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Presidential Interview - Airmax

Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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6/9/2013 11:51:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Ore_Ele

Thank you Airmax, for taking time out of you weekend to do this interview. The election is right around the corner and this may be the last opportunity to voice your platform.

First, let us ask, is your platform for this election any different from your previous elections?

airmax1227

No problem, thanks for taking your time as well. I'm always happy to take the time to answer any questions that members have.

I wouldn't say that it is any different in any significant way, only that the details change with the conditions of the site and the interests of the membership. I'm going to continue to stand by what works and listen to the feedback from members so that we can make the changes that they are most interested in. Since I already have the experience and a record of success in doing this, I don't think it's necessary for me to change this approach or to compile the entire list of projects that we will work on. If members have expressed interest in an update, change or improvement, it's something on the list of things to do. Members know what these things are, but they include, for example, Team Debates, voting encouragement initiatives, and site bug fixes, among others.

So my platform is exactly what it was in the previous two elections. I'll listen to what members are saying that they want, and do my best to see that it gets done. I've had a lot of success doing it this way and things like the profile updates and ELO are a good example. I believe we will be able to continue to maintain such successes by allowing the membership to continue to define my platform. Aside from that, members know exactly who I am and how I do things, and they know they can always ask for specifics if they aren't sure about something.

Ore_Ele

There have been a number of high profile bannings in the recent months. One member asks how you plan on dealing with such drama before it becomes such an issue, so that actual improvements can be focused on, rather than "crisis management"

airmax1227

I can't deal with an issue before it actually becomes an issue, and I don't think it's fair to categorize these things as "crisis management". They are far from a crisis and it's simply the reality of a site like DDO, which has many members, some of whom simply aren't able to be civil, or follow some basic rules. These are very rare though as only a few have been permanently banned in the past year, and even fewer have resulted in high profile drama.

The high profile incidences, like the cases with Apeiron and Doubter may make it seem like we have rampant drama going on all the time, but this just isn't the case. These things stick out because they are rare, and because almost always, site conduct issues are able to be handled behind the scenes and no one ever knows about them.

Every time a member is reported for a significant enough conduct issue (or some other aspect the needs to be given attention), I personally send them a PM letting them know. They then may ask some questions about what is and isn't allowable conduct and that's pretty much the end of it. So even assuming the premise of the question is accurate, the solution to avoiding "crisis management" is by doing exactly what is already done, and has been successful in avoiding anything further than me personally letting members know not to cross the line again, or how to approach whatever issue they may be having.

This approach (and some additional aspects to it) continues to be successful and will continue to be followed. While there are instances like the ones mentioned that did culminate in public drama, they were largely unavoidable due to the actions of the members themselves. I wont preempt dealing with a specific members conduct until any actual violation is committed. I wont publicly shame members, and I wont rush to judgement on a member. If the cost of that is some site drama that distracts me for an hour from doing other things like site improvements, then that is the cost of being fair. From a cost-benefit analysis perspective, this is a slam dunk. What is the cost of some site drama? Not much (and it's 100% avoidable), and sometimes can actually be beneficial in giving the appearance of a vibrant community focused on whatever that issue happens to be.

For example, before the drama about Apeiron became about multi-accounts, it was about "debate ethics". Many members were passionate about the issue and stating as much in the thread created for it. While some of the conduct displayed may not have been ideal, this type of thing is actually good for the site. These types of discussions about what is and isn't acceptable in debates sometimes only manifests itself when negative things have occurred, but the results are the same nonetheless and have positive results in forcing us to discuss what should and shouldn't be allowed as it relates to debates, or as it relates to site conduct in general.

The rest of the premise though is also not entirely accurate. Simply because I am handling a "site drama issue" doesn't mean it's necessarily taking away from other things. Often either or both of these thing can be delegated to an extent, and both are prioritized based on need. Right now, for example, I can do this interview while other members are working on other projects I have asked them to work on. This interview is not preventing me from focusing on site improvement, even though my time is now being used for it.

Part of my responsibilities are to deal with member conduct issues, and while several things have been put into place procedurally and behind the scenes in site security methods, ultimately the only way to avoid these incidences is taking steps that would harm the site more than they help. For now, I am confident that my approach prevents 99% of further issues and has kept site drama to a minimum. We'll always have some drama though, it's part of the nature of the site in which large numbers of members, often young people, with conflicting ideologies, argue competitively.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Ore_Ele
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6/9/2013 11:51:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Ore_Ele

Voting has been in issue on this site since before you took office and it hasn't seemed to improve during your past year. Has this been from a lack of success? And if so why do you believe that another 6 months would make a difference? Or from a lack of trying? Or from something else?

airmax1227

I don't agree that it hasn't improved. Because of actions taken directly by my administration we now have the ability to remove the voting privileges from problem voters. We can also counter votes by using specially created 'counter vote accounts', though this isn't really necessary because members are quick to counter vote, which is a different issue unto itself (and will be obsolete with this project described below).

At first, my approach has been to counteract poor voting, which I think has been a success given that we now the ability to remove voting privileges and I explain to each individual poor voter what is expected from their votes. So I believe this has counteracted that somewhat. But beyond that, I have begun to work on ways that approach this from a new direction. Rather than decrease poor votes (which has occurred over the last 11 months) we need to encourage more 'good' voting in general, and this has been something I have been working on with other members in the last few months.

Given another six months I believe there is a decent chance that this "voter encouragement" project, which utilizes a voting leader board, profile badgers, thumbing up/down votes, mod deletion of votebombs, and other elements which will be presented to the membership in the future for feedback, will in fact resolve many of the issues associated now with too little voting, rather than the former problem, of too much poor voting.

So I don't think we have had a lack of success, I just think we haven't been able to completely resolve a huge problem that doesn't have any simple solutions. But we have made some gains, and I plan to be able to have even more significant successes in the next six months with fixing the sites voting issues.

Ore_Ele

How do you reconcile that success with the fact that many older members have stopped doing debates or left altogether because of the lack votes?

airmax1227

Some people are inevitably going to get burned out from the site, and tire of doing debates. If someone considers their main goal in debating on the site to be mostly about the voting, their longevity on the site may inevitably be shorter. It's important to focus on the debates themselves and hope for the best with the voting (while taking an active approach to encouraging it sometimes) while we try to fix the problems.

Older members were doing debates when the circumstances were much worse (when VBing for ones self was the norm) and they (whoever these members are) simply got tired of doing debates in this case. I doubt that the situation with voting was the only reason, or even the most significant.

If it's a fact that these older members left because of the voting, I'm sure you can name them so I can point to their specific circumstances and reconcile why they should have stayed to see the circumstances actually improve in the last year, and why they should come back now, as it's going to improve even more over the next year.

Members leave for many reasons, and voting may be one of them. It can be frustrating for everyone which is why we are trying to improve the situation. But things have gotten better in some ways and members should focus on the debate itself and do what is in their control to encourage votes on their debates at this time. To leave after a long time because their debates weren't getting enough votes doesn't seem like the most likely reason to me though, and I'm sure other significant factors played into it (like family, school and simply losing interest).

Ore_Ele

This question just came in,

Have you reached out to any old members that may have left due to temporary drama on the site (maybe they were chased away by a troll) to try to get them back?

airmax1227

I've been in contact with a few former members and I always try to convince them to come back. I always let members know that if they have or had any problems, they just need to let me know and I'll do everything that I can to resolve the issue so they can feel comfortable using the site. These members, as I suspect most members who have left, have multiple reasons for leaving the site and it isn't as simple as just resolving a single issue (like a troll or voting issues), so they are usually content with not returning. In some cases though, they return as completely new accounts, and these former long-time members who we suspect have gone away forever, have in fact, not been gone for long.

Ore_Ele

Before we end the interview, would you have anything else that you would like to add?

airmax1227

Thanks for conducting the interview. If any members have anything else they would like to ask me they are always free to ask. As always, if anyone has any questions, concerns, comments, would like to offer their help, or need anything at all, they are always welcome and encouraged to contact me.

If any of the other candidates would like to debate me on why they would make a better president, please contact me and/or challenge me to a debate. It's a debate site and these make for a good read, so I think it's a shame these haven't happened lately.

I'd like to thank Ore_ele for conducting this interview and anyone who read it.

Go Packers, Go Heat, and god (or secular equivalent) bless DDO.

Thank you.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
imabench
Posts: 21,230
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6/9/2013 11:54:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Go Packers, Go Heat, and god (or secular equivalent) bless DDO.

You got my vote ;D
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xXCryptoXx
Posts: 5,000
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6/10/2013 12:08:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/9/2013 11:54:20 PM, imabench wrote:
Go Packers, Go Heat, and god (or secular equivalent) bless DDO.

You got my vote ;D

That was easy.
Nolite Timere
imabench
Posts: 21,230
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6/10/2013 12:19:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/10/2013 12:08:10 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
At 6/9/2013 11:54:20 PM, imabench wrote:
Go Packers, Go Heat, and god (or secular equivalent) bless DDO.

You got my vote ;D

That was easy.

im a bench....
Kevin24018 : "He's just so mean it makes me want to ball up my fists and stamp on the ground"
Geogeer: "Nobody is dumb enough to become my protege."

7/14/16 = The Presidency Dies

DDO: THE MOVIE = http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...

VP of DDO from Dec 14th 2014 to Jan 1st 2015
ClassicRobert
Posts: 2,487
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6/10/2013 10:28:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Airmax, a lot of new members stay on the site for one or two weeks, and then just leave. Do you have anything planned to make the site more attractive to new users, so they stay?
Debate me: Economic decision theory should be adjusted to include higher-order preferences for non-normative purposes http://www.debate.org...

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airmax1227
Posts: 13,245
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6/10/2013 6:46:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/10/2013 10:28:20 AM, ClassicRobert wrote:
Airmax, a lot of new members stay on the site for one or two weeks, and then just leave. Do you have anything planned to make the site more attractive to new users, so they stay?

Ease of use mostly and adding some simple to use guides, including a FAQ (which is currently being worked on) to a reorganization of the DDO stickies. I do my best to contact as many new members as possible and let them know that should they need anything at all they should always contact me, and to let them know what the site has to offer. There's only so much we can do though, and many members just lose interest after a debate or two, there's not a lot we can do about that (consider that 80k accounts have been created, yet only 11k have actually debated). But I would like to do better at what we can do, and to that end I want to do the above and add a couple other additions (like "competitive incentives" and "voter encouragement" which I'll detail in the near future) that would make the site more accessible to new members. I think if we find more ways to keep new members debating and interested in certain site aspects (the DDO opinions section, like it or not, has actually worked to this end) then they will be more likely to stay.

Member retention is an important goal of the site and the more members we are able to maintain, the more interesting debates will be featured, the more opinions will be expressed, and the more vibrant the community will be. Right now the plan is to focus on site accessibility to allow new members to more quickly get acquainted with the site, so they can find the aspects of it that will be more likely to maintain their interests in the long term.
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