Any suggestions for what we should do with the Libcom forums?

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Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
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May 31 2018 11:40

Sadie - mind you don’t fart, your downvotes could smash even my previous record of 31 for one post!

Mike Harman
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May 31 2018 11:45
Sadie wrote:
Tbh I’m not sure what the point in the downvote button even is. An upvote or “like” button serves a useful purpose in allowing people to signal that they agree with something without discussions getting clogged up with a lot of repitition and “Yes, this!” Downvotes seem to mostly be a way for cowards to get at people without meaningfully contributing to the conversation.

I'd need to double check, but this should be an easy enough change to make if we wanted to. Down votes were supposed to be more of a 'report post' mechanism but it's clear they're not that. Witness the downvotes on the comment pointing this out ffs.

And I agree with the analysis, we originally added up votes to replace the need for 'great point' and 'this' comments. If you disagree with something for whatever reason, it's easy enough to reply to it.

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Steven.
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May 31 2018 14:50

Just to say on this topic we have discussed it before, as in the redesign of the site we plan to remove the forums structure, and instead just have a content type called "discussions", which you will be able to look at through the tracker.

That said, this is potentially a good option which we could even do now:

AndrewF wrote:
Remove forum content from 'latest posts' so people can link to Library content without fearing new people being early pulled into a very off putting swamp

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the button
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May 31 2018 15:46
AndrewF wrote:
Impose a low limit on the number of times anyone can post per day on a thread to stop threads becoming dominated by the same angry bloke over and over.

..... or set a minimum time between posts if that's easier. I think most BB software has that natively. (Maybe set a period of 3 or 4 years grin).

Spikymike
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May 31 2018 17:09

Crosses over with this incomplete discussion posted where else! but on a Forum!
https://libcom.org/forums/feedback-content/dying-forums-or-just-slow-020...

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jef costello
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Jun 1 2018 08:24

AndrewF's idea is definitely a good one. The tracker already has a tab for just tracking forum posts so they don't necessarily need to be in the main tracker.

Just so I am clear, the t-word hasn't been used on this thread but has on another and the t-word isn't trans?

I think the admins are pretty clear on a supportive position for trans people, they haven't been banning people from the forums but Mike and Steven have written quite regularly, as has Juan I think. I am not sure who the admins are now, I can't find the page anymore. But last time I looked there were 5 or 6, which is not a lot of people to maintain a site this big, there are a few mods doing a few things, but not many. Not sure who or how many.

Modding takes a lot of work and also requires people to be available a lot.
For example if someone says something stupid but has been taken to task by another poster is it worth deleting that post or is it better to leave it up to show those ideas being refuted?

Downvotes are blatantly being misused, one of the problems with this is that the number of decent posters seemd to have dropped, so the bad ones who obsessively vote against people (admins have cracked down on that in the past) seem to have more weight. half a dozen votes on a comment is quite a lot now, but I can remember a few years ago posts could get a lot more than that. If the admins/mods can't moderate it then it probably isn't necessary.

I think the fact that these threads are some of the longest recent threads tells its own story too.

Just one thing, some threads could perhaps be kept and stickied, or reformulated in some way. I am thinking of Steven's police brutality thread, R Totale's prisons thread etc.

ticking_fool
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Jun 1 2018 09:27

T word is tranny and it popped up on the identity politics thread. I think trans folk introduced it in a (sort of) reclaimed slur way, but non trans users were using it as well. I won't be using it again to describe myself because of that anyway.

Mike Harman
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Jun 1 2018 10:15
jef costello wrote:
Modding takes a lot of work and also requires people to be available a lot.
For example if someone says something stupid but has been taken to task by another poster is it worth deleting that post or is it better to leave it up to show those ideas being refuted?

Yes this is very difficult and we usually tend towards the latter, just due to seeing things hours after they've happened. One option would be to do some kind of 'spoiler' filter on the original post where the original text is available if you click on something but not actually removed, but we don't have that technically at the moment.

Also, while a stupid post in isolation is a stupid post, if someone just registers to post stupidity it's easy to nuke it and block them. If a long term poster says something stupid, it's not quite so easy (and that doesn't refer just to recent discussions, plenty of long term posters have talked complete crap on this site at one point or another).

Quote:
Just one thing, some threads could perhaps be kept and stickied, or reformulated in some way. I am thinking of Steven's police brutality thread, R Totale's prisons thread etc.

I think sticky threads work in the forum listings, but they don't work on the tracker. We could probably make them work on the forum tracker though.

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Jun 1 2018 10:17

Yeah, I think threads rather than discrete articles are kind of more suited to keeping track of long-running situations with lots of relatively small developments rather than a few big ones - with the best will in the world it'd be hard to keep putting up new "Picturehouse workers to strike again" articles every time the Picturehouse workers go on strike, but one big "Picturehouse dispute" thread that people could bump with "Picturehouse out on strike again this weekend - any comments this time round?" posts might be more manageable.

Mike Harman
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Jun 1 2018 10:29
R Totale wrote:
Yeah, I think threads rather than discrete articles are kind of more suited to keeping track of long-running situations with lots of relatively small developments rather than a few big ones - with the best will in the world it'd be hard to keep putting up new "Picturehouse workers to strike again" articles every time the Picturehouse workers go on strike, but one big "Picturehouse dispute" thread that people could bump with "Picturehouse out on strike again this weekend - any comments this time round?" posts might be more manageable.

Could these be news articles or blog posts with comments (or edited-in updates) though?

Spikymike
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Jun 1 2018 10:34

I try very hard to keep some discussions around particular countries, struggles or disputes together which by accident sometimes gets listed on the currently identified Forums (eg on Turkey recently) or under the Notes from below UCU strikes an the Deliveroo bulletins and any way of helping with that in the future sounds sensible.

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Jun 1 2018 11:12

Maybe, although I guess it'd have to be clear from the title that they were meant to be generic/ongoing - so not like "cinema workers to strike on May 31st" or whatever.

Lucky Black Cat's picture
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Jun 2 2018 01:12

I don't have time to read the thread but just want to say:

I love the forums, even though I've sometimes read shit on here that has upset me.

Reading forum threads has been VERY educational for me. (Including discussions I was never involved in, from years before I was even an anarchist.)

I'm sure there are countless others who've learned a lot from the forums and reached a better understanding of politics, and also as a result, become more effective in their actions.

Facebook and Twitter are a hundred times less effective as means for discussion and learning.

It would be a big loss if the forums were gone.

All that said, I agree with the point raised by dark_ether in the OP, and think this is a decent solution:

dark_ether wrote:
Only have certain forums visible to people not signed in (or none of them at all)?

Noah Fence's picture
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Jun 2 2018 01:42
Quote:
dark_ether wrote:
Only have certain forums visible to people not signed in (or none of them at all)?

Isn’t anarchism obscure enough already? Keeping it hidden still further would be fucking crazy.
It would be pretty dishonest too - how we deal with trolls and more importantly, how we deal with those with objectionable views is something that should be open to public scrutiny. If our reaction to these things is not fit for public display then we should be changing our reaction, not hiding it.

radicalgraffiti
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Jun 2 2018 01:43
Noah Fence wrote:
Quote:
dark_ether wrote:
Only have certain forums visible to people not signed in (or none of them at all)?

Isn’t anarchism obscure enough already? Keeping it hidden still further would be fucking crazy.

i dont think forums = anarchism

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Jun 2 2018 01:56
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Noah Fence wrote:
Quote:
dark_ether wrote:
Only have certain forums visible to people not signed in (or none of them at all)?

Isn’t anarchism obscure enough already? Keeping it hidden still further would be fucking crazy.

i dont think forums = anarchism

Forums about anarchism are part of anarchism’s presence on the internet, and the internet is by far the most likely place that people will access anarchist ideas and information. How is hiding part of those ideas and information away from public view gonna do anything other than help keep the movement even more pitifully small than it already is?

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Jun 2 2018 03:28
Noah Fence wrote:
Quote:
dark_ether wrote:
Only have certain forums visible to people not signed in (or none of them at all)?

Isn’t anarchism obscure enough already? Keeping it hidden still further would be fucking crazy.
It would be pretty dishonest too - how we deal with trolls and more importantly, how we deal with those with objectionable views is something that should be open to public scrutiny. If our reaction to these things is not fit for public display then we should be changing our reaction, not hiding it.

Good point! I was thinking to have most forums seen by public, but maybe one forum that is non-newbie friendly, that you need to be signed in to see.

Noah Fence's picture
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Jun 2 2018 04:10
Lucky Black Cat wrote:
Noah Fence wrote:
Quote:
dark_ether wrote:
Only have certain forums visible to people not signed in (or none of them at all)?

Isn’t anarchism obscure enough already? Keeping it hidden still further would be fucking crazy.
It would be pretty dishonest too - how we deal with trolls and more importantly, how we deal with those with objectionable views is something that should be open to public scrutiny. If our reaction to these things is not fit for public display then we should be changing our reaction, not hiding it.

Good point! I was thinking to have most forums seen by public, but maybe one forum that is non-newbie friendly, that you need to be signed in to see.

Nope, that’s plain old dope fiending. Transparency and free access to all ideas is imperative. The only things that should be hidden are those that might endanger us in some way.
The idea of protecting newbies is pretty condescending. You’re not a liberal infiltrator, are you?

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Jun 2 2018 04:32
Noah Fence wrote:
The idea of protecting newbies is pretty condescending. You’re not a liberal infiltrator, are you?

Shit, I've been caught! ABORT ABORT!

Ok, I do think you have a good point. But so does dark_ether. I guess I'm torn.

One thing I'm certain of, tho: FORUMS SHOULD STAY grin

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Jun 2 2018 08:29

I’ve often found the forums interesting and educational.

Sadie #30 makes interesting points regarding the downvote button, though I feel the same can be said for the upvote button. ‘Me too’ can be just as sneaky as ‘this is crap’.

The up/down buttons I use according to my own criteria - can I use any other? And I’d defend my choices. Therefore I advocate ‘open voting’ where ‘who thinks what’ is revealed, and expose any cowardly or herd mentality. Better transparency than simply limiting options.

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Jun 2 2018 09:30
Quote:
Therefore I advocate ‘open voting’ where ‘who thinks what’ is revealed, and expose any cowardly or herd mentality. Better transparency than simply limiting options.

If only that were the case, the problem is that many people simply wouldn’t vote either down against the Libcom faces or up against a controversial view. Shame.
For me personally, because of the lack of transparency I rarely vote at all and never vote anyone down.

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Jun 2 2018 09:43

Noah, over the years I attended several meetings of the SPGB (all their meetings are open to non- members), where there was discussion of open voting. Their elections for office holders are open rather than a secret ballot. On occasion the argument was put that an election would be more honest if it was secret. People would vote for the ‘best’ person rather than feeling the pressure to favour a pal. In the end it appeared to boil down to trusting members’ integrity to vote as their conscience, or as the SPGB might put it their ‘rationality’, dictated.

The thing is if you do that, it makes no matter whether the ballot is open or closed. Given the choice, I’d opt for daylight every time.

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Jun 2 2018 09:53

Couldn’t agree more about daylight but whilst I find the voting system on Libcom interesting and would prefer to keep it, as a guide to people’s thoughts it’s bent as a nine bob note. That is absolutely indisputable. However, it’s still a very revealing feature, it’s just that what it reveals is very different from it's intended purpose.

Burgers
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Jun 2 2018 19:01

You lot are so conservative, not only should you abolish the libcom forum. but activity fight for the abolition of all forums, though not as a transitional demand, as that would be trotskyist.

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Jun 2 2018 19:21
Burgers wrote:
You lot are so conservative, not only should you abolish the libcom forum. but activity fight for the abolition of all forums, though not as a transitional demand, as that would be trotskyist.

As forum is the Latin word for a marketplace, and language games with etymology are the highest form of politics, this is the only truly consistent communist position

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Jun 2 2018 21:39
Burgers wrote:
You lot are so conservative, not only should you abolish the libcom forum. but activity fight for the abolition of all forums, though not as a transitional demand, as that would be trotskyist.

Uncreative wrote:

As forum is the Latin word for a marketplace, and language games with etymology are the highest form of politics, this is the only truly consistent communist position

And it's comedic posts like these that would make me miss libcom forums the most.

Noah Fence's picture
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Jun 2 2018 22:09
Quote:
And it's comedic posts like these that would make me miss libcom forums the most.

Even when they out you as a liberal?

Lucky Black Cat's picture
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Jun 3 2018 01:43

Yes, even then. And if we hope to get a laugh on the forums, keeping a few liberals around can only help.

Noah Fence's picture
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Jun 3 2018 03:48
Lucky Black Cat wrote:
Yes, even then. And if we hope to get a laugh on the forums, keeping a few liberals around can only help.

Then please stick around!

cactus9
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Jun 7 2018 23:45

I like these forums even though I think they basically died just when I started posting (sorry smile).

I don't really care about downvotes and I haven't seen much of the bad vibes that people talk about but I tend to stick to the fluffier threads so maybe that's why.

Just seems like there's a real lack of energy.