Using Discourse for micro-blogging

Aloha!

I’m working on producing more useful content for my React on Rails community. I want my Discourse site to be an even better resource for this!

To that end, I’ve got:

  1. Tiny links and tips: Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReactPlusRails
  2. More detailed quick notes on my Discourse site: https://forum.shakacode.com/.
  3. And longer-form blog articles at https://www.shakacode.com/blog

In regards to my Discourse site, it’s been a long time since random community members posted anything useful! So my Discourse site is more of a microblog for me and my ShakaCode team.

So what I do with “junk topic” postings?

While these might not be full spam, they’re not useful to me or future visitors.

Should I just delete these posts? Should I reply “Better for StackOverflow” and then delete them? Should I message the poster?

Or just ignore these if they are not spam?

I don’t want to be rude, but I also want https://forum.shakacode.com to look like an awesome source of information on ShakaCode’s primary expertise areas.

Here are a couple examples of such posts:

Hello, everyone
Please someone assist, how to create a Mega Menu (Dropdown) like in Red Hat off. page
I’m using reactjs + material - ui. I’m novice in reactjs, so this is one of my first projects.
Also, where I can paste my code, so you can review it? Here it looks very ugly

and

I want to create one arraylist want to add data in each button click
[
FirstName :“FirstName value”,
LastName:“LastName Value”
Age:“Age Value”
]
I want to add data in to above array each button click and same time i want to keep existing data. How can i achieve this?

Thoughts?

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My general recommendation is yes, low value content should be deleted. I know you are often battling with hurting feelings, but in my opinion the usefulness for many should outweigh the feelings of one.

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I agree with Sam. If something has been asked and answered, but will be of no use to anyone else in the future, delete it. Or set a timer to auto-delete in a month after the last response.

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I also agree with Hawk and Sam, especially the deleting because for frequent members, those posts will tire them out quickly which may affect their engagement with the site.

Also, I love the interactive banner on your site!

Is the code for this available somewhere public?

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I also agree with Osioke, Hawk, and Sam. :sunglasses:

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Check with @pfaffman. He gave me some tips on how to set that up!

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I totally disagree. Censorship in any terms you have to be carefull with. If you go down that road at least have a clear and visible posting rules eg lige Reddit:

Skærmbillede 2020-07-19 kl. 09.24.49

But again - please dont ever just delete a thread because you dont like it.

You can look it the other way around - if there is something wrong with the content of the posts in your forum it could be because something is wrong with the site - not the users. Is it clear how to find relevant topics, did the users get the right help to be lead in the right direction after posting?. Do you have a good team of friendly moderators…

But dont blame the users and kill the forum by censorship.

Just my 2 cents.

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:heart:

Personally, I also HIGHLY disagree with all the first answers.
It’s not about hurting feelings (which may indeed be a side effect), but about respecting your users. What is wrong with these posts ? Have they been answered ? If they’re not the content expected on your site, explain nicely why in return, and what is expected from users (which should already clearly appear on your forum).

By “hurting the feelings” of one user, then another, and another, plus the ones they talk about it in private, and all the ones who will see how you treat your members (people aren’t blind !), you’ll ruin your forum.

Like the previous poster. Only my 2 cents.

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It is very important to understand the difference between censorship and the removal of low-quality or extraneous topics. Removing topics because they don’t add value for the wider community is not censorship. It is simply housekeeping and is good community management practice.

I would argue that you’ll ruin your forum if you have it full of so much outdated or low quality information that your members can’t find what they need efficiently.

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@HAWK , it’s a very slippery slope. It is censorship, of what someone decides is “lower quality” or “extraneous”. Then, what doesn’t please that same someone, gets also deleted for the same “reasons”. Once you go this route of “I decide and delete whatever I want” supposedly for the “greater good”, I never saw it end well in the long run.

Any “low quality” post can lead to high quality answers. To me, the examples provided by OP seem especially good to be answered very usefully for everyone. If you want to only have content that matches “your standards”, create it yourself. Create a blog or a website, not a forum. Don’t ask people to participate and then delete what they created.

Don’t take it the wrong way. This is my view. I’m pretty sure we won’t agree on the subject, and that’s fine. I get your POV, and its rationale. I just don’t agree with it.

I don’t think the “search” argument holds. You’re free to organize, and/or optimize search for the purpose of easily finding information (there’s for example the “Knowledge base plugin” here, if you want to talk efficiency). That doesn’t mean deleting. (Even the search part causes quite some controversies to people like Google, btw).

(PS: I can also understand that some forums aren’t really forums, but something else. More like a public ticket-system, or an open support platform, etc. There, the dynamic may be quite different. I agree. My above view relates to what I view as a “real” forum. The rules and functioning of each site should probably be clearly defined in advance, so that everybody knows what to expect and what is expected from them. Maybe there should be a word about a “deleting policy” other than a generic “we may delete whatever we want”.)

The short version and my whole point is that I find it disrespectful to the users to delete their posts.

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@justin_gordon Following my previous post and your initial one, personally, I would say you should take a decision: Do you want your site to be open (forum) or closed (blog) ? If you want it to be a forum, i feel deleting is rude (what you don’t want). If you want to control the quality, usefulness, expertise, etc. of the content, you will achieve this with a blog. You can still allow comments, which are only secondary compared to the main content (lower quality, or basic questions there won’t probably bother you as much).

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Whether you agree with the approach or not, it is very important to understand that this is not censorship. Censorship is suppressing an opinion or message. This is simply housekeeping.

As a Community Manager you have not only the right, but the responsibility to decide what content is appropriate. There are respectful ways to go about it. :slight_smile:

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A dictator would use same argument. Im not saying any are. But as mentioned. There is a very slim line between right on wrong in this area. I would not go down that road just deleting posts.

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Then the dictator would be misunderstanding the correct definition of the word (assuming we’re still taking about censorship). :slightly_smiling_face:

That does raise another point which is important to remember. Communities are not a democracy. You get to make the rules. I’m not suggesting the rules shouldn’t be fair, but they are yours to make.

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That’s honestly a pretty ridiculous response.

No site owner or publisher has any responsibility to maintain user-generated content. They aren’t being paid to give our posts a permanent home, there’s no expectation of that.

If a site changes purpose, then the scope of useful content will also shift. Holding a site owner hostage through cries of censorship or accusing them of being a dictator will make it more likely they will abandon the whole site, than pursue a potentially fruitful evolution.

If that happens all content on the site is lost, is that censorship, or just a consequence of bullying?

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I get the feeling that both views (yours/mine) have a potential problem of “where does it stop ?”. Mine isn’t necessarily better in that view, because where do I stop in wanting to delete nothing ?

I get what you say. The limit of the “censorship” or not, may not always be clear. I’ll stick to that. (I could raise a few recent examples which happened here on Meta, like of a guy who questioned the langages/environments used for the development of the Discourse software. Sure, it wasn’t censorship. His posts were deleted because they weren’t useful. But I won’t use such examples, because I know they will cause me some troubles in the end).

I see @frold just posted exactly my thoughts while I was writing. What he says.
There’s a saying in French, which says “When you want to put down your dog, you say it has rabies”. When someone wants to delete a post he doesn’t like, there are always plenty of supposedly “valid” (and acceptable) reasons to do so. At least, it’s always what is argued.

Doesn’t mean what you say isn’t right.

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These kinds of assumptions are unhealthy. The posts that you are referring to were removed because they were flagged by several community members who felt uncomfortable.

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No they aren’t. You’re right.
Doesn’t mean you can’t create one. I mean, you can do it.
Doesn’t also mean there aren’t some communities more respectful of freedom of expression of their members and more respectful of their users, than others.

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I’ll stop after that (before it gets out of hand :wink: )
These “assumptions” wouldn’t exist if the posts weren’t deleted. I mean, they couldn’t simply exist because everybody could see with their own eyes, and make their own opinion. I’m very far from being the only one to have seen the posts and what happened. I’m just the kind of guy who is then stupid enough to mention it :wink: THIS is what deleting posts also lead to ! (I don’t care at all about this “event”. I was just mentioning it related to the broader discussion of deleting posts, nothing more)

It’s funny. So communities aren’t democracies. But it’s always good to use “the people” as an excuse for your actions :wink: No offence (but I really find it quite funny here, one message after the “not a democracy”)

Cheers !

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I think you’re confusing freedom of expression with purpose.

For example, this topic relates to a community whose purpose is changing. The OP has asked a reasonably well-defined question, and is more asking us to sanity-check a thought-out repurposing of the site.

Later discussion has gone off the rails, making straw-man arguments which misrepresent the relationship between community managers and their audience.

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