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Future of non-cycling discussion on Bike Hub


Matt
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Split out from: https://community.bikehub.co.za/topic/187560-cant-pm-matt-and-nick/


 

biggest reason i'm hardly on bikehub anymore.
 
you cannot ask question and someone answers with some complete bull**** of topic rant

For this very reason we'll quite soon be cutting down or even completely closing the Off Topic sections.

Between the demands for moderation (most issues arise from off topic squabbles) and the distraction from what Bike Hub is (or at least is intended to be), a resource for cyclists, it can't remain as-is

The simple reality is that we have to focus our limited resources on issues related to bikes... it is after all why this place exists.


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Some quick house keeping: This topic has been renamed and split out from Quagga's original question. That's been resolved and is unrelated to this broader discussion. 

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This should have been handled quite differently rather than dropping something of a grenade in an unrelated thread. My apologies for the manner in which it was raised and the silence since. It's an important topic for me personally and one I've not been able to give proper attention to in the last week.
 
The reason for the existence of Chit Chat or non-cycling discussion section on Bike Hub is to build a sense of community away from just bikes. Yes, we're all here because of a common interest in bicycles but bikes aren't all we're about. And for the most part it's served that purpose well for those who wanted to participate. Personally, I feel it served an important role in building the early Bike Hub community and for that reason I've always regarded it as a non-negotiable.

More recently though it has been dominated by divisive topics like the US election and Covid-19. From the snippets I've encountered many Hubbers engaging in these discussions have done so in a mature, respectful manner. But unfortunately many others have not. But beyond any individual's conduct, it seems these topics have embedded a level of intolerance and impatience that crosses over into many other cycling related topics. Ultimately this is detrimental to the experience for Hubbers within those sections, many of whom aren't here for the Chit Chat.
 
This raises some questions around WHY the Chit Chat section exists on Bike Hub in 2020. What purpose does it serve now? How does it add value to the broader community of Hubbers. And while it's not the first time we've questioned this, it's perhaps the first time removing it has been seriously considered.

If we look at it purely from a numbers perspective: Chit chat accounts for 0.6% of our monthly users and 0.9% of our monthly page views, with 3.5% of total forum users participating in or viewing Chit Chat. Simply put, it's not there to generate page views or revenue. It exists with the sole purpose to enhance the community dynamic on Bike Hub. But if it's not serving that purpose or worse having a negative effect on the community, should it still exist?

As many have suggested here, outright removal is perhaps extreme. But in the muddy world of online discussions it makes it very clear what should be discussed and what shouldn't. In that sense, it would be the cleanest solution.

Other options we've considered:

  • Limit topics, e.g. no politics or religion (commonly the most divisive and problematic). It would need some policing but is an option.
  • More moderation: based on the numbers this makes zero sense from a business perspective. Volunteer moderators are an option, but still require a level of input in oversight & assistance that's just not justified from a business perspective.
  • No moderation (free for all in these sections): We're not far from that currently... it doesn't work. No matter how many warning signs there are, the scars from those unfettered battles will affect the cycling related discussion.
From a pure numbers perspective it looks pretty simple, yet this is something I've grappled with. Even a fraction of a % represents a meaningful number of people, many of whom I'd regard as "founding members". Names I've come to know over a decade and a half, some even in person. However, sentiment alone can't be the reason to hold on to it.

Bike Hub has grown into something far beyond its humble beginnings as "just a forum". It serves a wide audience of diverse people who visit the site predominantly to buy, sell, discuss or learn about bikes. As tough as it will be, as it continues to grow and evolve there may well be some parts of the "old Bike Hub" that we have to let go of.

 

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For this very reason we'll quite soon be cutting down or even completely closing the Off Topic sections.

 

Between the demands for moderation (most issues arise from off topic squabbles) and the distraction from what Bike Hub is (or at least is intended to be), a resource for cyclists, it can't remain as-is

 

The simple reality is that we have to focus our limited resources on issues related to bikes... it is after all why this place exists.

 

you will lose me as a user then - Considering I run more than I cycle, and while i enjoy interacting on the Downhill threads, I mostly like discussing off topic things with like minded people. If I cant do that then there won't be much keeping me here

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For this very reason we'll quite soon be cutting down or even completely closing the Off Topic sections.

 

Between the demands for moderation (most issues arise from off topic squabbles) and the distraction from what Bike Hub is (or at least is intended to be), a resource for cyclists, it can't remain as-is

 

The simple reality is that we have to focus our limited resources on issues related to bikes... it is after all why this place exists.

 

Please re-consider. Bikehub will be a lesser place without the off topic discussions. 

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It's a forum.  People will debate arbitrary points and get into big fights.  Removing Off Topic chats will not resolve it.

 

The older hubbers might remember that the fights between Winningtime and Championchip was one of the big fights that I think contributed to the dimise of the Supercycling site.

 

Cutting the Off topic forum will:

 

A) reduce complaints to moderator (maybe assuming there won't be cycling related fights which I don't think will happen as we have pretty heated debates in ex Cycling safety topics)

B) reduce posts on the hub

C) reduce members

 

The main focus of the hub should remain cycling related.  But the US politics in my opinion should reduce after the 21st of Jan.  The other big thread is the Covid which indirectly started because cyclists tend to think of what the effect of the virus would be on them and with lockdown it had a big impact on every one and that is why it would be such a debated topic.  This should also start dying down by June next year in my opinion if not earlier.

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For this very reason we'll quite soon be cutting down or even completely closing the Off Topic sections.

 

Between the demands for moderation (most issues arise from off topic squabbles) and the distraction from what Bike Hub is (or at least is intended to be), a resource for cyclists, it can't remain as-is

 

The simple reality is that we have to focus our limited resources on issues related to bikes... it is after all why this place exists.

 

 

 

 

Not cool Matt

 

This explains why certain off Topic threads have already been closed / locked in the last few months.  

 

I believe you created the "off Topic" sections to keep them seperate from the "on Topic" threads. Closing the Off Topic section will just result in Off Topic discussions migrating to "On Topic" threads, resulting in more Moderator required action and Inputs, not less.

 

Earlier this year you created Bike Hub "Plus" effectively asking members to pay (albeit voluntary) a monthly subscription. Closing or further restricting the off Topic section is reducing the attraction of bike hub for myself and I suspect a fair portion of other regular contributors /  members.

Pay for less….I for one will not continue paying next year if you close the Off Topic threads. 

 

Closing and locking threads does not work, For example the Coronavirus - General Discussion, closed on 21 October after +1100 pages and Version 2 opened a few weeks afterwards is already on 51 pages.

Even the Drumpf thread (closed / locked 2 Sept) migrated to another (Global Politics and stuff) which was started on 3 Sept.

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you will lose me as a user then - Considering I run more than I cycle, and while i enjoy interacting on the Downhill threads, I mostly like discussing off topic things with like minded people. If I cant do that then there won't be much keeping me here

 

 

Though I often Don't Agree with you, I Full Agree with you on Closing the Off Topics will lose many a long standing member, Myself Included.

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you will lose me as a user then - Considering I run more than I cycle, and while i enjoy interacting on the Downhill threads, I mostly like discussing off topic things with like minded people. If I cant do that then there won't be much keeping me here

There is but one certainty in this electronic era .... things change !!

 

 

I have seen forums grow ...

 

I have seen forums wither away .... even big forums

 

I have seen "personalities" and some serious fights on forums ..... even the odd grumpy old fart, and every so often a snotty teenager ....

 

 

There seems to be one common thread though .... succesful forums have an active "pub" section .....

 

 

Remove the "pub" and the vibe changes quickly ...

 

First knee jerk is off topic discussions in topical threads ....

 

Which leads to lots of over moderation ....

 

 

 

It must be an absolute nightmare running a forum in this era ....

 

How do you find that balance between the "pub", keeping topical threads on topic and maintaining "harmony" ....

 

 

 

And then the one CONSTANT accross all forums .... this time of the year people get on each others nerves ....

 

 

Lets hope normal service resumes shortly ...

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Yeah, no. That's not a bright move.

 

Edit: though there may be good justification for it. @Matt why are you even thinking of this? Legitimate question, seeking understanding

Edited by Captain Fastbastard Mayhem
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Yeah, no. That's not a bright move.

 

Edit: though there may be good justification for it. @Matt why are you even thinking of this? Legitimate question, seeking understanding

Because when people start threads to whinge about not being able to whinge to you via PMs, because some other hubber on another off topic made a comment about duel accounts, surely you must start pulling you hair out and wondering about the meaning of life and all things 42.

 

Having said that, if they close the off topics, subscriptions will drop (I will not renew) and traffic will drop so advertisers might not find the numbers that attractive. 

 

All that will be left would be, disc vs rims arguments, product sponsored press releases and Eddie selling his two strategies on the classifieds. 

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Not cool Matt

 

This explains why certain off Topic threads have already been closed / locked in the last few months.  

 

I believe you created the "off Topic" sections to keep them seperate from the "on Topic" threads. Closing the Off Topic section will just result in Off Topic discussions migrating to "On Topic" threads, resulting in more Moderator required action and Inputs, not less.

 

Earlier this year you created Bike Hub "Plus" effectively asking members to pay (albeit voluntary) a monthly subscription. Closing or further restricting the off Topic section is reducing the attraction of bike hub for myself and I suspect a fair portion of other regular contributors /  members.

Pay for less….I for one will not continue paying next year if you close the Off Topic threads. 

 

Closing and locking threads does not work, For example the Coronavirus - General Discussion, closed on 21 October after +1100 pages and Version 2 opened a few weeks afterwards is already on 51 pages.

Even the Drumpf thread (closed / locked 2 Sept) migrated to another (Global Politics and stuff) which was started on 3 Sept.

 

 

Nice post gramps

 

tenor.gif

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Leave the off topic threads. And leave them totally unmoderated. Just put a note up there that says play at your own risk.

 

And let us kill each other. It makes us happy, and gives a sense of purpose to our otherwise empty lives. Yes, I know there is some smart arse now who will tell me to go ride my bike or something.

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