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Customisation and fragmentation

By enterfornone in Meta
Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 05:15:50 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)
Kuro5hin.org

Despite the occasional conflict, Kuro5hin has in the space of a single year successfully formed a reasonably large and high quality community. With the technology and culture focus, K5 has attracted a demographic that is interested in these areas of discussion, however the K5 readership has a diverse range of interests outside of these two areas.

Such topics as American politics, music and alternative operating systems are some that many here are interested in, while others not at all. While these three areas bear some relationship to technology and culture they are subjects that many here would rather not see.

There have been a number of suggestions for customised front pages, allowing people to choose exactly what they are interested in. But how far should this be taken? And is there a danger of fragmenting the community that we have built up?


The easy way to do this would be to simply allow people to choose the sections and topics they are interested in. Don't like MLP, that section won't be displayed. In addition if you really like Politics, stories with that topic can be promoted to your front page regardless of the vote. Perhaps you think that the Movies topic deserves its own section. You can do that too.

It may be worthwhile allowing customisation based on other criteria. For example if you don't like stories posted by people you consider to be trolls, you don't have to see them. If you think Rusty always writes good stories you can see them regardless of the vote. And if you think Inoshiro has good taste, you can see all the stories that he votes up regardless of what the rest think.

While the existing topics and sections go some way to categorising stories, there will no doubt be the need to add other categories. In particular, regional categories will be necessary, and there will be a need to have stories with multiple categories (for example stories on American politics will have a USA category and a Politics category).

How do we decide what categories to add? Obviously there needs to be a standard so people who are interested in Linux don't miss stories categorised as GNU/Linux. There also needs to be a way to stop people adding categories that only a few people are interested in. The obvious way to do this is with a vote, much like the story voting mechanism now.

There is a danger to all of this however. At present Kuro5hin is a single community, but allowing too much customisation could turn K5 into many separate communities with some parts having little contact with others. In the extreme case, K5 could turn into an alternative to Usenet or web based Usenet alternatives such as Yahoo clubs and Delphi Forums. Whether you think this is good or bad, it will certainly mean a major change to the community that currently exists.

Community fragmentation already exists here to some degree. Apart from the regional fragmentation there also exists the "cabal" consisting of regulars of the #kuro5hin IRC channel, the Trolltalk regulars, perhaps even the diary regulars can be considered their own separate group. However for the most part K5 is a single community and most of the regular posters are well known to the other regulars. As K5 grows this may change regardless of any additional features we add, however we will eventually have to make the decision whether to enforce the status quo or allow K5 to evolve to the next level.

The question is, how far should we take it?

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Poll
How far should we take it?
o Leave things as they are 27%
o Remove sections you aren't interested in 11%
o Killfile authors you aren't interested in 2%
o All that and make new sections too 13%
o alt.config.kuro5hin.org 12%
o Just let Rusty decide 31%

Votes: 79
Results | Other Polls

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Display: Sort:
Customisation and fragmentation | 18 comments (17 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
K5C (3.42 / 7) (#1)
by Malicose on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:46:52 PM EST

How may I join this Kuro5hin Cabal?

Cabal 101 (4.16 / 6) (#2)
by rusty on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:50:41 PM EST

Whenever the word "cabal" comes up, repeat "There is no K5 cabal." You may also repeat it at your discretion, anytime you feel like it. The cabal will hear you, and you will be contacted.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
yes rusty... (3.33 / 3) (#4)
by Defect on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:53:06 PM EST

there is no k5 cabal.
there is no k5 cabal.
there is no k5 cabal.


/me clicks heels 3 times.
Auntie Em, you were there, and so were you!
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
TINK5C! (2.66 / 3) (#3)
by panner on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 07:51:26 PM EST

He said it! He said cabal! Oops, I said cabal. Oops, I said cabal again. Ahhhh! I can't stop saying cabal!

/me flies into a canyon

(yeah, I know it didn't happen like that in the movie :)

--
Keith Smiley
Get it right, for God's sake. Pigs can work out how to use a joystick, and people still can't do this!
[ Parent ]
What is the best thing about K5? (3.60 / 5) (#5)
by jann on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 08:32:23 PM EST

What is the best thing about K5?

To me it is that we are all a little bit similar. In that we know that there value here and not an overwhelming amount of static.

Here is what I mean. I find most of the articles here interesting. On /. there needs to be customisation because there is so much crap that it is too much work to process the grain from the chaff.

Here I Know that there is very little chaff ... to me it is most of MLP and that is it ;-)

It's cause we are all comming from the same angle ... interesting, thought provoking discussion (else we would be at /.). And we all receive that here.

I like the common interface. I know that everyone sees the same things and is commenting on the same things I see. I must aggree with the author ... It allows a really good community to exist ... which it has as you can see if you look around.

let's stick with what we have ... for now. Nothing is written in stone and, perhaps, at some later time things should change. But, for now, when I log in in the morning I see the interesting discussions and I like

I doubt the success (4.00 / 3) (#7)
by Aatos_ on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 09:27:05 PM EST

Customizing the appearance of the site section/topic-selection doesn't seem to be a good idea.

This is because section/topic is only a pale hint about the piece which is posted under it. I find it impossible to rate how interesting a story is by just looking section/topic.

I'm interested about allmost all articles and discussions regardless of their content, provided that they are well done and bring some interesting aspects out. Yes, as a non-american I do actually read some of the 'US only'-type of pieces. The good ones allways reveal something important about the country and it's people. On the other hand, I couldn't care less for a piece about some latest gadget-X if the author just introduces the thing(or worse, just gives a link to some other story) and says 'whoa, cool eh?'.

</rant> This applies ofcourse only to me, someone who can be considered to be something along the lines of 'knowledge-junkie'. :-)

Don't like that idea (4.66 / 3) (#8)
by TheDude on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 10:48:41 PM EST

In my opinion, K5 is too 'categorized' already. I don't see the need for an MLP, don't specifically care about the diaries, and think that the other categories could easily all fit on the front page. But that's enough complaining from me.

To further categorize K5 would, imo, be a mistake, just because there are plenty of stories that I never see already. Some of them I don't care about, others I do. Some interesting stories turned out to be in sections that I rarely ever read. (In fact, I rarely read anything but the front page, and interesting-sounding stories in the story-bar on the left.) To have each person having his/her own 'front page' would not only entail (I assume) a good bit of code re-write (I confess, I haven't looked at scoop), but I don't think enough people would take advantage of the possibilities it would entail, in respect to the amount of work it would take to create personal front pages.

Besides, why is it necessary to never have to see stories you're not interested in? If you don't care, just ignore the story. If you don't think it's worth your time, don't read it. You can already vote -1 on the story if you think it's that bad. If it gets posted and you don't like that fact, let those who do care about it read and comment on it. I don't wanna see K5 become something like Yahoo in the sense of everyone having a "My K5 Page". It's K5 - it's a community. In a community, there are people who don't care about certain things. If you isolate yourself from things you don't care about, how can you expect to learn and expand your horizons? There will be people missing stories they might have had an interest in, merely because they didn't choose to have the section for "Culture" or "Media" on their "My K5". Further sectioning K5 (and therefore further sectioning the K5 members and community) can only be a bad thing, imo.

--
TheDude of Smokedot
Drug Info, Rights, Laws, and Discussion
Visit #smokedot on irc.smokedot.org

Categorization system (4.66 / 3) (#9)
by xriso on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 11:36:48 PM EST

If we're gonna do this, we should do it right.

The whole "section" concept is very fine when there's no customization, but if we are going to have filters, I would like a better system.

My proposal is a keyword system, for example, an article about BeOS being emulated in Linux would have the keywords {Linux, BeOS, emulation}. You can select which keywords you want to read about. If you put Linux in your "show" list, you would see this story. But if you also had BeOS in your "hide" list, you wouldn't see it regardless of the fact that it's also Linux story.

An author would have to change their list a bit to get it right, so it needs to be changeable after the story is submitted. To suggest a change to the list, you just post an editorial. If the author thinks it's a good idea, the list gets changed. Of course, once the story is actually posted, the editorials are gone, so the keyword list can be cemented at that time.

Interesting things to think about:
Should the moderation queue be filtered?
Should there be a multi-level show/hide list (eg Show stories about Linux. Else hide all stories by Inoshiro. Else show stories about Canada)?
How the heck do we convert old stories?

However, this is not necessarily a good thing to implement right now. As the story says, this kind of filtering could fragment the community. Of course, that other site has a fine time with filters as there are so many readers. I think that once stories get ~150 comments average, we could probably take this sort of change without dying.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

subject goes here (4.66 / 3) (#10)
by Delirium on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:04:29 AM EST

The problem is that it's really hard to get a system like this fine-grained enough to make it useful (where it won't hide stories you really did want to see) while simultaneously keeping it manageable. For example, I do not use Linux, do not care about Linux, and generally would like to not see stories which are exclusively about Linux. However, a story about a new Linux journaling filesystem which servers as the starting point for a larger discussion about journaling filesystems in general is something that I would want to see.

It seems to me that the best solution is to keep the settings roughly as they are, but to encourage people to post stories which discuss some concept or idea rather than specific instances of such a concept - post "linux kernel x.y released" on freshmeat, but post "discussion of various approaches to kernel design" on k5.

Of course this is all my personal opinion, so feel free to disregard. =P

[ Parent ]

Those diaries on the front page (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by dave114 on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 01:46:50 AM EST

One of the things I've never liked about K5 is having all the new diaries listed on the front page. If a more reasonable number like the latest 5 or so listed wouldn't be so bad but the usual 20 or so that appear take up far too much screen real estate. Why not do something similar to the diary entries as is done to the normal submissions? Well I find the diaries sometimes to be interesting I've never ended up selecting one off the front page. If I notice an interesting comment I'll sometimes just go browse the user info of whoever the postee may be.

Agreed (none / 0) (#16)
by enterfornone on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 04:35:19 PM EST

I would say just make it 3 like the section stories (and list the name and author not just the author). It would also be nice to be able to hotlist the diaries of people you like to read about.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
The only thing I want... (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by slaytanic killer on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 07:23:16 AM EST

... is to be able to see the stuff that got modded to 0 and the stories that get rejected. Strangely enough, there is a persistent bug that doesn't allow me to read a rejected story even if I have a link; it says, "Sorry, can't seem to find that article!"

I understand that it is nice to sweep that stuff under the rug for normal users, but I consider that a major design flaw if you can't access it through two levels of links. I perhaps could create a trusted account, but it really sounds like a pain in the ass.

I beleive it's actually deliberate (none / 0) (#15)
by enterfornone on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 04:34:12 PM EST

Rusty mentioned in one of my diaries that he considers the bug to be the fact that you can still read comments of hidden stories. However the stories themselves are only viewable by the poster.

I would like to be able to view hidden stories and comments. Just make it hidden as the default.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
K5 is already fragmented (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by caadams on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 09:49:43 AM EST

As I write this, the last "Front Page" story was posted six days ago. In that time, 34 stories have been accepted section-only. To me, the front page is simply an annoyance on the way to the "everything" page.

The community is also fragmented by the moderation process. Many of the interesting discussions are concluded by the time stories are posted. Sometimes important community discussions are held in the moderation queue, like Community choice, role of dictatorship. See Rusty's reply to "it's rusty's site" and [1], [2], [3], and [4] for more examples of the quality discussion that followed.

If you weren't one of the queue-readers at the time, you may have missed the story completely--it was voted down (or expired?) after several days. Fortunately this inner circle of discussion is open to everyone with an account.

i think (none / 0) (#14)
by yavor on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 11:05:11 AM EST

First of all I think that we should ask what is the purpose of K5? What was it when it was created and has it changed?

IMHO K5 must not be targeted to *all* kinds of people. K5 should be a site for a community. Otherwise it will turn into a clone of these mega news/discution portals that simply don't have K5 should soul - they don't have community. But customatization is good.

Here is what I would like K5 to discus:
- freedom - most important - freedom of speech, software, social, economical, freedom of choise...
- open source software
- politics
- ecology
- science (popular and not so popular) - chemistry, phisics, biology (I am not sure if this is of interest of the majority of the community)
- alternatives - in technology, sociaty, religions, politics

You can't expect people to have the same opinion on this topics. They should not! If they all think the same way then there won't be real discusion. But then they should not feel offenced too.
My opinion is that K5 doesn't appear to be a place for all kinds of people. Take "culture & technology, from the trenches" and stick with it. Large fragmentation and split is not good.

Unnecessary (none / 0) (#17)
by Beorn on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 11:24:32 AM EST

Filtering would only be necessary if there was too much information for users to handle. I don't think there is today, it only takes me seconds to scan the front page, story queue and diaries for topics I'm interested in. Besides, I don't know what I want to read about before I see it, and the section classification has never worked very well.

Leave it for now.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

Testing (none / 0) (#18)
by UnknownWarrior on Tue Oct 30, 2001 at 08:49:49 PM EST

Testing

Customisation and fragmentation | 18 comments (17 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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