The Ricochet Difference

 

Activity in a thread from a few weeks ago has prompted me to think on a lot of things about Ricochet. It seems to me that Ricochet is something special that I have not encountered anyplace before. It has been building in my mind over the weekend and I thought I would share my thoughts.

Let us get the big two out of the way up front:

Pay to Post

Ricochet is a pay-to-post site. By itself, this creates a better space than places with free posting. You have to have skin in the game to comment. As a therapist, I know that clients who pay money are more likely to be engaged in their own care. Paying changes the equation.

Moderation

Of course, the other big and obvious elephant is the moderation of the Code of Conduct. We all know how vile the internet is. People who can post anonymously will often say things they would never say to someone’s face. It is the mob effect. While Ricochet still allows for anonymous posting, it is not so anonymous that people cannot be banned (thanks to making them pay). While moderation is not perfect, and the Code of Conduct is not always evenly applied, I believe the site does a good job of it, and as a charter member, I can say the moderation has improved and become more evenhanded. I admit, I am human, and part of me would like the Code of Conduct to be used more against others than me, but the more rational part knows that is the way that leads to an echo chamber.

With those mentioned, let’s move on into my deeper thoughts on what I think generates the Ricochet Difference. After all, people pay to comment at National Review, and are moderated, but the comments at National Review are nothing like Ricochet.

Long-Form Posts

The first big thing is the ability for members to make long-form posts. This is huge. Any member who can post has an unlimited word count for their thoughts. These go on to their own page, the Member Page, wherein lies the beating heart of Ricochet. Now, while people can make short posts, the real intellectual energy and investigation is found in longer posts that can dig into an idea like an article in a magazine. I have learned about many things I did not expect to learn about here at Ricochet. And yet, often the real learning comes after the post is made. That is in the comments.

Non-Nested, Long-Form Comments

Ricochet’s use of long-form and non-nested comments allows for a true conversation. With nested comments so commonly used at other sites, you do not get one conversation with everyone participating, you get a break up into several little conversations. Even with a large word count, nested comments lead to short remarks, and frankly, a Twitter feel.

Long comments allow for thoughtful responses. (I’ll admit, I miss having a “Thatcher” level for unlimited word length.) Members at Ricochet are able to respond to any post with a long and thoughtful response, even those with limited word count. Indeed, the back and forth between the writer of the original post and other members is often a great way for an idea to be further explored and understood. Unlike most other sites, these comments can be point-by-point refutations, discussions, and comments. It is a marvelous system. Yes, there can be acrimony. Good. A robust discussion of ideas requires some tough skin, hurt feelings, and robust defenses. That is the stuff of hammering our ideas. And, what is more, the conversation might move away from the starting point as conversations do.

The Spin-Off Post

The last bit that is the “difference” is the spin-off post. This is when a conversation strays too far, or an exciting new point is brought up, someone may decide to create a new original post. The spin-off post often links to the original, and takes the new idea into its own conversation. Some posts have some much energy they spawn more than one spin-off, and sometimes a topic and its variations cover multiple posts for many days. This is outstanding. The site is alive and ideas are bouncing around. All of us who participate are stronger for it. I hope that those who mostly read and not post get something out of it as well.

The Posting Members and Frequent Commenters

I want to also talk about the engine that is Ricochet, the posting members. Posting members are simply the members who often post and comment. Compared to the overall membership, we are a minority, but we make a lot of noise, as it were. We are the members that everybody recognizes. I know I have names I follow, and I am amazed people want to follow me. There are those people who, when they post, I want to read what they have to say.

We also have the frequent commenters. These are often posting members, but also include members who don’t often start the conversation, but sure join into them. It is not that they don’t have anything original to say, it seems they like to use others as a springboard. Often, these are some of the most interesting comments in a conversation.

I would like to take this moment to invite any readers interested in posting to post. You will get a warm reception from most of us, even if we disagree with you. The best way to write better is to write. Come on in, the water is fine. We have cookies.

What It All Means

Ricochet is unique. There is no place like it anywhere else on the web. As a Charter Member, I am proud to say that I have been able to engage with members here consistently for its whole existence. I can have heated (and civil) arguments, heated agreements, revelations, and greater understandings. I hope for many more years of Ricochet and getting to talk to my Ricochet family. As Peter’s tagline says:

Ricochet! Join the Conversation!

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  1. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I must admit that if guilt should be assigned for frequent posters, I’d be at the head of the line. Lately I’ve been posting 4-5 times per week; I know I’m taking up Member Feed space, but I often feel that what I’m writing needs to be said (and I try to make sure that no one else has written on a topic). I’ve also asked for feedback from a few people I trust about my frequency of posting, and I hope they’re correct in assessing that it’s okay; that people can often scroll past.

    If you’re referring to my quibbles at all, you misunderstand my points. Your posts are always original, thoughtful and wonderful. 

    It is not about frequent posters like yourself. It is about people who put up daily posts like robots and also don’t engage or participate. You do not qualify at all in that regard!

    I am doubly frustrated now, as it seems some people can’t grasp my thoughts and their misinterpretations metastasize in the comments.  Am I that bad at expressing myself??? It doesn’t seem so difficult to comprehend. Now you Susan are questioning your participation because others have misinterpreted me quite badly.

    In trying not to single anyone out, maybe it wasn’t clear. So, I’ll use one example. The man with the Churchill icon posts nearly every day, his writing is mostly ( all?) fiction. He links to his own web page at the end. I have never – not once- seen him comment nor like any post or comment. Apparently,  he’s here to promote his literary site. Often there are zero comments, I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than three comments. I scroll by. But I scroll by every day. Every day I scroll and apparently a helluva lot of other members do too. After a while at any website if I have to keep scrolling I surmise that there’s nothing there for me and go elsewhere.

    If I got such little response after posting virtually every day for months, I’d find something else to do. But that’s just me. To me, this isn’t in the spirit of Ricochet. That’s what this post is about, right?

    The theory which has already been debated here on Ricochet, is that too many of these daily posts discourage people ( myself for one example) to write original content on this site seeing their  post pushed off the page, not by other original posts, but by people essentially cutting and pasting something ( I do it also, but not every day!) or by someone who shows zero interest in other posts and is simply using Ricochet to promote their writing and websites. I will call it out and I’m surprised it’s so controversial with some people. 

     

     

    • #61
  2. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    A few quick comments to my Ricochet Community.

    I really prize the Ricochet Community except for a few people who seem dedicated to being unpleasant.  Usually, I can ignore them.

    I really enjoy the non-political posts by most writers.  Tell me about your lives, your hopes, your dreams, your victories, I am interested.  And if you are in crisis, I will pray with and for you.

    I think that Susan Quinn is a rare talent, and I would be happy for her to post as much as she wishes.  She never disappoints.

    [Edit:  Sentence deleted at Post Author’s suggestion.  This sentence created much more heat than light, and if I had it to do over again, I would not have mentioned it.]

    I was asked by TPTB to not post more than once a day, which I have adhered to.  Sometimes it is a discipline for me to decide what issue is most pressing, but it is a good discipline, at least for me.

    I am much more interested in what is good in the world than in hearing complaints about how everything is turning to excrement.   Most people are as happy as they choose to be.  I want to focus on the good, the positive, what works, and small victories, instead of fear-mongering, and hate-mongering.  Things really aren’t that bad!  I prefer to hear how Republican Governors are reforming their states, instead of how blue states are being destroyed by the wokesters.

    I will be on vacation for most of the next two weeks, and posting and commenting will either be difficult next week or impossible the weekend after that.  I wish all of you well.

    Gary

    • #62
  3. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I was asked by TPTB to not post more than once a day

    !!!

    • #63
  4. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I was asked by TPTB to not post more than once a day

    !!!

    I wonder what @She would have to say about that

    • #64
  5. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I was asked by TPTB to not post more than once a day

    !!!

    That happened after I posted three times about the January 6th Hearing going on.  I was actually asked to choose to take two of them down, which I did.  It is a good discipline for me to only post once a day.

    • #65
  6. She Member
    She
    @She

    Franco (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I was asked by TPTB to not post more than once a day

    !!!

    I wonder what @ She would have to say about that!

    Well, I’ll ask Her.  And in order to spare Her the awkwardness of having to talk about Herself, à la Bob Dole, in the third-person, I’ll just quote Her directly:

    I’ll begin by observing, just in passing, that I think there’s a great deal of sense in the old legal maxim that a lawyer should never ask his client, or a witness, a question to which he doesn’t already know the answer.

    I was fortunate to be a moderator on this site from early November of 2016 until I resigned in mid-March of 2019.  It was a (voluntary) job that I loved, doing what I loved, working with people that I loved.

    Because of that experience, I am acutely aware of what goes on behind the scenes on this site when it comes to responding to member concerns, dealing with member-to-member issues, and, on rare occasions, actually having to sanction members up to and including banning them from the site.

    I am also acutely aware that almost no details of the matters of which I have knowledge from that 2 1/2-year period are known beyond the small group of members, moderators, and PTB which was involved in each of them.

    Over the years, I have watched this site, many times, try to tear itself apart by aligning itself behind and alongside one particular member, or one group of members versus another, as people rant and fume over who’s the founders “favorite,” or why Member A got suspended and Member B got no sanction at all; or over who should “stay,” and who should “go”;  or over “why was this member banned and that member is still here?”

    And over the years, especially during my 30 months as a moderator, I observed that most of what was said in those heated circumstances was utter rubbish, usually stemming from ignorance or misinformation (and–yes–perhaps sometimes from malice) with, on occasion, a nugget or two of some degree of truth, depending on whether the member involved had spilled the beans himself, how many he’d spilled, and how accurately he’d counted them before he did.  But most of the time, the truth, as the saying goes, was still getting out of bed and putting its boots on while the lies flew round the world. And the folks who usually took it in the neck, and had to suck up the insults and the insinuations of unfairness, preferential treatment, brown-nosing, and worse, were the moderators. And we did.

    Because as moderators, it was our job to do our jobs, to keep the private details private, and only in very rare and exceptional instances, actually to discuss what had been decided or done.

    And people wonder why so many moderators leave, and so few want to sign up for the privilege.  (It is a privilege.).

    And so, to answer @franco’s question directly:  I’m not in the least surprised that the moderators, in an effort to reduce the visibility of the one member who surpasses all others here as a popular focal point of discontent and ongoing, sometimes fractious argumentation, asked him–probably after he’d been splurging in an excess of Liz Cheney Veneration one day–to please post less frequently.  It’s the sort of thing we did.  Its the sort of thing they do.  But they don’t make a fuss about it, and they don’t advertise their actions for delectation, dissection, and analysis by those who aren’t involved and whose business it is not.

    Good for them.  Good for Gary for agreeing to those terms.  And good for Gary for saying so publicly, and giving me the chance to respond to Franco’s comment at length here.

    This would be a better site, IMHO, if the members (other than on obviously humorous posts) engaged in fewer smart and provoking remarks directed at each other, and if we all gave the moderators a little more credit for working hard behind the scenes to keep things equitable and running smoothly, and if we all gave them a little more help, when it comes to keeping things civil, in front of them.

    Next question?

    • #66
  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I appreciate all the comments and positive energy. 

     

    • #67
  8. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I was asked by TPTB to not post more than once a day

    !!!

    I understand.  I am very anti- censorship personally.  However, my guess is that whatever interaction occurred had more to do with the nature of the posts as opposed to the number.

    • #68
  9. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    She (View Comment):
    I was fortunate to be a moderator on this site from early November of 2016 until I resigned in mid-March of 2019.

    Boy, how times flies.  I looked up when I started and was surprised to see it’s been over 4 years already.  Way too long for some of the members, I am aware.

    • #69
  10. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    She (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I was asked by TPTB to not post more than once a day

    !!!

    I wonder what @ She would have to say about that!

    Well, I’ll ask Her. And in order to spare Her the awkwardness of having to talk about Herself, à la Bob Dole, in the third-person, I’ll just quote Her directly:

    I’ll begin by observing, just in passing, that I think there’s a great deal of sense in the old legal maxim that a lawyer should never ask his client, or a witness, a question to which he doesn’t already know the answer.

    I was fortunate to be a moderator on this site from early November of 2016 until I resigned in mid-March of 2019. It was a (voluntary) job that I loved, doing what I loved, working with people that I loved.

    Because of that experience, I am acutely aware of what goes on behind the scenes on this site when it comes to responding to member concerns, dealing with member-to-member issues, and, on rare occasions, actually having to sanction members up to and including banning them from the site.

    I am also acutely aware that almost no details of the matters of which I have knowledge from that 2 1/2-year period are known beyond the small group of members, moderators, and PTB which was involved in each of them.

    Over the years, I have watched this site, many times, try to tear itself apart by aligning itself behind and alongside one particular member, or one group of members versus another, as people rant and fume over who’s the founders “favorite,” or why Member A got suspended and Member B got no sanction at all; or over who should “stay,” and who should “go”; or over “why was this member banned and that member is still here?”

    And over the years, especially during my 30 months as a moderator, I observed that most of what was said in those heated circumstances was utter rubbish, usually stemming from ignorance or misinformation (and–yes–perhaps sometimes from malice) with, on occasion, a nugget or two of some degree of truth, depending on whether the member involved had spilled the beans himself, how many he’d spilled, and how accurately he’d counted them before he did. But most of the time, the truth, as the saying goes, was still getting out of bed and putting its boots on while the lies flew round the world. And the folks who usually took it in the neck, and had to suck up the insults and the insinuations of unfairness, preferential treatment, brown-nosing, and worse, were the moderators. And we did.

    Because as moderators, it was our job to do our jobs, to keep the private details private, and only in very rare and exceptional instances, actually to discuss what had been decided or done.

    And people wonder why so many moderators leave, and so few want to sign up for the privilege. (It is a privilege.).

    And so, to answer @ franco’s question directly: I’m not in the least surprised that the moderators, in an effort to reduce the visibility of the one member who surpasses all others here as a popular focal point of discontent and ongoing, sometimes fractious argumentation, asked him–probably after he’d been splurging in an excess of Liz Cheney Veneration one day–to please post less frequently. It’s the sort of thing we did. Its the sort of thing they do. But they don’t make a fuss about it, and they don’t advertise their actions for delectation, dissection, and analysis by those who aren’t involved and whose business it is not.

    Good for them. Good for Gary for agreeing to those terms. And good for Gary for saying so publicly, and giving me the chance to respond to Franco’s comment at length here.

    This would be a better site, IMHO, if the members (other than on obviously humorous posts) engaged in fewer smart and provoking remarks directed at each other, and if we all gave the moderators a little more credit for working hard behind the scenes to keep things equitable and running smoothly, and if we all gave them a little more help, when it comes to keeping things civil, in front of them.

    Next question?

    I endorse what She says.  Back in 2017 I frequently referred to Trump supporters as “Trumpkins.”  A moderator sent me a DM and respectfully asked me to not use that phrase, and explained his or her reason.  I followed that request, and I think that this is the only time in over five years that I used that word, and am doing so only to mention a word that I haven’t used. 

    I have received a couple of other requests from time to time.  What often results is a conversation back and forth in the form of DM’s.  Even when I have disagreed, I will usually do what I was asked to do.  Some of the things requested were not in any way governed by the CoC, and I remember a Mod saying that he or she couldn’t and wouldn’t stop me from doing a specific thing, but would like me to not do it.  I followed the request, and made peace with the other member.  That is part of living in a community.  

    I have learned one thing from my 70 years of life.  Praise publicly, and criticize privately.  I don’t know about others, but that sure is true for me.  

    • #70
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I was fortunate to be a moderator on this site from early November of 2016 until I resigned in mid-March of 2019.

    Boy, how times flies. I looked up when I started and was surprised to see it’s been over 4 years already. Way too long for some of the members, I am aware.

    Not for me! I guess I’ve managed to stay out of trouble!

    • #71
  12. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    “And so, to answer @franco’s question directly:  I’m not in the least surprised that the moderators, in an effort to reduce the visibility of the one member who surpasses all others here as a popular focal point of discontent and ongoing, sometimes fractious argumentation, asked him–probably after he’d been splurging in an excess of Liz Cheney Veneration one day–to please post less frequently.  It’s the sort of thing we did.  Its the sort of thing they do.  But they don’t make a fuss about it, and they don’t advertise their actions for delectation, dissection, and analysis by those who aren’t involved and whose business it is not.”

    So there are cases and reasons to ask members to post “less frequently”?

    But I’m out of line suggesting that Ricochet would be an even better experience if some certain members (and I wasn’t even referring to Gary here) stop posting daily – that is – Remember “Today’s Song of the Day”? For one example.

    I must be clear because apparently I’m easily misinterpreted as some censorious prig –

     

    *Not people who post a lot, not posts I happen to disagree with ….*

    Or another example- the guy who posts long fictional prose with links to his site, that few if any here like or comment, who never bothers to comment on other posts– that last is important – because it could be construed as abusing the open system here. At least it is by me.

    But going by the ‘ya pays yer money and ya get to post’ philosophy, I got my money’s worth today! Three posts. And I hope they are interesting and or entertaining. If not you can just scroll on by …

     

    • #72
  13. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    She (View Comment):
    Starting with resolutely ignoring those posts that we consider trolling or otherwise improper, and simply letting them wither and die until their authors realize they have no audience here, rather than constantly elevating them to the top of the highlighted feeds and advertising to them on the front page.

    Doesn’t work. Because as has been frequently pointed out, one troll can effectively destroy a conversation. You write up a nice post, and a good conversation begins, but then the troll shows up and starts riding his hobby horse around, and if the thread doesn’t go pear-shaped, it just gets abandoned, and what had the potential to be a nice conversation is wrecked.

    “Do not feed the troll” rarely works.

    You know what works? Banning the troll.

    • #73
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Doesn’t work. Because as has been frequently pointed out, one troll can effectively destroy a conversation. You write up a nice post, and a good conversation begins, but then the troll shows up and starts riding his hobby horse around, and if the thread doesn’t go pear-shaped, it just gets abandoned, and what had the potential to be a nice conversation is wrecked.

    “Do not feed the troll” rarely works.

    Drew, help me understand. If no one responds to the troll’s comments, does he or she just keep commenting in the big void? If no one responds to him or her, why does the post go sideways? Or is the problem that people can’t just ignore that person, they just can’t stand to let his comments go by without a blasting? I suspect that “do not feed the troll” does actually work. But no one has the discipline to ignore that person. So who’s to blame then?

    • #74
  15. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    genferei (View Comment):
    Sometimes I miss things when they’re demoted to the ‘main’ feed too quickly (who has time to wade through all the podcast announcements and other non-interactive stuff?) – it might be nice if such exiles left a trail.

    This.

    I log in directly to the member feed, so I almost always skip the main feed, and I can miss those excellent member posts that get promoted.

     

    • #75
  16. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    We do have an “ignore” feature on Ricochet, but it requires self-control to simply ignore something, and no one will notice if they do not see your (lack of) comment.  Every time you actually do ignore an offending member’s offensive comment or post, it should reinforce your own sense of self-control, making it more likely that you will ignore the next one.  Try it, it works every time.

    It doesn’t, because some people, when ignored in this fashion, just shout louder and break more things, like misbehaving toddlers. And it quickly makes threads unreadable when you have to scroll past comment after comment to try to find the diamond in the rough. Most people just give up and the thread dies. Which is frustrating for those of us who don’t write a lot of posts, . . . and when we do, they’re almost immediately ruined.

    These people are practiced conversation-killers, and I’ve seen many a good conversation die a premature death.

    Give Ricochet an ignore feature like every other civilized place in the internet.

    • #76
  17. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Doesn’t work. Because as has been frequently pointed out, one troll can effectively destroy a conversation. You write up a nice post, and a good conversation begins, but then the troll shows up and starts riding his hobby horse around, and if the thread doesn’t go pear-shaped, it just gets abandoned, and what had the potential to be a nice conversation is wrecked.

    “Do not feed the troll” rarely works.

    Drew, help me understand. If no one responds to the troll’s comments, does he or she just keep commenting in the big void? If no one responds to him or her, why does the post go sideways? Or is the problem that people can’t just ignore that person, they just can’t stand to let his comments go by without a blasting? I suspect that “do not feed the troll” does actually work. But no one has the discipline to ignore that person. So who’s to blame then?

    Because people look at the thread, see all the trollish comments, and just don’t bother. They “do not feed the troll” but they also abandon the conversation because of the signal-to-noise ratio. And the potential for a nice discussion is ruined, not because people refrain from feeding the troll, but because they simply opt out of the whole thing due to the presence of the troll.

    • #77
  18. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    Bryan G. Stephens: We also have the frequent commenters. These are often posting members, but also include members who don’t often start the conversation, but sure join into them. It is not that they don’t have anything original to say, it seems they like to use others as a springboard. Often, these are some of the most interesting comments in a conversation.

    Sometimes people don’t have the time to make a new post, but do have something to say.  It is about a conversation after all.  I’ve been here almost 6 years and post about 0.7 times a month.  If I looked more closely there was a long time when I didn’t post anything and didn’t read much either.  I do a lot of my reading on my phone and R> just isn’t great in that format.  I do wish that we had more traffic at times, but since I don’t have time to follow all of the posts I want to perhaps its best that we don’t get too much more content.

     

    I do agree that the beating heart is the Member Feed, I rarely go and read the Main Feed, sort of like how I stopped reading the newspaper and just read the letters to the editor.

    • #78
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):
    Because people look at the thread, see all the trollish comments, and just don’t bother. They “do not feed the troll” but they also abandon the conversation.

    People might also “abandon the conversation” because they’ve read as much as they wish on the topic and having nothing new to add. I often leave for those reasons. Maybe I just have a child-like attention span. I wouldn’t always assume that people leave because of trolls.

    • #79
  20. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):
    Because people look at the thread, see all the trollish comments, and just don’t bother. They “do not feed the troll” but they also abandon the conversation.

    People might also “abandon the conversation” because they’ve read as much as they wish on the topic and having nothing new to add. I often leave for those reasons. Maybe I just have a child-like attention span. I wouldn’t always assume that people leave because of trolls.

    Perhaps you write regularly enough that you haven’t noticed. I rarely write feedposts anymore. I used to. But having them wrecked made me not want to bother anymore.

    • #80
  21. She Member
    She
    @She

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    Starting with resolutely ignoring those posts that we consider trolling or otherwise improper, and simply letting them wither and die until their authors realize they have no audience here, rather than constantly elevating them to the top of the highlighted feeds and advertising to them on the front page.

    Doesn’t work. Because as has been frequently pointed out, one troll can effectively destroy a conversation. You write up a nice post, and a good conversation begins, but then the troll shows up and starts riding his hobby horse around, and if the thread doesn’t go pear-shaped, it just gets abandoned, and what had the potential to be a nice conversation is wrecked.

    “Do not feed the troll” rarely works.

    It’s still the solution that’s never been tried here.

     

    • #81
  22. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    She (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    Starting with resolutely ignoring those posts that we consider trolling or otherwise improper, and simply letting them wither and die until their authors realize they have no audience here, rather than constantly elevating them to the top of the highlighted feeds and advertising to them on the front page.

    Doesn’t work. Because as has been frequently pointed out, one troll can effectively destroy a conversation. You write up a nice post, and a good conversation begins, but then the troll shows up and starts riding his hobby horse around, and if the thread doesn’t go pear-shaped, it just gets abandoned, and what had the potential to be a nice conversation is wrecked.

    “Do not feed the troll” rarely works.

    It’s still the solution that’s never been tried here.

    There is only one time it ever worked here, and it shocked the hell out of me when it did.

    But that exception proves the rule as far as I’m concerned. Relying on DNFTT to solve the trolling issue does not, will not work.

    • #82
  23. She Member
    She
    @She

    Franco (View Comment):

    “And so, to answer @ franco’s question directly: I’m not in the least surprised that the moderators, in an effort to reduce the visibility of the one member who surpasses all others here as a popular focal point of discontent and ongoing, sometimes fractious argumentation, asked him–probably after he’d been splurging in an excess of Liz Cheney Veneration one day–to please post less frequently. It’s the sort of thing we did. Its the sort of thing they do. But they don’t make a fuss about it, and they don’t advertise their actions for delectation, dissection, and analysis by those who aren’t involved and whose business it is not.”

    So there are cases and reasons to ask members to post “less frequently”?

    Please do not pretend that I have been inconsistent in my position.  I will summarize our discussion.  Here is what you have said most recently:

    But I’m out of line suggesting that Ricochet would be an even better experience if some certain members (and I wasn’t even referring to Gary here) stop posting daily – that is – Remember “Today’s Song of the Day”? For one example.

    Well, it probably is hard to stay in line, or even see the lines, when you keep moving the goalposts.  Let’s start with your earlier statement:

    There are too many who post too frequently who take up real estate on the member feed.

    My contention – which has been hotly disputed before – is that there should be a limit by the week, month, and day for posts.

    Try as I might (and I don’t believe I have a reading comprehension problem), I can’t find where you’re limiting the “limits” to “certain members,” or to a certain number of posters.  “My contention – which has been hotly disputed before – is that there should be a limit by the week, month, and day for posts” sounds pretty comprehensive to me.  I read what you said, and when I responded to it, I responded to what you said.  I don’t believe that the members here should be limited in the number of times they can post, or even what they can post, within the terms of the CoC.

    After I responded, you shifted your ground to say:

    By my proposal, which won’t be implemented, so don’t worry–would only affect about 5 people here and would only limit their frequency of posting to a reasonable level to conserve digital real estate for others.

    So now, you’ve changed your tack, and you’re talking about limiting the frequency of posting of approximately five people, and to a “reasonable level.”  Not what you originally said at all, is it?  Additionally, we disagree on the matter of “digital real estate.”  I believe it’s actually infinite.  And I don’t believe there’s a piece reserved especially for me, or that my posts have a right to sit at the top of the feed or move down it as a measured pace.  I post at will, and whatever happens, happens.  And I am fine with that.  I guess you’re not.  We disagree. 

    To recap, your most recent comment addressing my previous response is:

    But I’m out of line suggesting that Ricochet would be an even better experience if some certain members (and I wasn’t even referring to Gary here) stop posting daily – that is – Remember “Today’s Song of the Day”? For one example.

    So, now what you are suggesting is that “certain members” not be allowed to post every day?  For heaven’s sake, Franco.  This is not what you said earlier at all.

    I must be clear because apparently I’m easily misinterpreted as some censorious prig –

    I can’t make sense of the above sentence.  Are you expressing an intent to be clear, or is there a word missing?

    Clarity certainly is a problem.  You keep shifting your ground and changing the terms of engagement.  I have been entirely consistent in what I’ve said: I don’t believe that Ricochet should place limits on members’ posts, by “week, month, and day.” (That was (one of) your suggestions, was it not?)  I do believe that moderators should have the flexibility, when they are dealing with an acute and individual problem which is affecting the health of the site, to take measures to address it.

    As for “Song of the Day,” “Quote of the Day,” “Group Writing,” and so on–I’m fine with all of them.  And so are dozens, perhaps hundreds of regular contributors (small “c”) here.  In fact, for many, those posts are one of the main reasons to visit the site.  They have a right to post, in the manner that they post, and find pleasure in those posts just as you find pleasure in your own posts and those of others.

    But going by the ‘ya pays yer money and ya get to post’ philosophy, I got my money’s worth today! Three posts. And I hope they are interesting and or entertaining. If not you can just scroll on by

    That’s the spirit!

     

    • #83
  24. She Member
    She
    @She

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I was fortunate to be a moderator on this site from early November of 2016 until I resigned in mid-March of 2019.

    Boy, how times flies. I looked up when I started and was surprised to see it’s been over 4 years already. Way too long for some of the members, I am aware.

    I remember.

    Still, you haven’t lived the 360-degree moderator experience unless your first day on the job was the day after Donald Trump was elected in 2016. 

    Fun times.

    Here I am the day before I received my moderator wings:

    Here I am, 48 hours later:

    • #84
  25. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    Starting with resolutely ignoring those posts that we consider trolling or otherwise improper, and simply letting them wither and die until their authors realize they have no audience here, rather than constantly elevating them to the top of the highlighted feeds and advertising to them on the front page.

    Doesn’t work. Because as has been frequently pointed out, one troll can effectively destroy a conversation. You write up a nice post, and a good conversation begins, but then the troll shows up and starts riding his hobby horse around, and if the thread doesn’t go pear-shaped, it just gets abandoned, and what had the potential to be a nice conversation is wrecked.

    “Do not feed the troll” rarely works.

    You know what works? Banning the troll.

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):
    Sometimes I miss things when they’re demoted to the ‘main’ feed too quickly (who has time to wade through all the podcast announcements and other non-interactive stuff?) – it might be nice if such exiles left a trail.

    This.

    I log in directly to the member feed, so I almost always skip the main feed, and I can miss those excellent member posts that get promoted.

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    We do have an “ignore” feature on Ricochet, but it requires self-control to simply ignore something, and no one will notice if they do not see your (lack of) comment. Every time you actually do ignore an offending member’s offensive comment or post, it should reinforce your own sense of self-control, making it more likely that you will ignore the next one. Try it, it works every time.

    It doesn’t, because some people, when ignored in this fashion, just shout louder and break more things, like misbehaving toddlers. And it quickly makes threads unreadable when you have to scroll past comment after comment to try to find the diamond in the rough. Most people just give up and the thread dies. Which is frustrating for those of us who don’t write a lot of posts, . . . and when we do, they’re almost immediately ruined.

    These people are practiced conversation-killers, and I’ve seen many a good conversation die a premature death.

    Give Ricochet an ignore feature like every other civilized place in the internet.

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Doesn’t work. Because as has been frequently pointed out, one troll can effectively destroy a conversation. You write up a nice post, and a good conversation begins, but then the troll shows up and starts riding his hobby horse around, and if the thread doesn’t go pear-shaped, it just gets abandoned, and what had the potential to be a nice conversation is wrecked.

    “Do not feed the troll” rarely works.

    Drew, help me understand. If no one responds to the troll’s comments, does he or she just keep commenting in the big void? If no one responds to him or her, why does the post go sideways? Or is the problem that people can’t just ignore that person, they just can’t stand to let his comments go by without a blasting? I suspect that “do not feed the troll” does actually work. But no one has the discipline to ignore that person. So who’s to blame then?

    Because people look at the thread, see all the trollish comments, and just don’t bother. They “do not feed the troll” but they also abandon the conversation because of the signal-to-noise ratio. And the potential for a nice discussion is ruined, not because people refrain from feeding the troll, but because they simply opt out of the whole thing due to the presence of the troll.

    Drew,

    You have frequently called me a troll, and you complain above that I disrupt threads.  I have filed 518 posts and probably a third of them concern Donald Trump.  My suggestion is that you look at my posts where I talk about Donald Trump, and then the deluge of verbal abuse and trolling that sooner or later I inevitably receive.  I like to think that I don’t personally attack others with my comments, but I sure feel like I have been personally attacked, and frankly you are one of the people who attacks me the most in my own posts and when I comment.  I am not saying that turnabout is fair play, but since you have already referenced me a half dozen times in this thread (which frankly detracts from Bryan’s post) I think that it is important to mention that I feel like you constantly troll me.

    Other than a rule that you and I can’t comment on each others posts or comments, I do not know how to resolve this issue with you.  I have tried to reach out to you in DM’s, but I have been unsuccessful.

    Gary

    • #85
  26. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):
    Sometimes I miss things when they’re demoted to the ‘main’ feed too quickly (who has time to wade through all the podcast announcements and other non-interactive stuff?) – it might be nice if such exiles left a trail.

    This.

    I log in directly to the member feed, so I almost always skip the main feed, and I can miss those excellent member posts that get promoted.

    I would agree with this, but what’s the point.  The staff recently took away that last (that I’m aware of) way to search one’s own comments (let alone remarkable comments by others that I don’t quite remember) and though I’ve asked several times, I’ve never gotten a response other than: Don’t know why, Charles’ company is fixing the whole code, maybe it’s just temporary.  MAYBE???  Does no one know what’s going on with the site?  Or even care?

    • #86
  27. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    She (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    Starting with resolutely ignoring those posts that we consider trolling or otherwise improper, and simply letting them wither and die until their authors realize they have no audience here, rather than constantly elevating them to the top of the highlighted feeds and advertising to them on the front page.

    Doesn’t work. Because as has been frequently pointed out, one troll can effectively destroy a conversation. You write up a nice post, and a good conversation begins, but then the troll shows up and starts riding his hobby horse around, and if the thread doesn’t go pear-shaped, it just gets abandoned, and what had the potential to be a nice conversation is wrecked.

    “Do not feed the troll” rarely works.

    It’s still the solution that’s never been tried here.

    I think it’s been tried.  But never simultaneously by everyone all at once, for any period of time.  I know I don’t follow his posts or read them, don’t look at his comments, or respond to them if I inadvertently do, and occasionally I look to see if my absence has done any good by reducing the comments (it hasn’t).

    Must we write a post coordinating the boycott?

    • #87
  28. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I really enjoy the non-political posts by most writers.  Tell me about your lives, your hopes, your dreams, your victories, I am interested.  And if you are in crisis, I will pray with and for you.

    I think that Susan Quinn is a rare talent, and I would be happy for her to post as much as she wishes.  She never disappoints.

    I am really looking forward to a Post-Trump Republican Party.  I am really looking forward to a Post-Trump Ricochet.

    What’s that doing there?

    Gary’s first comment to this post includes, not one, but two gratuitous Trump eliminationist aspirations.  

    President Trump is not the topic.  President Trump has not been mentioned in this post or the post’s comments before.

    This is an obsession, and trolling, and obsessive trolling.

    • #88
  29. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Flicker (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):
    Sometimes I miss things when they’re demoted to the ‘main’ feed too quickly (who has time to wade through all the podcast announcements and other non-interactive stuff?) – it might be nice if such exiles left a trail.

    This.

    I log in directly to the member feed, so I almost always skip the main feed, and I can miss those excellent member posts that get promoted.

    I would agree with this, but what’s the point. The staff recently took away that last (that I’m aware of) way to search one’s own comments (let alone remarkable comments by others that I don’t quite remember) and though I’ve asked several times, I’ve never gotten a response other than: Don’t know why, Charles’ company is fixing the whole code, maybe it’s just temporary. MAYBE??? Does no one know what’s going on with the site? Or even care?

    I would like more feedback and input from staff about the site.

     

    • #89
  30. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Must we write a post coordinating the boycott?

    I meant anyway to explain why I used the word boycott, and this is a good example.

    Another member has actually said: “I am really looking forward to a Post-Trump Republican Party.  I am really looking forward to a Post-Trump Ricochet.”  And Don picked up on it and quoted it.

    I like Don’s comments, and I read them.  But when I read Don’s response to the other member, I said, What?  Having skipped over the other member’s original comment, I wondered what it was about?  And so I read the quoted comment, and then went back and read it in context.  And then I saw that Don was right, and that the other member was TROLLING Trump on a post about “The Ricochet Difference”.  And, yeah, the other member’s comment was unsolicited, impertinent, slightly mean-spirited, wholly off-topic, and otherwise rather insulting.  As if we have to stop liking or writing about Trump, or otherwise we bring something negative to Ricochet, and as if we’re giving offense to the other member.

    But having seen it, what does this mean exactly???  He wants and expects us to never mention Trump again?  He wants to “drive a stake through the heart” of Trumpism on Ricochet?  As if we are the ones being offensive?  As if we’re the one’s making this site unpleasant?

    But once you read his stuff , you can’t unsee it.

    You can remain silent, but you still know what the guy said.  And you’ve got to let it slide without responding.  Functionally, that’s the only way that we can deal with him.

    Everyone has to give up a little of his own regard for the truth and honesty, and just let the other member slide.  It would make ignoring him far easier.

    • #90
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