25 votes

How to be a good contributor to Tildes?

Recently, I have blocked both reddit and facebook on my computer and devices in order to combat the utter fatigue that engagement with those sites produces. I've always really enjoyed the atmosphere here at Tildes better than either site and have hoped (though I gather this is not currently the goal) that it would supplant reddit in the future.

In order to get my news/discussion fix, I've begun submitting more content here than I have before. In the mornings, I go through my RSS feed, and pick out articles that I feel are interesting/would spark discussion here. I also try to conduct myself better here than I might on reddit, where JAQing off and bad faith argumentation are much more common.

I don't want to flood Tildes with too much content, so I'm trying to submit fewer than 10 articles per day. What are some other tips for good etiquette here, particularly insofar as it differs from reddit? I know there is an FAQ about Tildes but I'd like to hear what the community thinks, too.

Best,
-gbbb

23 comments

  1. cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Honestly, I genuinely think the Tildes docs do a pretty good job of describing what is and isn't acceptable here at the general level, and the Tildes CoC perfectly sums it up: As does the Site...
    • Exemplary

    Honestly, I genuinely think the Tildes docs do a pretty good job of describing what is and isn't acceptable here at the general level, and the Tildes CoC perfectly sums it up:

    Don't act like an asshole and routinely make other people's experiences—or lives—worse. Almost all of the restrictions on how you can use Tildes are just more-explicit versions of this basic guideline. In general, as long as you treat others with basic civility and try to contribute in good faith, you will be welcome on Tildes.

    Do not maliciously impersonate someone else's identity (real world or online)

    Do not maliciously attempt to counteract other users' attempts to delete or edit their content, such as by deliberately re-posting content they want to be deleted.

    Do not incite or encourage harm against people, including by posting hate speech or threats.

    Do not post anyone's sensitive personal information (related to either their real world or online identity) with malicious intent.

    As does the Site Design philosophy doc mentioning The Golden Rule and Principle of Charity:

    The Golden Rule

    There are many variants of the "golden rule", but the base idea is that you should act towards others as you'd like them to act towards you. That philosophy applies to various aspects of how I'm approaching building Tildes: in the end, I'm trying to build the community site that I wish existed, one that treats its users the way they want to be treated.

    For example, having low tolerance for people that consistently make others' experience worse. Nobody (except trolls) hopes to get abuse in response to their posts, so there's no reason to allow that kind of behavior. If people treat each other in good faith and apply charitable interpretations, everyone's experience improves.

    This sort of approach can also apply to decisions related to site mechanics and features. For example, when a feature has a privacy implication, we should consider how we would want our own data to be treated. If the idea of another site collecting similar data would make us nervous, we should try to figure out a way to adjust the feature to reduce or remove that anxiety.

    Which both work in parallel with something spelled out in the Announcing Tildes Blog post about not falling prey to the paradox of tolerance:

    Limited tolerance, especially for assholes

    Tildes will not be a victim of the paradox of tolerance; my philosophy is closer to "if your website's full of assholes, it's your fault".

    This is a difficult topic, so I want to try to be clear about where on the spectrum Tildes is trying to land. I'm never going to refer to the site as a "safe space" or ban anyone just for occasionally acting like a jerk in an argument—I'd probably have to ban myself fairly quickly. However, it will also never be described as anything like "an absolute free speech site".

    There's a reasonable middle ground between those extremes—I believe that it's possible to support the ability to freely discuss important and controversial topics without also being obligated to allow threats, harassment, and hate speech.

    As for stuff not covered by all that, that's when things get a bit tougher, since Tildes is still pretty small and the culture here still in flux. But as for how frequently to post? Flooding the site with submissions, even with interesting/high quality ones, can have negative consequences (although that is mitigated somewhat by the Activity sort), so I tend to kinda hoard links a bit and submit them during lulls... which is why I often post so late at night. I don't really expect others to do the same, though I will sometimes mention it to someone if they post way too many articles all at once. :P

    And another somewhat debatable/subjective one is when to apply the "noise" tag, which I tend to use on anything I don't think adds to the discussion, or actively detracts from it. e.g. kneejerk angry/cynical responses with little substance to them, "lol" type comments, etc. And there is often quite a bit of crossover where I find myself applying the "offtopic" or "joke" tag along with "noise" as well.

    13 votes
  2. kfwyre
    Link
    I think your individual answer probably lies most in what fatigues you about reddit and Facebook. What was it about those sites specifically that drove you off of them? Identifying that can help...
    • Exemplary

    I think your individual answer probably lies most in what fatigues you about reddit and Facebook. What was it about those sites specifically that drove you off of them? Identifying that can help shape how you interact here, as a sort of positive counter to their negative aspects. Also, there's the idea that, with the size that Tildes is right now, each individual submission, whether comment or topic, has considerable weight to it. It's not just a drop in a very large flood, but has shaping power for the community at large. The people active on Tildes right now are implicitly directing the culture and values of the site, and you, as a member here, have equal say in that as well. Use that opportunity to address topics and interact in ways that you feel are valuable. Ask yourself what your ideal online forum looks like, and then act accordingly. You'll be helping to create that space by, well, creating it!

    Beyond that, I think in general good advice to follow is to be kind and be thoughtful in your commenting. It's hard to go wrong here if your commenting is anchored in those two principles. Granted, those can be difficult to hold on to, especially when a particular topic is charged and especially when you feel that someone is being unkind or uncharitable to you. This is where I think being able to disengage is key. Tildes has an ignore topic feature that lets an entire thread disappear from your feed. We're also small enough that it's easy to sort of manually ignore commenters who you feel are counterproductive to your goals on the site.

    Finally, making use of labels and voting is an easy way of shaping content that isn't yours specifically. Use the exemplary label to highlight really great posts. It lets you leave a private, anonymous (if you don't choose to sign it) message to the commenter. I've received some messages this way that were so meaningful and supportive that they have legitimately made me cry! It's a wonderful tool. Of course, label noise and malice posts as well. These help hold the line against negative content, but I'm a much bigger fan of highlighting positives than focusing on negatives. Let's let the bad stuff die on the vine and feed the good stuff so it'll grow.

    9 votes
  3. [4]
    The_Fad
    Link
    Generally speaking, in my experience, I wouldn't bother commenting on something unless you*: 1) Have enough to say to generate a couple paragraphs at least, 2) Are thanking someone for a reply, or...

    Generally speaking, in my experience, I wouldn't bother commenting on something unless you*: 1) Have enough to say to generate a couple paragraphs at least, 2) Are thanking someone for a reply, or 3) Are prepared to source the shit out of whatever you say.

    Also if someone is getting snippy I recommend just bowing out, even if they started it. I mean that's solid advice for any confrontation in polite company, I guess, but still. Tildes is no exception to the "this is the internet and I am RIGHT" rule.

    As far as posting content goes, I don't think anyone minds if it's very frequent, as long as the content is varied. Plus, if you're doing something wrong, someone will just remove it or flag it and let you know how it broke the rules. No harm, no foul.

    *The general "you", of course. Not the specific.

    11 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      Posting one relevant link and writing a little bit about why it's interesting seems fine too. We are all about the links, and not all links necessarily need to be top-level. Some are better as...

      Posting one relevant link and writing a little bit about why it's interesting seems fine too. We are all about the links, and not all links necessarily need to be top-level. Some are better as responses.

      Also, questions can be good. Turning what might seem like a negative response into a straight question (not a sarcastic one) helps keep discussions from getting heated.

      9 votes
    2. [2]
      rogue_cricket
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Agreed overall but especially here. Recognizing an unproductive discussion can be hard, and walking away from it can also be a struggle, but it makes a huge difference in the quality of the...

      Also if someone is getting snippy I recommend just bowing out, even if they started it.

      Agreed overall but especially here. Recognizing an unproductive discussion can be hard, and walking away from it can also be a struggle, but it makes a huge difference in the quality of the discussions themselves as well as in ... overall mental wellness. It's a skill and habit worth developing.

      My rubric is imagining that a stranger said what the internet commenter said to me at a party. If I'd excuse myself to the bathroom and find another, more enjoyable conversation to join in on, that's my cue to bail - I'm not obligated to stick out a tedious or mean debate to the bitter end. I also bow out if I find myself forgetting the human (it happens), and there are some topics that I am so unwilling to compromise on that I avoid those entirely unless it's with someone I know quite well.

      7 votes
      1. Amarok
        Link Parent
        I'll say it again... I sense the need for some kind of 'disengage' mechanic. What's the value in spotting the point where people nope out of a thread, and helping them do it without being drawn...

        I'll say it again... I sense the need for some kind of 'disengage' mechanic. What's the value in spotting the point where people nope out of a thread, and helping them do it without being drawn back in by reply notifications? Seems like we might zero in on what behaviors worsen the threads. It's one thing when we all say what bothers us, but it's something else a bit more objective if there's a way to measure it in the aggregate for all of the users. Maybe we'll learn something useful.

        8 votes
  4. [10]
    goodbetterbestbested
    Link
    One thing I've noticed is that my submissions keep getting moved to different subgroups and tags are added. I'm trying to pay attention to what gets moved where and the added tags so that someone...

    One thing I've noticed is that my submissions keep getting moved to different subgroups and tags are added. I'm trying to pay attention to what gets moved where and the added tags so that someone else doesn't have to go to all that effort! (Example: I now know that political analysis should go in ~misc, not ~news.)

    7 votes
    1. hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      I honestly would not worry too much about posting to the correct group, or tagging stuff correctly, or at all even. The most important thing is just posting the content. Don't let the underlying...

      I honestly would not worry too much about posting to the correct group, or tagging stuff correctly, or at all even.

      The most important thing is just posting the content. Don't let the underlying categorization stuff stop you from posting. Users like @mycketforvirrad and others stay on top of all that pretty well.

      I mean, it's great if you want to get into it too, but don't stress over it.

      Also, just in case you have not noticed it yet:

      • If on desktop, on the right side of your screen is the sidebar, and near the bottom of the info presented in the sidebar is the topic log. That tells you what changes were made by which user, and when, to your topic.
      • If you're on mobile, the sidebar should be a button in the top right that you can press to reveal it, and then the topic log will again be at the bottom of that info. You have to click/press the topic log drop down to reveal that information.

      Checking the topic log, you'll notice that I moved this topic from the ~talk group to the ~tildes group. That's because meta discussion about Tildes itself usually goes here.

      Again, it's no big deal if a topic gets moved, and the groups can be a bit confusing at first. Feel free to ask questions when you notice someone edits your topic, as moderators here are almost always happy to explain/discuss changes.

      Also, here is the list of things that moderators can edit on a topic:

      • The topic's tags
      • The topic's title
      • The group the topic is posted to
      • The topic's link

      Finally, the site's documentation and blog are worth reading. They should both give you a good feel of the site. Of course, you can always ask questions if you are confused about anything, or submit suggestions for site features, changes, etc. as a post to ~tildes.

      16 votes
    2. [7]
      mycketforvirrad
      Link Parent
      I really don't mind... :)

      I'm trying to pay attention to what gets moved where and the added tags so that someone else doesn't have to go to all that effort!

      I really don't mind... :)

      10 votes
      1. goodbetterbestbested
        Link Parent
        Hey, that is you! Thanks for your work! Even if you don't mind, just wanted to let you know I'm paying attention!

        Hey, that is you! Thanks for your work! Even if you don't mind, just wanted to let you know I'm paying attention!

        7 votes
      2. [5]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Ditto. And in my case, especially with music genre tagging, I even actively enjoy doing it, since I find it fun to identify, discover, and explore the incredibly diverse set of genres out there in...

        Ditto. And in my case, especially with music genre tagging, I even actively enjoy doing it, since I find it fun to identify, discover, and explore the incredibly diverse set of genres out there in the world. :)

        5 votes
        1. [4]
          mycketforvirrad
          Link Parent
          Ha! The music genre tags are the ones I probably shy away from implementing/editing the most. Through the way I manage my own music collection with genre-based playlists, I just know I'd end up...

          Ha! The music genre tags are the ones I probably shy away from implementing/editing the most.

          Through the way I manage my own music collection with genre-based playlists, I just know I'd end up sucked into a taxonomical black hole with those tags! Glad someone else on here derives a little pleasure from them...

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            cfabbro
            Link Parent
            Taxonomical black hole? Yeah.... I know that place well. See (my now abandoned): https://tildes.net/~music/wiki/rym_genre_hierarchy :P Which was manually scraped from here:...

            Taxonomical black hole? Yeah.... I know that place well. See (my now abandoned):
            https://tildes.net/~music/wiki/rym_genre_hierarchy :P

            Which was manually scraped from here:
            https://rateyourmusic.com/genres

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              Kuromantis
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              noise/joke It's... It's beautiful!
              noise/joke

              regionalmusic.eastasianmusic.eastasianclassicalmusic.chineseclassical music.chineseopera.cantoneseopera

              It's... It's beautiful!

              1 vote
              1. cfabbro
                Link Parent
                LOL, damn you went deep to find that one. :P

                LOL, damn you went deep to find that one. :P

                1 vote
    3. NaraVara
      Link Parent
      Don't think of this as people correcting you. Think of it as collaborative editing/curation. The people doing it are, generally, happy to do it.

      One thing I've noticed is that my submissions keep getting moved to different subgroups and tags are added. I'm trying to pay attention to what gets moved where and the added tags so that someone else doesn't have to go to all that effort! (Example: I now know that political analysis should go in ~misc, not ~news.)

      Don't think of this as people correcting you. Think of it as collaborative editing/curation. The people doing it are, generally, happy to do it.

      7 votes
  5. [7]
    Five
    Link
    Following the crowd seems to work well on here and make sure every comment or topic is as long as you’re arm because if not they will class it as low effort.

    Following the crowd seems to work well on here and make sure every comment or topic is as long as you’re arm because if not they will class it as low effort.

    2 votes
    1. Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Hey, that's anti-intelectualism! On a more serious note, the long texts mostly come from adding details, context, analogies,examples, personal experience in some cases and if you have enough free...

      Hey, that's anti-intelectualism!

      On a more serious note, the long texts mostly come from adding details, context, analogies,examples, personal experience in some cases and if you have enough free time, attempting to tie the whole thing under a coherent narrative. Also, this shouldn't be taken too literally, most of my most upvoted comments are pretty short for example.

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      goodbetterbestbested
      Link Parent
      I have a problem with being overly verbose so I guess I'll fit in...

      I have a problem with being overly verbose so I guess I'll fit in...

      3 votes
      1. Five
        Link Parent
        They will love you here, I’m more of a short and sweet kind of guy so I’m not very popular here

        They will love you here, I’m more of a short and sweet kind of guy so I’m not very popular here

        3 votes
    3. [3]
      precise
      Link Parent
      Hey, where were you when we had an entire conversation about verbosity? On my post.. literally "On Verbosity"? You say in another comment you feel you don't fit in, well I'm sorry to hear that....

      Hey, where were you when we had an entire conversation about verbosity? On my post.. literally "On Verbosity"? You say in another comment you feel you don't fit in, well I'm sorry to hear that. Instead of just lambasting the entire community for not liking you, maybe start a discussion like this one? Instead of just posting a snide comment? Just a thought.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Five
        Link Parent
        You want to get off your high horse, sorry I don’t monitor every comment you make in case you say something that would interest me, I didn’t say the whole community didn’t like me I just said they...

        You want to get off your high horse, sorry I don’t monitor every comment you make in case you say something that would interest me, I didn’t say the whole community didn’t like me I just said they liked long comments and topics and I preferred short.

        2 votes
        1. precise
          Link Parent
          You're right that I road my high horse into that last comment, I'm sorry about that.

          You're right that I road my high horse into that last comment, I'm sorry about that.

          3 votes