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The New Site: The Vision

FortKnox (169099) writes | more than 9 years ago

User Journal 107

Of course, I suck at naming, so I have no name for the new site, yet. Don't really have much down except some requirements (Yup, doing this the right way... requirements, then use cases, then UML & Prototypes, THEN coding).
Anyway, I got SO MUCH support in my email (thanks guys!) that I decided, instead of emailing everyone my vision, I thought I'd go ahead and give it out here.Of course, I suck at naming, so I have no name for the new site, yet. Don't really have much down except some requirements (Yup, doing this the right way... requirements, then use cases, then UML & Prototypes, THEN coding).
Anyway, I got SO MUCH support in my email (thanks guys!) that I decided, instead of emailing everyone my vision, I thought I'd go ahead and give it out here.

I asked myself a lot of questions. Why not slashdot? I don't like the code, nor the stability, but the front page lures people in and the community keeps them there.
Well, if the community wants to leave, why not livejournal? Well, then you lose the allure of the front page, and it just becomes "Another site to visit," which is why a lot of other sites don't work out for the community (orkut, etc...).

So... what I was thinking is to have slashdot with the friends and the community, but bring the front page with it. That's where the new site started... Then I knew since I was starting from scratch, I could make it better... give people what they want and use slashdot as a basis... here's the ideas sketched out so far (keep in mind that its very COMPLEX right now, and nothing is in stone... so please question or add to anything here... its to make a better community, not just sketch out my ideas):

RSS reader. I like sielwolfs description best. It'd be like news.google.com. You'd see articles for any RSS feed you choose (slashdot being one of them, which eliminates the whole "Other site to visit", and, instead, becomes an alternative to coming here). There will be a link to the original story on the site, but also a place to comment on the new site.
Now, to expand it, people with 'higher authority' (registered users, whatever) would be able to put in a different description... to avoid biasiness, you would actually make the description completely biased, and another person would put in a description for the opposite opinion (that way, instead of trying to describe it without a bias, you describe both sides of the story). Stories from different RSS feeds would be able to be tied together (if a slashdot story is the same as a pete's hardware story, you can have them both listed there), maybe even vote on which is the better article? This is how the 'public' section would work.

Now, for journals, you become the admin of your stories, basically. You can add what you want, make groups of people who can do any of the following:
Read your stories
Comment to your stories
Change your poll options
Delete Threads/Comments
etc...
That way, you control everything that pertains to anything you write.

As a reader, you can choose who you read, and how much of them you read. All JE's become 'stories' on your front page. Examples:
I want to read/be notified all this person's journals.
I want to read/be notified all this person's comments.
I want to make this Journal 'sticky' on my front page (on the front page and doesn't get 'pushed off' the front page until you make it 'unsticky'. That way you can keep apprised of any late entries into Em's poll, for example).

I'm still toying around with other ideas... like you can make your own journal topics (like, "Fantasy Football", "The Twins" (for Sol), etc...). That way, if you don't want to read anything I write about Fantasy Football, you simply uncheck it.

Its basically google news + slashdot journaling + massive flexibility all wrapped up in one.
The way I really envision it isn't to make a site about technology, but a site about EVERYTHING. You want ESPN scores? Turn on your ESPN feeds, and you've got it on your front page. Now you don't need to have 5 tabs open to read all your news... its stuck in one place and you get to talk with all your friends, too.

Whatcha think? Seems overly complex until I sketch out some use cases and prototype some pages, but its not out of my coding grasp, yet. Everything I've mentioned I've thought about how it is designed and everything, so it can be done. Please offer your critiques, suggestions, and comments. If we are to make a site worthy of pulling people off of here, we'll need the best ideas from everyone.

Update: I completely forgot about moderation! I will be bending an idea off of google. There will be positive and negative LABELS you put on comments. You can select as many as you want on each comment (everyone can moderate every comment). So, if I say something funny, yet makes ya think, click both "interesting" and "funny" to moderate it. In your prefs, you get options on your viewing habits. You can prefer to read interesting comments, but not many funny comments... so my comment (funny AND interesting) would be in the middle of the comments.

I also forgot how to avoid the noise. Invitation system. Like orkut. You invite as many people as you like. Someone posts a GNAA article, they get kicked/banned... all those they invited get put on a freeze until it is determined whether they are good to the community or detrimental, and the person that INVITED the intruder loses the ability to invite until they get investigated. So, avoid crapflooders by holding those that invite them responsible.

107 comments

hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9771453)


rss.goatse.cx would rock.

tools (1)

blinder (153117) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771497)

one thing that is also crucial, which has been mentioned before... is the ability to "import" journals and friends settings.

I actually started playing around with this... and found a nice possibility that could make this process pretty simple... well, relativily speaking. Its a tool called WebL, from Compaq. Basically its a scripting language, implemented in Java. Its designed to collect content from a web site and easily do something with it.

The WebL syntax is pretty simply and what I've played around with so far, it seems pretty do-able. I'll be messing with this more, see if I can get something to work.

Re:tools (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771574)

Have you been following the mad poster's efforts at scraping journals and comments out of slashdot? Tool seems to be working pretty well. Still alpha.

Re:tools (1)

blinder (153117) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771614)

ahh... no i haven't... if i had... i wouldn't have been doing this... i fscking *hate* re-inventing the wheel.

Re:tools (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771853)

Yah.

I think the journal mentioning the 0.1a release is still on my main journal page. You need Perl. Maybe convert to C. Probably not. Doesn't matter the OS - it'll work in BSD, Linux, and Windows, probably most UNIXes... if you've got something crazy like VMS you might have problems, but I can fix 'em.

The idea here is that it'll save and convert your JEs from a slashsite (/. only ATM) into (cleaned up) HTML, plain text, XML (just decided to do that), or you can tokenize the data and push it through a template of your choosing (such as to prepare it for upload to a site like the one being discussed here).

The ripping / archiving part works well right now. I spoke with Zirnike last night on IRC (IM, whatever.. Zirnike is looking at a Python version of this) and we decided on the best approach to pulling comments and rebuilding them in a nest structure. The part that sanitizes the journal and removes junk is in process right now. The final part after that will be a really simple FTP tool that puts the content onto a new site.

Got suggestions?

Re:tools (1)

blinder (153117) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772114)

well, what I was looking at was using WebL for all the heavy duty work, which seems to be ideally suited for this kind of work.

I was working in Java, and my plan was to implement an apache-soap front end for it and its output would be a XML chunk (which then would leave the end user to freely transform as they wish).

You should check out WebL, lots of good ideas I think in there. It allows you to abstract out the parsing into "webl" scripts so that your code has no knowledge of format... which makes for a nice decoupling.

I dunno... i prolly won't do too much else with this now. i'll get your script... i use mac os x (panther) and i never *not* have perl with me.

Re:tools (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771610)

I can see bringing your journals over, but not comments, nor friends. Comments may be too coupled to slashdot and 'friends' are too general for my idea.

Re:tools (1)

arb (452787) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771674)

I wouldn;'t even bother with journals. Staryt with a clean slate.

IF we want to archive journals, that can be done as a secondary project.

IMHO.

Of course.

(But I am right in this instance.)

Re:tools (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771926)

What do you mean by the comments being too coupled? Zirnike and I talked last night and fleshed out an approach to pulling all the comments at -1, Flat and then, optionally, rebuilding them with a threshold into Nested form. Journals? Easy enough. You can either let people upload existing content somehow and provide a template to use to reformat the journals into the new site layout, or, if all else fails, people can format their archived entries into plain text and then manually enter them on the site.

Legally (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772017)

There is probably a doubt as to who owns the comments (the author or /., and which country's laws apply?). Might not be worth getting a C&D letter over.

Re:tools (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772206)

You would need to be able to map the 'slashdot' names of the posts to the 'new sites' aliases for those people and such. Just seems a bit harry to me.

Re:tools (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9774899)

Right, I second Oculus's [slashdot.org] (that sounds weird...) mapping idea. If it's implemented on the server, you can just use FTP and a cron job to check a directory of files for journal entries, with comments, that are waiting to be put into the new system. The archiving tool I'm building will take care of all the necessary formatting - it can spit out anything from plain text, to HTML generated with a template, to XML (I hate XML... just a random observation :) ). Users who've archived their journals already can either use a regular FTP client or use the putslash script to connect and upload the archives. Bing, bang, boom. All done automatically.

Strong Points/ Weak Points (1)

Aggrazel (13616) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771569)

I like the grouping of feeds and voting on which story is the best of that particular heading. There needs to be focus however on what you're going to carry for news. If you just pull all the RSS feeds you're going to end up being just another site to go to. If you have some "editorial" control it gets more interesting.

"The Slashdot Messaging System" sucks except to let you know when someone adds an entry to their journal. I think it should be more powerful. I like the idea of adding PMs to it, allowing you to group your messages (similar to Gmail) and not deleting stuff after a short amount of time.

Slashdot's strong points though remain in its editorial control, IMO, they don't feed people everything, just the things they like. They get flamed for it, but in the end it makes for a decent site. They target so many stories per day, and it works for them.

Re:Strong Points/ Weak Points (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771638)

Well, I have been thinking about doing specific feeds, like "Sports: Football" etc... and havign a group of moderators (maybe any regular reader can join in?) that can get all the feeds, and choose what they want to read, make their biased comments on it, and make it available too all (and giving someone else an opportunity to come up with the description for the 'other side' of the story).

Your right... too much info can just overload and people will glaze over the good stuff.

Re:Strong Points/ Weak Points (1)

Zirnike (640152) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771968)

If you do messaging... instead of e-mail, you could send updates through something like Jabber...

Okay... (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771615)

Okay, not sure if this is high level enough, but could you please implement scoring ala slrn? It should give much more granularity to users.

Wonder if this'll be done before I hit 10,000 comments?

Dibs on UID 42.

Gonna do devel on sourceforge or something like that? At the very least, the feature request tracker and the bug tracker tools would be nice at some point in time. Heck, depending on how religious you are, you could have it hosted on savannah.

Re:Okay... (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771673)

Okay, not sure if this is high level enough, but could you please implement scoring ala slrn? It should give much more granularity to users.

I was contemplating hiding scoring altogether, but what is 'slrn'? Basically, you set up what you want to read, like what slashdot is TRYING to do, only thinking it through a little better.

Re:Okay... (1)

arb (452787) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771720)

As far as scoring or moderation goes - let each moderator state what final score they think the comment should be, then take the average. That way you don't have a (barely) insightful comment being moderated at +5, just because 4 moderators thought it was insightful at the same time. When I am sober, ask me about my moderation ideas - they'll make more sense then...

Re:Okay... (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771775)

Honestly, I don't like the whole scoring system... I've got ideas, just hard to put down on paper without some pictures and stuff. Mostly, I don't think a post will JUST get one mod. It'll be a combo of mods. In other words, it won't just be 'interesting', it'll be 'informative', 'interesting' and 'flamebait'... that's how 'interesting posts' will seperate themselves out, and that's how you'll see some posts over others... depends on your preferences, not how high of a score the post gets.

Re:Okay... (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771874)

Sorry, you Windows using scum who doesn't know what slrn is...

slrn is a Usenet news reader for Linux (actually, there might be a Windows or POSIX version). It has very fine grained scoring. For example:

Stories posted by Em: +10 points
Stories in Sports section: -200 points
Stories about general tech: +150 points
Stories with more than 50 comments: +75 points
Final thing: I only read stories that have a positive number of points.

Given a story on a new retractable dome stadium design, tally up the scores, we get 35 points, so I'll see that on the front page. If I didn't have the 'more than 50 comments' score, the total would be -40, and I wouldn't see the story on the front page.

This is scoring that is unique to an individual user. How I view this story doesn't in any way influence what YOU think of the story and whether or not you see it on your front page. This would take the place or supplement the author/editor/topic/section on /. You could do something similar on the comments, but you are talking about huge db queries at that point.

You could also make it advanced or simple. In the former, you can pick what scores you apply to various categories. For the latter, for any category of moderation, you could have 'thumbs up, thumbs down, neutral'. In the background, these would correspond to +10, -10, and 0 points. The simple vs. advanced would only be a UI function. The backend would track the numbers, not the thumbs up/down. That way, if someone wants to wade into the more advanced settings, they already have a base set of numbers. It also eliminates the need to cross reference thumbs up/down on each hit of the front page.

(There are lots of slrn scoring documents [concordia.ca] available, in case I wasn't clear. You can also highlight stories of a certain threshold, while dumping stuff below a certain threshold. So the BEST stories float to the top, normal stuff is listed in normal order, and garbage is dumped.)

Re:Okay... (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772129)

Yeah that's cool for stories, but as you said, isn't great for comments b/c of the db hit. The think I like about the friend/fan system is that I upmod their posts. If someone is a friend, I want to see their posts even if an editor was mad at them and bitchslapped them down to -1, so my friends have a +6. My fans have like a +3 or something, because if they liked me enough to friend me, I want to watch them and see if I like what they say enough to friend them back. I have a lot of friends on my list, so I'd also like a "best friends" list so that I could be notified if someone was active in a journal I didn't read. Like if someone posted something about sports, but someone got off topic (I'm looking at Sam here) and then it caused a hilarious thread, I don't want to miss that because it might have nothing to do with sports. So maybe we could look at the top level comments of a thread as a "little stories" or something. I don't know.. just brainstorming here.

Re:Okay... (1)

Zirnike (640152) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771994)

You get 42? Then I get 23. Or 5. Either way.

At the least, there should be a Discordian in those spots...

Hey, look, I type fast enough I can post a complete, self contained thought in under 2 minutes! I must type faster than everyone in charge!

Re:Okay... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772420)

Then I want 256.

Sounds good (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771631)

But the biggest thing that I think keeps most of us away from alternative sites is the lack of a message system.

It's a PITA to have to check a site, find the conversation and check to see if anyone ever replied. Much, much more convienant to just check your e-mail and see, hey, someone replied to blah, posted blah, etc.

You could also look into something that would allow each of us to have our own sites for our content, and then some kind of aggregator...

Regardless, I'll still end up being here to some extent(so I can post comments mainly), simply because there are a few people who probably won't leave.

Re:Sounds good (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771796)

The messaging system isn't tough, but I dunno how keen I am to sending out emails. Seems kinda spammy to me. Would rather have it available when you hit the site. But I could be convinced otherwise.

Re:Sounds good (1)

orange_6 (320700) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772418)

Most people check their email far more regularly than they would a journal/message board/whatnot. It's nice to know when you actually need to check for messages rather than just checking at random wondering if someone replied. One of the features that LJ has done correctly.

Re:Sounds good (1)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772781)

Most people check their email far more regularly than they would a journal/message board/whatnot.

Yup. I do my messaging entirely via e-mail. That way I'm notified a little faster. ;->

Cheers,

Ethelred

Re:Sounds good (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772718)

Alright, I'm going to be a nudge and point out that drupal has a subscription option, so users can subscribe to a story/page/poll/etc.

Man, I can be a pain in the ass, can't I?

Re:Sounds good (1)

blinder (153117) | more than 9 years ago | (#9774863)

okay first off... you MUST have the option to send emails.

Now, I understand your concern here FK. In fact, at my day job, we have this very concern. Just a little background.

We have a system, we call it the "Notification Service" Basically its a messaging system (built on MQSeries) which handles not just emails, but faxing and snail mail... anyway, one of the things we are concerned with is that customers could, potentially, receive something like 10 emails in a day for a given set of events (ordering, status, invitations).

So, one of the things we are looking at, is creating a digest system, that would be configurable. If the user wants to receive one email that simply says "hey, you got some stuff you should check out... click this link to see what it is" or the email could contain the information on whatever.

In addition the configuration would include the ability to say "i want this once per day, once per week... once every other hour" that kind of thing.

The system we developed is completely "black box" and simply works by dumping messages on a Queue and having a message driven bean pick up the message, then delegate the action to whatever sub system needs to do the job.

Hell, with stuff like this you aren't limited to just emails, hell, dump a message onto a jabber network as one option.

Re:Sounds good (1)

KshGoddess (454304) | more than 9 years ago | (#9777633)

I'd actually like to have the option to 'watch' je's (for say, a day) and see when they got more replies (not just my je's, and not just my comments). Sometimes I leave stuff in my 'messages' section, thinking I'll go back, and by the time I wake up, it's poofed, and I can't remember what I was reading or why.

Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771657)

Given that marotti.com isn't exactly a bastion of long uptimes, what is the hosting plan for this thing?

Re:Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771727)

I'll be hosting testing on marotti.com, just cause its next to the box I'll be developing on. If it gets popular and requires bandwidth, I'll probably hit up slashchick for hosting on Simpli. Of course, once that happens I'll be begging for donations, so I'm not paying AND developing the site constantly (hard to justify to the wife and kid why daddy sits on the computer most nights).

Re:Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771894)

I can colo it for free so long as bandwidth consumption remains partially sane(as in no more than a T1 or so worth of outbound at peak).

Of course... the only box I have available to do anything like that is an ancient Celeron 500 with 256MB of RAM and a paltry 10GB HDD.

Re:Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9776544)

If this goes anywhere, I've got two sticks of either Crucial or IBM PC 133 and several hard drives 40GB and up.

Re:Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771745)

Oh, and once I pick out a name for the site (any suggestions??), I'll buy the domain, so it'll have its own place to stay. Marotti.com is mostly for my family.

Site name: scram.com (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772097)

ITs gotta be short and catchy, nothing too techy or sci-fi "The Last Bastion" gets a big NO.

Re:Site name: scram.com (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772234)

problem is, it needs to be available. Scram.com becomes available in 2009 if it isn't renewed.

Re:Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772197)

metajournal.org
alternatedot.org
jouralspace.org
freedot.org
opendot.org
diariumpopuli.org

All these are still free, I can come up with more if you want.

Re:Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772257)

I like 'alternatedot.org', though it may be a bit too geared towards slashdot. Once this is up, it won't be that much like slashdot unless you want it to.

Re:Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772311)

I personally like metajournal.org most, but you're the boss :-D

Alternatively I can register slashdot.lu, but that's about 3 to 4 times more expensive than a .com .org or .net. That per year, and not even thinking about the initial setup fee.

Re:Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772608)

MetaJournal. I like that, it sounds kewl and fitting.

Re:Is it going to be more stable than /.? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 9 years ago | (#9777108)

Thanks...
I guess I missed my career in marketing, eh?

We could always ask our favourite pollster to make a poll about new possible names.

A few suggestions (1)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772707)

A few name suggestions (some less serious than others):

VoxBox
Bangslash
Sanitarium
Ozymandias
Orbis Pundit
Get Rid of Slimy ModS (GROSS)
NotMarotti
Ganesha (Hindu god of wisdom)
Bahubali (Hindu god of learning)
Prometheus
Apollonia
Erastothenes (Greek philosopher, who was jokingly known as "the second-best in the world in everything")...or maybe just "Erasto"

But the best choice would, of course, be "Ethelred's Site".

Hmmm... how about "unread.org"? ;-)

Cheers,

Ethelred

Re:A few suggestions (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772751)

Heracleitus? The dark philosopher?

How about eris or discordia?

Finally, what about JournalCircle or JECircle?

On moderation (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771914)

All moderations are PUBLIC (ala Kuro), so no "Slashdot Math" bs.

Need a Meta area (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771985)

to talk about site issues (gripes), feature requests, and so on.

I also propose that the working name of the site be called FKJE and pronounced "Feek-Jay." Thank you. ;P

I'll say it again...drupal (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771924)

Drupal has most, if not all of what you're looking for.
There's even a throttle mechanism for caching, you can have as many roles/users as you'd like. Prevent anon access.
Plus, your superusers would have access to see who added who when.

I also have a domain, http://brew-masters.com (as I wrote to FK, f**k the omelette, long live the brew!) which is BARELY used. If you join, I will set up content subscriptions, blogging,..whatever.
In fact, I'll give you access to the disk and MySQL so you can try out modules.
So you get blogs/journals which have RSS capabilities built in, stories/pages/images/polls (this means you, em), etc.

Did I mention it's free?

And uptime? How about this [netcraft.com] ? Not bad considering they just did a kernel upgrade (okay, it's like 4 days on a moving average...)
Seriously, though, all the site needs is people. I'll even strip out ads, if people are offended.

Let me know. The site is at your disposal. Heck, gmhowell is already a superuser there, I just haven't let him know that yet. ;-)

Your call, folks.

Re:I'll say it again...drupal (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772498)

Hehe. Can I be a sooperyuser instead?

I think Josh wants to do a clean sheet design. I think some others want to play around. And most of us just want something that is 'notslash'.

Re:I'll say it again...drupal (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772677)

I figure as much.
There are lazy programmers and those that build arks.
Josh is definitely an ark builder.

Me? I like buying my meat at the store and watching movies about cowboys.
Man, it's late and I'm mixing metaphors. Anyway, feel free to go and muck with the site. I'll add some more modules as I get time. Invitation is open to you as well (and anyone else who's game).

I mean, I've got a FREE domain that I'm really not using. I am homebrewing, but very infrequently and I sure don't need a site, but it's paid for. I would rather give it up to the cause.

Re:I'll say it again...drupal (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772698)

No no no... you have me all wrong. I'm TOTALLY the lazy programmer. I just got pushed a little too hard with the double banning. And when you get me angry, I do shit to make it not happen again.

So its a story of a lazy programmer kicked enough that he stands up and does something about it.

Re:I'll say it again...drupal (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 9 years ago | (#9774702)

So its a story of a lazy programmer kicked enough that he stands up and does something about it.

Will you be played by Michael Douglas?

yeah. (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771954)

... like you can make your own journal topics (like, "Fantasy Football", "The Twins" (for Sol), etc...). That way, if you don't want to read anything I write about Fantasy Football, you simply uncheck it.



Yes. This is the next step in the evolution from having JE titles like "MMHI:" and "KoC:"... I would like this a lot. Even if users are only limted to 5 different topic designators... I don't care.

The important thing is flexible message and comment posting. I like the way slashdot works. I like being able to scroll down one very long page, where the +3's stick out.
I hate blogs with a 40 character width "Comment" area, or a seperate page. I remember using Washington Post.com "comment on a story" during the whole Homeland Security "Duct tape and water!" fiasco and met some FUNNY ASS people there... but it wasn't a very conducive interface. I hate webified e-mail discussion lists where you have to click every link just to see them say "Me too, I need help with Linux. thx"

Two interesting message style boards:
Make UpAlley [makeupalley.com] has users, time stamps, and a good "span tree" of what the messages and replies are.

Beauty Bash [beautybash.net] which is kinda wierd: almost 97%-100% of the message is IN the subject line itself, or continues on as the "user name", (which is made up on the fly and not checked or anything).
My wife has showed me posts where the subject line spans on and on and the message "body" is a colon or a period. Very interesting messaging/posting dynamic...

Also I think Chowhound has a decent interface.

But thats one thing that has kept me with slashdot- I like how it works.

Another message board example... (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 9 years ago | (#9771995)

That Home Site [gardenweb.com] at garden web has cool boards where most recent post activity floats to the top, but un-answered questions trump all and stay at the very top for days.

moderation and banning need work (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772261)

I think the agregate idea of I think this post should be a 3 you think it should be a 2, they think it should be a 1, average score 2 works.

Kick banning people for a single offense is harsh.

Considering that's one of the biggest complaints around here, perhaps we need to think about that before implementing?

names......

something about a new start/new beginning..something along those lines. A little help here?

Re:moderation and banning need work (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772327)

I'm not partial to crapflooders, so I'm harsh when it comes to something like a GNAA post. Other than that, though, its pretty open. The moral of the story becomes that the person inviting is putting their invitee on their shoulders... if they screw up, you're gonna get the finger pointed to you. So invite people that will behave, not ignorant bigots.

Re:moderation and banning need work (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772501)

yeah, no worries about the crap flooders.

The thing is that if this bad boy gets huge, then it's gonna be harder to do that.

I think the biggest thing is being flexible.

You can't be all things to everyone, but you can please most...I think.

Or not.

www.hypest.com? It's available :)

Re:moderation and banning need work (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772519)

Growing bans?

First ban is ten minutes. Then 30, then an hour, 2, 4, etc. Some exponential function.

Re:moderation and banning need work (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 9 years ago | (#9773126)

I'm not partial to crapflooders, so I'm harsh when it comes to something like a GNAA post.

Rather than just having moderation as a generic "I think this post sucks/rules", add a "report abuse" feature. Any GNAA posts get the poster banned, but a lousy post just eats a chunk of karma. (Would 'report abuse' get abused enough to be a problem?? If so.. ban the offenders from it for abuse!)

RRAA (1)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 9 years ago | (#9773984)

Would 'report abuse' get abused enough to be a problem?? If so.. ban the offenders from it for abuse!

Ah. Clearly a case of report report abuse abuse.

Cheers,

Ethelred

Re:moderation and banning need work (1)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 9 years ago | (#9773783)

You should really punish them and recursively go back through all the invites and ban everyone along the chain.

Oh wait... :-)

Re:moderation and banning need work (1)

Iamthefallen (523816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9779288)

What about a scheme where the mods on descendants affects the standing of the ancestor? As an example if your 100 children are downmodded 1 point each you lose half of that, or 50 pts. Perhaps even cascade this down further.

Be honest (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772304)

More a social/political issue than technical: be honest. Are there different classes of users? Are editors 'users'? what powers does each group have?

Of course, non-obfuscated code will help this issue some:)

Re:Be honest (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772474)

I've got some ideas here. I'll start at the bottom and work my way up. The next user has the abilities of the previous, etc...
Entry level. Just got invited. Can read everything and post, but moderation and stuff weighs heavy on them (to avoid crapflooding). Basically you are under suspicion for a while. Can create groups of feeds/people/topics they want to read and how much they want to read of them.
Restricted User. Was a reg user that got put under suspicion cause of one of their invitees (or the person taht invited them) got in trouble or whatever. Can read and post.
Regular User. Can invite others. Can create their own journals/stories. Will 'admin' their own journals. The ability to create groups of people to do various abilities in their own journals.
Public Helper. A volunteer position. Helps sort through feeds and determine whats worthy of viewing on public pages and what's not.
Public Admins. Basically has the control over public posts like regular users have over their own posts. Can also 'suggest' people to be checked out by site admins for possibly banning, etc...
Site Admins. Basically has control over everything like regular users have control over their own journals. Also has the ability to create new feeds, ban users, and other 'sitewide' configuration changes.

So your status and everything you can do will be available for all to see. Should have very few site admins, lotsa public admins, and hopefully tons of reg users. Would like to have a great deal of public helpers, too.

Re:Be honest (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772568)

And right next to Implementor, you need Emplementor.

For me :)

Ok, whatever. I really don't care what level I can post at, or whatever.

I just want something I feel like I can affect change on if it's needed :)

Re:Be honest (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772681)

Invite only? Be careful with this, as it might stunt initial growth. Have it something that is added at some later point in time.

Re:Be honest (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772730)

yeah... I know this is a stunt tactic, but seems the safest. Would invite everyone from slashdot, and hopefully they'll invite more.... perhaps have a signup sheet and get people to 'take a chance' on someone and make them your private invitee? I dunno... maybe I should mull it over more.

Moderation & Deleting comments (1)

neverkevin (601884) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772481)

For moderation, if any one story/JE/what ever isn't getting more then a few replies then a complicated moderation system will probably not work and just be a waste of programming time. Typical journal entries get less then 25 comments so it is not too difficult to skim through them all. What I think would be neat would be a "moderation" system based on your friends/foes list. Perhaps coming up with a formula that assigns weights based on if the person is a friend or foe, a friend of a friend, a friend of a foe, what your friends rate the comments (maybe just a rating of good or bad). Just a suggestion.

For deleting comments, there should be some kind of notification that posts were deleted and how many, just to keep people informed if some one is abusing it.

Just me 2 cents.

Re:Moderation & Deleting comments (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9772646)

Heh... reading my mind on the deletes. I think they'll be 'flagged' for delete until an admin takes a look and determines what's going on.

Oh, and the whole idea of moderation based on the number of posts in an article has piqued my interest (I know you were doing the friend-of-a-friend thing, but it isn't gonna work like slashdot). If there is, say, under 25 posts, nothing is done... 25-50, the owner of the journal entry gets to determine the order... anything larger, and a moderation system is setup. I dunno... lemmie mull around those ideas for a bit.

I'm glad to provide the inspiration (1)

sielwolf (246764) | more than 9 years ago | (#9773109)

and whatnot ]:p Now I'll have something to read off the ASCII Art Fart RSS feed.

I always think the key is 'User Push, User Pull'. Users push by creating journals, tagging specific feeds, and posting (upping the popularity of a specific article).

Users pull by friending other users, and selecting Topics of Interest. I think it was George who described a model where Em tags an article on the Bears making a blockbuster trade to get Orlando Pace and Holt from the Rams.

Since he's my friend and I have sports checked, it gets double bumped to the top of my personal FP (beyond any sort of amigos style 'your friends' journals in chronological'). If it gets enough posting or a lot of views, it then gets bumped again to the generic FP. The generic FP could then be a flat HTML file that's updated every x minutes, etc.

But with this the whole 'moderation' task is less centralized and editor-heavy. The community determines its own interests. Friend-heavy users would get a lot of reads which could get a lot of views and posts which would push it to the front.

Your friends' feeds? (1)

loucura! (247834) | more than 9 years ago | (#9773664)

I think it would be kind of cool to have a "box" on your front-page that could take one of your friends' feeds at random (except where it would conflict with your feed-rules) and shows it to you when you're looking at the main-page.

Assuming for instance, that sielwolf and myself were mutual friends (or the equivalent). If my front-page rules were set up to always have Linux, BSD, and Apple news, with 10% would be dedicated to random-friend-feeds, but never Microsoft (or Java ewwww ;) ) . And his front-page rules are set up to always have Ass-Kicking Music, BBC, Microsoft, Java, and 10% dedicated to random-friend-feeds, but never Apple. Then 10% of my page would be some mixture of Ass-Kicking Music, and the BBC, while 10% of his page would be Linux and BSD news.

Oh, and being able to set a percentage of your rules to not be used would be nice too. So if I have the above front-page rules, with a 5% variance, I could end up with Microsoft and Java news somedays, or 5% of the time my Linux, BSD, or Apple News would be replaced with something else.

reaction (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 9 years ago | (#9773852)

I'm still toying around with other ideas... like you can make your own journal topics (like, "Fantasy Football", "The Twins" (for Sol), etc...). That way, if you don't want to read anything I write about Fantasy Football, you simply uncheck it.

How about being able to upload your own icons? :-)

I also forgot how to avoid the noise. Invitation system. Like orkut. You invite as many people as you like. Someone posts a GNAA article, they get kicked/banned... all those they invited get put on a freeze until it is determined whether they are good to the community or detrimental, and the person that INVITED the intruder loses the ability to invite until they get investigated. So, avoid crapflooders by holding those that invite them responsible.

I am suspicious of this working. Who's going to have time to "investigate" this stuff? Most community sites I've seen that get past most of the other issues you describe fall apart when the founders have no cycles left to actually manage the site, a big fight breaks out somewhere, and rather than try to clean up the mess, the founders say fuck it.

noise... (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 9 years ago | (#9773925)

You invite as many people as you like. Someone posts a GNAA article, they get kicked/banned... all those they invited get put on a freeze until it is determined whether they are good to the community or detrimental, and the person that INVITED the intruder loses the ability to invite until they get investigated. So, avoid crapflooders by holding those that invite them responsible.

I like the idea of the invite freeze on someone that posts the obvious troll. For those wanting to engage in a little troll sporting, then /. is still available.

The danger in this setup is an unpopular opinion should not be included in the "noise"/troll catagory. But who determins it?

I would hate to see the site creator (you, or whoever does the coding) also responsible for checking out abuses. That is a bit too much work for one person to do. Unless the site users number less than a hundred.

jason

Names, Mods, Editors, Feeds, and More (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 9 years ago | (#9774054)

Names:
First off, I have a pair of names that you may very well hate. Here they are:

morethansum.org sumofparts.org

Meant to emphasize the added value of community. Both domains are currently available.

*Update*
Scient. Meaning Knowing or skillfull. ScientNews or ScientAggro. I just like Scient.

Mods:
I'll call your proposed Mod system Tagging. I think allowing everyone to tag every comment will get seriously out of hand. Sure, it's no work to add a record to the database, but querying all that data for each post in a discussion could hurt. Unless you identify all the tags you want and make counter fields on the comment for each, You'll be beating on the database pretty badly. Maybe I'm overly concerned here, but I don't think that will scale well.

I can think of a few solutions more suited. A fixed number of tags per user per story (possibly more to subscribers) or a ratio of tags per user per # of posts. Say, one mod every five comments.

I do like the concept of a not-so-random distribution of mod points, but I don't like the thouroughly unclear method that exists here. Perhaps a Tag distributor coupled with a Tagging Detail on an Account Status page that indicates your likelihood to get Mod points and why (i.e. you have a reduced chance because you hsve seven recent negative Tags) I don't think anyone should ever be banned from Tagging, but if they are, that should be made apparent. I want users to have the ability to know what's happening to their account.

Oh, and no bell curves . I hate that shit. It's stupid to exclude people for being too good or too active or too anything positive. How about a nice, linear relationship?

Editors:
I think there need to be layers to this model. Beyond the Admins and Operators, it would be awesome to provide access as Publishing Editor. Imagine your site being a true combination of aggregate news and ACTUAL editorials. It could work into a serious site for people to initiate serious discussions. In which case, I have a great name for it, but the domain is taken. At any rate, I think that a user journal should have the capability to make it to the front page if submitted.

Feeds:
I'm interested in the automated news aggregation capabilities, but I also think that some human oversight is preferred. It would be good if the default is a flow of selected stories and you can choose to open the floodgates to the unedited feed.

More:
I'm not sure I like the idea of having users post descriptions of the articles - doesn't that just end up taking away from the discussion? While this might be fine for a specified "Point-Counterpoint" section, I wouldn't want it on the whole site.

As for the "Sticky Stories", I think that would be a great idea for all stories, but I would impose a limit. 15 sticky for regular users, maybe no limit for subscribers. I would like to extend that concept to a watch list. Watchlist could be a sidebar on your main page and/or a separate section. You would have the ability to tag any story, comment, or feed for watching, and how. Examples:

  • Watch a comment for direct replies.
  • Watch a comment for Tagging.
  • Watch a story for comments.
  • Watch for any Sports articles.
  • Watch a site for iPod news.
I think that could really add a depth to the service, providing a quick retention mechanism.

I also think it's important to make the user experience as modeless as possible. Things like making something Sticky, Tagging, or Watchlisting should happen without interrupting the current page if possible. It's not vry difficult, keeps the transfers down, and keeps from distracting the user.

I'm hopping up on a soapbox here, but:

I don't like invitiation models. I don't like the circle-of-friends limitations. Yes, it makes the community a little tighter, but it feels arrogant to me, like you have to be an insider already to get it. Invitation is self-aggrandizing; it's like the a Good Ol' Boy system; it's a secret handshake on the Internet, which is often touted for it's ability to get away from such things. And, I think it's a poor business model for a site that may choose to have paying customers.

I've remembered something twice and forgotten it three times, so I'm going to stop for the moment.

User Awareness (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 9 years ago | (#9774136)

I know what I forgot:

I think it would be especially important to know if Editor Powers had been invoked. It might even be worth having optional notification: "Unedited" to indicate that Supreme Authority had not been used (more than one identical Tag by an Editor, comment deletion, etc).

This is all along the lines of having users able to know what is happening in the background.

Another idea (1)

loucura! (247834) | more than 9 years ago | (#9775335)

Rather than having "anonymous posting", allow people to choose aliases, all of which are tied to their account, but the relationship is non-visible. Of course, you'd have to make sure that the aliases don't trample over anyone elses aliases or their main account, but that wouldn't be anymore difficult than making sure new accounts don't trample over anyone elses accounts.

Re:Another idea (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9779100)

ohh... ME LIKEY!

Although, I'd want site admins to be able to see the 'main' account from the alias (in case of abuse), but this is a pretty good idea. No need to have multi-accounts then...

Re:Another idea (1)

loucura! (247834) | more than 9 years ago | (#9780041)

I meant non-visible from a user's point of view, I assumed that the admins would have access to the database and would be able to see the relationship anyway.

Okay, that's it (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#9776794)

Based upon a comment from cyranoVR [slashdot.org] , I was looking at various people's JEs, and I pulled up yours.

Seems that you've been bellyaching about this place almost since day 01 of your JE, variously threatening to make your own site, and offering suggestions (obviously to no avail) as to how to make this one better, for OVER THREE YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!

Dude. Time to make some magic. No looking back. Move forward. Let's get it done. Go!

Re:Okay, that's it (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9779146)

Actually, I did eventually make my own place. Tanked hard. That's why my bellyaching started hard, I made a change, then it tapered off. Don't worry, I'm actively working on this idea... plus constantly writing JEs about it and getting a dozen emails about it daily is keeping me on the task.

Could I assist? (1)

btlzu2 (99039) | more than 9 years ago | (#9779241)

I was wondering if I could help with some coding. If you have designed it, have UML and need some Java coding, I'm your man! I'd like to help out if I can. I could commit some time during the summer especially (10-15 hours/week?). I'd prefer backend work if I could--helper classes, db work, etc. I'm not a web design monkey at all although I know HTML.

I know you don't know my work and I've mainly just hacked out servlets, but I can do JSP, I've got patterns-based design courses under my belt, and I can read UML. Hell, I might even have something to add with design if you want that.

So, if that would ever be of any help to you, let me know when it starts rolling. :)

Moderation Suggestion (1)

dead sun (104217) | more than 9 years ago | (#9779463)

Here's my suggestion for moderation, but it's a tad on the complicated side: essentially a collaborative filtering or recommender system approach. Yeah, my AI perspective coming in.

Take your labeling system, which I like, and expand it. Everybody gets an unlimited number of labels to apply to any post, and every label has a duality to it. You have funny and unfunny, insightful and uninsightful, informative and uninformative, etc. A person applies a label if they feel the post warrants one, so if I don't like your joke I don't label it funny. If I think it's downright bad, I label it unfunny. If I don't care I just don't label it.

Now, every post that I see that I feel like labeling gets labeled, and you do the same, and Joe User does the same. This pretty much creates a huge matrix for any given dual label, so there's a funny matrix which has a -1 ,0, or 1 for a given user and post. These matrices are likely very, very sparse. I don't know much about the tricks one can play with sparse matrices, but I know they exist, resulting in faster operations.

However, as people start labeling posts they're likely to collide with how some other user labels posts. Think how Amazon.com recommends DVDs to you. You fill in how good you think a DVD was, and the system finds others that thought the DVD was good and starts recommending other DVDs that those people thought were good, while not recommending DVDs they thought were bad. Same concept here. If we have the same funny labels on a lot of posts then the system should start elevating posts you label as funny as posts I may think are funny. If we agree on which posts are trolls then the system should start marking posts as tentative trolls for us based on what the other posts troll labels to. Heck, make a recommended posts section which jumps you to a story and the threads the system thinks you'll enjoy most. Or enforce thread ordering not by time but by quatity of posts that are labeled or pre-labeled positively.

The only issue is that you'd need to make your labels clear enough so they aren't confusing. Trolling is different than unwarrented posting, there's differences most slashbotters don't get in interesting/informative/insightful, etc.

Basically though, it would solve moderation issues. Nobody gets modded "down" or "up" in a strict sense, just modded "down" or "up" for particular users which are in agreement over how things are modded. So trolls can label their own comments insightful but it will do them no good. Most people will likely be in agreement as to what constitutes a troll post and with a couple labelings the masses won't be bothered by the post anymore. But the troll won't actually know it, since it won't affect their view.

To prevent abuse of the system is easy, leave all the comments in but just make it an easily identified link (allow users to change link color for troll, etc). People can follow them if they feel like it and improve their recommendations by validating or invalidating the assumed label. Or there can be a presumed troll section in the recommendations which shows the most marginal of troll agreements first for validation. If somebody abuses the system too much they find themselves out of sync with the general view of the users and their labeling has no effect on anybody else.

Raising funds (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 9 years ago | (#9780323)

You could start everyone off at UID 1000, and if the site gets popular you auction off UIDs 999 and below :-) Also, is there somewhere you are meeting online (chat, im, whatever) that we could discuss this site outside of slashdot? I am still banned, so posting here is a pain in the ass.
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