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posted by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the understanding-the-community dept.
We've gotten some incredible feedback regards to the moderation system and the karma system, and trust me, its not going into /dev/null; I'll have a writeup done by the weekend. However, I've noticed something today that made me sit back, and think for awhile. Our community is healthy and vibrant, and we're far more cohesive as a group than we ever were on the other site. Furthermore, our users are significantly more active here than the other site. Almost all of us are from the other site, but there's a huge difference between us and them.

I can sum up the difference in four words: We ARE a community.

While many of us decried the other site calling us an audience, I'm not sure I can say I was a part of the Slashdot community. I read articles, and comments, but I hadn't moderated (or even logged in) on the other site for years. This wasn't always true; I'm UID 700139 on the other site (registered sometime in 2003), and I was fairly active until 2009. Then I stopped. I didn't even post on the Audience Responses post. I've talked to others on IRC, and it turns out I'm not alone; a LOT of people who are active here were permanent lurkers on the other site.

I need to understand why to keep us a community, and to prevent us from just becoming a passive audience. If you're going to post on any story, let it be this one, and tell me your story. We need to know.For this request to make sense, I need to make a distinction between not commenting, and lurking. Lurking is people who have user accounts, but don't sign in, never moderate and never post, even on topics that interest them. They are someone who is completely passive on the other site. Its fine that people comment on every single article; even at my most active on the other site, I posted at best one a month. A lot of people just like to read the comments, and perhaps moderate.

There is nothing wrong with that; those people are still part of the community even if they don't speak often. We've had two stories yesterday that broke 100 comments: Moderation: Discussing !(post^moderate) and OK Cupid Protests Against Mozilla CEO. Looking back at the history, nearly every single article we've run discussing the site broke the hundred comment mark. This is incredible because as of writing, we only have 4007 user accounts total, and slashcode reports seeing 54,620 unique IPIDs* for yesterday.

By chance, Slashdot ran the same article at roughly the same time as we did: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights. This is what made me sit up and take notice. Slashdot does not post their stats publicly, but when DICE acquired Freenet, they posted some rough numbers in the official press release. From that article:

Slashdot, a user-generated news, analysis, peer question and professional insight community. Tech professionals moderate the site which averages more than 5,300 comments daily and 3.7 million unique visitors each month.

As I said before, we don't have a really good idea on the number of unique IPIDs visiting the site, but we do have solid numbers for our daily comment counts. Here's the graph as generated by slashcode for a biweekly period:

Biweekly Comment Count Graph

(due to a quirk in slashcode, the graphs don't update until 48 hours later; our comment count for 04/01 was 712 comments total).

Taking in account averages, we're roughly getting a little less than 10% of Slashdot's comment counts, with a considerably smaller user base. As I said, the OkCupid story made me take notice. Here's the comment counts at various scores between the two sites

         | SoylentNews | |
Score -1 |         130 |         1017 |
Score  0 |         130 |         1005 |
Score  1 |         109 |          696 |
Score  2 |          74 |          586 |
Score  3 |          12 |           96 |
Score  4 |           4 |           64 |
Score  5 |           1 |           46 |
Furthermore, I took a look at UIDs on the other site, the vast majority of comments came from 6/7 digit UID posters. Looking at CmdrTaco's Retirement Post as well as posts detailing the history of the other site most of the low UIDs are still around, and are simply in perma-lurk mode.

Here's the rub. If Slashdot is really getting 3.7 million unique visitors per month, and there most popular articles only get to 1000-2000 comments (Taco's retirement, and the Audience Responses post both reached 2k), then Slashdot's readership is passive. Like, insanely passive. Let's assume that the average poster posts 5 comments a month (which is an extremely conservative estimate in my opinion). then out of those 3.7M unique visitors, only one person out of a thousand (1060 to be specific) is posting a comment. That's a horrendous ratio, especially for a site that allows anonymous postings.

I don't think this is inherent to the site itself; if we are getting 100-250k unique users (and I don't think its anywhere close to that high), then our numbers are still drastically better than Slashdot's. I suspect for every 100 users, one is posting, and if not, they're at least moderating or using the site. On average, we float 200-300 logged in users at a time, spiking up to 800-1000 in the evenings. On April 1st, we saw 3842 unique users logged in every day (out of 4007!).

I don't want this site to become a passive audience, I want people to be involved, and active in the site. This doesn't mean posting, but moderating, or at the very least, browsing while logged in. I suspect the vast majority of us were in the perma-lurk mode on the other site before coming here, and I want to know why. Tell me your stories so we can be a community, and not just a website with an audience. Let me hear them loud and clear, and tell me if I'm wrong; let me know if you were one of the most active posters on the other site, and if so, what sense of community did you feel over there.

* - due to the way we use varnish for ACs, the number of unqiue IPID per day is likely far higher it is in actuality. Due to our setup, the backend only sees one AC every five minutes + all logged in users.

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  • (Score: 2) by moondrake on Thursday April 03 2014, @08:36AM

    by moondrake (2658) on Thursday April 03 2014, @08:36AM (#25405)

    I just accept some crap together with very interesting posts. With ACs, we would never have known the details about Operating Thetan Level Three, for example.

    And as Ethanol-Fuelled has pointed out quite literally elsewhere, you get the crap with logged in users as well.

    But I am just rehashing my argument. I fully understand your argument, I just like to point out that not everybody has such an opinion.

    Furthermore, I would be against such a "hide AC" button for anyone with modpoints.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Thursday April 03 2014, @11:54AM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {}> on Thursday April 03 2014, @11:54AM (#25468) Journal

    Why is that? I can already state I would never waste modpoints on an AC post as there would b ZERO point in doing so. karma exists so that the posters that post thoughtful and considerate posts float to the top while Ethanol and his "you must be a jew" crap sink to the bottom. Again by the very nature of the AC post it does neither, the AC poster gets no karma and can crapflood all the racist or shilling they want and get no penalty for doing so. in fact if you think about it the AC post is almost by design a troll's wet dream, hell go to the other site and pick ANY article and see the signal to noise ratio when it comes to ACs, you are looking at best a 3-4 to 1 crap versus useful.

    But at the end of the day choice is always of the good and I see no reason those that like AC posting can't have it and those that hate AC posting can't have it blocked, after all we aren't owned by Dice and aren't trying to force shit on the users, are we?

    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Saturday April 05 2014, @11:22AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <> on Saturday April 05 2014, @11:22AM (#26622) Homepage Journal

      This actually isn't 100% true. In addition to user accounts, slash tracks karma on a IPID and SUBID level, so ACs from specific subnets and such actually do have a karma count, its just not used anywhere. I've been debating if we should modify slash to allow IPID karma for an AC to allow ACs to get a +1 modifier as well (allowing their posts to start at +1)

      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Saturday April 05 2014, @02:27PM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {}> on Saturday April 05 2014, @02:27PM (#26668) Journal

        Well if there was a way for the AC poster to have their past history in some way traceable, so we could spot the shills and trolls? Well that would frankly remove every objection i have to AC posts honestly.

        This is what I personally have against allows shills and trolls to actively derail threads with ZERO risk or way to trace that "yes it is this particular AC" that is doing the damage. Again for a good example look at what happened in the run up to the Win 8 release, Slash was crapflodded by ACs which were ALL staying "on message" and pushing the same bullet points over and over AND OVER and doing everything they could to derail any criticism of Windows 8. Again it was pretty obvious that this wasn't the usual fanboi bullshit as not only were they too on message but the language they used was too scripted and marketing heavy, words like "vertical integration" and "product synergy" and "enhanced user experience" which lets be honest nobody outside an ad agency ever uses in conversation.

        But if there was a way to look at an AC's history, so we could say "lets see...posts only on articles about X, stays on message pumping up X, tries to derail criticism of X...yep we have a shill here!" and the same thing when it comes to trolls, like the lovely stalker i had for over a year? I would have ZERO problem with ACs. As i pointed out its not like there is any checking of the info a particular user puts in their profile and Ethanol is a perfect example of how accounts don't mean they don't troll, but at least if we could connect a person to their posts, be it account or IP or whatever? at least we would be able to spot those that are actively trying to be disruptive and derail conversations or push an agenda.

        If you want to see why having some sort of way to connect a user to a post is important you might try seeing if the "I was a professional troll" article is still floating around the net, as it was written by a guy working for a shilling post company. it details how he was sent in to actively derail conversation and to incite a "left versus right" mentality in articles that weren't in the best interests of his clients. Its sad that such things are a serious issue now but they are and having a way to at least try to keep every thread from becoming propaganda would be of the good IMHO.

        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.