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How Can We Make TMC More Fun?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Andyw2100, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. Andyw2100

    Andyw2100 Well-Known Member

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    In another thread, Brianman posted the following:

    I'm not sure why he thought I'd be the better person to start this thread, but what the heck...the thread has been started.

    As @brianman requested, let's make sure to keep discussion in this thread limited to things that we as users can do. There are other threads in which to discuss the forum design issues.

    As for the problem, it does seem like a lot of long-time posters, like @brianman, are spending less time on TMC than they used to. Is this an unavoidable result of the community growing too large? Does the size of the community adversely affect the sense of community?

    Could part of the problem be that there have been lots of heated discussions about issues over the past year or so, when perhaps in the past there weren't as many contentious topics?

    I don't have the answers, and I probably don't even have the right questions. But the thread has been started, by request, so have at it!
     
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  2. bmah

    bmah Obscure Member

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    No answers or questions, but here are few thoughts, from a fairly new member (been here for around a year, owner for almost 11 months):

    The Tesla community (and TMC) is definitely growing in size, but that isn't really a problem per se. What does take some getting used to is that the community is growing more diverse. It's no longer only about die-hard EV early-adopters (hi @slcasner!). People come to the Tesla world for a variety of reasons...they're geeks who like the technology, they're performance drivers, they're luxury car afficionados, or they're just people who think that Tesla makes really great cars. I think we all in general need to be conscious that other people may have completely different perspectives on issues (center consoles? toy cars on the IC? horsepower ratings? Model 3 reservation priorities?) for potentially equally valid reasons.

    Part of me wonders if there's a way to address these different interests, but segregating people into different subforums isn't a good idea either, we ultimately benefit from other viewpoints.

    I only partially understand the "fun again" aspect, because again, I'm a relative newbie. But "fun again" won't mean "be the same as a few years ago", because the community has changed since then.

    Having some of the long-time posters spend less time on TMC isn't intrinsically bad. People's interests change, or sometimes they just need a break. I've seen people in on-line communities disappear for a year or more and come back with completely new roles to play, and I think that's a good thing if it makes them happy.

    Grateful to everyone on TMC, and glad to be here.

    Bruce.
     
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  3. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    #3 ohmman, Mar 24, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
    First, I want to say that I think TMC is fun. I wouldn't spend my time here if I didn't get something out of it.

    Bruce did a nice job pointing out that membership size is a major component in how people feel. When there are 20 of you, it's very fun because you know everyone, you know their opinion, and there's a lack of anonymity which encourages civility. Once the size blossoms, usernames become dissociated with real-life names (cough, cough <--) and civility starts to wane.

    There are other changes that go with increased membership. The reason for increased membership is the growth of Tesla as a company, and the fact that their product line has a wider reach. Roadster owners, while diverse, are by definition not as diverse as the set of Roadster owners and Model S owners. That set, by definition, is not as diverse as the set that includes Model X. Etc. So it's not just growth - it's growth plus a wider range of interests and opinions. This happens all the time with bands. The original fans want everyone to know about them - "they're the greatest!" - but once they do, it's not as special anymore. That's Tesla and TMC to some people right now, and it's totally understandable.

    Some of our favorite people to talk to are people with whom we agree on most issues. However, we learn the most from those with whom we disagree. Small towns have the situation I discussed in the beginning of this post - civility is required because if you don't know the person, you probably know their relatives. Or you know you'll see them again. That's a nice benefit. However, big cities are where real innovation and progress occurs. My point is that while we need to remain a community, TMC is better for having more participants. I'm still having fun.

    -Mark ;)
     
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  4. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Hi Mark :).

    I have always held that a voluntary use of first names (removing a bit of anonymity) would encourage more civil conversations on the forum.

    From The New Yorker, The Psychology of Online Comments.
     
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  5. Andyw2100

    Andyw2100 Well-Known Member

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    I do too. In retrospect I probably titled the thread poorly. I'll write to a mod and request a change to "How Can We Make TMC More Fun?

    OK, now we're getting somewhere!

    I have a couple of thoughts on this.

    The first is that one thing we could all do, (and I realize many of us try to do this already), is when we find ourselves getting into a heated discussion with someone on TMC, before we hit "enter" on our response, stop and ask ourselves if we would say whatever we just typed if we were standing face to face with the other person. If we wouldn't, then perhaps some editing is in order.

    The other idea is somewhat radical, but it works on another forum I participate in. And that is to have a sub forum where only members who choose to not hide behind the anonymity the internet provides may participate. The details of this could be worked out if the general concept is one people like.

    The benefit of this would, I hope, carry over into the other forums. In the best scenario, there would eventually be little actual discussion going on in the "real-identity only" sub forum, but practically all posters here would have chosen to simply not post anonymously in order to be able to participate in that sub forum, and with lots of the anonymity gone one would hope that lots of the problems that stem from it would also go away.

    (I did say it was a radical idea!)
     
  6. Andyw2100

    Andyw2100 Well-Known Member

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    And just because it was mentioned in the article Bonnie linked to:

    Internet_dog.jpg


    As soon as I saw the subject of the article Bonnie was linking to, and that it was a "New Yorker" article, I thought of this cartoon, so it wasn't surprising at all to find it referenced in the article.
     
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  7. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    What I am seeing lately is a lot of negative or FUD comments from people who do NOT own a Tesla. It seems on the surface that they are just bringing up serious questions to help people decide about buying into the Tesla family, but more often, they don't know what they are talking about, maybe having read a couple or few bad experiences and extrapolating them.

    When I respond to them, I always picture myself talking to them.

    But I also get this feeling that I am beginning to sound negative AT them. I begin to feel like I shouldn't contribute, like I wish I didn't care, like I wish I didn't read this forum. I wish they wouldn't try to sow Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, but how do real seekers of Tesla information figure it out?

    Maybe everyone needs to post his VIN and needs to have been an owner longer than a month? I was hoping the new local Tesla group would have a forum on it. At least we might know some of these people.

    Rob
     
  8. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #8 ChadS, Mar 24, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2016
    I agree that we are far [more] diverse than we used to be; and I agree that's a good thing. I would like to suggest, however, that the earliest members here weren't ridiculously more homogeneous than we are now. Even Roadster owners bought cars for very different reasons, had different backgrounds and had come from very different types of cars. Yes the differences are bigger now, but I think it's more a quantitative difference than a qualitative one. I believe the number of members (and the resulting increase in anonymity) is a larger factor than the diversity of the members. By most worldwide relative measures, we are still a pretty homogeneous group.

    Most people assume that anonymous incivility arises because the uncivil anonymous poster knows they won't be recognized. While that does play a part, another large part is simply that immediate reactions are removed when you are not face-to-face; and even when far-less-useful reactions are described via text in a delayed fashion, they mean even less (like, we're getting down to nothing now) when you don't know who they are coming from. That is, the anonymity of the audience plays a large part in why people are uncivil - they don't see disapproving faces that they are going to have to deal with repeatedly in the future when they engage in the uncivil behavior. Being selfish evolved first; cooperating with a group is a higher function and takes more effort. The reactions of others help remind you that you need to take the effort.

    I am (as often) with ohmman - larger groups mean less civility; but there is a lot more you can learn and accomplish. We don't want to make the group smaller, and we can't anyway. The good news is that civility standards are a cultural thing; they vary from group to group and as far as internet groups go, this one is already pretty good - although there may be more we can do. The admins imposing rules can help if they are constantly enforced, but that is not nearly as good as everybody agreeing on what we want and displaying the example.

    --Chad
     
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  9. Andyw2100

    Andyw2100 Well-Known Member

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    The problem with the above is that some of the people who can benefit the most from what this forum has to offer are those considering the purchase of a Tesla, and those new owners who have just taken the leap. I don't think we'd want to exclude these people from discussions.

    I agree that people stirring things up just for the sake of doing so can be a problem. I just don't know what the answer is.
     
  10. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    Perhaps, or it is just an association. I have to track down that XKCD comic ...

    I am a new newb here, but a voluntary exile from a forum I used to frequent. Over time that forum lost many of it's brightest and most interesting people because their politics became focii of argument as mainstream partisanship took over. Many are now here.

    Three cheers for civility, tolerance, and well thought out and articulated disagreement.

    -- Eric
     
  11. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

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    I've been a member of TMC since the end of 2012, and I have definitely spent less time writing on the forums in the past few months.

    Part of the problem I see is that Shareholder and Money interests have subtly taken over many of the forums. I do wear both hats. I hold a small amount of TSLA, but I am also a longtime automobile and transportation systems enthusiast. When I am browsing the Model X forums to read people's impressions of the car and to ask questions, I sometimes see outright trolling or accusations from people that certain forum members are trying to spread FUD in order to manipulate TSLA downwards. This has extended to the Model 3 forum, where speculation runs high in the week before the big reveal.

    The Investors forum has likewise become unpleasant. Sometimes I feel there is an atmosphere of suspicion against anyone who posts anything negative about Tesla Motors, and accusations that people are "short" the stock get thrown around. I understand that tempers have run high in the past 3 months due to the extraordinary volatility of TSLA and the public markets generally, but it has gotten out of control at points. My sense is that many in the Investors forum wanted to make a quick buck off a volatile stock, and are in way over their heads. I've tried to offer reasonable and prudent financial strategic advice over the past 2-3 years, but people seem determined to chase big profits, which usually results in losses of varying degrees.

    Perhaps there's nothing that can be done. A lot of people didn't learn from market turmoil in 2000, and then 2008 happened. 2016 is just another year.

    Anyways, I think I will be participating a lot more next week as Model 3 rolls out on stage. This is the moment I've been waiting for since I first read the Tesla "Secret Plan". As a car guy, Model 3 is probably the most exciting reveal in my lifetime, and there will be plenty to write about.
     
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  12. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Less diverse? I think TMC posters are much more diverse now. When I joined TMC and bought my Model S in 2013 it seemed almost everyone was here because it was an EV. Since then we've had horsepower people and luxury car people and some who bought because of autopilot. To these later categories it being an EV is sometimes a bug, not a feature.
     
  13. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    I also think there's more diversity now than ever.

    Like I said in the other thread, this whole TMC changeover has been disappointing. I've cut back to about 1 hr a week exploring the forums rather than the old 10 hrs a week.

    One other aspect of TMC that has gotten old: the seemingly random duration of banned users like Julian Cox. I am not questioning the bans themselves, only that there seems to be no official policy and no consistent duration to how long someone is banned. A day? A week? Until one of the admins remembers that someone was banned and then unbans the offender? Are ban durations determined by some rules, as in, the greater the offense, the longer the ban? An online community as large as TMC owes it to itself to have such rules/guidelines known to the whole community, rather than just as secrets among the cabal of owners/moderators. It should be clearly stated in the Terms of Use. It might actually make people better behaved, who knows?
     
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  14. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Sorry, I mean MORE diverse, rather than less diverse.
     
  15. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

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    3 things have tested my engagement with this forum:

    1) Watching "re-discovery". The same things that keenly held my interest as a new owner are now... borrrring! Release anxiety, range anxiety, what color to choose, lists of shortcomings, first tesla grin experience... Happy to help the first generation after mine, but the 4th.... nah. Everyone should get to post about their initial thoughts and excitement, but after 4 years it gets tiring for the vets.
    2) Crusades. "I bought this car, but there's something about it that is a travesty. Love the car, and care about Tesla, but I want to 'help' them with tough love." Dozens pile on. Others try to provide defense ballast. I understand and even sympathize with some of the causes, but all the negativity wears me down.
    3) Prolific, argumentative dominators. If you write 2 paragraphs, I'll refute with 3. I'll wear you down by dominating the thread and taking on all comers.

    Occasionally, threads like "repairing a flooded..." and the poetry thread make it all worthwhile, though. Just hard to engage as much as I used to... forum redesign aside.
     
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  16. Andyw2100

    Andyw2100 Well-Known Member

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    Damn you, tomas! :)

    I hadn't paid any attention to the "flooded" thread until you posted the above. With an endorsement like that, I had to take a look, so I read the first page of posts. Now, thanks to you, I've got more than 1200 posts that need to be read. Thanks a lot!

    Edit: Spreading the love, here's the URL. (You've been warned.)
    Repairing a Flooded Tesla Model S : HOW-TO
     
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  17. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

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    Since I posted the above, I've re-thought: geez, that wasn't very constructive! Topic is how to make TMC more fun, not to itemize why it isn't fun for me! So, here goes something more constructive:

    1) Re-organize the forum. Perhaps sub-forums like: "How do I?", "How to", "Software Updates", "Here's an Opinion: What think you?", "Surveys", "My Story", "TSLA", "EV Market". Something to encourage threads to have a point, something to encourage use of existing threads vs. proliferation of new ones... Right now, some of my favorites are in "off topic". Not sure what that says about me! For some reason, I think forums get stagnant if they are not re-organized every now and then.
    2) Blogs are for saga telling and regular threads are for paragraph exchanges between members... how about a length-limited category of threads (like twitter) where you've got to make your point in a sentence or two, and you can offer links to further detail.
    3) BEST FOR LAST: How about some way to let members really shine and show originality? How about allowing each member to have a personal thread... where they set topics, editorialize, moderate posts, expound, airoutstreamofconsciousneshorsemanure... Mods could still jump in if it violates forum rules, but the member would have first line control? Now that would create something much more validating than rep points: how many members actively watch and participate in your personal thread?

    Well, that's all I can thing of right now. Feel free to add on or shoot down. Danny and Doug, hope you are on this thread!
     
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  18. ABCCBA

    ABCCBA Member

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    The definition of FUN is relative to each individual. So, diversification and individualization of anonymous public forums attracts people with various concepts of FUN. Some find fun to be cheerleading. Some find fun to be pot stirrers. Some find fun to share thoughts and ideas, both positive or negative. Like Oil and Water, these varying ideals can be unified for a short period but will always separate.

    This has been true of many stock forums I used to participate in. But, I soon got tired of the same things that it sounds like TMC has morphed into. So, I now monitor some of those forums but don't participate. My solution for FUN with one of the stocks I invest in, was to create a Private FB Group and start building a forum from which identifiable individuals can openly carry on discussions with diverse opinions. As the creator and a co-administrator we carry on great civil debates with the FUD, cheerleading or vulgarity.

    In my opinion, in order for TMC to be FUN to most all members, there needs to be some purging done by the administrators. Get rid of the obvious pot stirrers who have nothing of value to offer - pro or con.

    Only being on the forums since late last year, I found the previous site format very usable and easily navigable. I have given the new format a chance by trying to learn it. The old format wins hands down. The new format is tiring and is not as FUN to use for me. But, I do chose to use it versus leaving the site.
     
  19. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    When you posted your first comment, I was thinking this would be a good solution. I've seen a lot of duplicate threads in the Model X subforum that exist in the Model S subforum. There's a lot of crossover between those two, and I find myself answering questions for Model X buyers that I already have learned from my Model S experience. I think vehicle-specific subforums should only include topics that are specific to that vehicle. There should be a hierarchy that allows Autopilot (already a thread recommending this) and Tesla Firmware to be discussed outside of the vehicle domains. This will cut down on a lot of the repetition, in my opinion.

    How that hierarchy looks is not simple, I will admit. And I foresee discussions asking "is that on Model X or S?" in some of these combined forums. But I still think it's a better solution than what we have now.
     
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  20. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    The forum was more fun in years past when people made elaborate April fools jokes.
    But after what happened last year, we had had to ban anyone who makes any April fools jokes.
    It was sad to resort to such extreme measures, but the situation really dictated we take action.
     
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