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Improving this forum
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besson3c
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May 19, 2008, 10:17 PM
 
Hello,

Cold Warrior invited me to post a thread to this section about the whole Butthawk thing, but in thinking about this some more I decided against this since I really don't want to rehash all of the nitty gritty of this issue. and in doing so lose track of some of the main problems.

I don't know exactly what the main problems are but MacNN has lost a lot of members due to rules and how they are enforced. I suspect that there is some common ground here and some reoccurring patterns. I know that the mods are trying to do their best for the most part, but I think there is a disconnect. Perhaps what might be good is to refrain from bitching about the who did what and when, but simply have members share with us the fundamental problems as they see it? I would like for MacNN to be restored to what it once was, at times this place feels like a graveyard (no fault of any particular person).

Mods, would this be invited?

My two cents: there are too many needless rules here, many of which don't even make much sense. It will be nearly impossible to come up with a bulletproof, unexploitable set of rules that we can agree upon, so I say why do this at all? At best, some of them might keep complete newbies in line who don't have a sense of some basic etiquette, but for us veterans they mostly feel overbearing to us, especially when enforced to the letter just to be enforced for the sake of equality. We need a longer leash and less anal-retentiveness across the board - particularly in the lounge which is supposed to be about having some fun (I still believe that the lounge should be handled differently from the other sections of this forum since it serves an entirely different purpose).

I'm not necessarily suggesting that certain members should be offered privileges that others don't have, but I think that one major disconnect is that many of the veteran members here don't even know what purpose some of these rules are intended to serve. If everybody knew exactly what this was, I think there would be less brainless enforcement just because, and better behavior in understanding the fundamental objectives of this forum, and the purpose for the rule to exist.

I think that we will find that we can simplify these rules a great deal, treat newbie misbehavior with discretion as incidents turn up (this can be stated in the rules), and cut the others a little slack where no harm is being done.

Thoughts?
     
turtle777
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May 19, 2008, 10:24 PM
 
Well, that's nice, but you're beating around the bush.
State you suggestions loud and clearly.

I, for one, would like to see the rule against double nicks formally published. I might not agree with it, but please, at least, make it known to everyone, and don't just enforce it selectively, with some ominous reference to unwritten rules.

-t
     
Cold Warrior
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May 19, 2008, 10:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Hello,

Cold Warrior invited me to post a thread to this section about the whole Butthawk thing,
If you read my post carefully, you'll notice I didn't suggest that. Rather, I suggested you take the track you seem to have - avoiding recriminations, the blame game, etc., and to try to form a larger discussion about policy.

I'm glad you took my suggestion.
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 19, 2008, 10:31 PM
 
Secondly, I think that mod/member communication is a problem.

I understand that this isn't a democracy, and mods can and should just lay it out there without having to defend their positions (especially to people like Rob), but as long as we are all being reasonable and sensible, some dialog with veteran members wouldn't hurt. Many veterans, including myself, have helped people solve many tech related problems here, and have helped shape the character of this forum over the course of many years. It is with these people especially that a little private dialog when there is a disagreement cannot hurt - again, as long as the member is being reasonable and respectful.

Take the whole Butthawk thing - there was literally no dialog there. One minute I was posting as Butthawk, the next minute I was banned with no PM. After returning, I wanted to clear up what I thought were some misconceptions about all of that, and I was promptly banned again, again with no dialog except a little banner about being insincere waiting for me when I next logged in telling me to come back in a month. Honestly, had I gotten a single mod PM or request to cut it out, that would have been all it took to have avoided all of that. Instead, what should have been a very simple affair turned into you guys having to live without me for a week! I was extremely close to deciding not to return, and if something like this plays out in a similar fashion again, I may very well pack it in.

Again, we don't need to rehash all of this again - it's history. I'm simply using it as an example of some of the communication problems I've observed, and I have noticed others like mine.
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 19, 2008, 10:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Well, that's nice, but you're beating around the bush.
State you suggestions loud and clearly.

I, for one, would like to see the rule against double nicks formally published. I might not agree with it, but please, at least, make it known to everyone, and don't just enforce it selectively, with some ominous reference to unwritten rules.

-t

I respectfully disagree... I feel that more rules will just lead to more whining, pedantic behavior, people trying to exploit the rules, and anal-retentiveness. We are all adults, why should we (especially veteran members) need rules telling us how to lounge around and waste our time?
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 19, 2008, 10:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
If you read my post carefully, you'll notice I didn't suggest that. Rather, I suggested you take the track you seem to have - avoiding recriminations, the blame game, etc., and to try to form a larger discussion about policy.

I'm glad you took my suggestion.
Sorry for misquoting you.
     
turtle777
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May 19, 2008, 10:35 PM
 
I'm NOT for rules, but I'm even more against unwritten rules that get enforced selectively.
I'd rather have them put in writing.

-t
     
turtle777
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May 19, 2008, 10:37 PM
 
The one thing everyone needs to understand: if you get a ban, just STFU.

If you try to argue, you will *ALWAYS* make things worse and lose.

Doesn't matter if the mods got it right or not, I have not seen a single instance of a real willingness to correct knee-jerk or unfair banning. It's like soccer: if the referee calls a shot, it stands. No review, no booth, no arguing, nothing. It's THE LAW.

If you get banned, take it, shut up, and come back when the ban is over. There is no other way.

-t
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 19, 2008, 10:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
The one thing everyone needs to understand: if you get a ban, just STFU.

If you try to argue, you will *ALWAYS* make things worse and lose.

Doesn't matter if the mods got it right or not, I have not seen a single instance of a real willingness to correct knee-jerk or unfair banning. It's like soccer: if the referee calls a shot, it stands. No review, no booth, no arguing, nothing. It's THE LAW.

If you get banned, take it, shut up, and come back when the ban is over. There is no other way.

-t

Are you saying that this is good or bad?
     
turtle777
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May 19, 2008, 10:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Are you saying that this is good or bad?
First of all, it's the bitter reality.

IMO, it's bad.

-t
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 19, 2008, 10:56 PM
 
turtle: so, what do you suggest should be changed?
     
subego
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May 20, 2008, 03:13 AM
 
As a user who has been openly critical of both besson and turtle for being sour grapes about this, I want to say they're expressing a sentiment here I am in complete agreement with.

Namely, they have contributed enough to this community to have earned a certain amount of respect when being disciplined.

besson deserved a two sentence PM that politely put butthawk to an end. turtle deserves a better explanation of why what_the_heck is still permabanned, or failing that, reinstatement.
     
Randman
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May 20, 2008, 03:20 AM
 
Someone who's been on these forums as long as either of those have should know why an "alt" was banned.

This is a computer-generated message and needs no signature.
     
peeb
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May 20, 2008, 03:45 AM
 
I can't help but feel that the situation has got a lot worse the last few months.
     
MacosNerd
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May 20, 2008, 07:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I respectfully disagree... I feel that more rules will just lead to more whining, pedantic behavior
Well only from you
     
MacosNerd
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May 20, 2008, 07:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Take the whole Butthawk thing - there was literally no dialog there. One minute I was posting as Butthawk, the next minute I was banned with no PM. After returning,
Why should there be a dialog between you and the mods when you openly flouted the rules. If memory serves me, you started asking for credit card numbers for some reason. That was why the hammer dropped fast on you.
     
MacosNerd
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May 20, 2008, 07:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Secondly, I think that mod/member communication is a problem.
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
If you read my post carefully, you'll notice I didn't suggest that. Rather, I suggested you take the track you seem to have - avoiding recriminations, the blame game, etc., and to try to form a larger discussion about policy.

I'm glad you took my suggestion.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Sorry for misquoting you.
seems the mod/member communication problem is with you and not the mods
     
MacosNerd
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May 20, 2008, 07:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I'm NOT for rules, but I'm even more against unwritten rules that get enforced selectively.
I'd rather have them put in writing.
Well put, I think that a clearly set of rules that are being used should be published and to my knowledge here that is the case. To be honest, I've not really looked through the general forum rules in detail.

Does 'NN have a good balance of rules, not too excessive which restricts communication vs. too lax which causes chaos. I think it does, things have been quiet here relatively speaking.
     
subego
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May 20, 2008, 08:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Randman View Post
Someone who's been on these forums as long as either of those have should know why an "alt" was banned.

Then why did you start a thread musing if you should have one?

I guess that thread also hailed your "return", so you pile on an extra helping of irony by feeling you can authoritatively comment on what's happened in your absence.

Welcome back.
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 08:57 AM
 
Do I get to break besson's "Who cares, it's just a forum, I don't get what the big deal is" back at him, or is it too early for jackassery?

Honestly, either I am prescient, or I understand the thinking around here, because I don't recall too many bans I had a hard time grasping. (infractions, yes, but still not that many).

I think this thread is another attempt by besson to try to change this place more to his liking, because the punishments the mods have been putting on his ass have finally shown him he can't get away with doing whatever he wants here like in his own forum.
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 20, 2008, 10:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by MacosNerd View Post
Why should there be a dialog between you and the mods when you openly flouted the rules. If memory serves me, you started asking for credit card numbers for some reason. That was why the hammer dropped fast on you.
Butthawk was asking for social security numbers, I believe... So?

It was quite clearly a joke, and even it it wasn't, I had no use for them or any means to verify which ones were real and which weren't, and had no full names to cross-reference them against. The joke of this didn't seem to elude anybody, so are you taking issue with a hypothetical or an actual reality? Just wondering...

What rules did I openly flout anyway, and more importantly, what harm was done in doing so?
     
turtle777
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May 20, 2008, 10:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by MacosNerd View Post
Well put, I think that a clearly set of rules that are being used should be published and to my knowledge here that is the case.
The rule about double nicks is NOT formalized. It has been promised a LOOOOONG time ago.

It still gets selectively applied, and never the same. The past activity regarding this rule showed the following different outcomes

1) Perma-ban of ALL nicks
2) Perma-ban of one nick, other nick(s) left alone
3) Temp-ban of one nick, others left alone
4) Double nicks left alone



-t
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 20, 2008, 10:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
Do I get to break besson's "Who cares, it's just a forum, I don't get what the big deal is" back at him, or is it too early for jackassery?

Honestly, either I am prescient, or I understand the thinking around here, because I don't recall too many bans I had a hard time grasping. (infractions, yes, but still not that many).

I think this thread is another attempt by besson to try to change this place more to his liking, because the punishments the mods have been putting on his ass have finally shown him he can't get away with doing whatever he wants here like in his own forum.

How do you explain the loss of membership and dropoff of activity in the forums then? I can think of a few people that left here either in disgust of the rules themselves, or the vibe here, the latter which is partially shaped by the rules and their enforcement.
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 20, 2008, 10:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by MacosNerd View Post
seems the mod/member communication problem is with you and not the mods
You are trying to get on my nerves why?
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 10:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
How do you explain the loss of membership and dropoff of activity in the forums then?
I'd like an admin to confirm that.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I can think of a few people that left here either in disgust of the rules themselves, or the vibe here, the latter which is partially shaped by the rules and their enforcement.
No place is static. Or person, really. The vibe will always change.

Far as I can tell, the rules been slowly relaxed since Tooki left and gh signed on. I'm sure that's helped change the vibe, but if anything it's swung things in the direction you're campaigning for. How much did you hate it here 4 years ago when the Lounge was ruled with an iron fist?
     
turtle777
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May 20, 2008, 10:25 AM
 
Joke account rules are far from consistent, and NOT published either.

You have plenty of joke accounts that were allowed to stay, others got banned. No rhyme or reason, no explanation, no telling what the criteria are.

-t
     
subego
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May 20, 2008, 10:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
I think this thread is another attempt by besson to try to change this place more to his liking

Hence the title.


Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
because the punishments the mods have been putting on his ass have finally shown him he can't get away with doing whatever he wants

I call BS. He's always tried to make this exact change. Nothing is different about that.
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 20, 2008, 10:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
I'd like an admin to confirm that.

No place is static. Or person, really. The vibe will always change.

Far as I can tell, the rules been slowly relaxed since Tooki left and gh signed on. I'm sure that's helped change the vibe, but if anything it's swung things in the direction you're campaigning for. How much did you hate it here 4 years ago when the Lounge was ruled with an iron fist?
I'd rather that conversation be as lively as I remember it (although maybe I'm looking at the past with rose colored glasses) more than I want the rules on the forum, and lack thereof, my way. My voice is one of the many, I'm simply making my opinions known to help influence the democratic decision. If the rules absolutely *had* to be my way as some sort of precondition, I would have departed long ago.
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 10:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Hence the title.
The title implies an open-minded debate among members about improvements that could make the forum better. The actual thread is a thinly-veiled attempt by besson to nag the admins into getting a few changes he wants.

Originally Posted by subego View Post
I call BS. He's always tried to make this exact change. Nothing is different about that.
What's different is this is before the fact. Usually he makes an appeal after he's received an infraction or ban.
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 20, 2008, 10:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Joke account rules are far from consistent, and NOT published either.

You have plenty of joke accounts that were allowed to stay, others got banned. No rhyme or reason, no explanation, no telling what the criteria are.

-t

Since it sounds like you really want to get into the nitty gritty of this, you could add all of Abe's secondary accounts to your list which were allowed to stand for some time (I don't know whether this has changed or he has stopped using them, or what happened to Abe for that matter), Cody Dawg's secret secondary nick, etc.

There is no way that a place like this can be anything but anonymous. If I really wanted Butthawk to not leave a trail back to me, I could have, it just depends on how badly the person wishes their anonymity. There is no point in trying to force an absence of anonymity, the anonymity is what makes conversation interesting sometimes. We have no idea who the person really is, what their credentials are, etc. other than what they say and the persona they reveal. None of this changes with a different nickname.
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 10:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'd rather that conversation be as lively as I remember it (although maybe I'm looking at the past with rose colored glasses).
The only thing that has changed substantially is the multi-page flamefests have all but disappeared. Those were the only lively conversations I remember.
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 20, 2008, 10:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
The title implies an open-minded debate among members about improvements that could make the forum better. The actual thread is a thinly-veiled attempt by besson to nag the admins into getting a few changes he wants.

What's different is this is before the fact. Usually he makes an appeal after he's received an infraction or ban.
Did you read my original post Dakar? Maybe you should read it again? This thread is open for anybody to bring their suggestions to the table... Please leave your weird grudges at the door, they will not help.
     
turtle777
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May 20, 2008, 10:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
I'd like an admin to confirm that.
Would they, even if it was true ?

According to Big-Boards.com, MacNN is indeed slacking:





I can not say if these are accurate or not, but at least, it's better than having NO information about it at all.

-t
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 20, 2008, 10:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
The only thing that has changed substantially is the multi-page flamefests have all but disappeared. Those were the only lively conversations I remember.

Perhaps I want my cake and to eat it too - the relative civility of now (made easier without people like Kevin and Rob around) with the regular participation of more, and the overall forum activity of old times.

I know we can't go back in time, but the thing is, I don't think there has ever been any real understanding as to what went wrong, if any. I don't know what this is myself, but logically speaking if this sort of thing continues there will be few left to even have this debate with! This is why I thought it would be smart to brainstorm here...
     
turtle777
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May 20, 2008, 10:52 AM
 
Oh, some more big-boards stats:

MacNN ranks (retrieved via Waybackmachine.org)

Jun 04: 255
Feb 05: 257
Nov 05: 283
Feb 06: 297
May 06: 304
Aug 06: 314
Dec 06: 334
Apr 07: 352
Aug 07: 377
Today  : 417

I know, just statistics. But heck. It shows a trend.
Now, we all know that correlation != causation. So we don't know WHAT's really causing this. But that doesn't keep us from coming up with our own theories.

-t
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 10:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Did you read my original post Dakar? Maybe you should read it again? This thread is open for anybody to bring their suggestions to the table... Please leave your weird grudges at the door, they will not help.
I did read your post. I didn't see anything substantial, just some "we need less rules". How about some specifics? Oh, and for interests sake, try not repeat some requests you've already made and been denied on.

As for everyone else, well, we've seen the overwhelming response. turtle made his usual request known and that's been the thread so far.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Perhaps I want my cake and to eat it too - the relative civility of now (made easier without people like Kevin and Rob around) with the regular participation of more, and the overall forum activity of old times.
Unfortunately, I think the forum activity and flamefests are somewhat correlated. Look at the state of PL. Think of how it was during the 2004 election. Maybe this forum is like reality tv. The more serene it is, the less ratings it gets.

I, for one, have never lied that I enjoy watching if not participating in the flamefests. Coincidence or not, my ppd is down by almost half from last account to this one.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I know we can't go back in time, but the thing is, I don't think there has ever been any real understanding as to what went wrong, if any. I don't know what this is myself, but logically speaking if this sort of thing continues there will be few left to even have this debate with! This is why I thought it would be smart to brainstorm here...
Honestly? I think at the end of the day people change their priorities. It is just an internet forum. Some people move on to new jobs and have less free time. I think that sums up a lot of people's decreased habits. Others go to new forums.
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 10:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Would they, even if it was true ?

According to Big-Boards.com, MacNN is indeed slacking:





I can not say if these are accurate or not, but at least, it's better than having NO information about it at all.

-t
I'm guessing one is 2006-7 the other 2007-8?

OH, what do they do to create these numbers? Page views? Unique IPs visiting? Posts per day?
     
subego
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May 20, 2008, 10:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
The actual thread is a thinly-veiled attempt by besson to nag the admins into getting a few changes he wants.



So what does he post in a thread about improving the forum? Other people's ideas?


Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
What's different is this is before the fact. Usually he makes an appeal after he's received an infraction or ban.

While true, this seems a shaky foundation upon which to base an analysis of someone's motivations.
     
turtle777
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May 20, 2008, 11:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
I'm guessing one is 2006-7 the other 2007-8?
No, one is posts, one is members. Both for May 2007 - May 2008.

Both show a slow down.

Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
OH, what do they do to create these numbers? Page views? Unique IPs visiting? Posts per day?
Not sure, gotta check big-boards.com. Maybe they explained it in their FAQ.

-t
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 11:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post


So what does he post in a thread about improving the forum? Other people's ideas?
I'm questioning his motivation. I don't believe he really has MacNN at heart, so much as himself.

Originally Posted by subego View Post
While true, this seems a shaky foundation upon which to base an analysis of someone's motivations.
I disagree. The pattern is there.

--

You know, we always seem at odds in these threads, subego. But I don't understand why. Do you just like besson, dislike me, or do you have some things MacNN should get to changing, which perhaps you should use this thread as an opportunity to air?
     
peeb
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May 20, 2008, 11:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
How do you explain the loss of membership and dropoff of activity in the forums then? I can think of a few people that left here either in disgust of the rules themselves, or the vibe here, the latter which is partially shaped by the rules and their enforcement.
I agree. The current state of this is lamentable and getting worse. The trends of postings going down, membership going down and moderation getting worse have a pretty obvious connection to me. More and more people are voting with their feet.
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 11:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
No, one is posts, one is members. Both for May 2007 - May 2008.

Both show a slow down.
Don't mind me, I can't read.

Is there any way to see numbers broken down by year? Everything I see on there seems to be short-term.
     
MacosNerd
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May 20, 2008, 11:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
You are trying to get on my nerves why?
You accuse the mods of having communication issues and when I point out that you are the one with issues, you get upset.
     
turtle777
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May 20, 2008, 11:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
Don't mind me, I can't read.

Is there any way to see numbers broken down by year? Everything I see on there seems to be short-term.
Not on big-boards, AFAIK. But you could try to retrieve the URL of the MacNN statistics via waybackmachine.org. I haven't tried that.

-t
     
subego
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May 20, 2008, 11:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
I did read your post. I didn't see anything substantial, just some "we need less rules".

Just to be even-keel here, I honestly get the impression from the OP that besson didn't read the rules before making the thread.

I say this because there really aren't any rules to speak of. Most of the user/mod friction (not counting troublemakers) is over the interpretation of one rule: semantic content. Because of the nick issue, we also have a problem with user/mod friction over lack of a rule.

So yeah. I call BS on "too many rules".


Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
and for interests sake, try not repeat some requests you've already made and been denied on.

I think you're wrong here. As the moderation stance of the board changes, old (and recurring) questions should be reopened.
     
starman
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May 20, 2008, 11:13 AM
 
How is this different from the other threads about restoring NN to its "former glory"?

Home - Twitter - Sig Wall-Retired - Flickr
     
rickey939
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May 20, 2008, 11:14 AM
 
We should have more baseball threads because "gorickey" would smile.
     
peeb
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May 20, 2008, 11:15 AM
 
It has specific and reasonable recommendations.
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 11:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Just to be even-keel here, I honestly get the impression from the OP that besson didn't read the rules before making the thread.

I say this because there really aren't any rules to speak of. Most of the user/mod friction (not counting troublemakers) is over the interpretation of one rule: semantic content. Because of the nick issue, we also have a problem with user/mod friction over lack of a rule.

So yeah. I call BS on "too many rules".
I've always agreed that the nick issue has always been a valid point of contention. I see consistency in that mods seem to ban joke accounts and let legacy ones (Laminar, Railroader, Doofy, Dakar the Fourth) live. With exception to what_the_heck and abe.


Originally Posted by subego View Post
I think you're wrong here. As the moderation stance of the board changes, old (and recurring) questions should be reopened.
So reader50's addition has reopened the lines of debate? It's a valid thought, I just don't see something that has been ceremoniously dismissed or ignored as having any more of a chance in hell now. If it had been openly debated in the past I'd be a little more optimistic.
     
Dakar the Fourth
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May 20, 2008, 11:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
How is this different from the other threads about restoring NN to its "former glory"?
The call for actual suggestions, I suppose. And it's location.

Originally Posted by rickey939 View Post
We should have more baseball threads because "gorickey" would smile.
Baseball won't help. Gorickey would though.

Edit:


Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Not on big-boards, AFAIK. But you could try to retrieve the URL of the MacNN statistics via waybackmachine.org. I haven't tried that.

-t
Ok, thanks. I'm not that gung-ho about it.
     
 
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