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Subject: Eliminate thumbs! (and other thumb related ideas) rss

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Samo Gosaric
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I've been active on various internet forums way before BGG, Facebook and and other sites implementing thumbing. Well there was Youtube, but I never was an active poster there. After 3-4 years of BGG I've noticed whenever I go on some "thumb-less" forum and I see a post I like, I want to thumb it quite automatically and then I have to pause and re-think my reflexes.

I'm okay with thumbing threads and geeklists as a whole.
It's a way for more interesting content to find itself on the front page and be read.
EDIT: files as well

Now I'm against thumbing the posts themselves because it turns the discussion into a popularity contest
(the degree of this depends on the topic).

1) In the forums with no thumbs you have to defend what you say and you have to explain your approval of what other people said. That I believe develops the content of whatever the thread is about and makes the discussion better.

2) In forums with thumbs it's common to leave your comment as it is, because the response on it has less thumbs, meaning your wisdom is proven beyond doubt. It's fun, but not in the smartest of ways you can have a discussion.

3) In forums with thumbs trolling can be easily awarded. What? Yes, jokes with no connection to the topic and other types of smartassery. Of course these happen all the time, but I feel the thumbing system encourages it. This is actually what bothers me the most.

4) Thumbing encourages lurkers to remain lurkers while influencing
content. I'd prefer if people participated with a bit more dedication.

5) But should posts become unrewarded? Yes, I think they should. It's about developing discussion and rewards come from exchange you have with other people.

What about tipping posts?
Not sure, on one hand I think there's nothing wrong with them as it takes a bit more dedication of the tipper. On the other hand, some "rich people" might use tipping to influence the discussion their way.

rules of conduct:
- no thumbing of posts on this thread.
- if you wish, you may thumb the thread itself, so it gets and stays on front page. Thank you.
- tipping at will.

If you know some internet post/articles/blogs about this issue, I'll appreciate if you'll post them.


-------------------------------
EDIT: the purpose of the title was to provoke interest, but since then many other ideas were suggested
(as it seems we're in the second cycle of thread - new people same issues)

- thumbs being visible only to poster (clearclaw)
- subpost instead of thumbs (clearclaw)
- OP having an option to diasble thumbs for their thread (me)
- a day without thumbs on BGG (once per year) (me)

maybe I've missed something, let me know.
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Rich Shipley
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
I read lots of different topics here and much of the time I don't have anything to contribute to the conversation. When I read something I find informative or well stated, I like the abillity to throw it a thumb, since I wouldn't contribute to the thread at all otherwise.

I see it as just as another way for me to participate, not any kind of award for the poster. It isn't like you can spend thumbs on anything.
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
rshipley wrote:
I read lots of different topics here and much of the time I don't have anything to contribute to the conversation. When I read something I find informative or well stated, I like the abillity to throw it a thumb, since I wouldn't contribute to the thread at all otherwise.

I'll try to resist this impulse. Visiting a gaming forum without this option, I usually just read threads without posting. And while the impulse to thumb grabs me from time to time, if I think about it, why not letting those who contribute come to their own conclusion?

I do understand where you're coming from though.

I do wonder if my argument against thumbing is something that belongs in some older era of internet?
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
sgosaric wrote:
I do wonder if my argument against thumbing is something that belongs in some older era of internet?


I don't know, how old is slashdot, and how much Usenet did you participate in before the turn of the century?

While I like the idea of people participating more in a meaningful way, thumbs significantly cut down on "me too" & "I agree" posts.

And here thumbs let me know when my joke was funny without twenty people having to post LOL. It also lets me know when my more serious posts are noticed and appreciated, even if a few thumbbots appear to come in and hit everything.
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
yaverot wrote:
While I like the idea of people participating more in a meaningful way, thumbs significantly cut down on "me too" & "I agree" posts.

And here thumbs let me know when my joke was funny without twenty people having to post LOL.


Now I realise what it was. The forums I visited were heavily moderated. You did stupid things like what you describe above three times and you were banned. However the mods couldn't ban you if you were relatively polite and argumented your points well even if they didn't like what you said. Maybe thumbless politic make more sense in smaller forums? On a huge site like this I guess all these buttons (the red one in particular) help keep the mod number at reasonable level.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
The problem is that there aren't really any guidelines about when a thumbs up should be used.

I like the idea of a "me too" or an "I support this statement" button. This is especially useful in the Recommendations thread, where I can click a thumb up on someone's recommendation. If a recommendation has 20 thumbs up (and the others don't), I think that says something to the OP (or at least it should).

I don't like the idea of tracking how many thumbs up you've received and treating it like some sort of reward system. My reasoning for this is different than yours. I believe geekgold makes a better and more fun reward system. Giving out a "thumbs up" reward that costs you absolutely nothing is a cop out, and may reduce the incentive to give geekgold tips.
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
This policy of mine sure does make me write a lot on this thread. Hmmm, I do wonder...

lordrahvin wrote:
"I like the idea of a "me too" or an "I support this statement" button. This is especially useful in the Recommendations thread, where I can click a thumb up on someone's recommendation. If a recommendation has 20 thumbs up (and the others don't), I think that says something to the OP (or at least it should).

This came to my mind as something quite useful as well.

lordrahvin wrote:
I don't like the idea of tracking how many thumbs up you've received and treating it like some sort of reward system. My reasoning for this is different than yours. I believe geekgold makes a better and more fun reward system. Giving out a "thumbs up" reward that costs you absolutely nothing is a cop out, and may reduce the incentive to give geekgold tips.
Very good point.

So it's the golden meeples and thumbs in our profile which should be eliminated? Didn't thought of it, but makes perfect sense. Though I'm not sure how many people are motivated by it. But even so, nothing that would be missed, I guess.

lordrahvin wrote:
The problem is that there aren't really any guidelines about when a thumbs up should be used.
Whenever the herding instinct grabs you!

Yeah, guidelines wouldn't hurt.
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Robert Wesley
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
~MOTTO of the official BBG 'Mohel': "I ONLY 'take' 'tips'!"
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Jonathan Powell
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
Thumbs are great indicator of how helpful/useful files are (especially for games that are 2+ years old). For example, I just got Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization and the number of thumbs helps me to sort the 10+ pages of files to find the ones that are the most helpful.
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
Any non-anonymous forum is going to have varying degrees of what you call a popularity contest. I used to get all worked up about thumbs until I reminded myself that such trivialities weren't worth dwelling on.
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Russ Williams
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
A thought-provoking discussion! thumbsup

sgosaric wrote:
3) In forums with thumbs trolling can be easily awarded. What? Yes, jokes with no connection to the topic and other types of smartassery. Of course these happen all the time, but I feel the thumbing system encourages it. This is actually what bothers me the most.

This was your most thought-provoking point for me. (It serendipitously ties in with a recent blog post with a similar point.)

But upon reflection, I don't see the tendency of BGG threads to get jokes and tangents as primarily caused by thumbs; I suspect the BGG community culture would remain the same in this regard if thumbs were suddenly eliminated.

It's more fundamentally part of the community culture here, i.e. tangents, jokes, etc are not merely permitted or enabled, but I believe actively intentionally encouraged as part of the community-building philosophy. Many users talk positively about how BGG is more than just a useful database, more than just a place to talk about strategy or read reviews, etc, that it is a social community with friendships, joking around, etc. Some people like that; some people find it annoying distracting noise; some people don't care one way or the other.

In theory BGG could have a stricter "stay on topic, stay serious" forum policy (e.g. see https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Forum_Etiquette for a much stricter "subject-oriented" type forum where moderators frequently close or delete threads which wander off topic or which never were on topic).

To me this ultimately seems an orthogonal issue to thumbs. Even a strict "stay on target" type forum could have thumbs for the purely functional indication of approval of a post which it gives and to avoid the cascade of annoying "me too" and "I agree" and "+1" type comments. (E.g. http://stackoverflow.com is a good example of this. Moderators close off-topic threads pretty strictly, but there is a thumb/voting system for percolating good answers to the top of each question thread.)
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
I use thumbs - sparingly - to indicate my support for a point well made or for one I strongly agree with, as well as to avoid "+1". I use GG to tip significant (to me) contributions and "good Geek behaviour" (my definition of and rules for applying).

Without thumbs how would the poster know that I agree with them - unless I were to spam the thread with a meaningless "+1"? That would make the thread longer and dilute content.
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
Nice to be in the Zeitgeist. cool

russ wrote:
But upon reflection, I don't see the tendency of BGG threads to get jokes and tangents as primarily caused by thumbs; I suspect the BGG community culture would remain the same in this regard if thumbs were suddenly eliminated.
I don't know. I actually feel more alienated here than in F:AT where throwing dick related jokes around is probably 2/3 of the post and the rest being about balls. I'm not quite comfy there either, but without thumbs I think I am talking to and responding to individuals while responding to thumbs here on BGG feels like trying to reason with a mob. Groupthink and group mentality. I feel that thumbs grant anonymity to those who participate merely but thumbing and not discussing, hence actually avoiding responsibility. And avoiding responsibility for me is not community building.

russ wrote:
It's more fundamentally part of the community culture here, i.e. tangents, jokes, etc are not merely permitted or enabled, but I believe actively intentionally encouraged as part of the community-building philosophy. Many users talk positively about how BGG is more than just a useful database, more than just a place to talk about strategy or read reviews, etc, that it is a social community with friendships, joking around, etc. Some people like that; some people find it annoying distracting noise; some people don't care one way or the other.
The community part of BGG I just don't get. Don't feel it, don't see it. Instead it the same thing (probably?) shows itself to me as unarticulated blob of meaningless chirping which gets upset whenever someone posts a critical point which is supported by arguments and not just similarly unarticulated angst (for instance: this one). For me community is something built by putting effort into something or against something or both camps duking it out (with sportmanship and the like). One of my best guesses is that some of it is also that BGG is predominantly influenced by U.S. culture which seems to me less tolerant of criticism, while on this side of the pond this is the common state of affairs (?).

Maybe I'd rephrase the community bit. Every forum site can become a community, the question is what kind of community. Less chirpy and bit more involved community is still a community.

russ wrote:
In theory BGG could have a stricter "stay on topic, stay serious" forum policy (e.g. see https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Forum_Etiquette for a much stricter "subject-oriented" type forum where moderators frequently close or delete threads which wander off topic or which never were on topic).


I've been on one forum which was by some weird turn of fortune populated by teenagers (was not the intention of founders). Being teenagers of course they felt quite devoted to the site, created real frinedships and so on. I can't say that discussions there were inteligent, but they were moderated. So I can't agree with the argument (from the linked blog) that heavier moderation destroys a web community. I can't see why forum without thumbs, with ban of power posting and bumping would instantly become this super serious affair.

Okay, vented a bit. Feel better. Let's see the reaction. cool
(and I'll go read the other blog as well).
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
mccrispy wrote:
Without thumbs how would the poster know that I agree with them - unless I were to spam the thread with a meaningless "+1"?

Why should they?
Doesn't help develop the point of the thread either way, does it?

A good post is the one that is picked up and developed further by other people. (Sometimes also the one intentionally avoided, but that's flamewars territory). From that stricter etiquette Russ linked: "When posting or replying to messages, make sure you have something to say."

P.S.: it really embarrasses me that people thumb my posts on this thread.
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Russ Williams
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
sgosaric wrote:
P.S.: it really embarrasses me that people thumb my posts on this thread.

Sincere question: if you were in a live meeting, would it embarrass you if you said something and some people nodded in agreement without speaking in response to what you said? For me, the idea that thumbs are inappropriate or embarrassing or whatever seems a bit analogous to feeling that in a live meeting, people should not show a positive reaction unless the reaction was actively speaking in response (and not just saying "I agree" but saying some additional stuff sparked by the first statement).
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Rishi A.
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
One important function of thumbs is that, in a long thread, it directs my attention to the quality posts. I frequently log on from work and only have time to skim a lot of what's being said in a forum. If I see a post with a lot of thumbs, I'll read it carefully and engage with it.

I agree that a disproportionate number of snarky and joke comments get thumbs, but I don't think they are trolls, per se. There is very little true trolling here on BGG. If you compare BGG to a heavily moderated forum, then it may seem like this is a disrespectful community. But compare it to other Internet forums with the same level of light moderation, and this is a very civil community.
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
So would it be ironic or just in poor taste to go thumb trolling in this thread?
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Russ Williams
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
sgosaric wrote:
The community part of BGG I just don't get. Don't feel it, don't see it.

Well it's certainly not monolithic. I'd say perhaps that "community" is a convenient abstraction, and that in reality here (as in other "communities" both online and in real life) there are simply connections between specific people. If a given group has enough connections between pairs of people, then (in some nebulous way) it starts to be called a "community".

Quote:
Instead it the same thing (probably?) shows itself to me as unarticulated blob of meaningless chirping which gets upset whenever someone posts a critical point which is supported by arguments and not just similarly unarticulated angst (for instance: this one).

Wait, it sounds like you're saying this very thread started by has caused people to get "upset" and reply with unarticulated meaningless chirping? Which comments sound upset? Or am I misunderstanding you?


Quote:
For me community is something built by putting effort into something or against something or both camps duking it out (with sportmanship and the like). One of my best guesses is that some of it is also that BGG is predominantly influenced by U.S. culture which seems to me less tolerant of criticism, while on this side of the pond this is the common state of affairs (?).

I doubt very much is has to do with the culture of the US versus the culture of Europe (or elsewhere). There are plenty of US examples of (what I'll call) "working communities" which you describe and plenty of non-US examples of "chirping communities". And there are certainly plenty of people outside the US who are intolerant of criticism. I think it has much more to do with more specific things like (e.g.) does a person have a background in some job or hobby which encourages instead of punishing "criticism", e.g. software testing, fiction critique groups, etc.

Quote:
Maybe I'd rephrase the community bit. Every forum site can become a community, the question is what kind of community. Less chirpy and bit more involved community is still a community.

Agreed. Different people seek and value different things in a community. Working together on a common practical task can be very unifying for a community. Making silly jokes together also can be. I guess it all boils down to what one is looking for in a community.

Quote:
So I can't agree with the argument (from the linked blog) that heavier moderation destroys a web community. I can't see why forum without thumbs, with ban of power posting and bumping would instantly become this super serious affair.

In case it was unclear, I didn't mean that stricter moderation would destroy a community; I only meant that as an example of an alternate model which (by design) destroys the fluffy chirping. I certainly agree that (e.g.) the more heavily moderated Arch Linux forum is a community.
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
Samo, I almost always find myself agreeing with what you have to say, but respectfully, this isn't one of them. I completely understand your logic and I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your points. My objections are the following.

1. A discrete thumb is much preferred in a thread over another post which reads, "Yeah, me, too." This can go on for pages with little new of substance added. I grant that I am echoing the thoughts above me on this point, but I wasn't allowed to thumb them per your rules. It is a way of participating constructively to a discussion while not cluttering a thread; it makes the thread more useful.

2. The former point not only applies to threads about opinions, but threads seeking rules answers and correct information. Thumbs indicate, "Yes, this answer got it right," in a much more elegant fashion that another two pages of discussion with nothing added but posts from users, some of whom may actually be incorrect. It would be more difficult to tell as all the posts at face value at least would be received equally.

3. I can't believe I'm saying this because I often find myself rolling my eyes at a thread derailing joke post, but a little well thumbed humor on a thread sometimes can be welcome. I see far fewer threads derailed by this than RSP issues and a joke here or there keeps things light. We are on a forum discussing ways to have fun, of course.

Again, Samo, I'm almost always agreeing with you but I come down on the other side of this one. It's a very interesting thread to read, though; thanks!
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
I think thumbs are a nice thing.

I use them mainly a lazy symbol of goodwill.

thumbsup

While I'm sure popular members rack up thumbs, I don't see this as a problem because generally if you are a popular member its based upon being an active giving member of the site.

So popularity is based upon merit and rightfully should be rewarded with a smile and a wave.
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
monkeyhandz wrote:
I think thumbs are a nice thing.

I use them mainly a lazy symbol of goodwill.

thumbsup

While I'm sure popular members rack up thumbs, I don't see this as a problem because generally if you are a popular member its based upon being an active giving member of the site.

So popularity is based upon merit and rightfully should be rewarded with a smile and a wave.


"waves"
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Andy Andersen
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
sgosaric wrote:


Now I'm against thumbing the posts themselves because it turns the discussion into a popularity contest


I thought it was the Scrooge who stole Christmas. Maybe notgulp
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
Any online replicant of actual human contact is imperfect. But to me it's harmless, because I usually agree that something with a lot of thumbs up deserved those thumbs.

Do you also not like the Google+ +1, the Facebook Like, the Twitter RT? Yes, none of them contain information comparable to a well-thought out reply, but they serve their social purpose of saying "I agree with this, or find it worthy of note to others who share my interests."
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
lordrahvin wrote:
I don't like the idea of tracking how many thumbs up you've received and treating it like some sort of reward system.


I would find thumbs far more interesting & useful if thumbs were not a shared/published stat and were only visible to the giver and the poster of the content thumbed. ie the thumb stats (up and down) of object would not be visible to others. A lightweight personal feedback system would be interesting.

Even more interesting would be a light weight textual reply/annotation system which wasn't a full/first-class/heavy reply. Something akin to a 140 character postit tacked onto the side of a post, perhaps even bound at at the paragraph or sentence level.

mccrispy wrote:
Without thumbs how would the poster know that I agree with them - unless I were to spam the thread with a meaningless "+1"?


Why is it necessary to state that you agree? Really, why?

sgosaric wrote:
Whenever the herding instinct grabs you!


It should be resisted.

Leonithic wrote:
Do you also not like the Google+ +1, the Facebook Like, the Twitter RT?


I despise BGG thumbs, Google+'s +1 and Facebook Likes as counter-productive BS. Twitter's RT however is consistent with the service's central function of voice-amplification. Unfortunately many interpret RT stats in the form of thumb/popularity stats, but that can't be prevented.

russ wrote:
In theory BGG could have a stricter "stay on topic, stay serious" forum policy (e.g. see https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Forum_Etiquette for a much stricter "subject-oriented" type forum where moderators frequently close or delete threads which wander off topic or which never were on topic).

To me this ultimately seems an orthogonal issue to thumbs. Even a strict "stay on target" type forum could have thumbs for the purely functional indication of approval of a post which it gives and to avoid the cascade of annoying "me too" and "I agree" and "+1" type comments. (E.g. http://stackoverflow.com is a good example of this. Moderators close off-topic threads pretty strictly, but there is a thumb/voting system for percolating good answers to the top of each question thread.)


ArchLinux and StackOverflow are both purposeful exercises. They exist and function to get a known and stated goal accomplished. BGG has not established anything like that. Instead BGG conflates and thus fails to distinguish among those with any of many dozen tangible/discrete agendas and among those seeking mere entertainment/reaction. The result is LCD and very close to nothing getting done on any front.
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
Personally, I use thumbs as a way to compliment a user on, or show appreciation for, certain content. I use them fairly liberally, but with a certain discretion. That's just me, and I expect and even appreciate that others have other views.

But to me, it appears that you are using your personal perspective and values to define what thumbs mean, and then want to impose your definition on everyone and dictate how we all use thumbs. I'm not okay with that.

Sorry, but thumbsdown. Keep the thumbs, no "guidelines" needed, kthx.


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