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Bold Topics

Have these been abandoned, or is no one saying anything interesting any more?

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

It got to be too labor intensive. I'm still trying to find ways to gently improve the level of discussion without as much human involvement. Effectively splitting discussion into two discussion groups (by introducing Ask Joel) may help by reducing traffic to the other one.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Please do. The forum has seemed different lately. Not sure what. Maybe you think it is a good different, but something just seems wrong.

I don't post as much.....you may think that that is a good thing! *grin*

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

The Joel on Software forum has become to much like an ad-hoc IT help desk lately, maybe it would be good to spilt it again into "discussion about software development" and "general computing questions" - or else just delete threads about computing questions.

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I agree.

Maybe do what alot of forums do, give some users 'moderator' status. Keep it quiet, I don't think anyone would make the fact known, and it would take the burden of you.

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I prefer JOS with less posts; it was getting too unwieldy.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, April 01, 2004

I left the general Joel on Software forum, because it did feel like a general "IT Help Desk" that recycled the same topics over and over.

I maintain that this is due to the forum's lack of user registration.  Which is wonderful for a young forum, but I think that user registration helps tremendously with the above problems.  Newbies don't post repetitive topics when there's a barrier to entry.

Brent P. Newhall
Thursday, April 01, 2004

But Brent, how do you feel about outsourcing big methodologies in a rewritten from scratch open source format?

Philo

Philo
Thursday, April 01, 2004

A part of the problem might be that its not a 100% what is on topic and what is off. Joel writes about many different things.

The threads that I like the most are those were many people from different backgrounds share their experiences with different platforms. Especially when I first got here there was alot of those threads and they were very infomative. No arguing, none of that "my platform is better than yours" stuff. Just the sharing of experiences. There was an "what ever peals your banana" kind of atmosphere.

Now a days discussing the pros and cons of a language, OS or database results in arguing more often than not. Its still *way* better than most places out there though. Its just that from time to time it gets chatty and unfocused.

Eric Debois
Thursday, April 01, 2004

There are too many lame one liners now and topics grow to 100 posts within hours... I liked the older days when people would take time to write a thoughtfully composed opinion, rather than just spouting off the first thing that came to mind.

I used to post a lot but now I never do, I skim through and then usually surf on after about 5 minutes.

Roose
Friday, April 02, 2004

Actually, could the quality of discussion be directly related to another topic here - Joel doesn't post anything lately?

I figure the NY forum never took off because he never wrote about New York, so there was nothing to react to. The JoS forum took off because he gave people something to talk about on a regular basis.

Now that he's out of creative/problem solving mode and into the every-day aspects of running a business mode, my guess is Joel is less creative & doesn't have as much to say, and it's reflected in the community, which, as people here say, is stagnating and recycling old standby topics.

The forum is a mirror of it's creator. Sure it's a fun-house mirror, but it's a mirror.

Or another twisted aphorism:

It's not that the signal-to-noise ratio is bad, it's that there's only a weak signal to begin with.

Even the Book of the Month club never took off. Not because the book was bad, but because there was never a "Okay let's discuss the book now, and I'll start the discussion" moment. Which I think is the real reason he dropped it - no feedback.

Better idea: Book of the Month Review

Review a book a month & then post what book you'll be reviewing next month to give people a chance to read it before you shape their opinions. Your post will act as a springboard for discussion, and your "coming next month" will give those who are interested a chance to read whatever's next. Hint: You can write these just after reading the book while the iron is still hot and post them at a later date.

Case in point: The Apprentice.

Whatever you think of the show itself, the fact is it gives us something new to talk about each week, and the conversation there is by-and-large intelligent.

Fun Idea: A Year Ago Today

Dig through the archives and find interesting threads to highlight in the forum. One that said something really well, could be re-evaluated in a new light a year later, or was just interesting to read.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, April 02, 2004

"Not because the book was bad" should read:

Not because he couldn't find any good books to review (as he stated in an earlier thread).

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, April 02, 2004

Looks like Joel may have listened. I noticed this morning that heaps of helpdesk style topics have disappeared. Hurray!

Matthew Lock
Saturday, April 03, 2004

But Mark's point is more important - a better way to improve signal/noise ratios is to increase signal. Deleting topics may reduce noise, but when the signal is low, it doesn't help much or for long.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, April 04, 2004

As far as I can tell nothing has been deleted. Pehrpas JOS now uses fortune cookies instead of plain text cookies.

Stephen Jones
Monday, April 05, 2004

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