-- Minimum Posting Qualification --

Proposal:
An increased minimum qualfiication for new users to make threads and/or posts.

Why:
In the past few months, (I think as Qubes has grown in popularity), there has been an increase in posts that are entirely speculative/detractive.
For clarification, I’m not referring to general advice, which I myself often give out on the forum to respectively generalised/non-specific questions.
I am refering to posts, but really more poignantly to threads, which contribute nothing to the discourse of this forum other than to ask questions which at best can be described as foolish, and at worst an attempt to sow discord amongst the community*.

The effect of this is making the forum unpleasant to visit, by clogging it up with spammy threads and posts, particularly annoying when searching for content. I’ve also noticed that often said new accounts, who make such threads, go on to ask very loosely related (if related at all) questions on other threads, which inevitably leads to clogging up that thread with increasingly generalised and unrelated advice/responses.

*

I assume intelligence in the first instance, and don’t assume malice. But it should not go without saying that it is cheap & trivial for hostile actors to derail discourse in this manner, and in any instance - whether incompetence or malice we should treat each and every user with equal assumption of intelligence and question their assumptions. Better to be called foolish, than to be left a fool.

Implementation:
I assume there are already plugins available which could have some weighting system for new users’ posts so they could not create a thread if they had more posts removed or did not have x likes etc. The main concern is thread creation as it pushes down other threads and posts within threads are relatively trivial to removal compared to the impact a thread, which quickly attracts replies, has upon the forum/community discourse.

Can you give a specific example? What a user should do to get enough trust if they can’t post? Just read a lot before posting?

I am against this suggestion. I think new users should have a barrier-free possibility to ask the Community for help. You will not have any time for reading if you have a serious problem with your operating system, for example.

1 Like

Quite right. All users should be able to post in user help section/category without friction.

Just as All around Qubes has a higher qualification, I think General Discussion should too (as this is where the problem really lies regarding the ‘spam’).
For ‘General Dicussion’ I suggest:
minimum 48 hour account age

This would go a long way, as most of the threads I’m complaining about are created by user accounts <24H old.

AFAIK you cannot make a read-only Section on Discourse forums visible to everyone but with write access to specific users. All Around Qubes is not visible to anyone below Trust Level 2, and in my opinion, it increases the spam on this forum, because new people are constantly asking questions semi-related to Qubes, which are already thoroughly discussed in All Around Qubes, with extremely good replies and links.

I am against going further in this direction. However, moderators do not agree with me…

That’s a valid point.
If it is possible to make read-only with write access to certain users then this could also solve the All Around Qubes problem you’ve just raised.

I’ve no idea what the team/mods/admin think regarding this.

Tagging @sven and @deeplow for your respective thoughts.

I deleted my long answer in favor of a much shorter one: it’s all about effort.

The more moderation/guidelines/FAQ we have the higher the quality. The current state of affairs reflects the amount of energy that flows into moderation. I am glad to do my part when my life allows it, but am unable to commit doing it for hours every day. I assume the other mods/leaders are in similar circumstances.

Moderation is hard. Most cases are not clear spam / violations. They are judgement calls. More over, if the same 3-5 questions get asked over and over, we should have FAQ entries the mods can point to and then just close the thread.

People who always post before searching/checking FAQ should get increasingly long suspensions.

It’s not unlike being an educator / teacher / trainer. Reward good behavior with likes, praise and other nice words and punish bad behavior by warning, suspending, blocking and unlisting.

I see no shortcuts.

The Forum was promoted as lowering the bar to access for users.
Now there are complaints that that has resulted in poor quality posts.
I think the current situation was entirely predictable.
imo the mods do a good job, but S/N is decreasing weekly.

I have no idea what the Forum user statistics look like - are they
available anywhere?
What is the conversion rate for first time posters?
How many new users would be subject to moderation, (and implicit
censure), if the proposed policies were enacted?

Looking at the user base I cant see that the Forum has had much impact.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.


When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.

Agreed.

My experience with contributing to forum moderation has reinforced the old maxim that no good deed goes unpunished. I think I’ll leave it to those better suited to the task.

1 Like

Just my 2ct:

The initial slowdowns are a hassle, like not being able to post links or images (iirc) or create another thread for other unrelated issues is a pain in the ass for the first day and might backfire as it forces new users with multiple questions to cram all of them into one thread. But i think the deployed anti spam mitigations are a good balance, besides some minor details.

I saw many users that (courageously i might add) switch from windows with no prior linux experience to QubesOS and naturally come up with many general linux questions as they cannot reasonably determine whether it is a Qubes specific issue or a general linux one. While i think those questions are a bit “boring”, i am happy to help there if i can instead of pointing them to other forums. In the end this should keep the community growing and lower the barrier for people to switch to an OS with great security.

IMO the SNR is relatively good here (for example comparing it to reddit)

2 Likes

This is missing the point. For you and other developers/very advanced users, the signal to noise ration is definitely decreasing. But didn’t you see the increase in the absolute numbers of technical posts, too?

For a more wide audience who cannot read through pages of code and too technical discussions, who want to know how to “avoid backdoors and hackers”, without knowing what it means (yet), a lower level of discussion is probably helpful – as long as it stays respectful and on topic, of course.

This is why Categories exist. Perhaps we could create Category “General / Trying to understand Qubes” for such and such discussions and “General / With coding skills” for advanced discussions? Developers then could mute the former and subscribe to the latter. There could also be “General / Non-technical” for topics like this or this.

I’ve been also wondering why this is the case. Perhaps, the effect is delayed, because people have been waiting for the new 4.1 version and it will be seen soon…

Sad to hear that. I still think that people do appreciate your hard work.

1 Like

See also: