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I've previously raved about [Raw Art]. It now looks like the next wave of performers are coming through:
My favourite is Olena Biambasuren & Svetlana Kolodiy.
I recall searching Youtube for the names of performers I found on the Raw Art Facebook page a couple of years ago. I found a video of two very young teenage girls doing an early version of this act, but unfortunately I can't find it now.
When I first glanced at the YouTube title I thought it said "Juggling on motorcycles", and now I wish we still had Archaos :(
Doesn't Laci Endresz juggle on a motorcycle now? Actually I think it's a motor-trike - basically a juggling-on-horseback act but on a platform on the back of the trike.
But no argument from me re Archaos. BTW there are a couple of 'full shows' of Archaos on Youtube, for those who need a memory-fix.
Pah, once you've seen Michael Davis juggle on a motorcycle, why keep looking?
This is not a typical forum. There's no way to edit or delete posts. It forces you to think carefully before posting. Perhaps Orinoco can delete posts if you ask nicely.
Except when they get edited anyway - during/dying.
It's a perfectly reasonable decision of course, in a most sensitive situation, but let's not pretend that the past is always preserved like flies in amber for all to see.
Not sure what you are alluding to here. I've certainly not edited anything posted by our deceased friends.
The extent of altering posts on the Edge that I've done:
Correcting copious amounts of broken links & html, mostly in the early days of the Edge. Very little of that nowadays.
Deleting of duplicate posts.
Removal of a quote attributed to someone using their professional title that that person claimed they didn't say & didn't want to be associated with.
Correction of some names, facts etc. in two of my festival reviews.
Changing the attribution of some posts to Anonymous (a compromise as the user wanted them deleted but I don't think it is fair to break threads that others have participated in).
The only other person who can do anything on Small talk is Mïark who only deletes duplicate posts.
I believe he's referring to the one word change made to http://jugglingedge.com/smalltalk.php?ThreadID=2137&SmallID=15533#Small15533 - correcting what mini typed to what he clearly meant to type.
Mïark might have corrected a typo by Mini to avoid any ambiguity in a sensitive thread and a wrong postcode by Monte to avoid people going to the wrong place, but other than that I don't think he has edited anything else in the past few months.
Well done. I think that the amount of editing of posts is at just the right level.
To be clear, I don't have a problem with editing, I think it should be available to all, and I'm also content with the running of The Edge, with the exception that I find "Because mistakes are good, they show people who we are" mildly disingenuous unless you append "except when they don't".
There is occasional discontinuity between the aspiration and the actuality that I feel should be acknowledged. A practical method of post hoc revision would be preferable.
My mistakes are still clearly visible here, here & here (turns out it was 3 reviews not 2). Plus I've also deleted some broken internal links in 4 different threads by marking them as deleted in a similar way.
I have broken my rule once & Void has kindly made it clear that I have done so.
Mïark, totally & completely happy with the changes you've made, I'm sure I probably would have done the same had I got there first. In future though could you please use the <del> tag to mark whatever bit of text you may be changing as deleted. I just think it is more transparent that way. Ta!
Beloved Ben Beever
It is with immense sadness and shock that i learned yesterday of the tragic death of Ben Beever.
If you are anything like me, your first reaction will be of total disbelief.
He fell from his balcony at home in chorlton in the early hours of saturday morning.
Emergency services were unable to save him and he died without regaining consciousness.
He had spent the evening with his flatmates.
I last saw Ben the night before for a hugely enjoyable game of bridge.
A huge number of you will have been profoundly touched by Ben throughout the years we have known him.
His influence has been immeasurable in the juggling and bridge worlds as well as his many many other activities.
I shall miss him so much. In bridge at least, he was my North, my South, my East and West.
After talking with his mum,Pru,today, i have learned that the funeral will take place in Chorlton, Manchester.
The date and time are not yet known but everybody is welcome to attend and i will post details as soon as available.
Nigel Schaay can be contacted at nigel [@] juggler.net for any co-ordination efforts of people wanting to attend.
Ben, you were nuts in several ways, but great fun to know, a juggling innovator and inspiration to so many. Goodbye.
Alex and I spent time with him in the sauna this year at Bungay, we had a lovely chat. I didn't know him well but he was a constant and cheery feature at so many conventions I've been to, and a damn fine juggler as well. We'll miss him.
This is ghastly news. I got to know Ben pretty well over the last few Bristol/Broxford conventions and am greatly saddened to read this. I will miss him as I'm sure will many others. His great good humour and friendliness made him more than just an outstanding juggler.
Oh for fucks sakes, if my juggler mates have to keep doing this, could it at least be the old ones? This is all kinds of tragic. Hairy, I have absolutely no idea what sort of shape your head must be in right now but just call me if you need a chunter any time.
I'm shaking. Vale Ben.
My deep sympathy to Bens family and close friends.
I knew Ben to speak to at conventions and always enjoyed his company, but I wouldn't say we were close.
I will miss him.
In shock. Ben was basically my juggling hero, obviously a great inspiration to me and a friend. I would often get mistaken for him at conventions. I'll miss him a lot.
Ben and I corresponded many times, about his siteswap book and other related juggling geekery. I only met him the once but he left a deep impression. Feeling for his family and close friends. He will truly be missed.
I don't want to believe it.
I only knew Ben from brief chats at a handful of conventions. Such a diversely talented man, I don't think we ever once talked about juggling. He was always lots of fun & charmingly humble.
Thanks for letting us know Hairy. Hope you are ok.
Over the past 2 years i have known
2 Cancer victims
1 Brain tumor
1 Liver failure
1 Heart attack
and now one accidental death.
These are people who where friends, associates, or in the peripheral of my vision, but every one of them in some way touched me, some even helped shape me.
I am bored of death now. selfish as that sounds. Grieving is tiring
can everyone please, please restrict their deaths to taking place by natural causes due to being really really old.
Oh no! This is sad news :(.
I have met Ben only once, but had great fun jumping trampoline together (of all things....)
Oh shit. I got to know Ben first through poker and later through playing table tennis. In all the time I've known him I never once saw any sign of malice. Such a sweet guy and a real free spirit.
Hairy I can't imagine how you must be feeling, ring me if you need to talk.
I had 5 games of table tennis (Ben 5 Monte 0) and a couple of cups of tea at this years Bungay. I wish now I had spent more time with him.
Ben Beever I loved you and will miss you dearly.
Backyard Russian swing, for shits, giggles, and early-onset arthritis.
Rather splendid bit of DIY circus kit which enables someone to jump over a house.
Full making of video here.
Nicked from this reddit thread - https://www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/3c33mq/wut/
I tried parkour in my dreams once and smashed both my kneecaps.
I tried parkour in real life once, I tried to run over some bollards, I slipped on the third one and hit the back of my head on the second one.
A co-worker of mine recently broke his foot trying a front flip. I still want to learn how to do backflips.
The Green Eggs Report for June 2015 is now available. Last month 69 people made 758 posts containing 114 links. See past reports.
5 events have new trivia: BBU16, 5th European Juggling Convention, 4th European Juggling Convention, 11th European Juggling Convention, 6th European Juggling Convention.
I just noticed, the green eggs report doesn't show the amount of new topics created in the month. Might be an interesting number to hold next to the amount of posts!
For conditional statements, shouldn't "were" be used, even in the singular case?
(Either that or I'm missing a reference to something)
I am missing the reference too, 1729 is an interesting number according to Srinivasa Ramanujan  but I am not sure why this is relevant to Marvin (but then I have not read the Marvin's adventure books or seen the films - just heard part of the radio series).
I think you are right about the were in the conditional case — unless there is a special Marvin exception.
The reasons are not specific to Marvin, but rather to the view of interesting or uninteresting numbers, which my view of Marvin says he might care about.
Yes. I have it on unknown authority that were is here one of the few (only?) cases of the subjunctive in English. I don't know if that's true.
As far as I'm away, "If it was," would be wrong here, and I must say that I had expected most pedants to agree.
I offer a full and unashamed apology to ^Tom_ for mistakenly thinking there was a fault in his post and thank Mike for helping bringing this to light.
Oi! Pedant! If you were found out then you should apologise to the nice gentleman right now!
A pedant losing a nitpick is every bit as delicious as cat surrendering its dignity. Good work Mike.
New option for post display
Go to Settings > Post display. Your new choices are: 'Show post content first' or 'Show meta info first'. While this is wrong & marks the decline of the Edge it will play nice with the various post collapsing options.
I've deliberately kept out of the big discussion that is going on but I've been keeping a very close track of what is being said. I think it's good that people are venting frustrations, I think the fact that people are passionate enough to care is a good thing. I really appreciate all the feedback both good & bad, & I thank everyone for all the compliments too.
I think a number of people think Luke is attacking the Edge but I really don't think this is the case. Luke is saying he likes the content but doesn't like the presentation, but he understands that the content is a product of the presentation. A frustration that I can sympathise with. I have a similar relationship with Facebook. I find using Facebook almost physically painful, but I use it because it is the only way I can communicate with some of my friends.
When I closed down Big talk I thought very hard for a long time about renaming Small talk to simply 'forum'. The word forum is still generally understood to mean a public place for people to gather & communicate that we've had since the Roman empire. However, through use on the internet it has come to mean PHPBB (& clones). Which I think is a great shame because there is so much experimentation that could be done with forum software but this is stifled by overwhelming preconceptions of what a forum should be. I still think of Small talk as a permanent chatroom. There is a definite split between people who 'get' what that means & people who don't. I try my best to accomodate those who don't get it because there really is no viable alternative (Although perhaps Object Episodes will be that alternative?), but I'm doing so without adversely affecting the Edge's emphasis on content above all else.
I hope people understand that the Edge is a tiny niche site. I'm trying to win attention from behemoth attention grabbing sites like Facebook, Twitter & Reddit. There have been many juggling related PHPBB variant forums that have been & gone (you'd think we'd learn from that :P) so I believe I have no choice but to be different. Following the herd is simply not an option for me. There is very little about the Edge that is not present or absent by design. I spent over 2 hours deliberating over simply changing 'lost password' to 'reset password' for example. Putting the meta information last was a very deliberate decision made very early on that I believe has many positive effects which I've talked about before. I've added this latest option because it is the one stand out feature from the Object Episodes thread that seems to be causing the most friction but if quality dips this option is coming straight back out again!
There will be other changes coming but slowly & very carefully. I think it is obvious to all now that the Edge has grown to a stage where making any change will delight someone & anger another.
Despite everything that has been said, from my experience of running the Edge I don't believe forum software is anywhere near as important as people think. Object Episodes is the first new juggling website that I've felt 'threatened' by, but certainly not because of Discourse.
Thanks for keeping us updated. But I haven't been on the edge for too long, so may I ask what big talk was?
Another forum page, but only for serious deep discussions. So deep, that if you wanted to post, you were forced to give yourself 24h to rethink your message :). It was an interesting concept, but didn't really add much..
As I first understood it, Big was for the weightier discussion with fuller more thought out posts, while Small was more in the style of b3ta etc: somewhere where it's not so important to read everything - Small posts would be shorter, more conversational, more contemporaneous, but still less transient than a chat format while Big would be the place where it would have been seemed important to keep track of everything. The puzzle of how to get people to use Big talk in a different way was never really answered, which is why it is no more.
But that was when the IJDb was still running and the Edge was another place, not the lifeboat it became. The Edge caught a lot of people looking for an IJDb replacement, which in a way is of course a Good Thing, but I think it's also caused confusion somewhere between the site's intended direction and the users' perceived/desired intended direction. Though now I've said all that, I don't think I have a clear idea what that direction should be!
And I just used the post button which is currently at the top of my posts. Wrong. I'll be setting that back to how it was!
I too changed to the new setting for about 20 seconds before switching back.
Jon, this new "feature" of having a setting to change the position of a line of text and links from one place to another is a perfect example of why I haven't given feedback like this in the past. You put in work to change it, added options and stuff, but the solution was never going to be anything to do with moving or adding to a line of text and links with more text and links. Asking users to make choices between their least un-favourite non-functionality isn't a design solution, it's the opposite of a design solution.
No it isn't fun. That's my point. Which is why I didn't want to tell someone with a totally different design sensibility than mine that I think most of his choices are ugly. And why I also said the site is holding up fine as it is now for those who use it, and big changes aren't needed. I don't want half hearted changes, I want a consistent and unified vision of the site, even if those design choices don't align with mine, because at least then I can put on a different brain when using the site and it all makes sense. Falling half way between what Jon wants and what I want leads to compromises like what he just implemented, which is ends up being just shit.
And in case anyone thinks I'm being too harsh, Jon agrees with me. He said up in that first post:
"While this is wrong & marks the decline of the Edge..."
I'm just agreeing with Jon. Him making changes based on my feedback is wrong and marks a decline.
"Him making changes based on my feedback is wrong and marks a decline."
Jon is this true? I always thought you welcomed feedback.
I honestly don't see how it's a decline. Making iterative changes based on user feedback is a staple of Lean Software Development which is becoming more widely adopted at startups and have been proven to be quite successful in the industry.
I think that changing a few things based on user feedback is fine, but adding new features or options based on a few users is not always good because it leads to feature creep and over-complexity.
I'll agree with feature creep. I've enough issues with that at work where we have features all over the place, most configurable, but barely documented... and then over 28 different permutations for our various customers! As long as it's managed sensibly it's fine... but in a company where legacy code is rampant, it's a nightmare :(
No, I was being facetious. A fact Luke may have missed due to this forum's lack of graphical smiley support. I have found some truly awful looking images & will be working on that tonight.
I do always welcome feedback & I made this change based on feedback from Daniel, who explicitly asked for this feature a number of weeks ago (& he certainly wasn't the first), plus Richard who also explicitly asked for it, then Dee, Chris & yourself who all voiced agreement with it. This represents a sizeable proportion of the active contributors to this site which tells me it is worth offering the option. I have not changed anything for all the lurkers who vastly outnumber members because I want the majority of people to view this site how I want them to see it. Luke has not requested or said anything other than he doesn't like the format.
There are lots of features I have refused & can't see myself ever implementing - avatars, signatures, thread titles, categorisation of threads, editing posts for example, all of which will fundamentally change the dynamic of the site. There are many more. There are lots of features on the Edge that I don't personally like but have implemented but only really because I've been able to do so in a way that doesn't adversely affect the essence of the Edge. These features are notably the index view (which is absolutely the wrong way to use this site!), timed toss juggling records, the WYSIWYG & Markdown post composition methods, allowing contact details to be optional in the clubs & events sections. There may or may not have been features on this site that I have implemented purely to prove that they won't work. This may be one of them, who knows?!
I myself use the 'parent on top' version, that has the rest of the metadata below. I do want to know who wrote something, posts just don't make much sense to me without that context, but I like the reply button underneath ;)
Ooh, that sounds exactly what I'd like.... do you have a link to the style sheet needed for that?
I've switched to showing meta data first and probably won't switch back. Thanks.
I'm trying to understand exactly what your talking about. Though you're right it's not design, it's UX.
"Putting the meta information last was a very deliberate decision made very early on that I believe has many positive effects which I've talked about before"
I think I missed that discussion (or forgot it) - can you direct me to it, or briefly summarise?
I like having the poster name first. I'm not so bothered about the rest of the meta data - which probably actually makes more sense at the end of the post - is that the reasoning?
Briefly, I believe what is said is more important than who says it. Having names & avatars encourages people to pick out & only read posts from their friends or internet celebrities. It doesn't encourage you to get to know new people or challenge your preconceived ideas. Only picking out the people you want to read is like only watching Fox news. Skipping over new people or people you don't know is simply disrespectful which doesn't lead to a cohesive community. Without having any initial information of who wrote what you are forced to make an initial judgement based on the content rather than the author.
That's a good point, of which I never even considered people do! Personally since I have a hard time understanding what people write I find it helps to know who wrote it first so I can get load their quirks before parsing (I think similar to what Luke said about reading various peoples convention reviews).
I think the anonymous-ish system can break down at scale, when you start to attract people who are trollish or generally engaging in undesirable behaviour that needs discouraging.
The idea that everyone's contributions are equally valuable, presented in good faith and should be read as such makes a lot of sense in a small community, but it tends to break down in a larger one, because bad actors take advantage of it. At that scale, having stronger identity (even if pseudonymous) places a premium on reputation, which discourages assholery and makes it easier to detect trolls when they show up.
Luckily, not a problem we have here right now, thank goodness for that.
But when you scale even further (eg /. and reddit's largest subs), then you no longer have much chance at judging based on usernames.
The "community" is then so big, that users might as well be anonymous.
It's no surprise that both systems mentioned have some sort of user "moderation", where moderation is less about editing or removing content, but rather helping to filter signal above noise, or to remove noise from signal (where "noise" is usually trollish or unpopular viewpoint, and "signal" is usually some joke or funny picture).
Reddit is an absolutely fascinating example of community failure at large scale, I think! It also has an even larger scale problem, in that you can discuss whether an individual sub is a well functioning community according to that sub's own set of "values", but then there's the issue of whether that's functioning well as a part of the whole. I.e. /r/creepshots or whatever it was, you could say that was well functioning on its own terms, but extremely harmful to Reddit as a whole.
Luckily the actual physical juggling community is small enough that I don't think it's possible to scale up that many orders of magnitude.
I agree - I was just making the point that small to medium sized community transitions might need to do one thing, but medium to large will almost certainly have different problems and different solutions.
I was also thinking more of reddit as a platform - designed to work with communities of a certain size, rather than the community itself.
I think the design choices of Reddit greatly inform the nature of the communities that end up there, like water takes on the shape of the container you put it in. (yes I know, not all subreddits, etc etc).
So there's some interesting commonalities and emergent behaviour caused by the design, and I think that does very much give Reddit a personality as a whole, and that personality is repulsive, despite the odd mostly pleasant corner.
I think it's particularly interesting that the early-internet-days emphasis on the technological paradise of "freedom of speech" has shaped a lot of early communities into places where you have the opposite of freedom of speech, because it turns out that nasty fuckers (and also karma trolls) shout the loudest and drown out everyone else. It's like aiming for this goal can literally cause the opposite thing to happen. The emergent behaviours of the internet are fascinating.
I bet you wish you hadn't started this thread now ...
I'm gonna chip in a contrarian opinion here, but first a disclaimer: I've never much liked The Edge's layout and that has contributed to me using it rather less than I ever did rec.juggling, so I'm not actually a refusenik but it's fair to say it has never sat particularly well with me.
Now, to the beef:-
Why on earth are you trying to engineer/influence the style of discourse? Why do you not possess the confidence to allow the established community here to develop their own preferred ways of communicating here? I really don't understand why you feel the need to nudge the membership this way and that. I don't see why you should suppress, for instance, the hypothetical desire of users to scan posts by looking at avatars? I hate avatars btw, but I acknowledge the right of other people to choose to use them, and that is also true of how I feel about attempts to engineer the way people use things.
The Edge is already the most verbose, most considered, and - dare I say it - most British forum don'cha know, what what? I can't think of a membership less in need of social engineering.
I understand your aspirations for the way The Edge works; I don't understand why that entails implicitly stifling other emergent behaviours. Personally I would prefer it done the way the Dutch make footpaths - build the infrastructure, leave people to beat down their preferred route, then build the paths - they are called 'desire lines' or 'desire paths' I believe.
I'm having a vaguely similar argument in another place, and my feeling there is also that it's okay to encourage behaviour, but not to require it - if you want a mature community then trust your participants.
Disclaimer 2: I think you've done a great job here and I'm grateful for it. There are good reasons why it's not entirely my cup of tea and I'm completely comfortable with that, as I'm sure you are with what I hope is another dollop of constructive criticism to throw on the pile.
Thanks for reading.
I think shaping discourse on sites like this is 100% vital. Design decisions make all the difference between somewhere that you can have a decent discussion, somewhere that you go to post cat pictures and LOL, and somewhere that you go to engage in vicious snark and piss all over everyone else.
To put it another way, the discourse is shaped by the site design whether you like it or not, and ignoring that fact is just absolving responsibility for the results.
As an example, Orin has done a remarkable job of discouraging spammers and drive by trolls, and it's a direct result of these efforts that we can have this discussion now. The desire lines of the internet lead directly to penis enlargement adverts. Sorry.
My thoughts exactly. It's not just design either, it's the content I post & when I post it, it's responding to users quickly, it's handling all the people who ignore the big red warning message when they use the contact form, it's tracking down & getting information from people who hide within Facebook for people who can't get hold of them & considerably more besides.
Clackers, what sites do you use that you think don't influence discourse through design? What do you think the difference is between my efforts to influence discussion through design & your work as a moderator at r/juggling?
Thank you both for appreciating my efforts.
Forgive me if I make a few points in no particular order :-
I'm a lazy fecker and I've always tried to keep /r/juggling down to a minimum of effort for me. Although we have a small mod team, in practice I do the greater share of the trifling amount of mod work. And to be honest it represents a tiny amount of effort, mostly assigning link flair, and approving the majority of spam messages (of which there are typically single digits each month) which prove to be falsely flagged. I've always tried to draw a clear line between moderation and curation, and in my time as a mod there I have not had to deal with any issue I would regard as more than trifling.
The small community there has formed itself, with little input from me other than the occasional appeal to users not to report stuff they simply don't like - lookin' atchoo Norbi, with your circus shorts - and instead exercise a bit of self-moderation. I think it's a reddit-type place which appeals to a certain kind of conversation which might not readily translate to other sites, but it really is pleasantly surprising how well it regulates itself and manages to achieve a high s/n ratio.
In short I have tried to prevent things which are unequivocally out of order, but otherwise take a very laissez-faire approach and allow the sub to develop its own character. Thus far it seems to have worked after a fashion - it's not exciting or controversial or high-traffic, but it rubs along nicely.
2. The Edge
In the case of The Edge you have explained your careful thinking about what general behaviours you wish to encourage, for example in the way that people should be nudged towards reading deeply before seeking a reply button, yet we have examples of users who find that a minor frustration. Consequently there is a dissonance there - you trying to promote thoughtful perusal vs. users with their own aspirations. It implies that the corpus of users does not entirely share your vision, even if they approve of the general intent. But please be aware that these criticisms are very gentle, The Edge is not on its last legs or anything.
3. The effect of design
I cannot provide an example of a truly neutral environment and I regard it as pretty much a given that site design will influence the way users interact, and therefore the kind of users who choose to do so, but in my opinion that doesn't mean that a forum should actively set out to shape the discourse. As far as possible it is preferable to subtract only that which is plainly out of scope, but not necessarily to guide the thing in a particular direction.
rec.juggling is/was a great example - newsreaders were just too bloody difficult for many people to wrap their heads around until the IJDb came along and made it accessible. It turned out that r.j the forum was actually really good, but r.j the newsgroup interface not so much. In neither case, USENET being USENET, was there any guidance exerted over the direction of the group other than by its users, and the design differences of the two interfaces were thrown into stark relief when r.j withered the moment the IJDb keeled over. And even so the r.j example suggests that design had more of an effect on usability than on use.
And Big Talk was another example. You invited users to behave in a certain way, they tried it for a while but it didn't really work out, it got pulled and we all moved on. To my mind that was an excellent piece of evolution in which a space was created for a purpose but it proved not to be effective enough because of members' failure to occupy the Big Talk space.
Emily also strongly supports the guiding hand of design but I find her rather bleak outlook unfamiliar unless you make a point of visiting /b/, stormfront, /r/gonewild, rotten.com, YouTube comment threads, or no end of phpBB rant groups, it's just not my experience of lightly regulated special interest groups.
I guess the key difference is that I find it very difficult to justify imposing an ethos, while you find it a little difficult not to; you have a vision of what The Edge should strive to be, whereas I worry about what you might unwittingly be stifling.
Did you know that I read very little of what goes into /r/juggling? It turns out I'm much more mod than user, because I find it more interesting that way I guess. Did you also know that I at least skim pretty much every post on The Edge? Granted it is very often the most perfunctory skimming - bad Clackpot, naughty Clackpot! - yet it still attracts my eye far more than the place I oversee.
Did you know that /r/juggling is going backwards fast right now? Neither did I until I went and looked at the traffic stats while writing this post. It was bumbling along nicely for a good while and then for some reason pageviews and uniques have dipped very markedly since the turn of the year, like on the order of 50%. I have no idea why, and to be honest I don't much care - I'd much rather think that it was a small community relevant to its few users (which I believe it is) than a large one full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. My impression is that The Edge is similar, we can both leave the dick-waving to Juggling Rock and so on :-P
These factoids are not intended to lead to any conclusion.
Um, that was a long post. Please share/subscribe/like/+1/upvote if you have read this far!
I've not strayed into the territory of making my own suggestions for The Edge - but markdown and editable posts would be a fucking godsend - and I've really enjoyed the opportunity to thrash out my own ideas into a semi-coherent form. That's a win by Edge standards innit? I'd x-post this to /r/juggling but I'm really not sure I can see the point.
Over and out.
A well thought out & interesting post with lots to think about, a definite win in my book. Thank you for taking the time.
Couple of minor points:
The idea that rec.juggling died with the IJDb came up on Object Episodes too, but rec.juggling was declining in popularity a few years before the IJDb closed down.
Markdown is already an available option, see under Settings > Post composition.
I must admit that when I put the IJDb together there was much less competition, I'm pretty sure that the only active discussion forum was rec.juggling with people using dedicated usenet news software to access it. I only had two real choices for how to bring discussion to the IJDb website, (1) create my own phpBB backed forum, or (2) try to bring rec.juggling to the web.
As I was already an active member of r.j. (2) was the only decent option. This required writing a lot of code, which was an added bonus ;-)
The fact that I was building on top of USENET news very much shaped the interface I created. Discussions had to be threaded, and tree-like. People were used to being able to mark articles as read, etc ...
Things are very different now, we have a much better understanding of user experience and how to design effective web interfaces. Furthermore, you don't have to build nearly as much from scratch these days. There are some really great forum solutions (discourse is one of them), you no longer have to build your own authentication solutions, technologies like bootstrap allow you to tame CSS, ...
While it is easier to build basic websites these days, user expectations are much greater, thanks to the likes of Facebook.
Anyhow, I'm rambling a little now.
I think comparing Small Talk to Discourse and Jay's new site is a little unfair. From what I understand Orinoco has quite different design principles, and a number of the Small Talk users agree. This is very much a personal thing.
I do however think that the usability of this forum could be improved, without compromising its minimalist approach. A better site to compare this forum to is Hacker News:
I think one general area where Small Talk falls down a little is conventions. Users are inherently lazy, we like familiarity and patterns. It's much better if your forum follows a user's mental model of how forums work, rather than them having to learn the way your forum system works.
A few quick points ...
+ When someone has read a forum message and wants to perform some form of action, what is this most likely to be? reply! Currently you display "Parent, Reply, Bookmark, Mark as unread" in that order.
+ I rarely want to know the exact date and time that a message has been posted, rather, just how recent it is. Interfaces that display 'posted just now', '1 hour ago', '3 days ago' are much easier to comprehend (time calculations are hard to do in your head!)
+ I'm not convinced that tree-like forum structures are the best. As discussions fragment it can be much harder to navigate the various leaves.
I'd be happy to provide some more suggestions.
Anyhow, great job, keep it up!
I've not seen Hacker News before. Initially the layout is great, however they commit the heinous crime of using a character that is usually associated with being able to "rollup"/"hide"/"accordion"/"fold" posts, which would aid in making their theading more readable. This is a major feature of the edge that really helps reading long content when being dyslexic.
Agreed about the time. Especially when we have people all over the world using the Edge, it's nice to have a "lazy" time display at least for a day or two. There are loads of JS libraries that would do it simply.
When someone has read a forum message and wants to perform some form of action, what is this most likely to be? reply! Currently you display "Parent, Reply, Bookmark, Mark as unread" in that order.
I've recorded what links get clicked & you would be completely wrong!
The most used links by far are the 'Next unread' when available followed by 'Mark as read' (or the user double clicks the bottom right quadrant of the message).
Most users tend to hover their mouse over the main navigation of a web page but because I don't really have much (another conscious design choice), because most people are right handed, because most (all?) browsers put their scroll bars on the right & because post content often forms an 'F' shape leaving a blank space ripe for double/long clicking in the bottom right hand corner of each post Edge users tend to hover their pointer on the right hand side of the screen. Phone/tablet users hold their device in their left hand & perform gestures with their dominant right hand, or they hold their phone in their right hand & have to reach from the right hand side with their thumb. So having the most important links last & therefore closer to the right turns out to be more efficient for mouse users & means touch device users don't have to cover the screen with their hand when they reach over to the left of the screen. I should have that line of text right aligned but because of the changing nature of what links can appear a left aligned paragraph results in more consistent positioning.
Positioning important links first is not always optimal, for further evidence of this hands up everyone who has only recently discovered the existence of the 'Parent' link!
Through common use I believe these two links are used on autopilot. Although the 'Previous read' & 'Mark thread as read' links are rarely used they are positioned with these links by association of function.
The next most popular links are 'Parent' (in spite of its apparent inconspicuousness) then 'Reply'. These two actions are comparatively rare, so by the time the user has decided to make one of these actions they have already snapped out of autopilot & are looking for the controls to perform the new action. When looking for something new you generally start from the beginning which is why these two links are first & second after the permalink, name & timestamp (which are first by convention).
Eagle eyed Edgenaughts may have noticed that the Parent & Reply links have swapped places a few times over the lifetime of the Edge!
The 'Bookmark' link is by far the least important link which is why it is in the least important position in the middle. People often remember the first & last act in a show, the same principal applies to controls.
Even if there is a more optimal configuration though it is too late to change because users have become accustomed to the positions of these links, & any change to the meta info causes a lot of turmoil.
It's interesting you mention the importance of the timestamps. I never use them unless I'm debugging myself. I can easily judge the freshness by the fact that it is new so it will have been posted in the last 24 hours, but I can see how for less regular visitors wouldn't have this feel for the conversation. Do you perceive messages posted 'just now' differently from those posted an hour ago? If so how & why?
On your last point as time goes on I strangely find myself agreeing. When I first started the vast majority of the audience I wanted to attract had long been championing fully threaded discussion as the best format so it was the only choice. This is very unlikely to ever change though because it would fundamentally alter the dynamic of the site.
This is what fascinates me about this discussion. You have this data about your line of text links, and it's impossible to argue against your conclusions if we all start with the premise that the best form of presenting a set of possible actions to a reader is by a line of text links following on from the post metadata, and that readers are now used to that order. Your case is flawless.
First, the order is not known to me, and I have to search each time I want to click anything. I guess "next unread" is always the last thing on the list, but when it isn't there, I read each link in order, left to right, to find what I want to do. When I am hitting next unread a number of times, I stop reading the last link and keep clicking, which means at the last unread post I hit "previous unread" without thinking, and go up the page. If I'm tired I get stuck in a loop with the last two unread posts.
Second, the order, or at least the place on the screen, is not constant at all. As the threads get thinner, all the links move to the right on the screen. On my phone the screen is narrow enough that there is a line break, and then the right-most link is typically "bookmark". But that can change due to something as undetermined as the user name of the author.
Third, due to the line break on a smaller screen, and tapping with my finger, and the reduced text size, and the fact that now the links are clustered one above the other, it's super annoying to tap the link I want rather than something else.
Fourth, that some links are there sometimes and not others means that my brain has to keep up with what state the post is in to instinctively move a finger or mouse pointer to the right position... which I don't do. I just read the links in order.
My main concern is that you seem to think that the best reference point for where a text link in a line of text links appears on the page is relative to the line of text links itself (yet the number of links change), and the position of the line of text links is determined by the width of the post and the number of characters in the username.
To be helpful, here are some ideas for a solution:
The maximum number of links will be six, so have ALL six options displayed each time, but grey out the options that are not available for each post. This way a user never has to remember the state of the post to be able to work out which options are available, they will be unambiguously clear at the first glance, with no searching for an option that isn't there.
By greying out the unavailable options, the position of each link will always be exactly relative to the other links.
Next, have the links on a different line than the post metadata. This means that relative to the post itself, the links will always be in the same position, not sometimes floating further to the right depending on user name length.
Separating the links and the metadata also means you can have a sensible fix to the metadata at the top of the post problem. I want the name (and date/time since the post was made) at the top, but my biggest problem was that the obvious and only place for the links is at the bottom. If you want both at the bottom, great, but for me (and it seems many others) we want the metadata at the top, but the links should stay at the bottom.
Next, instead of separating by a comma, separate by white space more than two very narrow characters wide. This makes them way easier and distinguishable touch targets.
Lastly, make six identically wide divs, each one sixth of the width of the bottom of each post. Put one link in each div, and make the entire div a link/touch target. The divs can still all be white, and the possible links blue, so it fits the overall style of the website, but make the div background change colour on mouse-over along with underlining the blue text to indicate the link does something.
On a smaller screen, allow text wrapping WITHIN the div, don't wrap the links to another line. This will make the link divs two text lines high, but on a small screen this is a good thing, as it presents bigger touch targets, rather than bunching two different touch targets on top of each other.
All this means that users won't have to read the links at all. They will truly be able to make actions on the post purely by the position of each link. To get to the next unread post, they never have to move their mouse left or right at all! They just keep clicking the right-most bottom sixth of each post until that option is greyed out and doesn't work any more. Clicking the left-most sixth of the bottom of the post will always take them to the parent. If there is no parent, clicking the left-most link won't do anything.
So something like this:
# by Orinoco, 2015-06-19 00:06 Parent, Reply, Bookmark, Mark as read, Previous unread, Next unread
Becomes something like this (on a wide screen and though ignore the dots, they are only included because the code html thing isn't keeping multiple spaces or tabs):
Orinoco or longer name .Two hours ago . . . . . Post permalink
Parent . . . . . . . . .Reply . . . . . . . . . Bookmark . . . . . . . .Mark as read . . . . . .Previous unread . . . . Next unread . . . . .
I hope this explains what I'm getting at when I say solutions don't have to be based around lines of comma separated text links.
Now, see that's useful feedback, thank you. I'll have a play with it tonight.
Now I just need to work out whether you want me to implement that or not...
Go for it. Any one or combination of the ideas should work. Take it as far as you want to go while it still fits with your mental model of the site.
After about an hour of tinkering & several hours of staring at the screen:
None of the double/long click, collapsible thread, highlighted siteswaps or inline reply options will work there yet.
I've tried to make the buttons inconspicuous but useable, but I'm looking at this new layout & thinking, "welcome to the Edge, the place where you can look at hundreds of bloody buttons!" For long posts it is not that much of a problem, but I think it ruins one liners eg. (dead link) which I'm not sure what to do about.
On the plus side though I found having lots of disabled next/previous unread buttons within unread messages didn't make sense so I rewrote the whole system, now you can jump to unread messages from anywhere which is pretty nice. The enabling/disabling of these buttons now updates when marking messages as read/unread via ajax calls too which is also a big improvement. Interestingly working out the approximate time elapsed since a message was posted is considerably faster than converting a timestamp to a user's timezone. I had no idea converting between timezones was so expensive. On pages with hundreds of posts this can cut page processing time in half.
I like the changes! Although the buttons are way too prominent and distract from the content;
i experimented a little with my user-css plugin and made a screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/FOdq1kl.png
Yes, my problem exactly. Your example is very similar to what I came up with for myself too!
This also looks good.
But why why why why is there still a "#" floating around at the top? It's the single ugliest character on the keyboard, and you're making everyone look at it all the time. It was bad enough before, when it was in front of every name, but now it is at the top of every post. It stands out way too much for its current job. And hashes have other jobs too, like hash tags, so it's confusing anyway. Google to see what other symbols or icons sites use to show permanent links.
While you're at it, change the comma between the user name and the time to a space dot space as well. And grey out the time a bit so it's not as heavy as the name. And another space dot space between the time and the permanent link too.
Between us we can make this forum nicer to look at and easier to use :)
That's a good start. It's already
Now make them not-buttons. Set the link borders to zero so they just appear as text, not as buttons. Also set the margins between the links to zero, so there is no no-man's-land between them. Make the link text justified to the right, so the "parent" link text lines up with the user name and the post text.
If you want to keep the full target area of the link visible, you can always make them slightly darker grey than the background. This will be way more subtle than thin black outlines.
Are you going to make the approximate time show the exact time with a mouseover? I find that handy on other forums, but I understand if you think it's not worth it due to performance hits.
It's already way better, I was going to say. A way to edit a post up to a certain time, even 5 minutes or until someone replies, would be super handy too.
Another forum I frequent lets you edit for five minutes after posting, but the edit form has a big warning saying that edits are only allowed for typos. If you edit for content, moderators shout at you.
Harsh! I use a forum that allows a 30 minute editing window, and there have been zero issues so far. That's not threaded, but because this forum is threaded you can deny edits after someone clicks the "reply" link.
I just want to edit for times like that where I don't finish a sentence or something else goes a bit wrong but I only spot it once I hit the post button and it's already submitting the post.
Well, following that to the letter we get this (dead link) or this (dead link), which demonstrate why I went with borders & centred text.
I think the only thing we can take away from this branch is that disabling inapplicable links is better than not displaying them.
Which takes us onto Julius' branch.
I did Google permalink characters & the most commonly used symbol is #. Other common symbols are pilcrows ¶ which will make anyone involved in print design ragequit & never come back, infinity signs ∞ which has the same effect on mathematicians & needs to be rendered in a much bigger font than the rest of the message to be legible, or the section symbol § which has the same font size problem. I quite like the idea of ⚓ for the connotation of permanence but it is not supported in Webkit browsers. All 3 alternatives have font dependency issues too so I can't guarantee they will be displayed.
Verson 5 (dead link) has the controls back to text links, I've changed comma separator to a dash (the interpunct or middot that I believe Julius is using makes me think of scalar products), hovering over a disabled link now displays the less jarring default cursor. This version uses the time text as the permalink like Twitter. I really don't like this because every other link on Small talk tells you where you will go or what it will do, but clicking on '2 days ago' doesn't take you back in time.
Will deal with editing posts later.
Will probably offend someone's sensibilities, and perhaps have scalability issues, but what about something like http://patternry.com/static/images/chain.png for permalink?
That's why I wrote "Google to see what other symbols or icons sites use to show permanent links" which I hoped would bring up something like that example.
Or why not just use the word "permalink" as the rest of the action links are descriptions of their use. I wasn't actually sure what the # was used for until I got to this thread. (Sorry, I'm pretty lazy at looking at the anchor text and I don't think I can on a mobile device.)
Is onmouseover still a thing or has tablet killed that function?
Could the # have "permalink" appear when you mouse over it and maybe Parent have "Show which post this is replying to" (if that is not too long) to help those who are not sure what they mean (assuming they think to mouse over them).
I think the time shouldn't be the link to the post. Just add another link in the row at the bottom that says "Permalink".
I like Verson 5 and I vote for keeping the #. It is the best option and it looks great.
Me too, & a number of people have voted via email as well. I've tweaked a few more things, updated all the small collapse options to work with the new layout & folded the changes back in to the main branch (if you have any problems clearing cache will probably fix it).
That's it, no more posts about the design of the site (outside of Meta talk) until July. Because let's face it everyone is bored of it.
(Or does that count as stifling the community?)
I've been watching and wondering why people cared so much. It works fine and is easy. But now the "go to next unread" link has gone and I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more. Please ignore my 3rd sentence as clear nonsense except the bit about that really useful link vanishing. PS thanks for doing a useful site.
This is beautiful. I partiuclarly like the greater availability of next unread, which is how I got here.
Thanks so much for implementing these changes :)
I now have the name of the person at the top of the post so I can put what is written into context immediately, and actions below the post, encouraging (at least some) reading before replying.
Go raibh maith agat.
It's going to take a little time for me to retrain my "I've got to the end of the post, who was it by again?" reflex, but on the whole I like the new layout.
For what it's worth, I would prefer it if you didn't give in on the subject of editing messages. People deal with systems all the time which don't allow editing, whether it be emails to your boss, or whatever - if people want to care about whether something is right, then people should either take the time and effort to check what they write, or use the preview function (see my meta post for my view that preview in quick reply could be improved).
The only problem at present is when someone encounters a bug, or other unexpected behaviour due to their HTML or markdown input settings (e.g. my recent experience with greater than / less than symbols).
I doubt I'm the only person who doesn't want posts to be editable*
*beyond that by squirrels, which, whilst dangerous, is currently done with a reasonable level of discretion.
As for the time stamp, I don't mind if it shows a date and time or something like "3 hours ago".
I prefer a specific time but only if the post was made today. Then I only want the time, not the date. If it was posted yesterday, I want really want something saying "8am yesterday". And if it was posted more than two days ago I want the date only, not the time.
The best forums I've used have variations of this. Both Vanilla and Discourse forums show the full time and date in a standard form when hovering the mouse pointer over whatever more colloquial time is displayed.
I agree about the tree thing. It almost encourages little cliquey side discussions rather than engaging with the original point.
Although, in a non tree shaped discussion, it's very easy for a "take on all comers" kind of person to have a minor disagreement about something irrelevant that ends up consuming a thread and drowning the original topic.
I like discussions presented as trees. My only problem with the way they are presented on this site is that there are two indications of depth, and neither is very clear. Post backgrounds get greyer as they go deeper, and also indent to the right. I think? Maybe? I know they indent slightly, but as there is no clear left edge to the page (there is always a white border to the left), once the first message in the thread is off the top of the page, there's no way to know how deep you are except by just eyballing it.
Then, on my phone, the posts get narrower and narrower until they only take up half the screen, which then feels weirdly cramped as the other half is just empty white space.
Just checking, and it turns out the deepening grey isn't an indication of tree depth, but I'm not sure why there are three different shades of grey. Then new posts are all green anyway, and that's mostly where I focus my attention. It turns out the grey background colour isn't a good indication of anything if every post I'm actively reading has a green background anyway!
I only see 2 shades of grey. I think they just alternate to make the different posts stand out more. However, as you say there's only 1 shade of green.
For making it easier to follow the tree, perhaps there could be an option of showing vertical indent lines to the left of the posts, although now that I know about the Parent link I don't think I'd need it.
It sounds like you mean something like Daniel's mockup that is posted on meta.
As for indents, there are several approaches that work. This one is clean, though could be clearer. Reddit & Slashdot both work alright, in slashdot each post is in the box of its parent. Both Slashdot and reddit also frequently have missing comments - which is a problem that we don't have to deal with here.
Of course, one common case of indentation is when coding, and I sometimes use the the "vim-indent-guides" plugin in my editor (with alternating background indent colours, though dotted lines are also options).
Post numbering systems is also something I think I mentioned before (I.e. first reply is 1, second reply is 2, first reply to the first reply is 1.1, etc).
Maybe I'll write a new CSS file when I've got some time - I also don't think that the curved borders help with messages at different levels.
I really don't want lines or different colours for showing indentation. I certainly don't want boxes within boxes. I think I'd be happy with a way to know where the left edge of the top-most post in a thread was once it leaves the top of the visible page. That's it!
At the moment white space is used to show levels of indentation, with the reference point for your eye being? The white margin down the left side of the screen. And separating this white indentation space from the white margin? Nothing. Or maybe something white. One kind of white space and another kind of white space, both doing different jobs, are VERY hard to tell apart.
The Hacker News site is as ugly as hell, way worse than this site, but it does at least use beige and white to show the difference between what is "post" and what is "margin".
I hate beige as a background colour for posts though. Grey is slightly better, but I'd still prefer white. Green (unread posts on Small Talk) isn't great, but at least the green means something! I'm still unsure what the different grey backgrounds for Small Talk posts mean. If they are just to distinguish one post from the next, the boxes with small white space in between (and sometimes different indenting) works fine for me.
Sometimes there are three messages in order with three decreasing shades of grey. I'm not sure what the last darkest grey colour means.
Well, at least we get a mention in the opening post at http://objectepisodes.com/
Appears to be the brainchild of Jay Gilligan & my initial thoughts are good. Runs quick, more clutter than I like but better than most forums!
I also read that he wanted to unite the juggling community.. Bad idea! He should use the strengths of his friends to build a new community with a new purpose, not one that that becomes the 'new standard'...
^ this. I think Jay is in an excellent position to create a community of experimental jugglers. To be effective that will require excluding a lot of the non-experimental crowd.
I have the hope that this happens nonetheless, which is why I'm on board there.
Oh well, in 2 months we'll know more :)
Oh, at first I thought this was another RJ portal, but no.
I'm not sure I like "Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream." though. Where's the fun in that?
Hmmm, not sure I'm interested enough in talking about juggling these days to sign up. Maybe....
Although I realise that this thread is talking about talking about juggling. (Should I post this reply in Meta?)
> "Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream."
Has anyone seen my sandwich?
Was it a herring sandwich, and have you checked underneath your herring sandwich scoop?
I think the reward medals are cute
It is early days though, it will be interesting to see how it develops.
He mentions us but doesn't give any indication of why he thinks JugglingEdge falls short of being the place he wants to create. It seems to me that JugglingEdge does everything that ObjectEpisodes does and lot more (Events list, Clubs, Records, Practice Logs). JugglingEdge seems the closest thing we have to a replacement for IJDB.
Juggling Edge is a great resource, but Small talk isn't exactly good forum software. I'd much prefer this same group of people but in a place with much better design and usability.
The list of ways is too long. Just the overall approach here seems to do as much with plain text as possible. Almost all solutions to usability problems need non-lines-of-text design elements, and you obviously have no interest in doing that.
Discourse has been in the works for years by a dedicated development team, including many designers. There's just no way lines of blue link text is going to hold up against that.
Are you talking about aesthetics only? I like to have the simplest interface that does everything I want. The Discourse interface seems over-complex. For example, in the list of threads why do I need to see a list of images of the users who've posted in the thread (users column)? It takes up a lot of space and I can see that when I go to the thread.
What's top of the list?
My approach is more do as much with as *little* as possible, which mostly translates to text yes. Off the top of my head I can only think of 3 requests for non-text elements to the Edge (titles, favicon, graphs for records) all of which went straight in so I don't think it is fair to say I have no interest in non-text solutions.
I think of a couple of graphic elements that would aid my usability slightly:
(1) There are 2 or 3 links to mark everything as read (everything on this page, everything on the site, everything on this thread). It would be nice if they were more easily distinguishable without having to read the text. Maybe different icons next to them, or different colours, or positioning on the page (e.g. left/middle/right).
(2) It might be nice to have user icons next to posts to more easily see who is 'speaking'. Whether that works does of course depend on whether the user base is actually interested in uploading such icons :-)
But these are minor things.
I do have one usability improvement that doesn't involve graphics: the name of the poster is at the end of the post, not at the beginning. I personally find it very important to know who wrote the post before I start reading it, as that affects the context of what is written. I find that on long posts I have to scroll to the bottom of the post to find the name, then scroll back up to read it. Having the name at the top (as well or instead of at the bottom) would be useful for me.
"I do have one usability improvement that doesn't involve graphics: the name of the poster is at the end of the post, not at the beginning."
I agree with this point. It doesn't affect the minimalism of the site, but it does make it more user friendly.
Agreed, it helps put the post in some kind of "context". I usually read the author name beforehand as I'm more likely to know their style of humour, sarcasm etc when parsing their post.
I did something about this for Daniel a while ago. Go to Settings > Change site appearance input "http://jugglingedge.com/altstyles/metafirst.css" into the box at the bottom then click use my stylesheet. What do you think of that?
I think it doesn't work on my iPad. http://twitter.com/TheVoidTLMB/status/610863465633288192
Right, that will be a problem with the small collapse plugin which won't be able to cope with the css positioning. We can deal with that, hold on...
Almost works... looks a little broken on my machine (Xubuntu 15.04 Chromium Version 43.0.2357.81)
(didn't want to embed the link, avoid loading for people who aren't interested)
Yay! Thanks :-)
I did think about writing my own CSS to do that when you first advertised user-specific stylesheets, but then never got round to it.
The edge is pretty cool, but it took a while to get used to. Having the main page as index rather than stream saved my life, but when I am not logged in I feel clueless how to browse this site.
Some features that common forum software & discourse offer that is lacking here:
> Editing posts
> Topic titles
> Graphical icons to distinguish users
> Following/subscribing to threads
> Categorisation of posts or multiple sub-forums
> Private messaging
Now every feature has its pros and cons, and I don't want the edge to change. However, it seems obvious that a community that will use different software will as a result encourage a different style of communication/community building.
editing - agreed for correcting, but if edited, answers given might hang with empty reference.
topic titles - upto us users to set them.
icons - nice, but imho not "lacking".
notification of threads - there iseMail on own posts and there is threads unread, so any new post in your thread will at least show up as new answer.
categorization - search messages for cluewords ("splits", "siteswap", .. ) partly does that for me. Again its upto us users to put hashtags (else blaming no one but ourselves, maybe).
PM - maybe meet at some register-free browser-chat as guest, link here, then meet there.
browsing messages works by older messages; finding a message works by bookmarking it.
I do get what you mean by "get used to" .. I'd simply take that as it is and call it particular, individual.
None of these minor (trifles) smalltalk-only issues affect the huge functionality of the platform.
I really like Juggling Edge, but I have absolutely no interest in reading any threads about numbers juggling or siteswap and would appreciate a way of easily ignoring those threads. categorising might fix this so I like the fact that Obj Ep has categories (but notice that already threads like "Is juggling rock the biggest" are in "Object Manipulation - discussions about forms of juggling" rather than "uncategorised" category - maybe jugglers are averse to categorisation).
We, users, aswell maybe should give our posts more significant titles (there's even a preview of such titles!) and make more use of hashtags?
Quite effectively thank you.
The thread title was often a good clue rather than JE showing the first sentence (or part sentence) of the first post in the thread.
Also jugglingdb managed to have 20 threads (or thread titles) per screen/page as opposed to 10 which Juggling Edge index has, which made skimming through it for interesting threads faster - though it missed some of the functionality of JE like: Thread started by #, started on #, mark thread as read,...
Once everyone knows that the first sentence is the thread title, then that problem goes away. Change your settings for "Number of threads per page". I've set mine to 20.
Maybe I explained myself badly, I cannot fit 20 threads on the visible screen on my computer (without scrolling - I like to avoid scrolling) unless I shrink the text size to pretty much too small to read. - this is only a small niggle; the main problem, as you have identified, is people realising that they need to use the first sentence as a thread title (I am not claiming I am any better at this than other folk).
People realising they need to use the first sentence as a thread title is not something that will improve without changes to the site, if we get new users. If lots of users make the same mistake it's usually a sign that there isn't enough guidance. (Can be solved with strong moderation/being picky about new members, but I don't think they are good options)
Could also change the "required" in red that is present in the text box when creating a new thread to "First sentence will be used as post title". That way there's no reason anyone wouldn't know that's how it works!
People don't read. They just type and hit "post" or "submit". You have to design the system that only correct usage works.
That's not true. You have to have a certain level of faith that users are somewhat competent. A fool proof and backwards compatible way would be to have a "title" input box where they have the option of using a title. If left blank it uses the first line of the post. Simple (assuming Orinoco is happy to do that).
Of course experienced users might get annoyed at having the main post box an extra 50 pixels lower down than their used to. Oh when will the madness end!
Are you kidding me? You have to have NO faith in your users at all. None. You have to design a system that even if every single person is trying their best to do their worst, you still get a good outcome.
That's where you have the separation of backend business logic to the frontend UX. No matter what stupid thing the customer does on the front end the backend should always have the correct outcome (correct output when given correct input, else error). Basic principle of B2B systems. In the new era of development methods (agile/lean) it's more dependant on iterating based on the customer usage (either from feedback, analytics, tracked customer usage).
Just not open those threads/discussions, just like every other modern forum I've used. Here? Just keep scrolling and marking as read and scrolling and marking as read.
I don't understand. If you're reading your unread posts then you see all the content as you described, but if you click Small Talk you see a list of threads, like every other forum.
Clicking Small Talk shows me the same massive blocks of discussion as clicking the unread count, except it also shows me threads that have no unread posts.
OK, go to Settings, Small talk forum options and change Default view to Index. I do think that some of the Settings defaults should be changed.
One of the things I really like here is 'Next Unread'. It avoids a lot of scrolling in the unread posts view and I really miss it on other sites. I'll normally use that until I get to the end and then use 'Mark all as read'.
No. That list view is so ugly it hurts my eyes. Like you I just use the "next unread" link.
Again I'm not sure if you're talking about aesthetics or usability and you don't give a reason. Surely that view is a lot better if you want to see if there are certain thread that interest you?
I haven't given my reasons, nor my use cases. That would take way too long.
The usability of this forum is just above the level it takes for me to keep reading and participating. That's good enough for me, but only because I find the conversation interesting and I respect the people who chat here.
The aesthetics are terrible, but I understand that. It's going to stay the case when the stated aim was to keep the forum as text-based, simple and quick loading as possible from the start.
That means lots of lines of text, lots of blocks of links that each do different tasks but are similar length, colour, size and weight, and I have to read the text of each link every time. That means no gravatar integration to quickly see who is who. That means threading done by insetting in a way that is almost impossible to parse more than three replies deep. That's why text is black on different shades of grey, and super wide, waaaay wider than columns of text should be for easy reading. That also means not having names until the bottom of posts, leading me to read in a weird uncollapsed superposition of all possible authors in my mind until I'm well into a long post. That means 100% width youtube video embeds too, I guess.
I don't expect all this to change. Or any of this to change. I'm not asking Jon to change it either. It's just stuff I find annoying every time I have to read or navigate this forum, and if the same conversation could happen elsewhere I'd like that.
But the internet doesn't work that way. The software, for the most part, determines the community. This forum keeps away people who want modern, nice looking software, the type that often has features that get in the way of good conversation or encourages unhelpful behavior. This forum also attracts people who like all the things I don't like about it, or are happy with it, due to their long history of discussing things on the internet. Turns out I also want to be where that conversation is happening.
Thanks for going into more detail. mrawa has given a great reply to most of those points below. I'll just reply to your point about indentation. The 'Parent' link solves this problem. I do think that Jon will make changes if there's a consensus. He's done so in the past.
I think what you're saying is that you've issues with both UX (User Experience) and the styles.
The styling (as said above) can be changed to whatever you want. Could easily add a floating side bar for quicker navigation between threads, unread posts, or add keyboard shortcuts to navigate through posts (instead of scrolling). Can also add icons to each post instead of just using test (with a tooltip for explanations).
I have issues with the threading as well, but I did find that if you use the "parent" link it's easy to figure out the root of the tangent.
Orinoco has very much been operating under a lean/agile approach to the Edge. Much of the changes have been user driven from meta talk (which is the best method in my opinion). When you say "the internet doesn't work that way", this is completely wrong. The internet is just collection of millions of individuals many of which are invested in keeping and growing a customer/user base. There have been many times when I've submitted feedback or suggestions to sites and have seen them implemented within the month, often I'd get replies from maintainers thanking me for making the time to write them.
At the end of the day, don't fix what ain't broken. And nothing will change unless you ask. I'd be happy to contribute features when I get some time (after next BJC most likely).
You don't understand my point about how the internet works. I'm talking about how communities on the internet work, not how websites get new features. Which is exactly what this thread is about, and what a conversation on Object Episodes about JugglingRock is also focusing on:
"How does forum or discussion software determine conversation and community?"
I was a part of a thriving forum attached to a podcast I listened to which switched from Vanilla to some kind of phpbb software. With that switch, the quality of conversation dropped markedly, and I left. I found another forum attached to another podcast I listened to, and pretty much only gave it a go because it also used the Vanilla forum software. And you know what? I still chat there, about 7 years later.
I used to love reading the comments on the Boston Globe Big Picture blog. Then they switched to Facebook for commenting, and overnight the comments devolved into "Nice picture", "Nice pic", "Good photo", etc. That previous community of commenters just disappeared.
This last weekend the ATP launched a new website, and the comments seem to be gone from their articles. Again, I really enjoyed chatting with other tennis fans there, even though in this case it was because the site used Facebook commenting. I have a feeling that small fan community is gone, or at least will be until they sort out new website teething problems.
This is how the internet works. Software choices determine community.
I agree with you regarding the switch to Facebook commenting. The use of a social media platform as a method of commenting has a fairly well documented shift in the quality of comment content. It basically shifts from the "committed community" to anyone who happens to have a Facebook/social media account. Which makes it easy for the awful comments "1st!", "nice", "+1", and "Did you know you can get XYZ sunglass for 50% off!", since the user doesn't have to create a new account for that community.
That kinda of decision is usually base on the business deciding that they don't want to manage and maintain the users, and can remove any task having to do that task and save money (or shift it to another more useful area for the business). I'm pretty sure you'll see this sort of thing with any site that is trying to make money (taking your example of Boston Globe Big Picture blog, and I saw the same with Escapist Magazine). It'd be interesting if this is the same with non-for-profit sites.
#HowNetWorksSidethreadHashtagLol I'm not sure if the root of the problems ("scrolling", "indent", in a wide sense "navigating" through Index and inside posts; small-talk functionality) is not actually "getting past unwanted posts" or "past uninteresting topics" ..
First - the easier one: "scrolling" - When I start my browser, I pull its edge those few pixels out of the monitor so as to the scrollbar being at outer right of screen (the window-frame-pixels being outside the screen) - scrolling can then be done way easier with the mouse simply going "outer right", partly blind or peripheric.
Second - sorting out the interesting from the 'unwanted': Any conversation andor discussion among real-life humans in a real room will, too, drift to same, 'unwanted' or uninteresting contributions, remarks here or there, completely off-topic side-convos taking over the participants focus until back to schedule. It might not be a software problem, but simply the nature of people discussing and different persons having different main interests to contribute. A communication issue.
In real life or in few stricly moderated forums, a moderator would have to call onto people to come back to title topic or scheduled content.
Maybe one can doubt, any software could solve this issue to get only content that an user is interested in and aswell not missing interesting content in sidethreads.
I don't see Small talk on the Edge compare to sites with design andor software favoring one-line comments or alike.
…read in a weird uncollapsed superposition of all...
not sure what you mean by this, but since a few weeks there is a greasemonkey script available that adds the option of collapsing posts!
I am talking about having to hold a piece of writing in a quantum superposition of all possible authors. I'm thinking "If this is a convention review by LP I have to understand the event was like this, but if this is a convention review by Jon I have to understand the event like this other thing."
Only when the name appears up from the bottom of the page does the author become fixed, and the possible interpretations of what I'm reading collapse into a single option. That might be a bad example, because I've been reading convention reports from LP and Jon for over 15 years now, so can probably work it out more easily, but in general conversation this happens quite often.
This is not a feature of any discussion forum or email group or news group or any online discussion or real life discussion I've ever taken part in ever before. The only comparable thing is an audiobook I listened to with a narrator who had no distinct voices at all for the various characters, so in a conversation between three or more characters it was impossible to really understand what was being said until the narrator got to the end of a line and said "Bob said" or "Eve said."
Every time someone offers a "fix" for any issue I've raised just confirms to me the type of person who is happy to frequent this forum. Custom css and user scripts? Right. Yeah.
I see custom css and user scripts as a way to trial features rapidly for specific users, get feedback about what works before folding that UX into the site for general users.
Unfortunately the feedback rarely happens, so neither does folding the features in.
I get that. My point isn't that they aren't helpful for developing solutions, just they aren't the solutions for general problems of general users.
I doubt it. I think he's talking about the menu at the top, not the actual post text.
"outer appearance" .. I deeply regret the conclusion ("other place") for Orinoce & al. who made a terrific work to built this overall platform.
"Almost all solutions to usability problems need non-lines-of-text design elements, and you obviously have no interest in doing that."
Can you explain exactly what you mean by this? "non-lines-of-text" is not a term I've ever come across.
JugglingEdge is easily one of the more intuitive and customizable forums I've ever been on.
Discourse honestly looks like something I could put together in a couple of days using basic Bootstrap, and MongoDB. I honestly cannot see any advantages to using it over the Edge. If it's just a look and feel you have an issue with then we/Orinoco/you could just script up some more pleasing styles, and have it as an option in settings... just checked and the Edge already supports this!
"The list of ways is too long."
I swear this is one of the most annoying bits of non-committal feedback a designer and programmer can get. I hate when people say that they don't like something and refuse to provide constructive feedback!
This reminds me (tangentially only, I'm not digging at anyone here) of an email we got at another site:
Him: I want feature X
Us: It's already there - log in, do this.
Him: I'm not logged in.
Us: Well, it still works, but you have to do it every time. It'll be easier if you log in/stay logged in.
Him: But I'm not a site member.
Did not type "Well **** *** then!", but was tempted.
Like I said, only tangentially.
Haha, yeah... I never said all user feedback is good, actually a small percentage rarely ever is! But on a site like this with a relatively small user base (compared to millions on corporate systems) it's more likely that everyone can have a fair say.
I've always said, all user feedback is useful - even if it's use is to remind you how moronic users can be
I'm not interested in giving constructive feedback or design feedback in this thread. This thread is about why a juggler doesn't want to use this forum for general juggling discussion. If all the reasons aren't immediately obvious, then me giving point by point feedback isn't going to be enough. What's obvious is that, for those who are just looking in from the outside, a professionally developed and designed hosted forum solution is way more attractive than something like Small Talk.
If you honestly can't see any advantages over something like Discourse and Small Talk, then Small Talk is exactly your kind of forum software. That's exactly my point. The type of software attracts a certain type of user and engenders a certain type of conversation and interaction. I dislike most things about Small Talk, but I like the conversation and people.
Now I want to edit that last post. And I can't. Unless that's a feature I've not spotted yet.
Nope, that's not a feature (as was mentioned before) it would cause an continuity issue in the discussion. A feature could be added (that is present on Slack and Gitter) where you can edit your last post only for the next X minutes AND another user has not already replied to the post.
"If all the reasons aren't immediately obvious, then me giving point by point feedback isn't going to be enough."
To a designer/programmer that's like saying that I didn't like your juggling routine, but I won't tell you way because it's obvious to me. Different people have different perspectives and opinions, unless we share we don't learn, iterate, and improve. Agreed, this may not be the thread for discussing what could change on the edge. But I'm sure you can understand what it's frustrating to have someone say they don't like your site/product but actively refuse to provide the reasons why.
The reasons I don't like this site are the reasons other people do like this site. And I want to be where those people are. Hence it's not in my interest to want to change the site. That might bring more people who only want to share videos. I get that from JugglingRock, and wouldn't want it invading Small Talk.
I think I understand. It sounds like you're worried that if the site were to be made more appealing those of JugglingRock might join. So you want to preserve the community as it is.
I have no problem with people who post on JugglingRock joining this forum. I am one of those people! My point is that because JugglingRock exists, this forum provides a different form of conversation and discussion for a different community. The Object Episodes forum might be just another place with a different style of discussion that forms a different community. It isn't a competition, and there needs to be no exclusion.
"I get that from JugglingRock, and wouldn't want it invading Small Talk."
Sorry, I was apparently mislead by your last comment. I'm guessing that it's actually nothing to do with the people but the content that they'd potentially generate.
Personally I've no issues with a continuously improving forum as it's unlikely to lose members due to improvements, and any new members would only be a natural progression of the community. Hell, I barely talk about juggling on here any more, but it's interesting seeing what other people are up to and the occasional interesting video of which I might attempt a few tricks. I think what I'm getting at is gradual change is good.
No, it has to do with the content that is easily shareable on the forum in question, and the ease of reply and recognition that forms the feedback loop to encourage more of the same.
Juggling Rock makes it very easy to post a video. To like it is a single click. To reply is a click in a box, then a short message, and hitting enter submits the comment, so longer messages are discouraged or harder to read. Sharing is another single click. It also works perfectly on mobile. It doesn't show all the comments, just the latest handful.
Small Talk is theoretically as easy to use to share videos... But the same steps you'd have to go through just to share a tiny comment like "nice!" are the exact same needed to write a long response of five paragraphs. It's harder or impossible or pointless to make smaller actions like liking or sharing.
So juggling rock is great for volume of juggling videos (which is what I want from that) and small talk is great for long rambling conversations and discussions that sometimes include embedded videos.
The exact same set of people and content they want to share leads to two totally different experiences and communities based purely on the software.
I am pretty fond of the IJDb-like functionality on the Edge. The Edge is not simply a "forum" or a "talk-community" - it is a jugglers whole platform with database, records-listings & -graphs, logs, user profiles and many more .. well outsortable when knowing where to klick .. people just don't make use of all of them ( e.g. hashtags provide perfect search-function, but no one puts them on ((maybe due to simple search being sufficient)), e.g. contacting s.o. is possible in their ("hi"-)threads, topics can np be collected under one tagged thread, but people rather start a new thread).
I don't see objectepisodes in any way compare to the Edge.
Wow! This looks like the longest thread yet.
JE is the best web-based juggling forum ever! r.j. was, perhaps, better in it's century but it had to be filtered to be usable in later years and depended on web portals, mainly IJDb. Old r.j was better because there wasn't anything else, not even the www itself.
It's not a surprise that many people think different would be better. It's the same with juggling and it keeps the art/sport alive. Orin is the most accommodating and helpful God Emperor of a juggling site ever! (sends hug)
As no one else has styled themselves god emperor, who also runs a juggling site that isn't as great a line of praise as it first looks.
Personally I like it that I can read only the unread posts and that I can skim these pretty quickly. I find jugglingedge just as useful as Ijdb or rec.juggling and this may be because it is pretty much the same people who have posting lots of posts in all the iterations. One day I will try to work out when I first posted to rec.juggling which will take some time as I will have to work out which user name I first used, there were many.
aka NigelR, It's Him, itshim, kester, nigelroder et al
You've just reminded me, you got a mention on an episode of "There's no such thing as a fish" (the QI podcast) the other week.
I've been meaning to remember to mention that since I listened to it, unfortunately it's been long enough that I can't remember which episode it was.
I was mentioned in a qi podcast about a year ago. Might be the same one. If you look at my Wikipedia page it says the episode. Speaking of which, if anyone wants to put any content on that page then it might stay in existence longer.
Does anybody else think it would be cool if there was a juggling world cup or world championship? I know we have the WJF and IJA, but this would be something that really decides the best jugglers. If we had one, what competitions would there be? I'm thinking that there would just be one freestyle competition, just to show your best routine.
I know it's a crazy idea. This is probably something as to what Jason Garfield wanted to make to make the WJF, but just presume it was an actual thought. And we are still presuming juggling does not magicly become more popular, just a small group of people.
And on a side note, I think the juggling World Cup or world championship would be held every year, not 4 years, because there is not nearly enough popular juggling competitions
I'm not one of those people who thinks everything has to be a competition, so I'm not at all interested in seeing it actually happen (I'd rather see another successful festival set up than another competition)
But if it were to happen, what shape would you see it take? "Best juggler" is so subjective that drawing up a ruleset and scoring system is problematic.
That's why the IJA winners in any given year wouldn't win at WJF and vice versa. Those two competitions judge two entirely different aspects of juggling, both of which have some validity,
So which style of comp would if be? How would you score it?
That makes me wonder, how many sets of competition rules have we got at the moment? Are we up to 14 yet?
I can think of:
- IJA Numbers Comps
- IJA Individuals, Teams, Juniors competitions
- IJA Individual Prop Competitions (not run any more?)
- The IJA "Extreme Juggling" Competitions (not run any more?)
- WJF (Various, each event seems to have different rules - it's been over 10 years and I still don't understand the WJF)
- Atlanta Jugglers Association Groundhog Day competition (does that count as a serious competition?)
- The Dutch Juggling Championships (http://www.nkjongleren.nl/ - seems it may not be running due to a drop in interest?)
I've not included the various fight night, voleyclub, joggling competitions/leagues etc because they're very narrow in scope - and on the whole seem to be better structured/understood than the more general competitions.
I've also left out well respected, high profile circus competitions like Mote-Carlo, North American Circus Competition, Festival International De Cirque, Circus Maximus etc as although jugglers have entered/won - they're not juggling specific competitions.
A great man is purported to have said
"I don't believe in juggling competitions. It's like seeing who could paint the fastest painting!" Francis Brunn
Dutch juggling championships didn't run in 2014, but it will this year!
From my experience with the Dutch juggling championships:
People are interested in having a national title to put on their website. They join 2 years in a row, win a competition, and never return. Those who are really at the top have no further interest in taking part. There are maybe a total of 5 Dutch technical jugglers who worked hard and cared about the technical competitions, but after multiple years of competition their interest fades away too.
The only competitions that sustain well are those that get a fresh bunch of 13 year olds every year, so the diabolo competition is obviously flourishing.
On the other hand, everybody has been saying all what I said above for ages, yet somehow the championship has existed since... I believe 2006 and is still going!
I helped host the first competition in 2005. At the time Marco Bonissimo was very open about him and a few others running the competition as a way to add "Dutch Juggling Champion" to their business cards and websites.
And the effect is amazing. I know pretty much all of the 'dutch champions', and when they tell this to non jugglers they are incredibly in awe...
I know I was in awe long time ago when I met the devilsticker who got 3rd at the Dutch Championships the year before... Just for the title!
Individual Prop Competition is not currently running (it may begin again in the future, but I haven't heard of any plans for its return this year)
Extreme Juggling has been running for at least the last few years. It might have hiccupped with the WJF issues in the mid 2000s, but it seems stable now.
"I can understand why a man wants to run the fastest 100 meters, but I don't believe in juggling competitions. It's like seeing who could paint the fastest painting!" - Francis Brunn, Juggler's World: Vol. 38, No. 1
There are arguments for and against juggling competitions but Brunn's quote gets right to the point for me.
Competitions are for comparing quantities of things like time, distance, weight, and so on. But a juggling competition would either be comparing abstract qualities - sense of humour, artistic interpretation, devising, or whatever - a bit like the IJA. Or it would be reduced to an unimaginative and mundane pissing contest, comparing arbitrary skills like ability to perform pirouettes ... which is the WJF.
Fight Night neatly sidesteps this problem - it sets an easily determinable objective and then allows competitors to use their skills in whatever way they see fit to achieve the objective. But it's still just a gladiators competition and doesn't pretend to be anything grander than that.
I think, it's overdue. I wouldn't compare juggling to painting, as there is catches to count, siteswaps to follow, times to take until drop, and many different disciplines. It is absolutely common in sports (also exotic sports with small communities) to have certificates, cups, money-prizes. Events, where you can earn such rewards for your work, will only cost an entry-fee in proportion to the prize-fund, but not scaring people from attending.
Jugglers would have to present their records not only on video via web, but at that special event that day under given conditions if they want the cup, that event's certificate or the prize in their discipline. More cracks would take part and lively up the events.
since when did drinking tea, eating biscuits and chucking stuff about become a sport?
I mean .. can you even win the costs of the trip on current events? Everyone likes a palpable reward and approvement for his/her hard work & skills.
Well, where are you going to get that funding from? Big sports events are funded by audience.. But in juggling there is not much audience, most of the people rather juggle themselves than watch a competition..
The Dutch Championship is always organised as a tiny convention. Of course people watch, because their friends are on, but mostly they attend because there also is an open gym. The participants pay much more than the regular visitors....
The recent WJF10 at Skillcon had at least $7000 for the overall championship. That should have covered the costs of the trip, unless the winner got a little carried away in Vegas!
That sounds real good! .. and that could buy a decent massive gold cup maybe with a little diamond on it ;o] (= really know to few of such things .. guess juggling world owes J. Garfield or post-Garfield WJF for that)
I talked to Christian Hauschild, who got third place at the WJF last year, which was $1000 if I remember rightly, but lost a lot of money on the trip.
Personally I think competitions should either cover all the costs of all the competitors, and then the winning money is a bonus, or not have any cash prize at all. Because if Thomas Dietz is going to a WJF, why would I (or most other jugglers) ever bother going?
The thing I tried to do when setting up the BYJOTY and now with making Fight Night more of a thing is to make the competition intrinsically entertaining and interesting, not just to watch but also for everyone taking part. For the most part this means reducing the brain stress for all the competitors to a minimum. Rules that the participants have to know can be super short (a few paragraphs should be enough), while those organizing the tournaments should be doing more work and have to know more stuff. And the audience should be able to just turn up and see a fun event too. This is the model of all juggling games sessions at conventions too.
This might seem blindingly obvious, but from the outside it seems like the WJF still hasn't got this figured out. For the top competitors it just takes too much work at boring juggling to have a chance at success. Fight Night? Turn up and 10 minutes later you're playing combat. BYJOTY? Make a juggling act between 2 and 5 minutes long. 5 ball endurance? Quick, someone give me some thuds and I'll give it a go!
Well .. the "ThomasDietz"-problem can be resolved by an attractive staggered many prize-ranks like 40%, 30%, 15%, 10%, 3%, 1%, a.s.o. or alike what turns out best andor depending on number of participants .. (it needn't be a "the winner takes it all"-prize)
No. Everyone who makes takes part in a competition should be paid all their expenses to be there, and more as an incentive to take part or a proper professional fee. That's the only way anyone will ever take a competition seriously.
OR the tournament shouldn't reward the winner monetarily.
It has to either be a professional sport/competition or an amateur event. There isn't a middle ground in any sport that has a vibrant competitive scene with any longevity. You can't learn any of this by looking at previous juggling events, you can only learn by looking at the history of established sports and the development of new sports (such as esports).
I broadly agree on the pro/am distinction.
The bit I can't get my head around for a professional juggling competition, I'd where the money would come from. Sport it's easy to see, as there are spectators to charge, advertising and sponsorship deals to arrange, TV rights to sell because the audience is large, volume of equipment sales are high enough that manufacturers have advertising budgets to spend...
For juggling? Well, how many jugglers at BJC Nottingham paid the extra to go and watch the WJF showcase competitions? A couple of dozen? Are Henry's/babache/renegade/play selling enough kit that they could bankroll it out of their advertising budgets?
Somehow I doubt it.
The only route into that I can see is grow an am event, make it big and popular with spectators, then when you're big enough go pro.
The WJF tried to skip the first bit, and what you're doing with combat like is making inroads into the first bit.
Unfortunately it won't meet in the middle, because the skills in the two events are really very different.
ill just drop this here http://adsoftheworld.com/sites/default/files/styles/media_retina/public/images/wws3.jpg?itok=PYjImafp
In terms of making combat a popular spectator sport, quite a few of my students were saying "WTF?!?" when seeing Luke v Jochen in Toulouse.... and saying that they'd pay (some) money to see it.
I made them analyse the behaviour of jugglers arriving at EJCs in order to make recommendations about how resources should be allocated for pre-reg / reg desks [and what opening hours they should have]. They asked what type of festival lasts 9 days and has people arriving at silly o'clock throughout the event. I answered that question with several videos!
Now I'm curious. What is the behaviour of jugglers arriving at EJCs? I always try to arrive the first hour it opens and I assumed everyone else tried the same.
From working one EJC on registration, I recall that yes, of course the biggest queue was as the doors opened, but there was also a fairly regular stream of people for the rest of the day, and rather a lot of people arriving on the second day as well.
It also depends a lot on how you get to the event. When flying, how expensive the flights are, and how often they run can make a big difference.
To get to Lublin, for example, I spent 2 nights in a swanky hotel in Warsaw before travelling on towards Lublin because the flights on that day were so much cheaper than the ideal time that overall I saved, even after 2 nights in a nice hotel.
Now, in that example, the cheaper flight was earlier, and so we were there at the start time of the convention. But it could just as well have happened that I'd have arrived later, as I seem to remember plenty did.
Whilst I like to get to the event at the start, if the difference in the flight cost is more than the EJC ticket, it can be a difficult decision to make.
And if you have a 12 hour drive or train journey to take to get there, you might need to get there the evening of the first day rather than at the start.
Some of the things that they had to incorporate into their models was distance from Frankfurt [which, about 10 years ago was pretty much the centre of mass of European jugglers], the number of trains / coaches arriving per hour (jugglers come in waves by public transport, especially when it is further away from Frankfurt - so not as driveable for as many). Other things considered were if there were any special events that may attact locals in, and whether that event was "all day", or at a specific time. Also, part of the challenge was to work out how the available desks should be split between pre-registered and pay-on-the-door jugglers to minimise overall queuing, subject to the constraint that, on average, pre-registrations should queue for less time than those who haven't.
The peak arrival time is always at the beginning, but transport costs, transport time and availability (so when people can get away from work etc) all play a factor in when people arrive at an EJC. The recommendations made by students were interesting (I gave them all individual fictional, but realistic, hourly arrival data for the last few years) and they had to try to predict this years arrival behaviour and so make recommendations for the team - based on estimates of the total number of pre-registrations!
"It has to either be a professional sport/competition or an amateur event."
Why do you think this? The model of "pay out to the winners, pay nothing to the losers" has been how practically every video game tournament has been run. Scrabble tournaments also run that way, and they've been around ~forever.
Actually, isn't distance running also like that (pay achievers, don't pay others)? Something like the Boston Marathon?
I'm afraid I don't know enough about other fringe sports to comment on them.
Look up all the controversies with esports and how that prize money works out. Top competitors agree before the final to split the winnings, then just piss about in the final match. There's loads of issues at big tournaments all the time.
Marathons have elite divisions and then everyone else. It's one day, but there's really more than one sport going on.
I've been a part of esports culture for the last decade, specifically Melee and Pokemon. Except for the era of Ken and Isai, that doesn't happen much, especially at the big (non-regional) tournaments. It also hasn't happened recently in Pokemon. Recently some of the bigger players in Smash got sponsored, buffering their winnings, but I don't think that's meaningful to this discussion.
I don't follow the bigger ones (League, Dota, etc) but I feel that those are less relevant, as they're quite a bit larger than juggling scenes and are funded largely by spectators/corporate sponsors. What esports were you talking about? Is it widespread within, and beyond that esport?
Re: distance running, in non-elite tier, races pay out to winners, partially/largely from the pot generated from registration fees from others. Are you saying that this is not the case in the elite tier (money coming from spectators, sponsors, etc., rather than registration fees)?
My point about esports is actually a bit wider than any one controversy, but the controversies are indicative of two main issues that prize money exacerbates.
This leads to a churn of not just players, but the games themselves. Starcraft has longevity, and Counter Strike is getting there, but fighting games don't stick around, nor do the gamers, except maybe Melee. Tournaments and the prizes they dish out aren't structured around the longevity of the game itself. The prize money is to attract the best players to THIS event. Providing long term financial support to a player or team, to let them make a professional career out of the activity, is hardly a consideration.
In terms of juggling competitions, it's obvious how this applies:
The WJF wants to reward technical jugglers, but is now just for young jugglers with unlimited free time. There is remarkable churn compared to other conventions. Jugglers return a few years in a row, but once it becomes obvious they aren't in prize money contention, it obviously isn't a good value proposition for jugglers as they are no longer teenagers and have to earn a living, either by juggling or with a real job.
Also there is a churn on the tournament itself at the WJF. The rules change so much year over year, with every one having different structures and different events and different competitions and different levels of prize money. It also only happens once a year, so it's not a good time investment to train for it even if you think you could win.
This, again, means the incentive for tournaments isn't the longevity of the game. They want their single tournament to be a success, and maybe be big enough to attract players the following year.
There are a few exceptions to this, of course. League of Legends is the best example of an esport that is taking a different route. All the main tournaments and leagues are run by Riot, the game developer, and the players are salaried with prize money a bonus. Riot Games understands all the issues I've outlined above, of course, and are developing the esport right alongside the game itself.
This second point is more nebulous, but without prize money, and with a sport as an amateur activity, there doesn't need to be a governing body. In fact, it's good that there isn't. People want to participate as much as possible, so if there's no money involved, it's best to allow as many tournaments or other events as possible. Once money is involved, it brings along so many more restrictions in rules and possible play and loads of other issues. Not only do the rules need to be there for fair play reasons, the governing body has to be exclusive to stop players going elsewhere for money after breaking rules.
Juggling and juggling competitions don't need a governing body, but the early WJF did lots of posturing in this regard. There were pages and pages and pages of rules, even down to what clothes a juggler could wear, or the props allowed to be practiced in the juggling space at the convention.
Lots of interesting ideas here. They've made me appreciate that we're approaching this issue from two very different angles: that of a professional juggler, and that of a hobbyist juggler. Since my livelihood does not depend on juggling, I'm completely fine with the idea of spending some money to get to an event with the possibility of not winning anything. I see your point that if the organizers don't pay for travel/lodging/logistics, they are asking for free performances (or worse, performances with a performing fee, but still charging people to watch!), which I understand is a faux pas to many (most?) professionals.
Without having people be able to support themselves on being a professional *competing* juggler, the quality of the competitions will be lower than the alternative. Sure, you'll get some people who are independently wealthy (or sponsored by their families, like many young competitors) being able to practise as much as they'd like, but that's only selecting for a subset, and thus not as good for growth as a sport as it would be inaccessible to most.
It's unlikely that I would compete at a fest that I wasn't going to attend anyway, so I don't see lodging and travel as an expense associated with competing. If I were the type of person competitions were trying to attract (elite-tier) that may be a problem, or my attitude may be different.
In an ideal world, yes, I think an organization should pay for its competitors' logistics. I don't think that's going to happen in the near future (is it 16 years now unitl the Fun Fund donation is accessible? Maybe then...) so it comes down to whether there should be prize money at all.
"People want to participate as much as possible, so if there's no money involved, it's best to allow as many tournaments or other events as possible. "
I agree with this, for the most part. My trouble is that I think it would decrease the feasibility of large fests (specifically large fests), which are almost required to draw some large names. If they aren't paid (as they sometimes are in the IJA - varies from year to year) or don't have a reasonable shot at winning some money (WJF) then it's less likely they'll attend. Especially in places like Canada/the States, where the population density is such that competitors/performers will have go more out of their way to attend, and normal fest attendees will have to travel farther, it would require more encouraging to attend.
An example of when prize money is useful is this last WJF. The prize money was high enough that it brought out some competitors that otherwise wouldn't have attended (notably, Thomas Dietz). I imagine that was a draw for some attendees. I think having a few events like that, with (potential) payoffs that attract (at least somewhat close) elite-level jugglers, are worthwhile.
 Some of the points go well beyond what you said, and flowed into what I think you said and why I think you said them, and why I wouldn't have thought about them. If I'm misinterpreting or paraphrasing your ideas incorrectly, please let me know.
 Since we're talking about determining the best at something, I'll treat juggling as a sport here.
So to be clear, a single tournament per year is not enough to provide any juggler with either a suitable financial compensation that they could base a professional career on it, nor does it provide enough motivation for anyone to put work into it unless it was at a convention they were going to anyway. Which is why the IJA and WJF winners are never thought to be the best in the world at anything, nor even world champions of anything, merely the best of the people who turned up that one time.
This isn't just for juggling as defined as sport.
There are loads of competitions in Germany (and other European countries) for jugglers, or at least that jugglers can enter. They are called street show festivals, and there are always jury prizes and audience voted prizes available to win if you've got a good show. I earned more money from street show competition prize money in a single year than any juggler has ever won at a single IJA festival, AND at those festivals I was passing the hat every show to earn money that way, AND I was being paid travel expenses, AND I was given food the whole time, AND I was put up in a hotel the each night of the festival. Meanwhile, at the IJA you have to cover the cost of all those things yourself. Of course you do! The IJA is doing you a favor, letting you take part in their show, rather than treating you like a professional.
It's a good living, if hard work, but even those who don't ever win, and never expect to win as they have smaller shows, can still get by with a summer full of festivals.
It's like the ATP tennis circuit. There's the main professional tour for the elite players, then the Challenger series for those ranked 80 to about 200 in the world. One of the requirements for a Challenger event isn't just an at least $80,000 prize money pool, but also accommodation for all the players, as that's one of the biggest costs for a professional on tour.
Thomas Dietz retired from WJF competition years ago. Plus, there is a beginners and intermediate competition, and even Olympic competitors aren't reimbursed that much just for competing.
Luke, I agree with you about juggling competitions paying for competitors expenses first AND THEN paying prize money. In fact, I brought this point up to the current IJA board.
However, you clearly did not feel that way about it being pointless to compete in 2004 when you competed in the IJA (against Thomas). ;)
Teasing aside, bravo with fight night! From my perspective you are showing the IJA and WJF competitions how to put on quality juggling competitions that are entertaining for everyone and fun for the competitors.
In 2004 I wanted to go the IJA festival anyway, but then was asked to take part in the Cascade of Stars show. When I asked what I would be paid after travel expenses and accommodation, I was told those wouldn't be covered, and that I'd just get free entry to the festival. I turned that "offer" down, and took the same "fee" for doing a turn in another show.
But I still wanted to cover some expenses. Entering the IJA competitions was a purely financial decision. I made some money with some three ball competitions, I think, but didn't place in the main event.
Overall I found the main event quite stressful, and also not particularly fun or rewarding, especially as I think the wrong person won (should have been Emile Carey, who only got third), and when asked about how the judging was handled was told that the judges decided not to follow the rules. Oh, and nobody seemed to feel anything was weird about not following the rules.
Personally I'm not sure why I expected anything different.
Needless to say this kind of experience shaped future juggling competition experiments.
Which is harder:
* Five clubs or seven balls?
* 53 catches of five clubs or 28 catches of seven balls?
* Seven balls for 58 catches or 70.5 catches of 5 clubs (the 17th throw should be caught by the bulb (though I can't determine if it should be 1.5 spins or 2.5 spins)).
* 441 behind the back blind with balls or 17 five club backcrosses or 13 catches of nine balls?
* 42 siteswap with rings or three ball half shower while wearing a purple sweater?
* Fifteen ball flash or one ball trebla with a triple pirouette caught in a nose balance using a bowling ball, while on a rola bola in the alps?
* Picasso's Guernica or Michelangelo's David?
53 catches of 7 balls are harder than 28 catches. There's no analogy for that at painting.
There's also world championships and or olympic competition in e.g. ice-skating, in rythmic gymnastics and even in dancing. All the while these sports can be practiced freestyle and in queer ways too.
And juggling community was way smaller (not ww-digital also) and juggling was less popular at Francis Brunn's times, I guess, so I'm not sure, his saying applies nowadays.
I know we have the WJF and IJA, but this would be something that really decides the best jugglers.
How exactly do you think the existing competitions fail to decide who is the best?
I'd like to see a World Juggling Championships Championship to decide which competition is the best one.
I propose to organise this... next May.
It will be the World's Longest Juggling Championship Championship. Extended deliberation sessions are planned. Judges are requested to bring their own cake, but armchairs will be provided.
There will be a separate under 16s competitions competition, held 3 fields over where I can't hear it
I made this idea so that there is it is easier to decide the best juggler. I guess having a world juggling championships championship is a better jdea
As has already been said. It's not really possible to quantify "best" juggler. The art/painting analogy is apt here. You can't compare modernism to cubism and ask which is the best! They're different. That's the great thing about juggling, there are so many different styles, disciplines, view and methods. At the end of the day do we need a best juggler?
If you are going to do it, the only empirical method would be to rigidly define each category/event. For example longest 5 clubs, longest 7 clubs, and on and on. Which is strips juggling of all interest.
I think David Cain might be in with a shot for longest 3 clubs. Not sure about longest 5 clubs...
Jason Garfield is a strong contender:
Earlier in that video, he has to stand on a pair of chairs to be able to do alberts/treblas.
It took a few seconds to see why this vid was relevant.. but besides that it is amazing! Why have I not seen this before? It is my new altime favorite juggling vid!
Grasshopper, you have so much to learn.
You remind me of myself about 12 years ago when I was a noob to juggling, and I just could not stop posting to rec.juggling.
Here's my two cents: JUGGLING SHOULD BE IN THE OLYMPICS.
Why don't we push for that more? I know you said it should be held every year rather than every 4, but I can't think of a bigger positive step juggling could take.
> JUGGLING SHOULD BE IN THE OLYMPICS.
It's not the first time it's been suggested, in fact IIRC Albert Lucas' International Sport Juggling Foundation had Olympic recognition as one of its aims. And of course juggling of some sort was actually in the Olympics once upon a time, 1932 perhaps? Have a search around the rec.juggling archives and you should find a few references to the matter too.
The long and the short of it is that entry to the Olympic Games is by no means a new idea, and generally in the past one of the main reasons it has failed is because juggling does not possess a strong, over-arching, and authoritative umbrella organisation.
Which is also why this whole thread started with a request for a World Juggling Champs, yet no-one seems to have grasped that we already have IJA, DJC, WJF, X-treem Games, BYJOTY, Fite Nite, MLC, and a raft of professional circus competitions. Far from having a lack of competitions we have a plethora of them, but none dominates.
> And of course juggling of some sort was actually in the Olympics once upon a time, 1932 perhaps?
I think that rhythmic gymnastics has more in common with juggling than club swinging did. Kati Yla-Hokkala of the Gandinis started out in rhythmic gymnastics.
I like to look upon the pole vault as a combined balance & juggling oneself, aswell :o]
Oxford Juggling Convention:
A nice space for a nice low key convention that I hadn't been to before - the turnout wasn't huge but enough for there to be an atmosphere. There were even workshops this year! Although I didn't go to any and predictably spent the whole day passing. I went through some standard stuff with Danny (including a reasonable run of swing), but then got on to doing my new pattern I made up on the way - to make up for the pattern I forgot to take :(
It was a take out pattern based on 10 club 2 count feed mixed with scrambled V, my attempt at making the takeout patterns a bit more technically challenging :) I did this with Jon, James and Danny, and it was good fun and pretty tricky! We got maybe 3/4 of a round and started in all the places, so it is definitely doable.
I also had a particularly super session with James, getting decent runs of a89, 9 club 3 count, and some attempts at 789ab (and actually getting 7296b running as warm up), as well as some of my sync variations.
The show was short, which in my book is probably a plus, although not great, however I enjoyed seeing Sadie and Alan's routine as always. After that it was the European Slappy Slappy Point Point championships. I didn't enter but did play some fun more advanced variants - playing with both hands simultaneously but independently, same thing but out of phase (much harder! one hand slapping whilst the other points) and some others.
That take out pattern sounds interesting, I'd like to see it (and maybe try it, some day, I just have to get a lot better at 10 club 2 count feed first...)
I intended to write up the pattern here, but then got a bit confused. I'm coming to the conclusion we did the wrong thing which explains why it was so hard at one bit! (I think we might have been doing an intercept and carry on the same beat). Regardless, I'll put something up (but no video)
Also a7968 was fun and another one to tick off your list perhaps?
Another fun oxford convention for me. The venue is great and the shoddy show venue from the last few years has been replaced by a brand spanking new nice auditorium. Stand out act for me was the first guy with the balls and shaker thing (Kay perhaps).
Generally the convention seemed to run smoothly this year after some loose organisation last year so well done on Sam and Rob (and anyone else who deserves credit) for sorting this out. Shame they lost some show acts last minute, but full credit for trying particularly hard to rope in anyone they could from the convention to fill the gaps. I have to admit I was still a little worried about being called up on stage despite saying no about 5 times! Left my clubs in my car just in case!
Convention win for me was the 10c Scrambled V Brook alluded to. Really fun and very tough. I will be hunting down people at the EJC to try this again with.
Convention fail for me was 10c 2 count passing with Mandy. After a really successful first go of about 15 passes we then proceeded to get worse and worse every go for the next 15 minutes. Never understand why this happens.
Final thought: Next time they should bring back the volley club net. There should be more volley club in the world.
Yes, I did tick that off my list and continue my slow crawl to 50%. I was trying not to just fill up my review with siteswaps though...
Yes, volleyclub would have been nice, I don't seem to play that very often. Should have gone to Bungay I suppose!
Oxford juggling Convention - Review
Alan's company for the long drive to and from Oxford.
The cafe at the venue. I strayed away from the pizza this year and tried a baguette, it was very nice.
Lunchtime conversation and food reviews.
Passing Brook's new pattern with James, Danny and Brook. It was very fast in places but I can see it being a nice one to do once it is running.
I do like the convention venue at oxford. Nice outdoors area and a lovely big hall, cold water fountain and plenty of parking.
I love the new show venue! It's a great little stage (but with no backstage area). Very posh and not at all dingy like the previous one. (slightly hard to find if you don't know the way)
The shark sticking out of the roof of someones house... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Headington_Shark
Very nice fish and chip restaurant meal with Sam + Martin and Mark. Thank you for convincing me not to go for a curry.
The games were quite short but entertaining. Thank you Danny for giving me your games prizes and for partnering with me for long distance passing.
I did not enjoy so much:
It wasn't a great juggle day for me. I wore myself out a bit passing and then playing gladiators in the sun and was quite incapable of anything afterwards.
Forgot my sunglasses, not good for the games.
The show compere. I suspect he might have been a little bit drunk (or worse). Not as bad as the famous Birmingham clown, but definately not an improvement on last years compere.
I did enjoy Oxford convention although it did seem very quiet to me this year. A lot of people play outside in the sun, but even so the hall was mostly empty all day.
The show was short, but the acts themselves were good.
Thank you Sam and Rob and the Oxford team for putting the day together for us to enjoy! I look forward to coming again next year.
"I wore myself out a bit passing and then playing gladiators"
What else would you want to do?!
Okay, you got me! ;-)
I did miss the vollyclub net. Should we make that a regular fixture at conventions?
I am tempted to buy one and start bringing it to conventions but only if people will play with me. :-)
It was my first Oxford convention and I had a very relaxing day. Good venue even though it was not easy to find.
The show was a bit short being only thirty five minutes long. I have seen Steve Rawlings do his Knife routine a lot of times but to see someone else do it word for word and every gag and movement the same, even sounding the same was strange. I have not seen Jay Rawlings before but he does need his own material.
I have seen Jay perform some magic routines that are not Steve Rawlings routines and they work very well. People who haven't seen Steve perform were saying that they enjoyed Jays' show. I just thought that the it was the best Steve Rawlings impression I've seen but that none of his own personality was on show.
"Not as bad as the famous Birmingham clown"
Oof. Damned with faint praise.
Didn't see the Birmingham clown but the compere lacked all the qualities that you need in a compere.
He was unable to warm up the audience, he failed at the minimal stage hand duties he had to do and he forgot the name of one of the five acts. He did appear to have consumed something alcoholic or mind altering and I would have preferred to see less of his underwear (but that is similar to many yoofs of the last ten years).
Oxford convention has always been a little odd. The large sports hall has never been full at any of the conventions I've attended. The previous show venue was indescribably gloomy but the new one is a vast improvement. The passes, consisting of a bit of string, have to be the cheapest ever (apparently £2.10 paid for this years and next years passes). The trader is always somewhat isolated at the end of the hall.
However if you go to the convention to juggle then there is plenty of space and height. If you go to chat, then there is always someone to chat to. If you go to learn then the workshops and other juggler skills are good enough.
I juggled, chatted, attended a workshop, booked an act for MKJC, watched possibly the shortest convention show ever and enjoyed myself.
> The passes, consisting of a bit of string, have to be the cheapest ever (apparently £2.10 paid for this years and next years passes).
Circus Space pulled this trick years ago. It was hairy green string, just enough to tie round your wrist and all itchy. Hoxton string is hipster string though, so it was probably £2 a length.
Thanks for coming! If you performed, ran a workshop or sat taking people's money for me thanks again!
More thanks to Jay for stepping in to perform when I was 2 acts down and Paul for agreeing to do sound and light when I had nobody else.
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