Thanks, flag. Your critiques and feelings are shared by many of us. I've had related discussions with a few of you, and I harbor some of these feelings as well.
it is partially the medium's fault. interesting people just don't post on forums much. i figure that's what happened to most of the best users here; they're interesting, and therefore busy. there was a guy who posted a lot of supreme court stuff that was great. was it francopoli who had the astronomy updates? etc.
I'm not sure the 'interesting people part' is true. We've had a lot of interesting people posting in the past, and interesting people still post here, and more so on some other forums. I do agree that many of the OG's have gotten busy and have experienced life changes. thenewgreen insomniasexx and myself used to be active community managers. Each day, at least one of us was adding something intended to be positive. Often we did multiple times per day. We also took opportunities to reward the best kind of discussions by joining in. Sometimes we tried to diffuse conversations gone wrong. Oddly, we three are now all founders of venture-backed startups, which is extremely consuming, if not ridiculous. I suspect that our efforts had a positive impact, and that the lack of them has had the opposite, over the long term. Furthermore, I admit that my reduced presence and awareness meant that my contributions in the last few years haven't always been the best example on the site.
Our anti-spam measures have slowed the flow of new blood to the site, which has also contributed to things becoming stale. That has to change.
others were driven away by a few loud users who dislike people having opinions they don't agree with. some even in this thread. but that's a separate problem and certainly not unique to hubski. (although its small size makes it uniquely vulnerable.)
I have been told this by a few people, some that have left. Those instances really make me sad. I probably don't need to say it, but I can't point to a current Hubskier that I wish would leave us. Some of my favorite people on here have views that I cannot fathom. The better angels of our nature are absent in some threads on this site, and that some patterns of behavior and interactions are obvious and in the balance, negative. Different personalities clash by their nature, and on top of that, most of us seem to oscillate between degrees of a willingness to let go, and fed up. Whenever Hubskiers meet in meatspace, this doesn't appear to happen at all, but likely we haven't met for long enough. We can never engineer this away, but I am sure we can still improve upon what we have.
I talked to _refugee_ about an idea I had that would be sure to be controversial: It was that you could not reply to a post or comment that you did not share. In simplest terms, if it is not something worthy of sharing, then it is not something worth continued discussion.
a couple of years ago i unfollowed all users and began screwing around with tag/domain-based use of the site to see if i could land in a bucket i find more useful, but the signal to noise ratio is still not good enough for me to justify spending much time here. (i also found that this wasn't too easy to do... domains, sure, but what's the point, i can just rss; tags, often too scattered.)
The user base just isn't big enough for that kind of stuff. There is basically one Hubski.
for one thing, the norm in the early days of hubski was to post the absolute most interesting stuff you found, and the average poster's age was higher than most of the internet, which meant stuff off the beaten internet path got posted. now when i skim the home page from time to time, there's a higher number of "news item" posts, i.e. ones where nothing beyond the headline is particularly relevant. there's no point clicking on those -- unlikely to breed good discussion, and no additional info in the article. that's just a reddit post. scroll and move on. (this, at least, includes a degree of personal preference: there are a lot of subjects i find less interesting than i did in 2017 or 2014, and if those are still found interesting by the majority of the userbase, then the site is serving its purpose. but #goodlongread used to be one of the most popular tags, and i don't think it is anymore.)
This is very true. I have been thinking that the post submission page could stand to have some reminders/guidelines. It's not terribly interesting seeing a feed of mainstream news items that either challenge or support my view of the world, particularly my political one. That's not to say that these aren't interesting subjects worthy of discussion, but I'd find more value in Hubski if it were the minority of content, not the majority. I am guilty of contributing to this decline.
I have some thoughts on how to encourage a less newsy balance. In fact, I have a number of thoughts on how we can make a course correction. Rather than bury it in this thread, I will make a post in the next couple of days, and invite discussion.
Some of us will leave Hubski. Some of us will revisit from time to time. However, we all have learned from our time here, and if we can improve upon in for those to come, then that'd be a good thing. I am not going anywhere. When I started Hubski, I knew that it would evolve, but that its goal wouldn't. I also knew that this was going to be a lifelong project.
Thanks for your thoughts.