[theforum] evolt.org history mystery

Erika ekm at seastorm.com
Sun Nov 30 13:04:40 CST 2008

Martin Burns wrote:
> On 29 Nov 2008, at 18:43, David Kaufman wrote:
>>  A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy
>>  http://shirky.com/writings/group_enemy.html 
> Yes, extremely interesting.

Especially paired w/ that wikipedia memoir on slashdot which dealt with 
how one person struggled with leadership in an community that blasted 
out of the gate with few, if any, regulations in place, ... having 
started with nupedia which was overregulated (too *much* process). 
Reading that one, you realize there are some things evolt.org did right 
from the beginning, such as focus on community-building.

> And with some of that in mind (particularly the 'core community' bit),  
> should we be thinking of having some way of highlighting/rewarding  
> members of the 'core community'?

I've been thinking about this too...

Related, he also talked about the importance of having some barriers to 
entry/membership.  The old admin list was like that... I guess we have a 
natural barrier in theforum meaning you have to be a person who can sift 
through our circular discussions and find a space in which to contribute 
something solid.  Our core group *is* theforum and honsestly, I think we 
deserve rewards.  Even though we are such selfless givers. ;)  I really 
want to reward those who help evolt.org's vision realize itself.

As for the core group who is not in theforum?

The article referenced /. karma but he didn't say it needed to be done 
that way.  This is what he said:

blockquote +++++++++++
The world's best reputation management system is right here, in the 
brain. And actually, it's right here, in the back, in the emotional part 
of the brain. Almost all the work being done on reputation systems today 
is either trivial or useless or both, because reputations aren't 
linearizable, and they're not portable.
/blockquote +++++++++++

This is under point #1:

blockquote +++++++++++
1.) If you were going to build a piece of social software to support 
large and long-lived groups, what would you design for? The first thing 
you would design for is handles the user can invest in...
/blockquote +++++++++++

It seems like by "handle" what he means is "everything that a person 
associates with a user." IOW, your personality, which will be associated 
with your name.

Here are the things that evolt.org could do better for ME as a user, 
make me want to publish more on the site, and visit the site more often.

1. A better user account.

1a: User image: The proportions of the user image are simply ridiculous. 
  Too small, and stupid proportions, which were developed to fit in with 
the (old) SITE, not with users' needs.  I understand why they may have 
been done that way in 2003 or whenever, but it's been 5 years.

1b. Better way to track users: I want to click on "more articles by 
erika" and see MORE ARTICLES BY ERIKA.  Because I'm damn proud of my 
articles. But that doesn't happen right now!  You click on "more 
articles by erika" and come to my user account with my teeny landscape 
photo, and bio.  THEN you click on "track" and you get not just articles 
but comments and shit from the past 100 years, and it's just a confusing 

2. Make me pretty.

I used to love publishing on evolt.org because my articles came out 
formatted nicely and easy to read.  Not anymore.  Yes, there have been 
improvements, for sure.  But I'll tell you what, if I can get published 
on a site like ALA, I'll do it because it will look pretty.

3. Navigation/usability

The best way to improve MY reputation as a user is to make evolt.org 
worth my time. I should be proud to be part of evolt.org.  Making 
evolt.org a site that walks its talk is a big deal.  We are a web 
developers site, and our standards have to be higher.  WAY higher.

(I do have faith that our standards *are* actually higher, and we are on 
our way to walking our talk.)


These are just my POV, and the stuff that comes immediately to mind. 
Overall, though, we need to do more to make evolt.org site membership a 
real value to web dev professionals.

BTW... when I couldn't put a photo on the wiki last night?  I went to 
facebook and uploaded to my heart's content.  So. FWIW. :)


> (It's kinda similar to /.'s way of having those with higher Karma  
> being priviledged to speak a little louder than those without - your  
> posts start off on a higher score)
> Now we do do a bit of that already with the number of cubes being  
> related to number of articles contributed
> http://evolt.org/cubes_definition/index.html
> but I'm wondering if we should be doing more?
> Some useful UI patterns for that here:
> http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/
> Cheers
> Martin
> --
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