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What are we really looking for?

By sl4ck0ff in Meta
Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 09:04:31 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

What are we really trying to accomplish through kuro5hin.org? That's a question I'd like you all to think about.

This website has swelled up into a community. I like to believe it was always intended to be a community, but now it has truly become one. This place is full of beautiful minds brimming with intelligence, integrity, determination and a keyboard. We are all sharing ideas, passing them back and forth like it was a basketball game.

Some comments are lighthearted, others are serious. Some are trolls, others cry for mojo. Something like im-ur pops up, we are instantly bonded together as we post comments, vote in polls and share what's going on in our heads.

My question is, what do you want kuro5hin to be? A place to hang out, a place to share ideas, a place to vent, a place to catch up on news?

I think we're all that and more; we're a group of geeks hanging out, bound together under the "kuro5hin" brand. We post stories, we write signatures, we code, we read, we reply in comments, we write in diaries, we chat on #kuro5hin.

We are always being critical, always trying re-evaluate what's "right", what's "wrong". What's the best. What we should do. We're just all trying to get through life, but what's brought us together, literally, and emotionally, are computers. We use them to find eachother, we use them to come together as a common interest. To talk about, to learn from, to discuss. We almost use them to breathe. You are reading this right now. I want you to take a step back from your reality and think about what you want kuro5hin to be. What it is, and not in the literal sense. If you want it to change, change is the law of life. Does it even matter? Do my ramblings make sense? Tell me, kuro5hin.


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What is kuro5hin?
o A VA Linux box 14%
o A community 48%
o Slashdot 2 13%
o A news site 1%
o I don't know 9%
o I don't care 12%

Votes: 139
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
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o Also by sl4ck0ff

Display: Sort:
What are we really looking for? | 60 comments (52 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Technical info... (2.60 / 15) (#2)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 03:39:38 PM EST

Personally, I'm more interested in technology than culture. We should be telling each other about the coolest ways to do three-tier development, rather than arguing about politics.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
Then why are you here? (2.75 / 8) (#7)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 04:02:04 PM EST

Personally, I'm more interested in technology than culture. We should be telling each other about the coolest ways to do three-tier development, rather than arguing about politics.

There are a lot better places to discuss aspects of specific technologies than K5 including Slashdot, USENET, MSDN, specific web discussion boards, etc. If this is all you want you are better of going to one of those places than K5 which is frequented by a large number of non-programmers.

Frankly I visit K5 not because of the technical discussion (because the technical crowd isn't large as I lamented in this article) but for the informed discussion on any issue which has introduced me to many alternate viewpoints as well as (in my opinion) increased my critical thinking skills and broadened my knowledge of especially outside the world computers and technology.

[ Parent ]
When I started coming here.... (none / 0) (#34)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:26:30 AM EST

K5 was much more technically oriented. At least it seemed that way. It's only been in the past several weeks that politics has taken over.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Politics taking over (none / 0) (#42)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:02:54 PM EST

Some of that is because the US election has completely dominated what *socially aware* people in the United States are thinking about for the last month or so; most of us here are deeply concerned about it on some level, and so discussions of it follow like water off a cliff. Once that's settled, I expect the political discussions to fall to a trickle.

On the other hand --- while it would be nice to talk about the best ways to do 3-tiered development, that's what I do professionally; it's even better to have a place to talk about the implications of the fact that people are doing 3-tiered development, and what it means that some day it will be possible to have chairs which report your health conditions to a monitoring station at the local doctors' office.

[ Parent ]
k5 meme complex (3.40 / 10) (#5)
by recursive on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 03:49:36 PM EST

To find out who we are and where we are heading I would find it interesting to look at the meme complex of the k5 community. The Jargon File 4.2.0 defines a meme as
An idea considered as a replicator, esp. with the connotation that memes parasitize people into propagating them much as viruses do. Used esp. in the phrase `meme complex' denoting a group of mutually supporting memes that form an organized belief system, such as a religion.
Obvious memes are Open Source, Linux, Freedom of Information, That Other Site, Inoshiro, US!=World. What other memes have infected us?

-- My other car is a cdr.

Discussion (3.78 / 14) (#12)
by enterfornone on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 07:34:55 PM EST

I haven't been here long, but it seems that Kuro5hin is quickly evolving from a discussion site to just another news site. It used to be that you could load up the front page and be presented with a bunch of thought provoking discussions.

Lately every second submission has made it to the front, discussions rarely last longer than a few days. People are submitting stories that are identical to stories already on the front page rather than posting comments.

Obviously it is majority rules around here, but it would be nice if this could get back to being a discussion site.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Non-discussions (3.60 / 5) (#20)
by recursive on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 09:53:10 PM EST

I'd like to second that. The Music of the k5 Community is another kind of non-discussion: over 100 people post their favorite style of music but do not, or can not, relate things to each other. So what?

-- My other car is a cdr.

[ Parent ]
Not entirely true.. (2.50 / 2) (#23)
by Nick Ives on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:19:39 AM EST

I posted to that thread and even though I only got a couple of replies, through that I found a new artist I enjoy.

So on a personal level at least, that discussion was quite productive.

[ Parent ]

Diaries- (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by ramses0 on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:19:58 AM EST

That's what I love about the diaries here on K5. I haven't had a chance to wade^H^H^H^H read through all the stories and comments on the front page articles, so I choose my little battles of interaction carefully, and I think it's been quite good for me as a person.

C'est la vie ... as time shrinks and postings expand, I keep seeking smaller and smaller venues for interaction.

[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

eternal tension (4.00 / 2) (#32)
by rusty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:09:27 AM EST

K5 is always "quickly evolving" into one thing or another. There is no stasis here. If there's one thing I've learned in the last year, it's that the pendulum never stops swinging. Sometimes we have too much navel-gazing, and not enough real news. Sometimes we have too much news and not enough analysis. Sometimes there's too much stuff on the front page, sometimes there's not enough. But never, not once, have we ever been at a point where *someone* isn't convinced we're going to hell in a handbag because of *something*.

This is a great thing. This, more than anything else, is what keeps us alive, as a community. The simple fact that someone's always unhappy. That means that we're growing, changing, evolving. The choice is evolve or die. So, we need people to whine about what's wrong with us, and keep the various pendulii swinging.

So, thank you for your opinion. I don't think you're right, about us becoming a news site, but it doesn't really matter what I think. What matters is what you think we should be doing. "Not be a news site" is a good start. Now, how do we become a better discussion site?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Variable story score thresholds? (none / 0) (#52)
by FunkyChild on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 01:20:50 AM EST

Perhaps you could answer this for me - Is the story submissions score threshold fixed or variable? I'm guessing that right now it's fixed. If this is the case, as more and more people start reading k5, the story submissions will pass the threshold more quickly (as more people vote on them). This could have the effect of becoming /.-like, where you can only expect a story to stay on the front page for less than a day (not good for in-depth discussion, especially with the lower number of readers than /.).

Maybe the length of time a story stays on the front page could be determined by the activity of discussion generated (eg. stories with little discussion will get dumped faster than the epics)

-- Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. And now, you know why.
[ Parent ]
Variable (none / 0) (#53)
by rusty on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 01:54:02 AM EST

The threshold is variable-- right now post is 0.8% and dump is 0.2% (or thereabouts). It does need to be more responsive to "active accounts" vs. not-so-active ones, but it shouldn't be susceptible to the kind of acceleration effect you describe.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
What are we? (4.50 / 14) (#13)
by rusty on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 07:53:36 PM EST

This is a very important question, I think. What are we, after all? I guess the best place to start is what we have here right now, which sl4ck0ff admirably summarizes. We have some news, some analysis of current and historical events, we have discussions on the above, and a place for individuals to be themselves (diaries).

What traditionally defines a community? Most commonly, it's geography. A community is a group of people who share roughly the same space, like a neighborhood, a town, or a country. We have that-- our "space" is the pages of this site.

So, right now, the site itself is some kind of combination of town hall, coffee house, and confessional. That's the "building" side of it-- basically, that's what is allowed by the place where we interact.

But there's more to a community. It's rare for a high-rise apartment complex to be a "community" these days. It's a group of people who share roughly the same space, but it's not a community unless they interact with each other.

So even more important than the building, IMO, is the people. We have a group of people who are interested in a lot of the same topics, even if we don't always agree on where we come down on them. We have a pretty wide range of people, which all bring their own perspective to hand. Even if they don't all comment as much as the high school boys ( ;-) ), we have people of all ages and genders, from dozens of countries, in all stages of life from education to retirement, who are willing to share their perspective on things with everyone else, or who are willing to open their eyes and try to see things from someone else's view.

I've been thinking about this question for a while now, but this story really helped me to clarify exactly what it is I'm thinking about. My thoughts have been along the lines of "where does the site go from here"? But the real question buried within that is "where does this community want to go"? What do we want to be when we grow up, basically? Should we remain completely focused on topical discussion, or is there more that we can collectively do? My feeling is that any community that doesn't grow and change is doomed to stagnate and die. I don't think we can keep on doing the same thing forever, or, to phrase it better, that we can keep doing *only* this forever.

Of course, what we are now will always be the central kernel of what K5 is as a community. You can't maintain a community without a central meeting place, and a way for everyone to interact. But, aside from a number of existing things that ought to be done better, the basic platform for that is pretty much done. We have been focused on building the community, to gain what we have now. So what do we want to do with ourselves?

Right now, things are pretty good. Please don't misunderstand this to be saying that we need to change right this instant. What I'm getting at is that we will need a direction in which to point ourselves. I think the initial founding idea of the site has been proven. Yes, a community can in fact determine what it wants to talk about, without strong control from an editorial cabal (TINK5C). Basically, there can be such a thing as a self-organizing online collective. What I want to know is, what should we prove next?

Would it be good to branch out into a wider range of topics, for people to share knowlege on what they're into, beyond the current scope of tech & culture? Maybe the section/topic structure should be opened to allow extension by anyone. I know that there are people who are interested in cooking, parenting, recreational firearms, paintball, computer game development, art, cosmology, politics... the list goes on. Would it be worthwhile to spread more into the topics that we don't necessarily all have an interest in?

Perhaps that is the next stage of life. I've defined the subject up until now, pretty loosely, but still. Maybe the next step is to allow the community to determine entirely what it wants the site to be about.

Yes, this is a kind of "Usenet: The Next Generation" idea. Usenet was an incredibly powerful concept, that didn't quite make it technologically. Much like I tried to recreate what was good about Slashdot, and fix what I thought was wrong with it, maybe we should set our sights on recreating what was good about usenet, and fixing what was bad.

Of course, this is just one idea. What do you want to do? Should we not change a thing? Should we go in some totally different direction? What do we want to be when we grow up?

Not the real rusty

agreed 100% (3.75 / 4) (#14)
by enterfornone on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 08:16:58 PM EST

Some ideas to implement this.
  • Customised front page, showing only the sections you like.
  • Split the mod queue into sections. So people who have no interest in a particular sections don't moderate it.
  • Some way of making sure active discussions are not forced off the front page simply because they are a few days old, while removing newer but inactive discussions
I'm sure I could think of more...

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Yes (3.50 / 2) (#15)
by rusty on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 08:25:13 PM EST

All of these would be changes needed. A way to automatically promote good discussions to the front page, instead of letting people vote for them. There would need to be a good way to customize your personal feed, and kind of "subscribe" to different sections, for both voting and reading. Basically, changes would be needed.

What I really want to know is, is it a good idea for K5? Is it maybe a good idea that should be done elsewhere, or should we move in that direction here?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

If it ain't broke... (4.50 / 4) (#19)
by AdamJ on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 09:20:26 PM EST

Okay, it's a tired old cliche.

But it seems that people are pretty happy with what K5 is now, and we all know what happened New Coke and Crystal Pepsi. Making change on the core K5 site before it's been adequately tested and found useful could be a bad thing, as alienating the core userbase is something that some websites can never recover from.

With nearly 10K users I don't think that K5 has as much to worry about as a smaller site, but on a previous incarnation of Dumpshock we alienated a good portion of the vocal people in the userbase earlier in the year, and we've only just reached a point where people have accepted our apologies and some that left "forever" have returned.


[ Parent ]

Changes (none / 0) (#24)
by Dacta on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:32:58 AM EST

I've always liked the idea of stories moving from sections to the front page. (I submitted an article about it a couple of months ago which had some discussion - I'd look it up, but my web browser is broken.)

I'm not too sure about the total customisation of the front page, though. I think that would mean we might lose "that which keeps us together".

Don't listen to people who say "if it ain't broke don't fix it". It's important to be proactive in making sure things don't break - this is one thing that Slashdot did wrong, I think. After all, if K5 was built on the "if it's not broke" principle, where would the diaries have come from?

[ Parent ]
Attempting to Clarify.. (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by AdamJ on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:54:12 AM EST

Since I said similar to "if it ain't broke", I'll try to clarify a bit.

What I was trying to convey, was: Don't change K5 in radical ways without making sure that it's what the userbase wants. Build around the core that K5 already has, and if people don't like it it can always be torn down. But don't build right into K5 until we (as in, the K5 Community) are sure that we want it there, or else as I mentioned before you risk alienating the readership. Not everyone will like everything (I'm sure I've heard some people say they dislike the diaries..), but it's essential that K5 listens to the readers, or, well, you know what happens...

[ Parent ]

if it will be broke... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by rusty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:59:36 AM EST

I think I got that from your first comment. My worry is that it ain't broke now, but will be when we're three, five, ten times the size we are now, and haven't done anything to move forward.

I also very much don't want to go making any radical changes without asking anyone first. The direction I'm moving is much more toward more user control, rather than less. I don't want to just add stuff-- I want to provide tools for you all to take it in the directions you want it to go.

That's mostly why I'm kicking this idea around already. I wont have a chance to do it for some time, and there are more pressing things to be addressed. But this is the question for the next "big" change, so I'd like to hear plenty of opinions!

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

That last point.... (none / 0) (#40)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:07:43 AM EST

About not forcing things off the front page - Why not group the front page into two sections - new topics, and most active topics?

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Don't split things up yet (3.66 / 3) (#16)
by kraant on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 08:29:48 PM EST

If we split things up before the number of comments gets overbearing then we'll end up with a main site that everyone reads and a set of backwaters which no-one reads so no-one posts to.

Catch 22

It's a good idea tho and I think it would definetly be worth it once we hit the stage where front page articles start getting 200-300 comments regularly

The main site would probably remain overbearingly popular but at least there would be enough spill off that the smaller areas would have some traffic.
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]

splitting (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by rusty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:02:44 AM EST

I don't want to just add more sections. I think that would be the wrong way to go. What I'd like to do is add ways for people to expand the site in whatever way they want it to expand. If there are enough people who are interested in music, they should be able to found a music section. Same with virtually any other topic. It's a tricky thing to manage though, and I'd really like ideas on what might work, and what probably won't. What I don't want is to just add more sections. I'd like to make the sections be a living part of the community, and reflect what we actually want to talk about.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Breathtaking (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by sl4ck0ff on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 08:36:50 PM EST

That was absolutely amazing, rusty. Thank you for replying to my story, hope it makes it to the front page. I think what might work is to have a poll on each individual topic, e.g. "Should we have a paintball section?", or something along those lines. Lets work on adding what USENET and Slashdot forgot. Thank you for making kuro5hin, if there is anybody who would make a good leader; it's you.
/me has returned to slacking
[ Parent ]
community and BBSs (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by Delirium on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 03:24:33 AM EST

I suppose it's hard to explain exactly what it is, but I always get the feeling that there is something missing from web-based communities. K5 is by far the best one I've been a part of, but compared to the communities built around BBSs I dialed up, even as late as 1996-97, it doesn't quite match up. Sure, there's some more news events posted, and possibly better-written stories, but there are other aspects missing. The diaries, comment areas, etc. all seem to be somewhat kludgy approximations of a BBS message board - I check my "Your Comments" page to see if anyone's replied as an attempt to replace the "Read Your New Mail" function (but it's inferior in that I never notice if there are new replies to old comments of mine), read people's diaries (but sometimes miss some or miss continuing discussion in a few of them), etc.

I suppose my idea of an "ideal" community is pretty much a multi-line BBS system - you have a significant user base posting in message boards (possibly divided up by topic), the IM issue that someone had brought up is addressed by going to the chat area (on some boards up to 16 people could chat at once, with the internet this shouldn't be a limitation), threads do not die prematurely because new messages are flagged as new messages, and new posts are seen by everyone. Perhaps part of the reason I like K5 is that it's a better approximation of these features than pretty much any other web-based system I've seen.

[ Parent ]

You can't be the best at everything. (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Cuthalion on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:21:08 AM EST

Would it be good to branch out into a wider range of topics ...

No. It wouldn't. I feel I sound closed minded saying that without any justification, so:

k5 has a niche. It is good at filling that niche. Maybe there are a few nearby niches which could be comfortably filled by k5 without too much stretch.. However it is foolhearty to spread oneself thin to reach more niches. A lot of things used to be cool. They did one thing really well. Then, usually as the result of a buyout, they decided to try being everything for everybody. 99% of the time this hurt the quality of the original goal.

Doing one thing well is admirable. Doing everything poorly is loathsome.

[ Parent ]
A Scoop Network.. (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by driph on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:52:57 AM EST

One possible way of going about this is bringing something back up that we've all talked about before, but have yet to implement..

There are more and more Scoop sites online and in the process of going online.

Allow all member sites to share users and content, with a specialized bent on whatever their particular focus is(be it art, paintball, quantum physics, whatever..)

This is very different from other "site affiliation" based sites such as snowball.com(ign, etc) in that Snowball and it's ilk could be described as a magazine rack.. Browse the various titles from one location, read the articles that interest you, and move on.. One magazine doesnt really have anything else to do with another, although they are all viewable from one location.

Look up my userid on a Scoop-based network, and you'd see the comments I posted to any member site. In fact, my front page might be an amalgam of several site's content. I may still call Kuro5hin.org my "home," but I'm reading content generated on ascoopsite.com and others as well.

Set some initial guidelines as to how things would work and operate..
Perhaps a single database that is referred to by all the sites for user management and information? That way, anyone could create a Scoop site, without compromising the current system, with, for example, meta sites on the home system that could pull the most active articles throughout the system, among a certain subgroup of sites, or whatever your preference may be...

Anyway, just throwing some more ideas to play with...

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
I wonder (none / 0) (#39)
by mystic on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:01:49 AM EST

if any one is willing to accept the challenge to code such a site structure. I can just begin to imagine the amount of hassles that may be involved.
But if we can do it, it will be great! Something like rusty's analogy to newsgroups?

[ Parent ]
History repeating? (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by Keepiru on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:49:11 PM EST

It strikes me that you've gone and recreated the idea of old networked BBSes that I was so fond of. We networked all the systems, and then we could share the discussion boards out among them. One system was responsable for setting policy on the boards (such as what systems could carry the board, if they wanted to limit it, post moderation methods, etc), but all systems freely exchanged the actual messaging once it was set up.

What goes around comes around?

What's the benefit, though? In the BBS days, we did it because we all had limited resources. My system was something I was doing with a pitance of money out of pocket, and all I had was a single phone line. We needed to share our boards between systems to get a wider audience, and to get to people who were outside of our geographical area. The internet doesn't really have those problems. You just buy in on a chunk of bandwidth, and then everyone, everywhere, can use it. What benefit is there to having multiple systems share boards?

Perhaps that would let people create specialized sites that would carry certain genres of messages?


[ Parent ]
Uh... "me too!" ;-> (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:53:41 AM EST

So even more important than the building, IMO, is the people. We have a group of people who are interested in a lot of the same topics, even if we don't always agree on where we come down on them. We have a pretty wide range of people, which all bring their own perspective to hand. Even if they don't all comment as much as the high school boys ( ;-) ), we have people of all ages and genders, from dozens of countries, in all stages of life from education to retirement, who are willing to share their perspective on things with everyone else, or who are willing to open their eyes and try to see things from someone else's view.

Actually, that's the thing I enjoy most about k5 - and why I've tried so hard *not* to devolve into my old role of bait-and-flame. Even on contentious topics (like, er, guns) I've been pleasantly suprised at how few "You suck!" posts there were. I still don't think politics has much to do with "technology and culture", but the tone here has been sooo much better than, say, Slashdot or many other forums - and that is very much worth preserving.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
We are a community, but (4.27 / 11) (#18)
by mystic on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 08:57:21 PM EST

that does not mean that not a news sites, a point to exchange view points, a place for heated debates (rational ofcourse).

It was really funny to see the Submission Queue when I decided to vote for this article . There was a post "Looking for a cool job" an dabove that "What are we really looking for". Seeing the kind of posts submitted these days, I though that this story was a rebuttal to the "Looking for a Cool Job" story.

I agree with rusty when he says that it looks like the initial foundation has been laid properly. But this is not enough. We need to expand. But it is tougher now than before. In th beginning, rusty had an idea and he got down to build his ideal community. We joined in because we liked the idea. But now we are no less important than rusty. When the next expansion is to be decided, it is not rusty whose idea that has to be implemented. It is ours. We are the members of the community and the community will become what we make of it.

Personally, I would hate it if Kuro5hin (heck I can't keep on typying Kuro5hin, let me just abbrv. it to K5 !) becomes a news site. But that does not mean that the front page of K5 need not change for days. Though provoking discussions are what I look forward to primarly from K5. But since K5 seems to be doing a good job in this aspect, let me point out what new things I would love to see in K5 and where K5 should go.

A community like K5 is distinguishable from other weblogs because of the level headedness of the members. I would love to see these members' brains being put to use ! What I would like to have in this area is a place for technical question answers sections . Haa.. I see you are booooooooing already. Let me explain first. I do not mean an area where you can get the latest HOT-TOs, I mean an area where all techincal matters can be discussed. It should not be concenrtrated on Linux and for that matter Computers.

Rusty mentioned about opening areas like cooking, cosmology etc. I agree to some extent. But we have to beware of fragmentation. It really is a bad sight to see a site with 10/15 topics, with 1 or 2 posts in each sections. So when we decide on what areas to concentrate on, we need to think carefully about user participation.

One discussion topic I would love to see is on Music. As the latest post on Music of K5 shows, members are interested in music. Very heated and indepth debates are possible in this area. For example, how many of you feel that most of the hardcore bands like Machine Head, though started with ideals and missions have diluted and sold out their ideals for quick bucks. Haaa, can I hear a "Grrrr" escape from your mouth.

I feel that a sections on Books is also required. What I have felt that K5 lacks as of now, are discussion on Literature, any kind, fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi etc. I have been disappointed with the amount of books related stories posted. I am sure that K5 members read books a lot. Is it that all of us are lazy to write reviews ?? I think so, because I have been ! ;).. Maybe I should take the initiative and do something, right ??

More to come when it comes !


ideas, development, sections (5.00 / 2) (#29)
by rusty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:55:21 AM EST

In th beginning, rusty had an idea and he got down to build his ideal community. We joined in because we liked the idea.

Actually, the truth is really more like, a bunch of other people had similar ideas about how slashdot could be improved, functionally, and I had some ideas about how the code could be improved, technically, and I ended up implementing them. Very little of this, beyond the specifics of implementation, was "my idea" ever, really.

But now we are no less important than rusty. When the next expansion is to be decided, it is not rusty whose idea that has to be implemented. It is ours. We are the members of the community and the community will become what we make of it.

You're much more important than me. I'm one reader. You (collectively) are (at last count) 9,254 readers. That means that your ideas are 9,254 times more important than mine. :-)

So, yes, it is your ideas that should be implemented. Maybe you all just agree with my ideas. That would be cool. Probably not, though, and that would be even better :-).

But we have to beware of fragmentation. It really is a bad sight to see a site with 10/15 topics, with 1 or 2 posts in each sections. So when we decide on what areas to concentrate on, we need to think carefully about user participation.

What I've been thinking about is more like a system that doesn't need sections to be full or lively, but more just provides a broader range of possible classifications for things, so that people can subscribe to different topics or not. I don't want to just add more sections, the way it's done now. A change in that direction would be an overhaul of the concept of sections, to make them as organic and self-determining as the stories themselves.

Think of newsgroups here, basically. You can subscribe to a dozen, and some might be very popular, some not so. I think there's room for both, as long as there are ways to help keep communities together as well. Note the plural. I think the direction I'm thinking is that we would become a place for communities to form, as opposed to a home for our one (wonderful) community. I think online communities simply don't scale beyond a certain point, so there must be some way to allow the one huge glob of people to sub-glob themselves into smaller collectives. Hopefully, these would often overlap and mutate. But that's the general idea I'm having so far.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Newsgroups /communities? (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by mystic on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:47:34 AM EST

K5 has around 9,254 +1 (you rusty!) members. Out of this, how many do you see who post regularly. By post I mean comment on articles, submit stories or for that matter write diaries atleast?

I do not have a number myself, but I kind of feel that the number may not be enough to form sub communities. The idea sounds cool (though I dont really get the hang of how it will look like eventually), but I think that we need to grow a bit more for that sort of a scaling up. Don't you think so guys ?

[ Parent ]
Or they might bring other people out... (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by AdamJ on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:45:12 PM EST

I think one problem that people have with weblog style sites and even general message board sites is that a lot of users fear jumping in. They're afraid that they'll get flamed, or that they'll be ignored or their posts not taken seriously. Having sub communities that have a bit more of a 'smaller' community feeling might help some people come out of their shell, and in turn might get them posting on the main site...


[ Parent ]

organic sub-communities (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by rusty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:59:02 PM EST

Having sub communities that have a bit more of a 'smaller' community feeling might help some people come out of their shell, and in turn might get them posting on the main site...

Partly this, and also partly that my idea is really more oriented to providing the ability for sub-communities to form, if and when there are enough people to sustain them. I also think that right now, they aren't necessary. But as I'e said elsewhere, it would be better to have something ready when we're ten times the size we are now, rather than be caught flatfooted. The important factor is that it would need to provide a means for sub-communities to coalesce, *not* to try to force them to come into existence. Maybe we'd have s9ome features we don't really need for a while, but I feel like that'd be better than needing them and not having them.

In any case, this is a ways down the pipe. First, I need to fix the comment code so it's at least slightly efficient and extensible, and also provide a means of collaborative story editing, so everyone can not get so upset when they are asked to fix a typo in one of theri submissions. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Can we some details? (none / 0) (#48)
by mystic on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:55:21 PM EST

can we have some details on this organic sub-committee idea if it has been thought about?

[ Parent ]
topic summaries, emailed :) (2.75 / 4) (#21)
by semis on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 11:27:10 PM EST

Sorry for joining the fray a little late - I hope some people will still read this comment.

I really enjoy reading the summaries of Debian Weekly News, and Kernel Cousin Debian. Basically, I don't always get time to read _everything_, so summaries of what has been going on in a particular area are quite useful.

Perhaps volunteers who find particular sections (ie: MLP) of great interest could write some summaries (however small) of that particular section - and then mail them out to whoever subscribes.

Then, perhaps someone could summarise the _whole_ of k5, for people like me who miss whole weeks at a time.

But, please don't call me greedy, because I know this would take a lot of effort. But I think that weekly summaries of the stories/comments/debates/ideas would be really helpful, particularly in defining who we are, and showing other people who might not have time to read everything, but still want to be involved.

Anyway, that's what I would really like out of k5.


Thoughts of new memeber (3.66 / 6) (#22)
by klax33 on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 11:34:36 PM EST

I joined K5 about a week ago and I just thought I would share my thoughts on this topic. This is my first comment I've posted by the way. :)

First, I would like to say that I've been a slashdot reader for a while and it use to be my favorite website. I agree with some of the other comments posted on previous topics about how slashdot as become just another news site and it has lost the real spirit that started it. The stories are still decent, but you can find most of them at C|Net or the other major news sites. The comments have really gone to the dogs though. Maybe 5 or 6 out of all of them posted for a story have any actual thought put into them. I've just turned comments off on my slashdot account because it just isn't worth sifting through the dirt to find the gold.

I don't remember how I first came to K5, but I'm sure glad I did. Granted it doesn't get enough new topics to get a new front page everyday like slashdot, but that is what makes K5 great I think. In all of the topics that were posted, I've yet to find one poor comment. It seems like everyone who posts here actually *thinks* about what they are saying and don't critisize others for their beliefs. As long as K5 stays small I think it will be safe from becomming the next slashdot.

K5 is exactly what I think a good website should be. The community is the heart and soul of the website. I think it should stay small with no more than 3 topics posted and let the community discus them. The discussions are what keeps me comming back. I can get news at MSNBC, but if I want smart people talking about a topic and getting all points of view both good and bad, I come here. What I'm trying to say is that K5 is great the way it is and shouldn't change it's principles. However a few new sections wouldn't hurt either. I would love to see a section on literature like someone suggested. Also one on music would be nice.

Now would be the part where I say keep up the good work (insert website owner here)! But K5 is all about community and as long as the community stays the way it is, K5 will continue to be great!

K5 > /. (2.33 / 3) (#36)
by Phaser777 on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:31:45 AM EST

I just joined K5 2 days ago, and I completely agree with you. K5's a community discussion site, primarily.

I can get biased news anywhere. If I want to discuss it without a slashdot-style flame war, I go here.
My business plan:
Obtain the patents for something (the more obvious and general the better)
Wait until someone else adopts the idea and becomes rich off it.
Sue them.
[ Parent ]
Direction (4.42 / 7) (#26)
by Khedak on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:27:42 AM EST

Importantly remember that if you pick a direction and a purpose, you alienate those who disagree with that direction and purpose. I always thought this place was just for open discussion. Complete democracy, if your peers like what you say, it gets modded up, if they don't it gets modded down. I'm not saying I think things should stay as they are, I just think that all this constant introspection is divisive more than anything else. Talking about "what I want kuro5hin to be" is masturbatory, I want it to be what it becomes on its own, I'm not trying to direct it.

In my opinion there's something important about the democracy and the organic, non-directed nature of kuro5hin itself. To me, any attempt to articulate what kuro5hin should be is the same as telling all its readers what how they should behave and what their goals should be. I won't presume to do that.

Of course, if you mean that kuro5hin should be neutral in terms of politics and you just mean organizational or technical goals, then that's another story. But I gather you meant politics and culture.

Direction without pushing (4.25 / 4) (#28)
by rusty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:45:52 AM EST

I think that the open nature of the site, that you like, virtually requires this kind of introspection. Our deep dark secret is that we can only be organic and self-directed to the extent that the code allows it, and I don't know what the code needs to allow unless you tell me.

So, it's important to distinguish between someone telling you where you have to go, and someone asking you where you want to go. Clearly, you value self-determination for the community, which I totally agree with. So, how can we continue to progress in that direction? It's not so much a "what should we be about" as a "how can we be more like we are now", if that makes any kind of sense.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

K5 Clubs ? (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by dorsai on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:51:31 AM EST

I have this idea knocking around my head that maybe you folks can help shape into something a bit more coherent...

K5 is not broken, and I think the current structure has potential to suppor considerable growth yet... section/topics seem fine as distinctions, but perhaps we could add something on top of them for more oriented discussion.

My idea is clubs - these would work a bit like SIGs, could have their own submission queues (sp?), voted upon by people who sign up for those clubs. The queues would be "permeable", so that highest rated submissions would jump to the "main" queue... and in a similar manner membars could vote "main" stories into the group's submission queue.

Clubs would be accessible from the main page (a tab or bar ?) but not replace it, thus maintaining a grasp of the global before delving into the particular.

Opinions ?

Dorsai the sigless

Dorsai the sigless

for an existing "clubs" example. . . (none / 0) (#43)
by monkeyfish on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 05:22:55 PM EST

check out http://www.bolt.com, a commercial teen community site. (no, i'm not a letcher -- the company that i work for has a relationship w/ them) i think it's a useful idea. always nice to know who's interested in the same things you are.

[ Parent ]
clubs (3.00 / 2) (#44)
by Cuthalion on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:03:50 PM EST

Oh dear. I have a thought.

  1. A story's membership to a club is fuzzy.
  2. A story can live in multiple clubs.
  3. The story's membership in the club it was intially submitted to is 1.0 (of a total of 1.0)
  4. Pairs of clubs have an 'Affinity' between 0 and 1.
  1. Navigating directly from one club to another increases their affinity. Not doing so decreases it.
  2. Navigating from one club X to a story in club Y also increases the membership of the story in X, by some function of the affinity of X to Y.
  3. If a story's membership in X reaches some threshold or other (a user setting?), it appears on the list of stories.
  4. The main queue is a club.
So. If I post a story in Technology, and someone links to it a lot from Privacy, than eventually it will transcened the Technology/Privacy membrane, and people in Privacy will start seeing a story about the Sony NudityCam.

Groups which fequently have stories cross over are shown to be topically similar and it's a little easier for stories to cross over.

I doubt it would really work very well. I particularly don't like the mechanism for detecting story cross-over worthiness. Any thoughts? Fundamentally a bad idea? Needs salt?


[ Parent ]
clubs, eh? (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by beertopia on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 04:29:54 AM EST

I think something along those lines sounds like a fine idea; I'm curious as to whether people would use it. My impulse would be to have a space for nearly anything people would want to discuss. There seems to be a whole recurring strain of thought that says otherwise, though- "that's not really news"/"no technical questions here"/"stop talking about guns, music, whatever"/"shut up about American politics" comments seem to come up constantly.

Perhaps I'm just confused, but isn't that something like picking up the newspaper, and being offended because not every story in it is about somethign that interests you? I mean, assuming there's enough people submitting stories, and then discussing them, diversity shouldn't have to detract from anyone's experience, unless they feel the need to discuss every story that gets posted.

I'm not sure what other peoples' thought processes are like; my thoughts rarely come in the form of press-release-ready epiphanies, fully formed and definitive. Instead, there's sort of an iterative flow- I think something, learn more, revise, repeat. So, I like the idea of there being subareas, clubs, whatever, with maybe more continuity than the main page stories, and with a way for side-discussions to weave in and out of the mainstream. (Naturally, I have no idea how that'd best be implemented. That's the beauty of Open Source, eh- division of labor- let the smarter guys figure out the tough stuff)...

I have the impression, though, that what a number of people want is the chance to make the definitive statement about the news story, have as many people as possible read it and be amazed, and then move on to the next thing. Then again, that might just be a vocal minority, who could then have their own club, where they can have a constant thread on how much worse everything is than it used to be, back in the day.

[ Parent ]

How about (E) All of the above? (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by Saxifrage on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:13:36 PM EST

Perhaps I'm going to have issues of clarity here. I haven't been here that long, so forgive me the naivete, if you will.

I think the key point is that all of the options you mentioned -- a hangout, a place to share, a place to vent, and a place to catch up on the news -- are all things that at least I want K5 to be. It's something that I find lacking so often in the real world. I understand the merits of traditional journalism, but I think sometimes, you need to see how real people get their news. And that's what K5 is for. Sure, it's not the most current news, because of the queue, and it's sometimes not the most in-depth coverage of what's going on. So we provide the big picture.

And I think that's what's critical about K5 that almost no other community has: The Big Picture. What you usually get is an array of multiple little images, that are sort of semicoherently thrown together to resemble something. I have come to appreciate, in the past two months or so, the way that you -- no, we -- take the time to think it through, to make every post and every sentence count.

Kuro5hin is a wonderful community, and I think the key is to keep it that way. We have a place to hang out, we have a place to talk, and we have a place to ruminate about all matters, social, political, economic, technical -- you name it, we've got it. I think that, when asked 'What do I want K5 to be?' my answer is, well, exactly what it is.

"I may disagree vehemently with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." - Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire

The danger of "Community" (4.00 / 2) (#50)
by cameldrv on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:48:03 PM EST

Perhaps it is important for K5 to not have a "vision." The thing which I enjoy most about the site, and sadly have started to see go away as the slashdot refugees pour in, is diversity of ideas. Slashdot ceased to be interesting for me once it developed its own ideology. In fact, most so-called "geeks" ceased to be interesting to talk to for the same reasons. I guess the model I'd like to see is: Do your own thing and then come to k5 and talk about it. There's more to life than software patents, the MPAA, and libertarian ideology. So carry on and keep things interesting!

The Book of Slashdot (none / 0) (#58)
by h2odragon on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 01:33:00 AM EST

Slashdot "developed an ideology" because it was the "geek place" during the creation of a lot of new geeks. That is, there were a lot of folks who wanted to jump on this cool new bandwagon, and they took slashdot as their model.

All these new converts, looking for someone to tell them what to think, how to behave, etc. in accordance with their new faith; only natural that many of them would pick up those few readily comprehensible positions held by the majority then there and distort the rest. Back when, folks argued with passion because they held strong opinions, in the Book of Slashdot this became "Be Dogmatic." Many said "Share intellectual property and profit thereby", the Book version became "Property is Bad". Other examples abound.

By the time slashdot becomes predomininately anti-technology, anti-free expression, and otherwise a mockery of its original self, it'll be ready to become a grown up religion worthy of official recognition and tax breaks.

[ Parent ]

None (2.50 / 2) (#55)
by Sheepdot on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 08:01:28 PM EST

This place is full of beautiful minds brimming with intelligence, integrity, determination and a keyboard...

Something like im-ur pops up, we are instantly bonded together as we post comments, vote in polls and share what's going on in our heads.

Is it just me or is this guy a little *too* happy-go-lucky? Emotional feelings just sound corny on this site. The thing I like most about this site is that it covers the same stuff Slashdot does and oftentimes more. I keep reading about how the site is being ruined by Slashdot users now visiting the site, but if those of us come over to read the stories and only occasionally comment, what harm are we doing?

Kuro5hin is not a community (none / 0) (#56)
by glmull on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 11:07:07 PM EST

Kuro5hin cannot be considered a community until it discusses the real issues. The issues presented at sites like Zetatalk. Unless it has the balls to do that, I don't have much respect for Kuro5hin.org. "I don't have much respect for any site unless it can do that." cough Rob Malda! cough Jeff Bates aka hemos cough Slashdot. :-)
Zetatalk tells us what will happen in 2003.
Glenn's definition of a community (none / 0) (#57)
by glmull on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 11:09:44 PM EST

A community is something that discusses real issues, issues that affect everyone. Based on this simple definition, if there were a planet that was going to pass through our solar system and cause a disturbance to the earth great enough to kill off many people, wouldn't we want to discuss that? We're a community after all.
Zetatalk tells us what will happen in 2003.
I can define this easier by how it is different. (none / 0) (#59)
by cardiacarrest on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 07:50:10 PM EST

What is Kuroshin? I know what it is not since many of the elements here are present in other places. It seems for pure discussion without a fixed topic, Usenet is best, and for immediate news and limited comments, places like CNet or Slashdot work. This is more like a virtual community such as livejournal where people can post their lives, or even like AOL with more respectful and knowledgeable users. But this is a site where news dovetails into people's personal lives and there is no longer a difference between a story reported by the media and a question asked by a reader, or even a vague philosophical question. This allows news to be reported without forcing people to adhere as strictly to the topic at hand as other media, although I wouldn't consider it a news site as much as, say, CNN. This format has its own advantages and disadvantages but I don't want to go into detail here, it's just something for me to look at while I'm waiting for my classes to start since there's not much else for us commuters to do at UCSD.

I'm here today. (none / 0) (#60)
by Deletionally Retreated on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 09:53:43 AM EST

So when i got my PC (5 mo. ago), after many years in Mac/graphic arts-land, i studied, bought and passed the A+ cert. Now i'm learning HTML, amd want to learn JAVA and other programming languages. I want to know how to do things. i want to do lots of things. K5, and other sites like it, inspire me, and give me many resources to keep me going.
Remember, friends, newbie does not always equal troll. -dr

What are we really looking for? | 60 comments (52 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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