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#11
(07-29-2020, 09:49 AM)extherian Wrote: I feel like the political development of the setting in particular doesn't get much attention these days. It's rare that anyone fleshes out a major historical event, and we don't see many people proposing new powers like the Arion Ascendancy or the Perseus Princes any more. A certain amount of this is probably low-hanging fruit, you're right, but to this reader it seems as though history has ended for the Sephirotics. They've learned to coexist, have solved every problem that could be of relevance to a lesser being and appear unthreatened by anything save for the Amalgamation. The Oracle War was good stuff, but that was posted all the way back in 2006!

We currently have dozens of empires and polities named in the EG - and most of them have very little written up on them. We've tried in the past to suggest a dedicated month for a given empire - and then nobody, or almost nobody writes anything. Including the people who were all nodding vigorously when the idea was suggested.

More to the point - and you had to know this was coming - if you want to write about this aspect of the setting, what is stopping you?

Given the subject currently under discussion (lack of activity on the forums) I'm quite serious. Please explain why you - extherian - are not out here writing about this or some other element of the setting that interests you?

(07-29-2020, 09:49 AM)extherian Wrote: Also, as far as I know we don't have threads for commenting on existing articles, unless you're talking about articles in progress on the EG subforum?

We have the Suggestion Box subforum, we have a typo thread somewhere (could have sworn it was a sticky, but I don't see it) and there is nothing whatsoever stopping anybody from generating any thread on any topic they please, including commenting on an existing article.

Did someone give you the idea that commenting on existing articles is forbidden or the like?

Is there something - specifically - about OA that leads you or others to think that commenting on existing articles is not allowed?

Todd
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#12
(07-29-2020, 07:34 AM)extherian Wrote: My point in suggesting this on the Discord is that the Orion's Arm community isn't a fraction as active as it was in the early days of the project, and this is unlikely to change given the way the site and forums are structured now, which I feel is an impediment to future growth. While I would love this community to become more mainstream, I get that folks here are comfortable with the way things are and aren't particularly keen to change the status quo. And obviously, the idea was that people would still have to sign up for accounts to comment, just with a more direct link between reading articles and discussing them. It goes without saying that an anonymous commenting system would be unworkable.

I don't know that it's a case of people here being 'comfortable with the status quo' per se.

Partly there is the issue that many of the ideas suggested for changing the status quo are not technically feasible at this time.

Partly there is the issue that if we are to contemplate changing the status quo, we first need to have ideas for what sort of change(s) we are supposed to make and why. And generally there aren't a lot of those offered. Maybe we aren't pushing hard enough...

Todd
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#13
(07-29-2020, 07:08 AM)stevebowers Wrote: I should note that we also occasionally get comments and ideas on the OA Facebook page, which we reply to and act on, when appropriate.

Cool! I did not know that. Smile

Todd
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#14
(07-29-2020, 09:32 AM)Dfleymmes1134 Wrote: These are interesting points
but as a more general question for the newer folks and maybe those who've been around since the beginning
could the higher activity actually have been due to lower barriers to entry, so to speak, or because all the low hanging fruit hadn't been taken yet? or other reasons? 
because there also wasn't as much consistency or careful editing as there is now, from what I understand. 

i'm curious if one of the reasons you "don't comment/edit on articles" because it's harder to comment on them, extherian? everything4044? (obviously you do comment and contribute a lot!)

I have some thoughts on this, but want to wait to see what others think.

Todd
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#15
Some thoughts on this...

(07-29-2020, 09:32 AM)Dfleymmes1134 Wrote: These are interesting points
but as a more general question for the newer folks and maybe those who've been around since the beginning
could the higher activity actually have been due to lower barriers to entry, so to speak, or because all the low hanging fruit hadn't been taken yet? or other reasons? 
because there also wasn't as much consistency or careful editing as there is now, from what I understand. 

I don't see the barriers to joining the forum as being significantly different from/harder than those associated with joining the old Yahoo groups. You had to ask for permission to join for that. OTOH, if you mean something other that LOE to join when you say 'barriers to entry' - maybe.

When I joined OA there were a lot more shorter articles in comparison to long ones than we have now. Our articles have tended to get longer and more involved. I've had instances where I've asked people about contributing - either in email conversations starting from a Contact Us message or elsewhere - and they indicate they don't think they know enough about science to contribute. Or that they imagine us to be intimidating or the like. We do tend to be much more rigorous about the science and 'logical consistency' of entries than we were back in the day (no more 'here's an article.' Ok - fine' and it's up by the next day). But I don't know that that is a particularly difficult or intimidating barrier to folks. I've not seen anyone bring it up before, at least. Maybe the newer members would have more to say on this.

It's possible the issue of most 'low hanging fruit' having been picked could play a role. When I joined OA there were easily dozens of hard SF, transhuman, and high tech concepts that hadn't made it to the EG yet. These days - much less of that. We've been gradually shifting to planet creation (a big thing right now), fleshing out and/or refining existing content and more 'social' elements like applications of psychoware. That said, there is certainly more or less unlimited room for people to create new polities or garden worlds if they feel like it.

One thing I wonder about is if the various alternative platforms to the forum (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Discord) might be both 'diluting' the pool of potential active members/contributors (more options than just the forum) and also promoting a culture of talking about OA rather than creating OA.

On a possibly related note - something that's come up on the Discord multiple times is someone presenting an idea, a forum member encouraging them to bring it to the forum to be turned into an EG article - and the person saying they aren't 'used to' forums as if this is some kind of distinct barrier to them joining or participating. I honestly don't understand this. A keyboard is a keyboard is a keyboard. But apparently they see some sort of significant barrier related to posting on the forum.

There is also a general tendency in the last 5 years or more for people to want to tell us how they think some part of the setting should be but do not want to actually put in the work to make the addition or change themselves. Instead they want us to do it for them. Which isn't what we're on about here. But it might be worth asking some newer members if they get a vibe that that is how OA is supposed to work (and why they get that feeling). Also, the OA Culture page will likely seek to address this to some degree. Aiming to have a draft of that ready over the weekend.

My 2c worth,

Todd
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#16
imo, I disagree that people can just go "hey, this is bad, you go fix it". Like if they have reasons and it's significant maybe... 

I think people on discord when they want to contribute to OA look at the forums and go: "Oh no, that's way too slow paced for me. I prefer Discord, where conversation is faster." Atm if i want to see a new post or a message i have to refresh the page
"Scientia Est Potientia."
       Knowledge is power.
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#17
(07-30-2020, 06:53 PM)Everything4404 Wrote: imo, I disagree that people can just go "hey, this is bad, you go fix it". Like if they have reasons and it's significant maybe... 

Um. Dude. You've basically done this very thing multiple times since you joined. On the Discord and on the forum. Even after being told that this isn't how we do things and the way we do do things.

You're just the most recent, not by any means the only, person to do this.

While you're correct that the actual words 'you go fix it' aren't used, when someone says 'I think there should be an article on X or that the article on Y should be changed in Z fashion' and then either doesn't offer to take on the project (or doesn't say anything else about it) or - when asked if they are willing to take on the project - begs off due to reasons of time, skill, experience, whatever - by default that rather only leaves that one of us should take care of it. And unless the poster experienced a significant change in circumstances around their time/skill/experience/whatever between their original post and our response, logically they knew their situation precluded doing the project when they made the suggestion.

Certainly we want people to share ideas on how to expand/improve the setting. And a mechanism by which we could help people who lack the wherewithal to bring an article to fruition even though they have a good idea would be cool - but I don't see us as having the resources for that even if we decided that such a course didn't violate the entire ethos of the project.

(07-30-2020, 06:53 PM)Everything4404 Wrote: I think people on discord when they want to contribute to OA look at the forums and go: "Oh no, that's way too slow paced for me. I prefer Discord, where conversation is faster." Atm if i want to see a new post or a message i have to refresh the page

On the Discord, conversation stops when everyone goes to bed. It's very much geared to real-time rather than asynchronous discussion. Trying to have a conversation on any one thing means plowing through 15 other conversations all going on at once. There's no stored record of any conversation that's readily accessible and allows a user to come up to speed on what's already been discussed or what's gone on while they've been away. And perhaps most importantly - I've yet to see an actual EG article get produced by it.

If the Discord can come up with a process that consistently (meaning not just a one off) produces an acceptable quality end product (aka EG articles) then we might consider modifying the process to allow for article production based there (while also keeping the forum probably). I have doubts about that happening. But if the Discord can prove me wrong I won't shed a tear.

I've also occasionally looked around for something that might replace the forum in terms of more advanced/modern features and such. I haven't found much, and the one thing I did find would cost thousands of dollars a year or more to run. Which - unfortunately - is not within our budget atm.

Todd

EDIT - If someone does know of a free or very cheap 'next generation' forum or similar tool that they'd like to suggest, please do. I can't say when or if we'd be in a position to do anything about it. But we can't even consider a replacement for the forum if we don't know it exists.

EDIT EDIT - Ok, now having said that I did some googling and found this - Flarum. Not that we'd change instantly just because we found something (plus we have other irons in the fire). But this is apparently free and appears (to my inexperienced eye) to combine some features of forums and discord. Hmm.
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#18
The Discord is not really suitable for posting new material or edits, because the relevant stuff gets buried too quickly. If you post a suggested amendment or typo correction on the Forum it will be dealt with (eventually); on the Discord, new material gets lost within a day or so. It is very good for discussions and collaborations, but the finished material needs to be posted here.
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#19
(07-29-2020, 07:34 AM)extherian Wrote: My point in suggesting this on the Discord is that the Orion's Arm community isn't a fraction as active as it was in the early days of the project...

You know, I'm not sure that's true. There are numerous active contributors, and many new and amended articles being posted all the time. The Extended World Classification System, the Colonisation before the First Federation list and the Garden Planets list are all very large and complex contributions on a scale that we rarely attempted in the old days, and include details that require far-reaching amendments to multiple other articles at the same time. Not to mention the on-going Duxed, Macrystis, Archsaur Ring, Proxima, Kammerer, Stevocations, Jirayaka, Tohul, Kepler-9, Campbell Stations articles...

The active editors have rarely been so busy, and the site is being revised with a lot of new content that various contributors are providing. And the new front page is nearly ready. So something's going on, even if it isn't immediately apparent.
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#20
Excellent points all around Steve. Smile
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