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Unread postAuthor: Velocity » Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:10 am

As many of you might know, I have been ranting about the off topic threads in Spudfiles for the last couple of days. Why you might ask? Because frankly, I am sick of all the crap that is going on. I know making a new topic about it might seem redundant to some of you, but I felt that this is the only way to let my opinion be heard.

I had always been a pretty informal visitor to Spudfiles; that is until Spudtech crashed. After that I could either stay or give up spudgun forums; I chose the former. I decided to stay, and was initially glad that I did. Spudfiles improved for a couple of days, with positive discussions talking about new ideas and such.

Then the dark ages hit. Spudfiles seemed to be possessed by post whores and people who didn’t know how to spell or didn’t understand basic sentence structure. There were no new ideas put out during this time. The competition greatly improved the situation, for many people posted new cannons which were creative and looked great. The contest ended, and Spudfiles returned to its state of chaos.

The recent problems have only exacerbated the situation. And I can only point to one thing as the main source of these problems: Offtopic discussions. Lately there have been tons of random topics about random stuff. No one really wants to participate in such discussions, but they do it anyways to up their post count and such. Its really a vicious cycle. And as I have said in the past, all of these types of discussion should go to Theopia; its MADE for these kinda things!

Not all offtopic discussion is bad; people discuss chemicals, dirtbikes, new projects, and other things like this. Often, these discussions are fairly intelligent too. Still though, people seem to focus more on these then they do on actual spudgunning. I don’t mind some of them being on Spudfiles, but I think a lot of them could be transferred over to Theopia.

I also see a lot of random novice questions being put up in threads and such. Many of these questions can be answered just by thinking logically. Many more of these questions can be answered by using the search function.

I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I hate Spudfiles; if that was the case, I would just leave instead of trying to reform it. I also don’t want anyone to get the impression that I am in love with Spudfiles and it is my life. That is not true either. I just remember Spudtech, and how it was an intelligent atmosphere that I could visit to see new concepts and intelligently discuss other issues as well. I know Spudfiles could reach that level too, if people would just think before they post. There is just too much randomness going on. I don't want Spudfiles to be my social network; I would rather have it be a resource of information for spudguns.

Do you people agree? Disagree? Anyone have any suggestions?

By the way, I AM NOT singling out any person or thread; I am talking about all of the topics in general.
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Unread postAuthor: Killjoy » Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:36 am

Amen brother. Seriosly though, i've just learned to ignore the majority of off topic discussions and focus on my topics or cannons others have posted. I don't even bother with looking at off topic discussions anymore.
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Unread postAuthor: noname » Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:52 am

I agree, and will do anything I can to get rid of random crap that seems to be pouring in lately. When I first registered, there were usually 1-5 new topics a day. Now there's over 20 usually, most of which are stuff that really has no relation to spudguns. I just checked, and there are 22 (by my count) topics in the first page of the Off-Topic section, that 100% of which definitely belong at Theopia.
I am also getting sick of all this crap, and personally, I think the Off-Topic section should be a link to the registration page at Theopia.
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Unread postAuthor: hi » Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:59 am

i could not have said it better. i agree, this is dumb and this really isnt a cannon site anymore. yes there is a new cannon about every two days, but there is about 2 or 3 off topic things every day. yes some of it is ok, but most should be at theopia. im glad that you made this topic because now some people will realize that this is a cannon site.
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Unread postAuthor: Velocity » Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:59 am

I try to ignore the offtopic discussions... but it is the threads in offtopic that always go the longest! Its ridiculous! An offtopic thread that pertains to spudguns in NO way can go on for over five pages! I just don't understand that. People become ABSORBED by these mindless discussions!

The reason people don't post on Theopia is because of low traffic... but then why not post your question on a relevant forum? Again, I don't mind ALL of the offtopic discussions... just ALL of the crappy ones that pertain to nothing and some of the ones which are actually against forum rules, but still are allowed to continue.

I didn't realize it before, but I really sense a lack of interest in spudguns lately. Most people are not coming out with new cannons lately. All of the new submissions are from new members who post their first pneumatic or first combustion. Those are OK; I certainly am NOT going to tell new members not to post their cannons. However, there comes a point where I just wished that I saw MORE than these basic ones...

Are people losing interest in spudguns? Another very possible idea is that they are too absorbed in the social aspect of this forum. The offtopic discussions certainly promote social aspects more than the other spudgun discussions. If so, I don't know why people won't find another forum. I could honestly care less if this forum only had fifty members, as long as those members are intelligent beings who post intelligent things and bring up relevant discussion points. I feel like I have repeated myself four times in this post, but it needs to be done.
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:13 am

This sounds like Pimpmann22's post in the KATS thread PCGUY had open for a day...

I make perhaps a couple of posts a month in the off topic section. I don't come here for O.T. but personally I don't care much what happens in there. It's off topic so it's off topic, I expect random gibberish in there so I leave it well alone usually. If you want to restrict the off topic section to only threads you are interested in as opposed to popular but still garbage threads then that would be controversial.

It could always be closed off and all o/t restricted to theopia...

The problem with doing that of course is that fewer people visit theopia, I personally don't go there because it's a general chat forum. If you want to discuss something interesting and off-topic you're likely to get a better response here.

On the newbies/postwhores/idiots/innovation side of things well, three of those are about new members and there isn't much you can do about getting rid of them.

Theres the FAQ thread I saw yesterday and if/when that gets completed then new members could be forced to see it when they sign in for the first time.

An automated temp ban for new members making X posts in X time?

The random cannon picture on the top left attracts members to old existing cannons which is a good thing but it also encourages new members to believe it is a current thread if they don't look at the dates... No suggestion for that.

I didn't visit spudtech much but it certainly didn't have the ferocious posting rate as here. Usual thing I see is triple figure new posts when I log in. With that kind of activity there is always going to be more people doing annoying things and it's harder to clamp down on them here.

Member moderation of X members tagging a new member as doing something unsociable or stupid could be used to trigger a temporary posting ban of say 24h which could be reviewed by a moderator.... if anyone had the time to implement such a system it could help in this kind of posting environment.
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Unread postAuthor: Killjoy » Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:04 am

I was in texas last week for a 6 days without internet, when i got back there were 3000+ new messages and about 300 new topics.
I didn't realize it before, but I really sense a lack of interest in spudguns lately. Most people are not coming out with new cannons lately. All of the new submissions are from new members who post their first pneumatic or first combustion. Those are OK; I certainly am NOT going to tell new members not to post their cannons. However, there comes a point where I just wished that I saw MORE than these basic ones...

I don't think its so much a lack of interest, but is one's situation. I personally have had work and had very little money to fund my projects, and i'm sure multiple members have the same relative problem.
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Unread postAuthor: MrCrowley » Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:34 am

Well if you guys want I could get ALOT stricter on stupid topics, kind of go a bit DR style but not as bad. Just any topic that is very unrelated and should be at theopia, or a topic that has been asked so many times it hurts when I count I will be alot harsher on.
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:16 am

The dog and cat thing was in the wrong site, but one thing to remember when having a off topic section and posting, the post may belong in anothers site due to subject matter, but is relavent to the authors post. So i agree, i've allways thought off topic should be on Theopia, i normaly stop by there once a day also. I don't mind off topic disscusion, i do enough of it! So i guess the mods should temper justice with mercy and steer the babbuling to Thoepia in some sort of creative way that will make it stay in members minds to post off topic there. Something like Pimpmann's Dumb Ass Award. When you clicked on the members name it pointed out the stupidy. I've seen mention of a wall on Spudtech but never seen it, anybody got a quick example?

And yes rmich, i've noticed your ranting about it lately.
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Unread postAuthor: CS » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:45 am

Until Theopia and Spudfiles are seamlessly integrated, this hope that all off-topic discussion moving to Theopia will not occur. It is quite simple, you have a community that follows your interests closely, so naturally you are going to seek there advice on other issues. Also as I have pointed out prior, the size of the forum has allowed for greater social interaction.

The problem is quality, and intelligence. As you yourself admitted, intelligent off-topic discussion is tolerable. While I was a mod I'd like to think the biggest thing I pushed was intelligence, and the furtherance of the hobby. Rather then this idle state we have been engaged in long before SpudTech went down.

So quite possibly the solution you are looking for is a stricter stance on forum conduct, rather then beating the bush with moving off-topic discussion?

I believe the ideal forum to contain a off-topic discussion area. It buffers out the grueling topic specific nature of the forum, but as we see it is abused at times.

When I was a moderator I used to talk to PC about the forum a lot. Hope not to butt heads, but I think there is some conflicting interest from the general spudding community, and himself. So I would tell you, talk your mind to him directly via a PM. Be relatively blunt, and concise as what you would like to see.

Rmich, as you are truly interested in potato launchers, and the discussion around it, I think you have done best by diverting your attention to another forum. Might also thank you for giving me the heads up on that forum!
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Hotwired, I am glad that my thoughts got across to someone.

[Frick! My mind is a jobbled, hope everything made sense.]
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Unread postAuthor: ShowNoMercy » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:49 am

So does this mean another contest is coming up? :lol:
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Unread postAuthor: Fnord » Sun Jun 10, 2007 8:02 am

Well if you guys want I could get ALOT stricter on stupid topics, kind of go a bit DR style but not as bad. Just any topic that is very unrelated and should be at theopia, or a topic that has been asked so many times it hurts when I count I will be alot harsher on.


I second that idea. I think the off-topic board is fine as long as some reasonably intelligent discussion is taking place.
The cats thing got out of hand, and I knew it would from the start(look at the first reply in "new cat avatar").
Crap topics should just be deleted before they grow and spread.

By the way what is "DR style"? from spudtech?
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Unread postAuthor: ShowNoMercy » Sun Jun 10, 2007 8:15 am

The "DR" style is similar to lets say, umm a chainsaw on flowers? Its pretty harsh and anything that is the slightest bit off topic is gone and if you dont agree to bad. Which will in turn lead to the same nonsense we had back on the Spudtech forums with people arguing about how DR didnt like them etc etc.
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Unread postAuthor: VH_man » Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:58 am

i dissagree that all off toic things should go to theopea, but i do agree that spudfiles is for spudgunning

and another contest, without prizes of spudbux or something (or bragging rights) would help creativity..

also, on a robotics fourm i go on, there is a monthly "challenge". if the moderators could make some kind of challenge every month and give out small prizes or something to whoever did it best would definely help creativity

thins like "plant a tree with your potato cannon", or
get a marble stuck in a peice of styroafoam
or "using only 20 PSI, put something through 1/2 inch plywood"
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Unread postAuthor: PCGUY » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:14 am

Humm... where to start.

The original idea of an Off-Topic section on SpudFiles is to let people have a place to "dump themselves" so they don't do it in other "important" sections. For this reason, you can not gain SpudBux in the Off-Topic section. This worked for quite a while on SpudTech when I was an administrator there, but it eventually became the same thing as our Off-Topic section now, just FULL of USELESS CRAP. The reason SpudFiles attracts more "noob" members is because I rank highly in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. SpudTech barely ranked in the search engines at all (for the forum) so the forum wasn't nearly as popular. More popularity = more crap.

I will let you all into a plan of mine I have been cooking up. I have been extensively testing phpBB 3.0 (a new forum software) and I planned to move Theopia to it when RC2 came out (RC2 is a certain kind of "beta" build of the software). I then planned to copy all existing users of SpudFiles over to Theopia, so all users from X date and earlier would automatically have an account there.

From there, the Off-Topic section here would link to a page explaining Theopia, then it would go to Theopia. Since all of the existing members would already have an account, it would be no problem for them to login and start posting. Many people don't post on Theopia because they don't want to register just to reply to a topic... but if they can login already, they will, and they will post. Most posts = more traffic = more people wanting to actually register to get on Theopia = effective off topic dumping spot.

I hope that will effectively cure this plague, however that may be a month or so away. For now I am going to close the Off-Topic area, and we will go from the response of that.

-Moderators, be strict on off-topic discussion in other sections when I lock down Off-Topic. Don't be an ass, but be enforcing.

EDIT - DUE TO REQUEST, I WILL BE COPYING THE SPUDFILES USER DATABASE TO THEOPIA WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.
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