28 votes

Is anyone else here wondering when our overlord will open this place up a little?

Open registration in particular. With all due respect, what gives? If you're planning a surprise party then so be it.

83 comments

  1. [2]
    spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    One of my favorite things about Tildes is the "slow and steady wins the race" approach to growth. From the announcement blog post:

    One of my favorite things about Tildes is the "slow and steady wins the race" approach to growth.

    From the announcement blog post:

    These factors force companies to obsess over growth—there's no concept of having "enough" users or revenue. As the profitability noose tightens, any original principles are abandoned in favor of growth and revenue, which are goals important to owners, not users.

    ...

    The organization behind Tildes is a not-for-profit corporation with no investors, which ensures that there's no looming requirement to chase profit or constant growth. The aim is simply to make the site sustainable while focusing exclusively on what's important to its users. Growth will be the organic result of building a site that people want to use, not a goal in and of itself.

    41 votes
    1. Death
      Link Parent
      There's a difference between growth for the sake of profit and growth for the sake of discourse though. I do like that Tildes' goal is not to gather enough users to become commercially viable, but...

      There's a difference between growth for the sake of profit and growth for the sake of discourse though. I do like that Tildes' goal is not to gather enough users to become commercially viable, but that alone is not enough to make people want to use the website.

      19 votes
  2. [27]
    Deimos
    Link
    I'm catching up on various things this week after being mostly away for a couple of weeks over the holidays, but I'm intending to make some posts (and updates) related to this subject soon. The...

    I'm catching up on various things this week after being mostly away for a couple of weeks over the holidays, but I'm intending to make some posts (and updates) related to this subject soon.

    The overall functionality of Tildes is in a pretty good place now, so at this point we need to be getting more (and more varied) content. Part of that will definitely require getting more users. I don't intend to have completely open registration anytime in the near future, but it does need to be easier and not require every new user to be manually sent an invite from an existing user.

    I don't know exactly what the new easier method(s) will be yet, and we may need to try a few different things and see what happens. As other people have mentioned, I definitely don't want growth just for growth's sake, but the site's current size and activity isn't at a self-sustaining point yet and I don't think the current invite-only approach will get it there. There's a balance we need to try to find between making it reasonable for new users to join without also hurting the quality of content and discussions.

    26 votes
    1. [19]
      ibis
      Link Parent
      Is there any intention of adding a group for women?

      so at this point we need to be getting more (and more varied) content. Part of that will definitely require getting more users.

      Is there any intention of adding a group for women?

      10 votes
      1. [18]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        I'd love to have one eventually. I don't believe it would work yet with the site's current setup and population.

        I'd love to have one eventually. I don't believe it would work yet with the site's current setup and population.

        6 votes
        1. [13]
          vivaria
          Link Parent
          Could you clarify? I'm curious what makes an LGBT group work with the site's current setup/population, but not a women's group.

          Could you clarify?

          I'm curious what makes an LGBT group work with the site's current setup/population, but not a women's group.

          6 votes
          1. [8]
            Deimos
            Link Parent
            I don't know that I'd say that ~lgbt is really working particularly well either at this point. It's one of the most inactive groups, with less than 1% of the site's activity, and regularly goes...

            I don't know that I'd say that ~lgbt is really working particularly well either at this point. It's one of the most inactive groups, with less than 1% of the site's activity, and regularly goes over a week without a single topic being posted. It's also more of a group for LGBT-related subjects and not specifically "for LGBT people", so it shouldn't even be as restrictive as that would be.

            It's possible that I'm misunderstanding what people are picturing when they ask about a group "for women", but having a group that's intended for a particular set of people will probably only be viable if there's a decent-size population of those people. The recent survey results (which aren't necessarily accurate) showed that we had something like triple as many LGBT users as women. I don't think a group for a set of people that small will result in anything except an extremely inactive, empty group, which often feels more discouraging than no group at all.

            10 votes
            1. [5]
              vivaria
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I think that's where our perspectives differ. I have a different idea of what "viable" should mean. "Activity-based" viability, I think, works well for neutral-ish, broadly appealing...

              It's possible that I'm misunderstanding what people are picturing when they ask about a group "for women", but having a group that's intended for a particular set of people will probably only be viable if there's a decent-size population of those people.

              I think that's where our perspectives differ. I have a different idea of what "viable" should mean. "Activity-based" viability, I think, works well for neutral-ish, broadly appealing hobby/interest groups! But I don't think it covers enough of what makes groups useful, especially for identity-based groups meant for people whose presence has historically been smothered out of internet communities.

              Focusing on activity, the justification is "we need enough of X people to warrant a group for X." But, I feel you could instead frame it as "without a group for X, we're going to have more trouble signalling to X people that this is a space for them." The first one reflects the current state of Tildes, while the seconds acts as a means towards the eventual state Tildes wishes it were at. If groups only ever reflect the current demographics of Tildes, we get a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It will be hard for anything to meaningfully change, because the people we attract are similar to the people we already have, and the people who are different won't feel like they're the intended audience for the site. So, the community will only homogenize further.

              I think there's also an issue with some of the current groups being coded as traditionally masculine. Certain groups are considered "duh" defaults, but why are those the obvious defaults? Not to suggest that STEM itself is only for masculine people, but communities that form around topics like ~comp and ~tech tend to attract a certain kind of person while being hostile to other types of people. (HN, etc.) Prioritizing those topics (as well as ~sports, ~space, ~games.tabletop, ~finance, and others) signals to newcomers that only a certain kind of discussion is desirable, and I think efforts to balance out the skew would be valuable for the community. Even just a ~crafts or a ~fashion or a ~beauty could be nice. I feel a bit self-conscious typing that out, but I think it's only because those interests are often seen as frivolous on male-oriented websites. It's a bit stereotype-y sounding, but I also wanted to reflect some of the subreddits that are currently welcoming spaces for non-male folk (e.g. https://www.reddit.com/r/TwoXChromosomes/wiki/related_links_and_discussions).

              tl;dr I think near-empty groups are worth the site real estate in the short-term if they help work towards a thriving, diverse community in the long-term.

              17 votes
              1. [2]
                Deimos
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Yeah, I understand and appreciate the benefits of it from that perspective. It's not quite as straightforward as just creating it and waiting though, and I think the right timing and environment...

                Yeah, I understand and appreciate the benefits of it from that perspective. It's not quite as straightforward as just creating it and waiting though, and I think the right timing and environment is important. Let me try to explain a little more about why I'm hesitant:

                As background, I was working at reddit when /r/TwoXChromosomes was made into a "default subreddit" (I think it was 2013 or 2014), meaning that all logged-out reddit users started seeing it on the site's front page, and all new reddit accounts were automatically subscribed. This ended up doing a lot of damage to the subreddit. I'm not even talking about an influx of trolls or anything like that—there was certainly some of that, but the mods were able to deal with that aspect.

                The more difficult issues were how effectively changing it from an "opt-in" subreddit into an "opt-out" one affected its population and culture. Threads started having a ton of "I'm not a woman, but..." replies, and the general feel of the subreddit changed significantly as users were automatically and constantly being added to the subreddit and no longer had to specifically seek it out on their own. These users weren't really doing anything wrong, but the prevalence of them still had major effects on the subreddit's culture.

                TwoX had a large, strong userbase that it had built up for years, and it still had a lot of trouble dealing with a situation like that. Of course the scale on Tildes is hardly comparable, but the general idea of a "for women" group that would start out with a population of ~10% women seems extremely unlikely to have any long-term success. That's why I think that some structural changes will probably need to happen first—right now, all groups on Tildes are effectively "defaults", and I don't think that's the right environment.

                I do think trying to include some other interest-based groups like you mention in your other comment would be good though, or at least finding better ways to make it clear how those subjects can fit into some of the existing groups like ~creative, ~design, ~hobbies, etc.

                14 votes
                1. vivaria
                  Link Parent
                  Yeah, those are some good points. My post had a bit of a blurring of ideas in it, and I'm glad you made a distinction between "interest groups for non-masculine people" and "a group specifically...

                  Yeah, those are some good points. My post had a bit of a blurring of ideas in it, and I'm glad you made a distinction between "interest groups for non-masculine people" and "a group specifically about/for non-masculine people." There are definitely distinct things to acknowledge/be aware about for each category!

                  Is it too close to July to start up another proposal for new groups thread? Or will that come after some of the changes you're considering make their way down the pipeline? (e.g. how topics are opt-in/opt-out)

                  5 votes
              2. vivaria
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Just as a practical example, I mentioned in my "What is your ideal life?" response that I liked style and fashion, and would like to explore that more one day. I keep a pinterest board for...

                Just as a practical example, I mentioned in my "What is your ideal life?" response that I liked style and fashion, and would like to explore that more one day. I keep a pinterest board for inspiration pics!

                Let's say I wanted to talk about that on Tildes. I could make a thread, "What images are inspiration for your personal style/fashion?" I think that's a very different kind of discussion than is usual on Tildes. I could put it... where? ~life, maybe? ~creative? There isn't really a group for that. So I mostly keep it to myself and no one ever realizes that's a possibility for chats.

                You could say, "well, there shouldn't be a group, because there's not really a demand for that. It wouldn't receive many posts, so we should wait until we have more people who would post topics there." But, what if there was demand that went unheard because of the lack of space for it? Which interests aren't represented here because of their lack of overlap with traditionally masculine tastes? Would it even be possible to get enough people for a group like that with the groups being the way they are currently? What if people checked out Tildes, saw there wasn't any place for discussing more traditionally feminine topics, then bounced out?

                I think a lack of these types of groups could be a barrier making it more difficult for non-masculine folk to stay on Tildes and become part of the community.

                12 votes
              3. Leonidas
                Link Parent
                In addition, I'll take this as a wakeup call as an LGBT person to try to post and interact more with posts from that group. I wasn't drawn to Tildes specifically due to the existence of ~lgbt, but...

                In addition, I'll take this as a wakeup call as an LGBT person to try to post and interact more with posts from that group. I wasn't drawn to Tildes specifically due to the existence of ~lgbt, but I can certainly see how it being on here is a benefit to this community's diversity, both now and in terms of attracting future growth.

                1 vote
            2. [2]
              ibis
              Link Parent
              I think the value of ~lgbt goes beyond it's activity. @kfwyre articulates it well here: https://tildes.net/~tildes.official/g2z/proposals_for_new_groups_july_2019#comment-3ooa

              I think the value of ~lgbt goes beyond it's activity. @kfwyre articulates it well here: https://tildes.net/~tildes.official/g2z/proposals_for_new_groups_july_2019#comment-3ooa

              9 votes
              1. vivaria
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                That comment is actually exactly why I wanted to ask for @Deimos' clarification! :D I think the value/justification for these identity-based groups shouldn't be "Tildes is currently in a place...

                That comment is actually exactly why I wanted to ask for @Deimos' clarification! :D

                I think the value/justification for these identity-based groups shouldn't be "Tildes is currently in a place with significant enough activity to warrant the group, thus we should make it" but instead "the presence of the group acts as a way to signal the kind of activity we hope to encourage. Having it makes space for people who would otherwise be wary of participating. Let's preemptively make the group to work towards our goal of creating a welcoming environment."

                The fact that we don't have a significant enough proportion of people is more reason for the group, not less. (Specifically for marginalized identity-based groups. This doesn't really apply for "niche hobby/interest" type groups. I think the distinction is important!)

                12 votes
          2. spit-evil-olive-tips
            Link Parent
            I mentioned in this comment why I don't think a ~women group would work well with the ways groups work currently.

            I mentioned in this comment why I don't think a ~women group would work well with the ways groups work currently.

            4 votes
          3. [3]
            suspended
            Link Parent
            Is there an LGBT group here on Tildes?

            what makes an LGBT group work with the site's current setup/population

            Is there an LGBT group here on Tildes?

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              gpl
              Link Parent
              Yes, ~lgbt.

              Yes, ~lgbt.

              7 votes
              1. suspended
                Link Parent
                Thanks. I'm not sure how I missed that.

                Thanks. I'm not sure how I missed that.

                4 votes
        2. joplin
          Link Parent
          Is there any reason it couldn't be given a try to see if it would work rather than just going by what you (or I or anyone) believes? (I don't mean that in a snarky way, but couldn't think of a...

          Is there any reason it couldn't be given a try to see if it would work rather than just going by what you (or I or anyone) believes? (I don't mean that in a snarky way, but couldn't think of a better way to phrase it. Sorry if it came off sounding mean.)

          5 votes
        3. [3]
          ibis
          Link Parent
          Thanks for answering. Considering the latest census, do you intend on doing anything to increase the proportion of women here?

          Thanks for answering.

          Considering the latest census, do you intend on doing anything to increase the proportion of women here?

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            Deimos
            Link Parent
            I generally haven't tried to recruit any specific type of person (or anyone at all, for quite a while now). I'm honestly not even really sure what would be possible for that. What approaches do...

            I generally haven't tried to recruit any specific type of person (or anyone at all, for quite a while now).

            I'm honestly not even really sure what would be possible for that. What approaches do you think might be able to specifically increase the amount of women?

            7 votes
            1. ibis
              Link Parent
              I think the site needs something symbolic that makes it clear to someone giving the site a cursory glance that the community is welcoming to women and female perspectives. Reddit and other online...

              I think the site needs something symbolic that makes it clear to someone giving the site a cursory glance that the community is welcoming to women and female perspectives.

              Reddit and other online spaces (particularly tech/nerd type ones) are usually hostile to women. I'm satisfied with the moderation and the community here, but I would not have stuck around to find out if it weren't described to me as a progressive/inclusive by the person who invited me.

              When I came here I checked the tildes docs to see if there was some kind of statement of community values that included valuing diversity. 'Don't be an arsehole' doesn't really cut it, because some people can very polite while they tell you that your wellbeing and/or perspective doesn't matter very much.

              That's the main reason I want ~women. In practice, it wouldn't make much difference. But I hope that it would signal that women are welcome here, and encourage more submissions that are relevant to me.

              14 votes
    2. [7]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      If you do open registration up a bit, it might also be a good opportunity to test the idea of the trust system, which you could do by simply raising the label weight (and maybe even vote weight?)...

      There's a balance we need to try to find between making it reasonable for new users to join without also hurting the quality of content and discussions.

      If you do open registration up a bit, it might also be a good opportunity to test the idea of the trust system, which you could do by simply raising the label weight (and maybe even vote weight?) for all currently active users, to see if it helps prevent the quality decline that typically comes with an influx of new users. The weight could always be reset if things go awry, or if it goes well, once things stabilize as the new users get acclimatized.

      8 votes
      1. [5]
        JackA
        Link Parent
        I don't like the idea of giving people higher vote weight based on how often they post or other trust factors. I do think there should be a probationary period of sorts though, where you can...

        I don't like the idea of giving people higher vote weight based on how often they post or other trust factors. I do think there should be a probationary period of sorts though, where you can interact and learn the norms of the community without being able to vote and change the landscape too much.

        11 votes
        1. [4]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I get where you're coming from, and am wary of the idea too... but IMO a major problem here is that without downvotes (and no report topic function as of yet), there is really no way for users to...

          I get where you're coming from, and am wary of the idea too... but IMO a major problem here is that without downvotes (and no report topic function as of yet), there is really no way for users to express that they feel a topic isn't appropriate here, other than by not voting on it (which isn't very effective), or commenting on it saying so (which actually perversely increases the topic's visibility due to activity sort). And with such low vote counts overall, even topics that the vast majority of users don't think is appropriate (e.g. image macros/memes), can potentially look popular and be perceived to be acceptable by new users.

          So when it comes to preventing quality decline, and trying to help new users acclimatize, there is really not many effective ways to do that for topics, other than maybe PMing Deimos and hoping he is around to remove the inappropriate topic. However if current users had higher vote weight, at least those inappropriate topics could potentially be drowned out by more votes on topics which people do consider appropriate here. And the same goes with comments but to a slightly lesser degree, since at least we have comment labels.

          p.s. I do like the idea of probationary periods for new accounts though, and have even mentioned it as a possibility in the past. ;)

          20 votes
          1. suspended
            Link Parent
            That's some solid thinking and good explanations. BTW @Deimos if there is anything that I can do to help out with one of these transitioning periods then please let me know. I really care about...

            That's some solid thinking and good explanations. BTW @Deimos if there is anything that I can do to help out with one of these transitioning periods then please let me know. I really care about this place and want to see it succeed.

            7 votes
          2. [2]
            JackA
            Link Parent
            I hadn't even thought of that activity sort problem. The default answer to most of that stuff would be community moderators, but we've all seen the problems that arise there. Given enough growth...

            I hadn't even thought of that activity sort problem. The default answer to most of that stuff would be community moderators, but we've all seen the problems that arise there. Given enough growth though, there might not be much difference between the early adopters with more vote weight and just having mods outright.

            4 votes
            1. cfabbro
              Link Parent
              Well if/when trust/rep finally gets implemented here (at least if it's as originally envisioned), unlike the traditional mod positions elsewhere, at least trust/rep won't be permanent and has to...

              Well if/when trust/rep finally gets implemented here (at least if it's as originally envisioned), unlike the traditional mod positions elsewhere, at least trust/rep won't be permanent and has to be "earned" and maintained:

              Another important factor will be having trust decay if the user stops participating in a community for a long period of time. Communities are always evolving, and if a user has been absent for months or years, it's very likely that they no longer have a solid understanding of the community's current norms. Perhaps users that previously had a high level of trust should be able to build it back up more quickly, but they shouldn't indefinitely retain it when they stop being involved.

              https://docs.tildes.net/future-plans#restricted-by-group-with-decay

              7 votes
      2. Davada
        Link Parent
        Kinda like Newgrounds.

        Kinda like Newgrounds.

        3 votes
  3. [29]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [27]
      emdash
      Link Parent
      Conversely, you can't have quality without actual content. I mean, my Tildes front page right now has mostly submissions with < 10 votes. Sometimes, that can feel just a little too dead for my liking.

      Conversely, you can't have quality without actual content. I mean, my Tildes front page right now has mostly submissions with < 10 votes. Sometimes, that can feel just a little too dead for my liking.

      30 votes
      1. Eylrid
        Link Parent
        This. While reddit has a much worse ratio of signal to noise it has a much higher total amount of quality discussions and comments than Tildes. You need a critical mass of people to get...

        This. While reddit has a much worse ratio of signal to noise it has a much higher total amount of quality discussions and comments than Tildes. You need a critical mass of people to get conversations going. Not only that, but a critical mass of people who are interested in whatever the topic is. The more niche the subject the more people you need on the site in order to get enough people who are interested in that topic, unless you specifically recruit people who are in to it. By sheer numbers reddit has enough people to sustain even the most niche of communities.

        A small town is safe and friendly and all, but the city has a lot more social scenes.

        12 votes
      2. [25]
        MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        Would you feel better if those articles showed vote totals in the upper 10's? 100's? 1000's? Millions? What would that change in your experience?

        Would you feel better if those articles showed vote totals in the upper 10's? 100's? 1000's? Millions? What would that change in your experience?

        4 votes
        1. [19]
          emdash
          Link Parent
          This is a not-in-good-faith interpretation of my comment for two reasons: I'm not arguing for higher vote totals for vote totals sake, I'm using them as a rough proxy for total activity and...

          This is a not-in-good-faith interpretation of my comment for two reasons:

          1. I'm not arguing for higher vote totals for vote totals sake, I'm using them as a rough proxy for total activity and commentary.
          2. The opposite of ten votes or comments is not a million votes or comments. There are reasonable levels of activity in between that fall somewhere between "glacier" and "firehose".

          I regret not being more cautious about my wording, but I'm also disappointed I had to qualify my original comment to prevent pedantic goalpost-shifting of my intent. Sigh.

          34 votes
          1. [17]
            MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            I'm sorry it came across as rude. I truly did want to know how it would change your experience.

            I'm sorry it came across as rude. I truly did want to know how it would change your experience.

            5 votes
            1. [16]
              emdash
              Link Parent
              It would change my experience by allowing me and others to contribute more, by sharing and posting things we feel can be valued by others! :) Take this thread I started for example in ~space. I...

              It would change my experience by allowing me and others to contribute more, by sharing and posting things we feel can be valued by others! :) Take this thread I started for example in ~space. I put a decent bit of work into that. I got zero responses. I'm not annoyed or sore about it, but it does act as a chilling effect which can lead to less contributions, which is a self-defeating feedback loop which can result in communities dying. "No activity here? I guess I'll leave then".

              Why bother posting a comment or submitting a thread if it's not interacted with? Humans are social creatures, both online and offline; and you can't get around that—which makes it a very real feeling that you can sometimes be talking or submitting into a void.

              I can safely feel like Tildes could scale to 2-3x the current number of active users tomorrow and the community as a whole would be better off for it. The protectionist/isolationist policy of a closed invite system has some merit, but I feel we could open up sign-ups (heck, maybe even put some limits in place if we're really worried, maximum 20 signups per day until an extra 2000 users are onboarded) with nearly zero downside.

              If this went to some kind of community consensus vote, put me as a strong yes for quasi-open registrations, with checks and balances™.

              20 votes
              1. [9]
                Micycle_the_Bichael
                Link Parent
                This is the problem I'm having. I have been trying to post more the last few weeks (since about christmas) because there isn't a lot of the types of content I would want to see (non-tech) being...

                This is the problem I'm having. I have been trying to post more the last few weeks (since about christmas) because there isn't a lot of the types of content I would want to see (non-tech) being posted very often. I've been making an effort to comment and post more. Comments on other articles have felt mostly fine, but posting feels useless tbh. 11 posts, 11 comments and 7/11 comments were me. I'm going to keep posting as long as I am coming around tildes, but the fact that others weren't posting topics that I was interested in mixed with minimal to no interactions on the topics I post makes it hard to not feel like Tildes isn't the site for me. Not to say there is anything wrong with the site the way that it is, but to say that it isn't the right fit for me personally.

                10 votes
                1. [6]
                  Greg
                  Link Parent
                  It's a really tough one - I've noticed that some of my highest effort comments seem to be the least engaged with, but with the context that you and @emdash have given I realise that I'm also not...

                  It's a really tough one - I've noticed that some of my highest effort comments seem to be the least engaged with, but with the context that you and @emdash have given I realise that I'm also not providing any visible engagement (beyond voting) on quite a few posts that I really enjoy.

                  I took a look through your recently posted topics and there were three in the last few days that I read in full and took a real interest in when they came up on my front page - but I didn't feel that I had any quality comments to add, so there's no discussion or feedback there.

                  Similarly, the spacecraft design post is one I recognised even before I clicked the link. I loved that concept, and I was really excited to see what people came up with - but I didn't have the time to contribute anything more detailed than "Voyager, but as fast as we can make it plus redundant layers of modern instruments and radios", which I didn't think was up to the standard of the question.

                  I don't entirely know where I'm going with this, other than to say that I see this issue myself, and I see it both from the side of hoping for more interactions, and from the side of the person who's appreciating things without actually contributing those interactions.

                  10 votes
                  1. [4]
                    kfwyre
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    Great post. It highlights an idea that I think might be Tildes' greatest challenge outside of a functional trust system: high-quality content takes time. Long articles take time to read; long...

                    Great post. It highlights an idea that I think might be Tildes' greatest challenge outside of a functional trust system: high-quality content takes time.

                    Long articles take time to read; long comments take time to write; critical thinking and creativity take time to process. Each of us is limited in our time, and we face the tradeoff between breadth and depth when it comes to spending it. I've posted single comments on Tildes that have taken me over an hour to write. Had I taken that same amount of time to write several comments instead, I would have generated more activity for the site, but each one would have had less depth on account that each one would have taken less time to process and create.

                    The same goes for consuming content. I love Tildes because I can always come here and find interesting, rich, and thought-provoking long reads. This type of content itself takes longer to consume than less in-depth articles, and formulating a response to them is often harder, because there isn't always an easy jumping off point. I haven't commented on many of the great articles I've read on this site simply because I don't have the time to do so adequately, and I don't want to post anything akin to noise that makes me visible on a thread simply for the sake of being visible.

                    But this too, I think, is a tradeoff. All of us are here because we want to connect with others and engage with them. I, personally, think votes are a time-efficient way of making the community visible to one another (even if no one responds to a particular post, the vote count at least lets me know that other people are reading it). On the other hand, similar to what @emdash shared upthread, I also know the sting of putting effort into something only for it to pass over with little fanfare. I organized "Tildes' Make Something Month" (Timasomo) and was incredibly excited to post the showcase thread at its end. I thought it would be a wonderful little community event, exposing some of the talent we have here to a larger audience, but it was met with crickets. Of the 30 comments on that thread, 28 of them are from Timasomo's six participants. The other two are from one user, who was the only person who wasn't involved in Timasomo to comment. I alone am a third of the comments on that particular topic.

                    I'm not bitter, even if I come across that way, but I will admit to being a little hurt at the time. I know that's mostly because of me personalizing things in an unhealthy way, and I also realize I'm not owed anything by anyone, but it was a good reminder for me that sometimes silence can speak volumes. I don't want people on this site feeling bad because of silence. It's made me think that maybe I should spend less time on the site typing out really long individual comments and should instead spread myself a bit thinner, so that I'm engaging with more people.

                    I'm someone who very much believes in Tildes and values its "slowness," but I definitely don't want that to put people off -- especially not people who are dedicating themselves to the significant time investments that quality content can take. Before joining Tildes I vetted a number of other social media spaces online, and many of them I passed on because they were ghost towns. They didn't have enough users to make it worthwhile for me to join. I don't think Tildes has that problem right now, but I also don't want us to eventually have it by losing the exact type of people we want here most.

                    13 votes
                    1. [2]
                      Algernon_Asimov
                      Link Parent
                      You and @emdash aren't the only ones. I tried a series of episode discussion threads about 'Doctor Who' when it was last on, but I let it go partway through the season due to low participation....

                      You and @emdash aren't the only ones. I tried a series of episode discussion threads about 'Doctor Who' when it was last on, but I let it go partway through the season due to low participation. I've stupidly started it again for the new season. We'll see how it goes.

                      The problem is simply low numbers on Tildes - which brings us back to the topic of this whole discussion. On Reddit, for example, where there are millions of users, even 1% participation on a thread will yield tens of thousands of comments. Here on Tildes, with its much smaller population of active users, that same 1% will yield a handful of comments.

                      Don't be discouraged. The low volume of responses don't necessarily reflect a lack of interest in your projects. They reflect the total low numbers on Tildes.

                      10 votes
                      1. Amarok
                        Link Parent
                        This is interesting. Even on early reddit, this long form content wasn't all that well received. We tried for years to run album discussion clubs and longer-form music topics. They were...

                        This is interesting. Even on early reddit, this long form content wasn't all that well received. We tried for years to run album discussion clubs and longer-form music topics. They were universally more ignored and less popular than ye random link with an intriguing thumbnail. Even /r/listentous couldn't sustain, and it was getting plugs in Forbes and NPR.

                        Eventually it all coalesced into /r/letstalkmusic which is the last man standing for long form music discussion on reddit. It did better on its own when we weren't trying to make it happen. Some places just take a long ass time to attract the right kind of people.

                        The listentothis mods didn't do a bestof last year, or this year - it's hundreds of hours of time investment and nobody likes reddit enough to put that in anymore. Yet someone comes along and does it for us, unasked. Someone who isn't burned out by reddit apathy or the lack of interest... yet.

                        I feel like we're still missing something about handling long form content well and attracting people who are into that sort of thing. Part of it is properly promoting that content, which Tildes is able to do with labels and weighted votes where reddit can only do it with luck... but I'm sure there's more to it than simple promotion mechanisms.

                        8 votes
                    2. Eylrid
                      Link Parent
                      There was a r/theoryofreddit post I read some time ago talking about that. People who take the time with longer content don't get to as many posts and so don't have as much voting power as people...

                      There was a r/theoryofreddit post I read some time ago talking about that. People who take the time with longer content don't get to as many posts and so don't have as much voting power as people who browse the quick and easy content. The same thing applies to comments. People who do low effort drive by comments can get more comments in than those who take time with it.

                      I think the exemplary label is a partial answer to both. Since it is time limited people who take the time to read long content get the same vote-affecting power from it as those who skim. It also rewards commenters who take the time to write a thoughtful reply.

                      It would be good if we had an exemplary label for posts.

                      8 votes
                  2. Micycle_the_Bichael
                    Link Parent
                    Yeah to be fair, I didn't post with the intent to make people feel bad or really with any end goal. Mostly just sharing my experience. I have 2-3 sites I read that I submit as posts on tildes if I...

                    Yeah to be fair, I didn't post with the intent to make people feel bad or really with any end goal. Mostly just sharing my experience. I have 2-3 sites I read that I submit as posts on tildes if I think about it. The problem I have is that if there is low engagement on the articles I post, and not a lot of people posting content that I find interesting, I start thinking about the site less and thus start posting less. That's not to say I think I am owed engagement or anything like that. Just trying to share a personal experience. @kfwyre and @Algernon_Asimov wrote much better responses that I will have.

                    If I was to distill my thoughts down I think my main feelings would be: In my opinion, the bar for what level of quality (perceived or real) a comment needs to be in order to post it is too high. Not to say all comments should be low quality, but that the existence of shorter comments that highlight parts of the article that were especially interesting or questions it raised would lead more discussion and thus more information and opinions being shared, and thus better quality of community.

                    Edit: Adding a goal/comment for accountability: I am going to start sorting by new and try to spend time commenting on more articles starting in February. They will probably be what I described above: me highlighting things the article made me think or questions it raised, and answer questions I see others ask.

                    8 votes
                2. [2]
                  stephen
                  Link Parent
                  Please stay forever. Your username is glorious.

                  Please stay forever. Your username is glorious.

                  4 votes
                  1. Micycle_the_Bichael
                    Link Parent
                    Haha thanks! I'll probably be around for a bit. I oscillate between heavily posting/commenting and lurking so realistically I wont be going too far.

                    Haha thanks! I'll probably be around for a bit. I oscillate between heavily posting/commenting and lurking so realistically I wont be going too far.

                    1 vote
              2. stephen
                Link Parent
                I think this exchange is a good example about why, personally, I don't think tildes should look to reddit-ize itself. As we surely all have experienced, large, anonymous platforms are a magnet for...

                I think this exchange is a good example about why, personally, I don't think tildes should look to reddit-ize itself. As we surely all have experienced, large, anonymous platforms are a magnet for abusive, bad-faith contributors. I routinely have a good time on reddit. But all too often I am confronted by jerks and sometimes it ruins my afternoon or evening (not really a morning person).

                That said, I could be doing a lot better at inviting people. Tildes would still be great if it was bigger. A semi open enrollment process might be nice.

                Why bother posting a comment or submitting a thread if it's not interacted with?

                In my research on social movements I have seen the line "what you give attention to grows" repeated a few times. Activity begets activity. Attention begets activity. I participate because I intentionally want to make the site more active. Maybe someone will read it and maybe not.

                3 votes
              3. culturedleftfoot
                Link Parent
                This is the one concern I have about closing vote counts after a certain amount of time. There is quality content that will necessarily be a slow burn and it's not always geared towards making a...

                This is the one concern I have about closing vote counts after a certain amount of time. There is quality content that will necessarily be a slow burn and it's not always geared towards making a new post when you encounter it two months after it was posted. At the very least a vote lets you know people are still finding your old posts interesting.

                3 votes
              4. [2]
                Gyrfalcon
                Link Parent
                If you don't mind, I might make a post in that thread now that I've seen it, if you are okay with me reviving it that is. It was posted when I was super busy so I missed it :(

                If you don't mind, I might make a post in that thread now that I've seen it, if you are okay with me reviving it that is. It was posted when I was super busy so I missed it :(

                2 votes
                1. emdash
                  Link Parent
                  Yeah sure! I think I may have made the bar for commentary a bit too difficult on that thread, so it's probably my fault it got zero responses.

                  Yeah sure! I think I may have made the bar for commentary a bit too difficult on that thread, so it's probably my fault it got zero responses.

                  3 votes
              5. [2]
                MimicSquid
                Link Parent
                Thank you. So the votes are good, but the comments are really the core thing that we need more of.

                Thank you. So the votes are good, but the comments are really the core thing that we need more of.

                1. emdash
                  Link Parent
                  Yep! I may have actually butchered my original viewpoint by talking about votes—I could've phrased my argument a lot more directly by addressing what actually mattered.

                  Yep! I may have actually butchered my original viewpoint by talking about votes—I could've phrased my argument a lot more directly by addressing what actually mattered.

                  3 votes
          2. mrbig
            Link Parent
            Love your username, BTW.

            Love your username, BTW.

        2. DanBC
          Link Parent
          People don't contribute because they know few people are reading and fewer are discussing.

          People don't contribute because they know few people are reading and fewer are discussing.

          13 votes
        3. [4]
          Eylrid
          Link Parent
          Lack of comments is a bigger problem than lack of votes. Even if a post gets votes if it doesn't get comments it feels like shouting into the void.

          Lack of comments is a bigger problem than lack of votes. Even if a post gets votes if it doesn't get comments it feels like shouting into the void.

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            NaraVara
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            So there may be a way to encourage more participation by gamifying posting and discussions. The karma system in Reddit has been really bad, but there might be some mechanism of awarding barnstars...

            So there may be a way to encourage more participation by gamifying posting and discussions. The karma system in Reddit has been really bad, but there might be some mechanism of awarding barnstars or badges for things the way Wikipedia does. Alternatively, the Snapchat model of awarding "streaks" for engaging with the app or maintaining chats might prod more activity too.

            It's weird though. Gamification, as a concept, just makes me feel gross since it is inherently manipulative and I think it's unethical to prod people like that for your own personal benefit. But if everyone is on board with it and the gamey elements are intended to make it more fun for the people participating it might be okay. This is in contrast to pushing people into acting against their own interests or to benefit yours.

            3 votes
            1. JackA
              Link Parent
              I think instead of gamifying the site to make people who don't normally post post we should just get more users. I have streaks on snapchat with some of my close friends. Some days I'll send a...

              I think instead of gamifying the site to make people who don't normally post post we should just get more users.

              I have streaks on snapchat with some of my close friends. Some days I'll send a nice snapshot of something interesting, other days I'll be busy and they'll get a quick low effort picture. Any sort of streaks would encourage low effort posts just for the sake of posting. I think that same concept applies to most gamification.

              7 votes
            2. Eylrid
              Link Parent
              I have to second @JackA here. Gamification isn't the answer. We don't need people commenting just for the sake of commenting. We need more people commenting because they have something to say.

              I have to second @JackA here. Gamification isn't the answer. We don't need people commenting just for the sake of commenting. We need more people commenting because they have something to say.

              6 votes
    2. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Tildes will get bigger. Right now there's not enough people to sustain quality niche discussions. Growth is in Tildes plans, but certainly not Reddit-like growth.

      Tildes will get bigger. Right now there's not enough people to sustain quality niche discussions. Growth is in Tildes plans, but certainly not Reddit-like growth.

  4. [4]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    I'm actually not looking forward to open registration, which I suspect would be "turning on the firehose", so to speak. However, as I recall from past discussions, the current system is barely...

    I'm actually not looking forward to open registration, which I suspect would be "turning on the firehose", so to speak.

    However, as I recall from past discussions, the current system is barely growing at all ... people drop out and fade away almost as fast as new folks join.

    While I am content with the current group size and content here on Tildes, I would like to see a larger group here; just not sure what would achieve that 'middle ground' of manageable growth.

    11 votes
    1. hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      Hi, it's me again, the guy who brings up this idea every chance he gets: If Deimos enables open registration for Tildes, there is no reason he could not revert those changes and put the site back...

      just not sure what would achieve that 'middle ground' of manageable growth

      Hi, it's me again, the guy who brings up this idea every chance he gets:

      If Deimos enables open registration for Tildes, there is no reason he could not revert those changes and put the site back into an "invite only" mode.

      Open registration doesn't have to be permanent. Shoot, changing the state of the site between open registration or requiring an invite could even be done automatically based on some sort of sign up quota.

      The gist of what I am trying to say is this: It should be really easy to just open Tildes up and let users flood in. It should be even easier to lock Tildes down if an influx of users becomes problematic.

      If you want to read more of my ramblings about this, see these comments:

      14 votes
    2. Odysseus
      Link Parent
      I'm not too worried about open registrations as I doubt growth would be explosive, but I definitely share your sentiment. If it were that easy to grow a userbase, facebook wouldn't be worth...

      I'm not too worried about open registrations as I doubt growth would be explosive, but I definitely share your sentiment. If it were that easy to grow a userbase, facebook wouldn't be worth billions.

      I would like to see more users and activity, but I'd hate for a hivemind to develop the same way it has on reddit. It's the one thing I like the least about having visible points- people are encouraged to post what they think would garner the most points.

      The one thing I really like about tildes right now is the emphasis on individual ideas rather than being part of a "club". It's why I'm vehemently against having demonyms for site users. I'd hate to see that part of this site's culture change with an influx of new users

      7 votes
    3. timo
      Link Parent
      The invitation based system allows for "good" users to join in addition to creating sustainable growth. But I agree, the site could use some more activity. On the other hand, it's still manageable...

      The invitation based system allows for "good" users to join in addition to creating sustainable growth.

      But I agree, the site could use some more activity.

      On the other hand, it's still manageable to follow most of the discourse here and I like that.

      5 votes
  5. [6]
    Greg
    Link
    I understand that it perhaps comes from a place of frustration, but the snarky framing of this post really rubs me the wrong way. It's primed with negative assumptions, throws a derogatory...

    I understand that it perhaps comes from a place of frustration, but the snarky framing of this post really rubs me the wrong way. It's primed with negative assumptions, throws a derogatory suggestion at a specific person, and it pretty much forces any discussion to start on the defensive. Tone and context matter, and I very much enjoy being on a site where I can generally expect even contentious conversations to be respectful.

    In terms of the underlying question, it's something that I've seen discussed a few times by the community, with a wide range of viewpoints (I'm personally in favour of keeping things locked down for longer). I'm sure it's something that we'll revisit again, and there's likely a good thread to be had if it's approached in an open minded way.

    9 votes
    1. [5]
      Eylrid
      Link Parent
      Using a good faith interpretation I really don't see OP as hostile or on the attack. I suppose the use of "overlord" could be interpreted that way, or it could just be a playful way to refer to...

      Using a good faith interpretation I really don't see OP as hostile or on the attack. I suppose the use of "overlord" could be interpreted that way, or it could just be a playful way to refer to our Benevolent Dictator (OP would have to weigh in on what they meant to know for sure). The question is a legitimate one and it sparked good conversation.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        pinging @Greg You are correct. I was being playful when I created the post. No ill-will at all towards anyone here.

        pinging @Greg

        You are correct. I was being playful when I created the post. No ill-will at all towards anyone here.

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          Greg
          Link Parent
          Glad to hear it! Chalk this one up to a misreading of tone on my part then - apologies if I jumped to a conclusion.

          Glad to hear it! Chalk this one up to a misreading of tone on my part then - apologies if I jumped to a conclusion.

          3 votes
          1. suspended
            Link Parent
            No worries. It's an easy mistake that I've made many times.

            No worries. It's an easy mistake that I've made many times.

            3 votes
      2. Greg
        Link Parent
        Perhaps you're right; it's easy to misjudge tone on the internet and maybe I did so. I'd have to stretch a bit not to read it as hostile, but I readily admit I could be wrong. Absolutely true -...

        Using a good faith interpretation I really don't see OP as hostile or on the attack.

        Perhaps you're right; it's easy to misjudge tone on the internet and maybe I did so. I'd have to stretch a bit not to read it as hostile, but I readily admit I could be wrong.

        The question is a legitimate one and it sparked good conversation.

        Absolutely true - the question is fair, leaving aside tone (or of my interpretation of it).

        1 vote
  6. [2]
    ainar-g
    Link
    I'm pretty sure the plan for the nearest couple of years is to keep the invite system, which I fully support. It's not that it's hard to find an invite or anything. I've got one from a rando on...

    I'm pretty sure the plan for the nearest couple of years is to keep the invite system, which I fully support. It's not that it's hard to find an invite or anything. I've got one from a rando on Reddit myself.

    8 votes
    1. JackA
      Link Parent
      I just emailed deimos and told him I was curious after I heard about it deep in a reddit thread. I think the problem is that a lot of people who would like it here don't even know it exists.

      I just emailed deimos and told him I was curious after I heard about it deep in a reddit thread. I think the problem is that a lot of people who would like it here don't even know it exists.

      6 votes
  7. [3]
    Death
    Link
    I think one of the main reasons Deimos has cited for not focusing more on attracting new members is Tildes' Alpha state: the site is not yet feature-complete and therefore not really meant to be...

    I think one of the main reasons Deimos has cited for not focusing more on attracting new members is Tildes' Alpha state: the site is not yet feature-complete and therefore not really meant to be taken as being in production.

    We're essentially in "Early Access" mode, currently, but I'm wondering if we're managing to sustain interest and activity long enough for it to matter when the site comes out of Alpha, or if at launch there will essentially be no more interest and the site will slowly peter out.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      user2
      Link Parent
      Tildes seems like a perfect site, from a UI perspective. If HN is good enough for thousands of users, why is tildes different? I see less and less discussion on tildes and I don't think that's a...

      Tildes seems like a perfect site, from a UI perspective. If HN is good enough for thousands of users, why is tildes different?

      I see less and less discussion on tildes and I don't think that's a good thing. I, of course, don't want tildes to become reddit and/or youtube-comments, but somewhere between the current state of tildes and the current state of reddit lies the perfect site, IMO.

      5 votes
      1. emdash
        Link Parent
        Probably the biggest barrier to entry is that right now Deimos is the only person with high-level moderation abilities; and one of Tildes' goals isn't to constrain a platform to a small number of...

        Probably the biggest barrier to entry is that right now Deimos is the only person with high-level moderation abilities; and one of Tildes' goals isn't to constrain a platform to a small number of executive moderators operating on burnout-levels of fatigue, but to "spread the pain" by implementing a trust and community consensus system that follows simple, relatively transparent, automatic principles that is accessible to a large fraction of the community.

        Any reasonable user who has some kind of reputation of delivering thoughtful commentary and submissions would have access to tools that, when utilised en masse by others, could remove comments, remove posts, and maybe even ban users.

        The more that person is 'trusted', the more weight they hold in their tool selection. Or something like that.

        HN does an extremely good job of what I'd consider opaque moderation—it's all human driven by a select few with complete authoritative power, and actually, I don't mind that at all. The lack of moderation drama allows the site to stay focused on the content and I rarely ever see meta nonsense because the moderators obliterate content and users with force as they see fit. Some people may object to that on "freedom of expression" grounds or whatever have you, but I personally think it works really well for HN, and if you don't like their moderation style, don't use their site.

        On the other hand one of the reasons I think reddit is awful because different communities have different expectations of moderation policy, and a lot of moderation drama leaks out into the community, which raises the meta-commentary rate to a sufficient level that it's often quite distracting.

        14 votes
  8. est
    Link
    For now, the main reason I really, really dislike about reddit is its user base. Yes everyone can vote but it sucks that a brigade of bots can downvote you without much discussion.

    For now, the main reason I really, really dislike about reddit is its user base. Yes everyone can vote but it sucks that a brigade of bots can downvote you without much discussion.

    5 votes
  9. [2]
    gergir
    Link
    Why not let him do things the way he wants? It's his site, his work, and he provides a free service out of his own pocket. And it's been going great so far, no? Hardly any bickering/namecalling,...

    Why not let him do things the way he wants? It's his site, his work, and he provides a free service out of his own pocket. And it's been going great so far, no? Hardly any bickering/namecalling, few questionable people. All far better than any other opinion/discussion site I know of.

    4 votes
    1. emdash
      Link Parent
      Deimos is absolutely free to do what he wants—but I bet a signed dollar that part of the reason he created the ~tildes group was to explicitly encourage community participation in the site...

      Deimos is absolutely free to do what he wants—but I bet a signed dollar that part of the reason he created the ~tildes group was to explicitly encourage community participation in the site direction, or at least act as a bulletin board for gathering ideas and feedback.

      In a well structured, empathetic, and kind environment, feedback is incredibly valuable. It can shift discourse, change opinions, allow others to rethink decisions. That's absolutely beautiful.

      I see your comment more as a rationale to shutting down the ~tildes group in general, actually!

      18 votes
  10. [4]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    Definitely, but I don't blame deimos for not doing it, there are big reasons not to. Tildes right now is a very small platform with only a few hundred people seriously active right now. The census...

    Definitely, but I don't blame deimos for not doing it, there are big reasons not to. Tildes right now is a very small platform with only a few hundred people seriously active right now. The census we had gave an answer of 234 but despite the census only being up for a few days I still believe that's a rough ballpark for the real size of this community, somewhere in the early to mid hundreds, with a max at the 1k of people that have used this site in the last 30 days that I derived from the the total number of account defaults deimos reported here and that includes people who only visited the site without commenting in the last month. In the last 3 days there have been only 15 topics with more than 10 comments and that's with the whole Qassem thing going on and one is a recurring topic and another is a mod accident. I think the main concern people have is that tons of people will join in despite the fact that when deimos pitched this to hackernews it only got around 100 votes and reactions were limited and I really doubt reddit's fuckups will bring that many people, since not many people pitch tildes there for this reason and I don't really believe that many people on reddit would be interested enough to join, and since tildes only makes around 672 dollars a month, github sponsors manages to add 541 more dollars bumping deimos up to 1213 dollars and some dude added 2000 dollars a few months ago and 267 are being used now as a rollover from then, bumping us up to 1480 dollars, only half deimos's goal, which really needs to go up, so we kinda do need more people to donate, at least.

    I think there are a few big problems to doing that though. The main problem being that the site is still yet to be complete. There isn't even a 'pinning' feature yet and that's without mentioning all the moderation features already present on reddit and the the trust system for distributing them to anyone able to moderate and and the mechanics to remove said people from such positions if necessary, one of the core ideas that will make tildes better than other sites or automating subgroup creation, an automod that would give deimos more free time to code (and again, he still needs to be able to sustain himself, which is not when you should add open registration).

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      A lot of the "missing" features really aren't necessary, especially while the site is small. Even Reddit didn't have pinning for over 8 years (I was the one that added it). Hacker News has a very...

      A lot of the "missing" features really aren't necessary, especially while the site is small. Even Reddit didn't have pinning for over 8 years (I was the one that added it). Hacker News has a very small feature set (far smaller than what Tildes already has) and only two moderators, but mostly does fine anyway.

      There are definitely tons of features that would be nice (and that I'm sure we'll add eventually), but the lack of them isn't really a major concern overall.

      16 votes
      1. [2]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        I'd also be too wary of building it out the way everyone else always has or in whatever way people think is 'right' or 'expected.' That's using other people's solutions to problems they had, not...

        I'd also be too wary of building it out the way everyone else always has or in whatever way people think is 'right' or 'expected.' That's using other people's solutions to problems they had, not the problems Tildes has as they materialize. I bet we'll have far better luck with feature ideas and system development by sticking to talking things over in here.

        Let the problem appear first, and then work on the solution. Don't try to get ahead of them because what we're expecting may not be at all what we get. Give this place the chance to become unique and try fresh takes. Experiment, refactor, play!

        6 votes
  11. [4]
    vegai
    Link
    Let's take a look at what Reddit did and do the opposite.

    Let's take a look at what Reddit did and do the opposite.

    2 votes
    1. tyil
      Link Parent
      Well, Reddit exists, so to do the opposite, I guess we need to shut Tildes down. Perhaps that's not really a sane way to think about things. Just because you dislike something, doing everything...

      Well, Reddit exists, so to do the opposite, I guess we need to shut Tildes down.

      Perhaps that's not really a sane way to think about things. Just because you dislike something, doing everything exactly opposite doesn't really guarantee you'll like the alternative. You can look at prior art and learn from it, but what you're suggesting is not really viable.

      9 votes
    2. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      This got me thinking on an off-topic road: So Reddit has user pages. Let's have no user accounts at all! One can dream about an instance of 4chan that's been historically primed for thoughtful...

      This got me thinking on an off-topic road:

      So Reddit has user pages. Let's have no user accounts at all!

      One can dream about an instance of 4chan that's been historically primed for thoughtful discussion.

      5 votes
    3. HanakoIsBestGirl
      Link Parent
      How about we look at what reddit did right and what reddit did wrong. And then learn from that.

      How about we look at what reddit did right and what reddit did wrong. And then learn from that.

      3 votes