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K5 News

By rusty in Meta
Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:54:09 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

It's been a while since I posted anything, and there have been a few site changes I wanted to explain and point out, so here's an update on what's been going on behind the scenes around here lately, and a request for your help.


You may have already noticed, but there's been a bit of reshuffling in the sections. I decided "Rants" wasn't working out well, as stories posted under rants either tended to be flamebait or good but not ranty. So I changed "Rants" to "Op-Ed" in the hope that this would encourage good opinion pieces and discourage too much flamebait. I think it fits the site mission better than rants anyway.

I also brought back "Freedom & Politics", as you are all clearly determined to discuss that stuff anyway. I'm not really sure why I dropped it to begin with, anymore. Must have been a moment of confused panic. Anyway, enjoy.

And finally, I also added an "Everything" virtual section. This will show you a page like the other section pages, but with all new stories, no matter what section they were posted in (including front page). Many people asked for it, so you got it.


With the new section stuff finally running smoothly, it's time to turn our attention to Topics again. Now that we have Sections to do high-level categorization, Topics can be a lot more specific. Currently, I have the following topics slated for addition:

  • United States
  • Business
  • Money
  • Programming
  • Space
  • Free Software
  • Education
  • The World
  • Privacy
  • Digital Media
I know there are a lot more we could use, so go ahead and propose away. We might not use all proposals, but they will all be considered.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o Op-Ed
o Freedom & Politics
o Everything
o Also by rusty

Display: Sort:
K5 News | 119 comments (116 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Topics (3.11 / 9) (#2)
by Dacta on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:34:16 PM EST

A nice list of topics.

However, what is "The World" topic for? How does it relate to the "United States" topic? If I want to post a story that would be appropriate for the "United States" topic, but was about Australia, would I post it under "The World"? Or is "The World" supposed to be about things that affect the entire earth (including the US), like (say) something about the Greenhouse Effect?

If it is the the first option, I think it needs to be renamed to something that means "Local (non US) Items", but is worded better. It can't be "Foreign" obviously, and something like "International" has the same problem as "The World".

The World (3.66 / 6) (#4)
by rusty on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:46:50 PM EST

Yeah, I'm right there with you on that one. I wanted to be able to distinguish "Local" stories, somehow, but I really don't want to go so far as to have a topic for every country. If someone can come up with a better idea for this, please tell us!

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Pynchon (2.60 / 5) (#8)
by mihalis on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:12:53 PM EST

..flirters, deserters, wimps and pimps, speeding like bullets, grinning like chimps... --Pynchon

I've read some Pynchon. As much as I enjoyed Gravity's Rainbow, it was the only book I've ever had where my copy came with over a hundred pages missing mid-way through and I never noticed
-- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>
[ Parent ]

LOL (2.60 / 5) (#9)
by rusty on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:16:58 PM EST

Not too surprised at that. The quote is from Vineland, which took me a damn long time to get through, despite being fairly short, for him. I actually had to take time off from it and read other books in the middle, to sort of digest. I've never even attempted to tackle gravity's rainbow. I will someday, I suppose. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Vineland == good (none / 0) (#96)
by mihalis on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:52:07 PM EST

Yeah Vineland was very enjoyable but as I'd already read GR first it seemed a little too smooth. A bit like watching the crazy guy on the street who preaches at the traffic except today he's making perfect sense at all times - where's the stunt sentences, the impossible prose, the images you never forget?

I take time off from all books these days. Right now I'm in the middle of books on Java, C++, Perl, BIND, Linux network administration, DCOM, photography, palm pilot programming, some Sci-Fi thing with a cool title, oh yeah and dying on Everest. I should probably focus a little more.
-- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>
[ Parent ]

Re: Pynchon (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by jck2000 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:33:58 AM EST

GR too long? Try "The Crying of Lot 49" (published 1965), which is a lot shorter -- you would notice 100 missing pages, because its only about 136 pages. Among the subplots is the description of a covert postal system used by, among others, disaffected engineers, that is somewhat evocative of the Internet. Its name? W.A.S.T.E.

[ Parent ]
how dare you! (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by mihalis on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:44:51 PM EST


Of course I eventually noticed my mistake and bought a correct copy and read the whole damn thing. I still remember some scenes vividly in moments of stress.

I think I've read all his stuff actually. GR is just the gnarliest to actually read. Still highly recommended.
-- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>
[ Parent ]

The world... (2.80 / 5) (#12)
by Dr Caleb on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:40:05 PM EST

Perhaps break it up into continents? Americas, Europe, Asia kind of thing, like the BBC's website. It won't be local enough, but perhaps a little more broken up than just the dichotomy of the U.S and the rest of the planet....

Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

...is big enough for all of us (4.00 / 3) (#22)
by gawi on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 02:30:02 AM EST

I would try to avoid any geographical classification. Beside, United States is redundant since you already have Business and Money. (!!)

Seriously, I say leave the World section to local papers. Take it as an exercice. Wasn't there a rant lately about american myopia?

Lately I was kind of disturbed to see a movie from my country under the World section in a video store located in my country.

What about a Dark future section?


-- Are you in denial?
[ Parent ]

No locality topics (3.57 / 7) (#29)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 05:05:04 AM EST

Beside, United States is redundant since you already have Business and Money. (!!)

Ok, that's pretty funny. :-)

I think I agree with you, that ultimately stories should be about something other than the "country of relevance". So I think "World" and "US" are out.

Which reminds me, we should have some kind of "The Environment" topic as well. Random thought out of nowhere.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Multiple topics? (3.50 / 2) (#56)
by Spendocrat on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:11:22 PM EST

This might only contribute to general mayhem and make it harder for people to decide what they want to read (or more importantly what they don't). What about allowing multiple topics to be assigned to a story?

There's obvious arguments against and for of course. You could argue that stories regarding the Environment could also be relevant to money. You could argue too that any story that is categorized under multiple topics maybe isn't specific or focused enough.

The main reason I think multiple topics might be a good idea is that it might entice people to read something they normally wouldn't. I might not care about the environment (or privacy or something) as a rule, but maybe I would be interested in a story that dealt with a topic I"m not interested in with respect to it's relation to freedom, business, programming or something else I *am* interested in.

The question is how much abuse would a facility for multiple-topics undergo? And yeah, I know, if I want it, I should code it :)

[ Parent ]

How about "regional"? (3.00 / 2) (#57)
by sab39 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:12:47 PM EST

This would be for topics that are local to any region - US or not. So you get non-discrimination but still a way for people to avoid a section if they know it's going to be largely stuff that isn't relevant to them (at the expense of missing a few stories that are).


"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]
Multiple topics (3.00 / 1) (#71)
by speek on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:27:20 PM EST

Why shouldn't stories be categorized under multiple topics? Rather than forcing someone to choose "politics", when they really want to make it clear that it's French politics regarding technology, allow people to select (or enter!) multiple topic keywords for stories.

The advantages seem clear - people will have greater control over the stories they see (I can set up my own "section" of US + politics). The opportunities go beyond this, but I'll leave it at that.

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Something that needs to be added to k5 (3.80 / 21) (#3)
by skim123 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:46:48 PM EST

Something that needs to be added to k5: An option to receive email notifications when someone responds to a post of yours....

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

Would be nice (2.85 / 7) (#13)
by maarken on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:22:01 AM EST

Yes, this would be nice. However, if I remember Inoshiro's ranting correctly, the K5 mail server is full to the gills right now. I think he's working on upgrading it, then this might be possible.

Flip the symbols in my email.
[ Parent ]
With what? (2.66 / 3) (#20)
by skim123 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:59:52 AM EST

the K5 mail server is full to the gills right now

With what, pray tell?

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

[ Parent ]
re: With What (1.71 / 7) (#21)
by wookWook on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 02:15:46 AM EST

Beer :-(

[ Parent ]
A few things. (4.33 / 3) (#34)
by Inoshiro on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:39:38 AM EST

First off, I need to replace the harddrive in the machine as it has reached the end of its useful lifespan (2gb IDE drive with /var [where the imap mail and postfix mail spoor] having 7mb free, or less depending on how big the logs are today).

Second off, I have to swap providers so I can get a more reliable pipe for mail. Right now only about 8 people use the machine for mail. That wouldn't be a problem as (with the exception of me with my loads of mail) they're all low-usage people (even if it is imap). Once rusty moves in, too, it'll be much more usage.

So I'm going to be building a new copy of the system on my workstation with a different partition scheme and the latest Slackware (+ any additions). It'll also be going onto a more powerful UPS and be getting the better ISP.

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
checking isn't *that* hard (2.75 / 8) (#15)
by madams on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:38:12 AM EST

The easiest thing to do is (if you are logged in to K5) clock on "User Info" under your screen name box. This will show you a list of your most recent comments and the number of responses to each one. Just click on the title of your comment to view it, and reading responses is easy from there.

Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.
[ Parent ]

Do that already... (2.75 / 4) (#19)
by skim123 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:59:13 AM EST

I do that already... but I hate it when there is a certain response I am waiting for... OK, so I check k5 again... nope, no response.. d'oh! Ugh... wait another couple of hours, check again... still not there! Sigh.

I dunno, I think the added functionality compared to the time needed to implement it makes it well worth while...

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

[ Parent ]
Make it a "Slashbox" (3.00 / 3) (#54)
by sugarman on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:02:14 PM EST

For lack of a better term. Just a little box on the front page that states

"You have n unread responses to recent posts"

If scanning for whicha re actually new and unread is a ahassle, just do it by total #, and ignore date and/or 'followed-link'.

[ Parent ]

That would be a nice feature, but (3.00 / 1) (#75)
by skim123 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:50:32 PM EST

That would be a nice feature, but why not just add email support? Why should I have to keep checking k5 to see if someone responded to my post? That is so inefficient... I'd just like to receive a notification when it happens (via email).

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

[ Parent ]
Feel free... (none / 0) (#114)
by pb on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 06:42:19 AM EST

Feel free to add e-mail support, but don't *just* add e-mail support, because this is definitely an issue of personal preference.

I for one would much rather keep my web pages separate from my e-mail, thank you. If I wanted to know about my K5 posting history, I would have gone to K5! :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
checking is sometime inadequate (2.75 / 4) (#50)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:55:43 AM EST

Take for example the "Looking beyond our noses" that has over three hundred postings. No small number of those are mine. The User Info queue seems to have a ceiling of twenty-five posts. The effect is that for all posts I've made prior to number twenty-five I have to search through all the article discussions I've been in to see if there has been a response.



[ Parent ]

lol (3.33 / 3) (#87)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:29:48 PM EST

Yeah, the 25-comment limit is absurd, and is considered a high-priority bug. It'll be better soon. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
User definable? (4.00 / 2) (#100)
by Mr. Penguin on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 12:47:57 AM EST

Why not make that user definable? Therefore, the people who don't often post comments and don't often check for replies won't have to watch a hundred old posts load whenever they do check.

[ Parent ]
SpyOnIt could do that for you. (3.57 / 7) (#16)
by mahlen on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:05:54 AM EST

Depending on what you're looking for, you might try a nifty service i like called SpyOnIt, which can, in a nutshell, alert you when a particular web page has changed in a particular way. Pointing that at your User Info page would do the trick, although it would also be triggered by you adding a comment, or a comment falling off the list, so that may be more noise than you can stand.


"The carrot is the agent of the coleslaw." -- Berkeley Bob

[ Parent ]
email interface add$ value (1.00 / 9) (#17)
by mv7 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:07:52 AM EST

Email interface would add value to your propo$ition. Ze big $ting for all web communitie$ and collaborative model$ the$eday$.

[ Parent ]
Definately!!!! (2.85 / 7) (#18)
by Cwalen on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:44:17 AM EST

With an option to turn it off and redirect it... (in _my_ perfect world at least) Lets get even more ways of helping conversations and community. :) Cameron

[ Parent ]
Eventually, yes (2.50 / 2) (#86)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:28:50 PM EST

It's on the list. Either you can send me a patch, or you can wait for us to add it, but it'll be done sooner or later.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Hella Sweet (none / 0) (#101)
by skim123 on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 02:22:02 AM EST

said in a Cartman voice...

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

[ Parent ]
Yippie! (1.33 / 9) (#5)
by AgentGray on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:52:13 PM EST

I'm all digging the space thing...er, topic.

Kudos (3.00 / 7) (#6)
by tom0 on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:52:56 PM EST

I especially like the "Everything" section. Also I notice that the vote page has both Section and Topic now, which is nice- I noticed some confusion about that..

Good Job!

topics (4.14 / 14) (#10)
by madams on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 11:21:51 PM EST

I would say "No" to the "United States" and the "World" topics. I would hope that the issues we discuss on K5 would be of interest to anyone, regardless of their geographic location. Unless, of course, you're hoping that all the US specific topics will be shuffled into the appropriate new category. I think a better solution would be for everyone to vote down stories that seem to focused on one particular country and don't provide any context to people in other parts of the world (e.g., it's fine if you want to post a rant about George Bush or Gerhard Schroeder, just make the rant relevant to people who don't know/don't care who either of those people are).

As far as the other categories go, they seem to be subsets of existing categories (the exception being Business, which would also contain Money): Programming, Space, Free Software are Technology; Digital Media is a subset of Media; Privacy is a subset of Freedom & Politics; Education belongs in culture. You still have the problem of stories that seem to fit into several categories.

Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.

Hmmm. (3.25 / 8) (#23)
by sbeitzel on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 03:19:28 AM EST

Well, we had one rant quite recently in which a fellow (boxed, I believe) became publicly upset that so many stories were so blatantly United-Statesian. (My term, taken from the Spanish, "estadounidense".) He got backup, so figure it's not some lunatic fringe that would like to see some geopolitically neutral (or at least, aware) categorization, but rather a constituency to whom we ought to pay some attention. I tried really hard not to say anything about the power differential between the USA and Switzerland, here, as well as their relative importance when it comes to realpolitik. Really.

Meanwhile, there have been several discussions recently which could only be of interest to those with programming experience or those currently engaged in acquiring same. I mean, who else would care about C#, or encapsulation, or C++ vs. Java? Anyway, I reckon that's a smart categorization to make, as well.

[ Parent ]
and reading below we find... (3.50 / 2) (#82)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:13:28 PM EST

...that I've already agreed with the "no locality topics" idea. Ok, they're gone, forget about them. These are not the droids you're looking for.

The other topics mainly will tend to appear in one section or another. Your assessment is about right. I don't see this as a problem really -- topics are just sort of immediate cues that will get you in ballpark of what the article is about. They are more specific than "Sections", but more general than "Stories". Stories will always cross categories, I'm just hoping we can match at least one category to each story.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

good call (2.00 / 8) (#14)
by boxed on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:25:59 AM EST

Good call on the change from "Rants" to "Op-ed".

A better idea (3.88 / 9) (#24)
by Beorn on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 03:33:07 AM EST

I'd rather have the user info updated to also show the number of replies I haven't replied to yet, for instance with red color in parenthesis. This would encourage long-lived debates, as I could quickly discover additions to threads i want to keep alive.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

Re: A better idea (5.00 / 3) (#39)
by Biff Cool on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:38:42 AM EST

How about being able to hotlist a thread?

My ass. It's code, with pictures of fish attached. Get over it. --trhurler

[ Parent ]
Re: A better idea (4.66 / 3) (#45)
by Beorn on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:19:51 AM EST

How about being able to hotlist a thread?

I'd have to hotlist every thread I'm in. ;) I think there should be some sort of notification of new replies, by default. Adding a number behind the replies-value would make it easy to browse for new comments -- (and increasing the number of messages shown in user info might also be a good idea.)

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

I did suggest this... (4.33 / 3) (#51)
by spiralx on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:59:02 AM EST

... a while back on scoop whilst waiting for k5 to return, it wouldn't require very much extra information to be kept since scoop already tracks your comment history anyway. All you'd need is to store a value containing the previous number of replies when you viewed that comment, and if that's different from the current number of replies then highlight that in red on your user page. When you click on the link, the number of replies is updated to its current value.

I'd really like this, it would make holding long conversations/flamewars much easier, even if not to USEnet lengths...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Okay, that was unexpected (none / 0) (#55)
by spiralx on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:03:13 PM EST

Two comments for the price of one... is that my fault for hitting the space bar and return key nearly simultaneously, or is it scoop? :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Section navigation design (3.00 / 6) (#25)
by skooldaze on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 03:53:49 AM EST

Just an opinion on a minor design issue but id like to throw it out anyways. I really feel that the previous section navigation links (top right hand corner) looked better. Yup, I think it looks better underlined and piped. The piping effectively makes the separation from one section link to another more distinct.

But not consistent yet :) (3.33 / 3) (#26)
by Chakotay on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:42:01 AM EST

I just went somewhere and the pipes were suddenly dots again... Lemme see if I can find it back... For one, when you go into a story, the pipes suddenly aren't bold anymore. Wait a second... It seems like the site is being updated while I speak, because suddenly all those pipes aren't bold anymore, and I can't for the life of me find where they were still dots.

Okay, lets wait for this to solidify before I comment any further :)

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]

heh (4.50 / 2) (#90)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:44:20 PM EST

One of the unusual "features" of Scoop is that you can update the look and feel live while a site is running. I should copy a duplicate site to test changes on, but I'm usually too lazy. So I read your comment, agreed with it, and set about changing them to pipes. Apparently you noticed. ;-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
United States and The World (3.71 / 14) (#27)
by semis on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:48:03 AM EST

I am afraid that you are going to offend people like myself by creating a category for "United States", and then giving everyone else "The World".

Australia certainly isn't France, nor are we South Africa. Nor is China anything like Sweden, or Canada for that matter.

I think that if you are going to give the United States a topic, at least include the other regions of the world:

Middle East
South America

Well, it goes something like that anyway. But at least "The World" won't be angry with you! :)


Why stop there? (3.50 / 4) (#37)
by flieghund on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:32:06 AM EST

God knows Los Angeles isn't New York, and I have a feeling that Madrid isn't Berlin. Why not divide it further, so that each city in the world has it's own section?

Because it's a short-sighted, divisive idea, that's why. If you are truly interested in subdividing the discussions here into tiny regions, I suggest you take Scoop (or Slash) and go start your own discussion board that limits discussions to those areas.

(PS: I disagree with the entire "United States" topic idea. Building on a previous post, I think something along the lines of "Local" vs. "International" might be interesting, though I can see it rapidly degenerating into the mess above, especially when the argument over the meaning of "local" begins...)

Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
[ Parent ]
How about by Time Zone? (and a serious suggestion) (4.12 / 8) (#40)
by Karmakaze on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:39:28 AM EST

I think that if you are going to give the United States a topic, at least include the other regions of the world:
  • Aisa/Pacific
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • Africa
  • South America

We could have 24 sub-categories, one for each time zone - that way there would be no preference by nation... And you could post to your own time zone expecting other people to be online and able to respond quickly and...

Ok, I'm being silly.

More seriously, how about having a section simply called "Regional" for topics that are region specific, and then just ask people to tag the subject lines.

Thus you could have something as specific as [USA - pacific northwest] or [AUS - Sydney] or as vague as [Eurasia], depending on how regional the article is. Similar tagging stuctures have worked on Usenet announce groups in the past.

[ Parent ]
Please... (4.60 / 5) (#60)
by loner on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:47:31 PM EST

I've already commented on this in a different article, but please stop complaining and start submitting articles instead. As a Canadian/European who now lives in the US, I am myself starved for international viewpoints. I was hoping that a site like Kuro5hin would be a good place for non-Americans to post international articles, but sadly all I see is this:

Americans submit US-centric articles, the rest of the world complains.

Every day I check the article queue hoping to see more world-centric stories, but sadly there are very few. I can see how there would be a US topic (not section) since there so many US-centric articles, when we see a flood of Europe-centric or Asia-centric articles, then we should justifiably ask for new topics.

Don't just wait for Americans to submit non-US articles or stories that take in the entire world into the picture, it ain't going to happen very often. It is up to others to get off their butt and submit less biased articles.

Believe me, even for those of us who know of a world outside, the American media is so close-minded and selective that it is hard not to be assimilated by the US=World attitude.

[ Parent ]

What about us? (2.00 / 2) (#77)
by gauntlet on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:44:26 PM EST

Damnit... I hate that. The poster even MENTIONED Canada in their post, and yet, in making a list of categories, left us out of the loop.

We are not the 52nd state!

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

52nd state? (2.00 / 2) (#83)
by fluffy grue on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:16:12 PM EST

What's the 51st?
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

DC (2.00 / 2) (#88)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:36:43 PM EST

Washington DC, except that it's not a state, but a Federal serfdom, where residents are taxed without receiving any of the representation "guaranteed" in the Constitution.

Sorry, bit of a sore spot for me. ;-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

The 24th, I think. (2.50 / 2) (#92)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 08:52:52 PM EST

Actually, the Constitution specifically denies DC representation, except for in Presidential elections. It's a shame, really .... the same Constitutional Amendment that gave DC electoral votes should have given it Congresscreatures, too.

Especially since the DC city government is completely answerable to Congress.

[ Parent ]
Or make it a territory... (none / 0) (#95)
by El Volio on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:45:00 PM EST

I think it would take a Constitutional amendment (US Constitution, for you K5-ers who think that I'm being US-centric, but then, so is this whole post), but DC might work best as a territory. Folks in Puerto Rico are citizens, but don't have Congressional representatives (well, one non-voting delegate) and don't vote in Presidential elections, as recently reaffirmed by the judiciary.

OTOH, IIRC, they don't pay income tax, either.

[ Parent ]

damn federales (4.00 / 1) (#102)
by rusty on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 03:54:38 AM EST

OTOH, IIRC, they don't pay income tax, either.

This was my main beef. Frankly, I could care less about the representation bit. I just didn't want to pay federal taxes to a government that wasn't representing me. And I don't care what convenient loophole they wrote into the Constitution -- the whole point of this country (well, one of them anyway) was "No Taxation Without Representation". It's a disgrace that that very situation is in effect in the seat of our fine Federal government.

Ok, but I don't live there anymore, so I'll stop ranting now. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re the 52nd (none / 0) (#120)
by cheekymonkey_68 on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 05:37:48 AM EST

I always thought the United Kingdom was the 52nd state....

[ Parent ]
Hummmm, hummmmm.... (4.00 / 12) (#28)
by Chakotay on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 05:01:06 AM EST

You shouldn't subdivide too much, because then you risk getting categories that won't fill. Generally, whatever one would wish to put under United States or World will fit under Politics, and something to do with Digital Media will be quite happy under Technology.

Now for a whole different can of beans: What about a section Religion? Surely things like the Dalai Lama, once winner of the Nobel Peace Award, not being invited to a UN-sponsored Millennium Peace Convention that virtually every other religious leader on earth is invited to, for fear of offending China, is something of interest. Well, maybe it'd be happy enough under Politics, but maybe a section Religion would add a little twist? You might ofcourse also be inviting trolls, because religion is always a somewhat controversial topic, but I think it's worth a shot...

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

Are you sure you want this? (4.00 / 2) (#76)
by cwong on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:37:59 PM EST

If there is any category of arguments that invite heavy traffic, religion is it. And there are few topics as important and worth arguing about than religion. But there is always that difficult question of how to keep a discussion civil and productive. The sheer volume of posts might likely overwhelm the moderation system (not to mention our senses), much like what happens when Slashdot gets those postings with 300+ comments. In addition, this is a topic so polarized that I fail to see how anyone could dispassionately rate or moderate a post. Unless someone comes up with an ingenious way to handle religious discussions, this may be a task best left to specialized religious forums.

[ Parent ]
No, I'm not sure at all :) (3.00 / 2) (#78)
by Chakotay on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:51:30 PM EST

I couldn't do anything but agree with you there. As I said, a Religion group would open a whole new can of beans. But on K5 it might just work. I've only been hanging around here for a few days, but from what I've seen, there are a lot of friendly open minded folks around here, and being open minded and friendly is exactly what keeps conversations about religion civil.

I have quite some experience with religious discussions on the internet, and in very surprising places I've found very nice debates. Just recently there was a discussion about religion on a gaming site (of all places) that stayed perfectly civil for over 500 posts. Then basically all that could be said was said, and the conversation was taken over by brainless "you suck" "no, you suck" kind of flames, and died a dirty death at around 600 posts. Mind you, that conversation spread out over about half a month, and until it finally turned ugly it was one of the best religious discussions I had ever been in.

I'm not sure if it's going to work out, not sure at all, but maybe we could put the Religion bit up on probation, just to see if it works out. If it turns ugly, it is indeed best gotten rid of, but we might get a whole new twist to K5 if the experiment succeeds...

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]

What would happen? (3.00 / 1) (#103)
by duxup on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 05:06:11 AM EST

"Unless someone comes up with an ingenious way to handle religious discussions, this may be a task best left to specialized religious forums."

I would have to agree. The few times I've seen discussion revolving around religion on other sites it has almost always degraded into a big stinky pile of flame bait. Often involving ignorant generalizations about all parties involved. Most of the time it boils down to a pro/anti religion debate.

In the end religion is a personal issue of faith and since faith by definition has little evidence that can be pointed to, it can be discussed.

[ Parent ]
Topics != Sections (4.00 / 1) (#84)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:20:17 PM EST

Note the difference between topics and sections. The sections are the links up in the top right corner. Those are staying as-is for now. What I'm asking for here are topic suggestions. Topics are the little icon in the story summary. They should be more specific than sections, and it doesn't really matter if they "fill up" or not, since the only way to display by topic only is through the search interface.

So basically what we have is a two-layer categorization, from more to less general, Section->Topic, where any topic can appear in any section.

As for a religion section. Hm. Personally, I have no real interest in a religion section. If there is massive call for it, I'll think about it. But the site, as it is now, is really pretty secular-humanist focused: It's about culture (people interacting), and technology (tools of people), with a smattering of media (people communicating). I know there's a very strong argument that religion is part of culture, and I do see that, but I think to create such a section might be in invitation to a lot of stories that many readers would find irrelevant.

Also, I try to mold the sections to fit the stories, for the most part, rather than decreeing that the subjects at hand shall be thus and such. If there is enough interest in a religion section, people will submit stories, and if there are enough stories, I'll create the section.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Believe me you don't want a religion section (none / 0) (#116)
by spiralx on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 07:49:39 AM EST

If there's anything designed to inflame passions and ask for trolling, it's going to be a religion category. Religion does and should crop up from time to time as part of culture, but you're right, it's not something that k5 needs to invite specifically.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

What about a science section? (3.42 / 7) (#30)
by spiralx on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 08:49:19 AM EST

I know we've got technology already well represented, but what about a topic for pure science stories that don't really have any current technological implications? Currently, this is the only area I can think of where /. has a lot more "meat" than k5.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

We have a science topic. (3.50 / 4) (#33)
by Inoshiro on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:20:00 AM EST

Just say that the topic is science, and then pick the section the science affects.. the two tier topic/section allows for a mixture of stories everywhere.

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Ah yes, but now I'm confused (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by spiralx on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:55:44 AM EST

Okay, so next time I'll look a bit harder when I try and make a point :) But since the links at the top-right show the section, where do the topics come into play? The only place I can see them is in the submission queue I think.

*sigh* Of course I'm probably wrong, and getting topics and sections very confused, but I blame it on the big fuck off air conditioning unit behind me blowing out cold air :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

It's simple (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by Inoshiro on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:22:08 AM EST

Sections allow for easy "meta" catagorization of things, topics are much more closer to things. Like this is a Kuro5hin.org topic, but it's in the meta section. One is the super set of the other. But your science story may be in the super set of technology, culture, etc.. depending on its content :-)

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Okay, where'd the subject go? (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by spiralx on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:52:07 AM EST

Huh, what happened to the Re: <old subject line> subject? Oh well...

Anyway, okay that explains it, but it does seem somewhat redundant in some cases, as another top level post mentions, and it isn't very clear in many places whether you're talking about section or topic. Although it's changed now it was confusing to have section in the story queue and topic in the story header...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Re: Subject line fun (none / 0) (#104)
by Inoshiro on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:00:02 AM EST

"Anyway, okay that explains it, but it does seem somewhat redundant in some cases, "

Welcome to Kuro5hin's department of redundancy, redundancy department :-)

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Hardware? (2.50 / 6) (#31)
by redelm on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:02:05 AM EST

Sorry for a meta-OT post, but I'd like to know what K5 runs on (sw, hw). Not for another crack, but out of interest. It's not in the FAQ.

Please don't say x86. I'm hoping for something esoteric, like a SUN Sparc2 running Linux, or an SGI Indy running NetBSD, or a DEC Multia running ClosedBSD.

Processor discrimination as bad as racism? (4.00 / 4) (#32)
by Inoshiro on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:18:33 AM EST

"Please don't say x86. "

Then we very well can't say anything, as we use the dual PIII 700 machine donated by VA Linux systems (which is also why Bowie posted several amusing rants about rusty being "bought out" on his little propoganda site). I really don't understand this closed mind attitude a lot of people have towards [Linux, the BSDs, x86 hardware, !x86 hardware, Perl, !Perl, Python, etc] .. I mean really, we use what we know best and have the most experience with. In this case, that means we took the server given to us, wiped off that Red Hat derived Linux they had on it, put in Slackware, setup mod_perl Apache with Scoop, and installed MySQL. Nothing more, nothing less.

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Oops, forgot.. (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by Inoshiro on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:43:40 AM EST

If it makes you feel any better, I own a VT101, VT220, VT320, Personal DECstation 5000/25 (Maxine), and soon a Sun4m machine (once my paycheque arrives). My friend has an Indigo, several other DECstations, an Alpha (Jensen), and some MicroVAXen. The pictures are available on on my webiste.

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Picutres (3.00 / 1) (#53)
by Spendocrat on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:00:19 PM EST

I love the storm chasing pic on your site. I live in Winnipeg and I think without a caption I would have known exactly where that picutre was from. There's just something about prarie weather...

Anyways, just random thoughts and props.

[ Parent ]

x86 is OK (3.00 / 1) (#47)
by redelm on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:48:39 AM EST

I was just lamely trying to be humorous. I fully expected x86. Frankly, they're probably best bang-for-buck, although I have alot of trouble seeing how K5 could eat up 2 * 7 * 100 MHz. Even perl isn't that cycle hungry. But free is free.

Although I like RedHat, I can certainly understand going with Slackware. And going with what you know is always a powerful, if underrated argument.

Thanks for answering.

[ Parent ]
Always need more cycles (4.50 / 2) (#91)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:51:23 PM EST

although I have alot of trouble seeing how K5 could eat up 2 * 7 * 100 MHz

Actually, it doesn't really. My benchmarks indicate that our current setup is probably capable of serving ~400,000 pageviews/day (or slightly less than 10x current traffic). Note that the database is on the same machine as the webserver, which does make it nice to have both those processors cranking away. But generally, the machine isn't really straining itself. We burn the spare cycles with dnetc. Like you said, free is free. ;-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

[OT]: Hardware discrimination (4.00 / 1) (#108)
by gnomon on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 12:45:27 PM EST

I've often wondered the same thing myself - why esoteric systems are automatically accorded more respect, that is. It turns up in a lot of places: the telnettable TRS-80 which was a hit on That Other Site (I'm still getting acclimatized to the culture here, so I hope that I haven't just broken any taboos. If so, I apologize), the labyrinthine computer systems in the Microship (which have so fired my imagination that I'm trying to track down some Motorola 68HC11s so that I can slap together my own little custom-made bit-box), and the NetBSD project (which has the stated goal of being very portable and the implicit goal of "running on everything that can be programmed ("Of course it runs NetBSD")").

I don't know if it's just the cachet of being an individualist, but there is something really neat about knowing that you've got a strange, non-standard hardware configuration that performs exactly as you wish. Case mods seem to tap into this feeling, as do more extreme modifications.

Then there are all the sites dedicated to old hardware that just doesn't die - the Obsolete Computer Museum, the Vintage Computer Festival, Past Computers... Hell, there are even projects around that document how to put together some of these old systems from spare parts (like the Z180 Project).

Now, I know that I'm reaching here, but it seems like these are all aspects of some undefined geek urge. Does anyone have any theories? I'd be curious to hear them.

[ Parent ]
United States? (2.38 / 13) (#41)
by FeersumAsura on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:44:08 AM EST

Wow an entire section dedicated to the USA. Thank god for that, we really neede more space for America to talk about itself. How about a section title "Coutries that aren't America" or "Countries that'll we'll never visit". Evenb a section title Europe would appease us a little. Even though American talk about Europe as if it's a single country. Oh yes we're going to europe next week... Europe has umpteen countries and just as many laguages, evenb samll countries like the UK have three languages (English, Welsh and Gaelic). So cut this US centric business and get some foreign perspective.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
I think you have this one wrong... (2.75 / 4) (#43)
by el_guapo on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:57:14 AM EST

Oddly enough, I think the "USA" section is there for the very reason you make this rant - to DE-USA-ify the REST of K5. As a resident/citizen of the US, those rants are starting to get old, not becasue they're not true - but instead of helping to enlighten us "non-informed" clods of how much more the world is than just the USA, all you do is bitch about it. The fix for ignorance is NOT simply berating the ignorant, it's education.
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Travel plans (2.33 / 3) (#58)
by Spendocrat on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:33:46 PM EST

Oh yes we're going to europe next week...

Yeah, cause it's gotta be waaay easier to say "We're going to England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain next week" instead of referring to the Continent you're visiting. If I was going to Japan, China, the Phillipines and Taiwan, I certainly would talk about going to Asia, instead of listing off all the countries each and every time. Same argument with South America. It's a bit easier with North America because you have a grand total of 3 countries to choose from.

And why why why oh why does everyone have to go into lame-ass rant mode whenever they talk about US-centric people (ie Americans). Is it that everyone is still surprised by this? There are people in every country who think of the world mainly in their own context, that of their country. You think your coutnry is great, they think their country is great, you think your way of acting/being/doing things is great, they think their way is great. Whoo hoo, everyone is great! You'd think everyone would be doing their best to get around any problems of nationalism they perceive instead of dwelling on them all the time. I imagine the US section was to try and seperate out the really US-centric stories fromt he rest. I suppose if there was a giant glut of Canadian-centric stories (hmm, there's an idea :D) perhaps a Canadian section wouild be proposed.

Anways, completely off topic (sort of). There seems to be ths mainstream media backlash in Canada recently where commentators are decrying the anti-american attitude that the general populace has. They talk about how Canadians define themselves as not-American and "everything americans are not" etc etc. What really makes me laugh and pisses me off all at the same time is that it's been the media in Canada pimping this "anti-US" attitude from the start. Without constant media attention focused on the select group of "common" Americans who don't know a thing about Canada (various comedy pieces, news pieces, op-ed pieces etc) I doubt Canadians would ever have gotten a reputation for being "anything-but-American". But what do I know.

Maybe what I'm trying to say is think when you call someone else N-centric. How much do you know about other countries around the world? Maybe you know a lot about your neighbours, but what do you know about small countries in Africa, or countries in Asia, or South America (or any place where said place is far away and not connected to your own via mass media)? It's pretty hard to be truly international in this day and age. There's 6billion+ people on the planet, no one can keep track of all their cultures, languages and customs on a regular and informed basis.

[ Parent ]

Cultures, self-definition, and being myopic (none / 0) (#97)
by El Volio on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:13:29 PM EST

I agree with maybe 90% of your post. What follows isn't personally directed at Spendocrat, except where obvious (ie the next paragraph). This is sort of a mini-rant that's been coalescing in my head for days now.

Please note, though, that the North American continent does not consist of a "grand total of 3 countries". Central America is not a separate continent, and is not part of South America. So including Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, you have 10. This of course does not include island nations that sit off the continent but are technically separated, like Cuba.

I agree totally on US-centrism. It's human nature, sadly, to be myopic. My in-laws from Mexico have the same view about Mexican vs. "American" culture, as if either one were monolithic. I consider myself fairly well-informed about international events, and yet I know, as you so well point out, that I don't keep up as much as I would like with, say, events in Africa or even Europe. The Pacific Rim and Latin America are just plain more interesting to me.

And although I've never been to Canada, what you're describing seems like something I see in a lot of other countries that are "rebelling" against the Americanization of their cultures: while they don't want to be defined by the US, it's nearly as much of a defeat to define yourself as the inverse of something else. It's much more fulfilling, IMHO, to define yourself as you are, or maybe as you want to be. If there's overlap or distinction, so be it. Just as we Americans have much to learn from other countries, other countries have much to learn from each other and from the US as well. No, the US is not perfect; far from it. But it's not purgatory, either. It is what it is. We are what we are. You are what you are.

It could well be said that there are as many cultures on the Earth as there are humans. Fortunately, there are enough similarities between many individuals that they can be grouped into "cultures", and that those cultures are not mutually exclusive. I am a geek, and a Texan, and a football fan, and a Jehovah's Witness, and a history buff, and a basically good husband, and a UNIX sysadmin, and a bunch of other things. All of those are separate cultures, and the fact that I belong to one doesn't mean I can't belong to another.

Let's move beyond identifying ourselves purely by our nationality. That hasn't gotten anyone anywhere. It makes far more sense to simply be ourselves, members of a set of sets. Anyone who reads my posts has a good, though incomplete, idea of what kind of person I am. The same for Rusty, and Inoshiro, and all the rest of the people that make up this interesting little community. I bet there's a lot more to Inoshiro than being Canadian, for instance. In fact, I'm sure of it. There's something to be said that we're all the sole member of an intersection of an arbitrary number of sets, and the more sets to which I can be shown to belong, the better someone will understand me.

So my plea to the K5 collective^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcommunity is this: Get over it! Yes, there are people who are obnoxious about being American and can't see past the end of their noses. No doubt about that! There are also Britons, and Germans, and Egyptians, and Iranians, and Indians, and Japanese, and any other nationality you care to mention, who have the same problem. And any other way you slice the cake, the same thing happens. Virtually every culture sees itself as the center of its own universe. But that doesn't mean that all members of that culture are alike, and that doesn't mean that any particular culture is flawed for that reason; it's something we all share to one degree or another.

IOW, don't judge me by the way some other UNIX sysadmin has expressed her opinion, and don't judge some other Texan by the way I've expressed mine; he deserves better than that.

Here within K5, and the rest of humanity, we all do.

[ Parent ]

The Americas (2.00 / 3) (#98)
by Spendocrat on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 12:13:29 AM EST

Ahh, well I was taught at least 3 different groupings for the various continents around the world on my way through grade school (pre-K to 12 I mean). So I suppose if you take central american to be part of North America you have much more than 3 countries to choose from (and are correspondingly less clear when you say "North America"). A lot of people don't of course. I think everyone I talk to on a regular basis considers North America to be Canada, the US and Mexico. Perhaps I shouldn't have said continents, and should have focused more on common nomenclature (for example when I speak of Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas etc I usually term them as "the Carribian" [ooh, no spelling for me]).

I think i was just trying to get across that people aren't being insulting when they use a general term for a region (just as I'm not slighting a particular office building when I say I'm going downtown :D ). It's a term of convenience.

[ Parent ]

Not a big deal... (none / 0) (#106)
by El Volio on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:21:47 AM EST

...just sort of a pet peeve of mine. Geographically, it only makes sense to include Central America as part of North America. And I agree with the point: There's something to be said for convenience, especially when it's quite obvious that, as with any substantially large area, it's a diverse area, and we all recognize that Canada != US != Mexico != Belize != ...


[ Parent ]

Ugh (2.50 / 4) (#62)
by finkployd on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:23:58 PM EST

I imagine you would bitch and whine even if there was a seperate group for every country, so why should it matter?

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Out of sight, out of mind. (2.33 / 3) (#66)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 02:16:45 PM EST

I think you missed the point. The idea is that if there's a 'United States' section, then all of the US-specific talk that keeps ending up on the front page can just move there, and people who are sick of it don't have to listen any more. :)

[ Parent ]
A small suggestion: (4.16 / 12) (#42)
by 11223 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:55:12 AM EST

I've seen quite a few posts with a large number (>500) of votes that fail to exceed the dump/post boundaries. Can you add a "contraversial" section so that every post with >500 votes but that fails to exceed the dump/post boundaries can be moved to there instead?

The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.

I agree (2.50 / 2) (#61)
by Eloquence on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:54:08 PM EST

A great idea. That would finally solve the problem with "queue orphans".
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Small disadvantage (3.50 / 2) (#63)
by Demona on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:32:28 PM EST

Timely items that thrashed around in the queue might lose some relevance by the time they've decided to get to the "controversial" stage. Maybe the threshhold could be not wholly how many votes a story receives, but how fast it receives them?

[ Parent ]
No, that has problems too (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by 11223 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:51:50 PM EST

That seems to encourage voting before we read the story (of course, we would never do that, right?). I think a number of votes threshold would be most workable.

The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.
[ Parent ]

Main story, or link? (3.00 / 1) (#99)
by Demona on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 12:46:21 AM EST

If a writeup is good in and of itself, I think it should be posted regardless of the quality of the story it links to. Ideally the writeup should explain the story so well the reader doesn't need to read the original except possibly for some clarification or verification. Or were you meaning something else by 'story'? If you meant voting for something without reading it, well, there it is...can't do much about that unless you want to electroshock the users :-S

[ Parent ]
err... (3.00 / 3) (#68)
by royh on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 02:44:30 PM EST

I don't know about this. A post with lots of votes on it is just so middle of the road that it hangs around in the queue, waiting for people to log in a and check submissions. It's not necessarily controversial.

[ Parent ]
Two ideas (4.66 / 3) (#81)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:08:33 PM EST

First, I do plan to add a "trash bin" -- basically a link from the story moderation page that will show you everything that's been dumped. It won't call a lot of attention to itself, but it will be there. Hopefully that will help convince folks that voting really does work. ;-)

Second there is an alternate voting option which might conceivably work better. It is possible to have voting work like a "race" -- there's a post threshold and a dump threshold, and whichever is reached first takes effect. So, like, if post is 20 and dump is 10, and a story gets 10 "Dump it" votes before it gets 20 "Post it" votes, it gets dropped. Right now the votes are all added together to get an overall score, which is then compared to the threshold.

I'm not totally convinced that's a better answer, but I might try it anyway.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Well, (3.00 / 1) (#105)
by 11223 on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 10:17:15 AM EST

I think that anything that encourages users to vote faster can only lead to them voting before they read the writeup (esp. if it's a long essay!). Maybe for MLP that would be good, but for longer posts than a few sentences (basically anything that goes longer than "intro copy") perhaps another solution is needed.

The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.
[ Parent ]

An idea (3.00 / 3) (#109)
by philj on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 01:00:32 PM EST

I understand why posts have comment numbers (for proper thread tracking etc), but there is no reason why the users need to see this.

So that "F1r5t po5t!" fever never hits, how about randomly assigning the user-visible comment numbers?

You could still store the real comment #'s internally but just not show them.

[ Parent ]
Topic / Section Overlap? (4.33 / 6) (#44)
by molo on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:59:10 AM EST

I noticed that some of the topics are also sections. Which takes precedence? If we have a piece of news about the Internet, do we submit it as topic=news section=internet, or do we submit it as topic=internet section=news? How about t=news s=news or t=internet, s=internet?

The following seem to be duplicated in topic & section (according to the submit a story page):

  • Culture
  • Freedom & Politics / Politics
  • Freedom & Politics / Freedom
  • Internet
  • Kuro5hin.org / Meta
  • News
  • Scoop

Also, what is the difference now between op-ed and columns?

Whenever you walk by a computer and see someone using pico, be kind. Pause for a second and remind yourself that: "There, but for the grace of God, go I." -- Harley Hahn

overlap (4.33 / 3) (#85)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:26:36 PM EST

I noticed that some of the topics are also sections.

Part of my underlying motivation in asking for new topic ideas is to eliminate this overlap. Topics should be more specific than sections. Eventually there won't be any overlap anymore.

Also, what is the difference now between op-ed and columns?

I really wish people wouldn't post stuff as columns. Columns are supposed to be regularly occuring features written by the same person. There's really no point in posting a single isolated story as a column, it'll just make it harder for people to find.

Hopefully op-ed will be used for people who want to write an opinion piece, and columns will be left to people who actually write columns (Currently Paul Dunne and Inoshiro-- see front page). If anyone does want to write a column, and is willing to commit to a regular schedule, please contact me. It's not an exclusive kind of thing, but we'd rather have columns really be columns.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

How does "Business" differ from "Mo (2.60 / 5) (#48)
by streetlawyer on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 11:49:52 AM EST

I'm guessing that "Money" is about investment, employment, personal finances? If so, it's gonna be a bit low traffic compared to the massive corporate wheeler=dealings in Business. I'd lump them together.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
How about 'Under the Bridge'? (3.00 / 6) (#59)
by weathervane on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 12:37:21 PM EST

... which is of course where all the trolls live.

This would create a specific place to post flamebait for those who wish to indulge in such sports, and a place for rusty to move discussions that still attract interest but have fallen somewhat short of K5's usual standard of rational, intelligent discussion.

Just a thought.

Under the Bridge (4.00 / 2) (#69)
by shaum on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 03:04:55 PM EST

Or it could just be a link to That Other Site :).

And anyway, underneath the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is a bad place to be...

More seriously, though, it would be better to just discourage flamebait rather than tacitly give permission. I think that trying to quarantine the trolls rather than simply drive them away would be ineffective; the users/attitudes attracted by an "Under the Bridge" section would spill over into the comments in other sections.

K5 doesn't have to accomodate everyone's tastes; and if we agree that a civil, cerebral style is preferred, we should encourage it consistently. If anyone really wants to read flameage, there's always Usenet.

[ Parent ]

And there *was* the other site.... (2.75 / 4) (#70)
by 11223 on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:05:24 PM EST

... and we know how well the other site dealt with this problem. I think we need a strategy now before k5 becomes like that other site; that other site was once just as innocent as k5. But we need to deal with it. Why not "Under the Bridge"? It could solve the problem once and for all.

Anybody realize that this is the same thing as the psychoactive drug issue: it may not be in your community now, but it will eventually? And so we should do something about it?

The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.
[ Parent ]

This is your brain on Flamebait... (5.00 / 3) (#74)
by shaum on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:42:28 PM EST

I see K5 as an experiment to determine whether degeneration into trolling, flaming, spam, and first posts really is inevitable. And even if it is, it's worth fighting against it every inch of the way.

To extend your analogy, K5 is an attempt to create a drug-free (troll-free) zone. Not "Just say 'no'", but "Just say 'not here'". Take it somewhere else, like Usenet or IRC or (if you must) Slashdot.

I like the approach rusty is taking: zero positive reinforcement. You can't post without logging in, and so anything you say can affect your "mojo"; and if your mojo goes low enough, you disappear from view entirely. There is no reward for trolling, not even notoriety.

Creating an area specifically for trolling and flaming is a kind of positive reinforcement. It doesn't matter that most K5ers will see it as a ghetto, the trolls will see it as a hall of fame. I believe we should stick to the no-positive-reinforcement strategy. It may be only postponing the inevitable, but even that would be worthwhile.

[ Parent ]

You said it (NT) (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:41:08 PM EST

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
`tis an interesting experiment (3.00 / 1) (#107)
by scott@b on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 12:24:41 PM EST

Having been involved with various "on-line" discussion methods for a few years, I had a ARPA net account and was invovled with BBSing back in the late `70s on, I've seen the troll/flame problem over and a over; and even more attempts at solving it. All ahve had some failures, even going "closed" didn't entirely keep out the problem children, in several cases someone who had behaved well enough to become an assistant admin turned out to be trolling through other accounts.

But the way K5 is tackling the problem seems to be one of the best solutions; I'm interested in seeing how well it succeeds here. I suspect that part of the problem is that as t he user base grows it becomes increasingly difficult to keep a high quality discussion going, if only because of the volume of postings; enough of the "well, I don't know anything about this but here's what I think" variety dilute discussions enough that they fizz out.

I, too like the must log in aspect. If you want to post something that you don't want tied back to a well known email address, perhaps through fear of lawyer assult or simple paranoia, then getting a trhough away email account and registering using it should take care of the problem. Of course one can flame and troll K5 by doing the same sort of thing, however it does slow them down.

[ Parent ]

Trollish behavior is hard to contain (4.00 / 2) (#93)
by Sheetrock on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 09:24:15 PM EST

I think it'd be better to encourage civil behavior on the whole site rather than build an exception in. An area dedicated to trolls isn't going to give trolls the kick they're seeking (i.e. disrupting polite conversation). It might be a place where people can toss barbs at each other, but I see the possibility that once some people get in the habit of flaming each other in one area they'll carry it out into the rest of them as well.

A friend and I had this happen to us on a much smaller scale. We were running a local BBS and adoped a similar proposal from one of our users to add a message board dedicated to chaos, drop a password on it, and keep the password an open secret so that no one would go in there who didn't intend on going in there. It worked for a few months, but ultimately most of the boards carried the spillover from the chaos board. Granted, the users of our system (at least, the people who already regularly frequented the message boards) ended up preferring it that way, but all of the boards lost their focus which probably had a negative effect on new callers.

This could have the same potential.

[ Parent ]

No, it'll never work. (1.00 / 1) (#115)
by pb on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 06:53:15 AM EST

Okay, let's assume that Kuro5hin made a section "Just For Trolls". (I think it's called "Op-Ed" right now :)

Why would the trolls post there instead of in the other groups? I mean, what's the point? Who are they trolling, each other?

I wouldn't explicitly acknowledge them in the first place; if their posts are funny or insightful, or controversial, mod them up and talk to them. If their posts are stupid, or hostile, or profane, delete them. But remember, a post shouting "Troll!" is probably more content-free than its parent post, and with worse arguments to back it up, if any.

However, if you *had* to have a Troll section, you could at least let people post links to Trolls, (or suspected trolls) for the interested parties; this can be abused, as well. That's basically what TrollTalk is on slashdot, and it's a lot of fun; actually, I'd love to see hidden sids on kuro5hin, too, but hopefully there won't be a need for TrollTalk.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

trolls are a symptom, not a disease. (3.66 / 3) (#112)
by streetlawyer on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 04:53:17 AM EST

I think everyone in this thread is working from a mistaken premise; that trolls are people who come in and ruin perfectly healthy discussions from outside. This isn't true; the presence of at least three prominent slashdot trolls on this forum should be evidence enough of that.

The troll presence only rears its head when there is a sufficient proportion of idiotic opinions in the *rest* of the discussions. There's no point hanging round trying to place flamebait into intelligent, civil discussions with open-minded people. There's *every* point, however, in posting a hardcore troll into a discussion between bleating, close-minded, ignorant Slashbots. For a number of reasons:

1) You'll never get a contrary opinion even noticed if you don't sensationalise it.
2) Some people deeply deserve to be satirised.
3) The responses you get tend to be from people providing neat reductio ad absurdum of their own position.
4) You understand the strengths and weaknesses of an argument eg. about copyright better when you've seen the position of an extremist. It's no coincidence that the "Bad Linux Advocacy FAQ" contains several quotes from slashdot which I know (the maintainer apparently doesn't) to either be trolls or responses to trolls.

This suggests two conclusions to me:

1) "Under the Bridge" is pointless. Trolls work in real discussions. Anything else is just wanking (not that there's anything wrong with that).

2) Kuro5hin's only real long term defence agaisnt trolls is to maintain the quality threshold. And not to develop groupthink. Slashdot brought its problems on itself, by posting a whole load of ill-thought out rubbish without providing an editorial steer, and by allowing itself to be used as a mouthpiece for Eric Raymond; an individual who you don't need me to tell you has certain characteristics which draw nuts to him like moths to a lightbulb.

At the moment, you can check my user history and see no trolls in it. But I promise, the moment my bullshit detector starts giving its signal; the moment that I detect a class of "Kurobots" analogous to the slashbots, I'm going to be going in studs-up.


Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
I went to UPenn with ESR. Sir, you are no ESR. (2.00 / 1) (#118)
by Bernie Fsckinner on Sat Oct 21, 2000 at 01:44:45 AM EST

Whether that's a Bad Thing(TM) is open to debate Kinda ironic that there is a link to ESR's Jargon File in the Post Comment paragraph on spamming...

[ Parent ]
Thresholds (4.33 / 6) (#65)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 02:01:57 PM EST

You also seem to have caused the thresholds to start appearing on the story moderation page. Yay! :) Thank you --- that makes it *much* more clear what is going on. :)

No problem.. (4.50 / 2) (#79)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 06:58:53 PM EST

Really! I discovered that someone else had already written the code to do that, so I just turned it on. Sheesh... people should tell me when they implement a feature in my code. ;-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Environmental (2.66 / 6) (#67)
by mrBlond on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 02:38:34 PM EST

Do other 5ers also think clean air, water, and soil are important?
Inoshiro for cabal leader.
Important, yes. Discussion worthy? Maybe. (5.00 / 2) (#72)
by CraigEwert on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:37:20 PM EST

Clean air, water, etc are important, but how much worthwhile discussion on the topic would there be? I'd recommend slotting such articles into Politics (or Technology, depending on the article) until the volume of them became enough to warrant their own section / topic.

Meta that, I recommend the same tactic for any proposed topic: wedge it elsewhere until the volume of commentary proves that it deserves its own cagegory.

[ Parent ]
won't somebody PLEASE think of the children? (none / 0) (#117)
by planders on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 04:34:49 PM EST

subject says it all

[ Parent ]
organic generation of topics (4.20 / 5) (#73)
by Jim Madison on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 04:38:08 PM EST

hmmn. i don't know the answer, but it seems that kuro5in's command-and-control method for determining topics doesn't fit well with its mission...shouldn't you come up with a way for posters to say what topic their posts fall in, rather making us fit into your boxes?

I'm sure there is some way to make it attractive for people to post in popular categories in a way that will simultaneously encourage a reasonable number of popular topics with a larger number of less popular topics that compete for attention....i leave the implementation details as an exercise to the reader.

free speech online townhall www.quorum.org

Got democracy? Try e-thePeople.org.

C3 (3.50 / 2) (#80)
by rusty on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 07:03:31 PM EST

It's not so much that I want to control what the topics are, but as a practical matter, they involve graphics, so you can't really assign them arbitrarily at the moment.

Flexible, or "created-on-demand" topics are an interesting idea, but one that's kind of low on the priority queue right now. But reader input is always good, which is why I'm asking for your suggestions for topics. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

On-demand topics (none / 0) (#119)
by Aquarius on Mon Oct 23, 2000 at 04:26:13 AM EST

Personally, I think that on-the-fly created topics are a dreadful idea, because there is no decent way of ensuring that two separate stories which are about the same topic get filed as such. This sort of thing is a DBAdmin's nightmare (trust me on this! :), because you'll not only get an "internet" topic, but you'll get "Internet Policy", "The Internet" and "Intenret" as four separate categories. Without regular data-quality exercises (bah!), the notion of an arbitrarily assigned topic becomes a headache to administer. That's problem 1.

Problem two, which is related, sort of, is that I can see topics becoming too specific. While the sections are there to capture things on specific subjects, the topics do a classification job too. Now, I'm not talking about stories which seem to fit multiple topics here; what I mean is the point of story posters creating a too-narrow topic just to fit their story. For instance, at the moment, a story about how ICANN were going to start charging everyone half a million dollars for domain names[1], then it could go in Technology/Internet, or Freedom & Politics/Internet, possibly. However, if you can create your own topics, should it go in Technology/Internet oppression? Technology/Corporate unfair treatment? Technology/Internet as before? Treated like that (and there's always a good reason why your story doesn't quite fir the established topics), topics become merely an extension to the post title, i.e., worse than useless for categorisation.

So, I hear you cry, stop whinging and come up with a solution.
Well, hm. It's difficult :-)
My best solution so far is to allow arbitrarily created topics (since they seem to have a certain amount of popular support, and there are genuinely some stories that don't fit the current set (or any set -- this is a Goedel thing ;) of topics), but make them awkward to create. That way, if you have a "Choose a topic for this story" dropdown list next to your story posting, and it's got all previously created arbitrarily chosen topics, and a "create a new topic" option, and that option takes you to a page that exhorts you to look at the list again to see if there's something suitable, or click here to go on to the "topic creation page", and so on, people may well give up before just creating a new topic for the sake of it, and instead classify their post in a previously existing category.


[1] ignore the factual details of this example, if they can't do that. DNS? Do I understand it? Hell, no :)

"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace" -- Ronin, Frank Miller
[ Parent ]
"Reviews" section (3.50 / 2) (#110)
by Dacta on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 07:41:14 PM EST

How about a "Reviews" section for book, software and hardware reviews?

Defaults? (3.00 / 2) (#111)
by Bradley on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 09:36:11 PM EST

Is there a way to get "Everything" to be the default, via a display pref or something?

Hmmm. "Technology?" (2.00 / 1) (#113)
by pwhysall on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 05:57:08 AM EST

"Technology" is way, way too broad.

I'd like to see this separated into at least "hardware" and "software", with possibly a "networks" section too.

I also think we need a section for hard-nosed tech stuff, where sad people like me can discuss the merits of the MicroVAX II versus the VAXStation 3100. (BTW, the MicroVAX can take more memory and disk, but doesn't have the graphics system that the VAXStation does).

There just doesn't seem to be a patch of K5 where the day-to-day stuff can be discussed. Or am I missing something.
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.

K5 News | 119 comments (116 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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