Discussions category


(ACD) #1

This feature is not serving a useful purpose in my view. Many of the topics and conversants are difficult to understand or do not adhere to the identified topic.


(Bill Ames) #2

A conversation topic is a seed, intended to start a conversation. Often people will start a topic because they are seeking information. Like when a child asks why the sky is blue. The answer could be given but in fact it requires much more than an answer. I always try to cover more than the topic as it will be most helpful in the long run. I agree that some people are difficult to understand but I am very tolerant of those as they are usually in need of guidance. From my perspective as a senior citizen, 75, I find this feature the best that Ideapod offers. What it could use are more posters of different demographics.


(Justin Brown) #3

Thanks for the feedback. Let’s discuss it a bit more.

Can you clarify what you see as the purpose of this feature?

This section houses the articles published on Ideapod, and the replies show up as comments underneath the originally published article on the main site.

Do you mean that you think the originally published articles aren’t serving a useful purpose? Or that having a section here where the articles are being discussed isn’t useful?


(ACD) #4

Please note that this category is being used quite differently from your design. The discussions are often boorish.


(Justin Brown) #5

What do you suggest to make the discussions less boorish?


(ACD) #6

This question addresses the quality of the conversants which is difficult. Please review what has been discussed over the past month or so. I think you may see that to which I refer.


(Justin Brown) #7

I think there have been some interesting conversations in the #discussions. People generally seem pretty supportive of each other and are exploring different ways of thinking which is great to see.

There’s more happening in the other sections. This is great to see, and I don’t mind if the #discussions section isn’t the primary place that people get into discussions with each other.

We can create other sections and clearly explain what the purpose of each section is. We could select a few important world issues, create sections for them, set some clear guidelines, and then encourage people to get into conversations based on the guidelines of each specific section.

We could also create a section which is specifically dedicated to posing questions. For example, Quora is a question-and-answer site. We could do something similar, but instead of replicating Quora, instead we could set guidelines where people ask questions about what may happen in the future. Then the community can explore this together, gathering various resources in trying to paint a picture of where we’re headed.

In terms of improving the interface and functionality, there are also a few things we can do. Right now, I would like to encourage people to use the :heart: button a bit more to signify appreciation for a response. We can change this :heart: button to be “reactions”, like Facebook, giving people a greater range of possible ways to interact.

Finally, I think it’s important that we invite guest contributors to publish articles on Ideapod (the main site). This would bring in interesting viewpoints directly into the #discussions category.

These are just a few ideas. I’m open to more suggestions from the Ideapod community.


(Bill Ames) #8

What is really needed (in my opinion) is a more diversified collection of people. If we have topics such as Religion, Global Warming, AI, Trump, Capitalism, The Big Bang and expect a collection of 38 year olds who are suffering depression and gender identity crisis to be able to contribute, well, not happening.

Facebook became popular because it invited “everyone.” Ideapod is not a Facebook clone but I am not sure what it really is. I enjoy the discussions because I can post interesting ideas and comment on most of other peoples ideas. The posts that do not allow comments are just advertisements and are not intended to be read.

Here is an idea. Have Ideapod connect to some university and arrange a for credit course where the students must use Ideapod, communicate with the people they find here and have to write papers on what they have found, how they would improve it and the Pros and Cons in the Ideapod experience. We might even get a TED talk on the Ideapod experience.

I have offered to answer any question that is posted, to me or just in general. I have a lot of experience and a very high tech background. But there are very few people here that exhibit curiosity. To me that is disappointing. I would like to have some discussions on potential consumer centric AI products. I have one in mind and no one to talk it over with. I am too old to make it a product but I do not mind sharing it. Are there people in industry that look at Ideapod as a source of ideas?

It is easy for me to talk at length about things that interest me and when I see posts of just a sentence I wonder what the poster is thinking, they have not done very well in expressing their thoughts. What is holding them back?

Perhaps we need an “agree” or “disagree” button? I may like a post because it got my attention and the poster made a good presentation but I totally disagree with them. Why would I click the heart? Perhaps add a “do not understand” option? OK, I am done, nap time. :wink:


(ACD) #9

Please notice that an active minority has gravitated to this category, presumably for discussion which does not occur elsewhere on ideapod. For me, the purpose is intelligent give and take on interesting topics. Csmith has been especially thoughtful recently. Others are active and write at length but are repetitive advocates of a single issue.


(Justin Brown) #10

If by intelligence you mean this:

the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.
“an eminent man of great intelligence”

Then I agree. But I would want to make sure we keep the definition of “intelligence” to be pretty broad, including people sharing their own life experiences.

I think it’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking that one is intelligent, and it results in preaching rather than learning from others.

I would love for the general tenor here to be one of exploration together.

The suggestions of improvements I’ve outlined above should go some way to bringing in a more diverse community of people contributing.


(ACD) #11

This is a common word whose meaning should not be controversal.

This is not intelligence. It is conceit.


(ACD) #13

Facebook is a virtual town square because so many can be found there. Ideapod has not attracted enough to play that role in the same way or to the same extent. It is a platform looking for a purpose at this point.


(Bill Ames) #14

I have been trying to understand the purpose of Ideapod. Not a purpose based on the original idea but what it, like any new idea, will mature into given time and customers. I have friends I would like to introduce to ideapod but they need an explanation of what something is before they will spend time exploring it. I have yet to build a valid description of what Ideapod is, what it does and why my friends should invest time in exploring it. It is a work in process and it must be guided by Justin, to fail or succeed. What is really important, it is the people who are here that will determine if it is successful. Not those that pass by and look in the window, but those that enter and contribute to the experience.


(ACD) #15

The bulk of activity on ideapod is here in #discussions. The articles posted under ideapod:explore are mostly from several months ago. There is lots of recycled ideapod content on ideapod’s facebook page which is presented in the first person singular.


(Justin Brown) #16

Every time we update an article, it automatically goes to the top of the Discussions section. I think you’re only seeing those “hidden posts” because you have a high trust level. I need to change a few settings so that they remain hidden to everyone.

Ideally, I only want topics to appear in Discussions when someone makes a first comment. When there are no comments, they should be hidden. It means that people can only make a comment by discovering the article from wherever we share it online - e.g. through our email list, search engines, social media. This enables us to continue making updates to old articles without them surfacing here.

One option for us is to only make comments available under some of the articles being published on the main Ideapod site.

Yes, we use an automated tool to post to our Facebook page. It recycles a lot of old content. This helps us to surface the older content and see what people are interested in.

I’d like to transform our whole approach to social media through creating video content. Right now, the primary focus is on growing our audience through search engine traffic and social media, and selling more of our own products so that we can reduce (and maybe eliminate) personalized advertising on the site.

@BillAmes the purpose of Ideapod is to support people in building a deeper connection with themselves, others around them and society more broadly. We do this through the content we create, the eBooks and online courses we sell and this discussions area. Behind the scenes we are also building a search engine for media that unites people across echo chambers. It’s called the “filter bubble buster”. You’ll find out more about this when we have a prototype available.

98% of our audience read our articles or access the online courses. Only about 2% create profiles to engage in discussions. This discussions area is a smaller part of what we do, but I think it’s important that we continue to improve it as there are a lot of people who want to engage in these kinds of discussions. So for the time being, if your friends need more of an explanation before using Ideapod in the way that you do, that’s fine. It’s not for them right now. We’ll keep working on the above priorities.

I don’t necessarily agree with this statement. This is based on how you use Ideapod. But there are many people involved with Ideapod that aren’t using this discussions area.


(ACD) #17

How does this translate into a sustainable business and are you able to measure demand for it? How specifically does support get delivered and to whom by whom?


(Justin Brown) #18

As mentioned above, we provide eBooks and online courses. We also create content and it’s delivered by our server via a number of distribution outlets to a few million people every month. You probably already know of a number of sustainable online education and publishing businesses. It’s beyond the scope of this discussion thread to go into more detail about our business model.


(ACD) #19

(Bill Ames) #20

To me, Ideapod has always been about communicating with people. This allows me to learn about myself and others. I do not need to buy anything, here in discussions it is all free. The people you have involved with Ideapod but do not show up here may be too much of a basket case to appreciate the discussion area. If you have a way to engage with people you may wish to send them here?


(Bill Ames) #21

I have often thought of writing something original to post here in discussions. Is that something I should do? I am aware that you do look for content that meets the needs of your demographics (I am sure what I would write about would not register with them) and meets your editorial standards (which I have no idea what they are, I just use Grammarly) so you have not motivated me to contribute to the other Ideapod (whatever that is) and I am satisfied to remain here.