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LvMI Forums Lacking Post Quality?

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equack Posted: Wed, Oct 8 2008 12:40 AM

I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, or only myself, but it seems there are too many poor posts made on this forum that prevent fruitful discussions. Having read a lot of posts on the Austrian Forums (www.austrianforum.com) helped me gain crucial insight and new ideas. However, I look at posts on these forums and they are either inflammatory (some also beg the question as well), completely ignorant (theres a search feature on mises.org), use extreme hypotheticals going to nowhere, or completely miss the point of this forum (to discuss Austrian economics and libertarianism). Even the arguements between adherants of Austro-libertarianism can't refrain from errors in logic, poor research and citation, bad statistics, and the whole bundle of elementary mistakes in arguementation. It seems the forums should be subdivided into a Newbie/Serious section or something along those lines. If people keep asking questions wheres theres already an answer, its completely useless to have forums in the first place. However, asking questions to clarify readings such as someone asking what did Mises mean by "ideal types" or something along those lines seem completely rational and acceptable.

My only hope is that the senior members of this board realize this and try to bring these forums in a new direction.

Sincerely,

Eric Q.

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equack:
I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, or only myself, but it seems there are too many poor posts made on this forum that prevent fruitful discussions. Having read a lot of posts on the Austrian Forums (www.austrianforum.com) helped me gain crucial insight and new ideas. However, I look at posts on these forums and they are either inflammatory (some also beg the question as well), completely ignorant (theres a search feature on mises.org), use extreme hypotheticals going to nowhere, or completely miss the point of this forum (to discuss Austrian economics and libertarianism). Even the arguements between adherants of Austro-libertarianism can't refrain from errors in logic, poor research and citation, bad statistics, and the whole bundle of elementary mistakes in arguementation. It seems the forums should be subdivided into a Newbie/Serious section or something along those lines. If people keep asking questions wheres theres already an answer, its completely useless to have forums in the first place. However, asking questions to clarify readings such as someone asking what did Mises mean by "ideal types" or something along those lines seem completely rational and acceptable.

I've seen this many times before.  Someone with a low post count, doesn't like the posts by others.  While the suggestion is great, the best way to improve the post quality is to get involved, not to ask other people to change to suit you.

I wasn't familiar with the Austrian forums.  It does seem to be much better organized than CS.  Of course CS is not really a proper forum platform, it is community software.  People use it to blog and to make wiki entries as well.  To organize into groups.

Perhaps the Mises community isn't the Austrian forum, and there is room for both, rather than trying to make a dog a cat.

Food for thought.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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David V replied on Wed, Oct 8 2008 8:42 AM

I think one reason why the Austrian Forum had better discussion is that moderators were willing to delete low-quality posts.  We did not have to delete many posts before people either got the general idea or left.  Perhaps we should do that here?

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How do you define "low quality"?

I've found that the best way to improve or shape community discourse, is to push people who represent the best, to lead the way.

So-called bad posts and bad posters stick out like a sore thumb, and can be dealt with appropriately.

Maybe I am misunderstanding but low quality just sounds very subjective to me.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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liberty student:

How do you define "low quality"?

I've found that the best way to improve or shape community discourse, is to push people who represent the best, to lead the way.

So-called bad posts and bad posters stick out like a sore thumb, and can be dealt with appropriately.

Maybe I am misunderstanding but low quality just sounds very subjective to me.



You're not misunderstanding at all; I've been apart too many forums where the intervention of posts, on the basis of maintaining quality, yields an outcome less favorable than if no one had intervened at all (such interventionism shouldn't be alien to anyone studying libertarianism) . 

Typically what happened was that groups of forum posters would migrate to lurking, branch their own forum (which usually ended up dying once the interventionism on the original forum died off & they changed to active forum members again), or just leave all together with sour words for the mods & admins. 

It's hard to put a blame on anyone or anything, save for the organizational structure of forums themselves.  It's limiting at times, but forums get the job done, more or less.  The only thing I would ever automatically designate as low-qulity, would be obvious spam posting, which happens rarley here.  

IMO, as long as a forum doesn't get flooded with spam topics & posts, especially if said forum is inactive for a while (this is usually when spammers strike), said forum should be fine, inevitable social atmosphere & squabbles aside.   

"Look at me, I'm quoting another user to show how wrong I think they are, out of arrogance of my own position. Wait, this is my own quote, oh shi-" ~ Nitroadict

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Yeah, if you noticed (maybe you didn't) I did mention I want to return these boards to the old Austrian forum's level of discourse. However, that is difficult because it might involve heavy-handed moderation, which I am opposed to. Perhaps a newbie forum is a good idea, where it is not assumed that the participants have read basic texts on Austrian theory, and a more advanded subforum where discussion assumes familiarity of Austrian texts (and thus is restricted in what passes for discussion on it.)

One thing is going to change though, and that is that I will be closing threads that ask questions that have been answered a hundred times over, ones that degenerate into flame-wars, temporarily/indefinitely ban members reported for bad behaviour &c, and naturally, delete troll threads/ban trolls from the outset. The forum has explicit ground rules, and as such these should be respected, like those of any club. I'd prefer for members to request such things of moderators before executing them, though.

-Jon

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

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David V replied on Wed, Oct 8 2008 12:31 PM

Jon Irenicus:
Perhaps a newbie forum is a good idea

The problem with that is that the troublemakers are not people who know they are ignorant, but ignorant people who think they have all the answers.

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True but then at least they'd no longer obstruct people who have a knowledge of Austrian econ but want to refine it without wading through posts related to far more basic concerns (maybe even make that part of the forum closed access.) It'd also be easier to notice whether someone is patently ignorant of Austrian econ/libertarian political philosophy, contrary to their own protestations, and thus allow for heavier moderation on the more advanced subfora and more relaxed moderation (like present) on the open ones.

-Jon

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

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HeroicLife:

Jon Irenicus:
Perhaps a newbie forum is a good idea

The problem with that is that the troublemakers are not people who know they are ignorant, but ignorant people who think they have all the answers.

But at least with a newbie forum then you'd be able to delete any such threads.

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

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nje5019 replied on Wed, Oct 8 2008 3:03 PM

I think a beginner subforum would be helpful. Another thing we could do (and I'd volunteer to help work on this) is make a sticky with links to threads that we consider good discussions of issues that people bring up on almost a daily basis. Maybe a few people here and there would look and get their questions answered instead of starting up new threads on the same things we talked about yesterday. Have a sticky 'index' thread would probably work better than just assuming people will take the energy to search the forums.

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David V replied on Thu, Oct 9 2008 11:35 PM

Well, here is step one of the quality-improvement initiative: I've added "Moderator" and "Staff" icons.

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David V replied on Thu, Oct 9 2008 11:52 PM

I have created an additional role:  Most Valuable Poster.

I don't know yet what the criteria will be, or who will decide on new MVP's, but I think Geoffrey Allan Plauche deserves to be the first.

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One of the problems I've been noticing a lot if people making posts trying to find resources as a first resort, as opposed to going away and looking and then coming here as a last resort.

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

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equack replied on Fri, Oct 10 2008 11:20 AM

My post count has nothing to do with my arguement as stated above. I would rather spend the time to create a post which gives others utility in reading it than taking up wasted bandwidth. I've been around since the start of these forums and and have read a lot of discussions. Some discussions I've thought about a great deal and contributed to them. Others, I've declined to post for aforesaid reasons.

I take Austrian economics and libertarianism very seriously, not only online, but in daily life. I find ways of injecting, if you will, Austrian ideas into everyday conversations in the hopes that the person may be drawn to the cause of freedom. I really thought these forums would be useful in creating an actual virtual community of those dedicated to Austrian economics. We don't have the chance (unless your student at Mises U) to discuss Austrian matters in real life, but there is a chance here to do so. Thus, seeing posts which really don't advance this great theory we have before us, Austrian economics, or its political implications, Libertarianism, made me a bit upset. I think both theories/schools of thought are great and should be spread through discussion, rather than damaged by off-topic, erranous, or inflammatory posts.

Having said all that, I will take some of your advice on creating examples of good discussions hoping others will follow. Possibly, I willl spend more of my time on these forums working with other Austrians than the usual sit-in-your-room and read Mises approach that other Austrians who don't have the internet have had to take (such as Rothbard in his earlier days).

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Are the icons meant to show up automatically?

-Jon

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David V replied on Fri, Oct 10 2008 12:47 PM

Yes.  I accidentaly deleted the "Moderator" icon - I'll fix it when I get home tonight.

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I'm a bit wary of having an MVP icon... it seems to me that it would encourage a view of further divide between newbies & those who have been on longer than others (and those who have been on even longer than those who have been on longer than newbies, etc. etc.).

As a web-designer, I would also make the mods & admin icons about 20% smaller, as not everyone has a fast comp (I've been using my smaller & slower laptop more & more lately, and it definitely slows down scrolling a bit). 

I liked the points-only thing over the MVP icon; it reminds me of whose line is it anyway, where the points didn't really matter  :D.

"Look at me, I'm quoting another user to show how wrong I think they are, out of arrogance of my own position. Wait, this is my own quote, oh shi-" ~ Nitroadict

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HeroicLife:

I have created an additional role:  Most Valuable Poster.

I don't know yet what the criteria will be, or who will decide on new MVP's, but I think Geoffrey Allan Plauche deserves to be the first.

I'd be happy if I would show up on the main forum page under the section "Most Active Users"...

Yeah, everybody hates an AC.

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HeroicLife:

I have created an additional role:  Most Valuable Poster.

I don't know yet what the criteria will be, or who will decide on new MVP's, but I think Geoffrey Allan Plauche deserves to be the first.

Wow! Thanks for the honor, David. :o)

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

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No doubt.  There is no criteria yet, and there is no one appointed to make the decision, but GAP is the greatest of all time.  Not that GAP isn't a great poster, but I though the issue was forum quality, not cronyism and how annoying newbies can be.

This place has been blowing my mind lately.  From the ban that is not a ban, to the censorship of the left/right thread.

 

Problem: Forum quality is low (apparently)

Solution: Get the admins badges

Non-Sequitur?

 

I've learned some neat things here, and some folks here are very cool (my fellow rightist and vulgar libertarians) but since Bureaucrash opened up a social network I think I am going to spend more time there.  Feel free to add me (DixieFlatline) if you like.  I will be more active there starting next week.

 

Btw, someone mentioned forming a Right Libertarian Alliance.  If you're interested, PM me.  I've got an extra forum license lying around, I might be interested in starting up something along those lines.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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