Edgeryders website overhaul!




Ah, I see what you mean. Good point. That’s just a filter on the view, and I am reasonably sure it supports Boolean operators (filter for “has new content” OR “new comments > 0”. I’ll try and do this later.


Try now

Simon, I filtered it… maybe now the behavior is closer to what you expected?



suggestion: a more frictionless user experience for newbies

I was quite surprised to see that EdgeRyders has taken a principled objection to oAuth tools that would allow prospective members to sign up to the EdgeRyders community with the click of a button-- a tool which authorizes data to be pulled directly from Facebook or Twitter.

I am a huge fan of privacy myself, but consider the massive downside of forcing new users to create a new registered profile from scratch. Namely, we would be asking new users to do something that no one does anymore. So we are shifting the burden onto new prospective members to care enough to fill out a form. While this burdening may be appropriate for those applying to the university or a job, it seems like EdgeRyders might miss out on the opportunity to attract lots of users who would simply be “weak users” initially. I.e. they will only start out as passive readers. However weak users can turn into strong users over time, when the moment is right for them. This transformational phenomenon is something that has been referred to as the “reader-to-leader framework” (http://www.cs.umd.edu/~ben/papers/Jennifer2009Reader.pdf). I originally wanted to post this comment within a dev group, but I didn’t have default permissions to do that, so right now, I still see a website that may be inadvertently biased towards users who are pre-commited, to whom EdgeRyders means a whole lot.

I began to think about this as I was asked to start brainstorming ideas on the marketing side of things. The more porous EdgeRyders is as a platform, the easier it would be for me to suck in outsiders who could potentially transform into much more active members over time. oAuth is one such solution, even if it isn’t trendy given the privacy scandals of recent day.

It also need not be the only solution. But I have been meaning to share this observation for quite some time, as I observe my own state of mind online. I find myself always wanting to keep my EdgeRyders communications on Facebook as much as possible, unless absolutely necessary (don’t ask me why – it’s a lizard brain thing). So now you will find me on the site itself much more frequently because the timing is right for me and I am ready to be more committed as I have recently made some decisions to work more closely on #Lote, etc.

I don’t have access to backend analytics but my guess is that EdgeRyders could benefit from a strategy that make it easy and frictionless for newbies to dip their toes into the sometimes frigid waters of online collaboration.


Excellent point

Said, thanks for your thoughtful observation. That is a painful tradeoff right there. All you say is true; the downside is that some people in the community don’t like Facebook and we lose the analytical power. The latter is made worse by how Drupal 7 does not store user data in a user profile node like Drupal 6, but now keeps everything in an entity called “user”. If we do that, we lose all user information to Facebook; plus in the first Edgeryders our experience is that Facebook interoperability is bumpy at best, becuase they keep changing their code. Any other thoughts?


This is not about us, it’s about “us all”

Said, you are really making a convincing case here. What can I say? I use FB too (though less and less, and with increasing skepticism). But some people – especially the hardcore hackers in the community – don’t like it.

Also, I am not sure you should be rolling out too many red carpets. The stuff we do here is hard, and will get harder. People are expected to put in some serious thinking and doing. We want to keep a reasonably high level of conversation, if we are to make this work. And if we do, then creating a profile is trivial.

As for the title of the comments: if you leave the field blank, the platform will automagically set it to the first few words.


Oops … fixed the permissions now.

“I originally wanted to post this comment within a dev group, but I didn’t have default permissions to do that,”

Congrats, you had found a bug in our site :slight_smile: That’s indeed a good thing that you found it so early. I have fixed that issue now and you will hopefully find that Edgeryders Dev & Testing is a very open developer group. Apart from server passwords, everything is shared with the public. So, welcome to discuss site issues there. The permissions issue that you found was introduced by a change of the widget that governs group visibility in Drupal 7, when two days ago I added the Task feature. I guess I inadvertedly did that change when looking up the group fields, though I don’t remember.

This shows the downside of Drupal’s gazillion options: you can’t remember them all :smiley: A similar funny story happened a few days ago: the main body field on edgeryders.eu was not showing any more, and I had no idea why. So I even had to create a script that overwrites the Drupal database (of a testing site) with values from a backup, table by table and then record by record, until I found the single “1” where a “0” was needed to display the body field again. Turns out I had forgotten about enabling  a certain module, and the default permissions of that module where such that they broke the site (see my bug report about it).

I originally wanted to post this comment within a dev group, but I didn't have default permissions to do that, - See more at: https://edgeryders.eu/blog/edgeryders-website-overhaul#comment-1198


i also encountered the same issue when trying to follow a link to /t/unmonastery/315 from main blog post announcing Matera. seems to also be resolved. great!


y hackers must be so principled at the expense of being more inclusive? lol. anyway, if anyone has used the internet, the NSA already has owned that data and is storing it in a limestone cave for the next 40,000 years thanks to fiberoptic splitters. there is no such thing as a concern for privacy when privacy simply does not exist on the internet. now, if the goal is to express a set of values, then ok, fine. I just wanted to make a point about the tradeoff and the potentially massive downside.


Do an experiment, maybe?

Hmm… randomize across users… some people (treatment group) see the possibility of signing up with FB… others (control group) see a message explaining why we disallow it… hen we do some statistical analysis and see if the FB effect is indeed very large… hmm…


the point I’m making I hope is pretty obvious though, and doesn’t need research to back it up. Newbies aren’t yet prepared to do much, by definition. But they may one day become valuable to the EdgeRyders community. I feel like at the moment, that outreach and recruitment of prospective users, however weak newbies may be, might only be realistic in the spaces where there is least resistance. Not sure how important this concern is though for it to warrant changes to the main site, as opposed to, say, doubling down on activity in the secondary social spaces.

if we were to use myself as an example. I started off trying to be a power user on the main site, but then my activity dropped off fairly quickly as I decided I was to become a more passive member (for reasons I couldn’t control. heh). and somehow I didn’t get pulled back in a way that has the persistence of a Facebook newsfeed. until now, cuz im secretly an active EdgeRyder in hiding.


Also, heavy to maintain

We did have Facebook signup in Edgeryders 1. Then we disabled, not for ideological reasons but because FB kept changing things, and then the developers of the oauth plugins had to scramble to update. Meanwhile, you’d have a big shiny “Log in through Facebook” button that did not work; we got complaints. Disabling the option gave us at least some control on our own signup process.

That said, if you really want to be inclusive as opposed to consistent,you should go for FB signup too, not just Twitter. But I am not sure about a notion of inclusivity based on the idea that the user is a lazy bastard. I know that’s the basic philosophy in advertising; but I also know that, so far in my career, it has always paid to frame the user as people like us. I mean, we all met that way, right? :slight_smile:


"But I am not sure about a

“But I am not sure about a notion of inclusivity based on the idea that the user is a lazy bastard.”

This. If somebody bothered to create a Facebook or Twitter account then they’re obviously capable of being arsed enough to do the same here. It took me a while to make an account here after the old site because I wasn’t checking here consistently, but I registered when I was ready to participate.

So many sites have one-click integrated registration, but the process is so simple that it’s easy to forget (or not care afterwards). I think putting up a tiny hurdle is a good way to see if people are committed.


So, welcome back :slight_smile:

Welcome back, HE! :slight_smile:


i guess my concern with “weak ties” will make more sense after I’m finished proposing a new kind of functionality for the edgeryders site that would handle crowdsourced policy analysis. smhh. :slight_smile:


Im with Said on this point.

The work of online engagement is hard enough without technically raising the barrier to entry.


Not about privacy

As for the post-privacy discussion, Snowden today confirmed that “[e]ncryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on. Unfortunately, endpoint security is so terrifically weak that NSA can frequently find ways around it.” [source]. The Facebook issue is not about privacy though (as everything on a corporate website should be considered quasi-public content anyway). It’s about their evil corporate walled garden philosophy that has wrecked the Web as it was in 2004 (with so many people blogging and all).

Can we settle for Twitter signup maybe? Twitter content is nearly always publicly visible, so I regard them similarly to a blog hoster like WordPress (minus the open source, but I still like them like I did like Google back in 2004). Twitter signup would save users the e-mail and account verification and name & photo setup steps, and that’s quite a lot. Users would still get a page to enter more details if they want. Also we’d add StatusNet signup at the same time as a concession to our open source folks. But Facebook signup … I can’t take sites seriously when they offer it :stuck_out_tongue:


plus, Twitter stood up to the NSA as far as we know. which is pretty cool.


and as a marketer, I could see myself promoting awarness of this experiment to other internet studies people who are very interested in such questions.


Why not?

Go ahead! We might all learn something by comparing notes.


re: Excellent point

and it would be sad if this was framed as you are for/against Facebook. I personally hate Facebook. and yet I use it 20 out of 24 hours of the day. :slight_smile: but just imagine what it will be like when EdgeRyders is looking to harness the power of crowdfunding and we need to essentially roll out the red carpet for these new eyeballs, no?  also, on a not so unrelated note, is it necessary to fill out a subject field when replying to a reply? :wink: