Hello,

@MOLLY O recently posted an excellent blog post regarding how to suggest viable niches.

A quote from this article:

Match to the Niche Name. Make sure that the description aligns with the name. If you suggest the niche named “Tigers” and your description says “The study and information related to Bengal Tigers,” then you don’t have a good match. In this case, the name should have been “Bengal Tigers.”

I recently submitted an appeal to the Tribunal regarding this niche:

https://alpha.narrative.org/niche/shopping

The description of the niche is clearly mismatched:

"all article related to shopping online"

The problem exhibited by the description mismatch for the Shopping niche is exactly the type of problem warned against in Molly's article, and yet the appeal I submitted has so far received only votes to approve the niche.

@Rosemary@Michael Farris@Lori@Brian Lenz and Bob Hope all voted in support of maintaining the niche.  @Ted has yet to vote but the unanimous nature of the vote so far makes it probable everyone on the Tribunal is of the same mind on this.

Can anyone involved in the Tribunal explain how we are supposed to interpret this contradiction?

It takes time and effort for community members to perform the community service of quality control, and submitting appeals for niches that do not result in the expected outcome probably incurs a reputation hit.  Unless the criteria put forth by the @Narrative Network Team can be counted on as being the criteria the Tribunal will actually vote with, aren't we left with the incentive to never submit appeals?  Why volunteer the work if the reward can be a reputation hit despite the appeal being firmly based on the @Narrative Network Team's own criteria?

 

Original Post

Hi @Malkazoid,

I can see where you're coming from here. I think this is a matter of standards vs. best practices. The Tribunal (and community!) really should only be rejecting niches based on the criteria set by the system: unique, no profanity, no misspellings, English, and complies with the TOS. I don't see imperfection (or lack of perfect consistency) as a standard that must be upheld. There is gray area and margin for error. Some niche descriptions are sub-optimal and may not follow best practices, but that doesn't mean the niche should be rejected. I would agree that mentioning exclusively "online" shopping isn't ideal for a general "Shopping" niche, but I also see it as a very minor issue that isn't sufficient grounds for rejection. I think people will easily understand the "Shopping" niche by the name alone.

Now, if we're talking about a Politics niche that exclusively mentions sports (as one absurd example), we'd have a stronger argument for rejection.

Ultimately, I don't see this as a contradiction. Molly's post simply refers to best practices when creating a niche to ensure optimal efficiency for a niche's success. Not abiding by those best practices won't be grounds for a rejection, however.

Does this help explain the reasoning? As always, we appreciate your level of engagement and thoughtfulness!

Thanks,

Brian

Brian Lenz posted:

Hi @Malkazoid,

I can see where you're coming from here. I think this is a matter of standards vs. best practices. The Tribunal (and community!) really should only be rejecting niches based on the criteria set by the system: unique, no profanity, no misspellings, English, and complies with the TOS. I don't see imperfection (or lack of perfect consistency) as a standard that must be upheld. There is gray area and margin for error. Some niche descriptions are sub-optimal and may not follow best practices, but that doesn't mean the niche should be rejected. I would agree that mentioning exclusively "online" shopping isn't ideal for a general "Shopping" niche, but I also see it as a very minor issue that isn't sufficient grounds for rejection. I think people will easily understand the "Shopping" niche by the name alone.

Now, if we're talking about a Politics niche that exclusively mentions sports (as one absurd example), we'd have a stronger argument for rejection.

Ultimately, I don't see this as a contradiction. Molly's post simply refers to best practices when creating a niche to ensure optimal efficiency for a niche's success. Not abiding by those best practices won't be grounds for a rejection, however.

Does this help explain the reasoning? As always, we appreciate your level of engagement and thoughtfulness!

Thanks,

Brian

Thanks Brian - that does help me understand your process.

You did leave out one of the rejection criteria that is available to voters: "The niche name/description is unclear/incorrect."  This is grounds for rejection, and it describes the current issue very well.

I'd like to make a recommendation.

I agree whole-heartedly that rejecting the niche is not optimal.

But I feel equally strongly that leaving it in its current state is undesirable.  More so than rejecting the niche.  After all, if rejected, it just gets suggested again in a better way.  If left as is, Narrative inherits a flawed niche.

I would urge you to view the macrocosm here, rather than just this one niche.  It might seem relatively harmless, but multiply it by the dozens, perhaps hundreds of niches that will end up flawed if the current policy continues, and we have more of a significant problem.  Remember we have set ourselves up to be synonymous with quality.  Allowing, systemically, these sorts of incoherences belies that aspiration.  It is sloppy, to be honest.  

If we were talking about something that is peripheral to the network, it wouldn't be so important.  But niches are central.

So if for some reason, you don't want to reject these sorts of niches, empower the tribunal to fix them.  Contact the niche suggester and give them 48 hours to change the description to remove the word "online". 

Or do it for them, and contact them to let them know that if they do not opt out of the new description within 48 hours, it will become the description of the niche.  If they choose to opt out, then the niche gets rejected.

I just don't think we're going about this right if we just let these problems sail on past us.  If we do, it will all add up to a less than optimal launch.  Once the platform is live, the @Narrative Network Team is going to have its hands full with bug fixes, systemic issues, and further development, as it is.  Why add deferred quality control to the pile, when these things can be fixed here and now?  People are catching the issues for you now, in the present.  Choosing not to act on them in some way is a waste of the QC energies of the community, and of an opportunity.

I'm just putting forth my best understanding of things: there is no time like the present.  Make the criteria strict and enforceable, and you will end up with a clean, clear, solid-feeling mesh of niches at launch.  If you don't, you won't.

I will refrain from submitting appeals until there is communication that the rejection criteria offered when we vote on niches are the same criteria that will be consistently applied by the tribunal.  It is bad enough that I'll get a rep hit for this appeal - I'd like to avoid it happening to me more than once.

best practices when creating a niche to ensure optimal efficiency for a niche's success. Not abiding by those best practices won't be grounds for a rejection, however.

Not abiding by standards should be grounds for rejection for this reason... people with poorly written and/or unclear Niche descriptions MAY argue later that another Niche is violating their airspace. 

Hey, no fair. That's what I MEANT to say...

It's a problem. 

Especially when the voting public is full of un-educated, or non-credentialed, voters (no offense intended). 

Bryan posted:

best practices when creating a niche to ensure optimal efficiency for a niche's success. Not abiding by those best practices won't be grounds for a rejection, however.

Not abiding by standards should be grounds for rejection for this reason... people with poorly written and/or unclear Niche descriptions MAY argue later that another Niche is violating their airspace. 

Hey, no fair. That's what I MEANT to say...

It's a problem. 

Especially when the voting public is full of un-educated, or non-credentialed, voters (no offense intended). 

Exactly - and there is something inherently wrong with a niche going through a Tribunal appeal, diverting their attention from other things... and yet STILL coming out the other side flawed in such a blatant way.

I really think the Tribunal needs to make these tweaks while they are at it.

It is bad for Narrative for sloppy niches to remain, and it is a very bad look for the project to observe the sloppiness and do nothing about it.

Malkazoid posted:
Bryan posted:

best practices when creating a niche to ensure optimal efficiency for a niche's success. Not abiding by those best practices won't be grounds for a rejection, however.

Not abiding by standards should be grounds for rejection for this reason... people with poorly written and/or unclear Niche descriptions MAY argue later that another Niche is violating their airspace. 

Hey, no fair. That's what I MEANT to say...

It's a problem. 

Especially when the voting public is full of un-educated, or non-credentialed, voters (no offense intended). 

Exactly - and there is something inherently wrong with a niche going through a Tribunal appeal, diverting their attention from other things... and yet STILL coming out the other side flawed in such a blatant way.

I really think the Tribunal needs to make these tweaks while they are at it.

It is bad for Narrative for sloppy niches to remain, and it is a very bad look for the project to observe the sloppiness and do nothing about it.

Sounds like a good platform to campaign on for the next Tribunal election 

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