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Old 2012-09-20, 15:14   Link #1
Triple_R
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Unlock Threads on Subforums in the Retired Section.

Every so often, I'll dive into an older anime that is recommended to me by a friend here on Anime Suki.

Often, once I'm done watching that anime, I like the idea of sharing my thoughts on it here on Anime Suki. I don't mind doing that in a Retired subforum - Chances are that at least a couple fellow AS members will take notice of the new review anyway, and a nice, short conversation might arise from it. Unfortunately, not all Retired subforums allow for such series reviews.

A good example of this, which directly applies to me right now, is the Maria-sama subforum. I was only recently sold on this anime by Last_Sinner, and I'm certainly glad that I was sold on it!

I just completed all four seasons of this anime earlier today (in fact, Season 4 of Mari-sama was the first anime season I marathoned in a lone day in a long, long time), and would very much like to share my thoughts on it here on Anime Suki. Alas, that is not an option, as every thread on the Maria-sama except two (where a series review would be off-topic) appear to now be locked.


I accept the retirement process for older anime subforums, and how locking many threads on them might be beneficial for archival and maintenance purposes. But could season and series review threads, at the very least, be left unlocked?

You never know when somebody (like me) will discover an old and once-popular anime (like Maria-sama) and want to post on it here on Anime Suki.
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Old 2012-09-20, 16:08   Link #2
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Usually retired subforums are suppose to leave a handful of "central" threads open, though it seems Maria-sama didn't since it was rather disorganized compared to some other series.
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Old 2012-09-20, 16:10   Link #3
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Hell yes. I've sometimes lamented the fact that the Retired subforums become so locked up; never occured to me to make a thread about it, but I very much agree with the proposal. (I question the necessity of locking any of the threads - most of the Retired forums were, before becoming Retired, barren wastelands that hardly ever saw any new posts, so if bandwidth isn't an issue then locking all the threads doesn't seem to accomplish much besides making the forums feel more dead and depressing - but I won't get too greedy and ask for them all to be unlocked... )
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Old 2012-09-20, 16:14   Link #4
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Yeah there seems to be something wrong there. As far as I am aware, the current policy when retiring sub-forums is to leave the General Discussion, Image, Question & Answers, and the Series/Season Overall/Final impressions threads open with the Manga and Light Novel threads being moved back into the General Anime section., so seeing them all locked there is strange.

I would imagine that due to how long ago the Maria-sama sub forum had been created and managed, it was retired before the current policy took effect so they just locked all the thread en masse.
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Old 2012-09-20, 16:16   Link #5
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I suppose the only thing we can do... is wait for the great hero relentlessflame to swoop down and save the Maria-sama forum from the curse that's been cast upon it.
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Old 2012-09-20, 16:18   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Casey View Post
Hell yes. I've sometimes lamented the fact that the Retired subforums become so locked up; never occured to me to make a thread about it, but I very much agree with the proposal. (I question the necessity of locking any of the threads - most of the Retired forums were, before becoming Retired, barren wastelands that hardly ever saw any new posts, so if bandwidth isn't an issue then locking all the threads doesn't seem to accomplish much besides making the forums feel more dead and depressing - but I won't get too greedy and ask for them all to be unlocked... )
Well I can see the reasoning behind closing the individual episode and character threads, in favor of having people using the general threads after they retire it. But this particular subforum doesn't have enough open at all.
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Old 2012-09-20, 16:30   Link #7
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First of all, I want to thank Konakaga, Dr. Casey, and Arabesque for their support.

And if Arabesque's correct on what the current policy is, then I'm fine with that policy, and I guess what I'm really asking for here is to have that policy sort of retroactively applied to older subforum threads.

Honestly, there are a few specific Maria-sama episode threads I'd like to post on as well, but I'd be content with a compromise of at least getting the series/season review threads unlocked.
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Old 2012-09-20, 16:46   Link #8
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Yeah, I agree that it needs to be updated to include the older retired sub-forums as well.
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Old 2012-09-20, 21:06   Link #9
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You've all made good points about which threads should remain open, thus I've opened the following threads:

Maria-sama ga Miteru [Unfortunately SPOILERS Lurk Here]
Maria-sama ga Miteru third season
Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th season discussion
Maria-sama ga Miteru Image Thread
Maria-sama ga Miteru - Overall Series Impressions & Total Series Rating

I believe that these should be enough, but if you feel that another thread should be opened, give a good reason in this thread, and we'll consider it.
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Old 2012-09-20, 22:00   Link #10
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I think the intent of the policy is to basically consolidate the threads after a series is retired so that discussion can be more concentrated (given that the fanbase is so diluted at that point). Whoever is retiring the sub-forum makes their best guess about what threads make sense to leave open, but mistakes can happen. As CrowKenobi said, if there's a good reason a thread should be re-opened, feel free to propose it; you can use the Report Post button on the first post of each thread if needed. We probably won't re-open episode threads or anything that is too specific, but general discussion or series threads should be okay. Given the low level of interest (and that most of the specific conversations happened a long time in the past, so don't make sense to respond to now), it should be okay to have consolidated discussion. (Remember that the vast majority of series on this site have consolidated threads in the first place, so that is generally the norm.)
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Old 2012-09-20, 23:15   Link #11
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
Given the low level of interest (and that most of the specific conversations happened a long time in the past, so don't make sense to respond to now), it should be okay to have consolidated discussion. (Remember that the vast majority of series on this site have consolidated threads in the first place, so that is generally the norm.)
I have a thought about this. The activity drops off when a series completes for obvious reasons, but how much of it has to do with the fact that those forums are locked down? Speaking for myself, at least, I tend to view replies to my subscribed threads from older series only if I'm fairly bored and have the time. They're the lowest priority for me. The reason is because most of those replies aren't really discussions at all. People drop a comment, and then they don't return to see if there's further discussion.

Why are people "comment bombing" instead of having an actual discussion? I suspect it's because we're restricting comments to specific threads. That these threads already have a history of posts that may be months or years old is off-putting to newcomers, and their comments are likely to go unnoticed. And why should people pay attention to them? They may have a really fascinating take or discussion point on a series, but if it's filed under a thread called "general discussion" then who's going to know that a wonderfully insightful discussion topic was formed if they can't see the title?

I raised this issue a few months ago (my displeasure with threads being treated like sub-forums), so much of this might sound familiar. I really dislike the culture of writing a post and then never returning to a thread, though, and I strongly blame the lack of free thread creation for it. The staff response thus far has been that new threads can be requested, but this is also harmful. This is a forum where people come on their free time. Good on those who have put in their requests, but I can tell you that I've considered making requests before and then never did, because it felt like too much effort for something that could too easily be rejected, and that might take a while to be accepted. You're asking people to propose something, justify it, and then follow up on it - for anime discussion? Sounds more like something you'd expect when asking the local town government to make some changes.

My conclusions may be wrong, and that's fine. I'd just ask that we openly consider how the restrictive policies may be affecting forum activity, and think about whether the restrictions are doing more harm than what they're in place to guard against.
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Old 2012-09-21, 00:41   Link #12
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Yes, I remember you raising those points before, and my opinion hasn't changed.

The whole point of retiring a sub-forum is a) a reflection of the fact that the activity in the sub-forum had already dropped to near zero, and b) a deliberate effort to continue shifting attention to other parts of the site so that those old parts of the forum can rest in peace. Our sub-forum structure generally works well for shows that have a certain amount of momentum and popularity (among other factors). We do not wish to accept a mandate to foster niche communities for older shows, so we expect that (generally speaking) interest in a franchise will die down and people will move on. Of course we will still allow discussion to occur, but you will find that it gets less useful/constructive the older the series gets (and after some time, we take specific steps to help ensure it stays that way). For that die-hard remnant community who wants to carry on a much broader/more vibrant discussion after a show is "past its prime", you honestly may need to seek out other places on the Internet. That's not a role this site is going to fill, at least not right now. (The only way we would consider serving a need somewhat like this would require a radical rethinking of the concept of Social Groups.)

(And I still say from experience that open thread creation is not the cure you think it is. For every one legitimate thread that might be created, there will be 5+ pointless threads that clutter things up, hurt searchability, require more clicking, and still mostly consist of either a) pointless poll threads, b) trivial questions that have been addressed countless times, or c) grandstanding by people who would otherwise be "comment bombers". This forum revolves around "one topic, one thread"; I don't see that ever changing. But I don't think any of us on the staff are naive enough to think that this Forum can be all things to all people.)
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Old 2012-09-21, 01:12   Link #13
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All one has to do is to browse the Naruto or One Piece forums from the last page forward to see exactly what we mean by "pointless threads."

The Kimi ga Nozomu Eien forum is another "good" example...
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Old 2012-09-21, 01:32   Link #14
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
We do not wish to accept a mandate to foster niche communities for older shows, so we expect that (generally speaking) interest in a franchise will die down and people will move on.
If you want the forums to be centered around current shows only, then the design decisions that you're talking about make sense.

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(And I still say from experience that open thread creation is not the cure you think it is. For every one legitimate thread that might be created, there will be 5+ pointless threads that clutter things up, hurt searchability, require more clicking, and still mostly consist of either a) pointless poll threads, b) trivial questions that have been addressed countless times, or c) grandstanding by people who would otherwise be "comment bombers". This forum revolves around "one topic, one thread"; I don't see that ever changing. But I don't think any of us on the staff are naive enough to think that this Forum can be all things to all people.)
Conversation is messy. If I may be perfectly honest, I think we're getting a little too OCD about keeping things in order. I'm all for encouraging quality conversation and think that the staff do a good job of rooting out totally pointless posts and topics, but you can't fit conversation into a few pre-defined threads. It's "unnatural" for conversation, especially with the forum set up as it is.

What you're suggesting works for forums that use a "threaded" view, instead of the "flat" view that we employ. But have you ever used one of those types of forums? Going through conversations takes forever and is a big pain. It's great for forums that discuss technical things, but for friendly discussions I think it's a bit too formal and cumbersome. Yet the overall navigation concept is similar between both formats: with a "threaded" forum view, a thread is essentially a "sub-forum" that replies appear within. With our "flat" view, the sub-forums are the topics, and created threads are like replies to that topic.

I'm just not sure that the effort you're all putting in is worthwhile:

You're worried that the search will get cluttered up if thread creation goes rampant? Let's be honest - how many users are really using the search function as things currently are?

You're worried that forums will get cluttered up, but I argue that things are already cluttered: go through a discussion thread and you'll find concurrent discussions taking place with random, unrelated comments thrown in by people who don't care to engage anyone else. At least with discussion threads you can read the title and choose to avoid it; with the restricted discussion threads, you're forced to at least scroll past discussions unrelated to your own that happen to occupy the same thread.

You're worried about pointless threads being created? I see tons of pointless threads and polls as things already are. What one considers "pointless" is totally subjective. What's the purpose of this forum? If it's a place for fans to connect and have fun, then what does it matter if the number of "pointless" discussions increases? We're not archiving critical information here. Is it really so critical that "pointlessness" be strictly limited? I would agree that a worst-case scenario of what would essentially be spam should be avoided at all cost, but would loosening up a bit really create so many problems?

The way I see it, making those changes would be win-win for users and staff. For the users, discussion (which is what we're all here for) flows more freely. For the staff, less restrictions means less work. I don't doubt that keeping the forum in its current state must take a lot of work.

Is it really worth it?
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Old 2012-09-21, 01:48   Link #15
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I'm just not sure that the effort you're all putting in is worthwhile...
Look, I appreciate you still feel strongly about this, but we've arrived at this philosophy after years of trial and error, and the staff generally like conversations to be managed this way. Doing this is second nature now, and is not "effort" at all. In fact, we would generally consider it much, much more painful to "revert" to our old ways -- that's why we moved away from it. No matter what reasons you think you have, that just isn't the sort of Forum we want. So I'm open to discussions on some matters (and I'm sure there are things that can still be done to improve the quality of discussion), but on this particular issue you might as well consider the topic closed. You will never convince me that having free thread creation in anime sub-forums is a good idea because I've been there, I know what it's like, and I never want to go back. All the staff at the time made this change as a result of dissatisfaction with the old method, so going back just isn't going to be considered. Sorry...

(Anyway, I don't want this whole thread to be hijacked by this old issue that was already rejected once before. Then again, I think the main issue is resolved...)
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Old 2012-09-21, 02:34   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrowKenobi View Post
You've all made good points about which threads should remain open, thus I've opened the following threads:

Maria-sama ga Miteru [Unfortunately SPOILERS Lurk Here]
Maria-sama ga Miteru third season
Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th season discussion
Maria-sama ga Miteru Image Thread
Maria-sama ga Miteru - Overall Series Impressions & Total Series Rating

I believe that these should be enough, but if you feel that another thread should be opened, give a good reason in this thread, and we'll consider it.
Thanks! Much-appreciated!

Due to my work schedule over the next few days it'll probably be Sunday until I get around to posting on the Maria-sama subforum, but I will definitely take advantage of these re-opened threads.
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Old 2012-09-21, 02:43   Link #17
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Doing this is second nature now, and is not "effort" at all. In fact, we would generally consider it much, much more painful to "revert" to our old ways -- that's why we moved away from it. No matter what reasons you think you have, that just isn't the sort of Forum we want.
Is this forum here to be managed, or is it here for users to have conversations? You can't necessarily have one without the other, but which should more weight be given to? I note that you generally come from the perspective of wanting to keep the forum orderly and then attempt to balance user experience with staff functionality. My approach is that trying to keep discussion perfectly filed and sorted is impractical and impedes its flow. It doesn't matter if it's easy for the staff to carry out - it's work. It's something that wouldn't have to be done to such an extent if the restrictions were loosened.

Why are these restrictions in place? What's the point in trying to keep everything organized? Are they useful in their archived form? Does this forum exist for people who are sorting through discussions after they're long done, or for those who are trying to connect and have discussions here and now?

It's tempting to say that the restrictions are responsible for maintaining the forum and keeping it an appealing place to be. There's some truth to that, but I worry that you're overstating it (assuming you feel that way). Consider how things were a long time ago: I remember feeling that the forum was much better than other anime forums when I first joined. The moderation was much more lax then, but the organization of the forum (sub-forums) was one factor. The other major factor was the user base, which seemed to be 3-6 years older on average than the anime forums that I was used to. Obviously AnimeSuki still had its silly and stupid threads back then (anyone can go back and take a look at them), but they were silly and stupid in a more... sophisticated way. What has fully clamping down on those types of threads really accomplished? What has corralling discussions into generic threads accomplished? What makes it worthwhile?

I don't expect to change your mind with this questioning, because it seems that we have a difference of opinion over what a forum should be. You don't have to answer, of course, but I'd be pretty interested in knowing what your motivation is to keep everything so orderly and restricted, and what your concerns about the alternatives are.
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Old 2012-09-21, 03:24   Link #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Is this forum here to be managed, or is it here for users to have conversations? You can't necessarily have one without the other, but which should more weight be given to? I note that you generally come from the perspective of wanting to keep the forum orderly and then attempt to balance user experience with staff functionality. My approach is that trying to keep discussion perfectly filed and sorted is impractical and impedes its flow. It doesn't matter if it's easy for the staff to carry out - it's work. It's something that wouldn't have to be done to such an extent if the restrictions were loosened.

Why are these restrictions in place? What's the point in trying to keep everything organized? Are they useful in their archived form? Does this forum exist for people who are sorting through discussions after they're long done, or for those who are trying to connect and have discussions here and now?
I'll play devils' advocate against your ideas for free subforum thread creations...

Some newer member instead of posting in a existing threads, decides to make a thread, and this thread happens have to MASSIVE spoilers in the thread TITLE, like "I can't believe character X died in chapter Z of the manga!", "OMG! The way character B killed character K in chapter F was awesome!", or "I am so happy that characters U, and Q got together and kissed in chapter S!", spoiling everyone who even looks in the subforum(or even people who see it on the main page of AS) before the thread gets deleted by the moderation, where as currently they post in a thread probably more appropriate for their comments, only spoiling anyone who read the thread.

That above scenario alone is enough for to think it's a very bad idea to allow free thread creation.
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Old 2012-09-21, 03:51   Link #19
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Why are these restrictions in place? What's the point in trying to keep everything organized? Are they useful in their archived form? Does this forum exist for people who are sorting through discussions after they're long done, or for those who are trying to connect and have discussions here and now?
As a user of this Forum -- someone who actively participates in conversations as much as I am able -- I much prefer the conversations to be organized in this way as I actively participate in them. I don't like having dozens of threads on similar and poorly-conceived topics just to allow a million conversations to bloom. I prefer to go to a thread about the topic I'm interested in and to follow the conversation in progress. In fact, personally speaking, I often prefer having a single thread rather than a sub-forum, but I recognize that there are reasons why that isn't practical in all cases. So I think "management vs. conversation" is a false dichotomy; I "converse" within this structure all the time.

Returning to the moderation philosophies of 8+ years ago isn't going to bring back the sort of forum experience you feel so nostalgic for because, sorry to say, a lot of those anime fans moved on when the anime bubble burst, and never came back. This isn't because they can't freely create threads (and again, keep in mind that the vast majority of anime series on this site have never had sub-forums, even 8-9 years ago). As illegal (and now legal) streams became popular, the barrier to entry dropped precipitously, and a whole new audience (with an entirely different perspective on the anime experience) began calling this Forum home. So, times have changed, people have changed, and the forum dynamics have changed accordingly. (And also, I really don't think the moderation philosophy was that much more lax; I was there at the time too, and I generally don't moderate any differently today than my "senpai" did back then. They're the ones who taught me and all the rest of the staff, after all.)

There are other popular anime forums today that allow free thread creation. You're welcome to try them out to see if they match what you are looking for. My experience has generally been that the issues you are describing are not alleviated by the thread-creation philosophy, and other problems are introduced as a result. But you'll have to try to them out and see for yourself. As I've said before, life's too short to remain unhappy.
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Old 2012-09-21, 14:17   Link #20
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Originally Posted by Konakaga View Post
I'll play devils' advocate against your ideas for free subforum thread creations...

Some newer member instead of posting in a existing threads, decides to make a thread, and this thread happens have to MASSIVE spoilers in the thread TITLE, like "I can't believe character X died in chapter Z of the manga!", "OMG! The way character B killed character K in chapter F was awesome!", or "I am so happy that characters U, and Q got together and kissed in chapter S!", spoiling everyone who even looks in the subforum(or even people who see it on the main page of AS) before the thread gets deleted by the moderation, where as currently they post in a thread probably more appropriate for their comments, only spoiling anyone who read the thread.

That above scenario alone is enough for to think it's a very bad idea to allow free thread creation.
This is a valid point. I won't say that it would never happen, but realistically speaking, how often does it really happen? Most fans understand spoiler etiquette, and while we still get a few dips who post spoilers without spoiler tags and in threads where spoilers are prohibited, these aren't all that frequent. Moderators handle those, of course, so they'd have a better idea of how much of a problem it really is than the rest of us; if it's really rampant, then I'd agree that this could be quite a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I don't like having dozens of threads on similar and poorly-conceived topics just to allow a million conversations to bloom.
You've set up a false dichotomy here. It is most certainly not the case that relaxing the restrictions would result in "dozens of threads on similar and poorly-conceived topics." Would there be some poor topics created? Sure. Would we have duplicates? You bet. Would the forum be swamped by them? Maybe in the Naruto sub-forum, where the average age of posters is probably lower than the rest of the forum, but otherwise I'm very doubtful. And that's what I'm getting at. It would happen, but to what extent, and if the extent is fairly small, is it really worth the harsh restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I prefer to go to a thread about the topic I'm interested in and to follow the conversation in progress. In fact, personally speaking, I often prefer having a single thread rather than a sub-forum, but I recognize that there are reasons why that isn't practical in all cases. So I think "management vs. conversation" is a false dichotomy; I "converse" within this structure all the time.
If that's your preference, then it is what it is. As I've said, I find it to be pretty messy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
Returning to the moderation philosophies of 8+ years ago isn't going to bring back the sort of forum experience you feel so nostalgic for because, sorry to say, a lot of those anime fans moved on when the anime bubble burst, and never came back.
I'm not trying to recreate the forum as it was 8+ years ago, and part of the reason I keep returning to this forum is because many of those members are still here today. Don't misunderstand why I bring this topic up: I find the heavy restrictions to be excessive and question whether they're really necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
As illegal (and now legal) streams became popular, the barrier to entry dropped precipitously, and a whole new audience (with an entirely different perspective on the anime experience) began calling this Forum home. So, times have changed, people have changed, and the forum dynamics have changed accordingly.
It seems to me that the anime fandom has matured and become more sophisticated. That should all lead to less restrictions being necessary, not more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
(And also, I really don't think the moderation philosophy was that much more lax; I was there at the time too, and I generally don't moderate any differently today than my "senpai" did back then. They're the ones who taught me and all the rest of the staff, after all.)
Just because you're taught something doesn't mean that you won't shift in a certain direction on your own. In my opinion, xris was the strictest moderator on the forums back then, and most of the staff today are even more strict than he was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
There are other popular anime forums today that allow free thread creation. You're welcome to try them out to see if they match what you are looking for. My experience has generally been that the issues you are describing are not alleviated by the thread-creation philosophy, and other problems are introduced as a result. But you'll have to try to them out and see for yourself. As I've said before, life's too short to remain unhappy.
It's more complicated than that. As I wrote before, what made AnimeSuki better than the other forums? The organization (which wasn't what we have now) and the user base. Free thread creation doesn't make or break a forum, but it factors into its activity. Obviously I'm free to go elsewhere or to simply stop visiting the site, but that isn't what this is about.
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