UrbanMSP/streets.mn merger

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mplsjaromir
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UrbanMSP/streets.mn merger

Postby mplsjaromir » October 29th, 2014, 7:33 am

So its now "Streets mnforum" now?

twincitizen
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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby twincitizen » October 29th, 2014, 7:47 am

Well, technically "streets.mn forum", but yeah. I'm sure Nick will chime in soon.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby Pip » October 29th, 2014, 12:40 pm

Is the UrbanMSP name going away completely? I like the UrbanMSP name. A lot of people know what UrbanMSP is but I'm not sure they'd know if I said "streets.mn forum".

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Nick
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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby Nick » October 29th, 2014, 5:11 pm

It will eventually go away as part of merging the two sites. There was kind of an ongoing issue with overlap between streets.mn posts and comment sections overlapping with largely the same people. We explored lots of technical stuff, but at the moment there's not really a great/easy way to combine WordPress and phpBB. If we get a pile of grant money next year (a hope) then that's something that will probably happen. In the meantime I changed the logo and will work on doing little things like that over the next couple weeks.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby froggie » October 30th, 2014, 6:35 am

No offense, but I preferred the old UrbanMSP logo better. Until there's a true merger of the two sites, I'd rather stick with that.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby Silophant » October 30th, 2014, 7:30 am

I agree that merging the sites is a good idea, but would honestly prefer the UrbanMSP name/logo for a site focused on urbanism. I think streets.mn implies a tighter focus on transportation issues than we necessarily have. On the other hand, Streets.mn is where the blog posts that get picked up by broader news sources get posted, so there's probably more name recognition. Gripping hand, this isn't a democracy, but a Nicktatorship.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby twincitizen » October 30th, 2014, 7:47 am

I don't disagree with that sentiment - UrbanMSP is the better name, hands down. But streets.mn has a much bigger (and broader) following, and is the natural parent. It's kind of a Northwest/Delta situation.

While streets.mn may imply a focus on transportation, the mission includes transportation and land use. I think we have to acknowledge that this site (and its user base) has evolved since the minnescraper days. We're not talking about speculative skyscrapers as much as back then, and rightfully so, because we really aren't building many of those these days. What we are building is more walkable urbanism, improved bicycle infrastructure, and greater public transit options.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby mulad » October 30th, 2014, 9:43 am

Is anyone interested in summarizing some of the discussions that happen here and putting them into articles on streets.mn? A regular recurring feature is something we'd like to set up, and it might also be good to post something more immediate when a hot topic arises. Let me or Nick know and we can get things started (if you don't already have a streets.mn account).

Looking into the logo size issue a bit, it looks like the image itself is relatively small, but the stylesheet is making it take up more space. I haven't totally figured it out, but in style.php around line 125, the #illustration block sets a height of 180px, which I think should be reduced. Unfortunately, there's something that makes it not center properly when I shrink that value, so something else also needs tweaking. Anyway, shrinking that to 120 or 130px seems to help a lot.

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Nathan
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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby Nathan » October 30th, 2014, 2:54 pm

Yeah I agree that streets.mn forum sounds like a single issue site, and that urbanmsp by streets.Mn might be a better concept. I read streets.mn but it isn't as relevant to development as urbanmsp is (aside from the transportation subforums). It sounds like another step in alienating a group of people who might otherwise be interested in the development* topics for the benefit of a small few in the echo chamber.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby twincitizen » October 30th, 2014, 3:04 pm

On the flip-side, people who are more interested in development could write about it for streets.mn. Authorship is open to anyone willing to write and follow some basic editorial/quality guidelines. I actually think streets.mn is sorely lacking more posts about development. There have been many posts about specific issues (2320 Colfax, Franklyn, Dinkytown), so it's not like it isn't part of the discussion there. I'd love to see someone write up a development summary every now and then. I disagree that it intentionally alienates anyone.

No, streets.mn is not a perfect name. But I think it's very clear that the mission of the blog goes far beyond "streets" (transportation issues). They need to cool it on the eurocentric/biking posts though. Complete f***ing overkill. That's like 1 or 2 writers though, who apparently don't realize that streets.mn isn't a cycling blog (and cycling-centric blogs do in fact exist).

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby MNdible » October 30th, 2014, 3:11 pm

Yeah, I guess a name is just a name, but I'm disappointed that people have decided we need to move in this direction.

Nathan pretty clearly lays out my concerns above, so I won't expound on them too much more. But the forum already was turning into a streets.mn/strong towns echo chamber, and to the extent that this makes it more official, it's likely that you'll lose some of the non-conforming voices.

I also read streets.mn pretty regularly, but if you read through the comments on their articles, it's clearly a place that represents a broad rainbow of viewpoints, ranging all of the way from indigo to dark blue. Which is fine, I guess, because that website has never been bashful about having a particular agenda which it's pushing forward. But a discussion forum shouldn't have to carry the weight of an agenda, at least if the real goal is to have a good discussion.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby mattaudio » October 30th, 2014, 3:19 pm

How, exactly, does a forum have an agenda or become an echo chamber? A forum is not a voice, it's a platform for people's voices. If it appears to have an "agenda" then that means there's near consensus about something by those participating, or other people aren't speaking up for a different viewpoint. It seems very disingenuous to blame a message board for having an agenda. It's like saying the Strib has a fringe conservative agenda based solely on the contents of the comments sections.

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Nathan
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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby Nathan » October 30th, 2014, 3:21 pm

Reminds me of how few people own the media :( thanks Obama. I feel like there are easier ways to have the sites be symbiotic than to merely aggregate them. And if streets.mn wanted more posters from urban about construction development architecture and design why didn't they just ask. Most of us in that profession wouldn't see our insight as relevant to that blog so why would we just randomly submit?

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Nathan
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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby Nathan » October 30th, 2014, 3:23 pm

mattaudio wrote:How, exactly, does a forum have an agenda or become an echo chamber? A forum is not a voice, it's a platform for people's voices. If it appears to have an "agenda" then that means there's near consensus about something by those participating, or other people aren't speaking up for a different viewpoint. It seems very disingenuous to blame a message board for having an agenda. It's like saying the Strib has a fringe conservative agenda based solely on the contents of the comments sections.
Or the majority posting on the forum and those in control of the forum are alienating the lesser voices. It definitely doesn't operate asa majority rule minority rights type situation as is and seems to be going further from that now.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby Blaisdell Greenway » October 30th, 2014, 4:32 pm

Nathan wrote: Or the majority posting on the forum and those in control of the forum are alienating the lesser voices. It definitely doesn't operate asa majority rule minority rights type situation as is and seems to be going further from that now.
Yes.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby Silophant » October 30th, 2014, 4:55 pm

twincitizen wrote: They need to cool it on the eurocentric/biking posts though. Complete f***ing overkill. That's like 1 or 2 writers though, who apparently don't realize that streets.mn isn't a cycling blog (and cycling-centric blogs do in fact exist).
Ugh, this. Although I prefer it to that period a year or so ago when it seemed like every other post was a lament about how the skyways were ruining downtown.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby VAStationDude » October 30th, 2014, 9:25 pm

If this site becomes an echo chamber for sweater vest wearing Paul-bot engineers/planners and their disciples I'll get the sads.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby FISHMANPET » October 30th, 2014, 9:50 pm

There's people that use this site as a development tracker, and there's people that use this site as a place to discuss land use, urbanism, and transportation (and there are plenty of people here for both). Streets.mn is currently a blogging site dedicated to the latter. Of the top of my head, New York YIMBY would be a type of blog site dedicated to the former (as far as I know there isn't a site like that here in the Twin Cities).

So any attempt to align this forum is going to be met with resistance from those who use this place to track development. There's frequent complaints that our development threads are hard to keep track of, and maybe more of a merger could help that as well? Extend streets.mn to include the nuts of bolts of the development tracking, which a forum isn't super good for, and keep the discussions here on the forums.

Pip

Re: Updates and Changes

Postby Pip » October 31st, 2014, 1:01 am

twincitizen wrote:No, streets.mn is not a perfect name. But I think it's very clear that the mission of the blog goes far beyond "streets" (transportation issues). They need to cool it on the eurocentric/biking posts though. Complete f***ing overkill. That's like 1 or 2 writers though, who apparently don't realize that streets.mn isn't a cycling blog (and cycling-centric blogs do in fact exist).
THIS
Silophant wrote:Ugh, this. Although I prefer it to that period a year or so ago when it seemed like every other post was a lament about how the skyways were ruining downtown.
THIS x2
FISHMANPET wrote:Extend streets.mn to include the nuts of bolts of the development tracking, which a forum isn't super good for, and keep the discussions here on the forums.
THIS x3

I visit UrbanMSP... err... streets.mn forum almost solely for local development updates but after reading threads, I usually feel guilty for owning a car, not biking/ walking everywhere, using the skyways, and not buying everything at the Wedge Co-Op in a reusable bag. I like discussion but almost every topic will end up off topic, that's just the nature of discussion forums. I suggested it in the "Consolidated Project Information" thread and it didn't seem to take off but I think it'd be best to separate project information from the discussion that happens in the forum. Sometimes I get curious and just want a quick update on a project happening downtown or whatever and don't feel like reading pages of loosely related information and opinions. I realize this isn't my site and obviously the owners can do what they want but I feel like there's a need for what I'm talking about and it would be great to see it happen.

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Re: Updates and Changes

Postby froggie » October 31st, 2014, 5:30 am

The nice thing about the Intrawebz, folks, is that ignorance can be bliss. If it's a subject you're not interested in, you can always ignore that story/thread. Is Streets.MN transportation-heavy? Sure....I personally don't mind that as I'm more transportation than development. But the team has always been interested in a more diverse writing crew. I'm sure Bill and Nick and David would be interested in more development articles if you guys would just write some.


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