To me, Tildes is caught in a vicious cycle.
- Certain types of conversations are common on Tildes:
- Discourse about community building, for a number of reasons: The work-in-progress, experimental nature of Tildes is public; users are encouraged to chime in with thoughts and suggestions; ~tildes and ~tildes.official suscriptions are on by default.
- Lengthy discussions about "Important" topics, e.g. philosophical ponderings, thinkpieces, commentary on difficult issues. There's a pressure for responses to be weighty and meaningful, or else they might be shunned as Noise. Skilled link finders share only the most thought-provoking and stimulating articles they come across.
- With this sort of discussion being so common, I think it results in self-selection bias towards a specific... type? of person. There's a barrier to entry for participation, and discussion carries a specific mood/tone. "Pretentious", "curious", "pedantic", "encyclopedic", "likes to hear themselves think". The sort of qualities you think about when you peer behind the curtain of a Wikipedia talk page.
This isn't inherently a bad thing! I think the opposite is true: these qualities are a draw for the most active people on Tildes. But that results in <the people who like this sort of thing> sticking around to fuel further discussion, and <the people who can't adapt> taking the path of least resistance and leaving. 1 -> 2 -> 1 -> 2 and the cycle continues.
I brought up Wikipedia, and I think it's a good comparison to Tildes. Wikipedia has two main "sides" to it: the public-facing and default "Article" pages, and the more internal "Talk" pages. With this division, the people who like to plan and organize and nitpick and talk can do so to their hearts content, while the people who just want the goodies can choose to never click on the Talk tab. With Tildes, though, the two are combined into a sort of mish-mash of discussion by design. The integration is even viewed as critical to the identity and evolution of Tildes as a website. With that said, I'm not sure how Tildes will ever grow to the point where it can transition away from "moderator/power user paradise" with the way things are now.
What do you think of how I've described the current state of Tildes? And, what do you see as Tildes' path forward?
(As some context, I'm not sure how long I'll be staying on Tildes. I don't think the kinds of discussions I mention are healthy for me to be falling into. I really only realized it when I tried to recommend Tildes to a friend, and her comments snapped me out of it. But, I thought it would be good to talk about it before I quietly go away like many others.)