Eliminate clumsiness for starting

In fb1 it was very easy to start a journal and write your first thought.    We can get some of that back by some simple changes.   We can create the persons “home group” or “journal” automatically by allowing them to specify it on the first “Sign Up” screen, (now called create account).  Then dump them at the start of that group with … perhaps with something on the screen that encourages them to write their first.  

Alternative we could create their journal’s name as their first name with a character and then their last name … for example seth-russell, or seth.russell.  This would also prevent having lots of groups like “me” etc. 

So it looks like this is the consensus …

  1. the persons journal is created as:  <first name> “.” <last name> <disambuification string only if necessary>
  2. a new group name is created <group name> <disambuification string always>
So the earning of a simple group name URL , ore even a simple journal name can be gameifyed enlightened


  1. sign up
  2. author
  3. item 19795
  4. gameify


Mark de LA says
yes I like a fast start.  I would probably hesitate using my whole name which is not unique anyway. When I encounter having to give my email & name before I get an idea of what I am getting into I usually pass unless there is intriguing & detailed explanations & documentation up front.  Just said ...pondering

Seth says
seth 2016-02-01 04:27:40 [item 19795#44097]
hard to work on doc of  Identifying yourself as a person to our domain with this in limbo.
Mark 2016-02-01 06:53:42 [item 19795#44107]
for some value of this 
”this” refers to the matter described in the body of this thought. 

Seth says
copied here from a different precarious place … but it is really about this thought …

well “author” works for me … even though some people here will not consider themselves authors, but all of the people here will consider themselves persons.  Of course we actually do want to attract the author type of people more than just run of the mill people laugh.

i understand what you say about the natural way people call the same thing by different names.  Each different name for the same thing usually implies a different context of usage … or sombody is confused about what their culture traditionally calls it or they are leaning a new context and are making a mistake.  Being consistent in naming things is very important for people learning the screens and interperting what to enter when it is their chance to type.   I hate it when some screen just says “user” … what are you to put there, your email address,  your name, an account number, or some user name that you forgot already.  Your sign up screen did it right … it asked directly for the person’s email address.   

Seth says
i think you misunderstood.   what i said has nothing to do with “control”.   it has to do with the mental background of what a word means and implies.  that is the context in which i used the word “context”.  had nothing to do with people changing context or flowing from focus to focus within a specific place.  for example if i go to a bank i might expect to set up an account … then i am dealt with as an account holder.   but if i go to a place to write my thoughts as a person,  then i am not a account holder to that place … no, i am a person. 

Si says
Steady progress on this item. Groups now have ID’s which will allow a persistent user identity group no matter what it’s name. Presumably deviation from system assigned name will be a monetized feature.

As to the starting name, are we still good with penname.authorId?

… as in seth.1815 and Mark.1830 etc? (obviously your current Overlord of your verse group names will not change)

Note: authors are currently allowed to sign up without specifying a penname in which case their real name becomes their penname. Should that be changed to require a penname? I still think real names should always be taken and not changeable without due procedure, as does FB, for lots of future reasons of our own as well as ones related to identity theft, stalking, NSA and Homeland Security monitoring, Ralph Nader pissing off, and many others.

Seth says
 If i understand what you are proposing to do, It feels like we are sacrificing the web’s natural ability to name people for the sake of some presumed inability to uniquely identify them by name.

Are you saying that a new signup would be issued a home group URL like:  http://athink.club/kenny.123456  ??

Guck cheeky

… and before you tell me for cybernetic identity reasons it must be like that, note some of my current profile URL’s … and given a half hour i could come up with a dozen more.

Now i am all for every group having a unique identity quite apart from its natural name.  Then there would be a way to access that identity and even change it’s name, or move it around, and for the code to deal with it with no fuzzy matching … for example the author’s right to a group in their identity records can refer directiy to the comuter identity of the groups to which they have been authorized.

Assuming that, the person’s home group (journal, or identity group, or blog, or whatever we decide to all it) would be some some combination from maybe the following:
  • first name
  • last name
  • pen name
When a person identifies themselves to the system they would be issued the combination of those names which we can choose now … for example: “first.last”.   if that name is already used at this domain, then the system could suggest some alternatives, some of which might involve a short numeric disambiguifyer.   The group would still be completely identified by the unique computer GROUPID and that is what its thoughts would refer to in the database … but not of course on the screen.   If they want to change the url of their group later they could still do it if the new name was still not already  in use. 

Seth says
dA 2016-02-01 15:13:40 [item 19795#44195]
Hey! First of all, you came up with default group names being name.id in some other thought. Not me. That was your idea. Look it up. I didn’t even propose it, you did! The only thing I did was ask that if we do that, then let’s not allow periods in names, but reserve that for system assigned names of various sorts.
nope never did … if you think i did that you misinterperted what i said.  it is just not the kind of thing that i would have suggested.  

However i probably did mention that, depending on the dialogue that establishes the name, there may be a disambuification number necessary only if the name is already taken.  but even that is almost always under the choice of the person signing up … it never issued by just stamping one on their forehead.  

Seth says

Si says
nathan 2016-02-01 16:21:32 [item 19795#44209]

Seth: The url to the author’s “identity group” would be something like http://fastblogit.com/john.jones.123456 … but when you linked their name to a thought it would show “john.jones”.  
dA 2016-01-15 09:28:36 [item 19671#42103]
This could work if the group name pattern is one that is disallowed in normal group names. Then the pattern can be detected programmatically to know that this is an identity group. Then it could be burned into text in the base and would not require lookups to figure it out. That would solve other problems too.

One simple way is to disallow periods in regular group names. Periods in group names could be reserved for system namepatterns.

The names did not come out in this copy, but you can see the original in thought 19671
seth 2016-02-01 16:45:28 [item 19795#44210]
somewhere in the context of this there should the assumption that this john.jones character is already in the database.  this is the same game that gmail plays with people.   the name is allowed if it is not already taken.  then suggestions are made.   when i got my gmail account seth.russell was taken, but russell.seth was not.  you got to let people name their own space. 
Your basically repeating the same path and this time you are not as clear as you were the first time through. Never mind. It’s not all that important.

Holmes says
seth 2016-02-01 17:15:06 [item 19795#44212]
i think what we need to decide is are we going to allow them to pick whatever author owned group they want by typing that into a appropriately named box.  to me the term “pen name” does not totally capture that meaning … or at least needs to be explained on the screen.    Then if it is not already in use, or reserved or illegal, they get it.  Otherwise the system would ask them to choose again, based perhapd on some suggestions.

if i said, or implied otherwise, i am sorry. 

The other thing that was not explicitly said, is that this entry should be moved to the first sign-up screen, otherwise we get the cumbersome docey-doe that we have now.   If that is too obvious, sorry to have said it angry
nathan 2016-02-01 17:33:34 [item 19795#44214]
You said, specifically, that people would get default group names. These names would include their id number. Then, they would get opportunities by payment or otherwise to obtain more friendly names. Either way the name would only apply to urls to their group as seen in the browser location bar. Not to internal names displayed in thoughts and comments. All of this is very specific in that thought I referenced and was entirely your idea. I do however, agree. Real group names are a valuable commodity and should be better managed than allowing first come first serve. Even in the scenario of allowing duplicate group names internally by some resolution screen, outside  to internal names will always need to be mapped one to one. You also said that non personal named groups should be a highly valued resource, as did I in the title of that thought. As such, default user group names additionally prevents people from calling themselves some real name, like dog, or american eagle, and claiming that group. This all makes good sense … and was not to apply to internal names which would always show whatever penname a person chose at the moment except in hard coded history where it would show their name at that point in time.
seth 2016-02-01 17:53:51 [item 19795#44216]
well i am not interested in the he-said-she-said blams and rwg involved .. but i do want to make the best choice here.  let us just go out and come in again.  i’ll take full responsibility for any code you have to change.

personally i have no problem with a first come first coin basis as long as there is some protocol for retrieving names that are not being actually used.   that is kind of the nature of coining words and naming spaces.  

now, that said, i agree that possessing a name is a valuable thing … for example the first-come-first grab nature of domain names.   But for us to force people into an undesirable computer sounding names to protect our unused namesspace,  when that is not necessary,  is to cut off our nose to spite our face.  Especially when our competition on the web is doing the exact opposite.  It is the wrong vibration for me … i would blog elsewhere all other things equal.

Can we not come up with a great solution all around?
I do not wish to see all the great and useful basic names grabbed up by the first horde of people who flock by, many who will never come again but now the name is tied up by their fleeting test. That others do that does not make it good design and especially not good business. Assigning people useable default names, and then letting them prove somehow that they are going to make good use of a more valuable name, is a very easy solution, and stimulates people to stick around and actually do things as well. It’s a good game that energizes flow and participation.

Another way is to use a common dictionary of word and phrases and prevent those from being used. That is much easier than it probably sounds to you. There are many such dictionaries available for free and when I was at microsoft I came up with simple code to use them as both passwords, and random but real test data, to use in testing applications. It is easy and worked well. Same approach could filter out the good names, at least in English for now. Then the game can be the same. To get use of a free word or phrase in the dictionary, one would have to buy it, or make a bunch of posts, or get a bunch of followers, or something that shows they are more interested in using the name than just to write “hello world” and go back to Facebook. You have often agreed with this sentiment.

Si says
Here is another perspective. You now have sethrussell.thoughts.com (or similar). You didn’t earn it, or pay for it, or in any way do something to make it feel special. So you have no loyalty to it. You may not actually ever use it, but there are thousands of Seth Russell’s out there and one or more might.

If you had earned it in some way, you would probably use it. Just the idea that it was available and that you could earn it would have probably caused you to give it a try, if it wasn’t too hard.

Is that not what we want to draw out of people? Inspiration to really try the site for a bit? Isn’t use of their own name, or a really good name, the one solid thing we can offer them that they would likely be willing to try for? If it was challenging but not too hard?

Great group names are the golden eggs here. Give them away and you have left a few tired old geese clucking at each other. Inspire people to earn them and you can build an empire on what people are willing to do, and stick around for afterward.

Seth says
i think we should separate assigning a person’s journal, from making up a group name.  The person’s journal needs to be chosen when she is identified on the very first page, … then later perhaps she may want to create a group in an entirely different dialogue.   We can use different strategies for each.

If when a person identifies themselves they give us …
  • first name
  • last name
… and neither of those are allowed to be blank.   Then we have all the data necessary to name their journal to be “first.last”.   That satisfies our desire not to let a fleeting test grab a simple name, yet still allow the system to call them by name.  We would still need the dialog to prohibit collisions.  

In this scenario the “pen name” would be just FYI info on a post, lke your “dA” or mark’s “M”, and does not need to be globally unique, as it would be hyperlinked to their journal for specific identification.    Some day we could enhance that with an advatar. 

So that would not junk up our name space. 

Then later after the person learns more of the system they may make a group name.   Here is where i have been persuaded that coining a common name should be earned.  So we could append something on a group  name like “loa.john1” or whatever works for you … just as long as there is some way later to convert that to “loa” when they have created sufficient activity in that group.  Is there a way to convert these URL later?

Holmes says
There really isn’t an easy way to convert later. What is far easier is to have 2 permalink url’s that always work. The first should be a name that is not very comfortable, then it will inspire them to want a nice name for themselves and keep them around long enough to really try out the system. Good strategy for leveraging the assets we have, since we don’t have advertising or other revenue streams. This base permalink will always work. It will be recognizable by the system as a base permalink so it can be found directly. I think an easy one is simply /group.1234 where 1234 is the group id. This is great because it will work for any group anytime, not only for entry level group names. It’s a good solid default permalink resource for any group of any kind.

Then, after they prove they will be here a while, we allow them to turn their name into a group name, filtering it against a dictionary of common words, so that they can’t claim a common word as their personal identity group name. I already found a great 350,000 word dictionary for this and it will be really easy to do.

When they have earned their personal identity name, then both /group.1234 and /seth.russell will work to bring up their identity group. That way any links they posted out in the wild while they are an intern will still work fine with no special code run on every page to look up and convert things.

The rest is as you say. True blue group names from the dictionary will be a commodity that can be traded or sold and separate from a person’s identity group.

This is a clean system and ultimately gets exactly what you are going for while also not throwing away one of our most valuable assets and available leverage to get people in here and doing things. We can even schedule events and contests and other things to get people to come by and earn or win their names … good low cost promotional advertising. Thinking.com will kick themselves for not having thought of it.

Holmes says
Mark 2016-02-02 08:35:56 [item 19795#44222]
Basically, what seems to be happening here is that groups (&/or group names) are changing to be not owned by people anymore;  the effort to munge away groups is in its final cycle. If one can’t classify his own material by whatever words he chooses then how are you going to fare along side G+ especially if one erects walled gardens around some topics like LOA or flodle or gaming & search algorithms. 
dA 2016-02-02 08:38:54 [item 19795#44224]
Well, there are not an infinite number of group names right? For the moment, lets assume we don’t want to do name collision resolution. Then, what do you propose when two people both want to use LOA?

As far as not owned by people, that wouldn’t be true. Once a name is obtained, it would belong to the person or people who have the password for it, as always.
seth 2016-02-02 08:47:13 [item 19795#44225]
under my proposal, new groups created like your “projects” would be things like “projects.mark”.    Of course all the existing ones we have now would stay just as they are.   You and nathan can fight over loa … i will just stand back and watc(h).    
project.mark would only work for the very first mark who comes by. Then the names would get weird again. It’s nicer to let people resolve the name to anything they want when their own name is already taken, than to have a system that is built on their name only being nice for the first person of that name to come by.

Seth says
seth 2016-02-02 08:38:08 [item 19795#44223]
Ok, that pretty much works for me ...

creating a group name,  with something like “/talk.1234” would work for me.  Then later, should they earn it, that same group could be accessed by “/talk”.   That is fine. 

But hidden in my idea above was another flash … why not make the 1234, the person’s first name.   So the system is saying, ok you created a group, but it is still just yours, untill you ear it … so if this group was created by the newbe John Jones, it iwould be /talk.john or /talk.john2 …  until they got some real talk going and earned the group name /talk.

Now that is just for creating group names … and is not to be munged with creating their initial personal journal.   Having our name space being a lot of peopl’s names like john.jones,  john.jones2, sam.smith, etc will not junk up our name space.  It is what it is, just a list of peope who are participating here, and thir journals.
dA 2016-02-02 08:48:12 [item 19795#44226]
Well. The hidden idea is a whole extra layer of name collision to resolve. It doesn’t really buy much for all that extra code and process the user has to go through because it is not a “great name” but it does water down our assets because it is a sort of okay name and close enough to their own that they may not want to try for a great one.

The great name is not just a way to avoid name clutter, which as you say in this case is no big deal, but it is also one of our golden eggs. A way to keep people here long enough to get excited about the system … something many would not do otherwise. This system needs to be tried to be understood and loved.

And the extra process for the user is also a deterrent. If we can assign them a name then we can get them in the door quicker and easier.
you seem to still be talking as if what we do for the person’s journal is the same as we do for adding a group.

i need this to be clear.   They are created differently.

1) the persons journal is created as:  <first name> “.” <last name> <disambuification string only if necessary>

2) a new group name is created <group name> <disambuification string always>

So the earning of a simple group name URL can be gamed. 

I still think it is nifty and useful and natural to have the group disambuification string the person’s first name.  But if you think this particular gaming is gong to buy us anything other than just dissatisfied initial customers, sure let’s go for it.

Seth says
incidentally under that scheme we could still game the conversion of a person’s journal into just their fist name, or whatever else they desire. 

Mark de LA says
dA 2016-02-02 09:11:59 [item 19795#44230]
Yes. I think it is a million dollar idea. I think it is the edge that can help customers to stay. I am sure thinking.com has a lot of logistic problems with their model right now that they are trying desperately to solve, and here we have a solution. I think thinking.com has a low conversion rate of people who come by and stay, and also people who sign up and actually stay. By giving people something for staying, we can up that ratio … and in the process, also get them to learn the beauty of the system so they will want to stay. There really is no down side. Some people won’t stay no matter what. This idea leverages the ones that have any interest at all by offering something they consider to be valuable in trade for their trying and doing a few things and thereby making it more likely they will stay. And that’s the ultimate goal, to get people to stay. No matter what the revenue model, it hinges on having active authors.
seth 2016-02-02 09:20:04 [item 19795#44232]

Well we will see what happens.   We would need to make it abundantly clear that earning real group names or even journal names was a real possibility for them … and that it would garner status for them.   That would not even occur to a newbe that was happening.   I think the initial creations screens which grant them these journal names and group names to use would need to be expanded to tell them this story.
dA 2016-02-02 09:24:17 [item 19795#44233]
Absolutely! We have only begun. As Sherlock would say, the game is now afoot!
seth 2016-02-02 09:25:08 [item 19795#44234]
Mark 2016-02-02 09:37:32 [item 19795#44235]

Seth says
dA 2016-02-02 09:55:08 [item 19795#44237]
To your edit of the prime thought. Close, but your order has us giving out a great personal group name right up front. It’s more like this so we can leverage it.
  1. New people (call them interns because it’s cool) get an assigned group name.
  2. After trying the system, an intern graduates to author and get’s to choose any name for their identity group that is not in the “blue list” … this will usually be their <first>.<last> name but I don’t see that we need to limit it as long as it is not in the “blue list” and not already taken.
  3. Once an intern is an author they can create new groups not on the “blue list” (why not?) and they can get an available name from the “blue list” in various ways including buying, auction, contributing, etc.

The choosing of a true group name should be a one time graduation to author event. Even if we someday allow group name changes, it will likely be a strong choice because it will invalidate external url’s with the old name unless we dedicate a lot of resources to old->new maps … so it is not to be encouraged … just like with FB and others it’s a strong choice with lots of safeguards and opportunities to bow out. (I have personal experience with this because twice Natalie went through all FB safeguards and changed our playnexus name without thinking and destroyed all our apps and lost us the best names forever … and FB even requires a 45 day cooling off period after a name change before another).

The idea that a person can choose any name not in the “blue list” is new, but why not? Like you say, those non-dictionary name resources are not an issue. It should only be clear that they can only choose once, or at least that it will be a major undertaking to change it later. Same goes for creating groups. Let people create long winded group names as long as they don’t resolve by magic algorithm to the blue list … i.e. contain combinations of blue list words in various patterns. Basically, let people play in the fringe namespace … and Monetize the prime namespace.
seth 2016-02-02 19:02:05 [item 19795#44299]
well this domain operator does not want to issue a goofey looking profile address to a new person.  the idea that they *must* earn the right to use there name to identify their journal runs contrary to my instinct.  Especially because the authors who *i* will be trying to draw to the site already have their own blog, have already earned a name for themselves, you could probably buy one of their books at amazo.   I am all for getting as many goodies that we can use as rewards for behavior that we want to encourage.   But leveraging the removal of a impersonal name is not one i am going to use. 

Please be more sensitive to the freedom of domain operator to play their intended game in the world.  That is their freedom, not your creation. 

To simplify the code it would be ok to stick a short disambuifier on the end of a first.last name if (and only if) there is a collision.   The second john jones will be john.jones.2  … no junking up our name space at all, and still deals with a person by their name.  

New groups are different.   There i agree, we can game, and let a group earn the right to be “politics” rather than “politics.mark” or “politics.1234”.   That is fine, i will compmise on that.  But not the personal journal name.  
dA 2016-02-02 19:07:37 [item 19795#44300]
Nothing goofy here. If you actually have a real proven authors then you can simply issue them a special invitation that allows them to bypass internship. I’m not trying to save code. This is too important.
seth 2016-02-02 19:09:56 [item 19795#44301]
nathan you keep arguing.  No.  i do not want to have to invite sombody to let then use their own name … that may or may not be a very clumsy transaction.   Back off.  
seth 2016-02-02 19:12:34 [item 19795#44303]
Having invitations will be great … we discissed that at floodle.me … but that is a differen issue … no need to tie it into this other protocol.  
dA 2016-02-02 19:13:56 [item 19795#44305]
Okay. They are very related. But no need. I agree.

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