I wrote a negative blog post on www.ruck.us the other day, and one of their fellows found my blog (I’m not sure how) and called me on it. So I decided to give them another crack, this time by joining the site and experiencing it first hand. Here are my thoughts from the first day. Keep in mind I have never kept a diary before, so this is a new one for me too.
It all started with registration, which I wasn’t aware would take me that long. It isn’t their fault; the actual process of creating an account was actually quite quick. It was answering the questions (that allows the site to sort you into groups of “like minded” people) that took quite a long time.
The first step was picking a set of issues that most concerned you, and ordering them by importance. I probably could have picked all forty of the given issues, cause I do care about all of them, but I managed to limit myself to just seven. I picked (in order): poverty, education, science and technology, environment, LGBT rights, drug policy and religion.
The next step was answering a series of multiple-choice questions, some written by administrators and some written by the site’s users. And here comes my first critique: the questions written by the administrators were actually quite fair and reasonable, however many of the questions written by users were either leading questions, or not questions at all. I found myself clicking “other” quite a lot, because it was either obvious what the author wanted me to select, or the author was just trying to make a point and the question wasn’t serious. If Ruck.us wishes to allow users to write some of the questions, I think they need a little bit more administration.
After the registration as complete, I was given a list of users who had similar answers to me. The site had already “followed” the top ten suggestions for me, so that I can presumably follow their rants. I am not quite sure exactly how I “follow” them, or where their opinions and news show up exactly, but I’m sure ill get the gist of it in a few days.
After all this, I had a quick look around the site. I subscribed to one of the so called “rucks”, which are basically just groups centered around one issue, with people being allowed to freely discuss and engage each other, seemingly without any reference to them being like minded or not.
So anyway, what do I think of the site now that I have had more exposure? Well I was definitely wrong, and the commenter on my previous blog post was right. There does seem to be quite a flow between ideologically opposing members. It doesn’t seem like quite an echo chamber, as the descriptions of the site would make it out. Maybe they should change those descriptions *hint*.
Just to give you guys a bit of a taster, I was following one of the discussions in one of the rucks, and came across this post by Krist Novoselic “No need to lay down and die. I think we’re in the right neighbourhood on this site. Association is the key to change.”
So it all looks good, I apparently was wrong. I’m going to keep investigating tho.