Way too many categories
if the forum is in need of moderation
I feel that we have been lucky so far and not needed much moderation, but maybe others don't agree.
I only said what I said about it here to make clearer the nature of my own involvement. The context of a mention of the existence of the forum council seemed like a good context in which to write that clarification.
Other Reform Discussion
News / Advocacy / Projects
Meta / Forum Business
This seems like a good set of categories, though it does awkwardly place non-proportional multi-winner methods under "Other Reform Discussion".
I thought this as well. I think a better category would be Multi-Winner Methods rather than one for PR specifically.
Thinking about this, I don't think we even need five categories. I would just have one main one for everything this forum is really about, one for forum business as already suggested, and then one for off-topic - so three in total. Some discussions can cut across the categories, like a method that could have a single-winner or a multi-winner version. And as I know I'm not the only one who generally sorts by recency, it's not that important to have very specific categories.
What is the cost or what are the drawbacks of having too many categories?
I feel there is merit in separating discussion of well-known systems from proposing crazy new ones. Also, some of us are really interested in the political significance of single-winner systems and I feel I am not intelligent enough (or not willing to pay the required level of attention for understanding) to spend much time on the effort to delve into multiwinner systems.
Marylander last edited by
@jack-waugh We could use tags to retain some of the information lost by cutting the number of categories.
@jack-waugh The cost is that the forum is difficult to navigate, and it is hard to stumble upon interesting material. For example, say I'm doing research into a novel proportional representation method for a legislature that gives substantial control to parties for candidate nomination (e.g. closed list). I've both developed new mathematical models as well as designed some statistical analysis on simulated data and created some visualizations.
Do I put that thread in Research and Projects, in the subcategory Research, or in the subsubcategory Simulations. Actually wait no, I want this to be actually used in my home country, so I should put the thread in Election Policy and Reform, but that one too has a seemingly relevant subcategory Forms of Government which looks like it might be right since that's what my method is: a new form of government.
Don't even get me started if I should put it in the top level category of Voting Method Discussion, its seemingly synonymous subcategory Voting Methods, or that subsubcategory Multi-winner, or the subsubSUBcategory Proportional Representation. Any of these could be the correct category, unless of course I want to just stick my thread under New Voting Methods and Variations like everybody else seems to be doing
There are 10 different places that I could reasonably put my thread, many of which are redundant, and many of which are barren. Personally, I think this is a huge and unnecessary barrier to engagement for new users of the forum.
@marylander, how do you put in tags when submitting a new post? When editing one of your own posts?
Marylander last edited by Marylander
@jack-waugh It is at the very bottom of the screen. It appears in the same place whether you are creating a new topic or editing the head post of an old one.
Edit: Send me a message if you are having trouble finding it.
rob last edited by rob
If it was up to me, if you go to the main domain page, it would route you to the recent topics page, and on that page (and all the forum pages) there would be links to other parts of the forum as well as to such things as the archives page.
This would probably make it a lot more googlable as well as just making it easier on new visitors. The intro page is not inviting, and the page you get to when you click through to the forums is even less so.
Now that the forum has been running for a while and is stable (good job, @Jack-Waugh ) we should be putting some effort into design / user experience and making it more search engine friendly.
There's a whole ton of other things we could be doing (unlike reddit's EndFPTP and election method email list, we have a lot of capabilities neither of them have), but this design/ux stuff is pretty critical if we want more activity (and therefore have any impact whatsoever beyond amusing ourselves talking about stuff).
This forum was conceived as a replacement for a forum that the Center for Election Science had been operating and that they said they would shut down (and indeed eventually they did shut it down). The individuals conceiving it, and those originally did not include me, met as an "interim council". This interim council eventually formed the real council for overseeing the implementation and operation of this forum. So that is the history that explains why there is a "council" relative to this forum and why I feel some obligation to honor its dictates.
I am still trying to get the forum council to make a decision about the categories and some other questions. There are four members, including me. If we meet, it is my intention to resign from the council effective at the end of the meeting. One member seems to have a really busy schedule. Another has expressed willingness to meet. From another, I have not heard lately. I don't recall if the council ever decided a rule for itself about requiring a quorum to make a decision.
Not sure based on what criteria/constraints stakeholders should consider giving up on the current council and forming a new regime for running this forum. I do not want to participate in deciding that (because of what has been said about my posts being inappropriate). But I have the keys to the domain registration, so some action by me would be necessary to put any revolution in power.
Even as I plan to reduce my arguing in this forum and withdraw from decisionmaking processes, I plan to continue to offer technical consulting for free for what it may be worth. I have some rudimentary understanding about at least one technique for hosting, that being the technique currently in effect. I wrote the archive code and plan to respond about any defects in it about which I may happen to receive reports.
rob last edited by
I think the solution to the "council is too busy" issue is that people on this forum, in a thread rather than a video chat meeting, fully discuss and hopefully come to a sort of consensus on forum organization and site design issues. This should make it a lot easier on council members who are too busy to schedule a meeting.
BTW, @Jack-Waugh we do appreciate all you've done to get this forum/site running and keep it running, and understand if you want to step back a bit. The board is running great, almost no real technical issues and we've got a lot more embedding capabilities than Reddit or election methods email list. We should talk about ways we might lighten the load on you. For instance, I would be glad to do some simple mockups for tweaked/reworked site navigation, and help deploy it if approved.