|I’ve been using this site for a while now, and though I do recognize some usernames, I only have a vague sense of personalities for very few of them (excluding people I’ve actually met in person). I think the problem is that when I’m reading comments I see the username and the comment, but I don’t really associate them together in order to form a bond over time between that username and those set of comments. Instead, I tend to remember a set of comments and a set of usernames, independently. Am I alone here in this behavior?|
In any case, the cities and ambition thread got me thinking about what it would take to make an online community more like an offline one. I think the bulk of it comes down to conversation, of which there are two parts: content and mechanics. The content side seems OK here (for what I’m looking for at least). The mechanics side falls way behind the offline world, however.
Offline we have 3-d conversations using most of our sensory perceptions. Online, a lot of that obviously goes away. Of course there are benefits of being online too, e.g. asynchronous threads, archiving, etc. But the lack of the senses drastically takes away the emotional feel of the offline community.
Pictures next to usernames I believe would be at least a start in the other direction. We would get more of a visual sense for a person. For me at least, I think I would start associating usernames more with their set of comments. And I think that would greatly increase the sense of community gained from the site. I’m sure there are other (low-impact) things one could do as well, but I just haven’t thought of them.
I get it pg, you don’t want to spend your time working on this site (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=201122), but maybe someone playing around with Arc could make the change and then it could be ported back.