Thoughts on the future of HB

Offer your ideas on how to improve the site or report problems.
ira
Team HB

#1: Post by ira »

I was asked by Dan to make this post. It was my response in private to his note to me that he'd renamed a thread I started. To start, I think this is one of the best run boards I've ever participated in. I've not been on that many. I found HB while searching for information on Juras back in 2008. In those days, the quality of the people and discussion was about the best I'd ever seen. If I remember right the banner used to say, "Your guide to excellent espresso" and now it says coffee, a lower bar to entry. Anyway, I would not usually post this in public as I tend to have rather strong opinions and have gotten a lot of heat over them on occasion and I don't want to burn my welcome here. See this thread on CG for an example of how things can go wrong even when you know what your talking about.

https://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffe ... ast/456116

Anyway, my message to Dan follows. I'm sure he'd appreciate knowing your feelings about my thoughts. Otherwise, why would he have asked me to post it.

Thanks, Ira
You know I never complain about how you run this board. Though if I had one suggestion, it might be to put all new members on moderation temporarily. I know it's an absurd idea, but the number of first posts like "what's the best" or "what's the best grocery store coffee" seem to be taking the board away from its stated mission. I find it sad, because that's been the beginning of the end on most of the boards I've seen become useless. It seems like in the end it always chases the really good people away.

Just an observation. Though, it come from some experience. Moderator on BIX for it's last 8 years, paid if you count the free suspenders and $35 I made for those 8 years, paid moderator on The Source for the last year of it's existence, that was a good gig, $1000/month for free entertainment. It just that now that this board is becoming known, you're going to have to be a lot more careful it you want it to remain "The guide to exceptional coffee" that it was when I first showed up.

User avatar
JR_Germantown

#2: Post by JR_Germantown »

I agree about new member moderation. And it seems to have drifted into commercial barista territory, too. I'm seeing quite a few questions from shop owners, cart owners, and people who are contemplating going into the business. That seems out of place on HOME-barista.com.

Jack

pizzaman383
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by pizzaman383 »

An alternative might be to have a section dedicated to newbies and you would need to post there at least X times before posting in the other forums. I have seen that work. The members who like working with newbies can do so.
Curtis
LMWDP #551
“Taste every shot before adding milk!”

User avatar
JR_Germantown

#4: Post by JR_Germantown replying to pizzaman383 »

Other than it being for newbies, it would be an uncategorized random collection of all subjects?

Speaking of "subjects" I wish it were possible to use "tags" rather than hierarchical taxonomies.

Jack

pizzaman383
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by pizzaman383 »

JR_Germantown wrote:Other than it being for newbies, it would be an uncategorized random collection of all subjects?

Jack
Newbies would be asked to make a post about their coffee-making/espresso experience and say what is their interest. This keeps the conversations mostly about early questions but there would be no restrictions to that. Having to introduce yourself keeps out trolls.

Since they have to post their first 5 or so posts there it means that the topics could be anything coffee-related. The answers would mostly be "welcome to H-B" and "see this FAQ" or "search for XX".
Curtis
LMWDP #551
“Taste every shot before adding milk!”

User avatar
JR_Germantown

#6: Post by JR_Germantown replying to pizzaman383 »

I operate a site with phpBB (although not as customized as this one). We practically require an intro post and we try to discourage technical posts in the intro section. But we don't lock them to that section (perhaps we should). But I can only imagine the flood of tech questions that would begin in the intro section, if we jailed new users. I'm not disagreeing, just trying to offer some more perspective.

Jack

Mrboots2u

#7: Post by Mrboots2u »

All the coffee places i have frequented on the internet are dominated by " what's the best gear " , " what shall i buy " threads and posts, and not just from newbies. ..it seems to be the way for male orientated internet forums of any hobby . Locking stuff down because the current membership doesn't need or want to read those posts , i dunno seems a bit elitist . Just contribute and read to the bits you want to .

User avatar
TomC
Team HB

#8: Post by TomC »

I think Martin makes a salient point. There's plenty of things we wish we could improve, but at the cost of what? Stifling dialogue isn't a good solution. And unfortunately, the last thing newbies do is read things thoroughly or search prior to posting. As it is, the newbie noise keeps folks like myself and the rest of the team busy. I think it's the best answer for now though.
Join us and support Artisan Roasting Software=https://artisan-scope.org/donate/

User avatar
HB
Admin

#9: Post by HB »

ira wrote:If I remember right the banner used to say, "Your guide to excellent espresso" and now it says coffee, a lower bar to entry.
It actually alternates between between the two taglines. :D
ira wrote:Though if I had one suggestion, it might be to put all new members on moderation temporarily.
I posted What to do about newbie noise over seven years ago. While I have occasionally worried about the subject, it doesn't seem any worse today than what I recall from that time.

But it did get me thinking about how many threads are started by veteran members versus new members. Looking at the last 1000 recent topics, 20% were started by "day 1" members, i.e., those who joined and posted the same day. At the other extreme, 60% were started by members with more than 90 days membership. For sake of comparison, I looked at the breakdown of topic starters in 2009: It was 14% by day 1 members and 54% by 90+ day veteran members. So there is an increase in topics started by day 1 members of around 6% over the last seven years.

For what it's worth, I glanced at the first 5 pages of recent topics. Judging from subjects alone, only two stood out as "newbie" topics.
Dan Kehn

ira (original poster)
Team HB

#10: Post by ira (original poster) »

It keeps us all busy, but at some point the signal to noise ratio gets high enough participation becomes uninteresting.

Maybe we need a new topic, "What should I buy" where all what should I buy questions start until it becomes clear they have merit somewhere else and then a moderator can move them, it's also a place to put noise and sticky a bunch of threads like:

What's the best $500 solution
What's the best 500-1000 solution
what's the best $1000 to $2000 solution

Maybe it's also time for a Restoration topic, a place for people rebuilding machines, separate from how do I use and what should I buy threads. Might be a much better resource for people rebuilding machines, certainly the right topic for sticky threads like "Suppliers" and "Recommended Tools"

And maybe prune those so they grow to 20 pages and then trim the oldest messages so that's where they stay.

I don't know the answer, and I've been here long enough to have seen most of the questions and answers. Partly I think the speed of improvement has slowed and the focus has widened. But also, the acquisition of new members seems to have sped up lately, especially those how have no clue and those who just say, "nice," to every message. It probably seems friendly if you lived on Facebook, or twitter, but here it's noise. It doesn't just pass by to be forgotten, I have to click on a topic to discover nothing is there.

Maybe I have nothing to contribute and I should just go away. This is a hobby, this forum is supposed to be fun, when the percentage of noise becomes so high, it becomes work.

My goal was not to cause conflict, it was to ask the question, what can be done to make sure HB retains its place at the top of the home coffee boards, I'm not saying stop accepting new users, but as the bar for admission keeps lowering, the level of discussions are less technical than in the past, the noise level will keep increasing unless something is done to prod it in the direction Dan wants it to go.

I've always thought that there is an optimal level of membership, too few and the conversations die, too many and the noise level grows very high.

In my opinion, if something isn't done to help the increasing noise level HB will become another CG. This board should not be a place for topics like "What is your favorite grocery store coffee," that topic by definition has nothing to do with exceptional espresso.

Ira