somehow it goes viral, in the space of one sleep the userbase could get out of control. I'd favor putting a simple limiter on it, nothing fancy. In any given day, after X number of invites (say, 1000 for now), the page shuts off automatically. That way if it goes viral, we get the early birds but the rest have to wait. Deimos can decide to turn it back on again when he's back online, and set the hard limit to whatever fits the current userbase size. These checks aren't particularly hard to code for, it's not some massive undertaking.

      Edit: Hey @Deimos, isn't the open signup page working like this just a special case of an invite link? It's the same kind of landing page, just with special limits.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        :O I think 1,000 new users per day is a bit high. At that rate, we could double the current userbase of Tildes in only 10 days, and that's way too quick to acculturate that many people. I'd drop...

        perhaps Algernon's idea of a numerical off switch isn't such a bad idea.

        :O

        In any given day, after X number of invites (say, 1000 for now), the page shuts off automatically.

        I think 1,000 new users per day is a bit high. At that rate, we could double the current userbase of Tildes in only 10 days, and that's way too quick to acculturate that many people. I'd drop it to 100 per day (which would still increase the userbase by one-third in only month).

        3 votes
        1. Eylrid
          Link Parent
          That would be affected by whether it's a continual demand, or a spike in interest. An isolated day of 1,000 new users isn't as bad as 1,000 new users every day. At the risk of adding an extra...

          That would be affected by whether it's a continual demand, or a spike in interest. An isolated day of 1,000 new users isn't as bad as 1,000 new users every day. At the risk of adding an extra element of complication maybe there could be two limits, one for the number of new users in a given day and one for the month. Say 500 in a given day and 3,000 in a month, or something. That way if Tildes get mentioned in an article, or there is a particularly popular thread or something, we could accommodate the bump in interest, while still staying limited overall.

          1 vote
  3. [29]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Tildes absolutely should not remain an invite-only platform. It must move towards open registration. As long as we restrict people signing up, we're throttling growth and preventing this site from...

    Tildes absolutely should not remain an invite-only platform. It must move towards open registration.

    As long as we restrict people signing up, we're throttling growth and preventing this site from becoming successful. We need subscribers, we need traffic, and we need the donations that will come from those subscribers.

    But that doesn't mean we should open the floodgates today.

    Tildes is currently in alpha-testing. It's nowhere near feature complete. It's very much a work in progress. At this point, we need to throttle growth because we have no way of managing large influxes of new people.

    I think the key feature that needs to be in place before we consider allowing open registrations is a moderation system that is more than just one person. We need to build a functioning moderation system with a significant number of people using it (maybe 1-2% of the total Tildes population?). We need lots of people on the ground able to remove comments and lock threads, and even some people who can ban users. We currently have curator types (changing tags, moving topics, editing titles), but we need bailiffs who can deal with problematic comments and bouncers who can deal with the people who make them.

    It would be nice if there was an automated (or even semi-automated) trust system to back this up, so that new bailiffs and bouncers are continually created as the site grows. However, that's not absolutely necessary, as long as Deimos keeps manually appointing new bailiffs and bouncers as more people sign up.

    But we need those bailiffs and bouncers before we allow open registration, and we need open registration.

    18 votes
    1. [26]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      @Deimos I'd be willing to help out with moderation. I'm middle-aged, not looking for fights, a homemaker (giving me more free time than most people), and I've alpha/beta tested since the early...

      @Deimos I'd be willing to help out with moderation. I'm middle-aged, not looking for fights, a homemaker (giving me more free time than most people), and I've alpha/beta tested since the early nineties. Also, you know my real name. I'm not saying the latter to be controversial. I issued this to you at the beginning in order to build trust.

      4 votes
      1. [23]
        Deimos
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Thanks - like @Algernon_Asimov said, at this point it's not so much about willingness as it is wanting to make sure we have the right systems in place. It's not even that I can't give other people...

        Thanks - like @Algernon_Asimov said, at this point it's not so much about willingness as it is wanting to make sure we have the right systems in place. It's not even that I can't give other people the ability to remove/lock/etc. I actually can already do that, I just don't really want to yet. Once I start having other people make those kinds of decisions, I'm basically introducing politics. Someone will get their comment removed and we'll have a big argument about why that person's allowed to remove and clearly they're biased and so on.

        I know we'll need it eventually, but I don't really want to start that mess until it's actually necessary. There have been a few occasions where something's been ugly while I've been sleeping or away or something, and it would have been good to have someone else able to take care of it, but that's also happened like... 3 times in a year. I mostly put that in my just try to relax category. I've actually even quietly implemented some stuff in the background that should help if we start getting a situation like that again, and it's never been needed.

        The problems just aren't really very prevalent yet, and that's one of the main benefits of staying invite-only. When we open it up and persistent assholes can just keep hopping around on VPNs and registering new accounts and so on, it'll get a lot harder to keep everything under control.

        16 votes
        1. [21]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          That's interesting to know... I had assumed it was a technical restriction rather than a personal decision. I know you're not asking for suggestions about this, but... :) If you defined a set of...

          It's not even that I can't give other people the ability to remove/lock/etc., I actually can already do that

          That's interesting to know... I had assumed it was a technical restriction rather than a personal decision.

          we'll have a big argument about why that person's allowed to remove

          I know you're not asking for suggestions about this, but... :)

          If you defined a set of fixed criteria for potential moderator-types, and then applied it without exception, that might reduce these problems. That's sort of how a future trust system would work, so it would be a step towards that.

          For example, to become a moderator, someone:

          • must have been a member of Tildes for X months.
          • must have posted X topics.
          • must have posted X comments.
          • must have applied X 'Exemplary' labels.
          • must have applied X 'Malice' labels which actually resulted in you taking action (in other words: not frivolously).

          You publish these criteria for everyone to see. And, with your access to the database, you can run reports every week to see if anyone reaches these criteria. Then give those people access to the remove/lock/etc tools.

          If, as you say, you don't want to appoint other moderator-types yet, that's fine. But, if and when you do decide to do this, this method would hopefully reduce the politicking about who got chosen and why.

          6 votes
          1. [11]
            Gyrfalcon
            Link Parent
            I have mixed feelings about this idea. On one hand, fixed criteria are easy to point to in order to resolve disputes of a political nature. On the other hand, I'm not sure they get at the real...

            I have mixed feelings about this idea. On one hand, fixed criteria are easy to point to in order to resolve disputes of a political nature. On the other hand, I'm not sure they get at the real question, which is do we trust this person to moderate fairly, and why? I think the point on the malice labels goes more into that direction, but I think there's still more there.

            I also feel like a rigid criteria will result in otherwise trustworthy community members going out of their way to find, say, some comments to tag, when that's not a way they typically interact with the site. Then again, I am not terribly active, so perhaps that wouldn't be a problem for more likely moderator candidates.

            7 votes
            1. [10]
              Algernon_Asimov
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Tildes will have to evolve beyond relying on Deimos being personally involved in every decision. Anyway, as he himself said, he doesn't really want the hassle of having to justify himself all the...

              Tildes will have to evolve beyond relying on Deimos being personally involved in every decision. Anyway, as he himself said, he doesn't really want the hassle of having to justify himself all the time.

              The planned method for choosing future moderators is a so-called “trust system” which will be algorithmic in nature. It will use pre-defined criteria to appoint people as moderators. Why not start as we mean to go on?

              Any system can be gamed, but Tildes' philosophy is to “trust people, but punish abusers”. In other words, treat people as if they're acting in good faith until they show that they're not.

              EDIT: Added missing word.

              4 votes
              1. [7]
                mundane_and_naive
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                You know, there actually haven't been any concrete details as to the "trust system" will be like yet, everything we have so far is just its philosophy and a whole lot of speculation. There's no...

                You know, there actually haven't been any concrete details as to the "trust system" will be like yet, everything we have so far is just its philosophy and a whole lot of speculation. There's no guarantee that the decision making process will be algorithmic. For all we know, it could just be a really good book-keeping system with lots of people involved in a circle of accountability. The HR department of anything has always just been people even till this day. Old-fashioned might still be best.

                Since you've been moderators before, in your experience, how large is a community usually before it becomes unmanageable for one person?

                For the sake of argument, for now, I'd assume it's 1,000. Let's say Tildes grows to 1,000,000,000. If so, Tildes would need 1,000,000 tier-1 moderators. Those moderators are effectively a collective that requires 1,000 tier-2 moderators to be kept in check. Finally, those are monitored by one tier-3 moderator.

                So with these assumptions, we only need 3 layers of bureaucracy to keep the whole population in check, not so bad as that is more or less similar to a country, no fancy algorithm required. The fact that we're all online means easier communication across the board so it's still a better outlook than an irl country.

                This is all hypothetical of course so I hope you can chime in with your actual experience.

                Edit: spelling and grammar.

                3 votes
                1. [3]
                  Amarok
                  Link Parent
                  Yes! Something more human, less game-like. The chief advantage here is that a system of numbers is static, and it can be exploited. A system of human interactions is more dynamic, and it can...

                  For all we know, it could just be a really good book-keeping system with lots of people involved in a circle of accountability.

                  Yes! Something more human, less game-like. The chief advantage here is that a system of numbers is static, and it can be exploited. A system of human interactions is more dynamic, and it can evolve with people's behaviors. It seems to me like it would be more flexible, more resilient, and possibly more engaging/fun/rewarding than a straight numeric point system such as stack exchange.

                  From my time on reddit, I'd say that your first real moderation problems start at around 50,000 users. They intensify around 100,000, and again around 250,000. Past that point, the number doesn't seem to matter because the community has already collapsed into noise.

                  Tildes being invite-only is definitely going to fuck with those numbers. When bad actors get banned, they can't come right back easily, and they have to re-earn access to features they want to abuse. Seeing this happen also has an effect on the other community members, who are perhaps more primed to be considerate and behave like adults to avoid the same consequences.

                  I expect this will push Tildes' problem numbers much higher. I would guess that by the time Tildes is 100,000 users, we'll know the shape of our moderation issues much better than we do now. I think we can make it there, and maintain there, using nothing but basic systems. The march up to 1,000,000 users will be the time to develop more advanced moderation tools.

                  Rather than tiers, I like to think of it like unlocking abilities in a game. If you do a lot of one activity such as labeling comments, that will unlock access to another, higher tier ability that's related, such as editing tags. Good use of that will unlock yet more in the same tree, such as editing titles, moving posts between groups.

                  I see three general categories right now. Editors are the guys who keep the tags, titles, posts etc all clean and happy. Top tier they might be able to merge or lock threads. Then there's the bailiffs, who are concerned with enforcement. They answer reports/malice tags, and have the power to mute or even ban users. Last are the curators, and they come in much later, when Tildes is large and has multiple groups with multiple sub-group tiers. The job of the curators is to get the best stuff to the top, handle community roundups, and engage in the community. This is the 'fun' part of moderation.

                  It's not that someone has to be one or the other. It's more about watching how that person interacts with the site, and giving them the tools that favor their own personal preferences. One user could have earned powers in all three trees. There may be more trees, or other ways to think about this. I'd rather let the users discover that themselves as we talk about this in ~tildes while the site grows. I think the right choices will emerge from those discussions in time, long before the moderation problem gets out of control.

                  The only thing I can think of that could sabotage this is becoming fully open signup before that process delivers a functional trust framework.

                  3 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Algernon_Asimov
                    Link Parent
                    That may be true of default-type subreddits where the traffic is mostly links and comments, but the problems start earlier with subreddits aimed at high-quality discussion and text-based...

                    From my time on reddit, I'd say that your first real moderation problems start at around 50,000 users.

                    That may be true of default-type subreddits where the traffic is mostly links and comments, but the problems start earlier with subreddits aimed at high-quality discussion and text-based submissions. I've moderated a couple of these subreddits (AskHistorians & DaystromInstitute), and we had more than 4 moderators before either subreddit reached 10,000 users. At AskHistorians, we unscientifically worked out that the optimum ratio in the early days seemed to be about 1 moderator to about 7,500 users, and at Daystrom, we ended up at pretty much the same ratio. I notice that these days the ratio at AH has dropped to 1 mod per 28,000 users, but I assume they've got some economies of scale happening as they've acquired more experience.

                    Given that Tildes is a link aggregator that is also aiming at high-quality discussions, I believe that we need to have a more moderator-heavy model. You've talked about Tildes having lots of moderators, and I agree with that model. I wouldn't be surprised if as much as 1% of the population of Tildes had some sort of moderator-type abilities (even if it's just editing tags).

                    3 votes
                    1. Eylrid
                      Link Parent
                      Having a high number of moderators and having the path to becoming a moderator be somewhat open would reduce the "us vs them" that can crop up between mods and non-mods. It would make being a mod...

                      Having a high number of moderators and having the path to becoming a moderator be somewhat open would reduce the "us vs them" that can crop up between mods and non-mods. It would make being a mod be less elitist. Members of the group who think the group could be better could more easily step up to be the change they want to see, while problematic mods could more easily be ejected.

                      Groups and organisations that have a high proportion of members with a real voice in the decision making process tend to serve their members better.

                      3 votes
                2. [3]
                  Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  Yes and no. While there has not yet been any concrete information about the proposed trust system, we do know that: And, in the many discussions that have been had here about the proposed trust...

                  You know, there actually aren't any concrete details as to the "trust system" will be like, everything we have so far is just its philosophy and a whole lot of speculation.

                  Yes and no. While there has not yet been any concrete information about the proposed trust system, we do know that:

                  My goal with the trust system on Tildes is to turn this process of discovering the best members and granting them more influence into a natural, automatic one.

                  It's worth noting that the process does not need to be entirely automatic. The trust system won't necessarily be a complete replacement for manually promoting users, and a combination of both systems may end up working best.

                  And, in the many discussions that have been had here about the proposed trust system, there has been a lot of focus on its automated nature, with a definite de-emphasising of any involvement by real people.

                  I expect that any involvement by real people in this future trust system will be minimal.


                  Since you've been moderators before, in your experience, how large is a community usually before it becomes unmanageable for one person?

                  Well, I'm currently running a subreddit (on an alt account) with just over 8,000 people basically singlehandedly. That said, it's a low-traffic subreddit: most of the posts come from me, and there's very little discussion.

                  My gut feeling is that 10,000 users is about the time when a forum needs more than one moderator. Depending on how strongly the moderator wants to moderate the forum, this could be as low as 1,000 users. But 10,000 seems to me to be the upper limit. I'm starting to notice the limitations of having only one moderator here on Tildes, and we recently reached this milestone.


                  we only need 3 layers of bureaucracy to keep the whole population in check, not so bad as that is more or less similar to a country, no fancy algorithm required

                  The algorithm I'm discussing is for choosing moderators, not managing them. That's what we're discussing here: who gets chosen as moderators and why (as per the line of Deimos' that I quoted earlier: "we'll have a big argument about why that person's allowed to remove").

                  Let's go with your model of 1 moderator per 1,000 users. For each 1,000 users added to the forum, they need to add an extra moderator.

                  • When the forum reaches 2,000 users, how does the first moderator choose a second moderator? Out of 1,999 people, who does the first moderator choose as the next moderator and why?
                  • When the forum reaches 3,000 users, how do the 2 existing moderators choose a third moderator? Out of 2,998 people, who do those moderators choose as the next moderator and why?
                  • When the forum reaches 10,000 users, how do the 9 existing moderators choose a 10th moderator? Out of 9,991 people, who do those moderators choose as the next moderator and why?
                  • When the forum reaches 100,000 users, how do the 99 existing moderators choose a 100th moderator? Out of 99,901 people, who do those moderators choose as the next moderator and why?

                  The algorithms in the trust system aren't necessarily for managing the moderators (although that might also come into play), they're for choosing the moderators. And they're intended to enable this choice to be made objectively and without bias (either perceived or actual).

                  More accurately, they're for the new moderators to choose themselves by reaching certain milestones of participation and achievement. If you've been on Tildes long enough and done enough things, then you earn the privilege of taking on some moderation. And, the longer you stay and the more you do, the more moderation privileges you earn. Just like you "level up" in computer games.

                  2 votes
                  1. [2]
                    mundane_and_naive
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    Well, I'd like to extend my previous argument to include both the process of managing and choosing, reasoning as before. As for which person to choose and why, we could use good-old interview...

                    The algorithm I'm discussing is for choosing moderators, not managing them.

                    Well, I'd like to extend my previous argument to include both the process of managing and choosing, reasoning as before.

                    As for which person to choose and why, we could use good-old interview process. Anyone interested can submit a request. Existing moderators then look through applicants "resume", which could be a detailed log of all their past actions up to date: posts, comments, labels, their labeling of others, etc. (this is the part that the context of online platform has advantage over traditional job hunting, since full details of an applicant's history are always available. Tildes could invest in designing a categorization structure that's comprehensive while also readable, automated algorithm may or may not involve in generating the analytics) Mods then choose a few who has the most impressive track record and give them an interview. The specifics would need to depend on individual groups and their culture, which are discussed before hand by existing mods.

                    This entire process is nothing new. Every decisions are made by humans. Algorithms only assist them in collecting necessary information, not making decision for them. It's tried and true, worked for organizations of any size. I don't see any specific aspects of an online forum that may limit its applicability.

                    1 vote
                    1. Algernon_Asimov
                      Link Parent
                      You'd have to appoint more moderators just to handle the workload of appointing moderators! There's also the aspect of timeliness. You can't afford to give every applicant a one-on-one...

                      You'd have to appoint more moderators just to handle the workload of appointing moderators!

                      There's also the aspect of timeliness. You can't afford to give every applicant a one-on-one personalised interview when your forum is growing at 1,000 new users per day, so you need to appoint a new moderator every day to keep up - and your existing moderators are all in various timezones so that real-time conversations between them are extremely difficult.

                      1 vote
              2. [2]
                Gyrfalcon
                Link Parent
                I'm familiar with the concept of the trust system, though I think I am envisioning something slightly different in terms of the requirements you outlined. In my mind, I see something where a...

                I'm familiar with the concept of the trust system, though I think I am envisioning something slightly different in terms of the requirements you outlined. In my mind, I see something where a variety of actions, when taken properly, would increase the amount of trust placed in a user. I don't mind a hard threshold of "You must be this trusted to do X moderation action." But, in such a system, someone who creates many quality posts and comments but rarely tags comments could be just as trusted someone who rarely posts but can spot quality and malicious content easily, and tags it as such.

                I'm not sure that those two examples having equal trust should mean the users have equal moderation responsibilities/privileges. If there could be fairly fine subdivision of moderating tasks, then I think it would be possible for a user's responsibility to grow along with how they use the site. As a trusted user shows aptitude in tagging comments appropriately, they could gain the ability to moderate comments or flag them for further review. Likewise, many quality links with good titles and tags could unlock the ability modify tags or titles that are problematic. If these abilities are used wisely, they unlock further moderation tasks that are similar in nature but require more responsibility and trust. If the abilities are abused, they are taken away. I think of this almost as a skill tree of moderation abilities and responsibilities.

                The thing I think we should try to avoid is making moderation more burdensome than necessary. I don't think it would be good for users to feel like they have to interact with the site in a way they usually don't in order to be trusted enough to contribute through moderation. Likewise, moderators shouldn't feel they have a responsibility to have or use moderation privileges in a way they feel unqualified for. That said, I have never moderated an online community, so perhaps this is a fools errand.

                3 votes
                1. Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  Please do not take my list of suggested criteria intended to deal with a short-term problem as any indication of how the future trust system on Tildes will actually work. I'm just suggesting to...

                  Please do not take my list of suggested criteria intended to deal with a short-term problem as any indication of how the future trust system on Tildes will actually work. I'm just suggesting to Deimos a method he can use to select moderators right now to avoid the "big argument about why [certain people are] allowed to remove" comments and topics.

                  As for what you've suggested here for the future trust system, I'm pretty much in agreement with most things you've proposed. And, from what I've seen in discussions, I believe that Deimos would also agree in principle, as would a few other people around here.

                  5 votes
          2. [7]
            emdash
            Link Parent
            These criteria feel like the same sort of arbitrary metrics Stack Overflow use to hand out capabilities—and in all honesty, it doesn't work well. Human curation works a lot better and I'm inclined...

            These criteria feel like the same sort of arbitrary metrics Stack Overflow use to hand out capabilities—and in all honesty, it doesn't work well. Human curation works a lot better and I'm inclined to believe a permission of trust chain should be applied to those with privileges, rather than limiting it by some arbitrary metric.

            4 votes
            1. [6]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              The problem I'm trying to solve here is Deimos' statement: If we want to prevent that argument about bias and favouritism, we need fixed criteria. I assume this means that existing moderators...

              The problem I'm trying to solve here is Deimos' statement:

              Once I start having other people make those kinds of decisions, I'm basically introducing politics. Someone will get their comment removed and we'll have a big argument about why that person's allowed to remove and clearly they're biased and so on.

              If we want to prevent that argument about bias and favouritism, we need fixed criteria.


              I'm inclined to believe a permission of trust chain should be applied to those with privileges

              I assume this means that existing moderators would select and/or approve future moderators. Wouldn't that introduce similar arguments about moderators choosing people they like, and people who agree with their views, and creating one-sided mod teams and so on? Basically, we'd end up with Reddit all over again.

              1 vote
              1. [5]
                emdash
                Link Parent
                By that logic the invite trust chain doesn't work on Tildes for the exact same reasons.

                By that logic the invite trust chain doesn't work on Tildes for the exact same reasons.

                1. [4]
                  Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  Not quite. Deimos and cfabbro (and others) having been handing out invite codes like candy to anyone who asks, without any vetting whatsoever. There is no review of askers and no knowledge of who...

                  Not quite. Deimos and cfabbro (and others) having been handing out invite codes like candy to anyone who asks, without any vetting whatsoever. There is no review of askers and no knowledge of who they are. If they ask for an invite, they get it. Except for "Do you want an invite?", there are literally no questions asked. There is no "trust chain" in that process.

                  If you don't like my suggestion of using fixed criteria...

                  • How do you propose that Deimos deals with the expected "big arguments" about why certain people are chosen to have removal abilities?

                  • How do you propose that the intended trust system on Tildes selects people to have removal abilities?

                  1. [3]
                    cfabbro
                    Link Parent
                    I have vetted thousands of users before sending them invites, as has Amarok... Lately it’s just been a cursory glance at user history, but in the beginning it was much more thorough.

                    without any vetting whatsoever

                    I have vetted thousands of users before sending them invites, as has Amarok... Lately it’s just been a cursory glance at user history, but in the beginning it was much more thorough.

                    1 vote
                    1. [2]
                      Algernon_Asimov
                      Link Parent
                      Thanks for that.

                      Thanks for that.

                      1 vote
                      1. Amarok
                        Link Parent
                        Yeah. At this point, my only check is that the account wasn't created in the last month and has some kind of real activity/participation on reddit. So basic any bot could do it for us. The reddit...

                        Yeah. At this point, my only check is that the account wasn't created in the last month and has some kind of real activity/participation on reddit. So basic any bot could do it for us.

                        The reddit invites have dried up, too. Reddit hasn't done anything blatant to piss off the users in a little while, so it'll stay like this until they do. We get like maybe 15 a week right now.

                        2 votes
          3. [2]
            Amarok
            Link Parent
            This is similar to stack exchange. I think that's an exemplary model to follow moving forward with the trust system, as it's the closest example of the general concept that actually exists out...

            This is similar to stack exchange. I think that's an exemplary model to follow moving forward with the trust system, as it's the closest example of the general concept that actually exists out there (as far as I've seen). It works.

            My only criticism of it is that something a little more human, less numeric/game-like might be better.

            1 vote
            1. Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              I know it's similar to Stack Exchange. I make the comparison a lot whenever the subject comes up, because I spent some time over there a few years back, and became familiar with how it works. I've...

              I know it's similar to Stack Exchange. I make the comparison a lot whenever the subject comes up, because I spent some time over there a few years back, and became familiar with how it works. I've even mentioned it elsewhere in this very thread.

              I like that method. It's a direct work-and-reward system: you put in the work and you get the rewards.

              But, importantly, there's no subjectivity about it. There's no team of moderators deciding to appoint only people they like and people who agree with them. It's totally impartial. Anyone who works at it can progress up through the tiers and earn extra abilities.

              2 votes
        2. suspended
          Link Parent
          I'll be ready and willing to moderate here when the time comes. And thank you for all that you do here.

          I'll be ready and willing to moderate here when the time comes. And thank you for all that you do here.

          2 votes
      2. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        You're not alone: there are at least 10 people I can think of without trying, and more if I put my mind to it, who are both willing and able to moderate Tildes. (Including me, of course, as Deimos...

        You're not alone: there are at least 10 people I can think of without trying, and more if I put my mind to it, who are both willing and able to moderate Tildes. (Including me, of course, as Deimos would already know.) And I'm sure Deimos could put together an even longer list of potential people to be bailiffs and bouncers, especially if he asked for expressions of interest.

        The problem is not a lack of people, it's a lack of tools. You and I can not moderate Tildes because the tools aren't available for us to do so. As far as I can tell, while Deimos has built "remove" and "lock" and "ban" tools for himself to use, he hasn't built the feature set which allows him to give those tools to other people.

        7 votes
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          Thank you for your explanations. This won't be the only time that I will throw my hat in.

          Thank you for your explanations. This won't be the only time that I will throw my hat in.

          1 vote
    2. [2]
      j3n
      Link Parent
      What's the minimum number of users to be considered "successful"? I'm assuming that's enough users to generate sufficient donations to pay for server hosting and possibly a salary for Deimos?...

      As long as we restrict people signing up, we're throttling growth and preventing this site from becoming successful.

      What's the minimum number of users to be considered "successful"? I'm assuming that's enough users to generate sufficient donations to pay for server hosting and possibly a salary for Deimos? While I obviously think we should hit that point at some point, I'm not sure that it's a good idea to overshoot it. Bigger is not inherently better when it comes to online communities.

      2 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        ... plus whoever else Deimos decides to pay for their services. At some point, he might need to hire a system operations person or a support developer. Another criterion for success would be when...

        What's the minimum number of users to be considered "successful"? I'm assuming that's enough users to generate sufficient donations to pay for server hosting and possibly a salary for Deimos?

        ... plus whoever else Deimos decides to pay for their services. At some point, he might need to hire a system operations person or a support developer.

        Another criterion for success would be when the site is big enough and has enough traffic to support sub-groups and sub-sub-groups so there are more niches for more content. A lot of people don't like the current set-up of Tildes because they feel there isn't a place to swap knitting patterns for women's hats or to discuss their favourite unicorn-themed graphic novel. All the current groups feel too big and broad and vague for that type of specialised content.

        Yet another criterion is when people don't have to go out of their way to post links to artificially lift traffic here. There's a smallish group of people here who currently account for a disproportionate amount of the content being posted. While the 90/9/1 rule of internet participation will always apply, we need more people in that 1%.

        Bigger is not inherently better when it comes to online communities.

        If we build the right systems and structures, maybe we can be the exception. Tildes' proposed model of community-based moderation doesn't seem to be very common on the internet, and I'm not sure it has been tried on a large-scale forum (StackOverflow uses a similar moderation model, but it's restricted to a question-and-answer format).

        5 votes
  4. [11]
    Loire
    Link
    Never. Have you guys one on reddit recently? The content quality has collapsed outside of the niche subreddits. While this process has been ongoing for years it really took off when facebook...

    Never.

    Have you guys one on reddit recently? The content quality has collapsed outside of the niche subreddits. While this process has been ongoing for years it really took off when facebook stumbled and reddit positioned itself as the place for its refugees.

    Let tildes be, regardless of whether or not the reddit scenario would be a decade out. I don't need another 2013 era reddit ib my life either. People who will add to the community will seek it out. People need to use their invites more (I admit Ive been bad for this) to bring in people they have vetted. We don't need the type of rot that comes with an Eternal September.

    16 votes
    1. hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      Also, making this a second comment because it's really a whole different conversation, I'm very skeptical that Reddit's current issues with quality are due to open registration, as much as they...

      Also, making this a second comment because it's really a whole different conversation, I'm very skeptical that Reddit's current issues with quality are due to open registration, as much as they are due to the fact that Reddit isn't moderated.

      Reddit (the company) administrates Reddit (the website) but they don't moderate it. They attempt to leave that job up to a handful of dedicated, questionably qualified, dubiously opinionated, passionate Internet janitors (God bless most of them by the way) but Reddit (the company) doesn't moderate Reddit (the website) and that's why Reddit (the website) has such an issue with quality.

      I mean, could you imagine if Reddit (the company) actually banned people for repeated offenses of low effort comments, hate speech, and all the other garbage that contributes to Reddit's (the website's) quality problem? Like, if Reddit (the company) would actually put up any effort to moderate the communities on the site and the users within those communities, Reddit (the website) would be a lot better, in my opinion.

      So yeah, I don't think open registration is some boogeyman that spells doom for the quality of every link aggregator or forum, but I do think it makes doom much easier to occur.

      And of course Reddit (the company) isn't going to do anything about this. Reddit (the company) is never going to do anything on purpose to slash the website's active user count until allowing the specific problem users to persist leads to greater damage than getting rid of them would cause.

      Reddit (the company) is a for profit company who has taken on hundreds of millions of venture capital dollars and is desperately trying to turn a profit. They need those active users despite what they do to the quality of the site and they won't get rid of them until they stop assisting Reddit in making money.

      You know what kind of link aggregator doesn't have this sort of issue? One that is a non-profit site that respects its users and prioritizes quality content with no advertising, no investors, and is supported by your donations.

      16 votes
    2. [7]
      hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      I don't know, using Reddit as a justification for why we shouldn't allow open registration on Tildes assumes that a majority of open registrations would come from Reddit, which doesn't have to be...

      I don't know, using Reddit as a justification for why we shouldn't allow open registration on Tildes assumes that a majority of open registrations would come from Reddit, which doesn't have to be the case at all.

      It also assumes that the quality of Tildes would get worse if we were to allow open registration, but that also does not have to be the case.

      So, using Reddit as a reason for why we should "never" try open registration seems odd to me.

      Personally, I've advocated that we should allow open registration on Tildes in controlled instances specifically to test how well we can onboard an influx of new users.

      Because, the entire reason that open registration might lead to a decrease in quality on Tildes would be because we weren't able to convert the new users fast enough to conform to the site's culture and instead allowed the site's culture to conform to the new users.

      By testing open registration in controlled bursts we can test the effectiveness of our incorporation process, the trust based moderation system, and a bunch of other little goodies.

      I'm not saying we should permanently enable open registration, that would be crazy. But periods of open registration can be reversed. Shoot, Tildes could go back to requiring users to be registered to view the site if we really needed that to happen.

      So, I think "never" is way too strong of an answer to this question and doesn't leave much room for honestly discussing a lot of the details of this idea.

      For more of my thoughts about open registration, see this comment.

      5 votes
      1. [6]
        Loire
        Link Parent
        You missed the point, but perhaps I wasn't clear: The point is not that the recent crop of redditors will enter tildes (although that is where the majority of our users likely come from). The...

        I don't know, using Reddit as a justification for why we shouldn't allow open registration on Tildes assumes that a majority of open registrations would come from Reddit, which doesn't have to be the case at all.

        It also assumes that the quality of Tildes would get worse if we were to allow open registration, but that also does not have to be the case.

        You missed the point, but perhaps I wasn't clear: The point is not that the recent crop of redditors will enter tildes (although that is where the majority of our users likely come from). The point is using reddit as an example of what happens when you have free entry to a popular product.

        By and large the general public are absolutely borish. They have no desire, and often no capacity to contribute quality comments. Posts become low effort. Reposts, cat pictures, dog pictures, reaction gifs, memes, "look how much weight I lost" humble brags, virtue signaling, mindless [insert political opponent here] bashing. Top comments become pun chains. Reading the article is discourage in favour of jostling for the most favoured comment by reaching for the lowest common denominator.

        Then the bad actors come in. Trolls, political actors, corporate shills, bots.

        Sure we can turn off the taps when it gets bad but why even go there in the first place? Its not that hard to get into tildes. You simply have to ask Deimos and he hands out invites like candy. The best quality posters will seek out tildes. The minor amount of effort to get in scteens out the worst of the riff raff.

        Keep it locked down and encourage members to use their invites more.

        6 votes
        1. hungariantoast
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I linked this comment earlier, did you read it? Even in that case, I honestly still disagree. Even if we totally ignore my other comment about why I think Reddit's (the website's) quality is so...

          I linked this comment earlier, did you read it?

          The point is using reddit as an example of what happens when you have free entry to a popular product.

          Even in that case, I honestly still disagree. Even if we totally ignore my other comment about why I think Reddit's (the website's) quality is so poor.

          We can have open registration in controlled bursts and completely be unaffected by everything that you've mentioned being concerned about. That's the crux of why I disagree. "Never" is, in my opinion, simply too strong an answer to something we have not tried before and can easily revert.

          Sure we can turn off the taps when it gets bad but why even go there in the first place?

          Curiosity, experimentation, testing, data, and experience. Open registration in controlled instances allows us to test so many aspects of the site. We don't have to enable open registration forever, we can just allow it for a specific amount of time, or even for just a specific number of registrations. Also, it isn't uncommon for Tildes to experience slow or even negative periods of growth, if that makes any sense. It wasn't until February of this year that the site really started to kick off, and I think the period between October 2018 and February 2019 showed a very noticeable lull in the site's activity.

          There's no reason to think that won't happen again. Now, we all know that Tildes doesn't need constant growth to survive. Half of what makes this site attractive is that it's built for sustainability, but it's unclear if we've reached an actually sustainable point yet. First of all, donations aren't high enough to sustain Deimos forever. Second of all, there might still not be enough users to ensure Tildes perpetually survives of its own volition without concerted effort to bring in new users. Tildes could be much larger than it currently is, Deimos said that himself, but slow growth is the way things have been angled so far, but I'm unsure (and others are as well) if we're currently active enough to perpetually sustain ourselves.

          So, in the future there might be drops in the level of activity or even negative trends in the amount of activity and users on the site. Combine this with the fact that Tildes might not be naturally sustaining yet and we've got an interesting, potential problem.

          What solves this problem? Bringing in new users. What's the fastest way to do that? Open registration.

          If we know the moderation system can handle X amount of open registrants without rocking the boat too much and we find ourselves desiring X or less amount of new users, open the gates.

          That's just one example of why I think we should look into this, even if it's just one time.

          What I can't understand is why not? Open registration does not, by any means, have to mean we weaken the site's culture, break the user base, or experience any kinds of Septembers. We can control the flow of users even in an open registration event using maximum values. Why wouldn't we try it at least once just to see what happens, especially since we already know we can contain it?

          3 votes
        2. [4]
          suspended
          Link Parent
          If a thief wants to get into my house, then they will. Or the ones who just want to get in...and look around...and make plans...rubbing their hands together.

          Sure we can turn off the taps when it gets bad but why even go there in the first place? Its not that hard to get into tildes.

          If a thief wants to get into my house, then they will.

          The best quality posters will seek out tildes.

          Or the ones who just want to get in...and look around...and make plans...rubbing their hands together.

          1. [3]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            That's provably not how this works. Singular interlopers are either assimilated or removed with ease. We have upteenth examples of this process since usenet. Massive influxes are harder to...

            That's provably not how this works. Singular interlopers are either assimilated or removed with ease. We have upteenth examples of this process since usenet. Massive influxes are harder to impossible to manage.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              suspended
              Link Parent
              It sounds like you have experience in these matters. Is that correct?

              It sounds like you have experience in these matters. Is that correct?

              1. Loire
                Link Parent
                I assume most people have experienced the decline in quality of a product that follows popularity. I have engaged in a number of forum like communities that have succumbed to explosive growth....

                I assume most people have experienced the decline in quality of a product that follows popularity. I have engaged in a number of forum like communities that have succumbed to explosive growth.

                Certainly I don't have metrics or something to better qualify the argument beyond anecdote.

                2 votes
    3. [2]
      AnthonyB
      Link Parent
      I visited reddit twice in the past month or so, once to see the reaction to Game of Thrones and once just to browse my old front page. I was shocked to see how many low effort posts there were in...

      I visited reddit twice in the past month or so, once to see the reaction to Game of Thrones and once just to browse my old front page. I was shocked to see how many low effort posts there were in the GoT and asoiaf subreddits following the episodes. Those subs were the first place I'd go to for quality discussion and analysis back in seasons 5 and 6. Now every comment was a one liner that could've been taken from an old Chris Farley interview sketch.

      That wasn't as bad as the dumpster fire that POTUSWATCH has become. That sub was intended to be a heavily moderated space for balanced debates and conversations about president Trump. The post I saw was about Mueller's statement to the media and the top comment in the thread was about the impending jail sentences for Clinton and her staffers and their role in Uranium One. I never thought I'd see something like that on reddit, and here it was in a subreddit that only exists because there are crazier comments elsewhere on the site.

      3 votes
      1. etc
        Link Parent
        Rookie mistake. /r/freefolk was where all the action was

        once to see the reaction to Game of Thrones and once just to browse my old front page. I was shocked to see how many low effort posts there were in the GoT and asoiaf subreddits following the episodes. Those subs were the first place I'd go to for quality discussion and analysis back in seasons 5 and 6. Now every comment was a one liner that could've been taken from an old Chris Farley interview sketch.

        Rookie mistake. /r/freefolk was where all the action was

        1 vote
  5. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    I think you're asking the wrong question, to be honest. Instead of asking "open signups vs. invite-only" we should flip it around: How fast do we want Tildes to grow its userbase? Is it currently...

    I think you're asking the wrong question, to be honest.

    Instead of asking "open signups vs. invite-only" we should flip it around:

    • How fast do we want Tildes to grow its userbase?

    • Is it currently growing at that hypothetical "ideal" rate? Faster? Slower?

    • If we want to speed up or slow down its growth, how should we do that?

    The answers to those will necessarily change over time. There's no reason that Tildes should be like Gmail where it's initially invite-only, then effectively public because invites are ubiquitous, then completely public indefinitely. We could go open sign-ups for a day or a week, without any publicity, just to see who shows up, then go invite-only again. We could have a Project Mayhem style waitlist where you request an account but don't get it until a week later. We could have open signups only from midnight to 1am (Pitcairn Island local time) on the full moon.

    14 votes
  6. Whom
    Link
    As soon as features are in place that need to be tested by an influx of users, it should be opened up. If we have our trust system in place, for instance, then it's time. Before something like...

    As soon as features are in place that need to be tested by an influx of users, it should be opened up. If we have our trust system in place, for instance, then it's time. Before something like that though, I don't see much of a point. Granted, I think that sort of thing should be top priority.

    I'd like to see Tildes get serious growth, but it's an alpha and molding it into what it's going to be is more important than what might be immediately appealing.

    7 votes
  7. [4]
    NecrophiliaChocolate
    Link
    Well it depends on a number of factors: how will Tildes be regulated when we get to larger numbers? Is Tildes growth dropping? What are some of Tildes weaknesses e.g. gender diversity, job...

    Well it depends on a number of factors: how will Tildes be regulated when we get to larger numbers? Is Tildes growth dropping? What are some of Tildes weaknesses e.g. gender diversity, job diversity (because sometimes I feel like I'm on stack exchange lol), etc.?

    3 votes
    1. frickindeal
      Link Parent
      It definitely seems to me that traffic has dropped off since I signed up. I still read here quite a bit, but I haven't really contributed much in weeks because I don't see many compelling...

      It definitely seems to me that traffic has dropped off since I signed up. I still read here quite a bit, but I haven't really contributed much in weeks because I don't see many compelling conversations (for my interests—there's always quality discussion here, though), which is a bit of a shame.

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      etc
      Link Parent
      Mm. You weren't around reddit when it first started, were you

      job diversity (because sometimes I feel like I'm on stack exchange lol), etc.?

      Mm. You weren't around reddit when it first started, were you

      1 vote
  8. [2]
    Capn_HAXX
    Link
    I think keeping it closed has benefits but the lack of users does hurt this site's viability as a Reddit alt. Like on a good day there will be like maybe 3 active threads across the entire site...

    I think keeping it closed has benefits but the lack of users does hurt this site's viability as a Reddit alt. Like on a good day there will be like maybe 3 active threads across the entire site and even then only a handful of comments. I think Tildes should be opened to the public but with a hard new thread posting limits and strong anti-shitposting enforcement.

    3 votes
    1. Deimos
      Link Parent
      I agree that the site's not really "active enough" yet, but you're also exaggerating quite a bit. Getting 300-400 comments per day is standard right now, and about 50 topics. Averaging that out...

      I agree that the site's not really "active enough" yet, but you're also exaggerating quite a bit. Getting 300-400 comments per day is standard right now, and about 50 topics.

      Averaging that out over the day it means that there's generally a new comment about every 4 minutes. So it's not insanely active, but I think we've also ended up with a pretty distorted view now where it seems reasonable to think things like, "man, nobody's posted a comment in 30 seconds? This site is dead."

      5 votes
  9. zydeco
    Link
    To my way of thinking, Tildes should remain invite-only, or in some other wise not available limitlessly, as Reddit is, for the precise set of reasons that have caused Reddit to become a swamp,...

    To my way of thinking, Tildes should remain invite-only, or in some other wise not available limitlessly, as Reddit is, for the precise set of reasons that have caused Reddit to become a swamp, necessitating the existence of Tildes in the first place. My preference is to keep this site to fewer, but higher grade participants, and I don't see any danger of it becoming boring or irrelevant as it slowly grows into a community and a culture. Flood it with the Great Unwashed, and it'll become an unwieldy eternal-September morass, shot through with bad actors, in short order.

    3 votes
  10. [7]
    goodbetterbestbested
    Link
    At some point, reddit will go the way of digg. Tildes should open its doors to the general public when users are actually beginning to exodus.

    At some point, reddit will go the way of digg. Tildes should open its doors to the general public when users are actually beginning to exodus.

    2 votes
    1. [6]
      Wes
      Link Parent
      I think that might be the wrong way to go. Users who leave in exodus are usually reactionaries. They who make up communities like Voat. I would rather see people signing up because they like the...

      I think that might be the wrong way to go. Users who leave in exodus are usually reactionaries. They who make up communities like Voat. I would rather see people signing up because they like the values of this site, not because they dislike the changes of another.

      16 votes
      1. frickindeal
        Link Parent
        I agree. I read the docs here completely when I signed up, and I agreed with the philosophy and ideas within to the point that I thought I could contribute to such a place. We wouldn't likely get...

        I agree. I read the docs here completely when I signed up, and I agreed with the philosophy and ideas within to the point that I thought I could contribute to such a place. We wouldn't likely get that kind of contemplation from people fleeing a sinking ship.

        6 votes
      2. [3]
        Capn_HAXX
        Link Parent
        it's not only Voat pretty much every other reddit alt is a haven for really awful people. Just check Reddit in alternativeto.net, it's quite sad

        it's not only Voat pretty much every other reddit alt is a haven for really awful people. Just check Reddit in alternativeto.net, it's quite sad

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          etc
          Link Parent
          Nope. Hubski Imzy (it was trying to be a unicorn too though, shut down now) Mastodon, probably Tildes

          Nope.

          • Hubski

          • Imzy (it was trying to be a unicorn too though, shut down now)

          • Mastodon, probably

          • Tildes

          1. alyaza
            Link Parent
            aside from the fact that the person you're talking to used "pretty much" which means your dispute here is kinda pedantic and needless because there's nothing to refute here like you're seemingly...

            aside from the fact that the person you're talking to used "pretty much" which means your dispute here is kinda pedantic and needless because there's nothing to refute here like you're seemingly trying to, mastodon really is not like reddit in any way, shape, or form, and i don't know that i'd really consider hubski and imzy as examples of "reddit alternatives" in the sense that seems to be meant in the course of the conversation you're replying to (although honestly most of the "alternatives" on alternativeto.net under reddit are also not things i'd consider alternatives either).

            1 vote
      3. goodbetterbestbested
        Link Parent
        I should have clarified--a general exodus like from Digg to Reddit. Not one of the right-wing tantrums like Voat that never actually took off. Having a community with the same values is great and...

        I should have clarified--a general exodus like from Digg to Reddit. Not one of the right-wing tantrums like Voat that never actually took off.

        Having a community with the same values is great and that's what the strong moderation here can do. But ultimately, to spread our values, we need to make them widely visible, and that means opening up.

        1 vote
  11. [4]
    mrbig
    Link
    I think it should cease to be invite only as soon as technically, mechanically and humanly possible.

    I think it should cease to be invite only as soon as technically, mechanically and humanly possible.

    1. [3]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      Would you mind explaining your position?

      Would you mind explaining your position?

      1 vote
      1. mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        You can see from my previous answer that there are lots of conditions that, in my opinion, must be fulfilled before opening registrations. That's why I used very broad terms such as "technically",...

        You can see from my previous answer that there are lots of conditions that, in my opinion, must be fulfilled before opening registrations. That's why I used very broad terms such as "technically", "mechanically" and "humanly". I'll try to unpack at least some ramifications of what I meant, but that's by no means an exhaustive answer.

        Technical Requirements

        Before opening registrations, Tildes Must:

        1. Receive the influx of new users without dying or slowing down
        2. Safely deal with increased attention from possible attackers
        3. Provide an user-interface that is robust and easy to use for everyone, not just the predominantly techie audience that we are now
        4. Efficiently prevent spamming, brigading and other toxic behaviors

        Mechanical Requirements

        Before opening registrations, Tildes Must:

        1. Provide solid and scalable moderation tools based on collective trust
        • Prevent moderator burn-down
        1. Efficiently inform new users about our culture, our rules and the consequences of not following them
        2. Have procedures to apply those rules in a manner that's, at the same time, scalable and open to the nuances of edge cases
        3. Organize all these procedures and mechanics in the form of a cohesive philosophy that is conducive to the preservation of our culture and core goals. A proper "bill of rights", or "constitution", if you will.

        Human Requirements

        By that I mean the human beings involved in the actual creation, development and maintenance of Tildes. Opening up registrations will certainly increase their workload, and in this case personal considerations must be taken into account.

        So, because this is a not-for-profit FOOS project, the following is a valid question: at which point will @deimos and the other developers have the time and peace of mind to introduce this new source of stress into their lives?

        In my interactions with the kind souls that make the awesome programs that I use, I'm always very emphatic in my belief that I'd much prefer a happy and well-rested developer with the ability to say NO, than one that gives everything he got and ends up getting burnt-down, hopeless, sad and aggressive. And Tildes is no different. I understand, and I always will. I'd rather wait for ages than to make a voluntary developer miserable.

        Admins and moderators of large subs can be part of this group.

        Why I Believe We Can

        I've been on Tildes for the past 9 months and 27 days. In this period, @deimos and the other developers have been nothing but extraordinary in their dedication to both the human and the technical aspects involved in the creation of this community. This is not an empty trust based on some kind of passionate admiration: I'm talking about adding feature after feature with consistent pace and quality, listening to the suggestions of the users and dealing with conflicts in a way that is truly open, sensible and forthcoming. I, of course, cannot predict the future, but right now I trust that the team behind Tildes posses both the motivations and the technical capacity to make all it's goals come true, even with open registrations.

        Suppose we took care of all that: why not?

        If you do all that, we'll probably have the best kind of growth. Instead of losing everything that makes us unique, we'll just find more awesome people to be unique with us. And, right now, Tildes is in serious need for more interactions. The most commented topic on the last 30 days had 137 comments. That's not much, and way above average. Many interesting topics remain comment free, and the reason for that is that there are not that many of us. Not every one that subscribes to a network engages in it actively, that's only natural. Right now, the first topic on the default listing configuration (when you're logged out) has only 11 comments, and it was posted 4 hours ago. The second, posted 3 hours ago, has only three. The little interaction we already see on Tildes is usually pretty awesome: we just need more of it.

        7 votes
      2. mrbig
        Link Parent
        Not at all. When I get home;)

        Not at all. When I get home;)

  12. Octofox
    Link
    For as long as it aims to retain some level of quality.

    For as long as it aims to retain some level of quality.