Five years of BBS 📅


I agree there’s potential for abuse, but the broader and less defined “Something Else” can also be abused in the same way. The required accompanying text field cuts down on it, though, and part of the policy could specify that too many frivolous or fraudulent uses (e.g. gobbleydeegook or personal attacks in the text field) could result in the flagging user being suspended.

Ideally, as noted above, only a limited number of these flags would be allocated to a user each week or month based on TL to further forestall abuse, but that’s a bit much to ask for an initial experiment.



That’s a very interesting idea!



I’m a little bit fascinated now by the idea of a user ignore function.

I’m picturing a Marx-Brothers-movie-like scene where person A ignores person X, person B ignores person Y, and person C ignores person Z, and they’re all participating in the same topic…hilarity might ensue—or not, all depends :slight_smile:

Also I now want to do an experiment where I would ignore all 87 (current number) of the other Regulars, just to see what the bbs looks like then. Because, I wonder if I might currently tend to notice the other Regulars more, especially those I feel like are old friends from the Lounge days, and maybe I inadvertently overlook some newer folks or less-frequent posters. I hope it’s the case that I value everyone’s input here, but I wonder if I’d start noticing and appreciating users that I had kind of overlooked before? But that would mess with the function of the user ignore being a shadow-flag that helps the mods root out trouble.

I’d also like to try an experiment of ignoring some users who post a high number of animated gifs, because they stall downloading of the pages for me. Currently I use GifJam so that the site will even load for me, and then if I find that I do want to see one animated I have to turn off GifJam and reload the page. It would be interesting to see if ignoring certain users would be enough to allow me to use the site without GifJam on in most cases. But again, playing around like that could mess with the shaodw-flag aspect of the user ignore.

It might be useful, though, to have a way to (succinctly) indicate to the mods why we’re ignoring someone—because I bet there’d be others like me who might think of using it in personalized ways that don’t necessarily mean that there’s an as-yet-unrecognized troublemaker about.

I may be thinking ahead too much, and should just wait to see what Discourse has in store for us :slight_smile:

[edited for clarity]



To get a rough preview of the experience just download and install the Tampermonkey or Greasemonkey userscript. As a client-side function it won’t mess with any of the site analytics and if you’re comfortable with browser extensions it should be easy for you to set up. Here are the instructions:

  1. Download and install the Greasemonkey (for Firefox) or Tampermonkey (for Chrome) browser extension.

  2. Go to and download or copy the Javascript userscript

  3. Using a text editor on the @include line of the script, change* to* . Don’t forget the asterisk.

  4. Add the user script to Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey via the extension’s dashboard and activate it. Restart the browser and go back to BB BBS.

(I’m not sure if blocks the loading of gifs posted by Muted users)

Now when you go to BB BBS you’ll see a small microphone icon next to every comment’s timestamp at the top right. Click on the icon and all comments on the site by that user will become invisible to you (you’ll still be able to peek at individual comments using the eye icon). For added effectiveness, go into your BoingBoing account preferences, go to Notifications and mute notifications of posts by the users you Muted.

Since I’m on that Regulars list I’ll say so long now. Let us know the results of your experiment.

Since it’s going to be used as a shadow flagging system that’s a good idea.



Me and my big mouth!

THANK YOU for the instructions, I appreciate it. Don’t say so long just yet, though, it’s going to have to wait until I’ve had more sleep than I got last night. I don’t know if I really will block all the Regulars—just talking about it here has made me more aware of some of the less-frequent posters already. I will check out your instructions and see what it’s like, though, hopefully in the near future—thanks again.



I’m really surprised browsers don’t offer a native forced click-to-play mode for GIFs by now. This seems like an extremely valid thing to want for some users. Consider this topic



I like BBS a lot, mostly because of the things that I don’t notice, but which I know a lot of work has gone into:

  1. It works well technically – real-time notifications, reliable formatting, good mobile support; sometimes unfinished posts even sync between devices, which is neat, if not quite reliable enough to revolutionise my use of BBS while pooping.
  2. I rarely see spam, and I know that takes work
  3. Comments are more or less a flat list – sites that auto-hide or rearrange posts are enraging, worthless garbage, and while it seems like more work to accomplish that kind of dumb nonsense, Discourse actually has a lot of small details that make the flat list approach workable with busy threads. Like, auto-linking replies and mentions, progressive loading, the scroll bar thingy etc.

I have some basic philosophical disagreements with aspects of how Discourse works (echoing my much stronger disagreements with how Stack Exchange works), but that rarely matters on BBS because most of the time, it shows every post, in order, the way its author wrote it. I could write a pamphlet on why it’s not a good thing to delete whole branches of conversation, but I doubt anyone cares what I think, and it doesn’t happen much anyway.

Fritter, but yes, that’s one of the things I have misgivings about. Many of the most blood-pressure-spiking interactions involve someone skimming a thoughtful post, misrepresenting it as full-throated support for The Other Side, and then reciting the orthodox position for a round of high fives. A game that rewards scanning lots of posts, enthusiastically marking which ones are correct, will favor people who operate this way.

That’s me agreeing that reading is (what?) fundamental. It’s just, I’m not convinced that timing a person’s scroll through a thread tells you how much they’re reading. In some cases you may be measuring how hard they’re scanning for opportunities for facile point-scoring.

Though, again, I don’t say this is a big problem with Discourse/BBS, because high-scoring users don’t really have special privileges. As long as scores don’t matter, problems with the scoring system don’t matter either.



Thank you, Jeff, Sam, and the rest of the crew. Discourse is amazing software. The community-building ethos is inspiring. Thank you for your continued work.




Not accurate. Read the actual trust level requirements.

It is fair to note that maybe Discourse didn’t provide proper guidance around the meta-moderation purpose of the lounge areas – that is discuss desired behaviors, not specific people.

I dunno, I’ve seen some pretty big PM username lists floating out around out there in the ether. Is that better or worse than a TL3 lounge? There’s also diasporas where sites fragment into additional instances, with a change in ownership as some users permanently leave for the greener pastures of the new world, while sometimes maintaining shadow accounts in the old world to monitor it. Is that better or worse than a TL3 lounge?

The odds of it happening here are … not good … but I’ve always felt that at least one active moderator should come from the community itself, as a sort of volunteer pseudo-elected position. That philosophy of communities owning their own collective destiny will continue to be reflected in the design of Discourse, however.

Reading through the topic again, some suggestions (again beyond user ignore which is already on the roadmap, and acts as a shadow flag):

  • allow people to self-indicate “on hold” for their accounts so they can go on hiatus without losing TL3 etc, also side benefit people know they may not get a reply, etc.

  • adding copy to indicate “something else” covers “bad faith”

Bad faith is tricky. I totally get it, and I support it, but you see why Twitter and Facebook resort to positively orwellian phrases like Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior to describe it.



As others have said, this is one of the few boards I still actively engage in because it works, it isn’t ugly, it’s moderately moderated (as opposed to immoderated), and the community are mostly interesting.

If I had a wish it would be for more interesting font controls. However, I know that I shouldn’t have them because I’d go overboard and annoy people typographically.

Carry on!



Fair enough. None-the-less it let through a small number of users who were still able to persist here for a long time despite being considered trolls by a large number of Regulars (including those who set up the Lounges devoted to discussing the particularly sneaky behaviour of said alleged trolls that allowed them to persist).

I wouldn’t put that guidance responsibility on the devs, especially since your design philosophy and rules system, strong as it is, manages to favour a lot of flexibility and freedom for those running instances.

As I recall the mods here made it clear they’d take a lighter touch on the TL3 Lounges; it didn’t work out and eliminating them was the decision they came to.

That’s not for me to answer but for those who control the various instances of Discourse or whatever other platforms are running in the various greener pastures. Their joints, their rules.*

What I will say is that, after the brief period of tumult and bad feelings and lost users (caused by the abruptness of the removal than the removal itself), BB BBS hasn’t suffered much by management’s discontinuation of the TL3 Lounges. The user-created topics in the non-boing categories visible to all(?) seem to be doing most of the same job as most of the old Lounges. I suppose if people want to discuss more private or personally sensitive issues that used to be done in the Lounges they can now do so in the PMs.

As I said above, personally I’m not averse to the member-created TL3 Lounges coming back here, as long as they have an optional invite-only feature which would solve or at least mitigate the problem we saw last time around.

[* enhanced by a system that, among other smart features, would degrade the TLs of monitoring shadow accounts you mention as a matter of course]

Absolutely agree. I think @orenwolf came into his current position that way, which is why he’s so good at it. It’s a great idea for the devs to build in features that encourage those running instances to choose their mods that way.

It’s absolutely tricky. Due to the scale of BB BBS and the maturity level of its existing community compared to Twitter and FB, though, I do think a 1-2 month re-labeling of “Something Else” to “Bad Faith” accompanied by a policy announcement by the mods would be a worthwhile experiment. Whether it would translate over to other instances is another matter but I believe we’re the willing guinea pigs in your mad science lab.



I’m curious—who do you picture doing the inviting? (I’m thinking if it wasn’t done on straight system metrics, there could be some pretty arbitrary personality-driven issues with invite-only. Or maybe I’m just not clear on what you’re suggesting.)

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I’d assume the TL3 member who was authorised by the system metrics to create the TL3 Lounge thread would do the inviting. The invitation feature would be an add-on to the existing TL3 Lounge-creation functionality that used to be turned on.

It would probably be best that only other TL3 members could be invited, but that’s a decision for the devs and perhaps the mods, assuming the latter decides to turn them back on at all.

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If you’re talking about invitations per thread, that sounds to me just like a group PM, which exists already—?



Pretty much. But it could probably be implemented if management decided to bring back the Regulars Lounge functionality, too. Not much difference except for thread creation being a TL3 privilege in the latter case.



What is this “thread” you speak of? There are only topics here, my friends :wink:



Or do it somewhere else.



Also because he’s :canada: Canadian and they are required by law to be nice to everyone. It’s in their constitution and everything.



Well, on the other hand the brigading was open, so it couldn’t be denied.

I seem to remember that I did, and said so.

But “lounges” still exist, in the current system, only they are user created. You just private message omeone, then invite others to the PM thread.



If you don’t want people dunking on your stupid ass-posts, don’t make stupid ass-posts.

I’m not going to get into the weeds on what does or does not constitute ass-posts. I think that line is very obvious, even if dolts like @popobawa pretended ignorance.

This board constitues a community of - mostly - members who are level-headed, progressive, and done with bullshit. Harmful ideas will be called out, regardless of tone (see: popo).

There are many, quite valuable, highly active members, who regularly provide insightful posts. That their voiceferus independent defense of this board exists is beyond dispute. It is rather telling that you ascribe it to a shadowy cabal conspiring to dogpile, rather than active members who come across and respond to a stupid ass-post.

Again: do not make stupid ass-posts if you do not want members to dunk on it.

Congratulations on derailing this thread.