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posted by Blackmoore on Monday December 08 2014, @09:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain dept.

I've been hinting around about this for a week or two, so here it is. I circulated this proposal around the staff mailing list before Thanksgiving and got nobody telling me it sucks and to die in a fire, so it falls to you lot to do it if necessary. Let's be clear beforehand though. This is not a complete solution; no meta-mod consideration included for instance. Nor is it a permanent change. What it is is an experiment. Unless you lot are overwhelmingly opposed, we'll run it for a month or two and either keep it, keep parts of it, or trash it entirely based on staff and community feedback. We're not the other site and this isn't Beta; what we as a community want is what's going to happen.

So, here's the deal with the bit that's likely to be most controversial right out front. Bad downmods and mod-bombing both suck hardcore but you can't really get rid of them and still have downmods even with meta-moderation because you still have the same ideologically driven few who think Troll/Flamebait/Overrated means Disagree. To that end, I converted all the downmods to +0 mods and added a proper Disagree +0 mod. They affect neither score of the comment nor karma of the commenter but will show up beside the comment score (and be subject to user adjustment from their comments preferences page) if they hold a majority vote. It'll be entirely possible, for instance, to have a +5 Troll comment and equally possible that the same comment will show as -1 Troll to someone who has Troll set to -6 in their preferences.

Underrated and Overrated are also out. For Underrated, I for one would really like to know why you think it's underrated. For Overrated, it was almost exclusively used as Disagree, which we now have.

Second, everyone who's been registered for a month or more gets five mod points a day. We're not getting enough mods on comments to suit the number of comments; this should have been tweaked a while back but we quite frankly just let it slip through the cracks. Also, the zero-mod system will need the extra points to reliably push comments from +5 insightful to +5 Flamebait if they warrant it. We may end up tweaking this number as necessary to find the right balance during The Experiment.

Third, we're introducing a new Spam mod. As of this writing it's a -1 to comment score and a -10 to the commenter's karma; this may very well change. Sounds easily abused, yeah? Not so much. Every comment with this mod applied to it will have a link out beside the score that any staff with editor or above clearance on the main site (this excludes me by the way) can simply click to undo every aspect of the spam moderation and ban the moderator(s) who said it was from moderating. First time for a month, second time for six months; these also are arbitrary numbers that could easily change. So, what qualifies as spam so you don't inadvertently get mod-banned?

  • Proper spam. Anything whose primary purpose is advertisement.
  • HOSTS/GNAA/etc... type posts. Recurring, useless annoyances we're all familiar with.
  • Posts so offtopic and lacking value to even be a troll that they can't be called anything else. See here for an example.

Caveats about banning aside, if something is really spam, please use the mod. It will make it much, much easier for us to find spam posts and attempt to block the spammers. One SELECT statement period vs one per post level of easier.

Lastly, if I can find it and change it in time for thorough testing on dev, we'll be doing away with mod-then-post in favor of mod-and-post. Without proper downmods, there's really just no point in limiting you on when you can moderate a comment.

Right, that's pretty much it. Flame or agree as the spirit moves you. Suggestions will all be read and considered but getting them debated, coded, and tested before the January release will be a bit tricky for all but the exceedingly simple ones.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08 2014, @09:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08 2014, @09:22PM (#123864)

    Does the spam mod count as one mod point or zero? Because there's been a couple of spam floods with dozens of posts. If abusing the spam mod earns you bans then it should not cost a mod point.

    Starting Score:    0  points
    Moderation   +4  
       Insightful=2, Interesting=2, Total=4
    Extra 'Insightful' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   4  
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08 2014, @09:38PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08 2014, @09:38PM (#123877)

    i think reporting spam should be free to be used by anyone (as it is on most other sites). how that report is treated is the tricky bit.

    if dealt with in an automated manner it could be prone to abuse, but if handled by humans it could become a tedious process with slow results.

    limiting reporting of spam to moderators would eliminate a lot of the abuse risk, but would also limit the ability of users to report spam to it may also adversely affect effective response.

    i like the direction SN is going with attacking spam, so kudos to TheMightyBuzzard and the dev team for their contributions.

    perhaps another anti-spam measure that might be one for the to-do list down the track is the addition of anti-spam rules that test a comment/journal/submission against a bunch of rules that will automatically allocate offending items to binspam. this could be prone to false positives, so new rules that haven't been tried and tested might have an experimental flag that flags something as potential spam without automatically deleting it. example rules might be things along the lines of comments that contain exactly the same text posted within a certain time period, or comments containing external links not in a whitelist by same ip address within certain time period, etc. these sorts of tools could potentially be very complicated, which is why i like the development of a soylentnews api that is progressing in the background. using such an api may enable other non-slashcode devs to get involved in automatically reporting spam. antispambots that develop some trustworthiness after testing may get some kind of authorization to delete as well, but now i'm getting into navelgazing territory.

    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday December 08 2014, @10:55PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday December 08 2014, @10:55PM (#123913) Homepage

      I don't really like that idea because then we start getting into Slashdot flag territory, which will likely create a nightmare for the admins when people start abusing it (I sure hated that feature and abused the hell out of it in Slashdot, flagging insightful comments with the text "-1, Homosexual").

      Making it a mod option can at least restrict it to users with decent standing.

    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday December 09 2014, @12:59AM

      by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <> on Tuesday December 09 2014, @12:59AM (#123975) Homepage Journal

      We already do have the capability to slap a regular expression in and block anything matching it. We just don't use it except in one very specific case unless I'm mistaken.

      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday December 08 2014, @10:57PM

    by frojack (1554) on Monday December 08 2014, @10:57PM (#123914) Journal

    Could we handle that better with a capability to achieve Negative Karma?

    Spam floods wouldn't require modding each such post in the flood if the -10 Karma kicks in AND karma can go negative.
    Modding any ONE of the flood should be sufficient to call the staff's attention, and rather than burden them (or us) with the job
    of tracking down all the spam posts, they could just negative karma bitchslap that account.

    Then the Preferences / Comments setting that currently reads:

      "Karma Bonus (modifier assigned to posts where the user has good karma)"

    could also have a companion setting

    "Karma Penalty (modifier assigned to posts where the user has NEGATIVE karma)"

    If that had a default setting of some minus value, say minus 5, then that spammer's posts (all of them) would simply fall off the screen of must users. One righteous Spam modding could essentially kill all that user's posts.

    However, this all falls down when the spammer posts as AC.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Tuesday December 09 2014, @09:59AM

      by anubi (2828) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @09:59AM (#124130) Journal

      I like the idea.

      I do not know how easy it is to implement but say I wanted to assign +3 to people with karma > 45 for instance...

      That way I would get heavy bias toward the top people here.

      No use trying to hit 50, as often the top people here have strong opinions and have collected a cadre of people who downmod them out of spite.

      Seen that happen too many times; however these folks usually bounce back to the rail within the day.

      We have several dozen really good folk here, and I am quite interested in their take on what has been run up the flagpole.

      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:32PM

        by frojack (1554) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:32PM (#124360) Journal

        Well, you can already bias the Good Karma folks, but I don't think there is such a thing as negative karma yet.

        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:23PM

      by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @02:23PM (#124658)

      If the display for negative Karma stopped at 0 (so even if you had -100 Karma, your page said 0) or even a false value, and was accompanied by an ip-shadowban, I could see that improving things.

      "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday December 09 2014, @12:55AM

    by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <> on Tuesday December 09 2014, @12:55AM (#123973) Homepage Journal

    One point. We could hack it up to cost zero but there really should be enough points to go around what with twenty thousand or so being given out every day. Free Spam mods would also mean anyone could mod every post on the site as spam and overwork the poor editors and admins, so I'm thinking dishing out a few extra points if necessary is probably a better solution.

    My rights don't end where your fear begins.