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ibstubro's avatar

Are we presiding over a Fluther 'death watch', or not?

Asked by ibstubro (12122 points ) April 8th, 2014

I’ve done it before with Askville.

If Fluther is in the death throes, I need to know.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

59 Answers

muppetish's avatar

Do you mean, is Fluther on the verge of being permanently shut down? As far as I know, there are no such plans to close Fluther.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Why do you think its in it’s death throes?
I get twice to three times the response to my questions than I ever did on Askville.
The answers are very informative and for the most spot on.

Cruiser's avatar

This most recent comment by a mod does little to quell this rumor…

Fluther is owned by web developers who have moved on to other businesses and projects. There is no investment of funds and little investment of time (other than that time volunteered by the moderators) into Fluther – and that is just restoration of service when something goes awry.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Don’t say out loud my worst fear!

Mods, strive the hardest! I believe you can keep this site alive and kicking!

dappled_leaves's avatar

I find it amusing that if a newbie had asked this question, you’d have run him out of town, crying “Troll!!”

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Cruiser “Fluther is owned by web developers who have moved on to other businesses and projects. There is no investment of funds and little investment of time (other than that time volunteered by the moderators) into Fluther – and that is just restoration of service when something goes awry.”

It’s been that way for a couple years now.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@dappled_leaves Because it’s a proven fact that they’re actually TROLLING! ~

Coloma's avatar

Even the sun will die…why panic over something that may not happen for another billion years? lol

SavoirFaire's avatar

@dappled_leaves Keep in mind that @ibstubro has already demonstrated commitment to the community. It is clear that this question is asked out of concern and not out of spite. Those who get run out of town ask in an accusatory or taunting manner. There’s a world of difference their questions and this one.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@SavoirFaire Is there a world of difference? The last new jelly who was attacked asked this question. I don’t believe that you think that was accusatory or taunting.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@dappled_leaves Maybe they were taunting, maybe not. But the fact that they are new and the description of the question heavily implied that Fluther wasn’t successful (really, stating such a harsh thing on Fluther!) made us all believed that he was 90% taunting here.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Are you being serious? I don’t know why this is so hard for people to understand. The word “successful” does not mean the same as the word “better”. Success is a thing that can be measured. Please refer to that thread to see examples of how that can be done.

How many times can I say the same thing before someone actually reads it? Never mind, rhetorical question.

Anyway! My point is not to attack @ibstubro for asking this question. My point is that we could all stand to give newbies the benefit of the doubt. There was no reason for people to jump to conclusions about the question I linked, but they did jump all over that OP.

filmfann's avatar

The announcement wasn’t supposed to happen till Friday, but this site is going to be sponsored by the Catholic Church, and the question will help guide people through God’s Word, and exactly why some members here are going to burn burn burn.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@dappled_leaves I think that person was likely trolling. Quora is very disdainful of Fluther and has sent people here before to provoke us. Your point that “successful” does not mean “better” strikes me as technically correct, but contextually mistaken. Many people use the former to imply the latter—even if they should not—and I think the details of that question were attempting to invoke such a connotation. So yes, I read the question the same way that most others did. I simply chose to respond in a more muted way.

Coloma's avatar

WTF! Really? This other site sends out troll scouts to provoke? What’s the average age over there, 14? Pffft! Now I’ve heard everything.

Symbeline's avatar

@Coloma Yeah I’ll say…troll scouts? Hahaha by the gods.

@SavoirFaire Couldn’t we do something about this? They send out trolls to torment us, and the staff over there just lets it happen? O_o

hominid's avatar

@SavoireFaire: “Your point that “successful” does not mean “better” strikes me as technically correct, but contextually mistaken. Many people use the former to imply the latter—even if they should not—and I think the details of that question were attempting to invoke such a connotation.”

No matter how many times I read that question, I am unable to inject even the slightest judgment of the quality of fluther. In fact, this question – and the response to it – is the most bizarre I have seen here in years. To ask why a virus (or fascism or Walmart) was successful is in no way to ask why it was “better”. Nobody uses language this way, and (until that question) nobody seems go out of their way to interpret it as such. The only explanation I have for what happened there was that the first response somehow misinterpreted the question, and the ball just kept rolling.

Cruiser's avatar

@El_Cadejo I have know of this for a long time ever since B & A were snatched up by Twitter. This question just was perfect for me to use that quote…just goofing as usual

hominid's avatar

Edit: @SavoireFaire @SavoirFaire and inject detect the slightest…”

ucme's avatar

They send over trolls to torment us…funniest thing ever :D
Bound to fail from the outset, for me at least, spot them a mile off.

Pachy's avatar

To paraphrase a misquote (see below), “Reports of Fluther’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

The expression derives from the popular form of a longer statement by the American writer, Mark Twain, which appeared in the New York Journal of 2 June 1897: ‘The report of my death was an exaggeration’. The correction was occasioned by newspaper accounts of Twain’s being ill or dead. At the time, Twain’s cousin James Ross Clemens was seriously ill in London, and appears that some reports confused him with Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain).

FlyingWolf's avatar

It’s kind of like life, enjoy it while it is here and don’t focus on the inevitable outcome.

ibstubro's avatar

If I joined the collective and this was my first question, I would expect to be suspected of trolling. What’s more, if I’d asked the question and posted in the details “Are more successful sites such as Quora bound to force Fluther to close?” I could rightfully be accused of trolling.

To ask why a virus (or fascism or Walmart) was successful is in no way to ask why it was “better”.
True on the face of it. Until you invite comparison. “Why is Walmart more successful than Mom’s pie shop?” is trolling, because mom doesn’t have aspirations to be Walmart, and invites Mom’s devotees to defend her.

Nobody uses language this way, and (until that question) nobody seems go out of their way to interpret it as such.
Really? Is that why 95% of users here interpreted it that way?

Gotta love the “why are all of you so stupid that you cannot see my supremely intelligent response.” argument.

We get it, and we do not agree. We do not support people joining Fluther just so that they can run Fluther down. Personally, I consider loyalty a virtue. I’m not here to impart my intelligence on the unwashed masses, but to share, learn and entertain. Agendas, in general, are unaccepted on Fluther.

And to the factual basis for this question, we recently lost our only paid staffer, so the slide continues.

Coloma's avatar

Well..I’m a fluther loyalist…let the walls come tumbling down, I shall stand strong, an army of one. lol

Symbeline's avatar

@Coloma You should write Viking metal lyrics. :D

ibstubro's avatar

Well, our hearts are all afluther, @Coloma.

Symbeline's avatar

@ibstubro And to the factual basis for this question, we recently lost our only paid staffer, so the slide continues.

I don’t see anything sliding, but that means nothing. It could very well be sliding without some noticing. I am indeed convinced that without a manager, things can only worsen. I wonder why Ben and Andrew don’t replace Auggie with another manager? (for sure it’s a tough job, and I have real problems actually believing that anyone here could do it better than Auggie did)

I asked a question a while back about if people are worried about the state of Fluther, as in the passed years, I have seen important chunks of it being taken away, Auggie leaving being a big impact. Ben and Andrew leaving was a factor, Google hating us is another.

It’s not because I currently see no decay (I mean besides the other two things I’ve mentioned) that I am not worried. These things are gradual and take time, but I am not going to be fooled in thinking that Fluther is all right. It does, indeed, seem to be like a seagull, flying out to sea in order to fall in and die.

ibstubro's avatar

Thanks, @Symbeline, I concur.

At least they
re leaving us in peace until the end. Askville made the site less and less usable until it finally died and it was sad to watch.

One thing I will warn people is that Askville slammed the door one day. If you didn’t have personal contact information for favorite people, you were SOL.

Seek's avatar

All I can say is that my Facebook contact info is on my profile, and if you want my email, PM me. I like to be prepared, because I’ve had internet doors slammed on me more times than I can count.

I don’t expect Fluther to vanish into the ether without warning, but prepare for the worst, y’know?

Symbeline's avatar

@Seek I’ve had three specific forums that just kind of died out, and were never maintained again. It sure does suck, but luckily in all three cases I was able to keep contact with the friends there.
Sure hope that if it happens here, that we get some kind of warning, like a week or something.

Seek's avatar

Once, I lost a group of Star Trek roleplayers. We were in the middle of a friggin’ battle. And then one day I try to log in to MSN Groups, and Poof! Gone. I’d been playing with those guys for years! It sucked.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@SavoirFaire I think the questions should be able to stand or fail on their own merit, and not based on our guesses about the intention of the asker. I am, in general, uncomfortable with specific members being given significantly more or significantly less leeway with their questions based on their standing in the community. I actually thought you and I would be in agreement on this point.

The notion that “Quora is very disdainful of Fluther” in particular strikes me as odd. Quora is a collective, just as Fluther is, although it seems much less close-knit. I would expect a similar range of opinions on any subject. And in my experience, Fluther appears to voice far more disdain for Quora than the reverse (particularly given that the Quora collective seems to be relatively uninterested in Fluther).

Symbeline's avatar

And in my experience, Fluther appears to voice far more disdain for Quora than the reverse (particularly given that the Quora collective seems to be relatively uninterested in Fluther).

@dappled_leaves If that’s true, then we’re pretty pathetic. Lol.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@hominid Whether or not “successful” conversationally implicates “better” is, of course, contextual. As such, it is neither surprising nor contrary to my previous claim that you can present examples where the former does not imply the latter. Furthermore, “here’s a case where language isn’t used this way” does not entail “language is never used this way.”

One might ask, then, in what sort of case “successful” does carry a connotation of “better.” And the standard case, it seems to me, is exactly the sort we are considering: when the (putative) success of someone or something is being used to question someone or something else. “Look at you, lying here on the couch all day. Your sister is twice as successful as you!” Here there is a clear implication that the sister’s success is being held over the person being spoken to.

Finally, it seems to me the assertion that Quora is more successful rests precisely on this sort of comparison, as well as on the (mistaken) assumption that success is to be measured in quantitative terms—which then generates the implicature to which many people reacted. Sure, one is not forced to read the question that way. But in the light of historical events, I do not find it unreasonable that some people did.

@dappled_leaves Nothing is said or asked in a vacuum, and language depends very much on interpretations of a speaker’s intentions. Consider the following exchange:

A: Excuse me, my car is running low.
B: There’s a gas station around the corner.

B’s response rests on the assumption that “running low” means “in need of gas.” It also implies, though it does not state, that the gas station around the corner is open, not out of gas, and willing to sell to A. We don’t need to utter these things to express them, however, precisely because ordinary language works in large part on the mutual reading of intentions.

Note that this in no way entails that members get more or less leeway based on their standing in the community. What it entails is that questions will—and should—be interpreted based on what is known about the asker. Some people famously try to resist this, of course, and insist on hiding their agenda behind a smokescreen of “hey, this is a totally independent question.” But we all know this is bullshit when they try it.

Similarly, new people have a conversational duty to make their intentions clear when entering a new discourse community. This is not always an easy process. I can report that I personally got into disagreements early on in my tenure here that would never occur these days now that I better understand the people I was conversing with and they better understand me. This is just the burden that comes with meeting new people. And while we have some responsibility to be welcoming, it is a mistake in any conversational situation to assume that all of the responsibilities belong to a single party.

Conversation is a cooperative enterprise, and all the parties to it must try to both understand and be understood. That the asker of the other question did not attempt to clarify—and indeed never even returned to the site to read the answers that were given—is both conversationally uncooperative and a classic indication of trolling behavior.

As for your last point, my experience is starkly at odds with yours. During the brief time I tried out Quora, I ran into quite a bit of disdain for Fluther. I have barely even seen Quora even mentioned here, and never in a negative light unless brought up first by someone new. I am also drawing on some behind the scenes knowledge here, but I have been advised that I’m not supposed to talk about that. As such, I will let this point go.

johnpowell's avatar

Quora was founded in 2009. Today they got another 80 million in funding for a total of 141 million. They have yet to make any money. Really, not a penny in revenue in 5 years.

At least fluther doesn’t have to live on loans.

ucme's avatar

I think the writing has been on the wall for quite a while now, more or less prepared for the inevitable closure. Place will probably limp along for the foreseeable, so it’s all good for now.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m fairly certain that they make more from ads then it costs to run the place. I think it is down to a few servers now. Probably 300 a month for that. Lisa got 500 a month and that is no longer a expense. So they are probably not losing money. As long as the mods can keep it relatively trouble-free and Ben only has to deal with the occasional server problem I think we are in good shape.

And Ben, if it isn’t self-sufficient just ask. I would be willing to kick in five or ten bucks every few months to keep the lights on.

hominid's avatar

@SavoirFaire: ”“Look at you, lying here on the couch all day. Your sister is twice as successful as you!” Here there is a clear implication that the sister’s success is being held over the person being spoken to.”

I could be wrong, but this seems to be unrelated to what we are discussing here. What would rub someone the wrong way about a statement like this would be a) someone is applying the concept of “success” to a person, and b) the person making the statement is defining how to measure this success.

This in no way applies to websites, brands, and other entities that have inherent measurements of success.

@SavoirFaire: “Finally, it seems to me the assertion that Quora is more successful rests precisely on this sort of comparison, as well as on the (mistaken) assumption that success is to be measured in quantitative terms—which then generates the implicature to which many people reacted.”

Barnes and Noble was successful and Border’s Books was not. The same metrics were used to determine their success. It doesn’t matter whether or not you preferred something about Border’s. A business succeeds or fails by demonstrable criteria. It has nothing to do with judging the experience each of us had while visiting each bookstore chain.

@SavoirFaire: “Sure, one is not forced to read the question that way. But in the light of historical events, I do not find it unreasonable that some people did.”

It could be that as a software engineer, I am surrounded by the discussion of a website’s success and failure in terms that are strictly numbers. I keep reading the question and the details and fail to make any leap to taking offense. In fact, other than applying the concept of “success” to a human being, as I described above, I can’t see anyone being able to make the shift from measurement to judgement.

hominid's avatar

Just to expand on this, here is the question we are referring to:

“What is the difference between Fluther and Quora?”
“Why did Quora become so successful and not Fluther?”

When analyzing two websites – especially one that is significantly more successful – we look at the differences between the two sites and ask what led to the success of one over the other. So, valid responses would have discussed @johnpowell‘s Google’s tweaking of the algorithm, and other details (anonymity, etc) that may have contributed to the success of one and not the other.

But what happened here is that the first response was, “Who says Quora is successful? It’s more like a collection of tweets.”. This left me scratching my head. I’m serious. In what way does this assessment of the quality of Quora’s content and/or format relate to the significantly-higher user base of Quora? I thought there may have been a mistake, or that the first person hadn’t read the question and details. But no, the thread continued and morphed into confused attempts at labeling the question itself as an example of a logical fallacy, even though the question was merely a statement of fact reworded into a question.

hominid's avatar

Sorry – final last thought…
If you are correct, @SavoirFaire, that the question was an attempt at trolling, would it not have been more useful to have responded to “website success” rather than “website quality”? A troll attempt that failed to make clear that it was discussing website quality, would have been a complete failure if the fluther responses had answered the question rather than assuming that the OP meant website quality, even though they asked about website success.

In feeding a confused troll with sloppy interpretations of fairly clear language, this may have been the most successful troll attempt I have seen here.

Cruiser's avatar

@johnpowell so would I and then some.

ibstubro's avatar

@hominid That’s a damned fine post identifying your position. I understand, and I would be in your camp if it was not for the wording of the details of the ‘successful’ question or if the question as asked had come from a member with a track record on Fluther.

Now, how did the ‘successful’ discussion get transferred to my ‘death watch’ question??

Coloma's avatar

I think everyone should listen to my John Cougar song. lol

stanleybmanly's avatar

The question brings to mind the theme song from “The twelve Chairs” , a movie that never received the attention it deserves. The theme song: “Hope for the best, expect the worst”

Stinley's avatar

I think not. A lot of these sites became victims of their lack of success. the owners thought they could make money out of them, then when they didn’t all the investment was for nothing and the plug was pulled. Fluther, on the other hand, makes little but costs little and has never been victim of hype.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Not worried in the slightest. C’est la vie.

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL Right…enjoy the moment, no-thing lasts forever. :-)

augustlan's avatar

Ben promised me that if Fluther ever has to close down, they will give members plenty of notice. So far as I know, it’s not likely to happen any time soon. Party on, dudes!

Mimishu1995's avatar

@angustlan wait! Then if the site is to closed down where else will we go?

augustlan's avatar

That I don’t know, @Mimishu1995, but there’s no sense worrying about it at present. If it ever happens, we should have time enough to figure it out. :)

johnpowell's avatar

I have a fairly stable code-base that is somewhat similar. If they simply give up I can roll out something in a few days that would at least kinda work so people don’t lose the friends they have made over the years.

zenzen's avatar

Let me know.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I don’t have the time or inclination to read this whole thread, but I believe I can answer this question:

“Please don’t panic. For the foreseeable future, FLUTHER WILL REMAIN AS IS. We know this community is important to you, and you are important to us! The site is self-sustaining and there are no plans to shut it down. If it ever does become necessary to close up shop, I have Ben’s assurance that everyone will get plenty of notice. None of this ‘slinking out in the middle of the night’ business, I promise. You deserve better than that.”

~ Fluther Blog from last week

Augie’s statement stands uncontested by the owner-operators of this site. That’s good enough for me. Everybody just chill.

jca's avatar

No sense getting anxious about something that may or may not happen, and if it does happen, it may be a long long time from now.

If any Jellies are interested in joining FB (and if you’re not on FB, you should know that you could join FB not as yourself, but as any name you want, for example, your FLUTHER JELLY name). On FB, there’s a private group, invisible only to Jelly members.

That could be a good way, an option only for those interested, in case the site ever shuts down. It could be a way for us to keep in touch and continue discussing things like we discuss here. If you are “anti-Facebook” please don’t bite my head off. It’s just a suggestion.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@jca Thanks for the info. I’m not into Facebook, but the idea of joining a private Fluther’s Facebook group isn’t something to be sneezed at.

I only have a question: if that group is private, how can I join?

jca's avatar

@Mimishu1995: I think the administrator of the group may be Augie. Join Facebook and then tell Augie you joined and she will add you.

One nice thing about being friends with us on FB is you get to see a different dimension of other Jellies’ lives.

Seek's avatar

Wow, it must be a secret group, because I can’t even find it on search.

Someone add me!

augustlan's avatar

I’m not the admin on the private group…I’m not even a member, haha. At this point, I can’t remember who started it. Sorry I’m not more helpful!

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