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The Rise and Fall of the Czech kuro5hin Clone

By V Neckar Jewnior in Internet
Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 07:03:59 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

For a few months a Czech website www.sprcha.com, modeled after kuro5hin.org, was alive and well. It was taken down a few weeks ago because "the quality of the debate did not meet the founder's expectations." The following article is a personal account of the rise and fall of  Sprcha and hopes to start a discussion about some of the specific Internet group dynamics that brought about its end.


Sprcha ("shower" in English) did not originally generate much interest. The Czech Internet community is fairly small compared to the English speaking one. There are at most several hundred participants that post in discussion groups at various websites. An influx of registered members started in January 2003, brought by increasingly limited discussion at two other popular Czech web-zines. One disabled posting of web links and the other temporarily disabled comments altogether. Both were citing vulgarity and low quality of discussion as a reason.

Many disgruntled readers were looking for an alternative forum that would allow them to debate without unnecessary limits. And there came Sprcha. What started as a "bitch-session" of several web-surfers eventually developed into sharply increasing traffic, although fairly small compared to K5. At its peak in June 2003, Sprcha had about 20 active members, a few hundred lurkers and 2-4 new articles a week. Given the small size of its clientele, the quality of submissions was not always up to the New York Times standards. Nevertheless, a few talents have emerged, their articles generated healthy and interesting discussions and some were even reprinted at other sites.

Small size of the community of people who often new each other personally usually kept the discussions polite and friendly. Although animosities due to different opinions existed, they were kept subdued for the sake of the discussions. Sprcha was becoming a closed community of friends who considered it their own project and worked together for its success. While open to everyone, the intimate character of a cohesive group kept it from expanding its active membership and the explosive growth of members and visits leveled off after March.

The fall of Sprcha was as sudden as its rise. Several members, some considered outsiders by the group, took their animosities to a different level and usually inspiring discussions became heated arguments peppered with personal offenses. Some participants saw their membership terminated by the administrator. One member registered under several different nicknames to "flame" the discussion. While public chat rooms are no strangers to such discussion style, it has destroyed the community at Sprcha. The disgusted owner shut the website down in late July. Sprcha has been recently revived in a very limited version on another server to provide the survivors with a platform to discuss how to continue it.

I'd be interested in learning other people's opinions about the inherent tendency of online discussions to be vulgarized. How is this problem addressed here on kuro5hin, if at all? While many people (incl. me) do not care much about profanity in Internet chat rooms and discussion groups, some people find that repulsive enough to not participate in such otherwise interesting discussions or are even willing to end an otherwise successful project. Are there any enforced rules to ensure quality of discussion on kuro5hin? Sprcha was closely modeled after K5, but a tendency to create an exclusive debate club held to some higher standards was also apparent. Inability to meet those standards was what ultimately led the founder to the decision to shut down the site.

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The Rise and Fall of the Czech kuro5hin Clone | 84 comments (78 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
We take care of swearing perfectly. (4.00 / 7) (#2)
by debacle on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 11:03:10 AM EST

It's actually part of what kuro5hin is.

I've noticed that the site is not radically leftist, but the mean attitude of the posters is slightly slanted towards the left, with a bit of conservative wangdoodles out there (Me being partly one of them).

As a site kuro5hin can cater to everyone, but the general populace of the internet is right here in this community. And most of them don't care if you say the work fuck.

Never, ever, call anyone a fag though. The queers jump on your like you're begging for the stuff'n'reacharound.

We have trolls here too! Is that a multicultural thing?

It tastes sweet.

Not radical leftist? (2.50 / 2) (#22)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 09:00:41 PM EST

What, in the sense that most members don't rip the furs off fashion models?

I think you've skewed your sense of the middle.


--
His men will follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity.


[ Parent ]
to tell the truth (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by martingale on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 09:31:40 PM EST

What, in the sense that most members don't rip the furs off fashion models?
That's quite probably because most k5ers are generally scared of women. But don't think they don't secretly harbour the desire to rip those furs off. Ahem. Except for those waif-look models. I can't figure out what the deal is with them.

[ Parent ]
The idea is (none / 0) (#35)
by debacle on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 12:14:49 AM EST

That there are a few nutballs, but in general k5 is merely slightly leftist.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by nusuth on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 02:18:47 PM EST

Even though I'm a member of "extreme right" by my country's standards (I'm a liberal), I find most people on k5 on right of me. Perhaps your idea of a middle is skewed since USA has no leftist nor middle parties.

[ Parent ]
I wonder what the "world" is (none / 0) (#61)
by RyoCokey on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 07:29:31 PM EST

..in general. Right and Left are kind of relative judgements. From a global perspective, is the US to the right, or Europe off to the left? I'd argue that being the last real bastion of socialism (Minus a few crumbling states like Cuba or Venezuela) that it's Europe that's off on a tangent.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
[
Parent ]
That Europe is generally leftist-ish is irrelevant (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by nusuth on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 08:07:04 PM EST

Regardless of whether the country in question has a leftist government or practice leftist policies or not, vast majority of democracies have "real" (in the sense of socialist, social democrat or green) leftist parties. In some countries like Turkey, left has no chance of ever winning the majority vote. Still, we know what leftists usually preach just by watching TV. USA, along with a few crumbling states like Iran or Pakistan, doesn't have such parties and her citizens doesn't have a valid left referance unless they are interested in politics and do some research themselves.

That doesn't mean we can't agree on that relatively speaking, the US Democrats are more left compared to Republicans. I just refuse to call them left. I know many (just like many other non-US citizens, I believe) far more leftist parties compared to Democrat Party, but I know only a few parties to the right of Republican Party and even then, only slightly right-er(barring fundementalist islamists.)

[ Parent ]

What the US has no greens? No Ralph Nader? (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 11:00:01 PM EST

If you think we don't have a radical left, you haven't been paying attention.


--
His men will follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity.


[ Parent ]
Nader (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by V Neckar Jewnior on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 03:19:47 AM EST

Nader would be mainstream in countries like Germany or France. As would Chomsky, for that matter.

[ Parent ]
Some chance (5.00 / 2) (#71)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 08:09:47 AM EST

You're failing to make important distinctions: France is "left" in the sense that it has powerful public service unions, and a relatively successful state sector, and "green" in the sense that it spends lots of money subsidising inefficient agriculture. These policies are driven by their respective interest groups: state employees and farmers.

If you think it makes French people any more sympathetic to the developing world, their government any less inclined to post-imperial adventures, or their farmers any less likely to feed their animals on shit and soak the ground in nitrates, I'm afraid you're confused.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

France is "left" (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by V Neckar Jewnior on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 08:49:40 AM EST

What I meant was that both Germany and France are "left" compared to the US in a sense that they have longer vacation, more equal access to healthcare and education, etc.  I do think they are greener than the US, although agricultural subsidies are atrocious (and they're under a heavy attack, rihtfully so).

Nader's Green Party platform was actually modeled very closely after the program of German greens and social democrats, I do believe that he would be VERY mainstream in Germany.

Chomsky is a different breed. I believe he could be considered mainstream in Germany and France in his interpretation of the US foreign policy. His ranting about evil totalitarian and unaccountable corporations makes him radical left even in Europe, although less so than in the US.

[ Parent ]

Europe as "Green" (none / 0) (#74)
by RyoCokey on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 09:35:56 AM EST

Really, as far as I can tell, their primary accomplishments in that sector have been needless restraints on trade, which generally serve no purpose environmentally, but hinder foreign companies. See for example, their long-time distrust of putting cell-phone towers near schools, as well as their stance on GM products.

Whether or not you consider Nuclear power to be more "Green" than fossil fuels is kind of a matter of personal taste.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
[
Parent ]
Flamebait as this might be (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by nusuth on Tue Aug 12, 2003 at 01:01:24 PM EST

The green movement is unable to produce real and working solutions to environmental problems because of its supporters. Not many engineers, natural scientists and economists support greens. Instead they have a bunch of activists, born too late to catch sixties and have nothing better to do with their time.

Also, there is no comparison with nuclear power. From a purely technical standpoint it beats every other existing technology hands down. Even supposedly ultra-clean stuff like solar cells (which cannot really replace nuclear plants anyway) consume non-renewable raw materials and quite a bit of energy to be produced.

[ Parent ]

Flamebait? Wooo! (none / 0) (#83)
by mozmozmoz on Sat Aug 16, 2003 at 09:07:40 AM EST

Not many engineers, natural scientists and economists support greens.

Not many engineers or natural scientists support the neoconservatives either. In fact, ungineers tend to by systematic rather than empathetic, and so are largely politically invisible. I'd argue that the greens actually have a bigger share of them, but that engineers especially tend to vote pragmatically, which in nonproportianal systems means voting for a major party (ie, not a green one). To say that members of those groups aren't green I think is to seriously misunderstand how things work, and leads naturally to your statement:

unable to produce real and working solutions to environmental problems

Where do you think those solutions come from? Magic pixies? Sorry, economists? I'd argue that many problems originate with lawyers and accountants, and are dumped on engineers to solve. But that's a whole 'nother argument.

...there is no comparison with nuclear power. From a purely technical standpoint it beats every other existing technology hands down.

Except for radioactive waste, which no-one has yet come up with a solution to other than waiting until it breaks down of its own accord. Even in dollar terms, they fail. If you could point to even one economically viable nuclear power plant anywhere in the world I'd be impressed, because as far as I've been able to find out, there are none. And that's without including the clean-up costs which in themselves poke a glaring hole in the operation of capitalism (the bankruptcy one).

Even supposedly ultra-clean stuff like solar cells consume non-renewable raw materials and quite a bit of energy to be produced.

The non-renewables are tiny (trace amounts of silicon dopant), and the energy payback is these days only a few years. I agree that they're not really viable major source, but neither is nuclear once you think about periods longer than the working life of the individual plant.

The Green Solution is a combination of reduced demand and optimising the current system. There are so many small things that can be done that have dramatic effects that it's surprising that more of them don't just happen. Sydney (Australia) is currently in yet another water shortage, and it looks as though the govt is finally going to get serious about reducing demand via propaganda ("don't water your driveway" type ad campaigns) and things like rainwater tanks.

Maybe it's just who I hang out with, but I know a lot of practical types who are working on this stuff, many of whom are starting to work with socially focussed people ("people people") in order to get change on a society-wide level rather than just one person at a time.

There's lots of comedy on TV too. Does that make children funnier?
[ Parent ]

Chomksy & Europe (none / 0) (#77)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 12:19:31 PM EST

I can't comment on the US Green party's agenda, as I don't know much about it. The SPD/Green government in Germany is very moderate indeed, as these things go. I suspect you're overrestimating the greeness of European policy: a lot of what is dressed up as environmental or health concern is really just trade protectionism.

Chomsky's opposition to US foreign policy would probably go down OK in France and Germany. In fact, it gets a much better reception even in the UK than it does in the US. But I don't think his world view would fit the French attitude very well: the French public isn't even remotely anti-interventionist. Rather, they're specifically opposed to increases in American power and its arbitrary deployment, because this tends to damage French interests. This was the problem with Iraq. Chomsky opposes intervention because he is opposed to the existence of states in the first place, so he must logically opposed "French interests" just as much as American ones. Germany is different: they really are opposed to intervention in general.


Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Nice sig. (none / 0) (#82)
by Vesperto on Fri Aug 15, 2003 at 05:47:13 PM EST

because this tends to damage French interests I think having only one superpower which does as it pleases stomping over anyone and not caring about International Laz damages anyone's interests. France just so happens to be big enough to bitch about it.

Forfikiĝu!
[ Parent ]
I tend to agree (none / 0) (#84)
by Simon Kinahan on Sun Aug 17, 2003 at 03:30:54 PM EST

But it is interesting to compare French and British policy towards the USA. France and Britain punch about the same weight in international affairs, and have very similar histories, and, by extension, interests.

France tends to reflexively oppose American policy, whereas Britain tends to reflexively support it. Roughly speaking, the French seem to believe that if they do not oppose American policy, they'll suffer when their interests differ, whereas the British seem to believe that only by backing America in general (although not in its more rediculous moves - eg. Cuba), will they have enough influence when it does something particular destructive.


Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

As far as I can tell ... (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 08:15:33 AM EST

... US politics works differently. Rather than being firmly based in their constituencies, US political parties are organisational machines that from time to time get captured by constituencies that move between them. The religious conservatives now control the Republican party, but fifty years ago that party was controlled by moderate liberals much like those found in the Democratic leadership council. US politics does have a leftish faction, similar the Social Democratic Parties of most European countries, but it doesn't control a party of its own.

UK politics is somewhat more like US politics than European politics. With a non-proportional electoral system it is impossible for a party that represents only a fairly small faction - which the left, in the US sense, is, even in European democracies - to gain any power. Parties have to pander to multiple different constituencies to get anywhere.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Spot on (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by splitpeasoup on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 09:55:22 AM EST

Absolutely correct. India, for instance, has an active Communist Party that actually forms the state government in two states, Kerala and West Bengal.

So although the current political climate of India is pretty right-wing, Indians do have a frame of reference that includes leftism. Americans have none.

The same is true for many other countries. I don't know where RyoCokey got his 'last bastion' theory from, but there is absolutely no basis to it.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
[ Parent ]

haha... (5.00 / 4) (#60)
by Run4YourLives on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 05:18:25 PM EST

It the American sense of "the middle" that's skewed...

Democrats would be viewed in most countries around the world as on the right-wing...

Kuro5hin's userbase is slanted left, but only slightly when compared to the global politcal scene...

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Ooh get him (none / 0) (#75)
by nebbish on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 09:45:30 AM EST

Never, ever, call anyone a fag though. The queers jump on your like you're begging for the stuff'n'reacharound.

You flatter yourself.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

An interesting parallel... (4.66 / 9) (#3)
by skyknight on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 11:16:32 AM EST

I read a fascinating book last summer, Just Six Numbers, by Martin Rees. The chief focus of the book was how six physical constants (e.g. gravity, nuclear binding forces, etc) determine how a universe will play out. If the constants aren't set right, any number of null universes can result: only inert helium forms, or things expand to fast after the big bang, or things collapse prematurely in a big crunch, or galaxies/solar systems/planets fail to coalesce. Universe are incredibly sensitive to changes in these constants, much in the way that the fractal generated by an equation, and another fractal generated from a slightly modified version of the equation will be completely unrecognizable.

I have a strong inclination to believe that web communities operate in very much the same way.

If the interest differential in a web community is too high too soon, e.g. the population grows violently early on in the game, then the community will be universally fragmented, and no major contributors will be able to emerge. They will be lost in the noise. Everyone will have a voice, and no one will be heard.

If the interest differential is too low early in the game, the community will fail to attain critical mass, and the original members will lose interest. The community will implode.

If there are not appropriate control mechanisms in place, then disrupting forces can manifest themselves and render a formerly thriving community asunder. This is akin to a solar system forming, but then having a large asteroid or what have you fly through it, its gravitational forces causing potentially cataclysmic chaos. Sometimes the disrupting body will be integrated into the now changed system. Sometimes the system will splinter. There are lots of variables that can affect how this will play out.

A theory that Rees put forward in his book is that of the Multiverse. The basic idea is that tuning the parameters for a universe is a hopelessly complex task. More likely than there being a single universe that was setup just right, there are apt to be an infinite number of universes that run the full gamut of possible configurations. We just happen to live in one where the values were such that sentient life could arise. The number of universes where such an outcome is possible is vanishingly small compared to the number of null universes.

Web communities may also share this trait. It is perhaps impossible to plan out a web community with constraints that will guarantee success. Instead, we must accept the fact that nearly all web communities are doomed to failure for some reason or other. They are just too complicated and fragile to exhaustively plan and predict. The creation of thriving web communities is a war of attrition in which there will be countless casualties.

Take the time to fully appreciate the survivors.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
about the multiverse bit... (1.00 / 1) (#10)
by llimllib on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 05:14:30 PM EST

What makes you (or did Rees say this?) think that assembling the universe is a "task"? His theory seems to be making some significant philosophical assumptions about what the universe is and how it was put together. How can one claim to have any knowledge about what happened before the universe began? does he admit that it's all just philosophical speculation, or try to provide experimental evidence for his claims?


Peace.
[ Parent ]
He admits... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by skyknight on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 05:29:21 PM EST

that it is all just philosophical speculation that there are multiple universes. It is an entirely unprovable hypothesis, much as is the existence of god, but it provides for an interesting alternate scenario. The numbers he works with, however, do give powerful evidence for the fact the fate of the universe is highly susceptible to incredibly small variations in these constants.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
what evidence do you have (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by turmeric on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 09:46:49 PM EST

that evidence is all that important?

[ Parent ]
I saw this book the other day... (none / 0) (#30)
by skyknight on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 10:28:36 PM EST

It was titled Evidence Based Dentistry. I am left wondering what exactly constitutes the other kind of dentistry.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Christian Scientist dentistry (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by godix on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 04:38:38 AM EST

Just pray the pain goes away.

If you prefer there is also Scientologist dentistry, that's where you give thousands of dollars to a group and in return they hand you a book while saying 'This will explain how to get the pain to go away. If it doesn't work then donate some more and we'll give you a different book.....'

"Fuck... may be appropriate in certain venues... (Florida Elections Commission, speed eating contests, public defender offices) and may be inappropriate in
[ Parent ]

Well, sure... (none / 0) (#44)
by skyknight on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 07:48:59 AM EST

but try getting them to agree that that isn't evidence based.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
it's not (none / 0) (#42)
by llimllib on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 04:52:02 AM EST

but considering the alternatives, it's the best we have. Have a better alternative for me?

Peace.
[ Parent ]
Shouldn't this... (4.40 / 5) (#4)
by GavalinB on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 11:21:28 AM EST

Be under the Meta category? It just doesn't seem to have the tone one might expect from an objective article. It's interesting, but it's just *this* side of a diary entry with that "tell me what you think" bit at the end.
---
The Future is Prologue: Join Our Sagas Today!
That kind of diary sucks (none / 0) (#7)
by grouse on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 01:10:17 PM EST

Discuss.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

It is either junior high syndrome or mob rule, (4.33 / 6) (#5)
by la princesa on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 12:42:07 PM EST

depending on the size of the online 'community'.  There aren't really any technical solutions for a problem that occurs whether a bunch of people talking is online or offline.  I mean, look at k5.  It's in the same situation as that Czech place you are speaking of, except its founder chooses to be apathetic rather than self-righteous and lets the users bicker each other into competing factions that eventually whimper out.  

It's humans, they like to snap and snark.  They'll tire of the blood-play after a bit and some new people will take it up, in expanding and contracting waves.  It never changes.  Anyway, I think that's it.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?

Rusty's innovation (5.00 / 11) (#8)
by Blarney on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 04:43:57 PM EST

A lot depends on the founder. Too many boards have flamed out because of founders who insist on solving conflicts by personal targeted action rather then by enforcing a set of software rules which regulate the discussion. They pick out a core group of users who are "good" and a large fuzzy groups of users who are "bad", and do their best to keep the former and dump the latter. Cases would be Slashdot vs. the old-time trolls, the great Netslaves ban war, or the MeFi ban on all new users forever. I'd say that Rusty's innovation here is minimizing the number of direct actions he has to take against particular users, and keeping those actions as minor as possible. Mostly he just tweaks the ruleset for voting and story posting - and if he does have to take action against a particular user or IP, he starts by removing voting privileges.

Many sysops just start by banning IP ranges, sometimes even to the point where "banned" users aren't even allowed to read the site! When this inevitably fails, they and their cabal dedicate themselves to "exposing" alternate identities of the banned people. When this fails, they make threats - vague criminal and civil action, use of any real-life information to call user's bosses, girlfriends, or mothers to tell them of their misbehavior and suggest firing/breaking up/withdrawal of unconditional love as an appropriate remedy, signing the offender up for electronic and postal spam lists.

But here Rusty tries to play within the rules as much as he can. It's not a real limit on his power, because he can always change the rules anytime he wants. Rusty has absolute power over his board, as every other sysop does, but there are right and wrong ways to use it. It's the difference between a Stalinist dictatorship, or a constitutional monarchy.

This article is somewhat lacking in actual details of how the flame war went - but I'd suspect that it actually involved an extended failed attempt to remove individual people rather than tweaking of voting/moderation to limit the damage they could cause.

[ Parent ]

gasp (2.66 / 3) (#28)
by turmeric on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 10:02:46 PM EST

-no technical solution-???? but computers can fix everything! science!

[ Parent ]
you know (2.66 / 3) (#29)
by turmeric on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 10:05:03 PM EST

this whole thread/story is reminding me of some deep star-trek thing. you know? thank you.

[ Parent ]
Vulgarity happens all the time on K5 (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by HidingMyName on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 12:52:22 PM EST

However, unless you are a trusted user, you generally don't see much of it. There are several acounts that spew forth the most inane and insulting stuff, and even normal users sometimes get heated and use strong language.

I'm not sure about sprcha, but many thoughtful and insightful posters give up when crap flooding, and one or zero bombing and personal attacks occur. Additionally there is a sort of intellectual inbreeding that can occur, so that thoughtful posters can't get voted up because they are "outsiders", which is also a potential weakness.

Probably the most important issue is balancing a desire for quality and the need for free speech. One key issue is how forum management is done, a good manager steps in at the right time and shuts down stupidity and prevents wide spread duplicate accounts, while not overreacting to minor issues. It is a hard judgement call, but the good managers step up and make it happen.

As opposed to... (none / 0) (#9)
by greenrd on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 05:09:02 PM EST

... absentee managers like Rusty.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

The outside thing is an issue ... (none / 0) (#14)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 06:15:31 PM EST

There have always been people whining about how their favourite articles were voted down, but just recently there's been some pretty interesting stuff, like the article you mention, that has been voted down, while some pretty awful crap (endless SA/SPEWS stories) has been voted up.

Rusty's apparently near-total absence, and the influx of morons that has resulted in a permanent, Slashdot-like, sludge of crap, racism, anti-semitism and general bilge.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

freedom of speech brings more quality (none / 0) (#27)
by turmeric on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 09:55:31 PM EST

than anything else can

[ Parent ]
BWAAAAAAaaaahahahahaaha! (2.00 / 3) (#57)
by Entendre Entendre on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 03:30:39 PM EST

Are you really that stupid?

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

But with freedom comes Responsibility (none / 0) (#81)
by HidingMyName on Wed Aug 13, 2003 at 05:27:55 PM EST

A free speaker is still supposed to self filter and not crap flood the forum. For example, suppose a free person goes, buys a gun and rapes somebody. Would holding that person responsible necessarily mean that we are infringing on that person's right to arms and right to have sex? Most people would say no. People who equate freedom with the right to behave irresponsibly are in fact amoral.amoral.

[ Parent ]
An idea to make it harder for abusers (3.75 / 8) (#11)
by greenrd on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 05:26:44 PM EST

How about we institute a new "web of trust" membership scheme for k5?

1. All existing users are "grandfathered in".

2. From then on, to join, you must know a trusted user, and get them to give you a unique key to join (generated randomly and stored by k5.org). Trusted users should only give out keys to people they know.

3. The user who gave each new user their password is recorded in the database, but only visible to rusty. (We trust him not to reveal it, you see.)

4. As a convenant with the community in return for the donations, rusty agrees to actually do some f*cking work - *ahem* - police the site (and/or delegate the policing to a highly trusted compatriot or two) so that an obvious abuser can't stay around for long. Abuser is defined as "someone who crapfloods, posts highly offensive comments, or is unable to interact in a civil manner". Special exemptions may be given to certain characters like turmeric, for being amusing.

5. If a trusted user keeps letting in abusers, he is given a private warning, and then, if that doesn't work, is made untrusted permanently (or, let's say, for a very long time).

This could even increase the community effect in k5, by encouraging people who want to join to strike up an online friendship with someone who is already a member.

So, what do people think?

The obvious potential problem is that the influx rate could become much lower that the rate of people leaving k5 for good. But I think we've got an attractive enough site here to get people motivated to jump through hoops.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes

see livejournal.com for how that system... (5.00 / 5) (#15)
by la princesa on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 06:18:03 PM EST

has been circumvented by users and potential users.  

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
Explain (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by Urthpaw on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 08:58:47 PM EST

I see what they've done on that site, but don't understand how it was circumvented.  Explain.

[ Parent ]
Livejournal requires a special code (5.00 / 6) (#31)
by la princesa on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 11:03:47 PM EST

in order to create a journal, either a personal one or a 'community' where multiple people can post entries to the journal.  Livejournal's site states that the purpose of the special code (which can only be created by current livejournal users, and which has fairly strict limits for creation) is so that people have to know or get to know members of the livejournal community in order to join the community.  The purpose was also to limit the sheer huge numbers of people joining daily.

Nice method of restricting usage on the surface.  But it failed to account for the users themselves.  People with the most grandfathered accounts (who could make codes month to month and thus had the most flexbility regarding code creation) would post codes in their journals for anyone to claim using the power of google.  All one had to do was type in 'livejournal user codes' or something similar to get a code to join livejournal.  

Other people created communities devoted to posting codes.  While the admins deleted some of these communities, at least two remain that are often posted in response to someone anonymous asking for a code (in journals that allow anonymous comments) or when someone current uses up their allotment of codes and needs one to create a community journal or wants a friend to be able to join.  

Key thing in that second scenario is that free users can only make one code.  Now one may think it's all friendly with free users hitting up pay users for additional codes, but plenty of times pay users don't require that the free user know them before they hand out some of their alloted codes.  So that web of trust even in cases where it's one user asking a fellow user is often stretched quite thin.  

And one doesn't have to wander livejournal long to find all sorts of situations where people have set up journals to stalk other people, created fake persona journals in order to get on another user's 'friends' (trusted user) list, gotten accounts in order to run around posting crapfloods in other people's journals (not that anyone on k5 has EVER done THAT), and so forth.  The blame isn't to be laid on the easy availability of those supposedly hard to get codes, but on the admins ever thinking a system like that would reduce the problems mentioned.  

Advogato has a pretty solid system in place as far as web of trust technical solutions go, but it also has hardly any discussion compared to sites like livejournal and k5, where thriving discussions continue to occur amidst the stormy seas of crapflooding.  You can't really get rid of the ranty town drunk in the corner unless you bore him away.  And in that case, you will bore away a lot of decent contributors too.  It would be survival of the blandest.  
     

___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]

Keys (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by greenrd on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 01:42:18 PM EST

Other people created communities devoted to posting codes.

On my system, keys would be generated for specific email addresses and would be only valid for those email addresses. So posting keys publicly would be pointless.

So, you might get a lot of people handing out keys too freely. The trouble is, if they do so and they let in an abuser, they lose the ability to see 0-rated comments or zero comments. Perhaps stronger sanctions could be created, like removing voting rights entirely. I think it could work.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

You should probably just go to advogato, then. (5.00 / 3) (#53)
by la princesa on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 02:40:32 PM EST

It's not remotely as complicated as your system, but seems to work for them.  The discussions are much narrower in focus than larger and more thriving sites like livejournal and k5.  

Technical solutions will be got round regardless of supposed penalty.  You've only to stare at this site in bright light to see that this is so.  And anything that really does limit membership will either narrow or blandify discussion.  I don't care how complex your solution is, and neither do most people online. SOMEONE WILL ROUTE AROUND IT, usually multiple someones.  

Don't waste time on elaborate technological schemes to keep the bad people out.  Focus on interesting content and discussion, and they won't eat up much of the community's time or energy.  And hell, some of them might end up contributing interesting content themselves.  It happens.  People aren't intrinsically horrible, not even online.    


___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]

uhm where do you people come up with this stuff (3.50 / 4) (#26)
by turmeric on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 09:53:52 PM EST

and why is it you seem to exist in every forum? what on earth makes you think your nazi cubicle manager tactics are appropriate or helpful?

[ Parent ]
This is so strikingly similar to... (5.00 / 2) (#34)
by Shovas on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 11:47:34 PM EST

The reaction to September Eleventh. The running scared, knee-jerk, emotional response which prompted such beautiful decisions, with wreckless abandon, as the Patriot Act, Canada's equivalent, the initiation on the War on Terrorism(which is inherently flawed, but people just don't think enough to understand that), the attack on Afghanistan, the intrusion into Iraq, and sooner or later the passifying of North Korea and other places.

The problem is, people want to protect themselves by isolating themselves. This simply turns into a door crashing, earth plummeting effect on personal freedoms. True community and personal security is borne out of a focused, coherent vision coming from the individuals of that community. Notice there are hardly any rules here. Generally speaking, what keeps K5 from totally falling flat on its face is the moderation system and voting style; although Rusty allowing the site to go whither it will certainly lends a great hand in itself. The point to remember is that there is a concept of "freedom" which inherently produces a strong vision and focus, and that in turn tends towards a protection of the community while still allowing forward motion.

It really comes down to a concept of extreme introverted protectionism or extrme extroverted nihilism compared to a rather worldly-neutral behaviour. Come to think of it, Christianity, at its heart, promotes this as the lifestyle for believers: We are to live our life such that our belief is evidenced in our behaviour, actions and decision. In the same way, behaving in a way that promotes the idealism and rationale of your beliefs, to the people around you, lends to a positive effect on yourself, your reputation and the people who observe you.

I rather like the way another K5'er said it,
"The solution to our security woes is to spread freedom and prosperity worldwide, not to eliminate them domestically."

Blarny, Kuro5hin: FBI plans to centralize architecture of the Internet, Oct. 28, 2001
The ideology of this statement is the key.
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
It's simple. (none / 0) (#56)
by Entendre Entendre on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 03:26:00 PM EST

what on earth makes you think your nazi cubicle manager tactics are appropriate or helpful?

You are annoying and we don't like you.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

Livejournal (none / 0) (#32)
by STFUYHBT on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 11:42:07 PM EST

Livejournal sucks, and it frightens me. Too many mean looking goth-people there.

-
"Of all the myriad forms of life here, the 'troll-diagnostic' is surely the lowest, yes?" -medham
[ Parent ]
I would have never become a member, (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by metalgeek on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 01:26:54 AM EST

That is all.
found this site as an alternitive to slashdot just after it started, went away for a while and came back, I don't know anyone else on this site personally or online. I'm guessing I'm not the only one.
in short, your idea sucks:)

"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
Congratulations, (5.00 / 2) (#47)
by i on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 10:01:54 AM EST

you have almost discovered the Advogato trust metric.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Now, before you can join... (5.00 / 3) (#48)
by ad hoc on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 10:21:22 AM EST

...will those of you who are playing in the match this afternoon move your clothes down onto the lower peg immediately after lunch, before you write your letter home, if you're not getting your hair cut, unless you've got a younger brother who is going out this weekend as the guest of another boy, in which case, collect his note before lunch, put it in your letter after you've had your hair cut, and make sure he moves your clothes down onto the lower peg for you.


--

[ Parent ]
Just to pick one side of this to comment on (5.00 / 4) (#17)
by nadreck on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 07:54:35 PM EST

The behaviour of people in completely open, pseudononimous forum. Yes it gets crude and rude. I started with online forums in 1986 and have seen a variety of them evolve. I currently participate heavily in stock chat sites and can tell you that the behaviour of a small number of members can keep a community from developing but once you have a community in place it is generally strong enough to withstand the chaotic tensions generated by those joining to be disruptive.

I am new to K5 (some how thinking of Babylon 5 in there . . .) but can see that it already has a core that may complain about the people who are overly disruptive, but they resist that disruption. Interestingly enough, I find it takes more than one resistive tactic to keep communities going despite the actions of those nihilists bent on proving that these electronic castles of culture are founded on that form of silicon generally found near the greens of golf courses and on the beach.

I think it is much like working with emotionally disturbed children and young adults. You just keep going patiently explaining why it is not appropriate to make your point in a debate by urinating on the oppositions shoes.


Nadreck of Palain VII (ok, ok, really Jim Grant of Yellowknife)

Yes, and... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by skyknight on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 07:52:48 AM EST

one also makes sure to own several pairs of shoes, so as to be able to wear a dry pair whilst several other are airing out.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Or go barefoot and wash ones feet regularly (none / 0) (#58)
by nadreck on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 05:13:06 PM EST

What does it take to make someone grow up? I know at least one view point is that trauma is a necessary part of the process.


Nadreck of Palain VII (ok, ok, really Jim Grant of Yellowknife)
[ Parent ]

There isn't any one specific thing... (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by skyknight on Tue Aug 12, 2003 at 08:51:06 AM EST

I think it can be one or more of several things. The following is my rough sketch of a list of possibilities that come to mind. There are doubtlessly myriad others...

  • trauma
  • hard work
  • responsibility
  • cognizance of the fact that one is not as smart as one thinks
  • cognizance of the fact that one is not as important as one thinks
  • cognizance of the fact that other people have problems too
  • cognizance of the fact that other people have rights too
  • realization that the universe has been around billions of years prior to one's existence, and will continue to be so for perhaps an eternity thereafter, and not miss you at all


It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Think about it... (none / 0) (#55)
by Entendre Entendre on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 03:22:30 PM EST

I think it is much like working with emotionally disturbed children [...]

It is working with emotionally disturbed children.
And I don't mean "working" in the sense of "succeeding."

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

If just one of them grows up . . . (none / 0) (#59)
by nadreck on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 05:14:50 PM EST

Would it not be worth the agravation?


Nadreck of Palain VII (ok, ok, really Jim Grant of Yellowknife)
[ Parent ]

Opinions differ. [nt] (none / 0) (#67)
by Entendre Entendre on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 12:32:54 AM EST


--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

I think Sprcha should be revived... (4.16 / 12) (#18)
by ktakki on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 08:10:31 PM EST

...perhaps with new features and enhancements. Keep the Sprcha name, but add a word like Zlate ("golden") so that the old users know that it's a new-and-improved site.


k.
--
"In spite of everything, I still believe that people
are really good at heart." - Anne Frank

You are a very nasty person. (5.00 / 3) (#19)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 08:55:27 PM EST

I read that twice before I made the connection.


--
His men will follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity.


[ Parent ]
Please explain. (nt) (none / 0) (#46)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 09:23:46 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Zlate Sprcha = golden shower (none / 0) (#51)
by godix on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 01:55:35 PM EST

If spelling it out like that doesn't help you get it I suggest doing a google search on 'golden shower'.

"Fuck... may be appropriate in certain venues... (Florida Elections Commission, speed eating contests, public defender offices) and may be inappropriate in
[ Parent ]
Preferably a Google Image Search nt (none / 0) (#69)
by Richard Stallman on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 03:27:20 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Hey hey... (none / 0) (#70)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 04:07:47 AM EST

There's a Chinese shop up the road with the name "The Golden Stream"...

I don't think I'll be following your kind suggestions however.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

It's slang for a rather disgusting sex act. (nt) (none / 0) (#66)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 11:01:36 PM EST


--
His men will follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiousity.


[ Parent ]
Hey sicko, (none / 0) (#40)
by Jarda z Pisku on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 03:34:34 AM EST

Sprcha is gonna be ressurected and I think it's gonna keep its plain original name.

[ Parent ]
the problem is that you think like a communist (3.63 / 11) (#24)
by turmeric on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 09:42:10 PM EST

notice where you say the administrator kicked people off. that means the administrator took sides and started playing favorites.

rusty in general does not do shit like that. that is why k5 is still around. rusty is almost unique amongst administrators and his style is what keeps this place running.

you can see slashdot or any other site filled with garbage that is caused by over-anal administrators who are more interested in conforming the site to 'their notion of what it should be' rather than letting the people take control.

so maybe you think too much like capitalists. communists, capitalists, whatever. you just need to ease up and let people get they freak on.

Well then... (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by lb008d on Sat Aug 09, 2003 at 11:44:43 PM EST

his style is what keeps this place running

Better update that style, then.

[ Parent ]

maybe he is a communist.... /nt (none / 0) (#36)
by rmg on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 12:19:14 AM EST



_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

He is not, (none / 0) (#39)
by Jarda z Pisku on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 03:26:35 AM EST

believe me. You won't find many communists among those Czech people who moved to another country because of communist regime in former Czechoslovakia.

[ Parent ]
I just locked in this story (1.71 / 7) (#43)
by 3ebnut on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 07:09:11 AM EST

My front-page vote may not have put it on the front page, but I did keep it from getting dumped for good:

Your vote (1) was recorded.
This story currently has a total score of 95.

You're the straw that broke the camel's back!
Your vote put this story over the threshold, and it should now appear on the Section page. Enjoy!


Here's a cookie! :-) [n/t] (none / 0) (#54)
by skim123 on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 02:52:09 PM EST


Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
In relation to Kuro5hin? (4.00 / 4) (#62)
by RyoCokey on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 07:31:17 PM EST

It was taken down a few weeks ago because "the quality of the debate did not meet the founder's expectations."

So, let me get this straight. The quality of debate didn't measure up to that of Kuro5hin.org? That's like saying that our current rocket test is a failure, because while our last one didn't leave the pad, the current one is now in a blast crater at least 100' deep.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
A comparable case: CIX (none / 0) (#64)
by gidds on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 09:15:36 PM EST

I'm a member of another discussion forum, CIX, which is also having problems with a user's extreme disruptive behaviour. However, things are rather different there for a few reasons.

Perhaps the main one is that as it's subscription-only, user IDs can be enforced. You can't change your ID or post without it, and the only way to add another is to create and pay for another account. So users are all accountable for their actions. In extreme cases, an account can be suspended or terminated - though this has only happened a handful of times over the almost 20 years CIX has been around. (Many of us hope that it's about to happen once more...)

This barrier to entry means that the thousands of users are all fairly serious about it* and want to get the best from it; as a result, the signal-to-noise ratio is extremely high, and although there are areas for various types of argument and antisocial behaviour, they rarely spill over elsewhere.

(* That's not to say that all the discussions are serious - some are very far from it!)

Another feature is that each conference has its own moderator(s) who have quite strong powers: they can withdraw messages, and even eject participants from that conference. Some conferences are closed, which means that you can't join directly but must request access from the mod. These powers are usually enough to prevent or stop problems, and so things are generally very civilised. They also mean that each conference has its own style, tone, and acceptable behaviour, so there's a place for everyone.

Of course, this isn't much help for web board that can't enforce such powers, guarantee the identity of its participants, or eject them permanently. But it might give you some ideas. (And if it sounds like a good system, you can always find out more and/or sign up at CIX's web site!)
Andy/

Shirky Piece on this Phenomenon (none / 0) (#78)
by frankwork on Mon Aug 11, 2003 at 09:15:05 PM EST

Clay Shirky wrote a piece on this (I found it through Joel on Software) called A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy. Worth a read.

The Rise and Fall of the Czech kuro5hin Clone | 84 comments (78 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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