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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: 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.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +3  
       Interesting=3, Total=3
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (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

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                        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.

                             

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                            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.

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                            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.