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Author Topic: Dismal Level of Discourse  (Read 5122 times)
Jason
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April 12, 2013, 04:06:18 PM
 #1

Back when I joined bitcointalk at the end of 2010, the level of the discussion was consistent with many bright people contributing and a high "signal-to-noise" ratio, at least from my perspective.

Lately as I read over what is posted in the forums I'm struck by how much things have changed.  The level of discussion has fallen on at least two scales:  maturity and intelligence.  Now the average poster seems to have the maturity of a teenage boy and at best an average intelligence[1].  As a result, the "signal-to-noise" ratio has fallen so far that the amount of useful information I can find here is heavily outweighed by the time required to sift through it.  And this is despite heavy use of my "ignore" button.

A lot of arguments can be made for having a space where people can share ideas where no one is excluded (other than known troublemakers).  I don't think this should change.  However, I would like to see in addition to such inclusive spaces some exclusive spaces which are by invitation only.  Such spaces could draw from public bitcointalk forums through inviting selected members based on their posting history or other achievements (e.g. Bitcoin developers).  Bitcointalk would be a natural place to host such private subforums, though there is no reason they could not be run elsewhere as well.  This approach has proven worthwhile in other venues, where exclusivity either via an invitation-based system, or through membership fees generally results in a much higher qualilty of discourse.

In the meantime, I think I will limit my use of bitcointalk by creating a few bookmarks to a handful of live threads until I can find a new bitcoin community I am not ashamed to be a part of.

[1] Although this is a subjective claim, I believe it can be independently verified because of the high correlation between intelligence and vocabulary (typical correlation coefficient is 0.8 ).  Thus if one compares the level of vocabulary used in years past on bitcointalk, I assert that it would be considerably higher than it is today.

Edit:  Mods, please feel free to move this to the Meta subforum if you feel it's appropriate.

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April 12, 2013, 04:19:30 PM
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Dumb people are going to find this place and I don't know what the solution is.  Dumb people will continue to think things like "Is the price going to go up or down?" are good threads.
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April 12, 2013, 04:20:56 PM
 #3

Thanks for reminding me about the "ignore" button. I shall endeavour to utilise it in the very near future so I don't have to endure pointless, pontificating posts from people that don't have anything to say about real topics.
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April 12, 2013, 04:23:42 PM
 #4

While I don't think this is a bad idea to have private area's, one of my favorite websites (wickedfire) takes an approach that allows the newcomers to read worthwhile posts while excluding them from posting in that section (they call it the 'enlightened members' section).

Most posts end up there because a moderator thought they were particularly worthwhile or the members voted that it should go there. The difference between this and a truly private section is everyone can still read the posts in there and gain insights (and hopefully increase their posting quality through the knowledge gained there) without having idea's horded by just the members who are able to read a 'private' section.

I, being new here, would appreciate a section like this as well as it's usually a good starting point to get your head wrapped around new concepts without having to sift through a pile of other stuff or ask questions that have been answered and subsequently buried under everything else and difficult to find. I am of course biased being new myself and not likely to be included in a private section, but my thoughts really lie on this forum turning me onto crypto currency despite having to sift through things to learn how to get started. If there was an easy section with lots of worthwhile idea's for new people to start on it might encourage others to take the time to learn and get involved.

Hopefully we can see something like the 'enlightened members' section here.
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April 12, 2013, 11:25:28 PM
 #5

Sadly, I imagine that TPTB here on bitcointalk are more interested in pageviews and ad revenue than they are in fostering an environment for intelligent discussion.  I'm off to join the Bitcoin Foundation to see what their forums have to offer.  I imagine the presence of a paywall will lead to a higher quality of postings.


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April 12, 2013, 11:33:16 PM
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Sadly, I imagine that TPTB here on bitcointalk are more interested in pageviews and ad revenue than they are in fostering an environment for intelligent discussion.  I'm off to join the Bitcoin Foundation to see what their forums have to offer.  I imagine the presence of a paywall will lead to a higher quality of postings.



And there was much rejoicing amongst the intelligent and stupid alike.
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April 13, 2013, 12:13:04 AM
 #7

Fail.
1) OP claims to be smart, yet can't find the 'Meta' sub-forum.
2) S/he's basically whining "I'm bored! Say something smart. I demand to be entertained!"

If you want better quality discussions, then use the search function and 'necro' a topic of your choice that you think has merit, or start a thread that's actually meaningful...
*sigh* He's talking about kids like you
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April 13, 2013, 12:38:29 AM
 #8

this is a public forum so you have to take the good with the bad. if you want an exclusive forum you should create one (irc is pretty much made for that)
I dont really see the point of complaining tho. you just come off as a whiner, and, you know what??? sometimes people you wouldn't think were very smart have valid points to make. you should keep an open mind and do your own editing i.e. skip dumb posts.
I've always held the opinion that the one's complaining about the quality of other people's words, posts, opinions, usually have only that negativity and criticism to offer, and rarely contribute anything of value themselves.
think about it. you're obviously really really smart. (sarcasm)

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April 13, 2013, 12:54:39 AM
 #9

Fail.
1) OP claims to be smart, yet can't find the 'Meta' sub-forum.
2) S/he's basically whining "I'm bored! Say something smart. I demand to be entertained!"

If you want better quality discussions, then use the search function and 'necro' a topic of your choice that you think has merit, or start a thread that's actually meaningful...

In OP's defence, I think the idea might not be so bad. There's a lot to sift through to find good quality posts, and although I think the ignore button is a good concept, I find myself reluctant to use it because occasionally the trolls have something relevant to say. Perhaps invite only would be a bit unfair, as I think that quality posts should be accessible to everyone. But I think the suggestion of an 'enlightened members' type section could work quite well. A place for quality discussion amongst those who have been here long enough to gain a real understanding of the bitcoin world, available for all to view.

But yeah this topic should be in Meta.  Wink
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April 13, 2013, 12:54:45 AM
 #10

Lately as I read over what is posted in the forums I'm struck by how much things have changed.  The level of discussion has fallen on at least two scales:  maturity and intelligence.  Now the average poster seems to have the maturity of a teenage boy and at best an average intelligence[1].  As a result, the "signal-to-noise" ratio has fallen so far that the amount of useful information I can find here is heavily outweighed by the time required to sift through it.  And this is despite heavy use of my "ignore" button.

Same thing happend at the bubble top in 2011.
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April 13, 2013, 01:04:24 AM
 #11

Back when I joined bitcointalk at the end of 2010, the level of the discussion was consistent with many bright people contributing and a high "signal-to-noise" ratio, at least from my perspective.

Lately as I read over what is posted in the forums I'm struck by how much things have changed.  The level of discussion has fallen on at least two scales:  maturity and intelligence.  Now the average poster seems to have the maturity of a teenage boy and at best an average intelligence[1].  As a result, the "signal-to-noise" ratio has fallen so far that the amount of useful information I can find here is heavily outweighed by the time required to sift through it.  And this is despite heavy use of my "ignore" button.

A lot of arguments can be made for having a space where people can share ideas where no one is excluded (other than known troublemakers).  I don't think this should change.  However, I would like to see in addition to such inclusive spaces some exclusive spaces which are by invitation only.  Such spaces could draw from public bitcointalk forums through inviting selected members based on their posting history or other achievements (e.g. Bitcoin developers).  Bitcointalk would be a natural place to host such private subforums, though there is no reason they could not be run elsewhere as well.  This approach has proven worthwhile in other venues, where exclusivity either via an invitation-based system, or through membership fees generally results in a much higher qualilty of discourse.

In the meantime, I think I will limit my use of bitcointalk by creating a few bookmarks to a handful of live threads until I can find a new bitcoin community I am not ashamed to be a part of.

[1] Although this is a subjective claim, I believe it can be independently verified because of the high correlation between intelligence and vocabulary (typical correlation coefficient is 0.8 ).  Thus if one compares the level of vocabulary used in years past on bitcointalk, I assert that it would be considerably higher than it is today.

Edit:  Mods, please feel free to move this to the Meta subforum if you feel it's appropriate.


You seem like a boring pretentious douchebag.  That said, I think the donator's/VIP's have their own private section of the forum.
Alex Zee
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April 13, 2013, 07:42:08 AM
 #12

Lately as I read over what is posted in the forums I'm struck by how much things have changed.  The level of discussion has fallen on at least two scales:  maturity and intelligence.  Now the average poster seems to have the maturity of a teenage boy and at best an average intelligence[1].

Couldn't agree more. About 1.5 years ago I've tried to start a separate forum only for people who have actually contributed something tangible to Bitcoin, but it didn't go well.

Maybe the solution is to just make a forum with a small escrow payment - you put some BTC to activate your account and then can withdraw them and terminate your membership if you don't like it anymore. This alone should cut a lot of noise.

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April 13, 2013, 09:16:28 AM
 #13

Most of the devs have come to the same conclusion.

Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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April 13, 2013, 09:45:06 AM
 #14

So if this weren't for some certain project or such would they be more than just circlejerk?

And is allowance deniable, so if you don't agree with someone he is just removed...

There is already self-moderation option, so this could be done in that way.

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April 13, 2013, 10:42:24 AM
 #15

Fail.
1) OP claims to be smart, yet can't find the 'Meta' sub-forum.
2) S/he's basically whining "I'm bored! Say something smart. I demand to be entertained!"

If you want better quality discussions, then use the search function and 'necro' a topic of your choice that you think has merit, or start a thread that's actually meaningful...
*sigh* He's talking about kids like you

I don't like it when people compare these morons to children/teenagers because they're a lot more intelligent than this the majority of the time, chances are these are 30+ year old neckbeards, spoilt traders or neo-keynesians out to do some trolling and are incapable of being told they're full of shit or they are sore losers.

Haven't you seen the kind of bullshit that our politicians and leaders get caught writing on facebook and twitter?
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April 13, 2013, 03:34:22 PM
 #16

Cough...Bitcoin Foundation...cough...

Something to think about....Bitcoin is worth paying for. And it's worth paying to make it better.

Hardfork aren't that hard.
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April 13, 2013, 03:39:52 PM
 #17

If you want better quality discussions, then use the search function and 'necro' a topic of your choice that you think has merit, or start a thread that's actually meaningful...

This I like and have done before  Grin

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April 13, 2013, 03:48:13 PM
 #18

While I don't think this is a bad idea to have private area's, one of my favorite websites (wickedfire) takes an approach that allows the newcomers to read worthwhile posts while excluding them from posting in that section (they call it the 'enlightened members' section).

Most posts end up there because a moderator thought they were particularly worthwhile or the members voted that it should go there. The difference between this and a truly private section is everyone can still read the posts in there and gain insights (and hopefully increase their posting quality through the knowledge gained there) without having idea's horded by just the members who are able to read a 'private' section.

I, being new here, would appreciate a section like this as well as it's usually a good starting point to get your head wrapped around new concepts without having to sift through a pile of other stuff or ask questions that have been answered and subsequently buried under everything else and difficult to find. I am of course biased being new myself and not likely to be included in a private section, but my thoughts really lie on this forum turning me onto crypto currency despite having to sift through things to learn how to get started. If there was an easy section with lots of worthwhile idea's for new people to start on it might encourage others to take the time to learn and get involved.

Hopefully we can see something like the 'enlightened members' section here.

I like this idea since I agree completely with the OP, but I would also hate to see the quality threads really hidden from view from the average user. It would also be great to be able to refer to those threads when someone does have a more serious question or tries to understand something about some aspect of Bitcoin.

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April 13, 2013, 03:53:25 PM
 #19

I guess it could be a create new topic option - "restrict replies to established members".

Moderation of growing communities is always a challenging problem. You will piss some people off, no matter what you do.
nanopene
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April 13, 2013, 04:32:30 PM
 #20

Fail.
1) OP claims to be smart, yet can't find the 'Meta' sub-forum.
2) S/he's basically whining "I'm bored! Say something smart. I demand to be entertained!"

If you want better quality discussions, then use the search function and 'necro' a topic of your choice that you think has merit, or start a thread that's actually meaningful...
*sigh* He's talking about kids like you

I don't like it when people compare these morons to children/teenagers because they're a lot more intelligent than this the majority of the time, chances are these are 30+ year old neckbeards, spoilt traders or neo-keynesians out to do some trolling and are incapable of being told they're full of shit or they are sore losers.

Haven't you seen the kind of bullshit that our politicians and leaders get caught writing on facebook and twitter?

I am not saying that kids are dumb, but teens with less life experience pretending to know it all it irks me every time.
The equalizing effect of the internet (making feel that a teen has the same authority than a professional), plus the trolling effect that we all know, causes really exasperating situations.

I applaud any kid who has a inquisitive mind, and some of them may try to learn through arguments.
But you can really tell the mental age of someone by paying attention to the proper usage of vocabulary, terminologies and their reasoning pattern... Which is in turn always matching with their life experience.

Preteens typically make you refer to the dictionary. They have difficulties understanding that professional terminologies have specific meanings that are not reflected in vernacular usage.

Teens typically want to pretend to be cultured and most analyses are purely logical, they don't understand the difference between tautology and truth. They have hard time understanding fallacies. They heavily use rhetoric to cover their ignorance. They are still trapped in a word of definitions, but now less about semantics and more about of conceptual definitions from textbook. Male teens have a very hard time being flexible, they are still living in a world of absolutes. They may grasp conceptually but they lack understanding of fundamentals.
Existential questions abound, and their ideologies are paved with zeitgeist and 1984 instead of actual philosophy.
And those who eat better ideologies, they become fanboys. Basically because they lack of actual criteria, they are looking for authorities to respect and follow.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is fairly predominant in both preteens and teens.

Adults because of their life experience, they bring case studies and they understand the exceptions to the rule. We use models to understand the world, but we use empiricism to confirm. We learn that the world is neither black nor white, but gray.
Existential conflicts are mostly gone with puberty, although it may return at your 30's or 40's in what people call "middle life crises". But those are more in line with "what did I do with my life" instead of the teenage "why do I exist".

OP is right: your vocabulary and orthography reveals a LOT, and the way that one formulates their ideas exposes even more.
If you read enough how someone formulates their question and/or reacts, you can infer fairly accurately their educational level, and therefore estimate their (mental) age.

Now, I am not criticizing the kids, this is all part of their learning process. Also, there are very bright ones out there. But most of them are just adding noise.
Having an invite only forum would be fine, but those posts shouldn't be isolated from the public, instead it should be something like a +v channel... only those invited can reply and post. The rest just watch and listen.
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