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Happy New Year, Lobsters.

I would like to start off this year by getting a lot of new users on the site, to provide some new viewpoints and get more discussion on the stories posted here.

I’ve heard from people that want to join the site that trying to find out who to ask for an invitation is hard, especially when our user tree is now many thousands of usernames to scroll through. So rather than rely on your friends to come to you, I’m asking that you reach out and offer invitations to people you know. Maybe just short of spamming out unsolicited invitations.

Since it’s a pledge drive, I will offer NPR-style rewards for the top contributors such as stickers, Red Lobster gift cards, and sincere expressions of gratitude that carry no monetary value. New users that are granted interesting hats are worth more points. New users that are spammers are worth less points. Sockpuppets will be judged based on their contributions.

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    jcs, another thought just came to my mind about the “many thousands of usernames” on the user tree. Most of them were invited but don’t really participate at all. Might as well not be thought of as Lobsters “users.” Might be useful to add a filter near top disappearing all inactive accounts to show who the effective user base is. Maybe even just participating on monthly basis if we were aiming for max inclusion. From there, a way to filter the list to see those who submit, vote on, or comment on stories the most. If an order of importance existed, putting submissions or comments with yet-to-be-determined, vote threshold higher than reads or votes since I default to reward active participation.

    This idea came to mind because of my impression when I first came. Site is small and active with many little groups in same overall space focusing on worthwhile things. Neat place. User list looked like a ghost town, though, with piles of names with no contributions or who I’ve never seen comment.

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      I visit the site everyday and “contribute” by upvoting the stories I want more off. If a non-robot would request an invite, I would invite them after a minimal amount of interaction.

      Background: I am one of the users with 0 points, who requested an invitation to be able to vote on interesting stories. My own invitation came after having emailed a “comment” to a story directly to the author who had a publicly available email, which worked just fine.

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        And now you are no longer one of those 0 points users.

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          Likewise. I’ve also been visiting the site every day for probably around a year now. I’m not as experienced as most of those who post frequently, but I’m always learning and I don’t want to comment just for the sake of commenting if I have nothing valuable to add (I respect this community because there is so little noise). I only recently sought out an invite as there have been a few times that I’ve felt the need to correct something or offer a different viewpoint and I completely missed the boat on those opportunities to get involved so thought I’d better be prepared for next time! I understand the preference for active participation, but not everyone on zero points is necessarily inactive. Some of us are just sitting quietly in the corner listening and learning and will speak up when the time is right :).

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            Remember I do include votes as active participation so long as you read the article or comments.That it’s a site collecting links on a page means more people would be readers than writers. Only natural.

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          Maybe a first cut approach would be to filter all the karma 0 users?

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            That equivalent to the first pass in my proposal. Just more specific. I’d like to have a score for how they participate by voting. iamnearlythere has just 10 karma but claims to be reading and voting a lot. Karma alone would’ve had be thinking it a was an inactive account. This change would be a counter that just tracks action to know they’re still with us to a degree. Then we can for other reasons make a distinction between passive users of the site & active ones who post stories/comments. Keep it invisible (API-only), in user tree, or in profile. Idea being two scores with one ridiculously large might be confusing vs just a karma one. So, hide it somewhere where it’s there to use but regular karma remains the prominent one.

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            There’s an open feature request on GitHub for something like that fwiw.

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            For a few exciting moments I thought LRS would require invited users to pledge(2) something in ports before being accepted.

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              great! excited and hopeful that new users bring diverse perspectives and experiences, and not just a regression to the (orange website) mean!

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                Sounds great except for the reward if it’s based on quantity. That could hurt the signal-to-noise ratio. My last post about this included trying to vet the people a bit for likely quality of contributions. Invite only best with diverse background in tech or skills. That leads to low numbers but potentially greater content.

                Just a thought.

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                  Invite only best

                  What about users like me who definitely aren’t the best in whatever field they work/care about? This is the classic tension of forums, I understand, so I have no ideas for how to solve it, but I feel it necessary to speak up when it could have affected me.

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                    The best was probably poor choice of a word on my part. I’m thinking the best type of participants to have on a site. That will range in skill level. What they need is willingness to learn, participate in civil way, and useful understanding of at least one thing (preferably technical). It’s why you saw me bring in a UX expert on Eve project, an expert of appliances (esp planned obsolescence) for a specific article, and was going to bring hga as his perspective on IT (esp older machines) goes way back. Each could contribute something useful that we’d learn from. A few others were smart but pissing people off on HN w/ counters not citing evidence. Low-quality posts w/ extra conflict. I didn’t send them an invite.

                    That’s how I’m approaching bringing in the “best” kind of people. I’m just imagining 100+ such people from different sub-fields of tech or business IT might make comments section full of info. I have no idea what it will do to the front page as that can go many ways.

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                  It was because someone accepted my invite in the list 3 years ago that I became a member here. Is there no longer an invitation queue for members to review??

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                    There is no longer a queue, see discussion here.

                    The queue was how I joined, as well.

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                      It’s also how I joined, I would kinda like to see it come back.

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                    New users that are granted interesting hats are worth more points.

                    I’d love to converse with more of the suckless folks.

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                      Sounds good and I’m in. However, I will try to invite users whom I think can contribute to Lobsters.

                      OT: Not sure where to ask this. But can you make a post of top 10 upvoted stories of 2016? And also top submitters? I was one of top submitters in 2015 and I would like to know where do I stand in 2016.

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                        This is exciting! Since we are (hopefully) going to get an influx of new users, I’d like to bring up the discussion of the Lobsters Consitution we had a while ago. After some long debates and discussions, meskarune hosted a version on github that seemed to achieve a relative fixed-point between a lot of familiar names on the site.

                        Can we put this on an about page somewhere to make this ‘official?’ I think it would go a long way to guide new users to what is/isn’t acceptable, and would save angersock a lot of typing when they want to correct people about posts :).

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                          Batten down the hatches, here comes the flood! :D

                          Let’s hope we don’t invite too many jerks or nontechnical folks by accident. :)

                          EDIT: @jcs…just to be clear, I’m in, but when is this over?

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                            Conversely, I’m very alright with non-technical folks and their viewpoints, as long as they respect that we are a technical community. (Read: no link-spam, tech “news”, etc.)

                            I doubt that’ll be a problem though. Any non-technical person that sticks around is likely to have broad interests.

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                              EDIT: @jcs…just to be clear, I’m in, but when is this over?

                              The beatings will continue until morale improves.

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                              The September That Never Ended!

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                                I’m in!

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                                  Alright.

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                                    Thanks @jcs for this prompt. Finally inviting people I meant to invite but instead kept letting life get in the way…

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                                      I already invited 10 people so far. :)