I originally posted a smaller version of this using the feedback tool but the feedback tool just closes without any indication that anything was received, so I'll post this here instead so I'm sure it actually gets seen.
fair warning ahead of time: This is also not a particularly well thought out body of text- I'm just dumping my thoughts in case they're valuable.
Every now and again I'll check back on Arbital to see how it changes or if it has done anything interesting. I currently no longer have any sense of what it is. Wasn't it about explanations? Where are the indented topics? Seems almost like a newsfeed now. This is what I'm looking at: Front page
Clicking the options gives no further hint. No explanation for why the site is as it is. It's just different now. Where did all the old content go? One can still get at it from the search, but it is no longer clearly relevant to what the site is.
(If you thought 'recent changes' would contain the answers to these questions and more then I have a surprise for you.)
Where would I go to learn about the current setup of the site? There is no 'faq' or 'help' in clearly marked areas. What's going on with it? You seriously need an explanation of large scale changes to the site, and how to browse the site. If such an explanation exists, then it needs to be more prominent such that a user can access it within a minute or two of using the site and looking for it. I don't know where to go to get more information. I could probably find out if I really looked hard, but that's indicative of bad design.
At a glance and without digging deeper claims appear to have something to do with the general strain of thought of Arbital as arguments. They seem to have probabilities assigned if those little bars are an indication, but it is entirely unclear without deeper investigation.
How can I discover content? As is, I'm basically limited to what appears on the front page and what I happen to remember exists or randomly may be interested in. A few searches lead me to weird places unrelated to my search. Search alone doesn't really allow for discovery- I practically already have to know what I'm looking for. There needs to be an additional mechanism in place to locate existing content without already knowing that it is there. The news feed or whatever is going on in the front page can only show the most recent stuff. There is no clear way to dig into the body of existing content in any meaningful way.
A random internet denizen would be equally if not more confused than I am (I know at least a couple things about Arbital and I'm still totally lost!) and probably not hang around very long because the site is insufficiently friendly towards people that don't already know what the site is about. I'm not talking about a huge amount of hand holding. You don't need a tutorial. Just. A basic bare minimum 'this is what the site is about, here are the interesting things you can do on it, here are links to all of the major areas and functionality.' But you have no main page. There is no about page. The site just dumps you into some kind of feed with posts about seemingly random stuff with no context.
I'm also uncertain if this post will even be seen because the site just sort of 'publishes' into the void. Where is it on the site? There is no sense of grounding or location. It's just sort of gone once I press that button and leave the page it is on. I suppose I could look at my own posts, and this is sort of true with many sites, but here the content doesn't seem to have a home. Where would other people go to read it? I don't know. The front page I guess? Recent changes?
It does say 'propose a post' so my guess is someone will have to read through this?
Also, I feel like the 'claim' posts could be improved if you had to click a button to reveal the distribution. example image Seeing other people's answers is bound to affect one's own feelings about it. Maybe make it a setting or an option or something.