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This post is in response to the proposal to add “nix” as a tag: https://lobste.rs/s/bv2nje/tag_suggestion_nix. That post was highly upvoted and many people have expressed interest to have the tag – from both sides.

However, there was absolutely no response from moderators nor pushcx. That leaves us in a state of limbo: will we get this tag, or not? If not, why not?

To repeat the question I had on the topic: given that there were several other submissions for this tag and all had quite a lot of interest: what should have we done better? What was/is missing to get this tag (or any other tag)? Should more people vote? Should the proposal include something more? Please help us learn :)

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    On this specific tag - it’s mostly bad timing, sorry. I’m currently on my first (much-needed) vacation since the start of the pandemic, hiking with limited internet connectivity. I’ve added nix but backfilling (more on that below) will have to wait until I’m home next week.

    With tags generally, it’s mostly wanting to be certain that adding it will bring significant value. Each one adds complexity to story submission, so if it’s not likely to get used often (both in tagging and filtering) it’s a net negative. A while ago I added some text about this to /about:

    Explain the scope, list existing stories that should have been tagged, make a case for why people would want to specifically filter it out, and justify the increased complexity for submitters and mods.

    Most tag suggestions don’t include these things, or only get a dozen or so votes and tepid comments. Any suggestions on improving this wording?

    There’s also a practical inconvenience in that backfilling a tag on existing stories is a series of manual tasks. Basically: searching for stories that should be tagged, pulling a list of the short IDs into a rails console, adding the tag to them (without sending the automated “your story has been edited” note), and then adding a single note about the bulk edit to the modlog.

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      Re: backfilling, a new tag suggestion already requires a number of recent posts that would justify that tag. These can obviously be backfilled as per above by a sysop. If there are others, let users suggest tags for the “long tail” of previous submissions.

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      I’m unsure if Peter has the spare time, or if it’s just the bare minimum to keep the site up and not go up in troll-flames. There was a we need a new moderator-post some time ago but as far as I know there are no nee moderators.

      It might not be unwillingness, but rather a lack of time. Pure speculation of course, but that’s the first thing that comes to my mind.

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        We had a pretty responsive moderator back when @alynpost was around, but that is no longer the case. We had a remarkably interesting precedent of community-advised autocracy under @jcs and later @pushcx–that’s probably the most interesting/endearing part of Lobsters to me, and one that I think has mostly passed (much to my dismay). According to the mod log, we have been operating with only one mod for at least a few months.

        @pushcx has made oblique references (if my reading was correct) to some non-Lobsters circumstances drawing attention away (which is quite fine, since there is in fact a life outside the red site). Regrettably, the structure of governance for Lobsters is not robust when that happens.

        I have various critiques on how we get here, but I think it is sufficient to state that: Lobsters functions best with a very involved community, people focusing on tech instead of other things, and processes/mods engaged on a daily basis; but, I do not believe that we are currently in that operating regime.

        Sorry to all of the folks who’ve put such effort into writing up good tagging proposals. :(

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          :(

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            <3 we’re doing our best, and I do believe the site will be around for many years to come

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            Yeah, I agree that the site does need attention from mods to be its best, and there isn’t as much of that to go around lately. With that said, I do think very highly of Lobste.rs users, and I think all y’all should give yourselves credit. The quality of discussions has largely remained high even during periods when mods have been busy elsewhere, and I think that’s the result of everyone’s hard work, not just the few of us with authority.

            My overall philosophy on things like this (but please understand that this is my personal view, not the view of the site) is that top-down moderation can only ever scale so far - but that’s okay, because when everyone in the community is committed to making it the best it can be, and feels empowered to gently guide things back on-track, that scales to any size.

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              I can see how you’d get this impression from the mod log, but I’m certainly not alone. The mod channel on IRC also includes the chat mods (@355e3b and @aleph). We’re in different time zones on different schedules, so there’s pretty much always a running discussion as we talk through issues.

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            It has been five days since that suggestion was posted and we’re going into what is usually the busiest month of the year for people with regard to social obligations. I think the key ingredient missing here is time.

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              The reason why I raised this issue is not the last suggestion for the nix tag, but all previous ones, which ended without any reply from the moderators. I get that people are busy, especially this time of year, and sometimes responses come later. But I would appreciate (tag proposal authors, too, probably) to get any kind of response, even “We’re too busy right now, but if you send us a DM in x weeks, will do our best to resolve the matter”.

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              The popular request for a “forth” tag six months ago also went nowhere.

              I hate to be that “anything I haven’t worked on myself must be trivial” guy … but how much work can it be for the admins to add a tag? It ought to be just a matter of typing INSERT INTO tags …

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                There’s also adding the tag to previously submitted stories; that’s a lot more time consuming than defining a new tag.

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                  is that really necessary though?

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                    I think us users could get everything retroactively tagged with suggestions, though that would clog up the moderation log.

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                Maybe submit a pr to add the tags in a migration, linking to the proposals here that you feel resulted in a fairly clear amount of support for them?

                this previous migration should be helpful in creating an appropriate new one https://github.com/lobsters/lobsters/blob/f25fc62d7603c1bf7089925ad5517948b5008d42/db/migrate/20200809023435_create_categories.rb

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                  Not sure if this thread should been a direct message to e.g., pushcx. Now that it exists, I see value in a public response, so theres that.

                  At the same time, let’s all work together in this fine community and not make this thread deteriorate from future pile-ons :)

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                    as the person who started the proposal I was wondering the same thing esp. since I was explicitely told to start a proposal by /u/Irene using the SysOp hat here https://lobste.rs/s/ypwgwp/tvix_we_are_rewriting_nix#c_cwjels

                    What’s the point of all this if there are 0 reactions? Looking at the moderation log it is clear that they see the discussions, they simply chose to not do anything which is a bit frustrating. At least saying “this is not conclusive, not doing it” is better than doing absolutely nothing.

                    In general, don’t get why this is so hard. tags are not a heavyweight concept. Why does it take so much effort to add one?

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                      In general, don’t get why this is so hard. tags are not a heavyweight concept. Why does it take so much effort to add one?

                      The mods already spend a considerable amount of their free time moderating. Maybe they do not have any time left for regular lobste.rs upkeep/improvements.

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                        Then don’t tell me to start a discussion wearing a SysOp hat if you are too busy doing anything about it anyway due to time constraints.

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                          Perhaps something personal and unexpected happened and the mod who gave you advice about asking for a tag became unavailable? Or maybe creating a tag requires synchronization within the mod team and somebody on the critical path isn’t available?

                          Creating a thread to ask for a tag is not a lot of effort so nothing happening isn’t that big of a deal in my opinion, but I can see how being recommended to do it and then not having an acknowledgement from the powers that be can be frustrating.

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                            Sorry about that. My fault, it was a communication failure between me and pushcx. I appreciate the effort you put into this thread; I’ll make sure we talk about it behind the scenes and get back to you.

                            To people downvoting the comment I’m replying to: It’s okay to criticize the mods. Without criticism we can’t grow. The tone could have been better, but since, yeah, I did encourage the nix tag thread, I understand why there’s some anger and I am okay with that.

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                              Thank you for the reply and the clarification!

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                                Least I can do.

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                        I took a moment to look at the repo to see what it would take to submit a PR. The source seems to refer to these as “categories” as well as “tags”.

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                          See last paragraph of the Readme

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                            aha, https://lobste.rs/tags !

                            It looks like t/nix has been created for us! I’ve gone through and tagged everything referenced from the nix meta threads.