What Can Be Done to Bring Traffic Back to SciFo?

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by DaveC426913, Aug 23, 2023.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I think the first step is to more diligently enforce the rules that are in place right now.

    This is an excerpt from the site rules of what I consider to the the spirit of SciFo, and where I think it needs more lovin':

    "At its foundation, sciforums focused on discussion of Science. As the forum developed, our interests broadened to include Philosophy and Ethics, Religion, World Events and Politics and other topics. However, we retain in all areas of debate an ethos of respect for the scientific method, which demands critical analysis, clear thinking and evidence-based argument.
    • Post on-topic. Avoid going off on a tangent - if you have to, start a new thread.
    • Do not insult or harass other members.
    • Do not flame other members.
    • Do not engage in ad hominem attacks (i.e. attack the argument, not the person).
    • Behaviour that may get you banned:
      • Repeated off-topic posting.
      • Plagiarism.
      • Knowingly posting false or misleading information.
      • Repetitive or vexatious posting.
      • Being a repeat-offending drain on moderator time and effort."

    This will require effort on everybody's part.
    1. Members should decide if they want to accept SciFo's efforts to rebuild itself to a popular site. If not, they should consider if this is the place for them.
    2. Members who decide to stay should behave - or change their the behavior - to accommodate the spirit of SciFo's efforts to rebuild itself to a popular site. (eg. I will stop flaming vexatious members)
    3. Members should be judicious in reporting bad behavior (this might means don't just report everything you don't like. You may have to defend your complaint to take some burden off the moderators. No more "Make the madness stop!" reports. Be explicit.)
    4. Moderators, of course, will have a burden placed on them at first, to guide the new direction
    5. Members should take to heart how much effort it is to moderate, and do what they can to ease this burden.

    I am going to request that this thread in particular remain constructive and in good-faith.
    • No insulting members
    • No straight up complaints that aren't a preamble to a constructive solution

    (I'll add to this list as we think of more ways to keep this discussion on-topic and constructive)
    exchemist, Pinball1970 and wegs like this.
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  3. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    My name is wegs and I approve of this thread.

    I’d say that it will require heavier moderation to keep threads on track. Maybe more mods need to be added to achieve that, I don’t know.

    In the “lighter” sections such as “On the Fringe,” members should stay on topic but the expectations lowered a bit. Intellectual dishonesty shouldn’t be tolerated, but it needn’t be treated the same as the hard science sections. When it comes to discussions around alleged ghost activity for example, we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously.

    I think some of the sub-forums could use a change, maybe have a section for entertainment, and a section for music. Like an entire sub-forum devoted to different interests. It’s a little cluttered now.

    And when members post about religion in the religion section, they shouldn’t be mocked if they follow a particular religion as long as they aren’t proselytizing or violating forum rules. There used to be some great spiritual belief/religion conversations six or so years back, and the insults and mudslinging just killed it. Of course, there were some preachy types too that created drama.

    It’s hard to say if traffic will improve despite our best efforts, but never say never.

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    Pinball1970 likes this.
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  5. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    Pinball1970 I approve also.

    Quite new to the site, some interesting topics and I am happy to contribute on science and religion.

    Traffic/numbers have been mentioned, what sort of numbers are we talking about?

    Daily hits? Daily posts? A recent decline?

    I advertise another site on social media and I am happy to start with SF too
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps one issue we could all try to address is starting more threads on topics of interest. I have certainly been guilty of posting few new topics, generally preferring to just comment on those started by others.

    I suspect that having more fresh topics might get a few more lurkers to enter the discussion. I’ll give it a go at least, and maybe if others can do the same we can see if it helps.
    Pinball1970 and James R like this.
  8. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    There are some really exciting things going on right now in physics plus a little bit of controversy.
    Obvious ones are the LHC and JWST but there is also Muon G-2 work at fermilab.
    The MOND story continues also as does gravitational wave detection.
  9. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    I am having a good look around the site. A really good music thread, one of my passions.
    I have started a religion thread,not be antagonistic because the guy I messaged is very nice and quiet accomodating. Hopefully we can engage.
    There are some angry threads which I am keeping away from. I have opinions but pretty weak in those areas, I just don't care enough.
    Why worry about Trump when we have James Webb out there?
    One nice thing is I found a thread with a poster I knew I would clash with early doors.
    The post was great though! Different topic in the right circumstances and suddenly you would have a beer with them!
    I like teaching and being taught, it is the best thing we have.
    Young guys and gals in the lab and learning from posters on here and other sites.
  10. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member


    They say change takes time…
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

    If your goal is traffic, then bring the trolls back. They drive a lot of traffic from people responding to them (which is their goal.)

    But first ask yourself if more traffic is really your goal.
    Magical Realist likes this.
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Har har. They don't drive a lot of traffic if there's no one left to respond.

    The first question on the road to more traffic is going to be what kind of traffic? There's been some pretty explicit sentiments about saying this is not a science forum, and the world will burn if we discourage free speech. We'd have to agree on what's best for the site. But we'd also have to have the blessing of those who have the control to enact it.
  13. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    Early interaction for me indicates posters are interested in science and the scientific method.
    Regarding UAPs what better method to find out what is going on?
    I posted a thread on Jesus of Nazareth, one of my interests.
    What better method to find out about him?
    Empirical data, analysis of the texts, dating techniques, cross referencing historical data.
    Science has permeated all modern disciplines.
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

    People will stick around to respond to trolls. I run another forum and I've noticed this pattern for years. But again, there is more to a website than traffic.
  15. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    I won't so I am your target audience. If that is what you are interested in. Non trolls.
    I am taking people on face value and I am impressed by some posters.
    I am getting a flavour of the site.
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Sure, some will. (And some die-hards will remain behind in the hopes maybe the site can be restored to some semblance of former glory.)

    A lot of quality posters tend to move on.

    Of course. It's not meant to be the goal, just a metric.

    The point of this thread is to discuss what that "more" might be. Got some ideas you want to share?

    I've voiced my personal opinion as an ice breaker. Among other things, I'd like to see the science fora hardened up (not a lot, just enough to daunt the trolling and wooing, maybe push that stuff to the Fringe fora). I'd also like to see some decorum return. I'd like to see insults and flaming dealt with harshly. (And I don't exclude myself from this, but first things first.) There's nuances to what I'm suggesting and the order in which such changes might be made, but -

    I don't want to dominate the thread with just my ideas; I want to engage other users who want to see change.

    So far, it doesn't seem to be getting a lot of traction. That might be informative too. If members in general like things the way they are, that's a valid outcome (one that would likely have me move on myself, but at least we'd have gotten some direction and closure on the issue).
  17. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Hmm, I don’t recall a lot of persistent trolls when first joining SF, and if they did manage to disrupt threads, they usually were swiftly dealt with (perma-banned). There were a few outliers, though.

    Hmm, nah, I think there’s something else amiss besides the general migration away from forums in a broader sense, and more towards FB, IG, Twitter, etc…

    I don’t think the regulars from five to seven years ago departed over trolls. Actually, I wasn’t active for about a year or two around that time, and when I came back, noticed that so many outspoken regulars were banned. That is partially what happened, I think(?) - strong, science-focused members who vehemently argued and perhaps violated forum rules, were perma-banned. I found that problematic in that they were the pillars of this forum for a while, along with some who are still here. It’s like firing a great employee because they talked back to you - might feel good in the moment but those types of decisions have ripple effects. Others start following those they liked who were banned and so on…

    That said, I’m not questioning why some people have been banned. Mods had their reasons, but I’m just stating this as a possible reason for the lack of content and science discussion.

    But, maybe it’s time for a clean slate? Instead of wishing for how SF used to be, what could it be now? Personally, the UFO thread is the perfect example of how “we” could have had the potential to convert lurkers into contributing members, but it went off the rails with wayyyy too much in-fighting and persecuting MR. No one wants to join a forum where they feel that the general rule of thumb is “bullying is fine, depending on who is doing the bullying”. I’m not calling anyone a bully, just saying, it’s an observation.

    No matter what “measures” you take to change the site, it will take a few years to rebuild, because that’s how long it took to get here. “Here” isn’t bad, though. I find it nostalgic at this point, like visiting my favorite restaurant in my hometown or something. We all have our reasons for logging in, and maybe that has to be enough?

    At any rate, I commend the owners for keeping this site afloat though… maybe they know something we don’t.

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    Yazata and C C like this.
  18. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    One thing I am doing is acknowledging good posts with a like, even if the thread title is flawed.
    Those guys may check or get an alert and come back.
    DaveC426913 likes this.
  19. BrianHarwarespecialist We shall Ionize!i Registered Senior Member

    No man people just don’t care about these sort of sites can’t you see people are getting dumber.
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Says the guy who has come here to discuss his unified field theory?

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  21. BrianHarwarespecialist We shall Ionize!i Registered Senior Member

    A unified field theory is interesting at least to me.
  22. BrianHarwarespecialist We shall Ionize!i Registered Senior Member

    Most people I know don’t care about these things that’s why I need the internet in the first place to find the odd people together in one group that might be interested. Seems even worse for me even among the people who would likely be interested in science, I must say I miss Rpenner
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    That was my point. Youve come to a science site to talk science with other people who want to talk science.

    Which sortta belies this:
    You are the traffic I am referring to in this thread.
    RainbowSingularity likes this.

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