Change is Coming

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

Please comment on this proposed change to the forum.

Conversations Category will be moved off the front page. Topics in this category will still be accessible in unread, new, and other locations. The rough and tumble of the forum, however, will be taken off the front page, so we can create a more welcoming landing spot for people. Categories visible on the front page will have more restrictions, tighter moderation, and not everyone will be able to post on them.

The purpose of doing this is to enable free conversation on the forum, without overwhelming new visitors with difficult to follow and/or aggressive conversations. It seems this is critical for moving past our current ceiling.

What are your thoughts?

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(S. Joshua Swamidass) pinned globally #2
(Jordan Mantha) #3

I have mixed feelings. I kinda like the wild west of the Conversations category now and wonder if it will become a bit more deserted if it’s not the front page. On the other hand, it’s kind of a mix between drinking from a firehose and learning to swim by being thrown in the deep end of the pool. It’s certainly not for everybody. I’m especially thinking about the (apparently) fairly large number of people who read but don’t post on Peaceful Science. I also think if we want to move more into being a “incubator” for real scholarship it might be valuable to forefront some of the more developed conversations.

On the moderating end of this, I think we’ll need to get a feel for what “more restrictions, tighter moderation, and not everyone will be able to post” means.

Overall, I think it’s worth a shot and we’ll see how it goes.

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(Bill Cole) #4

I think it is worth a try. The obstacle I see is that the conversation category is currently around 90% of all posts.

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(George) #5

@swamidass,

I know that I have no idea how all these categories work…

So if there is a “landing pad” … if it has a schematic … you know IMAGERY…
that helps clarify things, that would be great.

If you need a volunteer to make the schematic, count me in!
Then at least I would know what I don’t know … and how to explain what is not generally known or understood!

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(Daniel Ang) #6

I agree with Jordan. I propose that instead of being hidden completely, free Conversations can still be visible on the front page but knocked further down the page, separate from the Scholars and Office Hours category of conversations (of which there should only be no more than 2-4 at one time). Only TL3 users and Scholars would be allowed to participate on these tightly moderated conversations.

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(S. Joshua Swamidass) #7

That turns out not to be possible.

(Daniel Ang) #8

At least we can pin the Scholars threads right?

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(S. Joshua Swamidass) #9

Yes we can pin specific topics, but not categories.

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(Daniel Ang) #10

Since there aren’t supposed to be many of them, it probably wouldn’t be difficult to get moderators/leaders to keep pinning and unpinning Scholars threads once every few days.

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(George) #11

@swamidass

So… can we get a Schematic? You know… a flow chart… with arrows and lines … showing
each user of a given status what he can and can’t do, and where he can and can’t post?

And the “path” of a User’s development/growth at PeacefulScience.Org?

A picture is worth a thousand words… .and in this case, that means it would save a lot of unnecessary words by moderators, explaining over and over what can and can’t be done.

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(Jordan Mantha) #12

Perhaps we could do that in the wiki and then link to it from the various category descriptions and “about” pages?

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(S. Joshua Swamidass) #13

Wiki has been unused. I’m doubtful that is the solution.

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(Daniel Ang) #14

I’ll think of starting to do this every time there seems to be some topics appearing with good potential (interesting subject and participants, with not much noise or off-topic discussion yet).

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(John Dalton) #15

One option could be to use Discourse’s “default categories muted” admin setting. I think this would have the effect of removing a category from the landing page for newly registered members (but not existing ones). New members could later modify their settings to adjust if they wished–in fact, any members can mute and unmute individual categories in their preference page. Might take a bit of testing to see exactly how it would work, but I think it would if I’m understanding you correctly.

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(George) #16

Whether it is Wiki or some other specified link… the SCHEMATIC would be of utmost value.

Can we have one, or charge me to make one?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #17

I’d like to try this change out for a few days. Does anyone object?

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(Matthew Pevarnik) #18

I’d say go for it but be willing to change if evidence doesn’t support your hypothesis/hopes :slight_smile:

One thing that was confusing and well irritating for me personally was at one point the BioLogos forums became nearly impossible to find from the main website. I guess there was some kind of good reason for that, I don’t really remember what it was – that left us lowly moderators a little confused and disconnected from anyone at the main organization. But removing the ease of access to the main part of the conversation, which is what many people really want to do has had far-reaching negative consequences. That’s just my perspective, and maybe others might see that differently.

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(Daniel Ang) #19

So what are the categories remaining on the front page?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #20

That will be obvious. My mistake last time was not giving enough lead time. In this case, I’ll plan on doing this around Wednesday. We’ll see how it goes, and adjust if needed.