Meta Question

wundayatta's avatar

Why do you support a boycott of general questions?

Asked by wundayatta (58599points) May 7th, 2010

If you support a boycott of general questions, why do you think that is appropriate? How do general questions hurt this website? How do they change the flavor and freedom of the website?

Like this question, for example. No one who is opposed to such a boycott can answer, because that’s off topic. People can phrase their questions in such a way as to only get the answers they want and no one can give an opposing point of view. But that’s only one of the problems with the general questions. What are others?

If this question gets moved to the meta section without retaining its general status, it should be removed.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

61 Answers

SuperMouse's avatar

Is opposition to the boycott really off topic? I see it as sharing a different opinion about the topic not as off topic. Now, to test my theory:

I do not support a boycott of general questions.

poofandmook's avatar

I think people will boycott the General section to prove that it was a bad idea, or because the idea of not having complete freedom to say whatever they want is too much for comfort. Some people don’t think a lot before they answer (not necessarily in a bad way), and to have to stop and say “hmm, is this going to get modded if I say it?” isn’t worth the effort for a lot of people.

this is proof that you’re taking the guidelines entirely too literally. I am not supportive of a General section boycott, and this won’t be deleted, because it’s a valid contribution/answer.

grumpyfish's avatar

Is there a link to a discussion of the General Section boycot?

I’ve been thinking the general section is the best thing since sliced bread since it showed up!

Response moderated
Response moderated
marinelife's avatar

What are you doing wundayatta? Why are you stirring the pot like this? Who has organized a boycott? What makes you think there is one?

poofandmook's avatar

@wundayatta: What I don’t understand is why you think you can’t poke fun at something and answer it straight at the same time. I just did it up there ^^ with my response, only it wasn’t really an attempt at a humorous poke. Poking fun and answering seriously at the same time? I believe that’s defined by the word “irony”. And irony can be downright high-larious.

Okay, so the one-liners aren’t going to be a priceless, perfect “delivery” anymore. I don’t see the big deal with tossing out your one-liner, hitting enter twice, and tossing out a real contribution.

wundayatta's avatar

@poofandmook Oh well, maybe someone can do it, but I can’t. Besides which, with the chilling atmosphere around here, I won’t even try. Clearly people like @johnpowell have a fairly serious hatred for me.

A one liner is a one liner (although that’s not what I do—at least not very often).

In any case, the floop is in the bromide now. Syzygy at ten oclock. Not that it matterz. Escuptish the query evaporatively.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’m not boycotting, but I’m making it known that I don’t follow “General” questions after answering them. I just posted a meta question on this.

grumpyfish's avatar

@wundayatta Seriously? Chilling atmosphere?

wundayatta's avatar

@grumpyfish Maybe I’m the only one who is shivering.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@johnpowell Like, I suspect many others, I cannot simultaneously be serious and humorous. If I can’t answer sarcastically when I feel it’s needed, I’ll skip the question. If that’s considered boycotting, so be it.

BoBo1946's avatar

—loll..a lot about nothing…did not see where @wundayatta was starting anything…he asked a direct question. You can answer it or go to the next one.

looking up, there must be a full moon out!

i would boycott something at last resort…and we have mind readers out today! loll

KatawaGrey's avatar

I’m not boycotting the general section but most of the questions seem to be in social anyway. There are, what, four new ones there right now? 11 EST, USA That’s not enough to keep me going to general. I like the social questions more and sometimes, it is fun to toss off a one-liner after a serious answer or even just by itself. The way I see it, if an asker doesn’t like the one-liners, they can inform the people answering and if that doesn’t work, inform a mod.

Oh god, informing the mods. How awful is that!

Seaofclouds's avatar

@KatawaGrey By posting their question in the general section, they are doing just that (letting people know they don’t want the one-liners).

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

It looks like the “Social” section is growing rapidly. A dead “General” section may be our only effective response to the overly-restrictive format.

poofandmook's avatar

IF IT IS IN GENERAL, THE ASKER IS NOT WELCOMING YOUR FUCKING COMEDY. Respect their fucking wishes and stfu if you can’t control yourself.

Yes, the yelling was necessary.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Seaofclouds: Oh, I know, but I was more speaking in terms of the old system. Before the separation, if things were getting nasty or off topic, I would, on occasion, tell a mod who could wade in and clean things up. As it stands now, I would prefer my questions to be in the Social section simply because it feels more open and discussions can evolve.

prolificus's avatar

kumbaya my lord.. kumbaya

janbb's avatar

Oh Jeez – I’m gonna tell my buddy not to come back; Grumpy Old Man position has been more than filled!

What’s wrong with trying things out for a while and seeing how they work?

BoBo1946's avatar

@janbb sounds reasonable to me! Whatever a Grumpy Old Man means….

MissAusten's avatar

I don’t see where the huge difference is, with the “old” Fluther and the “new.” It seems pretty simple and straight-forward to me. I hadn’t heard anything about a boycott, and don’t believe it is called for at this point.

I enjoy Fluther, and what I enjoy about it hasn’t changed. A boycott seems like it would only upset more people, cause more problems, and in the long run hurt Fluther. I don’t want to hurt Fluther, I lurve Fluther!

Now, it seems to me some jellies have been afflicted with a problem that my children sometimes suffer from. It’s called a grumpy bug, and it lives in your ear. The cure is simple. Have someone blow into your ear until that nasty little bug is gone. You’ll feel a lot better, trust me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have no idea what the big fuss is about. Why the boycott? The changes aren’t so serious. We all need to give it time. I think legitimate one-liners would not get modded. Just more like someone saying ‘yes’ to the question would get modded.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I see no need for an intentional boycott. The General section is already withering away as people vote with their feet. Why risk having your question pulled or answer modded when you can just put it in a less restrictive section? Those who continue to ask in the General section will find fewer, duller answers and less discussion. If that’s what they want, that’s what they’ll get, everybody happy.

An unfortunate side effect of this will be that newbies will see a rather uninteresting homepage. Just straight questions followed by clipped, formal answers and little or no discussion. No sense of warmth or community. Not a very good invitation to new members.

wundayatta's avatar

In any case, both the general section and the moderation are a sham. I have repeatedly asked that this question be removed, to no avail. I have flagged non-topical questions, to no avail. This question didn’t even stay under the protection of the general section. Clearly there is a double standard here, or maybe even no standard at all, as mods and managers do as they please to support whatever agenda they please, allowing no other agendas to the fore. Of course, that’s their right. It’s their sandbox. They can play in it as they wish. They can let their little favorites have free reign and ignore those they don’t like. It is pretty clear that the guidelines are meaningless.

Oh here’s an idea. Let’s say that Wundayatta is a troll. He’s just trying to stir up the pot. He doesn’t really care about this topic or fluther. How about we ban him? We’ll call it a cooling off period. He was just off his rocker a little bit. He’s done it before. He just can’t see reason, so it’ll be good for him. We know best. fuck the little bastard. it’ll be good when his mealy-mouthed ass is outta here

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta What do you think is the mods’ agenda? I really think you might be having a rough couple of days and taking it out on fluther

BoBo1946's avatar

what we have here is a failure to commnunicate!

Have fun everyone…out of here!

wundayatta's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Right now, I think they’re annoyed at me because they have no clue as to why I believe what I believe, and they want me to shut up. Other than that, I’m not sure they have an agenda so much as… I don’t know how to say it. Inconsistency? Inability to get on the same page? Looking for easy fixes without thinking through the consequences. Kind of like Congress.

This place wasn’t broken and it didn’t need a fix. Any tweaks it may have needed could come from social pressure, not rules changes. As it is the social pressure is directed the wrong way—at people who don’t see things the same way as others. But I guess that’s typical. No one likes dissent. It’s more fun to squash it. Make it look stupid. Never have to consider whether there’s any truth to it.

I don’t like the new rules. I think they address a problem that doesn’t exist; they are impossible to enforce in a fair way; and are generally a bad idea.

Some people say we won’t notice the difference. If that’s the case, then why have them at all? It’s needless and silly.

As if that isn’t enough. Now the silliness is creeping into Social. It’s getting worse in both directions. We used to have a happy medium. At least, that’s what I thought. Next thing you know we’ll have all those ranking questions. Who’s the best this or that. A lot of feelings are going to be hurt. That’s why I left Askville.

BoBo1946's avatar

oh, @stranger_in_a_strange_land are we invisible today?

Basketcase's avatar

I support you all 100%

I would love to see all those who cannot seem to keep from joking, mocking and essentially peeing on serious questions boycott and stay the hell off the questions where users need and want an actual answer.

LostInParadise's avatar

I think you are missing the point. There is nothing wrong with using humor in answering a general question, as long as it is on topic. There are times when a person has a very specific question to ask and would like a direct answer, without smart ass remarks or off topic discussions. I do not see anything wrong with this.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@BoBo1946 Not invisible, but not proud of myself either. I promised myself when I came here that I wouldn’t do any more bomb-throwing. I’ve been doing just that today. Maybe I should get the hell out of here.

I have no problem with banishing humor from General questions. I saw no reason to banish innocent off-topic remarks in whisper. Any discussion is bound to stray a bit off topic. I can’t tell where the boundary is, so to prevent myself from going over the line I no longer participate in discussions in that category; just say my piece followed by “NF” then hit the “stop following” button. That way I can’t go off topic and risk being modded.

I can’t tell acceptable from non-acceptable humor (Aspergers Syndrome), so I must interpret the new rule as meaning “no humor” as far as I’m concerned.

tinyfaery's avatar

If you don’t like it shut the fuck up and leave. You are like a 5 year old who is obsessing and whining about something you have no control over.

Go start your own site. And try boycotting BP, or GAP, or anything that will actually have an impact on the world.

I feel like this is fuckin’ elementary school.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Yep, just like elementary school. And I’m feeling just as unwelcome here as I did there.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land: I think that comment was directed at the asker, not you.

DominicX's avatar

I think this is just like the Facebook changes. People are going to tell people to boycott and protest and make all these fan pages for people against the changes to unite, but the changes are going to stay whether people like it or not and once people get used to it, they’re going to stop whining about them.

SuperMouse's avatar

@wundayatta you know how I feel about you. You know that your presence here on Fluther is important to me and that I respect your questions, answers, feedback, and opinions. You are warm and caring and never fail to help me look at things in ways I would not have seen them. That being said, please Wundaloon, take a step back here, take a deep breath and give this new set-up a couple of minutes before you continue your campaign against it or, worse yet, leave Fluther.

Mods, you all seem to have remained fairly silent on these changes. I would love to hear your feedback on the changes themselves and the feedback you have received.

MissAusten's avatar

@SuperMouse Ditto that, and very well said.

liminal's avatar

@SuperMouse I pm’d a mod yesterday and asked for the same thing. I think some facts would help the accuracy of perception.

wundayatta's avatar

@SuperMouse It’s not so much the changes which I warned against when they were first announced; it’s the vituperation towards me for expressing this opinion that is disturbing. If I am the things you mentioned, and if that was a generally held opinion, then I think I’d get some respect for my opinions by those who disagree with them. There actually have been several people urging that I leave. You can see one just a few posts above. You know that for every person who talks, there are probably ten who feel the same way, but don’t talk. So far, yours has been the only one that shows any degree of calmness.

But if I feel constrained by the new rules, then my answers won’t be any good any more, will they? So even more people will be happy to see me go. I don’t really want to go, but if this reflects how most people think of me, I probably should.

poofandmook's avatar

@wundayatta: Nobody wants you to leave. Simply put though, someone who does not help run Fluther has no right to tell the people who do how to do their job. If you hate it so much, then don’t use it. If you don’t hate enough to abandon it, then just stop complaining (voice your opinion enough times in enough places and it becomes complaining) and do your best to get used to it. It’s better for you, everyone else, and Fluther as a whole if you made an attempt to get used to it if you plan to stay. Otherwise, all you’re doing is complaining.

Your opinions are valued here, hence your rather large lurve count. But that doesn’t mean that every opinion you have will be put into action. Sometimes you just need to accept that the powers that be don’t think your way is the best way. Que sera.

gemiwing's avatar

To those who are upset by the changes- all of you. I implore you with all respect and love to take a step back. Relax and clear your mind for a moment. Think about your life and then place an importance adding a tab on Fluther truly has. Is it really as large as it seems? If it is truly life-altering to you then come up with different solutions, for yourself, for Fluther. Rolling around in the anger doesn’t accomplish anything but turn your day sour.

DominicX's avatar


The problem is that there are many people here who like the changes and do not see them as ever changing. When has this site ever removed a change they implemented? It’s just not likely to happen. So when they see someone who is utterly dissatisfied with the changes and spends a lot of time complaining before anyone cries “I’m not complaining!”, look up the definition of the word first about them, it’s seen as maybe an indicator that the person shouldn’t be on the site. I’m not “telling you to leave”, that would be immature. I’m just saying that I think there is too much drama about these changes and I don’t think they are likely to go away.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I don’t support a boycott. Just don’t use the parts you don’t feel comfortable in. Right now I don’t feel comfortable anywhere, but that’s my own fault. I’m just going to leave until I calm down, it may be tomorrow or it may be forever.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I agree with just not using the parts you don’t like. I’m just deleting the questions I’m not interested in, as I did before.

Don’t leave, Stranger. We all need to get used to this, I guess. I hate change. That’s my problem.

Berserker's avatar

I don’t support that. I’ll prolly be way less active in those because they require technical insight, and I’ve faced it long ago, I don’t know a hell of a lot about anything. But I won’t ’‘boycott’’ it. The hell’s up with that?
What is this dramatic nonsense idea of a movement? If I’m not interested in something or if I don’t have an answer, I won’t answer it, that’s all.

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I second the not leaving part.

Bluefreedom's avatar

If you support a boycott of general questions, why do you think that is appropriate? I don’t support a boycott and I don’t think one is appropriate or even makes sense for that matter.

How do general questions hurt this website? They don’t hurt the website. They help to define the difference between serious questions and social questions.

How do they change the flavor and freedom of the website? It offers a fresh change to try and separate technical/serious questions from those that are more open to have fun and relax with.

No one who is opposed to such a boycott can answer, because that’s off topic. Sorry, no, it’s not off topic and I believe my opinion is just as important as every other persons opinion in this thread.

I’m not trying to be argumentative. Just stating what seems to make the most sense to me. For all its idiosyncracies, Fluther is about the best Q&A forum I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen many of them. It’s never going to be perfect but sometimes change is good and sometimes change is necessary. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s going to take time to assimilate to what’s happened. I think what’s taken place with the new look is an event that needed to happen. Just my two cents.

andrew's avatar

@DominicX Actually, we’ve removed a few changes we’ve made when they were really wrong. We made some stinky changes, hooo-weee.

Overall, the feedback we’ve been getting has been positive. Quite positive, actually, moreso than we expected.

Kayak8's avatar

I am too curious a person to skip reading questions (whatever category they are stuffed into). I am much more intimidated about answering a General Category question now and will likely find myself avoiding the category altogether eventually—it’s not a boycott though, I am just afraid of being kicked off Fluther and I like the opportunity it provides to get to know people better and to learn things (so I don’t want to be kicked off).

DarkScribe's avatar

I find it limiting in the sense that it curtails spontaneity, things like having to avoid humour when humour is appropriate. You are also limited in responding in any manner that might offend – even if the question and the questioner is offensive. It makes it easier for trolls in some ways.

All of that said – I still wouldn’t boycott it – I’ll simply refrain from responding to many questions that would have appealed to me in the past. If not being able to call a spade a shovel makes for too “trollish” an atmosphere I’ll avoid it, but not in a deliberate boycott sense, just a “not bother” sense.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I don’t support any type of Fluther boycotts. If you like the site enough to stay on Fluther then help create change by talking with the mods/founders or just give the change a chance. I do support people being able to state their feelings though.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta Alex and I were just talking about your feelings as we were going home – I really don’t see how you’d get modded in the general section. You always write long and thoughtful responses and they’re never off topic so what’s the issue?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I don’t like the idea of a collective boycott, let people act how they will and adjust before rallying for a retort to such new stuff. I’m not a fan of separating members but in way I’ve done it all by myself since joining the site by answering questions by jellies in my fluther first then moving on to everyone elses. The “everything” button works for me as my number two spot to hit because I kind of like to read things in the time order they were posted.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I do not support any type of fluther boycotts. It seems to me there has been some overreaction cause by the intention of some individuals to overinterpret the implications of some of the recent changes. These changes were well intentioned and those who run the website have the best interests of fluther at the heart of their decisions.

I doubt there are more than a handful of people so frustrated by these changes that they can’t cope with fluther the way they could before.

I understand that some people feel threatened or harmed by change but it is rarely as bad as people fear it will be.

I urge people to be patient and understanding rather than to seek ways to undermine the changes and those who invest so much personally to make fluther work well.

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BoBo1946's avatar

the changes do not bother me as much as the mean-spirited reactions to the change….good grief, in the scheme of things, what the heck…this is no major problem in anyone’s life…go down to the terminal ward at the hospital and came back and curse your fellowman…bet you don’t!

BoBo1946's avatar

loll..excuse me..too often don’t proof read…come back and etc etc…

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@BoBo1946 is correct in calling for a proper sense of perspective.

phoebusg's avatar

I don’t but I’ll post my opinion.
Haven’t read all the replies. But I like the new changes. Haven’t been on fluther in a while. A big part of that is the confusing nature of the previous setup. Now I know where the ‘serious’ answers go, and where the lax ones for chill discussion go. Both are useful, but you know where to go for each. Good solutions to some of the issues I and others had pointed out.

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