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How to Transition

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hashem Posted: Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:03 PM

Many of us have grown up online, and have been part of more communities and specifically more boards and forums than we can remember. Let us gather our collective experience here as input for those looking to build this community's successor. Please submit ideas based on your internet experience, including suggestions for a name. Those of you considering hosting the new forums, please listen here!!

1. Absolutely critical: ACTIVE TOPICS page. This isn't a 5 most current threads list, or any other sort of categorized list like the New Content list at austrianforum.com. This is all the threads on the forum, ever, listed 50 to a page in accordance with which one has been posted to most recently. This style is clearly distinct from standard threads! This style unifies the forum together as a community, I hate to compare to 4chan and Facebook but there's a reason this method builds community. This as opposed to standard/classic forums which are immediately divided into a discouraging isolationist list of categories and subcategories. I could go on all day about the theory of why an active topics style is superior, but suffice it to say other users here have already acknowledged the importance, and that FB and 4chan figured it out as well.

1a. Active Topics needs to be the MAIN PAGE—when you click this forums google link, it will take you to this Active Topics page.

1b. You compose a thread from the Active Topics page, not from a divided category or subcategory. However, when composing a thread, at that point you can choose from a strict minimum of categories, among which is "uncategorized". These categories are listed in a bar/collumn on the left or right or top of the page, and you can browse them if you choose, but the whole idea is that the forum is unified and the categories are strictly optional. There should be no more than 4 categories, NO SUBCATEGORIES, and a 5th category called "uncategorized".

2. Absolutely no moderation whatsoever—with the sole exception of real spam. Not trolling, not offensive content, just spam. Everything is allowed without exception, except for illegal content and bot-spam. This is the essence of anarchism, let the community manage itself. I cannot stress how absolutely imperative this is. NO CENSORSHIP OR MOVING POSTS, EVER. Swearing is allowed, trolling is allowed, being a complete asshole is allowed—if the community doesn't value such content, let them build community by establishing social norms about how to deal with such content in an environment where force (moderation) is strictly absent.

3. As related to 1 and 2, a unified, unmoderated free forum won't have moderators moving threads to that tucked-away area that nobody ever goes to.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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gotlucky replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:12 PM

hashem:

2. Absolutely no moderation whatsoever—with the sole exception of real spam. Not trolling, not offensive content, just spam. Everything is allowed without exception, except for illegal content and bot-spam. This is the essence of anarchism, let the community manage itself. I cannot stress how absolutely imperative this is. NO CENSORSHIP OR MOVING POSTS, EVER.Swearing is allowed, trolling is allowed, being a complete asshole is allowed—if the community doesn't value such content, let them build community by establishing social norms about how to deal with such content in an environment where force (moderation) is strictly absent.

lol no

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lol yes.

Voteban is probably the best way....

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
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gotlucky replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:17 PM

I'm not aware of any software that allows voteban. Regardless, the last thing an ancap forum needs is for 4chan or whoever to flood the forum in order to voteban people for fun.

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voteban with moderator approval.

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
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hashem replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:27 PM

Also submit suggestions for a name. I like the sound of LibertyHQ, but I also think we all realize the looming reality that these forums are what they are because they're the official onsite forums of the Mises Institute, and not just some libertarian or intellectual forums.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Neodoxy replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:36 PM

"lol no"

QFT

I don't have very much to say about the rest of these suggestions but the idea of no moderation is a horrible idea. I'm not big into moderation, but material needs to stay at least appropriate, as does attitude and language. Call me a moderate but I think that some moderation is needed in order to ensure that discussion stays respectful and appropriate.

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:41 PM

This is pretty much what LibertyHQ is. On the freeforums software, you have the "all topics" view, as well as an easy way to view threads you're contributing to.

Unfortunately, a little bit of moderation judgment is required in terms of trolling/offensive behavior, even though it is admittedly difficult for such moderation to remain objective and non-partisan. Such is life.

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Aristippus replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:43 PM

The Voluntaryism forums, of course, use the same software and therefore also have the Active Topics view.

The Voluntaryist Reader: http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com/ Libertarian forums that actually work: http://voluntaryism.freeforums.org/index.php
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John James replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:43 PM

hashem:
1. Absolutely critical: ACTIVE TOPICS page. This isn't a 5 most current threads list, or any other sort of categorized list like the New Content list at austrianforum.com. This is all the threads on the forum, ever, listed 50 to a page in accordance with which one has been posted to most recently.

Currently you can adjust the austrianforum New Content page to show all the threads on the forum that have been posted to in the past year, listed in accordance with which one has been posted to most recently.  This isn't "all the threads ever"...but it's pretty close.  And I'm sure it could be expanded.  Tell me...when was the last time you clicked through the active topics list here to reach a thread that hadn't been updated in over a year?

 

when composing a thread, at that point you can choose from a strict minimum of categories

...You mean like the "Start New Topic" button on the top bar of the AustrianForum?

 

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:46 PM

Voluntaryism forums. May I recommend these forums to individuals here who are enjoying Voluntaryist Reader? Others may find the LibertyHQ forums more enjoyable (economics-focused). Or sign up on both.

But until someone can give me a good reason to feel otherwise: Down with austrianforums! *grumpy-face*

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gotlucky replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 10:56 PM

Do any of you know of a good way to organize membership to various forums? I guess I could do a google search, but maybe some of you have some experience with this.

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:02 PM

gotlucky - what do you mean?

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Aristippus replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:08 PM

Yeah I don't think I'll be going to austrianforums either...

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gotlucky replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:08 PM

Well, if I'm going to be a member of LibertyHQ Forum, Voluntaryism Forum, Austrian Forum, and potentially others (is VR going to have one too?), then I would like a way to keep track of them easily. I guess I could just use a standard bookmark or just type in the addresses, but I wasn't sure if anyone else had experience tracking their memberships on multiple forums.

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:13 PM

Well, if I'm going to be a member of LibertyHQ Forum, Voluntaryism Forum, Austrian Forum, and potentially others (is VR going to have one too?), then I would like a way to keep track of them easily. I guess I could just use a standard bookmark or just type in the addresses, but I wasn't sure if anyone else had experience tracking their memberships on multiple forums.

Just use the same username/password for all three?

And, yes, we are planning to make Voluntaryism forum the "home" for VR. We're thinking of a "Longite" forum. Does anyone have Roderick Long's email address? Maybe we can get the Molinari guys to come over.

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hashem replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:18 PM

Can we try to keep posts to this thread on the topic of suggestions for how to make tge sucessor forum?

Re: moderation, ive used well over100 forums/boards and neve once seen moderation that wasnt abusive or couldnt be managed by users. If youre afraid of the boogeyman then make like 3 rules, no illegal content, no porn, and...? I dont know...really forums are just naturally self-managed by community mentality and the fact that people tend to not join or not be active if they arent interested in the forums focus.

Just my thoughts. Contribute more suggestions.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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gotlucky replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:31 PM

Clayton:

Just use the same username/password for all three?

Maybe I do, maybe I don't. But if I don't tell you, you can't hack it!

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:34 PM

I've been a heavy contributor on probably at least a dozen forums since the late 90's (1998-ish). I'm not a lurker, so if I participate, I say what I have in mind. And for that, I prefer to have a little moderation in place because it's too easy for the losers who have nothing of any value to contribute to drown out the substantial, thought-out contributions which, in turn, dilutes the incentive of the better contributors to contribute in the first place.

But yes, the rule-list should be as short as possible. Reddit is fairly exemplary in this regard. I think they have it about as streamlined as you can get.

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:37 PM

 if I don't tell you, you can't hack it!

Even if you do tell me, I can't hack it. And what is there to hack?? LOL "Oooh, look at me, everybody, I'm gotlucky!" :-P

Seriously, though, the forum software doesn't reveal your password to the person who's creating the forum. So, that's not a reason to use the same password on all 3. Just a suggestion... if you're concerned about being impersonated, don't let me dissuade you... :-P

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z1235 replied on Thu, Dec 13 2012 6:52 AM

Good moderators (fair, consistent, firm, no ego) are worth their weight in gold. It's hard for your dinner guests to enjoy their evening if there are people peeing on your table and throwing plates at your wife. Granted, 'no moderation' may sometimes be preferable to extremely crappy moderators.

 

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hashem replied on Thu, Dec 13 2012 8:46 AM

What's with the mod worship? Seriously, in all my time in all the boards/forums I've ever been to I've never seen a situation where moderation was necessary, or where moderation that did occur wasn't abusive. In 4 years at Mises forums I've never encountered any activity that needed moderation, but again, I've heard of some where the moderation that did occur was abusive.

Is there some bogeyman I've managed to avoid across 15 years online who seeks out niche forums and just goes wild? A community moderates itself, it's what humans do, how doesn't anyone else see that?

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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AJ replied on Thu, Dec 13 2012 9:47 AM
I wholeheartedly second every single thing hashem wrote in the OP - he obviously speaks from extensive experience - with the possible exception of moderation. Ludicrously Light Moderation (LLM) that is hopefully never used, and that requires consensus of all mods and many users for any act of censorship or ban, can be better than no moderation at all in a few rare cases.

"Moderation" - such an innocuous-sounding word for something that is pure poison to communities. It should be handled like a nuclear device.

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DanielMuff replied on Thu, Dec 13 2012 10:42 AM

z1235:

Good moderators (fair, consistent, firm, no ego) are worth their weight in gold. [...]


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hashem replied on Thu, Dec 13 2012 10:56 AM

I think we can all agree that forum is best which moderates least. If it is used, it should be considered a necessary evil and handled like a nuclear device. I would support a forum where real attention was payed to general input and especially input regarding moderation.

That aside, I feel like others have important ideas to contribute about how to make this forums successor completely awesome. Aside from ideas about moderation, let's gather here suggestions about how to make the next forum exceptional.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Clayton replied on Thu, Dec 13 2012 11:05 AM

*sigh - A forum is not a country and moderators are not a government. A forum is private property in the sense that it is running on a server somewhere that is actually owned by the forum owner. Forum contributors are not paying and there is no contractual agreement of any kind. The norms that obtain here are like having a conversation in someone's living room. You can be shown the door if you're an obnoxious twerp. Everyone understands this except you, hashem.

A complete lack of moderation is not "anarchy" as against moderation's "statism". Moderation is like private event staff on private property... they are the ones who have the ability and responsibility to show the trouble-makers out the door. This, in turn, makes the activities that much more pleasant for everyone not drunk out of their mind and not splattering the forums with inflammatory/obscene material. MissSocialist is a recent example of such a troublemaker. I'm not morally opposed to nude pictures, but I browse the forums at work and in my living room (kids around), it simply causes problems for all other users to have a woman's naked breasts as your avatar.

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hashem replied on Thu, Dec 13 2012 1:17 PM

This thread is for contributing suggestions to people who might build the next forum. I gave my ideas about how moderation SHOULD work, based on my personal experiences with moderated forums over 15 years. This has nothing to do with the theoretical legal status of a forum, you're way off topic.

In theory, I can fathom a community managing itself without moderation. In practice, I've experienced just that in every board/forum I've ever been to. Moderation was always unnecessary at best, and usually always abusive. I'm not opposed to filtering out illegal content and porn. But I don't think a bogeyman is a valid excuse for moderation, and I've managed to never see such a bogeyman in all my exerience online.

Again, if you think moderation is valuable, then cool, contribute your suggestions. If you have other ideas, those are primarly the purpose of this thread.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Marko replied on Thu, Dec 13 2012 1:19 PM

I'm with Hashem, over the years I've had far more problems with mods than trolls. They're far likelier to ruin a good board and run out good posters too. 

You need people with mod status for some basic maintenence and cleaning work, like deleting spam bots and the like, but to have mods policing regular posters that's just absurd.

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2. Absolutely no moderation whatsoever—with the sole exception of real spam. Not trolling, not offensive content, just spam. Everything is allowed without exception, except for illegal content and bot-spam. This is the essence of anarchism, let the community manage itself. I cannot stress how absolutely imperative this is. NO CENSORSHIP OR MOVING POSTS, EVER. Swearing is allowed, trolling is allowed, being a complete asshole is allowed—if the community doesn't value such content, let them build community by establishing social norms about how to deal with such content in an environment where force (moderation) is strictly absent.

 

This is an awful, awful idea. If you want no moderation, then head over to 4chan's /pol/ and enjoy the daily discussions they have there, which generally consist of mutual shit slinging, idiotic and lame attempts at gaining attention by posting pictures of interracial porn and repeating the phrase "niggers and jews bad news" over and over again.

I'm sure you, a hardline rothbardian anarchist would be just fine with that, but many others who want a more intelligent discussion, would simply leave this site. This is not good, because it will create a drain of intelligent posters, and usher in various internet nutjobs and literal crackheads. I'm not necessarily talking about just various types of racist scum (which I admit to have no tolerance of) but literally people who talk nonsense due to progressing stages of degenerative mental illness (as evidenced by youtube or infowars comments).

The problem with your view is that Mises.org is a private website. It is owned by private individuals, and thus constitutes their property, not yours. It is not a commonly owned plot of land, an anarchist commune. As such the owners of this site can be as despotic and dictatorial as they want, and ban whoever they want, according to their judgement, and they will be justified at doing that. They are not initiating force against you by forcing you to adopt certain opinions. If you do not agree with the general atmosphere or ideology presented on here, you may simply leave. But this attempt at building a sort of internet anarcho-commune simply does not hold well with me, and I will vehemently oppose it. The reason why is given my experience with unmoderated boards, absent the enforced rules of civility, the primary driving factor in creating a post will be its shock content rather than intellectual value. As such, people will be less keen on debating each other from an equal standpoint, than they would be in simply insulting and ridiculing each other, leading to an environment where intelligent discussion  is pretty much impossible. At any rate, it would probably not be taken seriously by the owners of this website.

That said I would leave this website if the moderators started to censor discussions with posters who advocated certain positions which were unpopular on this kind of forum. In my view, moderation should concern itself so that discussion remains civil and that the content of the posts is clear and legible, not with the content of the beliefs themselves, which may be leftist, rightist, atheist, racist or whatever.

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hashem replied on Wed, Dec 19 2012 2:32 PM

Dude I already addressed all that.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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My recent experiences with moderators do argue in favour of what hashem is saying.

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Dec 19 2012 4:55 PM

I think that over-the top trolling (and I mean excessive) could be moderated, as well as needless, over-the-top language. And I don't mean people throwing insults at each other. I mean long rants full of expletives that don't add anything to the discussion and disrupt board operation.

Otherwise, strong language ought to be tolerated.

Hey, this happens to be my moderating criteria for LibertyHQ!

http://libertyhq.freeforums.org/forum-guidelines-and-useful-tips-t4.html

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I think I quasi-agree with both hashem and Clayton. I think it would be a nice venture to have the new forums not have mods (or at least tone their power down) but I certainly wouldn't say this as any sort of protest against the Mises forums, as in "they can't do this because it isn't true anarchy" as others have interperated it as.

But really, I don't think that without Mods a forum would just instantly turn into the 4Chan /b/ thread. 4Chan attracted those kinds of bizarre characters because of what it advertised itself as - we're an economics/philosophical thread, so I don't think that cat pornography posters would be immediately drawn to some place like that.

EDIT

Also, Wheylous, when you say that you want things on the PG-13 side with regards to Liberty HQ, you also say that we can say any kind of strong language as long as it isn't spamming or trolling. The word cu** is not to be found it any PG-13 films, so if I were to say something like "boy that Piers Morgan sure is a cu**," would I be banned for violating the PG-13 statement, or protected under the strong language statement?

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Dec 19 2012 5:10 PM

I meant full nudity in that one :P I should clarify.

Edit: fixed. So yes, that would be protected speech. Rather, it would be speech that moderators have no power to moderate.

Being the owner, I could do whatever the heck I wanted to the website, but that would be violating my contract with you guys, at which point you could punish me by leaving the site. Therefore, I have an interest in sticking to them as well :P

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This forum already only undergoes light moderation.

I don't really see an issue with mods. It works well on some sites and on others it doesn't. This forum is mostly mature and is concerned with academic discussions/philosophy so it requires very little moderation. Others are more concerned with keeping a consistent tone, image and theme and in their case it helps. The new Austrian forum might go that way depending on how closely it affiliates to the LVMI. 

For instance, I don't really take issue with profanity and I don't like tipping around people's toes because kids MIGHT lurk on the forum, which is their parent's problem really. In some cases though I can see why it would not be tolerated. If the forum doesn't come with a warning on it I can see how it'd be an issue.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Indeed, but I certainly don't think it goes to the extent that hashem is a proponent of. All I'm saying really is that it would be an interesting thing to see.

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Yeah, I didn't just mean this forum but the internet in general.

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@ Wheylous

I see. I was just curious though, I have no desire or need to express myself through that degree of language, despite the fact that I do believe in what Penn and Teller say about profanity. :D

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Indeed, but I certainly don't think it goes to the extent that hashem is a proponent of. All I'm saying really is that it would be an interesting thing to see.

It would be but personally I prefer mods to maintain minimum standards of etiquette, e.g. removing obnoxious pricks who go out of their way to antagonise other people. Not everyone enjoys that kind of discussion, and on academic fora it might not even be suitable or conducive to the kind of discussions you want going on there.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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This is true. Perhaps though we could give it a go, and if it really doesn't work out, we could reinstate a model of the old system?

Speaking of which, is there an exact date for the move?

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