Hi, I’m one of the people who marked this as off-topic. I felt like saying why I marked it might be helpful, especially since this is the second time I’ve seen submissions from this domain pop up. One thing I really enjoy about lobsters is how technical and impactful it is, especially compared to HN. Even the non-technical articles are usually good critiques of some aspect of society or government.
This article’s central tenet is that the author is “totally unwilling to lose.” There is a lot to be said about ego limiting creative work; I suspect there is a really lobsters-worthy article in there somewhere. As it stands, the article’s contents read like a blog entry of someone who has read too many self-help books. I’m glad the author was able to finish his work, but I think it’s too personal for a submission here.
The blurb at the bottom pitching The Effortless Way (Life-Changing Secrets™ and Everyday Breakthroughs™), with the ™s unironically attached, does not instill confidence in the article’s import.
Thank you for taking the time to explain your reasons. I decided to share this article because, as someone who has recently realised how detrimental my perfectionism is, this piece really resonated with me and I felt that it may be of benefit to other readers of lobste.rs.
That said, I didn’t expect the tone and content to appeal to everyone here. I also appreciate the strong technical focus of this site and while I enjoy coming across articles of this nature on here I wouldn’t like to see them displacing other submissions.
As other users have expressed their interest in the piece I shall continue to share similar articles periodically should I come across them, but will be mindful to balance them out with more technical submissions too :)
There are a lot of things on the internet that are cooler than Life-Changing Secrets™ and Everyday Breakthroughs™. Someone trusted you enough to find them and bring them back here. We’re all rooting for you Peter!
The problem is, generally, that once a few articles of this (or certain other types) appear, it sets a precedent for a few more to appear, and so on and so forth. This is how we get ants.
If that were actually the case, it would indicate that the interests of the Lobsters readership were shifting, perhaps in response to the set of people shifting. Which is a natural process and part of a healthy community.
Not to be divisive, just… you use that “ants” framing constantly, it’s difficult not to wind up examining what exactly it’s implying.
I don’t like the “ants” characterization, but I do fear pandering to a lowest common denominator. It’s not hard to drift from a great formula like “I implemented A using B, here’s a writeup with code samples, lessons learned, and insight from years of experience” down through “I coded bad idea X using fad technology Y and it was great” to really poor formulas like “Fad Y is awful, here’s fifty words on fad Z”. I really, really like that whitepapers and research articles and detailed analyses make the front page more often than fad tooling, yellow journalism, emotional clickbait, and cut-and-paste churnalism of instant “analyses” of breaking news.
I’m not saying that television is vulgar and dumb because the people who compose the Audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.
I don’t see it as a serious problem for Lobsters yet. The invite system has kept growth and change slow, and the tag system has helped the site as we move towards defining a niche. If it becomes an issue I don’t have any suggestions that don’t involve curation, which can turn into an echo chamber. I don’t know of any social news site that have solved this balancing act yet, communities are touchy dynamic systems.
I do often pass on submitting stories I read (believe it or not) because I don’t think they meet the quality I’d like to see. Then someone else submits them and they’re not off-topic or spam, they’re just… not as good. They don’t show new directions, prompt insight, or share wisdom, they just happen to be about coding. Sometimes these do pretty well. Without a generic downvote (the lack of which I think is overall a good thing) means there’s nothing I can do except hope no one submits them or that they don’t get attention attracted to a shallow, sensationalistic details.
Hah - the blockquote makes your point very well indeed. Both by its semantic relevance, and by exemplifying the kind of judgmental tone I’d like to avoid here. I suspect you intended both? :)
I don’t think that echo chambers are … well, I guess I don’t think that anything but an echo chamber scales. Any choice to favor some types of content or some viewpoints is excluding somebody intentionally, and refusing to choose excludes people who aren’t compatible with the average. And I don’t think that’s bad; it’s not as though any one discussion forum is the entirety of human discourse, and there’s a lot to be said for providing a productive space where people can focus on research and detail in a forward-looking way. But even if filter bubbles were bad, they’d be a thing we’d have to accept, like the CAP theorem. :)
I agree with your approach, for what that’s worth - self-filter, but don’t try to push it on others. But having these conversations regularly is actually a big part of how I see this working. :) It centers us all on figuring out what we like about the community and what parts are worth preserving. And it brings newcomers into that discussion in a way that I want to think is much more welcoming than a static FAQ would be. (I still feel like one of those newcomers, so thank you. :))
That said, I suppose one could add “sensationalistic” as a flag, if that would make you feel comfortable downvoting. But certainly not without consensus that that’s something the community wants to exclude.
I guess I don’t think that anything but an echo chamber scales.
Quite a good explanation of eigenvectors, actually.
Some changes that would be helpful, incorporating your observation:
Also, you never got back to me on that message about OCaml! :)
On #2, isn’t that what the “culture” tag is? Browsing the recent posts it looks like a range of social and cultural issues generally in the area of tech: working conditions, diversity, funding, etc. I can imagine people filtering it out, but is there really a need to support super-fine-grained filtering like “I want to read about diversity and working conditions, but not startup funding” or “I want to read about startup funding and employment contracts, but not OSS project governance”?
As they mentioned, Angersock has raised the idea of a new tag for everything that they don’t feel belongs in “culture”, many times. My position remains the same: Diversity isn’t separable from culture, nor would the set of people bothered change if it were, because the types of discussions that happen on the more-divisive culture articles are conversations where it’s clear that nobody wants to set a filter to ignore it; people want to register their opinions.
There’s recent article that I enjoyed very much and think is a good example of how it’s not separable: https://lobste.rs/s/nu8njg/learning_fluency
The author is writing about methods of learning, and how she’s encountered a prevailing attitude that the only way to gain initial fluency in a technical topic is to write code, ask for help when you need it, and in the process learn lessons you don’t know you need to learn. That’s definitely one way, but she makes a convincing case that it’s not the only way, describing various learning resources and personal experiences. She draws a very interesting comparison to how theater students learn to improvise - which is a thing they rigorously practice, despite the apparent contradiction. She didn’t go into as much depth as I’d have liked on what “fluency” means anyway, but oh well.
By any reasonable definition, this would also go under both social justice, and diversity, if those tags existed. Because the reason the author had to learn this way was the unique experience of being visible as a woman in tech, and how the traditional community assistance was largely unavailable to her. She writes quite a bit about why this is and how she took it as a challenge to learn anyway. Her emoji representation of diversity in tech is quite striking.
Diversity and social justice are very large categories of culture, and they’re present in all of the other subcategories - working conditions are different based on minority status; funding availability is different; etc. There’s no way to separate them.
That was a wonderful article, and did a great job talking about the differences in learning styles. While it’s kind of a culture thing, a “teaching” tag could’ve been useful there, or maybe a “diversity” tag in addition.
There’s nothing wrong with multiple tags to add more information about the flavor of an article–conversely, making a tag less useful because sometimes it is used on an article about bees and sometimes about rakes (if we had a gardening tag, for example) is kinda annoying.
Most actionably, we don’t seem to have a way for searching for articles with a particular tag. :(
Yeah, multiply-tagging articles does make sense.
As I stated in the only private reply I’ve given you, I would prefer to keep communication between us in public. This necessarily limits the personal content of it - that’s why I’d prefer it. Thank you.
Well, it doesn’t really limit the personal content–it basically just means wasting public bandwidth on something that could be handled in a dedicated channel. So, again:
Profile mentioned you were a functional programmer–as much as such a thing exist, one supposes. :)
Anyways, do you ever use OCaml? Any thoughts on it?
I’m kinda avoiding Haskell because silly people-related reasons.
I just figured it’d be simpler to talk over messages. :)
That’s pretty fair. For me this was borderline as to whether it was good life advice or not, but I agree that life advice is of very limited relevance to Lobsters even if it’s good.