Cleaving of the Community

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An unprecedented experiment is soon to take place on Slope, and its name is SlopeTalk.


For the final portion of 2021, I devoted all engineering efforts to the creation of this new product, which is a multi-channel, real-time communications system built from the ground up for this website. It is not live yet (obviously!) but still available for testing.

The experiment is that Slope’s community will now have two choices as to where to go at any given moment and chew the fat. The end result of this could be any number of things, but a few that spring to mind, from worst to best, are as follows:

  • Division, Fizzle, and Failure – – Comments and Talk are live and available. The critical mass of people is insufficient to sustain them both, and through a combination of confusion and frustration, they both die out. There’s no community left. I, ummm, don’t think this is going to happen.
  • Fuddy Duddy Death – – Old habits die hard. People try out Talk for a day or two, decide to stay in their old familiar ways, and Talk becomes a ghost town. I’ll be gravely disappointed if this happens, but I can’t force people to use Talk if they don’t want to do so. In this instance, maybe I’ll try to see what, if any, special purposes Talk has that would appeal to me, although I think that the existence of Private Channels is already pretty special.
  • Two Camps, Two Purposes – – People try out Talk, and in short order people self-select where they will be at any given time based on what they want to do. Some people bounce between the two camps, depending on the nature of what they want to discuss, and others stay pretty much in one place. This isn’t at all a bad outcome.
  • Synergy – – The ideal is that, in the aggregate, there is more activity and time-on-Slope with the two systems than there was with just one. This, clearly, is my ideal, since otherwise, I wouldn’t have committed the time and dollars to the creation of Talk in the first place!

I look forward to seeing how things pan out, which should be fairly clear by the end of January. And I look forward to rolling this into production and opening a whole new chapter in the life of the Slope of Hope. Incredibly, a month ago, I was committed to removing comments from the system altogether. I’ve clearly changed my mind.