TDP community manifesto

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Henry Vilas
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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:12 pm

christopher_robin anyone not paying.

That would be me.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby snoqueen » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:13 pm

This proposal is so absurd as to be a waste of space. Nobody pays to be on a public forum. Yahoo has about a zillion public and private forums and they're all free. Google has them. Hundreds if not thousands of smaller discussion sites abound. What would be the incentive to pay for one in Madison?

Isthmus has comment sections for people who want to give their names (attached to various individual articles) and has the Forum for those who don't. The anonymous one is a lot more active, though both are alive.

I have no desire to know the real name of anybody on here and I have no desire for anybody here to know mine. I know silent readers peruse the comments because I see evidence now and then in other venues. This is a good thing and makes posting worthwhile.

The untidiness is part of the package and is a plus.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby christopher_robin » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:19 pm

OK Ducatista--again--thank you for the reply. I think your reply is interesting, and I think you are an interesting and valuable part of this forum, at least the years of it that I believe are worth emulating.

So, perhaps one model here is the "subscriber drive" that local radio stations conduct.

I don't think that solves the problems of anonymous trolls, anonymous and cowardly cage-rattling, or spam, but it certainly is interesting that at leas one member of the forum considers it sufficiently valuable to garner donations from the community.

Snoqueen--you need to look into the history of Usenet and The Well. Much as I adore you, your statements above are incorrect.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby snoqueen » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:24 pm

And where are Usenet and the Well today? Either gone or no longer functioning in their original, lively manner. Free with advertising is the model today. You can't go back.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby christopher_robin » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:27 pm

Let's start with "Nobody pays to be on a public forum."

That isn't the proposal, is it? Of course nobody pays for that.

Now, "Yahoo has about a zillion public and private forums and they're all free. Google has them"

Are you classing TDPF with them? If so, why do you post here? The value for someone who pays nothing for a service is nothing. You don't think this place has value?

If you are classing TDPF with Usenet (essentially) then you're really conceding that there is nothing special here.

I'm interested in the proposal that TDPF is special. The alternative is quite dull. I think it's odd you are arguing for that option.

The Well, a gated, for-pay community has 5,000 members and is more active in a day than TDPF is in 6 months.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby christopher_robin » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:28 pm

Usenet, which was free, is dead.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:34 pm

Having to pay for the forum seems to defeat the purpose of the "free weekly" that the Isthmus is. I think that's what makes this forum and others an interesting place. The VALUE is that anyone can post and speak their mind. I've read a lot of bullshit, but I've also read some interesting stuff from posters who have only contributed a few times. That would disappear if it were paid.

This forum is different than the googles and yahoos out there because it is community based. Sure, there are folks outside of Madison posting, but many once lived here and give their perspective and opinions.

When the protests started, this forum lit up. It lit up because it was free. I came here more often than I ever did before. It did become tedious to sift through all the posts, but I read a lot of interesting stuff and found many links that I shared with other people had I not been coming back. During that time, if you had to pay, it would have been nothing like that.

Things can be changed here. Find a way to curb the spam. Get a better policy for first time posting trolls. Ban people who make threatening comments. They could change the categories of postings and maybe whittle them down a bit. They could enlist long time posters to help with maintenance of the site. This happens in many other forums.

There is a lot you can do, but restricting access or charging a fee would make this a forum I wouldn't go to again and I feel many others, new and old, would feel the same way.

christopher_robin wrote:Fennel misses the point entirely. Imagine this entire thread conducted between people whose real names are displayed next to each post, on a page invisible to anyone not paying.

I'm not quite sure what you want to accomplish with this. What other forums do this? People can find out who many on this forum are by looking at their profile and seeing if their name is posted. By posting anonymously, you remove the stereotypes of individuals included race and gender. I have been pleasantly surprised many times when someone revealed if they are male or female.

You allow people to read the words for what they are and not based on who the person is(in your own opinion)

How many authors out there write with pen names. It's not like this is some new or outrageous concept. In the end I say keep the fundamentals and change the infrastructure.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby rabble » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:50 pm

christopher_robin wrote:Usenet, which was free, is dead.

It is most definitely not.

It started as a few geeks talking geek stuff, got big, got too big, shifted, changed, morphed, and now it's on google and it's a few geeks talking geek stuff. And it shows no signs of dying.

I don't know what part of that life cycle you remember, but I for one prefer it now that it's shrunk back to what it used to be. Whatever else you want to call it, "dead" is not what it is. Even if google decides to kill it, which would be pretty surprising given what they've invested in it, the groups that have been there since inception will find a way.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby gargantua » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:33 pm

christopher_robin wrote:There was never really any hope for "Gargantua." So no loss there.

No loss indeed, since I'm not leaving. So sorry, your Majesty.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby thebookpolice » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:55 pm

I find the suggestion that TDPF turn to a real-name-only model pretty rich coming from a pseudonymous user who in turn posted for a while under his own name, then went back and edited out much of the content he'd posted, only to return under his original pseudonym to complain about the lack of content on the Forum.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby acereraser » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:24 am

How about both, if you feel the need? Make a velvet rope section, subscription only. FARK has prospered very well with this model. But, with the localized nature of the forum, I don't think you would generate enough traffic to make it work. Could be wrong, though.

I do agree with what others have said, the ability for someone with specific knowledge to drop in without invitation or payment is what I consider one of the chief benefits of this forum.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby Bludgeon » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:28 am

jjoyce wrote:Hello Foron:

Does the sight of Forum, in its present form and format, propel you back into your work, a polar opposite effect of what used to happen, when an entire Friday afternoon would fly by with amusing diversions right here on these boards?

When was the last time that happened, huh?

I kid myself thinking that Facebook and Twitter have taken over, but the truth is that the hard core community members here haven't really migrated to those places in a big way. Am I wrong about that? Please let me know if I am.

As we approach the tenth anniversary of TDPF, is it time for a facelift? Should we abandon this software in favor of a more Gawker-style, blog-initiated discussion community? Do some of you want the ability to create and sustain your own blogs?

What do you want to talk about? How do you want this place to function? What's TDP missing? How would this site -- not just Forum, but the whole thing -- look different if you ran the zoo?

Maybe it's the fact that I'm on the eve of my 41st birthday, but I look at some of what's going on here and I'm pretty unimpressed, to be honest. I find discussion of local talk radio to be irrelevant and stupid. As many of you who complain about the vapidity of other sections of the site, you refuse to engage with the in depth content we have for the local elections and food and arts criticism. What's the problem?

I believe it's past the time for TDP to turn the corner on traffic and quality.

Ahoy. 41st Bday? Are you indeed a former Vikings quarterback? JK, happy birthday.


1. A "pay to play" general politics thread somewhere in the middle of National Politics and Ellections 2011 - by "pay to play" I mean in this area, no assertion could/should be let stand without an included qoute/citatation from credible data/statistics from more impartial sources. This would be a good spot for all the legal/constitutional contests that Vilas and Arturo are always hinting at, and for me it would be a nice place to put current events into historical context. I would say JJoyce, if you want to elevate the debate, a "pay to play" thread with active moderation could be a great thing (and eliminate a lot of flaming).

2. This one seems obvious: embedded video

3. How about some evenly distributed censure in terms of conduct? I can think of three or four lefty forum gods/goddesses who have frequently seriously crossed the line and yet they remain while those on the right get sick of a dog fight where the rules are not equally applied. Personal attacks kill enthusiasm as well as rationality. I would guess this part of your job is not fun but it could be done a little differntly, speaking in terms of the website; for instance the offending member could be presented with a warning screen upon login, something to the effect of "three strikes per six weeks" and when a violation occurs the person sees the status message when they log in and for instance when they get down to the last strike they would know they had to be constructive or, who knows, be suspended for a month or something.

4. Actually for the first time I've noticed, Facebook really has been a frequent outlet for political conversation. Usually people try to keep politics out of social networks but the big upheaval recently at least in Wisconsin pretty much got everybody I know involved in posting news articles etc. Facebook, though, is not a good place to get into a back and fourth political discussion because it is not organized well enough to be a cohesive, active debate.

5. Probly a hundred people have said so already but it would be nice to have avatars connected to your username. TDPF can be a little more visual without being frivolous.

6. I would not change too much about the basic structure of the forum. I have lived a few places since the first time I found it and I have just never been satisfied by what the other towns have to offer. I don't know what it is or why (because every city has a free lefty magazine with a website) but TDPF > other political forums. The balance is better here than it is in national forums with huge budgets.

7. If you want to do something really engaging, why not solicit some of the political folks the editorial department is always contacting anyway and get a little involvement in on the forum? In the same mode as the "pay to play" thread I outlined above, you could have a 'Guest Foron' thread that was advertized in the magazine and if you want to get more of Isthmus readers on the forum I bet the would check it out if they knew some of these pols in the magazine might be checking in once in a while, like that LaFollette dude who popped in a while ago. I don't know how energy intensive you want to be about it but the editors might arrange it whilst setting up the interviews. This would be great for politics, but even more useful if you want to get people focused on other topics/events etc - some of the Badgers coaches, etc; or a couple political scientists from the UW etc etc etc etc ... Sure such folks could post anywhere but in a 'Guest Foron' thread you could control the conduct.

Well happy 10th anyway.


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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby Bwis53 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:19 am

Bring us the head of caibutou.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:55 am

I wouldn't pay to come here. As much as I enjoy posting, I consider it my goof-off time on the internet and if anything I'm usually looking for reasons not to spend more time here. Having to pay would be a big one. I'm not at a point yet where I consider trying to have lengthy serious discussions online. I know it's becoming less popular but I still like to leave the house and be around live people where we can see each other and hear the inflections in our voices and watch the body language as we speak. The lack of all that online doesn't always bode well for my smart-ass personality and on a serious discussion board I wouldn't be too popular within a couple of days. Not that I'm popular here but I don't really care, I'm only entertaining myself.

I'm not that bothered by spammers and trolls and don't need to pay someone to keep them at bay any more than I need to pay someone to help me avoid puddles on the sidewalk. I like the local flavor of the forum and I don't explore the internet that much so the only other local boards I look at are and Craigslist rants/raves. is bad and Craigslist will make you give up on humanity altogether.

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Re: TDP community manifesto

Postby PopeyeTheSailorman » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:23 am

It's kind of funny because I was thinking that Isthmus should pay us for posting here...

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