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  • #31
    Re: Feedback for forums

    Originally posted by skroo
    Not that I want to see it fail (in fact, in some ways it would be nice if people could use it in the spirit it's intended), but I can see it turning into an area about on a par with the average 'hacking' forum. There's a lot of historical precedent for this with forums in general, and part of the reason we haven't seen it happen here is that the moderators have been extremely straightforward about both setting and enforcing the expectation that what may be considered acceptable behaviour on other forums runs a good chance of being completely inappropriate here. My concern is that this opens the door to the same crap we see elsewhere.
    We have gone a great distance to improve the quality of content. Potential future additions like the PhotoAlbum system mentioned by Dark Tangent will probably create demand for a space in which to discuss the pictures that were taken.

    We also have another thing we were going to try, and this will give us an idea what we should expect from users when it goes live.

    This social forum also lets us experiment with waiting periods, to see how a shorter period might impact forum use. Some have suggested longer periods, some have suggested shorter periods, and some like the periods where they are. An experimental forum like this should allow us to test many of these ideas instead of subjecting all of the forums to risk.

    Part of what bothers me about this are the concerns about the forum content that have been presented: on the one hand, we apparently don't have enough 'hacking-related' subjects; on the other hand, we need to be more 'social'. So which is it? The two seem somewhat mutually-exclusive, and not necessarily beneficial to each other.
    I agree that social content unrelated to hacking is often viewed as "noise" by hackers, with a few exceptions:

    Hackers socializing about hacking is often tolerated by hackers even if they don't participate.

    SE as a form of hacking may also be an exception to social discussions and hacking intersecting.

    In addition to organizers, the Defcon Community appears to be made of people who want to "hang out and socialize" , and/or "play/watch" and/or "present/learn"

    * We have "Defcon 14 Discussion" for people to talk about presentations if they wish. (A NoteExchange would be better on target for this.)
    * We have the Contests & Events forums for organizers and players of games.
    * We have nothing for the social group of people who mostly arrive to pay $100 to party. (Except this test forum, and specific events with subforums in the Contests & Events forum.)

    If there is a "core" group of Defcon people, it is the group of organizers, goons, speakers, leaders, and volunteers that actually make it work. This core seems to be what the forums are primarily targetted to include. Attendees benefit from this core group of people being here. As a result, our mission should primarily be to recruit, include and retain people in this primary group.

    A secondary group, includes attendees looking for information. They will at least lurk if the primary group is here.

    A tertiary group, includes those people that go to Defcon to party (even though some of these people may also be in the above 2 groups too.)

    A quaternary group, includes asshats, tards, and those unhappy people that want to ruin it for themselves or others.

    [People can be members of multiple groups as listed above.]

    I may end up being completely wrong on this, granted. But there are more than enough other outlets both online and in the real world to socialise in, and I don't see what the forums gain by either restricting content to computing-only subjects, nor by becoming a clone of IRC or n number of other forums already out there populated by people with nothing to say and all day to say it.
    This is a risk. "Social People" at Defcon have included people like "Pool 2 Girl" and "Pool 2 boy" and many other people that seem to only be interested in the social aspects of Defcon. (Examples risks.)

    What tihis may help to do though, is provide us with a real-life illustration of what you describe:
    Will techies and "real hackers" with "free time" choose to join this social forum group? What forum members will actually participate? will it be primarily clogged up with crap, and noise, and asshats? What percent of forum "vets" with knowledge and skill will actually join and participate in a more socially open forum? Will this provide us with a cautionary tale for others that suggest a similar path in the future, or will it have a positive effect to help generate interest *and* maintain quality?

    I have my suspicions, but I'd like to see what happens, so then we can say, "Look! See what happens when we try that?" be it positive or negative.

    Comment


    • #32
      Re: Feedback for forums

      Originally posted by skroo
      Fair point. However, I can see this repeating certain social issues that have happened here in the past.
      There is a very good chance this will happen again. I am still in-between on this idea myself, but the more and more I read this thread, the more I'm being sold on it (perhaps im gullible). This little social area could prove to be a real gem (if done correctly). Yes there is IRC/livejournal/a slew of other defcon-related outlets, but how many of those include a base of serious/smart individuals that can all bring something to the table (if anything, ideas)? Granted, people choose to join certain forums/discussions/emailing lists/etc; How many of these have already gone to crap because of thier core group of members being retarded? Why not add to what you've guys built, with an already existing base of people you know not to be asshats. (this assumes people that are already existant would join such a group). I see it as somewhat being similar to a 2600 mailing list (where there is for the most part a balance of goofy/seriousness).

      Originally posted by skroo
      Fine by me. I'm just still not seeing the value to this section.
      The value to this section has been described in so many words, and I think everyone is seeing it a little different. It started with a couple of newer members explaining why they feel it's hard to post anything here (I remember this same feeling when I first joined a few years back, but it was more 'social' then). I think converge explained it best here:

      Originally posted by converge
      Many of the moderators (myself included) may have given of an unintentional message by trying to keep the discussions clean. Depending on the level of frustration induced by less-than tolerable posters may have dictated a more forceful reaction to accomplish resolution. Ultimately, we don't want a forum full of folks asking "What is a buffer overflow and where can I download the program to do one for me"; let alone a forum of folks asking it every other day because they were too lazy to type "buffer overflow" in the search box, or to even bother looking in the top of a forum to see 5 other threads labelled similarly. It creates an environment that limits member interest in the Forums because of the overwhelming noise.

      OTOH, we don't want to stifle discussion by making folks think they have to be THE expert on a subject to discuss something without getting flamed. Recent steps to limit a lot of the flaming that led to this apprehension appear to be working (for the moment), but also have led to the feeling of a less .. 'social' forum than previous. The trick is navigating things to find a middle ground between complete seriousness/silence and so much worthless noise/chatter (that often belongs left in irc). Ideas and discussion to further reconcile this notion are really helpful.
      The problem is: Finding a middle ground that 'everyone' can enjoy.

      A possible idea is: This thread that can be turned on and off by people who are or are not interested, lifts the pressure off the people a little bit, and let's them post things that are not strictly DEFCON related. While there are risks (and by no means am I saying to allow the 'h4x0r' related posts, or the spammers) I think it could be really good overall.

      [EDIT]
      All seriousness out of the way, it's only taken me 2 1/2 years to finally reach 100 posts, woot! ;)
      When you draw first blood you can't stop this fight
      For my own piece of mind - I'm going to
      Tear your fucking eyes out
      Rip your fucking flesh off
      Beat you till you're just a fucking lifeless carcass
      Fuck you and your progress
      Watch me fucking regress
      You were meant to take the fall - now you're nothing
      Payback's a bitch motherfucker!

      Slayer - Payback

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: Feedback for forums

        Originally posted by IcEbLAze
        ...how many of those include a base of serious/smart individuals that can all bring something to the table (if anything, ideas)? Granted, people choose to join certain forums/discussions/emailing lists/etc...
        I've got news, and this should come as no surprise. The people most likely to be interesting, and to be desirable as contributors, aren't going to join. It's rather like where Usenet went, once it was destroyed by the September That Never Ended. It used to be that you'd ask a question on some tech list or other, and folk who knew more would answer. It was a nice little world, civilized for the most part, and everyone benefited (some more than others, of course).

        The tripe that showed up as time went on were all demanding little monsters, furious that no one was answering their questions, insistent on being helped, and in general, so rude and useless that most of the elders left. Now I know that is an extreme description, but it still is significant for this group. It isn't interesting for the skilled. It just isn't.

        Originally posted by IcEbLAze
        The value to this section ... started with a couple of newer members explaining why they feel it's hard to post anything here (I remember this same feeling when I first joined a few years back, but it was more 'social' then).
        I'm relieved that I don't have to pay attention to it, then. This is the very reason I dumped it back when it first started. All that "social" stuff was just noise, as far as I was concerned. I'm sure that I'm on the extreme edge in what is or isn't interesting, but I'm absolutely happy that I'm not trapped in this experiment. I think that the portion about photographs would be okay, but I can't see joining it just to see that.

        Ah, well. I don't have to play; that's good enough for me.

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Feedback for forums

          Originally posted by shrdlu
          The tripe that showed up as time went on were all demanding little monsters, furious that no one was answering their questions, insistent on being helped, and in general, so rude and useless that most of the elders left. Now I know that is an extreme description, but it still is significant for this group. It isn't interesting for the skilled. It just isn't.
          This is one of the reasons why the "No Tech Support" changed from an informal faux paux to actually being mentioned in the rules. (The other reason was to deal with tech support requests that could be answered with google, "tech support forums," or the vendor (Dell, IBM, etc.)

          Many of the members of the forums with genuine skills came to the forums to get away from work; they participate in specialized forums, or lists of technical content.

          The rules we have today are as a result of finding ways to eliminate noise, and focus on Defcon.

          Sadly, this has marginalized people that took part in those social conversations of the past. It is an opportunity cost. If we did not have the capability of hiding this content from all but those that want to see it, I don't think we would have this experimental forum today.

          I'm relieved that I don't have to pay attention to it, then. This is the very reason I dumped it back when it first started. All that "social" stuff was just noise, as far as I was concerned. I'm sure that I'm on the extreme edge in what is or isn't interesting, but I'm absolutely happy that I'm not trapped in this experiment. I think that the portion about photographs would be okay, but I can't see joining it just to see that.
          This is a very cool feature that we hope works out. Converge suggested that we could create another group to allow people to ignore the "Fucktard Hall" and "/dev/null" once they become "full registered users." I am worried that users violating rules might not see /dev/null or Fucktard Hall when their posts are moved there, and then complain about censorship.

          These two forums are two sources of "noise" or "entertainment" or "education" depending on the user. Maybe it could be selected as a group to lleave (and not see /dev/null and "Fucktard Hall") after they have been "full users" for a while. (?)

          However, we could have a "Social Group" and a "Photograph Group" and several other groups to allow users to control the types of forums they want to see, and types of forums they don't.

          Ah, well. I don't have to play; that's good enough for me.
          Yes, but you seem to be one of the few users willing to express your opinion about these new areas, and you also seem to provide a summary of ideas *likely* shared by a silent majority.

          On the other hand, Iceblaze seems to provide ideas on content and new ideas from the perspective of a more recent member, or new/would-be Defcon attendee.

          I want to eat my cake and have it too, and so far, it looks like this may be possible. :-)

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: Feedback for forums

            Originally posted by shrdlu
            I've got news, and this should come as no surprise. The people most likely to be interesting, and to be desirable as contributors, aren't going to join..
            Yes I do understand you can't win them all, but possibly a few :)

            Originally posted by shrdlu
            It's rather like where Usenet went, once it was destroyed by the September That Never Ended. It used to be that you'd ask a question on some tech list or other, and folk who knew more would answer. It was a nice little world, civilized for the most part, and everyone benefited (some more than others, of course).
            Yea but what if this can be something like how USENET was? Not saying it will be, at this point we dont know whats going to happen.

            Originally posted by shrdlu
            The tripe that showed up as time went on were all demanding little monsters, furious that no one was answering their questions, insistent on being helped, and in general, so rude and useless that most of the elders left. Now I know that is an extreme description, but it still is significant for this group. It isn't interesting for the skilled. It just isn't.
            Don't get me wrong here. I totally see your (and probably the majority's) issues with this here. (Unfortunately?) I see it their way as well. At this point we really don't know what this can/can not be. If it turns out to be a total failure, then we can remove the forum, and say "At least we tried!", and of course never speak of it again. If it does turn out to be a good thing, then all the better.

            Originally posted by shrdlu
            I'm relieved that I don't have to pay attention to it, then. This is the very reason I dumped it back when it first started. All that "social" stuff was just noise, as far as I was concerned. I'm sure that I'm on the extreme edge in what is or isn't interesting, but I'm absolutely happy that I'm not trapped in this experiment. I think that the portion about photographs would be okay, but I can't see joining it just to see that.

            Ah, well. I don't have to play; that's good enough for me.
            Yes. I'm totally glad that they are able to implement this experiment in this way. In no way would I want the defcon forums to turn into, say, the jinxhackwear forums. However, What you explained to me above with the USENET situation is an ideal that I don't think would hurt to shoot for. Overall I think this has been an awesome discussion. I just wish there were more people like yourself that would chime in with thier $00.02.
            When you draw first blood you can't stop this fight
            For my own piece of mind - I'm going to
            Tear your fucking eyes out
            Rip your fucking flesh off
            Beat you till you're just a fucking lifeless carcass
            Fuck you and your progress
            Watch me fucking regress
            You were meant to take the fall - now you're nothing
            Payback's a bitch motherfucker!

            Slayer - Payback

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: Feedback for forums

              Yes, I am replying to an old thread and closing it:

              Originally posted by shrdlu
              I still find that anyone new to this is not going to be informed about things like the two week wait until *after* they've signed up. There's a FAQ, but some of the most basic things aren't in it, and that's number one of them. There is a nice explanation, buried way down, about the difference between moderators and contest organizers (and that they are not usually the same people), but the FAQ seems almost standard for just this particular forum software in some places. Nowhere in the FAQ are you pointed to, or reminded of, the "Forum Rules".
              Ok. I've added two sections to the FAQ to cover "rules" (links to rules) and Defcon FAQ vs Forums FAQ. An entry for waiting period has been added to two sections.

              The "Yet to be named Social Forum" has been named:
              "/dev/random The Social Forum"

              Here is how it works. For all existing members, it is "opt-in" -- meaning, you have to choose to join it, in order to see and participate in it.
              Visit HERE is https or HERE is http and add or remove the "social" group to see or not see the "/dev/random The Social Forum" and its posts.

              We will likely use this same technique (subscription based groups) to create or control other sections so people can select what kind of Defcon Forum content they wish to see.

              All NEW members are automagically enrolled (opt-in) to these usergroups, as they are created. They can leave that group at any time after their initial probation.

              Yes. We can eat our cake and have it too. ]:> (Existing users are not plagued with the social junk, while those wanting a less restrictive space, have it available as needed.)

              I will again open another thread on how to improve the forums in a month or so, and will be accepting comments, and suggestions again.

              Thanks to everyone for contributing ideas for us to test.

              Comment

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