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phoenyx's avatar

Are factions starting to form here on fluther?

Asked by phoenyx (7380points) June 14th, 2008

It seems so for me lately. What do you think?

(feel free to disabuse me)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

27 Answers

andrew's avatar

My take is that there aren’t any more “cliques” or “factions” as have always been here. We have, however, been talking more about them and acknowledging their existence.

It’s been a regular occurrence that with each wave of new users (friends and family, beta users, re-design, digg, reddit, apple, NYTimes, ad infinitum), there are groups of people that join at the same time, find comradeship, and become a close-knit group—almost like new freshman class of jellyfish (to borrow Erik’s terminology).

Especially when the incoming “class”‘s culture or vision of the site varies significantly from the predecessors, we get a period of struggle as the community tries to decide where and how to proceed.

All of this is normal for any web-based community in its awkward teenage years—people get their feelings hurt, they leave, new people take their place, someone gets banned, people squabble about lurve, etc. (To borrow from one of kevbo’s earlier posts).

Where Fluther is different, though, is how incredibly close-knit the community has become (moreso than any other community I’ve been part of). See benseven’s excellent post in this question.

I think we (old timers and members of various “cliques”) can do a better job of gently assimilating the crappy spellers and inane question-askers (and give a nod to our mods who do a great job keeping things in check).

Our ultimate goal is to maintain this level of intimacy that we have right now while we grow exponentially—so you’ll still be able to see the questions and content that really makes you go “Oh, yeah! I’ve been wondering that!!!”, but you’ll also be able to get a near-instant response (and a different viewpoint!) to a question from a total stranger.

Ultimately, that’s what Fluther is all about—a diverse, yet intimate collective of interaction.

We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way.

shilolo's avatar

Lord of the Flutherers indeed. Call me Piggy.

jlm11f's avatar

So far, I haven’t felt any kind of “clique-ish” behavior. I feel like I get along with everyone. It’s true that some people always share inside jokes and tend to talk to each other more, but they have been here longer so its expected that they know more about each other. That’s normal, both in real and virtual life. So yes, though some people are “closer” to each other, they still answer all questions, talk and encourage other flutherers. Also, people with similar interests just have more in common and obviously will grow closer to each other. For example if mr. X and mr. Y were really into animals, and I wasn’t, then they have more to talk about with each other and I wouldn’t feel bad about that. I am still fairly new to the site and everyone has been really nice to me. I feel right at home :)

bluemukaki's avatar

I joined Fluther from Digg in December so I’ve seen all the people join through the iPhone app and various other waves of people, but I wasn’t here early enough to be one of those very early users, I think that they have a group and those people who are mega-users have been accepted into that group but most of us other users, in my opinion, are just sort of floating around without too much of a bond to a smaller group of users.

I don’t think that spending more time on Fluther lets you be part of that group, that was formed back when there were few enough users that everybody knew everyone else.

nikipedia's avatar

Can we call them “friendships” rather than “factions”?

MisterBlueSky85's avatar

You’re welcome to join my faction. Currently it’s just me, of course, but I’m always looking for more.

playthebanjo's avatar

The great thing is that I don’t have to know everybody…especially if I am looking for answers. I only need to be open to the answer. If I am in a faction it is the one where sarcasm is appreciated, stupidity is not and spelling is checked.

gailcalled's avatar

@Andrew: that was a magnificent policy statement; it doesn’t quite jibe with the Fluther Guidelines, however, which I also find clear and well-defined. Perhaps you should rewrite them to be looser, more flexible and forgiving?

Here they are starting with “tragically misspelled” and including all of the sins, many of which we have all been guilty of. When to flag? That seems to be the question.

gailcalled's avatar

We seem to clump together because of age, common or shared interests, hobbies and areas of expertise.

jrpowell's avatar

Hanging out in the chat room has more to do with any clique-ish behavior then the length of time people have spent here.

PnL is a new user but I know her better than I know kevbo because she hangs out there and he doesn’t.

gailcalled's avatar

@John: I have a very strong sense that the inside jokes from the chat room do spill over into the answers as they increase and start to wander. They doesn’t bother me but they are not subtle.

gailcalled's avatar


marinelife's avatar

Factions? We don’t need no stinking factions.

MacBean's avatar

Cliques will pop up in any large group of people. It’s just how people work. I’ve always said “real life” is just like high school, only more expensive. And the internet is just like “real life” only with more assholes because we don’t have to look at each other when we act like jerks. :)

jrpowell's avatar


I agree that stuff spills over. I’m not sure I ever said that it didn’t. All I am saying that some of us know each other really well and we are likely to make comments that some people won’t understand.

It sucks for the people that don’t understand but I’m not sure much can be done about it.

wildflower's avatar

None of us are here in an objective capacity, so it’s only to be expected that you end up liking some more than others – because they are more to your liking.

There are a few people that I kind of feel I’ve gotten to know through Fluther by talking more over PM or even email, but for the most part, I honestly don’t feel I’m in any kind of faction or clique. In fact, I find my allies can (and often do) change from thread to thread (maybe that’s just me though, because I am a rootless weed)

Come to think of it, if Fluther were to expand on its features and include options for friends lists or similar – I’d actually be very curious to see who’d end up on mine and who’s I’d end up on.

marinelife's avatar

In a more serious vein than my last answer, I have not been on Fluther very long (since late April, I think), but I have not found my Fluther experience impacted by other people’s relationships, nor do I feel like part of a faction. (If I am part of a faction, could my faction members please PM me so I know.) :)

I have had exchanges with people of all types and ages (One of the thing I like best about Fluther.) in which I have learned things, people have thanked me for certain posts, I have thanked them.

Why, late last night I found this excerpt in my comments at the end of some other rather vitriolic rhetoric: “I will discount anything Marina says as biased, slanted and poorly thought out.” The poster did not provide sufficient information even to lead me to which post of mine prompted the response. My point, I guess, is that it is the nature of the site.

To me, the benefits outweigh any drawbacks.

squirbel's avatar

As always I’m the solo-chica – the maverick. And I love it.

thebeadholder's avatar

Factions…cliques…sure. I don’t mind as this is how life is. I am open to ALL people. New people liked to be welcomed (as mcbealer did to me right away), interacted with to feel as though they are contributing to the collective, shown some lurve (come on, I saw two people with tons of lurve got some for answering green to the question about your favorite colour). Most newbies have to act like fools just to get attention around here. Maybe not??? I’m just not feeling the lurve…perhaps my skin isn’t thick enough for the phenomenon that is Fluther.

gailcalled's avatar

Different strokes, I guess, as in any community. Personally, I find what Marina says to be unbiased, unslanted and clearly-thought-out. Plus needing no editing to be understood, often original and funny and mature (and never using the passive voice, which I seem to be trapped in.)

I too noticed the irrational doling out of points. Are there some quid-pro-quos going on here? I got a point for an edit. That seemed very peculiar. However, I can’t say I lose a lot of sleep over this; my brother taught a college-level course called “Group Process.” In it he posited that all groups, no matter the different mix of personalities, behave the same.

Welcome to you, Bead.

gailcalled's avatar

“Group Process”:

And I just stumbled on this because person A forgot to indicate that he wanted his comment read only by person B. News to me and not changing my behavior, but I guess it is changing that of some people.

Person A said:

“Woah! Ahead of Gail by nearly 60 points!
How’s it feel to be #1, Person B?”

playthebanjo's avatar

I have to admit that I received a great answer for the word “green”. I am not complaining about it… Just admitting to it. To make up for it I have great answered you.

thebeadholder's avatar

Thank you Gail and playthebanjo and to all of you who have answered my questions, interacted with me and made me feel welcome. :-)

andrew's avatar

I think there’s a difference between flagging content you feel is poor quality and the growing trend of near-blatant hostility toward new members who don’t quite “get it” yet.

My position is more along the line of Harp’s response in an older thread.

gailcalled's avatar

@andrew; good point. g

El_Cadejo's avatar

Hmm i dont think factions really. Friends though, yes. Its pretty obvious though that friends would be formed on a site like this though. All we do is answer questions so you see peoples likes/dislikes and how they feel about stuff so it makes you feel like you know them in “real life”. I talk to a coupe different users in the chat which is always fun. I played GTA IV with Iwamoto. Whatthefluther even made me an awesome gift and sent it to me. Thanks again ^_^ I think these things are what makes fluther even more awesome. These extra friendships.

scamp's avatar

Whenever you have a group of people talking to each other frequently and sharing details of their lives, you will find that some will bond together. That is a common thing and is not meant to make anyone left out. You will find yourself drawn to those you have something in common with, and repelled by those you disagree with. but the good thing about fluther is that we in general are very mature about disagreements. I may go tooth and nail on one subject with someone, but agree whole heartedly on another. The main thing to remember is to be as courteous as possible and don’t hold a grudge if you have a disagreement. We really have a great group of people here, the best I have encountered since discovering the internet.

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