A conversation gone wrong, in a jif. or possibly a gif

This conversation has gone off rails in a silly direction, which is appropriate I guess, since the original convo at the other place went off the rails in an unnecessarily confrontational manner. I’m leaving my original OP below, for historical purposes.

Who: several happy mutants, myself included
What: A discussion within a general topic on community
Where: the other place
When: Over the last week and a half
Why: The purpose of the topic began originally to explore the difference between the desires of members of the community and management, what with the banishments and departures. Links to two videos were posted in quick succession. Before I could finish watching both, a respected member of management restricted the conversation to “general community building.”

I gave both videos’ content review and thought before posting questions intended to explore the idea of how software could support building community that could address even thorny problems in a more cooperative, collegiate environment, much like the meat-space environment of, well, college/university.

In the ensuing posts, my questions were ignored in favor of knocking over strawmen, the idea of cooperation in a collegiate environment was conflated with opinion and science denial, and a recent study’s conclusion was misrepresented. Hooray!

I made one more attempt to drag the discussion back to my original thesis of whether it may be possible to design helpfulness and cooperation into a forum designed to provide good answers to technical - or dare I hope, hard - questions, in a manner more like a collegiate environment or math conference.

Based on the response, I gave up. Why keep throwing the minutes - the very stuff of my life - away?

I still believe that we can have truly social social media, but not if we keep settling for less.


At this point the other place is where I go when there’s nothing happening here.


I no longer participate at BB. When this first started up, I was checking in over there, but less and less I felt at home there. Some of it is the things you are talking about, the way the conversations get so derailed, but mostly it was that the sense of comradery I use to feel there is gone.


I can’t participate there anymore, for obvious reasons. But after the first couple of weeks’ absence, I literally don’t miss it at all. Participating there is bad for my mental health.


Yes. So many of the regulars are gone now, close enough to a critical mass that it just doesn’t feel the way it used to. RobB still seems cool, and Owolf seems to do what he can, but otherwise, management doesn’t seem to care anymore about how things are going on the lower floors.

Dear BB,

You’ve lost something…


janna: Look, I came here for an argument…

The Crowd: Oh, oh I’m sorry, but this is abuse.

janna: Oh, I see, well, that explains it.

The Crowd: Ah no, you want room 12A, next door


Lately it’s felt pretty much to me like Being Hit on the Head Lessons.


I see some contributing factors.

  1. Big Orange et al. has given Internet Tough Guy™ some courage
    B) every single day we get older and less enthused about the same old shit
    d) Every day, someone has just read Atlas Shrugged for the first time. Probably more so lately.

He seems to be the carrot to Happy Fun Ball’s stick.


I could have sworn you were talking about jlw.

Speak for yourself. I’m getting older, but it’s only strengthening my resolve. I’m sick of this shit, but nobody will change it except me. Nobody can change it except me. This isn’t the '90s, and I can’t coast on good will anymore.

That was the most tedious book I’ve ever read. Maybe some 14-year-old kid who’s pissed at his dad will find it mildly interesting, but not me. Then again, we’ve devolved to the point where whiny entitled teenager is a step up for many of us emotionally.


Yeah, but I don’t blame him much. Assuming he’s getting paid, I think he’s doing what he can to keep his job, by herding a lot of cats while also keeping happy a management that seems annoyed when it’s not simply indifferent. (I think he alluded at one point to previous moderators saying they left because the place is basically impossible to moderate effectively?)


Back when there was an honest TL3, he didn’t need to do that as much, because the community was more self-policing.

You saw that too?

That part confused me, because that’s not the impression I got from the bbs. Unless he was alluding to GamerGate or some shit like that, I don’t see that many problems with moderation. There are a few trolls, but not that many, and they get shot down quickly enough.

Also, what do you think when he said the bbs was “toxic” to advertisers?

Am I that oblivious that I don’t recognize any of the things he was talking about, or at least can’t relate to them directly?

BTW, it was that specific post that made me confident that oren is the carrot to jlw’s stick.


When there is a choice between what your job actually is, and what the person signing paychecks asks for… the decision makes itself most of the time.


Totally coincidentally, I’m listening to this at this exact moment:


I don’t even know what to say about the other place at this point.

I just know it doesn’t feel the same as it did a year ago, camaraderie-wise.


It was too oblique/unexplained for me to decide. The most plausible guess that I read by others was that advertisers find it so because bbs’ers often criticize the products touted in sponsored posts. OTOH, if that is the problem, all they need to do is shut off comments on those posts. Other than that, it’s hard for me to believe any advertisers would read enough comments to decide that the general atmosphere is like, fractious, and decide that’s a problem for sales of their products.

Am I that oblivious that I don’t recognize any of the things he was talking about, or at least can’t relate to them directly?


At the risk of sounding contrary, it’s still better than it was 10 years ago.

But whenever I want to get mad at HFB, I remember that that place is literally his own business, and I get back to minding my own. He very much is trying to scrape ‘community’ off his ships hull like a barnacle, while still enjoying the conversations. I don’t see the discourse platform lasting there.




happy fun ball


The JLW post about the VPN they were/are selling. Everyone jumped all over the details of the product. Especially questions about security. A new account popped-up as well that may have been a competitor and it really tore into the finer details. Then the VPN company jumped in to defend and went off the rails attacking people. The next day a calmer employee from the VPN took over. But as far as threads meant to promote a product goes, that thread was an utter shit show.

I have a feeling 99% of the toxic comment was about that one thread the other 1% is for every other product thread where someone points out the product is shitty (put the reps don’t show up and start a fist fight).