rule 1: no culture war and no current politics anywhere
rule 2: no sarcasm
rule 3: get to the fucking point. I will delete posts I consider to be low-quality.
Why have a Forum?
I want to have a safe space for discussion of things that interest me away from corporate control of Twitter and Reddit.
r/slatestarcodex and post-rat and academic twitter are especially personally significant to me, so I’m disappointed to need to do this but I no longer feel safe visiting these platforms, as more and more of my friends get automatically banned while not breaking any rules and as moderation becomes more and more random and arbitrary.
Why Discourse rather than Slack or Discord?
I thought a lot about this. Here are the most important reasons:
Both Slack and Discord are fundamentally chats. I want people to have the time to think and write asynchronously, not afraid that if they don’t reply immediately, the topic will become irrelevant (I had too many cases in various Slacks when I wanted to reply to something but was too busy at the moment and then the conversation switched to a completely different topic or I just wasn’t able to find the original message). This is also why I really like email.
It’s impossible to quickly see which discussions are happening at the moment. In chat apps you have to go to channels and see whatever was discussed most recently in each separate channel and, without topic names, have to read a bunch of messages to figure out what’s going on. On the forum, you can just open the main page and you will immediately see what was discussed recently and decide what interests you.
Reading without participation if fundamental. I want the content to be open and I want people to be able to read the forum and to decide if they like what they see before making them commit and create an account.
Looking at history is impossible in Slack and Discord. Discussions that took place a month ago might as well have never existed. I believe that history and archives are fundamental, as a part of the Long Now thinking.
You’re whining about capriciousness of reddit and twitter but say that you will delete posts you consider to be low-quality? How is this not hypocrisy?
The biggest difference between reddit/twitter and this forum is that on reddit/twitter you’re fully in control of what you see. Every person is their own moderator. If they like someone, they can follow that person or join their subreddit. If they don’t like someone – they don’t. If someone is being an asshole, you can mute/block that person and forget about their existence.
In the presence of these tools, I find additional arbitrary moderation to be a dubious idea. However this forum has a unified feed, meaning that the admins have to be the moderators of it for everyone. This of course means that this forum will never truly substitute twitter/reddit. I don’t know a good alternative to either of those sites though.
- If your idea was prompted by, but no longer serves, the conversation and the original topic, use the button on the right margin to reply as a linked topic. This is a great way to politely split off the conversation so that the original thread can stay on-topic, while still giving you the freedom to pursue a new conversation about a different idea. Participants will know the two topics are related thanks to links in the side margins. Interested participants will follow. And in fact, if a moderator feels that your post is better suited as a new topic, that moderator can retroactively gather your post and related replies into a new topic. (from)