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posted by martyb on Tuesday September 16 2014, @12:58PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the mod-me-up! dept.

An article posted by Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing http://boingboing.net/2014/09/15/downvoting-considered-harmful.html has interesting insight into moderation:

A study http://cs.stanford.edu/people/jure/pubs/disqus-icwsm14.pdf [PDF] published in a journal of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence found that sites that have a "downvote" button to punish bad comments lock the downvoted users into spirals of ever-more-prolific, ever-lower-quality posting due to a perception of having been martyred by the downvoters.

Cory continues: What's more, positive attention for writing good posts acts as less of an incentive to write more good stuff than the incentive to write bad stuff that's produced by negative attention.

How Community Feedback Shapes User Behavior http://cs.stanford.edu/people/jure/pubs/disqus-icwsm14.pdf [Justin Cheng, Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Jure Leskovec]

Why Reddit sucks: some scientific evidence http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/09/09/why-reddit-sucks-some-scientific-evidence/ [Henry Farrell/Washington Post]

So... do you downvote? if so, why? Does this article make you reconsider your down-modding?

[Editor's note: I offer for your consideration and commentary our very own SoylentNews Moderation FAQ.]

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:09PM (#93971)

    Where's the lentils poster

    • (Score: 1) by VLM on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:53PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:53PM (#94000)

      We could play this game all day, I kinda like it. I propose another counterexamples. "that beta site" vs the GNAA

      On his side, I think stack exchange in general is the premiere example of toxic downvoting, much better than throwing in a reddit to be trendy.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday September 16 2014, @09:14PM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Tuesday September 16 2014, @09:14PM (#94236) Journal

        I have downvoted and here is why..when the poster is obviously trolling or refusing requests for citations and instead returning with strawmen and logic fallacies, or are obviously trying to derail a thread as we saw on slash all the time with post after post of you are lynching negroes [wikipedia.org] then yes I WILL mod down, because the entire appeal of a site like this is discussions and when you trash the discussions on purpose you are ruining the site.

        Now this does NOT mean downvoting people you disagree with, in fact I have upvoted people whom I thought were completely full of shit because they made a good concise argument for their position and even though I don't agree with their position I am 1000% for freedom of speech and exchange of ideas so I'm gonna upmod those that make their case well, even if I don't agree with their position. Sadly we have seen how badly mods can be abused here the other day with the Brown article, that frankly shouldn't have been here in the first place as it was HuffyPo flamebait, but in that article EVERYBODY that didn't follow the left wing groupthink, hell even those that simply asked for more details because they hadn't kept up with the story? INSTANT MODBOMBING. It was like something off of HuffyPo or FauxNews where you had to stick to the party line no matter what or be attacked and it was frankly disgusting and just shows why those kinds of articles have no place here.

        But at the end of the day downmods, when vetted by a working metamod system or by readers being diligent by undoing bad mods, which frankly I've done more times that I can count, do serve a VERY important purpose, they keep the threads from devolving into flamefests or circle jerk karma whoring. Just look at the OS articles on the green site for why that's bad, they USED to have in depth discussions about the OSes, the positives and negatives of changes, hell there was once a 300 post thread about fricking FILE SYSTEMS and what advantages each brought when compared to the others...now? Now its all flag waving and flame fests, that's it. You'll see a bottom of the thread post copypasta'd upthread for karma whoring, you'll see a million shills, trolls, vampires [tmrepository.com] thrown at anybody that doesn't jump on the bandwagon, its just a nasty unhealthy cesspool. I don't know about everybody else but I came here in hopes of getting away from that HuffyPo flamebaits and bandwagon hopping and downmods at least help weed out the worst of the worst...or do we really want this site to have threads with 300 "CleanMyPC" posts in a row, followed by such 'insightful" retorts as "you must be a nigger" and "get lost raghead, go man a helpdesk"?

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 1) by lentilsoup on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:00PM

      by lentilsoup (4717) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:00PM (#94083)

      I've just poured hot lentils down my pants and it feels great!

      --
      There are no legumes but lentils, and soy is their condiment.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @09:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @09:13PM (#94235)

      I came to this thread hoping to get a chance to blow all my mod points on negative mods just to prove a point.

      Instead I mod you up. Well done sir.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:11PM (#93973)

    I would consider downvoting myself.

    I know that sounds odd. But not everything I say is +5 insightful. In fact most of the time it is against groupthink.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:50PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:50PM (#93998) Homepage Journal

      "most of the time it is against groupthink."

      When everyone thinks alike, then no one is thinking. Can't remember who said that, a general, I think - I'll check . . . . Ben Franklin said it, and later George Patton said it again. Ahhh, Albert Einstein is also credited with it. There's no telling who said it first, but there are three great men who believed it!

      --
      "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by JeanCroix on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:51PM

        by JeanCroix (573) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:51PM (#93999)
        Obviously, all three of those men were thinking alike.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:53PM (#94001)

          whooosh

          • (Score: 1) by JeanCroix on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:54PM

            by JeanCroix (573) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:54PM (#94003)
            Obviously, I should have credited OP with a higher degree of subtlety.
      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday September 17 2014, @12:24AM

        by Tork (3914) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @12:24AM (#94317)

        When everyone thinks alike, then no one is thinking. Can't remember who said that, a general, I think - I'll check . . . . Ben Franklin said it, and later George Patton said it again. Ahhh, Albert Einstein is also credited with it. There's no telling who said it first, but there are three great men who believed it!

        Yeah but none of those guys ever met a hipster.

        --
        Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:23PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:23PM (#94018)

      A +5 post, in my book, has a strong argument behind it, ideally with credible sources and evidnece, whether or not it matches or goes against groupthink. For example, if someone puts together a well-reasoned argument that Windows was a superior operating system to *nix, that would be worthy of an upmod in my book, even though I and I suspect most Soylentils disagree with it.

      Also, watch out for "against groupthink". Groupthink is limited to those cases where a lot of people believe something that they cannot or will not independently verify, primarily because the people around them believe it. If almost everyone believes something different from you, but can and ideally has verified that view independently from sources or experiments outside the group, then odds are you're just wrong. Insisting that we don't fly because we're pushed down to the Earth by the Noodly Appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, isn't fighting against the oppressive groupthink of gravity, it's just wrong (or funny, if it's clear in the post that you know it's wrong, but watch out for Poe's Law).

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:05PM (#94045)

        Most of the time though +5's are lazy 5's. Most of the time it is 'yeah I agree with that'. Instead of that really adds to the conversation. So that is why I will downvote myself. Its not because it actually is a good point but because I am spouting off my opinion. I many times do not use my points. Because I think the conversation is rated correctly.

        Groupthink is limited to those cases where a lot of people believe something that they cannot or will not independently verify
        As someone who has a degree in economics (a degree I argue is only useful for arguing on the internet). I see many bad decisions done by the group. Some of them are simply political (e.g. my team vs your team). Some of them are jealously (e.g. "I dont think someone should have that much money"). Some of them are greed (e.g. "I dont want that applied to me if I come into money"). Some of them are basic misunderstandings of what economics is (i.e. the study of scarcity and plentiful and the effects on value). The group however is not going to change its mind. Why should they? Its just an internet post and you are dealing with raw emotion not facts.

        Insisting that we don't fly because we're pushed down to the Earth by the Noodly Appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, isn't fighting against the oppressive groupthink of gravity
        That is more insulting of the readers intelligence and trying to pull the conversation into something you want to talk about. Which is the existence of God. There are plenty of discussion boards where you can take your pick of how you feel about it.

        It is more of an affect that people are mostly smart. However, they are also wildly stupid. They learn how to do something very well they then misapply their knowledge of being good at something to thinking that they are good at everything.

        So that is why I downvote myself. People misattribute a point they agree with, with something that should drown out all other POV's.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Lagg on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:16PM

    by Lagg (105) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:16PM (#93975) Homepage Journal

    Like I said I don't really do any downmodding and when I get the timing right and have mod points I generally try to find good stuff to mod up. It just works better that way. I do however see the point in downmodding even though it's subject to abuse and encourages people to mod down in disagreement instead of modding up a good point. It also stops much of the asshattery that occurs on forums like this so the way I see it you either need to have a really good spam filter, a really draconian everything filter or you need to figure out a way to make up mods have such a huge effect that each one bumps them to the top of the discussion and keeps them there. You also need to allocate more points or infinite points so that people can actually have room to make the good points seen and not worry about their allocation.

    --
    http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:26PM (#93982)

    When you focus attention on something that's what you get. Focus attention on the positiveness and people will stride towards that.
    There's always a noticeable percentage who are plain negative, if looking for positive things you ignore them.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by GlennC on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:29PM

    by GlennC (3656) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:29PM (#93986)

    When I receive moderation points (and I have got them, thanks!), I very rarely down-moderate.

    The only posts I down-mod are those that contain coarse vulgarity or are poorly written trolls.

    I have up-modded posts that I disagree with but that otherwise make an interesting point or provide insight into the poster's views.

    The question I keep in mind as I mod is, "Does this post add value to the conversation?"

    --
    Sorry folks...the world is bigger and more varied than you want it to be. Deal with it.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by kaszz on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:40PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:40PM (#93990) Journal

      The question I keep in mind as I mod is, "Does this post add value to the conversation?"

      The right reason to include posts.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:49PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:49PM (#93997)

        And then there is the dilemma of off topic posts, is a good enough one OK or is the act of wandering off on a tangent grounds for downvoting? Not to mention the (mis)application of humor to a situation.

        Its an easy spec to describe, but doesn't eliminate challenges to implementation, just changes what the challenges are.

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:40PM

          by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:40PM (#94107) Journal

          One can then ask the question "Does this add sufficiently to the associated subject of the discussion". Not all contributions has to be right on topic. They can very well be a good addition to a subject which is associated with the one which is being discussed.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Tuesday September 16 2014, @06:49PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 16 2014, @06:49PM (#94156) Journal

          And then there is the dilemma of off topic posts, is a good enough one OK or is the act of wandering off on a tangent grounds for downvoting?

          I just leave those alone. Don't mod them either up or down.

          That way, they naturally fall to obscurity, unless a lot of people jump on the thread. If lots of people pile on and want to fork the conversation, why should the mods try to prevent that?

          The best way to handle off-topic is not to reply to it, rather than trying to mod it out of existence.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1) by J053 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @08:09PM

          by J053 (3532) <{dakine} {at} {shangri-la.cx}> on Tuesday September 16 2014, @08:09PM (#94199) Homepage
          I don't think I've ever down-modded for off-topic. I will occasionally downmod obvious trolls or flamebait, but I'd have to say that 95%+ of my mod points are upvotes. I do believe it's important to up-mod interesting points, even when I don't agree with them.
          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Tanuki64 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @08:16PM

            by Tanuki64 (4712) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @08:16PM (#94202)

            I think down-modding for off-topic is ok when it is the start of a new thread. It is perfectly understandable that discussions in a thread begin to drift and slowly spread in all kinds of directions. But I think a thread should at least start on-topic to the given article.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by rts008 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:42PM

      by rts008 (3001) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:42PM (#93991)

      That is also the way I try to use my mod points.

      I don't keep a log, but it seems that out of one hundred mod points, I will usually downmod two or three comments.

      I do get irked when I see moderators using their mod points as '+1-I agree', or '-1- I disagree'.
      So I also mod up interesting or insightful comments I don't agree with, but add value to the discussion.
      Sometimes I find myself having a change of opinion based on some of the comments I did not agree with at first. :-)

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:04PM

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:04PM (#94044) Journal

      I modded you troll.

      For fun.

      • (Score: 2) by GlennC on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:13PM

        by GlennC (3656) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:13PM (#94049)

        Thanks...that made my day! :D

        --
        Sorry folks...the world is bigger and more varied than you want it to be. Deal with it.
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:43PM (#93992)

    I only ever downvote something if it is obviously spam. That's it.

    I never downvote on opinions. If I think someone is wrong, I'll engage them in conversation where they get the chance to change my mind. More often than not, they just demonstrate that they are stupid (by not having a consistent internal logic), but sometimes, you find yourself coming out of the discussion better off, whether minds were changed or not.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @02:18AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @02:18AM (#94351)

      We can mod articles on soylent?

      How come I don't have any mod points?

      • (Score: 1) by Tanuki64 on Wednesday September 17 2014, @02:21AM

        by Tanuki64 (4712) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @02:21AM (#94353)

        Anonymous Cowards don't get any. :-P

  • (Score: 1) by basicbasicbasic on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:54PM

    by basicbasicbasic (411) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:54PM (#94002)

    found that sites that have a "downvote" button to punish bad comments lock the downvoted users into spirals of ever-more-prolific, ever-lower-quality posting due to a perception of having been martyred by the down voters.

    Or maybe people who post controversial posts that get downmodded are more likely to already be the type of person who gets a persecution complex and to continue posting controversial posts. If you assume that only half of the people who are downmodded are downmodded justifiably, that's still a lot of assholes, and they were probably going to continue being assholes in their subsequent posts regardless of whether they were downmodded once.

    It's possible, even, that downmodding is a wake-up call to someone about their behaviour and without it there would be even more assholes.

    No I didn't read the article - maybe they covered that.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:19PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:19PM (#94015) Homepage

      You say "controversial" like it's a bad thing, and are implying that "controversial" equals "shitposting." It doesn't. Controversial posts often spurn discussion and provide alternative and potentially mind-opening points of view, even if just to allow the reader to entertain the thought rather than accepting it.

      The problem is that certain people can't handle reading points of view alternative to their own. They want a safe little circlejerk free of controversy with no real direction, consisting of nothing but positive feedback. If you're talking about shitposting, call it shitposting, or call it trolling or flamebait if you're afraid of mommy walking in on you and washing your mouth out with soap. But don't be in such a hurry to equate "controversial" with "requires downmodding."

      • (Score: 2) by basicbasicbasic on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:22PM

        by basicbasicbasic (411) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:22PM (#94016)

        No, I specifically used the word "controversial" because not all posts that get downmodded are bad posts - good posts get downmodded, too.

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:15PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:15PM (#94052)

          And in the process you provoked someone's persecution complex.
          Funny that.

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:44PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:44PM (#94110)

            Except in his case, its not really a complex; people really do downmod him just because its him posting and have admitted as much.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Tanuki64 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:56PM

    by Tanuki64 (4712) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:56PM (#94004)

    I don't really understand how sites still ask to up-vote good and down-vote bad posts. I never works. There are enough sites, which ask not to vote depending on agreement/disagreement, which have shown over the years that it does not work. There is always a large enough percentage of members, who vote according to sympathy, to devalue the whole idea. So why not say from the beginning: + = I agree, - = I disagree? This definitely works and is unambiguous. In Ars you can see the number of up- and down-votes. And perhaps it is only me, but I take a "I don't agree with you" much easier than a 'Your post is crap'.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Buck Feta on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:03PM

      by Buck Feta (958) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:03PM (#94085) Journal

      What would happen if you had two parallel modding systems - one for agreement/disagreement, and one for quality of post? Would this arrangement also get abused, or would people feel more empowered when they could vote "crappy post, but I agree with you" or vice versa?

      --
      - fractious political commentary goes here -
      • (Score: 2) by Tanuki64 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:25PM

        by Tanuki64 (4712) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:25PM (#94100)

        Your guess is as good as mine. I doubt there are any 'experts', who can exactly predict what will happen. From my gut feeling: I am not long there now, but from what I have seen, I think at the moment it could work. However, communities always go down the drain when they grow. SN gets more known and popular. I gets cool to be here. Less disciplined members pour in. The signal/noise ratio goes to hell. Sooner or later, hopefully later, we will have a not neglectable number of members who think: Boah, this post is so bad, just saying "I don't agree" is not enough, this must really be punished. Or... I don't agree, so this post must be bad.

        Really, under all old forums I know, there is not a single one, where I believe something like that could work.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18 2014, @09:28PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18 2014, @09:28PM (#95214)

        Separate agree and disagree votes from the educational/interesting/funny votes work for Ravelry. Which is a knitting site that is well-moderated and skews much more heavily towards little-old-lady demographics. I'm not sure if it's applicable towards a site like this.

  • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:57PM

    by q.kontinuum (532) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @01:57PM (#94005) Journal

    Usually I do this when someone is obviously trolling, when something appears to be totally overrated (I might mod down from 4 to 3, so still the author gets positive overall feedback), or when something is totally racist. I'd appreciate if others would mod the same way, because I think this keeps the signal to noise ratio on an acceptable level and makes soylentnews more enjoyable. Restraining from modding obvious trolls down is not helpful.

    Different way around, I try not to take a bad moderation personal. Obviously there will always be some moderators who moderate according to their preferences instead of validity of argument, intelligent arguments are not always understood by everyone and humour and sarcasm are very easily misunderstood as well. Oh, and sometimes I just fuck up and am happy if people downmod it fast enough to hide it from as many eyes as possible, or I need someone to mod my post down to indicate that my sense of humour might actually be hurtful ;-)

    --
    Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by quixote on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:14PM

    by quixote (4355) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:14PM (#94011)

    So it's rather meh on reddit, okay on That Other Site, and excellent here (of course :D ). (I haven't been around long enough to mod here.)

    As for training up trolls by downvoting, my feeling is, "Too bad." If there's no way to make spam and trolls invisible, any interactive site becomes unusable. If it sours the dispositions of proto-trolls, well, tough. Don't be, or stop being, a proto-troll. The rest of us have limited time and attention, and worrying about the care and feeding of high maintenance loudmouths is not a priority.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Flyingmoose on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:28PM

    by Flyingmoose (4369) <{moose} {at} {flyingmoose.com}> on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:28PM (#94023) Homepage

    I read a number of forums on the internet that get many times the traffic of Soylent. The way they deal with spam is to have a Report button, which sends a message to the moderator. The moderator can then delete the offending post. I don't think Soylent has so much traffic that it would be a large burden on the moderators, especially since I've seen basically zero commercial spam since I've been here. Some of the other forums I'm on are in industries with lots of spammers, and I still only see a few per week. So maybe the moderation system doesn't actually have to deal with commercial spam, which would make downvoting even more unnecessary.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by TK on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:59PM

      by TK (2760) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:59PM (#94035)

      There has been commercial spam here in the past. I remember some tool AC generating posts about his linux repair website or something. Before that, when it was just the wiki, spam pages popped up almost hourly for a couple of days. They were meaningless computer-generated text ads for some sort of health drink or something. Very long winded, not even coherent, but they hit a lot of keywords.

      Deleting posts seems to be something the staff wants to avoid. Censorship and all that. Those posts get downmodded to -1 pretty quickly in my perception, so I guess that part of the system works.

      Lately, it's been pretty pleasant, aside from the occasional troll/flamebait AC posts that usually get posted on any article where race is even tangentially related, but like I said, those are typically -1 by the time I get to them.

      --
      The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
    • (Score: 1) by Tanuki64 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:20PM

      by Tanuki64 (4712) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:20PM (#94056)

      I am not too happy with such an approach. Having moderators, who can delete posts, far to often leads to moderators, who participate in a discussion with the delete button. Dangerous territory.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by TK on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:31PM

        by TK (2760) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:31PM (#94064)

        What if there was a "hide as spam" setting that the mods could select. Then instead of "browse at -1" as the lowest threshold, an "include spam" option could be there.

        Alternatively, spam posts could show up as "hidden as spam/troll, click to show comment".

        --
        The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
        • (Score: 1) by Tanuki64 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:37PM

          by Tanuki64 (4712) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:37PM (#94066)

          Sounds good to me.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @11:13AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @11:13AM (#94475)
          only works if there are effective consequences for rating something as spam that is clearly not.
          • (Score: 2) by TK on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:22PM

            by TK (2760) on Wednesday September 17 2014, @01:22PM (#94531)

            Easy peasy.

            The "report" button can be used by anyone. It logs your IP and username (if you're logged in) and sends a message to the powers that be.

            These reports are looked at by a mod, who agrees or disagrees with the spam label, and officially marks it as such.

            The comment is now hidden, with the message "This comment was marked as spam by $Moderator'sName, click to show comment".

            --
            The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
            • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Thursday September 18 2014, @10:30AM

              by Common Joe (33) <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 18 2014, @10:30AM (#94889) Journal

              I like this idea. I'd also like to be able to mark a whole selection of these things as spam. (I've seen them come in batches at a time and I'd rather not waste all 10 of my mod points to mark 10 of 30 messages as spam.) On the flip side, I don't know how you'd control an evil user who starts marking every comment they don't like as spam. That could be a PITA for you guys.

              I also wouldn't mind having a troll button. That is more slippery slope, of course. I would hardly use it, but I suspect others might abuse it pretty good.

              Merely thinking out loud.

              • (Score: 2) by TK on Thursday September 18 2014, @02:09PM

                by TK (2760) on Thursday September 18 2014, @02:09PM (#94984)

                On the flip side, I don't know how you'd control an evil user who starts marking every comment they don't like as spam. That could be a PITA for you guys.

                Every "report as spam" logs the username and/or IP address of the person who clicks it. If you notice someone is just marking everything as spam, file reports from that user/IP under ignore.

                My idea requires reports to be verified by the staff, which is a downside, but it prevents the equivalent of mod-bombing someone's post.

                A possible outcome is that people over-use it and reports just start being ignored (or back-logged so long that they may as well be), but then we're back to square one and no worse off than we were before.

                --
                The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
    • (Score: 2) by Popeidol on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:24PM

      by Popeidol (35) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:24PM (#94581) Journal

      I was a professional moderator for years, spending a lot of my time responding to reported content. They quickly become used to report people and opinions you don't like and generally dick with the moderators ('hey everybody let's just report every post for 5 minutes and see what happens'). You don't have long to spend on messages, and you tend to miss background information and err on the side of caution.

      With crowdsourced moderation, you get fairly quick responses - the first person who scrolls past can handle it while understanding the context. If you make a mistake, somebody will probably fix it while calling you an astroturfing asshat.

      Commercial spam mostly comes with scale or site type. If you make a dating or chat site, you get spam incredibly quickly and in quantity. If you throw up a default webform on whatever platform you're using, millions of bots will start to hammer it with their default-form-data. Soylent is a moderate-sized tech community with high rates of skepticism running on a modified 5-year-old unpopular codebase. Spam that arrives here is the result of a personal effort on the part of the spammer. it's an intimate touch.

      tl;dr: Report buttons are great for some sites, but not here. We already have a better system.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by MrGuy on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:54PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @02:54PM (#94034)

    Just wanted to point out that the Slashcode-style moderation system has several important differences to the systems studied for this article.

    The article considers a system where every passing user can upvote or downvote every article. There's no "who can vote?" criteria. Also, voting is costless - you can upvote or downvote every post on the site if you so choose (or do both, in some systems). There's also no reasonable expectation that you even read the post in question before voting - you can vote just on the headline.

    Such systems tend to get an immediate, mass-audience, gut reaction to the post.

    Slashcode voting is different in a few ways that I think make us less different (and, I'd hope, less susceptible to this, but I guess that's to be seen).

    * Most individuals don't vote on what topics go on the site, nor can they change the order in which the posts are presented. This is the domain of the editors, who decide what gets posted/not, and the topics are presented strictly chronologically.
    * Voting is not purely democratic. Not everyone has mod-points. The voting process is weighted towards those individuals that peers have recognized for their contributions (by karma).
    * Voting is not costless. Moderators have limited points. Downvoting one post means you can't upvote others (and vice versa). This puts in an important distinction between "is this post better/worse than average?" and "do I want to spend one of my scarce mod points on this particular post, or save it for later?"

    A downvote means considerably more on SoylentNews because its not just a "Meh, I didn't like it." They're also more rare - I'd wager our "upvote to downvote" percentage on SN is much more heavily weighted towards upvotes than the sites where downvoting is costless...

    • (Score: 1) by jbernardo on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:25PM

      by jbernardo (300) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:25PM (#94059)

      I mostly agree with you - but you forgot that downvotes also have more weight on this system than on most others, as people usually filter what they see to posts valued at 2 or above. When you downvote you might be pushing a post into "invisibility zone". Never mind the effect on the karma of the downvoted.
      This might be used to censor opinions contrary to "groupthink" on occasion, but from my experience on this and that other site, it ends up doing a lot to weed out the astroturfers/spammers/trolls.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by TK on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:28PM

      by TK (2760) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:28PM (#94062)

      There are two other major distinctions between Slashcode moderation and Reddit's* moderation systems.

      Slashcode moderation has a floor and a ceiling. You can only downmod something so far, there's no kicking a dead horse. Sure your poorly researched, flame-baiting diatribe about $Ethnics may be downmodded to -1, but that's as far down as you can go, and your next rant may be more accepted by the community.

      Slashcode moderation is more permanent. You can undo it (well, not any more on SN), but you can't change your positive to a negative or vice versa. Unlike Reddit, where every week or so someone's human interest story at +3000 gets called out as BS by someone looking through their comment history, then the tides shift and it goes to -5000. The closest analog to Slashcode would be a comment below the OP explaining why it's wrong and deserving of downmods, and then a plethora of -1 Overrated mods.

      *I can't speak for other voting systems, but I am fairly familiar with Reddit's system, and as I understand it, the basic concept is the same for a lot of sites that are relevant to this article.

      --
      The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
  • (Score: 1) by zzw30 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:00PM

    by zzw30 (4576) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:00PM (#94038)
    My personal experience is completely counter to this. Reddit is one of the very few sites I visit where I find the comments additive, and it's precisely because of that downvote button.
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:20PM (#94057)

      I bet a lot of that is going to depend on the particular subreddits you read. There is going to be variation in quality across communities and the larger the community the more it will trend to Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap [wikipedia.org])

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Bob9113 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:19PM

    by Bob9113 (1967) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @03:19PM (#94055)

    So... do you downvote? if so, why? Does this article make you reconsider your down-modding?

    I have been a 50 point moderator on Slashdot since you could see your karma score; so more than a decade. I do downmod, but only in extremely rare cases (maybe 3 or 4 times, ever). There is one specific thing that it does well: It reduces the likelihood of a comment to be read.

    That is, effectively, censorship. And it is an incredibly weighty responsibility to bear. It is in the same class with torture or killing; a tool to be used by people with great conscience, and under a significant ethical burden every time they do it. Unfortunately, we use such things in a more cavalier fashion sometimes, but that doesn't mean they would always be wrong if we used them rightly.

    When I use it is with a specific thing I think of as the "toxic infectious meme." There are specific memes which can infect a host even in the presence of strong countermemes; things like, "Allah will let you have sex with 72 virgins if you martyr yourself." or "God despises abortion, and has called you to be the agent of his wrath." There are some memes which individuals (never collectives, such as corporations or governments) have a just duty to attenuate. In that case fully weighing the consequences, and then casting a small individual vote for speech suppression, can be pro-social.

    The only actual example I have done that I can think of offhand is shills; there was a time when it was easy to detect shills on Slashdot; high numbered accounts that would post a cookie-cutter corporate talking point and get upmodded to 5 within a minute of their post. They've gotten a lot more greasy and hard to detect since then, but at its peak, it was not uncommon. I have downmodded a few of those.

    Ultimately, I think downmodding is like guns. I would prefer a world where individuals had no cause to own guns, because I don't particularly care for them. Until that Elysian world arrives, however, I feel it is my obligation as a citizen to own guns, to increase the cost of tyranny (or to lower the cost of revolution, if you prefer). The same is true of downmodding; it is, without question, a bad tool. But the alternative, in our pragmatic reality, is worse. Without downmodding, zealots and shills would have too much influence.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @09:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @09:15PM (#94237)

      I am totally with you here. If you are going to troll, at least be witty and original about it. I might even mod up a particularly original troll post.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @11:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @11:09PM (#94297)

      It is in the same class with torture or killing

      So you'd advocate long prison sentences for wrongful downvoting? Because that's what you'd have to do if you seriously put them in the same class with torture or killing (well, that's assuming you're not advocating that torturers and killers should not be punished that harshly).

      • (Score: 2) by Bob9113 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @11:35PM

        by Bob9113 (1967) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @11:35PM (#94307)

        So you'd advocate long prison sentences for wrongful downvoting? Because that's what you'd have to do if you seriously put them in the same class with torture or killing (well, that's assuming you're not advocating that torturers and killers should not be punished that harshly).

        Not quite; I'm saying that there is such a thing as justifiable censorship, just like justifiable homicide. The socially correct level of punishment for unjustified killing might be very different from the socially correct level of punishment for unjustified downmodding, because the cost to society of a single instance of each is very different.

        This whole "communication" thing works better if you try to grasp what I'm saying instead of trying to find an angle to make a cutesy disagreeable quip about.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:18AM (#94374)

          This whole "communication" thing works better if you try to grasp what I'm saying instead of trying to find an angle to make a cutesy disagreeable quip about.

          It's called the principle of charity [wikipedia.org] and is woefully absent on the internet.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:31PM (#94105)

    I once posted a complete working solution to a frequently asked computing problem at the SuperUser site. I had put in a big effort way beyond what was necessary for the sake of helping every possible user-range, noob to expert...

    ...some registered user came along one day and downvoted my post 'This answer is not useful'. So thanks to him, my post sits there with a rating of minus-1. Fundamentally, I am not emotionally fussed by the downvote, but the fact that some registered user with a Rep of '15 or better' was allowed to anonymously cast such a vote without leaving a comment explaining why......it was ummmm 'not useful' !!!! it's like your teacher at school failing your assignment without explanation.

    The other problem I could see by the downvote was that many inexperienced users surfing the net looking for a solution to this problem may bypass my answer because they see a downvote, when in reality my solution is actually exactly what they are looking for.

    However, an experienced web surfer would also deduce some value in the fact that Google's indexing of that Superuser page as one of the top search results would mean there is a strong chance that the answer to what they are looking for is somewhere on that page...if they bothered to ignore all the 'up/down votes' and actually engaged with all the answers.

    • (Score: 2) by strattitarius on Tuesday September 16 2014, @06:51PM

      by strattitarius (3191) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @06:51PM (#94157) Journal

      SU and SO are really fun and useful tools. But the moderation on there can be downright horrendous and as the article says, it sometimes makes me want to start being a real asshole or just quit. I have put similar effort into an answer only to have it or the question downvoted and now nobody will ever see what I thought was very useful. I realize others can disagree, and I might even be wrong and the post was useless, but damn... it wasn't incorrect!

      SU and SO also suffer from becoming too popular as of late. When I can start answering questions, you know the level of questions has dropped!

      --
      Slashdot Beta Sucks. Soylent Alpha Rules. News at 11.
      • (Score: 1) by Tanuki64 on Tuesday September 16 2014, @07:41PM

        by Tanuki64 (4712) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @07:41PM (#94183)

        When I can start answering questions, you know the level of questions has dropped!

        Don't sell you short. This most likely is an illusion. You are just getting better and more experienced, so suddenly more stuff appears trivial.

        Where I disagree is that I don't think SO is still fun. I stopped answering there a long time ago. And when I have a problem, I usually google: ...search word... ...search word... ...search word... -stackoverflow

        I always try to find my answer elsewhere. Searching an answer in SO has become like wading through mud.

        Probably one problem is that it still gives points for asking questions. It is easy to ask 1000 stupid questions, but difficult to give even one good answer. Therefore the 'power' lies with the.... members on the lower end of the quality spectrum.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @05:30PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @05:30PM (#94121)

    systemd sucks

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @06:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @06:15PM (#94139)

      If I had mod points I'd mod you insightful...

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by HiThere on Tuesday September 16 2014, @06:32PM

    by HiThere (866) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @06:32PM (#94150) Journal

    There needs to be a systematic discouragement of downvoting. A mere policy statement doesn't suffice. Probably allowing a downvote to be half as effective as an upvote would suffice, but that needs to be tested. OTOH, downvoting is useful to enabling those browsing at a higher threshold to avoid useless junk.

    An alternative is to allow no downvoting, but to start posts at 1 and allow scores to rise in an essentially unlimited way. Then you need to modify browsing thresholds to allow people not only to skip those posts below a threshold, but also to skip those above a threshold. In this scenario you might also want to allow people to with a positive score (i.e., accounts that have posted useful posts) to mod in any discussion that they don't post in. You'd probably want to set a threshold for what "counts as a useful post" somewhere above 7...but since scores could go into the 100's (or theoretically higher) that shouldn't be too restrictive. (As usual, if you post in a discussion, any moderations you may have made will be canceled. Alternatively, if you moderate in a discussion, you are prevented from posting to that discussion.)

    --
    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @10:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16 2014, @10:12PM (#94270)

      If you're looking beyond a policy, how about raising the cost of a down vote to more than a single moderation point? Perhaps an exception made for final point available, or maybe not since you're talking about seriously discouraging down votes. I'm sure that wouldn't take too much to change in the code.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:26AM (#94377)

      > There needs to be a systematic discouragement of downvoting.

      While I agree that if something must be done, making downvotes half-strength is probably the way to go. But I don't necessarily agree that down-votes need to be discouraged. In the last couple of days the people complaining the loudest about being down-voted turned out not to be the ones who were actually downvoted the most.

      I would like to see meta-moderation working. But I have not seen anything close to a problem with downvoting here so far. Lots and lots of complaining, but minimal empirical evidence. If there were an ongoing and systemic problem, then I would think different. But that's a long way off.

  • (Score: 2) by martyb on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:36AM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 17 2014, @03:36AM (#94381) Journal

    What if, instead of modding up or modding down, one could Rate it At?

    As pointed out in TFA, other sites have basically no limit to how low or high a comment could be moderated. Along with that, is the concept that one can mod any given comment up or down.

    Here on SN, we offer an essentially identical-appearing control wherein one can mod a comment up or down (with an attendant reason be it "Funny", "Insightful", "Interesting", "Insightful", "Troll", "Off Topic", "Overrated", "Underrated", whatever) but here, there is a limit on the ultimate moderation: -1 to +5. (Cue duck walking, quacking, etc.)

    When I moderate I aim for rating consistency. I would expect, that if there were some way for me to look ONLY at comments moderated +5, that I would see the cream-of-the-crop, the comments that make me really think, that give me a fresh insight, that just make it all worthwhile. Similarly, if I could select to look ONLY at those comments moderated at +4, I would expect to see arguably VERY good, but not quite THAT excellent comments. Approximately:

    MODERATION SCORES:
    +5  Excellent, Superb, Best of the best
    +4  VERY good, but not the best
    +3  Quite good, better than most
    +2  Good, nothing really special, but still good
    +1  So-So, Meh.  Not bad, but not really good, either
    +0  Not good, maybe even kind of bad
    -1  Bad, waste of my time to read it

    Along with these ratings, we could continue to have the Reason Codes we have now (with the exception of the now-redundant overrated/underrated). What this does is make it explicit that there are limits here on how low or high a comment can be moderated. Since the control would no longer look like an up/down vote, it is my contention that it would be less likely to be used as one.

    "That was really good. Made me look at things in a different way. Was not well organized, though, so I had to struggle to get the gist of it." Using the proposed system, I'd rate it at "+4", select a reason of "Insightful", and click on the Moderate button.

    Under the covers, the code can look at the pre-existing moderation for the comment (let's say it was a "+1" and "Interesting".) Since my rating of "+4" is greater than the current moderation of "+1", the code determines that it needs to be modded up. In the current implementation on SN, that would be treated just as if I had moderated it "+1 Insightful".

    My thoughts are this would encourage a mind-set of "Okay, that comment is VERY Good — that's a +4 and Interesting", "Hmm, nice try at humor but keep your day job — that's a +2 Funny". There is a subtle, but I would contend, significant difference in one's thinking when presented with these controls instead of the "Like" or "Up/Down" UI controls that users may be familiar with on other sites.

    In other words, if it walks like a canary, and sings like a canary, do not make it look like a duck! =)

    --
    Wit is intellect, dancing.
    • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Thursday September 18 2014, @10:23AM

      by Common Joe (33) <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 18 2014, @10:23AM (#94882) Journal

      I like your idea, but I'm not sure it would work out in reality. In fact, it's already been implemented at Amazon and IMDB. It's basically the 5 star system they use. There are a lot of people who only seem to give a one star or a five star; they have no sense of gray area at all. You and I would would give someone 2 or 3 or 4 stars for a comment, but others (even on SN) might just simply always give a -1 or 5. How badly would that skew the results?

      Again, I'm not sayin' your idea is bad. I kind of like it, but I feel like it needs something else to overcome the problem I pointed out. Anyone else care to throw in their two cents and poke at this idea?

      • (Score: 2) by martyb on Thursday September 18 2014, @02:03PM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 18 2014, @02:03PM (#94981) Journal

        I like your idea, but I'm not sure it would work out in reality. In fact, it's already been implemented at Amazon and IMDB. It's basically the 5 star system they use.

        I'd seen "star ratings" before, but never made the connection between that and what I proposed; thank you for the insightful observation!

        There are a lot of people who only seem to give a one star or a five star; they have no sense of gray area at all. You and I would would give someone 2 or 3 or 4 stars for a comment, but others (even on SN) might just simply always give a -1 or 5. How badly would that skew the results?

        I've struggled for years to escape my innate perceptions of a black/white, true/false, all/nothing world. Shades of gray cause the permutation space of possibilities to escape my ability to envision all of them, so it continues to be something with which I struggle. I find I am getting better at escaping that objective perception bias and embracing a more subjective perception. On occasion, I even get glimpses of color... wow!

        Yet, when it comes to rating things, I seem to have no difficulty in iterating through the choices and finding a non-extreme value. I have absolutely no idea why that is comparatively simple. As you point out, though, many others just reduce the choices to like/dislike, agree/disagree et cetera and thus dramatically skew the weightings.

        Again, I'm not sayin' your idea is bad. I kind of like it, but I feel like it needs something else to overcome the problem I pointed out. Anyone else care to throw in their two cents and poke at this idea?

        I fear this is an attempt at a technical solution to a social (for lack of a better word) problem. Do you recall that old checkbox chart from back in the old /. days? My immediate thought is to throw back a dialog box "You are proposing to rate a comment at +5 when it is currently rated +1; do you REALLY think this is one of the best quality posts you have ever seen on this site?" And down the rabbit hole we go!

        Mayhaps this is where meta-moderation would come to the rescue? You raise an excellent point and, at this moment, I have no solution to offer. I suppose one could ask a different question: "Given the foregoing, is the proposed solution any better than the existing moderation mechanism?"

        Separately, I've been toying with the idea that each comment presented on the site be enclosed by an HTML DIV whose class specifies the comment's current score. Using your reply as an example, where we currently have:

        <div id="comment_body_94882"><p>I like your idea, but ... Anyone else care to throw in their two cents and poke at this idea?</p></div>

        Would instead be presented as:

        <div id="comment_body_94882 mod_p1"><p>I like your idea, but ... Anyone else care to throw in their two cents and poke at this idea?</p></div>

        Where: "p" == "plus" and "m"=="minus", so we'd have: mod_m1, mod_p0, mod_p1, mod_p2, mod_p3, mod_p4, mod_p5. Them, I could apply a user style sheet (yay CSS!) and present each of those with a different background-color or a different font-size, etc. This would provide a subtle visual cue wherein I could readily discern comments whose moderations were inconsistent against other comments on the site. Yet another embryonic thought, but I toss it out for your consideration and feedback.

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Thursday September 18 2014, @10:55AM

    by Common Joe (33) <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 18 2014, @10:55AM (#94903) Journal

    I've been thinking about this for a couple of days since I've seen the article. I like the idea of down modding because without it, there is no way to separate out small gems given out by Anonymous Cowards (which start out at 0) and the spam-obscene-racists-trolls (which can be down modded to -1).

    What about displaying two scores for a post? One tally would be for all the negative points and a second tally for all the positive points. No points would ever be taken away. Trolls and spam would receive mostly negative scores while good posts would receive mostly good scores. Contentious posts would receive both. Perhaps a third number could be the average or median score. (Or perhaps this idea could be combined with martyb's idea [soylentnews.org] of a five star rating?)

    I suggest two displayed scores, but I have concerns about this idea too. If I'm hated by some people and they give my post negative points before others can give me positive points, then filters would cut me out before my ideas gain traction. (But then again, our current point system can have that problem too.) It could also encourage trolls into a competition to see how low they can get their numbers to go. (Not sure how much that would that really be a problem?)

    There are also problems to give generic labels to posts with a two-score system: I really like knowing if a post is troll, interesting, or funny before I read it and the two-score system seems to work against that idea. In theory, more than two posts could be used, but I think that becomes too complicated. Perhaps have a label next to each score?