DIfferent Newbies & Different Feel - True or False?

I’m not certain this is the best forum for this. But it’s a place to start.

I was absent from the boards for 2-1/2 years and returned just before the cutover to Discourse in June. So despite being a long-time high-volume user here, I was/am out of touch with the board’s current “culture” as of early 2020.

Now with 6-8 weeks of daily heavy use under my belt I can summarize what I see as the cultural changes between 2+ years ago vs. now:

  1. A larger number of one sentence tit-for-tat dialog type posts. e.g. Poster A posts 3 paragraphs and poster B posts a 1 sentence disagreement in the form of an ambiguous question. Or equally, a post that’s little more than a “Like”. This behavior is not restricted to newbies, but is more common amongst them.

  2. Many newbies seem to be arriving to act as single-issue threadshitters. Or as something close to concern trolls. They’re all transmit and near-zero receive. It’s not a conversation.

So folks:

  1. Are my perceptions accurate?
  2. Is this new since Discourse or has this shift been ongoing for the last couple years?
  3. If new, is Discourse itself triggering or amplifying the effects? Does the Discourse platform somehow advertise us to outsiders?
  4. If old, any idea of causes? I’d bet on more folks on phones vs desktops and more used to TwitFace-style interactions.
  5. Is threadshitting more common now? Or if not bona fide threadshits at least posts that amount to nothing more than “Neener neener you’re wrong!!1!”
  6. Does TPTB have any interest in trying to manage the adverse consequences of these changes? Assuming they are changes.
  1. Yes
  2. Discourse has exacerbated it I think. But the trend was there.
  3. See above
  4. Tablets and phones definitely and I agree that twitter soundbites have become popular.
  5. This has been happening for years and the current political climate has f****d nuance in its derriere.
  6. They have been making some attempts. If anything, its gotten better, slightly from its nadir last year. I think the pandemic has actually improved discourse (no pun intended) since we returned to the model that made us great, which was honest questions getting detailed answers and a frank and respectful sharing of views. During the early days of the pandemic, this place was by far my most reliable source of information bar none.

I have not noticed any such changes as described in the OP.

Check out I-AM-WABI-SABI who arrived in these 2 long running threads threads in the last day or two.

(Fucking maskholes)
(The pro-mask side needs to step up its influencing game)

My OP wasn’t directed at that person per se, but they certainly make a fine poster child for the behavior I thought was seeing in many posters.

Perhaps part of the difference is I’m spending more time in QZ & PE which are inherently fussier than my traditional haunts of GC, IMHO & MPSIMS.

At the very least, I can say I haven’t noticed that being any more common since moving to Discourse. I don’t know how long it’s been going on, but I was definitely annoyed by one liner responses to long throughtful posts before the move.

If anything, it seems to me that we have fewer noobs coming in at all. I suspect it’s because all the old links you find on Google no longer work–or, at least, they didn’t last I tried using Google to search for old posts.

I seem to remember people saying the search issue was intended to be fixed, though, with redirects and such. But I don’t know how much current circumstances put a wrench in those plans.

We’ve had that kind of poster for the past 20 years. Nothing at all new there. And I banned him a short time ago as a troll.

What you may be seeing is that because we are extremely short handed right now, it may take a little longer for such issues to be resolved. There’s also the issue that Discourse handles reporting posts and warnings completely differently from vBulletin.

I’ve been posting here since 2001 and I don’t think the replies are any more or less verbose than they were before. Go back to some old threads and you’ll see plenty of nonsense posts.

The two changes I’ve seen are:

  1. there are fewer right leaning viewpoints on here. Like the rest of the Internet we have become a bit more of an echo chamber (politically at least). It’s nobody’s fault - at least not anybody here - but the Pit (love it as I do) probably doesn’t help to retain people who have an unpopular view point as they usually get flamed sooner or later. It’s important to have opposing viewpoints and we have lost that. Hopefully this is a short term thing.

  2. GQ has become a lot less playful. We used to have some really crazy What If? style questions and we seem to have lost that a bit. I really miss the old GQ. I’m not sure exactly why it has changed or even if it’s perhaps just in my head - I think the moderation might be a tiny bit stricter in GQ but not sure if that’s the reason as it has never sought to restrict those type of questions.

I can’t say that I’ve seen any really significant changes during my tenure here dating back six and a half years, though perhaps being away for awhile as you have been makes one more aware of subtle gradual changes that are otherwise hidden by the everyday noise.

I think perhaps part of what may be happening here is a reflection of cultural changes in the larger world. The divisiveness and some of the irrationality in US politics today is incredible. I think @Fiendish_Astronaut is correct in surmising that there are probably fewer right-leaning viewpoints here, but it’s not being pitted that’s driving them away. The Pit has been around a long time. It’s the fact that so many of them are, or turned into, jerks and trolls and were banned for good reason. A very small number of thoughtful conservative posters seem to have drifted off on their own – @Bricker for one, and @Bone for another, whom I particularly miss both as a poster and as a moderator even though I disagreed with him ideologically on almost everything. I have no problem with those of differing views, but I do have a big problem with jerks and trolls, and celebrate their banning.

The other thing is that the move to Discourse coincided with the pandemic and pretty much everybody and his dog staying home with more time on their hands, so it may have changed the demographic of frequent posters. Discourse may also be attracting a different crowd, though I hope not, because the original makeup of the SDMB was pretty unique on the internet.

And BTW, @LSLGuy, so nice to have you back. As others have said elsewhere, you’re a valued poster on this board and I sincerely hope that you stick around. It’s posters like you who make this place worthwhile.

I sense a slight difference in newbies since moving to Discourse, but I just realized why, and it has nothing to do with the nature of new posters. Discourse makes that automated announcement (I’m paraphrasing): “This is NewPoster’s first post on the Straight Dope Message Board! Let’s welcome them to the community!”

Because of that, I specifically notice new posters on Discourse whereas in vBulletin I probably would have been much less likely to register that someone is new. Thus, I notice the, er … lack of fluency with the way Dopers interact … here on Discourse. But I doubt it’s actually a new thing since the move. It has probably been happening more and more, very gradually, over the past few years. Certainly much more since we became searchable on Google.

With the new system, people “reply” to a post, but the quoted reply gets dropped once they hit “submit”. So it appears more like a drive-by.

Also, some have noted that this Discourse platform feels a little more like a chat room. It’s the real-time interactive nature of this platform, that we see new posts (or notifications thereof) as quickly as they are made. So there’s a lot more real-time back-and-forth one-liner conversations than we saw on vBulletin.

Is it, really, though?

When said “opposing viewpoints” are racism and misogyny, I think we’re better off without them.

OP here. Thanks all for the many good points. Makes sense. This thread has achieved my goal for it.

There are new reactions as a result of the adjustment the new medium.
I don’t think a new culture has crystallized yet although it is about to.

I wonder if LSL missed the whole tenure of dude_roberts? “Who would win in a fight–10 dragons or a million frogs?”

I’m quite obviously not talking about those people.

If it were obvious, I wouldn’t have replied as i did.

And even the “good” ones never stopped or even criticized the bad ones. When did (fan favourite for this kind of discussion) Bricker ever call out Shodan or Starving Artist on their racism? I certainly can’t recall it ever happening.

The only recently-missing RW poster where I can see a case being made for us being poorer for their absence is bone.

I guess my observation is a general one: the board used to contain lots of political debate, now it’s more a series of posts agreeing with each other, and I don’t think that’s because we’ve solved politics.

You can count me amongst the people who agree with the vast majority of political views espoused on here but I believe that a genuine socratic style debate is better than than a filter bubble.

I’m not seeking to blame any specific person here for that change. It’s more to do with the nature of the world right now and the way the Internet is these days. And maybe the Pit has had absolutely nothing to do with it - that bit was more of a musing really. In fact the whole post was a musing (and so is this). But we have definitely lost opposing view points.

Were you this concerned when the viewpoints we were losing were transgender, minority and women voices? Because it seems like all that’s changed is that now it’s the hateful viewpoints that are being lost.

Oh no, I didn’t miss that classic character. I was here for all of him. I remember him well. Answered several of his less unhinged questions too.