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Am I the only one who, as soon as typing in the address bar, minimizes the window to a speck and hurriedly logs in? Maybe it's just me, but I find it a bit embarrassing to stare at a huge playground-esque background in the middle of the math department. That's it. I'm not proposing anything, just gossiping around. Do you guys feel the same?

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Well I've had my parents ask "what the hell is that site?!" Lol Excuse my language.
Lol I have often wondered what the elementary style theme was for, if this is a mainly high school site. I just like the owl.
I stopped caring xD

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I love me some constructive gossip. c;
Seems to me that it feeds into a larger question of what the actual target audience is that the site has in mind. A lot of the design and moderating decisions I've seen indicate to me that the owners are shooting for an elementary-middle school aged audience.
Although! The lighter colors and such almost make one think studying could be...*whispers* fun.
I've started studying more thanks to OpenStudy. :P
I think we offended Owlfred and his habitat.
Maybe your math department needs to loosen up? ;) In all seriousness, we've always wanted the site to have a small aura of playfulness about it. Learning has a bad rep as being boring, when it has no business being that. To be honest, we've even thought about seasonal themes for the landing page. All that said, keep in mind you can go straight to and bypass the landing page altogether. You can log in from the header there.
I'd be interested in the moderating decisions you think target elementary and middle schoolers, @SmoothMath . If you're under the impression that only elementary and middle school students think learning is boring, you're… Mistaken. Deeply so.
o_o well dang
Nothing I just wanted to be random :D
No, I understand. :) Judging from the range of questions that have been asked in the past year, I've come to observe that we mostly have middle-schoolers. I could be wrong, and I'm sure they don't mind the current theme. Also, when it comes to parents, the site immediately gives off the impression of being a serious (in the sense of getting something done) place for their children to learn and not Facebook around. The guys around here seem not to mind what I do with the computer, but I guess that's mostly because I come off as an intimidating girl, even if the curiosity is killing them. In any case, I guess that earns me some brownie points when it comes to my awkwardness gauge! Also:
1 Attachment
You're intimidating? o_o you seems like a really swell person
Oh wow I didn't mean to put the extra s on seems but oh well -_-
I like where your head's at, Shadow. There's an unfortunate number of people (of all ages) who consider learning to be boring. I think a major way to combat that is for educators to be enthusiastic and excited and to present learning materials in a more interesting exciting way.
I will admit. I used to think learning wasn't worth my time. But ever since people here showed my that I CAN actually do math. and not let my disability in math get me down. I actually want to learn new ways to work through my problems :D
me* ^
@across I think we've just found our April Fool's landing page for next year :D And wait, they think you're intimidating, but then *they* find you awkward, or *you* find you awkward? @Ledah That rocks. Seriously. Awesome. So happy to hear it :) @SmoothMath Most definitely. But it also helps to spice up the actual venue in which you learn. I think that's part of presenting things in an interesting way :)
"Good artists copy; great artists steal." -me
I need to make sure @darthsid sees this.
"Ow my goodness" is exactly correct. That homepage induces simultaneous shock and pain. I love it.
Needs more animated gifs.
Teaching is a very sensible subject to discuss. When I'm asked to teach highschoolers, I'll often prepare a short, dynamic and expressive lesson with the intent of leaving a lasting impression. However, some students either regard me as highly condescending or get too caught up with the details that they forget what I just said (I don't usually show cleavage). If I were to try this approach with my fellow graduates... no, I won't go there. But it seems that late college studying favors abstraction way more than detailing; give too many details, and they'll declare you verbose, wave your hands a lot, and no one will say a thing for fear of seeming uneducated. If I try this approach with elementary school children, I'm sure they'd learn a lot, retain the knowledge and have fun all at the same time. I guess the middle school and high school stages are just too stubborn to be taught successfully; students are practically trying to balance themselves between puberty and academics. Anyway, LOL. Hahahaha, mattfeury, that's totally legit.
Shadow, in regards to your earlier question about moderation decisions. That kind of censorship is the salient issue.
I like the landing page that OpenStudy has for itself. It reminds me of a magical land with fairies. fairies=owls
I like the landing page and big buttons. Yup, I occasionally leave myself logged in on the lab computer and grin when my elders and betters find it. Point one, some immaturity is to be expected of the ickle post docs. Point two, scientists don't take ourselves as seriously as we take our work.
Smooth, i'm not sure of yr discussion with shadow, but I deleted your comment as it was inappropriate and unnecessary. If you have questions, you can message me or we can discuss elsewhere, but let's try keep threads appropriate and on-topic. also, the landing page is awesome. @darthsid is an Smashmouth-certified all-star.
But darthsid left us :(
o_o who?
He was a really fun mod that I did cheesy puns with xD
Please don't mistake us making the site *appropriate* for middle school students with us targeting the site exclusively at them. We are simply aware that they are part of the audience that can benefit from OpenStudy, and there's no reason to allow inappropriate comments to prevent them from learning here.
I realize some censorship is necessary. I just disagree with the level of censorship you employ. The site is heavily over-moderated.
With 7 mods on this question. Look what you did. xD
Hey @SmoothMath - overly-moderated how?
I sense a problem brewing..
That doesn't help it, Ledah. -___-
My mom asked why I was following little kids around on this site. xD Then I looked at her and said "Dont you have dinner to cook?" She left me alone after that. :P
True. I can't help it..
Actually I have a valid point to put into the mix here.
This site isn't sometimes moderated enough.
No problem brewing at all - OpenStudy is ultimately a community of users. The moderation of that community is actually an agreed upon set of principles and values of the community - not an arbitrary list of mores OpenStudy staff members developed. (Believe me, that would result in some... interesting rules). So, discussion is welcome and encouraged - no worries :)
Yeah I agree with Ledah. He's still allowed on here after all he's said The mods need to watch him more. xD
@Ledah I dont know. I'm just agreeing that it needs to mod'd more because of people like you... and -cough- bambi.
xD haha I think OpenStudy could use some more moderating at different times, but overall I think for a site where tons of people come through, they've done a pretty good job. I mean if we want to look at the ratio of trolls to useful people...
Trolls like Agent_Sniffles *cough cough* Ledah
Annnd Bambi!!
*sigh* Gosh I do not see this conversation going well... -_- I've seen a lot of individual incidents of people's posts being deleted or of people being reprimanded or punished when they said or did very little wrong. Things like 1) Their post contains filtered words. Not actual coarse language even, but filtered words. "Pellet" for example. 2) Their post contained words that are iffy, but are not included in the filter. "Piss," for example. 3) Their post was joking 4) Their post was off topic 5) Their post was deemed "rude" somehow 6) They asked for a medal You know, I don't have a list of individual incidents, but in general, I see a LOT of moderator interference when I feel there is none needed. And I believe the site is hurt by it.
Mean people like *cough* becca
People get in trouble for asking for a medal? and I didn't know piss was a bad word?...I mean I wouldn't want a 13 year old saying it, so I guess that's why they look into such language.
I say it all the time. And worse...but not on here, of course. ;) And I knew about getting in trouble for asking for medals. But I do it anyway. lol
^ BAN HER She's a bad example :3
Yes Becca. You are.
I'm not really interested in the personal back and forth @Agent_Sniffles @rebeccaskell94 @Ledah, ok? Thanks! As to your points @SmoothMath - there is a fine line to be used there. One that isn't always clear, or moderated the same. But ultimately, as a community, with community moderators, there will *always* be a human element - meaning that incidents will not always be moderated the same. Hold on, I'll keep going...
My apologies.
Yeah, whatever Becca said.
The suspense is killing me.
As to your points @SmoothMath - let me try and address them here: 1) Their post contains filtered words. Not actual coarse language even, but filtered words. "Pellet" for example. So, the issue here is intent. By using words that are filtered by our system, the intent is clearly to use the unfiltered word - which in the wrong context could definitely be considered against our Code of Conduct. 2) Their post contained words that are iffy, but are not included in the filter. "Piss," for example. This is an area that will be constantly in flux, and depends heavily on context. However, I'd venture to say that in most situations a warning was the only consequence here - not a suspension/ban. 3) Their post was joking So, a joking post can seem absolutely fine. But I'd encourage you to take a look at groups on OpenStudy where posts are NOT moderated. The veracity and usefulness of OpenStudy declines incredibly quickly when things like this are allowed. Also, look at this from a student needing help's perspective - his question is posted and no one is helping, instead they are viewing a 'joke' post. 4) Their post was off topic This is a difficult area at times, due to the fact that other groups do not have the traffic that Mathematics has. However, this is related to the point made above, in that it is essential to keep posts on topic within OpenStudy to keep the groups relevant and helpful to all. Additionally, we've tried to help this situation with the addition of @mentions and DM's. 5) Their post was deemed "rude" somehow Obviously a matter of opinion - but an important one nonetheless. The first rule of OpenStudy's Code of Conduct is to 'Be Nice.' While this may seem trite and naive to some, it's actually a very important part of what we do here (in my opinion at least). This is a site that values the person who wants to learn. This involves removing any judgement for asking a question, or not understanding something. People come to OpenStudy in part because they don't have to worry about being judged for A) not understanding material, or B) being very interested and/or passionate about learning. Thus, we're going to ask people not to be rude, I'm sorry if you disagree but I'm willing to listen to your counterpoint. 6) They asked for a medal Yeah, this is an area that is interesting alright. Of course asking for a medal isn't *directly* a violation, and oftentimes it's actually helpful in situations where a new user doesn't know the system of OpenStudy. The reasoning behind it of course is that if we allow medals to be devalued completely, it negates the work that users such as Satellite and many others have done in helping as many users as they have. But yeah, we could be a little clearer on policy there, I agree. So, those are my responses - totally willing to hear your point of view on these. And of course, anyone else who may agree or disagree on any of these items. Cheers again, thanks for the discussion. (P.S. +1 to @mattfeury for comment/theft of the day)
Everything appears reasonable to me.
well I just had deja vu. I should've expected the calm response from @cshalvey
Sorry to be adding an extra comment, but what did mattfeury post?
@rebeccaskell94 The 'good artists copy; great artists steal' comment (w/ pic included)
^My new favorite quote lol
Oh! I didn't see it xD Props to hippoman
Hey Colm, I also noticed something else. There are some users that kind of blow off the CoC looking for help with tests,etc. Is that in the Code of Conduct? That is an absolute serious question.. and I feel stupid for asking -_-
I finally took the time to read it, okay I admit it. And yes it does say that OS is here to help not for people to simply seek answers or cheat.
That works too.. I just wasn't sure because too many people ask questions and sometimes I get tricked into helping somebody with a test -_- then I feel like the dirty one(meaning I feel like I should be in trouble)
First of all, I recognize that there's a thin line of when to allow something and when not to, that these moderating decisions are not always easy, and that I'm never going to agree with all of those moderating decisions. However, at the moment, I have issues with quite a lot of these decisions. I recognize the concerns you have individually, but overall, the mods have been much more heavy handed and taken more action than necessary. What really bothers me most though is the FOCUS of the mods. Their goal SHOULD be to facilitate a positive learning environment, and there is a lot of room for improvement in that regard. Mods can be extremely useful in discouraging answer giving/seeking. They can shut down those who are exploiting or misusing the site. They can inform users of appropriate ways to teach or to learn. They can model good instruction themselves. They can encourage and reward those who make the site into a great place to learn. There's so much the mods can do to improve the learning environment and promote better study and teaching practices, but I don't see them doing those things. Instead, I see them nitpicking over tiny language issues and other harmless fun. I see them suspending me for using the word piss in one moment, and in the next, I see them ignoring pure answers. Instead of fixing the actual problems with the site, they waste their efforts trying to sanitize it. This is the internet. This place is never going to be nice and cute like an elementary school playground. It can be an amazing learning tool though. It can be a place where people actually teach and learn in a constructive way. Let's shoot for that.
He is right. :l I agree with the last point in his comment
Actually we don't ignore the pure answer stuff. And we do try to make this place where people learn.
And much of the moderation efforts are not seen by the users who are not the immediate subjects to them. And these are not for silly or flippant problems. I, for example, am extremely active against the people who plagiarize on OpenStudy.
Actually think I see more reports about the pure answer junk than anything else.
So, I would argue that we *are* shooting for that goal SmoothMath. And honestly, the intent or FOCUS of the moderators is exclusively on making sure that OpenStudy remains an amazing learning tool, for everyone that comes here. And while you say you 'don't see [mods] doing those things' - I think that you are *slightly* biased by your own experience, would you agree that's possible? Because, as someone who sees all the actions that take place by OpenStudy moderators (well, as much as is possible), I can assure you that warnings, communications, and interactions FOCUSED on improving the learning outcomes of OpenStudy are FAR more common than the suspension you mentioned.
So, there are two things you are mentioning here (from the way I see it at least). Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong/misinterpreting. 1) Moderators are too focused on inconsequential things on OpenStudy (borderline language, rudeness, etc). 2) Moderators do not take enough time/effort to improve learning on OpenStudy. For point #1, I think there may be a difference in opinion as to what is 'nit-picking' and what is not. For instance, using language that is borderline may seem fine to you, but take the perspective of a parent who allows their child to go on OpenStudy to study and they see posts that are irreverent, contain language, and have generally *nothing* to do with learning. What do you think that person's opinion would be? I understand where you're coming from, as a user you've been here for a while, people know you and vice versa, but unfortunately behavior and conduct *does* play a role in learning - any learning institution in the world would agree with that. As to point #2, I will stand by the fact that moderators actually do a LOT in this area - just because you don't see the direct effects of these actions does not mean they don't happen. I can assure you that we see every abuse report, and they are all addressed/dealt with by the team as a whole. And look, I get that this is the Internet, and as such will *never* be perfectly safe or 'sanitary.' But I for one refuse to use that as an excuse to not make the effort. And, I will have you know the community agrees - the VAST majority of moderator actions occur because of an abuse report created by a member (or members) of the community. Thus, while you may consider it moderators acting unilaterally and 'nit-picking' - it is in fact usually due to the community that things happen on OpenStudy (or don't as the case may be).
Moderator high five party. lol But yeah, I'm biased. I only view the moderation of this site from an outside perspective, so I don't have an appreciation for a lot of the challenges you face. I'm merely trying to suggest that there's an overemphasis on policing behavior and that you're not doing enough to fix the educational aspects of the site that are broken. I'm sure you feel like you do a lot, but if what you're doing isn't working, then maybe you need to try something new.
I don't know how much it's worth discussing. You guys have a vision of the site that I don't agree with, and you seem pretty inflexible on that vision. You do a lot very well, and overall I'm pretty happy with things. So know that I'm appreciative of the work you do and the site that you provide, regardless of the moderating decisions I disagree with.
Totally fair point - and I'm totally open to discussing that. What parts of the 'educational aspects' are broken in your opinion? Ironically, this is the area where your 'It's the Internet' comment is actually very accurate. We try our hardest to make OpenStudy a place where real learning interactions happen, not simply a place for students to come and get answers. Also, maybe I'm missing something, but I believe we actually have the *same* vision for OpenStudy? Most of what you've written has been about how OpenStudy can be a great learning tool, a community of learners, etc. That is our vision also. What part of *our* vision do you feel is different? Because I can assure you, if our vision is different from the one you have presented, that's an issue. I think you've made some great salient points to this discussion, and I despite disagreeing with portions of what you've said, I definitely don't want to make it appear that I am unilaterally throwing out everything you've said, because, like I said I think it carries a LOT of value.
Maybe it's not fair to call it a difference in vision. We do want the same things. You do want to promote quality learning, and I do want for Open Study to be a friendly and relatively clean environment. There's just a difference in how much we value those things, and perhaps to some extent in how they should be defined.
You guys are STILL going on with this...? o_O
Attention span. It gets longer as you get older.
xD I really hope so...
@SmoothMath - I'm cool with that. And I'm always going to be willing to listen to your viewpoint on stuff like this. Conversations like these are what led to OpenStudy's current state, and will lead to what we become in the future. Keep it up, much appreciated. (Nice pwn too btw ;) )
pwn? lol, did I pwn someone?
If Colm says so, it must be true.. o_O
This is a very interesting thread. Re: openstudy login shame? Long story short, I'm not bothered by the OS look and feel, login page, or main /study interface. I'm old and don't care what people think of me tough. :-p I do get the impression, based on the chat and questions being asked, that audience in the math study group is predominantly middle-school to high-school level. It's neither a bad thing nor a good thing. It is what it is, and it seems to make sense. Most elementary school students are probably too young or disinterested to really engage with a website like this and most college aged students are probably doing other things with their free time. For what it's worth, I found OS through Paul's Online Math Notes, and MIT has a bunch of OS groups around as well. I think the OS interface is very effective (one of the best, if not the best I've seen) for engaging students in public synchronous and asynchronous communication about specific math problems. Cheers and keep up the great work, everyone! :)
Hey @mathteacher1729 :D This site's target audience is indeed, 13-18 year olds :) You don't...look old, but either way, glad you joined. c: Cheers!
i agree. the site homepage reminds me of how i was twenty years ago. so nostalgic :'( and somehow i do agree with smoothmath. moderations get a bit strict sometimes. however i do not know if it's in a positive way or a negative way
" how i was twenty years ago" ?
Seriously. You are totally not 20.
why not? do i look *that* young?
Hey @mathteacher1729 - nice post! And for the record, OpenStudy has deliberately stayed away from focusing on any particular 'target market.' We're really here for anyone and everyone who is looking to learn and study online. We actually started out with Yale and MIT - so college students were our thing. The fact is that high school students have been coming to us a lot lately because we have college (and above) helpers. A lot of the questions I see are higher level questions asked by high schoolers and answered by college students. Also, we have a nice ecosystem where the high schoolers are able to help each other too. So, the idea of course is to make everyone feel welcome - we figure make it welcoming to the younger demographic, because people who are older/more mature basically will really only care about the product/community. :)
sadly not much people can help me in my college things :( well a lot of others were able to help but they rarely go online. i think we need more college students sir
@lgbasallote Ask away. :)
sadly my quiz week is over (for now) so i dont have questions yet heh. but a few people know about the applications of first order differential equations in the math group. i asked in mit diff eq group and i got a super complicated response..they expect me to be studying the same material as them and they expect me to be as smart as them :C
Surely at 20+ you'd be smarter than them, considering at 17 you were studying such high levels of mathematics. xD

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