eplaya and you

All things outside of Burning Man.

Postby herself » Thu Oct 16, 2003 12:17 pm

> I, for one, enjoy reading the posts of many of those who have left or nearly left, and hope that you stay and try to make it work.

It's just that a lot of us feel that we HAVE tried to make it work and are ready to say that Burning Man inspired us to do what we're doing even if we're no longer doing it with Burning Man.

hh
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Postby TestesInSac » Thu Oct 16, 2003 12:55 pm

Patience wrote:I am dismissive of repeated complaints that the board has become too easy to use, thus making the eplaya too accessible to the lowest common denominator, as you put it. I am dismissive of the suggestions that the addition of smiley faces somehow compromises the integrity of discussion. I am dismissive of the notion, expressed repeatedly on the altplaya, that knowledge of HTML should serve as an IQ test to keep out the uninitiated.


Dismiss all you like, the impact of format on the product is clearly significant. As examples, decent Visual Basic coders are common; decent C++/assembler/Natural coders are far rarer even accounting for relative demand. Or, for that matter, marketing majors are far more common than math minors simply because the former is less demanding than the latter. Putting it another way, the path of least resistance (analogous to format) will have more slackers walking it than more challenging paths will.

Patience wrote:The question I pose to the old hats is whether or not you want to fix the problems.


Fix what, the newbies? Like, teach 'em (n)etiquette, something their mothers shoulda taught 'em younger? Fixing that or the format problems is outside our purview.

Patience wrote:Personally, I believe that if you care about something it's worth putting forth the effort to sustain it, to help it heal and see it grow--especially when that thing involves people, relationships and history.


As I've previously written, that's what Harriet is doing.

Patience wrote:I, for one, enjoy reading the posts of many of those who have left or nearly left, and hope that you stay and try to make it work.


The only reason I'm responding to you this way is that you've done the best job yet of presenting a counter argument. That said, the O.H.'s have been trying since 2 Sep 03 to address the issues, with great specificity. The responses have been "Give us some time, we haven't decompressed yet!", this thread and silence otherwise. This thread in itself is testement to the fact they haven't acted on what's been posted in the Bugs and Requests forums.
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Postby stuart » Thu Oct 16, 2003 1:35 pm

It's very simple. A lot of new people came to Burning Man this year. Hence, a lot more people are on the eplaya.


02 had 29K+ 03 had 30K+. I don't find a 3% increase that significant. As far as attrition goes, I don't think we have that data yet so we can only assume it follows previous trends. So, the above I don't find valid.

that's all
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Postby stuart » Thu Oct 16, 2003 1:40 pm

I lied

For me, it is simple; I will go where the discussion gives me the most pleasure. My only ability to change what goes on here is by participating in discussions. I will not participate in discussions I find aesthetically displeasing or lacking in entertainment value. If they happen on the altplaya I will post there. I they happen here, so be it. I am only one poster with a relatively (at least for time spent) anemic count. It takes a minimum of two to tango. They don't have to be like minded, but they at least need to speak the same language and find one another.
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Postby precipitate » Thu Oct 16, 2003 2:21 pm

> 02 had 29K+ 03 had 30K+. I don't find a 3% increase that significant.

But that's misleading. Not everyone who attended in '02 came back in '03.
If you look at the Ministry of Statistics results (granted, not a huge sample
size, but closer than 0% attrition from the year before), it would suggest
that close to half of those people were at Burning Man for the first time.
And it's those 15K newbies who are trying to reconnect using the eplaya.
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Postby Patience » Thu Oct 16, 2003 2:41 pm

TestesInSac wrote:Dismiss all you like, the impact of format on the product is clearly significant... the path of least resistance (analogous to format) will have more slackers walking it than more challenging paths will.


True. But knowledge of HTML (or any other tech savvy) is directly proportional to neither intelligence nor social skills. Highly intelligent coders are often obnoxious trolls and post-whores. There are some on this very board who seem to know quite a bit about computers.

Fix what, the newbies? Like, teach 'em (n)etiquette, something their mothers shoulda taught 'em younger? Fixing that or the format problems is outside our purview.


The format problems are outside of our purview. Teaching newbies the etiquette of this particular culture is not. There are a lot of online communities, and each has its own etiquette, style and history. Everyone that comes onto this board will enter with their own expectations and understanding of what is acceptable. It is entirely possible to shape the culture and curb the annoying habits of the uninitiated, providing you have a solid group of experienced users who demonstrate patience with new users and act as leaders.

The only reason I'm responding to you this way is that you've done the best job yet of presenting a counter argument. That said, the O.H.'s have been trying since 2 Sep 03 to address the issues, with great specificity.


And I commend that and thank you and them for it. The problem is that at the same time they're dumping on the board. Flaming newbies, creating "sock puppets" like Duh Fecto (you KNOW this is some O.H. pissed off at digiman/de facto) and generally being pissy is not helping matters, and if anything is counterproductive to persuading the admins to make a change.

The responses have been "Give us some time, we haven't decompressed yet!", this thread and silence otherwise. This thread in itself is testement to the fact they haven't acted on what's been posted in the Bugs and Requests forums.


That blows.

Look, I understand the frustration at the admins' complacency or indifference. And I keep thinking about what "herself" said back there about leaving in order to not spread negativity. But I think that negativity has already been planted--culture is continuous, and it has already had an effect. So while I don't question the good intentions of those who decided to move, I think walking away at this point is akin to leaving your cigarette butts on the playa for somebody else to pick up.

Oh, and did you spell "testement" like that on purpose?
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Postby TestesInSac » Thu Oct 16, 2003 2:54 pm

precipitate wrote:> 02 had 29K+ 03 had 30K+. I don't find a 3% increase that significant.

But that's misleading. Not everyone who attended in '02 came back in '03.
If you look at the Ministry of Statistics results (granted, not a huge sample
size, but closer than 0% attrition from the year before), it would suggest
that close to half of those people were at Burning Man for the first time.
And it's those 15K newbies who are trying to reconnect using the eplaya.


Interesting. As a business, I'd see myself in a plateau, gaining and losing about half of my customers each year. In order to grow, I'd have to retain more customers, bring in far more new customers, or both. Now, since I chose not to advertise, I'd have to accept that I'm going to see about the same number of new customers in 2004 +/- a few percentage points, so my focus would have to be on customer retention.

Put another way, if I only lost 25% of my customers year-to-year and had the same number of newbies, 2003 should have seen closer to 40,000 attendees.

Not that any of that is relevant, just musing.
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Postby stuart » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:01 pm

precip, are those attrition stats any different than the previous year?
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Re: Search

Postby aforceforgood » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:29 pm

Ivy wrote:For all the people having problems with the search function:

There is an option at the bottom of that big search options table. The default choice is "display results as threads." Change it to "display results by posts" and you'll find you have much more success.


Thanks for trying to help Ivy- In my present mood, I've a lot of respect for anyone who stays here and tries to help fix the problems of this board. Thank you.

I'd probably be red-faced about not finding that if it had actually fixed the problem, but all that did was take me to a lot of totally unrelated posts.

There were some that actually had my search term in there (nose hair, in case you're curious) and some that might have, but with no way to click directly through to those posts, (only to the thread itself, and no subsequent way to search just inside that thread) I really don't know.

And why in the world would "topics" be the default to display search returns as?

I feel less and less motivation to care about this board and likewise less motivated to try and learn it's nuances. And it's no use trying to explain to me why I shouldn't feel that way, or why I'm wrong to feel that way, because it's too late. I do feel that way.

I know I'm probably just in a mood and I won't be able to help myself but to come here and try and help fix this board, but I'm tired of this. I don't have any programming skills aside from a little HTML knowledge (which I learned from the old board, thank you very much) so I can't fix the format problems, but I don't understand why that is so difficult to fix. I mean, there have been bbs's for many years, why are we trying to reinvent the wheel while this board dips deeper and deeper into a coma? Does no one care about that?

I'd be interested in an explanation of why it's so difficult to fix this stuff- just like I enjoyed learning HTML. Pandering to those unable or unwilling to learn is not what BM is about. Those people are the ones who don't bring water into the desert. Is this Disneyfication the direction BM is headed as it gets larger? Are those in the Org creative and smart enough to find a way to grow without Disneyfying? Are they dedicated to making a positive difference in those encountering BM for the first time, or is it just a job now where their job description includes protecting BM at all costs even if that means it mutates into some idiot-safe rave? How about inspiring those people to learn something? Do I really need to say the words RADICAL SELF RELIANCE here, or are you getting my point? Fuck, how about giving me some clues as to what the problem is, maybe I'd learn some programming and volunteer to fix this stuff.
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Postby TestesInSac » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:32 pm

Patience wrote:...knowledge of HTML (or any other tech savvy) is directly proportional to neither intelligence nor social skills. Highly intelligent coders are often obnoxious trolls and post-whores. There are some on this very board who seem to know quite a bit about computers.


Also true. I don't think it's really a question of making anyone run a gauntlet, rather, it's more a matter of not making lotsa shiny objects available if they distract folks from the true source of communication, namely, the text they write.

Patience wrote:The format problems are outside of our purview. Teaching newbies the etiquette of this particular culture is not... It is entirely possible to shape the culture and curb the annoying habits of the uninitiated, providing you have a solid group of experienced users who demonstrate patience with new users and act as leaders.


One sense I get, and we've both now alluded to, is that "management" doesn't really want the O.H.'s here anyway, or at least doesn't really care one way or the other. This is supported by the fact that very few, if any, of the substantive changes the O.H.'s called for have been implemented. I certainly don't see that they've gone out of their way to support us, and that bears on the <u>existence</u> of community, let alone teaching anyone to be a "good" part of it.

Patience wrote: The problem is that at the same time they're dumping on the board. Flaming newbies, creating "sock puppets" like Duh Fecto (you KNOW this is some O.H. pissed off at digiman/de facto) and generally being pissy is not helping matters, and if anything is counterproductive to persuading the admins to make a change.


As for flaming newbies, I still think I'm responsible for the most egregious example of it, and that was a flame of "Chimp". As for dumping on the board, I haven't seen that from the O.H.'s the way you seem to have. As for general pissiness being counterproductive, that's a choice the admins could make either way. You appeal to "noblesse oblige" on the part of the O.H.'s; why not on the part of the admins/management?

Patience wrote:Oh, and did you spell "testement" like that on purpose?


Hmmpf. At first, I typed "testesment", and thought I'd corrected it.
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Postby herself » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:41 pm

> I think walking away at this point is akin to leaving your cigarette butts on the playa for somebody else to pick up.

This rankles me. I didn't leave cigarette butts behind. I don't think it's the people who left that did the littering. It's just that they are no longer around to clean up the litter.

Best of luck w the Eplaya Admin(s), Patience. Perhaps they will choose to favor (and then, to implement) your thoughtful suggestions.
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Postby aforceforgood » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:48 pm

Oh, and by the way, I'm still waiting for someone to point out how *this* board is "easier" to use.
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Postby precipitate » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:59 pm

> precip, are those attrition stats any different than the previous year?

Dunno. MoS didn't do anything in 2001 or 2002. But looking back at
'98-'00, it looks like the percentage of new attendees taking the survey
actually dropped.

1998=0.7
1999=0.6
2000=0.5
2003=0.45

My arithmetic sucks, so I have no idea (or inclination to determine) if
those numbers support this theory, but I'm guessing that the turnover
hasn't changed a whole lot in the last five years.

Note that this is still people taking the survey, not everyone who attends,
and based on my own behavior, I'd say new people are more likely to
take a survey. I filled it out in '98-'00, but didn't this year.
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Postby TestesInSac » Thu Oct 16, 2003 4:01 pm

aforceforgood wrote:Oh, and by the way, I'm still waiting for someone to point out how *this* board is "easier" to use.


Some of it's "eye of the beholder". For me, being able to preview and edit a post on the same page is useful. And the silly number thing that WebCrossing hung up on is gone here.

I'd also say that formatting text is somewhat easier than using pure HTML.
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Postby aforceforgood » Thu Oct 16, 2003 4:11 pm

I'd have to agree with you about the editing- but is it worth the tradeoff?
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Postby Kinetic II » Thu Oct 16, 2003 4:46 pm

Again, I think it is critical to bring up something...this board at the moment is run by volunteers. VOLUNTEERS. Say it real slowly. Let it sink in. Now just because you don't see action on stage doesn't mean they are not working behind the curtains fixing the set. I don't want to say anything except a good source has told me they are working on all kinds of things, and starting next week, say Wednesday or later you might see changes.

So until then, let's try and keep this from turning into a negative mudslinging mess. The thread's been good until Page 5 and then it takes a nasty turn. Hang on people, the admins are listening. Change will happen. Give them time and space! And again...they are VOLUNTEERS and they are doing their level best with the resources they have.
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Postby Ivy » Thu Oct 16, 2003 4:47 pm

Sorry that the search tip didn't help. I've geberally found that to solve my problems in the past, but then again, I don't generally search for "nose hair." Did you try putting it in quotes to see if it would find that exact phrase?
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Postby Ivy » Thu Oct 16, 2003 4:49 pm

Patience wrote:
The problem is that at the same time they're dumping on the board. Flaming newbies, creating "sock puppets" like Duh Fecto (you KNOW this is some O.H. pissed off at digiman/de facto) and generally being pissy is not helping matters, and if anything is counterproductive to persuading the admins to make a change.


This makes it sound to me like it's only "oldtimers" creating "sock puppets," flaming and being pissy. I'd venture to say that it's about even.
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Postby Patience » Thu Oct 16, 2003 4:54 pm

Not my intention. Sorry if it came out that way. I have stated (numerous times, I think) that everybody on this board--admins, veterans and newbies alike, are responsible for what happens here. Newbies do stupid shit all the time.
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Postby aforceforgood » Thu Oct 16, 2003 5:03 pm

Kinetic II wrote:Again, I think it is critical to bring up something...this board at the moment is run by volunteers. VOLUNTEERS. Say it real slowly. Let it sink in. Now just because you don't see action on stage doesn't mean they are not working behind the curtains fixing the set. I don't want to say anything except a good source has told me they are working on all kinds of things, and starting next week, say Wednesday or later you might see changes.

So until then, let's try and keep this from turning into a negative mudslinging mess. The thread's been good until Page 5 and then it takes a nasty turn. Hang on people, the admins are listening. Change will happen. Give them time and space! And again...they are VOLUNTEERS and they are doing their level best with the resources they have.


Thanks for the info, but how come we have to hear this from you?

The messages we've heard from the admins has been either the nature of "we hear you but we don't agree", or silence. Technopatra's been pretty diplomatic about it, but that's been my perception. And at that, her posts are a dramatic improvement over the "ah, shaddup and use it you stupid user" type posts we got in the beginning. Both of these create emotional responses in those who try and suggest solutions or ask what's happening. I'm not supposed to point this out so that they can hear my suggestions on how to do better?

Squeaky wheel gets the grease. I've tried being diplomatic and patient, and that didn't seem to be doing anything. A post or two here and there on progress or expected progress or just that they're trying to correct stuff would go a LONG way towards heading off us unwashed nonprogrammer users feeling ignored and rebuffed. Nuff said?
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it's a JOKE, ok

Postby aforceforgood » Thu Oct 16, 2003 5:07 pm

BMorg has requested that the following search terms not be used as they create bugs in the system;

nose hair
burn
wallabee
beer
duh fecto
dingbat
wombat
asshat
fucktard
tingtangwallawallabingbang
and especially "radical self reliance"

Thanks for your cooperation!
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Postby Booker » Thu Oct 16, 2003 5:29 pm

>>I think walking away at this point is akin to leaving your cigarette butts on the playa for somebody else to pick up. <<

Bah. Utter nonsense. Part of my problem is the junk dumped and abandoned by those with no sense of the value formerly placed on this venue. Walking away from that activity is not the same as contributing to it.

Walking away IS analogous to leaving a camp or situation on the playa where you don't like what's going on. That's everybody's right, no? It's a big damn playa, and a bigger e-playa, in the broad sense. Plenty of space for people to do what they prefer without being labeled as quitters or litterers or similar because they choose to pass on one particular flavor of experience.
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Postby technopatra » Thu Oct 16, 2003 5:52 pm

Am still catching up on this convo...so much good stuff...let me first address the one that's stuck deepest in my craw:

TestesInSac wrote:That said, the O.H.'s have been trying since 2 Sep 03 to address the issues, with great specificity. The responses have been "Give us some time, we haven't decompressed yet!", this thread and silence otherwise.


Ok, I am really getting to love you, but if you think that a month & a half is enough to time to get anything done immediately after the event, yer sac may be a wee bit tight.

If you are indeed following the Features & Bugs threads, you will see that Spanky, Emily or I at the very least acknowledged most of the posts, and in the cases where we were able, immediately made requested changes. In some cases we didn't have to because another eplayan came up with a solution.

Can we run out and satisfy every request as it comes in? No. Making major changes without an overall plan is what got us into this mess in the first place!

We've needed time to collect the complaints and need more time to figure out how they fit together and be resolved. Amazingly enough, different people want different resolutions to the same issues, and we have to sort them out. Regardless of how they're stated, they are, for the most part, legit, and we've acknowledged them as such. PLus, we need to explore the solutions to make sure they're gonna work before we implement them.

TestesInSac wrote:This thread in itself is testement to the fact they haven't acted on what's been posted in the Bugs and Requests forums.


I take some serious exception to this remark. This thread is a testament to my respect for the existing community.

Based on the passion I read in your posts, and responding to the rage and dissapointment, I want to hear more from you all about the culture of the eplaya and how you relate to it, so I asked for more feedback. And I wanted to see if anyone holds themselves accountable for their own negative postings, or those posts effect on the overall experience. I am more than pleased with the thoughfulness of the ensuing discussion.

You simply can't say that we're doing nothing. Well ok, you can say whatever you want, but you can also kiss my juicy round ass while you're doing it. I'm here to listen and translate your needs to the team, dammit, and no amount of bitching can stop me.

You got a problem with our timetable? COME HELP US.

Seriously. Join the web team - you don't have to be a coder, just someone with an interest in what we do and a willingness to collaborate. http://www3.burningman.com/people/

Plus, I made these really cool pint glasses with our webteam logo on them as gifts for my teammates, and I have a few left.

I've said it on other threads and I'll say it again here:

MEA CULPA MEA CULPA MEA CULPA

I AGREE that we fucked up with the timing of the launch. I couldn't agree more. There is no lack of agreement here. I am an agreeing machine!

The launch date was out of our hands, and I recommended we push back the date until we could get some more of our policy stuff together, e.g. community guidelines/netiquette/FAQ, as well as have a chance to explore the mods (like skins) and deal with the interaction issues that came up during beta. I pissed some people off and was overridden.

It's taking a lot of energy and time to work on reversing the damage, an it's taking the rest of my strength not to deliver a big fat I TOLD YOU SO to the powers that be. Much as I want to, it's just not helpful. I am, however, going to be using waht you tell me as fodder for promoting a better design/implementation process.

I've already stated that we are going to try to get the instructions for the skinning together to present to the peeps, that we are investigating the feature mods the community has recommended, that we are following up on the suggested reading material from some of you (thanks again for the recs, folks!). If you do not accept that we are actively listening to you and working on it, there's really nothing more I can say.

Except this:

While we are trying to get this together, what are you going to do?

Are you going to keep repeating yourself and using the design (which I heartily agree is flawed, no question) as the only handy excuse for your continued negativity to each other?

I ask you to take a moment to consider whether you are continuing the problems that we started, or helping us to abate them.
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technopatra out of town

Postby technopatra » Thu Oct 16, 2003 5:57 pm

OK I am really, really sorry to kick up the dust then run, really bad form, I know, but I have to be on a plane to NY in an hour. I'm going to be gone and probably offline until Tuesday, so please don't think I'm abandoning the discussion. Will jump back in then.
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Re: technopatra out of town

Postby DE FACTO » Thu Oct 16, 2003 6:02 pm

technopatra wrote:OK I am really, really sorry to kick up the dust then run, really bad form, I know, but I have to be on a plane to NY in an hour. I'm going to be gone and probably offline until Tuesday, so please don't think I'm abandoning the discussion. Will jump back in then.


hey you are not supposed to have a life. you are only supposed to tend to the ePlayns every need.

have fun in n.y. wish i were going.

oh and i realy liked the
" yer sac may be a wee bit tight. "
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Postby Lydia Love » Thu Oct 16, 2003 6:08 pm

as the only handy excuse for your continued negativity to each other?


I'd be curious to know what continued negativity is perceived to still exist. Or rather, what at this point, does the community define as "negative"?
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Postby technopatra » Thu Oct 16, 2003 6:12 pm

Ok just one more before i go...

quote="Lydia Love"]
as the only handy excuse for your continued negativity to each other?


I'd be curious to know what continued negativity is perceived to still exist. Or rather, what at this point, does the community define as "negative"?[/quote]

This is a really good question. My own view is obviously skewed as I am acitvely bearing the brunt of the feedback about the tool. I've been reading htrough other threads but have concentrated on ones like this, which are healthy but definitely not love-fests.
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Postby Lydia Love » Thu Oct 16, 2003 6:27 pm

which are healthy but definitely not love-fests.


I hope it's not your expectation that you'll get a love-fest overall. This particular thread has seemed to me to be largely well reasoned and respectful. That's about the best you'll ever get out of an internet BBS.

Well, there are some love-fests going on - check out all the vanity threads. They contribute heavily to my own negative experience of the board but they seem to get quite a bit of positive reinforcement - making me wonder if my definition of "negative" is skewed as well.

You know - this might be better in a separate thread, since it's to satisfy my curiosity. I'll go start one.
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Postby TestesInSac » Thu Oct 16, 2003 6:43 pm

technopatra wrote:Ok, I am really getting to love you, but if you think that a month & a half is enough to time to get anything done immediately after the event, <b>yer sac may be a wee bit tight</b>.


I think I love you, too. I got such a belly laugh from that, I'm sure my neighbors are wondering (yet more) about me. I realize that there's lotsa other life to live and all, and I realize, being a web server admin myself, that change management is mandatory in any production environment. Would I be scrotally squeezed, though, if I reiterated that Harriet has put together something to sustain us in the timeframe you mention? <wincing>

technopatra wrote:
TestesInSac wrote:This thread in itself is testement to the fact they haven't acted on what's been posted in the Bugs and Requests forums.


I take some serious exception to this remark. This thread is a testament to my respect for the existing community.


Fair enough, I believe you, and I've reconsidered any notion of indifference on your part that I might have expressed or lent credibility to. I would still point out that throughout many threads there is clear evidence of a serious problem maintaining this community within the context of this board. Of course, that's also a good argument for establishing a thread like this for collecting all relevant data, and it sure drew me in. Good job!

technopatra wrote:Well ok, you can say whatever you want, but you can also kiss my juicy round ass while you're doing it.


I've always welcomed dexterity challenges.

technopatra wrote:The launch date was out of our hands, and I recommended we push back the date until we could get some more of our policy stuff together, e.g. community guidelines/netiquette/FAQ, as well as have a chance to explore the mods (like skins) and deal with the interaction issues that came up during beta. I pissed some people off and was overridden.


I'm sad to hear that you were overridden. I guess bureaucracies are the same all over. As for the damage that's been done, I'm sure it's reversible, given time and clear evidence (deeds) of desire from the org. As for the "I told you so!", you deserve the satisfaction of it, but the delivery is unnecessary; the PTB's need only compare what was to what is now.

And I promise to keep peeking in to see what's up, and keep the flesh scorching to a minimum.
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Postby herself » Thu Oct 16, 2003 6:51 pm

I think this has been an excellent discussion,
more so for your responses, techopatra!

No one knew the best timing for the rollout.
I didn't think what happened would happen.
It was overwhelming, and still is a little so,
but maybe that can be fixed.

harriet
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