“There’s been some discomfort recently with some of the perceived quality of posts,” Forrst founder Kyle Bragger wrote this morning in a blog post introducing new community guidelines for the site, a community-dependent Tumblr-esque forum where programmers showcase code and talk shop. “We’re also going to start enforcing a minimum threshold for what we deem a quality post. This does not mean quality in the sense of skill; rather, we are looking for a minimum amount of effort; we’d rather not see posts that clearly had very little effort put into them. That’s not to say that you can or should only post polished design and code, but it does mean that you should be thoughtful about what you’re sharing with the community. Posts that were obviously made in 30 seconds (and indeed, many even have descriptions along the lines of “made in 30 seconds was bored LOL”) won’t likely meet this threshold.”
“It’s a hard pill for some to swallow coming from other networks where it’s a free for all,” Mr. Bragger told Betabeat. But the crackdown was necessary because what makes Forrst unique–and worth paying $5 an acorn for–is the quality, he said. Previously the site enforced a reputation system that made users take responsibility for the actions of new users they’d invited, but it proved too intimidating and existing users were afraid to hinge their reputations by inviting friends. Forrst rolled that mechanism back and opened up the invite system more generally to let in some of the 30,000 people on the wait list.
But that flood of new users, coupled with instances of off-topic, blatantly self-promotional and half-assed posts threatened the value of the site for all users. “The #forrst is burning down, run for your lives folks. The trolls have lit a match and all the crud has caught fire,” one user tweeted today.
Mr. Bragger decided it was time to tell his users this wasn’t Tumblr or the similar work showcase forum Dribble.
“While we realize this may come off as extreme to some, there are plenty of places to post teaser shots, low effort work, etc. We’d love to see Forrst continue to thrive as a place where substantial and thoughtful discussion is a regular occurrence,” he wrote. Hence the new rules.
This makes Forrst sound like it’s no fun, Betabeat told Mr. Bragger, and he agreed.
“It’s my feeling that posts like ‘LOL look @ my new sreeenshot hehe I was bored did this in 30 seconz’ are immature,” he said. “If you wouldn’t say that to a client, don’t say it on Forrst.”
Tough talk about your customers there, Mr. Bragger. So we guess the Forrst chief prefers being feared over being loved?
“Some like me a bit, I guess,” he said, linking to a user post that lauds him as “coming across as a very polite and considerate guy.”
Forrst actually tried making a subsection of the site where users could post whatever they wanted–”we actually put a fair amount of engineering into it”–but no one really used it, he said. “Community stuff is hard,” he said.
These are the new guidelines:
We feel that your posts should satisfy at least one of the following:
a. Are you seeking critique and feedback from the community?
b. Does this teach the community something they may not have known before?
c. Will this foster constructive discussion?
d. Will the community find this development or design content interesting?
So far, users commenting on the new rules are mostly supportive. “This is exactly why I have been preaching about forrst being THE premier design community,” one user wrote.