Blog Post

5 years ago

Site Changes

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: Features FLIGSThe Site
I've already talked about this somewhat already, but I am saying again that I am working on remaking the site!

Mainly I'm just changing the CSS - that is, the stuff that affects how the site looks, but not necessarily how it works - so the database will be remaining as it is and the site will function much as it does now. Everything will be in a similar place, too, probably.

However, I do want to be clear about the changes that I am making, so then I can hear opinions about things I should also add or remove or change while I'm still in a stage of development where such mutability is possible.

The main change - which I may or may not have mentioned already; I can't remember - is that I'm trying to make the site less toxic to me and people I'd like to attract here by removing most of the 'judgement' features. The following features are all going to be changed:

- Blurbs are gone entirely.

- FLIGS is replaced by a simple 'appreciation' system; each post has a ♥ button next to it, which you can click to show that you 'appreciate' the comment in some way or another. This can range from feelings of delight, interest, admiration, or even just a way of saying "I took the time to read this" or "thank you". There's no corresponding 'downrating' thing yet, though I may add a 'mark as abusive' thing which will draw the attention of the moderators, who will be able to 'delete' comments. Maybe.
There won't be any kind of totals of these shown on userpages or anything, though the Community Hub will have the ten most appreciated recent posts in place of the 'most provocative posts' thing.
These ♥ things will also be available on userpages and blog posts and will work in the same way.

- Since FLIGS is gone, so are orbs.

- The affinity thing is gone too.

- Being able to mark people as Friends still exists.

- I may or may not remove medals; I have no particular desire to keep them, and most of them relate to FLIGS anyway.

I'm also considering splitting the forum into distinctly different sections. Currently, the whole atmosphere of the site seems very... 'Thinky', I suppose; there seems to be a lot of expectation to have 'Intelligent Discussions™', to see things objectively and to ramble seriously at length. I can imagine the cold conflict of such things being unappealing to more feely-oriented people, perhaps.

So I'm considering dividing the forum into the following sections, each of which would be coloured differently on the Community Hub, and the main Forum page would be divided into subpages for each one, like with most forums:

- Some kind of Thinky-oriented 'serious discussion' sort of forum... I'm not entirely sure what I'll call it. It will basically be for threads as they are now, with emphasis on detail and Intelligent Discussion and all that sort of stuff. All the current threads will likely be dumped in here when the split happens.

- Some kind of Feely-oriented forum which encourages emotional support and a generally more 'casual' atmosphere WITHOUT being completely inane. Hopefully it is possible to be both semi-detailed and supportive/emotional/non-serious at the same time! But we'll have to see... I don't know what I'd call this room either; I could name them abstractly, like the 'blue room' and 'red room', or with titles like 'Thinking' and 'Feeling'. Or something.
Anyone who responded to posts in this section in a rough, aggressive, problem-solving kind of way would be punished in some form. Probably. But I don't want to instil fear in posters there, so I'll have to strike a balance.

- A general Games discussion forum, for obvious reasons.

- Perhaps a 'Creative' forum, where people can link to their art, writing, music, or whatever else they've made in the hope that people will comment on it. There'd be no support for actually uploading these creations to the site, though, so people would have to upload them elsewhere and link to them.

- A Roleplaying or general 'forum games' forum. This is a big change, because I have firmly blocked any roleplaying threads before, because I felt they'd overwhelm the forum (and have done in the past). However, I realise that it's popular and many people enjoy it, and I do want people to be able to enjoy themselves here! Threads from this forum might not show up on the Community hub; I'm not sure.

So there you have it! I'm working on these things at the moment, and have currently got the general colour scheme and stuff sorted out. I'm writing this from the new site, actually, and... eugh, it feels so horrible and miserable to go back to the old, dark, dismal version! This one's much brighter, and I feel better just being here! Hopefully it'll have the same effect on some other people too, and it'll improve the overall atmosphere of the site!

I'm hoping to have most of it done within a few days, but I promise nothing!!

on 25 Roots



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Raria 20 United States PhlegmaticMelancholic INFJ 26C
Reading through all of the comments, I've noticed a general trend that the people who support keeping the FLIGS system are usually Thinky males, as has been pointed out. As a Feely-type young female, I thought I'd like to give a little input. If this is not welcome, I apologize, feel free to skip reading this.

I can see the issues with FLIGS. It can definitely make me scared to post some things for fear of being judged. But I can also see the advantages to it- it can provide feedback and helpful information about how a comment was received by the readers. I had one idea, although I have no idea if it is even possible or anything. What if there was a choice about the systems for the poster him/herself? What if when you posted a comment, you could choose whether you wanted the FLIGS system or +1 system to be available on your post? Then people could choose not to be judged (particularly feelers, I think?) or choose to receive feedback (probably thinkers?).

Again, I don't know the feasibility of this, but I just thought I'd put the idea out there.

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ikiimoni 18 United States SanguineCholeric ENFP 6w5 33C
I perfectly like fligs, but my one issue with it is that if I was to put up a thought out comment, which on these forums, at the current date, might risk negative attention. I definately like having a ♥ system, which would really cut down on pressure, and it would irritate me to not want to use chat. I think that splitting the forums is a great idea because it should let people act like themselves.

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Hey, why not just write a special script for the site that would scan every new post for negative adjectives, and automatically block it, so nobody would ever be able to judge anybody.

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Astarael 25 Bosnia and Herzegovina MelancholicSanguine INFP 9w1 41C
We would need a script for sarcasm too. And irony, don't forget the irony.
The Raven

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The Raven 25 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic ISFP 6w5 22C
I'm honestly expectant for the change, I usually avoid most of the threads because I feel like I would have no place in them, so this sounds like something that would be quite interesting to me.

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I'm supposing these changes are flexible still, and open for "first reactions" kind of feedback? If not, then just disregard this entire post, otherwise read on...


My reactions to this disappearing are mixed, or maybe just non-existant, I don't feel a need to protest this change, I don't particularly care if they exist or not. I think maybe, overall, this change is for the best despite the fact that the blurbs I received encouraged me to get back on the right track after experiencing a loss of... composure...

This was fairly obvious it was going to go, and I outright support it. In fact, I replied to the blog post where you commented on the removal of the FLIGS system, and that comment received some FLIGS abuse, granted the comment I made wasn't of high quality, but it equally didn't deserve the harsh ratings it received. However, I'm glad to see this go, I found FLIGS to be a source of quite a few conflicts and hard feelings.

It's replacement with a simple "+1" type of system is welcome. I've never really been a fan of the simple system until I had the perspective of something like FLIGS to compare it with.

Not sure on this one, I like to use the affinities system to keep track of who I've met before and remind me if people have done good by me in the past. I can understand removing it from the view of the reciever, keeping a personal log of affinities for the giver only, this way it doesn't impact the other person in any way, and allows me to selfishly keep using it for my personal reasons. But, in the vein of FLIGS, it has been the source of hard feels and conflicts, even though to a lesser extend surprisingly.

Always thought achievements in games were stupid and arbitrary, same can be said for achievements on websites if not moreso.

Forum Division
It might be a case of my cynicism getting the better of me, so if tell me I'm wrong I'll take your word for it; this is where I start to get conflicted, I can't help but feel you're segmenting the forum between "desirables" and "undesirables" based on your personal criteria. It really does feel like you want to box us up and cast us to one side, out of view, out of mind. Doing so allows you to cultivate the "desirable" half of your community in peace. This belief is cemented by the fact that you want to specifically punish practical advice in this "feely" forum.

Well I think that sums up all my opinions on the changes from the perspective of a "thinky" person. Despite my criticisms, I would probably still frequent the site, too many worthwhile companions.

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Different forums, never thought of that... I would say I will be quite at home in the Freely forum. I appall all discrimination, which is clearly what the freely forum is going to be without. It will also allow less knowledgeable (Meaning inexperienced, not unintelligent.) people to fit in.

Edit: will you allow us to uprate your blog posts in any way? I keep wishing I could...

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I really like the idea of splitting the forums, it's something that I'll be looking forward to. We can have all our Intelligent Discussions in one place and be able to go elsewhere if we're in the mood for something else.

But...please don't get rid of FLIGS! It's one of the best parts about this site! As other people have said, it's extremely useful because it lets you show your specific reaction to a post without actually having to post a response and explain "That made me happy, I found it very interesting and I agreed with you." It's also extremely helpful to receive positive FLIGS (to know how many people support you, etc.) and negative FLIGS (to tell you that you're doing soemthing wrong). Wouldn't it just be enough to remove the orbs, the medals, and the FLIGS performance tracker? That way, no one would have to feel bad about having their 'reputation' ruined with a bad orb and so be able to post more casually, while still getting extremely useful feedback for each individual comment via FLIGS. I just don't feel that a simple 'like' system would be as good for showing different magnitudes of appreciation and criticism. Only being able to give a single like wouldn't let me say "This was really, really good!" and it just seems to cheapen any appreciation into a generic "I like it" and +1 thing.

Edit: And it also removes the choice of variety of giving both negative and positive FLIGS together...under a 'one button like' system, you either completely like a post or report it to the mods. Which would just be awfully constraining - there would no longer be a way to say "That post angered me, but I admire your language skills and felt that it needed to be said."

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Again, it's a 'Thinky male' saying this sort of thing. The system might be appealing to you for the reasons that you mentioned, but I'm sure (that is, I've heard directly) that it's repellent to, for example, emotionally sensitive young girls who don't want their every word to be scrutinised and assessed.

Since they're the audience that I'm eager to make this place welcoming to, I have already removed FLIGS in the new version of the site and added this new ♥ thing.

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!!  L 23 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric ENTP 777 36C
I feel as though these choices can promote more growth in this websites new members, by being more user friendly and not as intimidating. However, I do think that these choices aren't quite popular among some of the already existing members here. I myself am welcome to these changes, especially removing negative fligs. It makes it so that I would no longer have to worry about someone giving me a nasty red rating or something. I mean, I don't know how everyone will feel about something I would say, which makes me anxious about getting negative feedback.

Although, I think the root of the problem is not rating things up or down, but the fact that you get an orb based on this. This only makes it so that people stereotype you into whatever social stigma is attached to a certain color. For example, people with red orbs are looked down upon, and vice versa if you have a green orb. I particularly see people with green orbs here being put on some kind of pedestal, and they are treated like intelligent an flawless beings. It would be great if we could keep the up and down ratings for improvement purposes, but take out the orb that you get. I feel like it creates an unnecessary social hierarchy.

And yes, as previously mentioned I really dislike the sense of elitism. I really don't know why I get that feeling here, maybe it's just a combination of things. The root of the problem is probably based around members, if anything else. The way we ourselves act and conduct ourselves here. For example, comments that are paragraphs long, have perfect grammar and sentence structure, very intelligent conversations, again perfect grammar. This is all fine, I prefer it this way, but unfortunately the general teenage girl would not find that appealing. In fact, I think that those kinds of things probably scare a lot of people away, since they might be scared their contributions are "not good enough". It's unfortunate, but true.

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Voukras 23 Romania CholericMelancholic INTJ 162 152C
Honestly, negative ratings were the reason I started posting. It seemed like the kind of environment that would promote well thought out arguments and healthy debate. I wasn't disappointed. Negative FLIGS had a certain appeal to them, at least for me.

I've been seeing this trend on more popular forums. Opinions. Everyone has one and they really need to express it, just like I'm doing now, an opinion that was perhaps not called for at all, and for that I apologize. But going back to my point..., most opinions, by themselves, are worthless, unless one is just tallying up how many people have certain opinions. What matters is the reasons for having that opinion. The rationale. That does not wholly exclude reasons that are 'feely', as you describe them. I'm more referring to actually putting effort into explaining why one has a certain opinion, that's what makes a post worthwhile and generates discussions that have meaning. But due to the large volume of posts on the popular forums I mentioned before, few people seem to be interested in doing anything else than quickly stating their opinion and perhaps making an underhanded remark about the opposing side. Because of that large volume of posts people will very rarely get direct responses, they lose sense of positive and negative incentives. At this point few care about the quality of their posts. This is one of the reasons why FLIGS is great. It offers input from people when they lack the time to respond to every post. Of course, FLIGS is not a solution. There are no solutions. There are only tradeoffs. The downside of the tradeoff could be that some people will post for the FLIGS instead of the actual discussion. That's why I believe negative ratings are pretty important here. Both sides of the incentive are important.

I can understand that some people are afraid of being judged, or just dislike conflict. I did too. My palms would get sweaty when trying to engage in debate when I was 12 or so. I would feel pretty bad after my entire view was challenged and a few times thoroughly insulted. But it was an important lesson. There were many opinions, many different from mine, and many that were expressed better and had better reasons. Not everyone has a personality or has the benefit of being in a state in which he can learn from the..., let's call it, 'school of hard internet knocks', so I understand why you would alter the current system. I disagree with it for purely selfish reasons and that I will readily admit.

The other part to the lesson I mentioned earlier. was that debates should not be a place where someone goes, states their opinion and then anyone who disagrees considers them barbarians at the gates and proceeds to pummel them into intellectual submission. It strive be, when possible, a friendly discussion aimed at getting closer to the truth. If people would understand this better (not that I'm any saint, I forget it at times), debates would be less hostile and people would be less stressed out about posting. If we would understand this there wouldn't be a need for FLIGS or other constructs for guiding user behavior.

On the other hand (the hand that actually agrees with something), I highly support a separation of forums. One for debate and the other for casual discussions or 'thinky' and 'feely', if you must. Sometimes people who just want to discuss some events or vent are dragged into who knows what debate about something they didn't intend to mention. On the other hand sometimes people with posts that aren't very well constructed or expressed and generally just don't have any effort put into them. They're just putting an opinion out there, not much more. Rarely are these people trying to be disruptive on purpose, but it all kind of stems from not understanding the context of the discussion. A separation of forums would give a clear context.

I'm also very curious about the new color scheme, even optimistic, though I hope it won't be too bright. Those are rather uncomfortable during the night.

That's basically all I have to say on this topic. As was done before, I'd like to state the obvious. This is your forum. I'm just explaining my stance, whose value is nil to something, depending on your take on it, but don't let it impede in any way what you want to do with your forum. As far as I'm concerned, I'm just a guest here.
Perturbed Crow

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Hm, I'm a bit disappointed that FLIGS will be so compressed into the typical "like button" kind of thing. Would it be possible to keep it but simply eliminate negative ratings? One of the things I did like about FLIGS was that it allowed me to say specifically why I liked something, instead of just forcing me to give a general "I liked this!" kind of thing, which I might use for a variety of different reasons...

Everything else sounds very good, though. Blurbs seem like a good concept that didn't end up working very well, and I do know that affinities are quite stressful (especially since they're anonymous). The cahnges will probably make the site less off-putting, as you hope.

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Something that bothered me about FLIGS is that I often wanted to say 'thank you' to all the posts that I read, but didn't necessarily feel that they deserved a +G rating... Or I'd generally like a post, but wouldn't know what to rate it. Or I'd worry about my own posts getting a +G but not a +I; "wasn't it interesting enough? D:"

So while a generic 'like' thing is indeed more bland... it'll also probably make it much easier to use in general. I've been using a similar system on another (private) site of mine for a while now, and I 'like' posts a lot more than I ever gave positive FLIGS ratings and generally prefer the system overall.

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Urgmathron 24 United States MelancholicCholeric INTJ 514 55C
I liked some aspects of the FLIGS system, but I think it may have been a bit unwieldy. To someone who is just arriving at the site, they have no idea what any of the letters mean. Sure you can look it up but if you only visit this site irregularly (Like me) then it becomes harder to remember which is which. That and the fact that you have to click each one at a time, wait until the site registers your vote, and then click another if you want to it just becomes a hassle. I think conceptually it's a great idea, but it could use to be a bit simplified.

Another thing that I think worked against FLIGS was how you could see who voted you what, and how. While I can't bring up any specific examples I don't think that contributed to the type of atmosphere Pseudo wanted here, it was a bit overly judgmental and some forumsgoers more than likely felt persecuted or harassed if a particular member always popped up. Sometimes recriminations might have occurred, people who gave some people negative reviews not because of the poor quality of any post but because they felt vindicated in doing so.

I'd like to say that I liked the rankings however. It would become a quick way to identify the average posting quality of the poster without having to see them around several times. The argument could always be made that it allowed for sweeping generalizations but you often times earned the ranking you had, and could always work your way up the ladder simply by posting constructively. I was annoyed how your ranking would go away if you weren't active for a period of time because I would always forget to drop by the site regularly, instead visiting once a month maybe. Still the idea was to entice people to post happy constructive posts often, and overall I think that worked. Pseudo said he's still toying with everything, let's let him play with the rating systems and see what he comes up with.