Forum Renovation Thread

Not the one in Rome ... this thread is to discuss the Archinect user interface and ways to improve the experience of those who use this site. 

To start, I offer the problem of the near total domination of the forum over the past week by a single topic where some posters have been putting up 30 posts a day or more on a single issue.

To address this situation, which I suspect many others also find annoying, I suggest changing the "topic and category" view so that individuals can choose exactly which forums they want to see. This was previously done with Academia (for exactly the same reason), which as far as I am concerned is a big improvement.

Another improvement that has been suggested is to allow forum voting. Posts could be voted up or down, and a certain number of down votes would result in a user ban. I suspect the flagging feature works the same way except that the mods are left to make a determination. Voting would give them a very clear indication of member sentiment, and the ban could even be automatic based on a threshold. Collection of votes would also become a badge displayed  on members info or tags, which may encourage people to think more about what they write.

I will repeat the suggestion that new members be required to make 10 posts before being able to start a topic. This will encourage them to use the search feature or at least read through the first page of forum topics, which often includes multiple threads on which school, should I be an architect, etc. Honestly, if you don't have the three neurons required to even scan the first page of the forum, do you really think you have what it takes to be an architect, or that we should spend our time changing your diaper?

Every other forum I've been on has stickies, and most have a 'welcome to ...' sticky as a guide to new members. There are a few specific topics that immediately come to mind, such as so you want to be an architect, that would also be good for the clueless. 

Finally I'll broach the idea of making posting here an activity that requires dues (reading would remain free). Even a token charge of $1 would probably be enough to make people think twice about how serious their level of participation is going to be as well as encouraging them to explore and read a bit before tossing up yet another "Need your advice" thread. I doubt that IsraeliSupporter would have written here if he had to pay to join first. And it would almost certainly eliminate the occasional spamming of contract masonry services in New Zealand and such, usually evidenced by some ancient thread that magically reappears at the very top of the forum.

Jul 25, 14 9:30 am
Non Sequitur

I second Miles' points.

Perhaps if a up/down vote function was available and once a particular comment receives sufficient negative votes, it becomes "ghosted" where one has to actively open the comment to read it. Similar to who spoilers are dealt with on many TV and movie discussion sites.

But more to the point, the monopolizing of a tangential (at best) topic is the main reason I left most online forums years ago... and now only post anonymously. It's only a matter of time until someone takes exception to some comments and starts personally attacking members outside of the forum via their personal emails or worse...

Jul 25, 14 9:55 am

The recent threads about the Middle East certainly don't belong on an architecture forum, and the "should I" posts are definitely monotonous.

I worry about the popularity voting idea, though. Is there a possibility that dissent could be stifled through a system like that? What if a perfectly polite and respectful poster simply had an opinion that was disagreed with by an aggressive majority? Could that person be banned for their opinion?

Jul 25, 14 10:35 am

I think a 10 "approved" posts (requiring admin/moderator approval in this initial level) before they can be elevated to posting threads and posting without requiring moderator approval. 

Instead of a ban, I propose if someone gets down voted (charma strikes) - (I think it should be done only by moderators being that a downvote by moderator being a subliminal warning) and after so many of them, the account gets dropped down to suspended mode (no posting messages, replies, PMs, etc. whatsoever) for 1 week (7 days) and then go into the moderated probationary level where they must make 10 approved posts since entering the probationary level. There should be a time/date stamp of entering the level. Basically, they would have to earn their way back to posting threads.

The charma status should only be viewable by the moderators and the members in question but invisible to other members so only members can see their own 'charma' status.

Oh, yes, the moderator doesn't have to immediately approve the post and can have the options to approve, deny, ignore for 24 hours. and have up to 30 days to approve or deny or the message is discarded as not approved. Therefore, it would make sense to behave and make friends with the admin and moderators otherwise you can wait a long while. Moderators and admin are not obligated to approve and disapprove  messages within any given period of time. Therefore, the incentive would be to not cause a lot of trouble.

The moderators and admin should be level headed and rational and not be unduly abusive of power as that would be harmful to forum discussions.

Some rules and guidelines should be available. The moderators should be required to follow some rules to not abuse priviledges. Admin should follow the rules/guidelines as a role model.Even though, he/she defines the rules and guidelines. The benefit of the forum's long-term interest matters. Admin/Moderation has ethical obligations to adhere.

I think the up vote/down vote feature should be available to moderators/admin if we hook it to level demotion such as suspension of posting privileges and so forth. However, a "Flag as innappropriate" feature should be available to flag a post so a moderator/admin may look at the post and decide whether to edit, delete or accept the post as is.

This would prevent people being banned just because they post an unpopular post but not necessarily a violation of rules or guidelines.

This is an idea that can work with most forum software... however, archinect does not appear to be a typical webforum software. So I am not sure what all the features are and how it would work with the existing software. It would be possible with most common forum software like PHPBB but this one... I am not sure.

Jul 25, 14 12:06 pm

But I hate change. 

Jul 25, 14 12:07 pm

I hate change but love change orders. Who should I send the bill to for re-learning the interface?

Jul 25, 14 1:14 pm

I love the idea of upvotes and downvotes.  It works.

Jul 25, 14 5:01 pm

I'm reluctant to support measures that ban discussions (and members) that may be boring, or narrowly focused, or not PC, but which otherwise don't violate the current forum rules.

I think it more desirable that we lobby for a more structured user interface that -- on the home page of the forum -- displays the various available categories of discussion. Then, if you don't want to be inundated by political discourse or educational threads, you don't have to open those categories. You can choose to open only those discussion categories that you find interesting or useful.

Several other fora that I visit (and where I spend considerably more time than I do here) are structured in the manner I describe above. All of those sites employ an underlying platform that is described on their home page as: vBulletin - it works very well, and offers many of the features asked for by members above.

Just food for thought.

Jul 25, 14 5:41 pm
boy in a well

god, I hated when, in architecture school, we had those class meetings to discuss the state of things and what we thought should be changed. always turned into a stupid gripey bitchfest of blathering idiocy.

t a m m u z 's thread is better than having to read another standard small thought pile of anti-Gehry bullshit. And no one makes you open it and read it. Who cares if its at the top of the list? Start a nice thread about whether this is the correct place for it. Its obviously here because a member of the community thinks this is an important place for what they consider an important conversation. And frankly he, or she, has done an excellent job, from what I've seen, of keeping the thread from going off the rails.

as to upvotes, pay to play, and Miles' rule 34: fuck off. ban me. you can have your gated echo-chamber.

Jul 25, 14 5:41 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Freedom of speech in a forum is without format that controls content presentation or information dissemination. As long as it isn't computer generated spam which is usually blocked by software I don't see any need to ban humans......................... The new format actually gives you the opportunity to read Archinect controlled content like features, news, blogs, etc........................I just walked by 4 blocks of pro Palestinian crowds in NYC on my way to the bus, all neatly corralled and under relaxed and casual observation by the police. Across the street a spray paint artist was doing art for nyc tourists and a homeless guy was waving a "repent now to jesus" sign. The forum is pretty much the same right? Most the threads are contained neatly, the moderators casually observe, and occasionally a troll roams into all the threads while the architect tourist watches someone create art.

Jul 25, 14 6:11 pm

really?  you're going to drag that shit into this thread too?  not enough of it for you yet?  got to throw insults into every thread now?

well played.  it's like you're ironically proving we need community moderation measures.  what we really need is less clever hipsters.

Jul 25, 14 8:18 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

it's Friday - have a beer!

Jul 25, 14 8:45 pm

As someone who created one of the snarky threads (the 4th with "boycott" in the title, I think?, let me assure you that I wouldn't want to prohibit anyone from creating a political thread - I simply wanted to point out the ridiculousness of getting into a heated argument with anonymous strangers on an internet site devoted to architecture. In the amount of time that those folks spent spitting bile, they could have taken an afternoon off to attend a vigil/protest/something/anything. What they are engaged in is the political equivalent of masturbation, and that deserves to be mocked.

Jul 25, 14 9:03 pm
chatter of clouds

anonitect, and who says that I haven't and still do and will do attend vigils and protests? 

Jul 25, 14 9:07 pm

Well, good. But why waste your time arguing anonymously with strangers about politics on a site devoted to architecture? It can't be fun, and it certainly won't change anyone's mind.

I'm really pretty excited about the thread that was started today on materials that wear well. That's the kind of thing that I come to this site for- I don't know if it will get interesting, but there's a chance. If I want to talk about politics, I'll get a beer or cup of coffee with people I can look in the eye. That's when you actually have to consider the opinions and concerns of people who might not agree with you. Squabbling on the internet just seems unhealthy.

Jul 25, 14 9:21 pm
chatter of clouds

If you don't like my thread, don't click on it, quite simple really. You only have yourself to blame if you find yourself simultaneously attracted to my thread and irritated by your attraction to it. Just ignore it then; I'm not flooding the forum with same-content threads, I opened one specific thread dedicated to the subject of boycott - don;t like, don't click.

And this goes for everyone. Don't treat yourself like a child and expect others to be the adults putting down restrictions on you.

I am respecting the boundary of the thread (this is not to say I will not at one point open up another thread that borders the subject but is not exactly that subject) and I am at liberty of posting a kazillion relevant posts if I so choose . Why is that such a worm up your rectum?

The only, the ONLY, restrictions that should be set in place by the moderators are those that wean out unreasonable attacks based on sexism, racism, sexual orientation, personal defamation, that sort of stuff...and not this ridiculous notion of preference (thumbs up and thumbs down). 

Jul 25, 14 9:39 pm

Actually, Tammuz, I apologize. I went back and read some of your posts more thoroughly. Although you were defending an opinion which was unpopular and got a lot of flak for it, you didn't let your comments devolve into profane name calling - what usually happens when people argue on archinect. I don't come here for politics - I just skimmed the posts,  and assumed that the incivility was going in both directions. 

I started my joke thread based on the proliferation of "boycotts" in the title lines I was reading, which seemed to be getting out of hand. While I do think that it is ineffective to engage in political debates on an anonymous internet forum,  I shouldn't have mocked you - I didn't realize that what I was seeing was basically one person trying to make a serious point - I leapt to the conclusion that the threads were a sprawling version of the usual dopey free-for-all that debates turn into around here. I shouldn't have stuck my nose in based on assumptions. Sorry. 

Jul 25, 14 10:08 pm

Damn. Tammuz, I was hoping that I could get that reply in before you responded. I wasn't attracted by your thread - I thought that the proliferation of threads with similar titles was goofy. And- unless there is a language or cultural barrier, you should have recognized that my thread was a joking attempt to get some other conversation going, and understood that it wasn't a place to continue the debate that you were having on three other threads.

Jul 25, 14 10:15 pm
chatter of clouds

Firstly,  I only started contributing to your thread when someone else brought the argument into the that thread and started their typical misinformation. Until that point, I had neither the interest nor the reason to post there. 

Secondly, it is really none of your business whether I do or do not contribute to "your" thread. There are hoards of individuals who have contributed, calculatedly, petty nothings in the thread concerning the boycott and still its none of my business to tell them that its their place or not to contribute. 

Thirdly, there is obviously no cultural or linguistic barrier - I'm not sure whether you meant this comment in a genuine manner (which I doubt, but if so, it wouldn;t be coming from a very observant source) or you meant it in a snarky way. If the latter, well its quite funny that you would want to "respect your thread" when you lack the ability to respect people. That is..if it was meant snarkily. Otherwise, please ignore this last part.

Jul 25, 14 10:34 pm

Fuck this. I'm not going to wast anymore time on this bullshit. Goodbye, Archinect.

Jul 25, 14 10:42 pm

So Miles --- how's this thread you started working out for you ?

Jul 25, 14 11:01 pm

It was a last ditch effort to avoid being driven off the forum. But since I'm not an advertiser Archinect could probably care less.

I look at the recent political shit here the same way I look at people waving posters of dead fetuses in front of the post office. I just want to pick up my mail.

Is there bad shit in the world? Yes. Will rubbing everyone's nose in it on a predominantly anonymous architectural forum change anything? Nope. Probably the reverse as positions are fortified to protect the ever so fragile egos.

I used to look forward to visits here.

Jul 26, 14 10:13 am

it will calm down again with time.  before you know it, archinect forums will be filled with 'what school should i go to' and 'did you get your admission letter yet' type threads.

sorry for my role in feeding the frenzy.

Jul 26, 14 11:21 am
This always happens when some large political issue is going on. Come the 2016 US presidential election it will happen again. In the meantime, whenever the forum gets politically hot I spend more time in the News section, where the comments tend to stay much more focused.

For the record, I don't think upvoting/liking of comments is necessary.
Jul 26, 14 11:43 am

That sounds like a pretty hard core post office. 

On Arch-related business: Decent read on Rem below ( iHope the link works). 


I thought that the Boycott/boycott - BOYCOTT!  Threads were a good way to handle that particular non-relevant  political intrusion.  Funny and sarcastic.  I didn't read the crazy arguments in any of the threads really. 

People should stop killing people.  And people should stop TRYING to kill people.  But then people have always killed other people.  Always.  People are jerks.  It's like no one's mother taught them anything and everybody, once they're grown and they have a little bit of authority (be it from the possession of political power, or possession of firepower), they revert to being children who go around breaking shit and scrawling things on the walls with their feces.

That's one of those things that make architecture so difficult.  Generally people who become architects want to build, and better the world.  But we're stuck in a morass of animals that are hell bent on going around kicking over people's sandcastles just because if they kick it, it will disintegrate.

People are jerks.

Jul 26, 14 1:05 pm

I hear ya, Miles -- and concur. Archinect has become a very frustrating place of late.

I accept totally that we are guests of the owner(s) of Archinect and we have no right to expect or demand anything. Nevertheless, when any locale - be it physical or virtual - becomes less than hospitable, people tend to vote with their feet. I know that I don't spend nearly as much time here as once was the case.

I came to Archinect because I found it a fascinating place to learn about, explore and discuss my passion in life - Architecture. It seems that more and more this place is dominated by trolls or individuals who focus very narrowly on topics that have little to do with the profession. And, there seems to be very little moderation by the administrators - except in the most extreme of cases - to keep threads reasonably focused and.civil.

I don't think the forum should restructure so topics like politics and religion are not allowed. But I do appreciate the comments made above by quizzical, who suggested that the interface be redesigned.

Visitors need not be inundated by threads that hold no interest for them. We should be given the chance to easily choose which discussion categories we wish to view. We should not be forced to wade through innumerable threads that have turned into running gun battles by a few passionate members focused on a very narrow topic unrelated to the main theme of Archinect -- namely, Architecture.

My two cents.

Jul 26, 14 1:54 pm
chatter of clouds

I completely disagree with quizzical. The current format encourages people to explore several topics that they would not have been aware of or would not have been aware of possibly being interested in. Secondly, where do you put limits around categories and how do you control, within one thread, the direction of that thread not to steer towards other categories: there's going to be a lot of interpretation going on about when a post within a thread, or thread itself, belongs to one category or to the other. Thirdly, why are you creating a problem when there is no problem - not interested => don't click. You're supposed to be clear thinking architects, no? 

Jul 26, 14 6:07 pm
chatter of clouds

Donna, unfortunately, this is not just a political matter. This is about an ongoing massacre of people at the hand of a racist colonial entity that also happens to be subsidized - economically, militarily, morally and legally (within the UN and elsewhere)- by the US and other governments. 

IF I had a choice, I would have categorized the Boycott Israel thread as a humanitarian, not merely political. The fact that you compare this to elections trivializes the gravity of the situation in Palestine as kids are being killed in the hundreds. This is just the latest chapter in a slow genocide being committed against the Palestinians. 

Furthermore, I have gone to some length to present some information in regards to the background and the current run-of-events in the Boycott Israel thread in order to encourage Archinect to boycott Israel. As a consequence, I've had around 4 or 5 people, decidedly pro-Zionists, attack me with an array of methods, some going the length of imagining my corpse being run over by a tank and one other, LITS4Formz, telling me to strap on a suicide belt and off myself, playing on Islamophobic tropes.

For my part, I have countered with information and rational arguments take it or leave it. I have not personally defamed anyone, never relied on personal characterization -racial, gender, etc- in order to launch cheap attacks against anyone. I'm not even mentioning irrational arguments based on deep-seated islamophobia and ignorance. 

Your concern - I'm addressing people generally here- should not be with "both parties"  in that other thread because you're too lazy to read the posts in that thread. Either take the time to read and judge properly or kindly keep your uninformed opinion to yourself. this goes for you Donna, for you quizzical, etc. Kindly either take the time to properly evaluate or ignore the topic and continue with your ice cream lives here. 

boy in well, i'm kinda thinking of opening up another thread, a bit different...but a bit similar ...

Jul 26, 14 6:25 pm
chatter of clouds

by the way, have you all noticed how those  four or five zionist characters aren't contributing to the Boycott Israel thread anymore around the same time? Good, keep it that way. 

Jul 26, 14 6:27 pm

Here's an idea - let tammuz turn this topic into another thread on his personal crusade.

Jul 26, 14 8:19 pm
chatter of clouds

and isn't witless cynicism your endless personal crusade on here?

i'm criticizing points raised in this thread by others. and this thread was raised in connection to the other thread - which is your doing, Miles, to drag a  "personal crusade" here. You have yourself to blame. 

Jul 26, 14 8:32 pm
chatter of clouds

so far, i don't like any of the ideas presented above for the revamping. the interesting thing about the forum is how it presents a multitude of threads which have allowed people to form a more enmeshed experience of their being on Archinect, as a virtual place. to background the posts within categories that form the "menu", yuk, its like a supermarket. no entanglement, no overlap, cross fertilization, interesting items will be ignored by some because they happen to think they;re interested in another category. 

another qualm is over the way the News, Blogs, Currently Hiring and Features and their interface with the forum. Personally, I just go to the Forum..I don't bother to go to the other items under the Editorial & News (or Academia or News) - they're just too intimidatingly presented, a long array of identical squares that makes it quite an unpleasant experience if you're looking for a a particular news item that you missed....or got superceded by a sudden post-weekend rush of news items that completely kills an interesting ongoing discussion within that news item page...which I also don't like. That is so rude. Yes I know there's a horizontal scroll bar but its so inconspicuous you forget its there.  

The Forum presents the sum total of the latest News, Blogs and so on plus of course the Forum itself. But, owing to the structure of the forum (the most interesting subject of the moment usually being higher, the least lower and about to disappear), there is a consequential order of interest that prioritizes News, then Blogs, Hiring is totally uninteresting for anyone who's not looking for a job and there is no reason why it shouldn't just be training below one of the left-hand tabs, then Features...which would get more traction if it weren't allocated at the bottom of the forum where posts go to die. 

Jul 26, 14 11:11 pm
chatter of clouds

Dear all,

Have you recently noticed an unusual upsurge of new "members" who are posting their very first post -typically lazy dumbass questions - around the same time that the horde of zionist hasbara bots left the Israeli Boycott thread? Keep in mind this is a weekend - and typically the forum is a zombie on a weekend. 

Is this perhaps only to drive down other threads? Another tactic?

Anyway, click on their name and their history 

I can't believe I'm giving some suggestion of support to one of Miles' suggestions.

Jul 27, 14 12:24 pm
chatter of clouds

Now they're talking to each other. Dear Archinect, someone is sending you an army of trolls. 

Jul 27, 14 12:51 pm

Tammy, the only one talking to themselves here is you. It's like something out of the twilight zone isn't 

Jul 27, 14 1:00 pm
chatter of clouds

Yup, i think there are around 10 or 11, including Rick + Roll - "well timed" troll memberships. Kindly review their history of comments, when they joined and ..well, the blatant vapidity of their first posts. 

Jul 27, 14 1:03 pm


Jul 27, 14 1:04 pm

What if you are the only one on archinect and Rick and roll is one of your many multiple personalities...

Jul 27, 14 1:05 pm
chatter of clouds

i'm perseverant ...but not superman. Archinect editors will be able to tell. I don't know, perhaps they're happy because they have more traffic now...and a bunch of inane questions. Funny that some of you should fall for this. 

And I told you, when I want a tail, I'll think of you - but till then, stop tagging along. 

Jul 27, 14 1:33 pm

Tammuz,  I sincerely think the influx of new accounts and dumb questions is fairly typical

Obviously the "isupprtisrael" account or whatever was joined for your thread,  but I suspect it's a pseudonym for someone else on here, sort of like led signal light has a different name on here.

Jul 27, 14 1:33 pm

Tammy poo, don't give up. I'm rooting for you. Come on I think we can get to 1k posts on that thread of yours

Jul 27, 14 1:39 pm
chatter of clouds

curtkram, i know archinect well. i know how it paces itself. and on a weekend especially, its near dead. an unusual emergence of a  bunch of new memberships, new first posts and stupid ones at that. hamburger, rick rack or whatever, and other permutations of letters and numbers.

AND a well timed exit -from the Boycott Israel thread of xian, LITS4Formz, CD-Arch and so on. This is obviously coordinated - three or four individuals attacking incessantly (let me not count you in - i give you the credit of a doubt(is that the expression?) don;t just simultaneously withdraw and, at that time,  another coincidental emergence of another group which is unusual in Archinect. I could care less - the inhumanity of Israel is on display for all-  just observing.  

Now I'm expecting them to use a mixed technique. To disprove me. It would be the predictable next move. 

Jul 27, 14 1:41 pm

Okay Patton, whatever you say. Didn't they trick hitler with fake tanks just before D-day. 

Jul 27, 14 1:44 pm
chatter of clouds

Who believes you anymore? 

Jul 27, 14 2:00 pm

I have links too. 

Jul 27, 14 2:04 pm
chatter of clouds

a better trained troll, i see.

i already said: who believes you anymore? 

Jul 27, 14 2:08 pm

Miles, you must have jumped out a window by now...just trying to get it back on track.....

I agree with your premise. I’m new here and have been trying to contribute but probably too much. I’ve done though like you suggest, spending time posting before proposing a forum.

I agree that Archinect should be monitoring/managing the threads for the reasons you outline, doesn’t seem like anybody is home. I posted something on another site, made the mistake of getting too edgy and had some guy outright attack me personally. I panicked and tried taking my comment down but there wasn’t any way to do it. It just sat there like a big hair ball. Thankfully the site saw it and took his comments down and left mine. Reddit offers this feature to delete a comment if it goes south.

Voting on forums is an excellent idea, if it’s not welcome, a repetition or poorly framed we would be doing the author a favor. Is there a way for authors to take-down their own forums?  Doesn’t seem so, so many forums here divert off the original topic too far and should be taken down and rebooted or reframed. I see a lot of forums where the author just sits back and allows things to drift, doesn’t contribute or steer the discussion. I also see a lot of forums here that just don’t fly, you contribute then later you get an email notice of activity and you go back only to find people talking about nose hair.

I don’t believe in any form of boycott/exclusion, it should be an open forum, just moderated.

I hope Archinect is listening but I don’t think so.

Jul 27, 14 2:14 pm

I hate censorship.  I like archinect how it is.  

Jul 27, 14 2:20 pm

hmm.  if i was rick+roll, my link would have looked like this

israel v. palestine

Jul 27, 14 3:51 pm

curtkram, I thought about it. He's foreign though, for as much internet notoriety as being rick-rolled has, I don't think he would have "got it". I practically told him about the username and he still seems unaware

Jul 27, 14 3:59 pm

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