Reflections on the "Noise" in the Forum

Continuing the discussion from Proposal: "I think I got hacked" sub-category of "User Support":

A discussion stemmed from by comment bellow.

From what I understand the comment bellow by @enmus is a reflection on the fact that the actual noise in the forum (i.e. newcomers to Qubes OS with “low quality” contributions) are actually “sound” (as in “a good thing”). I agree with that assessment, but let’s hear others’ thoughts.

Anyways, what follows is the discussion that stemmed from it.

Enough said.

But hearing this quite often recently, may I ask:

  • Is it “good quality” not to have any documentation and discussion on a milestone features like sys-audio and sys-gui are, for example? I mean, these are not contribs, yet everything is done like they are. Not a word from devs and “experienced” users on this. Very serious tests are done by users which raised serious questions that meet mostly - serious silence.
  • The statement about “low quality” is almost always said in a way like the one who said it feels ashamed of it. Why exactly? With a very few exceptions (and I read literally everything), people are sincerely admitting they don’t know a thing about Linux, let alone Qubes, but I recognize strong passion for and recognition of Qubes so the willing to learn about it. Shouldn’t we actually be proud of the fact and not ashamed of it?
  • Do you think recently mostly “low quality” forum actually brought much more users to Qubes then without it, and encouraged casual observers to draw the conclusion they should try Qubes too?
  • Do you allow that actually “low quality” users expect “better quality” contribution by “experienced/good-quality” users?
  • Like “Testing area” why don’t you create “Good quality” area and promote all the people you think you should to leaders and testers and that would be even better for us inexperienced users: to read, learn and enjoy discussions there from the balcony.
  • Do you agree Arch forum has “very good quality”? Did the fact draw you to it, or you just go there for general solutions?

Summarized, deeplow’s quote above is the essence as I feel it.
I hope I won’t be misread.

P.S. At best I have seen very few public forums/portals/resources with less noise than this forum in my life, but probably because it is actually sound for me.

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@enmus you have misunderstood what I meant.

By low quality I DO NOT EVER mean people asking politely for help no matter how trivial and I am pretty sure my record in answering a lot of that low hanging fruit shows that beyond any statement I could make here.

What I mean by “low quality”…

  • shit postings & ramblings (political or otherwise)
  • unfounded assertions and lazy thinking
  • breath-taking leaps of logic (my software does strange things … Russians!!!)
  • answers that have absolutely NOTHING AT ALL to do with the question asked
  • obviously wrong / confused / nonsensical answers presented with the confidence of an expert
  • unreasonable expectations and attitudes towards fellow community members

… you get the picture now, I hope.

An observation:

This thread also shows how noise can be exponential–look at how noise has generated more noise in the form of yet another thread about noise! As a bonus, this thread will likely do nothing to reduce the noise.

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I think there is a general tendency to label a bit too many things as “shitposting”, “political ramblings” or “off-topic”

I think it’s important you distinguish between political statements and factual observations I recently had the following paragraph marked as off-topic

Most Big Tech services are inherently hostile towards privacy I’ve had a good 10-20 various google accounts blocked or banned because I don’t provide any personal details and connect over vpn or Tor. They likely assume it’s bot activity and its easier for them to just ban anyone they deem suspicious since they can’t milk any of your personal information from you anyway and thus have no incentive to keep you around.
Big Tech censoring comments is not anything new and completely unrelated to hacking. Even swear words will make your comments not show up on certain channels and I’m guessing it’s the same for any number of reasons why you might get caught in some filter. Especially if you are telling people to go watch your channel they will get caught by anti-spam filters
Syntax errors like in the JSON file is not exactly uncommon. A refresh would obviously never fix that since the issue is the contents of the file itself

I don’t think that making the observation that most services are hostile towards users who prefer privacy is particularly controversial. Try using Tor to sign up for a website and it should be pretty obvious by the swarm of capchas, even for sites with .onion services like twitter I’ve had numerous accounts banned or restricted almost immediately because I don’t want to provide them with a phone number.

Likewise I don’t see why it would be off-topic to say that YouTube has anti-spam filters to deal with bots which has a bias towards privacy users since they make use of some of the same things bots do (doesn’t connect from their private IP, uses throwaway emails, blocks scripts)

Again. I really do not see how any of this is remotely controversial or political in response to someone sharing a video saying they believe they have been hacked and give their comments being shadowbanned on youtube as an example.

I also disagree that making the observation that majority of Big Techs business model relies on advertising and selling user data and therefore don’t have a financial incentive to ensure that there are no people who just dont share private information mixed in with the millions of bots they ban

Syntax errors like in the JSON file is not exactly uncommon. A refresh would obviously never fix that since the issue is the contents of the file itself

This one I just have no idea why would ever be marked as off-topic? I’m guessing it’s a mistake?

As a new user it’s pretty discouraging to spend half an hour looking through a video and offering alternate explanations to why something might have occurred only to have large parts of that explanation marked as “off-topic”

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This one I just have no idea why would ever be marked as off-topic? I’m guessing it’s a mistake?

Because it is not about Qubes OS. Is that so hard to understand?

Questions about Whonix? … go to the Whonix forum.
Questions about Linux/Windows/Applications … find their respective support channels.
Want to discuss privacy, anonymity, how shitty big tech is … Twitter, Reddit, Matrix whatever…

Want to talk about Qubes OS and how to use it to secure your computing? You are in the right place!

Id argue that it was on-topic since I used it as an example of a non-hacking/targeted reason why he might be running into those issues. I don’t think there is anything controversial in saying most of big tech is hostile towards Tor users? The same thing goes for VPNs albeit to a much lesser extent. Can I edit it in some way so it is considered on topic?
It was in reply to issues he alleged was caused by qubes being hacked and I simply provided an alternative cause

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@Sven had an excellent thread on it Why are you here?

I’ve recently started editing people’s posts to hide stuff that I find off-topic like this:

off-topic

Something that is quite off-topic

I’m very much against censoring stuff as some may have noticed. But as a moderator my job is in part to keep the discussion focused on Qubes-related stuff.

This is how I address some of the “noise in the forum”. Sometimes I may misdo some stuff. But in this specific case I recall considering it and going for the… too much non-related background.

In any case, it’s still visible. Just with one extra click. Please try to understand.

If you feel like I’m overstepping my bounds as a moderator, feel free send me a message.

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I noticed more “cringey” posts recently. It’s an open community which means the project will attract people from all corners of the internet. If you want to maintain the quality of discussion then it requires strong moderation on day to day basis. It’s time consuming work. If you go down this route, it means clearly defining standards, actively closing topics that do not meet standards, etc. most importantly having someone who is willing to do that everyday to be consistent presence.

Otherwise just ignore.

I will do in the future, thank you

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I disagree. This thread helps some people to accept that noise is not just inevitable for a forum like this, it’s even a good sign: a sign of a big growth of the community.

The further Qubes OS audience from hard geeks (and AFAIK it’s one of the eventual goals of Qubes OS), the more often people will write wrong things about security, because nobody can know everything, and it’s our task to help them learn if they are ready for that (otherwise banning is fine, too).

Of course, we need to fight it and there are several moderators (including you and me) who should help dealing with it. In this very useful thread we can decide about methods to deal with the noise. As @deeplow helpfully suggested, hiding some off topics might be a good way in many cases.

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