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.
Personally, I think this is a too-complicated technical solution to a social problem (that isn't really that much of a problem to begin with).
Agreed. Adding "Agree" and "Disagree" mods just sounds like an invitation for disaster. The whole point is that we aren't SUPPOSED to mod like that. Changing the modding system to support it is reconciling the system to reality, when we should continue working to reconcile reality to the system.
See, there's the rub. Trying to change human nature is essentially a guaranteed recipe for failure.
The way I see it we could implement meta-moderation. The problem is how to pick meta-moderators. If you mechanically select them you end up with exactly the same people meta-moderating as moderating with exactly the same results. If you hand select them you invariably fall victim to cronyism and meta-moderation, and thus regular moderation, quickly becomes reddit-like tyranny. The former seems pointless and the latter I'm not okay with even if I'm the one picked as the head tyrant.
It's a damned thorny problem, so we're trying to save time by skipping what we already know doesn't work and trying things we're unsure of.
I would say that trying to fix a social problem with a technical solution is almost as doomed.
It's a damned thorny problem,
so we're trying to save time by skipping what we already know doesn't work
We do? We know the current system doesn't work? It seems okay to me.
What I was talking about were all the options we've seen others try and fail at. Like going to reddit's system or implementing slashdot's version of meta-moderation. Those are both known failures.
As for ours... Right now, very unpopular views often get shot down to -1 and stay there, never to be seen by many people. That's not good for the conversation. I think we can do better. This may be how, it may not, but not trying anything new is a guarantee of nothing changing.