The Mighty Buzzard writes:
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?
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.
Funny or Insightful or Interesting
Now that we've got a proper disagree because numerous mods, in practice, meant "disagree", a proper "agree" might not be far away.
In practice, it appears: Funny means I agree and LOL, interesting means I agree and I'm too lazy to verify if its true or not and too lazy to research, and insightful means I agree and I know it to be factually correct either by verification at this time or being an expert on the subject.
Could probably abstract "agree" out of those three classes.
Now for a really controversial proposal, how about just laying the cards on the table and issuing a "groupthink" "antigroupthink" mod pair?
I would love to see a "Wrong" mod. This site is rife with people who think they know something, such as on a scientific topic, but they are just flat out wrong. What they say might sound plausible to someone who doesn't know any more than the person making the comment, and this results in the person getting modded up. It isn't hard to find +5 posts where someone has replied to them showing them where they are wrong. You should be able to bring that +5 back down.
Oh, I would love to see that. This place has just as much groupthink to it that Slashdot ever had, but people seem to be in denial about it for some reason (perhaps a feeling that only the cream of the crop switched sites?).
The abstract "agree" is possible, simple even, but I'd really rather hear why we agree or disagree via a more specific mod or better yet a comment. We've got some of the best quality comments out there and I'd hate to do anything to muck that up. Hence not adding a thumbs-up/down button for a separate agree/disagree score. The Disagree mods have always been for those who'd rather silence speech than refute it and an Agree mod would equally be group-think. Bad up-mods however are much less of a problem because nobody filters out too highly rated comments like many people do ones rated too low.