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Postby Badger » Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:14 pm

OK, so maybe this *might* constitute some thread drift and if deemed so I'll not whine too much if it gets deleted...

Over in another thread Technopatra noted that she's been busy with ramping up for an educational process that seeks to discuss/discourage bad behaviors by some of the fucktards coming to the playa.

What I'm wondering is if this suggests an attempt by the Project towards getting down and using the e-playa as an educational tool to discuss specific, focused, salient, uncomfortable, and unpopular issues, ideas that might have come up specifically in realation to this year's pst event? The reason I ask is that at no time in my history of attending the event have I heard the level of negative discussion that's been making the rounds. I'm not talking the routine whining of the it-was-bette-last-year contingent. I'm speaking of very focused, specific criticisms that repeatedly have come to the fore from very diverse corners of attendees. For example, a further discussion that invicites/solicites input around the DMV problems related to mutant vehicles should be moved over (duplicated?) here. Discussion around ant DPW or Ranger issues might also be discussed. I guess I see the potential to have a whole plate load of stuff dropped on the table to discuss and I know there are those who'd like to see it happen. I also know from direct discussion with LOTS of folks that they don't want to have to wade through the swamp of innane bullshit that has mired this board down and turned it into a goddamn swamp of banality in which fully 50% of the threads have fuck all to do with the event in any way whatsover.

The reason I'm bringing this to Case Studies is because I think if does need to studied and a case needs to be made that certain discussions may require their own area of e-playa to take place. Namely, an area where the focused discourse needs to happen to talk about those things which I see threatening the event. A place where bullshit topics get tossed out as quickly as they if they're not germain to the subject at hand. I think where I'm going with this is probably suggesting moderation. Not to mention my sense of frustration.
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Postby geekster » Tue Oct 26, 2004 1:04 pm

GUILTY AS CHARGED

I noticed the playful antics in some of the threads since I arrived here and thought that was just the culture on this particular board. I will say that I would expect it to be tolerated in the General Discussion area since the topic description is "All things outside of Burning Man"

In the spirit of actually wanting to have some meaningful discussion, I promise to try to refrain from wisecracks and silly posts anywhere outside of the General Discussion area. The General area should, in my opinion, be open for general banter for the purpose of community building and maintaining bonds made at events.

I would also like to second Badger's opinion that there should be serious discussion. There is a chance, I think, to make a difference in a very positive way for the future of burning man.
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Postby Alpha » Tue Oct 26, 2004 1:32 pm

The banality should stay in General Discussion however what's worse, is I doubt we can get a quorum of People In Power to sustain an ongoing discussion on e-playa. I don't know the workings of the BM office as well as you do (you = just about anybody), but so far I haven't noticed Larry or Marian or Crimson Rose spending much time on these boards.
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Postby stuart » Tue Oct 26, 2004 1:54 pm

It's becoming a circle jerk.

I think perphaps it might be a cyclical thing.

At this point, save for regional decoms, many folks aren't planning, building, stressing, whatever, but they want to remian connected. I hope that after january the board will revert. But back to what I don't know. We will then see about 4 months of newbie flaming and complaining and discussion where people spit out RTFM. Then the crazed month before the event where people talk what where when. A week of relative silence. Then the inevitable spawning of threads discussing how much burning man sucks.

Are any of these modes worhwhile?


certainly GD is very active while the more 'on topic' sections suffer but if the folks who are active in GD weren't here at all would there be any traffic? It's the same old saw. Wasn't it about this time last year Trey started his own board?
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Postby Isotopia » Tue Oct 26, 2004 2:33 pm

Wasn't it about this time last year Trey started his own board?


Probably. Somewhere around one frequenter's 1000th post of innane bullshit that the mass exodus/migration started taking place.
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Postby Badger » Tue Oct 26, 2004 2:49 pm

At this point, save for regional decoms, many folks aren't planning, building, stressing, whatever, but they want to remian connected. I hope that after january the board will revert.


One of the things to be encouraged then would be to try getting things up and running as soon as possible. The idea being that just as preps for the next event start happening not long after the event a discussion board where concerns, ideas, issues, etc could be discussed, chewed on and hammered out well before the event would go a long way towards executing changes in a positive and well discussed manner rather than the inevitable flailing that happens when big tasks are addressed mid-summer. Sure the traffic on the board might not be that big at first but by setting the tone and focusing the discussion I'd hope that people not ordinarily in the loop due to time, distance constraints, might be afforded the opportunity to press their ideas. One of the unfortunate facts of life about the BM diaspora is that so many folks are spread so far and wide that actual participation and contribution in the planning is limited to those folks relatively close by.
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Postby Rian Jackson » Tue Oct 26, 2004 3:15 pm

I have to add my 2 cents here, too.

Yes, the board is important for information sharing, hammering things out, and discussion of the event. But my impression is that this is also supposed to be a community board.

If all we did was go to some event in the desert and eschew community interaction, what would be the point? To me, bitching and moaning generally about people doing just that is a little hypocritical.

If it weren't for the 'bullshitting' on these boards, Portlanders wouldn't be at SeaComp and Seattleites wouldn't be at PDX Comp, for instance. These connections are what enable us to network, to create stronger, more dynamic communities - instead of having a 'big rave in the desert.'

Yeah, i think it is cyclical. Right now, there's almost NO intelligent conversation going on anywhere but GD (ok, and granted, we aren't at our peak of intellectual capacity right now). I check through the other sections to see if i can help sometimes. Usually the questions are inane, or the bitching is at such a volume i won't deal with it. When people start actually needing help and everyone stops complaining about how much they hated this year at BM, i'll probably drift back there.

But you know what is happening? People are supporting each other, and learning from each other, and generally navigating life being burners. Ideas are being compared and the way people work is being hashed out. These are good things. And frankly, they are important for this to be a community rather than an event.

Sorry, I'm feeling a little inarticulate at the moment.
But at the very least let's hear a proposal for what you want rather than a bitch fest about it in general. Bitch fests, as you may have noticed, aren't very constructive.

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Postby stuart » Tue Oct 26, 2004 3:20 pm

I would be very interested in an on-topic moderated board. It's one of the reasons I did not hang around Trey's. I've got pals already. I wanted to discuss BM. I know my current form does not reflect this. It's a matter of destination though.

Best of luck with this. I got hazed when I suggested a very prolific, exclusive conversation get taken into PM land.
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Postby Isotopia » Tue Oct 26, 2004 4:06 pm

I would be very interested in an on-topic moderated board. It's one of the reasons I did not hang around Trey's. I've got pals already. I wanted to discuss BM. I know my current form does not reflect this.


I believe that if the effort was made to 1) note taht a particular defined area of the board was moderated and that a reasoned position were given as to why that most people wouldn't object. 2) an explanation in the introducing that too much off-topic banter has a tendency to throw a discussion off track and that it won't be accepted in the designated area should be sufficient. I hope.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Oct 27, 2004 10:21 am

Isotopia wrote:
Wasn't it about this time last year Trey started his own board?


Probably. Somewhere around one frequenter's 1000th post of innane bullshit that the mass exodus/migration started taking place.
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Postby actiongrl » Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:38 pm

I also know from direct discussion with LOTS of folks that they don't want to have to wade through the swamp of innane bullshit that has mired this board down and turned it into a goddamn swamp of banality in which fully 50% of the threads have fuck all to do with the event in any way whatsover.


I have heard Larry talk about a moderated area of the ePlaya for a more focused discourse. Frankly, I spend a LOT of time here (I don't post as often as some folks, but I do keep up with dialogue - I learn a lot when I just shut up!) as well as on all the regional discussion lists trying to keep an open ear to *anything* that can be learned from observing the various communities in dialogue. (Muahahahaha....I now tap my fingers together with scientific relish.) I'm really interested to hear more about this idea - maybe we should start a new thread and talk about it.

And hey, Marian and Rosie might not be here, but trust me, Mr. Harvey is never far away. And anyway, what'm I and Techno and other staffers...chopped livah? (For the record, my tongue is sticking out; however, I'm not utilizing a smiley.)
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Postby actiongrl » Thu Nov 11, 2004 12:52 am

I should probably be a little less tongue-in-cheek and a little more serious about this question. I don't know if I've really ever acknowledged it, but being a part of community forums and lists is actually in my job description because I took it on at an early time in my employment, since it fascinates me so much. Example: the thread about suggestions for Burning Man is one I have followed very closely.

If the question is how do we feed back about every question, that's a different thing. I observe that the staff or volunteers who are here do endeavor to answer what they can when they can as far as suggestions and questions and ideas, and try to share things from their particular viewpoint. Not everything *can* be answered easily, and not every idea is feasible...but where I can I do try to respond to that, just like we would if someone writes a question to jackrabbitspeaks@ or questions@, for example.

Re: Crimson or Marian etc. not posting here, I think because the board members are visible as leadership at Burning Man, it's sometimes presented as though they ought to be the ones doing z, y, or x, when the truth is that they are six people who have certain tasks as our directors. The senior staff - which includes the six board members - are really the entity that guide a lot of the kinds of the decisions that community input would advise. Part of my role in communications is sticking my nose all over the internet to see what people are talking about and help bring those ideas to the table. Is there another structure, aside from my being here in that capacity, that would make people feel more heard, even if - for whatever various reasons - every idea is not necessarily implemented?
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Postby Bob » Fri Nov 12, 2004 8:50 pm

While I appreciate staff input from AG and others, didn't we hire somebody to make the eplaya look like something than a "swamp of inane bullshit"?

Anybody?
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Postby Bob » Fri Nov 12, 2004 8:52 pm

Bob wrote:While I appreciate staff input from AG and others, didn't we hire somebody to make the eplaya look like something than a "swamp of inane bullshit"?

Anybody?


Something other than, I meant.

Fix the fucking edit function while you're at it, you morons.
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Postby DVD Burner » Fri Nov 12, 2004 9:05 pm

Bob wrote:While I appreciate staff input from AG and others, didn't we hire somebody to make the eplaya look like something than a "swamp of inane bullshit"?

Anybody?


Even though I know the comment" inane bullshit" is a Badger staple, it still sounds to me like a "do as I say not as I do" thingie.

I know of some" inane bullshit" threads Badger has created and I think they kinda put character to the eplaya myself. But that's just me.
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Postby Tancorix » Sat Nov 13, 2004 1:31 am

This is Burning Man's eplaya, funded out of their pockets for the purpose of supporting the event...or so I remember being told something like that this time last year when a few of us joined in on conference calls and hammered out the TOS and CG's. So we've had a year to let things ride after that effort...maybe it's time to take things to the next level and setup this special section that Badger and others have suggested. The event has some problems that seriously need to be discussed, and taking a hands off attitude and seeing more veteran burners bail on the event is not the right approach. I've already read the rants that the number of newbies to veterans on the playa is increasing...and it could get worse. We're sitting on one hell of a powerful tool to help change that....one tool does not fix the car, but at least it's a step towards getting it on the road again.

So Technopatra, Emily, how about it? Can this be done? Can the eplaya team come back together and get this rolling? I don't have any technical skills to bring to the table like setting up the special area or helping Spanky or whomever it is with the technical side, but if I can volunteer and help out with something, I'm stepping out and volunteering now.

WE REALLY NEED THIS! Let's make it happen!
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Postby emily sparkle » Sat Nov 13, 2004 6:53 am

So Technopatra, Emily, how about it? Can this be done?


well... technically, it's not difficult to set up a limited access or moderated area. the major challenges i see are twofold...

who will moderate (and most likely, then be accused of censoring) the posts? i'm getting to spend a little more time here of late, but still have not enough time to keep up with everything.

who will be allowed to post? who sets the criteria if this is to become a limited access group? will the org be accused of only inviting the opinions of those they want to hear?

in this virtual world, it's sometimes hard to seperate the socks from the sincere.

:) emily


ps. the edit button isn't broken, it's turned off so that people do not go back and change their posts in times of controversy as we have seen done before. i miss the ability to edit my posts, too!
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Postby Tancorix » Sat Nov 13, 2004 10:12 am

emily sparkle wrote:
So Technopatra, Emily, how about it? Can this be done?


well... technically, it's not difficult to set up a limited access or moderated area. the major challenges i see are twofold...

who will moderate (and most likely, then be accused of censoring) the posts? i'm getting to spend a little more time here of late, but still have not enough time to keep up with everything.

who will be allowed to post? who sets the criteria if this is to become a limited access group? will the org be accused of only inviting the opinions of those they want to hear?

in this virtual world, it's sometimes hard to seperate the socks from the sincere.

:) emily


ps. the edit button isn't broken, it's turned off so that people do not go back and change their posts in times of controversy as we have seen done before. i miss the ability to edit my posts, too!


To keep this short....here's my suggestions.

1: This section should be open to all. The topics to be discussed are too wide ranging and too important to restrict access to. Plus there is no infrastructure in place to handle access requests, approvals, etc.

2: Moderators. Any moderator coming in should not have any illusions about what they are getting into. This proposed area will be a hot zone with heated discussions and lots of personal views being expressed. A moderator in this case should be called on to:
A: Keep the discussion on topic. Topics will be defined by the thread creator who needs to say up front if the thread is drift friendly or not.
B: Enforce basic rules of decorum. It's gonna get hot, it could get ugly. That's part of it. But if a post turns into a personal attack then the moderator should step in and warn the offender. If they fail to respond, the moderator needs to document the situation and build a case for the admins to respond. The admins can't handle everything so the moderator needs to have a little power (emphasis on very LITTLE) to block someone for a bit or do something to mitigate the immediate problem for a very short period of time, but no super authority beyond that. I keep thinking of the word transparency here. Moderators have to act with a light touch. That will be critical if they want to avoid the censorship and partisan charges.

This will be like standing in a thunderstorm holding a lightning rod but I'm willing to volunteer to moderate. If the concept of having me as a moderator is unacceptable to you, don't just gripe about it. Volunteer yourself, ask someone to volunteer that you feel would be a good candidate, or form a coalition of the willing and see if Emily and TP would approve you. Someone's gotta take the first step..so here I go. I see a real need for this, and I'd like to help with this as a way to give something back to not just the BM community but the online community that has given so much to me. Is anyone else interested in helping with this or has ideas on how to do it? Speak up!
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Postby Alpha » Mon Nov 15, 2004 1:32 pm

So why was the cotton mouth post deleted but the Favorite Drug poll (and its responses) have not been? If someone were to cop to actually using any of the drugs on the list, is that when the post gets nixed?
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Postby technopatra » Wed Nov 17, 2004 8:55 am

Alpha wrote:So why was the cotton mouth post deleted but the Favorite Drug poll (and its responses) have not been? If someone were to cop to actually using any of the drugs on the list, is that when the post gets nixed?


Good question. We try to avoiding removing posts, so we try to keep the deletions down to ones that specify specific illegal activities. The Cotton Mouth post asked for a remedy to a side effect of drug use that someone claimed to personally need, e.g. they confessed to having committed a legal act.. The Fav Drug poll is definitely in a gray area, and we were uncomfortable with the reference to getting drugs at BM, but the responses moved the conversation away from actual confession.

It's a fine line and we appreciate feedback on where to draw it.
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