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    1. among the things i have been working on for the past day and change is documentation of the novel uses of hierarchical tags on tildes, how they vary by group (or in the cases here, across most or...

      among the things i have been working on for the past day and change is documentation of the novel uses of hierarchical tags on tildes, how they vary by group (or in the cases here, across most or all of the site), and how we might best begin to standardize, introduce, or deprecate them going forward so we're on the same page and end up with tags that aren't a giant, unfriendly, user-unintuitive mess.

      obviously, though, this is something that should probably include community input since the community generally determines the tags used in the first place; therefore, this is your chance to check my work, suggest additions, removals, etc. to this draft and in the end, hopefully help craft a standard of hierarchical tagging that's simpler, more intuitive, and more consistent for everybody on the website to use so we can reduce future meta discussions on this and make tags better overall.

      this will be done in chunks for convenience purposes (your sake and mine). therefore, if you would be so kind as to try and limit your suggestions to the pertinent tags, that would be most helpful.

      Mostly group non-specific tags

      There are also a number of tags which are more general and occur or can occur in several or all groups on the website. Some of the more common conventions of hierarchical tags that are generally not group-specific are:

      economics. and similar tags

      The economics tag can occur in several groups, most often ~science, ~news, and ~misc. While it can take hierarchical tags, standalone economics is usually fine. Nonetheless, with specific branches of economics like microeconomics and macroeconomics, hierarchical tags should probably be used (thus economics.micro, economics.macro, economics.applied, and so on). Examples of this in action (and further specification under this scheme) are:

      • economics.trade (economics and trade)
      • economics.micro.urban (urban microeconomics)
      • economics.policy.employment (economic policy with respect to employment)

      However, when placed in ~science, the standard is always socialsciences.economics over economics. to align with the standards of tagging in that group, thus socialsciences.economics.trade instead of economics.trade. Given that economics. in this case is itself a hierarchical tag, it may be pertinent to break off the last hierarchical tag into its own tag where it would lead to three consecutive hierarchical tags, like so:

      • socialsciences.economics.micro and urban areas
      • socialsciences.economics.policy and employment


      The law tag takes a very large number of modifiers and can be used in just about every group due to the fact that law generally transcends the current set of groups Tildes has. Historically, topics related to law have been tagged in the [modifier] law format (i.e. medical law, copyright law, us law, and so on); however, this has generally been phased out by the community in favor of using hierarchical tags for the modifiers. Therefore, with respect to pre-existing tags, constructions like medical law should be deprecated in favor of law.medical. In addition, the following tags which do exist should be converted accordingly:

      • medical law (convert to law.medical)
      • international law (convert to law.international)
      • labor law (convert to law.labor)
      • employment law (convert to law.employment)
      • antidiscrimination laws (convert to law.antidiscrimination)
      • copyright law (convert to law.copyright)
      • maritime law (convert to law.maritime)
      • environmental law (convert to law.environmental)
      • gun laws (convert to law.guns)

      All single modifier tags should follow a pattern like this. In other words, if you were going to tag something as "abortion law", you should do law.abortion instead of abortion law. Currently well established tags following this format are: law.citizenship, law.international, law.labor, law.marriage, and law.juvenile.

      The following tags with location tags in them (and similar tags like them) should be converted slightly differently from the above tags. Instead of being rolled directly, the locator tag (or what would be the locator tag) should be broken out from the tag, and the tag that is left should have its modifier turned into a hierarchical tag if possible. Thus:

      • usa federal laws is converted to law.federal and usa. (To elaborate in this case, the usa is separated, leaving federal laws which can be converted into law.federal)
      • us law is similarly converted to law and usa
      • european law is converted to law and european union

      However, this should generally not be done with tags which refer to specific laws. For example religious neutrality law, blue laws and safe haven law are tags which should not be converted to use hierarchical tags because it makes little sense to do so.

      There are also two specific tags which should generally not be rolled, which are martial law and law enforcement. Martial law is mostly used to refer to a specific state of affairs rather than an actual subset of law, so it makes little sense for this to be grouped into the law tag, while law enforcement is not really law in the sense being tagged here and is also covered by other tags like policing; using law.enforcement for this purpose would also be ambiguous, since it more likely would refer to enforcement of legal doctrine.

      The use of the sharia law tag is ambiguous. Since sharia is de jure a form of law, it would make sense to roll it like the other examples so that the tag is law.sharia; however the two uses of it on Tildes are sharia law and there is currently no real consensus on whether or not to roll it in this manner.

      nsfw., trigger., tw., cw. and similar tags

      nsfw., trigger., tw, and cw. are all universal tags that have been used in one form or another to separate out content which might be objectionable and which are still useful for these purposes. Although all four have been used, the community has largely settled on a standard of using trigger. over tw. and cw. with potentially triggering content primarily for reasons of clarity (the trigger. tag also been put forward by Deimos previously as a way of handing potentially triggering and objectionable content). nsfw. is also sometimes used, but this is less frequent and usually carries a different implication than trigger. does.

      As mentioned above, if you are using intending to use a tag of this sort, the preferred option in almost all cases is trigger. over tw. or cw.. For all intents and purposes, tw. and cw. should be considered mothballed and previous uses of them should probably be converted into trigger. at some point (particularly the duplicates tw.death, tw.suicide, and tw.selfharm).

      The main established tags under the trigger. banner are:

      • trigger.death
      • trigger.selfharm
      • trigger.suicide
      • trigger.sexual violence
      • trigger.rape
      • trigger.assault
      • trigger.child abuse
      • trigger.transphobia
      • trigger.homophobia (not used yet, but presumably applicable due to trigger.transphobia's existence)

      These are self explanatory for the most part, and cover most bases; however, if you feel that a particular topic is likely to be triggering for some people, it would be courteous to tag it accordingly in line the above tags. (Do also note that all of these tags can be and often are applied as standalone tags instead of being grouped under trigger. due to the fact that trigger. has waxed and waned in popularity over Tildes's existence.)

      If you are intending to post graphic content, or content which has the potential of exposing people to graphic content (broadly construed) and want to tag it accordingly, nsfw. is generally preferable over trigger.. nsfw. is quite rare, but one example of it in action is the nsfw.racism tag on Ignore The Poway Synagogue Shooter’s Manifesto: Pay Attention To 8chan’s /pol/ Board due to the exceptionally racist content screencapped as a part of the submitted article. nsfw.sex is also seen on Do Police Know How To Handle Abuse Within Kinky Relationships? due to the explicitly sexual nature of the article's subject, but this is more of a courteous measure than a necessary one--a qualified nsfw tag is generally not necessary, and if one is a moderator will most likely add it after the fact.

      hurricanes., cyclones., and typhoons.

      Tropical cyclone news generally fits into several places, most often ~news, ~enviro, or ~science. Generally, the standard for tagging tropical cyclones, whether they are hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, or other similar storms is to use the applicable term for the storm in question, and then use a hierarchical tag for the storm's name. Actual examples of this are:

      This is relatively straightforward, and covers the nomenclature of all existing basins. However, some basins have not been represented on Tildes thus far, so here are the two cases where standards overlap for reference:

      • the Pacific hurricane basin and the South Atlantic basin would both be represented by the same standard as the Atlantic basin (thus, hurricanes.patricia for the Pacific Hurricane Patricia and hurricanes.catarina for the South Atlantic Hurricane Catarina)
      • the Australian, North Indian, and South Pacific basins would be represented by the South-West Indian basin's standard (thus, cyclones.tracy for Australian Cyclone Tracy, cyclones.fani for North Indian Cyclone Fani, and cyclones.gita for South Pacific Cyclone Gita).

      For convenience purposes, storms which are named but have not hit hurricane status should probably still be referred to with the corresponding cyclonic storm tag for their basin, even though they have not formally reached hurricane, cyclone, or typhoon status.

      If there is no name to refer to (i.e. a name has not been designated for the storm), a hierarchical tag should probably not be applied at all, since that would get messy and likely necessitate updates. With storms that have only nicknames or lack a name under the nomenclature since they predate cyclone naming (for example, the 1938 New England Hurricane) there's really no best way to do things, however, using a truncation of the nickname may be the most preferable option (for example: hurricanes.1938 new england).

      36 votes
    2. I've been meaning to make this post for a while, and it's actually going to wind up being a series of several posts. It's kind of a long meditation on what it means to socialize online and the...

      I've been meaning to make this post for a while, and it's actually going to wind up being a series of several posts. It's kind of a long meditation on what it means to socialize online and the ways in which the services we use to do that help or hinder us in doing so. Along the way I'm going to be going into some thoughts on how online discourse works, how it should work, and what can be done to drive a more communal, less toxic, and more inclusive of non-traditional (read: non-technical) voices. I'm going to be throwing out a lot of inchoate opinions here, so I'm hoping to pressure test my views and solicit other viewpoints and experiences from the community.

      I mentioned in an introduction thread that I'm a policy analyst and my work is focused on how to structure policies and procedures to build a constructive organizational culture. I've been a moderator in some large PHP forums and IRC channels in the old days, and I've developed some really strong and meaningful friendships through the web. So I've always had a soft spot for socializing on the interwebs.

      Okay, so that's the introduction out of the way. The main point I want to focus on is the title: Remember the Person. This was the something Ellen Pao, former CEO of Reddit, suggested in a farewell message as she stepped down from the role in the wake of a community outcry regarding her changes to Reddit's moderation practices. The gist of it was that online communication makes it too easy to see the people you're interacting with in abstract terms rather than as human beings with feelings. It's a bit of a clichéd thought if we're being honest, but I think we still tend not to pay enough attention to how true it is and how deeply it alters the way we interact and behave and how it privileges certain kinds of interaction over others. So let's dig in on how we chat today, how it's different from how we chatted before in discussion forums, and what we're actually looking for when we gather online.

      Since this is the first in a series, I want to focus on getting some clarity on terms and jargon that we'll be using going forward. I'd like to start by establishing some typologies for social media platforms. A lot of these will probably overlap with each other, and I'll probably be missing a few, but it's just to get a general sense of categories.

      To start with we have the "Content Aggregator" sites. Reddit is the most notable, HackerNews is big but niche, and Tildes is one too. This would also include other sites like old Digg, Fark.com, and possibly even include things like IMGUR or 9Gag. The common thread among all of these is user submitted content, curation and editorial decisions made largely by popular vote, and continued engagement being driven by comment threads associated with the submitted content (e.g. links, images, videos, posts). In any case, the key thing you interact with on these sites is atomized pieces of "content."

      Next up are the "Running Feed" services. Twitter and Mastodon are the classic examples as is Facebook's newsfeed. Instagram is an example with a different spin on it. These services are functionally just glorified status updates. Indeed, Twitter was originally pitched as "What if we had a site that was ONLY the status updates from AOL Instant Messager/GChat?" The key thing with how you interact with these services is the "social graph." You need to friend, follow, or subscribe to accounts to actually get anything. And in order to contribute anything, you need people following or subscribing to you. Otherwise you're just talking to yourself (although if we're being honest, that's what most people are doing anyway they just don't know it). This means the key thing you interact with on these sites is an account. You follow accounts get to put content on your feed. Follower counts, consequently, become a sort of "currency" on the site.

      Then you've got the "Blogs" of old and their descendants. This one is a bit tricky since it's largely just websites so they can be really heterogenous. As far as platforms go, though, Tumblr is one of the few left and I think LiveJournal is still kicking. Lots of online newspapers and magazines also kind of count. And in the past there were a lot more services, like Xanga and MySpace. The key thing you interact with here is the site. The page itself is the content and they develop a distinct editorial voice. Follower counts are still kind of a thing, but the content itself has more persistence so immediacy is less of an issue than in feed based paradigms where anything older than a day might as well not exist. This one gets even trickier because the blogs tend to have comment sections and those comment sections can have a bunch little social media paradigms of their own. It's like a matroishka doll of social platforms.

      The penultimate category is the "Bulletin Board" forum. PHP BB was usually the platform of choice. There are still a few of these kicking around, but once upon a time these were the predominant forms of online discourse. Ars Technica and Something Awful still have somewhat active ones, but I'm not sure where else. These also have user posted content, but there is no content curation or editorial action. As a result, these sites tend to need more empowered and active moderators to thrive. And the critical thing you're interacting with in these platforms is the thread. Threads are discussion topics, but it's a different vibe from the way you interact on a content aggregator. On a site like Reddit or Tildes all discussion under a topic is 1 to 1. Posts come under content. On a bulletin board it works like an actual bulletin board. You're responding under a discussion about a topic rather than making individual statements about an individual post or comment. Another way to put it is on an aggregator site each participant is functionally writing individual notes to each other participant. On a bulletin board each participant is writing an open letter to add to the overall discussion as a whole.

      And finally, you've got the "Chat Clients." This is the oldest form besides email newsletters. This began with Usenet and then into IRC. The paradigm lives on today in the form of instant messaging/group texts, WhatsApp, Discord, Slack, etc. In this system you're primarily interacting with the room(s) as a whole. There isn't really an organizing framework for the conversation, it's really just a free-flowing conversation between the participants. You might be able to enforce on-topic restrictions, but that's about as structured as it gets.

      That about covers the typologies I can think of. Next up I want to delve into the ways in which the UI and design patterns with each of these platforms affects the way users engage with them, what sorts of social dynamics they encourage, and what sorts of interactions they discourage. In the mean time, I'm eager to hear what people think about the way I've divided these up, whether you think I've missed anything, or have any additional thoughts on the ones I put up.

      30 votes
    3. What's this? This post contains all entries of the "a layperson's introduction to" series. I will keep this thread up to date and sorted. This means this post is an excellent opportunity to try...

      What's this?

      This post contains all entries of the "a layperson's introduction to" series. I will keep this thread up to date and sorted. This means this post is an excellent opportunity to try out the bookmarking feature!


      Quantum Physics

      Basics of quantum physics

      Topic Date Subtopics Author
      Spin and quantisation part 1 01 Nov 2018 spin, quantisation @wanda-seldon
      Spin and quantisation part 2 03 Nov 2018 superposition, observing, collapse @wanda-seldon
      The nature of light and matter part 1 16 Nov 2018 light, matter, wave-particle duality, photoelectric effect, double-slit experiment @wanda-seldon

      Introductions to advanced topics

      Topic Date Subtopics Author
      Spintronics 18 Jul 2018 spintronics, electronics, transistors @wanda-seldon
      Quantum Oscillations 28 Oct 2018 quantum oscillations @wanda-seldon
      LEDs 10 Nov 2018 leds, electronics, diodes, semiconductors @wanda-seldon

      Classical physics


      Topic Date Subtopics Author
      Thermodynamics part 1 07 Nov 2018 energy, work, heat, systems @ducks
      Thermodynamics part 2 13 Nov 2018 equilibrium, phase changes, ideal gas @ducks
      Thermodynamics part 3 24 Nov 2018 @ducks
      38 votes