The current state of Agora Road

Should we enforce a minimum of 181 words per posts?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 4.3%
  • Yes but but I want wordcount to be different

    Votes: 5 7.1%
  • No opinion

    Votes: 5 7.1%
  • No

    Votes: 57 81.4%

  • Total voters
    70
  • Poll closed .

manpaint

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As I and LostintheCycle pointed out in the Why is Microsoft trying to shoehorn us into Windows 11? thread, there has been a vibe shift on Agora Road. It is not uncommon for threads to devolve into flame wars and debate about unrelated subjects. I think we all noticed a surge of new accounts recently.

I joined the forum on August 2022 and can confidently says that there has been a decline in post quality recentlty. Reading the forum rules make it clears that IlluminatiPirate do not particularly care to police "heated discussions". While I do make use of the blocking function extensively, I must admits that it feels a bit disheartening opening a thread and seeing nearly an entire page of blocked arguments.

From what I can see, its like 3 newbies constantly arguing with eachothers (though a certain old member also like to be argumentative). As such the old axiom of "don't feed the trolls" cannot be used as the "trolls" are feeding each others.

If I were the admin of this place, I would just ban this account, but I think we can all can all agree that a rule to ban "toxic behavior" would be a slippery slope.

Now I consider InsufferableCynic to be the gold standard for what an Agora Rod user should be. Here's an example of one of his post:

My position on this goes a step further, as I feel like people are so ingrained in this thought process that they EXPECT software to be both immensely powerful AND easy to use, which is impossible. Everything is always expected to be easy to use, no matter what, with no acceptable reason for it not to be, which hurts complexity.

There is no room within the industry for power tools, which is why FOSS so often has to take up that mantle.

This is why I say that the "it should be intuitive" mindset isn't just an opposing opinion, it's actively harmful to software as a whole. It sets expectations that things should just "be easy" regardless of the opportunity costs of doing so, and if something isn't easy to use for whatever reason, it's not considered a viable trade off, it's simply considered broken or badly designed.

Without unintuitive open source software doing the real work the entire industry would grind to a halt when everyone realises that their simple GUI-based editor with 5 buttons doesn't actually do anything useful.

But don't get me started on web design. That's a whole part of the industry that really, really sucks for a multitude of reasons, and is bringing the rest of the software industry down with it. The design philosophy of web apps are the reason why software is so horrendously bad now, as regular software adopted the web app mindset and very quickly fucked itself. That's not to be meant as a direct attack on you though, I'm sure you just do your job and don't write the standards and expectations for web projects industry-wide.

Also, expecting grandma to use vim is really not that far fetched. Secretaries in the 1980s were capable of using MS-DOS to format floppy disks. It was a standard part of their job. My computer illiterate mother was expected to completely maintain an entire filesystem for her boss, and at the time this was not considered a technical job, it was just normal. Nowadays programmers and computer experts are afraid to use the command line. If grandma was writing enough content to justify learning vim, it would absolutely be worth it, and it's absolutely something most grandparents would be able to master with some practice. The real issue is that most old people barely use their computers enough to really bother learning anything about how to use them, maybe they boot them up once a week to check emails. Taking the time to learn vim doesn't really make sense in that context. It's not like most other people who don't take the time to learn things and as a result end up wasting a bunch of their time later being unable to do what they need, which seems to be the typical smartphone experience for normies. I constantly see people being endlessly frustrated at their phones for doing stupid shit or updating without their consent or changing everything, and spending the 10 minutes to install F-Droid would go a long way to improving their phone experience. But they prefer the misery they know.

This is a well written post where he details his opinion in details. When I think about Agora Road, I always think this Moe gif alongside his posts.

Considering the problematic posts tend to be low efforts, I suggest enforcing a miniumum of 181 words per forum posts/replies. That number is from the first 4 paragraphs of the above post. Now I don't think this would fix everything, but I think it would greatly reduce the surge of low-efforts post.
 

Alixie Shukshin

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What about a lesser wordcount (100? 80? 120?) only on specific threads? "Low-quality" threads (the Nigga thread for example) and threads which don't need the replies to be long (such as the Currently Listening threads) have always existed in Agora, so the universal wordcount is a bad idea. And don't forget that not even the most serious threads are all full of long replies. A joke can also be a reply and it's not always made with the intent of causing flame wars.

A solution which I think would be better is the option for threads to have a wordcount, with the person who makes the thread deciding if they want it to have the wordcount or not. But a wordcount for every thread is a step too far, honestly. And if that isn't possible, then enforce a wordcount only on the sections which suffer the most from this problem (which as everybody knows, are Current Events/Paranormal and Esoteric).
 
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Orlando Smooth

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The suggestion seems a bit like using a sledgehammer to kill a housefly, and frankly could be easily circumnavigated by simply copy-pasting nonsense into a post.

With that said, I agree entirely that the vibe is off compared to how it used to be. I feel that's at least as much due to the fact that good users are posting less (or are just straight up gone) as it is due to low quality new users. New users posting either bait or just stupid/immature posts have been a constant, usually they fall off after a while. It used to be that these low quality posters would be more than offset by high quality replies for better users, but that ballast seems to be gone. AndyKaufman and Collision's absence in particular comes to mind. I myself took an extended break because I was so exasperated by certain users - and I recall you were absent for a quite a while too @manpaint.

Ultimately I don't think this is a problem that can be solved with any sort of central planning. Minimum word count (of any value) would be easy to overcome, bans would be extremely unpopular to most/all of the user base, and you can't just spawn new high quality users out of the ether. The only solutions that I think make any difference, which I have mentioned in similar posts in the past, is making account creation more burdensome and/or making tiers of users where only people that have proved themselves as capable of upholding some standards have the ability to post in certain areas. Everyone can view the restricted area, but only people who have been sponsored or earned a certain level, or written a meaningful essay can interact. DMT Nexus used to do the essay thing (maybe they still do?) and it was pretty interesting.
 
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manpaint

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With that said, I agree entirely that the vibe is off compared to how it used to be. I feel that's at least as much due to the fact that good users are posting less (or are just straight up gone) as it is due to low quality new users. New users posting either bait or just stupid/immature posts have been a constant, usually they fall off after a while. It used to be that these low quality posters would be more than offset by high quality replies for better users, but that ballast seems to be gone. AndyKaufman and Collision's absence in particular comes to mind. I myself took an extended break because I was so exasperated by certain users - and I recall you were absent for a quite a while too.
Hmm, you reminded me of something. Let me check what my archives have to says about Agora Road:

Manpant's archives said:
After returning from my 7 months Internet challenge, I noticed that many users commented on how the site culture changed, one even jokingly blaming my departure for it. At the time, I did not notice anything different.

Around 19 August 2023, I noticed that the forum had become an echo-chamber for amercian Christians. The preaching increase was very noticable and persisted even after blocking the two main offenders. It had become obvious that the forum attracted a very specific demographic and thus my interest in the forum died as all signals started to become homogenous. Some users also noticed that ████ was noticable again, so I thought it would be wise to contain it to the ████.

I left the forum on 21 August 2023 as part of the ████ plan.
I take note that the "Christian echo-chamber" problem completely dissapeared. IIRC the discussion was not particularly toxic, it's just that the content was not longer suitable to my taste. I do note that the solution I proposed in the OP would have not countered the "offender" (who was making enormous post ranting about Christianity or something).

I do not know what caused Agora Road to "return to its root" during the August 2023 peiod to early 2024. I am afraid my archives are incomplete about this subject.

Anyway, my point is that Agora Road is no stranger to vibe shift. I was not there for Nagol arc, but I assume the vibe right now is similar to when that person was around (same with MTTS and so forth).

I do find your proposal for a gatekeeped section to be interesting. I once ran a private Discord server where the goal was to find high quality r*ddit posts and invite people to it. Despite the entire population being consisted of r*dditors, the discussion were pretty high quality and gave off a very similar vibe to Agora Road (we wrote massive walls of text lol).

So yeah, I definitively think that some form gatekeeping would be nice to maintain quality, even if its just for a special section.
 

LostintheCycle

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The way I saw it, there was a loose fitting 'Rule 8' on Agora Road, borne of the same desires as HY users. I like a refuge from all that crap, but also be able to actually talk about things, unlike on HY where people are mostly joking around.
I disagree with the word count. It would do nothing about the junky arguments that go on, which I find more annoying than low effort posts.
 
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Installing a word limit will not somehow magically remove those people but instead ruin any chance of ever having any form of decent discussion. Just because someone posts some unrelated trash on the thread doesn't mean that we should start ringing the bells and start enforcing crazy policy changes. If it takes one dumbass to cause a whole shift in the website such as adding a word limit then god damn imagine what 50 retards will do or a whole coordinated effort! When I first saw that guy, you know what I did? Skimmed through it, realized it was a whole lot of nonsense that had nothing to do with the topic and then ignored him. Simple. If they have nothing to do with the discussion, ignore them. Let them fester in their own little hole because they crave attention; changing the site will just bolster them even more to disrupt threads and people won't even have enough words to tell him to fuck off with proper information. We'd have to split off posts by 3 or 4 just to get a simple point across lmao.

"But nik0, what you can't just ignore them!? They're ruining the site!!"

And you're ruining the site by simply enforcing some word limit on everyone to resolve a problem that doesn't need solving. Let the guy have his fun and when he gets bored(which he will very soon if we ignore him), he's gone not thinking much of it.

Now, I'm new to the site myself, coming here around December 23'. So I have no right per se, in how this site should conducted. I'm here because I love the forum format and the discussion and active engagement you guys present. Plus the topics and interests match my own. However, I'm not gonna just sit there and watch this site demand a extreme response without me atleast saying my piece.

Besides, if I wanted to deal with the word limit shit, I could just go to Twitter. That's a perfect example to show you what happens to discussion when there are word limits. Hell, with your word limit, I can't even fit this entire response!!!
 
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vulonkaaz

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ngl when I see huge walls of text more often than not i will not read them

reason 1 reading is tiresome for my braindead brain, reason 2 I don't care enough about opinions of random people on some random internet thing (I can only read walls of texts when the subject truly interest me)

minimum word count would literally make the forum unusable for me, maybe im just not meant for forums but i never found anyhting better than that

my favourite kind of agora posts is this :
View attachment 97048

Internet =/= Serious business
direct, straight to the point, very visual, i can effortlessly get the idea hes tryinh to convey


Besides, if I wanted to deal with the word limit shit, I could just go to Twitter. That's a perfect example to show you what happens to discussion when there are word limits. Hell, with your word limit, I can't even fit this entire response!!!
you understood wrong he don't won't to make maximum word limit but minimum word limit

like we wouln't be able to post if the answer is too short
 
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you understood wrong he don't won't to make maximum word limit but minimum word limit

like we wouln't be able to post if the answer is too short
Oh my apologies then! I tend to be a bit rude when it came to my response.

Still I think making a major change on the site such as this is a bit strong and would probably give the guy more attention and power over the site than intended.
 
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Reading the forum rules make it clears that IlluminatiPirate do not particularly care to police "heated discussions". While I do make use of the blocking function extensively, I must admits that it feels a bit disheartening opening a thread and seeing nearly an entire page of blocked arguments.
So you don't like the users enough to block them, but want to engage with what they're talking about? It sounds like you're going too quickly to block people

The only people that I've blocked are the ones that act like sexual predators, and the experience here has been much better for it
 
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big_ping07

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i didn't want to comment on this because i'm new, but i have not been able to stop thinking about this since its post date.
this is the most piss baby post i have seen here. after quickly scrolling through OP's latest postings, there are at least 9 replies (out of 15) that do not follow this ≥180 word rule. many of these replies are questions to further an ongoing discussion. questions are almost always <180 words. how could we keep a dying conversation going without questions in the form of short replies? it's easier to ignore bad posts than to implement a system that actively discourages people from participating in discussion.

it seems as though you are more displeased with the CULTURE of agora. so why not lead by example? not saying you don't already, as your replies are often longer and well constructed, but, imo, threads like this one are just as bad as the shit posts you hate. a word count rule like any of the ones proposed on this thread sends a message of "we don't care what you have to say unless it follows our silly little rule." that is not the agora that i was enticed by. what ever old version of agora you're latching onto is dead. since you're so displeased, it's YOUR duty to create what you want, not punish others for not being how you want them to be. the beauty of this site is that everyone can say whatever they want with little censorship. holding one post style in higher regard than others is ridiculous. self-policing is better than tyranny.

from the poll and replies, the majority of people do not wish to see a word threshold implemented. i know this is a thread to stir up some kind of cordial conversation, and i apologize for getting a bit heated, but i am sick of hearing about how agora used to be. it's give MAGA costanzayeahrightsmirk
 
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Sidewinder91

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Not all of Agora is about longform discussions or debates. If I'm posting in an art thread, I generally don't have too much to say.

I think that the problem with the site is facing now is that there are two different demographics here. You've got guys who like the way the old internet used to be (and who find social media to be alienating), and guys who post here because nobody else wants them. The latter have a way of driving away the former.
 
maybe constanzas reacts can have effect
if the post is shit, if it get more than 5 constanzas (or if quality can be (relationship to theme) measured, by AI or so, constanzas/angry reactions), it and all related commentary will be shown as message (similar to that when you block someone), "Following posts are marked TRASH. Do you want to show them?".
Comments on it would be marked too, "Fol... mkd as FLAMMERY. Do you want to see them?" and comments to those comments, will be shown but there would be message, "Warning: SHITWAGON"
just an functional idea
 
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