Question for Dave Hicks



#29

Hi Dave,

I was just wondering what your verdict is on the possible creation of an ebay calculator forum/banning/no change.

Thanks for having such a great site!


#30

No change won by a substantial margin, so I've gone back to scanning for the new DVD/CD set as my top priority for now. When I have more time, I'll think about some of the comments like making sure the forum software labels unannounced ebay posts in the subject. (Which in turn may lead to an option to ignore all so-labeled posts similar to the ads.) Or I might be swayed by some of the stronger comments and set up an ebay forum as a test just to see if the majority still dislike it after they've tried it.

In any case, the idea isn't to encourage additional ebay threads. Even if a new forum was created, I wouldn't want people coming to that forum because they googled "ebay complaint forum" or similar. Overall, this should remain an HP forum with a little ebay topic drift.


#31

Okay, thanks for the quick answer! Again, I appreciate your fantastic site.

#32

Hi, David:

Just a comment to your reply, if I may ...

David posted:

    "No change won by a substantial margin [...]"

      Yes, but there's an important consideration to be made, IMO. I've done an informal
      (but careful) tally of the results, assigning as "No Change" to every post which
      selected either No Change or Don't Care or any similar opinion (even if only as
      a first option), and "Change" to every post which selected Create Forum or Ban
      discussions. When in doubt, I've assigned the point to "No Change".

      The tally's result is "No Change" = 58 %, "Change" = 42 %.

      Thus "No Change" wins, but it's only 8% above the 50-50 media, and of course
      "Change" is just 8% below. So I think it's more accurate to describe the
      situation as: "The votes are more or less evenly divided, with a small (<10%
      above 50-50) bias for No Change".

      But that's not the point I want to make. The point is, it is right to opt for
      the most voted option only if the situation is symmetrical, which in this
      case it isn't. It would be symmetrical if, starting from an allegedly "good"
      initial status, which all voters are comfortable with, a poll were made to
      select between two choices both of which would mean some benefit. You would
      have voters select one or the other, and the most voted option obviously
      wins. If the option you didn't vote for was ultimately selected, so be it,
      you're at least in the very same good status you were at the beginning.

      But in this particular case, you aren't voting between two benefits, nor
      is the initial status "good". Quite on the contrary, the initial status is
      problematic, because there's a perceived nuisance, and you're voting to
      either remove that nuisance or let it be. If a slight majority means that
      the nuisance isn't taken care of, this means a sizable number of forum's
      participants (42%) will be left upset, having to still endure the unremoved
      nuisance.

      Thus, the situation isn't symmetrical because there's no symmetry between
      enjoying some benefit or enduring some nuisance. If you don't get the
      alleged benefit, you're at least as well as you were initially. If you
      don't get the nuisance removed, you'll have to endure the nuisance
      indefinitely. Joy and pain aren't symmetrical, nor can they be.

      That's
      why they issue laws on tobacco smoking at certain places: the fact that
      the tobacco smokers do enjoy doing it and get pleasure from it loses hands down
      against the fact that it causes great discomfort to non-smokers, and
      ultimately health problems to all.

      No one else's pleasure should be at the cost of someone else's discomfort,
      regardless of the statistics. And having 42% of the forum's participants in
      discomfort seems to merit some positive action on your part. IMHO.


Best regards from V.

#33

Thus "Filter all eBay-posts" as a configuration option would do the trick (as long as posts are forcibly labled "eBay"). Then it will be No change for those wo wants no change and an optional Change for those who wants that. Remember that there may be people who could get upset if a change was forced on them stronger than what I suggest here (though I am not one of them).


#34

Should the filter should scan the title AND the text for the word eBay (or even auction ... just in case someone gets clever)? Of course a message this this one is shot down too by the filter :-(

Namir

#35

Agreed -- the fact that there were multiple options has biased the overall possible results. If we could choose between two choices, then I think the results might change.

My $0.02 anyhow...


#36

We could always have a French-style second round of voting with "no-change" vs the second ranking option and no default :-)

#37

Quote:

The tally's result is "No Change" = 58 %, "Change" = 42 %.


You lump everything that is not "no change" into the same bucket, then declare that "other only lost by "8% over the media". (I assume you mean "median" there.) I won't argue statistical methods with a mathematician, but common sense tells me that's a specious argument. The "change" category includes such a wide range of remedies, from tagging content to censoring it out altogether, that combining them into a single category and saying they represent a bloc against the status quo is meaningless. To illustrate what I mean, here's an example with imaginary results of an imaginary poll.

Status Quo:            56% 
Talk to them sternly 20%
Make them apologize 14%
Kick them in the shins 9%
Kill them: 1%

There's one in every crowd.

Now, here are imaginary one-on-one polls, with explanations:

Status quo: 99%; Kill Them 1%

This guy would be the lone holdout on a capital jury.

Status quo: 90% Kick them in the shins: 10%

The homicidal one could sign on to lesser degrees of violence, it appears.

Status quo: 66%: Make them apologize 33%

The "talk to them" camp split evenly when given this choice. The lunatic gave up when violence was not an option.

Status quo 67.5%, Talk to them: 31.5%

The "talk to them" group came back as a bloc, but half the rest felt this was too light and opted for the status quo instead.

Contrived? Yes. But it illustrates that things might not break like you expect when you change the options. It's meaningless to lump all the "con" options together and use it as a quantified prediction of how the individual questions would be settled.

Quote:

But in this particular case, you aren't voting between two benefits, nor
is the initial status "good". Quite on the contrary, the initial status is
problematic, because there's a perceived nuisance, and you're voting to
either remove that nuisance or let it be. If a slight majority means that
the nuisance isn't taken care of, this means a sizable number of forum's
participants (42%) will be left upset, having to still endure the unremoved
nuisance.


Oh, My.

This translates to "I think the current situation is bad, so you
can't go by what most people think."

I am in the "no change" camp. I consider the current situation "good." I understand and accept that you disagree, but that's not a basis for ignoring the results of the poll. I would be quite upset if the options you advocated for were adopted, Valentin. This is the other fallacy in your argument: people who voted for no change wouldn't care much (or as much as you) if one of the contrary positions were adopted.

Regards,
Howard

Edited: 11 Jan 2007, 3:18 p.m.

#38

Quote:
That's
why they issue laws on tobacco smoking at certain places: the fact that
the tobacco smokers do enjoy doing it and get pleasure from it loses hands down
against the fact that it causes great discomfort to non-smokers, and
ultimately health problems to all.

Compared to smoking bans we have a couple of problems: first we know of no health threats from ebay discussions. (also no fire or other safety threats.) In addition, I believe most smoking bans were voted in. The voters were given the choice to weigh heart disease, cancer and respiratory illnesses, fires, etc. (and mere discomfort) against the general unpleasantness of legislating behavior.

In the case of ebay talk, we have none of the above. We don't have the voter approval, and we don't have clear health and safety benefits. All we have had so far is people on both sides expressing irritation if it doesn't go their way.

So I'm going back to scanning for now but this will continue to rattle around in my brain. If one side finds a way to convince the other, I'll be around.


#39

Quote:

.. If one side finds a way to convince the other, I'll be around.


Patience of Job. 8)

#40

Perhaps e-bay related topics could be optionally filtered in the same way as the 'Ads without Auctions' view on the Classified Ads page...?

Of course the author would have to mark the thread as and e-bay related thread but this might be a way to keep both sides happy.

(Just to add my own 2p worth I'd find the ability to filter out non ebay related topics just as useful some times - it just depends what you are looking for...)

Mike T.

#41

Hi Dave, all;

I'm only a single, foreign voice in relation to this forum’s origin(as many others, yeap) and I am sure many others have their own opinion about it. I am a visitor and, whenever possible, a contributor to this forum since the very end of 2000, and I have found here the best place to discuss HP calculators.

This forum is a gem, a precious stone, and I am confident when posting that Dave had something like this in mind when creating it, but I'd also add that the worldwide response, conciseness and respectful reaction was somehow beyond his expectation (please, Dave, if I am wrong, correct me). And this all happened mainly because most of the participants believed in such format, free of any restriction, with only a few basic decorum rules and simple objectives, all about HP calculators usage and programming.

To keep it going ahead this way is only a matter of having people with vision enough to understand and follow these rules and objectives. One cannot avoid all sorts of 'attacks' to the forum’s integrity and general conciseness, and Dave has already added all sorts of mechanisms to prevent common invasions, like SPAM's and the like. Two mechanisms I did not like at all were the pre-censoring (messages should wait for a pre-approval to be posted) and the no-editing-after-post, and it did not stopped me to come back every day to check new posts. And I added no complaints about these, only a brief post that I regret having written. Thanks God they are no longer active.

Now I see Dave’s initial proposal and format being questioned, and suggestions are made to modify what has been proved to be so well made. And Dave is not being questioned if he wants or not to change, instead what change he believes is the best.

I cannot agree with that.

If tomorrow Dave decides it is time to leave and shut the site down... Has anyone considered such possibility? I'd not like it to happen. I am a guest here, I'd not feel comfortable asking something to be changed because I do not like it. Dave has done too much, and he also asks us, from time to time, whenever such drifts happen, if we would like some action to take place.

I stand for No Change. If I could change something, I'd change some people's mind, not the MoHPC Forum. But... that would only be my wish.

Please, I mean no disrespect or disregard to any other point of view or consideration from other contributors and visitors, but I think that these words and thoughts should be posted.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 11 Jan 2007, 11:37 a.m.


#42

Quote:
If I could change something, I'd change some people's mind, not the MoHPC Forum.
Simple perfection, well stated. You have spoken for me as well.

Edited: 11 Jan 2007, 12:09 p.m.


#43

Ditto.


#44

Same here.

#45

Well said, Luiz.

Quote:

I stand for No Change. If I could change something, I'd change some people's mind, not the MoHPC Forum. But... that would only be my wish.


Having failed to win over a majority of forum participants, Some would prefer that Dave assist them in forcing their views on everyone else by censoring discussions. The extraordinary remedy is proposed to save these folks from the necessity of selective reading, or the possibility of being offended by accidentally seeing crass discussions of money matters. (Everyone knows that calculators exist in a platonic realm of ideas, not in the dirty old real world.)

The real and virtual worlds are full of far more offensive content than that. If you must censor, don't you think there are better places to start than here?

Regards,
Howard


#46

While I agree that a Yes or No might have affected the results, 58% to 42% would be considered a landslide in a political election. :-)

Seriously, perhaps we should have had a choice to simply have a forum for cobbua and hyundai ebay related posts?

That's what most of them are that are bothersome, IMO.

#47

Nothing to add to your post, Luiz. Not now, at least.

Massimo

#48

Well said, Luiz.

James

#49

Hi, Luiz:

    First of all, thanks for your always kind contribution to this polite and civilized discussion, I certainly do appreciate your points of view and the merits they may have, but ...

      Could you please state how having a separate forum for eBay matters is any different or any worse than the present status of having a separate Adds section for eBay auctions, when as far as I can tell its very existence isn't contested by anyone ?

    If having a separate Adds section for eBay auctions is seen as appropriate and beneficial, why doesn't the same appliy to the general forum ? Or do we have two measures on this matter ?

    But again, that's not the essential point I want to make. There's also the point you mention of being deeply obligued to Mr. David Hicks for making this superb forum available to all of us and the hard work he invests in it for our benefit.

    I think there's a definite current of thought that tries to equate being obligued to Mr. Hicks for his efforts being tantamount to not ever commiting the sin of criticizing any aspects at all of any themes forum related, lest that would be considered and offence to Mr. Hicks kindness and efforts. Thus, anyone who dares to commit that 'sin' is open to demonization and its points of view or opinions should be disregarded and considered unkind. The temptation of saying "Gee, if you don't like it as it is, go elsewhere !" seems to be unavoidable.

    Well, I don't think this is correct and I don't think either that Mr. Hicks would prefer to have just that kind of opinions and points of view, but rather, if he's as intelligent as I deem him to be, he'd rather avoid submitting to flattery, which is always very tempting, and he'd rather have honest and sincere opinions which are intended for the best benefit of the forum and its quality, whether they're flattering or not. Many great men do gather a bunch of adulators around them (and I'm not saying that you or anyone else is such) and that's about the worse thing that may happen to them if they indulge on this, cutting the head of the proverbial messenger which brings not-so-flattering news.

    I've never been such a person and never will be. I'll always state my very own sincere and honest opinion, come what may and like or not, without fear of retribution for doing so. Demonizing me or my point of view will only fall upon the ones making such statements, I couldn't be less concerned because I always have the ultimate freedom of deciding whether I want to participate in this forum or not.

    Obviously I've enjoyed it very much and would loathe seeing it degenerate or dissapear, so I'm trying my best to improve the experience for me and for all who think alike, without demonizing anyone and without fears of retribution or ostracism.

    Mr. Hicks is much more intelligent and openminded than some people concede and I'm fully confident he will take any and all measures he sees fit.

Best regards from V.

#50

Hi, Valentin,

thanks for making your point of view very clear to the audience. While I voted for No Change and I admit I admire the words Luiz has found to explain his point of view, I can understand your feelings after the poll as well. However, speaking basically, could you please state the sense of a poll if you are not willing to respect the result?

It's common practice in many societies to have a second poll if no alternative got >50% in the first. This is not the case here. For various reasons 58% of the people voted for keeping the status quo.

I hate to tell you, but instead of accepting this democratic decision, you argue against it in the style of Marcus Antonius in a play by Shakespeare (IIRC): "Well, Brutus is a honourable man!". Or, using another picture, you exaggerate the arguments of your opponents like a Judoka uses the momentum of his antagonist to floor him. This is just to let you know such attempts are noticed.

Ceterum censeo this site is Dave's and it's up to him to set the rules. No more to say for now.

Edited: 12 Jan 2007, 3:34 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#51

As one who voted "no change" I quite agree with you, Luiz, and Howard Owen.

tm

#52

Hi, Valentin;

first of all, let me add my sincere respect and thankfulness to your always teasing and strong contributions to this forum, as I expressed in the past even through e-mails. I think your posts truly enrich this forum’s contents.

About the separate forum for eBay matters: I still think this forum’s objectives go beyond such discussions.

Quote:
I think there's a definite current of thought that tries to equate being obligued to Mr. Hicks for his efforts being tantamount to not ever committing the sin of criticizing any aspects at all of any themes forum related, lest that would be considered and offence to Mr. Hicks kindness and efforts.
Forgive me, but I do not see it this way. As I told before, I consider myself a guest here, so I accept the terms. But it does not mean everyone else should do the same. In many other forums we may not even be sure if the webmaster is a person, or only a name hidden inside an automatic answering system or a group of anonymous people that controls it in the backstage. In all cases, participants have no chance at all to do more than posting or suggest cosmetic changes. Many contributors know Dave, others had the chance to be with him, and I am sure he IS a person. For me, this makes a difference. Anything that is posted at the MoHPC Forum must be taken as being post at a person’s private 'e-place', not exactly a public Yahoo group. And we all know that some discussion groups out there impose all sorts of rules and restrictions, while others are free for posting anything. In both cases, we can find either almost no activity or plenty of junk. Here we may have found some unusual activities, but I mostly believe that the simple fact that we are talking too much about them is encouraging such activities. ‘Do not feed the troll!’ might be a good idea if we all do that. If we do not give them attention, they´ll simply get lost...

Quote:
The temptation of saying "Gee, if you don't like it as it is, go elsewhere !" seems to be unavoidable.
Leaving when it is no longer a pleasure to stay is, in fact, my own behavior, not exactly my reaction. I mean, if I do not feel comfortable reading about something, I’d rather try reading something else. What I have in mind is that reading is a deliberate action, and it is quite different of, for example, listening, as we all obviously know. If someone bothers you by generating unpleasant noise, you may definitely complain about that, but I would never complain for the fact that I read something I did not like to read. I deliberately turn my computer on, open the www browser, key in hpmuseum.com, open the forum page and select what to read. How can I complain if everything I did, I did because I wanted to? If I do not like what I read, I try another thread. And here we find plenty of them filled with good stuff 8^)

Quote:
Hicks would prefer to have just that kind of opinions and points of view, but rather, if he's as intelligent as I deem him to be, he'd rather avoid submitting to flattery, which is always very tempting, and he'd rather have honest and sincere opinions which are intended for the best benefit of the forum and its quality, whether they're flattering or not. Many great men do gather a bunch of adulators around them (and I'm not saying that you or anyone else is such) and that's about the worse thing that may happen to them if they indulge on this, cutting the head of the proverbial messenger which brings not-so-flattering news.
You are right, my opinions and points are honest and sincere, I didn’t intend to flatter. In fact, there’s no need for flattery because, as you mention, Dave is intelligent enough to distinguish one for another. Again, I just believe everything works fine the way it is, no need for changing. I have already expressed my thoughts before, and they haven’t changed.

Quote:
I've never been such a person and never will be. I'll always state my very own sincere and honest opinion, come what may and like or not, without fear of retribution for doing so. Demonizing me or my point of view will only fall upon the ones making such statements, I couldn't be less concerned because I always have the ultimate freedom of deciding whether I want to participate in this forum or not.
Valentin, you may have noticed that in no other discussion (and threads) your points of view were questioned, in fact all I remember is that they actually caused big threads with more debate, reasoning and more questioning. Actually, I think that your way of expressing your thoughts cause people to go ahead and express themselves the way they believe is the best way, as you do, and I did here, too. And this is good!

Quote:
Mr. Hicks is much more intelligent and openminded than some people concede and I'm fully confident he will take any and all measures he sees fit.
I count on his intelligence, too.

Best regards.

Luiz (Brazil)


Edited: 12 Jan 2007, 2:54 p.m.

#53

I find that the threading option in the forum allows me to filter to a certain extent those messages I don't wish to see. And I have deliberately stayed out of the Ebay discussion.

If I could make one modest addition to Luiz's well reasoned and impassioned post; "If I could change something, I would change people's minds, not the forum", I would add, "If I could change something, I would change peoples actions, not the forum". I don't mind the periodic posting about EBay, and I learn a lot from guys such as Maddogcalcguy or whatever his posted name is. However, there is often a defensive posturing taken by the seller and this results in the escalation of the verbage - if I was a seller and so addressed I would most likely respond the same way - emotionally rather than rationally. The anonymity of the Internet is not always a beautiful thing.

Dave - the site is yours, the contributions such as they are, are ours. I would prefer that no change takes place, because as Luiz said, if the site begins to take too much time/money/emotional toll, you will shut it down - reluctantly of course, but...

#54

Hi, Luiz --

I'll add my support for what you stated. "Walter B" also made a few salient points that ought to be acknowledged.

Everyone should remember that the MoHPC Forum is a service that is provided by an individual without any specific cost, and that an poll is only advisory in nature. The host is under no obligation to make extra efforts to filter and segregate the topics of discussion, even if a system to do so could be perfected.

On the other hand, I would stress that people remember the term "Forum", and to refrain from using this space as a "bulletin board" or "chat room". Granted, no one has a fresh supply of substantial material to share at all times, but there ought to be *value* in each post one makes. Protracted arguments about what constitutes a "Lot" in an eBay auction and incessant complaining about a particular seller's practices (for example) provide no enduring value and only clutter up the Archives.

That said, the best way for people to maintain quality in the Forum is to impose self-discipline in their posts. The host is well within his purview to purge useless tangential discussions before they are preserved.

-- KS

#55

Luiz, you are (along with many here) one of the necessary atoms that make this site a gem. And in here you are not foreign, but appear to me to be quite native!

I also say the site itself seems fine as it is and let Dave do his thing.


#56

Hi, Dave,

First of all congratulations on building a follwing in principal if not agreement to and opinions of cliques and other self-appointed VIPs. Shows you what I know, I thought this was a company-supported forum, objective even in the face of open criticism. I have been actively participating for only a few months and have just recently sensed an atmosphere conducive to censorship. Friends have rushed to support you and to encourage you in this open forum, and that is as it should be.

I am forever amazed observing no less than the first ammendment to our own Constitution being taken for granted when it is confronted in private institutions like this forum. We are protected when we express our opinion. We may be granted a soap box, but we are not guaranteed an audience. As I see it in my short time here, you have provided the soap box. It's up to us to maintain legal, moral and ethical justification for it to coninue. If you decide to shut it down, I will simply quote Ann Ryand and say another "ATLAS SHRUGGED."


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