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andrew's avatar

Has the old system of "solve a problem" vs "start a discussion" affected which section you post your question into?

Asked by andrew (16290points) May 14th, 2010

I got some feedback a bit ago from a user wanting to have a discussion about an issue and was about to post it into Social before they realized discussions were totally suitable for general.

Has the old breakdown affected how you choose your section?

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38 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

That’s one problem that hadn’t occurred to me. It seems plenty intuitive, but maybe that’s because I’ve been around for a while.

tinyfaery's avatar

Not at all. I choose my section by the type of answer I am looking for.

Jeruba's avatar

I still think of “solve a problem” vs “start a discussion” as the new system. The present one is simply newer still.

Any kind of arbitrary dividing line, any at all, is going to carry along some ambiguities and confusion. A misclassification isn’t going to be fatal. No one should get too worked up over trying to get it right.

Dr_C's avatar

To be perfectly honest I’ve recently come the realization that I haven’t posted a question in weeks if not months. I’ve posted an answer to many a question but have not asked one of my own. The last time I did though I found the “start a discussion” or “solve a problem” division to be pretty self-explanatory.

deni's avatar

no i just always choose general because i don’t care if there happens to be a discussion on my question or someone wants to joke about it. the other 2 categories always confused me for some reason but i think luckily i had always wanted to “solve a problem” so. i like this better, i guess.

Jeruba's avatar

@deni, “General” is the category with the stricter guidelines. If you want to allow jokes and side comments, you have to choose “Social” even if it’s not a social question.

ucme's avatar

Rightly or wrongly I see it like this.General is the library, social is the playground.I prefer the playground.Although I do like a bit of peace & quiet on ocassion.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t see General as allowing a discussion. I would only use it for direct answers.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I also do not see the General section as allowing for discussion. I don’t know why I just thought it was for ‘direct answers’. So when I post a question, even if looking for a more direct answer, I post to Social. Just in case someone wants to put in a joke or it starts some side conversation. Perhaps I’m confused?

janbb's avatar

I used “Social” for a political discussion I was attempting to start; but I could also see putting one in “General” if I wanted a stricter discussion. I have noticed a falling off in rich discussion quetions lately; don’t know if that’s the new divisions or if everyone has said their say. I don’t find it hard to decide where I want to put a question, but I would enjoy having an “All Questions” button as on option with the category being delimited in the questions.

Zen_Again's avatar

As you know @andrew, most of my questions (I think I’ve asked about 400 by now) are more about the conversation, less requiring actual answers. This is because I both enjoy a little conversation, and because I am too stupid to think of real questions. I found it harder and harder to formulate a question without getting modded.

Now it seems much clearer: Factual questions can be googled, of course, but if I want an opinion about a serious topic, I put it in General; all others go in Social.

I like this change.

Buttonstc's avatar

I really don’t see myself ever posting a question to General ( except for the one tonight where I literally had no choice) unless it were an urgent life and death matter. I just think it’s far too limiting in there.

That’s my two cents worth.


Actually, now that I’ve had a minute to reconsider, even in a serious life and death matter, you just never know when a little humor can help things not appear so grim or hopeless. So unless I needed an answer in the next five minutes and anything not pertinent could cause a delay while reading it, I can honestly say that I can’t think of any other reason to post a Q in General. Really.

I just don’t like the idea of putting a straitjacket on creativity. You just never know when it might come in handy. Some of the world’s best ideas and inventions have totally come from out of left field.

Aethelwine's avatar

I like the changes. I know where to post questions like this and questions like this. I got the answers that I was looking for without any BS.

silverfly's avatar

It’s intuitive… I do miss the old system a bit, but I can get used to this one.

jlm11f's avatar

For those that feel that General section cannot have discussion, I would like you to check out this recent (2 days old now) Q posted by me in that section that is still active. General can have a discussion. I posted it there instead of Social because I wanted a discussion, but a serious one. By that I don’t mean humor can’t be injected in the right places but I didn’t want a response which had the sole purpose of humor.

To help people understand how the founders think of the sections, here’s another example. I posted this Q yesterday. I posted it to the Social section initially but then I spoke to Andrew who told me that he wants more Qs like that in General. So we moved it. The point is that my Q wasn’t simply “What’s your favorite sports team?” It delved a bit deeper and allowed people to discuss something that’s not so serious (sports) but in a serious way. Does that make sense?

dpworkin's avatar

I stay away from General now, unless I have an immediate, useful and precise answer to a particular question. One gets modded for the most innocent, unlikely and well-intentioned posts in there, and the moderators don’t seem to understand the criteria themselves.

Shilolo patiently and carefully explained to me why one answer that I posted to a thread on music synthesizers had needed to have been removed, but suddenly it reappeared with no explanation, and there it stays. Too confusing for me.

Buttonstc's avatar


You are saying that humor can be injected in the right places in General.

But why would anyone want to risk doing that? Since there is no intuitive or widely understood delineation of what constitutes the “right place” how could anyone know.

Humor springs from creativity and is spontaneous. If you have to overthink it, why bother.

Personally, I like Stranger in a Strange Lands approach of just avoiding it altogether in General.

I don’t have a problem giving a serious answer (the vast majority of mine are) but to expect my mind to wrestle with the thought that humor can ever be appropriate while in General is just a bridge too far for my miniscule brain to deal with.

I think many others feel the same way which is why I prefer to put my questions (serious and otherwise) into Social.

Yeah, I may get a few crap responses (easily ignored) but finding the occasional gem of true humorous insight makes it well worth the risk for me.

Others may feel differently and that’s fine. I don’t have a problem with that.

But I prefer my Qs to be where humor and spontaneity can have free reign without the need for second-guessing everything and walking on eggshells.

You may be perfectly clear on precisely what the “right places” for humor would be in General, but a lot of the rest of us peons are totally confused and find the safest thing is to avoid it altogether in General.

Plus, I highly doubt that your definition of the “right place” would necessarily correlate with that of any other mod. It’s a VERY nebulous area. Rather than waste time pondering the ineffable qualities of that right space, I’d rather not waste my time on it. I just answer the Q and move on.

That’s what the majority of folks are doing ( from what I can see) and that’s precisely why my Qs will not be posted there. Answers are a different story altogether.

dpworkin's avatar

Bingo, Mr. Button.

janbb's avatar

I do also think there is an issue that isn’t being discussed. We have a fair number of newish mods at this point and the modding can be fairly inconsistent. I recognize that they are volunteers with full lives elsewhere, but issues like “appropriate humor” can be so subjective. That’s why I am never funny. :-)

dpworkin's avatar

That’s not why you’re never funny, but we won’t discuss that here.

dpworkin's avatar

newish? they don’t look newish.

Buttonstc's avatar

They don’t look EYEtalian either.

Buttonstc's avatar

Uh oh—what section are we in here? Should we be prepared to be modded?

janbb's avatar

@Buttonstc and @dpworkin Stop farting around here and come and play my cool game. (It’s in Social.)

Buttonstc's avatar

It ain’t easy for users of the mobile version to get anywhere else on this site other than General. Link please.

If I were being paranoid I’d think they are miffed cuz someone suggested boycotting General and they’re going to force us in there by any means necessary. So right now it’s a case of “can’t get there from here”

I posted a Q about this with no definitive answer so far from the powers that be, but I’m assuming a coding bug of some sort. But they don’t seem in that much of a rush to fix it so it does serve their nefarious purposes for now :)

I may take a vacation for awhile if this keeps up.

Awaiting your link.


jlm11f's avatar

Just to be clear, I haven’t been a mod for a while and my answer represents only my opinion and not of the Fluther mods/founders.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I’m just confused is all, lol

Luckily i almost always post a real answer when I use humor so I’ll just ask and answer away and if I get modded so be it, maybe that’ll clear up my confusion

And i’m not really sure why i’m confused. I think the what was linked sounds like social questions to me

Zen_Again's avatar

Guys – not too long ago we’d discuss anything and everything in one thread, with bated breath awaiting the next question. No lurve score, no awards and very little modding to just remove the personal attacks. Now it’s a game – aimed at a new generation – and with that comes change.

I personally do not like change very much. I didn’t like my old community (wis) closing up, and I was very grateful for the warm welcome I received here. I am not the easiest of people to get along with (understatement).

Fluther is a beautiful community, with a core group of amazing people who, whether they know it and realise it or not, manage to maintain a lovely commune spirit while allowing newcomers to join all the time. This shouldn’t be taken for granted. Look at the exodus of march-april 09 and the Abers from Decmber 09. Fluther is a wonderful place on the net, bar none.

But it’s also a business. Like any business it has to evolve. Evolution does not always sit well with everyone, nor is it always pretty.

One thing I can say for Andrew and Ben, and now Tim and Richard is that I’ve never seen a business of any kind, on the net or elsewhere, where the CEO’s are so in touch with their community (and product) and take so much time and make such an effort to listen to their people. And listen they do: has anyone ever posted anything here, in the blog, in a PM or whatnot and not been given an in-depth and personal answer from a Mod, Augustlan or even Andrew himself?

This is amazing, and in itself, worth of praise and awe.

Thank you fluther and its leaders for making this the best place on the web.

Change if you must; I, for one, believe in Andrew to find the right way in the end.

dpworkin's avatar

Yeah, but did you know he became a Scientologist, so…

Zen_Again's avatar

@dpworkin So? You and I are also a little into Scientology, nein? The kvetchy, Yiddishe kind of scientology. ;-)

RedPowerLady's avatar

I agree with you @Zen_Again I think they are doing amazing! When I reply to these threads it’s just to answer a question and not to complain. I lurve it around here :)

Zen_Again's avatar

@RedPowerLady Notice how we’ve been agreeing the past year. Before that we’d always be arguing. We’re getting old.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Zen_Again Haha, I did notice that. I guess getting old has some perks, lol

Zen_Again's avatar

I’m getting older and senile, you are getting younger and sweeter. Great photo – beautiful kid!


RedPowerLady's avatar

@Zen_Again Well thanks :) If I could give you 5,000 lurve for that one I would but since lurve is well just lurve you’ll have to accept my gratitude for the compliment and laughs at the joke.

hearkat's avatar

I never submitted many questions, so I have just gone through the steps as presented in that particular moment.

However, I just saw some old Questions that had new comments to them in “Activity for You”. When I opened them, the new comments had been removed by moderators, and I noticed that the Questions were listed as “General” thus subjecting them to the stricter rules.

How did you decide which section in which to post Questions from before this system? Were they all lumped into “General”? That would be totally wrong to do – don’tcha think? Shouldn’t the original poster have the discretion? Or shouldn’t it be based on ‘problem-solving’ vs. ‘discussion’ if it was posted during that era?

I guess I’m asking a Question within a Question – perhaps I’ll be moderated for the first time for this!

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