archBOSTON Update: A New Dawn

stick n move

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None taken. I didn't write that sarcastically. I can be a huge asshole when I want to be, and sometimes I absolutely DO want to be. We don't need a mod like that. I'm happy to just keep providing a steady stream of pictures and pro-height, anti-width opinions!
Its not lost on me how much time and effort you and others put in here. This site is of high quality directly because of the effort that people put in to it... and lower because of others too. As far as Im concerned progress pictures, news, project plans, and renders are by far whats most important here. Theyre the content that create the discussion. The general conversation is cool and its necessary, but thats far behind on the ladder of why the foundation of the site is so strong. As is human nature a lot of the conversation is just fluff after the important stuff is posted, and the good conversation is complimentary to the good content.

As with anything theres certain people put in more effort than others. If the people who really put in the effort here, did not, thered just be a bunch of rambling with no direction. So whether someone thinks youre “worthy” or not of being a mod... who cares, what you and others contribute to the site is MUCH higher up on the ladder of what makes this site of such good quality than moderation is. The site in fact shined through this development boom with barely any moderation at all. The last few years is the best its been largely due to the boom, and largely because people put in the effort to document it. I think the lockout of new members actually kind of left a core group of people, who were pretty self policing. Moderation is just a reaction to bad content. Its needed when self policing is unable to reel in something, but its more complementary to let the good content shine vs creating any good content on its own.

So that being said as it is right now I dont see the need for all these new mods. I dont see any glaring problems right now and we just gained a mod in skyrise who as a new owner Im sure is keeping tabs. As we grow into whatever were going to grow into I can see the need, especially if more sub forums are added, and sub forum specific mods, but as of now I think things are going smooth and Im interested to see where it goes. Maybe 1? I think if a tight knit town is doing very well with a couple sherriffs, hiring a new swat team will only lead to more disgruntled people.
 
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datadyne007

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Can Ed bring back the awards, too?
This has been high on my priority list and should I be elevated to any position, as what appears to be the case, I will absolutely see that the awards are restored. We had such great communal dialogue about form and space within the built environment through the awards each year. They are absolutely something we need to bring back.

Community engagement in general will be a key focus of mine.
 

jass

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Can we remove the rule where entire posts were deleted because a picture was too big?

Its 2019, kids dont even know what 56k means
 

KentXie

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I don’t remember ever seeing anything deleted until recently… What I did notice was the moderators would sometimes move conversations to a different thread, and that only when things got out of control, rantwise.
A good moderation tactic that I see in other forums is brigging users (typically a 10 day ban or something like that) who consistently derail threads or start flame wars. This discourages unproductive posts without banning anyone.

Unrelated, but I was wondering if there's a way where we can change the first post of all development threads to include renderings and overview of the project. Something like I attempted to do for the Millennium Tower thread:
http://www.archboston.org/community/showthread.php?t=937

That way we don't need to constantly look for info 10 or 20 pages back.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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Can we remove the rule where entire posts were deleted because a picture was too big?

Its 2019, kids dont even know what 56k means
I'm hoping that with new software pictures can be resized automatically.
 

tysmith95

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Most people have fast unlimited internet in 2019. It's not a big deal like it used to be.
 

FK4

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A good moderation tactic that I see in other forums is brigging users (typically a 10 day ban or something like that) who consistently derail threads or start flame wars. This discourages unproductive posts without banning anyone.

Unrelated, but I was wondering if there's a way where we can change the first post of all development threads to include renderings and overview of the project. Something like I attempted to do for the Millennium Tower thread:
http://www.archboston.org/community/showthread.php?t=937

That way we don't need to constantly look for info 10 or 20 pages back.
A pinning function would be nice.
 

millerm277

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Can we remove the rule where entire posts were deleted because a picture was too big?

Its 2019, kids dont even know what 56k means
So long as it's replaced by a rule that you aren't allowed to quote entire posts full of pictures.
 

jass

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So long as it's replaced by a rule that you aren't allowed to quote entire posts full of pictures.
Ive seen forums where any pictures quoted are automatically minimized. You have to push "click to expand" to see them again in the quote.
 

Beton Brut

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I’ll begin by saying that I’m glad to see the optimism among many regular posters, enthusiasm about growth in membership, new forum features, and more active curation of the site.

But there are other layers to all of this that are not being addressed to my satisfaction. Justin7 did such a fine job of delineating the things that were on my mind in the immediate wake of Edward’s disclosure, I waited for responses. Speaking only for myself, what I’ve read from Edward does more to obfuscate his goals and intentions than build confidence and trust. I also recognize that this might be a generational thing, and a matter of how each one of us assigns value to the dialog that takes place here. I’ll try my best to elaborate…

As we all know, during the past dozen or so years, the internet has been fueled by content monetization; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and so on all ascended to the stratosphere on this model. But we give something up to use those platforms. I think we need to know what we’re “giving up” to continue to post on aB. We need to know clearly, decisively, and in black & white.

I’ve been writing to some degree for about 35 years – fiction, (some bad) poetry, news and opinion, marketing and sales, graphic novels, screenplays. I’m not famous, and I’m not saying that I've ever been a promising talent at any of these disciplines. I mention these experiences here because broadly, the ownership on the content that I’ve created has either remained in my control, or the ownership has been clearly defined before I sat down at a keyboard. Right now, that’s not at all clear, and I think it’s crucial for all of us to know.

Make no mistake, issues relating to terms of use and content ownership will impact aB’s vitality and future growth. I’ve had the good fortune to come to know a few prominent people who could make valuable contributions to aB – academics, writers, filmmakers, architects, and public officials. I’ve often wanted to invite some of these folks to join our conversation. In the past, the greatest obstacle has been the thin veneer of hostility, our disagreeable disagreements, (things that will surely improve with only slightly more active moderation). But if site policies on use of personal information and content tilt in favor of Edward (and his investors[?]), I can’t imagine that anyone from the “professional” world of architecture, urbanism, academia, or the creative realm will be comfortable participating.

Before briv made the ill-considered (and difficult to justify) decision to nuke the threads that included robust discussion of site governance, I think it’s important to raise those questions again. The conjoined blessing and curse of Bostonians is that we are fiercely loyal to turf and tribe. This is our place for learning, conversation, and expression of opinion. We don’t always get along, and I don’t think we need to if we just agree to be civil. The governance of this site should be selected by the membership via a transparent process. My name’s been mentioned as a possible moderator, and I thank you for that vote of confidence; it’s not a role I’m actively seeking. If Edward asks me, I’ll say no; if an inclusive poll is taken and I’m selected, I’ll do my best to carry out any tasks assigned to me.

I say all of this knowing that I’m something of an outlier in this community. I use aB as a “prototyping space” for ideas, concepts, and actions. A lot of what I’ve contributed here has found its way into public comment letters, dialog with city and state officials at agency-sponsored meetings, strategies to improve and safeguard the quality of life and architectural integrity of my neighborhood. And I get it that some folks only come here to look at an excellent collection of photos, or to more casually offer their approval or dissent about what we build, what we demolish, how we (fail to) maintain what we have, who’s impacted, and who’s to blame. I respect and am enriched by all of this content, so thank you.

Edward, you’d do well to understand that in purchasing aB, you’d have to deal with a community with a wide spectrum of values, priorities, and ideas. I’m pushing back at you because I haven’t read anything from you that suggests that you understand any of that. To put it another way, I’m happy to let you put a sign on our lawn promoting your landscaping business in exchange for a you mowing our grass and composting the clippings. But if you think you own the house, we might have a problem.
 

stick n move

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I mean I agree with a lot of that, but he did buy the house. Not the people inside, but he did purchase the house, so I dont understand what thats supposed to mean. That metaphor makes sense for an ad company who advertises here but not the owner of the site... If someone wants to put up a sign on the lawn its his lawn.

If your trying to ask for things you need to be more specific as well. The people that have questions, ask direct questions, so we can get direct answers. If you want to know whats going to happen with our data, ask exactly that. The metaphors leave lots of room for indirectness and lack of clarity. If people wanna get direct answers, ask direct questions, say exactly what you mean in as few words and as directly as possible. Then if the questions are dodged its clear and obvious.
 
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Beton Brut

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^^ Here's your Cliff Notes:
  1. (W)e need to know what we’re “giving up” to continue to post on aB. We need to know clearly, decisively, and in black & white.
  2. (T)he ownership on the content that I’ve created has either remained in my control, or the ownership has been clearly defined before I sat down at a keyboard. Right now, that’s not at all clear, and I think it’s crucial for all of us to know.
  3. (I)ssues relating to terms of use and content ownership will impact aB’s vitality and future growth...(I)f site policies on use of personal information and content tilt in favor of Edward (and his investors[?]), I can’t imagine that anyone from the “professional” world of architecture, urbanism, academia, or the creative realm will be comfortable participating.
  4. The governance of this site should be selected by the membership via a transparent process.
 

stick n move

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Im just trying to help. Thats much better, but no questions are being asked, so its more a summary of expectations for now.
 

bigpicture7

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^Just want to chime in to say I agree with each of BBs points.

This is an existing community, not some new venture, so if there are any changes to privacy/personal info/etc. policies, it is critical it be disclosed (but, ideally, things will NOT change to become less favorable toward the posters).

I also want to share optimism and best wishes for the future. There's a big difference between a few non-targeted banner ads, as compared to a change to how personal info/post content ownership is handled.
 

Beton Brut

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...no questions are being asked.
That's because they're not intended to be questions. Instead, I've presented clear areas of concern to be discussed among the forum membership. I hope Edward chooses to actively participate in this discussion. I hope you do as well.
 

Equilibria

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I mean I agree with a lot of that, but he did buy the house. Not the people inside, but he did purchase the house, so I dont understand what thats supposed to mean. That metaphor makes sense for an ad company who advertises here but not the owner of the site... If someone wants to put up a sign on the lawn its his lawn.
Beton laid out his points, I'll lay out one more in response to your first comment: he bought the house. This house does not need to have any people in it in July. It would be (and always has been) relatively easy for us to pick up and move somewhere we collectively control. Whether we do that is up to us, not up to Edward.

I don't believe this is complicated: the trade-off of participating in a privately-owned and monetized forum is that professional management brings benefits - functional and aesthetic improvements, active moderation and administration, and promotion of the community (if that's something it wants) through active marketing. If we paid membership fees, that's the product we pay for. If we allow ourselves to be the product... same thing. Regardless, the terms of the agreement need to be clear.

Edward has not followed through so far on either end of that equation. He has promised moderators, but I see none so far. He has promised a move to Xenforo "in the future" and has not responded to Justin's comment that he (Justin) could have done it in minutes. In short, Edward's entire agenda of benefits could and should have been implemented in the first 24 hours he owned the site. Our relatively unanimous slate of moderators could be appointed in less than a minute, and Xenforo could be implemented in a day with Edward's staff of admins and developers in Toronto. We have no concrete progress, no schedule for improvements, and no engagement on the issue of terms and conditions.

Given all of that, Edward is not making a great case for keeping this community on the platform he bought. I remain optimistic that this will work out - I want the best for this community and it is most convenient to remain here. This first week has not gone well.
 

FK4

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Speaking only for myself, what I’ve read from Edward does more to obfuscate his goals and intentions than build confidence and trust.
This. Whether it's deliberate obfuscation or simply a case of being utterly tone deaf, the responses by Edward so far have been delayed, insufficient, and vague. Quite frankly, it's hard to imagine anyone could walk into this situation — where we've all made it abundantly clear that there has been months of frustration, culminating in a bullshit-ly secretive transition on briv's part — and not see that it's 100% imperative to be clear about intentions and plans... and to be attentive to the questions being asked.

As far as I can tell, the Urban Toronto site is nice-looking but appears to function more like an amalgam of archBoston, Curbed Boston, and Buildup... with the Forum/archBoston aspect not being front and center. To me and many on here (if it hasn't already been made clear), the discussion aspect (and of course, the photography) is the bones of what this site is about.
 

ant8904

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This is getting intense guys. "Governance", "Content Ownership", paragraphs of text.

Can we step back a bit? I know this place is a trove of knowledge and the tight-knit connection shared by our interests is what keep this place going even as Briv forgot to approve new users for years. But at the same time, we're still enthusiasts and that means can't take ourselves too seriously. Not to say writing any amount of text or being worried is inappropriate, just chill a bit.

What this means is this:

Remember what's the issues we have here.

1. We want certain members to be moderators because we trust them to help keep us in line.
2. We want someone to be an admin to act as an authority to do what is needed to some certain members, deal with bots, and approving new members.
3. We want the board to stay alive. The big fear had been that even if Briv kept up payment to the domain and hosting, we know the software is getting increasing old and we saw what that lead a few weeks ago.

The above is not super complicated. Just appoint a few guys to a few roles to moderate and administrate. And someone to keep maintaining the lights on. Beyond that, it is just us continuing what we've been doing after all these years.


Meanwhile we have Edward. From the quick look at UrbanToronto which he keeps referring, my guess I'm pretty sure his plan is this:

1. Make the "Main page" to not just be a link to the forum, but a full architecture and urban planning website like that website.
2. Use this existing forum as a way to have an established community for the forum of the website so it won't be dead on arrival.


That sounds like that if he keeps to that, he should be pretty laissez faire with the forum. Which is basically what we want. Not governance documents, some list of official rules of conduct we now have to live by, official policies on content ownership, or some essay timeline-ing his plan (which I got a feeling he probably doesn't have that planned out). We didn't have that stuff before when we join archboston, we've been fine. The real thing we want to avoid his place getting messed up because he puts in ads (I mean the far more painful ones), banning people for non-trolling reasons, or really messing up how we posts. That doesn't require all that aforementioned stuff, just leaving us alone/joining our community while keeping the lights all maintained.
 

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