Typophile to do:

Chris Dean's picture

Recently I’ve notices a bit of discussion about the demise of Typophile &c. and I’ve detected a bit of a pattern: Rather than propose solutions, people seem to be bitching, moaning, arguing, leaving, and even deleting content. This thread is an attempt to help move things in a positive and productive direction:

1. Deleting posts does render a thread somewhat useless, and will certainly cripple us. Obviously, the result is a terms of service agreement. Anyone have any lawyer friends?

2. Today’s newbs are lacking. Agree, but why? One reason IMO, because we’re “well known suckers” for doing their homework. Just stop doing it and help them help themselves. You’re stunting their growth and pissing in your own pool.

3. Search engine: find a coder.

4. Banner: find a no-Flash solution (and a coder)

5. Site re-design: Finish it. I will help. Just email me.

6. Content: Work on the Wiki. I can help. Just email me.

7. Moderators: if the were a more active presence, I believe this would help new users feel more comfortable participating lest they step into the middle of a cat-fight. This does of course raise the point of being mindful of of over-moderating, and deterring participation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t attempt to find a solution.

8. A “read more” link on long posts to avoid long scrolls.

9. Automatic turning of email addresses into links that launch an unwanted, and often unused, email client. This was considered poor practice 20 years ago.

Please feel free to add more. An to those with the power to make any of these changes, my supervisor has a rule of sorts: “If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now.” Many little changes can add up.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Instate time limit for editing posts. Doesn't have to be as short as other sites. A month sounds good.

Lessen the amount of different forums. Honestly I wish it was only one, though I know others will shout this down.

5star's picture

I'm up for #7 ...just email me.

n.

Chris Dean's picture

“To do” volunteers: I’ll be editing this list — and possibly the first one — to help keep things to the point, and hopefully expedite taking action.

7: Volunteers for moderating
Christopher Deantypographer@gmail.com
Neil Caldwell

5star's picture

C, that's an amazing email addy! I can be reached: neil at graphicdeclaration dot com.

n.

Chris Dean's picture

A tough one. Time limit will raise what I suspect to be an endless debate of “how long?” ending up in a standoff of “never” and “forever.”

Personally, I think being able to edit any post is sketchy, as it pretty much screws the validity of the following responses. My vote would be for no editing, save for a 30 second “whoops” window. If you want to edit a comment, then simply make another post and the responses still hold true.

Thoughts?

Chris Dean's picture

And if there is a moderator in the room, perhaps you can help us by ranking this list in terms of ease of implementation?

riccard0's picture

Some random considerations:

  1. Time-limited editing of posts was already implemented (albeit it could be circumvent if one knew how) until the last “temp” iteration. However understandably this was applied to “comments”, not to thread-starting posts.
    This happened before: features lost because of a “system upgrade”. Once were “smart” quotes, then “featured font” headings, and so on. Which brings me to the second point.
  2. This site is built on Drupal. Drupal is hard.
    Drupal is the typical example of something built to be everything to everyone, ending up being not enough for anyone.
    So, you use plug-ins to add features. Then you upgrade Drupal and plug-ins stop working. Goodbye features.
  3. Same problem with moderators. Forum moderators need specific, limited permissions. Probably this kind of privilegies management is built-in in forum software. Not so in Drupal. I know for sure that one reason there aren’t more moderators it’s because of this problem.
  4. About the “read more link on long posts to avoid long scrolls”, please don’t. There is a (still*) working feature which is that if you click the “new” link (instead of the “title-of-thread” link) you will be sent to the first unread post on the thread.
  5. I already have expressed, more than once, that the first, life-threatening issue which need to be addressed is the disappearance from search engines. The rest is secondary.

* Except for threads with files attached to the initial post.

daverowland's picture

There has been a marked decline in participation in the Critique forum since the temp site went live. I think this is due to the layout of the front page. The Type ID forum should be at the bottom and unexpanded (if it's there at all - which has been covered quite comprehensively in other threads). I think reinstating the 'hot topics' bit that used to be on the Flash front page would be a good idea.

Bendy's picture

The 'new' link doesn't usually work for me on Win9/Firefox; it just takes me to the top of the thread.

riccard0's picture

For me, in Firefox/Win XP (and any other combination I tried on XP or OS X) anchors like the “new“ or specific comments links behave as outlined by Kent here: http://typophile.com/node/91007?page=5#comment-504719

hrant's picture

Charge a minimal amount for type IDs and/or make it easy to avoid ID threads.

hhp

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Charge a minimal amount for type IDs
I second this. It would get rid of the freeloaders and earn some money for the site. Not sure how it could be policed however. You could set up a system for them to go through, but how would you keep them from just posting elsewhere on the site?

hrant's picture

You mean posting an ID request outside of the ID forum to avoid a charge? Riccardo has been extremely diligent about telling people to move their requests to the proper forum, so I'm hoping he could also remove offending threads.

hhp

aluminum's picture

"This site is built on Drupal"

That actually explains a lot. ;)

phillipgessert's picture

If there were a mobile version someday, I'd sure stare at my phone a whole lot more.

riccard0's picture

Riccardo has been extremely diligent about telling people to move their requests to the proper forum, so I'm hoping he could also remove offending threads.

About removing threads, that would be possible only if I were an actual moderator, which isn’t the case.
I’m just a regular user (albeit a diligent one ;-) and what I say doesn’t come from any inside knowledge, but merely from reading threads, observation, personal experience, and brief and occasional exchanges with actual moderators.

Moreover, I’m against (at least in the present situation) the idea of charging for type IDs. It would cost less killing the “service” altogether.
But I’m all for clearly distinguish it from the rest of the site.

Joshua Langman's picture

I don't know anything about web programming, but I will gladly donate my time as a moderator, or in any other way I can be useful. When I teach typography workshops, I always direct students to this site, in an attempt to keep some new blood coming in.

Joshua Langman's picture

Oh, one more idea —

What about a forum for typography, as opposed to type design? That may be what the "design" forum is supposed to be, but that's always been ambiguous. I would like to see more graphic designers and typographers on here, in addition to the type designers.

What about a letterpress forum?

cuttlefish's picture

@Joshua: There are "Logos/ Corporate ID design" and "Typography/ Composition" topics within the Critique forum, but yes, something less ambiguous to distinguish "type design" from "design using type" discussions in the upper section would be helpful.

cuttlefish's picture

A thing I've noticed is the "Last Reply" indicator does not ascend the hierarchy of nested forums. For example, when I post this reply, the time stamp will show for the correct time in General Discussions, but when viewed at the Forums level, it will show 12 Aug 2012 — 4:13pm as the time of the Last Post in General Discussions. This gives the impression of lengthy inactivity, and should not be considered correct behavior.

edit: It doesn't even do THAT. It shows the most resent topic creation date, which is still wrong. It should show the time of the most recent reply instead.

Jared Benson's picture

Thanks Christopher. There's no shortage of things to do. It's the need for volunteers that pose a challenge. I'll contact you privately to follow-up.

joeclark's picture

There is already a two-year-old list of bugs I filed, said list being ridiculed by everyone without ever fixing the bugs.

hrant's picture

There is already a two-year-old list of bugs I filed, said list being ridiculed by everyone without ever fixing the bugs.

Did you read Jared's post?

BTW why would your list be implemented if everybody ridiculed it?But I doubt that everybody ridiculed your list - I for one remember that a lot of it made sense.

hhp

kentlew's picture

If I may be so bold: it seems to me less a lack of volunteers (many people have expressed interest and willingness over the years) and more the lack of a suitable system for deploying volunteers — how to manage access to any and all comers (some system of vetting & restricting, for Punchcut to feel comfortable), how to manage any volunteer work in a reasonable fashion (whether it be code-directed improvements or behavior-directed moderation), etc.

These are not simple challenges. I hope that Jared, et al., can find a way to successfully transition from a closed system to a more open one, if they so choose.

Chris Dean's picture

Idea: a version of /tracker that filters ID requests. At any given time about 80% of /tracker is "name that font" which makes finding any other content difficult.

Idea: allow users to pick their own name. Possibly for a fee.

http://www.typophile.com/readthetype

Idea: Allow users to select a font they wish their name to appear in when you go to their profile page. A tall order, but I’d drop a few dollars to see my name in Univers.

5star's picture

If this domain were my dot com (or if I was to manage it) I'd monetize this place. Not to the max but just enough to earn 'click revenue' ... and then you wouldn't have to worry because it would create enough revenue to at least toss some money at website development.

A friend of mine specializes in dot com development, I'll pick his brain to see what we could do.

I think Typophile has oodles of awesomeness yet to be discovered....

n.

Chris Dean's picture

I think charging anything would most certainly kill the place once and for all. For a (not all that important) service such as "name that font" there are far too many free alternatives. This is simply the easiest for a lazy student. Charge a penny for it, and they will look somewhere else. What’s even more likely would be someone else starts a type forum and steals the traffic.

And even if we put a payment system into place, that’s not going to fix any of the afore mentioned problems.

Idea: @all Typophiles — Please stop signing posts. We know your wrote it. Your name is right there at the top by your profile. All it does is create a longer scroll.

hrant's picture

Too many people who post type ID requests never use Typophile for anything else. We don't need people like that - in fact they might be part of the problem. Nevermind that type IDs are a great piracy tool.

Signatures: It's the least of our problems. Mine, think of as a little foible, a personal tradition. Like a minor annoying habit of a college dorm room-mate. :-)

hhp

5star's picture

I gots an idea.

I don't know if it possible tho I'm not a webhead (but I wish I was).

Moderators could be assigned to the various sub-forums. Each sub-forum would have a unique/different password, that way no one moderator would be able to take down the entire site. For instance, I'll moderate the Blogs forum and nuke posts like the spam one that's on top right now.

n.

JamesM's picture

> that way no one moderator would be able to take down the entire site

Why would a moderator take down the site? Are you talking about malicious activity, or an accidental deletion of files?

5star's picture

Thanks JamesM, I meant accidental deletion of files/folders. I know first hand from moderating a chess forum (talk about your raging egos!), that it takes a team of mods to keep on top of spammers and malicious posts.

n.

riccard0's picture

Theoretically, there is a team of mods: http://typophile.com/moderators

kentlew's picture

Unfortunately, as you’re probably well aware Riccardo, that list is sorely out of date. Most of those folks stop by Typophile now only once every couple of weeks, it seems. Some haven’t been here in months. And Dan and Stephen (who have visited recently) have only partial privileges, which may not include spam moderation.

As far as I know, I’m the only person who regularly checks for spam: daily — at least once in the morning, sometimes more depending upon my day.

You won’t see my name on that Moderator list because when I volunteered I specifically told Jared I wasn’t interested or willing to be a moderator (i.e., an arbiter of behavior). And I didn’t want anyone contacting me with their problems.

I volunteered to be a Janitor and clean up spam, double-posts, etc., because at the time Typophile was having a major spam problem (and you thought it was bad now) and the only folks able to do anything about it all lived in the same time zone (Pacific, UTC -8). I live in Eastern, UTC -4, and Florian came on to pick up some of the slack in Berlin, UTC +1.

But in the past year or so, it looks like things have dropped back to only one time zone. So, depending upon when the spam gets posted, it may stay visible for up to 24 hours.

As it so happens, I’ve recently informed Jared and Joe that I will step down from my janitorial duties as of next weekend, Sept 1. It has become too much of a time suck and I wish to apply myself in other directions right now.

I don’t know if Jared has made any other arrangements yet. I certainly hope he does. I’ve put forward some suggestions. As I said before, I’m sure there will be no lack of volunteers. But it’s a matter of who the Punchcut guys wish to entrust and how they want to manage that. At the end of the day, it’s their site.

hrant's picture

Kent, thanks for all your efforts. I do hope we'll still see you around though!

hhp

JamesM's picture

> Some haven’t been here in months

Based on my experience as a moderator in other forums, it's common for someone to volunteer with the best of intentions but then gradually drift away due to lack of time or other reasons.

It helps if you can clearly define the responsibilities of each moderator, and have one moderator in a supervisory position who makes sure things get done and who can pick a replacement moderator if an existing one drifts away.

Responsibilities need to be simple and realistic, considering that it's a volunteer position.

kentlew's picture

Thanks, Hrant. I expect I’ll still come around and participate in the few threads that interest me. It’s the daily responsibility/expectation (real or self-imagined) that I need to move out from under.

James — Yes, in a word: management. And for that, one ultimately has to look to the top, Punchcut. It all must flow from there.

Chris Dean's picture

Soo, this thread was started as a result of a previous Typophile thread, “A thankyou to Typophile” which speaks of our downfall.

This thread is a response and call to action. Essentially, now try to follow me here, instead of talking about problems, lets try to actually solve them.

There’s a bunch of ideas in here.

@ANYONE with ANY authority, has any action been taken, or are we still thinking about why things suck and complaining about them? Do we even plan on taking action? Should one of us simply build a new Typophile to replace this one?

Given the obvious and repeated nature of the problems here, new blood simply putting Typophile off the map wouldn’t be that hard. All the big-guns barely even talk, and by my count, 80% of the traffic here is font ID’s and homework help. Very little substance. Following tweets is more fruitful at this point.

I’d love to make Typophile 2.0 but I don’t know how to code. Any volunteers who’s care to help me?

Reach me at typographer@gmail.com

chrisburton's picture

What about public funding to hire a well experienced small studio team using Kickstarter for a new Wordpress based Typophile site?

_null's picture

For what it's worth, this place for me is somewhere I can come to get a ages worth of collective knowledge from some of the best in the field.
We all operate in a niche environment and the geographical distances involved are vast - I'd gladly pay a maintenance fee to continue that access.

I agree with Christophers comments regarding the current state of affairs...and twitter has indeed usurped typohile as my place to gain access to current trends or hot topics. I think typophiles correct place is within the critique, build, and discussions arenas - it requires a system capable of supporting those actions. - I don't believe wordpress is the solution either.
I also think PunchCut have done an amazing job to put the foundations in place for this community...I kind of feel us bitching and whining is a bit of a liberty / piss take.

Bezier Abuser's picture

I second the kickstarter project, I can really see it going well!

riccard0's picture

I myself spent more than a thought about the viability of a Kickstarter funding in order to reignite Typophile. It would be beneficial from a technical perspective: make it works as a platform (which means the forum, but also typographic education, Type Battles, and, yes, Type ID too). One could also hope it would sparkle some publicity, raising a wider interest in Typophile.
But, apart from the difficulty of defining the scope of a Kickstarter project (and the reward tiers for backers, etc.), I think that, even if successful, in the long run it will not be a real solution.
As I see it, the main problem with Typophile (and any website for that matter), lies in maintenance. This means long term commitment and daily overseeing. And that’s not something one can really fund.

Bendy's picture

>As I see it, the main problem with Typophile (and any website for that matter), lies in maintenance. This means long term commitment and daily overseeing. And that’s not something one can really fund.

I thought the Typophile 'membership' badges were supposed to fund maintenance and improvement. Perhaps they could be made more useful if non-badge people were limited in some way, for example in their maximum number of posts.

_null's picture

@Bendy Is that what the badges are for? I never knew that...feel bad now!

@riccardo0 agree with all your points, only I saw Typophile as more of a resource, rather than something which needed wider awareness (aside from educational purposes). Type battles, ID or any of that stuff have other services which do those things, and arguably better.
I guess I see it as a resource worth paying for - which again, should remove the major amount of maintenance? Which, as far as I'm aware is mainly spam/erroneous postings/rogue users - surely a subscription model would go some way to removing? Or maybe invite/probation? I do realise I sound like a despot at this point...
Also, KickStarter would imply there is some profit to be made/shared...I can't believe that is a viable proposition. Although it's an excellent method to garner funding, I'm sure there are other ways.

eliason's picture

I thought the Typophile 'membership' badges were supposed to fund maintenance and improvement.

Problem is, the badges program wasn't really maintained. :-(

riccard0's picture

I saw Typophile as more of a resource, rather than something which needed wider awareness

Apart the present unreachability of said resource, if no one adds to it, it would become useful as the 1911’s Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.

_null's picture

@riccard0 Bwahahaha, that's funny, true, and kinda sad at the same time.

chrisburton's picture

Hmm. What if Typophile created some sort of Pro-like subscription with an annual cost to be a member that has access to specific areas. Something like Type Directors Club, of course not as expensive.

I think Kickstarter is a great idea. Not just for revamping the site but also exposure. The rewards don't always have to be a physical product (special thank you on the site, free pro subscription, special access, etc). However, I honestly don't think T-shirts with the Typophile logo would be such a bad idea as one those rewards. Even a certificate for becoming a member. I don't know, just throwing out ideas.

What about ad revenue using a service like BuySellAds.com?

Surely there are people here who would be willing to do maintenance?

In saying all this, I have doubt that paying for help (ID) will only hurt the site rather than be beneficial. Others come here because of the knowledgeable resource.

hrant's picture

Typophile is a sort of altruistic place, but if making a bit of extra money is the only way to get Punchcut's head back in the game, so be it. BTW, I don't think there's a lack of exposure; virtually anybody who designs type -or even starts dabbling in it- already knows about Typophile, and I personally don't want to see an invasion of broader graphic design.

I'm probably repeating myself here and there, but here are some things I'd propose:
- Don't panic.
- Get the search working, or at least let Google back in.
- If Google is given access again, figure out the spam situation.
- Charge some sort of membership fee for heavy use.
- Charge a nominal "barrier" amount for type ID requests.
- Don't try to please everybody, certainly not pricks who don't even like the Internet and/or an open exchange of expertise/opinion to begin with. This is not a cocktail party.

hhp

_null's picture

@hrant very much my feelings on the subject. I'd rather see this place become more specialised, not broader in purpose.

Question...Where has this feeling of 'more exposure' come from? Pretty much any search to do with typographic build or design brings you here (or used to).

edit: the world really doesn't need more tees affiliated to some obscure meme. Even a worthy one such as this.

Karl Stange's picture

This is not a cocktail party.

No, but I have often thought that 2600 style meetings in the real world would be good fun with the Typophile crowd. Mustering a sufficient number of people in the same geographic location on a regular basis could be a little more difficult though...

Hrant, I remember seeing a video or some photos of you from one of the type conventions a few years ago taking your laptop onto the street to work on a font until the battery died, which is what made me think of it originally.

riccard0's picture

virtually anybody who designs type -or even starts dabbling in it- already knows about Typophile

Even if it were true, how many of them are participating?

_null's picture

@riccard0 with all due...this isn't twitter or facebook...and neither should it be. More than often I've found the information contained in the posts more than enlightening for the subject in hand. Participation was neither warranted or required...ego filling omitted.

For me, this is more about cementing this information into something for prosperity and use. It's my opinion that the community comes alive when a subject is in hand...just look at the debates on printers, opentype and web fonts. Heated, passionate and informative.

hrant's picture

Karl: Organizing friendly social events by using Typophile as a "geolocator"* is a great idea - I've engaged in that kind of thing myself, although perhaps not enough. It's just that Typophile itself can't be conducive to cultural progress (to me its highest calling) if the social angle becomes too pronounced.

* http://typophile.com/forum/14

taking your laptop onto the street to work on a font until the battery died

That was such strange fun. Eben Sorkin and I first did that during the LA TypeCon and were joined by a few more people (including a conference attendee by the name of Claire who initiated a great analog component) at the New Orleans TypeCon. LA: http://www.typecon.com/archives/69 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/stewf/4911947563 NO: http://www.typecon.com/archives/400 and http://www.typecon.com/archives/860

Riccardo: I agree that more active participation would be great, but broader exposure of Typophile would probably simply dilute any discussions we do have, since it would draw in people who aren't really dedicated to type (because dedicated people already know about it).

hhp

riccard0's picture

My remarks about exposure and participation weren’t about making Typophile the new Facebook.
They were meant to be a reminder that in order for any community* to survive (and hopefully thrive) there need to be a critical mass (however small) of people involved, and thus a certain rate of new people “replacing” those that became less present.
As for diluting (http://typophile.com/node/95976#comment-520672), the advantage of exposure would be to remind the people that already know about Typophile that it’s a good place to hang around. And with enough interested people (and some fair moderation), the specificity of the matters discussed would filter off the excessive noise.

* or resource.

JamesM's picture

> a certain rate of new people “replacing”
> those that became less present

In the 2 years or so that I've been here, I've never had the feeling that Typophile was welcoming to newcomers.

When new people introduce themselves, there's rarely much of a response. When students post a "what's this font" or "help me with my homework" post, they are viewed by some as a nuisance to be gotten rid of, rather than as potential members.

Karl Stange's picture

In the 2 years or so that I've been here, I've never had the feeling that Typophile was welcoming to newcomers.

When new people introduce themselves, there's rarely much of a response. When students post a "what's this font" or "help me with my homework" post, they are viewed by some as a nuisance to be gotten rid of, rather than as potential members.

In my experience Typophile has treated new people with the same respect granted others, in that when a serious question is posed or discussion started, detailed and helpful responses are forthcoming. I have very limited experience with other web forums but I do not know what people expect from merely introducing themselves; if you walk into a room of a strangers, many of them professionals and all with a common interest, they will likely welcome you but if you have nothing to contribute and no questions, what more should you hope for?

As for font ID requests, there is a well established section of the forum to deal with those.

In my fairly limited experience in the wider font community, most people working in the industry have had to learn everything from the ground up, learning and often innovating new technologies as they go. This is knowledge that people are generally willing to share but only when it comes to people that are interested in pushing their own understanding further. When people come on here asking for the benefit of knowledge that everyone else has worked hard to acquire, without appreciating how to get there or why, I am not surprised that responses are limited.

Karl Stange's picture

Organizing friendly social events by using Typophile as a "geolocator"* is a great idea - I've engaged in that kind of thing myself, although perhaps not enough. It's just that Typophile itself can't be conducive to cultural progress (to me its highest calling) if the social angle becomes too pronounced.

After posting that I was having a drink in one of my favourite bars in London and stumbled across a comics group in the back room, mainly writers and artists, but soon discovered that Rian Hughes was there as well. I didn't get a chance to talk to him but being surrounded by that energy and enthusiasm was great. I agree, as far as Typophile goes, it is positive to mention what is happening here but it shouldn't be the focus and really I suppose that is what the various type conventions are for.

_null's picture

Karl your a fellow london native?
How many more of us are there? I like type...and I like beer. Type and Beer sounds like a good shin dig.

oldnick's picture

How about appointing/anointing/promoting/paying some editors? The range and depth of erudition available on this site is both amazing and humbling. OTOH, the petty squabbles (a.k.a. pissing contests) which occasionally arise distract from the overall effort.

Perhaps a separate site—fully catalogued and indexed, with searchable abstracts, would better serve the entire typographic community. Reserve this place for the sausage-making: we're all grown-ups here, aren't we?

Forget the social angle: let's set up a network of mentors who can teach the clueless pups. I am certain that colleges and universities would love to have access to a local type guru from time to time.

Karl Stange's picture

Karl your a fellow london native?

I am indeed. I don't want to de-rail this thread but happy to arrange meeting for beer and type discussion. I will look at setting up something along the lines of what hrant has already done but for London, in the Special Interest Groups.

Nick, those are fine ideas. While getting anyone paid for their time through the site is probably unlikely, the idea of more specific mentorship for those willing (and not already doing so) would no doubt appeal to a number of people here. This site probably represents the single greatest technical typographic resource on the web, fully indexed and searchable it would be a formidable resource and when it was indexed by Google that is pretty much what it was.

oldnick's picture

Karl—

Agreed that this site is an incredible resource, but…

1. The rancor among some members does a disservice to the community as a whole, which is why I suggested a separate, edited, abstracted and comprehensively indexed "other" site; and

2. The search engine sucks, period.

Karl Stange's picture

Yes, it is unfortunate when threads get bogged down with personal disagreements. I suppose that is always a danger though. Trying to imagine a physical manifestation of the sight makes me think of a low-lit basement bar, lots of whisky being drunk and plenty of, "let's take it outside" conclusions to conversations. That said, when I have actually met people who contribute here in person it has always been incredibly civilised!

2. The search engine sucks, period.

Is there a straightforward way of fixing the site search functionality or would that require a mammoth effort and re-indexing everything? Sorry, just re-read Christopher's opening post.

JamesM's picture

> I do not know what people expect from
> merely introducing themselves

Karl, I guess my comment was aimed more at the moderators. In forums where I've been a moderator, we always tried to make newcomers feel welcome.

Years ago I made my first post at a different forum. I accidentally violated forum etiquette and was blasted by a long-time member. I was so embarrassed that I decided never to post again, but then a forum moderator posted a friendly welcome and invited me to continue participating, so I did, and eventually I became a moderator.

Newcomers often feel awkward, don't know what to say, and often make mistakes. A little friendly encouragement and guidance can sometimes help them through that initial rough period and lead to them becoming good members of the group.

hrant's picture

I agree, and I for can/will do better in that respect.

hhp

scannerlicker's picture

OK, I just read the whole thread.

But before getting my opinion out, I must pose a question: Why was the design changed?

riccard0's picture

Why was the design changed?

http://typophile.com/node/91007

hrant's picture

Why was the design changed?

Two bad apples.

hhp

Karl Stange's picture

Newcomers often feel awkward, don't know what to say, and often make mistakes. A little friendly encouragement and guidance can sometimes help them through that initial rough period and lead to them becoming good members of the group.

I agree that making newcomers welcome is the best approach and one likely to encourage contribution and involvement, I suppose I am focusing on those posts where people are simply declaring their presence when this has always felt like a very hands on forum where the best approach is to jump in.

I know that I have made mistakes myself but have always just moved on while trying to understand where I went wrong, but I suppose silence and a lack of encouragement can be intimidating.

Chris Dean's picture

Still wondering if we have any progress to report. We appear to be going off topic. Not to say that not/welcoming newcomers isn’t important, it just wasn’t the purpose of this thread.

This is a great example of when, if I had administrative permission, I would relocate this portion of the discussion to keep the thread on task.

5star's picture

Ya 4 sure eh, meanwhile ... the spammers are living well in the Blogs forum.

n.

JamesM's picture

> Not to say that not/welcoming newcomers isn’t important,
> it just wasn’t the purpose of this thread.

Your initial post which started this thread contained 9 points, and 2 of them concerned newcomers.

In #2 you said "Today’s newbs are lacking... Just stop doing [their homework]..." (The majority of these students are newcomers.)

In #7 you said "Moderators: if they were a more active presence, I believe this would help new users feel more comfortable..."

kentlew's picture

Still wondering if we have any progress to report.

Christopher — I guess you still haven’t figured it out: What we have here is a tenement with an absentee landlord. Been that way for years now.

You may have a better chance of getting any response (but only just maybe) if you try contacting the Jared directly:

http://typophile.com/user/3/contact
or
typophile@punchcut.com

But good luck with that even.

Jared Benson's picture

Thanks, Kent. Yes- Shoot me a message. I try to reply to everything I see.

If you don't get an immediate response, don't read into it. I probably just haven't gotten to it yet, but will.

hrant's picture

Jared, please at least fix the search as soon as possible, even if it means letting in more spam. The solution to the king's headache is not to decapitate him.

hhp

Renaissance Man's picture

Random thoughts:

I'm not sure if there was more money available that things would change. Convince me otherwise.

Every iteration of Typophile, no matter how "improved," hobbled or disabled something that was well liked and fully functional. How long do you expect loyal and long-time users to put up with that?

I used to subscribe to a newsletter about English language usage, but the price was high. Even worse, the articles were so damned "correct" they were boring and uninteresting. So I never renewed. I do subscribe to a computer newsletter (Windows Secrets), which has a free section and a paid section. I subscribe to the paid section, and users determine how much to contribute. I used to go to the NY Times daily. Now I only go there as a result of a search, or a link from another site.

Should Typophile remain free? A "first 10 posts" free model would not prevent one-time annoyances or do-my-homework posts. How about read free and contribute what you will to post for a year (with a $X [$2-5?] minimum, and with "membership badges" for those who contribute over a certain amount.) I was recently directed to a site that said something like "You have to be registered to read this article. Registration is free." It annoyed the crap out of me. Since I already had the answer I wanted, reading the article was for my own information and pleasure, and the site was one I wouldn't come back to, I declined to register. Others may have higher or lower annoyance levels.

Would someone please explain (or point me to an explanation) of just what the relationship is between Punchcut and Typophile?

What makes Typophile so wonderful are the people on it; what makes it so bad is the dysfunction of the web design. Based on the website, I'd never use Punchcut for anything.

As for Search, what about using Google Toolbar with the "Search this site" function?

Pissing contests and rancor come with the territory. Really obnoxious or serial offenders should be warned, and barred if persistent.

Since it's impossible for a moderator to read every single post (to find inappropriate/offensive material), how about a "Report" link on the bottom of posts?

"We don't need people like that," "get rid of the freeloaders," are attitudes that will kill Typophile.

Require all posts to be previewed; that will reduce the need to edit.

hrant's picture

Steve, good stuff.

The thing is, charging money would in effect get rid of "people like that".

hhp

Jared Benson's picture

@Hrant: Search: I asked Google to re-index over a week ago. There's a bigger problem on our side where the engine is not indexing the forum content. I'm trying to figure out why.

@RenMan: Typophile runs pretty much independently from Punchcut. Punchcut pays the bills and ensures that Typophile is always here for the community to enjoy. We work on it whenever we can, but look to the collective Typophile community to help shape and define what Typophile is, visually and culturally. It's been that way since Day 1 and I expect it always will be.

Acknowledged, the site needs lots of work. I couldn't agree more.

Typophile was created to share knowledge in a welcoming, sharing atmosphere. We were all students once, so we could stand to be much more tolerant of new members of our community.

And remember, every family reunion has the crazy aunt or uncle. While they might be quirky or annoying, we love them and accept them nonetheless.

I expect we'd explore every other fund-raising option before charging users for access.

apankrat's picture

With regards to editing posts - allow unlimited editing, but keep a public archive of all past versions. It lets you change your mind, but it also makes you think twice before saying anything.

scannerlicker's picture

OK, here's my 2 cents:

- Charging for the website is ridiculous. I would prefer to have ads or to give a donation in order for the thing to go on. Segregating knowledge: no way. I believe that this is a forum, not a club. And if Punchcut is supporting this website, here I go: THANK YOU, PUNCHCUT!

- About the newcomers and topics that are not-so-relevant, maybe a restructuring of the different forums could help. As Jared told, we were once students as well. And we also asked "dumb" questions, that might have seemed obvious, but we needed to ask in order to learn. How about a sub-forum dedicated to newbies?

- About the homepage, the former one was way better. If the problem is flash, do it in HTML. Done. Solved.

- And the overall design (the current one) is confusing. Very confusing. Jared, if you need a helping hand, please ping me.

Guys, if you're still around this forum, that's because you had good experiences here. I found lots of good stuff here, personally. Got helped. Helped some. Isn't this something worth preserving and improving?

Cheers!

daverowland's picture

Is it only me who can no longer edit my first posts? Would be good to get this fixed.

riccard0's picture

No, Dave, you're not alone: http://typophile.com/node/96238

Bendy's picture

Judging by the number of type ID requests appearing in the Solved section, I'd recommend not having the "Solved Sans, Serif, Script/Handwriting" etc more prominent than the "Type ID Board" section. I made that mistake recently and I thought I knew the site.

R.'s picture

I agree. It should be a cheap and easy first step to hide the names of all boards listed below the type ID board. Put them in a menu that’s closed by default. Maybe the guidelines could be excluded, but nobody reads them anyway, so I think it would be best to keep this one entry visible: ‘Type ID Board’. Or at least get everything below ‘Solved IDs’ (i.e. categories like ‘Sans Serif’ that seem to mislead so many people) out of sight. The type ID board might not be the most relevant part of the forum, but it’s the most popular one and all the miscategorised postings suck.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Bendy, R.:

When the subfora with categories for solved IDs were introduced, our input was requested: http://www.typophile.com/node/65232
I spoke out against it, and everybody else did so, too: unnecessary, not helpful, overcomplicating and slowing down things, etc. Nevertheless, this new ‘feature’ was not removed.

The topic came up again later: http://typophile.com/node/71918
Again, I said: “let’s get rid off the ‘Solved IDs’ fora.”
Nothing has happened, no reaction whatsoever.

it's common for someone to volunteer with the best of intentions but then gradually drift away due to lack of time or other reasons. — JamesM

This is exactly what has happened in my case. I used to administrate the Type ID Board for quite a while, on a daily base. Occasionally, I could help Kent out a little with the spam squashing. Recently, I am lacking both time and motivation to continue to do so.

As it so happens, I’ve recently informed Jared and Joe that I will step down from my janitorial duties as of next weekend, Sept 1. It has become too much of a time suck and I wish to apply myself in other directions right now. — Kent

I will do the same. Yes, maybe I should have announced this first, before quitting the admin work. Well, I had hoped that things would improve over time, and that I would be on hiatus only. (And theoretically, there are at least 2 more Type ID admins.) But since search engines stopped indexing Typophile, my admin work has become even more tedious and, to some extent, technically impossible – think of linking to similar threads, looking up existing information, etc. My impression is that the amount of time and effort is totally disproportionate to the benefit for the ID requesters and the fellow IDers.
I am not a masochist.

eliason's picture

Kent and Florian, thanks for the many many hours you've put into keeping the site clean and usable in past years.

hrant's picture

I thanked Kent earlier, so: thank you Florian! And in case you're ever tempted to feel bad: you've already done more than most.

hhp

Bendy's picture

Yes. Thanks are due to you both for your efforts. It's a massive shame Punchcut are alienating the admins and users this way.

5star's picture

Today while out over at the grocery store I happen to notice cans of Spam ... I thought to myself ... f*ck who's moderating this aisle aways.

I reported the Spam at check-out :)

n.

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