Joe's New Blog

Nothing special, this is just my third effort at writing a blog about my life and what goes on in it: Hobbies, cooking, work, maybe the occasional book or DVD review, and so forth. Nothing really noteworthy, but this is sort of a little subset of my world...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thoughts about StumbleUpon's forums

Almost three years ago, I joined StumbleUpon. It took me about a year before I really started getting somewhat active on the forums on SU. I've never really been all that much of a forum poster, but I've enjoyed myself. I've enjoyed the slight sense of friendly anarchy that has pervaded a number of the forums.

One thing I never really understood though was why the developers of the system felt the need to limit any thread in those forums to 1000 posts before locking it automatically. As a database developer, I don't believe that there is any kind of performance reason to create a limit like that. And for space, it's useless to create that limit, because there's no limit on the number of threads that can be created in a forum. So, rather than have one thread with 10,000 entries, users simply create ten threads with 1000 each.

On a few of the forums, people have found some ways around this 1000 post limit, mostly by opening multiple tabs in Firefox which point to the end of the thread in question. This allows you to enter something in one tab, post it, close that tab, enter something else into the next tab, post it as a new forum entry, and so forth. There was no real checking to make sure the thread wasn't closed, so that trick allowed some threads to extend into the multiple thousands of entries on some forums. It was basically just a good-natured sort of challenge to see how far we could push that particular envelope. I've not noticed any particular performance problems or anything in any of those extended threads.

Now the developers have implemented a change on the forums which prevents any post beyond the 1001st. It just drops anything else quietly. Not a really huge deal, and I suppose it's their prerogative to set the rules and enforce them, but it really seems that they've been taking a fun place to play around and enjoy myself and turning it into somewhere that I'm no longer quite enjoying so much. Why do they think that a fun little site like that needs to be ruled in such a hardcore manner? And, more importantly, why do they have to spend the effort stopping something like that instead of trying to prevent the spamming and crap that goes on in the forums and in people's inboxes on a daily basis?

Oh, yeah, it's because eBay bought them, and eBay is all about trying to turn everything for a profit...

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