Some Slight Changes to the Forums

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  • Reply 21 of 142
    I have been reading and enjoying this website for a few years. Thanks to everyone for your effort in this informative entertainment.

    Here are my two cents on a couple of issues brought up here.
    a.) So called trolls. I feel the rhetoric and tone has been moderated considerably in the last few days. Not by accident. We all feel part of this little quasi community, even those with strong views many other disagree with. But when treated with understanding and respect, most people respond in kind. That is what has happened in my estimation. Of course there are people who are strictly disrupters, these types, just need to be bored away, there are plenty other more enjoyable place to wreak their havoc. I honestly don't sense much of that in the comments I read.  A credit to the screeners, moderators and such. Now, the no-nothing's like myself, the elite, Basket of Ignorable's' that is a problem that has been eased, 5-50. LOL
    b.) the dislike switch. I think it is a good idea. As someone mentioned, we don't live in a la la land where whatever anyone says, is necessarily at its core OK with everyone. And in truth, most regulars here are mature in themselves and their thought process to not press the dislike switch to be an asshole. They have a grounded reason for making that choice, and the others among us who get dinged from time to time understand that 'those things happen as you travel west'. It helps to moderate the thought, but it would never restrain a reasoned response to a crucial issue needing to be addressed.

    So Harambe say, trolls good, dislike button good. Ugh 




    edited December 2016 viclauyyc
  • Reply 22 of 142
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,476member
    I agree with the reasoning behind the decision to eliminate the dislike button. It may work on paper but is open to abuse if the implementation is anonymous. As clearly referred to in the thread opener, some people are somewhat trigger happy and will downvote others simply because they consider them trolls, whiners, bitchers, idiots etc and not for what they are actually saying. Those dislikes are worthless and only serve to make the system itself worthless. In spite of this, some users will pile on the dislikes with the longer term goal of bringing up 'dislike ratios' further down the line with the sole purpose of trying to discredit someone. That is abuse of the system.

    'Troll' is a pretty well defined and accepted term. Seeing it banded around as a 'quick insult' doesn't contribute much to the discussion or to the forums in general. That won't go away (just like spammers) and although the application of the term is subjective, I really don't consider there to be much trolling here. The age old mechanism of not feeding them or simply ignoring them via forum settings is largely enough.

    Some newer and especially younger members can feel uncomfortable and 'contain' what they say (or not say it at all) for fear of being 'jumped on' and 'disliked' by others who may consider them to be out of line with their way of thinking or what they consider to be acceptable.

    The changes are clearly designed to promote discussion without reservation and  that can only be a good thing. The forums are for people to express their opinions, inform, learn etc. In the same way that we ask newbies in any subject to not fear asking 'stupid' questions, we need people to not worry about how their opinions could be viewed by others. 

    If the dislike button ever came back, perhaps if the number of dislikes were shown together with the number of unique logged on members that had viewed the thread, would help to put them into context. Eliminating the anonymous aspect of the button might also help balance things out. This might be beyond what is possible with the forum software though.



    edited December 2016 viclauyycjSnivelyai-devmobius
  • Reply 23 of 142
    jSnively said:

    And just like that, It is now 50 : )
    Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus... thanks!!
  • Reply 24 of 142
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,286member
    avon b7 said:
    I agree with the reasoning behind the decision to eliminate the dislike button. It may work on paper but is open to abuse if the implementation is anonymous. As clearly referred to in the thread opener, some people are somewhat trigger happy and will downvote others simply because they consider them trolls, whiners, bitchers, idiots etc and not for what they are actually saying. Those dislikes are worthless and only serve to make the system itself worthless...

    If the dislike button ever came back, perhaps if the number of dislikes were shown together with the number of unique logged on members that had viewed the thread, would help to put them into context. Eliminating the anonymous aspect of the button might also help balance things out. This might be beyond what is possible with the forum software though.
    I suspect if we were able to see who "disliked" various posts we'd see the same names pop up over and over. I personally believe a very small percentage of members were responsible for the overwhelming majority of them, particularly posts that other than not being group-speak were otherwise valid. 
    edited December 2016 asdasdjSnivelyavon b7
  • Reply 25 of 142
    I do like the addition of "Funny" and "Informative", even though both are essentially just variations of "Like".

    If "Dislike" is permanently removed how about adding some variation(s) that likewise allow readers to express an opinion without forcing them to type out a potentially explosive or controversial reply? Maybe "Offensive" or "Spam" or "Wut?" buttons?
    edited December 2016 viclauyycpscooter63
  • Reply 26 of 142
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,286member
    I do like the addition of "Funny" and "Informative", even though both are essentially just variations of "Like". If "Dislike" is permanently removed how about adding some variation(s) that likewise allow readers to express an opinion without forcing them to type out a potentially explosive/controversial reply?
    For what purpose? it's pretty predictable that certain posts would get disliked even if they're 100% factual, accurate and logically argued.

    Dislike signals nothing other than essentially "we don't like your kind", correct? For that reason it's very unwelcoming to a new poster who comes in with an intelligent and well-thought out opinion that might differ from what is accepted thought. Real "trolls" are obvious and just need to be ignored. Downvoting means nothing to them. It doesn't hurt their feelings or cause them to change their ways. They are here to disrupt because, hey, they can. I would wager that each downvote encourages some of them even more, fueling more of the same.

    Respectful and informed new members should be encouraged even if they don't immediately fall in line with group-speak IMO. Too many get pushed away via straight-away name-calling, insults, accusations of lying and piling on of down-votes. Why is that good for the forums and if it's not why aren't more members here arguing for changes in that regard instead of complaining that we can't anonymously tell someone you don't like what they said? To be clear I'm not singling you out and wouldn't include you anyway but all these complaints about a button from a handful of members, with little to no mention from them of the trollish behavior of some of our regular Apple-committed members that I believe is the actual cause of membership dwindling (if it is). AI is trying to change that and if they succeed it will be a good thing for us. it's supposed to be a discussion forum and not cheerleader training. It's like the Farmer's Insurance commercials: The more you know...
    edited December 2016 jSnively
  • Reply 27 of 142
    Maybe “Offensive”…
    I loathe to use him as a reference, but this is the one time in his life that he has made sense.

    viclauyycRayz2016
    0e0.jpg 86.1K
  • Reply 28 of 142
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,265member
    I totally agree with the removel of the dislike button, these things are always misused to dislike often legitmate views, anything  critical of the consensus - however well made the point. 
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 29 of 142
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,265member
    viclauyyc said:
    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.
    You see the whole point of like is to say "I agree, and I can't say that better" but if you want to dislike ( which is really disagree) then make a reasonable point and answer the post. 


    As for real trolls, as opposed to people with critial opinions on the Mac Book, or Tim Cook, or recent design decisions - this site gets rid of them very quick.
    gatorguyelijahgavon b7
  • Reply 30 of 142
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,286member
    Nice to see evidence of the mods keeping topics on track today. My apologies for my own distraction in one of them but I think this might just work to make the forums a better place to exchange ideas and opinions. Thanks!
  • Reply 31 of 142
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 327administrator
    I do like the addition of "Funny" and "Informative", even though both are essentially just variations of "Like".

    If "Dislike" is permanently removed how about adding some variation(s) that likewise allow readers to express an opinion without forcing them to type out a potentially explosive or controversial reply? Maybe "Offensive" or "Spam" or "Wut?" buttons?
    If we get to the point where we revisit the dislike button, we will take a look at exactly how to break that out into a less generic button as well. Putting in those options right now would have the same effect as not removing it.

    If you're going to report spam, please use the flag link, as that will actually trigger an alert in the administration panel, whereas the reaction buttons don't. I can look into moving that Flag link so it's better presented as well (this has always bugged me), it's burred a bit deeper than I would like in the software.

    gatorguy said:
    Nice to see evidence of the mods keeping topics on track today. My apologies for my own distraction in one of them but I think this might just work to make the forums a better place to exchange ideas and opinions. Thanks!
    We just want keep things on topic. Editing bait-y language and removing pointless and/or trollish posts seems to be the best approach. If you get moderated don't necessarily assume you did something wrong, sometimes posts get killed because they responded to another post which we removed, or sometimes we just foresee them causing more problems than they're worth.

    I don't have the time to send PMs to everyone about why their post was edited or removed, but you can always PM me and I will try to respond to as many as I can.
    SpamSandwichpscooter63dasanman69
  • Reply 32 of 142
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member
    jSnively said:

    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.
    Actually it was dismissive and without seeing the data no one has any idea whether or not it was effective.

    That said, a dislike button not tied to forum behavior (graying out, etc) isn't much of a deterrent to trolls so yah, probably not effective but that's not any indicator that dislike buttons don't work. Just the current implementation of the dislike feature didn't work.

    The only statistic that really matters is revenue. I don't think having a troll friendly forum increases your revenues but your servers so your call.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 33 of 142
    I've noticed in recent AirPod discussions my posts being edited. Honestly this is off-putting -- because I know for a fact my posts didn't violate forum rules such as attacking other users, trolling, etc. And yet, the phrasing of my rational thoughts was altered. This is really bothersome. In any other forum I've ever participated in over the past nearly 20 years, if a post is in violation of the rules it's removed. In no case has a mod ever monitored posts and re-written them to alter the voice of the writers. In fact it's rather insulting.

    I find this particularly frustrating when crazed or troll posts from users such as sog are left as-is. So what is the value-add here in leaving those posts, but editing others? It just seems like bas business to me -- either delete violation posts, or leave them be. Even troll-den MR doesn't do this, and I left there for AI due to the chaos of the forums. If you're hoping to avoid that I'd suggest re-writing the voice of your members is NOT the right way to go about it.
    edited December 2016 viclauyycavon b7williamlondon
  • Reply 34 of 142
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 327administrator
    nht said:
    ...
    Actually it was dismissive and without seeing the data no one has any idea whether or not it was effective.
    I understand "without seeing the data no one has any idea whether or not it was effective.", but that is beyond the scope of what we're going to divulge here. Partly because it's a fairly complex mash-up of metrics, but also because that gets into numbers in a way we don't want to discuss publicly. At some point you just have to trust we aren't making arbitrary decisions. If I wanted to be dismissive, then I could have just told everyone to go pound sand, or let everyone complain into the void.

    nht said:

    The only statistic that really matters is revenue. I don't think having a troll friendly forum increases your revenues but your servers so your call.
    Actually, this is wrong. The forums are a loss-leader for us.

    We keep them around because this community/site has been around for so long, and it's important to us. Too much of the internet has proven ephemeral, and we are in a unique position as an earlier Apple-focused news outlet to preserve some of that history. It's one of the reasons we work so hard to ensure our posts from the late 90s still load up in the current CMS, and links in from extremely old URLs still function. I recently saw a thread over on the MR forums about someone doing research on Apple for school, and they were looking for early apple news from before a certain date (I forget when exactly). Not only did a number of replies say "check AppleInsider", but guess what was one of the few still-running sites they could actually uncover working posts for? It made me smile.

    It would be very easy for us to just go hands-off like newer endeavors and let the conversations happen primarily on social media. That's where the people actually are these days. But, we find value in building and expanding the community around the site, and we want as many people as possible to be a part of that. It's part of our DNA. I grew up on BBSs and small, localized internet communities; almost none of which are still around. That's why we're making changes, and that's why we're actively working to encourage more people to participate.

    It's not always easy, and we're not always going to get everything right, but it's important to us that we foster a community of fun Apple lovin' people. Who knows, maybe now is the time we fail, maybe that desire is strange and outdated to begin with, but it's the place where we feel the most at home.

    We hope that's true for most of you as well.
    asdasdgatorguyapple jockeyelijahgpscooter63
  • Reply 35 of 142
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 327administrator
    I've noticed in recent AirPod discussions my posts being edited. Honestly this is off-putting -- because I know for a fact my posts didn't violate forum rules such as attacking other users, trolling, etc. And yet, the phrasing of my rational thoughts was altered. This is really bothersome. In any other forum I've ever participated in over the past nearly 20 years, if a post is in violation of the rules it's removed. In no case has a mod ever monitored posts and re-written them to alter the voice of the writers. In fact it's rather insulting.

    I find this particularly frustrating when crazed or troll posts from users such as sog are left as-is. So what is the value-add here in leaving those posts, but editing others? It just seems like bas business to me -- either delete violation posts, or leave them be. Even troll-den MR doesn't do this, and I left there for AI due to the chaos of the forums. If you're hoping to avoid that I'd suggest re-writing the voice of your members is NOT the right way to go about it.
    I sent you a PM addressing why your posts were modified.

    To answer your larger question about selective editing... it's much less selective than you think. We edited a lot of posts today. I said at the beginning of this thread we were going to start increasing moderation on posts, especially early on in threads where they can cause the most damage in detailing a topic, and also because those posts appear on the main site. Sometimes that means we don't need to outright delete a post. If we can slightly rework it without essentially changing the meaning (but often altering the tone where it is inappropriate) we will do that.
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 36 of 142
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    gatorguy said:
    Nice to see evidence of the mods keeping topics on track today. My apologies for my own distraction in one of them but I think this might just work to make the forums a better place to exchange ideas and opinions. Thanks!
    Well, I'm not so keen on dropping the dislike button, but I am hoping they'll curb your habit of dropping in a Google advert in threads where no one has actually mentioned Google. 

    nhtpscooter63
  • Reply 37 of 142
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    I'm generally against making bubbles but it really does seem like the Apple haters are protected on what was previously an Apple enthusiast site, now it's wading through Apple hating BS on the forums. The haters will shit all over Apple on multiple threads, and even when rebutted they'll carry on in a different thread as if that never happened. But it's the ones calling them out on it that apparently gets the brunt of the moderation. So much cherry picking, pretzel logic and it's really insane, a handful of Apple haters really do have a run of the place. This used to be an enjoyable forum to participate in but increasingly over the years, it's like we have to put up with the acid wash from people that carry on like Apple is Always Wrong™. One certain individual seems to even have a fetish for telling us that Tim Cook is doing it all wrong and will bring it up in many threads not about Cook. There's a point that we don't need their kind of misinformed noise, seriously.
    edited December 2016 nhtslurpyStrangeDayssuddenly newtonwilliamlondonpscooter63
  • Reply 38 of 142
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member

    jSnively said:
    nht said:
    ...
    Actually it was dismissive and without seeing the data no one has any idea whether or not it was effective.
    I understand "without seeing the data no one has any idea whether or not it was effective.", but that is beyond the scope of what we're going to divulge here. Partly because it's a fairly complex mash-up of metrics, but also because that gets into numbers in a way we don't want to discuss publicly. At some point you just have to trust we aren't making arbitrary decisions. If I wanted to be dismissive, then I could have just told everyone to go pound sand, or let everyone complain into the void.

    nht said:

    The only statistic that really matters is revenue. I don't think having a troll friendly forum increases your revenues but your servers so your call.
    Actually, this is wrong. The forums are a loss-leader for us.

    We keep them around because this community/site has been around for so long, and it's important to us. Too much of the internet has proven ephemeral, and we are in a unique position as an earlier Apple-focused news outlet to preserve some of that history. It's one of the reasons we work so hard to ensure our posts from the late 90s still load up in the current CMS, and links in from extremely old URLs still function. I recently saw a thread over on the MR forums about someone doing research on Apple for school, and they were looking for early apple news from before a certain date (I forget when exactly). Not only did a number of replies say "check AppleInsider", but guess what was one of the few still-running sites they could actually uncover working posts for? It made me smile.

    It would be very easy for us to just go hands-off like newer endeavors and let the conversations happen primarily on social media. That's where the people actually are these days. But, we find value in building and expanding the community around the site, and we want as many people as possible to be a part of that. It's part of our DNA. I grew up on BBSs and small, localized internet communities; almost none of which are still around. That's why we're making changes, and that's why we're actively working to encourage more people to participate.

    It's not always easy, and we're not always going to get everything right, but it's important to us that we foster a community of fun Apple lovin' people. Who knows, maybe now is the time we fail, maybe that desire is strange and outdated to begin with, but it's the place where we feel the most at home.

    We hope that's true for most of you as well.
    Well, it's too early to tell, but I suspect that you'll actually bring more trolls to the forum (and by trolls I mean the drive-by posters, and not people who come in with a legitimate Apple gripe), and then once they learn that you don't have the time to moderate every single post, they'll turn this place into another MacRumors. 

    I think losing the Dislike button is a mistake, and I say this as someone who pulled in a fair number of dislikes. Hell, sometimes I wish I could dislike my own posts!  If I see a long post with a lot of dislikes then I'll skip over it. Without the dislike button, I now just skip over long posts with no likes. "Informative" and "funny"? Not really sure I see the point of that, since "informative" depends on what you know and "funny" is even more subjective. 

    This new scheme has been running for a day or two, and in my opinion, the number of poorly-written posts is on the rise and the sanitised 'like everything or nothing' posts have made the forums much less lively and a lot less fun while, amazingly, upping the troll count. I've already found that I'm a lot less likely to join a discussion just through lack of enthusiasm. 

    But perhaps I'm being nostalgic. This site used to pull in genuine Apple rumour exclusives, but now I think the problem is that there is nothing here that I can't read elsewhere in a lot more depth.  I mean the fact that no one picked up on the fact that Safra Catz is a woman literally stunned me. 

    News aggregator sites are ten a penny, and I'm starting to think that just repeating the news without investigation or critical input is doing a lot more harm than good. 

    On the other hand, it's also possible that the site hasn't changed, but what I'm looking for in a news site and associated discussions has changed as I've gotten older.

    nhtStrangeDayswilliamlondon
  • Reply 39 of 142
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,476member
    jeffdm said:
    I'm generally against making bubbles but it really does seem like the Apple haters are protected on what was previously an Apple enthusiast site, now it's wading through Apple hating BS on the forums. The haters will shit all over Apple on multiple threads, and even when rebutted they'll carry on in a different thread as if that never happened. But it's the ones calling them out on it that apparently gets the brunt of the moderation. So much cherry picking, pretzel logic and it's really insane, a handful of Apple haters really do have a run of the place. This used to be an enjoyable forum to participate in but increasingly over the years, it's like we have to put up with the acid wash from people that carry on like Apple is Always Wrong™. One certain individual seems to even have a fetish for telling us that Tim Cook is doing it all wrong and will bring it up in many threads not about Cook. There's a point that we don't need their kind of misinformed noise, seriously.
    I don't see Apple haters running rife through the forums and the forums themselves are not a place of Apple evangelism. They are a place of discussion. To discuss the good and the bad. One person's good might be another person's bad and vice versa. 

    Even a person who is seemingly critical of Apple is very probably an owner of one or more Apple devices, and as such, perfectly entitled to express an opinion.

    If you think there are true Apple haters here whose only goal is to bring Apple down, you can simply ignore them.

    In the opinion based threads you will see just that, opinions. A broad spread of different opinions with some defended better than others, some more passionate than others.

    If you perceive that there is more criticism of Apple or its products than before, then perhaps it is true and perhaps some of that criticism is justified. 

    The modifications mentioned in this thread seem more orientated to reducing abuse of some forum mechanisms (namely the dislike button), and not as a method to protect any one kind of user. 

    The explanation given was clearly explained and later defended and the changes themselves were fruit of a real, identifiable situation.
    singularitygatorguy
  • Reply 40 of 142
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,286member
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Nice to see evidence of the mods keeping topics on track today. My apologies for my own distraction in one of them but I think this might just work to make the forums a better place to exchange ideas and opinions. Thanks!
    Well, I'm not so keen on dropping the dislike button, but I am hoping they'll curb your habit of dropping in a Google advert in threads where no one has actually mentioned Google. 

    If I ever do that (tho I don't recall ever initiating the mention) I would expect mods to modify or delete the off-topic mention just as I would expect it when you or someone else does, particularly early in a thread. "Yeah, but...but...GOOGLE/ANDROID/APPLE/TRUMP" has derailed many a thread that didn't involve those companies/people to begin with. The increased attention to posts regarding subject matter is a whole lot more important to the usefulness of the forums than a silly ineffectual "Dislike" button.

    I'm really optimistic that over time the discussions will improve and personal insults will lessen as threads stay closer to the topics. We should give the changes a chance before deciding they are a few steps backward. I don't think they are. 
    edited December 2016
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