Meta Question

jlm11f's avatar

Can the Qs on Fluther get any more nonsensical? What can we do to change this trend?

Asked by jlm11f (12332 points ) November 4th, 2010

Also, what can we do to help improve site quality? Clearly many Qs are great and yes there is a tabs system in place so people can choose their poison. But there is such a stark contrast between General and Social or there used to be, a lot of this is debatable now, that just clicking on the Social tab feels like I’m losing a few IQ points. Is this really what the site should be aiming for?

Is there nothing to be said for the intellectual stimulation and conversation that this site was once known for? Or is this new phase better because it accepts all regardless of quality? How do YOU feel about this? This Q is more for the veterans, but as always newbies should feel free to chime in.

Let me address some of the answers I’m sure I’ll get:

“You don’t need to answer the ones you dislike, just ignore them” – True, but I’m worried about overall site quality and also the current sad plight of mankind.

“Everyone has different interests, we don’t berate you for your Qs” – True, but then what’s the difference between Yahoo Answers and Fluther?

“If you don’t like it, you can leave” – Also true, but does Fluther really want to lose its veterans?

People new to this discussion, please read – After some constructive criticism, the title of this Q has been changed. For older answers to still make sense, I thought I should point out that “retarded” in the Q title has been replaced by “nonsensical.”

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

396 Answers

faye's avatar

I think it changed the day no one said “google it” anymore. And yet I am here every day!

kevbo's avatar

The word is churn. We (the old timers) have all been here and asked that a hundred times over—in some ways this is literal. I think there are many of us (myself included) who have asked iterations of the same question dozens of times. What this tells me is that a good chunk of being here is time to try and resolve issues that matter to the self. It also means that a good chunk of participation for individual jellies is finite or at least reaches a point of diminishing returns. So perhaps it’s not the quality of discussion so much as the perspective of veterans who are practically Fluther jedi and maybe have graduated from the days of humoring other jellies who are bumping into each other on training wheels.

While Fluther is stimulating, I think it’s a mistake to assume Fluther is here for your stimulation. It’s a place to get questions answered. Everything else is a bonus until it isn’t.

josie's avatar

Isn’t this the beauty of diversity?

ETpro's avatar

I know I ask a few questions just to stimulate some fun responses. But I also know I ask some questions that explore extremely difficult issues and that challenge even the most advanced users here. I have asked a dozen questions in my Strange Universe series. I know from my studies of Cosmology that the world’s greatest astrophysicists are hotly debating some of these questions today. And I ask them in the social section because I frankly just enjoy giving respondents to freedom to crack a joke now and then about a particular aspect of the question or perhaps a possible double entendre in a response.

I’m content with the system as is.

Symbeline's avatar

I don’t really see it happening, because despite the retarded shit, there’s still a lot of damn good material in the social section, which distances this place away from places like YA. Are you honestly tryna tell me you can’t see a difference between there and here? (As suggested by your second assumption.)
What do you see as retarded anyways? ABC questions, stuff about poop, pregnancy questions? How much is it anymore a trend than it was a year ago when vets were whining that this place was declining?
I see it as a cycle rather than a ’‘trend’’, and besides personal choices on what one would like to see, I don’t really see what you’re talking about.
Granted, what I claim is hard work for a social network site, and it it IS true, I’m still glad to be here instead of Answerbag.
For every question about ringworm porn, there’s always some thought inducing material to get busy with, whether it’s philosophy, social issues, politics, religion, personal experiences, psychology, science, history, some fun little things for most of us who don’t feel like writing essays when we get back from class, whatever you want, so it’s all good yo.

What we can do if this is a problem is to attempt and contribute in more mature and constructive ways, rather than to criticize a site that just doesn’t deserve it, especially when you compare it to other Q&A sites. It’s almost a miracle. I’m curious as to what you think is retarded. I’m sure you’re legit, I don’t doubt it. Your question is well put and genuine, but at this point I just can’t help but to feel like I imagine I might feel in some Goth forum if I said that I thought Twilight was bullshit.

I don’t like the division between social and general myself, especially for what it means in the modding stakes, but I don’t agree that the social section is the cesspool of retardation that you claim it to be.
I mean it IS a social site, and if you really need help with your Blackberry, phone up your provider, if you want to know something about Vlad the Impaler, do some research and if you want philosophical insight, there’s plenty of other sources to explore.
Not saying that Fluther cannot help with such examples, but it never signed some contract agreeing that it had to comply with everything you think it should be.

tinyfaery's avatar

You shouldn’t offend retarded people by equating their level of intelligence with that of those of which you speak.

I don’t know what to tell you. I look at about ⅓ of the questions and only answer a fraction of that. Maybe we should ask more questions ourselves.

I think @kevbo is on to something. Some of us have been here so long. It’s kinda like been there, answered that.

josie's avatar

I’m sure some of my questions have not helped. But it is certainly not out of disrespect for Fluther veterans that I ask them.

DominicX's avatar

Quit bitching. You want to improve things? Do something about it.

hug_of_war's avatar

I agree. It is mostly pointless muck now with no substance.

Plucky's avatar

Meh ..this probably doesn’t help but I’m surprised your question title wasn’t sent back for editing. Using the word “retarded” in the manner you did is rather offensive.

I think some questions are really odd and, well, not my thing. But there are still quite a few that I find interesting and worth the read.

josie's avatar

Just so I can appreciate the problem… What is a question from the past, the quality of which is rarely duplicated in the present?

jlm11f's avatar

For those wanting an example, here’s a terrible Q and look at all the serious responses it got. In the old days, NO ONE would think that was legit. Now, apparently naming random shit is a matter of importance.

Here’s another horrible Q that can now stay under current guidelines.

kevbo's avatar

With all due respect, WHAT ARE YOU ON?

josie's avatar

@PnL I see what you mean. That being the case, please refer back to my previous comment about diversity

bob_'s avatar

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be XD

There should be a topic entire new section for these questions: General, Social, Meta and Isn’t-Fluther-really-really-dumb-now-and-wasn’t-it-so-much-better-before?

augustlan's avatar

I just want to point out that the standards today are actually higher now than they were when I joined. While we allow a greater diversity in the type of questions that may be asked, we do make a distinction between more ‘serious’ questions and more ‘playful’ questions, and all of them have to meet certain requirements that weren’t strictly enforced in the past. I think we tend to view the past through rose colored glasses, and think things were better, but it just isn’t true.

In the past, when there was only one section, we got some classically hilarious questions that should have been removed, but weren’t. They would either be placed in the appropriate section or removed altogether if they were asked today. Frizzer? Pancakes? Not to mention a certain member who can’t write in English for the life of him was posting all over the place.

Symbeline's avatar

@PnL You think any of those were serious answers? A test then, a point in case.
Either way, I find it a bit odd that you had to demonstrate your point with a question of your own.

kevbo's avatar

@PnL, maybe you’ve seen Breach one too many times.

augustlan's avatar

Also, most of the answers to both of the questions you linked are by mods in disguise. I’m pretty sure we all knew the questions were tongue in cheek. :p

lillycoyote's avatar

@PnL If you don’t want serious answers, don’t ask stupid questions.

jrpowell's avatar

@Symbeline :: It would be a bit rude to use examples of other peoples questions to illustrate her point.

bob_'s avatar

@johnpowell And is referring to questions in general as retarded not rude?

jlm11f's avatar

@augustlan You and me both know that not everyone quite understood the Qs were tongue in cheek. Additionally I had people message me and say that they didn’t know it was a joke Q for the longest time because they’re so used to seeing Qs and answers like that.

@ everyone else – I haven’t read most of the answers yet but I promise to get to them someday (depends on how much I feel like procrastinating at the moment). This Q was asked more for the benefit of certain users rather than myself (as most of you know I’m not really active here anymore). So hopefully these people will be able to see the community opinion on things and decide on where they want to go from here.

Also, I cannot take full credit for my past 2 Qs since admittedly I had help in shaping them from several Fluther users.

Maybe the problem is that as an ex-mod/community manager, I know what direction this site was supposed to be going in and the fact that we’ve deviated so far is hard to digest.

@mods You know I love you, and I know from experience that these Qs are cumbersome and a pain in the rear. This Q in itself is not revolutionary and asks age old Qs that have been asked every now and then. I just thought it was time to bring up these Qs one more time more as a reminder than any thing else.

@Symbeline what @johnpowell said. There’s a reason I asked those Qs, to prove a point. If you look at my Q history, I typically ask decent Qs.

@bob_ I have a lot of things to say to you, but for now we’ll go with this simple bit: the “retarded” word usage was a way to get this Q immediate attention. Some simple politics, if you will. I’ve been learning some tricks from the GOP….

@psychocandy GA

@DominicX I think I have done quite a bit for this site, so I have some right to bitching. Thanks for your concern.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
jlm11f's avatar

@kevbo Thank you! Now you know how I feel when I read the Fluther Qs these days.

Mods – I’m ok w/ his response staying by the way.

kevbo's avatar

Oh poor you. I’m so glad I understand.

bob_'s avatar

@PnL You have a lot of things to say to me? Like what? You think the whole sandwich thing is moronic? Sure, but I have not once used it in a serious discussion. Anyway… I don’t mind about the word at all. Yes, I think it’s rude, but there are worse things out there (and I don’t find it offensive).

Response moderated
Dog's avatar

[Mod Says:] Flame off please. There is no reason for personal attacks.

The question at hand is asking if anything can be done to improve the quality on Fluther.
Please try to keep it from getting personal.

If the question bothers you please resist the temptation to flame and move on to the next question.

kevbo's avatar

Um… excuse me. I gave a sincere answer only to find out this is all a mindfuck. How about doing something about that?

augustlan's avatar

@kevbo I don’t think it’s a mind-fuck. I’m certain that @PnL is literally concerned about this.

Symbeline's avatar

@PnL Never said otherwise. But for how blunt and specific you were about the userbase in the premise of your question, I think that making stupid questions of your own to prove a point about other people was hardly necessary, if thou speaketh the truth.

I still prefer examples of retardation that come from other people who are not you. You’ve still not provided them, and I asked at least twice in my first answer here.

And if all this IS a joke as I hear tell, well…only on Fluther! :D

I may not be a man, but I don’t shave my legs. I can take it!

jlm11f's avatar

@kevbo Calm down. I appreciated your initial answer. The “retarded” thing that is offending you so much was paying homage to an older Q that bitched about mods and called us (it was still “us” at that time) “retarted”. I agree an inside joke might not have been the way to go about this.

@Symbelline Some one did attempt to provide links for you but according to the mod guidelines, this isn’t allowed cuz it is a personal attack at those that asked the Q. Thus my Qs.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I knew the questions weren’t serious, but I can understand why this specific question upset people. Especially with the use of the word “retarded” in the title.

lillycoyote's avatar

Perhaps some of us wouldn’t be making this personal if the OP could refrain from implying that the rest of us simply don’t get or are incapable of getting just how sophisticated and nuanced her fluther gameplay really is.

jlm11f's avatar

@lillycoyote Fair enough. GA. I welcome constructive criticism, so thank you.

DominicX's avatar

@lillycoyote

Exactly. It’s just that it seems like every now and then we get a lofty question on this site complaining about how the questions posted here are not satisfactory enough (or lofty enough) when all the person needs to do is post their own satisfactory questions and the net quality of the questions here will increase. But this question does come off as condescending and whiny…

“Why can’t other people make this site better for me?” People are going to ask what they’re going to ask. All you can do is ask your own “good” questions and ignore the ones that are no good.

Dog's avatar

______________ [Mod Says:]__________________

The user has re-worded the question.

__________________________________________

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

i doan geddit… di miss sumfin?

YARNLADY's avatar

I just skip them. I have been getting a lot more work done around the house lately, with so few questions to answer. However, since I don’t ask questions much, I don’t feel I have a right to complain much.

Kraigmo's avatar

I have never noticed any issues with site quality.
And you’re the person who asked a silly question about interpreting your dream.

I don’t wanna cramp your freeflow of Questions and Answers, and I don’t wanna cramp anyone else’s, either; (Spam and hate being the exceptions).

There’s nothing wrong here at all.

PS I only chose one of your Q’s as an example, that one person’s silly is another person’s important. You have many other questions that I would not consider silly.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Great Caesar’s ghost, I think it is not so much the seriousness of the question or its importance so much as the ability of people to actually grasp the question for the logic, concept and/or gist of it. You mentioned AB when I was there I did not seem to have as many miss the spirit of the question or try to add lines or phrases into the question that wasn’t there, and there were less space in which to give them helpful information to answer the questions.

If it is a hypothetical question to try to get all logical or scientific about the question is not answering the question as to how would you handle a given situation or do if a particular occurrence happened.

Questions on religion or God, if you don’t believe don’t answer the question, answering the question with a off handed dig or one more bold that you don’t believe and think it is a bunch of hogwash is not answering the question the poster ask, they don’t care if you don’t believe, if you don’t the question was not for you in the 1st place.

There should be a bridge between General and Social because sometimes you need more than General can give but are forced to place it there to keep those question meanderer Flutheronians narrowed down to actual answers and not reading into the question what was never there or thinking you were talking oil slick because oil was mentioned when the only reason it was mentioned was the question asked about protecting the car engine.

notdan's avatar

What can we do to help improve site quality? My thoughts:

-Reward lurve for good answers, not for any answer. Some question-answering sites have a feature which allows the poser of the question to select the answer they feel is most valuable, and single it out. I like this model. The one asking the question can publicly recognize which answer was the most valuable for them, which is also, hopefully, the most valuable solution to the problem.

-Reward lurve for good questions.

-Make the divide between social and general more distinct. I suggest by making the quality standards of general questions more intense. Or, even, possibly opening up a more technical category.

-Establish what good question-asking and answer-giving etiquette is. And I don’t mean just manners.

I agree with what the question asker has said and done, despite their wily ways.

I also agree with the Google thing. A huge number of questions could have been typed into the Google search bar and an answer would have been found. This turns those of us who are interested in providing useful answers into link demons, direction people away to websites where the question asker can educate themselves about the answer to their questions or just regurgitating information we found when we Googled it ourselves. Is “Get people to Google stuff for you” a service the Fluther community wants to provide? I hope not. I believe questions should be crafted to solicit intelligent, and well thought-out answers. This means questions must also be intelligent and well thought-out.

I’d be interested in hearing someone who doesn’t think there’s a problem here speak further about the idea. Please message me if you’d like to rebuttal.

Dog's avatar

[As Not a Mod]

Here is my personal take on this. And please put the pitchforks down- Thanks!

This question, like many we get from those who we moderate who do not understand why we have standards and will not change the site to meet their needs, was born out of frustration.

Fluther is different. It is not like Facebook or Yahoo Answers. Fluther is a place where I actually have solved some very difficult problems because of the generous advice of the user base. Often times I will ask HERE before anywhere else because I can get input nearly instantly.

I think we all know how much of an asset Fluther is on the internet. And Fluther has evolved over time. When social came in we changed what kind of questions could be asked, opening them up to allow polls (if well written and thought provoking) and more social questions to get to know one another.

I am only suggesting that more effort be required of some of the questions asked site wide. I am NOT talking about removing sandwich humor or fun.

Here is an example: (and I refuse to use a real example even though I could find many because it would not be ethically right)

“Should I wear blue socks or white?” and the details say something like “That is all I have left in the drawer”

Yes we are getting a lot of questions like this lately. And yes I agree with the asking party that this is low quality.

This kind of question really does not have enough detail to prompt a good discussion at all. The person could get the same random short poll answers posting it on FB or twitter. But this is Fluther! We are better than that.

What if they wrote it like this:
“Which color socks would go better with khaki pants?”
Details: I am out of clean clothes and am down to a pair of white socks and a pair of navy blue socks. I will be wearing khaki pants and a yellow shirt. Would either choice clash or is one preferable over another?

See what I mean here?

If a user wants to ask a question it should have details and be an actual question not just a line dashed off that popped into their heads or asked because they had one question left to ask that day and did not want it to go to waste.
Example “I am bored- is anyone else bored?”

Again- I am not bad mouthing any users. In fact I am not even thinking of any users at all.

So this question to me reflects the need for a baseline for asking questions so that they are actual questions written with enough detail to prompt discussion even in Social. We had such base guidelines before the sections were put in place. To accommodate the new sections there is a need to take the old guidelines and relax them to fit but not relaxed so much that “anything goes.”

This is my opinion.

notdan's avatar

@dog I would still be upset to see someone pose that sock question. Any possible solution seems entirely opinion based. There’s no way to apply reason or to put weight on a “best fitting” solution. Questions like that should be tagged social. I would still think it poor form for a general question.

Well said, though.

Dog's avatar

@notdan I entirely agree and should have stated both examples would be in Social. The last example preferably not on Fluther at all though.

augustlan's avatar

@notdan Yeah, I think that would go in Social.

Insider info alert: We are drafting some new question guidelines, and hope to have them done very shortly. That should help with overall quality.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t think there can or will ever be any consensus on what constitutes “quality” on a site like fluther. As @Kraigmo put it “one person’s silly is another person’s important.” And sometimes I like silly and I don’t want any pompous fool, other than myself, to decide for me whether that silly question is appropriate or not, is a “quality” question or not. We have to tolerate each other’s differences in taste and temperment. If we can’t do that then it seems like there are really only two choices: 1. We allow fluther to dicate exactly what kind of questions can be asked, with very strict standards and guidelines and we all agree to fully abide by those standards and guidelines or 2. We can each create our own website where we only allow the kinds of questions that we feel meet our own standards of quality. I don’t really like either solution, so I will continue to do what I do and that is to ignore the questions that I think are stupid and not worth my time and effort and focus on the questions that I do think are worth my time and effort.

jlm11f's avatar

Dear @Kraigmo, I see what you’re saying, please refer to this quip to understand that Q was meant to mock the current state of Qs and was not sincere.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I don’t think there can or will ever be any consensus on what constitutes “quality” on a site like fluther. I think if the larvae system was updated or overhauled that question would be easier answered. When you hand out GQ and GA like candy on Halloween it becomes like those pee wee leagues where every kid gets an award, most spirited, most courageous, etc. The award becomes meaningless because you did not have to do anything special to get it but show up. If a GQ, for instance, didn’t count until you meld 5 votes or nominations then it would start to mean something. The way it is now you have to wade through dozens of answers on some questions when most of the answers are answering or questioning other answers and not the OP. Maybe if GA took more of an effort to get there would be less and would stand out better among 57 answers so you can sift out the non-helpful ones.

jrpowell's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central :: The gripe is with the quality of questions and not the answers. This is why people are pissed. The questions are mostly shitty poll questions. This is why I think they fucked up when the focus was put on answers. They should have kept the “Question” and “Discussion” distinction. If you need to know how to best care for your cast iron skillet it goes in Questions. If you want to know if I like pizza it goes in Discussion.

BoBo1946's avatar

Lot of bitching over nothing!

Blondesjon's avatar

Fluther has gotten a great deal bigger since it’s inception. When you also add an influx of money from investors and new faces in the home office things just aren’t going to stay the same. I think that Fluther has done a good job of keeping everything balanced so that a greater number of folks can enjoy the site. Remember, there were still nonsensical questions before all the big changes here.

i get such a kick out of seeing so many progressive folks terrified of change

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@johnpowell The gripe is with the quality of questions and not the answers. Maybe they can improve that too by making it so you have to meld a certain number of votes before your question gets the nod as a GQ. It would also help if Fluther tossed a bone once in a while and say of you meld X amount of GQs the last week of the month, for instance, you are awarded bonus questions to ask, so depending on the level of GQ you melded you can ask and extra 2 to 5 questions a day. Might help in making people think more about the question they contemplate posting.

notdan's avatar

@Blondesjon I’m glad to know how you get your kicks.

@Hypocrisy_Central I think you’re right. I think the quality of answers should be addressed as well as the quality of questions.

@johnpowell A distinction between discussions and questions would go a long way. A very good idea.

I feel like the dissenters of this idea (that there is a quality problem with questions and/or answers) are not information seekers. I suspect a schism between those who are here for mundane entertainment and those who are here because they want to smash their brains against interesting questions. There’s no reason Fluther can’t cater to both, but there obviously has to be distinction and organization to keep both parties happy. (Again @johnpowell for the separation of discussion / questions.)

Ultimately a user wants to develop a roll of questions parsed from all those posted on Fluther that are most interesting and relevant to them. The topic system works to this end already. What other metrics could be used to help identify the questions (and, hopefully, to promote that kind of question asking) which attracts those interested in high quality question asking and answer giving? (Will probably frame this as a meta-question later.)

BoBo1946's avatar

Well, Yardlady “hit the nail on the head,” you don’t have to answer the question.

janbb's avatar

(Reminds me of the shitstorm that was raised when pd asked a question about signal to noise months ago and used the term “aggressive stupidity.”) My take? The quality of questions waxes and wanes, smart people come and go, and Fluther survives. I miss a number of people who are not here anymore but that’s more on a personal level, although probably as Fluther gets more and more widely used, the quality will go somewhat down. We’re all kind of like a large dysfunctional family – we like to bitch and moan. And some days are like that – even in Australia. FWIW

mrentropy's avatar

I’m not entirely awake yet, so feel free to skip over this.

Having freedom means putting up with things that you don’t like, or you think is stupid, or you think is just plain wrong. So far I think Fluther is a fair balance between freedom and restrictedness (or whatever. It’s Make Up A Word Day).

Now that I’ve said that I will be honest and say that I haven’t been checking in on Fluther nearly as much as I had been because I see a lot of questions I don’t like, think are stupid, and think are just plain wrong. And as much as I’d like those things to change, it’s not my site.

If it were my site there would be two areas that I’d be looking at. One would be points. While it’s nice to have a system where you can kind of gauge a user by the amount of points they have there are still two problems with it. For instance, I’m sure more than half my points are from dumb one-liners I’ve tossed out, and that is not indicative of a “good answer” person. And two, whenever you have points there’s going to be someone who needs to “win.”

The other thing is a phenomenon that my dad would call, “Talking to hear your lips flap.” You know, someone is bored and they put whatever pops into their head as a question on Fluther hoping to get a conversation of some kind going. But you know, sometimes a question like that can lead to interesting conversations.

Is there anything inherently wrong with an opinion question? I don’t think so. For instance, I am not a fashion conscious guy. I would ask a question like, “Can I wear tan shoes with black pants?” And I would hope that I would get an honest answer from someone who would know (“Oh, dear, no. You want checkered pants with those!”).

So, really, you need to figure out if this is going to be a site where people can wear their casual clothes or decide if it should be for tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows. Too far in one direction and it becomes chaos, too far in the other and it becomes a very dry, drab place.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Dog ; Thank you for using hypothetical examples up there, I think that’s more respectful than setting up the users by mocking us. Yeah, @PnL , I get that it was done “tongue in cheek”, but I think it was a bit mean spirited.
I probably shouldn’t be posting on this Q at all, I’ve only been here a few months, but I find a value in the quips that make me laugh out loud (is that a bad thing?) and the questions that are light-hearted and encourage friendly banter. There are lots of Q’s here that encourage serious discussion as well, I learn from those, mostly I don’t participate unless it’s an area I am somewhat proficient in, due to personal memory issues.
I like it here, I ask few questions but I like the feedback I get, and I think it’s too bad that many “veteran” users are dissatisfied with the quality of the site as it is now.
@mrentropy just said, much better than I was trying to, (in spite of the early, fella, you did good, thank you) what I wanted to.

BoBo1946's avatar

Just one more thing before I close this door. There has been a great influx of young people who ask some questions that don’t seem important to most adults, but it’s to them. Their world is much different than ours. Those are great opportunities to take the time to do some good. Everyone needs some guidance occasionally. It’s not always about feeding our egos to impress people with our great knowledge and ability to write beautiful sentences!

mrentropy's avatar

Yeah, that’s true. I agree with @BoBo1946 on the kids questions.

Pandora's avatar

I’m not understanding the question being that the examples you gave of bad questions where posted by yourself. I’m not trying to be confrontational.
But isn’t this similar to throwing feces into the air and then have it land on your face and look around to see who might have thrown it?
I feel this way about it. If you want and intellectual and stimulating conversation all the time than join a debate team, or volunteer or join a political forum, or at the very least, lead by example and post questions that you find may be intellectually stimulating.
Of course one can argue that this is what you are doing but I can see why some people on here see it as whiny.
This kind of question is usually not my cup of tea but I will admit to being a bit annoyed at seeing this question posted time and time again.

BoBo1946's avatar

@mrentropy I always try, don’t always do it….to welcome any new member to Fluther. A word of encouragement goes a long way. Yesterday, read the profile of kid that was…maybe, 12 or 13! She said, “I HATE MY LIFE…IT SUCKS!” Now, there is an opportunity to just say a kind word and give that person some support. That person without a doubt was facing some serious shit in their life.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Maybe up at the top where the buttons for “Just For You”, “General”, and “Social”, etc they should have buttone that say “20s”, “30somthing”, “Saltnpepper”, etc so you have some ideal what content of question you may run into and from that historical stand point. That way the more seasoned people don’t have to wade through “Do he like me?” and “Jusrin Beiber questions” all of the time.

thekoukoureport's avatar

If you are going to have a collective, you should be accepting of all questions. Your question posted here could change someones mind when posting and his inane question might have lead to the cure for cancer. And now you riuined it thanks. lol jk

Besides knowledge can be garnered from the most inane of sources. You just have to open your mind.

Pandora's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I love the salt-n-pepper idea. I think magniloquent, or pretentious or all mighty could also be catagories.

jonsblond's avatar

This from the guidlines: Can I have more than one account?
Provided that it is not used to game the lurve system, deceive, confuse or cause trouble, we allow users to create more than one account.

Also, most of the answers to both of the questions you linked are by mods in disguise.” Isn’t this deceiving the users of Fluther that weren’t in on the little joke?

I know mods have trouble with users at times concerning moderation, but does this help? How are these people, that already have problems with you, going to trust you now? Honest question. You know I lurve the mods here. I’m just surprised.

BoBo1946's avatar

@jonsblond umm…very interesting! Never would have thought that!

erichw1504's avatar

I think this question should have ended after the second answer.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@jonsblond : Yeah, I felt a little stung by that, and I usually have a pretty thick skin. I get that a point was being made, I just thought it was…er…disrespectfully done.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I get that this was done to make a point, but all it really does is hurt Fluther. By asking questions that you consider to be bad questions just to make a point, the new users that just joined see those as the types of questions that are asked here. Then they ask similar questions and then new users see their questions and the cycle will continue.

The only way to improve the quality of questions is to ask good questions and refrain from asking questions you think are bad just to make a point.

laurentoo's avatar

I have been taking a break from fluther but created this account just now because I wanted to answer this question. I’m the user free_fallin. I won’t be responding to any other questions under this name and will likely delete it in the near future.

I understand your point and frustration. A problem I see is the line being drawn between veterans and everyone else. The quality of questions hasn’t changed that much and people have been inactive for quite some time now, just like there are veterans who are still very much active. Should fluther change because of the minority? It seems the majority of people disagree with you. I am sick of some of the nonsensical questions as well, but those are going to come through. We have a healthy balance, I believe, between quality and nonsensical. Regulating the nonsensical is like asking fluther to become a selective community. We’re already selective. We have cliques. We enter the chatroom when the people we like are in there and avoid it when certain people are also in there. We’ve made friends outside of the site and those people tend to be the ones we gravitate towards. What have the veterans who feel the quality of questions decreased doing about it? As a topic editor, how many questions have you cleaned up? That’s one way to help clean up things around here. My point is, you don’t really have that much time for fluther anyway and this has nothing to do with the quality of questions. We spend most of our free time in chat rather than searching through fluther questions. I don’t think that’s because of the quality, it’s more because we enjoy chatting with the people in there. I don’t think fluther wants to lose any members, regardless of whether they’re veterans. Being a veteran shouldn’t entitle anyone into having their complaints reach the top of the list. Some of the veterans/mods don’t even do any modding anymore, if they ever did. Some are on the site constantly, because they’re lucky enough to have the time to do so, cleaning up topics and questions. I hate the distinction that’s been made between old and new users. It comes across as condescending and immature, though as much as I respect the mods/veterans, I have hope no one means for it to sound that way.

The bottom line: this is a site that will continue to grow and change, in both positive and negative ways. Veterans will come and go. Newbies will come and go. No one wants to see anyone go, unless they’re a spambot/troll. The complaining gets old when it’s the same group of people complaining about the same things, especially when those people are in the minority. Should fluther cater to the minority or majority? Should the opinions of veterans carry more weight? What if those veterans haven’t really been active in months, so where are their opinions coming from?

You get what you put in. Rather than ask nonsensical questions to prove a point that most people do not understand or agree with, why not edit topics, flag questions, ask better quality questions, give us newbies a chance and discuss your concerns/ideas with the staff and mods?

My answer is completely made with love and respect. I hope no one reads a tone in it that I did not intend.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I don’t see a lot of traffic here, period. I don’t know if that has always been the case, or if I am just noticing it more now. I have to wonder if the rise in popularity of Facebook and Twitter have simply drawn people away from sites like this.

josie's avatar

This always happens. That is why every generation, for one reason or another, winds up saying “There goes the neighborhood”.

mrentropy's avatar

@josie Mmm. Back in my day, winters were colder, summers were warmer, and the questions were better! Get off my lawn, you nonsensical kids!

BoBo1946's avatar

It is about the “big picture!”

We are family!

It’s about tolerance!

It’s about compromise.

It’s about love for one another.

It’s not utopia, but “dang good!”

Btw, anyone seen Austinlad lately? Ummm…he is gone! Deleted his profile.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@BoBo1946 : Picante mentioned on the “Roll Call” Q that Austinlad is traveling. Hopefully he’ll come back!

BoBo1946's avatar

@JilltheTooth okay….i feel better. Great guy!

J0E's avatar

Veterans can’t expect the site to stay frozen in the time when they thought it was best. Times change, and users change, it’s Fluther job to cater to the majority. If you go and look at most “veterans” pages you’ll notice they visit the site every day and yet they haven’t participated in weeks.Then they wonder why the site isn’t like when they first joined. Who do you think was generating that content that you consider better than todays? It was the veterans, and if they stop contributing then all that “intellectual stimulation” will be gone too.

Sitting on your hands, only using the site for the Chatroom, and asking “why isn’t Fluther like it used to be?” questions isn’t gonna help. If you want to help then be active like you once were, and maybe you will set an example for how this site is supposed to be used.

FYI: This was not directed solely at @PnL.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You guys have restored my faith a little. I looked at this thread when I first got on and wondered when had the collective gone insane. And did I even want to be part of it any longer. Please have some respect for each other and try to be accommodating to different ideas.

tranquilsea's avatar

This is not a closed system for which I am grateful. As with most communities things are constantly in flux. Silliness begets silliness until someone, or a group of someones, creates a critical mass of serious questions. And back and forth it goes; a pendulum gently swaying from side to side.

With any social situation you have be careful about the number and the seriousness of rules brought down. Too many and you will chase away the creativity and spontaneity of the group and the dynamics will change for the worse. Too few and chaos reins. Balance is key.

I have been extremely impressed by the owners and moderators. They listen to the group and respond in the best way they can. They have an unenviable job one that I am sure is filled with unintended consequences.

If you have a problem with the content of the questions or answers: be the change you want to see as Gandhi would say.

J0E's avatar

Also, and this is directed at you @PnL (and whoever helped you). That’s pretty lame that you purposely asked two crappy questions just to prove a point. Just because they are stupid to you doesn’t mean they are stupid to someone who might seriously ask those questions. That’s very pretentious of you.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I agree with @Blondesjon – I have been here for over a year and a half…I know that doesn’t make me as veteran as you, @PnL but I always thought there were low and high quality questions and nothing much has changed…perhaps there was some dreamland period prior to my coming here (so I hear) where it was only good questions but that’s not the kind of thing you can hang on to if the site is going to be successful in expansion. I didn’t know the questions you asked about the cactus and the dream were jabs at perceived stupidity of other members – that seems ridiculous, to me, but whatever floats your boat.

diavolobella's avatar

@notdan makes an interesting point by saying “I suspect a schism between those who are here for mundane entertainment and those who are here because they want to smash their brains against interesting questions.”

I would counter with the idea that many of us are here for both purposes and fall into a middle ground, whereas others are more extreme [in both directions]. Even the most inquisitive and cerebral among us don’t want to do nothing but intellectualize all day. I come here for the interesting questions certainly, but equally for the lighthearted ones. I feel that the more amusing threads keep the site from becoming ponderous and pretentious. I consider the humorous threads to be the “sorbet” between courses of seriousness, if you will.

deni's avatar

i dont see why every question has to be extremely intelligent. one of the reasons i USE fluther is because of the silly questions that sometimes pop up. they make me laugh. there is no dumb question, as someone once said. although i disagree…i am sick of questions like “what DOES IT MEAN IF I DREAM ABOUT MY EX BOYFRIEND?!?!?” and all dream questions and all questions regarding marijuana because the same ones are asked every week and they never get modded, but i ask a question that was asked 2 years ago and it gets taken away. anyhow, i dont find it to be a problem at all. there are young people on this site who are going to ask “dumber” questions than older, more intelligent or scientific or political or whatever questions and i dont get why that would be a problem. and if i have a problem with a question, i dont have to click on it, ya know? its that simple.

Dog's avatar

Again I want to draw attention to my post here.

Dog's avatar

I would also like to add that, as a mod who participated (and had fun being silly) responding in the nonsensical questions it was not done with malice or to deceive. Yes it was a statement to absurdity. But it was just that- random fun like the Pancake question.

Mods are the visible representation of Fluther and as such we are allowed to have alternate accounts for posting without our “mod hat”. I care deeply for Fluther and want to see it grow and am good with change. There has to be a base line of quality.
Again- see my post and note that I am not bashing anyone- just wishing for more effort.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

If there is such an issue with veteran jellies disliking the social section because of the quality of questions, I have a suggestion: create another section titled “Entirely Too Pretentious To Appreciate That Some People Enjoy Random Ridiculous Questions With Which To Break Up The Monotony Of A Bad Day”.

Seriously, I can see the point that some questions are really “out there”, but some people, myself included, find it humorous and decompressing to read silly, inane, somewhat stupid questions occasionally. Maybe I’ve had a bad day (like yesterday) and I feel too overwhelmed with RL problems to be serious and intellectual when answering thought-provoking questions. On days like that, I find random ridiculous questions to be funny and even soothing.

If you have such a major problem with people showing their weird side or their totally random side, I suggest you ask yourself not what is lacking with them that makes them ask such “retarded” questions, but what is lacking in yourself that makes you go all postal because of those questions.

notdan's avatar

@diavolobella The difference between you and I is that I find the “humorous” threads detractive from the value and experience of the site. Like mosquitoes.

Poor communication and redundancy are not interesting. I don’t understand how it could be for anyone—but if it is your (collective) cup of tea, that’s fine. Drink it. Keep it out of my cup.

The clear case here is that different groups of people use this site and they want and expect different things from it. There are clearly people who don’t want to see social questions, just as there are people who only want to see social sections. The issue is that those who don’t want to see social questions are being overrun with them (they feel). There is no way to avoid unsavory content, on either side of the fence. Is it fair to repeat the original question and hope people at least try to answer it?

This is not an issue of young people asking ignorant questions (don’t call them dumb). This is an issue of people asking bad questions. 8 year olds are perfectly capable of asking good questions. It is not much to expect.

More pointedly: Is anyone else going to speak to the asker’s question? What can we do to change this trend? If you aren’t interested in changing the trend, or don’t see a trend or a problem, that’s fine. That’s your cup of tea. (Keep it in your mouth.)

notdan's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate “Entirely too pretentious to appreciate that some people DON’T enjoy random ridiculous nonsense with which to break up an otherwise pleasant and productive day”

Flag us both flame-baited and get it over with. Can you be constructive?

iamthemob's avatar

@notdan – I think the balance is fine. The problem with keeping that cup of tea in my mouth (although my mouth isn’t big enough for a whole cup, contrary to public perception) is that I don’t really see very many “nonsensical” questions. Lighthearted and non-serious questions often reveal as much about what people really believe as any other type.

I think it would help, though, if you attempted to point out (in as much an anonymous way as possible) what you think of as the poor questions.

Further, you can’t group together a part of the community that’s disappointed and put together a sort of “action plan” about how to change the site without the input with the teacuppers (YES…we have a name now. ;-)).

Jude's avatar

“Fluther has gotten a great deal bigger since it’s inception. When you also add an influx of money from investors and new faces in the home office things just aren’t going to stay the same. I think that Fluther has done a good job of keeping everything balanced so that a greater number of folks can enjoy the site. ”

@Blondesjon nailed it.

I don’t enjoy as much as I used to, but, I still come here.

I don’t see it changing either.

Just go with it.

jonsblond's avatar

@notdan the issue is that those who don’t want to see social questions are being overrun with them (they feel) Isn’t this why a social section was recently created? So those that don’t want them don’t have to see them on the main page?

I recently witnessed a thread where a new user was upset because their “vomit and king kong” (example) question was removed. Looks like the mods are doing their job to keep the bad quality questions from being on the site.

This just completely confuses me. To me it looks like the creators of this site have created something that everyone can enjoy. If some of the mods, and past mods, aren’t happy if with the quality, isn’t this something that should be taken up with the creators, not something to take out on the members, and play a little joke on everyone to make a point?

notdan's avatar

@iamthemob I think it would help immensely if that luxury were available, as well.Unfortunately, pointing out questions I think are bad (or dumb) would be a personal attack to the question-asker, as we’ve seen. I could probably source a few from the front page alone and message them to you privately, if you like.

I agree that input is good, but most input being received is (opinion) without value (again I don’t dare point out specific examples). The input is not working towards a solution. Neither is this side-conversation, as much as I like it.

@jonsblond I’ve only once looked through the social section. I, at least, am speaking from a problem I feel exists in the general and meta sections.

diavolobella's avatar

@notdan I think you misread my response. The first sentence of your reply seems to indicate that you think I DO find the humorous threads detractive and that is the complete opposite of what I said. I was under the impression that you are the person who finds them detractive. Did you make a clerical error or am I misunderstanding you? [edited to note that I see you have corrected your typo]

I do think it is unreasonable of you to tell people to keep their tea “in their mouth”. This site doesn’t belong to you and as long as social questions remain in the social section, it should require no effort whatsoever to avoid them if you find them objectionable. I think getting so upset over something you voluntarily choose to read seems strange. If a question seems ridiculous, why click on it?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@notdan I was being constructive. That was my constructive criticism, that a few people on here really seem irritatingly pretentious. Believe me, with all of my recent RL issues keeping my stress levels rising, and my personal refusal to sugar coat anything, I could have been really rude.

Everyone has a different sense of humor, and some people truly appreciate the ridiculous and absurd. We’re all here together, deal with it. Most of the ridiculous questions are in the Social section anyway, so do us both a favor and don’t click on it. If there are ridiculous or “retarded” questions in the General section, then flag them as belonging in Social and move on with your life.

What I’m trying to say is, if you don’t want my tea in your cup, then go find a different cup.

notdan's avatar

@diavolobella The first sentence was in error. I’ve remedied it. My apologies.

If you found 20 out of 21 questions that went through your recommended questions inbox without any value to you, when this wasn’t the case in the past, would you also suspect a dis-pleasurable trend? Particularly if you (now) believe that even the 21st will be vulnerable to the same community that will post 20 unfavorable questions out of 21?

I’m not interested in preventing anyone from having a good time. I’m interested in providing those who don’t have a good time dealing with nonsense with an opportunity to not deal with nonsense. Does that seem fair or am I misguided?

notdan's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate So… you used my cup, and are demanding I find a new one? Manners!

diavolobella's avatar

@notdan I don’t pay much attention to the recommended questions inbox because I have yet to find it actually recommending something I have even a remote interest in. Perhaps that is a feature that needs to be improved since you [and I] are not the first to have noted that. It doesn’t trouble me when I see the recommendations though. I just delete them and go about my day. To become upset about someone asking a question I think is boring or silly would be granting too much importance to one of life’s many trivialities. I don’t wish for or suggest that those people who ask the questions I don’t care for to go away or be quiet. They have as much right to ask theirs as I have to ask mine. After all, it’s not your cup or my cup, it’s our cup.

jonsblond's avatar

@notdan But is this the users fault? When I first joined almost two years ago, repeat and very silly questions were removed almost immediately. It seems these days, you’ll have a repeat/silly question almost daily that is not removed. Isn’t this the moderators fault? Why blame the users?

Again, I think this is an issue that needs to be taken up with the creators and mods, not the users. Or was that @PnL‘s intent? If it was, I’d love to see Ben or Andrew answer this question.

mrentropy's avatar

Two users one cup.

Yeah, not sure what the user side is supposed to be able to do. Besides make suggestions for the head honchos to decide about.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@notdan I haven’t personally peed in your cup. Yet. Not to my knowledge anyway.

All I’m saying is that we are all here on one site, and we all have different ideas of what constitutes humor. If certain people are too pretentious to accept those differences and deal with it, there is always the log out button or the delete account button.

bob_'s avatar

@Dog Why, isn’t it sweet of you guys, creating new accounts to show us just how retarded we are. Lovely. They should give you all a medal.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Here is a wee bit of quantitative analysis to toss into the quality discussion:

This morning, I looked at the top page for Social and General. I went through each question and evaluated them on the quality standards from the pre-Social/General era (six months ago). 51% of the social questions and 20% of the general questions would not have made the cut back then for one reason or another.

Many of them would have been edited and reposted, but many would not have been. The rules on what and how we are allowed to moderate have changed and with them, quality changes.

Dog's avatar

@bob_ I had no idea this question was going to be asked when responding to the silly ones Nor was “retarded” my terminology. And for the record I have had my alt account and used it for well over a year. I have told you all it was in fun. It took courage to address this question at all because it was a legit question wrapped poorly.

If I really thought the user base was “retarded” would I have dedicated more time to helping users in the last year than most people spend working a full time job?

DominicX's avatar

I’ve never understood why certain people have to be bothered by certain things. Are there questions here that I am not interested in answering? Yes. Are there certain types of questions here that I could do without? Yes. Am I bothered by seeing them and is my experience on this site ruined by having to look at them? No.

I guess that’s what separates me from most other people. I’m a freak. :\

notdan's avatar

@EmpressPixie Well done. I’m actually surprised the numbers are that low. I’m interested in your evaluation process. Any chance you could elaborate on it for me in a message?

@diavolobella I will admit, I have a complex revolving around fixing (what I see to be) problems. Clearly, I see a problem. My nature demands that I tackle it, even if it is with all the grace of tripping down the stairs. This is not a trivial issue to me.

You don’t have to understand why it bothers me, but insane attention to detail and a resistance to overlook what some think is trivial is, literally, currently paying my bills.

I am aware that I am here voluntarily. I am aware I can leave. I think the collective may be unaware that even though I see, and vocalize my perception of, problems that I am still very much impressed with and fond of the Fluther community. Where would I be without any other tea cups? I don’t concede wholly to the idea that this is a communal cup. I think of it more as many individual parts to a whole.

But that’s all way too personal to be relevant to the question at hand.

At the risk of Shanghai’ing the original question (or to use this question as a possible answer to the question) are there thoughts on a section for questions with a more rigorous set of quality standards? Obviously, I would support one, and I don’t foresee it being a difficult task.

faye's avatar

There just used to be so many more questions that interested me. I remember fluthering all day a few times when I had to be in bed. The volume has dropped off, maybe because some questions are asked without really caring to have there be a discussion.

bob_'s avatar

@Dog “I had no idea this question was going to be asked.”

Then I apologize for assuming you did. My bad.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Reading all this, I’m wondering…it’s not always the newbies who create very deliberate tension within a community…this particular question (which I consider pointless, by the way and kind of whiny) does nothing but result in strife, nothing positive comes out of it. No one leaves this thread feeling satisfied or good about themselves unless they’re assholes. I mean really, what did this all accomplish?

chyna's avatar

Not happy with this at all. As a “veteran” this sucks.

notdan's avatar

@chyna This, as in this thread—or this, as in the idea behind the question—or this, as in something else? (As a veteran, you know that saying “this sucks” and nothing more doesn’t really leave us with much value to dance to.)

jonsblond's avatar

@chyna I understood. I completely agree.

Symbeline's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Agreed. This is a little disheartening, I gotta say.

kenmc's avatar

Hey look at me! I’m answering this question too!

wundayatta's avatar

I think if people pulled their noses out from each other’s belly buttons, they might have a laugh or two. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a finer set of split hairs. Be proud!

Perspective. P E R S P E C T I V E.

I’ve found that I get out of fluther what I put into fluther. I’ve found that the rules change but after a while it seems that not much has changed. Fluther has a certain quality, and it has not significantly changed over the time I’ve been here. It has bumped down and up, but eventually, people find a way to get what they want out of this place or they go somewhere else.

I found that after the boards were split up, the quality of the place took a dive, but it has been steadily improving since, and seems to have recovered from that bump in the road. I’m sure others had the opposite experience, or a bunch of widely varying experiences.

Personally, I think the culture here is made up of what users put into it. If you want change, you model the change you want. If you want higher quality questions, then you model the kinds of questions you consider higher quality. If you want more civil discussion, you model that.

That’s my approach, and I think it has had some good results. I am seeing more of the kinds of questions I like. And I think discussions have been becoming a bit more respectful.

All right. I think I see a bit of lint lodged deep in that crevice, so you know what? I’ma gonna go take a shower!

jonsblond's avatar

@notdan Chyna’s comment came right after @Simone_De_Beauvoir.‘s It’s not that hard to figure out what she meant. No need to be snarky. You’re starting to sound like Bill Clinton.” It depends on what the meaning of the words ‘is’ is.” come on now

chyna's avatar

@notdan Are you a veteran with a new identity?
::looks over my shoulder, not trusting that anyone is who they say they are::

Allie's avatar

@chyna Does it matter? Would his/her opinions be considered any less if he/she was?

faye's avatar

I do miss pdworkin, and his acerbic remarks. I was scared to ask a question for a few months unless I had thought and thought about it. There were a couple of booze fueled ones, though. I will walk away from this question feeling good because there is discussion going on.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Allie : I was just about to ask @chyna ‘s question, myself. IMO it’s not about hisher opinions being
considered less, it’s about why not post under your familiar identity?

Allie's avatar

@JilltheTooth Because sometimes, if you “represent” a site, it’s not popular to have opinions of your own. [not as a mod] I’m not saying this is notdan’s case, but I understand why some might want anonymity.

notdan's avatar

@chyna No.

@jonsblond It was impossible to figure out what they meant. I say this because, that their post came after someone else’s (with no @ tag or expositional text) does not have anything to do with the meaning of their post.

Are there thoughts on a section for questions with a more rigorous set of quality standards?

jlm11f's avatar

Oh my God. This thread is out of control. Admittedly, I’ve just returned since I heard I should check it out and unfortunately there isn’t that kind of time in my day at the moment. I’ll return Monday or Tuesday to get back to all of the what I’m sure are lovely comments left by all of you.

A few quick things: I’ve noticed my last 2 Qs are getting recent activity. I get that people are hurt that they answered my Qs seriously and then it turned out to be a joke. I honestly didn’t think that those Qs would be taken seriously. That’s not being condescending, that’s just being honest. I am not aware if any of the answers were by alter ego or not (since I am not a mod and do not have access to that kind of information), but I did think they were all also JOKES playing along. Until I was told otherwise, and then admittedly I was disappointed and even more worried about the site quality. This isn’t the first time a joke Q has been asked of this quality (there was the “omg my iPhone is working perfectly, what do I do?????” that was asked during the period when ALL Qs were about iPhones and jailbreaking) and no one took it seriously.

The truth of the matter is, the user base was much smaller then and all of us were closer to the “same page.” It’s true that it is unfair to except a site to be static, each site grows, this one has grown to be a lot more successful (something I’m happy about I assure you) and has grown to encompass way more users from all paths of life. Such variety breeds variety in all forms especially Qs. So maybe my plea for smarter Qs was off base. I think someone up there mentioned who this Q was really for, it is true this Q was supposed to serve a reminder to those of us who knew (or thought we knew?) what this site was intended to become.

One last bit about the possible identities of people that commented on my joke Q: Regardless of if they are mods or normal users who didn’t want to tarnish their site rep or new users: it shouldn’t make a difference. You know why? Cuz you all do it. And I say that as a previous mod. MANY of you have alter egos. I recall many of them. I would never ever announce them because that would be a serious breach of privacy. I think I don’t need to explain this further since it should be understood and self-explanatory but if you’d like me to, just @ me and I’ll check it out when I return to this Q next week.

To make things easier for when I return, any Qs that you want me in particular to answer, please bold them.

jonsblond's avatar

@notdan I thought that was what the general section was for. That was my understanding.

notdan's avatar

@jonsblond The general section is the one I’ve been speaking about. I don’t visit the social section. My concerns are with the already (quote unquote) higher quality questions. Your understanding is well placed, but the point of conflict rests in the quality of the questions in the general section.

mrentropy's avatar

The point of two joke questions and this one was to tell already established users to stop asking stupid questions?

jonsblond's avatar

@mrentropy Yes. From someone that doesn’t even have the time to read through all the answers on their own question.

Foolaholic's avatar

Seeing as this question already has way too much discussion for me to speak to all of it, I’d like to just touch on those points which I feel are particularly pertinent.

@PnL said, “Now, apparently naming random shit is a matter of importance.”
Respectfully, how do you know whether people are taking things seriously? I answered that question, because as I writer and story-teller I feel that a name is easily the most important element of any character. Does that mean I spent more than 4 minutes coming up with my answer? No, because I realized that you’re question was leaning on the “fluff” side, and I answered appropriately.

I can understand the reason for asking this question. But as a pretty smart guy once said jokingly to me, “There are no stupid questions, but a lot of inquisitive idiots.” But does that mean we should be aiming to raise the bar and stamp these questions out? Heck no. While there are certainly a population of questions that you call “nonsensical” that I would flag for rewrites, there are also the questions which are less stimulating but light-hearted and simply intended to incite silly conversation. But what if we had somewhere to put those?

@notdan and @Dog have some great comments up there about question genres and the nature of the tabs section. Personally, I would be in favor expanding it so that there are more (and more specific) tabs. There could even be Fluff tab, which would naturally be labeled Sandwich Humor.

Let’s also not forget that Fluther has a lot of great chat rooms where you can take question that you would like answers to, but don’t necessarily warrant their own thread.
not that you don’t know, that’s kind of a general message for the collective audience :)

@YARNLADY said, “I just skip them. I have been getting a lot more work done around the house lately, with so few questions to answer. However, since I don’t ask questions much, I don’t feel I have a right to complain much.” My sentiments exactly. Lurve.

iamthemob's avatar

I love that while @andrew is crafting a response, his avatar is looking with fear at the posts above him, too!

mrentropy's avatar

@jonsblond It is kind of sucky to start this and not feel it’s important enough to keep track of.

But I’m still confused as to the point of this exercise. I guess it could be to just tell people to shut up and sit down but is there supposed to be something else? Like… suggestions? New rules? Penalty box? An inquiry as to why questions may suck?

And, anyhow, I like my answer to the cactus question and I’m still waiting for some acknowledgment on it.

Response moderated (Obscene)
Allie's avatar

In @PnL‘s defense, she’s a full-time student and involved in so many things she hardly has time to sleep and eat, and furthermore be on any website.
@mrentropy The heading of this questions includes “What can we do to change this trend?”

BoBo1946's avatar

My “big picture” is getting smaller and smaller! is this not Friday when everyone should be in a good mood!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Allie Gee, that really sounds so unlike most of us. I can swing both of your lives over and still put my kids to bed at a decent hour.

Allie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir You’re welcome to try. I’m sure we’d both appreciate the break you’re sure you can provide us.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Allie Nah, I like it here on Fluther. Imagine that.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@PnL says above: ”....but I did think they were all also JOKES playing along. Until I was told otherwise, and then admittedly I was disappointed and even more worried about the site quality.

Because someone didn’t know they were jokes? I read the cactus Q and thought that the addition of the “chips” part was simply the OP getting that she knew that maybe she was being a little silly. I read the dream Q and assumed she wanted a serious answer, cuz she said so. Is that why she’s “disappointed” and more “worried about site quality” ? Because the fact that some people take it seriously indicates a lower quality user? I’d love to have that part cleared up.

AmWiser's avatar

Oh my! there were so many qreat answers to this question that I’ll just add some quotes:p

“If Fluther were perfect, it wouldn’t be. ”

“Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job.”
Adlai E. Stevenson

“Any change or reform that is made is going to have consequence that someone won’t/don’t like.”
Mo Udall

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
mrentropy's avatar

@Allie I know what the question says, but I don’t see anything where it’s getting there. @PnL offers nothing. In admission, @PnL isn’t on the site much anymore. So she starts a whole firestorm on other people’s behalf but doesn’t stick around to, I don’t know, contain it? Steer it?

Who were the users that she was proxy for? Was it the moderators?

I admitted that there are a lot of questions that come along that I don’t care for, so I’m not trying to be apologetic or be all in favor of chaos, I just really don’t understand what the purpose of this exercise is. The main thing I’ve been getting from this is that veteran users should, somehow, be influencing the questions of new comers so we’re not left with questions like, “I went for a walk in the woods and when I got home I found an arrow stuck in my head. Should I go to the doctor, or will it go away?” But I don’t see how that’s even viable.

I’m all for constructive criticism. I’m all for upping the IQ of questions. But I really just don’t see the point of this thread. If it really was just telling the veterans to ask smarter questions then it would have been better as a blog entry or news item on the main page. If it’s more than that, then I think it should have been asked as a more rational question, with input from the creators and moderators.

Come to think of it, aside from one, I don’t think I even know who the moderators are. Do they stand out in any way? Have something next to their names? Anything that differentiates them from standard users?

kenmc's avatar

I think everyone is making a mountain out of a mole hill and that this question should be archived.

jonsblond's avatar

@kenmc not until Monday or Tuesday please~

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@kenmc Oh, come on – we’re here to have some fun now – nothing was to be gotten out of this q other than spite so nothing will be put into it…I am proud to be led by example of such profound thinkers as above…and next time I get a retarded cactus, I’ll know what to call it..

Allie's avatar

@mrentropy I think @notdan and @Dog are (were?) doing a great job of trying to keep the question focused on what could be done about this. A lot of the rest is just arguing. And to be honest, I’d like to see what the founders have to say about this.

To be clear, it’s not for malicious reasons that mods create alternate accounts. It’s because there are certain things we shouldn’t say as mods, and we’d still like to be able to voice our opinions. Or are we not allowed to have those?

@mrentropy A list of mods can be found here.

mrentropy's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir If it’s mentally challenged I’d be surprised if it responded when you called to it.

diavolobella's avatar

@mrentropy Perhaps it’s a cactus savant?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@mrentropy @diavolobella Plenty of either on Fluther and look how well they’re doing.

AmWiser's avatar

Is this the question of the day??

iamthemob's avatar

That post is nonsensical. ;-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@AmWiser God, I hope not…I still don’t get who gave it 18 GQs

tinyfaery's avatar

Regretting coming back to fluther.

mrentropy's avatar

Okay. Got it. The ‘other users’ want to put the hammer down on what they consider to be frivolous questions. I totally agree with @Dog in that “it was a legit question wrapped poorly.” It probably should have been nipped (no pun intended) early on and re-submitted in a better, less flammable way.

Plucky's avatar

Maybe if we had the option to pick subjects we are not interested in ..to sort of filter out what is seen by the user when they log in. Similar to the topics we choose to see more of, we could choose what we want less of as well.
Example: I could choose the topic “golf” to be filtered out of any questions I view (therefore I would not see any questions regarding golf).

I have no idea how it would work or if Fluther is capable of such…lol. Just a suggestion :)

mrentropy's avatar

@PluckyDog Going by my experiences with “Questions for you” that may not turn out as expected.

Plucky's avatar

@mrentropy I know, but it may help ..I don’t know.

mrentropy's avatar

@PluckyDog Off the top of my head it could be a problem if you didn’t care about golf, the sport, but were an expert on the VW Golf. Although I think I could come up with a clever way around that.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I have an entirely legitimate question here: has all of this arguing soved anything? changed anything? made anyone want to be a better person and change the world and save the trees and feed the children? Hell no. And all this nonsensical drama was caused by someone who should know better.

diavolobella's avatar

I’m not even sure “Questions for You” is necessary. Mine never suit, and I’m capable of finding questions that interest me on my own. I appreciate that it is a well intended feature, but I don’t think it works.

BoBo1946's avatar

I’m just pixilated by reading all this love!

janbb's avatar

Meh – we seem to go through these periods of navel gazing and shitstorms. i wish we all could devote as much energy to solving problems in the real world. It’s just a website, fer Chrissakes, a lovely fucking one for sure, but let’s get a grip.

Brian1946's avatar

Grip acquired.

iamthemob's avatar

My story:

When I first came here, I really, really wanted deep and thoughtful answers. I thought that everyone (or at least most) were going to read everything said, and assume nothing in someone’s responses before asking. I began to be frustrated with some responses being “nonsensical” even though I thought my questions were thoughtful, so I asked this question – and I got, as they say, “pwned.”

I learned a very important lesson – that there’s room for levity, and people won’t always be able to devote their full brains to all issues – even here, on a site that holds itself as a haven for intellectual responses and questions.

So the problem here is that if we concentrate on eliminating the less “important” or “thought-provoking” questions, and it’s because of a concern with site value, we should be doing the same with responses. Considering that there are multiple questions and responses where people say they feel censored, this becomes self-destructive.

My lesson learned – sometimes we all just need to get off the high horse and let it go. I certainly did (and I’ve thrown some fits on here from time to time. ;-)).

DrasticDreamer's avatar

As a veteran of this site (I think, anyway? Over two years, whatever that equates to), and a few other absolutely astounding Q&A sites (WHQuestion being one of them, that I’m sure most people here have never heard of) that went straight to the grave… I just wanted to say that things change, people. If you want quality, produce quality questions and answers. It’s that simple. If some questions and answers do not appeal to you, ignore them and they will fade. Regardless of whether or not people think the overall quality of Fluther has dropped recently, it’s still a better Q&A site than most, if not all, on the internet.

It’s personal, since you get a sense of community, and it’s great when people genuinely try to answer questions – regardless of what kind of questions they might be. I just wanted to say all of this because most of the fantastic sites that I belonged to in the past didn’t fail because the quality of questions dropped – they failed because people gave up on the site, because they were angry and personally offended with how things were going. Internal conflict is what kills sites. I’ve seen it happen multiple times. I just hope that doesn’t happen here – because I genuinely like this site. And I hope that Ben and Andrew don’t get sick of the constant bickering that can take place, if it reaches that point, because I saw a past Q&A site go down for that very reason. Someone gave up on their “baby” that they worked so hard to maintain, because the users constantly berated each other.

Regardless, I’ve enjoyed Fluther since I’ve joined. I enjoy it now, and I hope that I can continue to enjoy it in the future.

ucme's avatar

I have a cactus…...named him “Jack” &.......well, I just feel really silly now :¬(

Blondesjon's avatar

<—We’re here! We’re Nonsensical! Get Used To It!

fuck! i wish that rhymed. not quite as effective a chant as i hoped . . .

Joybird's avatar

You can get too elitist and ivy tower in your efforts at “intellectual quality control”. What that results in is the desire for some fresh air from the stuffiness and all the noses in the air. I’ve noted that there are some truely brilliant people here…but I also must admit that at times I think this place is a little too high faluten for me…and I go back and play with the beer drinking poop talkers on another site. I enjoy a laugh and there aren’t a whole lot of laughs here. So I don’t know what you really think you’d gain by making things even more uptight and serious than they already are.

faye's avatar

@Joybird There’s lots of us beer drinkin’ poop talkers here. !!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Joybird I’ve got plenty of beer, and my husband is a plumber, so we talk “poop” when he gets home, lol. Come on over!

Joybird's avatar

@faye @WillWorkForChocolate Oh, Thank goodness there are some beer drinkin, poop talkers here! Salvation!

JilltheTooth's avatar

Well, gosh, all this kerfuffle and there’s really a very simple solution that should satisfy PnL’s concerns.

One: Have a strict screening process whereby anyone wanting to be a member of the site answers a series of questions to determine their intellectual and emotional fitness. The questions would be determined by a panel of impartial judges hand picked by the best of the existing users. These people would also be the judges of the answers (all essays, of course). Any violation of the quality levels set by the panel at any time would result in immediate banning of the user.

Two: Because this is, after all, a business and the user base would have been drastically reduced by part one, a monthly membership fee to use the site would need to be implemented to fund its operation. As well, advertising would be visible to all users at all times.

There. Problem solved.

JilltheTooth's avatar

And, @WillWorkForChocolate , I want in on the beer and poop talk, I can handle a scatological discussion with the best of them, and I’m really good at making disgusting fart noises.

lillycoyote's avatar

@ucme Don’t feel bad. I have a wet-dry shop vac and I named him Zack. I looked down at it one day and realized that between the clips that hold the top on the the thing and the on/off switch and the other buttons on it, it looked like he had a little face. I had to give him a name. The little guy was practically sentient!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

<head spinning> Whew! I cannot keep up. It seems the issure is more of the moderation than the questions. If one wanted to access or address the issue of questions create some incentive for people to create better question and for the community to quantify the relevance of the question. Having each question meld a certain number of favorable nods will show which question more of the population actually feels or believes is a good question not just getting the nod because one person thought so. You will always have one person that will like just about anything most others can’t stand. You have to have something more in play than just a personal opinion, otherewise any and all questions General and Social will be a GQ to someone.

Joybird's avatar

@JilltheTooth hahahaha. Can I bring my dog, Bear? He’s a scatologist! Are we digressing from intellectualized conversation?

lillycoyote's avatar

@JilltheTooth I’m sure your daughter is thrilled that everyone on the site now knows that you’re really good at making disgusting fart noises.

;-)

JilltheTooth's avatar

@lillycoyote: Where do you think I learned how? ;-)

ucme's avatar

@lillycoyote Yay! With my ickle cactus I don’t feel such a prick now…...did you see what I did there, oh never mind XD

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@JilltheTooth @Joybird My hubby is now home, we have plenty of beer, along with wine, whiskey and rum. There should be poop talk aplenty and lots of humor without any highbrows stepping in to pull apart our conversations and insert their own philosophical comments on what our conversations are lacking. It’s time to party, my friends! Who wants a cookie?

mrentropy's avatar

I only drink brandy and talk excrement.

andrew's avatar

First off—I know that I haven’t been recently involved in the community nearly as much because, as we mentioned before in another question, Ben and I have been busy securing the future of Fluther so that we can continue offering a free, amazing Q&A site. That, and I’m trapped in a cage with only an iPhone and Edge access.

* ‘Question’ & ‘Discussion’ sections:

I think there’s a bit of rose-colored-glasses-syndrome going on with the old sections—they were a hot mess. Everyone, both new and old, was confused about which section to post their question. We had ton of daily blowback in moderation from users who didn’t understand why their question was moved into one section or the other. It was a mess.

* Moderation:

We did focus on answers in the guidelines, and that has changed the way that moderators do their job. We’re working on writing guidelines specifically for questions so that everyone can be on the same page.

* Social/General

This hasn’t worked as well as I had hoped. I’ve probably mentioned this earlier, when we were rolling out the feature, but the main tension when anyone talks about “the direction that Fluther was supposed to go” or “the original intent” or things like that is that whenever we talk about making the guidelines more strict or about some sort of ‘crackdown’ I always think about the questions woven into the fabric of Fluther—Frizzer. One word story. Tell Me Something Good That Happened To You. Pancakes. All of those are nonsensical.

Fluther, for better or worse, has never been a totally dry reference site. We have whimsy. We’ve folded whimsy into nearly every aspect of the site, deliberately and by design. We’ve realized that it’s not merely the joy of sharing your knowledge with someone that draws people to the site, it’s the fact that you can connect deeply and passionately with people who are passionate about the same things that you are. That you can joke around with them and delight in that whimsy. Perhaps it would have been better if we had focused on only building valuable content, but that was never as interesting (to me at least) as providing a warm, inviting place that was accepting, intelligent, and whimsical.

One of the main concerns that I’m hearing is that for some users, there aren’t enough “interesting” questions in General and that the questions in Social vary too widely to be compelling. I think that’s valid.

I think where Social/General hasn’t really succeeded is the fact that in General, we cut off the ability for people to connect with each other in the ways they did before we introduced the two sections. I think we’ve also not done a good enough job allowing you the ability to filter out the types of questions that get on your nerves.

So, we’re planning on addressing those shortfalls. Something that we’ve been toying around for a while has been a single level of threading in questions—so that you can separate the main conversation with side conversations. That way, you can still get into interesting side conversations without derailing the main topic at hand. You don’t have to remember to wrap all your asides in two hyphens. You can still connect with people and make the jokes that gives Fluther its whimsy and flavor at the same time as you help people with their problems and give them advice.

At the same time, when you ask a question, you’ll be able to get (and easily read) the quality responses on them, which in turn prompts people to ask more quality questions.

Once we do that, the distinction between ‘social’ and ‘general’ becomes less important. We’ll probably rework those sections or maybe do away with them. The site becomes more simple.

We’re also thinking about (and this is why topics are becoming more and more important) giving you simple tools to filter the main list of questions—so if you’re really not interested in seeing a certain type of question, you don’t have to, and we can focus on giving you the types of questions that you really want to answer and improving Questions For You and making it more transparant.

In the meantime, though, I think it’s incumbent on all of us to ask the high-quality questions that we want on the site. Rather than asking a few joke questions to make a point, it might be a better use of energy for all of us to think of a few interesting questions and ask them.

Thanks to Tim for helping me formulate some bullet points in this response

mrentropy's avatar

I’m happy. Thank you for the answer.

chyna's avatar

@andrew Much appreciated, thanks.

Ivan's avatar

I never understood why there has always been so much resentment of stupid question on Fluther. If you don’t care what some guy names his cactus, then skip the question. What does it matter?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Ivan Precisely! What would you name your cactus? :P

Blondesjon's avatar

What would you name my cactus Ivan?

Ivan's avatar

To address @PnL‘s points more directly, the difference between Yahoo Answers and Fluther is that YA has a larger user base. It’s not reasonable to think that Fluther can keep growing and retain this lofty expectation of “quality”. I always cringe when people speak of “site quality” or “question quality” on Fluther. Who are you (or anyone else, me included) to say what makes a question “high quality” or not? Maybe tough moderation and a high concentration of intellectual, thought provoking, discussion inducing questions is the measure of a “high quality” site for you and me, but maybe someone else’s definition of “high quality” is the ability to ask the userbase what he should name his cactus.

Now, if you think that these “nonsensical” questions are replacing the more serious, discussion oriented questions, then that’s an issue. But I don’t think that’s happening. I think there are just as many “good” questions as always; you just have to search a little bit harder for them. But that’s not the fault of Fluther or the userbase or anyone else, that’s simply the result of Fluther growing older and larger. It’s simply ridiculous to suspect that Fluther can be a site made up entirely of intellectual 20-somethings who only discuss politics and social issues. Of course there needs to be a place for that, but there needs to be a place for cactus-naming too. Fluther’s success or failure will primarily rest on their ability to provide both of those places and please both crowds.

Plucky's avatar

Maybe have a new section “Requires Brain” :P

lillycoyote's avatar

@ucme I understand completely. With Zack the Vac I don’t feel like such an intolerable blowhard. I used to feel really bad about myself for that and it totally sucked… did you see what I did there, oh never mind XD

Symbeline's avatar

Cool. I started to feel like I was on Shutter Island here for a bit.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Allie @Dog I don’t think the problem is that mods have alternate accounts. I think the problem is that a) it goes against Fluther guidelines about having alternate accounts. If there’s an exception for mods, that’s fine but it needs to be in the guidelines so everyone knows that’s a possibility. Otherwise, it is deceiving non-mod jellies. b)There is controversy over mods. People accuse you guys of shit, and a lot of us regularly stick up for you lot and say that we think you’re doing a great job and really fair and a team effort and yada yada yada. Then we come to find out that you all have alternate accounts which get a lot of activity. Not just alternate accounts for when you want to ask an embarrassing question or post a really unpopular opinion, but has less than 200 lurve, but really active accounts. That’s kinda scary. c)It then makes rules like “you can’t mod a thread you were part of” pointless, because for all we know all you have to do is post under your alt ego and then mod it under your mod ego.

I know that tons of jellies have alts. I don’t really have a problem with it – but the rest of us don’t have the power to abuse the system if we want to.

If mods need to have alts, I can get on board with it. But this deception, this betrayal, it stings and it freaks me out. If you’re going to ask us to trust you, you need to act trustworthy.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@andrew I must admit, I was really against the General/Social change when it happened because I thought it would get in the way of the whimsy. I think it’s mostly improved the site, but I am excited for this new change and look forward to its implementation.

augustlan's avatar

@papayalily The guidelines do mention alternate accounts:

Can I have more than one account?

Provided that it is not used to game the lurve system, deceive, confuse or cause trouble, we allow users to create more than one account.

None of us have abused any of those guidelines, whatsoever. In addition, a mod cannot mod a thread they are very active in, even if they are active as their alter-ego. All mods see what every mod does, and we would not allow that.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@augustlan I guess I would consider it to be confusing and deceiving, if not in the letter of the law, then definitely in the spirit of the law.

jonsblond's avatar

I would like to add to what @papayalily stated. I’ve seen mods get in very heated debates, and they use [non mod says]. They had no problem in those instances of showing who they are. I think many of us are concerned because @PnL‘s example questions were used to make a point, and the mods were hiding in this instance under alternate accounts.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@jonsblond Indeed. Why not simply have alts and [mod says] if it’s so important to have an alt, and eliminate [non-mod says]? Or vice versa, for that matter.

YARNLADY's avatar

There is absolutely nothing you and I can do about this issue. Personally, I have found that I simply have found so few questions to respond to that the time I spend here is greatly reduced.

Symbeline's avatar

@papayalily Aye. Whatever the freakshow here, I’m more than saddened that this turn of dramatics was orchestrated, rather than it just happening as it does on lesser sites.

To be fair, many of us fueled the fire, myself included. I’ll not deny this. But still.

I’ll add fuck all else, but I will watch my step from now on, and lessen my involvement in the more serious shit around here.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@YARNLADY Which issue, the mods having alts or the nonsensicalness? (Wow, spellcheck says nonsensicalness is a word… Who knew?)

@Symbeline I’m sorry, I’m having trouble following. Probably the several different convos happening on one thread combined with the hour. Would you mind rephrasing? And telling us which mod you are ;)?

YARNLADY's avatar

@papayalily I find more so-called questions to skip than I used to, which frees me up to spend more time elsewhere.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@YARNLADY Ah, yes, now I’m with you. For me, the change has been more school-induced than quality-induced.

Symbeline's avatar

@papayalily Basically, I agree lol.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Symbeline With me?? Really?? I’ll take it!

Symbeline's avatar

I’m serious. I will apologize though, because I really want nothing else to do with this thread, so please forgive my lack of elaboration. If I added anything else, I’d just be parroting certain points away or chasing my own tail.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Symbeline Hey, I understand. 100%. Although, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, could you please post of vid of you chasing your own tail on youtube? That sounds cool.

jonsblond's avatar

I want to see @Symbeline bite the tail too. That would be soooo cool.

augustlan's avatar

I just want to make it clear that I had no idea this was coming. When I was using an alter-ego to answer @PnL‘s ‘dream’ question, I was under the impression that she had asked the question to mess with (not in a malicious way) the mod team a bit. I was simply playing around with my friend, the former community manager… not attempting to deceive our members at all. I was completely unaware of the intentions behind that question, and completely unaware that this one would be asked as a result.

jonsblond's avatar

@augustlan I see a big pillow fight in your future. Might I suggest the Tempur-Pedic? It’ll hit hard with little damage.

YARNLADY's avatar

@augustlan Aww, don’t be so down on yourself. I was one of the original users of another famous site, and there was a certain we have a dream quality to that one as well. The preponderance of users, coupled with the economic reality, ruled the day.

lillycoyote's avatar

Thank you @andrew, but I would like to comment on one thing you said:

In the meantime, though, I think it’s incumbent on all of us to ask the high-quality questions that we want on the site. Rather than asking a few joke questions to make a point, it might be a better use of energy for all of us to think of a few interesting questions and ask them.

Abolutely. I think that’s at the heart of this, at least at the heart of most of the anger and hostility exhibited on this thread… well… maybe I should only speak for myself; that’s at the heart of my anger. First, was posting the joke questions a valuable, useful or effective way to make a point? I don’t think it was. Secondly, did the point even need to be made? I don’t think it did. I was angry because I think it was more than a little arrogant for one user to assume that this point, her point, needed to made in first place, as though the rest of us either can’t see what’s going on right in front our faces every day or simply don’t care, or at least not as much as this user does.

We all get frustrated, myself included. Five days ago, in a fit of frustration, I sent the following PM to one of the mods:

Can we have a “Dream Section” where all the questions about dreams and dream interpretation have to be asked so I don’t have to see them any more?

I know, of course we can’t. Just a little “venting-lite.”

I was just at the point where I thought:

For the love of God! If I see one more dream interpretation question, one more question like: “Help! What does it mean when I dream that my boyfriend is milking a cow wearing nothing but my grandmother’s support hose!?” I’m, honestly, going to have to poke my eyes out!

I vented to a PM and that was the end of it; I got it out of my system.

I’ve got an ego as big as anyone’s, probably bigger, trust me, but even my big ego isn’t big enough to accomodate such a grand assumption as this, the grand assumption that the OP made, and that assumption seems to have been: If I don’t show people how stupid this place is getting, before it’s too late, they won’t know, because, of course, they’re simply too stupid to see how stupid this place is getting.

Though… I’m now kind of wondering if it might not have @PnL‘s own dream question that put me over the edge that day. She asked her dream question 5 days ago and I sent my PM 5 days ago. I don’t know how many dream questions there were around then. Enough, I suppose, that I was plenty sick of them. There would be a certain irony to that; if her efforts to make a point about the quality of questions, her own joke, might have ended up driving another user, specifically me, to poke her own eyes out! Beware of unintended consequences is all I can say.

And with that, I’m done with this one. I’ve officially landed my last blow on this dead horse.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote I agree on the that’s at the heart of my anger. So at least 2 people feel this way.

rooeytoo's avatar

Personally I enjoy all the different kinds of questions and if I come across some that I find inane, I simply walk on by. What I find bothersome is that opinions no longer are welcomed, instead questions are to be answered by quotes from google or wikipedia, backed up with scientific studies again from google or wikipedia and offered according to the rules of high school debate. Pseudo intellectualism might be the cup of tea for some, but I am more intrigued by real life experience.

jrpowell's avatar

@rooeytoo :: this kinda breaks down the linear nature of Fluther. Your “Do you like potatoes” question might push my “What temp for the oven should I use when I cook baked potatoes” from the frontpage.

I pretty much only check the front page. So if others are like me they are getting lost in the signal to noise ratio..

rooeytoo's avatar

@johnpowell – that is what I said, I come here for personal opinions. I can google the oven temp for baked potatoes, but I can’t google whether you like them or why you do or don’t…...well at least I don’t think I can!

When I get on, I check questions back to where they start to look familiar because I had read them before. Maybe you will have to start checking page 2! :-)

augustlan's avatar

Questions like “Do you like potatoes?” seem inherently better suited to the Social Section.

iamthemob's avatar

@rooeytoo – I think opinions and personal experience add a good deal to intellectual discussions as well. My only issue is when people start expressing opinions as facts or assertions.

If we’re looking to get at good or real solid answers in some cases, many of the times the opinions are the ones that are influenced by misinformation.

jrpowell's avatar

@rooeytoo :: That is where we simply disagree on what the site is for. I joined and was active to help solve actual problems (damn near 3.5 years ago). But now they have employees ( six I think). So they need to make money and that means eyeballs to look at ads.

I’m not surprised.. Just a bit sad.

iamthemob's avatar

@johnpowell – that’s a bit defeatist. Growth is one of the most important things for a site like this. That doesn’t mean that the community doesn’t have a distinct power to help direct and shape the growth.

In fact, in the time I’ve been here, I’ve seen an almost lightning-fast reaction to issues brought up in the Meta section to deal with archiving, sorting, duplications, etc. – I mean, these may be things that had been in the works for a while, but if not, I think the response of the design team has been astounding.

jrpowell's avatar

@iamthemob :: I’m not sure how to answer this without getting my account banned. I spent about 15 minutes trying.

rooeytoo's avatar

Now I was just rude to someone who asked a what does this dream question mean cuz I thought it was the one referred to above. However, according to the OP, the question is legitimate and she really wants input on the meaning of her dream. I had to humbly apologize and welcome her to fluther.

I am not opening my mouth again!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Ivan Who are you (or anyone else, me included) to say what makes a question “high quality” or not? High quality question, low quality question, none of it matters if the person cannot grasp the question. I have seen many questions I thought were chin scratching questions that got the old brain matter to working only to see it bogged down by people reading into it what they wanted missing what the poster was saying or trying to convey, especially certain category of questions answered by certain groups of people. Questions go with answers like jelly go with peanut butter, one without the other don’t come off as satisfying. There are many questions I think of asking but don’t because people can’t think outside-the-box far enough to get it aside from their own personal likes or peeves.

@augustlan Provided that it is not used to game the lurve system, deceive, confuse or cause trouble, we allow users to create more than one account. Gaming the larvae system, what would be the point? To me the tags, badges, etc are nice to see on your profile but they don’t gain you anything of substance than you had when you 1st signed up. Those with 10k don’t get more perks or kudos than those with 500, 750, or 2,500 larvae. Its just Halloween candy, you go to enough homes your sack gets fuller joke is all the parents are united so every kid only gets to eat 6 pieces so anything above that is just for bragging rites.

jrpowell's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central :: you missed zack. He would ask “Who wants to suck my dick?” and then give himself 5 Great Questions with different accounts.

mrentropy's avatar

Like I said, if you’ve got points then there’s going to be someone who needs to “win.” Even if it doesn’t make any sense.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@augustlan , @Dog and the others involved in the “fun”: I like you guys a lot and I really believe you thought it was harmless, but a set up like that will inevitably put a “Kick Me” sign on the back of anyone who’s noy in on the joke and answers with an eye to actually helping the OP name her cactus or interpret her dream, no matter how silly the questions seem to you. And then you guys were set up, too, when PnL asked this question. A lttle forethought might have been in order.
I’m still chuckling that my answer to the cactus question, which linked to this one was moderated. Was it the “Flame Bait” or the other?

Jude's avatar

I told someone about this last night and they just laughed at the whole thing. They looked at me like I had three heads and said “For real? It’s the internet”.

cookieman's avatar

oy vey

pass me a cookie

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@cprevite I’ve got sugar, chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, peanut butter or white chocolate macadamia nut… which kind?

wundayatta's avatar

Will someone please pass the popcorn?

and I don’t even like popcorn

Kayak8's avatar

1. I admit to being bothered by opinions posing as facts in answers to legitimate questions.

2. I am one of the worst offenders when it comes to being annoyed by things people could Google on their own (and have heard ALL of the many reasons why they shouldn’t be asked to do so, so don’t start).

3. I am not an old-timer and much of this discussion reminds me of the recent national political squabbles over moving forward or returning to the so-called “good old days.” As (in my opinion) Fluther seems to have a liberal bent, this really surprises me.

4. I can’t speak to the “good old days” but as a noob, I still place value on intellectually stimulating questions (and answers). I skipped over the “name the cactus” question as being inane and I avoid the dream interpretation questions altogether (without any Fluther buttons or categories to aid me in my efforts).

5. I loathe being “played” and it seems like that’s why the two exemplar inane questions and then this one to point out how “retarded” everyone is really makes me concerned, on a fundamental level, about the role of mods and so-called “veterans” in “playing” the overall community. From reading ALL the responses above, this seems to be one of the major factors that is sticking in the collective craw.

6. I could threaten to leave, but I am not in any cliques and no one would give a hoot anyway. I don’t come here to be popular, I come here to read good questions and help with answers when I know the subject matter. So my leaving would only hurt me.

7. I only have one user name and never pretend to be anyone other than myself. If I have something of a personal nature that I want to ask, I talk to my real life friends—so I have little need for an alter ego. I have to admit, the above thread also makes me concerned for the number of two-named (or more) jellies who, while they may not be gaming the site, may be “playing” me.

8. Fluther draws people from around the globe with different life experiences and levels of ability to express themselves and what they know. I nearly always learn something (usually about myself) and, for that, Fluther is invaluable to me.

9. I don’t care how the site looks or what buttons are available or what categories people think we need. I do care, however, about decent thoughtful questions and insightful answers. I appreciate humor and double entendre answers (and questions for that matter). But I do not appreciate being manipulated or “played” for any reason (your sense of humor, your sense of concern for Fluther changing, etc.).

10. In asking this question (and with the whole “fun, fake question” manipulation), you erred on the side of “what is wrong with Fluther” and missed the entire point of what, to many, makes Fluther great: If you have a concern, ask a legitimate question and take the answers you get. I don’t think manipulating the community has any role in what made Fluther great in the past and certainly doesn’t seem to have a place in the site’s continued, meaningful role in people’s lives in the future.

funkdaddy's avatar

Doesn’t Fluther have more tools to filter questions to you than anywhere else? I don’t really frequent any other Q&A sites, but just by quick count you can

* only see activity on questions you’re following
* filter questions to only include those for topics you’re interested in
* filter questions to only those that are from a group of people you’re interested in (your fluther)
* filter questions by whether they’re fact based or social in nature

It seems with a little time to build a good profile (updating your topics that you’re interested in) and adding people you want to hear from to your fluther, you can basically customize your Fluther experience to be whatever you’d like. I think they’ve done a great job of providing the tools… You just have to take charge of it.

Only have a few minutes and just want to know what your friends are up to? Click “Just for You” -> “People you Follow”

Have a little longer and want something interesting to you – click “Questions for You”

This isn’t a trade organization or Mensa, so you’re going to get a bit of variety in quality and interest.

Personally, that’s why I still visit. Even if it leaves me shaking my head occasionally.

nikipedia's avatar

Yikes. This thread was depressing.

I have been here for a long time now. For pretty much that whole time, people have complained that the site was going downhill.

I have never really thought that was the case. I think it’s constantly improving. (There was a brief period of time when some people joined whom I found so ignorant and offensive that I want no contact with them. I have learned to be a grownup and navigate around them.)

And one thing we know for sure is that there are people—Andrew, Ben, Tim, Lisa, the new kid, and all the mods—who really care about this site. And they work so hard to make sure it’s always getting better. They are active, involved, responsive, passionate, thoughtful, clever people who make sure that this will always be a fun, helpful place to be.

I definitely echo the sentiments above that if you think the questions lately have been lame, ask some good ones. There will always be a learning curve, and as long as new people are showing up there are bound to be some dumb questions. Even my first question was fucking stupid. So balance out the dumb questions and help show people the ropes.

And let me take this opportunity to say how grateful I am for all the work that goes into this site, and for all the amazing people (founders, mods, and users) who spend their time here. You guys are the best.

AstroChuck's avatar

@PnL- So what did you end up naming your cactus?

Dog's avatar

I need to say something very important here.

It was not until this question was posted and the faux questions revealed that I realized that my silly playing around could take on a very unintended and hurtful meaning.

I could reiterate that my actions were not intended to be anything more than silliness but that does not change the fact that, due to my actions, peoples feelings were hurt and trust broken. Once I realized the scope of hurt I was devastated.

To all members: I am very sorry.

I also have to apologize to @PnL. She has been tarred and feathered here soundly and while she asked this question on her own and the first one too, I suggested the cactus one because I wanted to play more on a ridiculous question. It looked from (my perspective at the time) like no-harm no-foul.

* I can now clearly see it was not right. Again I am sorry. *

@PnL It was also very wrong of me to unload my frustration over lack of base guidelines on an overworked, sleep deprived Med student who also passionately loves Fluther.
I am so very sorry.

jrpowell's avatar

Maybe they need a [mod says] account that is open to all mods.

El_Cadejo's avatar

There is a very simple answer to this. Entropy . Fluther isnt what it used to be, and it never will be. Sure there are innovations here and there as far as features go, but the quality has been on a steady decline for a long time now and I honestly dont think theres anything Andrew, Ben, Tim, or anyone else can do to change that, sorry. Call me mr pessimistic if ya will but the quality has dropped and a lot.

So to get to the root of the question, what could be done to help fluther get back to what it used to be? Nothing IMO.

Dont get me wrong, I still love fluther very much, but youve changed. We the users just need to accept that I suppose.

wundayatta's avatar

I liked the cactus naming question. But then, I’m totally into absurd. It is rare, these days, that we get a chance to be absurd. The cactus question was actually one of the more brilliant questions I’ve seen in a long time.

Well, I’m exaggerating a bit, but I really did like it and wish we had more of such questions. Sigh.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@uberbatman So what did it used to be like?

MissAnthrope's avatar

@papayalily – The user base was smaller, so the community had much more of a tight-knit feel. You rapidly got to know people because it was pretty much the same faces who were most active. I felt immediately welcomed on an individual and personal basis; people went out of their way to be friendly and encouraging. I remember feeling starstruck and flattered to get a complimentary PM from Andrew, welcoming me to Fluther. The atmosphere of the site was different, too. I don’t remember much bickering, just a lot of really intelligent, witty discussions. The level of intelligence, creativity, humor, and the genuineness of the people is what sold me on Fluther.

bob_'s avatar

@papayalily When I first was here, it was way more cliquish and the moderation was way more uneven, IMO.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@bob_ Ha, I love that you replied that. Because then it means that I don’t have to. When I joined, there was a reason I didn’t stick around – it seemed like high school; amazing if you’re part of the in-crowd but really crappy if you aren’t. 95% of things seemed to be more of an inside-joke than anything else.

bob_'s avatar

@papayalily Those were the good times—when the mere mortals didn’t get to bitch and moan about inside jokes ~

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@bob_ and @papayalily I don’t think Fluther has ever been what you could describe as cliquish. It may have seemed that way to some people, but that’s only before they got to know everyone, too. No one, maybe besides a couple of people (if there even were any), went out of their way to exclude anyone. Most veterans loved Fluther because it had such a community feeling. That’s how I, as a new user with Fluther already having a strong sense of community when I arrived, felt, when I very first joined the site. I could tell people were already great friends with some others, and the inside jokes, laughter and fun come with friendship. I never felt, for a second, that anyone looked down on me because I was newer to the site than they were, or that I wouldn’t be welcomed.

I remember how, when I asked my very first question about, as a matter of fact, the kind of questions that were appropriate to the Fluther community, I only got a ton of “Welcomes” and invitation to ask pretty much anything, as long as it was well-thought-out and thoughtful. I just honestly don’t understand this sense of exclusion that either of you felt.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Eh… I just don’t get it.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Well, inside jokes are great and everything, but small user bases have downsides. Like failing businesses. The inside jokes were all there, but not the insightful, helpful answers. At the time, Yahoo! Answers was superior. There were very few questions asked every day, and most got a couple good answers and then dissolved into chat between friends. I got no welcomes, no thoughtfulness, but a lot of snubbing for being the freshman and daring to be new and unfamiliar. Actually, that last part hasn’t changed….

New users shouldn’t have to meet everyone and get to know them and spend lots of time finding out that it’s really uneven and cliquish, but you can be a part of it if you hang out long enough.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

When I first was here, it was way more cliquish and the moderation was way more uneven, What? There were cliques? I am surpised I have follwers most seem to hate my questions or my logic. The way Fluther is is all I have known it. It certainly is more “left leaning” than any other Q&A I have been on, but as annpying as that can be sometimes it is also part of the fun, the mental chess game to see who blinks ist. If there is a lot of “dud questions” I just slide righ tby them onto something that will tease the Gray matter more.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@papayalily “At the time, Yahoo! Answers was superior.” No… You completely lost me there. At no point was Yahoo! Answers a better site than Fluther. This is not my biased opinion, but it is instead because I have always known about, and been aware of, Yahoo!Answers. Before I even knew what Fluther was, I would have never considered joining it, simply because of past Q&A sites I had belonged to, and the quality of Y!A couldn’t even compare to them – just as it could never compare to Fluther.

“I got a lot snubbing for being the freshman and daring to be new and unfamiliar.” What do you constitute snubbing? Not getting answers to your questions? Not being welcomed by everyone? I find it hard to believe that quite a few people didn’t welcome you when you first came to Fluther.

“New users shouldn’t have to meet everyone and get to know them and spend lots of time finding out that it’s really uneven and cliquish”. No, you’re right – of course new users shouldn’t have to do that. But how can you get to know people if you don’t… get to know people? Honestly. Was it entirely up to the users who here before you to get to know you? I’m not saying none should, but why would it be solely up to them? People interact with you, typically, as much as you interact with them. Which is why, as a matter of fact, there’s really only one person from the site that I have ever gotten to know extremely well. I didn’t think it didn’t happen with more people because I was being excluded. I knew it was because I simply didn’t foster those kind of relationships with more people.

I’m not coming down on you, I just honestly don’t get it. Maybe this did happen to you, and if so, I apologize to all newish users that might feel the same, on behalf of any other older users who feel like I do. I truly had a very different experience when joining Fluther, so it’s just very hard for me to imagine experiencing that.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Mostly I just didn’t get answers to my questions. They weren’t opinion questions. Yes, you have to spend time in order to be friends with people – but at the time, I had no idea that the point of Fluther was friendships. It said the point of it was Q&A, so imagine my disappointment when I got no answers, but saw a lot of conversation between users joking (the exact opposite of helpful). It was soooo poor as a Q&A site, and not at all congruent with it’s mission statement, that there was no real reason to hang around and find out about the rest of the stuff. I mean, there might be gems at every corner of the Internet, but we all have our own filtering criteria since we aren’t immortal. Y!A might have had spam and a lot of crappy answers, but at least they did answer my question. I got one hello, but it was from the Flutherbot – or as I like to call those, “spam”.
I did try to joke around with people, and jump in on the, and it was ignored. Which is fine, it’s the same everywhere else, I just don’t think that it was this amazing place where everyone acted as the best of humanity instead of being made up of flawed people just like everywhere else. Honestly, I still see a lot of the cliques. Which, when you’re part of them, are termed “friendships”. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing, necessarily. Fluther wasn’t any more open or welcoming than all the other places on the internet – but I’m not saying it was worse. I just don’t think it used to be this utopia of humanity with no issues.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Like I said, I didn’t have the same experience when joining, so I don’t know what else to say. And no, I don’t think friendships are called cliques when you’re on the “outside”. I think they’re just friendships, period. Already established. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t exclude other people. I’m not a part of any clique here, and like I said before, I only have one great friend from fluther – not many. I barely even PM anyone here. But I always feel free to do so.

Frenchfry's avatar

I think some people need to lighten up. This is suppose to be FUN. Hello? Remember that. Ask, answer, laugh, and move on with your day, and sometimes get good advice. Occasionally help someone. Well that’s why I come here, anyways.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Frenchfry I don’t especially like it when someone else tells me what this is supposed to be. In fact, I disagree with your assessment

Frenchfry's avatar

@ Yarnlady No problem. Sorry to rub you the wrong way.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Frenchfry rubbing is good.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@YARNLADY Agreed. I don’t tell people they’re taking something too seriously because it’s insignificant to me. And the internet can’t get more and more ubiquitous while staying unimportant.

mrentropy's avatar

@uberbatman “There is a very simple answer to this. Entropy .”

Man… It always comes back to me :(

jrpowell's avatar

@augustlan said “Questions like “Do you like potatoes?” seem inherently better suited to the Social Section.”

Would questions like this be allowed one year ago? Two years? Three years? The answer is NO.

We can’t talk shit about Yahoo answers because we are really damn close to being them. Example

Blondesjon's avatar

sounding more and more like the party of “no” ^^^

jrpowell's avatar

removed by me

diavolobella's avatar

@MissAnthrope What is interesting is that your answer above, about what Fluther used to be like is the exact same answer I would give if someone asked me what Fluther was like when I joined, and I’m pretty much a newbie. So, I don’t think it really has changed very much.

I got to know people right away, mostly I see the same faces being active, I received welcome messages from people which I was also a bit star struck by and everyone went out of their way to be encouraging. I saw/see really intelligent and witty conversations every day. In fact, I can directly quote you and say that for me also, “The level of intelligence, creativity, humor, and the genuineness of the people is what sold me on Fluther.” This thread is the first bickering I’ve witnessed first-hand and I’m surprised by it. It may not be intentional, but when some veteran users say that the quality has gone down, it comes across as if they are saying the new people are beneath them and not at their level of intelligence. It’s making me feel somewhat uncomfortable, as if I’m being looked down upon and this thread is the first time I’ve felt unwelcome here – as if I should hang my head in shame and go away because I’ve ruined Fluther for the intelligentsia.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@bob_ and @papayalily IMO both of you joined after fluther started going downhill. It just, to me seemed that every single day I went on fluther back in the beginning I learned something new. I was engaged in some sort of intellectual debate or another. It was amazing. Now I need to sift through pages of crap to find a truly great answer. some days I dont respond to anything at all because I cant even find something worth reading. I miss fluther for what it used to be. sure, joking is fine and dandy, id be lying if I said I didnt joke around a lot, but learning something new and interesting will always ALWAYS trump joking.

As per the clique thing. I dont get that at all I really dont but i suppose maybe i was in one of these evil cliques you guys speak of and never realized it.

@diavolobella im sorry but you really cant compare what fluther is now to what it used to be. Sure there is still great intellectual questions with amazing answers that leave you sitting there thinking for days but the frequency at which you cross paths with these questions has greatly decreased. And please dont confuse us with saying that the new users ruined it, there were always crap users, its just as fluther grows in size, the number of crap users will keep up with that ratio. But IMO modding of shit questions has gotten a lot less strict so it floats to the top a lot. Then it sets a trend and everyone, including some of us veterans start asking shitty questions.

@mrentropy yeaaaa way to fuckin ruin everything :P

diavolobella's avatar

@uberbatman Just that fact that you’d call people “crap users” is extremely disheartening. If that is the sort of tone that Fluther had in the past, I’m glad it isn’t that way anymore.

Fluther is a question and answer site, and of course we’d all like it to have good quality discussions. However, it sounds as if some people feel that, at one time, Fluther was a round table of intellectual titans pondering the great questions of the universe and delving into the deep mysteries of life, as if everyone here was a Jean Paul Sarte or Rousseau. That seems a bit much. It’s great to be interested in the deep delving questions and complicated philosophical aspects of life, but if you do so to the exclusion of anything else, I think you run the risk of becoming an intolerable, pompous bore. Every question in life doesn’t have to be so deep and ponderous and everything isn’t so terrifically serious. If everyone is required to do their best Aristotle imitation while on Fluther or shut their plebian mouths, well…..ugh.

Ivan's avatar

I see a lot of this “Fluther used to be so great and now it sucks” mentality. This may or may not be true, but I think we all should be wary of falling into the same trap that a lot of user-bases fall into. We all look back at the “good old days” with rose colored goggles and envision the past as some sort of ideal that we have fallen from. If you ask any old time wis.dm’er what that site’s heyday was, they’ll tell you that it was the Summer of ‘07, fairly early in the site’s history. Communities like this change over time, it’s inevitable. Wis.dm wasn’t able to adapt to its growing and changing population. If Fluther insists that things should go back to the way they were, it will suffer the same fate.

Blondesjon's avatar

well put

El_Cadejo's avatar

@diavolobella are you really going to sit here and say every user is good? please. Also I never said we needed to be strictly serious, jokin is good, if you know me at all you’ll know I joke around a lot. Its just its far to skewed in that way. And the intellectual questions are a small minority. But I never ever said it was strictly serious, need I remind you when this question was asked. Something that is still a meme on fluther today.

@Ivan I agree with what your saying, fluther has changed though and will never be the same, all we can do now is adapt, but I also think to negate the whole thought process of “good ol days” would be silly. We can still look back on what used to be as long as we can accept that it is now gone and we’re living in the present not the past.
As I said above in my first post “Dont get me wrong, I still love fluther very much, but youve changed. We the users just need to accept that I suppose.”

diavolobella's avatar

@uberbatman I don’t say every user is good or bad. I honestly have never judged any other user in that way. I pay more attention to the general flow of conversation than specifically dissecting what user said what and when and assigning points for greatness or craptasticness. Besides which, who am I to judge? I’d have to have a pretty high opinion of myself to do that and that’s not my nature. Either way, “crap user” is an expression I would not use. That’s fairly inflammatory.

El_Cadejo's avatar

ehhh you’re a better person than I am I suppose, either way, some people just suck. I never once called anyone out nor will I but I do certainly notice trends of bad answers/questions from the same people. I suppose you have the ability to look past such things but I dont, I see trends and patterns in everything in life. And crap user really isnt that bad at all. It could have been much worse.

Who am I to judge? No one I suppose, just another jelly in the fluther of it all but should I not have the ability to see who is bringing the whole collective down stopping it from achieving greatness?

btw I have an extremely high opinion of myself, and I really dont think there is anything wrong with that in the slightest. Im awesome just ask gailcalled :P

diavolobella's avatar

@uberbatman We are all entitled to our opinions, but opinions aren’t facts. Because you think someone is bringing Fluther down or they suck, doesn’t mean they actually are or do. Someone might think the same thing about you and find your answers lacking for whatever reason. It’s really extremely subjective, which is why everyone should be welcome here.

tinyfaery's avatar

Why won’t this thread just die? Ugh.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@diavolobella I agree its just an opinion. Im merely stating how I feel and how I feel fluther has changed. You say its great, I say it sucks. Whatever. Im just answering the question at hand.

I think I need to find another site… sigh. tis a shame Quora needs all that personal info

diavolobella's avatar

@psychocandy You’re right and on that note, I’m done.

jonsblond's avatar

I think we all need to make this a better place. If you aren’t happy, then ask those questions and give those answers that you feel are better suited for this site, otherwise you will have new users feel slighted because of all this bitching, and end up leaving because of this. Unless, of course, that’s what you want. I’m sure Ben and Andrew will just love having less people here. That’s really going to help them pay the bills, isn’t it.~

and btw, there is a stop following button. many of us are waiting for @Pnl. ;)

tinyfaery's avatar

I could not follow, but the sentiment continues, making fluther a little bit worse everyday the thread persists. Just because I don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@jonsblond i agree with everything you wrote. I do try and do my part I really do, I think I ask compelling questions whenever I do end up asking them but in the end does it really make a difference? IMO not really.

@tinyfaery psychocandy sure it still exists but if your so unhappy with it why do you even bother looking?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Yeah, with @jonsblond , and still waiting for @PnL .

J0E's avatar

It’s like deja vu.

Blondesjon's avatar

@J0E . . . No shit, right? Except I don’t hate you anymore.

it’s a wonderful life

flutherother's avatar

I would agree. Since I joined Fluther it has gone steadily downhill. Ooops what have I just said?

Plucky's avatar

I’m new here…and, like some others pointed out, I’ve noticed some of the clique like atmosphere. I’m not saying it’s a negative thing ..nor a positive one. But I’m just a newbie so what do I know? :P
When I became part of the collective, I got three “welcome” messages. I didn’t expect any so it was nice :)

AstroChuck's avatar

I <3 PnL

free_fallin's avatar

Relevant Notice the date it was asked.

rooeytoo's avatar

With regard to @free_fallin‘s link, did you notice very few of those folks are still around??? Do you think they left because of question quality, way back then!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@uberbatman Alright, a collection of questions from Fluther’s “Golden Age” (arranged from potentially good to stereotypically silly/crap/lacking in quality):

elections
religion
gifts
education
poltics
regrets
psychology
wishes
sex
Free Masons
foobar
tv
smells
erasers
refrigerator mechanics
animal mental disorders
potato chips
monster trucks
scary movies
drugs
food

And taking the cake for there always being a lack of quality questions – this – don’t click it, seriously

Conclusion: Fluther is as it always has been, except that the increase in users had made it so that intellectually stimulating questions can actually be intellectually stimulating because they get more than 18 answers.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@papayalily oh yes, your definitely right. I forgot you were around during all that and you know exactly how it used to be from your little sampling compared to how it is now. Id compile a list of my own showing how much better questions used to be if I had the time to sit here and go back through all that shit. Sadly I dont so I wont.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@uberbatman I got those from your questions. I went through your backlogs, page by page. I put in every single stimulating question I found from when you joined to April of 2008. I left out most of the ones regarding technical issues, drugs, and junk food. If you would like to show me where exactly all these questions are that you hold so dear, I’d be happy to take a look at them. But based off of the questions you responded to, I’m not seeing it.

ETA: Also, the beauty of the backlogged internet is that I can go back and see exactly how it was; I don’t have to take anyone’s word for it.

Blondesjon's avatar

@uberbatman . . . you really need to make the time for some apostrophes

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Blondesjon as well as commas and spelling

Blondesjon's avatar

i ain’t big on spellin’ and commas are just semi-semi-colons. without apostrophes though society will begin it’s slow, inexorable slide into anarchy.

rooeytoo's avatar

This has gone on so long I bet @wundayatta is out of popcorn

Ooops I wonder if that comment has enough quality to be included in this illustrious discussion???

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@rooeytoo I did a literal spit-take.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@rooeytoo : They let the “beer and poop talk” comments stay, you’re probably OK, there. Maybe you should include an excrement remark just to stay in the spirit, however.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t suppose anyone but me remembers that I told you all this would happen when we got bigger, on one of the multitude of Yahoo!Answer bashing questions.

jonsblond's avatar

Too many people long for that first kiss feeling. You ain’t going to get it back. You know what, instead of giving up so easily and looking for it elsewhere, stick around for a while and make it work. You end up getting something much, much better. :)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@jonsblond Which always seems weird to me, because my first kiss was really awkward and self-conscious. But I practiced and then they got much, much better…. Like Fluther….

jonsblond's avatar

haha :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have a proposal to make for the few brave souls (~) still here waiting around for PnL (myself included) – why don’t all of us come up with a really good question and post it tomorrow? I’m thinking of a question myself that might be interesting (although, maybe just for me)...how about it, you guys?

jonsblond's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Give me a moment, I need to think of something that needs to be named. I kid! teehee

YARNLADY's avatar

I already asked my two. I have a really hard time thinking of questions.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I would, but I feel like it then encourages and rewards these type of temper tantrums.

ETA: Course, in a little while, when it’s not because of this question, I see no reason not to.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’m down. Honestly, I’m sick of the bashing – from all sides. If it helps with things, I will gladly do it.

kenmc's avatar

Yeah, lets all bash @PnL for asking a question! YEAH HOW DARE SHE ASK A QUESTION ABOUT OUR QUESTION ASKING!!?!?!?!?!? WHAT GIVES HER THE RIGHT TO CRITICIZE US?!?!?!? LETS MOCK HER BY CRITICISING HER!!!!

bob_'s avatar

@kenmc Have you been drinking?

DominicX's avatar

@kenmc

More like asking a question about responses to two purposefully planted “retarded” questions that were posted for the sole purpose of creating a reason to post this question.

jonsblond's avatar

@kenmc Yeah, we must all be retarded for criticizing her.~

kenmc's avatar

@bob_ @DominicX @jonsblond If you’re truly interested in a good website, don’t spam it with intentionally bad questions to prove a point. Was @PnL right in what she did? No. But it would I would be sincerely disappointed in 3 people that I thought were wiser to be so totally devoted to trolling to spite one person.

In other words, you guys should know better.

El_Cadejo's avatar

uhhhh theyre all trying to ask good questions in spite of this question. Thats a good thing…. Im lost where you see that as trolling?

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
DominicX's avatar

@kenmc

What the hell are you talking about?

kenmc's avatar

Asking good questions to improve the site is one thing. Asking “good” questions to spite someone else commenting on the decline of a site is another.

I may be paranoid, but this seems like a big trolling to me.

DominicX's avatar

I still don’t know what you’re talking about. No one’s posting questions to “spite” anybody. But basically you’re saying she has a right to criticize us, but we have no right to criticize her. Yeah, that’s fair. Criticism is a two-way street, pal.

Dog's avatar

Die question…. die die die…. only misery, sorrow, angst and regret can come from these depths.

Allie's avatar

I think kenmc might be referring to someone earlier saying they weren’t going to ask good questions because of this one. Maybe? Or was it they were going to ask them? I don’t know. Hell, I’m not sure of anything anymore! (cries)

bob_'s avatar

@kenmc Well, I don’t ask that many questions, and I’m certainly not going to ask any out of spite as others have suggested (because I’m too lazy and I think it’s a bit silly). Anyway, it seems to me like you’re defending your friend, and that’s okay (not that I think she needs to be defended, but ah well). However, as @J0E showed above, friends are also honest with each other.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Allie That would have been me. But I wasn’t going to ask bad questions to spite her or anything. I just didn’t feel like asking really good questions to make her happy, as @Simone_De_Beauvoir suggested.

jonsblond's avatar

@kenmc and asking questions to make fun of the users is another. Many people were hurt by this.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@jonsblond especially coming from a former mod

Allie's avatar

Everyone should ask good questions so everyone is happy.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Dog Maybe I’m not understand how it works, but as a mod, don’t you have the power to kill it off if you want to?

Dog's avatar

@papayalily Sure I have the ability but I will not.

Who would I be to silence the voices of others? While I find the question horribly negative and upsetting what is written here is done from the passion of the users which is what Fluther is about. If the mod team decided as a whole to remove the question then it may go.

For me I just keep hoping some good will come of it all. That we will move past the pain and bitterness and be better as a community for doing so.

jonsblond's avatar

@Allie Most of us do, but how are we to take any of you seriously when all you want to do is mock the users because it’s so terrible for you now? Inside joke questions are belittling to the rest of us.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Dog Ok, then don’t you have the power to unfollow it and only check it if an answer gets flagged?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@jonsblond a thousand lurves

Allie's avatar

@jonsblond Woah, I don’t want to mock anyone. I don’t think I ever did mock anyone. (If you’re talking about the Rufus thing, you and I both know I’ve been doing that for a longggg time.) After this question, I see that things have changed and I can’t change it back. I’m trying to give the quality I wish to see in Fluther and its users and hoping that everyone will do the same and set aside ANY spite and resent they may have for ANYONE.

Dog's avatar

We were not mocking anyone but the asking party of this question when we responded to the questions.

I have apologized. I meant my apology. What more can be done here?

jonsblond's avatar

I’d like to apologize to @kenmc for a big misunderstanding. Please forgive me Ken.

bob_'s avatar

@Dog Give it time?

augustlan's avatar

I love all of you people. Seriously, I do. I’m so, so sorry this whole thing happened. I have literally cried over this many, many times, and sincerely apologize to the entire community for the hurt that our goofing around caused. I really hope that we can all get past this and back to what brings us all here… helping and supporting one another.

free_fallin's avatar

I don’t feel any of the mods had anything to apologize for but I sincerely appreciate the apologies and commend you for stating them.

kenmc's avatar

I’d like to say that I think @jonsblond is a neato poteeto

shilolo's avatar

Speaking for myself only (not as a moderator), I do believe that Fluther should focus more on quality questions and less on increasing question and answer volume of dubious value. From a business standpoint, the Q&A landscape is already littered with sites like Yahoo Answers that don’t restrict questions or answers to any significant degree, and I imagine none of us want Fluther to become a slicker version of Yahoo Answers. Meanwhile, a site like Quora received $86 million dollars in venture capital funding in large part owing to their focus on and recruitment of quality users sharing quality answers. Someone obviously thinks that quality users (and quality QA) is of great value, or they wouldn’t drop nearly 100 million dollars on a very new website.

As to the volatile questions being discussed in this thread, I was not involved in PnL’s cactus thread, but I understand its ontogeny. I was involved secretly in PnL’s dream question, but only to make fun of PnL by insinuating that she has a secret crush on a friend of her’s (see user Gollum). There was no “mod conspiracy” to make fun of other users, except perhaps PnL, and even that was not a conspiracy. I created an alterego with the hope that I could somehow trick her, though I failed. That was it.

In the end, I believe that the ruckus caused by these threads will actually lead to significant improvements in the site. For that, we should all be grateful.

rooeytoo's avatar

I guess now the big problem is to define “quality.” One person’s “quality” is another person’s retarded or nonsensical drivel.

shilolo's avatar

That isn’t such a big problem. Mundane and inane should go out. Creative, inventive and interesting should stay in.

rooeytoo's avatar

It is a big problem because it’s still completely subjective, what is creative, inventive and interesting to one might be mundane and inane to another. Someone has to make a decision and some will always be offended by it.

shilolo's avatar

Can’t say I agree. Many things are clearly mundane, and many are clearly inane. In any event, this is a private website, and as such, can regulate content as the owners/founders see fit. If some are offended by that, there are always other alternatives. You cannot please all of the people all of the time and all things to all people. That is a recipe for failure.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@shilolo Ok. Let’s get rid of the mundane and the inane. First to go: Frizzer, the most inane of them all. Next: Cake & Pancakes.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@shilolo Ok, I don’t understand. If you have such a huge distaste for what is at least 50% of Fluther, why are you here, much less a mod?

shilolo's avatar

1. It wasn’t always this way. 2. I avoid those Qs like the plague. 3. I love this site and want to see it be the best it can be, not degenerate into a haze of banal questions. 4. I hardly participate anymore, precisely for that reason. Is that enough information for you?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@shilolo No, not really, since 1 and 3 seem diametrically opposed, and 4 seems like bitching about the president when you refuse to vote. But I do definitely feel the love and warmth everyone was talking about, what with my obviously banal, inane, and mundane questions that aren’t good enough for you, since clearly my entire Fluther existence is here solely for your own enjoyment.~

shilolo's avatar

@papayalily Indeed (you’ll have to enlighten me as to why 1 and 3 are opposed since they seem quite consistent to me. As for 4, I lack the energy to fight the overwhelming tide.). In any event, it is typically those who can only participate in the banal conversations that bemoan any critique of those very threads (only they typically lack the insight to recognize the banality).

faye's avatar

@Dog You are taking too much pain for this, we are grownups @JilltheTooth You would have so much fun with my poop buddies and me @PnL You got it going, good for you- this is the most spirit I’ve seen in a while. @shilolo As a nurse, I looked forward into your input. I forget some things. There are lots of nurses on this site. Tell me about nerve blocks!

DominicX's avatar

@shilolo

I wouldn’t call most of the “specific problem solving” questions of the general section to be “creative, inventive, and interesting”. Asking about how to solve a computer problem isn’t terribly interesting or creative.

shilolo's avatar

@DominicX Aren’t you nitpicking a bit? I was simply summarizing some of the qualities that characterize a good question, in my opinion. Also, being useful and informative would qualify as well, in my book. Thus, solving a specific technical problem provides value, while conversely, pontificating on someone’s dream does not.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@shilolo It does if you’re a Jungian…

rooeytoo's avatar

Well @shilolo makes my point. One person’s inane is another’s pleasure.

He also said, “In any event, this is a private website, and as such, can regulate content as the owners/founders see fit. If some are offended by that, there are always other alternatives.” Is that a kiss off for those many of us who are here for fun as well as learning? Should I expect a pink slip in my messages?

funkdaddy's avatar

With all the limits online discussions have, could we just assume the other party means the things they say in a respectful way? At least give them the benefit of the doubt.

Half this thread seems to be people taking offense, the other half seems to be people apologizing or clarifying. Most of the people apologizing have given huge amounts of time and themselves to the site to try and see it continue and improve. Maybe take that in to account if you feel it’s appropriate.

If you’re hurt here, chances are someone didn’t mean to.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Still waiting for @PnL . She said she’d be back…

janbb's avatar

Just want to weigh in briefly once more although I’ve been trying to stay away from this train wreck. As I’ve said above, I think the quality does wax and wane and it has waned a bit since it’s gotten bigger (and not populated solely by brilliant Finkels and their ilk.) But I also think that one goes through a period of enchantment with Fluther after joining – I guess this is me speaking personally – and after a time, one has probably argued all one can about religion, politics and even sex (do we really miss Dibley?) Unless a question is really compelling – or fun, I don’t answer it any more. And I do try to ask questions that are either meaningful to me or stimulating to to others. Thus, one’s golden fluther days are different for each person as their involvement goes and comes. However, this is still a damned good site and I hate these periodic bashing sessions.

I also want to stick up for the mods, it was a joke that conceivably was misguided but I didn’t read it so I don’t know. Not worth making Auggie or any of the others feel badly. You guys do a great job.

I’m not quite sure what PnL’s point is since she is not involved here any more, but I would be happy to see this question end.

J0E's avatar

People who are “waiting for PnL” are missing the point here. It’s not about her, it’s about the discussion. She was simply the messenger.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@J0E : Not entirely, she was responsible for the set up that upset so many. @Dog and @augustlan have taken responsilibilty for their parts (and I admire their courage and integrity for doing so), I just want to see if PnL with have the grace to do the same.

cookieman's avatar

Look – fellow jellies – like everything in life, the shine eventually fades from the apple. The moment of perfect infatuation fades and you begin to settle in to either A) contentment or B) resentment.

The foundation of either of those destinations is (usually) the passion you felt at the beginning (nostalgia). Which is why we feel so strongly either way.

BUT…If you find yourself veering toward option B) – I suggest you pack up your kelp and swim away. For the good of the community and your own mental health…swim away.

shilolo's avatar

@rooeytoo We all do what we must. The internets is full of options.

Kayak8's avatar

To protect themselves, jellyfish have stinging cells. These stinging cells also can keep the jellyfish warm. When they sting, the toxins are powerful enough to paralyze their victim and buy enough time to escape. While most jellyfish actively move around, some of them are found to passively float. The correct environment (temperature and currents), can result in a jellyfish bloom which will have a swarm of up to 100,000 jellyfish.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Kayak8 : I think I just fell in love with you. Nothing stimulates my neurons like coelenterate factoids! ;-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@papayalily The suggestion to ask interesting questions today has nothing to do with satisfying any particular member but more to do with moving forward.

shilolo's avatar

@J0E I like it, “waiting for PnL” has a nice ring to it, almost good enough for a play.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@shilolo : Yeah, I’d thought of that as I said it. Seems to be awfully similar. BTW, I would love to see the production you linked to with those guys!

rooeytoo's avatar

@shilolo – precisely and I presume that applies to you as well as to me.

shilolo's avatar

@rooeytoo Absolutely. As soon as Fluther gravitates closer towards YA (How is babby formed?, anyway), I’m out of here.

Dr_C's avatar

I love coming onto threads where a user expresses an opinion in question form, and people begin to rant and rave about how all questions are expressions of opinion or personal taste, and should be respected; crusading for the protection of question askers the world round so that they won’t be bullied or belittled due to the content of their questions or the intention behind them. Except of course the person who posted the question these people are arguing about… that person is evil and should be dealt with.

Of course I’m sure @PnL was expecting some sort of backlash, since I’m sure you’re all aware… one thing people with strong opinions can’t abide is the possibility that someone is WRONG on the internet.

I think it’s great everyone came on here defending the quality or validity of the kinds of questions they like… my question is, who is going to defend the validity and quality of this thread? The OP had an opinion that she phrased in the form of a question and therefore it should qualify as a valid question no? she should not be vilified or attacked based on stating her opinion or asking something that people didn’t like.

/end rant

DominicX's avatar

@Dr_C

For the most part, the “attacking and vilifying” came from the fact that this question was the result of a set up, purposefully posting “bad questions” to illustrate a point.

Any other criticism or disagreement is just that: criticism or disagreement. The people commenting on this thread have a right to criticize and disagree with @PnL‘s opinion.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Well said, @DominicX . Everyone I talked to was “yeah, ho hum, it was better then who cares” about the question, but really pissed off about the set up. I’m thinking @Dr_C didn’t read through carefully. (Can’t say as I’m surprised, it’s reeeeeeeeeeeally long…

kenmc's avatar

@DominicX People are criticising the person as much and probably more than ctricising opinions.

Dr_C's avatar

@DominicX I fail to see how quit bitching. Do something about it is a comentary on an opinion and not a comentary on the fact that an opinion was stated.

shilolo's avatar

GODOT IS HERE!!!

jlm11f's avatar

Hello again. It is Monday and my exam is over. I’m not planning on getting back to this thread till much later tonight (if I can stay awake) but since there has been a lot of back and forth between “PnL is Satan’s spawn” (I exaggerate) and “No she’s not, a person has right to her opinions”, I thought it might be prudent to say something real quick in the best interest of everyone’s time.

People that are criticizing me for whatever reason – I’m okay with it. No offense taken, thanks for your honest outlook.
People that are defending me – I really appreciate this. Really, thank you so much. Some of you I am extremely close to, some of you I don’t know as well. Either way, I appreciate the back up. <3. That said, please do not waste any more of your precious time on my behalf. That discussion has reached it’s constructive best.

I think this answer makes sense, I’m not exactly sure because my vision is blurring due to lack of sleep. Not something anyone needs to pity me for btw (before the snide comments start), I just felt the need to explain myself in case I’m not being entirely coherent)

Dr_C's avatar

@shilolo +10 internets for you for the Beckett reference.

AstroChuck's avatar

I like questions about kittens.

janbb's avatar

I like kittens who ask questions.

Jude's avatar

@janbb I like the Granddaddy of them all.

jlm11f's avatar

380 answers, 24GQs, countless misunderstandings and clarifications and exhibitionist awards later, here we are.

I’m hoping I am able to keep this answer as succinct as possible (I’m sure EVERYONE involved in this thread is tired of reading it and about it), not quite sure how that will work out though. EDIT: Clearly I was unable to stick to this goal, and have now decided to break my answer into more than one quip for the sake of our eyes.

I’d like to start with what @augustlan said here:. “When I was using an alter-ego to answer @PnL‘s ‘dream’ question, I was under the impression that she had asked the question to mess with (not in a malicious way) the mod team a bit. I was simply playing around with my friend, the former community manager… not attempting to deceive our members at all. I was completely unaware of the intentions behind that question, and completely unaware that this one would be asked as a result.”

^Reading that quip and then countless quips following it made me realize that something had gone terribly amiss in the communication as to the chronology of events. This of course is entirely my fault because I decided I can’t devote any more time to this thread until my exam. Ideally, I would have wasted post-exam but realistically I probably wouldn’t have asked this Q post-exam. Allow me to explain what happened since that is integral to majority of the complaints people seem to have about the “mock Qs.”

1. I was taking a study break when a few good friends, who are also influential people on Fluther (well more than the average) expressed to me their frustration about the lack of current modding guidelines. The idea being that no one knows what to mod anymore and that the type of Qs that are allowed to stay on the site now are ridiculous compared to the old days. Now when I say “old days” please realize I am referring to the old days of modding. Not the good old days where every Q was like a drop in the ocean of knowledge. That period, of course, never has and never will exist.

The issue was the tabs of General vs Social being divided into serious vs joke (?) answers rather than serious vs not so serious Qs (my point is the distinction needs to be based on Qs.). The ANSWERS on Fluther, are just fine and good as ever (of course I’m basing this on the little I click on these days).

So since this general vs social thing was an issue and also something mods were at that moment starting to discuss, the first Q that I asked aka the dreams Q was put for one reason only: to show to Fluther Gods and other mods who might not agree about there needing to be a change in guidelines that the current guidelines are exploitable with a “anything goes.” The “serious answers only please” mention in the details section was not a jab at anyone but was put there because I initially put the Q in the GENERAL tab with my point being, “if this was my legit Q, and I wanted serious answers, then you can’t in good faith move it to social based on current guidelines.” The tactic worked, Lisa moved it to Social almost right away, and then since the Q had served its “purpose”, my Fluther buddies decided to use it to poke fun at me and basically tell me to get laid. ahem @shilolo

The funny thing later on (the next day) was when users that weren’t aware of what had transpired told me that THEY thought that Q was legit as were the answers since they’ve become used to seeing that kind of junk permanently on the site. Yes, this was disconcerting to me. Why? Was it mere intellectual snobbery? Gosh, I hope not. Maybe it was the fact that for the 1.5 yrs that I spent actively “working” for Fluther, I was told repeatedly how quality is key. As community manager it was my job to keep ensuring said quality and get rid of the “nonsense.” To see it stay now was in direct contradiction to what I was told (and what I told all the mods I trained, @augustlan, @Allie, and @EmpressPixie being some of the ones I directly trained) about the site’s future and this bothered me because well I put my heart and soul into this site and I want to see it do well but for reasons other than just quantity of members. Clearly @andrew‘s recent answer and my recent conversations with other higher ups make me confident that quality, albeit lowered for now, is still a priority. Yay.

2. A week (?) later, cactus Q came around in a similar manner due to the incessant “What should I name my XYZ?” Qs. Many of you seem to think those are A-okay. Here’s where we disagree. But again, the cactus Q was directed towards those that used to think it was NOT okay, once upon a time anyway. This was the same day I asked THIS Q. To be clear, no one was aware I was going to ask this Q in particular. This Q itself was built from my frustration with the system and more likely my stress with my impending exam. I thought to myself (after asking the cactus Q) – “How long is this going to go on for? I could either keep trying to talk to the higher ups through those snarky Qs and ask for swift guideline changes or I could get the community involved, get their collective opinion, and this way if majority of us agree that quality is an issue that needs to be dealt with, then maybe they’ll do something about it.” And that’s why this beautiful ~ Q was created.

But it seems that the prevalent thought is that I created the last 2 Qs for the sole purpose to use as a “point” in this Q are incorrect and completely off base. Things fell in to place, someone asked for an example, I knew I’d be modded for linking to anyone’s Qs (that are not mine) and so I linked to them as examples of terrible Qs, which yes, I truly do think those are horrible Qs. The last 2 Qs weren’t really for anyone but highly specific group of individuals who knew of the message I was driving at.

To summarize:
This wasn’t some elaborate controversy, the cactus/dream Q weren’t created for the purpose of highlighting and serving as evidence for this Q.
The mods and non mods that used alters weren’t mocking you
We’re all just frustrated by the lack of stimulating Qs on this site, which directly stems from more relaxed modding rules
Clearly not everyone feels this way, thus this Q was asked to get your opinion. In hindsight, “retard” wasn’t the best way to vocalize my feelings on the topic because it hindered the serious, honest conversation that could have taken place and overshadowed the numerous sub Qs asked along with the title.

So what was the point of cactus/dream Qs again? – To show to mods/higher ups that Qs like that are retarded nonsensical and we didn’t allow it in the past and there’s no need to allow it in the present, IMHO.

PS I was verbose on purpose because when I tend to shorten things down, I sound curt and that causes misunderstandings that then I have to spend more time clarifying. I perfectly understand if this is a “TL;DR” for most of you, it would be for me frankly. But I did owe people that wanted an explanation a proper explanation.

jlm11f's avatar

Tying loose ends:

@kevbo Excellent assessment. Thanks

@Symbeline – Again, thanks for your thought provoking opinion.

@notdan – You had some great points and suggestions, thanks

@SeaofcloudsAgreed

I’d also like to echo @Dog‘s sentiments when she says: “It was not until this question was posted and the faux questions revealed that I realized that my silly playing around could take on a very unintended and hurtful meaning.

I could reiterate that my actions were not intended to be anything more than silliness but that does not change the fact that, due to my actions, peoples feelings were hurt and trust broken.”

I still think this was a Q that needed to be asked, I will not apologize for my opinions, I would have phrased it better next time.

@shilolo Thanks for speaking to the importance and relevance of Q&A that offer quality and also showing that if enforced in the right way, it doesn’t equate to a business fail.

@funkdaddy – Good observation, thanks for pointing that out for all of us.

@psychocandy I was unaware that was you until just now!!! Love the new name! Hope you’re doing well.

Finally @Dog I know this has been stressful for you. And I’m sorry for that. <3

Btw, since this has become somewhat a joke on this thread, I’d like you all to know (and I mean this completely seriously), that if I ever own a cactus, I’m naming it Spike (as suggested by someone on that Q’s thread).

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@PnL I feel honored. Now give me your address so I can mail you a cactus. :D

In all seriousness, I’m sure many people appreciate your response. Very civil and informative. Good job.

Plucky's avatar

@PnL I just wanted to thank you for taking the time and energy to clarify what exactly happened.
Yes, I’m new and not nearly as involved as many others with what transpired. But, I’ve been following this question since it was posted. And I appreciate you giving such a clear, honest and respectful response to the issues brought up.

augustlan's avatar

@PnL I’m sorry if I misunderstood the chain of events.

AstroChuck's avatar

@PnL- You can’t name your cactus Spike. It would be copyright infringement as that name is owned by MTV Networks.

janbb's avatar

@PnL Props to you for the explanation. We are all only human (well, most of us anyway) and prone to misunderstanding.

What a large, strange dysfunctional but lovely family Fluther is!

wundayatta's avatar

I am constantly amazed that people spend time on this question. What it shows me is that people enjoy drama. I think they get involved in these intense debates that make them feel like they are working on something that matters. I’m sure they won’t see it that way, but if you’re inside, you may not have enough perspective to tell.

Anyway, people get all passionate, and think they are arguing about how to save their beloved fluther from extinction due to lack of quality. Frankly, I don’t see how you can know whether there is a lack of quality or not, and even if there is, what is the impact it is having. The only people who try to figure that out are the people who have the data, and I suspect they have better things to do with their time.

What worries me is that some policy change will be made based on the opinions of a few people, who happen to be mods, but may or may not be in touch with the zeitgeist here. I know the owners can do whatever they wish, and I know they’ve responded to this kind of thing before, needlessly, I believe, just as I believe any further change is needless.

I don’t think people trust the robustness of the system here, nor do they have any clue about the enjoyment some of us get out of the so-called “nonsensical” questions. In my opinion they allow for a kind of creativity and humor that is not otherwise available. I suspect that there are too many people who don’t get the joke. Or that many of the people who don’t get the joke are the ones who like this question. Obviously, not all the people here don’t get it.

Anyway, whatever happens, I’ll deal with it. I’m sure I’ll be unhappy, but so it goes. No one consults with me about these things. No reason why they should, I suppose. The mods seem to have their fingers on the pulse of fluther. I have to say that I warned about this before the last change where the two types were set up. I said the General would get too serious and the Social would get too silly. Go back and look it up, if you want.

My advice this time, is the same as last time. Leave it alone. You’ll only make it worse. All the mods wanted this change last time, and are now unhappy because they don’t know the standards now, any more than they knew them then. It’s a judgment call and people make different judgments. No matter how much you try to standardize things, there’s no way you can do a good job of it unless the owners and mods all decide on all questionable questions. That’s the nature of the beast. It always has been, and until we get brain chips that allow us to multi-task, that’s the way it always will be.

But, like I said, no one in power around here gives a shit about what I say. If you hear a bit of bitterness there, your hearing is just fine. I get the sense that I am being dismissed as just being conservative, perhaps because I’m older or perhaps because of my emotional problems. It’s like the folks running this place think I have no worthwhile input into what will happen given various choices social media managers make.

There’s a reason why I have a lot of lurve and it ain’t because I’ve been around a long time (although I have). I offer pretty damn good advice pretty damn often! I don’t think that’s a fluke.

Anyway, I’m tired of this bullshit, and I’m going to go and cool off and try not to get riled up about it again. Whatever happens happens. That’s my two cents, which, due to inflation, is only worth one cent.

janbb's avatar

@wundayatta Are you Eeyore in real life?

bob_'s avatar

@wundayatta “I am constantly amazed that people spend time on this question. What it shows me is that people enjoy drama.” — Is that why you’re here? :)

I agree with what you’re saying. Every community will have a very vocal minority, and it’s up to those in charge to decide just how much to listen to them. The rest of us will have to decide whether we can live with whatever is decided or leave.

I can understand the frustration of the mods/former mods/veterans. It seems like they were told one thing and then course was changed towards something into which they might not have put an effort in the first place. I don’t know what they were told at the beginning and I don’t know how involved were they with those changes, and to be honest it doesn’t really matter to me: it is something for those two groups to settle.

Lastly, while something good can come out of this thread, I believe it could have been done in a less controversial way (i.e., without making people literally cry), but I guess we can merely speculate. Only time will tell if the end justified the means.

shilolo's avatar

@wundayatta It isn’t true that “all the mods” wanted this change. Some of us argued for a completely different course that likely would have made you even more unhappy. But, as you pointed out, this isn’t our site. There are plenty of alternatives out there, as we all (including me) have discovered.

mrentropy's avatar

I haven’t found a new site. My plan is let everyone off drop off through attrition until I have the most points.

@PnL‘s stance, as I understand it, is that all users have to step up and do some good questioning. Fair enough. It is my belief, then, (and I could be wrong—feel free to tell me if I am) that moderators should “take care” of questions that don’t meet the standards.

As near as I can tell, there are no standards other than grammar and clarity. But would it be safe to say that if it’s not a question it shouldn’t be posted?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

With all of 14 or something mods being out there, is there no way to communicate normally and not have to go through something like those qs or this q or anything?

shilolo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Did you actually read PnL’s quips? This wasn’t a plan AND she isn’t part of the mod team any more, making your point moot. There is plenty of behind the scenes communication that goes on, about many aspects of the site. This particular chain of events was organic and not premeditated (for instance, my participation in PnL’s dream question was simply to make fun of her for having an imaginary “crush” on a classmate and not to make some indirect statement about site quality). Indeed, I have never shied away from expressing myself in public and in private, so why should I start behaving in a passive-aggressive manner now? Why must people see conspiracies where none exist?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@shilolo I did read what she wrote and appreciate some of it. I am not seeing any conspiracy, just wondering, you know…why supposed close friends or ex-colleagues can’t discuss any concerns with each other without resorting to actions that aren’t, in retrospect, the most adult way to handle anything. As for whether the mods behave in a passive-aggressive fashion..no, they don’t..you are a different story.

andrew's avatar

As a last word, we’ll be releasing clarified question guidelines that the staff had been working on for a week before this particularly ill-advised and unproductive thread was started.

To clarify, in the founders’ and staff’s eyes, ‘quality’ means:
* Sincere
* Well-written
* Good discourse

It doesn’t matter if the questions are about someone’s dream, how to find a great restaurant, or the relative intelligence of a squid vs a chicken, as long as it fits those principles, it should stay on Fluther.

For more of the founders’ thoughts about this, including our plans to let you filter the types of questions you see, see my response here. We’ll be talking more about where we’re going in the future. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

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