Meta Question

janbb's avatar

Where is Fluther going?

Asked by janbb (44569 points ) February 5th, 2014

I am finding less and less to engage with here; it seems like most of the depth is gone. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone or trying to make an argument here; it just saddens me. I was one of the people who thought there were too many atheist vs. theist questions going on but it seems like we have lost most of the challenging discussions altogether. Or maybe I am just in a period of burn-out? Not planning to delete my account, just spending less time here. Any thoughts? (And please, no attacks on me or anyone else.)

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119 Answers

dxs's avatar

I sure hope it isn’t going down the Mariana Trench.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I think it is just how it goes sometimes. There are some days where I find a lot of questions that I want to answer and other days where I check in but nothing inspires me. It doesn’t bother me, I just know to come back another day.

If you would like to see a topic discussed in depth why don’t you try to initiate that by asking a question on that subject?

janbb's avatar

@Leanne1986 I just have. :-)

hug_of_war's avatar

When a site is left on its own, with no new development things are going to get stagnant. The active fluther community is so tiny. A lot of us know each other too well. We don’t need to debate the big topics because we’ve done so a million times and everyone knows the stances of everyone else.

There is an ebb and a flow to online communities. Things may pick up again but they are never going to be what they were. I’ve seen it time and time again. You have to have a diversified base or things get dull. You need old and young blood. Not the random person who asks one question and leaves.

picante's avatar

I enjoy the comfort of the folks whom I’ve seen since my first visit here; and I feed my voyeurism by observing the discussions in which I have no desire to engage. It remains an interesting view of the world, and for that reason alone, I continue to hang around.

I appreciate the many “virtual” friendships I’ve made here; and I really wish some site development would be considered. Like most, I have my own wish list.

I’ll be the dullest of the dull when it comes to sparking the conversation here; and I’m indebted to those who do keep the fires burning.

Cruiser's avatar

@janbb I think you have just been swimming in the pond non-stop for too long. I left for a year and see nothing much different today compared to when I left. I will add I do see more of what you are saying is missing. Saying this may seem contradictory because there is over all less questions being asked than past years but there is a lot less trite and trivial questions being asked as well so the better questions remain and stand out. At least that is how I see it today compared to a year ago.

Naked_Whale_Tamer's avatar

I’m new and I can’t say that I’m too excited by this site.
Too many inane answers.
A bunch of ad hominem attacks.

I’ll probably stick with Quora. I can edit/delete my answers. Comments can be added (and edited/deleted) to an answer rather than adding an answer to the bottom when a person meant to add a comment. And on Quora, bad answers can be down voted (not that’s is always a good practice).

There’s several million people on Quora (with quite a few very famous people—not famous in the celebrity sense) and the programmers are from Stanford, Harvard, MIT.

janbb's avatar

@hug_of_war Yes, my analysis is similar to yours.

@Cruiser Yes, maybe I need to back off for a bit.

ibstubro's avatar

I came back with the Askville tide, @janbb, and I thought Fluther seemed a lot more vital and fun at that time – maybe around last September?

It seems to me that there are currently too many ‘subcontractors’ – members who exist primarily to stand in judgement of the ‘additions’ of other members. Members that comment (negatively) on comments rather than addressing the question. I don’t understand the members that seemingly exist to derail question. You can spend all the time in the world crafting an excellent question, and if a derailer gets to it first, you’re likely screwed.

janbb's avatar

@ibstubro Yes, I thought it was more lively a few months ago and welcomed the Askville influx heartily.

Cruiser's avatar

@ibstubro I am certainly not the most elder here but I have been here just over 4 years and what you describe about the “subcontractors” has IMHO always been part of the dynamic of the tide pool but the upside to that is the powers that be do a decent job of policing the flame baiters.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’ve noticed it’s become quite boring around here. I thought the new AskVille people would liven the place up, but that didn’t happen at all. Sad.

If I ever left Fluther, it wouldn’t be for another Q&A site. I’d just move on.

Seek's avatar

If I were allowed to, I would name all the people who have left since the last “Shut up, stupid atheists” crap went down. Believe it or not, folks, that wasn’t all we talked about. When you lost the atheists, you may have lost those pesky questions you just couldn’t scroll past, but you also lost many good active contributors.

I tried Quora. I don’t like it. It’s haughty and impersonal.

I’ve started admin duties on a couple of atheist discussion groups on Facebook. I get all the political debate I can handle, nice open discussion, and no one telling me to stop talking about what I want to talk about.

janbb's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr We didn’t lose all the atheists. Just sayin’. But we certainly did lose many bright, active Jellies – both secular and non-secular.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Are you referring to the “Ask an athiest” thread? I didn’t participate, but I wasn’t aware it caused such a huge problem.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Well I hope it doesn’t go like Askville did, for the most part I do enjoy Fluther get a little tired of sometimes when the mods send a question back because I failed to put a space after a comma, or should have said too instead of to, or the horrors, no one will understand the question if you fail to put a space after a comma, or don’t use the correct too.

ibstubro's avatar

I agree, @janbb, about the Askvillians. Almost all have drifted off or been put in their place so many times that they gave up what made them different at the outset.

I have not “I tried Quora. It’s haughty and impersonal.” according to the people who seemingly like it best, @Seek_Kolinahr.
That’s not directed @Naked_Whale_Tamer, who I do not know and have a generally favorable opinion of.

I wonder sometimes, @SQUEEKY2, if the mods aren’t bored with the seemingly slowed traffic on Fluther and look for things to moderate rather than things that need moderation.

Coloma's avatar

Meh…it is what it is, like everything, there are ebbs and flows, ride the fluther wave or hang up your board. lol

rojo's avatar

Or go in search of the perfect wave.

and come back and get us when you find it

Coloma's avatar

Kowabunga!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I take issue with that because the ‘stupid theist’ threads were plentiful and the only reason I ever said I was a theist was because of the constant abuse and jokey put-downs. And we’ve lost theists and regular old “sick of the crap” people, too, so maybe not asking those questions IS a good thing.

Regardless, I still like the site, I like a lot of good people here (Seek included fyi) and urge everyone to just think of thing’s that stimulate your brain, and ask. I personally didn’t like the Quora site.

Where are all the Q’s by newbies anyway?

thorninmud's avatar

I’m often surprised at the range of reactions by people who get a Q sent back for editing. Some take it as insult, others are glad we caught the error and given them a chance to make their question look smarter. Hell, some users actually flag their own questions because they saw some little typo, and can’t stand having it hanging out there in public. Personally, if I had posted something with a grammar or spelling problem, I’d be thrilled if someone yanked it and gave me a chance to make it presentable. It’s always a little embarrassing to have an error pointed out to you, but would you really rather have it out there with your name on it?

ucme's avatar

Around in circles, ever decreasing ones it seems.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ucme Because you’re not asking enough questions buddy! :)

ucme's avatar

@KNOWITALL You know, you just might have something there :)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ucme You ARE highly entertaining, I’m a big fan…lol

You must know everything though since you don’t ask much. Maybe we should do another ‘what’s your hobby’ or ‘what’s your job’ or something to get us all friendly again.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Oooooooo…….I shudder the thought. I would have to say it is going redacted, quickly into blasé, lackadaisical fluff land; lased with mean-spirited, backbiting, passive aggressive attacking.

gailcalled's avatar

This not-very secret set of guidelines, clear and succinct, informs the place. Why are people constantly acting so surprised? The owners set the tone and have never deviated.
**********************
Use proper English (no txtspk)
Be spelled correctly
Use appropriate punctuation

While these rules may seem strict and arcane, it’s imperative to keeping the level of discourse at the highest quality

Please give us your very best efforts, and don’t take it personally if you have a question pushed to editing to fix some typos. We’re sticklers.

ucme's avatar

@KNOWITALL Don’t ask much, i’ve asked 900+ questions here, once I hit a grand that’s me through.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Use proper English (no txtspk)
Be spelled correctly
Use appropriate punctuation

And if you don’t, @gailcalled will correct you publicly if the mods don’t catch it first. :)

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Ah, you have no idea of the thousands of times I have resisted.

Symbeline's avatar

Seeing as the site is in limbo, as in, nobody is working on its progress anymore, in this way, it’s not headed anywhere. Which I find a bit sad, but the fact that it remains open and that we’re allowed to keep it is good. Lots of owners, in such circumstances, would have closed it by now.

As for the community, can’t argue with that, I sure miss a lot of people. There’s still plenty of interesting things going on though, it’s just way slower than before. (sorta miss questions of the day plus blog posts though)

But one must remember, when being in a community for so long, it can get monotonous after a bit. Sometimes, that has to do with the person, rather than the site itself. See I love zombies, but at this point, if I want to discuss them, I’ll go on zombie forums, because I have a general idea of how most people feel about them here. The discussions will be limited. Same for video games. The more people you have, the less this happens, but for now, it be what it be.

Naked_Whale_Tamer's avatar

@thorninmud wrote:

“I’m often surprised at the range of reactions by people who get a Q sent back for editing. Some take it as insult, others are glad we caught the error and given them a chance to make their question look smarter. Hell, some users actually flag their own questions because they saw some little typo, and can’t stand having it hanging out there in public. Personally, if I had posted something with a grammar or spelling problem, I’d be thrilled if someone yanked it and gave me a chance to make it presentable. It’s always a little embarrassing to have an error pointed out to you, but would you really rather have it out there with your name on it?

(emphasis added)

Yes, I would want someone to point out an error I made so that I could correct it.

On Quora, anyone (even anonymously) can edit any question or change the associated topics without any special permissions. I’ve changed many questions for either typographical errors or because the question wasn’t clear. If the question was unnecessarily polemic or nonsensical, I flagged it and the question disappeared from the feed.

Anyone can suggest edits to answers, but the person who posted the answer must approve of the edits. I’ve made hundreds of edits to answers (some answers are very lengthy) and only once or twice did someone reject my suggestions. Even well known magazine editors and Ph.D.s (of English no less) made errors which I’ve corrected. A lot of people have thanked me. No brownie points are awarded for edits. I’ve had some of my answers edited which I accepted and thanked the person for making the effort.

I’m very persnickety and errors drive me nuts.

rojo's avatar

“Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?”

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Ah I see point and correct even the most minor spelling or punctuation errors,but never and I mean never point out peoples bad driving habits,after all it’s the spelling and punctuation errors that can kill ,not the horrible driving habits of over 85% of the population.

glacial's avatar

I was extremely disappointed by the moderators’ response to the last round of “You atheists suck” by certain members. I’ve always been a mod apologist here, but that kind of pulled the curtain back for me, and revealed that the rules are both arbitrary and personal. Accordingly, some of our best have left or are leaving, and I will eventually follow suit. I’m pretty much sticking around out of habit and muscle-memory clicking at this point.

If Fluther wants to eliminate philosophical discussions by the people it doesn’t like, that’s Fluther’s business. But that arbitrariness makes me feel that my contributions here are pointless, and it makes the entire experience less enjoyable.

The people who enjoy theism/atheism discussions do tend to be the people who enjoy discussions about science and technology. So as the atheists leave, Fluther will lose that sector of the answerer base, and those types of questions will be fielded by those who think that either a quick Google search or an opinion or a feeling is a substitute for actual knowledge. That’s a shame, but I’m not going to dwell on it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@glacial Which Q was that? Did I miss it?

I’m pretty sure at least one member left in a huff because he couldn’t start fights anymore for his own personal gain, and for that, although I like him personally, it wasn’t really appropriate to use jellies like that without their knowledge of his occupation.

Additionally, I’m curious as to why you don’t value the rest of your community? All I’m saying is that theist or non-theist, we all have something to contribute and if you take religion and all the bias and judgement that comes with that, perhaps it’ll be a NICER place to hang out. Everyone’s being kind of negative but I really see it as a positive, if you don’t want to be here, no one wants to force anyone.

rojo's avatar

I enjoy the interaction. I just think of the jabbing and poking as brothers and sisters picking on each other and the mods (mom & dad) have to step in from time to time and separate us.

Sometimes it goes in your favor, sometimes it doesn’t. Eh. As I told my kids, parents don’t care about fair, parents care about quiet. Which is, I believe, a probable misquote of Bill Cosby

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo Cain and Able maybe, lol…seriously though, usually it’s with love or at least affection.

longgone's avatar

In the time I’ve been here, that has happened to me a few times. I hope it passes, @janbb. It has for me.

As to the recent happenings: I do miss a few of the members that left. I also feel a little confused. There seems to have been some change of rules concerning religious threads, but I have no idea what change this is.

MadMadMax's avatar

I’ve had a hard time finding questions that inspired me for a few weeks now. I’m getting bored with the site but it may pick up. As was noted, there are ebbs and flows with Q&A sites.

I haven’t been “picked on” at all by the moderators. They have been helpful to me and very courteous if I wasn’t clear when I asked a question.

I do hope the site really picks up and always fear it’s going down like Askville did which is a bad dream. When Askville was new it was fantastic fun. If you come across Askville answers from four or five years ago, you’ll find they were literally extraordinary. If the creators or moderators had left it alone it would still probably be one the most enjoyable Q&A sites online. But they couldn’t keep their fingers out of the pie and then all interest was lost and it went downhill progressively.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Madmax You’re interesting, what is your passion? If we all discover that & share it’ll be great!

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I am an agnostic. But my favorite chat buddy is a christian believer. She dropped from Fluther because she felt she wasn’t welcome. So I haven’t been on for awhile because why bother?

I think you read stuff as “shut up stupid atheists” and other people hear “shut up stupid Christians”. And somebody leaves. And their friends are forced to decide.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought “And their friends are forced to decide.”

Decide what? Is this one of these juvenile “you can’t be friends with both of us because we had a fight, so you have to choose one of us” kind of things? You can be on Fluther even if you have a friend that’s no longer here.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I sometimes have the same feeling as you. I can’t find any interesting discussion to join. They are about thing I’m not interested or have no knowledge of. But then things look up, and good threads come out, everything back to normal. I guess you are just “burned-out”. The good always come to those who wait, right?
When I first signed up here, my only intention was to ask all what I need then leave. There was actually a period when I decided to leave Fluther and didn’t log in for a while (It was after I had asked all what I wanted to ask). But then I thought back, if I left and others questions came up, then who was I to rely on? That’s what motivated me to stay here a little longer, and then I discovered what a great site Fluther is.
And @janbb , don’t leave! There aren’t many jellies here so if you leave it will be like a big hole drilled onto a small wall! I wish I could start an interesting thread for you, but I really have no idea what makes a good question ;_;

ibstubro's avatar

I’m agnostic, too, @Imadethisupwithnoforethought, and it’s my considered opinion that if the Christians preached and hammered their beliefs as hard as the atheists have, they would be drummed off the site.

Compulsion to make other people share your views wears thin regardless. Compulsion to shake belief that give others comfort borders on evil.

Odd that the vast majority of us take on faith the idea that scientists continually ‘infer’ ever smaller particles, and yet many of those scientists would have us believe “faith” is synonym for “ignorant” if used in a religious context.

I’m glad your back, @Imadethisupwithnoforethought. I enjoy your participation on Fluther. I know exactly what you’re talking about…I’m sort of a ‘political agnostic’ as well (not believing there’s a big difference in the parties and that neither is worthy of support outside of individual candidates), yet on Askville, my best buddy was rabid Tea Party.

MadMadMax's avatar

I never saw the atheist suck question. That’s rather funny.

Cruiser's avatar

For those Jellies who are lamenting more fun and exciting times here on Fluther….few were better than this thread ;)

Mimishu1995's avatar

@janbb Here, I’ve just asked this question. Hopefully it will appeal to you.

Coloma's avatar

@Cruiser Hahaha…that was a couple years before my time here, fun read.

dxs's avatar

Would you rather…?
^^That was part of my introduction to Fluther.

Seek's avatar

To catch up those who aren’t familiar with recent events, and might care to know:

(and if you already know or don’t care, scroll button’s on the bottom right.)

There was no single “shut up atheists” question. It was a sort of behind the scenes, sort of spread between three or four threads shenanigans that led to several people either deleting their accounts or seriously reducing their Fluther time.

Basically, it was decided that in the case of one specific person, the Guidelines have a different meaning, because some people find this person annoying (at least as far as I can tell, that’s the reasoning). This new interpretation of the Guidelines does not apply to other users who arguably use the same tactics, albeit on other topics.

This was glaringly similar to the last “Holy crap can we stop talking about religion already?!?” uproar from July of last year, during which several of us spoke in PM about how none of us want to leave but we can only bend so far backwards and tread so lightly on the precious eggshells of other users (who admittedly aren’t even participating in the threads)

So, because people who don’t want to talk about religion feel like their right to never see a religious question trumps the right of others to engage in heated discussion, * poof * Away go the users. Because fuck censorship – whether by mod or by consistently whiny users who can’t find their scroll button. (Again, bottom right.)

Symbeline's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Wow, all that went on? Man I must be out of the fuckin loop, none of that rings a bell. Sounds shitty though. :( Perhaps I may be just braindead, truth be told, but in this case I’m kinda glad. :/

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Woa something like that happened here? Does it involve new jellies?
It just breaks my heart to know some old jellies have left because of that incident.
That’s the reason why I never participate in any religious discussion. I never regret my choice.

By the way a while ago did I do something similar here?

ucme's avatar

Hee hee, another example of users throwing their toys out of the pram, get over yourselves.

longgone's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Thank you, if that was for my benefit. Sad.

KNOWITALL's avatar

U think it was getting to the point of being flamebait on purpose. @ibsturo said it well.

janbb's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Outsourced???

I was actually amazed and delighted that someone had the answer to that!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb I’m blown away too. Just when my faith in fluther was waning KABOOM. I’ll stick around a bit I think.

ibstubro's avatar

How do we know anyone left. It’s a well established fact that users can have more than one account, so a user could “quit in disgust” and just use their alternate ego account.

I find it almost amusing that users who told me, ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get the fuck out of the kitchen!’ quit in a huff.
Kitchen cleared?

Coloma's avatar

I think the whole alternate user thing is stupid. Why would anyone reincarnate under a pseudo identity unless they wanted to ask a very voletile question of some sort and remain anonymous?
No way I could pull that off, my writing and humor is too distinct to disguise. Either stay or go but why go to all the trouble to try and hide your original identity? Pffft!

rojo's avatar

The Clash with the question. (but not the answer).

janbb's avatar

I don’t think too many people do that unless they are wanting to ask a private question or are trying to game the system as in one famous case.

ibstubro's avatar

Simple, @rojo.

I think there was a thread where a good number of people acknowledged having multiple accounts, @janbb. I know one member had at least 3, and refused to say why.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ucme & @ibstubro You two rock!

I have to admit that the idea of censorship versus flame bait interests me. Maybe another thread.

ibstubro's avatar

Sometimes we get on a roll, @KNOWITALL

ibstubro's avatar

It just hit me @rojo!

my apologies to the diabetics in the crowd

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Excellent version rojo. I saw him in concert a few years ago. There were entire families that came out. Dad, Mom and the kids. Little different then the concerts I first saw.

Seek's avatar

The only way a secret sock puppet account would work would be if the user used a different computer – one they had NEVER used to access Fluther under their old account before.

The mods can tell who’s using the same IP address as another user.

ibstubro's avatar

Only the mods, though, @Seek_Kolinahr. That doesn’t mean they would call a user out.

thorninmud's avatar

There has never been an anti-atheist sentiment among the mods (seriously, look at the list of mods. Do you know these folks?). Nor has there been any policy change aimed at disallowing discussions about religion.

It has always been the policy here not to allow proselytizing. We tend to think that means trying to convert others to a religion, but it has the broader meaning of trying to convert others to your cause, institution or point of view. That’s something different from debate, which is part of the lifeblood of this site. Debate revolves around a question that can allow for different points of view. Anyone here is free to ask such a question and then to respectfully express their own point of view.

What makes proselytizing different is agenda. Agenda is something that becomes apparent over one’s pattern of activity. No matter how laudable and well-meaning one’s cause may be, Fluther is not the place to rally members to your cause. When a member asks question after question that are clearly just setups for forwarding their point of view, then there’s an agenda there. Even if a majority of members are on board with that cause, it’s still, in effect, proselytizing.

The mods have been pretty darned circumspect about limiting this kind of thing. We realize that a lot of room has to be made here for vigorously expressed opinion. If anything, we’ve probably erred on the side of caution. I’m sure most of us could pick out examples of users who we think cross this line. We’re not banning anyone over this; if you feel that being here is only worthwhile so long as you can press your agenda, then I could understand wanting to move on.

Seek's avatar

Where does persuasive debate end and proselytizing begin?

The entire point of debate is to attempt to change people’s minds.

thorninmud's avatar

“The entire point of debate is to attempt to change people’s minds.”
Yes. It’s one thing to press your case in a debate, and another to repeatedly craft questions that are designed to lead to a particular conclusion. A legitimate debate question doesn’t come loaded with its own answer.

And we really are talking about patterns of questions that are agenda-focused.

ibstubro's avatar

Very, very well said, @thorninmud.

You walked the thin line with precision.

rojo's avatar

So, none of the “Have you stopped beating your wife?” type questions?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@thorninmud wrote, “A legitimate debate question doesn’t come loaded with its own answer,” and I applaud.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr: You have reminded us twice in this thread there is a scroll function on the right side of the screen. I believe your intention is to suggest that we self-edit where we participate and where we don’t. I would like to suggest this is an insidious form of censorship in its own right. It is my opinion this sets up a category of where certain posts and certain users are welcome and where those posts and those users are not welcome. I would hope that participation by any user would be welcome in any thread, and they would meet with respectful discussion.

I hope I have not misread your statements here.

Seek's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake – I’m not interested or knowledgeable in maths. Thus, I avoid @PhiNotPi’s maths questions. I am not heartbroken because he’s talking about something I don’t like talking about, I just don’t click on them questions (unless it’s to comment that he is considerably smarter than I am in that area).

Seek's avatar

People who comment on religious questions with nothing more than “Ugh, this again?” or “Why are you even trying?” or “Haven’t we done this before” contribute nothing but their own angst. If you’re not interested in the discussion – don’t take part in it.

ibstubro's avatar

“Welcome” is a state of mind, @Hawaii_Jake, and choosing not to upset yourself by not viewing content you find objectionable is a healthy form of mental self preservation.

On another thread I just chose not to open a link that another member posted. Did I censor myself? No. I just chose not to risk needless aggravation.

Seek's avatar

But again, this is all moot, as the people who did enjoy this discussion have left, unable to justify the stress involved in trying to keep people happy who aren’t going to be, regardless.

thorninmud's avatar

Some of the people who enjoyed this discussion have left (including one of my good friends). I’m one of the people who enjoys religious discussions, too. I participate in most of them. I’m still here. Can we not agree that it’s possible to ask a question about religion or atheism that isn’t designed to “disabuse” the other side of their ridiculous beliefs?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr and @ibstubro: I believe this recent question and thread are pertinent to this discussion. I wrote that I was genuinely interested to know how to participate on Fluther without silencing myself on whole categories of questions. It’s my opinion that scrolling past whole categories of questions is silencing myself and is censorship of an insidious kind.

I welcomed all participation in the thread. Indeed, that thread is enlightening, and it led me to a valuable conclusion. That thread helped me grow personally.

I come here to ask questions for specific information at times and to ask more free-ranging questions at other times. I like giving specific answers and participating in lighter topics, too. There are, of course, questions I do not answer, like ones about higher mathematics. There are many questions I’m not an expert at, so I don’t answer.

Asking me to scroll past contentious questions on religion is a whole different matter. It is a different level.

Seek's avatar

I am not responsible for the meaning others choose to attribute to questions or answers, mine or any others.

I know I’ve been accused of personal attacks many, many times. I believe this is done falsely. When I attack someone on a personal level, I am quite open about it. I believe you, @thorninmud have been there for a few of my instant-mod circumstances. And it has never been against someone I was engaged in an intelligent debate with.

Personally, I’m beyond sick and tired of handling religion with kid gloves.

janbb's avatar

It has nothing to do with religion really!!

If I were writing three questions a day trying to get people to adopt a certain terrier mix and wouldn’t take no for an answer, it would skew the site the same way!

janbb's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr And I truly appreciate that you are still here and still engaged in the discussions.

thorninmud's avatar

The issue isn’t, and never has been, “handling religion with kid gloves”. Prosecute your side of the debate with your formidable intellect. You’re a wonder to behold when you lay out your arguments. There’s no problem with that. If you stray into “personal attack” territory, you’ll get modded, but you know to expect that, and it doesn’t really ruffle you, does it?

Again, we’re talking about patterns of questions that are agenda-driven, not about vigorous debate in non-loaded questions.

ibstubro's avatar

I think it’s sort of the difference between taking your ball and going home (as we’re all free to do) and browbeating people into either agreeing or taking their ball and going home.

I joined Fluther years back, then dropped out for a long while. I came back and I was politely told by another member that I was an absolute idiot for allowing other people to express a belief in God. I was not promoting an agenda, I was trying to stand up for everyone’s right to express what the choose, as long as it’s not against the law. I felt that the member talked down to me and was given such a free reign to run the show that I dropped out of Fluther again. I agree with @thorninmud that, “If anything, we’ve probably erred on the side of caution.” That’s not to say I’m finding fault (I completely understand how, over time, the problem developed). I’m saying that if correction was made so that everyone was held to the same standard and some members chose to take their ball and go home, so be it. It’s a crying shame, but it’s personal choice.

I prefer that the moderators be the ones to piss members off so badly they leave rather than leaving that to other members. At least we all know the rules and can make the same choices.

longgone's avatar

@thorninmud “We’re not banning anyone over this.”

So the people who left all did so of their own accord? I had misunderstood, if that’s the case.

I still don’t entirely see the problem, but in general, I trust the mods to do what’s best for Fluther. Not being a mod myself, I can’t really see the whole picture. I just hope some of those who left will return, even if it’s incognito.

ibstubro's avatar

I agree about the return, @longgone.

I’m hoping a little cooling off (and perhaps some spying on these threads without logging in) will cause some returns.

thorninmud's avatar

@longgone No one was banned or asked to leave.

By the way, speaking for myself, I wouldn’t exactly advocate a “trust the mods” mindset here. It’s healthy for us and the community to hold us to account. It keeps us on our toes and thinking about why we do what we do. One thing I like about this place is that the mods aren’t invisible overlords that nobody knows. We have a vested interest in the well-being of the joint. It’s OK to make us feel the heat every now and then.

MadMadMax's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr wrote: “The mods can tell who’s using the same IP address as another user.”

It’s the router. If you share a router with someone or multiple people, you share an IP address.

If I went to another computer, owned by a different person in my home and came back and posted, it would be from the same IP address. If I’m sharing a router with a couple of neighbors, we all have the same IP address. If I take my laptop to Starbucks, they have free wifi, I’d show up as having a different IP address and would have to sign in again. I could, however, clean out all my cookies and set up a new identity from Starbucks.

There are trolls that have tons of identities on some sites. They probably use Tor and set up a new email addresses from multiple different countries or cities and always go to that site to sign in as whatever identity they want to use at the time. One old multi-forum site is Craigslist Discussion Forums. That place is a pit and completely overrun by trolls with zillions of handles. One never really know who they are talking to. It’s kind of sick in my opinion.

God its exhausting just talking about it. I find it hard to come with things to post, just as me let alone a second individual.

MadMadMax's avatar

I’m fairly new to Fluther but there are official topics that include atheism, religion, belief etc.

If any of them offend someone, I think it’s pretty easy to simply not go to any question that is about relation.

Anecdote; I discovered that our state major classical symphony was going to present a concert with our states very large chorale and perform Karl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD3VsesSBsw

I was really excited, I had attended a brilliant performance at Lincoln Center when I was much younger, and then again in my previous state. I own multiple recording of the work. So I paid the big bucks for two tickets; orchestra, center seat so I could watch and hear the performance from the best location possible.

The first piece performed was a religious one I had never heard before. It wasn’t anything amazing like the Mozart’s Requiem but it was nice. We had a break and when I came back with a glass of wine I found that ½ of the chorale had theatrically (no pun intended) packed up their instruments ON STAGE and were waling out in a very visual huff. Some of the symphony performers also left. All were claiming The Carmina Burana was immoral and UnChristian.

The audience was halved as people left to support the performers. It was all planned obviously. Seat were empty everywhere. Nobody moved to the better seats, but I had purchased a cheap seat way way back, I could have moved forward and sat right next to my seats – I didn’t need to pay what I paid and did not get what I paid for because these kooks were in a huff over a historic classical work. The conductor still pulled off a memorable performance but considering the popularity of the piece, I think this kind of behavior was unacceptable and very unprofessional. They made the supporter of the state symphony victims of their OCD.

“The fact that The Carmina Burana has appeared in hundreds of films and television commercials is proof that it contains no diabolical message, indeed that it contains no message whatsoever.” Alex Ross, New York Times

Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana is probably the most frequently performed choral work of the 21st century,

Some people just have to shove their beliefs down everybody’s throat.

longgone's avatar

@thorninmud I said I trusted the mods in general…I didn’t mean I would do so blindly. Without a little bit of trust, though, on both parts this site would probably die.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb Is it busy and active enough for you today? What did you do, put speed in the water?

Coloma's avatar

Well I was put on suspension for 2 weeks the 1st few months I was participating here for allowing my off topic verbosity to slip in. I took my time out with graciousness and hold no grudges. So far I have yet to be banned but have taken flak on occasion for being a tell it like it is type. I am a rational thinker and as a women I often am called out for not being more sensitive, oh well…I have a very warm side but I don’t suffer fools gladly. haha

rojo's avatar

@Coloma

Wait?! What?! We can be suspended?! (Why do we not have a symbol the expresses a questioning incredulity?! Seems to me a linguistic failing.)

Can’t I just get licks instead?

Coloma's avatar

@rojo LOL…yes, 3 strikes you’re out, for awhile at least, maybe longer. haha

ibstubro's avatar

crap. I feel like I should have earned a strike by now?

Coloma's avatar

@ibstubro Consider yourself smited. Take THAT you brat!

DigitalBlue's avatar

Late to the discussion, but I think the issue is that most of the people still hanging around are here out of habit and not out of a passion for what Fluther is supposed to be. The regulars are sick of almost all of the topics, because they’ve all been done, and even good discussions are rarely appreciated nowadays. Touchy topics are shunned and other subjects are skimmed over and quickly churned through the machine. If you have a question that can be easily answered, be prepared for it to come with a heavy dose of opinion and possibly condescension. Not because it’s a bad question or because the answerers aren’t right, but because it’s the same people rehashing the same shit over and over again and most people are bored.
I think it’s very difficult for any community to “see the forest for the trees,” and I think that is what happened around here, too.

Cruiser's avatar

Spot on summation @DigitalBlue lots of truth to your statements.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve only been here a year or two, and I love it. I could do with a little less snark and bitchiness (men and women) but other than that, I think it’s great.

Seems like people don’t know how to pick their battles, and just argue about everything, it wears you out sometimes.

MadMadMax's avatar

@KNOWITALL It’s human nature. Askville tried to stop the unstoppable and destroyed itself and it’s usefulness in the process.

A great many people simply make a statement of their own opinions or beliefs and by doing so, another person is insulted. Cest le vie

Coloma's avatar

I’m here just as much for fun and social banter as I am learning and discussing.
Of course I can amuse myself just fine anyway, but fluther should retain a fun element as well. All intensity and no levity makes fluther a dull reef indeed.

ibstubro's avatar

Seems like most long term members have an agenda. That can be good, as @Coloma‘s agenda is largely ‘fun and social banter’ or bad, if your primary interest is atheist/theist.

Fluther seems to fall down a bit on the recruitment of new members, but that’s sort of the nature of the beast. During the recent outage I learned that it was site-wide from Twitter, but that link is seldom used. I think Fluther would do well to turn the blog, Twitter, and other social media over to someone who would make better use of them. It’s great that the developers left the site up for us to swim in, but it could use some new developments.

jca's avatar

I’m late to this discussion but will throw in my two cents.

I am one who always advocated for not arguing about religion. Debate, yes – beautiful, but it seemed the questions were a thinly veiled trap for some to ask and then pounce like a snake on a mouse, on those whose religions differed from theirs. There would be dozens of responses, some many paragraphs long, with Jellies seeming to object to others’ opinions. To me, live and let live. As a single mother who works full time and is out of the house over 60 hours a week, I don’t have the time and energy to defend my religion and don’t see why I should. I learned to just avoid those questions. The mods and site management are smart enough that if they put a moratorium on certain types of questions, I trust their judgement that it was necessary. Obviously it was an issue that was agreed on by many because others have stated they agreed. However, this is not a democracy and the site management has a right to make changes even if it’s not agreed on by the majority.

If others find Quora to their liking, Some have gone to Quora and bragged about how it’s great and new and fresh for them. Wonderful. Why brag about it? Why create drama? It’s like going to your neighbor’s house and saying “there’s a new neighbor on the block and I’m going to be hanging out with him now instead of you because he’s so much more fun.” Why announce it? Just go. Good riddance. Have fun. It’s a free country.

If Quora meets some needs with a combination of Fluther and Quora, great. To me, Fluther meets my needs in the Q and A category. Maybe in the future, it will change, but for now, I like that I know a lot of Jellies from here and via other social network sites (like FB) and that’s good enough for me. I trust the Jellies that I know, and I know they’re “for real.” If that’s boring, if it indicates complacency, then so be it. I’ve been here since almost the beginning, and I’ve seen members come and go, and for the most part, I like the ones that have been around for the long haul.

Fluther will shrink and grow and change like an apartment that is inhabited by various residents. There will be times when people will be bored and times when there’s new energy. Times when there’s upset and times when all is well. Some may find it boring, some may like it, people come, people go.

As far as asking questions that have been asked before, I’ll ask it if it’s been a few years since the same question was asked. New members, new culture, new trends and technology will change the answers, so the answers that were obtained a few years ago will be different from what’s being said now. It’s worth asking again. In a few years, if someone asks “Where is Fluther going?” the answers will be different then, too.

ibstubro's avatar

Good, thoughtful post, @jca.

keobooks's avatar

I hope I don’t sound TOO grim, but if the developers aren’t developing anymore, that means they aren’t promoting anymore either. I’ve been on a site that was in this state and it very very slowly dwindled away. The creators left in 2002 and in 2009, they finally stopped paying for the servers and shut it down. I can see five or six years from now, maybe sooner, maybe later, the sight just winks out of existence. By then there will be about 15 active users and only 1 or 2 moderators left and the site will be very quiet.

But other Q&A sites will rise up and take it’s place. Or maybe Q&A sites will fall out of favor and people will be doing something even more innovative.

Sorry, but that’s what I see. It’s not so bad though. Sites have their hour upon the stage and all.

—-
OMG. I just went back to the site to see the little “Sorry we are gone forever” message and it turns out there is a kickstarter campaign that has already met its goal to come back up! It’s coming back!

ibstubro's avatar

My thoughts, as well, @keobooks.

” I think Fluther would do well to turn the blog, Twitter, and other social media over to someone who would make better use of them. It’s great that the developers left the site up for us to swim in, but it could use some new developments.”

dxs's avatar

@keobooks Fluther was so much more active in my 2008–2009 era here. More people, more friendliness, more questions, more lurve. When I came back in 2011, it was less active, and nowadays it’s even less active. Hopefully Fluther will stay long enough to hit a decade. And long enough for me to hit 10k!

keobooks's avatar

There have recently been two sites that I called home for many years back in the late 90’s early 2000’s that vanished into the ether and BOTH have made comebacks. They were games, but they had really active message boards. They both came back with Kickstarter funding.

So I think if this site ever winked out of existence, someone would get the rights to it and kickstart it back up.

Paradox25's avatar

Unfortunately several people who frequented the atheist, theist and religious threads are now gone. Some others are still here, but are basically inactive. Several of the past threads concerning religious questions caused several religious people to leave the site, and also some atheists who feel they can’t freely critique some aspects of religion without being accused of ‘religion bashing’. Basically what has occurred here is that people on both sides of the fence have left the site, or have become mostly inactive for their own reason.

Someone invited me to Quora from here, but even on that site religious people and atheists take shots at each other. I hate the site mechanics on there too, and the amount of topics you can take part in are limited to a certain number. Pretty soon I’m sure I’m going to get tired of debating and blogging, and give it up for good. It doesn’t change nothing, or another’s opinions, and it causes a great deal of stress. I’ll likely just stick to a few sites where most agree with my views and where we have civil discussions about topics we’re passionate about.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Paradox25 Remind me never to go to Quora…

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