What do you dislike about tildes?
I read through the 'what do you dislike about tildes?' responses and attempted to classify them. A link to the excel document containing one row for each comment, a classification, and totals is provided. I figured a deep dive into this question (I am considering doing a deep dive on the other end of the spectrum - what do you like about tildes) may provide some insight on how we, as a community, can strive to be better.
Here's what I found:
Total number of free-text comments: 181
No comment, N/A, "nothing", etc.: 14
|Too serious||Not serious enough|
|Politics - too left||Politics - too right|
Tildes is too small
44% of the user-base indicated that they felt that Tildes was currently too small. There's really not a lot to be said here, other than a large number of those who filled out the survey wanted to express that they felt Tildes should still continue to grow.
I think a major point of discussion here should be around how best to grow. What do you like about tildes is not covered in this post, but some common themes are around enjoying the discussion and the community. Many individuals also seem to like the small community, showing an interesting division between a like and dislike of the size. From my own perspective, I enjoy how I recognize and see many of the same users on this website, but I also don't enjoy how the size leads to a lack of diversity and content.
Both of these topics are hitting on the same fundamental problem, which could be seen as an extension of the size of Tildes, but really refers more to who is using Tildes, rather than how many users. There is a lot of overlap between these two classifications, but sometimes people mention the tech centrism as a problem of content (too many tech/computing discussions) and not a problem of culture. In these cases there's not complete overlap.
Many individuals commented both on the size of the community and the diversity. Overall, roughly 23% of individuals who responded commented in some fashion on the lack of diversity on the website. The general sentiment from people who commented on the need for diversity was that Tildes was white, male, and working in tech. Given that the survey found 86% of us are male, the majority work in STEM and are primarily based in the US, this is not a very surprising finding.
An important point of reflection comes out in some of the longer form comments here and I think is also captured in many people who felt that tildes was "too serious" - discourse is firmly rooted in STEM interests. Several comments discussed a desire to see more artistic/creative discussions. There was also a strong sentiment for more non-US centric discussion. Interestingly (and perhaps described by our rather large LGBTQ+ contingent), diversity mostly focused on the dominance of male opinions (sometimes I wonder how people know what gender is behind a username unless they specifically state so) and the only comment on LGBTQ+ diversity was that there was a "lack of posts about anything other than tech or lgbt+ politics".
Intolerance is the unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differs from one's own. Many comments talked about users 'talking past' each other, getting into long bickering arguments that went nowhere, or targeted harassment of some sort. Several people mentioned specific users or powerusers not operating under good faith, and users which annoy or are hostile towards them.
If a user is being hostile to you, please report their comments.
While only 8.4% of us reported intolerance as being something they actively disliked, it is troublesome to see. I don't have a good frame of reference of what an 'acceptable' level is, because you're bound to have some people who are more emotionally sensitive than others and confrontations that don't always end the way you want them to. I hope we can discuss this in a broader context, however, because I have personally seen what I believe is an increasing number of intolerant posts often masquerading as 'honest discourse'. Whether this is me jumping to conclusions about potential alt-right trolls (which I do not discount) or an actual increase in not-so-good-faith arguments, I don't know, and would like to hear how you all feel.
As an aside, I wonder if I'm included in any of these lists of annoying powerusers, or if I was the one who 'picked a fight' with someone and got their 'comments deleted and that REALLY annoyed me'. If I am, please send me a message. I greatly enjoy most of you but I also know that I'm human and make mistakes and whether I agree with you or not, it's not cool to forget the human on the other side of the computer.
Generally speaking any comments around power-users or some users believing their opinion, culture, or viewpoint is more important or more correct landed the comment in the category of elitism. Certain users being 'combative', 'bickering', and 'pedantic' came up several times. With regards to powerusers, they were generally mentioned alongside some form of narcissism or a 'holier-than-thou' attitude. Reddit hivemind or a lack of diversity was also sometimes cited alongside complaints of elitism.
I used to be much worse when it comes to this, and the constant back and forth with people who will not have their viewpoint changed. I believe I've learned to tailor this and cut off conversations sooner, but I know that some individuals can at times get under my skin, particularly when they are being actively harmful to minorities or other groups with limited power, speech, or representation. With that being said, I wonder how best we can provide a culture to teach others to limit their responses when they go nowhere. There was at least one mention of how limiting the response rate between individuals had cut off two users who were always bickering over politics, so perhaps a more aggressive form of this?
But I also wonder what we can't do as a community together to actively recognize and point out when two people are not able to reach an agreement and to jump in and mediate or otherwise help them to stop a pointless argument.
Several people commented on a lack of a mobile app, a want for embedded images and videos, and the voting system. Other suggestions - comment threading, user blocking, differentiation between reasons why a post was bumped in the activity feed (?), mobile design (easier to click links), a desire for a more robust topic log, and that the website is too minimalist/sterile.
Tildes is too serious
Only a single person complained that tildes was not serious enough (or perhaps not, you decide... they said, "increasing creep of low effort posts"). The majority of posts complaining about tildes being too serious were often also complaints about people bickering. When it wasn't about how users interacted, it was about the form of dicussion available - people often brought up the "meaningful conversation" portion of the tildes documentation and culture, but often had a desire to have memes, shitposts, humor, or some outlet for conversation that isn't as effort based. Perhaps they like the culture and just want to do more with the people here? Perhaps they simply want to get to know their fellow users in a way they can't currently.
From my own perspective, I'd love to see more memes and humor. I tend to shitpost a lot on the unofficial discord. I've seen quite a few of you all on there as well, and would highly recommend it to anyone who feels like they want to get to know other users better.
More people complained about Tildes being too left than too right, which makes sense given the aggregated political compass from the survey. I think more people complained about there being too much politics than commented on politics whatsoever. I'm leaving this section relatively small because I'm not sure this is something that needs significant discussion at this point. But if you feel strongly, please help to direct a discussion in this thread.
I hope you all found this analysis useful and a good starting point for discussions. I really do love this platform and have found it to be quite literally life changing. If you found it useful and want to return the favor, check out my soundcloud