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eambos's avatar

What has happened to Fluther?

Asked by eambos (8909points) May 31st, 2008 from iPhone

Going back on cwilbur’s final post “How do we fix fluther?” I would like to know how this has become “the place” for relationship questions and iPhone help.

I understand that many members here have expertise in many areas, but these questions are not fully using the resources provided here.

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36 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

It has turned into a place for chat. Most other forums have some sort of “Lounge”. It feels like this has turned into a lounge.

gailcalled's avatar

Not all the time. Look at the wonderful advice I got about Milo, when I was truly a greenhorn. Look at the questions about what good books to read; about pesto and by extension, good eating. Look at the chance it gives you to hone your writing skills and figure out how to be ironic and pithy at the same time.

marinelife's avatar

Maybe I’m off here, but I do not see anything in the guidelines restricting the topics. I think there have been some really interesting threads regarding human interaction, which in fact is a big part of existence.

I just don’t answer questions to which I do not think I can contribute or in which I am not interested. Why does’t that work for you?

PupnTaco's avatar

Ebb and flow. It comes and goes.

gailcalled's avatar

OTOH, there are the boring recurring questions:
“How do I stop smoking?”
“What do you put in your coffee?”
“How do I get rich quick?” ad nauseum.

delirium's avatar

I don’t know what the sudden influx of idiots is from… its weird, though.

kevbo's avatar

@Eambos, the list of questions in your profile doesn’t exactly help your complaint.

wildflower's avatar

Sure there’s a lot of newcomers, and yes they are testing the waters (tacky pun, I know), but if membership of the collective becomes selective, won’t that go against the spirit of the site?

gailcalled's avatar

@Eambos; nor do your rambling tags help. Pithy, remember?

@Wild: where’s the pun? “Testing the waters” is a valid cliché.

kevbo's avatar

@gail, the waters teeming with jellyfish? Just a guess.

eambos's avatar

Yes, I understand as am early user I was one of those nuisances.
The first time the questions were asked they were understandable. At this point there have been so many repeats of the same/similar questions that they no
longer require answering.

phoenyx's avatar

It might be interesting to be able to be able to filter out questions from the incoming questions (“Questions not for you”?) There are a lot of questions I’m interested in that I don’t get notified about in my “Questions for you” feed (including this one oddly enough), but I don’t have time to look through all of the incoming questions. There are things I’m bored with or not interested in, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t important or interesting to other people, so I wouldn’t want them removed altogether.

NeroCorvo's avatar

I think the largest issue is lack of communication. For instance if there was a button on the ” ask a question” form that says “check to see if your question has already been asked” before they submit perhaps folks might be reminded to look first.

When I first found fluther I looked for more information on what it was all about. I found the “fix fluther” thread and wondered what it must have been like back when the focus was on more scholarly questions.

RedmannX5's avatar

I know that when I first came to this site, I didn’t know what it was all about and so I asked some pretty stupid questions. But then I started to respect both the site and people who kept it different and interesting. I personally think that repeating questions are inevitable, but I also agree with oldgod, and perhaps if the Fluther community were to get the word out it would bring down the number of repeated questions.

iwamoto's avatar

one thing i realy feel is the lack of interest, i mean, i try to answer as many questions as i can, while i have the feeling other users just register, post a question, and let that be that, no answering other questions

playthebanjo's avatar

@gailcalled: I am trying to figure out what my coffee question did to be added to your list. Just to make sure, I searched for “coffee” to see what was up and did find a similar question from two months ago. So if this is enough of a difference + timespan to eliminate the “recurring” part, that leaves the “boring” part to which I say if you are not interested in a topic, do not answer it – but keep in mind it did appeal to 15 (so far) responders which is not the least amount I have seen.

So then what is the issue? Is it a problem that the topics are not always serious, thought provoking issue? If so then they should be more heavily moderated to reflect that.

susanc's avatar

I go on fluther mostly to learn about what other people are thinking about.
I skip ALL the tech questions, even though these are exactly what I should
be attending to because I’m a computer anti-genius.
I come on here to get help with emotional stuff, and to track the way people think
who aren’t my age or have knowledge I don’t, like our resident vet, our resident
doc, our resident grammarian, and our resident bi-polar-disorder defender. I love the variety. I love the willingness to give aid. I love the jokes. I would hate it if it became so automated so that I wouldn’t have access to questions I don’t yet know I’d be interested in.

Bri_L's avatar

First, it would not be hard to put a filter in that would pre-search the already asked questions for topics labeled when a user asks a question. I.e. “how do I quit smoking” (topics: smoking) a search would be preformed on the data base and suggest “The following questions related to smoking have been asked Please review these before going to the community with your question”.

Second, I find this discussion as disheartening as the first one. The description of some of the ones people don’t care for may very well be serious issues for those people while the people putting them down are asking questions of no consequence to others.

If this site is turning into a clique where we are going to be judged by a certain few then I may reconsider my participation. And if that is the case they should put it up front. This site is for certain age groups, intellectual groups, and topics. Please do not participate if you intend to stray outside that spectrum. I think that would be unfortunate to. I believe I have asked questions that would put me under the category delirium classified as “idiots”. the problem is, I don’t regret a single one of them.

@ susanc – yeay for realizing you can just not answer!

autumnofage's avatar

I don’t understand why any one is in any way upset about questions asked on fluther. I’ve clicked on many of you and looked at questions you’ve all asked in the past and some of them aren’t very thought provoking either. The fact is we all ask simple, mundane, funny, odd, and some intelligent questions and I don’t think any one on this sight has the right to be upset. Does it get old having an iphone question asked every 10 questions or so? yes but they are different questions about iphones. As may have said don’t read them if you don’t want to. Questions such as these isn’t and shouldn’t be hurting you in any way. Look past it and find a question that interests you.

shilolo's avatar

I’ve said it before that the search/question filter needs to be better. Right before you are going to POST, it should say, “hey, you might want to check out these similar questions for the answer you seek.” On the one hand, I can see the argument against this being it would discourage questions. On the other hand, with the search feature being somewhat difficult to use, the value of the knowledge stored from past questions is lost.

skfinkel's avatar

I think I may have said this or something like it before, but I think the questions are fine, and if people don’t like them, they can go to another. It’s going to be impossible to never repeat a question, and since it seems new people are on the site all the time, we will keep getting fresh answers.

Maybe if you have already answered a question several times, you can let it go, and let others answer. And you can refer to an earlier thread. But to memorialize old conversations, and suggest that everything that can be said about the topic has been said seems rather closed for a site like fluther.

phoenyx's avatar

Hmm, perhaps my filter idea wouldn’t work. My frustration is that I often don’t have the time to look through all of the questions and would like to have a manageable subset. Maybe I should just add more interests to the list in my profile. If I add my username to the list, will questions for/about me show up in my “Questions for you” feed? I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try it.

shilolo's avatar

@Phoenyx. I think the bigger problem is the random nature of the tag system. People have the luxury either to use the available tags, or write their own. So, even though I have a lot of medical and science expertise, and those tags or in my profile, if someone asks a medical question but fails to use the same tags, the question doesn’t arrive in my profile. For example, this question about bruises was just asked today, but did not show up as a question for me because of the random nature of the tags. In truth, its rare for me to see questions pop up like that, even though probably about 10% of the questions here are science/medicine related (in my very rough estimation).

Bri_L's avatar

@ shilolo and phoenyx – you both raise good points. I have been gradually adding words to my interests to adjust what I get for questions. I will also go to the main page and just start looking at questions and answer them then examine what they were labled.

Shilolo, that is a good example of not putting a good selection of topics for the question. If I were to ask that question I would have put “injury, first aid, medicine, medical, doctor, nurse”.

wildflower's avatar

The Question for you feature can be useful, but personally I keep nothing in my profile to filter the questions that get flagged for me (I asked about how I still got questions for you and had it explained to me – collective successfully tapped) because I’m not visiting Fluther just to exercise my existing knowledge, but just as much – if not more- to read and learn about things I don’t know. So for my part, I don’t want to just see questions that I can contribute to and therefore I would not want there to be any limitation to who and what interests and expertise should be on this site.
Anything truly inappropriate will be taken care of by the admin team.

gailcalled's avatar

@Wild: true about Mods, but sometimes they are swamped and appreciate a “flag as.”

I have occasionally “flagged” an answer that I thought was meta-fluther related, superbly written and deserving of preservation in the Fluther archives, or files or shoe boxes, or wherever they store the important stuff.

And often it appears to be only poor Richardhenry, in his lonely watchtower, who seems to never sleep.

wildflower's avatar

Yes, the poor lad does seem over-worked at times (especially when he takes on additional editing and publishing tasks). And you’re absolutely right, the flagging feature is very useful and should be used where appropriate.

breedmitch's avatar

Trust in our fluther gods. I’m betting the new features they have in store for us will remedy some of these “growing pains”.
As for the way “questions for you” find you, I think the machine is learning. I haven’t any “gay” tags in my profile (unless you count broadway and fire island, he he) but all the gay questions seem to find their way into my box (don’t say it, kevbo) and I think it’s because I answer them. The machine has achieved consciousness.
@banjo: I think what irked gail (and correct me if I’m wrong, Maude) about the coffee question is the particular turn the question took the last time it was asked.

gailcalled's avatar

@Harold; your memory is better than mine. Can you find the question? I have wasted the whole bloody evening finding the first question about favorite movie quotes. (The tag was “movies” but I had to go thru 12 pages before I found it; from oneye – what he called himslef in that incarnation.)

shilolo's avatar

@Gail. Maybe you can use your influence with the powers that be to improve the tag/search system? }:-)

breedmitch's avatar

@gail: it might bring up bad memories.

gailcalled's avatar

@play: read @Breedmitch’s reference and make sure that you scroll to the end. It gets pretty nasty.

playthebanjo's avatar

It’s funny – and along the same lines as possible Fluther upgrades…I searched for
“coffee” before posting the last one. I got through about 6 pages of responses (2 months ago) when I finally posted it figuring that there was not one alike enough that recently. I found the one you referenced just minutes ago…but had to go through MANY screens to do it…now that I am on a laptop instead of my iPod touch, I was more inclined to look and look and look. Perhaps that could be improved upon as well. That’s a separate issue…the other is wondering which is the problem…the post or the response? And if the topic had been something deep and thoughtful, would that have served to eliminate the shallow and unthoughtful responses? I have to ask (possibly as a devil’s advocate) were any of the “I like coffee like I like my women” flagged and moderated out? Isn’t that the appropriate response to offensive content?

breedmitch's avatar

To be clear, the way you phrased the question didn’t allow for the obvious joke, and therefore has been answered seriously. I suspect the other asker was going for the joke in the first place, but I could be wrong.

marinelife's avatar

@breedmitch I agree about the learning. I have no tags about relationship questions, but I get them since I have answered some. Same with automotive, where I have some background, but did not list it. I did, however, answer some automotive questions.

gailcalled's avatar

Everyone, including mods., is scaling the learning curve. When the site is mentioned in a place that draws newcomers (NY Times, Digg., there is the usual issue of porn, locker-room jokes and garbled language. We are much clearer now about what to flag, I think. Or maybe I am speaking for myself only.

Initially, I asked a lot of questions about the computer; now I get every tech. issue that is lofted. Whoops. Bedtime.

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