Introducing BBS, our new forums

Ok, I’ve used it and I don’t like it. As an infrequent commenter, I won’t be missed and no one will care, but here goes.

I liked having the comments on the same page as the post…I had no problem scrolling through them. I’d prefer to decide myself what posts are worth my time…surprised that BB went with a “we choose what is good for you to see” model. Yes, I can go to the separate site, opening another window…screw it. I’ll read BB as usual, but won’t likely read the comments or comment myself. Spending way less time on the BB site as a result. But that seems to be the intent…only the hardcore comment.

Overall, it’s a negative for me and will decrease BB’s importance to me, but that likely means that I’m the kind of person BB wants to see less of anyway. It’s not my site, so I don’t really matter anyway. If it results in a drop in stats, and you go back to posts on the same page, I’ll be happy.


Not sure if sarcasm.

Not sarcasm. These folks invite us to hang out on their front porch. It’s theirs to remodel if they so choose.

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I think reducing the number/diversity of commenters was exactly the idea. They want serious “forum members”, not casual commenters. Which is absolutely their right, but a shame, and will turn BB for me from a place I visited a dozen times a day into a “check, read and check again tomorrow” site.

The moderating was excellent, and I often found the comments to be at least as interesting as the story. But now that they’re “curating” them, only that which passes muster gets on the same page as the post. The other comments are there, but they have to be dug for. Less welcoming, less open, and for me, less interesting.

Again, it’s a shame, but I’m obviously not their target anymore…they want people who will join them in their garden as opposed to people who stop by their cafe table for a brief chat.


Isn’t that self serving?

I don’t fully agree with the “it’s their porch, they can do anything they want with it” argument. Yes, it’s a fact that they own the site, but it wouldn’t be the popular website it is if it weren’t for the people visiting it.

Rob says that 95% of people don’t look at the comments. Ok, so those of us speaking out here are a small 5% that maybe they don’t care about. But we’re the people who read the site for the comments, and who create and further the discussions, for whatever they’re worth, and whoever reads them. But if that’s the case, and only 5% of people care about the comments, then how will more than 5% care about a forum?

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The forum is taking a life of its own, even in the past few days we are seeing topics about will i am, PRISM and so on. The theory is that the BBS will be a complement to BB and a destination in itself.


Add me to the list of folks that do not like the change so far. Maybe giving it a few days is not enough, but we’ll see.

In the mean time, please please find a way on the BBS site to show which site authors the thread is created by. Just listing the author of every thread as “BoingBoing” is annoying. I’d like to see if the thread is based off of a Cory article or a Mark or Jason etc article.



I had to spoil a joke about telegrams.

Great. The internet is full of forums. Forums where you can already read all sorts of interesting stuff about will i am, PRISM, and just about any other topic, if you want to sift through the noise. Anyone can throw up a forum and have people show up and start debating current news and politics. Ho hum.

BoingBoing always offered something different, which was why I came here. It was quality over quantity. Hence people’s recent comments about this being a step backwards, as it reduces BB to just another internet forum. (Just what the internet needs.)

Honestly, what makes this forum different from any other? (Besides some fancy new software.) Why should I come here instead of some other forum? What’s the unique draw? (Serious questions, not trying to be snarky.)

Sure, it may increase traffic (and ad revenue, etc), but at the cost of selling out IMO, and generating more noise. I’m with @jansob1 on this one. This place just got a whole lot less interesting. And it really is a shame, to those 5% of us who really loved the unique experience and presence that BB brought to the web.

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BoingBoing remains as awesome as it always has been, nothing changes there, its not as though topics on the forum will suddenly be automatically published on BB.

What makes this place different is not the software, it is the people in the community. In the past few days of interacting with various members in the community I am completely blown away by the quality of and nature of many of the contributions.

The goal here is to make the Internet a better place, empower the community that evolved at BB so you can communicate more effectively.

That’s kind of where we disagree. BB was “interesting articles with interesting comments”, while it’s now “interesting articles with a few comments and a link to a forum”. Not entirely the same thing.


That is a remarkably glass-half-empty way to look at things.

Rather than being isolated in a ghetto at the bottom of the page, as it was with Disqus, now the BB community has its own BBS clubhouse to discuss not merely Boing Boing articles, but anything they like with each other. Rules are also somewhat more relaxed here with community topics that aren’t associated with a BB article, because there’s zero worry about a wayward comment getting published to a BB article and making the author of said article uncomfortable.

And the best comments are, as before, promoted to the BB article proper – so readers do continue to get the most interesting “greatest hits” of the discussion without having to sift through dozens or even hundreds of nested comment replies.

For example, on this article about the BART strike, which has 123 127 comments at the time I am writing this – do you think most readers really want to scroll through all 123 127 of those comments? Wouldn’t everyone be better served by having the highlights on the page, and a simple click to get to the full discussion, as it is now?

Although we’re still tweaking the parameters, to be sure, I think everyone wins in the BBS scenario. The editors get finer control over what appears on their articles, and the community gets an honest-to-God clubhouse that is truly theirs, where they can let their mutant flag fly.

As I said in some other post: As a forum, it might be great (and I’m fairly optimistic about that, despite my apparent gloominess).

As an interesting-stuff-with-interesting-comments blog, BB is less than it was. A ghetto at the bottom of the page is still part of the page, and jumping into it is a low-threshold affair compared to separated forums.

And yeah, people do actually read conversations that long - half the fun is seeing the topic(s) drift in and out through of focus on the way. :slight_smile:


I did and that was what made BB interesting for me.


First, I’ll second @dnebdal 's comments regarding BB being less now, and the low threshold of having in-page comments, vs. a forum. The low threshold was a key BB characteristic, IMO. (I am also one of the ones who used to enjoy reading the entire long comment threads, not that that isn’t still possible in a forum format.) I personally don’t get any enjoyment out of reading a bunch of disjoint select comments, as the context of the conversation is gone. (It then becomes very twitter-like, where everyone vies to post the perfect one-liner, so they can get ‘nominated’ to the main BB page. Ick!)

Ah, but this is where we differ. The thing I really liked (and felt was unique/special) about BB was that it was relatively locked down in terms of discussion and commenting (and very tightly moderated). The restrictedness was a good thing, in this age of free-for-all, rambling forum discussions. Sure, an individual thread could wind its way in and out of focus (which was part of the fun), but it was limited to that.

As a reader (speaking for myself), I honestly don’t want people to be able to talk about whatever the heck they want here, especially if it’s off-topic from the article. As I said, there are already enough places on the internet for that sort of thing. Go there and vomit new threads all over a forum. BB to me was always a peaceful place to get away from all of that.

I relished the narrow focus of a single comment thread per article, as it was just the right amount to digest. What was a nice, relatively quiet local farmer’s market has now become a huge cacophonous commercial supermarket, and I don’t want to sift through hundreds of products I don’t want (or be subjected to a list of ‘notable products’ that are recommended by the management) in order to get my shopping done.

I see where you guys are coming from, and where you’re trying to take things. And it will likely be successful in achieving your goals. However it won’t be ‘BoingBoing’ to me anymore, as something is definitely lost in the transition. (Which I honestly don’t see why it has to be, as in-page comments and a separate dedicated forum could easily coexist in my mind. Why not have both?)

(And even though we may differ in opinions, thanks to all for the polite discourse.) :wink:


This has not changed; I was referring to discussion flexibility only in new topics that the community started.

You can certainly expect that off-topic posts on Boing Boing spawned topic discussions will continue to be moderated as they were before.

Can someone explain this further? This statement really intrigues me. Authors have really been made ‘uncomfortable’ by people’s comments on their articles? (Isn’t that just part of the territory when it comes to being a published author?) Are we censoring (or rather censuring) the ‘bad’ comments now, if they’re going to make someone uncomfortable or feel bad? Seems very un-BB, unless I’m missing something here. What’s the deal?

Can someone quote a recent example of this ‘uncomfortableness’ problem? (I’m genuinely just curious to read more about it.)


I’m also intrigued by this, and would appreciate clarification.
Edit: (reply to andybaldman’s comment immediately above).

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But with that posting, I can instantly see when the conversation is going off topic because it THREADED. Seriously, You guys NEED to fix the threaded replies mechanic here. It just doesn’t work.