Idea for new forum: Computer Colloquy

Cafe Society was broken out from the other forums because IIRC a) there was enough material to make it work b) literary/arts topics were appropriate as a cohesive category c) these topics tended to “litter” other fora rather than contribute.

I would recommend a separate computer-related forum for computer topics: Computer Colloquy. There are enough questions in GQ, GD, and the Pit (obviously, computer rants would have to exclude cussing in the new forum) to make for a good new forum. Certainly they would form a cohesive category. I also think there is a “litter” effect currently with them.

What say you?

This has been proposed a zillion or so times. IIRC, the main reason for rejecting it has been that there are plenty of other computer-related boards out there that are doing the same thing better than we could do it, and the powers that be don’t want to turn this into a tech support forum.

Personally, I don’t have an opinion one way or the other.

Heh, and here I was thinking I was being original. A hard thing to be on SDMB. (Why is .999999 = to 1?!).

Anyhow, it IS a tech support forum for the members, whether a forum is there for that purpose or not. Is the fear that adding a forum would attract new members solely for that purpose? It’s hard to see that as a bad thing. Computer people in general are smart and would probably end up participating in other fora and adding value.

I don’t think this argument holds merit.

There are plenty of other boards for ranting, discussing arts and culture, and talking about whatever comes into your head, but we still have the Pit, Cafe and MPSIMS.

It’s probably just too much effort, or something. I don’t think a new forum could hurt the board. There should be a thread to suggest new forums and then a member poll. I think it would breathe new life into the board.

new fora?

BTW: One of the SDMB spinoffs, the UnaBoard has a computer forum.

Generally we dislike making work for the mods by creating a new forum that has to be watched and kept clean. This is doubly so when creating a forum based on the topic of discussion instead of the type. The fora based on content are either historical (ATMB, CoCC, CoSR) or were created due to a huge amount of demand and a difficulty accomodating threads elsewhere (CS). All of the other fora (GQ, GD, IMHO, MPSIMS, The Pit) are based on what kind of discussions go on inside them regardless of topic.

This is a subtle distinction but it works well for us. We get a lot of threads that would be impossible to place if we had a focus on content-based fora. It also allows for much richer discussions because nobody is afraid of straying into a topic off-limits in the current forum. It would be a shame to see it broken up any more than it is.

What’s more, computer threads aren’t really a burden anywhere. GQ certainly isn’t overrun with them, and The Pit gets more political fights and general bitching than anything else. It’s encouraging to see how well CS has done, but there’s no reason (to my mind) that a computer forum would do nearly as well here.

Finally, computer threads raise some thorny issues that might run up against our more traditional method of dividing up fora. For example, would a debate over the DMCA and copy-protection schemes go in GD or the proposed computer forum? Would the current GQ thread about displaying every possible image on a monitor go in the computer forum or is it really more about the limits of human vision and combinatoric mathematics? Would a pitched battle over the merits of different OSes go in The Pit or the computer forum?

Do you begin to see the issues involved here?

We’re not closing our minds to any suggestions, but frankly, I don’t see anywhere near the number of questions about computers that would warrant a separate forum.

Currently, we can handle most questions in existing forums:

  • “How do I expand memory on my SPD-13?” would go in GQ.
  • “Which printer do you like best?” would go in IMHO
  • “Talk about the cool computer graphics in the movie CITIZEN KANE II” would go in Cafe Society.
  • “What’s the fastest way to download pirated movies without being caught?” would not go anywhere on our boards, new forum or not.

The other argument is that there are plenty of boards where you can get tech help. Our boards really don’t serve that function. We don’t provide medical or legal or other professional advice, either. There’s a difference between boards offering opinions (yes, there are lots of places to rant, discuss arts, etc., too) and those offering technical advice (on computers, pets, African violets, etc.) We try to remain generalists, and dedicated to the Cecil Adams principles: WWCC? (“What would Cecil Consider?”) For example, Cecil would not answer a technical computer question in his column.

Hence, while we don’t mind the occasional such floating around, we don’t consider it to be related to our raison d’etre (those are dried grapes from Etre, CA.)

Finally, we’ve discussed it amongst the Moderators from time to time, and in the past we’ve felt that such a forum would need a Moderator who is reasonably well versed in computer technical stuff. The Moderator would need to know when someone is trolling or bullshitting, for instance, and that’s not easy in a technical field unless you know the field.

So those are the reasons why we haven’t, so far. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth thinking about from time to time – just because we rejected an idea in the past doesn’t mean that we can’t reconsider as circumstances change.

But he also wouldn’t answer “How do you shower?” “What is anal sex really like?” “My dog died” “Fuck Bush” “What’s your favourite Star Trek episode?” “CK Dexter Haven is a Nazi!” so I think that’s not really something that comes into it when discussing the messageboard.

Plus, with the trolling or bullshitting a mod wouldn’t really have to know more than generalities, users are pretty good at picking up on bullshit long before mods even get involved; witness the current START pit thread for an example.

I DO agree that a political forum would be very nice, just to get rid of alllll the thread hijacking that happens and to free up GD for something other than not quite so great political debates.

That’s plural.
BTW: I think, if where talking expansion, that “current affairs” should be a new venue. A lot of the talk on the board relates to things in the news, things that are topical right now. But the verdict in the Michael Jackson case might not be worthy of GD, not somethingto rant about (or maybe it would), not something for CS. Arguably, it could go into IMHO, but that forum is a bit vague.

And speaking of which - why isn’t MPSIMS and IMHO one forum? I can’t really distinguish them.

But “current affairs” gets old really quick.

I don’t see why this can’t be handled within the parameters of what we have going on right now.

your humble TubaDiva

Don’t we already have that? I thought that was part of the reason for GD. I mean, let’s face it, a lot of the things people can or do debate are politics.

Many of the requests we get to set up new forum areas are not so much to include topics that people find interesting as much as they are to exclude topics people don’t want to see.

It’s like the emails I get that offer to cure the server problems. “If you eliminated the __________________ forum (put in the one you really hate), then the board would be faster so I could read and post to _______________________ (put in the one you really like). So why don’t you do that?”

(I get this email a LOT.)

your humble TubaDiva

Are you sure about that? I mean he wrote about copraphagia.

Precisely for the reasons I gave. And yes, “current affairs” get non current within a day or a week. And so the threads drop off first page and vanish.

If you start scanning the front pages of every forum, you’ll notice that quite a lot of them deal with things that are in the news / media right now. WotW just opened and there have been quite a few threads about Tom Cruise, not only in his role as an actor in the movie, but as nutjob beacon for Scientology. He got a good thrashing in the pit today, but I feel there can be a need to talk about these things without frothing at the mouth or offering deep philosophical insight.


S’ok. I know. If you look in my post directly above that one, I wrote “forums”. I was correcting myself.

The answer really is “we don’t want more”, isn’t it? Pretty much every reason has been rebutted. I mean, it’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with not wanting more forums, but why not admit it?

To rebut Tuba’s last reason: Before Cafe was made, Cafe questions could be handled in other fora.

Why not, as I said before, let the members decide? And you could make an option on the poll “No more fora”. If the result is a new forum, you could even appoint new mods so that old ones don’t get extra work.

I did it again! forums = fora.

I don’t think my reasons have been rebutted.

When I said the issues had been rebutted, I was generally talking about replies to staff posts, because they do the decision-making.

You can appoint more mods. Besides, if they don’t want to do it, they can quit.

I don’t see how there would be difficulty with CS type threads, opinions differ on this point.

Many times people go off limits, then the thread gets moved. People aren’t afraid of going off limits. Either the thread gets moved or a new thread is started in the appropriate forum.
No one is suggesting a complete move to “content based fora”, so I would say your concerns are misplaced.

That’s your opinion, and that’s fine. If we had a thread and a poll, everyone’s else’s opinion would be taken into account as well. Personally, I wouldn’t vote for a computer forum, but a search of ATMB reveals that quite a few people have requested it in the past.

The same issue occurs with CS, and I don’t really think it’s ever been a problem, IMHO.

You sound a leeeetle condescending here.
To sum up, it’s pretty much all your opinion, or the same issues could be applied to CS.