Micro.blog

Ron
Ron

Would it be a good idea to have software put up postings from new people on the Discover tab throughout the day as they post them? Why stick Jean with having to put up everything there? It puts a burden on her and ensures that new stuff only goes up when she can afford some time.

smokey
smokey

@Ron I think it’s probably a good idea to keep (the main) Discover tab hand-curated (and the way to make it “more active” is to eventually expand the number of manual curators), but I agree with you that more could be done to highlight new members automatically. I have agrued before for new Discover sections that show people who have just joined (first post, everyone who has joined in the past week, and the like).

Ron
Ron

@smokey Your suggestion would be fine too. You would make an excellent second curator, as your schedule is pretty opposite of Jean's. But no need to limit the new people much at all. Let them do their Hello World and get their feet wet, especially folks on other continents and in other languages. A LOT more diversity of interests wouldn't hurt at all around here!

macgenie
macgenie

@Ron @smokey I do add all the new people who post something that gives some idea about who they are and what they are interested in. There are quite a few posts with zero info which would overwhelm the feed and discourage people from engaging with newcomers. We are looking at ways to encourage folks to add About details to their profile when they first post. That would make a big difference.

smokey
smokey

@macgenie @Ron

We are looking at ways to encourage folks to add About details to their profile when they first post.

Oh, that’s great to hear! That’s been a frustration for me when I discover new people, not to know anything, so I end up letting them slide into obscurity in almost all cases. (That’s also part of the reason I always make the “two-tier” suggestion, because often the first post is just “hello world” with no bio yet, so a second tier of “everyone from the last week” or whatever gives people a chance to add some bio info and make a couple of posts, which might provide more insight into their interests.)

There are quite a few posts with zero info which would overwhelm the feed and discourage people from engaging with newcomers.

Ron
Ron

@macgenie @smokey Couldn't the onboarding process be designed so that (1) a person opens a new acct (2) they are given some basic info to read about the service (3) then told to put something into About with examples (4) and when they have done that, and not before they have done it, they are allowed to post. Make About a requirement, not a suggestion. (5) Then their first three postings automatically go into Discover or a special New Accounts Discover, no manual curating required. Just automatic.

Ron
Ron

@macgenie @smokey And the required reading step should include telling them about checking the Mentions tab often, so that if someone comments on their posting, they'll notice it and a conversation might ensue.

In reply to
macgenie
macgenie

@Ron We are looking at implementing the first 3 steps you suggest. As a blogging platform, Micro.blog can't mandate that users include a bio. And many of the people who sign up for an account aren't interested in the social component. Evaluating which posts makes sense for the Discover timeline requires human curators. We are also working on tools so that we can add people to help with curation.

jw
jw

@macgenie sign me up, when you get that list bit rolling 😀

Ron
Ron

@macgenie I was pleased to see you welcoming two new people today with a suggestion that they put something into their About field. Then I looked at the help pages & discovered there is no explanation of what About is for! Shouldn't it go on the First Steps page, right after the Second section & before the Next section? We want them writing a bit about who they are before they start posting or even following others, right? Then if you need to nudge them a bit too, you would have an informative page to point them to. Right?

macgenie
macgenie

@Ron Good idea. Thanks for the heads up.

manton
manton

@Ron @macgenie Yes, we need to update Micro.blog to make it more obvious when and where to fill in the "about" text.

Ron
Ron

@macgenie @manton My pleasure. Of course I will always be one lobbying for making things easy for the non-technical folks.

smokey
smokey

@Ron 👍

Earlier this month, I had actually opened an issue on GitHub about adding filling in About info to the First Steps page, so we (the community collectively) won’t lose track of it :-) // @manton @macgenie

Ron
Ron

@smokey Fascinating to see we were lobbying for the same improvements. Today I felt like we were gonna get a good change. Jean thanked me a few mins after I suggested the change and Manton supported the idea two mins later! BUT there's another major omission for getting new people grooved in. I don't think those intro help pages say anything about the Mentions tab. So a new person might have people welcoming them & they don't notice because they don't know to check the Mentions. I actually tested this one night. I watched for new people appearing in Discover, read up on anything available in their profile and prior blogs, then did an @mention to them, relevant to stuff on their Profile. 2 out of 2 people I did this with never replied to me. They probably didn't know about checking Mentions, so never knew I was speaking to them.

smokey
smokey

@Ron

BUT there's another major omission for getting new people grooved in. I don't think those intro help pages say anything about the Mentions tab.

Not only that, but there’s no mention of Mentions in the video, either.

So I filed an issue about Mentions, too.

Ron
Ron

@smothaty Very interesting! Your github issue is excellent, laser focused on the point. Which brings me to my frustration over pointing to what others have said. Try linking to one single comment of an other writer on micro.blog & what you get is a link to the entire thread, which could be 10, 20, even 30 comments long! My recollection was there was a time early on when clicking on a date stamp of one posting would get you just that ONE posting, whereas clicking on Conversation got you the whole thread. Now clicking on either one gets you the whole thread. Why? I asked Manton about this. His answer was not clear to me. Was I dreaming? Wishful thinking?

nitinkhanna
nitinkhanna

@smokey first posts can get repetitive, with a few people always saying 'hello'. I did a lot of that in ADN and then it just became a dull thing to do. If you want to automate that, one way to do that is to put in Discover the first longer-than-30-words post a new member makes.

smokey
smokey

@nitinkhanna That is another interesting hueristic; good idea.

smokey
smokey

@Ron I don’t know the best way of referring to a single item—unless it is an initial post, the item (comment/reply) is probably going to require some context to make any sense, and it’s probably not a good idea in today’s toxic socio-intellectual climate to encourage looking at things devoid of context ;-)

So to show a single item from a Conversation, Manton would have to engineer a whole new “page type” to show just the one item plus somehow indicate its context. For now, on the web, you can take the item ID (the number at the end of the URL, e.g. 2870858 for this comment of yours micro.blog/Ron/2870858 I am replying to) and append it to the URL with an HTML anchor, like this #post_div_2870858 (full URL is then micro.blog/Ron/2870858#post_div_2870858) to make browsers jump to the actual post when you want to reference it elsewhere, e.g. see Ron’s comment here. That’s…better, but it requires a bit of extra work on the part of the person wanting to link to it, too—witness I forgot to do it in the GitHub issue last night—and doesn’t really get you the single item.

(I believe in the past it was not possible to see the entire Conversation via the intial post—you could only see the Conversation via an existing reply, or see the initial post on its own—which led to fractured conversations before Manton “merged” the two. As far as I can recall, the timestamp on intial posts has always* pointed to post on its source blog, and the timestamp on replies has always* pointed to the Conversation view, with the appropriate reply being highlighted with a grey background since sometime last year.)

* Since December 2017, at least.

Ron
Ron

@smokey I'm impressed that you saw my comment about referring to a specific item, since my phone somehow managed to mangle your user name. But now I can see, it's complicated! Maybe the point is moot now that I'm not doing the social media thing here anymore. It used to come up when I found myself on a thread of 30 or more items, and sometimes I might have 3-4 comments of my own on the thread. Then someone on the thread would reply to me and that would appear in my Mentions tab. But what was she replying to, as I posted 3-4 times on the thread? Which one was it? There's no way to tell. I'll just steer clear of these long ones in the future! My policy now is to only post my own thoughts with a blog post, except on very rare occasions (like when I saw a chance to elaborate about the About field the other day). I'm impressed that you can figure out how to do these unusual things that most people dare not try. Keep up the good work.

smokey
smokey

@Ron Well, your comment still showed up in my Timeline since I follow you, and Nitin mentioned me in the subsequent comment in this Conversation, so there were two factors to counteract your phone’s mangling of my username ;-)

I'm impressed that you can figure out how to do these unusual things that most people dare not try. Keep up the good work.

Ardissons are tinkerers; it is in our genes ;-) And since I learned HTML by poking around at existing HTML using View Source decades ago, I am not afraid to keep doing it ;-) Thanks :-)

nitinkhanna
nitinkhanna

@smokey thanks... yeah, it's all about conversations here, ain't it? :)

Ron
Ron

@nitinkhanna @smokey @macgenie I agree with Smokey. Your idea for Discover is an excellent one. But Jean may feel it is safer to do it manually to avoid the rare white nationalist who decides this would be a great platform for his/her/it's latest diatribe. It's kinda sad that we even have to think that way, but I'm thinkin' maybe we do these days.

nitinkhanna
nitinkhanna

@Ron oh sure, manually doing this would be just fine too. Indeed, most new users don't just sign up and start writing long paragraphs of thoughts. It would be wise for @macgenie to weed out those that do :P

// @smokey