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Old 06-04-2008, 05:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What is it we do well?

We have threads similar to this every once in a while, but this is something I've been pondering for about 6 weeks. Sitting in airports and on airplanes gives a guy a chance to ponder.

What is it that TFP does well? Or better than other boards on the internet? I'm asking because I love this place and want to see it grow. Most of you know that I'm relatively successful in business, and one of the lessons I learned early on was "figure out what you do well and do more of it". So as I've sat in the middle seat between two fat guys, I've tried to pin down what things seem to make this place go. I don't have an answer in mind, and the ideas I've come up with on my own conflict with one another.

I'm putting this in General Discussion as opposed to one of the higher membership areas in the hopes that some newer members will contribute their thoughts as well.

Personally, I think that most people still find us via the porn. When I look at what parts of the board are the most trafficked on the front page (where it shows how many folks are in each area), the Erogenous Zone always stands out. I can give lists of people that first signed up based on what was there, but how do we go about drawing more folks out into the more interesting part of the board? If you were one of those that found us from the Fark boobie link (or whatever) what first prompted you to post outside of the EZ?

I wish I could remember my personal answer but it was 4 years ago and this was a different place.
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I got here after leaving the forum I currently refer to as the "zoo" a few years ago. MM pointed me this way with a caution "there's some porn there, so if that's a problem..." I came here just looking to discuss issues and politics. Any porn has simply been a bonus.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not sure TFP does anything all that much better than other boards. The majority of threads are contributed to by a relatively small group of people, the vast majority of members do not post regularly. A community has been allowed to develop and a fair number of people have maintained their interest here but the board is driven by a definite core group that just happens to "click" in many ways.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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When I first joined (thanks to my lurking bf at the time, ktspktsp ), I had never heard of the porn around here... but I loved the Sexuality forum and the frankness that all of the members seemed to have. ShaniFaye in particular stood out to me as someone who would answer questions without apology or judgment. I appreciated that a lot, at the time. I had never seen a group of people who were so open about their sexual practices and behavior. It was refreshing. (Of course, eventually I discovered the porn, which was a lot of fun to explore as well... but has never been a primary reason for me being here.)
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz
When I look at what parts of the board are the most trafficked on the front page (where it shows how many folks are in each area), the Erogenous Zone always stands out. I can give lists of people that first signed up based on what was there, but how do we go about drawing more folks out into the more interesting part of the board? If you were one of those that found us from the Fark boobie link (or whatever) what first prompted you to post outside of the EZ?
I'm a Fark Boobieite. What drew me out of the EZ? Halx said you needed X number of posts outside of the EZ or you'd lose your privileges. I don't remember my last visit to the EZ (aside from Exhibition).

But, I have an idea... pick a hot thread in the EZ and outside the EZ, and drop an "advertising" link in the EZ thread. Something like "Hey! Take a break from the porn, and come chat about (insert title of thread here)!"

Might work, or might let the trolls loose, I don't know.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
I'm not sure TFP does anything all that much better than other boards. The majority of threads are contributed to by a relatively small group of people, the vast majority of members do not post regularly. A community has been allowed to develop and a fair number of people have maintained their interest here but the board is driven by a definite core group that just happens to "click" in many ways.
highthief, this tracks pretty closely with what I was already thinking, but I'm stuck trying to figure out how to expand that "core group". We all know it's expandable - look at the join dates of folks you feel like have been around "forever" and you'll be shocked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redlemon
But, I have an idea... pick a hot thread in the EZ and outside the EZ, and drop an "advertising" link in the EZ thread. Something like "Hey! Take a break from the porn, and come chat about (insert title of thread here)!"

Might work, or might let the trolls loose, I don't know.
Interesting idea. I might steal it.

That just leaves the question of what constitutes a "hot thread" there....
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Last edited by The_Jazz; 06-04-2008 at 06:42 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abaya
When I first joined (thanks to my lurking bf at the time, ktspktsp ), I had never heard of the porn around here... but I loved the Sexuality forum and the frankness that all of the members seemed to have. ShaniFaye in particular stood out to me as someone who would answer questions without apology or judgment. I appreciated that a lot, at the time. I had never seen a group of people who were so open about their sexual practices and behavior. It was refreshing. (Of course, eventually I discovered the porn, which was a lot of fun to explore as well... but has never been a primary reason for me being here.)
I'd heard of the porn but the conversation was what drew me--I got tired of standing over my boyfriend-of-the-time's shoulder and watching him lurk without posting. Everyone seemed so interesting.

TFP was my first exposure to the forum experience. Two things we do well that I see on other forums--discouraging trolling and generally being respectful. We have fun but not at someone else's expense--usually. Obviously there are exceptions even here. I occasionally lurk around some forums dealing with the manga/anime Naruto, but I never post because there is nothing I want to respond to. I love Naruto, but God Almighty, some of the people who post on the NarutoFan forums are idiots. The good posts are few and far between, and generally it's not worth slogging through. TFP, on the other hand, offers intelligent discussion of a multitude of topics.
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Old 06-04-2008, 07:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz
highthief, this tracks pretty closely with what I was already thinking, but I'm stuck trying to figure out how to expand that "core group". We all know it's expandable - look at the join dates of folks you feel like have been around "forever" and you'll be shocked.
I think you need to expand the range of the posters that come here.

Look at Sports - Sports is hugely popular in society. It generates more money than porn. Yet the Sports forum here is hardly used. Why? Does the average TFP member have less interest in Sports. Is the forum itself not sufficiently interesting?

If TFP attracts primarily people who want to look at porn or who want to talk/rant about politics, let's say, you need to work on ways to A) expand the interests of those already here who confine themselves to one or two forums, and B) attract people for reasons other than the one or two currently most popular forums.
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The no-trolling or flaming at TFP is the reason I stay. No other forum on the Internet (that I know of) has had a no-flaming policy for as long as TFP.

One aspect of TFP that I know hinders its progress is how new people are treated sometimes. Someone starts a thread asking a question or wanting to know other people's thoughts about a topic but they forgot to add their own...what happens? The thread is closed/locked, the poster is made to look like an idiot, and he/she rarely ever recreates it. Why can't a moderator simply ask the OP to edit with what they think instead of locking or closing the thread?

If I had never been to TFP and I made a new topic and it was locked that quickly I would never come back. Partly out of spite, partly because recreating a new thread is like being a child who is punished, and partly because I wouldn't feel motivated to recreate a thread on a forum that I don't give a shit about at the time.
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasereth
The no-trolling or flaming at TFP is the reason I stay. No other forum on the Internet (that I know of) has had a no-flaming policy for as long as TFP.

One aspect of TFP that I know hinders its progress is how new people are treated sometimes. Someone starts a thread asking a question or wanting to know other people's thoughts about a topic but they forgot to add their own...what happens? The thread is closed/locked, the poster is made to look like an idiot, and he/she rarely ever recreates it. Why can't a moderator simply ask the OP to edit with what they think instead of locking or closing the thread?

If I had never been to TFP and I made a new topic and it was locked that quickly I would never come back. Partly out of spite, partly because recreating a new thread is like being a child who is punished, and partly because I wouldn't feel motivated to recreate a thread on a forum that I don't give a shit about at the time.
Those are great points - there is a bit of trolling that does occur by the same old farts who get away with it, but mostly TFP is pretty good with this.

But yeah, the way threads get shut down and the thread starter publicly admonished is not well handled and does, IMO, drive away new posters.
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Guys, those are valid criticisms, but I'm really more interested in the positive aspects of what we do. And by "we" I mean members, inclusive of staff. We all have a vested interest in the site, and my purpose for this thread is to figure out what makes someone go from lurker to poster.
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Old 06-04-2008, 11:22 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
The no-trolling or flaming at TFP is the reason I stay. No other forum on the Internet (that I know of) has had a no-flaming policy for as long as TFP.
This is absolutely what TFP does right for me. I was a member of dozens of forums in my adolescence, and I thrived on the "fucktard", "fuck you", "stupid fuck", "gutterslut" kinda flame wards that ensued. I'm still a member of one, and it's amazing to read some of the things posted there.

The topics here have substance, and threads that are obviously not able to be discussed get closed quickly with good reason. I think seeing a flood of posts every day is always bad for forums, because it the posts usually have so little to be discussed that they all become random musings. They also don't inspire to come back and chip in two or three or four times each.

For example, on one of the stupidly unmoderated boards I visit, these are the top threads:

"This thread will contain my 9,999th post"
"if i was a school subject, which would it be and how would you study me?"
"I bought Age of Conan"
"Here is the Scott McLellan interview"
"if i was a mmorpg, which would i be and would you play me for a week straight?"
"if i was an ice cream cone, how would you eat me?"
"I have something very homo erotic to say"
"If anyone think game 5 meant anything then sign your idioticname here to be embaressed after game 6"
"So I lie in posts sometimes to entertain myself at work, what's the big deal? "
"Where can you buy those glasses with eyes on them? "
"kinda mad that timbaland didnt accept my myspace friend request "
"he hit me a few times , i hit him a few times "
"[face_chicken][face_cow][face_monkey] [face_pig] "
" The "Minor Leagues" has merged with Pest Empire"
"Why do I have green poop?"
"chau team back in black"
"OMFG:K><MALKSKLJMdwm CSmln"
"FREE D"
"iso pics of the harelip"
"EC comming up !!!! who will win ???? "
"SO I WALKED INTO A BAR LAST NIGHT AND ORDERED A "APPLE-TINI"

ENTIRE Posts consist of:

"damn. a 5 year old getting head from a hot 18 year old babysitter ( gotta be 18 ). thats awesome."

"Apparently I chugged a 40 of OE last saturday, but I was already blacked out so there was no reason to do it."

"blacked out and ended up buying ice to drink more and then had sex. never even knew about it till later the next day."

"Funny how almost everyone decides to post about getting messed up like that's the best thing because they're under the impression it makes them cool and original."

""The majority of the PMs i get from you guys are asking how do I lose weight as quick as possible but also adding muscle well here's how - "

thats because everyone on here is fat"

"my tobacco water pipe is empty. and im sad"

"No matter how much I do, it I'm never coked out enough. This shit is like a 900 dollar a day habit. I don't want to go to rehab, what do I do?"

" ive heard that stabbing a screwdriver into your left thigh helps with coke addictions.

"that or a shock collar so whenever you do a bump, you get a shock (in some cases people have enjoyed the shock along with the coke high and it had an adverse effect, only a few tho)"

"ur old news jail bird, gb2ao. He actually has a point, nobody cared/cares now about you, your little e-cool 15 minutes of fame for being a cock jockey is over now."

"If I ever become Johnny Depp the first thing I'm gonna do is hook up with Megan Fox, fk shes hot"

"i would cut ur head off and place it on the headless statue for my art class."


Compare that to to the "New Posts" listing of TFP on ANY day at ANY hour and it is DRASTICALLY different.

TFP does this well:
  • Discourages topics which can't be discussed at length
  • Encourages well-thought out topics with substance (and rewards it with additional forums)
  • Quickly moderates and removes any thread that is going downhill (threadjack, flamewar, inappropriate).
  • Keeps a SLOW and steady flow of topics whose Subject line actually relates to the topic contained within
  • Working to keep a mean age of 18 and higher - most of the threads and things said above come out of the mouths of those who aren't yet legal adults
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinn
TFP does this well:
  • Discourages topics which can't be discussed at length
  • Encourages well-thought out topics with substance (and rewards it with additional forums)
  • Quickly moderates and removes any thread that is going downhill (threadjack, flamewar, inappropriate).
  • Keeps a SLOW and steady flow of topics whose Subject line actually relates to the topic contained within
  • Working to keep a mean age of 18 and higher - most of the threads and things said above come out of the mouths of those who aren't yet legal adults
I'd like to point out that the moderators also do a great job of encouraging users to police the forum themselves by promoting the Report Post feature, and responding to those of us who do use this feature.
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I like surprises.

The fact that newer members are basically told that there are areas of the site with content available only to the established members is a plus for me. The content I can see right now is pretty good, so the thought that there is more yet to come encourages me to continue actively participating.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I like TFP because of the reasons already listed, which boils down to respect for our fellow posters. It's a mature place to have conversations and fun. I don't have to be afraid of asking a stupid question and getting called all those noobie names. I'm mostly a lurker. If I don't have anything constructive to add, I don't usually join in on the conversation, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy others' contributions to the topic.
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
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im one of those fark boobie link guys. i now find that this is the only forum i ever participate in. hell, its the only one i need.

if i ever have a question, i know it will be answered here with out the barrage of smart-assed responses.

you guys/gals pretty much summed the rest of it up.
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:18 PM   #18 (permalink)
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What do we do well? We provide a space for reasonably like-minded individuals to shoot the breeze. Sometimes we shoot serious breeze...when we wonder if our girlfriends are pregnant because we masturbated wildly, didn't wash our hands, wiped them on a towel, which she used 7 days later to dry off her cootchie. Sometimes we shoot casual breezes about wars in foreign countries and healthcare and racism and so forth. That provision of space to communicate, with fairly low incidents of spam and flamefestitude, is probably the strongest positive of the tfp. A moderate well-moderated place for people to type away about the craziest shit you can imagine, without much fear of censorship and an expectation of mixed responses more or less given with a modicum of respect and sarcasm.

This place is one of the places that replaces the front porch, where we can meander about and mosey. Talk about politics and genital aberations. Discuss the news. Keep up with who had a baby or a birthday - but for me it's much more accessible than some ridiculous space like myspace or facebook or *gag* friendster. It's less about visual flash, and more about substance. We are the people who would be writing letters to each other, if we weren't so busy writing emails.

I think the artistic expression aspect of the site has waned, and has given wa to more the discussion oriented aspects. We used to have nancy washing her body in dayglow paint and fly showing us his ass. Now it's mostly a place to cogitate.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
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More than anything, we're a community. We know who other board members are and we care. We have high standards but we don't insist that "intelligence" means a high score on some useless test; if you can contribute to our discussion you're welcome. It's kind of like a drunken Mensa meeting* without the inhibitions and snobbery.


* - for the record, I declined to join Mensa and I'm drunk right now.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Actually the snobbery is perhaps at an all time high here.

TFP had decayed a bit, few new opinions and in my view questionable moderation.

I'm sorry I called a troll who posted a 9/11 picture, in a thread about tipping, where I had a old friend die an asshole, but really use your heads here sometimes its just the truth, he is an asshole who constantly trolls. When a retiring mod told me to watch my back he couldn't have it anymore I didn't know how right he was. I didn't even know he 'had my back', we had never communicated privately until he left. Well, whoever he had my back from, you won, I'm done.

I predict TFP will continue to stagnate if it continues its current course and there will be a degree of group think while it does. Many of the posters I have enjoyed reading in the past have already quietly slipped away, posting only very sporadically or not at all with few to replace them.

The boobies will always draw in some, I don't see TFP dying, but things used to be much different.

I wasn't going to bother posting again but I had a few PM's and emails asking where I was, so this is an answer to that as well.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:07 AM   #21 (permalink)
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its a shame you think like that ustwo.

it would be a shame to not see you back here.

though i never agreed with everything you said (who does?!) i always enjoyed reading your posts because you pushed the right buttons so to speak.

i do hope you change your mind about TFP, and i do hope to see you again soon.

i cant speak on behalf of others, but i doubt theres any degree of conspiracy to get you personally. i just look forward to your posts.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:36 AM   #22 (permalink)
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In my experience, when people make the "goodbye speech" on an internet forum, they're usually back in short order.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:52 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I wasn't looking for porn. I came upon TFP in a Google search and reading the responses had me checking out other threads. The topics were interesting, the conversation was fun and stimulating, and the average user was definitely more intelligent and witty than those on other forums I've come across in the past.

I don't take kindly to trollers and I love "hanging" with people from whom I can learn and feel I can possibly give a little something back to. Keeps me young.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:53 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
In my experience, when people make the "goodbye speech" on an internet forum, they're usually back in short order.
While I've never been a fan of "TFP is stagnating" posts, I don't the purpose of the post above. Was it to needle ustwo? I have appreciated many of his posts. I would miss the conflict/debate that often ensues when he posts in a thread.

What does TFP do well?

I don't have much experience with internet forums. TFP gives me a window into other peoples values, opinions, likes, and dislikes. Though I don't often participate, I enjoy reading some of the well-thought out posts in the Politics section. I especially like it when users focus on the questions at hand rather than proving one another wrong.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:19 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapiens
While I've never been a fan of "TFP is stagnating" posts, I don't the purpose of the post above. Was it to needle ustwo?
What was the point of Ustwo's post? What was the point of the post by dlish? It did not address the question posed by the OP. Their off topic opinions are OK, mine is not?
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:32 AM   #26 (permalink)
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your right highthief, i realised that i didnt answer the OP until i read your response. not directly anyways. for me its the diversity of people here and the myriad of opinions like ustwos. if your always eating the same bland stuff, you're eventually going to get sick of it. i guess thats why appreciate ustos presence. maybe ustwo feels like he's having biryani rice everyday and needs a change? maybe we need to look at that.

i dont see a problem with your post though. its a valid point to mine and ustwos off-the-topic posts.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:33 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz
Guys, those are valid criticisms, but I'm really more interested in the positive aspects of what we do. And by "we" I mean members, inclusive of staff. We all have a vested interest in the site, and my purpose for this thread is to figure out what makes someone go from lurker to poster.
What made me go from lurker to poster?

I may still qualify as a lurker rather than a poster. I don't recall my first post, but I generally post in threads where I feel like I have something to contribute. So, how do you get people to move from lurker to poster?

Have more threads. If there are more topics to respond to, more people will respond. I find that starting threads is hard. To me, it requires a commitment to monitoring the thread and keeping it on track. It also requires framing questions in ways that encourage discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
What was the point of Ustwo's post? What was the point of the post by dlish? It did not address the question posed by the OP. Their off topic opinions are OK, mine is not?
I'm certainly not the person who decides what opinions are OK. I agree that both posts were off-topic. I just see a lot of "needling" generally and I don't understand what it accomplishes. Perhaps I misinterpreted your post. Perhaps in my response to you, I was doing the same thing.

Last edited by sapiens; 06-06-2008 at 06:40 AM..
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:54 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Thank to everyone who's spoken up thus far. Hopefully we'll see more folks volunteer their opinions.

Ustwo may never read this, but I disagree that this place is stagnating AS A WHOLE. There are parts that have been stagnant for quite a while - look at most of the creative sections for a prime example - but on the whole I think that there are very healthy debates that go one regularly. Things used to be different around here? Thanks for pointing out the blindinly obvious, Ustwo. I used to be cool. There used to be a lot of different people that stopped in here. There are different folks now. Things change. The world evolves. It is inevitable since personalities are never stagnant.

Pig, I really like your front porch analogy. We need to make ours more inviting.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:03 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz
Thank to everyone who's spoken up thus far. Hopefully we'll see more folks volunteer their opinions.

Pig, I really like your front porch analogy. We need to make ours more inviting.
jazz,

how do we go about doing this? i know that this has been asked many tims before. we go through spurts where we get an influx of newbies. sometimes from links, other times from other forums closing etc.

i think that we have a well maintained place here. our porch aint that bad! just need a few pot plants and we're sweet!
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:52 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlish
your right highthief, i realised that i didnt answer the OP until i read your response. not directly anyways. for me its the diversity of people here and the myriad of opinions like ustwos. if your always eating the same bland stuff, you're eventually going to get sick of it. i guess thats why appreciate ustos presence. maybe ustwo feels like he's having biryani rice everyday and needs a change? maybe we need to look at that.

i dont see a problem with your post though. its a valid point to mine and ustwos off-the-topic posts.
No problem at all - and my post was not a criticism of your PoV either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapiens
I'm certainly not the person who decides what opinions are OK. I agree that both posts were off-topic. I just see a lot of "needling" generally and I don't understand what it accomplishes. Perhaps I misinterpreted your post. Perhaps in my response to you, I was doing the same thing.
Also, no problem.

Further, I like the front porch analogy - the front porch needs to be welcoming and open. When there is a troll or a know it all or a bully bossing the rest of the porch around, then the porch rapidly gets empty and so I concur with efforts to curtail such behaviour (while allowing for a bit of "needling" and passionate debate).

Turn the patio lanterns on, switch on the bug zapper, play some tunes, and bring some more ice for the cooler! The beer is getting warm!
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Last edited by highthief; 06-06-2008 at 07:55 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:12 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
Actually the snobbery is perhaps at an all time high here.

TFP had decayed a bit, few new opinions and in my view questionable moderation.

I'm sorry I called a troll who posted a 9/11 picture, in a thread about tipping, where I had a old friend die an asshole, but really use your heads here sometimes its just the truth, he is an asshole who constantly trolls. When a retiring mod told me to watch my back he couldn't have it anymore I didn't know how right he was. I didn't even know he 'had my back', we had never communicated privately until he left. Well, whoever he had my back from, you won, I'm done.

I predict TFP will continue to stagnate if it continues its current course and there will be a degree of group think while it does. Many of the posters I have enjoyed reading in the past have already quietly slipped away, posting only very sporadically or not at all with few to replace them.

The boobies will always draw in some, I don't see TFP dying, but things used to be much different.

I wasn't going to bother posting again but I had a few PM's and emails asking where I was, so this is an answer to that as well.
You are mentioning problems that are real and that we staff members are discussing and trying to solve fairly. I disagree on the snobbery -- our popularity cliques have mostly dissolved over the past year or so, but I agree that this has given rise to groupthink in several factions.

TFP is all about evolution, and just like with biology, we have to let things change and select for the good ones and against the bad ones. If people want to address problems or make suggestions they are always welcome to do so, and my PM inbox is always ready and waiting and I'm almost always on AIM (just let me know who you are on AIM.) If you want to say something to me that you can't say on the board, communicate it privately and I won't hold it against you because we all need to vent and complain sometimes.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:38 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
Further, I like the front porch analogy - the front porch needs to be welcoming and open. When there is a troll or a know it all or a bully bossing the rest of the porch around, then the porch rapidly gets empty and so I concur with efforts to curtail such behaviour (while allowing for a bit of "needling" and passionate debate).
I also like the front porch analogy, both in terms of welcoming users, and also in describing the mode of interaction - talking to others here the way you would speak to someone while on their front porch (with that level of respect).

I still think that the best way to encourage posting is to have many threads that are interesting. I've seen several posters lately using short articles about various topics as jumping off points for larger discussions. I like that.

Last edited by sapiens; 06-06-2008 at 08:41 AM..
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