Some Slight Changes to the Forums

Posted:
in Feedback edited December 2016
Hello all how about a quick update?

Changes to the Like/Dislike System

We've split the reaction buttons out into Like / Funny / Informative, and made them much more prominent. Hopefully that will encourage more users to engage with the system. Currently an informative post is worth more points than a funny or liked post, though that may change if suddenly everything becomes informative.

We've also removed the 'dislike' button.

There are a number of reasons for this, but it boils down to the fact it wasn't accomplishing what we hoped it would when we implemented it. Users would often just dislike the posts of any user(s) they were engaged in a debate with, or simply disliked. It was also too frequently used to dogpile reasonable posts when they didn't line up with a segment of the forum's point of view, whether that be a reasonable criticism of Apple, or something political in nature. So it has been removed.

Moderation Policy

I also want to take a minute to remind people of the moderation rules here. We try not to moderate too heavily, but personal attacks, racism, homophobic comments, and general bigotry will get moderated out. In addition we're going to start moderating comments that are essentially off-topic, especially when they're early on in the threads. That doesn't mean we will pull the comment outright if it can be salvaged, but please keep that in mind before posting. One off-topic post early on can really derail the entire thread, and we have different standards for what we want to show on the main site (first 10 or so) than what we would allow deeper on into a thread.

Slight reorganization

We merged the Genius Bar down to a single category. The sub-categories were unnecessary given the amount of use that part of the forums gets. We really like the Genius Bar as a forum though, and we encourage all of you to visit it and help each other out when you can. We may have some cool plans for it in the future...

We also merged mobile Feedback forum back into the general Feedback forum, it had 15 threads, it was unnecessary. 

Misc. Changes

Editors are all now clearly marked as such, so keep an eye out for them on the forums and say hi every now and again and give feedback. Neil, Mikey, Mike, Dan, Roger, Victor, Christine, Ashley, and Kasper all read the comments, even if they don't post too frequently. We wouldn't be where we are without them, and I just want to say thank you to all of them. Hopefully you guys are enjoying the content they are producing.

Also a quick shot out to our mods, Marvin and Dick Applebaum for doing their part to keep things sane around here.

Your ignore list now has a capacity of 50 users.

In Closing...

We want to ensure the forums stay healthy and vibrant for a long time, and 2016 was a good step in that direction (so say the almighty metrics.) AI has been around for 18 years, which is crazy for a website, and we hope to be around for many more.

We will be back sometime next year to talk about more stuff. As always please feel free to leave feedback here and let us know what we can do to make things better. We are not some empty news regurgitating factory, we are here and we are listening.

Happy Holidays!


muppetryduervokevin keeboopthesnootgatorguydasanman69apple jockey
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 108
    Currently an informative post is worth more points
    Are we talking Whose Line Is It Anyway points, or…?
    dasanman69AppleInsidersmiffy31patchythepiraterandominternetpersonpscooter63SpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 108
    On removing Dislike - "too frequently used to dogpile reasonable posts when they didn't line up with a segment of the forum's point of view, whether that be a reasonable criticism of Apple"

    ...sounds like a shield for trolls. Not enthusiastic about this. Why make a negative judgment about people downvoting what they feel are low-value posts? How does that harm the discussion and thus AI's numbers?
    edited December 2016 williamlondonpatchythepiratepscooter63viclauyyc
  • Reply 3 of 108
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 178administrator
    Currently an informative post is worth more points
    Are we talking Whose Line Is It Anyway points, or…?
    There's a cumulative 'score' associated with people's forum accounts. Points are awarded for getting likes, funnies, and inf marks on posts, as well as for any badges that may get awarded. The "Good Post" badge, for example, gets awarded the first time a single comment from a user passes x likes. So yeah... only slightly more structured than Whose Line is it Anyway points ; )

    On removing Dislike - "too frequently used to dogpile reasonable posts when they didn't line up with a segment of the forum's point of view, whether that be a reasonable criticism of Apple"

    ...sounds like a shield for trolls. Not enthusiastic about this. Why make a negative judgment about people downvoting what they feel are low-value posts? How does that harm the discussion and thus AI's numbers?
    The posts I'm referring to there are perfectly reasonable posts. A troll is not simply defined by "they don't agree with me." This applies to all topics, not just Apple related ones. The divide between left and right wing politics on the site is another stark example of people abusing and misusing the dislike button. A lot of veteran users have complained about the dislike buttons behind the scenes, and there were threads complaining about when we implemented it in the first place.

    This hurts the forums by discouraging healthy debate, and lowering the barrier of entry towards general negativity. This is especially painful for new users, who maybe aren't used to some of the personalities we have here and are more likely to get piled on. In fact, I have contemplated removing the post counts (in favor of a more generalized rank) as well, because I see some really negative behavior around them, but no decisions have been made on that front yet.

    You can still flag threads for moderator attention if they violate rules, or you want to draw our attention to them.

    Quick Edit:
    If you really disagree with a post, then reply to it! We want people talking about and discussing topics, not everything is cut and dry : )
    edited December 2016 gatorguymuppetrytallest skiltallest skilai-devsmiffy31
  • Reply 4 of 108
    jSnively said:
    If you really disagree with a post, then reply to it!
    I both agree with you on principle and hate the decision anyway.
    smiffy31pscooter63viclauyycSpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 108
    Yeah, not thrilled. The troll count on AI has been rising, usually from new members and especially after apple events when they come out of the workwork to bash apple. Downvoting them was a good way for the community to collectively express our opinion on that.

    True forum disruption comes from the one-hit-wonder trolls, and users like sog who for months has been dropping hundreds of off-topic rants and derailing every single article. It was absurd and reaching critical mass -- thanks to his poor like ratio and heavy dislikes he finally backed off. 

    I just hope this change doesn't create a safe space for trolls, every opinion is equal, etc. 
    edited December 2016 tallest skilwilliamlondonpatchythepiratepscooter63viclauyycSpamSandwich
  • Reply 6 of 108
    I'd much rather see the forum finally implement a way to enable a reader to click back to the source post when reading a quoted reply. The old forum did this, as does MR. It's useful since it allows one to navigate and reply to an old message seen only in a quote. I would recommend using the quoted-username as the URL for their source post, instead of going to their profile. 
    tallest skilmacseeker
  • Reply 7 of 108
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 178administrator
    jSnively said:
    If you really disagree with a post, then reply to it!
    I both agree with you on principle and hate the decision anyway.
    No worries, we're going to try it this way for a while and see how it goes. We can always bring it back if we really need to.
    Yeah, not thrilled. The troll count on AI has been rising, usually from new members and especially after apple events when they come out of the workwork to bash apple. Downvoting them was a good way for the community to collectively express our opinion on that.

    True forum disruption comes from the one-hit-wonder trolls, and users like sog who for months has been dropping hundreds of off-topic rants and derailing every single article. It was absurd and reaching critical mass -- thanks to his poor like ratio and heavy dislikes he finally backed off. 

    I just hope this change doesn't create a safe space for trolls, every opinion is equal, etc. 
    One of the assumptions we made when the feature was originally added was exactly that; Users would fall in line because they cared about that ratio and their scores. After a year of having it live and looking at the data, it turns out that is just incorrect. It didn't stop anyone who wanted to from trolling or making low quality posts. However, it did stop lower frequency and newer posters from wanting to participate.

    It's important to us that we are welcoming to new users and that there is an easy path to join the community here. That's the only way we will continue to grow. If that means a little more work cleaning out one-post troll accounts then so be it. If you see one then don't feed them, report them. Down voting had no effect on those users to begin with.

    Please be aware though, just because you report something doesn't necessarily mean we will agree that it needs to be removed. We have a reputation here of a being a cavalcade of "Apple fanboys", but this site has been around during some really low Apple lows, crazy high highs, and even lived through Steve Jobs suing us. Not everything is amazing at Apple all of the time, and that's okay. We all love Apple at our core, but we're not so thin-skinned we can't take a rational, well-considered criticism when it's warranted.

    I'd much rather see the forum finally implement a way to enable a reader to click back to the source post when reading a quoted reply. The old forum did this, as does MR. It's useful since it allows one to navigate and reply to an old message seen only in a quote. I would recommend using the quoted-username as the URL for their source post, instead of going to their profile. 
    This is something we can look into.
    patchythepiratepscooter63SpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 108
    Not happy at all about the removal of the dislike button, as others have said, that's what MacRumors did and it's a shield for trolls, which AI has suffered many more lately. Look at Ars Technica and disliked posts disappear after a certain number, which is a great way for the forum members to express their feelings without having to respond to every single troll's post, which becomes a nuisance and too much effort to be a participating member of AI any longer where the threads are filled with troll posts and responses decrying them (or good people leaving the site to the trolls, which is exactly what happened at MR). Not happy at all. Please reconsider this.

    On a positive note, the moderation policy sounds good.
    pscooter63
  • Reply 9 of 108
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,532member
    On removing Dislike - "too frequently used to dogpile reasonable posts when they didn't line up with a segment of the forum's point of view, whether that be a reasonable criticism of Apple"

    ...sounds like a shield for trolls. Not enthusiastic about this. Why make a negative judgment about people downvoting what they feel are low-value posts? How does that harm the discussion and thus AI's numbers?
    I completely get jSnively's reasoning for the changes. There's been a very noticeable slowdown in new member engagements over the years I've been a member here. While the overall tone has improved somewhat from the old accepted name-calling and even threatening posts that a very few members got away with "back in the day" (thanks to our underappreciated moderators) we still seem to look at every new poster as suspicious.

    I've personally seen numerous perfectly valid and largely factual posts from new members get downvoted over and over simply because they didn't sound sufficiently pro-Apple-y. If they note they've experienced some particular problem, which would be a good logical reason they would have involved themselves with an Appleinsider story for the first time, they get attacked as being either A) Liar or B)Troll, or C)Both and are immediately put on the defensive, served notice by the IMO very-often otherwise silent minority that they aren't wanted here. Their veracity of their posts isn't disputed as much as their honesty is questioned. 

    Without new members who bring unique insights and experiences with them the forum dies a slow death. Cheerleading is nice and all, but really serves no purpose other than as a feel-good show of support. There's plenty of good in Apple-land and we see stories of it daily, but forum members should be able to mention things that might concern them or bring up competing companies or features that they'd like to see Apple invest in without being attacked as a "troll". 

    So while it was not the forums intent a probably small number of current members used downvoting as part of a popularity contest instead of validation of a posts honesty and/or facts. Since ownership has clearly said they don't envision the site as a "calvacade of fan-boys" the un-welcoming and abused downvoting used to discourage many new members needs to go, and moderating post-content more aggressively to keep conversations on-topic will help ensure members both old and new comment on articles rather than each other. 

    So yeah, I get it.  If the new changes don't work like the admins/editors hope then changes can be made again. It's not cut in stone. It should be clear to all of us tho that things can't continue as they have if the site wants to continue successfully. Downvoting never did serve the purpose it was intended to, and too many threads get derailed early on and become near impossible to engage with.  
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 10 of 108
    jSnively said:

    Quick Edit:
    If you really disagree with a post, then reply to it! We want people talking about and discussing topics, not everything is cut and dry : )
    The problem is, that generally, a disagreement gets posted further away, or even on the next page, to a link. If someone posts something false or trollish, dislike was the fastest way to show general disagreement or at least, "something is wrong with this statement". Fixing the layout, through something hierarchical or otherwise, would be a major addition to these forums, other than fiddling with buttons.
    randominternetpersonStrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 108
    On removing Dislike - "too frequently used to dogpile reasonable posts when they didn't line up with a segment of the forum's point of view, whether that be a reasonable criticism of Apple"

    ...sounds like a shield for trolls. Not enthusiastic about this. Why make a negative judgment about people downvoting what they feel are low-value posts? How does that harm the discussion and thus AI's numbers?
    There is no way to justify it.

    It is the same kind of safe-space protect-my-feelings regressive hippie nonsense that has gone on with Disqus and other failed jokes on the internet.

    This place just got a lot less interesting, now that forum and the ratings for comments NO LONGER reflect the feelings of the community at all.
    Rayz2016williamlondonStrangeDays
  • Reply 12 of 108
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,532member
    On removing Dislike - "too frequently used to dogpile reasonable posts when they didn't line up with a segment of the forum's point of view, whether that be a reasonable criticism of Apple"

    ...sounds like a shield for trolls. Not enthusiastic about this. Why make a negative judgment about people downvoting what they feel are low-value posts? How does that harm the discussion and thus AI's numbers?
    There is no way to justify it.

    It is the same kind of safe-space protect-my-feelings regressive hippie nonsense...

    This place just got a lot less interesting, now that forum and the ratings for comments NO LONGER reflect the feelings of the community at all.
    hmmmm...
    Aren't you advocating for just the thing you are ridiculing?

    If you read jSnively's explanation for the changes AI is trying to avoid being a place where only the most pro-Apple news and discussions are welcome and all other opinions no matter how valid are not to be tolerated, downvoted into oblivion by what I personally think is probably a relatively small percentage of members accounting for the majority of those votes. 
    edited December 2016 elijahg
  • Reply 13 of 108
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 178administrator
    Not happy at all about the removal of the dislike button, as others have said, that's what MacRumors did and it's a shield for trolls, which AI has suffered many more lately. Look at Ars Technica and disliked posts disappear after a certain number, which is a great way for the forum members to express their feelings without having to respond to every single troll's post, which becomes a nuisance and too much effort to be a participating member of AI any longer where the threads are filled with troll posts and responses decrying them (or good people leaving the site to the trolls, which is exactly what happened at MR). Not happy at all. Please reconsider this.

    On a positive note, the moderation policy sounds good.
    We have a smaller, but more loyal, readership than MR, so we passively get more protection from random internet insanity than they do. The Ars style system is one approach to automated/crowd sourced moderation, but it was never how ours functioned. It also would completely fail to address what we saw as misuse or abuse of the system.

    On removing Dislike - "too frequently used to dogpile reasonable posts when they didn't line up with a segment of the forum's point of view, whether that be a reasonable criticism of Apple"

    ...sounds like a shield for trolls. Not enthusiastic about this. Why make a negative judgment about people downvoting what they feel are low-value posts? How does that harm the discussion and thus AI's numbers?
    There is no way to justify it.

    It is the same kind of safe-space protect-my-feelings regressive hippie nonsense that has gone on with Disqus and other failed jokes on the internet.

    This place just got a lot less interesting, now that forum and the ratings for comments NO LONGER reflect the feelings of the community at all.
    I typed out two lengthy posts justifying it. We are not creating a 'safe space', the rules still apply. If you like a post, then there's still a simple interaction mechanism for that. Valuable posts and posters will still be identifiable via the like, funny, and informative buttons. We want to encourage discussion, and simply hitting what devolved into the "grumpy-man button" did nothing to foster it, and at worst actively discouraged it.

    cwingrav said:
    jSnively said:

    Quick Edit:
    If you really disagree with a post, then reply to it! We want people talking about and discussing topics, not everything is cut and dry : )
    The problem is, that generally, a disagreement gets posted further away, or even on the next page, to a link. If someone posts something false or trollish, dislike was the fastest way to show general disagreement or at least, "something is wrong with this statement". Fixing the layout, through something hierarchical or otherwise, would be a major addition to these forums, other than fiddling with buttons.
    That is beyond the scope of what we're looking to accomplish with this small update, but it is something that we will continue to keep our eye on.


  • Reply 14 of 108
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 2,678member
    Wait, so I can either like a post, or find it informative, but I can't do both, much less like a post I find informative and funny? 
    spherickevin kee
  • Reply 15 of 108
    jSnively said:
    Not happy at all about the removal of the dislike button, as others have said, that's what MacRumors did and it's a shield for trolls, which AI has suffered many more lately. Look at Ars Technica and disliked posts disappear after a certain number, which is a great way for the forum members to express their feelings without having to respond to every single troll's post, which becomes a nuisance and too much effort to be a participating member of AI any longer where the threads are filled with troll posts and responses decrying them (or good people leaving the site to the trolls, which is exactly what happened at MR). Not happy at all. Please reconsider this.

    On a positive note, the moderation policy sounds good.
    We have a smaller, but more loyal, readership than MR, so we passively get more protection from random internet insanity than they do. The Ars style system is one approach to automated/crowd sourced moderation, but it was never how ours functioned. It also would completely fail to address what we saw as misuse or abuse of the system.
    Frankly, I find your dismissal of our concerns and comments to be alarming. Removing the dislike button is a huge red flag for many of us here as we've been through it before. The numbers argument actually works against you, loyalty flees more quickly on smaller sites when trolls inhabit your forums because it doesn't take many to outnumber loyal users (which has been the case of late, hence a big part of the source of our concern). As for the "more" comment concerning loyalty among readers here, don't believe for a second that when MR started going downhill there weren't people fighting to keep it good. Personally, I stayed years longer than I should have, fighting all along the way. I won't make that mistake again and overstay my welcome.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 16 of 108
    Having additional buttons for Funny and Informative is too much complication. If i like a post because it is informative, which to use? Guess I don't see the value-add there, when Like covers all bases and is simpler. 

    Also, there's still a noticeable lag anytime one clicks these buttons. The ajax calls for them aren't as asynchronous as they could be, it's like the local browser is waiting to hear back from AI before rendering the UI of having clicked, making it feel slow. MR and Disqus have no delay, they render the action immediately. 
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 17 of 108
    Also, the "edited" timestamp worked better in the black message header -- plenty of unused space there under the post number and no reason to make posts taller, taking up more space and providing less content per screen. 
    pscooter63
  • Reply 18 of 108
    Okay, if you're going to take away the Dislike button, could you give us a bigger Ignore hopper in return?

    Five was never really enough to begin with, but the Dislike counter compensated as a pseudo-cathartic-validation of sorts.

    (This is coming from someone who once railed against the Dislike button, but came to see its usefulness over time.)
    edited December 2016 StrangeDays
  • Reply 19 of 108
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 178administrator
    mac_128 said:
    Wait, so I can either like a post, or find it informative, but I can't do both, much less like a post I find informative and funny? 
    Choose whatever best fits how you feel about the post.

    Frankly, I find your dismissal of our concerns and comments to be alarming. Removing the dislike button is a huge red flag for many of us here as we've been through it before. The numbers argument actually works against you, loyalty flees more quickly on smaller sites when trolls inhabit your forums because it doesn't take many to outnumber loyal users (which has been the case of late, hence a big part of the source of our concern). As for the "more" comment concerning loyalty among readers here, don't believe for a second that when MR started going downhill there weren't people fighting to keep it good. Personally, I stayed years longer than I should have, fighting all along the way. I won't make that mistake again and overstay my welcome.
    I'm not dismissing anything, in fact i have made multiple lengthy posts explaining the rationale behind the decision. You're making up a problem that doesn't exist, and then shedding crocodile tears as though it is happening. We are happy to listen to feedback, but I'm not going to run around in circles. Like i said to Tallest Skil, we can always revert the change if, once we have a good chunk of data, we find that things were better with it than without it. The data we collected over the past year says that will not be the case.

    Okay, if you're going to take away the Dislike button, could you give us a bigger Ignore hopper in return?

    Five was never really enough to begin with, but the Dislike counter compensated as a pseudo-cathartic-validation of sorts.

    (This is coming from someone who once railed against the Dislike button, but came to see its usefulness over time.)
    And just like that, It is now 50 : )
    edited December 2016 pscooter63asdasd
  • Reply 20 of 108
    On removing Dislike - "too frequently used to dogpile reasonable posts when they didn't line up with a segment of the forum's point of view, whether that be a reasonable criticism of Apple"

    ...sounds like a shield for trolls. Not enthusiastic about this. Why make a negative judgment about people downvoting what they feel are low-value posts? How does that harm the discussion and thus AI's numbers?
    Just like the reality, everything is  good and positive.

    It is almost like, anyone can say any stupid thing as long as it is not against the rule. The person can just feel good about him/herself. Because no one is against what s/he said. 

    Also, the dislike is an indicator for the fellow readers to avoid reading junk comments and waste time.  

    -----

    Btw, can the admin fix the iOS AI app? It is almost useless when it comes to typing comments. It fail 9/10 times and I can't type a single word on reply.  I have to type it on other app and copy and paste. This is one big thing that need to be fix.
    edited December 2016 StrangeDays
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