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For better or worse? Live forum updates

View Poll Results: Live view of forum activity?
Yes, it'd be a cool feature we can try out 9 39.13%
No, it makes low quality discussion "too easy" 14 60.87%
Yes, and I'll be ticked if we try it and remove it later 0 0%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-13-10, 12:23 AM Thread Starter   #1
I.M.O.G.
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For better or worse? Live forum updates


It's been suggested here several times in the past. Numerous forums offer a live view of forum activity, as can be observed in the following examples:

http://www.overclock.net/live.php
http://forums.digitalpoint.com/spy.php
http://www.viperalley.com/forum/vaispy.php

While its a cool feature, I've expressed dislike due to the potential to encourage quicker, chattier, poorly thought out posting. One thing this forum has over a lot of other forums covering similar subject matter is a large proportion of considerate, well spoken members. That is something special about this forum, and I don't want to introduce a feature that makes weaker or less intelligent discussion easier, or that encourages behavior that could lead this forum along a downward spiral. This is a discussion forum after all, not a chat interface. Its intended to behoove intelligent, moderate discussion, and be used as a reference, in contrast to chattier venues like IM, facebook, or twitter.

While giving it more thought, its a cool feature and if used within the existing culture of our site, maybe we wouldn't experience problems or overall lower posting quality. And if we do perceive issues after giving it a try, maybe we could handle the problems as they develop, or set harsher limits on posting rate (the forum currently has this ability), or if its too much trouble we could disable or remove the feature.

Post your thoughts please. Poll posted up top - its there to gauge the memberships opinions and forum staff will determine the course of action while taking poll results under consideration, not as the final determinant.

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Old 10-13-10, 12:33 AM   #2
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Wasnt sure what that was before but the obnoxious cascade of text i just got from one of the example sites rang the 'aw hellz no' bell in my head.

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Old 10-13-10, 01:16 AM   #3
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I have to agree with Whooping. After checking all three sites, my answer would be yeeaa no we don't need that. To me it would just degrade what this forum is.

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Old 10-13-10, 02:07 AM   #4
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I'm pretty neutral to that idea, "Today's Posts" already gets the job done.

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Old 10-13-10, 02:08 AM   #5
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I wouldn't like that feature- would get on my nerves quickly.

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Old 10-13-10, 02:24 AM   #6
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I'm with Whooping, Wicked, and ih on this one. I think it would turn into a moderation nightmare. Chances are, the forums would likely end up looking like a chatroom as well.

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Old 10-13-10, 05:23 AM   #7
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(Note: It's early AM here, and I can't sleep....so my apologies in advance for the lengthy reply.)

Something like this can be seen as a chat/IM/etc based interface, and therefore not helpful to the typical type and scope of conversation on our forums.
I'll play devil's advocate to make sure we're giving the idea a thorough amount of consideration, in addition to listing the possible negative aspects.

So, the negative side:
--> Possible heavier load on the forum; displaying of said posts in addition to higher thread view/reply/post rate per member.
--> Quicker, less articulate posts by some members so they can rush back to the "live stream"
--> Possible spamming, data farming/mining, content siphoning, etc (All of those reference links did not require a log in to view "the stream". If implemented, I would strongly advise that it require a log in to view.)
--> Most of this functionality is already available; today's posts, subscribed threads/email notifications, 'last post' column on the forum main page, etc
--> Other items that have already been listed by others

Now the fun part! The positive side:
--> Higher interaction rate per member; new member retention rate could also increase. (aka, those who post a problem/question and never come back)
--> Yet another method/tool for viewing the activity of the community. It'd simply be another available avenue in which a member can interact on the forums.
--> Easier moderation. (What?!?) Think about it: You could see those spam/ad posts instantly and take action accordingly. Discussion/thread getting out of hand? Click, done. Another spammer? Click, DIE! Jmtyra causing issues again? Banned, done!
--> The cool factor. (Which, after a few days, could be a negative. Meh.)
--> Self-regulating. Sure, it'll get a lot of attention initially, but who's going to sit for hours on end, clicking through to posts/threads? (Plus the stream is so fast, or can be, that people would get burned out on it after awhile.)
--> It could be customized even further; allow the 'live stream' viewing of certain sub-forums. Want to see what's going on real-time in the DC and Storage forums, but not everywhere else? Click, click, there you go.



Ok, all that fun stuff aside, I do have some genuine questions about the concern of lower quality posts/replies. Perhaps I'm being dense (again) but a member cannot type a reply while also viewing this live stream, right? Sooooo what would cause someone to compose a lower quality reply because this 'live stream' is going on in another tab/window? Is it the desire to get back to the stream?

In this same vein, we wouldn't change how a reply is entered, right? Would it still require the member to click on and load the full thread to reply? If yes, then I'm not sure how it would make things more chatty. Sure, you can view things real-time, but that doesn't allow for replies real-time. You still have to go to the thread. So is there something about the speed in which a thread is viewed that makes it chatty, or in which it is replied to that justifies this qualification? I guess I just don't understand how seeing live posts would constitute it being a chat/IM interface.

All-in-all, to me it's just another tool. No different than the Quick Reply feature, or subscribing to a thread for Instant Email Notifications of posts. It's still the same human behind the keyboard. Thus, if a member isn't going to have an articulate and well thought-out response, then it really doesn't matter how they get to the thread. New posts link, direct browsing to the thread, email, whatever. Their post will still be just as bad, or as good, regardless of how they got to the thread.

Or....am I totally off my rocker here?


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Old 10-13-10, 06:55 AM   #8
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I personally wouldn't use it but, overall, if there's no cost in performance loss, current viewing options, or what we "owe" our web hosts then I don't see a real problem with trying it out. If the up-and-coming generation is used to seeing this type of interface then we had better keep up with the times or risk losing potential new members. However, I'm assuming this would simply be another viewing option and wouldn't replace anything we already have in place. If we have to give up something we already have - especially if it's used by a lot of members - that would change my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmtyra View Post
Now the fun part! The positive side:
--> Higher interaction rate per member; new member retention rate could also increase. (aka, those who post a problem/question and never come back)
I can also see this as a down-side. We have complaints every week from impatient, new posters who see this as a free help desk and complain when we don't respond within xxx minutes. If anything I would think the live feed would only encourage that kind of thinking ...
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Old 10-13-10, 07:01 AM Thread Starter   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmtyra View Post
Ok, all that fun stuff aside, I do have some genuine questions about the concern of lower quality posts/replies. Perhaps I'm being dense (again) but a member cannot type a reply while also viewing this live stream, right? Sooooo what would cause someone to compose a lower quality reply because this 'live stream' is going on in another tab/window? Is it the desire to get back to the stream?

In this same vein, we wouldn't change how a reply is entered, right? Would it still require the member to click on and load the full thread to reply? If yes, then I'm not sure how it would make things more chatty. Sure, you can view things real-time, but that doesn't allow for replies real-time. You still have to go to the thread. So is there something about the speed in which a thread is viewed that makes it chatty, or in which it is replied to that justifies this qualification? I guess I just don't understand how seeing live posts would constitute it being a chat/IM interface.

All-in-all, to me it's just another tool. No different than the Quick Reply feature, or subscribing to a thread for Instant Email Notifications of posts. It's still the same human behind the keyboard. Thus, if a member isn't going to have an articulate and well thought-out response, then it really doesn't matter how they get to the thread. New posts link, direct browsing to the thread, email, whatever. Their post will still be just as bad, or as good, regardless of how they got to the thread.

Or....am I totally off my rocker here?

Your comments make a lot of sense.

To me, I could see it encouraging chattier replies because it gives faster feedback. That hot thread where someone just said Intel is better than AMD? It goes downhill quickly enough when viewers at home have to jam on the F5 button refreshing to reply instantly after that other clueless noob replies.

Currently, you typically don't notice thread updates until at least a few minutes after you reply - giving the topic several minutes to simmer or roll around your head.

With the live feed, you reply to the thread, return to the live feed, and you could be seeing replies instantly, then going to format your own replies instantly. To me, its not that chatty posts are inherent to the live feed, but just that the immediate feedback it gives you could put the wrong motivations in place or encourage the wrong thing. With large communities, I feel often times the results you get are a product of the rewards and motivations you put in place - there will always be exceptions with individuals, but overall the crowd functions as a whole. Like this place, its developed its culture as a result of our values and motivations, expressed in our rules, our interactions, and by our staff.

So what you are saying makes sense, but I wouldn't judge whether or not you are off your rocker by that post alone.

Playing devil's advocate also, the negative responses are overlooking a couple points:

1. Our members are on average smarter/of different caliber than members elsewhere in the examples, results elsewhere may not be indicative of results here.
2. The forums linked to are very active with high membership counts - they get several new posts every second, consistently. Our forum gets a new post every minute or so, or every 5 to 10 minutes sometimes. Those other forums are busier for various reasons, not just because they have a live feed. The speed of our live feed would be lower, unless our activity levels increased exponentially. (At 8AM eastern right now, 25 threads were updated in the past 60 minutes - several of those may have gotten multiple posts, but overall our activity is MUCH lower)

EDIT: By the way I voted no, but if we're discussing something overall, I like to play both sides of the court.

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Old 10-13-10, 07:28 AM   #10
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I'm pretty dead-on in agreement with QuietIce and will give a very cautious yes vote, but reserve my right to voice strongly that it should be ditched if the implementation and response it gets turns out to be negative.

It's a new feature some people -especially new members- might get a kick out of. I won't use it, but could see why people like it. If posts turn too chatty / low-quality (or too bickering as in your example), we could always ditch it. Admittedly I think that's a strong possibility and can picture a potential moderation nightmare....but you never know until you try.

So I'll vote for the first yes option, but mine really says "Yes, but proceed with extreme caution and reservation."

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Old 10-13-10, 08:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiealumnus View Post
So I'll vote for the first yes option, but mine really says "Yes, but proceed with extreme caution and reservation."
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Old 10-13-10, 08:37 AM   #12
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I don't like it because it wouldn't give me time to triple proofread my posts. I make some typos that would probably confused the original poster or get the wrong idea across.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmtyra View Post
--> Self-regulating. Sure, it'll get a lot of attention initially, but who's going to sit for hours on end, clicking through to posts/threads? (Plus the stream is so fast, or can be, that people would get burned out on it after awhile.)
You clearly are not familiar with how I post. I'm sure that I hit the "today's post" more than anyone else on the forums. I read over half of all the threads.

----------

Even with as much posting as I do, I don't really see this being a useful feature. As it was pointed out, we have multiple (redundant) tools that already do this. The only difference is that it isn't in "real time". Sure, it looks cool, but I know I personally wouldn't use it.

Back to how people would post, changing a feature like that would not necessarily mean a change in group of users that we attract and want. There are a couple reasons that I say this. Not everyone is going to know about this feature or want to use it. New users may not even know we have this for months. And, this is the big one, this forum is mainly self-moderating. Members will step up and tell someone they are out of line, and most of the time, the user will listen. I've personally reported a lot of members that were "padding" their post count or posting in a way that could "start something". I did this all before I was a senior member and I continue to do it today. Not everyone does it, but there are enough of us looking hard for the people that we don't want here.

That being said, I don't think adding this feature would impact the community as a whole since we have other mechanisms in place that would prevent it from getting out of hand.

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Old 10-13-10, 10:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I don't like it because it wouldn't give me time to triple proofread my posts. I make some typos that would probably confused the original poster or get the wrong idea across.
Why would it change the amount of time you had to reply to a post?

I voted the first yes, simply because I'm a fan of options. Personally I don't see myself using it, but wouldn't mind the choice there if people wanted it.

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Old 10-13-10, 10:57 AM   #14
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Im with Thiddy on this one...my posting and searching the site habits are similar. I voted No.

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Old 10-13-10, 11:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonSimonzi View Post
Why would it change the amount of time you had to reply to a post?
I don't think you read my comment correctly. I read over every reply I do a few times and either correct grammatical/logical mistakes or edit it for clarity. This would mean that people see my (bad) posts before I have the time to correct them. The portion of my post that you quoted was to be taken as a joke.

By the time you've read this, I've edited it 3 times.

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Old 10-13-10, 11:08 AM   #16
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I'm not a fan of the idea. If I want a chatroom, I'll jump on IRC.

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Old 10-13-10, 12:06 PM Thread Starter   #17
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@thiddy: I also chronicly edit and alter my posts immediately after submitting them. Not sure why I can't do that before hitting submit.
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Old 10-13-10, 12:14 PM   #18
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I checked out OCNs live feed, as far as I can tell it is a live stream of forum posts that are being made?

So it is basically a new posts search feature that happens once a second. It should not effect post quality in anyway as far as I can tell.

I do think it might put to much stress on the server though. Better would reduce search time limit to 5 seconds

I did not vote. But consider it a no. I don't think it would effect post quality in anyway. Those who post well, would continue to post well, those who do not will continue to not.

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Old 10-13-10, 12:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I.M.O.G. View Post
To me, I could see it encouraging chattier replies because it gives faster feedback. That hot thread where someone just said Intel is better than AMD? It goes downhill quickly enough when viewers at home have to jam on the F5 button refreshing to reply instantly after that other clueless noob replies.
Ahhhh...yes, that does make sense. Just like that work email that you compose, re-read through, then delete because you don't want to get yourself fired. For the emotionally charged threads and/or flame wars that occur, yes, this feature (if used) could cause said type of threads to get out hand more quickly or cause a higher percentage of threads to deteriorate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by I.M.O.G. View Post
So what you are saying makes sense, but I wouldn't judge whether or not you are off your rocker by that post alone.
HA! +1 for IMOG

Quote:
Originally Posted by I.M.O.G. View Post
1. Our members are on average smarter/of different caliber than members elsewhere in the examples, results elsewhere may not be indicative of results here.
2. The forums linked to are very active with high membership counts - they get several new posts every second, consistently. Our forum gets a new post every minute or so, or every 5 to 10 minutes sometimes. Those other forums are busier for various reasons, not just because they have a live feed. The speed of our live feed would be lower, unless our activity levels increased exponentially. (At 8AM eastern right now, 25 threads were updated in the past 60 minutes - several of those may have gotten multiple posts, but overall our activity is MUCH lower)
So, hopefully this would be self-regulated to a certain extent and it wouldn't be a blur like the other referenced forums.
It'd almost be like a test to see if it would impact the overall quality of our membership base.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiealumnus View Post
[...]will give a very cautious yes vote, but reserve my right to voice strongly that it should be ditched if the implementation and response it gets turns out to be negative.
This reflects my thoughts as well. While I did vote yes, it is a cautious yes and would have to be monitored closely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thideras View Post
I don't like it because it wouldn't give me time to triple proofread my posts. I make some typos that would probably confused the original poster or get the wrong idea across.
I was going to ask about this, too, as I misunderstood what you meant by this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thideras View Post
You clearly are not familiar with how I post. I'm sure that I hit the "today's post" more than anyone else on the forums. I read over half of all the threads.
Sounds like you could save a ton of time by viewing a live stream.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonSimonzi View Post
Why would it change the amount of time you had to reply to a post?
You stole my question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thideras View Post
I don't think you read my comment correctly. I read over every reply I do a few times and either correct grammatical/logical mistakes or edit it for clarity. This would mean that people see my (bad) posts before I have the time to correct them. The portion of my post that you quoted was to be taken as a joke.

By the time you've read this, I've edited it 3 times.
<insert evil grin here> So, you'd have to start proofreading more completely prior to posting? Joking of course...I edit about every other post almost right after posting it. Sometimes it's something minor, sometimes it's to re-word a statement for clarity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuromancer View Post
So it is basically a new posts search feature that happens once a second.
Hey! I didn't think about it like this, but that's exactly what it is.

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Old 10-13-10, 01:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I.M.O.G. View Post
@thiddy: I also chronicly edit and alter my posts immediately after submitting them. Not sure why I can't do that before hitting submit.
I don't catch mistakes because I'm in the same mindset as when I typed them. If I can "step away" for just a second, I can come back and see that what I said doesn't make sense or I missed a small detail (can instead of can't, duplicate words, etc).

Again, that point was more as a joke than anything else.

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