This is not a democracy....

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dave kumar
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:16 pm
Location: UK

This is not a democracy....

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...its a techocracy. Yay.


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This has taken me all morning because I felt like drawing the fish myself. And what's more theraputic than drawing fish? So please don't be too harsh.

Why you ask. I wanted a way to give visibility to older threads that haven't been updated in a while without people having to bump them. I work in an area that is called stigmergy. This is a way that collective behaviour is self reinforcing, to build a termite mound if you happen to be a termite or forage for food if you are an ant.

http://www.esf.edu/EFB/turner/termite/s ... lding.html

But it is not just insects that can use these concepts. My suggestion is to allow a, one user one vote, rating for each reply in any given thread. The vote button would say, 'did you find this useful' or something a bit more catchy. It isn't intended as a +1 or a =D>, more a recognition by your peers that you made a contribution to the forum with your insight or technical info. You can't of course vote for your own thread comments, that would be silly.

The idea is that over time as people read new threads or browse the archives of older threads, they will add their vote to the odd comment that is a gem of insightfullness. If we display a star rating next to comments that have attracted sufficient votes, then we get stigmergy. Other people will be attracted to reading those comments (and those around it) and if they too are impressed with it, they will add their vote. Soon this thread will be floating high in the tank and even though there may not be anything more to add to it, it will still be visible by virtue of it containing lots of interesting stuff.

This next bit is where I depart from the conventional forum layout, and introduce the fish tank. Each fish is a thread. Why a fish? Well what else do you put in a fish tank apart from some weeds and gravel and they don't really add to my metaphor. Let us have a different species of fish for each thread topic. This way we can differentiate at a glance, the 'Off Topic' threads from say the 'F1 General Chat'. The size of the fish indicates how many pages it contains. We can have colours too but just to make it look pretty.

When a thread is created it appears on the left hand side of the tank. It won't have any votes yet so it will be at the bottom. If nobody adds to that thread it will drift towards the abyss at the bottom right of the tank. This isn't good but nobody commented on it so what can we do. As soon as a thread is updated it will hold station in the tank, stopping its drift towards the right for a day. We will see this as a fish facing the left. Note that a thread can't make its way back up stream, that leaves room for new threads to appear. The best you can do is raise a thread in the tank by rating it and eventually it will drift in to the 'Classic Threads' area where it will retire, happy with its lot in life.

Simple really, it is just a graph of peer rating of the comments in the thread vs a count of the days during which nobody commented on the thread. I decided we needed a log of 'total days thread not updated' so that we have more space on the left of the tank for new threads. Also the tank slopes off to the right so that you need more votes to maintain your level as you drift off to the right. Oh and you can have a stream of bubbles showing the recent trajectory of the thread for a bit of extra information.


There are a few problems, possibly with longer threads having a higher maximum number of votes possible than a shorter thread, given that a user can vote on each comment. You might say that the shorter thread with a higher average rating per comment could be more interesting to read. Might need some normalisation for thread length.

So Tomba, I realise this would be a nightmare for you to implement. The addition of a few extra database columns to hold the votes and associate them with both the user who made the comment and the thread is probably not too bad. But I'm sure the fish tank or thread tank(?) would be much more of a challenge. But just think of those classic threads that will rise to the top of the tank. You could randomly fish one out and display it on the home page next to the quotes for people to peruse, (this is an anology that just keeps on giving).
Formerly known as senna-toleman

Giblet
Giblet
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:47 am
Location: Downtown Canada

Re: This is not a democracy....

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Looks like a lot of work, and I also like fish.

Is this something similar to what Digg and reddit do? Comments that have 200 up diggs are usually right on point or entertaining, and the ones that get buried into the negatives do not get shown once a certain number is passed. If you want to see what someone with a -30 has typed, you open it, and it's usually useless at best.

The thing about digg is there are masses of people so the aggregation usually works out well. Not common for a good comment to get buried.

Cool to see deep sea angler fish hangin' with the puffers btw.

Would threads themselves also get voted upon?
Before I do anything I ask myself “Would an idiot do that?” And if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing. - Dwight Schrute

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Roland Ehnström
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:46 am
Location: Sollentuna, Sweden

Re: This is not a democracy....

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senna-toleman wrote:Why a fish? Well what else do you put in a fish tank apart from some weeds and gravel and they don't really add to my metaphor.
Sounds to me like you have been smoking some of that weed this morning! :lol:
senna-toleman wrote:This has taken me all morning because I felt like drawing the fish myself. And what's more theraputic than drawing fish? So please don't be too harsh.
Sorry. :) The concept sounds interesting, but way too complicated for my sad little brain to understand. :shock:

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tarzoon
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Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: White and blue football club

Re: This is not a democracy....

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very funny =D> =D>

BreezyRacer
BreezyRacer
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Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:31 pm

Re: This is not a democracy....

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I would say that the moderators could rate good postings as favorites or some such in each of the subgroups of the forums. Maybe even make a group just for for "knowledgebase" postings. That would be easy and useful. I have to add that I also have found some pretty interesting old posts from time to time. Maybe when the postings get too numerous look at the hits on each post and ditch or group the ones that haven't gotten much viewing in a different group, like a moderator favorite group.

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Pandamasque
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Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:28 pm
Location: Ukraine

Re: This is not a democracy....

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@ senna-toleman,

your idea is almost as interesting as the presentation, though you missed the 'automotive news and technology' breed. And I insist that 'Site announcements & support' should be a lobster.

More to the point, have you thought about the actuality of fishes. A F2002 fish may be very useful and interesting read. The fish just as the car in question is quite possibly better than the F10. But why would we have that one hanging out at the top of the pool with new pointy-nosed Type-1 fish?

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dave kumar
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:16 pm
Location: UK

Re: This is not a democracy....

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Pandamasque wrote:@ senna-toleman,
your idea is almost as interesting as the presentation, though you missed the 'automotive news and technology' breed. And I insist that 'Site announcements & support' should be a lobster....
If you draw it I'll put it in the tank!
BreezyRacer wrote:I would say that the moderators could rate good postings as favorites or some such in each of the subgroups of the forums...
Well the idea was to make it a collective effort. Much more practical than relying on the (surely overworked) moderators not to miss a little gem tucked away somewhere. And what about all those archived threads? We all take a random trip in to older threads searching for some bit of info. Here is a way of that we can all contribute to making good threads more visible. Think of it as a library where well thumbed books stand out from the rest on the shelf. You might just pick up to browse out of curiosity. And if you find it interesting you are likely to pick a few others off the shelf that are nearby. It is an informal structure built from our collective actions.
Giblet wrote:Is this something similar to what Digg and reddit do? Comments that have 200 up diggs are usually right on point or entertaining, and the ones that get buried into the negatives do not get shown once a certain number is passed
Hadn't heard of these sites but it sounds the same. Except that I don't think you need any negative voting. Positive feedback is sufficient in ant colonies and other social insects to organise their activity. Once a comment in a thread attracts a little bit of attention by having enough votes for 1 star it will quickly snowball IF it is really worth digging. No need to mark comments negatively, just let them fade in to the background. And it only encourages attention seeking behaviour!
Giblet wrote:Would threads themselves also get voted upon?
I thought about this but I feel that the thread will be judged by how good its content is. Hence the fish tank idea. Okay this is a bit far out... but I wanted a way to show the threads graphically in a way that allowed someone browsing the site to fish out (sorry still can't help myself) interesting threads and not just those that are being currently active and top the board.
Giblet wrote:Cool to see deep sea angler fish hangin' with the puffers btw.
:D
Formerly known as senna-toleman

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Ciro Pabón
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 11:31 pm

Re: This is not a democracy....

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It's not the posts, it's the people (and by saying this I go against all my moderating principles, ehem).

I repeat: it's We, The People.

So, despair, friends. People cannot be changed: you can change, sure, but people cannot. We haven't essentially changed since the Pleistocene...

For example, somebody with such a high moral stature as Rousseau tried (and tried hard) to change the human race, mainly by guillotining a few thousands. Those guillotined were, well, "out of thread", so to speak.

You know what he said in the end? Go figure: he said that "as we cannot change people, we keep changing the law". This sentence comes from the man that drowned in a river a few hundred rebels in barges, in front of the rest of the populace "pour encourager les outres" (to encourage the others).

If somebody with such highly developed "moderator skills" couldn't avoid the collapse of democracy and the restoration of the "old order", imagine what Principessa, Tomba and myself can do.

A qualification system won't get us far, I think. You will not get the WDC by running only the qualies: you have to have substance.

So, in the end, my diagnostic would be that the health of a forum depends of a few people.

I've suggested (repeatedly!) to drown in a closed barge some of the forumers that go out of thread or, at least, to drown those that post boring posts. Moreover, I would post a video of this in YouTube, "pour encourager lest outres".

Well, to my disenchant, Tomba has refused sternly to change the forum rules: no drownings allowed.

In the end, after writing and reading a lot about forums, this is my conclusion: there is people around that, when asked something, answer. Sometimes, these same people ask for something, hoping for answers.

Those are few. And they are lonely (I imagine).

On the other hand you have some people, thousands of people, millions of people, that, well... to put it succintly, they don't.

I mean, they don't answer nor ask. They're more bloggers than forumers.

They already know, they don't have to ask nor answer.

There is no way to elliminate these people from the Earth: God knows we have tried, and tried hard, with few successes. They breed faster than the speed with which our capacity to erradicate them grows. Perhaps the only solution would be to nuke every major urban area in the world (but Tomba has also ruled this out: the forum servers would take a hit).
BreezyRacer wrote:I would say that the moderators could rate good postings as favorites or some such in each of the subgroups of the forums.
Amazingly, the only posts I consistently rate with 5 stars are those write by moderators (altought the ones by Tomba are not that good). The rest... well, the rest would get one star from me ("impartiality" would be my second name).

By logic (in a technochratical way) one suggestion we could make to improve the quality and permanency of threads, is to give moderator access to everybody.

This way you would be as inspired as senna-toleman, who is, definitely, a moderator in the making.
Ciro

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dave kumar
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:16 pm
Location: UK

Re: This is not a democracy....

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Ciro Pabón wrote:So, despair, friends. People cannot be changed: you can change, sure, but people cannot. We haven't essentially changed since the Pleistocene...
Surely things aren't that bad, may be you just didn't put enough sugar in your coffee this morning. Let me tell you something I heard on the radio about New York. On November 9th 1965 there was a blackout, 'the night the lights went out'. It affected a large part of the Northeast of America and parts of Canada. But it was in New York that it was felt most. It took 14 hrs to restore power city wide. New Yorkers had a mostly positive memory of this night. Some actively helped out, directing traffic or aiding the fire service rescue people trapped in the subways. Others just kept each other company by candlelight.

Contrast this with the blackout of 1977. Again New York and during an incredibly hot summer, the Summer of Sam incidently. Again New Yorkers helped each other but in some neighbourhoods violence, looting and fires raged. New York's 'night of terror'.

What had changed? Not the people. It was the fabric of the city. The poorer neighbourhoods had suffered from cuts in services which were due to a crisis in the city's finances. Corruption was blamed and there was much mistrust in the institutions amongst those who were on the receiving end of the cuts in services. These were the same neighbourhoods that suffered the most violence during the 1977 blackout.

Then we have the 2003 blackout in New York. And we are back to a largely positive experience...

If the social fabric is that frail why such divergent experiences during these episodes of darkness? It seems that we need to provide the right environment for people to flourish. This is a long winded way of saying that you don't need to change the players but the rules of the game to improve the game.
Ciro Pabón wrote:For example, somebody with such a high moral stature as Rousseau tried (and tried hard) to change the human race, mainly by guillotining a few thousands. Those guillotined were, well, "out of thread", so to speak.

You know what he said in the end? Go figure: he said that "as we cannot change people, we keep changing the law". This sentence comes from the man that drowned in a river a few hundred rebels in barges, in front of the rest of the populace "pour encourager les outres" (to encourage the others).
Well, its obvious what Rousseau's mistake was. He was lazy. He tried to change behaviour through negative reinforcement, or at least mild concern for your own neck. I'm not saying this can't work but it is much harder to try and construct rules that encourage people to act socially responsible (often called the right thing to do). I'm not excluding other entities from this, businesses can be socially irresponsible too (especially in my country *cough*).
Ciro Pabón wrote:By logic (in a technochratical way) one suggestion we could make to improve the quality and permanency of threads, is to give moderator access to everybody.
Ah, I finally get to my point. Allowing people to vote on good comments is giving a collective 'posivrator' (what I mean is elevating not moderating) role to everybody. And it doesn't really matter if the fish tank changes the way people post on this forum. It just makes it easier for those browsing the forum to find something interesting they didn't already know about.

Less searching more fishing.
Formerly known as senna-toleman

Richard
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Re: This is not a democracy....

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Nice fish

I also sometimes wish society functioned more like insects. I used to work for an apiraist when I was a student.

Anyway, you don't need stygmergy, you need TRIZ - http://people.bath.ac.uk/ensob/

Then I remember that the male does nothing, breeds once, dies. Worker work and then die. The queen lives but is doomed to continuously procreate from just one bout of intercourse. Everyone does what they are told.

Where's the fun in that?

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N12ck
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Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:10 pm

Re: This is not a democracy....

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what about AV? :lol:

anyways being serious, i think we should have like thumbs up for a comment, no thumbs down as that would just be like ganging up on someone, but i support the idea of putting thumbs up for a comment,
Budding F1 Engineer

andrew
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:08 pm
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Re: This is not a democracy....

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This has been announced as coming soon. See here.

wesley123
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Re: This is not a democracy....

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I have seen it a few times before on forums such an rating system. This system really does not work at all and gets abused major time, that isnt the point of the rating system.

I am therefore against the system, it doesnt add anything usefull, gets abused and to use it as an finding system is useless as well, If the users search well enough thwy will find what they search for anyway so there is no point in it.

Ow and yes, it is 1AM around here, pretty tired, confused and such but dont feel the need to sleep/want to sleep so it might be this posts adds nothing to the subject and might even have nothing to do with it, so in that case see this post as never written and just a weird illusion.

Ow and as last, really cool fish lol
"Bite my shiny metal ass" - Bender

andrew
andrew
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:08 pm
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Re: This is not a democracy....

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Each time a thumb up or down is clicked it refreashes the page thus generating a hit. :wink: