The Sotonians Experience: Site Feedback

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Jack Schitt posted this 26 April 2016

My take on the 'Sotonians Experience' from an 'outsider' welcomed in from the cold:


I've been here for coming up on three months now. It took me a while to get fully up to speed with the style, layout and functionality of the forum, and 'find my place' in the Sotonians world. But I feel 'part of' the place now, rather than someone who justs posts; and the friendly, welcoming atmosphere has really helped with that.


Over time, I've made at least a few of you laugh occasionally, shared some insightful knowledge, regularly become one of the top upvoters (you'd all be nothing without me! tongue-out), made a complete prick of myself by demonstrating the very behaviour we all came here to get away from, in harshly and unfairly disrespecting a fellow Sotonian (sorry Ted); taken the flack that deservedly came my way in good grace, learnt from it, and in the process of this smorgasbord of fluctuations -- become a fully integrated Sotonians cunt.


So under the likely delusion that you'd give a flying fuck - I thought I'd offer some constructive feedback on what it has been like getting to know the place and people, given that I know how much you all value my opinion. tongue-out Stop laughing!


When I first arrived, the layout was a bit of a forum-culture shock, in the way that the 'Latest Discussions' view is set as the front page, with the overview of Categories instead offset to the side. I was previously in the habit of mostly choosing only the sub-forums I wanted to go into (mainly football/sport orientated ones), thereby rarely seeing any of the other discussions ongoing outside in the wider forum world. At first, I didn't really like it. But it has grown on me, to the extent that I now prefer it this way. I missed out on so much general interaction and humour before, but this style of layout brings so many threads I would otherwise not even have looked at to my attention. It makes it much more difficult not to get more involved. As far as fostering a sense of community goes -- it works very effectively.


The other thing that my first reaction to was negative, was the points system.


I'd envisioned it as being some clique-liked vote all your mates up, vote any cunts you don't like down, inequitable system rife for abuse. But having seen it in operation for a while, it dawned upon me that I was looking at it from the perspective of how such a system would work on TSW. I wasn't giving you guys the credit you deserved.


It soon became clear that instead, when in responsible and respectful hands, it is a highly effective method of self-moderation for the community. Far from cliquey voting -- what I have seen is the purest expression of playing the ball not the man. Each post being genuinely considered on its own merit not the name attached to it, and voted up/down accordingly. So often I've seen someone (mentioning their reasons) downvote another user a few times on one line of thought, only to regularly upvote the same member on others. Within Sotonians, the expression "it's nothing personal" has a feel of genuine sincerity about it, which is embodied in the way you all self-regulate eachother's content.


It took me a few weeks to settle in and start consistently picking up points myself that weren't earned through regular newbie badges, until I discovered the useful variations of the 'magic phrase' -- "all Tory politicians are cunts". lou_wink2  It's been plain sailing ever since. I jest of course, my gist being that the points system you have in place here works very effectively in guiding the standards of both content and behaviour, in what is broadly considered acceptable and what is not.


You know why it has really grown on me so much though? It is an almost perfect experimental exercise in my preferred model of (self)-government -- Direct Democracy. We're essentially co-creating the values and accepted code of conduct within the Sotonians community as we go, on a post by post (policy by policy if you like) and vote by vote basis. And it is a pure model too, as the vast majority of the time, it seems a genuinely content-driven system, rather than a personality based one. Personalities simply add a touch of individual colour and flair to what is a fluid almost organic process of interaction and self-regulation. It borders on inspiring to see the evidence before my eyes that such a system really can actually function effectively between co-operative human beings, not only in my mind, but in real life (albeit on the internet, with a bunch of (mostly) geezers who share a certain red and white 'tribal affilliation'), when the tools of its operation are in honest and well intentioned hands.

(Lol, seems I've broken the word limits per post...to be continued...)

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Jack Schitt posted this 26 April 2016

Conclusion:


Sotonians -- an example of what can happen when good people are afforded the respect and trust to decide for themselves how they want to live (yet choose to carry on being a bunch of playfully pisstaking 'muppets' anyway), tongue-out and work together to create an enjoyable environment in which to share life, one driven by mutual respect, rather than top-down dictation or pressure to conform to a set of rules imposed from above.


I've found that in building and growing this model of interaction -- Sotonians has effectively given itself one all-pervasive self-regulating rule -- which could best be expressed in variants of: "be good to each-other" / "don't be a cunt".


It is a very refreshing 'posting experience', compared with 'the norm'. We literally rise or fall by the virtue of our own content and conduct, and how we respond to the feedback we receive upon it; rather than whether or not a sad little gaggle of internet warriors have latched onto one post that they didn't like, and already decided that you are an irredeemable cunt, to be mocked and hounded forevermore.


Congrats on creating such an forward thinking model, and to the members here for making it work so well. No matter how good an idea may be, it only works effectively when everyone buys into it and pulls in the same direction. You have ended up with a place that is enjoyable to visit and spend time, which keeps me coming back every day, often when I should really be doing more work instead. lou_wink2


Also, it is great to (playfully) be able to call someone a cunt and have them laugh and 'like' your post, rather than punching you in the face.


There's only two things I can think of that I'd suggest could still improve the Sotonians experience further:

1). Please can we have a better/improved text editor with some more sophisticated options (at least being able to preview our posts would be most welcome)? It's the one thing that after all this time has passed, still frustrates me on a daily basis with its restrictive limitations (on formatting, word-count limits per post etc).


2). Fulfilment of the promises on the invitation email for the seventy-seven dripping wet virgins, hundred year old bottle of single malt, Saints Season Ticket and the infamous racy images of Lou and intiniki at the Spa Baths. It said these would all be PM'd to us on sign up and checking our profiles for the first time. Is it just me, or have the rest of you still not got yours yet either?



TLDR; Nice place, lots of virgins, exceptional single malt, compromising images of Lou and Niki, and the unmissable opportunity to enjoy my immersive and wonderfully written scholarly thoughts about the forum. It's not that long, just fucking read it you lazy cunts. lou_wink2

Sfcsim posted this 26 April 2016

Conclusion..... It's alright in here! 

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Sadoldgit posted this 26 April 2016

As an "irredeemable cunt" elsewhere I'd like to say that I agree. You get a better type of cunt on here. lou_sunnies

TheCholulaKid posted this 26 April 2016

I think you might have too much time on your hands, JS.

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Fatso posted this 26 April 2016

Someone wants to be a mod.

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pap posted this 26 April 2016

Originally posted by Fatso

Someone wants to be a mod.

This is presently a mum and dad operation, in which bletch takes the role of responsible mother and I take the role of wayward reckless poster abusing father with a drink problem.

We are naturally suited to the roles lou_sunnies

I say all that, because despite Jack Schitt's verbose and glowing analysis of this place, there are still a lot of things I think we can improve on.   On the development front, I have been trialling the next upgrade of the forum software.  tbh, many of the improvements they've made are ones that I had to make when this place was crawling on its arse performance wise.  The text editor is an off-the-shelf jobbie, so we can probably get some improvements there by just upgrading.  Preview is definitely do-able, even if it has to be custom developed.   

Forum-wise, I'd like a bit more poster retention.  We've got loads of the old crowd that have signed up, said hello and disappeared into the ether.   I'm glad they've got accounts, like - but it'd be nice to see them around a bit more.

This place has got constraints and I'm definitely one of them.    There are some people that'll never sign up because I run the place, and I can generally live with that.   They probs wouldn't be too constructive.    There have been people that I've pissed off, have sworn off and that'll happen too.  Soz.

However, I've also seen (through the admin panel) people that have got a load of downvotes and sworn off the place too, so voting may not necessarily be the self-moderating panacea Jack has painted it as.   I definitely think it does more good than ill, though.

There are two other huge constraints.   First, it's the choice to allow really bad language.    Some people have plenty of answers to Cartman's brilliant question "What's the big fucking deal, bitch?".   "It's rude.  I don't like it.   You can use better words, y'know."   Fuck 'em.   If it's good enough for RAWK, we can do it too.

Finally, and I make no apologies for this, it's the barrier to entry.  We've got a lot of quality contributors that write some fairly intelligent shit.   That can be intimidating for some people, but again, it probably does more good than ill.   Probably deters people from joining up just to start shite.

 

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saintbletch posted this 26 April 2016

Whilst I'll accept pap painting me as the mum to his dad, I should stress that we sleep in separate beds.

Jack, fuck off you creep.

Fatso, fuck off you twat.

 

I think we've quite some way to go, but I think the machinery is in place. 

No offence to Mr. Bulsara, but I think having him around and not having everyone either leave or lynch him means something is working.

I'm not sure whether that is simply serendipitous self-selection of the 'right' type of poster, or if it is due to some community moderation/voting. 

Or both.

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PhilippineSaint posted this 26 April 2016

It may be due to the fact that the people on here can't be arsed to try and pick an internet fight at every opportunity and realise that if they do start one the likely hood of winning (actually achieving an outcome in their favour) is low.

Goatboy posted this 26 April 2016

Originally posted by PhilippineSaint

It may be due to the fact that the people on here can't be arsed to try and pick an internet fight at every opportunity and realise that if they do start one the likely hood of winning (actually achieving an outcome in their favour) is low.

 Come over ere and say that.

Areola Grandee posted this 26 April 2016

I want to hear more about 'mother' Bletch 

I think  Pap, you have to accept that you simply 'cant please all the people all the time' - If posters get huge numbers of down votes and fuck off, well not sure changing things to keep them is the right way.  On the langugae thing?  Well I dont use it at home, or in front of children, but I like being able to feel comfortable to use very bad words for effect here... and yes there are better words, but I am not  such a pretentious cunt to go dig them out to try and impress the scrotes on papweb ;-)

Maybe the change should be to show who is downvoting... why? because there is a difference betwen 1 person continually downvoting someone in a virtual stawking way, and loads of folks agreeing that something is in poor taste or out of order.

ericofarabia posted this 26 April 2016

1/ For the benefit of some of us dumbasses, can you smartarse cunts give the reason for the link on The Music Fred if it isn't 110% bloody obvious.

2/ Not enough Top 3 or 5 lists of things, especially biscuits and crisps!!

3/ All in all not a bad effort.

 

PhilippineSaint posted this 26 April 2016

Originally posted by Goatboy

Originally posted by PhilippineSaint

It may be due to the fact that the people on here can't be arsed to try and pick an internet fight at every opportunity and realise that if they do start one the likely hood of winning (actually achieving an outcome in their favour) is low.

 Come over ere and say that.

 Are you paying for my ticket to the Man City Beer fest then ? 

 

Areola Grandee posted this 26 April 2016 - Last edited 26 April 2016

lou_facepalm2 downvoted for?  Some cunt's got no balls

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ericofarabia posted this 26 April 2016

Originally posted by Gay Abandon

lou_facepalm2 downvoted for?  Some cunt's got no balls

 
Well it can't be Phillipine Saints then .... many of the "ladies" out there actually do have balls ;-)

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PhilippineSaint posted this 26 April 2016

Originally posted by Gay Abandon

lou_facepalm2 downvoted for?  Some cunt's got no balls

Maybe it was Lou ? 

Fatso posted this 26 April 2016

Are you calling Lou a cunt?

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PhilippineSaint posted this 26 April 2016 - Last edited 26 April 2016

not in so many words as that and it would be disrespectable to a female member 

 

or does being a member make her male and maybe she does have balls 

 

I am getting confused here now 

 

Erica of Arabia how would you know that?

BTripz posted this 26 April 2016

Originally posted by pap

Originally posted by Fatso

Someone wants to be a mod.

This is presently a mum and dad operation, in which bletch takes the role of responsible mother and I take the role of wayward reckless poster abusing father with a drink problem.

Sorry Pap but I must take exception, Bletch is a vainglorious, curmudgeonly old git.

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ericofarabia posted this 26 April 2016

Originally posted by PhilippineSaint

not in so many words as that and it would be disrespectable to a female member 

 

or does being a member make her male and maybe she does have balls 

 

I am getting confused here now 

 

Erica of Arabia how would you know that?

 I read it in a book innocent

On the topic of females on here, I don't think there are enough, so I'm thinking of doing a bit of multiposting (don't tell Pap though) and opening an account as EricasLabia, and posting saucy little double entendres to get you all worked up. Should do my up voting a world of good and maybe Lou will make lezza moves on me via PM. tongue-out

pap posted this 27 April 2016 - Last edited 27 April 2016

Originally posted by ericofarabia

1/ For the benefit of some of us dumbasses, can you smartarse cunts give the reason for the link on The Music Fred if it isn't 110% bloody obvious.

I do not understand.  I come from Barcelona.  I learn English from a book.

Seriously, though, is this about posting YouTube vids?  Via phone/tablet/what?  Let us know and we'll try to sort you out.

2/ Not enough Top 3 or 5 lists of things, especially biscuits and crisps!!

Well, here's the thing.  I can't really countenance doing a top 3 or top 5 of things, because that's really the UI's thing, and I don't want to step on Nick's toes.   What we can do is nick the general concept, retool it a bit, and pretend the idea was ours in the first place.   I probably shouldn't have said that out loud.

Anyway. It's a great idea, but I've taken the liberty of putting a Sotonians spin on it.  I've created two new sub-categories under "Sotonians position on..."

Introducing "Best Ever" and "Worst Ever".   You can see them on the categories page immediately and also create new posts in either.   They'll show up in the sidebar in a bit.  And I suppose if you can't pick just one, 3 or 5 or more choices would be acceptable.  Why limit yourself? lou_wink2

If they take off, does sir fancy a "Plunder of Uiarabia Badge"? lou_sunnies

3/ All in all not a bad effort.

Thanks.  Hasn't always been smooth sailing, there's still room to do a lot more, but as this incarnation of Sotonians (we had a mailing list, back in the early 2000s - I was very glad to get the domains back) hits its first birthday, I am generally very happy with what it is, and the community we've got.

Top fucking effort, all.   

 

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