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Site Topics - Part II - Page 664

post #9946 of 15585
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

I guess that the question is, who is going to start and "curate" the bespoke thread. I would personally nominate Despos, who is one of the Dubiously Honored. jefferyd is another. He hasn't been around, but that was for personal reasons that had nothing to do with the "state of MC", but with the actions of one dickhead in particular.

I enjoy posts from people like Despos and jeffreyd, but their perspectives are very different than bespoke customers. When I started exploring bespoke clothing, I learned more from people who had experience as customers, not makers.
post #9947 of 15585
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

Well, Manton is definitely Dubiously Honored, so he could make one himself. The Dubiously Honored badges empower users to moderate their own threads. I'm surprised the option is not used more. Maybe I should give a dubious tutorial or something.

You create this option which nobody knows how to use, and you don't actually tell them how to use it, yet for some reason, you're surprised its not used more often. Huh.
post #9948 of 15585
i am sorry to be a dick douglas, i truly am, and i like you a lot. and i think your new thread is a good idea. but really? you start your serious thread with a post stating that a full grown man was too engrossed with internet bickering, and now you will be tired at work the next day? REALLY? thats the bar you are gonna set for that thread? how in the hell is a post about being pissed off about getting to bed late due to voluntary internet activity on a mens clothing forum any more gentlemanly, or qualitatively better, than being happy about a danish?

had you posted that your company had a record breaking month, or you had to fire 6 people, or someone in your family graduated HS, fine. but i think you are going to have a very hard time drawing a line about what is or isnt a significant event if thats what you start with. and lastly, i really hope that what is considered an acceptable post isnt determined by the name to the left of the post.

i am only posting this here, as opposed to your thread, because i dont want your thread to get started off with a whine. i think its a great idea, but i also think that very first post is contradictory to the purpose of the thread. case in point, id like to see what you do with the very first reply to your post.
post #9949 of 15585
Originally Posted by Bhowie View Post

Is that really the "question" gained from this?
+1, I'm not sure if I am interpreting the post Bhowie made accurately but this forum is sloughing off members to blogs, diminished interest and tumblrs at a good rate, I used to come here for information with banter being an added incentive. Now I just come for banter, rarely, and the rest bores me. Too bad to see this happen because I think J. is alright in real life but, diversifying moderation as the forum has grown, diminished the level and standard of moderation that many had come to respect, appreciate and expect. I already mentioned to FLMM that if he was going to be a Mod, he should not be so petty and maintain a certain level of objectivity when he attacked some other members personal opinions. I don't know if those are the rules but I would expect more diplomacy. Anyways, I was just busting his balls because I enjoy inflammatory rhetoric in any case. If you want this forum to survive, I'd suggest a little top-level soul-searching.
Edited by hossoso - 7/27/12 at 12:08am
post #9950 of 15585
btw... where is j?
post #9951 of 15585
Probably in an area of Seattle known as 'Hate City' or 'Lake City'. It runs from NE 76th to Lake Washington and is quite nice for certain stretches.
post #9952 of 15585
Originally Posted by hossoso View Post

Probably in an area of Seattle known as 'Hate City' or 'Lake City'. It runs from NE 76th to Lake Washington and is quite nice for certain stretches.

ah, him and tokyo slim
post #9953 of 15585
I know being technical ruins comments like this but, last I heard, he was in the Beacon Hill, Skyline, Renton area. Sorry. Maybe Columbia City.
post #9954 of 15585
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

Put it this way, they could kick people out for being assholes, but not for being poor.
In the SW&D Random Thoughts, where I actually spend a fair bit of time, people are not kicked out, just shouted down, but the culture is different.
I think you did misunderstand where F. Corbera was coming from, because he put in as much effort to help noobs as anyone with his "Coherent Combinations" thread... which has been removed.

If I was going to spend time going through the archive for front-page posts, Corbera's posts and threads would have comprised a decent chunk of all those I've found most helpful, coming to the site as a style noob. I'm sure those will be gone soon too. He wasn't hostile to noobs or poor people.

The problem with cruiser at Ask Andy wasn't his being poor or his being an asshole, it was his incomprehension and his persistence. He destroyed that place not despite being a nice guy who didn't break policies, but because of it.

This is the only forum I've spent much time on (on any subject), but I've seen others here say that there's a kind of Gresham's Law for all Internet forums, with bad posters driving out good. I feel I've seen the same over the past three years (started lurking in the spring of '09). So I suspect that will take active decisions on your part to save the forum as a place where people with knowledge of bespoke choose to stay.

If you feel you'd rather have those people leave than destroy what you see as the spirit of the forum, I'd only remind you that the number of threads that the Dubiously Honored start is infinitesimally small. Giving them more leeway in purging their threads, may help them foster a place where they feel comfortable and is unlikely to affect the overall openness of the forum. I was hyperbolic earlier -- I'd only suggest holding them to a looser standard than mods, which will give you extra reason to be careful in choosing the Dubiously Honored.
post #9955 of 15585
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

Well, Manton is definitely Dubiously Honored, so he could make one himself. The Dubiously Honored badges empower users to moderate their own threads. I'm surprised the option is not used more. Maybe I should give a dubious tutorial or something.

That sounds like a good idea. Perhaps if you create an area (maybe a sub-forum) where the dubious could sticky their threads. It seems like there are so many threads in MC, the DH's might be leery of creating threads that would get swept away in the flood. Maybe recruit a few DH's to cohost some threads too. Just an idea.
post #9956 of 15585
Originally Posted by zbromer View Post

I enjoy posts from people like Despos and jeffreyd, but their perspectives are very different than bespoke customers. When I started exploring bespoke clothing, I learned more from people who had experience as customers, not makers.


I can't think of anyone currently active making clothing-related posts who would is a clear choice, other than gdl. I could have come up with at least 20 people three years ago.

I really see vox as the emblematic 2007-2009 MC poster and SpooPoker as the emblematic one since then. And no offense to Spoo, who seems to be a nice guy, but he's more a great consumer than a font of knowledge.

Mafoofan may have been the poster most helpful to learning about classic style, both because he was relentless both in building up his knowledge and in sharing. His posts were very different than Syle Forum's journalistic content, because his knowledge was exceptional and he was exceptionally argumentative, which was great for spurring all of the bespoke customers to explicate or re-examine their thoughts and experiences. Really none of that happens in the commercial or journalistic threads.
post #9957 of 15585
Edited by FLMountainMan - 7/27/12 at 5:41am
post #9958 of 15585
OK, I've read over the past few pages, and I have some more thoughts. First of all, I am sorry to hear that vox is leaving, as he has generated some of the best content on this forum. Bill, I'm sorry if my own n00bishness and dumb PMs were part of what drove you away. I do appreciate the time and energy you put into your threads. Thank you.

Second, I want to say that in the year since I joined the site, SF has become an important part of my life, which I never anticipated. By finding a community of like-minded individuals, I've been able to develop my interest in style in a way that I never could have on my own, and in the process interact with some people that I now consider friends. I hope they think the same of me. I can't speak to how much better the community was before, because I wasn't around. I do think there is room for improvement, as I'll describe. But this place means a lot to me now, and I feel like I owe it to myself and the community to do whatever small part I can in helping it survive and thrive.

That done, the rest of this post is divided into three parts. First, I offer my own view of the "State of MC". Second, I suggest ways that each individual SF member can help to make the site a better place. Lastly, I propose some changes to the administration/moderation of the site that I think could be helpful, without regard to how feasible these changes are or to what degree they are already under consideration or enactment, as I don't know. Because some of this will sound preachy, let me say now that all of this is submitted as the humble point of view of someone with the best of intentions for this site.

Not long ago, Spoo started a 'Why do you come to SF?' thread. Plenty of the answers were silly, but it's a good question to ask before we start talking about any "problems" or the "quality" of MC right now. Maybe it's the economist in me, but I'd measure the efficacy of MC in terms of the degree to which users are getting what they want out of the forum. Obviously the desires of each user are different. But what is the universe of motives for coming to MC? Here's my list:

1) To learn basic information (I'll call this "SF 101", in part because of the new section, but also to contrast with the next point). About how a suit is made, about how to put together "fits", about the history of menswear, about what to wear to a job interview.
2) To discuss "graduate topics". Differences between bespoke tailors, higher "difficulty" combinations such as pattern matching, the utility and availability of different fabrics for bespoke tailoring, etc.
3) To show off/seek approval. We're all human, and humans are social animals. We get a new widget, we want to show our friends how cool it is.
4) To sell. Applies only to retailers, but they are forum users as well.
5) To espouse and influence. Some users have a vested (har har) interest in a particular mode of dress, and derive utility from influencing others to dress in this way and/or educating others about menswear history or guidelines.
6) To look at pr0n. Even vox can't have a suit made from every tailor in the world, or buy every pair of John Lobbs. SF has many pictures of beautiful items that you can enjoy gawking at without any intention of buying. Browsing fit pics goes here too.
7) To chat about random shit with people/goof off.

These are all things that people come to MC to do. Of course, a user might fall into many categories. On the whole, I think the forum does a remarkably good job of satisfying these diverse goals. It's remarkable because almost everybody who falls into one of these 7 categories needs somebody in a different category to satisfy their MC needs. 1) needs 5), and vice versa. 3) and 6) are a happy couple, just like 1) and 4). A forum that functions well has a balance between all these categories, so that there are enough voyeurs to satisfy the exhibitionists and so on for all the other symbiotic relationships.

There are two exceptions: 2) and 7). They are only looking for other 2)s and other 7)s, respectively. This creates a tension between them and the rest of the forum, because they don't need anyone else, unless they are users who also fall into other categories. They can survive only with their own kind, but they also can grow uncontrollably since they are not limited by need of any other type. Thus their share of membership and poasting is quite unstable. Even apart from any fundamental change in the site, it's normal for there to be fluctuations in these types of people, because if one leaves, it decreases the value of the site for the others, and the process spirals. If one arrives, it increases the value, so more arrive.

Clearly some posters are upset that there isn't enough of 2). But you have to realize that not everyone is coming to the forum for that. There is still plenty of content to satisfy 2) on MC, it's just hidden in heaps of the other things, and those other things are providing value for other members, who matter also. Even so, I think the forum gives you tools (as a DH especially, but even just the power to start threads and subscribe to threads) to sort through this haystack of content to get to what you want without too much trouble, although I'll come back to this later. One might suggest that this being a style forum, the needs of these other users should be subservient to 2), and in particular 1) and 7) types should be generally discouraged from interacting with the forum. But i) in the words of Austin Powers, this train has sailed - the interests of those who run the site are overwhelmingly in favor of getting more traffic, and that means pleasing as many users as possible, and ii) some people come originally for 1) but eventually turn into 2) or 3), and iii) most people who are 2)s are also one of the other types, like a 5), and are sometimes helped by these types of members.

Of course new members will be, on average, less knowledgeable and valuable in 2). And the content that they generate may start to drown out those who do want to engage in 2). However, increased traffic is great for some of the other items here. You get more images to browse for members coming for 6), even if the typical picture posted by a n00b is of lower quality. If you're coming for 3) or 5), increased traffic represents a larger audience. Your vox is now louder. How many views did FC's Practical Combinations thread have? Has there ever been a thread in the history of London Lounge with that many views? Posters like vox and Manton have a huge megaphone in SF and their thoughts on style reach an audience of thousands. If you're a retailer, clearly it's great. The more the merrier, so those seeking 7) are probably better off with more traffic. Only 2) and 1), in the event that these new members who are driving the increase in traffic give bad advice, are worse off. How can we mitigate this negative externality?

First, on the individual level. 1) Don't issue blanket "everything here is crap" statements. Some agree with you and assumes you're talking about everyone else but them. They pile on with the same "yea, everything is crap" stuff until all everybody agrees on is that everybody is crap. Which is counterproductive and just bewilders everyone else, who don't know which things you're talking about, because if everybody seems to be agreeing that everything is crap, presumably except for their own stuff. And it discourages them from the next way to make SF a better place, which is even more important: 2) produce original, thoughtful SF content! This takes time and effort, but others have done it before you and you have benefited from reading it, so pay it forward. Obviously FC is a shining example, but allow me to boast of my own SF career to show you that you don't have to be as accomplished or knowledgeable as Bill to make yourself useful around here. I joined a little more than a year ago, and as Spoo alluded to, I didn't have a terrifically auspicious start. I had always been interested in clothes and I am fortunate enough to have money to spend on them, but I came in with basically no knowledge compared to where I am now. Within the past few months I have:

- Drafted StyleForum101, after responding to countless n00b queries
- Posted trip reports of visits to stores in Italy
- Posted an interview with a well-respected but under-publicized DC tailor
- started a thread about how useful rules are in dress, which I think generated some interesting conversation
- started a discussion of the limits of MTM vs. bespoke, which I am now off to re-ignite, I hope

As PSG said (and his curation of the pocket square thread is another excellent example of adding value to SF), we're here to share. If nobody has anything to share, the place shrivels up. Here I'm talking not so much to the "old guard" or whatever, as Vox, Manton, foo.gif, just to name three off the top of my head, have made major contributions to the forum that should benefit n00bs and clothes horses a like. I'm talking instead to members of my "generation". It's important to learn from SF vets - but if it's just a classroom and they're at the front, eventually they're going to get bored. Very few want to be a full time 5). Eventually, you have to challenge yourself to join the conversation. Take a risk and don't be afraid of saying something stupid, as long as you put some thought and effort into it. You don't even have to be rich enough to commission bespoke clothing to have something useful to say (although that would definitely help you find new material).

Finally, on a forum level, how can we keep traffic high and keep people in the non-2) groups happy, without getting in the way of 2)? I'm not going to address 7) too much, but stuff gets moved to DT for a reason. But I think we're making a lot of progress on 1). The more quickly and efficiently we can get information to people in the 1) category without wasting forum-thread-space on it, the better.

SF101 is a step in this direction. I don't know if there's actually been a decrease in the number of "what should I wear to my job interview?" posts, or at least an increase in the quality of them, but at least now it's easy to answer them quickly with a link, and then they generally go away. I have some more ideas to add to this section to further this process, and get all this stuff out of the way of good discussion regarding more interesting topics.

Also, I think the search function could be better. We tell people to use it all the time to look up some oft-asked question, but sometimes search results are a little weird. Being able to sort them by views and/or posts would be really useful too. If I ever want to try and find an old thread on SF, I generally just use google to search for it instead of using the SF engine.

I think I might have read mention of it previously, but a thumbs down in addition to a thumbs up would be useful, and would help people in the "everything here sucks camp" be more specific in expressing their disdain without exerting too much effort.

Finally, a couple of ideas to generate more 2) content:

This is a complete trial balloon, and FWIW, I don't think the affiliate threads are creating a problem at all, but rather this gives an incentive for posters who are likely quite knowledgeable to share more: require that vendors make at least half of their posts outside of their own affiliate thread.

Expand the current system of rewarding great contributions to the forum, as has been suggested. This should not be too democratic. Maybe only DH get to vote. Maybe only a committee of 5 can allocate a prize. Maybe the prize should be not a clothing item, but publicity - something better than being featured on Front Page. Maybe getting stickied for a while. Maybe there's a thread that has ONLY winning posts, with links to their original threads, that is perma-stickied. Maybe winner gets their tumblr profiled somehow, or gets one of the DH to do an interview with them (DH asks the winner the questions, not other way around - I'd be happy to do the interviewing of winners if a volunteer is needed). This has the added advantage of being likely to generate yet more 2)-content in the interview.

Those are just a few ideas. Again, I have found MC to be an immensely useful resource and a wonderful community. Out of gratitude, as well as for my own enjoyment, I've tried to "give back to the community" as much as I can. Let's all try to do what we can to appreciate MC as it is, and shape for the better what it will be.
post #9959 of 15585
I will say that the ads and the affiliate threads have never bothered me. I hardly notice them. I can't say whether vox and foo are right that the tone of the forum subtly change from commercialization. I can only say that if it has, I haven't noticed. That is, I have noticed a change, but not from commercialization.

Re: dubiously honored, had I had this power back when I was posting in the CBD thread and people kept spraying graffiti all over it, I would have used it with gusto. The power apparently does not work in the CE. If it did, I might post there more. Not to erase the stupid posts of the various libs, but certainly to get rid of the weedy crabgrass constantly posted by javyn and his ilk. I mean, light moderation is good but when the garden is nothing but weeds something has to be done.
post #9960 of 15585
about that danish post, yeah I commented on it (twice) and looking back I probably shouldn't have but it was what it was. To me, though, it was better than the previous rounds of fistbumps and YEAH BRO and +1 related non-commentary posts that came earlier. Yes, it's three pages of comments on a ******* danish but most of them were substantive and some were somewhat disapproving (as in, WTF are you eating that for you fatty, but kinder and gentler). Not ideal, but IMHO better than the whole situation that got my knickers in such a twist.

Anyway, between the recent flare-up and this whole moderation gig, I'm taking a hard look at my prior activities and where I go from here re: poasting.
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