19 July, 2010

Question about the dot readership...

Hi all,

I was wondering - the dot editors have clearly been in a frenzy lately, publishing articles like it's nothing. We've restricted ourselves to 1 article a day at most - but they're often quite a read. I wonder what people think... Since we've turned of anonymous comments I don't see a lot of input from the community, and I'm wondering - do you guys and girls like the articles? Are there things we can improve? Is the frequency to high? Too low? And as usual - wanna help out?



  1. Hi,

    I tend to read all articles, and every now and then post comments. Most of the articles are quite good imho, I like the current developments so far. The articles actually rarely leave things for discussion. The same also applies to all planetKDE blogs. I also read them, and quite a few have no comments attached to them.

    Every now and then I post a "This is cool, great work!" like comment because I think people should be aware their work is appreciated - and I also notice the lack of responses. After a while, it does get boring to be the only one posting those things all the time. ;)

    Perhaps a "Like this" facebook button, or digg-style "x votes (up/down)" button would make it easier for readers to show their appreciation and make it more clear how the articles are received!

  2. I think it's nice to have some activity - it makes KDE feel more alive. I usually read the articles but I don't comment as I don't have anything to say.

    The artciles that are most interesting are the ones that introduce or preview programs. I would be glad if there were more of those. Also it would be nice to see some articles that set light on the future of KDE.

    But yeah, thanks for all of your hard work.

  3. Are there any figures on the number of page views per article available over a long-ish length of time (i.e. stretching at least past the time when anonymous comments were switched off)?

    I get the hunch that the #1 biggest source of user comment and discussion was the now-defunct Commit Digest, but since Danny has disappeared (and hasn't, as far as I can tell, handed over any of the scripts for collecting stats, calculating buzz, etc) this source has been removed.

    To be frank: although disabling anonymous comments pruned down the amount of outright trolling and blood-pressure raising stupidity (and yes, I mean "trolling and stupidity" and not "constructive criticism" for anyone reading who is unable to tell the difference), a source of genuinely useful and interesting comments and discussions has also been removed, leaving the Dot as an absolute wasteland. The articles are still good, though, but the discussion of the articles (kinda like a book club! :)) has always been a vital component for me and the Dot feels ... empty, without it.

    PS - apologies if this comes through more than once: I'm having some issues with your comment form ...

  4. I was just pondering the same thing - I've been trying to think of some flameworthy article to get a bit of discussion going ;-)

    Well, it would be great to have some articles about lesser known programs - Luca and I am hoping to do some about various science apps but there is plenty more out there. So if you're using a program that isn't well known but you think is cool then why not write about it?

    Some kind of feedback button as Diederik and Thomas mention (even if the scores were only visible to editors, though personally I think public would be fine) would certainly help us see what is liked and disliked.

  5. I'm miss the flame-war :). Most the articles are good. If I want to discuss thing, I will go to the forum.kde.org.

  6. Also, while I'm at it - I really wish developers wouldn't use kdedevelopers.org as their blogging platform for much the same reason: no anonymous comments, *and* a sign-up procedure that's renowned for being flaky. Devs are free to choose a platform that doesn't allow anonymous comments, of course, but I get the impression that many simply choose kdedevelopers.org because that's what everyone else chooses, not realizing that it hugely cuts down on the amount of feedback (of any kind) they'll get (compare and contrast the amount of feedback Trueg got before and after his switch away from kdedevelopers.org).

  7. The quality of the articles is great, that's not the problem (with the exception of the lack of commit digests).

    +1 for reenabling anonymous comments - and I'm registered!
    Preventing the occasional flamewar is not worth the emptiness that's been prevalent ever since the change. There just haven't been any real discussions on there anymore - I think this has seriously affected our feeling of being a community.

    And unfortunately the forums aren't used for discussion either - there are only 3 types of people there: People who search help/make wishes, people who rant, and a few extremely committed people that try to satisfy the other 2 kinds. Something's got to change.

  8. +1 for anon comments, I agree with onety-three completely.

  9. One problem I see with all that login via OpenID stuff is, that there is no way to get an OpenID account from KDE. Therefore you often have to go to a third party (which I do not know, nor trust, nor want to invest time to built up a trusty relationship with) just to post on KDE sides. I think this is a pity since this really cuts down the community feedback at least from my experience as a user who from time to time wants to answer never does.

    Apart from this, thanks for the great dot-stories.

  10. And a side-note: "anon" comments means "no sign-up required in order to post", not just "can elect to post anonymously after signing up" :)

    Can someone contact Danny Allen and ask if he can turn over his Digest scripts (no matter what state they're in) and publicly ask for people to take over the Digest in his stead? I seem to recall him mentioning some software he's working on called "Enzyme" for producing Digests (hehe :)), but this is quite a while back which would lower the barrier to starting it up again, but this was quiet a while back.

  11. "Login or register to post comments"
    That's probably why. I know thats why I don't bother to comment. I hate registering everywhere. It's as annoying as flash commercials were before adblock.
    If we want more comments on the dot, an easy way of doing it is allowing anonymous posts.
    Everybody on the internet that has visited youtube knows that there are stupid disrespectful people out there, and there you even have to register!
    I would any time prefer a model with anonymous posts and vote modding (like/don't like this post). That way, the troll posts are quickly collapsed.

  12. I like the articles and I am very happy about the higher frequency. I rarely comment on them, but I am very happy that anonymous comments are blocked. There was so much crap, silly flamewars and plain rudeness on the Dot until about a year ago that made it a pain to even click on the articles knowing what would come.

    All I hope is that the frequency is not too high, so that you wonderful authors don't have burn-out and keep us happy with ever more articles. :)

    Great work!

    Btw. if you have stats about reading the articles, you should consider that some people may read them in Google Reader or similar programs, whose 'visit' to the site doesn't get recorded.

  13. I think the comments were great fun to read ...

  14. Want more community feedback? Simple:

    1) Unify forums.kde.org, bugs.kde.org, kdedevelopers.org and dot.kde.org to only require one single account. (Could even be associated with kde developer (svn) accounts. Might make it possible to show little icons next to comments indicating whether the commenter is a KDE developer, active community member, guest, etc.)

    2) Re-enable anonymous commenting on dot.kde.org

  15. It might help visibility of the dot articles were also visible on planetkde. Having the articles split between two different sites is kind of a hassle, and since planetkde tends to get more content I usually just read it. I think it would increase the visibility of the dot articles if they appeared on planetkde.

  16. I love the dot and I check it daily with a browser. It is as important to me as a local newspaper.

    I used to comment more, it's true, but I think I kept repeating myself a little too much. In general what I would say on practically every single post remains "Great work! Can't wait! Thanks!"

  17. I love the dot! I think the articles are great and you guys are doing a wonderful job. As for the frequency, I think that having new articles often is the way to keep people going back to check it out. I now get the announcements of new articles via RSS so it does not make a big difference to me, but if you are someone who opts for going directly to the website to check it out, the higher the frequency of new articles the more often you will go back to the page. I know that there is a trade-off with how much work it takes to publish an article, so I would say that the current frequency is ok, although to the extent possible I would aim for one new article each day, so that people who check out the site daily are not disappointed.

    Regarding the content, I would love it if beyond pure news the dot contained occasional op-ed kind of articles about the direction of KDE, ideas for the future, or other relevant issues for the community. These types of articles might encourage people who have something to say to be more pro-active about commenting, with which we could have meaningful discussions at the same time that we avoid the low-effort trolling that is possible with anonymous comments.

    You ended your post with a call for help. What type of help is needed? I would be happy to be more involved if there is anything I can do.

  18. Personally I always loved reading the commit digests on the Dot that gave me - a non coder, user - an idea of what features were coming up and making progress. It always got me excited to see the feature I'd been reading about for X months. Because the digest covered many different apps, there was almost always something to look forward to.

    I find the current articles largely seem to be interviews or recaps of events, neither of which feels like it really impacts me as a user. I deeply miss the excitement of finding out how my software is going to get better, every week.

    BTW, like other posters above, I always try to encourage good work with a positive comment... unless it's on KDEdevelopers.org. It's just too painful (and I even tried to register...twice).

    Anyway, thanks for your work promoting KDE, Jos, and for your thought provoking blog posts. Always an inspiring read. :)

  19. @Jos:

    Is there going to be a follow-up to this blog? Looks like lots of people have made some valuable suggestions, from stuff about the Commit Digest; stuff about kdedevelopers.org and its drawbacks; etc. At the moment, it feels like you've asked for suggestions, the community has made them, and then they've all been tipped down a black hole :(

  20. I will most certainly make sure this won't be a black hole. Count on a blog post sometime next week, I'm just too busy right now...

  21. I think its really very nice to have such an activity!!
    Manuka honey


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