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posted by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @07:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the that-was-a-lot-of-comments-to-read dept.
The tl;dr Version:
  • Drastically reduce number of moderators
  • Return of meta-moderation
  • Allow more moderation with fewer moderators
  • Supermoderations to lock posts that need it

So you guys did an amazing job in letting your voices be heard in both the moderate^post and Why Did You Lurk? posts. I've read through every comment, left a couple dozen of my own across both discussions, and have sat here and digested it. The most valuable thing we have is an incredible signal/noise ratio. This is a byproduct of this site being relatively small, and with a highly engaged community. As time goes on, we're going grow; this is a natural part of any website; a web site that is not growing is entering a death spiral.

Any community needs new members to come in as older members either become less active, or leave. Kuro5hin is a great example of what happens if you just completely shut your doors, or create barriers that are too high prevent new members from joining in.

The problem then becomes, given more and more members, can we keep a high signal to noise ratio? I think it's possible.

One thing that always struck me about slashcode's moderation system is that its fairly unique in trying to keep a good signal to noise ratio. Most sites provide a simple discussion system, and doesn't do anything to try and keep the S/N ratio high. Some sites have a +/- system like Reddit or Ars Technica, but these systems seem to mostly encourage groupthink; Ars seems to do it best with its "Controversial" tag, but even then, these systems don't do much to manage S/N, it operates more on the basis of "popularity".

That being said, the system as it exists today doesn't really work. Plenty of comments never leave their starting moderation score, (at least on the other site), get buried under hundreds and hundreds of other comments. During the moderate^post discussion, I was linked to this journal by wjwlsn, talking about seeing far too many downmods. Moderation is supposed to be about raising good comments to visibility, and removing trash; its *not* a system for silencing those you disagree with. Given most comments never leave their starting scores, and Score: 0/-1 comments rarely get viewed, and then upmodded, this compounds an already bad problem. There were two comments on that journal that really stuck out to me:

Re:Downmods

"One good laugh for you is one mod point in the trash for some disagreeable asshole"

So anyone that disagrees w/ you is an asshole?

I don't see the problem, the down mods are there to be used AFAICT. What's wrong w/ modding something you disagree w/ down? There are times when I don't have a dog in the fight so I don't feel like commenting, but if I read something that seems wrong I don't have a problem w/ modding it down.

Human problem

This was often a problem on the other site as well: Express an unpopular or non-PC opinion, be modded into oblivion. Sometimes I put up posts like that just to spark discussion, but a post at -1 doesn't spark anything.

I hope people here will think about it, but it's a basic human problem: We all tend to be lemmings (or sheep, if you prefer), and want to go along with the flock. If we don't stop ourselves, downmodding unpopular opinions is just human nature...

Despite the fact the moderation guidelines explicitly say you don't downmod for being wrong, its obvious this is happening, and even starting to effect discussions here. Other comments (and actions here) show that the problem here is not just limited to one or two people. However, short of manually checking the moderation log and banning people from moderation, at the moment, our options at stopping this sort of behaviour are limited.

The problem is the system is too open to abuse; with the moderation rework, we've also got more modpoints flying per user. Furthermore, the discussion system itself doesn't help any; D1 is very much stuck in 1997, is in drastic need of some modernization, and we've had a ton of requests to bring something like D2 back. JavaScript experience on staff to create a D2 system is somewhat short at the moment, That being said, I think we can improve the situation in the short-term.

In the short term, I think we've got two goals we need to accomplish: making the discussion system more usable, and reworking the moderation system to focus on increasing signal to noise vs. being used as a "wrong/right" system. Let me cover these in turn.

The biggest thing right now is the threaded interface we use by default is kinda clunkily; even "Parent" doesn't work in the way you'd expect it. As a short-term solution, I'm going to introduce a "Hybrid" option, which when a post is short on comments, displays everything as "Nested" does now. This will allow people to easily see comments vs. having to go through the current clickfest required to see replies and reply. At a certain cut-off, the view will change to threaded, which will keep the page manageable. The cutoff will be user modifiable, as well as the option to always use threaded or nested by default if you happen to hate the new behavior.

Furthermore, we're going to add a new option under score, which is called "Average", which is exactly what it sounds like on the tin. As moderators make their way through a discussion, they will elevate the average scores in a discussion which will cause cruft to fall below the average, and drop out of view, which will help to keep the index in nested mode as long as possible until sheer quantity forced it otherwise.

While these two changes will help considerable in reading through various discussions, it doesn't actually help solve the underlying problem of misused moderations. So I'm going to rewrite the moderation algorithm and create a v2. Here's what I'm proposing to rework it.

Moderate & Post
So, after that entire discussion, I found most in favour of loosing the existing conditions. I'm treading carefully on changes here as it may upset the balance too much, but the current XOR methodology is too restrictive. The first change will be very simple.

You can moderate in any discussion you haven't posted in

You can post in a discussion after you've moderated, and your moderations won't be undone.

After posting, you can no longer moderate

My biggest concern with moderate^post was it created a chilling effect due to users reluctance to undo their moderations. This system should allow moderators to join in the discussion without influencing it too heavily. I'm willing to make more changes here, but this is something I want to take baby steps on.

Bringing Back Metamoderation
I've honestly been against M2 (at least as how its currently implemented), but its clear a system to rate moderations is desperately needed. I suspect most here have never seen the original M2 system; it disappeared on the other site some years ago, but it was extremely clunky; you got 10 comments, then a box to mark if you agree/disagree. Those votes then disappeared into the backend, never to be seen again. Not exactly a system designed to encourage repeat use. Furthermore, they never had any impact on posts themselves; bad moderations were never repealed.

Obviously, we can do better than this. My proposal is to tie metamod into the new karma system (which itself will be subject of a second post), and then attaching weights. Bad meta-moderations will get weighted by the M2 scores attached to them; if enough people say that a moderation was bad, that moderation is undone. Good meta-moderations will inform the moderator that they did a good job and influence my next bullet point.

M2 scores will be visible to a user so they can see why they're getting X points, or why they stopped getting any. This system only works with transparency, and that's whats needed.

Reducing Moderator's Workload
The fact is there are a lot of posts that deserve moderation even to +3, but just never get there. Its demoralizing to have posts just sit and never have anything happen. Furthermore, users who have a reputation of posting well should be assumed that they will continue to post well. As such, as part of the moderation reworks, I want users to be able to post higher than just +2, and get to higher and higher scores without needing intervention.

Sliding Scale of Points
With a system in place to weigh people as moderators, your M2 scores will affect how many mod points you get. People that vindictively downmod will (hopefully) get negative M2 modifiers which will undo the damage, AND cause bad moderators to get fewer and fewer points until they stop getting points all together. I need to work out how these weights will work, but in effect, bad moderators will be removed from the pool of potential moderators (as they will be awarded a grand total of zero points).

That being said, some users do change their ways, so M2 weights will (over time) age back to zero, so if someone has a change of heart, and manages to have positive karma, they will slowly begin to get modpoints back after being made ineligible. Everyone should have a chance to redeem themselves, accomplished by allowing moderation bans to expire naturally.

Ending Expiration Of Modpoints
Modpoints (theoretically) expire to prevent people from hoarding them or saving it for their favourite stories. In practice this causes huge amounts of irritation, and doesn't work very well. On the other site, its relatively easily to just have 10 or 20 accounts which can become eligible for modpoints, and allow complete and total hijacking of discussions.

Furthermore, both here, and on the other site, mod points are handed out like candy; there's a *very* good chance you'll have those mod points when your favourite story comes around, so the entire expiration system is pointless. If we can make M2 work properly, then abuses of the moderation system will fix themselves via peer-review, and we don't need to worry about group fanboys trying to moderate dissent out of existence. Under this revised system, modpoints will replenish themselves throughout the day, up to a users modpoint cap. A user who has a cap of 24 will get one modpoint every hour until they've hit their quota.

This should also reduce pressure on people to moderate constantly, and prevent moderator burnout. That being said, for those who just don't want to moderate, they can opt out as always.

Increased Costs to Downmod
The fact of the matter is that despite the abuse, downmoding exists for a legit reason; without a way to reduce "clutter", trolls and flamebait, the index would quickly become unnavigable at low scores. So the question becomes, how do we limit the abuse. M2 will help, but even then, there should be limits to the amount of damage that can be done by any one account. The easy solution is to make downmodding harder than upmodding. The backend already supports variable costs for moderations, so, the question is how much should it cost. The fact of the matter is most people don't like to downvote but it doesn't take a lot to upset the balance.

My thought here is it should be 2*score_of_comment (minimum of 2), which means those who have a good reputation for posting are harder to downmod. This is likely to need adjustment if we started get pelted with ungodly amounts of spam, but until then, I think this is enough to help curtail some of the worst abuses of the moderation system.

Underrated/Overrated
That being said, for every rule, this is our exception. Underrated/Overrated theoretically serve a good purpose, but frequently just aren't used being properly. I want to preserve this functionality, but prevent abuse. I've come up with a couple of ideas on this, but they remain relatively complex. Right now, the best idea I've had is allow Overrated/Underrated to be applied once per comment by any moderator, and the poster isn't dinged any karma for it. That being said, I'm open to suggestions in light of the rest of the reworks on how to keep Underrated/Overrated without allowing rampant abuse

Moderation Eligibility
Right now, basically, if your account is old enough, and you have positive karma, you're eligible to be a moderator. This is a bit too open for my taste; moderators should be vested in our community. What I want to do is change it that there's a cooldown of a few weeks before an account becomes eligible for modpoints, and limit it to high karma accounts (under the current karma system). This will drastically reduce the pool of moderators, but make the system much harder to game, and much less vulnerable to astroturfing.

My thought is if you have to have multiple sockpuppets regularly posting insightful and interesting comments to get enough modpoints to astroturf a discussion, they will be helping to drastically improve the S/N ratio! Metamod will cause those astroturfed moderations to go away once peer review has a chance to review them. It should require real effort to get those first ten moderator points, lest the system be further corrupted by trolls.

With fewer moderators, the system has to work to better and smarter; we need ways to connect moderators to posts that need moderation that may be buried in the index.

Suggest/Report Buttons
Suggest does what it sounds like; it places a comment on a to-be-implemented list of comments that should be moderated; this helps comments and moderators connect. To prevent abuse, only logged in users can suggest comments for moderation. If need be, we'll implement rate limiting as well to limit the number of comments suggested in a period.

Report on the other hand is when someone spots moderation abuse. Despite everything above, its still possible that moderation abuse will still happen. A comment may be controversial enough that it gets pounded to the bottom of the tree. Report calls in the last line of defence, and makes a comment eligible for super-moderation.

Wait, what? Supermoderation? Indeed, this is our last line of defense against abuse. A small subset of users who have very high metamod scores, and high karma will be handpicked by the staff to become supermoderators. Supermoderators will receive a special supermod point which, when applied to a post, allows the supermoderate to send it to Score +4/+5 (moderator choice), and lock it from further moderation.

This is designed to keep controversial posts from being moderated out of existence, and keep discussion, instead of making it vanish into the realm of -1. I realize this is easily abusable, so we'll be keeping a very close eye on supermoderators to make sure there's no abuse going on; if we're lucky, supermoderations will be an extremely rare event, but as time has shown, any system can be gamed. This is to help prevent it.

In Closing
I'm determined to try and keep this community one of extremely high quality. Now, the fact is, I may be trying to solve an unsolvable problem, and perhaps there is a great reason why most forums do not try to filter for signal/noise. That being said, I'm willing to attempt to try and solve or at least drastically improve it. As with all things, this system will constantly be under review, and if need be, be ripped out and replaced should it prove to be untenable with larger amounts of users. I also plan to implement moderation previews which should help make sure you don't misapply moderations.

A lot of this work will tie into the karma reworks I want planned, so keep your eyes peeled out for that post in the next few days.

NCommander adds: *sigh*, after this went up, someone went and linked me to the moderation rework ideas on the wiki. I didn't see that page before (as I don't frequent the wiki unless I'm checking the backend documentation) and wasn't linked in the previous discussion. I'm going through it now to see what I want to incorporate. If you were an author on those pages, please make yourself know, and provide feedback and I'll revise my plans.

 
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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by isostatic on Monday April 07 2014, @07:15PM

    by isostatic (365) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:15PM (#27673) Journal

    Allow more moderation with less moderators

    Fewer.

    My brain throws an exception when people incorrectly use less and fewer.

    (Score: -1, grammar nazi)

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @07:41PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @07:41PM (#27688) Homepage Journal

      Fixed, thanks.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @07:49PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @07:49PM (#27699)

        If you're open to corrections...

        bi-product -> byproduct or by-product
        perverse -> preserve
        My though -> My thought

        I was going to just ignore them, but you responded fairly amicably to the other guy.

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by hemocyanin on Monday April 07 2014, @07:42PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:42PM (#27690) Journal

      I have mod points! But I'm not going to mod you offtopic because I'm going to post offtopic and I share the same pet peeve.

      The easy way to get less/fewer right, is to think about whether the thing you're talking about a single pile of essentially non-unique stuff vs. individually identifiable units of that stuff, or in some way related to that stuff.

      For example:

      less sand | fewer grains of sand.
      less water | fewer molecules of water.
      less work | fewer jobs.
      less moderation | fewer moderators.

      And sure, by playing grammar nazi, I fully expect to have made some error.

    • (Score: 2) by BsAtHome on Monday April 07 2014, @07:47PM

      by BsAtHome (889) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:47PM (#27694)

      More is less. You haven't read the manual, apparently.

      Pointing out and suppressing every error in natural language, spoken or written, makes the language stagnate. It also prevents any humorous pun from being part of the language.

      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday April 07 2014, @08:07PM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:07PM (#27724) Journal

        re: More is less

        Interestingly, no it doesn't. There really isn't a "more" issue like less/fewer. (ah yes, I do realize this pedantic to the extreme, and not tracking the posters meaning of "more is less").

        e.g.,

        more sand | more grains of sand.
        etc.

        you could try more/many, but "many" just means many, not "more than some other number" like fewer does in the opposite direction.

      • (Score: 1) by egcagrac0 on Monday April 07 2014, @08:29PM

        by egcagrac0 (2705) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:29PM (#27760)

        LESS(1)

        NAME

             less - opposite of more

        DESCRIPTION

             Less is a program similar to more (1), but which allows backward movement in the file as well as forward movement.

        The man page for more doesn't say it's less, and the man page for less clearly says it's the opposite of more. ;)

        • (Score: 2) by BsAtHome on Monday April 07 2014, @08:38PM

          by BsAtHome (889) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:38PM (#27765)

          Actually, the man-page states "less - opposite of more", but then continues to state "similar to more" and then "but which allows backward movement in the file as well as forward movement".

          So, the man-page is inconsistent in that it says a) less != more, b) less ~= more and c) less > more.

          Less is more, more or less. That is the conclusion about less, at least according to the man-page.

          Anyway, it exemplifies exactly what I mean. The confusion is complete when you can make errors in natural language and that is a good thing.

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Monday April 07 2014, @08:56PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:56PM (#27779) Journal

          But less is more, more or less. Well, actually less is more than more, but at its core it's more.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Monday April 07 2014, @08:09PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:09PM (#27730) Journal

      Probably more important than moderation, is collapsing threads like this one. You need collapser mods, people who can identify these offtopic hijacks. That's a real problem on Slashdot -- the first post is some funny/amusing/stupid riff on the article, and you're scrolling for half a mile to get to the meat. A new kind of moderator with one type of mod would be interesting -- that's where offtopic should go and it should automatically collapse.

      • (Score: 1) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:17PM

        by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:17PM (#27744) Homepage Journal

        I actually toyed with the idea of score inheritance, so if a thread went up, the comments under it went up, and if a thread went down, well, same thing. The biggest issue is it might bring too much crap up with it, requiring overrated mods to go flying to bring it back down. History has shown people on the whole tend not to downmod much.

        --
        Still always moving
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cosurgi on Monday April 07 2014, @08:56PM

          by cosurgi (272) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:56PM (#27778) Journal

          Or maybe indeed a new mod-type: "+0 Should stay collapsed".

          --
          #
          #\ @ ? [adom.de] Colonize Mars [kozicki.pl]
          #
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:08AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:08AM (#27883)

          Collapsing a thread shouldn't be the responsibility of a mod.

          Users should be able to collapse/hide threads for themselves.

          So if User A wants to collapse a thread he/she can while User B sees the thread uncollapsed.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Tuesday April 08 2014, @06:29AM

            by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @06:29AM (#27992) Journal

            Indeed, ideally there should be a way to have a finer control on how comments are shown by defailt from your user page. Possibly even with some sort of specification language (non-Turing complete of course, so it cannot be used to attack the site). Since this site is targeted at nerds, this might also double-serve to keep this site a nerd site even as it grows, because it's mostly nerds which are not afraid of using text configuration files.

            --
            The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 1) by jcaplan on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:07PM

            by jcaplan (1870) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:07PM (#28116)

            This has been my #1 wish for a long time. Half the comments appear under a very early comment, but it is hard to scroll down to the next top-level comment. I just want a little button to press to hide all replies to a comment.

            Benefits:

            1. I don't have to look at all the off-topic crap.

            2. As others collapse their own views of uninteresting threads, more attention and comments may appear under interesting threads.

            3. Commenters who take the time to read the linked article or write a thoughtful reply will have greater visibility.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Sir Finkus on Monday April 07 2014, @09:48PM

        by Sir Finkus (192) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:48PM (#27812) Journal

        I think maybe it would be helpful to have a "meta" thread once a week or so that can discuss the stories and site without flooding the comments section of the actual stories. I suppose journals fill this role somewhat, but I think people really need a centralized place.

        This obviously wouldn't get rid of all the off-topic stuff, but hopefully it should put a major dent in it.

        • (Score: 1) by Nugoo on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:17AM

          by Nugoo (2584) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:17AM (#27866)

          That sounds like a good idea. You could stick the meta discussion onto a weekly "state of the site" update.

          --
          I explicitly place the above in the public domain.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:08PM (#27785)
      We need FEWER grammar nazis and LESS complaining.
      • (Score: 2) by elf on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:48PM

        by elf (64) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:48PM (#28105)

        Agree, although gramma is important gramma conversations aren't :)

        I did not moderate at the other site so I don't really know what D2 was all about, the suggestions here look good and I look forward to some modernizations :)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @07:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @07:23PM (#27676)

    Nothing to do with the story above and completely offtopic, but the soylentnews favicon looks (almost) identical as the one from the Scheiner blog https://www.schneier.com/ [schneier.com] and I misclicked a browser tab several times already

    • (Score: 2) by cosurgi on Monday April 07 2014, @07:32PM

      by cosurgi (272) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:32PM (#27681) Journal

      no worries. It will change as soon as we will change the name after voting (it hasn't even started yet, you will certainly know when it's ready), but as you can see by my sig, we started testing some stuff here.

      --
      #
      #\ @ ? [adom.de] Colonize Mars [kozicki.pl]
      #
    • (Score: 2) by everdred on Monday April 07 2014, @10:58PM

      by everdred (110) on Monday April 07 2014, @10:58PM (#27841) Journal

      ...Bruce Schneier is also made of people?

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Tork on Monday April 07 2014, @07:29PM

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 07 2014, @07:29PM (#27679)
    Maybe this idea is dumb, but thinking from the point of view of making changes simple: What about a 'factually incorrect' mod?

    On a completely unrelated matter: Why make the moderation anonymous? As part of the stats of what sort of moderations were applied to a comment, how about we show who decided to make that choice? The idea is to make people accountable for their moderations.
    --
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @07:40PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @07:40PM (#27686) Homepage Journal

      Every moderation is logged, and I've debated on this point a couple of time. It wouldn't be hard to bring the log visible, but I'd probably want to have a QA on it before doing so.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by egcagrac0 on Monday April 07 2014, @08:09PM

        by egcagrac0 (2705) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:09PM (#27731)

        No.

        Moderation should probably be anonymous.

        It's reasonable to say "this post has the following modifiers: Karma, Insightful, Informative, Troll, Overated, Troll, Troll, Troll" and then add buttons to each to call the moderations (good or bad) into question (submit that moderation for metamod).

        It's possibly reasonable to add that button for everyone (make clicking on the "Score: x" text pop up the mod history for the comment?) - I know that I've occasionally run across instances where I was wondering "huh? how did someone think this trash was Insightful?".

        • (Score: 3) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:21PM

          by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:21PM (#27752) Homepage Journal

          Hello New M2 design. I was debating how to rework that interface, and I believe you just handed to me the new UI on a platter :-).

          --
          Still always moving
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:25AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:25AM (#27942) Homepage

            I had the exact same thought, and that this would be a good way to encourage metamodding if only by making it more interesting.

            But not if it requires javascript.

            Also, gishzida mentions:
            ====
            After you moderate you get taken to the top of the article rather than holding your place at the comment you just moderated. Each moderation of that article gets set as a page reload.
            ====
            This issue appeared 3 or 4 weeks ago; I'd call it a new bug. Before that, moderating relocated you at the last modded comment, as the gods intended.

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
            • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Tuesday April 08 2014, @07:13AM

              by egcagrac0 (2705) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @07:13AM (#28013)

              It shouldn't require javascript; the flat hyperlink should be able to pop a new page (or new window/tab) which can do the function, but if you choose to enable javascript, the javascript code should be able to override the anchor/href/target and use onClick to pop up a Web2.0 type dialog to do the (meta)moderation without all the fuss.

              • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:09PM

                by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:09PM (#28118) Homepage

                And there's a thought -- how about in discussions where we don't have mod points, metamod opportunities are presented randomly (much as they would be on the metamod page) so we can see the comment and mods in context and don't have to go diving after them separately?

                --
                And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by anubi on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:44AM

          by anubi (2828) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:44AM (#27914) Journal

          Being you are logging moderations, how much of an issue is it to see if one account is consistentently up-modding or down-modding another account?

          It has been my experience "on the other site" that cliques form and have an agenda to push. I see perfectly good posts modded into oblivion, as the downmod is the weapon of choice for obliterating visibility of a viewpoint a group may be trying to suppress.

          I believe statistical analysis of downmods will provide insight into which moderators should not be invited into the pool. I believe the tipoff would be controversial posts which generate both upmods and downmods.

          The question being: was the downmod because it was a crap post, or a matter of personal disagreement?

          Doing away with downmodding altogether is out of the question as we would soon find ourselves overwhelmed with spam and goatse links; those kind of crap posts have to be dealt with fast to deny the perp the benefit of exposure.

          The three instances I will downmod for are completely offtopic spam, goatse links, or racial/ethnic slurs. I do not believe these kinds of posts have any business on a technical discussion forum.

          I know you have invited me to moderate a few times; and I have done my best to do so responsibly. I hate to downmod anything - as to me I would just as soon spit in someone's face, but I have done it when the post was that bad. I am sure you can verify if you so choose. I have even upmodded posts I did not agree with only because I thought the poster had a good point and he made me think about it.

          Trying to select a good moderator pool looks to me like a college-level PhD study in statistics, programming, AI, and psychology all rolled into one. Figure that one out and my guess you also have developed a damn-near ideal algorithm for screening individuals where anyone has to work under them.

          --
          "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by egcagrac0 on Tuesday April 08 2014, @07:05AM

            by egcagrac0 (2705) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @07:05AM (#28008)

            how much of an issue is it to see if one account is consistentently up-modding or down-modding another account?

            That's a very slippery slope... at least until the userbase grows.

            I know that without having an agenda, I've upmodded a particular individual's posts several times. It's not that I was trying to boost their karma; it's that I had mod points and they were posting good stuff in discussions on a thread I thought was interesting.

            Until there are more users, we should probably consider that if I'm moderating at 2am, there are probably only a handful of new insightful comments that deserve upmoderation, and they are probably written by the same few people that are on the bizarre schedule I'm on... so it naturally follows that even without forming a clique, I'm more likely to upmod their posts than the good posts that came earlier (and are already adequately upmodded) or the good posts that come later (that I'm either out of mod points for, or I will have posted something in the thread by then and lost my mod privileges).

            More users - more posts - more diverse moderation patterns.

      • (Score: 2) by edIII on Monday April 07 2014, @11:01PM

        by edIII (791) on Monday April 07 2014, @11:01PM (#27842)

        I like the direction the moderations are going, but I do have one comment to make

        JavaScript experience on staff to create a D2 system is somewhat short at the moment

        We've had almost religious crusades regarding JavaScript around here, and on the other site. So I'm not entirely surprised that all the malcontents that have fled, and may be continuing to flee, to Soylent are JavaScript "hostile" to put it mildly.

        I work with JavaScript all the time, but not really low level like some people. While I have created front ends for management platforms that make extensive use of AJAX/XML/JSON with various web based APIs, I will not say that I am an expert by any means. Just forced to get something done with no budget to hire somebody.

        My real question is that even if you had 10 people show up today in the "back rooms" of Soylent that were JS masters, would you even embrace them? I tend to think that I would not be welcomed with open arms at all, but the target of pitch forks and torches based on my previous experiences.

        How many people are surfing this site with NoScript at the moment?

        Soylent is about responding to the community and I think unless we do a poll again, the community has spoken and said we should remain free of any client side programming right?

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
        • (Score: 1) by gishzida on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:01AM

          by gishzida (2870) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:01AM (#27881) Journal

          I use NoScript and ABP regardless where I go. For two reasons: 1) security and 2) The mostly Bad JS UI design which "designers" pass off as "pretty". Can you say 'Beta'? I don't need Image to text transitions or gigantic lettering or other doo-dads like this one [medium.com]. That kind of design is done not for practical purposes but to show off the "gee I'm so cool aren't you impressed that I could code that" kind of ego. All it does for me is want run for the next link... I don't want the web to become T.V.

          I can't see the point of using JS to make menus that work for the designer but not for me as a user. Give me a simple design which I don't have to worry about making the page readable or worry that there is a security "gotcha" [server side delivery of malware tends to be served well by client-side loading of scripts.

          What we have mostly works although I read at -1... Sine I do want to see all the warts. Sometimes a down moded comment did not deserve it. There are some funny bumps in moderating tho'-- After you moderate you get taken to the top of the article rather than holding your place at the comment you just moderated. Each moderation of that article gets set as a page reload. So you might have to hit the back key several times before you return to the main page... which means I hit the home "Soylent News" link rather than have to do several back button clicks.

          So, no offense intended but I'd not particularly in favor of JS "prettification" unless you can show it enhances my user experience without making my browsing insecure or unusable.

          As for the idea of "factually incorrect" moderation. I cannot see this as a viable moderation option. The question is and always will be "Not factually correct according to Whom?" I can assert that your political views are "not factually correct" but that is a far cry from proving to you and anyone else that your views are actually and factually incorrect. I can see that this will easily be used by those that have vehemently oposed opinions about certain topics.

          I'd rather down Mod at .25 point increments rather than -1 and up Mod a 1 point to a maximum of 10.

          • (Score: 2) by edIII on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:00AM

            by edIII (791) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:00AM (#27900)

            Give me a simple design which I don't have to worry about making the page readable or worry that there is a security "gotcha" [server side delivery of malware tends to be served well by client-side loading of scripts.

            The security aspect is indeed concerning. Which is why if I might suggest you should be using Ghostery and DoNotTrackMe, but you have JS turned off completely.

            I also agree about the aesthetics oriented design like the one you showed, but don't think it's as bad as "Web TV". There is something to be said about aesthetics, and perhaps the web is as just about information as it is presentation now. Even having said that, when you have a design like that it really needs a purpose. It cannot just be aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics, but serving to aid and add emphasis to your presentation.

            There is something hugely positive that can occur with JS, but I also believe that is largely because the Web is a cluster *$&% of technologies and lacks the UI capabilities that we want. We shouldn't need huge JS libraries, or libraries at all for that matter, just to create an animated slide effect when you want to add a comment and the site needs to show a box.

            Look at how clumsy and awkward it is for me to write this comment. I needed an entire page reload and can't see the original comments, TFS, links, etc. That should be easier. JS makes that a reality, but it is a technology with an unfortunate attack surface, and is used abusively beyond any shadow of a doubt. If it wasn't abusive I wouldn't need the combo of Ghostery/DoNotTrackMe to employ black listing of scripts and domains would I?

            As a UI designer (avid interest) I have a lot of ideas that can only be accomplished with JS. There is no other way. I never obfuscate my code though. To the detriment of bandwidth, I include full comments, notations, etc. My code is easily readable and I hide nothing. That cannot be said about practically any other website out there.

            I want to scrap HTML/CSS entirely myself and construct a new browser that can give you the best of both worlds, give it to you transparently, and reduce the attack surfaces. I shouldn't need to introduce an attack surface just to handle display and formatting issues which are the bulk of the reason I want JS.

            My area of interest is not how to arrange things on a page for marketing purposes, but how to create usable interfaces for people to get work done. None of my work is available to see precisely because it is for employees and not landing-page style examples like you showed me.

            I really would like to revamp Soylent completely with a combination of Lenticular design (I've been really inspired by that) and Cards.

            Imagine all the comments being cards that automatically arranged themselves on the page. You could achieve tremendous information density, far more than Soylent currently in fact. Look how much white space is just wasted at the top of the page right now and on the sides.

            Keeping with Lenticular design, I would put all of the moderation actions, stats, etc. on the back of the Card. Experienced users or moderators could flip a Card over, and without disrupting any other Card, review moderations, super-moderations, report an abuse, mark it for future reference. Turning a Card over from a different direction could expand the card and display an editor for a response.

            I have a lot of ideas that I think would create a simple design, be tremendously information dense, and add great utility to the site. A page load would be rare once you are inside an article, which I think is how it should be.

            NONE of that I can do without JS, and that just blows. I understand why it blows, but I also think that the die hard detractors and opponents are also being a little unreasonable as to the positive benefits that can exist with it.

            --
            Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
            • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:18AM

              by Nerdfest (80) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:18AM (#27902)

              If you use FireFox I would also suggest RequestPolicy. It allows you to permit scripts and which domains they can call other scripts on. Quite handy.

              I like the Mod then comment change ... very handy. If it didn't exist I wouldn't have added this (not that it's a big deal, but it's nice to be able to contribute).

              • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:58AM

                by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:58AM (#27920) Homepage Journal

                This isn't implemented yet :-)

                But its coming.

                --
                Still always moving
              • (Score: 2) by edIII on Tuesday April 08 2014, @03:59AM

                by edIII (791) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @03:59AM (#27935)

                Thanks. RequestPolicy sounds interesting. I use Chrome though. FireFox just has piss-poor stability and performance. Shame though. It was my browser for years.

                As for the third party scripts I have a simple rule. NEVER.

                If you don't care enough to host it locally, then I'm damn sure you didn't care enough to validate the code. Any third party script that I know about where control must be kept with the third party is always to my detriment. It can be beacons, trackers, widgets, the stupid social networking buttons, all of them leak way too much information about me.

                So the simplest rule for third party scripts is over-my-dead-body.

                --
                Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
          • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Tuesday April 08 2014, @09:29PM

            by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @09:29PM (#28466) Journal

            After you moderate you get taken to the top of the article rather than holding your place at the comment you just moderated

            I've struggled with this myself. I have discovered that you can assign modpoints to multiple posts and wait til you're done reading the whole discussion to push the "moderate" button, at which time they are all awarded at once. The downside is that I occasionally forget that I assigned mod points if I didn't do any towards the end of the page, and I close the tab and lose all the mods.

            On a related note, I've been wondering if maybe some difficulty in using the mod system (and comment system in general) isn't a good thing - the people who really use the system are the ones who are smart enough to figure it out (kind of like a meta-Captcha test) and/or motivated to participate, most likely due to being interested in healthy discussion. This has the effect of keeping out some of the noise, but maybe reduces participation from (for example) experts on the subject at hand who don't have time to mess around with seemingly non-standard (i.e. not common on the web) forum interfaces.

            Regarding "factually incorrect", I think this is where mod-and-post in the same thread becomes useful - specifically, posting citations to a source. I suggest a moderator should be able to post a source for/against an assertion, and apply it with a mod up/down at the same time. Add it to the post bibliographical-style [1] and allow other moderators to mod the citation up or down separately or together with the parent post. If the moderator has anything more to say, they can still follow up as an AC with a new post, and it will keep the thread clean and with high signal-per-pixel ratio, in theory.

            [1] show full URL at the bottom, indicate mod up/down status, referenced from the appropriate part of the post, like this comment
            --
            "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:39AM

          by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:39AM (#27909) Homepage Journal

          The rule of thumb we use is the site works without JS; I'm not against avoiding it all together, and css visible/hide have issues (plus have to be triggered by CSS); being able to expand/collaspe trees dynamicly (like with the greasemonkey script) is a huge functionality win, and I'm not sure how you could do it without JS that wouldn't work in everyones browser. As long as the site has full functionality (if a tad clunkly) w/o JS, I don't think anyone is going to complain.

          --
          Still always moving
          • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Tuesday April 08 2014, @07:18AM

            by egcagrac0 (2705) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @07:18AM (#28015)

            As long as the site has full functionality (if a tad clunkly) w/o JS, I don't think anyone is going to complain.

            Can you make it work both ways and satisfy everyone? A few non-obnoxious slick features for the rest of us, and let the curmudgeons enjoy their tadly-clunky JS-free site?

            • (Score: 2) by Jaruzel on Tuesday April 08 2014, @09:22AM

              by Jaruzel (812) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @09:22AM (#28044) Homepage Journal

              The key thing is I think, is that any JS that is used MUST have a functional purpose. I don't think many people would have issues with a Hide DIV JS function as it actually does something useful. Loads of JS just to make the site shiny (which I know we're not doing anyway) is where the core problem is. It seems that so many young designers have swallowed the JQuery koolaid, and have totally forgotten that HTML plus a smatter of CSS and JS is what they should be writing, not buckets of JS with a smattering of HTML.

              Pesonally, I'm happy reading a basic HTML only site with black on grey Times font and underlined blue/purple links and GIF images, as long as I get the information I need.

              So all you young hipster web designers: Get off my lawn!

              -Jar

              --
              This is my opinion, there are many others, but this one is mine.
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:19AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:19AM (#27940) Homepage

        The trouble with "factually incorrect" (aka "wrong") is that the moderator may themselves not have all the facts straight.

        As to your current slew of notions, I take back my previous objections, since I think you covered 'em all. Okay, I'm willing to try out your proposed mod setup.

        BTW speaking of being modded into oblivion -- couple days ago I found an interesting comment (albeit expressing an unpopular viewpoint) at -1 Troll, and tried to upmod it. Reloaded the page to check and there it was still at -1 Troll. Rinse and repeat a few times with no change and finally I gave up.

        And that made me think of another suggestion: =after= we've modded something, let us see the list of mods for that comment (kinda like we can for our own comments).

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by isostatic on Monday April 07 2014, @07:47PM

      by isostatic (365) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:47PM (#27693) Journal

      The correct thing to do is reply and say how they are wrong. However in the past if you're half way through modding a story you don't want your work undone, so you hope someone else will, and you might overrate it (which is technically correct if it's been modded up on the basis of a falsity)

      However under this new system you can reply, and you don't lose your existing moderations

    • (Score: 1) by Woods on Monday April 07 2014, @07:53PM

      by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Monday April 07 2014, @07:53PM (#27703) Journal

      What about a 'factually incorrect' mod?

      I agree 100%
      Usually in this instance, the comment is neither good or bad, but just wrong. I cannot rightfully mod the comment up or down, but something needs to be done, but if I post my own comment correcting it, then I get a (Score:-1, Pedant)

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tibman on Monday April 07 2014, @08:07PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 07 2014, @08:07PM (#27726)

        I'm not sure (yet) if i'm comfortable with moderators down-modding a comment because it is incorrect. I would prefer they upmod the correction in a reply. We all make mistakes and civil discussion shouldn't have penalties for not always being 100% correct. If it's intentional, factually incorrect posts are usually used for flame bating and trolling. Those posts can easily be dealt with and there is a good reason for receiving the penalty.

        I didn't see any negative comments for you. Could have been something that occurred at slashdot? Or it may have been here but a bad mod that was fixed by another mod (or two)? If so, that sounds exactly the reason why moderation is getting an upgrade.

        --
        SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
        • (Score: 2) by edIII on Monday April 07 2014, @10:23PM

          by edIII (791) on Monday April 07 2014, @10:23PM (#27825)

          I'm not comfortable about the factually incorrect mod simply because a lot of what we talk about is difficult and technical in nature. There are an awful lot of educated opinions floating around that when you consider them objectively are not so easy to categorize into a black and white assessment of incorrect/correct.

          Some people confuse an educated opinion with fact as well, especially if we start dragging politics into it. Can you imagine all the factually incorrect mods if we started talking about politics, the economy, and corruption in private corporations? Yeah. I have my own rather strong views on dragging everyone from Wall Street out into Main Street and beating them like red headed step children. Not everything here is a purely evidence based scientific discussion, and is perhaps the minority.

          A simple moderation saying a post is factually incorrect is no different than replying to the person and complaining that they are wrong, and never explaining why.

          If we allow such a moderation, it should have a dedicated section to explain why, provide at least one reference, and be shown separate from the discussion itself. If you can't provide references you shouldn't be able to say it's not a fact.

          No, I'm not talking about how we deal with Flat Earthers either :) Just downmod those and don't bother modding it factually incorrect...

          --
          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @11:31PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @11:31PM (#27851)

        I could easily see "factually incorrect" quickly becoming the "I disagree" mod.

        Then there are going to be topics where there may be differing views of what is factual.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday April 07 2014, @07:56PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:56PM (#27705) Homepage

      I think a better idea, rather than modding down, is to simply post a comment explaining why the parent is factually wrong, and being modded up for it. Hopefully the new moderation options will enable good corrective-posters to have high scores.

      One thing I really enjoyed about the other site was when myself or somebody else posted a factually-incorrect bullshit post that sounded plausible, so it was modded up to 5, and then when somebody inevitably replied to that post calling bullshit, you could see the bullshit post start to be modded down as the reply was modded up. Perhaps I'm just an easily-amused idiot.

      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Monday April 07 2014, @08:19PM

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 07 2014, @08:19PM (#27749)
        Oh.. are you describing a + 5 Troll? I got one of those once, I put it on my resume.
        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
        • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:20AM

          by Nerdfest (80) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:20AM (#27903)

          As you should. I don't think I ever managed to pull one off, nor a post that had all moderations applied to it, although I was close. I think I missed off-topic.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Adrian Harvey on Monday April 07 2014, @08:01PM

      by Adrian Harvey (222) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:01PM (#27712)

      Yes, I've been wondering about that - in the past (on that other site, you know, the green one) I've mused that the button for that as well as 'disagree' for that is labeled 'reply'. However I've begun to wonder whether there should be such a moderation with 0 points. Ie it would put factually inaccurate in the score heading, but not actually mod the post down...

      The key reason not to mod them down is that some of the best discussions come out of putting right errors or misconceptions, indeed it is sometimes used as a teaching tool. However there may be some value in marking them as factually incorrect to act as a 'don't try this at home' warning or note to read further down the thread for the safe way to, say, charge your phone with a microwave :-)

      The other reason (and argument for the current state too) is to prevent a discussion on, say, politics, being hijacked by each side labeling the other factually inaccurate - say because they have different interpretations of the statistics, or are basing their conclusions on a different set of axioms.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by egcagrac0 on Monday April 07 2014, @08:13PM

        by egcagrac0 (2705) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:13PM (#27739)

        some of the best discussions come out of putting right errors or misconceptions, indeed it is sometimes used as a teaching tool

        I believe that's the origin of trolling, yes?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by urza9814 on Monday April 07 2014, @08:50PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:50PM (#27773) Journal

        However I've begun to wonder whether there should be such a moderation with 0 points. Ie it would put factually inaccurate in the score heading, but not actually mod the post down...

        I like this idea, because it has a side bonus of communicating some expectations to the moderator. With the current setup, people may not immediately get the concept of 'if it's wrong, post why' and instead will try to downmod, and say to themselves "hey, this crappy system has no 'incorrect' option; I guess overrated is close enough". If they instead see a '-0 factually incorrect' option, that's better even if it doesn't do anything to the post.

        Of course we don't want the moderation options cluttered with a bunch of useless options, but in certain cases having even a no action -0 option could help steer the moderators by sending a message: 'we don't downmod for those reasons around here!'

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Monday April 07 2014, @08:03PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:03PM (#27715)

      Maybe this idea is dumb, but thinking from the point of view of making changes simple: What about a 'factually incorrect' mod?

      The problem is that it would be subject to abuse, and there is no guarantee the moderator knows enough to make the evaluation. I imagine how such a mod would be applied in a topic such as climate change, and suggest we are better off without it.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Tork on Monday April 07 2014, @08:17PM

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 07 2014, @08:17PM (#27745)
        It's already being abused. In this case the nature of the abuse is being called out. In the scenario you described it would keep the conversation going. "The factually incorrect mod is wrong... here's the data that proves it..."
        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
        • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Monday April 07 2014, @08:31PM

          by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:31PM (#27761)

          I've wished for such a thing before, I admit. It's probably no worse than the vague "overrated" and "troll" mods. You have a good point about the abuse happening already, just with the "overrated" or "troll" labels.

          --
          [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Monday April 07 2014, @08:08PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:08PM (#27727)

      "that guy insightfuled the post about Steve Jobs rising from the dead on Easter? F that guy I'm downvoting whatever I see any post of his"

      Now I could see an interesting mechanic where you can anon-mod all you want, BUT the cost will be 2,3,4 of your modpoints not just one.

      So if there's a "bill gates is a really nice guy in person" and I mod it up, I can do it anonymous but it'll cost me 3 points.

      Maybe your metamod history should control how many extra points anon-modding costs. If I'm generally trustworthy I should be trusted to do more anon-modding and someone who's nuts (or crazier, anyway) or astroturfing should find anon-modding to be very expensive.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Buck Feta on Monday April 07 2014, @09:02PM

      by Buck Feta (958) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:02PM (#27781) Journal

      > factually incorrect

      Sir, this is the internet. Facts have no place here.

      --
      - fractious political commentary goes here -
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by SplawnDarts on Monday April 07 2014, @09:10PM

      by SplawnDarts (3962) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:10PM (#27788)

      This strikes me as a very bad idea. On many controversial subjects, the facts themselves are in question. That's often a big part of the controversy. Frequently one or both sides of the argument would like to claim that the facts are not in dispute, and "-1 factually incorrect" could thus easily become a proxy for "-1 disagree" which is bad for obvious reasons.

      You need only look at the history of knowledge and science to see that many things which were once "facts" no longer are.

    • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Monday April 07 2014, @09:13PM

      by lhsi (711) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:13PM (#27793) Journal

      Maybe this idea is dumb, but thinking from the point of view of making changes simple: What about a 'factually incorrect' mod?

      You mean something like "-1 Repudiate"? As mentioned replying to something with proof would allow one to refute an incorrect claim. It would also show that a claim is actually incorrect as opposed to assumed incorrect.

      • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Tuesday April 08 2014, @10:10PM

        by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @10:10PM (#28482) Journal

        I mentioned above [soylentnews.org] a possibility of adding citations (as a moderator) that have +/- modifiers attached, above. I think it could work.

        --
        "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @07:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @07:34PM (#27683)

    Complex systems come with unpredictable behaviors.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @07:49PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @07:49PM (#27700)

      I agree. For example you can watch the progression of mod posts. Sometimes things just go to 4/5 and nothing else bubbles up. I have been downvoted a few times. Many times I agree with the overrated downvote. We should take that into account too. Maybe if you can be objective about it you can downvote yourself?

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday April 07 2014, @08:01PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:01PM (#27713)

      Agreed, no complex numbers, stick to something nice and simple like decibels. Complex numbers are better for a fictional topic board, all those imaginary numbers you know.

      On the other hand, to keep the riff raff out, I could see discontinuing numerical scores requiring moderations be expressed as matrices. This allows for quantum mechanical expressions of post score.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday April 07 2014, @07:42PM

    M2 sounds good in theory but it absolutely encourages echo chamber group-think in moderation. Very shortly moderators who enjoy seeing differing opinions will be getting zero mod points.

    Take the Mozilla CEO scandal lately. Most of the user base was right there with the outspoken Moz employees. The discussion was largely ad hominem on both sides but posts agreeing with group-think got up-modded and vice versa with down mods. M2 would be pulling from the same pool of people, so would have the same bias, so would make anyone trying to correct -1 Disagree mods lose M2 score even though they were doing exactly what moderators should.

    How about having M2 only regulate downmods? That way we could still upmod controversial opinions or correct -1 Disagree without running the risk of getting M2'd into oblivion?

    --
    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @07:47PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @07:47PM (#27695) Homepage Journal

      Hrm ... I won't mind having M2 only work on downmods, but then I'd need a mechanism for people to earn more points (unless correctly downmodding is a way to earn more points). Perhaps primarily downmods with the rare upmod thrown in. i.e., a page of ten comments is 7 downmods, 3 upmods.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday April 07 2014, @07:57PM

        Solution: M2- on a M+ = null. Otherwise M2 functions as expected.

        I could live with cheerleading a bad comment getting a pass if it meant we could keep people from stifling a comment because they disagree with it.

        --
        My rights don't end where your fear begins.
        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:15PM

          by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:15PM (#27742) Homepage Journal

          I like this. Basically rewards good moderation, but doesn't ding anyone for bad moderations; if we have too many comments hitting high thresholds, then we need to revise the system or the posting scale.

          --
          Still always moving
      • (Score: 1) by el_oscuro on Monday April 07 2014, @10:42PM

        by el_oscuro (1711) on Monday April 07 2014, @10:42PM (#27836)

        That is an interesting idea. Perhaps have the up mods comments which were modded up quickly to +5, and don't have it for +2 or +3 comments.

        --
        SoylentNews is Bacon! [nueskes.com]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:09AM (#27864)

        The idea is to keep people from getting down modded for poor reasons and up modded for good ones.
        I would the Suggest/Report Buttons.
        Instead, allow for those who are logged in to appeal their moderation. So for example where I logged in and my post was at -1, I should be able to send an appeal saying why I think the moderation was wrong.
        Then have a group of rotating meta-mods or the site admins review the appeals. If they believe the down mod was not warranted, they should be able to remove the down mod(s). Make it so no meta-mod/admin can deny the appeal of a comment they already moderated.

        Having your moderation overturned should cost you karma and delay or reduce how many future mod points you receive. So if I were to constantly down mod people for no reason I would lose karma and my ability to mod.

        Also add in a way for people who constantly appeal and have their appeals turned down begin to lose the ability to appeal. Perhaps by costing a mod point to appeal, and overturned appeals costing karma. (perhaps even fetching a bonus mod point or karma for the one who down modded correctly).

        Limit what can be appealed to the -x variety of mods and make it so that once an appeal has been ruled on, the comment cannot be further moderated (or perhaps not further moderated as -x).

        This way AC's like my self here get no appeals to their comments. Only those that are registered. People who feel they were incorrectly modded get a way to say so and have that overturned. People doing poor modding are weeded out. It may also help keep it from becoming too complex.

        Just an idea

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by hemocyanin on Monday April 07 2014, @07:48PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:48PM (#27697) Journal

      Instead of complex meta-moderation, which I don't think really works for the reasons you state, why not just make it clear to mods that they have a duty to surf at -1 and correct abuse. Honestly, the most satisfying moderations for me aren't the obvious upmods, they're the upmods to wrongly downmodded posts. It isn't much of a burden to do unless you're looking at a 300 comment thread, which will probably be some time in coming here, at least on a regular basis. So I don't really see the moderation system as broken so much as I it as an issue of educating moderators to do their duty.

      • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday April 07 2014, @08:05PM

        Main problem there is if you're trying to change human nature, you're probably going to lose. People are petty and closed-minded and are going to remain so until the sun burns out. Especially the ones who speak the loudest about being magnanimous and open-minded to others. Yes, I'm aware of the recursion in this post. It amuses me.
        --
        My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:06PM

        by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:06PM (#27723) Homepage Journal

        Supermoderation and the Report button is what's meant to solve the -1 posts that don't deserve it.

        --
        Still always moving
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Monday April 07 2014, @08:14PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:14PM (#27741) Journal

          But that takes the abuse correction out of the hands of the community and puts it in handpicked people. Which sounds very authoritarian.

          If people are worried about mods not doing their duty, give them 9 mods to use any way they like, and one that can only be used to upmod a downmodded post. Or any proportion.

          Supermods however, will quickly turn this into the playground of certain handpicked users and very much unlike the community that is frequently touted.

          • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday April 07 2014, @08:51PM

            OTOH, a small number of supermods is insanely easy to police for abuse. Also, unlike forum or reddit mods, supermods can only promote rather than demote/nuke from orbit. Very little scope for abuse for the power.
            --
            My rights don't end where your fear begins.
            • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday April 07 2014, @09:41PM

              by hemocyanin (186) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:41PM (#27810) Journal

              Who polices? Certainly not the community. Supermod is a top-down beta-like directive we can whine about while we just suck-it. A supermod is simply an authoritative model.

              • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday April 07 2014, @11:24PM

                Right but are you really going to whine that much about a HOSTS FILE post or a troll being supermodded +5 when it means the end of that person's supermod powers? I really only see this power being used when -1 Disagree has been perpetrated because anything else would mean the end of phenomenal cosmic power for the supermod.

                Could NCommander turn tyrant and start allowing supermods to be used for every opinion he agrees with and nothing else? Sure, but I'm content to hold my bitching unless/until that actually happens.

                --
                My rights don't end where your fear begins.
                • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:22AM

                  by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:22AM (#27867) Journal

                  Why hold your bitching? By the time it is a problem, it's just too late and someone has to go build UnSoylentNews. And after that, it's just fragmentation.

                  The word "community" gets thrown around a lot here, and all over the place really. It bugs me, because it seems to be used politically, i.e., as a nice sounding meaningless word to be ignored in favor of so much hierarchical BS. Supermods represent status quo, oversight, a Soylent perspective -- they are a type of silent editor in the newsroom, hacking out comments to make sure advertisers aren't offended, making sure users get their daily bland experience. They represent absolutely everything but community.

                  The moderation system currently works from the ground up -- it actually is community based. Yeah, that makes one set of problems, but if this is to be a "community" site, then live with them and try to address them in an community sensitive manner. Supermods though, that's like beta -- someone else forcing their sensibilities onto SNer as a whole, for their own good, whether they like it or not.

                  • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:59AM

                    by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:59AM (#27899) Homepage Journal

                    So, what do you call Wikipedia Administrators who lock and protect pages?

                    I won't even have considered supermoderations except for the fact people do abuse the moderation system, and any system that involves users are abusable. Supermoderators will not be able to silence people; just prevent people from being unfairly silenced. What would you have us do? Let everything be community decided? We tried that on Slashdot, and I don't think anyone is going to defend the moderation system as it exists today.

                    --
                    Still always moving
                    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Tuesday April 08 2014, @03:40AM

                      by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @03:40AM (#27930) Journal

                      When you say "unfairly silenced" you bring a perspective to the issue different from the community which did the moderating. Which is fine -- it's your site, but you shouldn't then refer to us a community. We become your users and our opinions are subject to being over-ridden by the powers that be, i.e., for all the lip service to "community" -- SN becomes another hierarchical organization. I guess what bugs me the most is the whole feel-good "community" talk -- you hear it all over the place if you hang out with liberals like I do -- so often what people mean by "community" is: "I know best." And that sentiment is expressed perfectly in the concept of appointed super-mods. The only way to do super-mods and respect the community, is to randomly assign them like mod points, but making some random asshole like me king for a day is a whole different can of worms. Still, better than appointed ones, if we really are a community.

                      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:38AM

                        by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:38AM (#27946) Homepage Journal

                        Give me a realistic alternative then. You argue that everything should be community controlled when in actuality, that's not true; communities choose their leaders to do the best they can; for this site (and other sites on the internet), that's people sticking around. If I do crap, I expect people to take a hike. In every site, you have some people who have more power than others; editors here routine go through the submission queue in an effort to keep high quality posts. We could attach a RNG to the submission queue or to score moderators which would make it "fair" but I'm fairly sure no one will stick around if we do it.

                        I didn't make this clear on my post, but supermoderators were going to be picked with those from exceptionally high M2 scores; people who have been voted on the community as GOOD moderators, and likely can be trusted with the power a supermoderation provides. Yes, a staff member must ACK them; that's a sanity check so someone can't game the system and earn supermoderator points by sockpuppeting with abandon, but try and tell me how its not fair.

                        I've gone out of my way to try and describe things at length and communicate with every member on this site. Am I perfect? No, but I am making the effort to take in account all opinions on these things. I could have simply revamped the system with virtually no discussion, or incorporated us without trying to discuss things first, etc. You claim I use the term politically; that's your opinion, but I strongly disagree. The fact that we're having a conversation (and it is a conversation) proves its not me just doing shit and making everyone here eat it. If I started forcing my will on people, both the staff, and the users of this site would leave; it is a two way street, even if you don't wish to see it as such. I wrote up most of my revisions to the mod post due to an article on a journal (my original posts was mostly involving moderate^post, NOT larger reworks).

                        Maybe I'm wrong, and supermoderation is a horrid idea, but the only complaint I'm hearing is a couple of people will have a power that most won't. Maybe the feature will last all of a week before we collectively decide its a bad idea and it goes away. The fact is, this site already works this way, with people from the community stepping up to be editors and moderating the queue of stuff coming in, editing it, and publishing it. The doors of staff are always recruiting; feel free to come to IRC and make yourself heard.

                        --
                        Still always moving
                        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:07AM

                          by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:07AM (#27956) Journal

                          First, I think you should revisit the concept of "unfair mods." That's what the super-mod is all about. I've been modded troll plenty of times, both here and on Slashdot, for things I deeply believe. That's OK. It gives me information about the wider generalized opinion of the group of people to whom I'm posting. It doesn't change what I think. It doesn't piss me off. It gives me valuable insight about who I'm dealing with and how I should view things that are modded troll or insightful. That's why I browse at -1 all the time, whether I have mod points or not -- to me, only my opinion counts, but I do like to know what the other dorks around me have gotten suckered into. Anyway, if posts are artificially inflated from their low moderation, I get none of this meta information.

                          Secondly, as I've mentioned numerous times now, you'll end up with an official SN perspective. This true no matter how you appoint the super-mods.

                          My suggestion honestly, is to do nothing. Tools exist for moderators to undo what they see as unfair moderation. Anyone who has posted plenty, will have posts go from troll to insightful and vice versa -- that represents the community's collective grading of those posts. The same is true when a post gets modded troll or informative but doesn't reverse direction. What exactly is so wrong with that? It actually express the aggregate opinion of the community. In this sense, there are no unfair-mods and there is no problem to address. There are only mods that one would personally wish didn't turn out the way they did, which tells you something about the people you're dealing with, and gives you insight on how much value to give that aggregate opinion.

                          • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:23AM

                            by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:23AM (#27964) Homepage Journal

                            My concern here is I've got a lot of posts telling me that the system is unfair. Now, that problem is compounded by lack of metamoderation, so it is *possible* that a proper M2 system will be self-correcting. Then again, groupthink might be able to overwhelm the M2 system which was the guiding though on having supermoderation. With Report/Suggest, it might have enough oopfh to self-correct if we can connect moderators to mismoderated comments.

                            That being said, I'm going to split the difference here. You've made enough good points that I rather err on the side of caution. Supermoderation will get implemented, *but* not enabled out of the box (with a slight exception that I'll do a few supermods on a junk journal entry to make sure it works). If M2 doesn't fix the problem on its own, I'll open the floor to discuss full enablement of the supermoderation system, and the criteria for selecting supermoderators.

                            --
                            Still always moving
                            • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:31AM

                              by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:31AM (#27968) Journal

                              Can't argue with that plan -- seems reasonable. And sorry if I came off sounding like a dick at times -- fact is, sometimes I am kind of a dick. And sometimes I even get modded for it. ;-)

                              • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:54AM

                                by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:54AM (#27978) Homepage Journal

                                Must ... resist ... urge ... to ... implement ... -5 ... dick ... moderation ...

                                (nah, j/k. I'm pretty good at trying to listen to feedback, and really really trying not to become a dictator. My one prize is a low UID, and even the AC beats me in that department ;.;)

                                --
                                Still always moving
                                • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:58AM

                                  by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:58AM (#27980) Journal

                                  Actually, I would totally vote YES for a -1 dick mod. That would rock. Especially if you could go to -5!

                        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by starcraftsicko on Tuesday April 08 2014, @11:18AM

                          by starcraftsicko (2821) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @11:18AM (#28074) Journal

                          One moderation feature of the green site was that late posters and replies to later threads often when unnoticed. A risk I'm willing to take.

                          Give me a realistic alternative then.

                          Forking this convo -- blah. I wonder if anyone will notice.
                          .
                          I think that some form of supermoderation (whatever that means) is a great idea. I think that M2 is trouble for all the reason that so many have laid out. More importantly, it doesn't solve the problems you're actually having.

                          Problems:
                          1 - not enough posts get moderated AT ALL.
                          2 - not enough posts get to +4 and +5
                          3 - sometimes unpopular opinions get modded down
                          .
                          M2 won't fix any of those.
                          .
                          My Modest Proposal(other than to consume the Irish in the event of a food shortage) regarding M2 and supermoderation:
                          .

                          1. Go slow on changing actual moderation. Right now you need more moderation more than you need different moderation.
                          2. Change moderation so that ANY POST that makes it to +5 (including the +1 karma bonus) is locked.
                          3. Create supermoderation as follows:
                            • Supermoderators are just like regular moderators except for 2 diferences
                              • supermoderators get infinity mod points for as long as they are supermoderators.
                              • supermoderators get can mod a post multiple times (and so can raise a post from -1 to +5 all alone.
                            • only one supermoderator can be active on the site at any time.
                            • The next eligible person to logon is made a supermoderator whenever 'total moderation' falls below some threshold. ; alternately, you could try to 'always' have a supermoderator on.
                            • supermoderation times out after 30 minutes
                            • supermoderation ends when you post anything anywhere even if as AC
                          4. add a 'report blatant mismoderation' button; you or your editors could block someone from ever supermoderating (or moderating) again if needed.

                          .
                          Why is this better than M2? No echo chamber effect, and it actually could solve the noted problems:

                          A great post could be instantly scored +5.
                          Points could be spent on good but not great posts to maybe bring them to +2/3.
                          "The community" of moderators could still lock a post at +5 and overwhelm a bad supermod.

                          My $.02

                          --
                          This post was created with recycled electrons.
                          • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:16PM

                            by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:16PM (#28162) Homepage Journal

                            Well, I did, so there's that :-).

                            I'll admit, its an interesting proposal, but its too easy to game with astroturfing; if comments locked at +5, it would be possible to spam a discussion heavily then use sockpuppets to moderate in mass without M2 acting like a throttle.

                            --
                            Still always moving
                            • (Score: 2) by starcraftsicko on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:21AM

                              by starcraftsicko (2821) on Thursday April 10 2014, @11:21AM (#29368) Journal

                              As I understand M2 as it worked on the green site, the idea was to use it to lock out bad moderators by reducing their frequency or removing them altogether. As I understand it, we are considering using M2 here to PROMOTE some moderators.
                              .
                              The problem with either approach is that both suffer from confirmation/groupthink bias. I think that part of the reason that M2 on the green site had so little real effect is that this was recognized by the implementor(s).
                              .
                              On the green site, getting a less-popular opinion modded up was an art. The most reliable way was to start your post with the words: "I know this will be modded down but". That seems to work here too.
                              .
                              Supermods and +5 locking are potential methods to 'notice' these posts without resorting to the above formula. .

                              if comments locked at +5, it would be possible to spam a discussion heavily then use sockpuppets to moderate in mass

                              .
                              I think that you are solving the problems you don't have here, or one that could naturally solve itself.
                              .
                              In order to create a useful sock-puppet (one that can moderate, meta-moderate, and possibly super-moderate, etc.), the puppet has to make useful contributions to the community. They have to make posts that are interesting or funny or whatever. For all practical purposes, they have to be, or appear to be, regular users.
                              .
                              To keep a puppet once created, you have to use it in a way that does not draw the wrong kind of attention - so use has to be in line with the standards of the community for a user. Anything blatantly other would eventually be noticed by management and could lead to the death of a puppet.
                              .
                              [Example: I build a stack of 5 puppets. yay. I want to promote my new VIAGRA blend. I post my advert in an unrelated story's comments. My puppets mod it up. yay for me.... but you or ANY SN staffer would probably see this and lock me and my 5 puppets out of any future moderation. That's a lot of effort I'll have wasted in the end.]
                              .
                              More likely, I might use puppets to bump my good, but otherwise unnoticed posts. [Remember that if I pump bad posts, someone could notice and nuke me ; same if i did it too often] While this is ethically dubious, it is not overtly harmful. M2 could help this... but if the puppets are used correctly, M2 would miss this too [remember, puppets are promoting good posts].
                              .
                              The problem (1) to be solved is that not enough posts get moderated at all, or not enough get moderated to +4/+5. Right now, to the extent that the points of any extant puppets are used to mod UP, they are contributing to the solution! Ultimately, supermods would be better as they would formalize the process and reduce the value of puppets.
                              .
                              The other problem (2) to be solved is that there are some down-mods that are unjust (-1 disagree). Supermods and +5 locking represent a solution here as one supermod can address an injustice quickly.

                               

                              --
                              This post was created with recycled electrons.
                          • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:32PM

                            by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <themightybuzzard@proton.me> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:32PM (#28311) Homepage Journal

                            Problem here is the idea of logging on and off. Web traffic being largely stateless, this would be a pain to track.

                            Also, I know at least I could not always be trusted with unlimited mod points that could be spent demoting comments. Most of the time but not always. And regular mods with their limited pool and once per comment could do squat about it.

                            I think leave it as is for now.

                            --
                            My rights don't end where your fear begins.
                            • (Score: 2) by starcraftsicko on Thursday April 10 2014, @10:23AM

                              by starcraftsicko (2821) on Thursday April 10 2014, @10:23AM (#29356) Journal

                              Problem here is the idea of logging on and off. Web traffic being largely stateless, this would be a pain to track.

                              Hence the 30 minute cap. If a supermod has been appointed in the last 30 minutes, don't promote more. If one hasn't been appointed in the last 30 mins, appoint the next. Anything beyond that (in terms of precision) is gravy.

                              Also, I know at least I could not always be trusted with unlimited mod points

                              So hopefully, you're an honest sort that would opt out.
                              .
                              If not, the work of a deranged mad-modder would be easy to spot. Once spotted, they could be removed from the pool. At most, you'd create more work/opportunity for the regular mods or for the next super-mod.

                              --
                              This post was created with recycled electrons.
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Monday April 07 2014, @08:12PM

        by VLM (445) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:12PM (#27738)

        "have a duty to surf at -1"

        You could force that, you know, if your_modpoints>0 then your surf filter=-1, in a vaguely conceptual psuedocode. I donno if people would like that or not. Since its never been implemented as far as I know, I suspect its not terribly popular.

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Monday April 07 2014, @08:16PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:16PM (#27743) Journal

          give mods who don't want to surf at -1, the option of relinquishing their mod points.

        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:18PM

          by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:18PM (#27746) Homepage Journal

          The Report/Suggest links are designed to prevent everyone from having to go down to -1; forcing people to view at -1 is just going to alienate people ...

          --
          Still always moving
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:37AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:37AM (#27945) Homepage

            I agree. This whole system works around volunteerism, not coercion. You can't make one part coercion without tainting the rest.

            My own mod method is that I don't change my threshold, but if a thread interests me, then I'll go dumpster-diving among the lowscores in case there's more interesting stuff down there. That way I pretty much read what I'm going to anyway, but with more of an eye to modding it into the air and light, particularly when that helps elucidate the entire thread.

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:05AM

          by Common Joe (33) <reversethis-{moc ... 1010.eoj.nommoc}> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:05AM (#27955) Journal

          When I come to Soylent News, sometimes I have time to moderate and sometimes I don't. I don't want to be forced into a -1 situation. It might be nice to have some random comments that need moderation (along with a way to easily go back up the parental chain) seen so I can moderate when I do have the time. Dunno. Just thinking out loud.

          • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:25PM

            by VLM (445) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:25PM (#28089)

            Could have an option to throw away points. Sometimes I'd visit early on weekend mornings, be awarded points, and it seems like every single post on the frontpage is already a +5. Seems that way.

            Could game it too, throwing away points could be made to drop you slightly higher in the queue for your next dose of points (go away, but come back sooner rather than later)

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Monday April 07 2014, @08:33PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:33PM (#27762) Journal

        Why not simply enforce that rule? For example, only show the moderation buttons if the current threshold is -1.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Dutchster on Monday April 07 2014, @07:49PM

    by Dutchster (3331) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:49PM (#27698)

    All good points on moderation here. I for one would settle for stories that have more than 9 comments on them. It's kind of a chicken and egg problem. There's no real sense fretting over moderation until there's lots of posts to moderate. At the same time you don't want a free for all that turns people off from joining.

    I'll be the first to say that I'm not the world's most active poster but that's true of any forum site I visit. I have, however, referred at least a half dozen folks here who I know have set up accounts.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by isostatic on Monday April 07 2014, @08:00PM

      by isostatic (365) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:00PM (#27711) Journal

      I think I suggested in the last thread to not activate moderation on a story until there's more than x posts (say 20)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @08:10PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @08:10PM (#27736)

        this is good, right now there are stories with 8 comments and all have score 5 which is useless and equals a view where all have score 0. But even if there are more comments usually more than 50% has >= score 3 which is still useless. So I hope the current adjustment with fewer moderators will help a bit.

        Also, 10 mod points that are valid 8 hours(??) is too many points that expire in too short time. I don't even care about moderating here and usually don't spend my points. Slashdot does that much better

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:10PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:10PM (#27732) Homepage Journal

      On average, we get 400 or so comments a day, though they tend to clump on one one or two articles.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 1) by Dutchster on Monday April 07 2014, @09:03PM

        by Dutchster (3331) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:03PM (#27783)

        I know. What I don't know if that's because the other topics aren't of interest to the folks here (i.e. the early adopters) or if the audience hasn't reached that critical mass of diversity yet.

        In any event we all know we only come here for the comments not the articles themselves. We'll hit critical mass soon enough I'm sure!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Monday April 07 2014, @07:57PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:57PM (#27707)

    I admit this is a lower priority than pretty much everything in your post, but I have long been frustrated that the other site established its moderation categories (insightful/funny/troll/etc) circa 1997 and never re-examined them to see if they still made sense. It may be possible improve the moderation system a bit just by refactoring the categories.

    For example, it has never been clear to me what the difference between "troll" and "flamebait" is, and even less clear why that distinction matters. Downmods can be useful feedback as people learn how to productively contribute, but the current categories don't really support that. Surely we can put more thought into defining the behaviors we want to discourage. My two cents is that "troll" and "flamebait" are both trying to attribute motive to the poster, and assigning motive is too subjective to be useful. It would be more useful in my opinion if moderators could more specifically describe what's wrong with the post: "inflammatory," "dull," and so forth.

    Similarly, positive categories are a little unclear and could be improved. It's hard to tell whether "insightful" means "I agree" or "this was enlightening." It would be nice to be able to draw a distinction between "this was well said" and "this actually made me think of the subject in a new way." The more precise we can make the positive categories, the more we reinforce those values in the community.

    I guess this all just means that I belong to the category of people who likes to categorize things.

    --
    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:03PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:03PM (#27716) Homepage Journal

      This was brought up on the moderation rework wiki page, and I'll look at changing these as I get further into the rework.

      --
      Still always moving
    • (Score: 1) by fishybell on Monday April 07 2014, @08:23PM

      by fishybell (3156) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:23PM (#27754)

      I would suggest moderation values as such (yes, with the slashes right in there):

      • Troll/Flamebait (-1)
      • Insightful/Interesting (+1)
      • Redundant/Uninteresting (+1)
      • Informative (+1)
      • Off Topic (+1)
      • Controversial (+0)

       

      I'd even be open to a "Shill (+0)" moderation value for people who seem like obvious shills. The +0 values could be used in the user preferences for people who want to see no perceived controversy and/or shilling, but the rest of us would see it all.

      • (Score: 1) by fishybell on Monday April 07 2014, @08:26PM

        by fishybell (3156) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:26PM (#27757)

        Of course, even after previewing thrice I still left Off Topic is +1, but ideally only the opposite would remain true.

      • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Monday April 07 2014, @08:49PM

        by Buck Feta (958) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:49PM (#27771) Journal

        I'd like to see a Good Question (+1) moderation. A lot of times really good questions for the Soylent Brain Trust languish at the bottom of the thread unanswered because they don't get seen.

        --
        - fractious political commentary goes here -
      • (Score: 2) by TheloniousToady on Monday April 07 2014, @08:51PM

        by TheloniousToady (820) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:51PM (#27774)

        Insightful/Interesting (+1)

        I've long thought that since "Insightful" often is used for "I agree", there should be some sort of converse. It seems like providing a basic "Agree" and "Disagree" would be the most straightforward way to cover this. Then, maybe "Insightful" would become what it was probably meant to mean in the first place: "I hadn't thought of that but it makes sense".

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:44PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:44PM (#27811)

          I've long thought that since "Insightful" often is used for "I agree", there should be some sort of converse.

          Or maybe we should get agreement / disagreement out of the moderators minds as much as possible. See this comment [soylentnews.org].

           
          To that end, I would also probably ditch the "+1 Insightful" mod.

          In theory, one day I might use "+1 Insightful" on a comment I disagree with, but I don't think it's ever happened yet. The "+1 Interesting" mod is all that really matters: regardless of whether I agree or disagree with the comment in question.

        • (Score: 2) by everdred on Monday April 07 2014, @10:53PM

          by everdred (110) on Monday April 07 2014, @10:53PM (#27840) Journal

          > I've long thought that since "Insightful" often is used for "I agree"

          I had no idea people used it like that. I think the label is pretty clear: "This post brought new ideas to the discussion."

        • (Score: 1) by sgleysti on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:45AM

          by sgleysti (56) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 08 2014, @01:45AM (#27894)

          I've long thought that since "Insightful" often is used for "I agree"

           

          That's what "Informative" and "Underrated" are for ;)

      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Monday April 07 2014, @08:57PM

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 07 2014, @08:57PM (#27780)
        Small nitpick: Slashdot's definition of 'shill' is: "Doesn't align with the Group Think" . For example I have been called a shill for stating that I prefer Windows 7 as a desktop OS. Though I would happily accept a paycheck from Microsoft to make statements like that, I have no such arrangement and my feeling on the matter comes from years of personal experience. I am concerned about the general ability to assess that situation.
        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
        • (Score: 1) by fishybell on Tuesday April 08 2014, @03:49AM

          by fishybell (3156) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @03:49AM (#27932)

          I don't disagree at all, but for it allows for a more moderate moderation than being marked flamebait, troll, overrated, etc. Perhaps a more accurate moderation value would be something like "citation needed." This would get the point across while being more helpful to conversation a whole. For me a shill is someone who repeats propaganda without third party evidence to back it up, and the "citation needed" tag would clarify the real problem.

  • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday April 07 2014, @07:57PM

    by hemocyanin (186) on Monday April 07 2014, @07:57PM (#27708) Journal

    This notion that all opinions are created equal is pervasive. It's why you get the equivalent of news program talking to a geologist about volcanos, and equal time to the flat-earther blaming it all on not giving Vulcan his due.

    Yes, I do get that there is a whole groupthink dynamic that can happen, but is that worse than seeing every crank opinion getting equal time? I don't know, but I think it is worth looking at this "no stupid opinion" bias that is coursing through everything lately, and question its validity, especially in the context of moderation. If the only thing we want to use moderation for is dropping GNNA posts to -1, why not just have a couple people with godlike power to mod such trolls that way, and leave everything else unmoderated? If you feel a sort instant opposition to that, it is your gut telling you that all opinions are NOT created equal, and sometimes, non-troll posts also deserve to be moderated into oblivion. For the wrongly moderated, there are mods that should be browsing at -1 and correcting abuse.

    Last comment, I don't really see a problem with identifying the mods. It's like posting, but in a different way, and it could very well encourage good behavior. Or at least provide fodder for friend/foe lists.

    • (Score: 2) by Non Sequor on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:01AM

      by Non Sequor (1005) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:01AM (#27862) Journal

      All opinions are created equal, but not all arguments in support of those opinions are created equal.

      Take climate change for example. Denialism isn't really about denial, it's about the right's visceral fear that scientific evidence of climate change will be used to justify imposing policies that some elements in the left would have supported without regard to climate change. Factually, the denialism is wrong, but it reflects unease with a course of action which might be taken. Just because their arguments are wrong does not mean that their unease can be disregarded.

      Even if they're wrong it's still worth it to try to find out what they're really concerned about and to try to find some respect for that and to try to bridge the gap and find policies that address people's underlying concerns.

      --
      Write your congressman. Tell him he sucks.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by egcagrac0 on Monday April 07 2014, @08:02PM

    by egcagrac0 (2705) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:02PM (#27714)

    given more and more members, can we keep a high signal to noise ratio? I think it's possible.

    It is possible, until the tipping point. If SN never reaches the tipping point, no problem. If SN becomes a major site, good luck with that.

    moderation guidelines explicitly say you don't downmod for being wrong

    Then perhaps it's time for a "-1, Disagree" or "-1, Wrong" mod. The default moderation weighting for these options could easily be set to +1, to not change the comment's value, but add a flag as "some people disagree with this" or "some people think this is wrong. (They could get flagged for metamoderation, to validate that yes, in fact, pi is not 10/3, despite what the original poster said.)

    bad moderators will be removed from the pool of potential moderators (as they will be awarded a grand total of zero points).

    I'm not sure what specific method you're considering, but I'd suggest that "bad metamod" flags just make it longer and longer until the moderators are eligible for points again. "Oh, instead of being eligible to moderate again tomorrow, it's three days away... or five... or seven..." etc. Obviously, with a system like that, people who consistently misuse moderation (and get caught at it) will end up only moderating once a decade, which is a lot like "problem solved".

    those who have a good reputation for posting are harder to downmod. This is likely to need adjustment if we started get pelted with ungodly amounts of spam

    If we start getting hit with spam, we should look at who is posting the spam. If it's all from new accounts, we could readily say that the first (3, 5, 10) posts from an account don't get a bonus above an AC post, and there's a (1, 3, 5, 10, 15) minute minimum wait time between posts. This should deter people farming spammer accounts, while hopefully only minimally impeding worthwhile discussion.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:08PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:08PM (#27728) Homepage Journal

      I was going to have metamod influence the number of points someone gets vs. how frequently they get them (as mod points will no longer expire). Over time, metamod scores will (slowly) age back to zero, which will allow them to slowly start getting points again.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by egcagrac0 on Monday April 07 2014, @08:21PM

        by egcagrac0 (2705) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:21PM (#27753)

        I suppose that fits with your idea of making mod points perpetual, and replenished hourly.

        I'm not sure about dropping the number of points to zero, however - even a troll may have something of value to contribute. Dropping the mod points to 1 per day would allow contribution, while mitigating damage (and, if they change their evil ways, allow their mods to get positively metamoderated, and allow them to further contribute to the community).

        This is a distinct deviation from my usual "iron boot of injustice, banhammer with extreme prejudice" practice - I may be thinking too positively of my fellow citizens.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:20PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:20PM (#27750) Homepage Journal

      It is possible, until the tipping point. If SN never reaches the tipping point, no problem. If SN becomes a major site, good luck with that.

      I attempt to try and at least keep it less broken than the other site. I may or may not succeed, but just because its unlikely is not a reason to give up.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Monday April 07 2014, @08:25PM

        by egcagrac0 (2705) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:25PM (#27755)

        I think that keeping the S/N ratio high is a good goal.

        It's easy when we're small. Once our local Eternal September hits, I think the strategies will need to be re-evaluated.

  • (Score: 1) by Woods on Monday April 07 2014, @08:05PM

    by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:05PM (#27720) Journal

    It has been my typical policy to never (up)mod AC comments (Since the karma is wasted), but the more I think about it, the more of a bad idea that may be. Rarely I might see a good AC comment, should I start modding them as well?

    Guys, have I been going about this incorrectly the whole time? I think I have a problem with being snooty.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:11PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:11PM (#27737) Homepage Journal

      Actually, ACs *do* get karma on their IPID/SUBIDs, though nothing is done with it as of right now. Obviously, something to be revised in the future.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by cosurgi on Monday April 07 2014, @09:10PM

        by cosurgi (272) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:10PM (#27789) Journal

        oh, wow. very interesting. To make more people aware of that you could print this info somewhere on ACs page: "You are an AC, your current karma is: 2 (will get lost if you post from somewhere else)". The brackets are optional.

        --
        #
        #\ @ ? [adom.de] Colonize Mars [kozicki.pl]
        #
      • (Score: 2) by tathra on Tuesday April 08 2014, @03:42AM

        by tathra (3367) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @03:42AM (#27931)

        i dont know if the whole "wasting karma" mindset can ever be overcome, so allowing AC karma (or something like it) to accumulate would definitely be a good thing. since there's reluctance to mod AC posts anyway, perhaps an IPs posts could go to +1 after, say, 10 posts without a downmod, but go to -1 for any negative karma (which would have to reset after a time). this would allow perpetual anon trolls to always post at -1, but encourage good anon posts and also encourage lurkers to sign up.

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Monday April 07 2014, @09:12PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:12PM (#27791) Journal

      Moderation is not done to improve some user's Karma, moderation is done to improve the reader's experience. So yes, if you see a good AC post, upmod it. Don't hide it from the readers just because he didn't "sign" it. Indeed, the policy to never upmod ACs may discourage ACs from making good posts and encourage them to troll instead.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:29PM (#27799)

      Rarely I might see a good AC comment, should I start modding them as well?

      Of course, you insensitive clod!

       
      But seriously, karma changes are a side effect of comment moderation, not the main purpose. The purpose is to promote good comments. So don't think to yourself "the karma is wasted". When you up-mod an AC, they can't get Soylent karma, but you get real life Karma [wikipedia.org]! Honest!

      I quite often see AC comments at score 0 and think "that deserves at least a score 1", so I give it a point.

      • (Score: 1) by Woods on Monday April 07 2014, @09:34PM

        by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Monday April 07 2014, @09:34PM (#27804) Journal

        Thank you for the insightful comment. I would mod +1, but I already kinda posted on this thread. Instead, I found a VERY insightful AC comment elsewhere that was at 0, and modded it up.

  • (Score: 2) by TrumpetPower! on Monday April 07 2014, @08:06PM

    by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:06PM (#27721) Homepage

    A big part of the question is who's in the metamoderation pool, and how often that body can and actually do metamoderate. If it's just those generally eligible to moderate, that creates a much different calculus than all registered users. And why should we have different standards for moderation as opposed to metamoderation?

    I think there might be merit in not bothering with metamoderation at all, but rather using regular moderation itself for that purpose. If you're the only person to down-mod a post that an half a dozen others up-modded, that should be enough to be considered equivalent to a negative metamoderation. And maybe the post in question really does deserve to be down-modded, in which case you should have the courage of your convictions and take the karma hit. And if another half-dozen people later also decide to down-mod that post into oblivion, that should lessen the karma hit for the first person to down-mod it. If a super-moderator steps in, then the meta-analysis should be swayed in that direction.

    That leads to another point: a super-moderator should be able to moderate something into oblivion as well as into the limelight. If somebody blows a wad of saved-up karma sockpuppets to upmod some racist drivel to +5 and keep it there, if we've got super-moderators, it shouldn't be up to the regular moderators to fight the sockpuppets.

    I'd also suggest letting (regular) moderators spend more points on individual posts, though maybe not at a 1:1 ratio. You might encounter an early post in a discussion that obviously deserves a +5. If we generally trust our regular moderators, why not give them the chance to get it to that level sooner rather than later?

    b&

    --
    All but God can prove this sentence true.
  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Ken_g6 on Monday April 07 2014, @08:07PM

    by Ken_g6 (3706) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:07PM (#27725)

    Someone posted here some time ago about a User Script to make D1 work like D2. [userscripts.org] I've been using it since, and it's worked very well for me. Maybe it could also be a basis for a D2-like system? It's GPLed.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Angry Jesus on Monday April 07 2014, @08:10PM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:10PM (#27733)

    If too many people are misusing moderation to indicate simple approval/disapproval (or even "I think that post is false but I am too lazy to explain why") how about adding a parallel mod system to give those people something to do instead of polluting the mods that are meant to measure quality. Do something like Ars Technica and give everyone unlimited agree/disagree points to use on posts that are independent of the current system of mod points. Kind of like those walk buttons at the traffic lights that don't speed up the light change but they make people more empowered (and thus less frustrated). Of course you could also experiment with letting those popularity points have an effect, like letting people filter on "groupthink" (lots of up votes) "anti-groupthink" (lost of down votes) and "controversial" (lots of ups and downs).

    If you did it in parallel with the current mod system you could iteratively tweak its behavior without breaking the mostly good system we've got now. It might turn out to be useless, but I think it has the potential to increase the quality of the important moderations.

    With respect to attracting new users:

    I've seen complaints from newbies at the old site who didn't understand why their posts get modded (or worse don't get modded). They see a single down-mod and take it as "the system" is really an old boys club and they decide it isn't worth participating. I think you could help to keep new blood around by explaining to them what it means when their post got down-modded. Just spit-balling here, but maybe for the first 25 down-mods, add a note to the post that only the poster can see that says "sorry you were down-modded, please understand it was just 1 person out of thousands who didn't like your post, don't let that discourage you from participating, sometimes it takes a while to get the knack of writing persuasive and informative posts."

    The idea is that when someone faceless does something even marginally hurtful to you it is super easy to take it personally and blow it completely out of proportion. So apologize (to assuage the hurt) and encourage them to keep trying.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @08:13PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @08:13PM (#27740) Homepage Journal

      I actually strongly considered that before rejecting it on the basis of "too confusing". That being said, you've brought up a decent point, and it might be a good way to get people to stop abusing the moderation system for agree/disagree. Depending on the number of Agree/Disagree, the post can be tagged "Popular", "Controversial", "Unliked".

      As for the notice system, I can amend something like that to the "Comment Moderation" template.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:18PM (#27796)

        I actually strongly considered that before rejecting it on the basis of "too confusing". That being said, you've brought up a decent point, and it might be a good way to get people to stop abusing the moderation system for agree/disagree. Depending on the number of Agree/Disagree, the post can be tagged "Popular", "Controversial", "Unliked".

        I don't think it needs to be too confusing. The agree/disagree system could be just some little thumbs up / thumbs down icons with numbers next to them, shown in the same line as the score, but maybe all the way on the right hand side. Any logged in user (including moderators) could click these at any time and increment one of the numbers. People would hopefully then get used to this being a completely separate system, causing minimal confusion, and helping to emphasize the point that moderation is something separate, and is not about agreement / disagreement.

        There's no need to implement anything (like filters for the agreement / disagreement numbers) on top of this straight away. It can be enough at first just for those numbers to be visible.

         

        As for the notice system, I can amend something like that to the "Comment Moderation" template.

        Yes. Angry Jesus makes a good point about new users, and giving them soothing words in the "Comment Moderation" messages in their inbox would be a 'quick win' in that direction.

        Thanks for all your efforts!

        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday April 07 2014, @10:01PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Monday April 07 2014, @10:01PM (#27818) Journal

          AJ and AC make some good points -- here's virtual +1 agreed

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @08:22PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @08:22PM (#28433)

        This is an interesting article about how wikipedia has automated anti-abuse functions and also the unintended side-effects on things like newcomer retention. It is intended for mass-media audiences, not developers, but still something to stick in your brain and let percolate.

        http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/18/5412636/this-mac hine-kills-trolls-how-wikipedia-robots-snuff-out-v andalism [theverge.com]

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by gringer on Monday April 07 2014, @08:35PM

    by gringer (962) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:35PM (#27763)

    People will frequently downvote something they don't agree with, so why not add in 'agree' / 'disagree' for those people who want to abuse the system in that way?

    My idea would be that agree/disagree wouldn't affect the standard moderation score, but would add another dimension to it, something like an a floating point number between 0 and 1 indicating the agreement ratio. People could filter on strong disagreement if they want a cotton-wool view of the world, or ignore the agreement ratio and concentrate on the contribution to discussion.

    --
    Ask me about Sequencing DNA in front of Linus Torvalds [youtube.com]
    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Monday April 07 2014, @09:15PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:15PM (#27794) Journal

      People frequently shoplift, so why not legalize it?

      Just because people frequently do something doesn't mean it is right.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1) by jdccdevel on Monday April 07 2014, @09:35PM

      by jdccdevel (1329) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:35PM (#27805) Journal

      I REALLY like this idea.

      In fact, I'd like to expand on it. Why not have agree/disagree be open to every user? You could use it as a "Controversy" marker, sort of a micro-mod?

      What I'm thinking is an completely new Agree (+1)/Disagree(-1) ratio. The ratio would start a 1, as obviously one user (The poster) Agrees with the comment. Every logged in user would then have the option to mark the comment with an "Agree" or a "Disagree", which would move the Controversy ratio around. Really controversial comments would then have a "Controversy" ratio that would settle around 0.

      This could be tied into the moderation system, such that moderation of controversial comments could be made harder... And/Or they could be automatically modded "+1 Controversial" when the total number of "Agree/Disagree" modifiers reaches a certain threshold. In the same vein you could add a "+1 Consensus", which would apply if the total is greater than a threshold and the ratio is greater than some value (say 99%)

      If the idea is to encourage discussion, and preserve a good Signal/Noise ratio, I can't think of a better way than exposing controversy and groupthink for what they are. Why have it hide in the shadows, hidden by the complexity of the moderation system, when we have the ability to expose it?

      • (Score: 2) by gringer on Tuesday April 08 2014, @07:53AM

        by gringer (962) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @07:53AM (#28024)

        What I'm thinking is an completely new Agree (+1)/Disagree(-1) ratio. The ratio would start a 1, as obviously one user (The poster) Agrees with the comment. Every logged in user would then have the option to mark the comment with an "Agree" or a "Disagree", which would move the Controversy ratio around. Really controversial comments would then have a "Controversy" ratio that would settle around 0.

        Yep, you've got the idea. However, truly controversial comments would have a score of 0.5 (which I would call an agreement score). A score of 0 means that almost everyone else disagrees with the poster, which is hardly controversial -- it just means that the group agreement is for something different from what the poster said.

        --
        Ask me about Sequencing DNA in front of Linus Torvalds [youtube.com]
        • (Score: 1) by jdccdevel on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:24PM

          by jdccdevel (1329) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:24PM (#28167) Journal

          Actually, in my +1/-1 scenario, 0 is the controversy score. Disagreement would cause a score of -1. If you had "+1 Agree/0 Disagree" then controversial comments would have a ratio of 0.5

          The Math for my scheme:
          ControversyScore = (NumAgree - NumDisagree)/(NumAgree+NumDisagree)

          Your Scheme:
          ControversyScore = NumAgree/(NumAgree+NumDisagree)

          Same idea, different math. Either one is valid.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Monday April 07 2014, @10:26PM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Monday April 07 2014, @10:26PM (#27827) Homepage Journal

      I've been convinced. We're going to add an Agree/Disagree option, though those won't affect comment scores, and will be open to all as a type of moderation.

      --
      Still always moving
  • (Score: 1) by kwerle on Monday April 07 2014, @08:48PM

    by kwerle (746) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:48PM (#27770) Homepage

    Set a focus for the site.

    Stick to that focus.

  • (Score: 1) by GlennC on Monday April 07 2014, @08:55PM

    by GlennC (3656) on Monday April 07 2014, @08:55PM (#27777)

    But first, thanks for the Kuro5hin reference. I haven't been there since 2009...in fact, I'm surprised I still remember my password.

    I'll give you the same advice I gave Rusty back in the day, and that is that it's ultimately YOUR site. While it's great that you're looking for input and assistance, it's YOUR ass on the line in the end.

    As for my take on moderation, I'd reduce the number of options for both up and down moderation.

    My +1 categories:
    - Interesting
    - Insightful
    - Informative
    - Funny

    My -1 categories:
    - Spam
    - Troll
    - Incorrect

    Take it for what it's worth...a bunch of recycled electrons.

    --
    Sorry folks...the world is bigger and more varied than you want it to be. Deal with it.
    • (Score: 1) by boristhespider on Monday April 07 2014, @09:13PM

      by boristhespider (4048) on Monday April 07 2014, @09:13PM (#27792)

      I've often wanted a -1 Moron option (or -1 Incorrect) but in reality I'd argue against it -- the level of knowledge of moderators is only as great as the level of knowledge of the general posting pool, and while there are very few areas in which I can claim any expertise, in those few that I can I can guarantee that incorrect posts are modded to heaven and correct posts left languishing or even (unforgiveably) modded as Troll or Flamebait. That being so I imagine that areas outside my expertise are at least as badly affected.

      It would also be far too easy to mod someone as Incorrect simply because you disagree, rather than that their post is actually incorrect. Again, in my field (cosmology), it would be very easy to mod many of my posts "incorrect" because many of their statements are not mainstream. However, many of *any* posts written by someone about their own current research are not going to be mainstream, for the simple fact that no-one spends time researching the mainstream. That being so, it would be extremely easy, by reference to any textbook of cosmology, to mod a deliberately strongly-stated post of mine such as "The theory of cosmology is, in principle, entirely unphysical and is no more than phenomenology" as 'Incorrect' (although I must add that on Slashdot that rarely happened, and I would hope that that tolerance for inflammatory statements followed up by the reasoning will carry over to here). Naturally that's not the best example but it's the best my own field of expertise immediately suggests, and selfishly I wouldn't want to get modded down simply because someone less well-educated in this precise field declares me wrong.

      (A similar issue plagues Wikipedia -- it can be very hard, even with good sources in peer-reviewed journals, to get much attention for a non-mainstream viewpoint on some articles. I've ended up giving up a few times because I simply don't have the time or energy to argue with a self-appointed "expert" in something I believe I *know* all the experts in, and known that none of them camp on a Wikipedia page. This was years ago and I've heard Wikipedia have improved this since, but how they did this -- or even if they actually did -- I don't know.)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07 2014, @09:36PM (#27806)

    Have you considered having separate down and up mod points?
    It seems like you could give moderators 5x as many "up mod points" as "down mod points", if you want to encourage up modding...

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by zocalo on Monday April 07 2014, @10:01PM

    by zocalo (302) on Monday April 07 2014, @10:01PM (#27817)
    While we're on the topic of S/N and moderation, what is the view on stuff like the "Oblig. XKCD", pop-culture references and other meme posts commonly found on the other site. Do we want them, and how should they be moderated?

    While I find they seldom add any further threads to the discussion, they can often add a moment of humour and I've quite often found a link to XKCD, or a scene from TV show or film, to encapsulate a viewpoint quite succinctly. The flipside of that is that it sometimes seems like there is an informal competition to be the first to identify and post a relevant XKCD to a discussion thread. "Oblig. XKCD" has become a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Do we want to have SoylentMemes, or is that a path to trivialising the real meat of the content?
    --
    UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
  • (Score: 1) by Aiwendil on Monday April 07 2014, @10:40PM

    by Aiwendil (531) on Monday April 07 2014, @10:40PM (#27833) Journal

    The modding seems like an interesting experiment and I have no comments on that.

    However with regard to display of posts I would like to see one or two bottons more to the right of the Parent and Reply to, the buttons I want to see is "expand thread" and it will only expand (show as "nested", no idea at what score for cutoff however) from this comment and all comments that are its children (and grand children, and grand grand children and...) and maybe one that is "expand tree" that will do the same as "expand thread" but as 'origin point' use the first message in the tree..

    Some crude ascii-art to illustrate what I mean.
      Article
          +- A
          +- B
          |+- Ba
          ||+- Baa
          ||+- Bab
          |+- Bb
          +- C
    Where if you clicked on "expand thread" at Ba it will show Ba, Baa and Bab, but if you clicked "expand tree" in Ba it will show B, Ba, Baa, Bab and Bb

    • (Score: 1) by Aiwendil on Monday April 07 2014, @10:42PM

      by Aiwendil (531) on Monday April 07 2014, @10:42PM (#27835) Journal

      Oh, and for the love of whatever thing you maybe consider whorshipping. make this non-javascript (my tabcount in the browser tend to change with a few hundred over the course of a day - javascript can become _very_ nasty on some sites with that usage so I normally keep it turned off (I also keep javascript turned off in order to kill interactivity (google's keyboard hijacking and its endless scroll being great examples of reasons why it is turned off))

      This post made in order to keep the important post clean.

  • (Score: 1) by el_oscuro on Monday April 07 2014, @10:49PM

    by el_oscuro (1711) on Monday April 07 2014, @10:49PM (#27839)

    We have a preview option for comments. Why not for moderation? There is nothing like accidentally moderating something "-1 flamebait" when you meant to moderate it "+1 informative". This would become much more important if commenting no longer undoes moderation.

    --
    SoylentNews is Bacon! [nueskes.com]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @04:50PM (#28280)

      TFS:

      I also plan to implement moderation previews which should help make sure you don't misapply moderations.

      I would also possibly use the preview to deal with mis-counting ("you have submitted X moderation actions but only have Y points left, please set (X-Y) of these back to 'Normal'.")

      And I would also possibly use the preview to remind about this issue [soylentnews.org] ("You are about to down-mod mod N comments. Please consider quickly double-checking each one, to ensure this isn't just because you disagree with it.")

  • (Score: 1) by Lemming on Monday April 07 2014, @11:26PM

    by Lemming (1053) on Monday April 07 2014, @11:26PM (#27849)

    About the Moderation Eligibility part. I totally agree about a cooldown period for new accounts.

    But if I understand correctly, only people who post regularly will get modpoints if this is implemented. I'm not a frequent poster myself, I only post when I think my post really adds value to the discussion, with something that hasn't yet been said. I actually aim to post only +4/+5 comments (in which I succeed about half the time). My average posting count on the other site varies, but it gets to less than one post per month at times.

    On the other hand, I have "Karma: Excellent" over there, and I get 15 mod points each few days. I moderate a lot, and try to be as correct as possible in doing so. I actually see this as my main contribution to the community.

    It would be a pity if I didn't get the chance to moderate, just because I don't post enough myself. Eligibility to moderate should be based on the quality of past moderations, and thus decided by M2. You should probably start with just a few modpoints, and have more of them after positive M2.

    I can see the reasoning behind this (harder to game, avoid astroturfing), but I really don't like people who are not trying to game the system excluded because of this.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by prospectacle on Monday April 07 2014, @11:47PM

    by prospectacle (3422) on Monday April 07 2014, @11:47PM (#27857) Journal

    "perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away" - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Anyone looking to game the system will benefit from it being complex and difficult for the average user to understand.

    All of your goals are admirable: Preventing sock-puppets, spite, spam, and the tyranny of the majority. To achieve this, i think a lot more needs to be taken away from the proposed rules.

    There are some great ideas among your list, which may suffice by themselves:

    1 - Time and karma threshold to be eligible for moderation.
    2 - Mod-points replenish over time.
    3 - Down-modding is more expensive than up-modding.
    4 - Can comment after you've modded in a thread, but not before.

    - Point 1: acts as a kind of meta-moderation in itself; the quality and consistency of your posts are what qualify you to rate other people's. It also makes sock-puppets harder to maintain, and requires that they provide enough good posts of their own.

    - Point 2: could be extended so you have a maximum # of points, but you only get replenished one point a day, for as long as you meet the criteria in point 1. This way people will know they won't run out of points forever, but they'll have to think about how they use them and be sparing. If everyone who met the criteria in point 1 got points, then there'd still be plenty of modding, and it would be spread more evenly among long-term good-faith members.

    People wouldn't hoard their points either, because when they reach the maximum, they can't get anymore until they spend some, so it's worth spending them regularly.

    - Point 3: could be simplified and still be effective: e.g. it costs twice as much to downmod as to upmod. Downmodding would instantly decrease. No more complexity need be included, imo.

    - Point 4: is very insightful and I can't see any way to improve it.

    --
    If a plan isn't flexible it isn't realistic
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:57AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @02:57AM (#27918) Homepage Journal

      One point a day likely will mean there's not enough points to get moderation to actually work ....

      As for the rest, I'm still fine tuning the specifics, this is just a broad plan.

      --
      Still always moving
      • (Score: 2) by prospectacle on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:20AM

        by prospectacle (3422) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:20AM (#27960) Journal

        I believe it would be enough points if enough people received a mod-point-per-day.

        Every long-term, high-karma user could get one point per day, and then it would be hundreds of points. You could also require they'd been active in the last X days.

        Some people might not use their points very often, but then when they did, they'd have more to use. So it would average out, and there would be a close relationship between # of active, genuine users and # of mods exercised per day.

        Limiting the rate in this way means people would think twice before spending a point, but they would want to spend them, because if they reach their maximum allowance then they won't receive any more points until they spend some. This would also give an incentive to log in and be active more often.

        Widening the pool to all qualified users would mean there were still plenty of points spent each day, without allowing spammers or (casual) sock-puppets, and while discouraging frivolous mods.

        --
        If a plan isn't flexible it isn't realistic
        • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:31AM

          by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <michael@casadevall.pro> on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:31AM (#27967) Homepage Journal

          It wouldn't be enough. Right now, the moderation system is handing out ~4000-10000 total points as of right now, and posts still struggle to get to higher scores.

          --
          Still always moving
          • (Score: 2) by prospectacle on Tuesday April 08 2014, @06:56AM

            by prospectacle (3422) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @06:56AM (#28005) Journal

            Is that total number of points given out a useful measure by itself? For example, how many users are these points spread over? How many points does a person (with points) spend on average per day?

            If the proportion of (qualified) users who have mod-points is low, then it would be easier to increase that proportion, than it would be to increase how many mod points a person spends each day.

            If the proportion of qualified users with points is high, then it would be good to have some FAQ addressing what makes one qualified (if there is one I apologise, I couldn't find it). For example I post a few times a week, have high karma, have been around for a while, but I must be doing something wrong that I'm unaware of, as I've never received mod-points. I don't really mind one way or the other, but if I had them I would probably have spent them.

            --
            If a plan isn't flexible it isn't realistic
  • (Score: 2) by hubie on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:47AM

    by hubie (1068) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 08 2014, @12:47AM (#27876) Journal

    I have always browsed at -1, here and at the other site. I find it to be much more interesting that way, and a lot easier to read (I hate having a comment jump out from within a thread with no context around it). However, seeing every post leads one to wish for the ability to collapse a thread, or subthread. At least with the indentation it is easy to scroll by them very quickly. I'm curious as to why people wouldn't normally browse that way, especially here when the post counts are much lower.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by canopic jug on Tuesday April 08 2014, @06:26AM

      by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 08 2014, @06:26AM (#27989) Journal

      Making it easier to browse at -1 would help. On posts with lots of discussion the threads can run several pages. When selecting the link to the next page, the new page does not start where the old one left of thus making it hard to continue. So improving how you can page through the comments would help with -1 browsing.

      Also, a problem at the other site is that if you browse at -1 and then moderate a comment, you are returned to the discussion at +2 or whatever not -1 where you were. Having the display continue at -1 (or whatever) even when moderating would make it easier to stay at -1 instead of making it a lot more work.

      --
      Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:00PM (#28291)

      I set the threshold to -1 the first time I moderated, and haven't bothered to change it again since then.

      If conversations normally had 100s of comments though (like on the old site), I would probably read at 0 or 1 or 2, and only switch back to -1 for moderating.

  • (Score: 1) by Tramii on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:29PM

    by Tramii (920) on Tuesday April 08 2014, @05:29PM (#28306)

    Can someone explain exactly what problem exists that we are trying to fix?

    The original article mentions "the system as it exists today doesn't really work. Plenty of comments never leave their starting moderation score, (at least on the other site), get buried under hundreds and hundreds of other comments." Why is this considered a problem? Most of the comments made are neither amazing nor terrible. This is to be expected, so why is this considered a bad thing? Comments that don't stand out in some way get buried. Ok.

    It sounds more like you want people to make AMAZING INSIGHTFUL comments. Well sure, that would be awesome. The problem is, it's hard. I don't see how changing the moderation is going to get people to suddenly become smarter or more witty.

    Can someone give an example of a comment that was really good, but got ignored/downmodded?

    Also, the article mentioned that "the moderation guidelines explicitly say you don't downmod for being wrong, its obvious this is happening, and even starting to effect discussions here." The problem here is that there really isn't any good guidelines given for modding. I dug around and found the Moderation Guidelines (http://soylentnews.org/moderation.shtml) but they don't give me any idea what I should do in the following situations:

    1) A poster makes a comment praising a person/company/product I hate.
    Am I allowed to downvote this? What if they are praising/supporting something illegal/immoral?

    2) A poster makes a comment attacking a person/company/product I love.
    Am I allowed to downvote this? What if they are outright lying?

    3) A poster makes a comment expressing an opinion that is generally considered to be in the minority but they truly believe it is true.
    How can I tell if the person is expressing their own person opinion vs just try to stir up trouble?

    The only problem I see, is that I really have no idea how I am expected to moderate. The Moderation Guidelines give only vague hints and what is expected. "Do not promote personal agendas." Like what? Can you give an example? Plenty of people here push their own personal political/ideological agendas. Should we be working to stop that? "Do not let your opinions factor in." This is basically impossible. Your opinions about what is right/wrong and what is valuable/worthless color everything you do and think. "Simply disagreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it down." Then what IS a valid reason?