1. 10
    A society tag? meta

Should we have a tag “society” for writing about the broader impact of computers on society? Generally these kind of stories receive a fair number of upvotes before being removed as off-topic (which in fairness they strictly are right now)?

  1. 52

    I like the fact that lobste.rs is strictly programming and computing related instead of business or social. If I want that I’ll go to the orange site, more than enough drama there.

    1. 2

      Good point. I like both HN and Lobsters. But I agree that Lobsters should be more focused than what HN is.

    2. 22

      There’s already these tags under the “culture” rubric:

      • culture - Technical communities and culture
      • law - Law, patents, and licensing
      • person - Stories about particular persons
      • philosophy - Philosophy
      1. 2

        Culture and Society are distinct in this case.

        1. 2

          With all due respect, so far no-one has posted any sort of example of a submission that would be on-topic if society was a tag. I’m personally against it being one, because of the contentious nature of the conceptually adjacent ones like culture, but I’m open to counter-examples.

          So far, crickets.

      2. 11

        Posts about society aren’t being removed because they are mis-tagged, but because they’re off topic. It would make sense to me not to add tags to cover off topic areas.

        (And conversely, just because you can post something under an extant tag doesn’t mean it’s on topic)

        1. 1

          Right I’m suggesting we have the tag and that such posts be on topic under that tag

          1. 4

            And we’re saying we don’t want them.

            1. 5

              I think you’re missing what is being said. “On topic” != “tagged correctly”.

              Such articles would still be off topic, fundamentally, no matter how they were tagged. It’s a subject we don’t cover on this site.

              If there was a badminton tag, badminton articles would still be off topic. Make sense?

              You can read more about this site here: https://lobste.rs/about

              1. 2

                Yes but it could be on topic if we chose as a community to make it on topic.

                1. 10

                  I think it’s pretty clear the community does not want it to be on topic. In the past, discussions around these sorts of topics have devolved into name calling and bad-faith arguments with practically no redeemable content. Arguably, lobste.rs-style link aggregation with commenting and light-touch moderation is a bad format for such discussions, regardless of the site. It hasn’t worked here in the past and there is little to suggest it will in the future.

                  It would be better for such things to have a different site, perhaps a sister one.

          2. 9

            Something that’s missing but seems incredibly vital to this submission is why you want this tag and its content to be on-topic for this site. You’ve made a statement, “I want this.” but you haven’t provided justification for why the site should change.

            1. 1

              Fair. I haven’t provided that because I don’t seek to persuade so much as ascertain how many of us share the view that this stuff is worthwhile. The flow of submissions and votes would indicate I’m not the only one who would like this. But maybe those who think like me are in the minority.

              1. 5

                I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the flow of votes. Such posts getting a lot of upvotes is why Hacker News has so little technical content nowadays. Most people here are probably refugees of sites that lost their focus on computing by having too little moderation/curation.

                FWIW I think “broader impact of computers on society” could be interpreted to include articles that inform how we operate as developers (and would explicitly be on topic by answering the question “Will this improve the reader’s next program?”) but could also include articles like how global wealth inequality has been exacerbated by technological progress, which would be wildly off topic.

            2. 7

              I would rather have a “sister” site (running the same system) focused on society/culture than see such topics here. I like Lobste.rs because it is a mostly technical site / forum.

              1. 5

                This is actually one of the reasons I go to sic.pm. Its small and I hope becomes more as active as people discover it, but it follows the exact opposite approach of Lobste.rs in that the topic is “everything that piques your curiosity and interest.”

                To me Lobste.rs is for deep technical discussions in a community of people primed to understand them and contribute meaningfully. Sic.pm fills the need of “deep/involved things that I would find interesting if I knew about them”, which is a very different use case than most link aggregators who mainly share flash-in-the-pan material.

                I want different things at different times and Lobste.rs focusing on doing its one thing well is an important part of it’s culture.

                1. 1

                  This is actually one of the reasons I go to sic.pm

                  Same here! I usually go there when I want to settle in with a long, thoughtful read. Which is less often than I’d like over the past few weeks.

              2. 6

                This here chilluns is called “feature creep”. It’s how successful software over eats, becomes bloated, and then dies a slow and agonizing death.

                1. 5

                  I really believe that this subject is missing because we tech/cs has a huge impact on society which is not reflected here and there are really few places where you could have meaningful discussions about this topic between tech people.

                  Those not interested could easily unsubscribe from this tag.

                  I really do want to see such a tag here.

                  1. 11

                    I really do want to see such a tag here.

                    Be careful what you wish for.

                    A selection of posts tagged culture, selected by number of comments:

                    There are better places than this site to discuss contentious topics.

                    1. 1

                      What are those places?

                      I feel like not wanting to see where tech has societal problems is hurting the tech community more than anything else. If tech societal problems can only be discussed in circus (like HN) where everybody shout, tech problems will never be discussed by those who have the more to add to the subject.

                      Also, I would argue that maybe the lack of a relevant category is why only the very problematic subjects percolate. There is much to say, with a scientific voice, about the impact of tech in our society. (studies about attention span, writing of sociologists about mecanisation of work, etc). I feel like lobste.rs would benefit from those subjects instead of trying to shield itself from it.

                    2. 11

                      Those not interested could easily unsubscribe from this tag.

                      This is insufficient. Members who participate in heated discussions in these threads will maintain their tone and rhetoric in other threads. It influences the entire culture of the site. It increases the moderation cost site-wide.

                    3. 1

                      I disagree, we should not have this tag.