Bbs = BS; Quality of discussion plummets

The depth and weight of the ‘comments’ discussions was a primary point I’d make in promoting BB.
I often found the comments adding greatly to, or surpassing the subject and topic they derived from.
No more… seems to me there are way less comments, discussion threads are gone, the whole experience is lost; to me.
Can this bbs be configured to allow the community to return to real discussion, rather than the seemingly random ‘voicings’ I’m now finding?
It all sounded good; “It’s time for something bigger and better.”
I experience “something smaller and worse.”


Also, sometimes the old disqus comments are turned on for some posts, so you never know what world you’re going to end up in when you click through. I think the BBs has promise but by no means is it an improvement over regular, old school scroll-down past the article and throw in your $.02. Or $.01. The BBS is less-frequented, discussions are more halted, and the threading is fuct.


Real reasons for change were very briefly discussed by Beschizza early on. It involves (my interpretation) some of the contributors not wanting to be challenged on their own blog. Some BB personnel wanted to “take it to the next level.” Ambition and self-delusion combined to lead this sub-team to believe that having dissenting opinions featured on the same page as their reporting made the reporting seem less important than it really was, less professional.

So bOINGbOING slips into the mainstream and leaves behind the skepticism that made the place not mainstream. The on the spot and fully disclosed community criticism that made BB a clearing house for the new culture. A place where BS like steel ice cubes could be revealed for what they are and people like the young Caine celebrated as the lights of a new creative entrepreneurship.

Unruly discussions often go all over the place and touch on subjects or hang on subjects not even mentioned in the OP. We were warned about this. Have a tidy discussion Boingers! This was the first inkling of the unrest amongst the BB elite (or sub-elite.)

Creative people, those who really are creative, ‘practiced’ as we used to say, know that this raucous discussion is the basis for most creation. It even has a time worn and over-used name; brainstorming. A period of time set aside when the discussion is blown open and anything goes. Good and bad, embarrassing and irrelevant are given the floor just to see if it triggers an idea somewhere in the group.

I thought BoingBoing was the crowd-sourced version of this. I thought it was a grand experiment in having a full time public brainstorm in the spirit of the Makers and the Internet and free information and building a new trust between journalists and their readers.

Apparently some of the Boing inside thought it was a platform for their career advancement and shifted it in that direction. It is theirs to do that with so Ho Hum.


It is also revealing of . . . something . . . that the huge majority of discussion here, the longest and most intense discussions are about this decision and this new discussion software. It is dead in the water.

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This is odd to me …

You have 1 post on the BBS. A single one. No other posts.

“I hate this this car, its yellow.”

“Have you tried driving the car?”

“No, it’s yellow, I hate yellow cars”


Do you care to back that up? Looking at the last 30 topics on the front page I am counting maybe 2 “meta” topics.

Vast majority of the discussion is BB related including:

  • A 111 post topic on death toll from anti vaxxers.
  • A 54 post topic on life without AC
  • A 42 post topic on astronauts and MMORPG
  • A 116 post topic on the PSA campaign

The reality is that much of the discussion about the BBS software has quietened down immensely in the past week or so.

Quite a few days I visit BBS and do not see a single “meta” topic on the front page.

bbtimquinn: "–thanks for contributing to the conversation!"
(from this pale blue ‘guidance’ primer that just appeared to tell me how to act here at Boing Boing BBS)

So, I will refrain from any criticism, since I can’t think constructively.
I will say that your (bbtimquinn) criticism has greatly improved the conversation, even if you didn’t quite remember to criticize ideas, not people; you voiced many of my feelings I couldn’t find the words for. I wish I could find the “like” link…
I hope I’m treating everyone ‘kindly’ here; whatever that’s supposed to mean. I miss the ‘rough & tumble’ also. It was invigorating and challenging and gave me the feeling that I sort of knew a few of the moderators… oh well. Milquetoast!
(Did this reply improve the conversation in some way, however small?)

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“sam” Many posts pre-BBS, rest assured.
(Why would you even think of checking that?)

@kbert there are 2 points here that have been discussed heavily:

Lack of threading

Distance of the comments from the main article

I think its only fair to expect you try out the shoes before you declare they do not fit.

I see you have a very vested interest in this format…
I’m spending this time painstakingly sharing my dismay with this because I’ve been “trying out these shoes” since the change. Not only do the “shoes not fit”, I can’t begin to get my foot into one of the pair, and the other has raised blisters and aggravated my bunions!
'timquinn’s observations are valid and go to the heart of what’s at stake, here; if “my fellow community members” really want this, so be it. The internet’s become poorer for it, sadly.

OK, my sense of that was out of date I appreciate your correction.

I note we’re not even getting the “curated view” :confused: of comments on the main page any more. Stay in your box, mutant.
I’m mostly on my phone these days, so don’t get much chance to come here. As you can imagine.

i found Disqus to be much more buggy and really hard to navigate; re-visiting threads i’d been in was not easy. i’d get logged-out at random, even while using it. their UI was not as intuitive; i stumbled upon features accidentally over months and even a year later. the transition from Movable Type to Disqus was “guess what? here’s a new thing, good luck!” but with the switch to BBS, we got a day’s heads-up and Sam and Codinghorror were here all the time to teach us and field ideas and bug reports, which they even solicited. ever tried to ask something or point out bugs to Disqus? bupkis is all i ever got.
@bbtimquinn is right that the permalink needs to have the discussion on it. i had not attributed any ulterior motives to this, but his is a better explanation than the official one (which there wasn’t one, that I saw.) as superior as BBS/Discourse is to Disqus, i feel that not having the comments on the permalink is responsible for the markedly less comment traffic that we’ve all noticed.


Please do continue to open meta topics to discuss things like this, though perhaps a bit more constructively than “new thing bad!” next time…

Errors in the plugin to bridge BB and BBS, or occasional human error… I thought we had nailed down most of those, if you see another one, post it in the Articles with closed comments topic.

We’ll be working more on mobile views in August.

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The permalink shouldn’t matter anyway since there’s a direct link on the mainpage to each post’s BBS topic page. the problem as i see it is 1. people aren’t used to using BB this way. they click the headline to the permalink and get frustrated by the extra click to comment, leading to 2. a lot of the community don’t seem to be adopting BBS. there are many names that i used to see daily that i don’t see anymore. sure, a few probably use a new login, but couldn’t be all of them. overall posting seems to be down. maybe a periodic post to advertise the bubble links on the main page? i dunno if that would really help. Discourse itself seems to be hugely divisive, though i’m of the camp that views it as a step forward.

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“The quality of the discussions seems to be decreasing” <> “new thing bad”.

(Although, apologies, but Discourse is pretty bad. And I like flat discussion systems…)

Antinous and Felton have disappeared.


You’d definitely expect to see lower commenting rates, since

  • Disqus shares cookies across the entire Internet and therefore, you are more likely to be logged in to a random site that uses Disqus. BBS accounts are unique to BBS.
  • BBS, by design, is a “different wing of the mansion” and requires clicking through to enter that wing and participate. Disqus is on-page.
  • The new BBS site requires people to register at least once, in the same way that the first time you encounter Disqus, you have to log in there at least once.

Other than lower volume, which is to be expected, and arguably by design, I can’t agree that the quality of the discussions is decreasing. Can you, or the original topic author, provide some specific examples of where you think it is?

The way this is panning out for me (and I like discourse, have no beef with it).

  1. I feel less inclined to go to BB now that it is sans comments.

  2. BBS is ‘sans article’, so it’s difficult to gauge what I might be interested in going only by title and comment numbers.

  3. I’m reading less BB and seeing what feels like a lower level of commenting.

Basically I’m just increasingly getting weaned off BB. Guess that’s a time sink out of my day, so, er, yay, I guess.

I know that any request to have comments and articles in one place will result in further accusations of entitlement but with them split I don’t find either part as compelling as I did. And to be honest, I don’t feel as welcome.


The mix of comments has changed dramatically, it’s perhaps not as focused (or at least, I don’t find those focused call/response lines anymore). Brousing around I get a sense that more “shy” people are commenting, some slightly random stuff. Not too much hurly-burly “you say what!?!” going on.

The sense of a public arena is missing. Passing strangers who’ve come to an article can’t like a comment. You can’t tell how many people have read it, nor their response to it. The sense that “oh ho! XYZ is going to disagree with that!” has gone somewhat.

BBS is a nice interface, although I’d love to have a better way to follow a strand. That allowed the development and evolution of ideas and invigorating discussion.

I do visit less. BB itself, the guys, they’re still posting interesting stuff. They’re a part of my life. But the acute excitement, the waiting with baited breath for an NSA comment battle … mmm.

Times change. I am more focused at work though.