RiotACT Survey Results

Jazz 6 June 2009 31

A couple of weeks ago those of us normally accustomed to keeping our heads down in the RiotACT bunker braved the outside world with the intent of getting your feedback on what we’re doing here.

Asking for feedback at any time can be a scary experience, particularly as its often not what you want to hear. Equally often however that feedback is surprisingly positive and inspires us to put in another day’s effort so we’d like to extend a very big thank you to those readers who took the time to complete the survey.

The response has been fantastic and we really appreciate your feedback.

Now as we know at least some of you are curious we’ll share a few of the details.

80% of respondents think that the amount of content we’re running is about right, with only 7% thinking its too much. 13% are gluttons for punishment and want more.

Overwhelmingly you all want to see more news and more community stories (with less sport and podcasts). This however is easily fixable when you hit the big blue post an item button at the top of the page 😉

43% of you stumbled accross RiotACT while searching google, 31% were told about it by a friend & generally you thought RiotACT was great, informative, amusing, relevant, local, full of whinging public servants, rough, cliquey, opinionated and a bit like canberra. And most readers are on the site every day, with a select few having nothing better to do than read RA several times an hour.

However to dismiss the perception that every reader is a public servant, only 35% indicated that is their primary occupation. That doesnt however mean you’re not employed in some other capacity by government, or working for someone who has lots of government contracts, but hey, Government is the biggest industry in canberra after all.

If you’re amongst the 48% not commenting its because you have nothing to say (which we dont beleive) however following that up is concern about negative feedback, which means those of you who are commenting regularly need to be a bit more civil and supportive of new members. (moderation is apparently a necessary evil – you dont trust your fellow rioters to behave).

Generally where you’d like to see us improve revolve around four areas:

1. Finding older content once it scrolls off the front page;
2. Improvements to the visual impact of the site & design (which we acknowledge hasnt been a huge focus); and,
3. Further reigning in both off topic and unruly behavior.
4. Improvements to the features offered under the RA premium membership option

So, what are we doing about all this?

Well to start with, WordPress (which is the platform that RiotACT is based on) has made leaps and bounds since we first started using it so Kramer has been beavering away in the Bunker working on upgrading to 2.7.1. The upgrade has allowed us to introduce a few changes to our functionality as well.

Those readers who have been a little frustrated with the limitations of our search function will be please that its now able to search comments and usernames as well as post titles and text. However to make sure that content is easier to find we’re also introducing a tag cloud and a section for best riots (a list of the most active posts in the last week).

We’ll be reigning in off topic comments and unruly behavior a little more. Registered readers will soon notice an ability to report a comment to a moderator . However we’ll ask you to give sound reasons as to why the offender/offending comment should be moderated (noting that just because you think something is out of line, doesn’t mean that the mod team will). You’ll also note the introduction of commenting guidelines which give an explanation of the behavior we expect your comments to adhere to.

Premium memberships get a swag of new goodies too. Editing comments will get a guernsey (although will be time limited to ensure continuity of discussion). Gravatars will also make an appearance as will being able to see recent comments made by you, and by others in My RiotACT.

About the only thing not getting some tweaking is the layout & design, but then like all development projects we had to set some boundaries or it would never get released. Keep an eye out in a couple of weeks time while we do some final testing.

In the interim, we’re keeping the survey open and invite any who haven’t shared their views to give it a go. It’ll take about 10-15 minutes and we’re checking it regularly in case someone suggest some real gems.

Thanks
Jazz


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31 Responses to RiotACT Survey Results
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VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 5:53 pm 07 Jun 09

Being moderated isn’t the problem, it’s the consistency with which it’s applied.

Still, I’m sure the guys will refine their criteria over time.

Davo111 Davo111 5:44 pm 07 Jun 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

I like RiotACT, but I’d suggest some more consistent moderation would be good. That said, it’s still good fun!

as per above, but i thing moderation is still pretty good here. I get moderated quite a bit, and at the end of the day i reckon JB is 99% spot-on when he does.

el el 4:08 pm 07 Jun 09

I recall that Margo herself was extremely abusive to anyone who didn’t agree with her line of thinking.

That’s my recollection too. There was no ‘hounding out’, rather her storming off in a huff.

Thumper Thumper 3:15 pm 07 Jun 09

I recall that Margo herself was extremely abusive to anyone who didn’t agree with her line of thinking.

Granny Granny 3:01 pm 07 Jun 09

ant said :

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? those of you saying you can “take it” are posting here. What about all those who see what goes on and decide they don’t want to cop that? They are the ones who are voting with their fingers.

A site doesn’t have to be bland… people can argue a point pretty robustly, and do. You don’t have to call your opponent an idiot to annhilate their argument.

Yes, I totally agree with you, ant.

Fiona Fiona 2:19 pm 07 Jun 09

While we have the stars rating system, I wonder if having a +1 type of thing would be used? I’ve been seeing a few comments lately that are just something along the lines of “+1 Granny” without much else in the way of a comment. There used to be “Kudos” hacks , sure there’d be some sort of WP plugin for it… But the stars pretty much do the same thing. I guess it’s like the ‘like’ on Facebook.

I-filed I-filed 12:29 pm 07 Jun 09

Margo Kingston posted for a while a year or two back, and seemed to be hounded out. The standard of debate here is actually very poor. But that’s fine! It’s a gossip, ruckus site, where the ACT Government can fish around for our lowest common denominator and get scared!

ant ant 11:13 am 07 Jun 09

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? those of you saying you can “take it” are posting here. What about all those who see what goes on and decide they don’t want to cop that? They are the ones who are voting with their fingers.

A site doesn’t have to be bland… people can argue a point pretty robustly, and do. You don’t have to call your opponent an idiot to annhilate their argument.

Feathergirl Feathergirl 10:33 am 07 Jun 09

I don’t want the site to be boring, but I think that personal attacks do cross the line

I have to agree Granny, I find I often write a comment for an article and then feel it isn’t “smarty” enough to please Riotreaders or that my opinion will attract a brow-beating and then end up not posting at all. Then again I don’t want too much moderating though as I do like the biffo… I still miss ‘nutter of the month’.

I don’t take anything anyone says to me too personally. I know I can’t spell too goodly, am too old to be super-kewl and I’m *gasp* a mum (super-un-kewl!) AND I live in Kambah and love it so you know BRING IT ON.

Bundybear Bundybear 10:20 am 07 Jun 09

Ant @ 19 “……and normal population of Canberra.” C’mon, how many normal people are on RA. Even the nicest amongst us would surely shudder at the epithet “normal”. Also, I’m a grandparent, and I think I could probably handle being called an idiot without too much trouble. That said, some do “play the man” when struggling for a cogent argument, and we don’t really need that.

Anna Key Anna Key 8:29 am 07 Jun 09

Granny said :

Recently I’ve had cause to be grateful for some of the poundings I’ve had on RiotACT. In some ways it’s been useful training which I could have used when I was being picked on at school.

However, personal insults do affect me and there are times when I don’t feel it’s worth posting my opinion because I know what’s coming.

I don’t want the site to be boring, but I think that personal attacks do cross the line. It’s something that I’m consciously trying not to do any more.

As a fairly recent contributor to this site, none of whe personal stuff bothers me much and wouldn’t stop me from posting. I think those that make the personal attacks are the ones with the issues. But like the recent Richardson shrine discussion, some issues are going to generate an emotional response. And there are some that are just going to stir. The last thing I would want to see is RA turn into some Daily Telegraph style thing where we only the Piers Ackerman acolytes are allowed to comment.

Granny Granny 3:21 am 07 Jun 09

Recently I’ve had cause to be grateful for some of the poundings I’ve had on RiotACT. In some ways it’s been useful training which I could have used when I was being picked on at school.

However, personal insults do affect me and there are times when I don’t feel it’s worth posting my opinion because I know what’s coming.

I don’t want the site to be boring, but I think that personal attacks do cross the line. It’s something that I’m consciously trying not to do any more.

It’s easy to get into the habit of ‘well this is what I need to do to survive around here’, but I don’t think that’s true.

I also think threads would stay more on-topic if the feisty comments were directed to the arguments and not the personalities.

ant ant 11:40 pm 06 Jun 09

One’s comfort level for abuse is probably mutable. However, since this purports to be a commercially successful site, imagine one’s grandparents posting here. Reckon they’d be comfortable being called idiots? Now extrapolate that to the older, and business, and commercial, and normal population of Canberra.

Those of us who’ve been on the net for more than a decade might understand that interspace causes different interaction than meatspace, but the majority does not think that way and also it does not like it.

The opportunity is there for RA to grab this market. It doesn’t have to lose anything valuable to do so. It just has to suppress useless, nasty, childish personal attacks that some people think is how you argue a point. If RA can do that, it has a licence to print money and be more powerful than it certainly is now.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 11:10 pm 06 Jun 09

I like RiotACT, but I’d suggest some more consistent moderation would be good. That said, it’s still good fun!

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 10:31 pm 06 Jun 09

ant said :

Who said anything about being negative? (and then some other stuff)

Post #14.

But I support people being critical\disagreeing, and sharpening an argument by supporting it with fact or comment, and personalised attacks on commenters are far less frequent now compared to when Maelin claimed everyone was an idiot because he had a either a gigantic chip on his shoulder of a fantastic sense of entitlement and nobody cared enough to tell him off.

As for the people not wanting to comment (also known as the audience, in this free-form piece of theatre that is RiotACT), jump in!
The only way to find out if you really are comfortable with the level of heat that might get directed at you is to find out for yourself. And I assume you could probably sign up as a new alias if the old one is astronomically unpopular, so long as you aren’t worth having Jb ban your ip.

For the most part those of us who are active participants are most critical of other oldbies, and have met them in the real world.

ant ant 10:03 pm 06 Jun 09

Who said anything about being negative? We are clearly talking about people who launch personal attacks in place of arguing the points. Being negative is usually a problem of perspective. One person’s negative is another’s criticism. Attacking someone, however, is pretty easy to identify.

We aren’t trying to stifle anything to attract movers and shakers. We just want to make RA a place people aren’t embarassed to be associated with. And where people with legitimate opinions aren’t afraid to post them.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 8:59 pm 06 Jun 09

Less childish, belittling, and poisonous should probably be acceptable for most folk.

Being ‘less negative’ to attract any movers and or shakers?
Not so much.

cranky cranky 8:52 pm 06 Jun 09

Hear, hear.

This stuff has proponents on this thread. The belittling, negative, poisonous comments of some are a total turnoff.

ant ant 8:43 pm 06 Jun 09

I am 100% convinced that, if the nasty and childish stuff was controlled, this site would see more movers and shakers not just eyeing the site, but contributing.

Jazz Jazz 7:38 pm 06 Jun 09

Monomania,

We’re not saying that you cant hold a contrary opinion, but there are ways of articulating that without resorting to name calling.

For example “You’re an idiot, what you wrote is a load of crap” is easily replaced by “I disagree, in my experience (opinion or whatever) the opposite is true/more accurate/whatever and this is why..”

On some issues we expect people will get a bit firey, particularly on issues which polarize popular opinion (such as bicycles on roads) however there are a lot of voices out there with equally valid views which we’d like to hear from. Who knows, some of them may even teach us something.

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