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Halfbakery Evolution

All is not well in the state of Denmark
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Anybody who has been following the Halfbakery News will know about the hiatus of the last couple of days and the perceived problem with the Signal to Noise ratio on the ‘bakery. As a consequence I hope that you are all concerned about the future (if any) of this most esteemed of web sites.

The current top item in the news section finishes with this sentence…

“We still need to find something to do with this site, though”

Well, this *is* the h a l f b a k e r y. Finding things to do with things is what we do best (no sniggering at the back, please), so I post this as my humble way of kicking off some meaningful debate about how we can ensure that this site continues as “a communal database of invention and speculation” whilst not turning it into a dry, humourless tekkie site for the terminally dull. It’s a dirty job folks, but someone has to do it and, with respect to one and all, I don’t think that leaving the bakesperson to always be that person is an option anymore.
DrBob, Mar 04 2004

WAP h a l f b a k e r y http://www.halfbake...P_20the_20_27Bakery
For those of us that can't use the lr [ghillie, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

(?) Tom's solution http://wyllie.lib.v...rt=35&division=div1
[bungston]

Thumbs-down really meant thumbs-up http://www.gocorner...es/August_F/6F.html [bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Thumbs-down really meant thumbs-up http://www.gocorner...es/August_F/6F.html
[FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

the real you... enjoy the place for fecks sake Sharpshooter
[po, Feb 21 2005]

[link]






       All *was* not well in Denmark.   

       I liken it to a little spring cleaning in the attics of our minds. Going for the easy laugh is one thing, trying too hard for one is another. As oft' repeated, the 'bakery is a unique environment of our own making, courtesy of the creator of our little heaven on earth and certainly, wherever else we care to roam - somewhat realistically. It stands to reason that the audience might chatter amongst themselves - creating (melo)drama and/or comedy during (inadverdent pauses of) the comedrama contained within any given idea. Guilty as charged.   

       I believe anyone who has been given pause and is introspective will *not* think the site is going to lose any of it's inherent charm for this necessary transition/maturation into it's much higher stage of evolution we're all going to be pleasantly surprised by (Mark my words). We played with the junk in the attic - now it's time to play with the soon to be uncovered, treasured keepsakes. I'm really looking forward to seeing where our imaginations can truly take us.
thumbwax, Mar 04 2004
  

       If jutta genuinely does not want to carry on, having a tidy-up may be irrelevant (and would almost certainly be short-lived in any case). To change the content, it would be necessary to change the administration policy or the structure of the board, and I see no enthusiasm for that. And losing money running a web site you no longer enjoy must be close to hell. If we want to persist but jutta does not, there are alternatives.   

       The obvious yet drastic option would be for someone to take over the whole thing (maintaining software and hosting the site). There would be many intellectual property issues even if jutta agreed to it: licensing the code, the site contents, and the Halfbakery brand. It would be perfectly reasonable of jutta to be concerned about giving her IP (the HB source code) to someone else, whether it is open sourced or kept proprietary. Plus whoever takes over would have to get to grips with the system and set it up without bothering jutta constantly.   

       I don't know if jutta would consider such a thing, or if there is anyone with the knowledge, time, and possibly money (I've no idea how much it costs to host the HB, but somehow I doubt it turns a profit) to take it over. Has this been discussed in the past? Is anyone prepared to do it?   

       Another alternative would be for someone else to start running a new discussion board using some of the commercially-available or open-source bulletin board software available. jutta might allow it to be called HB 2.0, or we may have to use a wholly new name. It may be possible to import the existing site's contents into the new structure, but this would be considerably easier with jutta's help (it could be done without her help by downloading the entire site, but there would be issues of copyright).
kropotkin, Mar 04 2004
  

       I am relatively new here and have got to say that to lose this site would be a shame, as to signal to noise, why not reduce the number of catergories you can acctually post to for a while atleast if things like food: ha-ha dangerous and other potential troll bait catergories were not availiable it might help. of course we could be straying into that "every thing worth inventing has been" trap.
engineer1, Mar 04 2004
  

       I thought about simple things like shortening the time that [mfd] ideas wait to actually be deleted, but perhaps that's not drastic enough.   

       Here's a fairly drastic one that might work for the content of ideas, although it does not help much with annotations.   

       It seems to me that this is a behavioral problem. Humans are very imitative beings. We act the way we see others act. This is how babies learn to speak, and so on.   

       We need to break the cycle of imitation. If the problematical ideas are not seen by new users, they will not tend to imitate them in their posts.   

       I was somewhat surprised when I saw the news item, because I haven't noticed a drastic change in the site. Perhaps that is because I've only been around for a year in a half, but perhaps also it is because I am very aggressive with my filtration strategy. As soon as I notice a new user has posted somewhere between 3 and 10 really bad ideas in a row, I filter them out of my default view. Obviously [jutta] and the moderators cannot do this.   

       But what if the site were modified to do this for new users, so they would not have bad examples to imitate?   

       I propose the following:   

       * All new user accounts would automatically be put on a "probationary" status. This would be a hidden flag on the account.   

       * Probationary flagged accounts can still post annotations and ideas, they are not restricted from doing anything.   

       * However, all the default views provided under [idea] at left would be altered so that they DO NOT display any ideas posted by probationary users.   

       * As soon as a probationary users have posted an idea that shows that they "get" the idea of the site, the probation flag is lifted by a moderator.   

       The end result of this is that new users ideas will not immediately be visible to other new users. Thus the cycle of imitation will be broken, as new users will only see ideas posted by non-probationary users.   

       There is no loss of freedom here, because any user who logs in and bothers to create a custom view, will also see all ideas. (The theory being that if you have learned the view system well enough to create your own custom views, you probably already understand the site).   

       The probationary flag could be entirely a moderator tool, not visible to normal users. Or perhaps it could be exposed within the view editing form as well, so users could control whether they see newbie ideas in their own views.   

       Again this does not help with annotations much, though perhaps it could. Maybe an annotation by a probationary user should not cycle that idea up to the top?
krelnik, Mar 04 2004
  

       Or maybe people could get back to baking, rather than using the hb as an opportunity to show of their stunning repartee. Then there'd be less noise to imitate.
calum, Mar 04 2004
  

       I agree with [calum]. To me, this issue needs to be addressed with baker/user improvement, instead of turning the halfbakery into a tightly regimented message board. If the changes see the latter, I'm afraid I won't be making any more contributions.
Letsbuildafort, Mar 04 2004
  

       A subscription for write access would limit a great deal of the trolling. And help Jutta pay for her work and her headaches.
Mr Burns, Mar 04 2004
  

       True, if it could work, you may find many out there with money to throw away though, if your talking paid subscription. However i don't think thats the issue here, and is this the right place for this?
skinflaps, Mar 04 2004
  

       What is the issue, then? That the site has evolved into something it wasn't intended to be, and that the person doing all the work doesn't wish to host what they never intended to host in the first place?   

       Maybe I missed something since the last time I checked out (for many of the same reasons), or maybe I don't read my inglybingly e-mails enough, or I'm not in the cool-loop or something, but this is what I have been seeing for the last few months.   

       And I'm pretty sure some of the people posting suggestions to 'fix' the problems (including me) might be some of the same people that brought in the social chitchat problems that upset her in the first place. I know I'm guilty as charged, 100%   

       Short version- this is a free site. If the person hosting it no longer wants to host it, who are we to argue? We were lucky to be here at all.
Mr Burns, Mar 04 2004
  

       I think that a variation of what kelnik is proposing might work. I posted this elsewhere:   

       Allow voting on userids by all and annotations by moderators.   

       Start new userids with a minimal positive balance. Factor voting on their ideas, perhaps proportionally rather then directly. Moderators can increase (or decrease) the threshold.   

       You reach zero, you have to ask for new permission to annotate or post, or perhaps even you get back minimal balance but after a time period.   

       Still hard to eliminate positive feedback on items that MOST, but not all, like. But this is where moderators come in.
theircompetitor, Mar 04 2004
  

       Just wanted to chime in that I stumbled onto halfbakery about two months ago and I love it. I've made a couple postings, some stupid comments, some trying to be funny and failing to do so annotations. . . I generally try to do well. One thing for certain is that if I surf around the site for ten minutes I am guaranteed a good laugh. I have no useful comments on how to keep it alive or improve it, but to let it perish would be tragic.
Mungo, Mar 04 2004
  

       krelnik, who decides bad ideas? I have 3 fishboned ideas on my first 3 ideas.   

       theircompetitor, what prevents someone from setting up multiple ids and using them to keep their balance up?   

       Sorry to nit pick good ideas, On a positive note how about placing a link to a yahoo group into any idea that becomes chit chat? Would hopefully solve the chit chat problem,   

       A 2nd idea is to remove older less successful ideas, use something like auto summarize in word.   

       alternatively we could shut up and let jutta sort things out in her own way,
engineer1, Mar 04 2004
  

       I would like to see a 1-idea-per-week-limit placed on all new users. The ideas posted would have more thought put into them and the spelling issues may be reduced if the person posting an idea knows that this is a "one shot" for the week. The "probationary" time could/would be reduced by the quality of posts and annos.   

       In addition, I like the take that [krelnik] posted in that new users do do bring the idea to the top. If they don't have the sense of dominating the "recent" field, the incentive to troll is reduced.   

       I want the HB to survive, period. We are going through growing pains, but I don't think it's time to "call it" on the patient. This site is viable and has too much life to let die.   

       As a mild rant, I have been disappointed, at times, when very serious & good ideas have been pushed to the side and forgotten because a "list" idea was getting all of the attention. I am guilty of anno's on "lists", but my personal code of ethics is to avoid "lists" like the plague. Could we all take the pledge to not post/anno/encourage "list" ideas? Can we pledge to try to keep serious & good ideas with appropriate annos?
Klaatu, Mar 04 2004
  

       //krelnik, who decides bad ideas?//
Note I never mentioned the voting on the idea in my proposal. The decision would entirely be up to the moderators....even a heavily fishboned idea, if it were consistent with the purpose of the site, could allow a user to be taken off probation.
  

       //good ideas have been pushed to the side and forgotten because a "list" idea was getting all of the attention//
Ditto that, and the solution is VERY simple. Don't annotate those ideas, DO annotate good ideas.
krelnik, Mar 04 2004
  

       Yes, I think we would need more moderators that at present, to make it work.
krelnik, Mar 04 2004
  

       My 2c....register for an account. Trolls like to be anonymous. Pay for an account. Kids likely won't. But don't eliminate the light-hearted stuff, that's the only reason I'm here!
lintkeeper2, Mar 04 2004
  

       Sorry guys, count me out. I can't pay for the HB, and I'm not about to go through some ritual dance in order to post ideas, and make observations. Keep the bakery the same, but improve baker habits and attitudes. Jeez, this isn't going away just because you're going to make someone PAY. Its a waste of breath to even propose such absurd, radical solutions to something that has always been this free and open.   

       <Core explosion, repent sins>
Letsbuildafort, Mar 04 2004
  

       (holding breath while typing)   

       I kind of feel the same about paying, but [Kla]'s suggestion seems feasible enough. It really keeps the same freedoms as current, just moves the MFD part ahead in the process.
Worldgineer, Mar 04 2004
  

       *raises hand*

I'll volunteer to be a moderator. Is there a "Moderating for Dummies" book though? I really don't know a thing about it... but I have the time. Um, not money.
ghillie, Mar 04 2004
  

       Some of the annos mention money/cost as an issue for the Bakerperson. I did not see that in the news posting entitled "Break Down" If you have evidence that this is one of the problems cite it. I think she put it fairly well if briefly and ambiguously:   

       <<... some regulars agree they, too, are fed up with the halfbakery's arrested development and noise level... We still need to find something to do with this site, though.>>   

       I think the above narrows it to the bakerperson's stated core concerns and interests. I say lets table the finance issue until it is raised by the financier and concentrate on: "arrested development and noise."   

       For me the "arrested development" critique is hard to grock. As a newer person I'm impressed at how thought out the site is, as a site. But the community standards aspect/ culture fostering etc and the moderators' tasks are out of sight for me and I would guess they do not scale well and take their toll. So I'm for moderator head count boosting if that helps and for rougher treatment of ill considered postings (might as well get the benefit of a benevolent dictatrix!)   

       If "arrested development" is about progress of ideas from the 1/2 bakery to the real world this might be fun to think about addressing. Perhaps when an idea has reached a critical mass the annotators who are excited about it might head off to another area (7/8ths bakery?) and brainstorm about how to find a home of the idea. I know this brings up lots of property rights but I figure If I post it here it is then the HalfBakery's and the world's property. So maybe select ideas can graduate through a group work to get a foster home for the idea in a business or organization's work plan.   

       Noise. 1) tell the Googlebot/et al to BACK OFF. 2) or allow googlebot only see items the moderators have marked as "to be emulated."   

       In these ways (1&2) we can hope that folks first impressions are the most accurate for what the site hopes to be.   

       Social engineering. Consider adding another species of moderator, the "coach." they'd take on the responsibility for encouraging the "near missers" to try again but be strict on what is good form and be harsh with the trools.   

       Social hygiene: consider help page with sample bad stuff (and why it is bad) so coaches and moderators can use shorthand (like the tags already in use) but the short hand would then point/link to a more wordy explication. Every one has a blind spot or two and so this is precisely when the very economical/elegant help page is likely to perplex the newbie.   

       Social hygiene part 2: once a coach or moderator has "pulled the poster aside" the offending idea stops accepting annos to discourage piling on and more back and fourth that keeps it in the recent pile. I'd leave it in (at least for a while) so the poster can reevaluate/compare contrast.
DadManWalking, Mar 04 2004
  

       On the subject of paying for registration, my opinion is that this could actually exacerbate the problem. Once people have paid they feel (possibly rightly so) that they have a right to a certain level of service and to be treated in a particular way. I think this is totally against the spirit of the HB. Moreover it could dissuade perfectly good potential bakers and indeed possibly encourage certain types of people with more money than sense.   

       That said, I appreciate that there are costs associated with this site. These could be met in a different way - I'd be more than happy to make (a)contribution(s). I don't think payment for registration is the way forward.
hazel, Mar 04 2004
  

       *sproink* New frog with wings sprouts out of the 'bakery. <see link>
ghillie, Mar 04 2004
  

       But I'm not sure if the frog is a step backwards or forwards. Guess I'll find out.
ghillie, Mar 04 2004
  

       <off/topic> you know whats funny? watching new people enjoying this site, oblivious of the pain that we are going through; annotating so wonderfully!taking the air, smelling the roses, gawd I love this place! </off/topic>
po, Mar 04 2004
  

       I think I'm going to evolve fins.
DrCurry, Mar 04 2004
  

       Many 'bakers have voiced opinions to solve some obvious issues with our beloved 'bakery. I've been here for 8 months and its become a part of my life. I care about this place and hope that you'll all take these suggestions in the manner in which they are intended.   

       [I also hope that you'll forgive the obvious irony in clogging the 'bakery with an annotation that should help clear up the place]   

       Firstly, poor or repeated ideas : ideas that don't come up to scratch or that have already been baked or halfbaked, are marked by other 'bakers for deletion. One trouble is that they are ultimately deleted. I suggest that such ideas are moved to a [m-f-d] category - that way, bakers tempted to post that WIBNI idea can search for it and realise that it's been done before, many many times before. Of course, I realise that this assumes that people complete searches prior to posting, but I think it's a starting point.   

       Secondly, I think we need to think about our responsibility. We are members of a community here and like any other village, styles, fashions and behaviours are copied by other villagers. But, surely, we all want our village (to continue the analogy) to remain a lovely place to visit and stay? It's not enough for some bakers to amend the errors of their ways - we must *all* question what we post, what we annotate and, importantly, the way in which we do this. I would welcome a period of contemplation for every baker - a period of a few weeks after registration, a qualifiying period if you will, which would give new bakers a chance to get a feel for the place before moving in, so to speak.   

       Thirdly, and lastly you'll be delighted to hear, I would propose account suspension for poor 'baking. Like the [m-f-d] markers, 'bakers could highlight poor baking by means of a tag. There would be set rules for such suspension, but in effect, the rules as highlighted in the helpfile would be sufficient.   

       All IMHO of course.
jonthegeologist, Mar 04 2004
  

       I like quite a lot of [krelnik]'s ideas, but it seems to me like they'd need a lot of work (probably by Jutta) to make them work. Aside from us all just pulling our socks up in general (trying not to wander too off-topic in annotations, refraining from posting ideas that are just a clever pun with an idea hastily tacked onto it - and I'm as guilty of this as the next man), I'm sure there are probably other, simpler things we could do to get things back on track. I'm with [lbaf], in that I think the unconstrained, free-for-all nature of the HB is a large part of its appeal, and I think that if we lose that then we'll lose much of the character of the place we're trying to preserve.   

       I reckon the trolling/clueless newbie thing could probably be cut down significantly by having new members sign up via email. In the deleted "Save the Bakery" idea, I suggested that newbies might also have to provide a sample idea - having thought about it a bit more, that would probably be a bit too tricky. Somebody would have to read the idea, assess it, etc. which basically gives the keys to the HB over to one person. Besides (mentioning no names), in my relatively short time here I've seen a good few newbies post terrible first ideas then swiftly learn from their mistakes. But if the process could be automated, and the reply email could contain a copy of the Help file and maybe a couple of links to sample good (and perhaps bad) ideas, then it might give new users a bit more of an idea of what this place is about. Email membership would also cut down on multiple accounts.   

       Also, I think we should use the [m-f-d] tag more. I'm not sure how it works at present, but often [mfd] ideas will hang around for weeks, accruing annotations and spurring their author on into posting more rubbish. I often see a rubbish idea, see that someone else has [mfd]'d it, so don't bother doing so myself. Maybe it should be the number of [mfd]s that an idea recieves that dictates how quickly it is removed - so if everyone [mfd]s an idea that is clearly just a brainfart, then it will show up at the top of the [mfd] search list, and so be the first to go. More moderators might be needed for this - I'd happily volunteer. I don't annotate much, but I usually drop in most days.   

       And - although I don't think this suggestion will be too popular - requiring people to post a valid email address on their profile might also be worth considering. That way, the "noise" level might reduce, as bakers can get in contact with other directly, but, more importantly, if an idea is deleted for whatever reason, then a moderator could send a short email explaining why, and what they might do in the future to stop their ideas from being so badly recieved in future ("Get a goddamn spellchecker!" would probably feature quite regularly. Couched in slightly more sympathetic language, of course).   

       Finally - I think that making Ingly a bit more easily accessible (i.e. widely known), and perhaps also having a semi-official tangential BB and chatroom would also help to cut down on some of the clutter around here.   

       Don't get me wrong - I love this place the way it is, with all its rambling asides and witty repartee. But then again; I don't have to manage this sprawling monster. Anything we can do to make that task a little bit easier, we should do.   

       Anyway - them's my suggestions. We's clever folk. We can do better.
lostdog, Mar 04 2004
  

       Wow, I spout and chime and post and finally someone expresses it.   

       thanks, [tsuka]
theircompetitor, Mar 04 2004
  

       yes but - jutta, please can we give DrCurry fins? please! :)
po, Mar 04 2004
  

       gm magic
Worldgineer, Mar 04 2004
  

       //[mfd] ideas will hang around for weeks, accruing annotations//
That's part of the problem, IMHO. Once an idea is MFD, it will be deleted once people STOP posting to it for a while. So any annotation to an MFD idea prolongs its life. Therefore, unless you are disputing the MFD itself, you should NEVER annotate an idea that is already tagged. You are just prolonging its visibility.
krelnik, Mar 04 2004
  

       people see an mfd as an opportunity to have some fun!   

       not saying thats a bad thing, just a fact..
po, Mar 04 2004
  

       Then surely that's a signifier that the [mfd] tag should be acted more strictly upon, po. If an idea gets perhaps one or two [mfd] tags, and a heated debate develops, then that's all well and good. People are exploring the pros and cons of that particular idea. On the other hand, if an idea gets ten straight [mfd] calls in a row, with no argument, then that idea should be deleted forthwith, surely?
lostdog, Mar 04 2004
  

       No, I say kill a MFD'd idea after a week, whether it rises to the top or not.
Worldgineer, Mar 04 2004
  

       no, an mfd is merely a tag, something to be looked at and examined under a microscope by a moderator...
po, Mar 04 2004
  

       Sometimes the mfd tags are wrong. Sometimes the off topic chat brings up a new and better idea. The HB is a victim of it's own success. I have no solution to offer for Juttas problems. It has a choice of going and thats it, or staying the way it is. I would prefer it to go than some of the choices offered. It is a special place.
There are now over 20000 ideas on here.
sufc, Mar 04 2004
  

       I suggest simple judicious use of the delete button to get rid of your quippy comments that have outlived their useful life in combination with some restraint in the rush to post to list ideas or ideas that are clearly out of scope and are due to be or have been justly marked for deletion.   

       More complicated is the choice of invention to post. Everyone has a different notion of what is entertaining and fun to ponder and discuss but, in general, idea posters should think about the quality of what they are contributing. Is it useful? Ironic? Clever? Hilarious? Quality comes in many guises here but almost always bears the hallmark of being well above the noise floor. Quality is appreciated and is met with quality responses . . . quality begets quality.   

       I take it as a good sign or, at least, a sign of sober thinking, that no one has yet cast a vote on this posting. (oops, spoke too soon. someone voted for it while I was writing this)
bristolz, Mar 04 2004
  

       Jeez, I've only been here a few months, but I would get _so very depressed_ if the HB were gone. Of course, I've had my share of stupid things I've done here, but I don't mean it. (Just swept up in the moment, I suppose.) If I have added to [jutta]'s frustration in any way, I am sincerely sorry. From now on, I will think over any idea I decide to post a little bit more. <off topic> By the way, why has no one voted on this? </off topic>
spacecadet, Mar 04 2004
  

       <Pandora's Box> Many moons ago, I invited several friends to an evening at home to help me celebrate my birthday. Witty ideas, erudite discussion, dainty tidbits and hors d'oeuvres, and glasses of the most delicate aperitifs were enjoyed by all.   

       However, for some reason the party continued to expand. It soon became apparent that either I had more friends than I thought, or that I'd invited more people than I thought were friends. Never mind, there was plenty more wine in the cellar, and it was just a matter of getting the caterers to send out for replenishments (and reinforcements). The level of good-natured noise and banter was beginning to drown out some of the more witty and illuminatory converse, but, hey, it's a party.   

       Finally the house was a-roar with wild and wild-eyed strangers, a colossal biology project had developed where the buffet and bar had once stood, the poodle had fled and hid, three sailors were swinging from the chandelier with the vicar's mistress, and the local police were bullhorning that they had the house surrounded and could we all please come out with our hands in the air.   

       At that point, I realised how many new friends I had developed, and how wonderful it was that they could all feel free to come and help me celebrate my birthday. The house was indeed a mess, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with some team effort.   

       The poodle is beyond help, though. </Pandora's Box>
phlogiston, Mar 04 2004
  

       Fascinating exercise in technical and social logistics.   

       While I'd happily pay, or get my first tattoo if need be, for the privelege of being able to play with all these kids, at the core of it, [phlogiston] has summed it up pretty well.   

       Sometimes you have to kick the kids out of the house and go on wanderjahr [ insert analogy suitable to your understanding of the situation here ]   

       I'm a newbie, and honored to have played with this band, even if it's on our last album. I would serve in any capacity required to keep the band alive, but bands, like relationships, have varying and often finite curves [ sob, weep, flagellate self for irreverent posts ]
normzone, Mar 05 2004
  

       Looking at all these annotations, it has struck me that a cycling of catergories you can post too would be an idea, one week of business, one week of car etc. would only work with very strict almost draconinan enforcment of the rules.   

       On an issue rasied several times if you were required to provide a verified e-mail address, the number of things i register nospam@nospam.com, to the site there would atleast be a way for moderators and perhaps trusted long serving bakers to contact people regarding their baking.   

       A final thought would providing a .5bakery e-mail, or messaging id help with clearing chatter? after all looking at some of the on going jokes there seem to be 2 or 3 people who know the joke and the rest tag teaming in. I say .5bakery e-mail maybe just a new e-mail address for individuals in the form username.5bakery@yahoo at least off topic or witty assides could be posted else where.
engineer1, Mar 05 2004
  

       Firstly let me say that I wouldn't dare presume to know what jutta thinks on this matter (I value my health too highly), so anything that I say here is entirely my own opinion (lest any think that I've got some official sanction for posting this stuff).

Personally, I'm very sceptical about the use of systems to constrain the behaviour of individuals. Whatever mechanism you put in place there will always be those who not only find ways to abuse them but delight in doing so. In addition, there is nearly always an additional administrative burden to such things.

I certainly don't believe that making the 'bakery a pay site is the answer. Once you start taking people's money then you incur certain obligations, both legal and moral, to keep the service running and to abide strictly by the rules. That doesn't describe a website that I'd feel at home in. And anyway some of the most irresponsible people that I know have credit cards. Ability to pay is no guarantee of quality.

I also think that focusing on 'newbies' is a bit of an easy option and although I do think that the sheer number of ideas and contributors exacerbates any problems, I suspect that the real frustration comes from having to deal with people like me who should know better.

I do think that perhaps a bit of a cultural change is required and I entirely agree with those who talk about leading by example so, rather than pointing the finger, I'd just like to hold my hand up, as some others have done, and say 'Mea Culpa'. I'll try and cut out some of the chit-chat and do better in future. I am now my own moderator.

Having said that, I do think that if the 'bakery is to continue as a community and maintain it's generally friendly and welcoming tone then a certain level of 'noise', in-jokes and conversational back-and-forth is inevitable. It's a sign that people are happy and enjoy being here and I think that that's something for jutta to be proud of.

Finally, I do think that one change to the organisation of the site can be made to help us old lags to reform our ways and that would be to restrict the ability of people to just create an account and start posting rubbish from the get go. Nothing too drastic though, perhaps a one week delay in account activation or something similar to dampen the ardour of opportunist idiots. Wading through the piles of infantile dross that occasionally appears can tempt even the most strong minded of us to register our displeasure in annos and send us into group-hug mode whilst we fight off the barbarian horde that lurks menacingly at the gate. So please, jutta, take the bottle away before we're tempted to drink once more.
DrBob, Mar 05 2004
  

       As for the off topic & bantery aspect, we might benefit from a view that lets us see past annotations we authored and lets us go clean them up. (possibly from the edit user profile page?)   

       Another, not mutually exclusive, possibility would be to offer two types of annotations "straight" and "other" which would still be in time order but distinguished somehow (possibly something as simple as alignment and or color (left/black for straight, right/dark blue for other)   

       In this way the reader could skim as they please but not miss the other content entirely. This format might also help keep posters conscious of their noise to signal ratio.
DadManWalking, Mar 05 2004
  

       “...perhaps a one week delay in account activation...”   

       I think that risks throwing away the wheat with the chaff. Some very clever stuff has come from one-time, or brand new posters. That the halfbakery has so little registration inertia is at the heart of free exchange and allows enjoyable writers to pop in and leave a gem (and, alas, the opposite, too).
bristolz, Mar 05 2004
  

       I agree with [bris] on that. If you explore the list of good newbie ideas I've set up (click my name below) you'll see that many of them were that person's first or even only idea, and posted on the day the account was created.   

       That is why my proposal above still allows people to post right off, it just (slightly) restricts the visibility of those posts until someone has given the poster the once over.
krelnik, Mar 05 2004
  

       Interesting, I like the idea, although it just keeps getting more and more complex.   

       I suspect that if Jutta acquires more and/or other interests, we're still going to be faced with the possibility of A) site closure, or B) other party or parties taking over the helm.   

       I'll add my name to the volunteer list - some training will be required.
normzone, Mar 05 2004
  

       All this talk about noise and deleting extraneous comments and trying to shape up and chitchat less is wasted words, really. Just more noise... there's no way that's gonna happen. It's just us talking because we're feeling guilty (practically everyone who's mentioned it also mea culpa'd in the same paragraph). But we talk like we talk and there's no point in pretending like that's going to stop happening, with those of us who are here and those who have yet to arrive. Can't change it, no point in even considering it.   

       Slashdot went through similar growing pains, and due to sheer popularity they've had to institute several of the sorts of ideas discussed here. Registration systems, karma, user levels, moderator levels, post approvals, etc. I can see why we'd need to adopt those sorts of things as the place gets more and more popular.   

       What the hell, might as well go for it now.   

       I see a lot of people volunteering to be mods. Shouldn't work that way. Nice of you to do that and all, but I think it should be earned through the user level system, as in the aforementioned slashdot, where they have to work their way up to that status (and have varying levels within the mods too).   

       The number one change I'd like to see: get rid of voting. Lose it completely. If you want to express an opinion, say it in an annotation. Voting is really not very interesting. Most of the time it's used as some sort of reward or punishment system anyway.   

       One way around the fee system - make registration dependent on the purchase of a halfbakery t-shirt. Obligation met, access granted.   

       I would also have no problem with a 468x60 banner ad at the top of each page. What the hell - they're everywhere else.
waugsqueke, Mar 05 2004
  

       I agree with everything [wugs] said but the votes. People like to let others know what they think. Remove voting and you get a bunch of "cool" and "this rocks" kinds of annos.   

       This anno brought to you by Boondoggle, Inc.
Worldgineer, Mar 05 2004
  

       We do anyway. The author can always delete those.   

       Oh.. and let the mods have instant decision capability to delete stupid ideas on sight. I trust their judgment.
waugsqueke, Mar 05 2004
  

       I kind of agree with much of what you've said, waugs. On this particular idea it's the converted that are preaching: we're all promising to "do better in future", which is a nebulous resolution at best. Reading the currently posted ideas, and the annotations to them, I don't see that anything has changed.   

       Depressingly, you're right. This idea is just more chit-chat cluttering up the HB. In the annos, a lot of people are genuinely making offers of help; but, as annos, they're never going to be taken seriously.
lostdog, Mar 05 2004
  

       How about limiting membership to just those users registered here before, say, Dec 31st, 2000?
bristolz, Mar 06 2004
  

       [bz] do past lives grandfather us in?
Klaatu, Mar 06 2004
  

       Asking people that come to a forum like this not to chit chat is like asking monkeys not to like bananas. Or you could get rid of all the monkeys, but then all you'll hear is wind rustling through the cages.   

       I really think that having a dedicated chat area would work well -- especially as most of the stuff thrown in as being amusing has a limited lifespan.
theircompetitor, Mar 06 2004
  

       //I see a lot of people volunteering to be mods. Shouldn't work that way. Nice of you to do that and all, but I think it should be earned through the user level system, as in the aforementioned slashdot, where they have to work their way up to that status (and have varying levels within the mods too).//   

       Not a slashdot person, but I did spend a brief while looking at e2. It seemed that the way to get more xp was to have more posts. And voting of course.   

       Surely a system where someone who has been around a while volunteers, and then the people in charge decide if they have been naughty or nice would be simpler and less open to people who simply add up points.   

       A lower level of mod might be an idea. For people who generally make good judgements about things, but don't want or are not fully trusted with a full admin postion. Maybe instead of having mod powers they would just have a way of bringing things to the real mods atention.
RobertKidney, Mar 06 2004
  

       // Voting could be simply positive.//

I agree with UB. Negative votes are like a thumbs-down in the coliseum, or worse—when it really gets rolling—like monkeys hurling feces. Take away the anonymous fishboning, and you’d be forced to anno why you didn’t like an idea.
ldischler, Mar 12 2004
  

       Of course thumbs-down and thumbs-up at the Coliseum actually meant the opposite of today. See link.
FarmerJohn, Mar 12 2004
  

       And fishbones weren’t bad things: “Contrary to popular belief, bakers did not throw fishbones at dreadful ideas. In fact, fishbones were highly desirable. ‘I fishbone this,’ the ancient American phrase from the halfbakery, actually meant, ‘this smells like a winner’." (From a lecture in cultural anthropology, 3254 AD)
ldischler, Mar 12 2004
  

       Ok, time for an irreverent post....Every time I see this [ Halfbakery Evolution ] idea surface, I open it expecting to see an evolution vs creation argument....
normzone, Mar 12 2004
  

       And Jutta said: let there be a bakery. And she looked upon her handiwork, and said, hummm, not so good, but maybe it will get better. And so she waited, and despaired at the quality of the annos that were written upon the sacred pages. And she said: these bakers are naught but vile punsters, so I shall erase my name from this place, and they shall be without a god. And the bakers cried in anguish, saying: nay, do not leave us Jutta, do not destroy the bakery, for we will have nowhere to go, except to our employment. And so she took pity, saying: I give you one more day—just try to say something funny.
ldischler, Mar 13 2004
  

       You can't vote for someone in real life, either, unless they're running for public office.
waugsqueke, Mar 13 2004
  

       point taken. revision:   

       transform the method of admittance to a vouching system based mainly on email discussion between applicants and elect current members (volunteers) members, in which the current member has the ability to a) filter BS b) showcase those ideas that he thinks deserve discussion/action (i.e. low noise levels) by the community, or in other words a vouching system intended to maintain quality standards among publishers. note: of course, where possible, objectivity and pure respect for quality should be guidelines for said process. i am sure that any member of such a website would be happy to refute and sharpen newcomer ideas, and at the same time guard the main body of quality material from degrading into the testing ground. the testing stages of ideas would be performed for the most part off-site.   

       (note: the resemblance to the basic structure of the scietific community could be emphasized.)
Sp@rkp|ug, Feb 19 2005
  

       [Halfbakery Evolution] A minnow crawls up on the mud, and looks around him. After heaving some air into rudimentary lungs, and some thought, the minnow announces [< here i am hinting, to those who have managed to follow, that i have the blueprints for such an engine, that would, to an improvable degree of efficiency, harness and organize the thoughts and ideas of the 1/2B community, or any other community with it's eyes set on quality of practical thought>]   

       I suspect good intentions, but the delivery is so condescending that it's difficult to sort the signal from the noise.
normzone, Feb 19 2005
  

       that quote is SO out of context. reread the source.
Sp@rkp|ug, Feb 19 2005
  

       But this site isn't about pure quality. We don't need defined quality standards. From time to time there is a superfluity of ideas about sphericons, ninjas, custard, mimes, guitars... but generally the chaos that is this site stays away from being "a dry, humourless tekkie site for the terminally dull" while still producing good ideas. The voting system shows opinion without stifling discussion. If you're genuinely funny, we want you here. If you have good ideas, we want you. Both are good, it's balance that is important. The site is an organic entity, not a museum of ideas that made it through some cold testing and discussion phase.
david_scothern, Feb 19 2005
  

       Exactly, David. Close the borders and the place will stagnate, as members move on to other parts of their lives. Organic entities have to both breathe and maintain their immune systems, without either becoming hyper-allergic to the world or suffocating. 'Tis a balance.
RayfordSteele, Feb 19 2005
  

       david;   

       well said, and i'm sorry if you thought i was incinuating (sp?) that you have a "stagnate" set of quality standards. but then again, some set of standards are presented in your post: good ideas and a sense of humour. do you think that my suggestion would not work even with that set of standards? that's all i was talking about.
Sp@rkp|ug, Feb 20 2005
  

       (applause for [david]'s comment - well written)   

       [Spark], your idea sounds like a bit (a lot?) of burocracy between users and their ability to post ideas.
Worldgineer, Feb 20 2005
  

       yes, *sigh* - guess you're right. I of course took as an assumption that some effort is being made to better the filter-system. my bad. It would be a monumental effort.   

       actually, david, your post should be on the "about" page of HB. I would have loved to have read it before i made my last post.
Sp@rkp|ug, Feb 21 2005
  

       Y   

       *sigh*   

       ?   

       *sigh* makes U   

       sound human.
po, Feb 21 2005
  

       oh, come back pole pants - all is forgiven.
po, Feb 21 2005
  

       scared me so bad i had to look in the mirror, po.
Sp@rkp|ug, Feb 21 2005
  

       did you like what you see?
po, Feb 21 2005
  

       "raises hand" people usually vote with their feet.
4whom, Oct 28 2007
  

       av snhasuhn nnn   

       But I can't type with my feet.
Worldgineer, Oct 28 2007
  
      
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