The Flat Earth Society

The Flat Earth Society => Suggestions & Concerns => Topic started by: Parsifal on October 23, 2017, 02:06:03 PM

Title: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Parsifal on October 23, 2017, 02:06:03 PM
For anyone who may not be aware, preliminary merger talks have started up again in this thread (https://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php?topic=72441) on the other FES. There is nothing concrete to report yet, but if and when we come to a tentative agreement, it will of course be posted here for general approval before we proceed with anything. This is just a heads up at the moment in case anyone is interested in following the discussion over there.

Edit: Also, John Davis is refusing to engage anyone but me on the subject as he wants a single point of contact. If anyone wants me to raise anything with him, please post it here.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Parsifal on October 24, 2017, 02:12:55 AM
John Davis has proposed that we unify the societies but not the fora, and this is an issue he will not budge on. I would like to gather opinions from people on this forum as to whether this is the kind of merge we would like to see. Please post your thoughts in this thread.

Some words from the horse's mouth from the other forum (read the thread (https://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php?topic=72441) for full context):

Quote from: John Davis
No, our two groups will coexist, but this forum will be shifted in its usage as the new platform gets integrated to be more of a social hub. This is a long term project, so it will come when it comes. I will say I have a good amount of the backend work done to this end.
Quote from: John Davis
Quote from: Parsifal
This doesn't sound like a good approach to me, as it will confuse new members. What purpose will dividing discussion between two communities serve? Are both going to be linked from the homepage? What will differentiate them?
It is less confusing than two societies. They will both be linked. I would compare it to how there are many sub forums on some sites, such as 4chan. The differentiation can be by the 'chapter' of the society, if wished, and eventually our forums will be replaced by a more 'social' sorta beast that does not use smf. This difference in the end will differentiate them. I agree it is not ideal, but I feel it is better than what we have going on now which is essentially the same problem but multiplied by an order.
Quote from: John Davis
I'd like to see our two forums coexist as autonomously as possible, including ban lists etc. I feel like our moderation does a good job, and the Intikam discussion has come up a number of times on our mod board and I believe they responded appropriately and will continue to do so. I imagine you guys feel your team does a good job as well. Our two groups differ on a number of points, including how we moderate and run our forums. This doesn't seem broken, and I'd like it to continue like it is. This is a further benefit of a 'chapterized' approach to the forums, and a further example of how they will be differentiated.
Quote from: John Davis
Sounds to me like there is little interest on your end for this sort of merger. There is no way that our two forums can or will work as one forum, and that is a point I cannot budge on. The simple fact is nobody wants it. This is a concern of my users, and I am responding appropriately to it. I'm sure you can appreciate that.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Particle Person on October 24, 2017, 02:13:57 AM
As I said on the other side, I don't see any benefit to unifying if there's no forum merge.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Sean on October 24, 2017, 02:17:19 AM
I believe this would be overly confusing to new members as well as casual lurkers, and I frankly don't understand what is to gain from this
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Rushy on October 24, 2017, 02:19:51 AM
I don't see a benefit in having John Davis be an admin. As I see it, even if he were to give this site's admins total access to his site and server, it would only be a matter of time before he revokes this. Looking at the thread on their site, it's pretty clear that John hasn't changed at all, and if he hasn't changed, then the problems that caused the site schism in the first place will inevitably rear their head again.

In my mind, the obvious reason that he wants to retain rights to the domain, rights to the wiki, and rights to social media accounts is simple: he wants to kill this community, not uplift it or merge it anywhere.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: garygreen on October 24, 2017, 02:26:17 AM
Quote from: John Davis
No, our two groups will coexist, but this forum will be shifted in its usage as the new platform gets integrated to be more of a social hub. This is a long term project, so it will come when it comes. I will say I have a good amount of the backend work done to this end.

speaking of things that will never, ever happen...

also, i'm with the others.  tbh i don't really care much either way, but it seems silly to "merge" without merging the forum.  i feel like we gain nothing.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: junker on October 24, 2017, 02:32:07 AM
As I said on the other side, I don't see any benefit to unifying if there's no forum merge.

I agree. It would also be a terrible idea unless Parsifal was also maintaining the infrastructure (in the event JD agrees to merge fora, which he won't).
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Rama Set on October 24, 2017, 04:24:25 AM
Seems like there is not a lot to gain under that paradigm. A half-merger doesn't really seem to be a merger at all.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Particle Person on October 24, 2017, 04:51:36 AM
Well, John Davis didn't like Parsifal's most recent proposal (the exact same proposal John Davis made to us, but reversed), so he's now apparently opposed to the idea forever.

I doubt this is something Daniel would agree to, or that I should agree to in his stead; or our members and staff will for that matter. I can ping him about it, but I wouldn't hold my breath. I do see your point though - that we wouldn't agree to the same deal.

Oh well! While it does seem I continually adjusted our wants to your concerns, the base premise is untenable. I have promised not to try again if this fails, and I will keep my word to that. Cheers.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Particle Person on October 24, 2017, 06:04:04 AM
I'm fine with continuing to discuss the matter. [...]

Never mind!
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Pete Svarrior on October 24, 2017, 08:17:17 AM
John seems to be the root of the problem.

He keeps referring to a "base premise", but I strongly doubt the two sides currently have a mutual understanding of what the premise is (y'know, since he wants everything but a forum merger, while we seem to consider a forum merger to be the entire point). He also seems to struggle to hold a consistent view on what he is expecting and why he is expecting it. It's one thing to adjust yourself as negotiations go on, and another thing altogether to just keep randomly throwing things in based on undisclosed reasoning. He also states what his userbase wants, but where is he getting this information? If they're feeling as strongly about things as he says, how come they're entirely silent? Sure, it's possible that it's happening via PM, but surely someone would speak up by now? So far, the only people on his side who did speak up did not seem to confirm his story.

John has been kind enough to point his finger at an approved negotiator on our side, and even more kind to name two people who categorically can't be negotiating on our behalf (myself and Thork). I suggest that we do the same by requesting that John and SCG are not to be their representatives. I have nothing against either, but I don't see those conversations leading to fruit.

I also share the concerns raised by Rushy in this thread. It sounds like they're looking for ways to kill us off without saying it. John was pretty explicit about it when Parsifal mentioned Twitter. Given that we've now easily outgrown their site, we would not benefit in any way from simply handing over our success.

It is also interesting to see that their members still think they're the bigger site (see Boots's post, for example). This is easily verified by looking at any web traffic analysis company's data. Perhaps this is why they're still acting like they're in a position to simply demand that we give everything up?

Finally, I will point out that John's recollection of Thork's "terrorist" scheme is extremely flawed, to the point where it should be completely discarded. I want to keep that matter as private as can be, so I won't be revealing any messages that were exchanged, but at least now it's my word against his. Make of that what you will.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Shifter on October 26, 2017, 02:55:54 AM
Look, I'm just a noob of both of these forums so take my post how ever you like but it's quite clear that Intikam is a sticking point and while it seems trivial and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, I cant see how the forums could merge if it requires his permaban. I don't condone how he behaved over here and I don't disagree with you banning him for it but over the last few weeks or months he has mellowed out quite a lot and if the societies somehow, some way merged, he should be given another chance. He really has become a valued contributor. The other forum (including me who was once on his infamous list) are quite fond of him and we respect his character and the conviction of belief he brings to the Flat Earth community.

If you guys are serious that under no circumstance you will ever be part of a society that includes Intikam, given the amount of work and effort this undertaking would involve, I suggest you to shelve it. I'd love to see a unified flat earth society, however even if you guys did give Intikam a chance and made a whole host of concessions, I think your bigger battle is getting John to play ball and SCG to bury the hatchet. I just get the feeling John is being a bit disingenuous. I hope I am reading him wrong and he really is super busy, but I just don't think he will accept anything less than being the supreme 'Great' leader in anything that happens from here. You guys may have to make more concessions than is fair or reasonable. But then, what is the price of a unified society?



Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Boots on October 26, 2017, 04:46:23 AM
It is also interesting to see that their members still think they're the bigger site (see Boots's post, for example). This is easily verified by looking at any web traffic analysis company's data.

I said it was more popular. I suspect that the type of visitors driving the web traffic are different, on average, between this and the other site. I haven't analyzed company data but based on user experience I would say the other site has something this one does not, and vice versa.

So I think it could be beneficial to both sites to merge. Past experiences are obviously causing trust issues and it seems to me that currently there is also a fair amount of ego getting in the way.

All the best!

Boots.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Pete Svarrior on October 26, 2017, 09:05:45 AM
I said it was more popular.
That is what I dispute. The numbers are strongly in our favour, regardless of anyone's perception.

I suspect that the type of visitors driving the web traffic are different, on average, between this and the other site. I haven't analyzed company data but based on user experience I would say the other site has something this one does not, and vice versa.
Absolutely - we wouldn't be discussing a merger if the other site had nothing to offer. The social benefits of reunifying are obvious, and extremely important.

From my perspective, you guys are looking for the whimsy of CN, except in every board. Because of that, some people find the other forum "more active", because they can find more threads where people are just joking around. We have nothing against shitposting, but we want to keep it in a designated zone. If that zone needs to be bigger, so be it, but diluting the serious FE boards (arguably the primary function of this site) would be silly.

So I think it could be beneficial to both sites to merge. Past experiences are obviously causing trust issues and it seems to me that currently there is also a fair amount of ego getting in the way.
Certainly. I think both sides are reluctant to accept some inconvenient facts. We're the bigger site. The membership of each site has different expectations of how the forum would work, and we'd have to meet in the middle. The Wiki needs to exist, but it needs serious improvements. The other site is absolutely trouncing us on Facebook in terms of popularity, while we have a considerable lead on Twitter. Etc. etc.

I'll be honest, I don't think it's going to happen. We had a list of agreed terms back when we were much smaller, and even then the other side was reluctant to accept it (they did accept it, but then suddenly all communications channels went quiet). Now that we have much less to gain from the merger, we'd be much more reluctant to give away the things that make this place so good.

From a technical point of view, moving any of our services from our platforms to John's would be a regression. This is not a comment on John's ability, but rather a simple matter-of-fact assessment of how well the other site currently works.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Pete Svarrior on October 26, 2017, 09:30:30 PM
Looking at John's recent talk, it seems my point about ignoring inconvenient facts is even more pertinent than I suspected.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: junker on October 26, 2017, 10:40:53 PM
Looking at John's recent talk, it seems my point about ignoring inconvenient facts is even more pertinent than I suspected.

I was literally getting "SMF can't talk to the database, server busy" (paraphrase) errors over there today. Kind of silly to pretend like the quality/performance is even remotely comparable. And we all know how security has been...

EDIT - And the search functionality...
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Pete Svarrior on October 27, 2017, 07:50:05 AM
Security is what concerns me most, especially now that John has lied about keeping the software up to date. Of course, even asserting that I know this is untrue immediately makes me untrustworthy. It's a fun game he's playing, but it's not one I'd like to see here.

Personally, I consider John's approach to maintaining forum software a complete deal breaker
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Tom Bishop on October 30, 2017, 09:20:07 AM
I went onto Google and searched for "flat earth," "flat earth society," and "the flat earth society". We were the top link ahead of them every time. It is really John and Daniel who need to be more willing to agree to our expectations.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Pete Svarrior on October 30, 2017, 10:51:38 AM
I would be careful with things like Google search results - they are heavily personalised. I suspect the regulars from theflatearthsociety.org may witness their site appear on top.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Tom Bishop on October 30, 2017, 06:35:42 PM
Here I conducted three searches and added pws=0 at the end of the search string, which disables personalized results (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/disable-googles-personalization-search-results/).

https://www.google.com/search?hl=&q=flat+earth&pws=0
https://www.google.com/search?hl=&q=flat+earth+society&pws=0
https://www.google.com/search?hl=&q=the+flat+earth+society&pws=0

We are the top google search result item in each link.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Pete Svarrior on October 30, 2017, 06:50:07 PM
I take your point, although I wouldn't fully trust it. For me, your link to "the flat earth society" still displays their site as top.

I'd rather rely on things like alexa.com.
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: Parsifal on November 01, 2017, 12:17:29 AM
Excelsior John has graciously accepted a position as our official negotiator in exchange for release from Purgatory, effective immediately. I will be removing myself from these talks as I feel that my own strategy has left us treading water.

Welcome to the team, EJ!
Title: Re: Renewed FES merger talks
Post by: junker on November 02, 2017, 07:24:51 PM
This thread got out of hand and isn't appropriate for the upper fora. Split/moved/locked.