Slipping away, bit by bit

All things outside of Burning Man.

We NEED a PLONK option!

Postby Kinetic » Mon Sep 29, 2003 5:31 pm

It looks like this is coming down to one thing: We need a plonk button.

If we get enough people sending the admins a request, maybe they can look into it and try to make it happen.

Keep in mind that the admins are volunteers and likely have lots of other stuff going on...so patience will be required. But it sure sounds like this is what we need. And I'm sure there are admins following this thread....with enough feedback they might even act based on what they read here.

(in other words we can bitch all day, let's do something about it!)
((I'd like to have the ability to know who plonked me though so I could find out why...sometimes you get blinded to your behavior and don't realize your pissing someone off.))
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Postby precipitate » Mon Sep 29, 2003 5:38 pm

> And I'm sure there are admins following this thread

Dunno. There's a lot of stuff out here, and they've admitted they don't
participate much. I think requests that need to be heard should be made
in the Features or Bugs forums.

But this has been requested there already, and more than once, and
antron posted a link to an existing mod to the software that does a lot of
what we'd like. It even tells you who's plonked you.
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Postby Badger » Mon Sep 29, 2003 5:53 pm

Actually, after Badger declared that peeing on the playa was what he was going to do forever, and 1/2 of the "golden people" here agreed, I've kept a lower profile on trying to help.


Why would you do that? Seriously? Just because you may not agree with my rational or reasoning for taking a particular position doesn't mean that you need (or that any of us want you) to take a passive stance - especially if it's your desire to initiate or contribute to the dialogue.
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Postby Kinetic » Mon Sep 29, 2003 6:25 pm

precipitate wrote:> And I'm sure there are admins following this thread

Dunno. There's a lot of stuff out here, and they've admitted they don't
participate much. I think requests that need to be heard should be made
in the Features or Bugs forums.

But this has been requested there already, and more than once, and
antron posted a link to an existing mod to the software that does a lot of
what we'd like. It even tells you who's plonked you.


I went back and looked at the Mod...I must be getting color blind to miss a RED HYPERLINK. Anyway that does look like a viable answer to this whole mess. Now if we can get the admins to go take a look.
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Postby clandyone » Mon Sep 29, 2003 6:58 pm

blyslv wrote:
clandyone wrote:I think that there is hope, actually. There are some quality discussions going on here, and some promising new blood.



They are still too difficult to find after wading through substantial dross, but I agree clandyone. And BTW, your essay on why fundies are BAD was awesome. Writing like that is why I come back to this little sandbox.

Why, thank you, blyslv! I'm a titch insecure about my written communication skills, so that means a lot.

And same to you and more of it for your post in the Core Values thread.

This place ain't so bad.
Won't somebody please think of the children?!
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Postby Kinetic » Mon Sep 29, 2003 8:07 pm

clandyone wrote:Why, thank you, blyslv! I'm a titch insecure about my written communication skills, so that means a lot.

And same to you and more of it for your post in the Core Values thread.

This place ain't so bad.


Clandy, insecure about your written communication skills? Why? Your one of the people I always make it a point to read like Precipitate, Ivy, Alice, PJ, Badger...in my book your right up there with them.

You have nothing to worry about, post away!
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Postby clandyone » Mon Sep 29, 2003 9:09 pm

Kinetic wrote:
Clandy, insecure about your written communication skills? Why? Your one of the people I always make it a point to read like Precipitate, Ivy, Alice, PJ, Badger...in my book your right up there with them.

You have nothing to worry about, post away!

Good company indeed! Thank you, K.

(I really wasn't fishing for compliments, although it does kinda look like I was.)
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Postby III » Tue Sep 30, 2003 6:57 am

>wasn't fishing for compliment

i think it's more that there a bunch of us just waiting for the opportunity to throw them at you.
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Postby JezebelinHell » Tue Sep 30, 2003 7:05 am

Fish or compliments?
"The future is a whore, she promises herself to everyone."
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Postby III » Tue Sep 30, 2003 7:07 am

compliments, dumbass. if you don't shut up, i'll throw some at you too.
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Postby JezebelinHell » Tue Sep 30, 2003 7:13 am

Wait, are you threatening to throw compliments at me, or are we talking about fish now?
"The future is a whore, she promises herself to everyone."
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Postby III » Tue Sep 30, 2003 7:16 am

keep it up, and it'll be fish.

wait, you'd like that, huh?
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Postby JezebelinHell » Tue Sep 30, 2003 7:29 am

Depends on the fish. If it's from the tuna guys I'd welcome it. Plus, picture the conversation:

"What'd you do today?"
"I threw fish at this girl I know from the internet."

It'd make your work day more interesting.
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Postby Kinetic » Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:10 am

III wrote:keep it up, and it'll be fish.

wait, you'd like that, huh?


Uh, I heard they always need good fish throwers at Pike Place in Seattle!
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Postby III » Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:19 am

>It'd make your work day more interesting.

well, first i need to get a workday...
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:00 am

> Anyway that does look like a viable answer to this whole mess. Now if
> we can get the admins to go take a look.

Whoa there, Nelly. I went and looked at the mod, and it's beta. Really
beta. Last change Sunday, September 28, 6:13 AM or something, version
1.0.2.*

While the <i>feature list</i> looks great, I don't want to get into the same
pickle we are already in here, i.e. installing software because it "looks
good" without some decent usability testing.

The user interface for the control panel is really freakin' complicated. I'm
good with this stuff and I was somewhat confused by it. It also means
a separate set of templates for them to administer, and mods to the
database.

So yeah, I'd love for the admins to go look at it. I'd love to have some
testing time with it too before it goes live. It's certainly better than
trying to build their own, but by no means is it automatically the answer.

* Yeah yeah, open source bla bla bla. Open source is not synonymous
with good, clean, supported code. Beta might mean just compiled, or
it might mean the creators are very careful before creating a release.
No way to know until you have some experience with the specific
developer.
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Postby olivia » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:16 am

i've definitely seen messageboards ruined by influxes of new people. as i've said before, i think the new eplaya is easier to use and will encourage more people, but with more people you also get more assholes, more trolls, more everything, the volume is just turned up.

the most important thing to note is that the high volume posters, and the people perceived as old school or regulars, they for the most part dictate the tone of the messageboard. it's a powerful thing. it is important for old timers and others emotionally invested in this place to assert a bit of gentle dominance over the newbies if you have clear ideas about how you want the tone of the messageboard to be. otherwise, the trolls will do it for you.
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Postby antron » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:24 am

precipitate wrote: I'd love to have some testing time with it too before it goes live...No way to know until you have some experience...


i absolutely agree. the reason why i looked for and posted a link was not to make this the solution, but to nudge the process forward with an alternative.

it would be a disaster to release any untested mod on a community this size, with this level of activity.
Last edited by antron on Tue Sep 30, 2003 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:37 am

> the reason why i looked for and posted a link was not to make this the
> solution, but to nudge the process forward with an alternative.

Absolutely. My comments were in no way directed at you, but at many
members of this online community who, understandably, want this fixed
NOW. I think it's important for everyone to understand the constraints
the admin team is working under, and what obstacles may exist to
implementing a solution.

And thanks for finding an alternative.
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Postby RebA! » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:46 am

I still dont see how its easier to use. I am so utterly lost here. I cant find anything. I have decided not to read any other board but this one. cause of the sheer frustration I have by trying to figure out where i am in those other threads.

So.. here is where I will stay. Until someone can show me how to make it easier to tell me where I have left off in a thread and not where the computer thinks i have left off. Yes I know I have bitched about this before, and fuck it I am bitching again.

Its not easier for me.
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Postby III » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:53 am

i'm trying to figure out why i feel that the ability to plonk people is a much lower priority than being able to organize, follow, and navigate different threads in an ongoing fashion.

i wanna say that as soon as people can start doing the latter, the former isn't really going to be an issue any more, while if you do it the other way round, it'll only make what goes on here even more incomprehensible.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:59 am

The mod in question does both, though I suspect it'll be too complicated for
any but the very active to bother with. Same problem as the old eplaya
had, I suspect. It took me about two months to figure out that the
bookmark/subscription feature would make things soooo much easier on
the old system.

The thing I'm particularly worried about, though, is what RebA! mentioned.
The mod allows you to subscribe to topics, but I saw no evidence that it
changed how your read/unread marks are recorded and updated. For me,
that's an even bigger problem than not being able to ignore threads easily.

Maybe there's another one out there. Maybe I'll waste some time trying to
figure it out. But probably not.
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Postby PJ » Tue Sep 30, 2003 12:17 pm

III wrote:i'm trying to figure out why i feel that the ability to plonk people is a much lower priority than being able to organize, follow, and navigate different threads in an ongoing fashion.


Because it's more fundamental.

If given a derelict car to restore, you'd install tires and tune the engine before budgeting for a moving-map GPS.
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Re: We NEED a PLONK option!

Postby technopatra » Tue Sep 30, 2003 1:46 pm

Kinetic wrote:It looks like this is coming down to one thing: We need a plonk button.

If we get enough people sending the admins a request, maybe they can look into it and try to make it happen.

Keep in mind that the admins are volunteers and likely have lots of other stuff going on...so patience will be required. But it sure sounds like this is what we need. And I'm sure there are admins following this thread....with enough feedback they might even act based on what they read here.


Thank you for your patience! We are just having our first post-event web team meeting tomorrow, and we've got a lot of other tasks and projects to slog through, as well.


As I said in the Feature request thread, plonkability is the highest thing on my list of improvements. It's coming, but no, I don't know when, unless one of y'all wants to come help us install it?

And SYK, there are only 3 people with admin permissions, myself, Spanky the engineer and Emily Sparkle the sysop. We all read as much as we can,
but if you have a specific request/idea/problem, please oh please let us know in the Feature Requests and Bug Reports discussions. We are vigilant about checking those.

Only Spanky and Emily have made any changes, and those were entirely based on feedback from users - adding the general discussion folder, removing a couple of pointless, hurtful flames. The admin permissions for this tool allow user management (which we haven't exercised unless someone has a problem getting their account), and folder/discussion management (starting new folders, moving threads, deleting, etc.).

The other changes that we want to make - plonking, revising the way you are notified what you have/haven't read, are bigger coding projects that will take a while longer.

So again, based on what I've read throughout the eplaya, the most important/desired changes/additions seem to be:

-add a ubiquitous "email the sysop" link, including on the pre-login homepage
-ability to plonk users and threads
-publish our own community guidelines/conduct/user agreement (the out-of-the-box one is available, but feedback is that it is not personal, specific, or Burning Man-ish

The feedback on whether to indicate/highlight posts you've read, or posts you have not, has been split down the middle, so no matter what we we'll piss people off. Such is life.

To reduce troll factor, we are also kicking around the idea of a relationship/ratings mod, where you can rate the quality of the posts.

What do you guys think?

~technopatra~

p.s. Kinetic, I look forward to your posts, and do not want to see them reduced by artificially inflated feelings of guilt. I wish more posters would be as thoughtful before they hit the submit button.
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Re: We NEED a PLONK option!

Postby Tiara » Tue Sep 30, 2003 1:57 pm

technopatra wrote:The feedback on whether to indicate/highlight posts you've read, or posts you have not, has been split down the middle, so no matter what we we'll piss people off. Such is life.

To reduce troll factor, we are also kicking around the idea of a relationship/ratings mod, where you can rate the quality of the posts.

What do you guys think?


I'll be the first to admit that I haven't read all the threads on the new eplaya. But what I have read suggests that among people who have an opinion on the subject, that opinion runs overwhelmingly in favor of a modification that would accurately let us know which posts we have or have not read.

The ability to pop back into a thread at the point where I left off would dramatically increase my satisfaction with the new forum. As the number of threads grows, noting that a thread was posted before or during my last session is not an effective proxy for whether I read it or not.

I'm much more ambivalent about a ratings system to control trolls. I can and do mentally "plonk" trolls. I can judge for myself whether I feel a person's posts are worth reading. To me, a ratings system opens the door to more (and unneeded) "us vs. them" scenarios.

ps-thanks to you and the rest of the tech team for taking the time to solicit and respond to feedback.
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Re: We NEED a PLONK option!

Postby PJ » Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:13 pm

technopatra wrote:...based on what I've read throughout the eplaya, the most important/desired changes/additions seem to be:

-add a ubiquitous "email the sysop" link, including on the pre-login homepage
-ability to plonk users and threads
-publish our own community guidelines/conduct/user agreement (the out-of-the-box one is available, but feedback is that it is not personal, specific, or Burning Man-ish



There have been extensive off-line discussions regarding the architecture of the E-Playa as experienced by contributors.

Nothing springs to my mind that wasn't also complained about on-line, however the discussions were spread about in a great many threads, most of them begun early after the system switch.

The bulk of the points made off-line were of the following sort:

• "Page layout needs much more white space."

• "Posts are boxed into little 'cubicles' which interferes with human interaction and insightful communication."

• Fonts too small.

• Excessive non-communication-related graphics (unnecessary borders, redundant info both iconic and label-related).


Plus the items you listed above, the most egregious of which by popular opinion is a lack of a reliable way to view only as-yet-unread posts.


Our question is: are the graphics a done deal? These aren't like requests for bug-fixes--addressing this stuff would have no effect on system reliability or functionality. Still, many thoughtful people feel very strongly about them. Are complaints regarding the "look and feel" of the new E-Playa pointless because the builders of the system are committed to sticking with the look-and-feel that they've already worked to create?

If an alternative look is a possibility, suggested formats were those of Table Talk as well as the old E-Playa.
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Re: We NEED a PLONK option!

Postby technopatra » Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:17 pm

Tiara wrote:
I'll be the first to admit that I haven't read all the threads on the new eplaya. But what I have read suggests that among people who have an opinion on the subject, that opinion runs overwhelmingly in favor of a modification that would accurately let us know which posts we have or have not read.

The ability to pop back into a thread at the point where I left off would dramatically increase my satisfaction with the new forum. As the number of threads grows, noting that a thread was posted before or during my last session is not an effective proxy for whether I read it or not.


Oh yes, sorry, I articulated this poorly. We definitely need some method for identifying what you've read - the preferred method itself seems to have a split.

Tiara wrote:I'm much more ambivalent about a ratings system to control trolls. I can and do mentally "plonk" trolls. I can judge for myself whether I feel a person's posts are worth reading. To me, a ratings system opens the door to more (and unneeded) "us vs. them" scenarios.


Hmm. I guess we were looking at it as a self-policing tool so that if we get any really destructive posters, they can be voted off the island. We know that eventually there will be a maniac of some sort fucking up everyone else's experience. While, as admins, we will always have unilateral power to delete users, we don't want to use it. We're still talking about how the ratings would would - they've been successfully used on other community-oriented sites, I still think it could work here...but I dunno for sure.

Tiara wrote:ps-thanks to you and the rest of the tech team for taking the time to solicit and respond to feedback.


You are totally welcome!

~technopatra~
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:23 pm

> We know that eventually there will be a maniac of some sort fucking up
> everyone else's experience.

Yeah, but you know, in a way that's happened both here and on the old
eplaya already. And while not everyone may agree with the way it was
handled by the community, it was handled. I think if the Tawnee Lynne
debacle thread hadn't been locked, it would have been resolved one way
or another. I'm really reluctant to ask for administrative control to be
exerted over users or threads [though I'd love to be a moderator only
for the ability to move all the chatty stuff out of 2003 Theme and into
General Discussion].

And frankly, even ratings systems don't do much to deter a persistent
pest. At best they send a message to the somewhat clueless. There's
almost always a way to be destructive if you want to, and admin controls,
in my experience, tend to restrict the good people more than they do the
bad. I would much prefer to be a part of a self-policing community.
Pipe dream? Maybe. I'm willing to live with that, though.
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Postby blyslv » Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:27 pm

[quote="precipitate
And frankly, even ratings systems don't do much to deter a persistent
pest. At best they send a message to the somewhat clueless. There's
almost always a way to be destructive if you want to, and admin controls,
in my experience, tend to restrict the good people more than they do the
bad. I would much prefer to be a part of a self-policing community.
Pipe dream? Maybe. I'm willing to live with that, though.[/quote]

Talking to another sometimes eplayan last night and we both had the same question -- What trolls? Neither one of us was that bothered by the noise that goes on here. Thus I have to soundly second percipitate's desire for a self-policing community. I think that is a "core value" that we need to hold on to both on the playa and the eplaya.

hooray for us
Fight for the fifth freedom!
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Postby III » Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:31 pm

i'll second (third?) the comments that the highest priorities for me are:

* less cluttered pages (which is a templates, rather than a coding issue)
* accurate management read/unread posts
* a *useable* subscription system for following/ignoring threads

less important to me (much less) is the ability to plonk users, or vote against them. and if there is to be administrative management of disruptive users, it should be done by someone with a lot of experience in managing conflicts, like maybe a ranger with a decades worth of burning man experience, like, say, maybe, badger...
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