questionsanyone notice that shrdlu is currently the top…


It's because every other question asked only has a lifespan of about an hour before it disappears.

I like to call it getting "Hoffa'd"


@capguncowboy: Do you mean you're actually unable to see older questions? I see questions going back quite a bit.


@magic cave: last night, there were several questions and deals posted just seconds after the site relaunched. This morning, all of those deals and questions are gone -- I posted a question about it with a couple of screenshots of my stuff that's now missing (because it had already happened once last night and I was certain it would happen again). It's frustrating to say the least

I'm sure it's only a matter of time before this question and the others all disappear too.


Is it taking into account the "Beta Feedback" if it is filled out and submitted? I imagine she has a thing or two to contribute.


I thought shrdlu would have written this but then again, shrdlu is very humble. A real help to new wooters and others. Is this unique for him to be the top questioner?


@cindihoward: Uh, just for future reference, "him" is a "her."


@magic cave: I saw last night that I was in the top on that category, but you should know me better than to think it would make me happy. I also made two unhappy comments about the revamped site, and one of them pointed out that it was little better than a link farm. I got a downvote over it, and three upvotes. When I came back to the site, this morning, I saw that the list of Questions I'd answered seemed out of order. Now that I see there are problems with the database, I understand why.

I always wonder how things like this happen. When I was involved with large software projects, things were tested exhaustively.

In other news, the last bit of fun has been stripped, as far as I'm concerned. I'll still respond to being invoked, for a while, but that's probably it.

All is Maya, and will pass away, like sand castles in the incoming tides.


@shrdlu: This makes me sad beyond words. You are essence of woot. ...the old simple, fun uncomplicated woot. Forgive me if I continue to call your name. Often.

Woot outgrew itself and has now become one of many instead of the "one." Haven't been around long enough to know for sure, but I believe the adding of home.woot was the beginning of the end. Could have been kids, too. And, of course, local. Too many ONE deal a day sections. And now woot plus to add even more.


@gmwhit: You're kind, but I point out that there are many many people who used to be here, and that are gone. Everything has a natural ebb and flow. I'd been about to post a question pointing out that the "community" had become large enough that it had moved beyond that natural social contract sort of relationship, and that little pockets of relationships were forming instead.

Here's the original:

The natural number for a social group is about 150, give or take. Last I looked, the number of black triangles was headed quickly to 400, followed closely by purple triangles. There are probably 1000+ people active here on a daily basis, and it's simply moved on beyond a community, in the sense of knowing everyone.

Everything changes. Everything.


Does everyone have to be in the same circle of the same community?

Not that I'm advocating fragmentation, but is it a bad thing if different areas mature in different ways?


@gatzby: it turns the leaderboard into a silly notion, yes.


@pinchecat: How so? Everyone can rewarded for the same behaviors as a baseline.

Maybe the better question is: What are the strengths of diversity within a community? What are the weaknesses?


@gatzby: Yes, it is a Bad Thing. Instead of having 'a community,' we now have little balkanized cliques. Some will get to know each other in the IRC site, and some will go to Monday Night Music; others who have limited time/access/interest will participate in neither. Immediately, the 'community' is changed forever. Information is exchanged and inside jokes are created, closing off the larger community from the smaller cliques in small but irreparable ways. Growth always brings change, as we've seen here over the last several months.

Change itself is neither good nor bad; goodness/badness lies in the interpretations of the change by those affected by it. Balkanization is the same.

For me, yes, balkanization is generally a bad thing, because the pleasure I take in communities like this lies in the sense that "we're all in this together." When that feeling goes away, most of my enjoyment goes with it.

I'm no longer one with the group.


@gatzby: What value is a leaderboard category based on which posters here are trusted enough that others follow their voting recommendations -- when fewer and fewer people will know who's who?


@magic cave: So, you're saying the value of the community, or at least a position in the community, is depleted by having a larger audience?


@gatzby: They're saying that the level of personal interaction required to build a seemingly meaningful relationship between two users (the basic threads of a "community") becomes difficult to initiate and maintain when population size becomes too large. Social networking sites mitigate the problem by providing easy methods users can use to partition themselves into discrete groups based on some common interest.

Woot could accomplish this by allowing users "groups" or some similar thing. They are saying that the current "groups" have become too large to have a meaningful identity with meaningful inter-user relationships.

Compare: speaking to a crowd vs. speaking to another person.


@blindingmask: Can you outline the feature set you think would be sufficient to promote the kind of growth you're proposing? How does it address the issues of cliques? What is considered too large?


@gatzby: There has been a great deal of work done to understand this kind of networking, especially since the advent of internet-based social networks where users typically never see each other.

Each user is a unique "flower." Each flower has a unique set of interests and personality traits. When a user feels like the internet "place" shares these interests and receives positive feedback when expressing these interests and their personality, they will tend to aggregate. The pleasurable affirmative response will cause an addiction of sorts. We all have our groups we are a part of, and we feel good when we say [statement] and receive "yeah, totally."

Networking sites take advantage of this tendency to aggregate around pleasurable responses by allowing groups with members. To finally address your second question, you address the clique problem by allowing them their own space partially segregated, but nested within the whole. Essentially, the answer to "Balkanization" is to allow it.


This type of "Balkanization" exists quite clearly on Reddit, 4chan, Facebook, and every site of decent size. In fact, it even existed here with those who were active on Sellout separating themselves via black triangles. Eventually their numbers became large enough for schisms to once again develop. Users lament the fragmentation of their groups, but even termite colonies scatter when too large. Vinaigrette separates over time.

You have several choices:

Create sub-sellouts (sub-Reddit style)
Create interest-based community question groups
Create a member-defined grouping system (Facebook groups)
=These groups could create events to attend outside of woot! for greater bonding

and additional routes (there are many).

Essentially you must provide a mechanism to allow like-minded people to find each other and communicate. On a $$$ side, this will give you greater information on your target audience.

To keep the woot! identity, maintain the characteristic front page. (YTMND, Reddit)


@blindingmask: How does this combat the overall problem of fragmentation? How do you combat the inherent trust issues between two groups, or mediate conflict?

Also, what's standing in the way of non-formalized groups? We've seen them develop in Everything but Woot, for example.


@gatzby: You can't prevent fragmentation, only hope to catch sectors under a larger umbrella. Conflict plays a role about the same size as it currently does, as a mainly person v person event. Here you surely have noticed a comment that was then pounced upon by others, so it already occurs. At Woot! you will not have entities attempting to break away from Woot! itself, so you should have no real problems (at least as far as the Balkanization term is defined). I'm sure you've seen the real conflict between sites like ebaums v others, real city-states fighting it out. You won't have that problem.

Non-formalized groups are fantastic, they just take more effort to maintain and thus will hold fewer members. In a sense all formal groups are informal. Having formal grouping merely makes it easier for individuals new to the arena to begin. Think of it as adding tags to people to make them easier to find, which might be a clever idea.