@Roy has asked on IQ Meta about the amount of "chatter" on Inward Quest. This is something that has also concerned me for a while, namely the ability to comment on questions or answers is increasingly being used for general chat/discussions rather than remaining focused on the original question or answer.
We are looking into solutions to this (perhaps through software limits on commenting) but I would like to hear your views before we implement anything.
1. Do you feel there is too much "chatter" in the comments on Inward Quest? Or even the site in general?
APRIL 10 UPDATE
Thank you all for expressing your points of view. The suggestions and ideas have been very helpful to us in formulating a plan of action.
A change was made yesterday (April 9) to the way Inward Quest operates which we believe has reduced general chatter already and will continue to do so without preventing anyone from continuing to make comments. I will be making an announcement shortly about what we have done and why we have done it.
The question has been closed for the following reason "No longer relevant" by Simon Templeton 10 Apr '13, 02:43
I'm not certain what the solution is, but I do see it is a problem. Much of the content here has changed, and I have found myself losing interest.
However, I wanted to say that, while I agree that too much chatter on unrelated subjects is off-putting, I feel strongly that it would be a mistake to assume that all long back-and-forth conversations in comments are necessarily unrelated chatter. I have gleaned some of the most fascinating information in these exchanges; both in the ones I have engaged in personally, and in the ones I have watched (and often butted in on) by others.
How many times have I cornered our patient Wise Ones here, wringing the wisdom out of their heads with one burning request for clarification after another? :) They have always answered and helped me enormously, and sometimes suggest, when my query warrants, that I put it in the form of a proper New Question for the site, which I have done, and I think we all benefit. I have seen many such conversations take this same path.
It seems to me that many questions are born of such discussion, either here or elsewhere. I would prefer to foster those questions here. The more I think, the more I think. ("Curiouser and curiouser.") I think that delaying or limiting these conversations would stifle much valuable alchemy brewing amongst IQ members.
I realize I have been guilty of this chatter, and should have policed myself, but didn't. I apologize. I should have had more respect for the site. It is so good to enjoy our friendships here, but there is a limit, and we do have other places to go off topic.
As @Jai suggested, a friendly tap on the shoulder to remind that there are other places meant for unrelated chat, may be a good idea. I agree with @Fairy Princess in that the more it is allowed to continue, the more users will assume it's ok behavior. I remember coming here and thinking I will try to keep my posts up to a standard that would be respected by @Stingray. What a newbie would think right now would not be the same.
I also agree that many of us (ok I) say things we wish we hadn't sometimes, and I would sometimes like to delete some comments once I realize what I've done. That comes down to personal integrity, however, because I have never (I believe) deleted anything that had any effect on the conversation. Quite the reverse, in fact. ;) But how to prevent abuse? I can only think of an appeal to our better natures, and sense of responsibility to this site we love so much.
One problem I noticed, from looking at the subject of chat here before, is that people are reluctant to use FB, because it is so intrusive. I was reluctant, too, until I realized that my FB account doesn't need to have any connection to my real life. My account there, as here, is connected to an email address I established only for IQ. It's all for my alter-ego, Grace. It's easy to do, and no intrusion.
Lastly, it may be useful to suggest here something I've been thinking of for a while now. In a very busy thread, it would be helpful if we could be shown somehow where the latest comment was made. If there are 23 answers, some with as many comments, and all I know from the main page is that @Stingray has just said something fascinating somewhere in there, it can be frustrating to try to find it! ;)
My two cents, Simon. Thanks for asking.
EDIT April 8, 2013
I have been reading all of the answers and comments here since I posted this, and I feel very unhappy about my answer now. It does not represent the best of me, I think must have been at my worst when I wrote it. In fact, I know I was. I have something in my life making me unhappy right now, and this is the wisdom that has come of that misalignment: Absolute crap. I would take it back if I could, to save other people's feelings, but I also wouldn't for my own sake, because it has taught me a painful but valuable lesson.
I meant to give an opinion on how the site is organized. I was not thinking of attacking anyone, but I see now that it came out that way. The way it came out of me was a judgement on all of my fellow members here, and an insult to many. If I didn't like the number of emails I was getting, I could easily have modified my notifications. I have done that now.
I sincerely apologize; I should have known better than to judge like this. I know that I should be farther along in my growth than this. I will pay close attention to this from now on.
I think that @lozenge123 pegged it perfectly, and I have not been able to rest quietly in my mind since I read this:
@lozenge123 you were absolutely right. I was absolutely wrong. I appreciate the lesson. I hope this makes me a better person in future. I just really wish that everyone who voted this answer up, would please come and vote it back down again. It's crap, and I am not proud of it.
The use of comments has been, tested .there was no real control over them but the conversations have been interesting and sometimes entertaining . I feel a stronger bond to the questioner and commenter alike though these conversations. Soo... possible clearer guidelines but no restrictive measures we are all responsible grown-ups not in need of more control .
Another thing is I believe that some users use the comment to avoid karma points.
answered 08 Apr '13, 02:32
I guess I will be the one lone voice in the wilderness that really does not see a "problem" with the amount or content of "chatter" here on Inward Quest. I certainly do not feel that it has "gotten out of hand."
For that matter, I'm not precisely sure what "chatter" means.
I guess it all depends on any individual's given definition of the term.
The only real difference I have noticed over the course of the 10 months I have been here is that in the beginning (summer of 2012) there seemed to be more inspired questions and exchanges going on here.
But just because not as much IQ content is personally inspiring me at the moment doesn't mean that any content on IQ needs to be censored or limited.
In fact, it would be pretty selfish and narcissistic of me to suggest the opposite.
As to the proposals that we "limit" or "censor" content here, I think that this will be a case of the prescription being worse than the ailment itself. Any attempt to limit content is going to have to involve someone deciding (either on a specific basis, or in forming general parameters) as to what is relevant or not. And I can't see that as being consistent with the principles ostensibly advocated on this site.
That said, Jaianniah does bring up a valid point:
I think rather than limiting or policing content, the answer would be to have a "New Questions" feature, section, menu, etc.. (I'll leave that to the programmers) in which people could browse questions according to how new they are, rather than how recently someone has commented on them.
Okay, having re-read this thread this morning, I am starting to read between the lines here.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the real issue here that is not that "general chatter" is a "problem" on Inward Quest, but rather, some specific individuals have been involved in frequent activity on various threads, and the content of their comments is irritating, frivolous, or somehow undesirable to the folks who have brought the "issue" up here.
Previously, I have taken the wording here on this thread literally. And perhaps this is not constructive being that the real "issue" here is something different.
That said, I stand by my statement that the prescription is worse than the ailment. Especially since the "prescription" would be a general "fix" which would limit everyone's contributions here, when the real complaint centers around a handful of individuals.
That said, you might be more helpful in achieving what you want if you stop "beating about the bush."
"To call a spade a spade."
Definition: To "call a spade a spade" is to speak honestly and directly about a topic, specifically topics that others may avoid speaking about due to their sensitivity or embarrassing nature.
I've come up with a personal plan to help make Inward Quest more of an inspiring, interesting place by bringing it back to its roots, and attract a forum that is more desirable to me by using the Law of Attraction.
I hereby decide to click on the "Newest Questions" tab every time I sign on, and pay these questions just as much attention as the "Most Active" questions.
I will ignore all comments that I personally find to be frivolous, undesirable, or uninteresting.
Following a cue from Bashar, I will do my best to "be the light" by asking the most interesting and thought-provoking questions that I can think of (when I think of them), and providing answers to other thought-provoking, interesting questions to the best of my ability.
The frivolous, undesirable chatter can continue if the said chatterers so wish...or the said chatter can vanish out of all existence. It makes no difference to me.
I'd love to have more interesting exchanges with you all. It's been a heck of an enlightening ride these past ten months...looking forward to many more.
Do I feel there is too much chatter on IQ? Do I think it should be modified or banned? My answer is no.
I pretty much am in the same view as lozenge123. Whilst I do agree that IQ is starting to feel like a social networking site, I could argue that the users have become more aquainted and personal with one another through time, and this yealds several pros and possible cons; such as, increased unrelated discussion on IQ. And, yes, it does give rise to the possibility of emotional but perhaps un-necessary (to the website, not the individual) arguments that could spawn on here.
On initial thought, I feel banning comments would make IQ anti-social and demote interactions amongst each other. My most crucial point is that there are some users here that act as teachers to me. The easiest way for anybody to learn anything is through teaching it to another; my view is that IQ gives off the student-learner vibe through the demonstation that it is a Q and A site, not a general forum.
Perhaps create a "IQ manners" page for all to read in the near future?
answered 07 Apr '13, 20:34
I think the amount of "chatter" on IQ has gotten out of hand.
It keeps the same questions popping up at the top every time a new comment is posted. Perhaps if you did away with that, it would stop some of the traffic. But the same questions pop up and block new questions and push down perhaps more important questions, so, I agree, something needs to be done.
I hope these observations help you, Simon. I did post that question on Meta about being notified when I got a comment....perhaps that was really a clue that things have gotten out of hand.
answered 07 Apr '13, 13:03
I decided to think about this for awhile before putting in my two-cents worth. I've been visiting IQ almost from the start...going on 4 years now I think...and have seen different trends come and go.
Yes, yes, I agree that some conversations become off-topic and some posters have fallen into the habit of always trying to get in the last word. The "last word" issue does get annoying. When this happens I simply stop reading and suggest that others do the same.
A gentle suggestion from one of those who is respected here, such as "please stay on topic for the good of all concerned" might be all that is needed. I agree with Lozenge that limits on comments or something of that nature would be making the prescription worse than the illness. I would not enjoy visiting IQ as much if it were more controlled. I love it that IQ is an ever-changing, evolving thing and would resent strong controls. Most of us here are free-thinking, curious people, after all, and a more controlled IQ might drive away the people it now attracts.
The "last-word" people would stop their nonsense if ignored more often. I say don't punish all, for the errors in judgment of the few.
Best wishes to all!
answered 08 Apr '13, 21:27
Hi Simon. We all love an opportunity to help out with the site.
I was away from the site for about 3-4 months and came back recently and yes, I have to say that I have noticed a lot more chat going on that is not related to the question/answer.
This makes the general content of the site less useful to readers. When I am on the site, reading a question/answer thread, I expect the discussion below it in comment form to be a useful addition to the question/answer thread, whether that is the sharing of more information about the topic being discussed in the question/answer or other related valuable insights.
However, recently, I have just been skimming over some of the starting comments, realising they are off topic and just skipping over the rest of the long array of comments, losing interest in the whole thread.
I think disabling the feature where a question comes up every time a comment is posted will affect useful related comments on a question/answer thread so I am not sure this will work.
a) You could have a feature when someone clicks on 'add new comment' that brings up information underneath or above, just like you have for when you ask a new question, making clear how and when comments should be used. And then, the moderators can just suspend temporarily anyone who does not respect those guidelines.
b) The major cause of these chats seems to be the instant notification to the other party that a comment has been posted. And the other party is notified even when the comment gets later deleted which I am not sure works very well.
So, what you could do is, just delay the notification of a comment to the other party, by let's say an hour or so. That implies that the other party is not notified until an hour after the comment has been posted and has stayed there for an hour.
Then, you cannot really hold an instant chat conversation and would have to take it to either the chat box or elsewhere.
Hi Simon, I had another thought on this matter. All of us can only offer our perspective on this subject as users of the site and chat feature. Therefore, our opinions and suggestions can only be from a user perspective. Now, whether the moderators/administrators have the same opinions and whether our opinions will make their lives harder or easier when administering the site, we are not in a position to comment.
I personally would rather see the site run smoothly and appreciate the hard work that the moderators/administrators put in to make this happen. So, hopefully, their opinions/suggestions are being considered.
The only problem I find with limiting chatter is... There are times many times when through the questions about my questions or answers, I can give a clearer illustration of the intent of the original question or answer.
I had been doing some thinking. If you make a rule that comments must be just the facts relating to the answer or question, this would stop the chatter dead. I have been guilty of telling people, "Nice answer, or I agree... etc..." This adds no useful information to the answer.
Another thing eliminate the at least 8 character restriction. With this elimination we could just say one word, "Yes, No, Okay." and that would also stop chatter.
It saddens me to see comments used to lash out at others. Either in hurtful jest or rightously pointing out others short comings, is hurtful and closes others down. When we make others feel hurt, we cause others to fall from happiness. Everyone wants to be happy. We should seek to be that messenger of peace and happiness.
There is enough misery and suffering in the world. Let's make this a sanctuary of, encouragement, peace and hope.
If we can not here, then how could we ever expect any better in the world?
Edit added 4-9-13
Simon I thought of another thing that could stop chatter.
You could give a medal for the person that stays on topic most for the day.
For one thing, it would help if you would take the limit of one hour to delete the comment off. Sometimes people say something they later wish they hadn't. That would eliminate some of the comments. Also, if you see someone being a troll, you can warn them and if they continue, limit their capabilities for a bit. I know that I have had people harrass me in the comments, and when I had enough, I got the punnishment. Not to bring it up again, but you asked.
I have noticed people make comments to my answers that were totally unrelated to my answer and maybe even a reply to a different answer. I think the more you allow the trolling, the more they think it's ok behavior. I have seen you and other moderators make comments to some, but not others. I think that inconsistancy reinforces the trolls that they are OK because nobody told them otherwise, but they told that other guy.
It also might be a button for reporting innapropriate comments. Then we can report and ignore and be done with it. Then the moderators can take appropriate action.
There is a Thumbs up button for comments that we like or feel contributes to the discussion. Can you put a Thumbs Down button as well?
I think that these are appropriate and not over sensoring since it does say right at the top of the how to use IQ page.
Hi I cannot say that anything has bothered me concerned chatter unrelated to the questions. I usually pick the questions which interest me at the time and read all the comments and anwerspertaining to them. Many times I find links in there which may not have been in direct correlation to the question, but I pursue them nonetheless and often find little gems which help me. Same with the comments. If I don't really care for the comment I will just ignore it. As far as I am concerned, you can leave things the way they are. I find there is a great variety of questions, comments and answers on here and i am grateful for all of them.
answered 09 Apr '13, 22:15
If you are seeing this message then the Inward Quest system has noticed that your web browser is behaving in an unusual way and is now blocking your active participation in this site for security reasons. As a result, among other things, you may find that you are unable to answer any questions or leave any comments. Unusual browser behavior is often caused by add-ons (ad-blocking, privacy etc) that interfere with the operation of our website. If you have installed these kinds of add-ons, we suggest you disable them for this website