Suggestion for new top-level general discussion, separate from "clearing the path"

In my view, “Clearing the Path” is (A) primarily about grouping the sub-categories that make sense together but also (B) is about discussing the specific work of making the platform and org etc.

So, Clearing the Path is for the team and volunteers to discuss our work along with anyone else who ever cares to weigh in (public discussion is valuable).

But I do not see it as the place for people to chat about FLO values overall, about the economics of the snowdrift dilemma and public goods generally… i.e. all the things that people might specifically want to discuss tangential to with the sort of people who would be involved here. That stuff doesn’t belong in Clearing the Path.

I think of it like Clearing the Path is everyone actually shoveling snow or planning the shoveling or supporting the shoveling… it’s not the related stuff where the shovelers or others talk about their dreams about where they’ll go once the road is clear…

So, I think we need a general category for all that other stuff. To some degree, we’re talking about the stuff that might go on Reddit or GNU Social etc. but may be appropriate enough to discuss specifically here. On those outside platforms, I’m super hesitant to reference on every relevant topic that comes up. The category I want is where I’d talk about those same issues of politics, power, money, society, psychology, etc. but be able to put it specifically in Snowdrift context…

This will also make it clear what “Clearing the Path” is. It’s the stuff about actually moving forward, distinct from the other stuff.

I’m tired now and will elaborate/clarify later, but here’s my quick gut reaction:

  • Isn’t the plan/goal, at least for now, that most discussions (say, 75%) will be of this type? Why are we shoving 75% of the discussion into 1/5 of the top-level categories (1/6 if you count restricted)?
    • This is not an argument against a category “for all that other stuff”, but an argument for promoting the sub-categories in the hierarchy.
    • A different way of thinking about it: the sub-categories in Clearing the Path correspond to all of our mailing lists besides -discuss and -announcements. I think the ML approach, where they’re all at the same hierarchy, makes a lot more sense.
  • I’m not sure there’s such a clear line between these types of discussions. For example, Sandra’s recent post about crowdmatching vs preshold was arguably one of these more general discusions …but it originally came from a place of trying to convince us to actually use this other model to help clear the path — very much “about actually moving forward”.
    • I do agree that there is some stuff that’s clearly different, that needs to be distinguished. I think there’s a variety of ways to approach that problem. For example, a discussion tag, or something like that.

I don’t see that as a problem. There’s a few top-level boxes and one is the main one where most activity happens. Common enough and fine enough.

I dislike that and specifically thought about making hierarchy in the MLs even but wasn’t worth it.

I want to move that to the outside category that I want to create. In fact, I think it’s possible that outside category would get a lot of activity, just depends on how much people like chatting here.

Sandra’s post was not about us clearing the path really. It was someone coming along and suggesting we stop shoveling here and pivot to shoveling a different path. It was meta in that it was about that issue. Her post did not help any of the team actually do work on launching the site or anything.

In my view, Clearing the Path is only for specifically talking about concrete work on launching the site and org etc. and not for any of the philosophical broader questions or even about people asking us “why” about things etc.

Okay, but those things don’t always have a clear line between them. Here’s another example:

That very clearly started as a concrete, clearing-the-path type post, but in order to resolve a difference of opinion, it’s drifting into the realm of best practices for running online communities… which is totally appropriate.

I’m trying to get at this idea that I wasn’t able to articulate clearly in our post-meeting chat yesterday: Discourse is a discussion platform for conversations between people.

People are soft. Conversations don’t stay strictly on topic and then terminate; they flow. In some ways, this relates to the whole threaded-vs-flat dichotemy. Threaded makes more sense from an analytical perspective, at the expense of space for the participants as well as the content.

I think Discourse does a great job at enabling conversations between people, and we ought to stop fighting that.

[This reply isn’t really complete, but I have to go for a few hours. I decided to post nonetheless and I’ll come back to clarify later.]

Right, I totally acknowledge fuzziness between categories. That’s just how it is. When things drift far enough one way or the other, we can move them, but some overlap and fuzziness is expected. That doesn’t change my view on the categories at all.

@smichel17’s note: I moved this here from another thread; there seems to be no indication of that besides the “8d” timestamp. edit: there’s a notice of being linked below the top post in this thread. Not very visible.

So, Problems with crowdmatching + proposing an alternative is long and in-depth. It isn’t really about design directly, it’s about broader feedback, attitudes, state-of-the-world etc. brought up by debates about fundamental design questions.

I don’t think it should be in the design category or even in clearing-the-path. It seems more like broad philosophy of crowdmatching, FLO projects, game theory, economics… So:

  • I think we need a better place for this type of broad discussion, and not just “unsure”

Update: putting the better description paragraph so it shows on the category listing already fixed “Clearing the Path” a lot.

I think we just need to decide on the name and description for the missing discussion-outside-concrete-work-anything-but-discussed-from-snowdrift-perspective category (and then make it).

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