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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday March 10 2015, @09:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the why-we-can't-have-nice-things dept.

Jonathon Mahler writes in the NYT that in much the same way that Facebook swept through the dorm rooms of America’s college students a decade ago, the social app Yik Yak, which shows anonymous messages from users within a 1.5-mile radius is now taking college campuses by storm. "Think of it as a virtual community bulletin board — or maybe a virtual bathroom wall at the student union," writes Mahler. "It has become the go-to social feed for college students across the country to commiserate about finals, to find a party or to crack a joke about a rival school." And while much of the chatter is harmless, some of it is not. “Yik Yak is the Wild West of anonymous social apps,” says Danielle Keats Citron. “It is being increasingly used by young people in a really intimidating and destructive way.” Since the app’s introduction a little more than a year ago, Yik Yak has been used to issue threats of mass violence on more than a dozen college campuses, including the University of North Carolina, Michigan State University and Penn State. Racist, homophobic and misogynist “yaks” have generated controversy at many more, among them Clemson, Emory, Colgate and the University of Texas. At Kenyon College, a “yakker” proposed a gang rape at the school’s women’s center.

Colleges are largely powerless to deal with the havoc Yik Yak is wreaking. The app’s privacy policy prevents schools from identifying users without a subpoena, court order or search warrant, or an emergency request from a law-enforcement official with a compelling claim of imminent harm. Esha Bhandari, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, argues that "banning Yik Yak on campuses might be unconstitutional," especially at public universities or private colleges in California where the so-called Leonard Law protects free speech. She said it would be like banning all bulletin boards in a school just because someone posted a racist comment on one of the boards. In one sense, the problem with Yik Yak is a familiar one. Anyone who has browsed the comments of an Internet post is familiar with the sorts of intolerant, impulsive rhetoric that the cover of anonymity tends to invite. But Yik Yak’s particular design can produce especially harmful consequences, its critics say. “It’s a problem with the Internet culture in general, but when you add this hyper-local dimension to it, it takes on a more disturbing dimension,” says Elias Aboujaoude.” “You don’t know where the aggression is coming from, but you know it’s very close to you.”

 
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  • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10 2015, @11:05PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10 2015, @11:05PM (#155787)


    I've seen others complain about bad modding here lately

    I think I see it happening here in this story

    I'm seeing lots of comments that have the wrong mods here

    Troll mods that arent trolls

    Redundant mods on the first comment expressing an idea

    We need names associated with mods

    When somebody mods a comment then we should know who did it

    Maybe that would make people think twice about doing bad mods

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

    Total Score:   0  
  • (Score: 2) by wantkitteh on Wednesday March 11 2015, @12:01AM

    by wantkitteh (3362) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @12:01AM (#155814) Homepage Journal

    While I appreciate where you're coming from, that would merely make people reluctant to mod at all.

    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11 2015, @12:21AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11 2015, @12:21AM (#155828)


      No modding is better than bad modding

      Modding is a privilege and with privilege comes responsibility

      If somebody is modding then that person should be willing to be held accountable for his or her mods

      That means letting everybody know which comments he or she modded and how he or she modded them

      If someone makes a bad mod then everybody here should know who did it

      That also means that if someone makes a good mod then everybody here should know who did it too

      • (Score: 2) by wantkitteh on Wednesday March 11 2015, @02:13PM

        by wantkitteh (3362) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @02:13PM (#156056) Homepage Journal

        Holding someone accountable? Sounds like you advocate starting flame wars if you disagree with the way someone mods you - there simply aren't any practical methods you can use to hold someone accountable on a site like this. "No modding is better than bad modding" is also entirely wrong - you obviously don't remember Usenet so well. If you don't like the mod system that this site (and many others) use, you are welcome to stop visiting it.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Wednesday March 11 2015, @12:24AM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @12:24AM (#155831) Journal

      I know we're getting OT here and I won't complain being modded as such, however, the people with mod points are the ones who have presumably posted enough under their pseudonym to have been modded up enough to have hit the threshold where they are awarded mod points. If a person is willing to come right out and say stuff, why would they be afraid to have their mods associated with their pseudonym when modding is but another form of saying stuff? Everyone hates on AC because AC can't even link a comment to a pseudonym, but right now, every modder is basically posting AC. I say this a person who tries to commit 20% of my mods to downmodding and so probably one of the people more likely to get flak. I just happen to not care.

      As for the SJW thing -- I'm pretty insulated from that whole scene being A) old with college a distant memory and B) self-employed, but still, there _are_ real issues that need people to push them. Will there be posers out there pretending to be interested in advancing a social cause? Of course. Does that mean every social cause should be dismissed? Of course not. Evaluate the issue on the facts, rather than on some idiot spouting off (and I include myself in the category of idiots who spout off).

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday March 11 2015, @10:23AM

        by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday March 11 2015, @10:23AM (#155977) Homepage
        That's a good analysis, quite insightful. However, I'm not sure full openness is that useful, as it might encourage cliques.

        A half-way step is that moderators are known only to the recipient of the moderation. This has the useful (IMHO) side effect that if you post A/C, you don't get to see who moderates you.

        In the last 24 hours, I've *up* moderated 3 posts by posters who are my *foes*, and I would have no objection to them knowing that whilst I may disagree with almost everything they say, when I agree with it I'm prepared to support it.
        --
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday March 11 2015, @01:12PM

          by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @01:12PM (#156035)

          A half-way step is that moderators are known only to the recipient of the moderation. This has the useful (IMHO) side effect that if you post A/C, you don't get to see who moderates you.

          On the other hand, that opens up a whole new kind of "false flag" trolling.

          "Hey, GeminiDomino, what's going on with those mods? You're being a right git, but it's not trolling!"
          "Oh, that's just FatPhil, he got his panties in a bunch over a flamewar a few days back, and has been revenge modding."

          --
          "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:12PM

            by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:12PM (#156098) Homepage
            If I had partaken in such behaviour would you not be right to out me?

            Metamod through shame.
            --
            Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
            • (Score: 2) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday March 11 2015, @04:44PM

              by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @04:44PM (#156143)

              Sorry, I thought it would be obvious by describing it as a "false flag," but the point is basically that you, in that little narrative, would have done nothing of the sort.

              --
              "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
              • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday March 11 2015, @05:27PM

                by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday March 11 2015, @05:27PM (#156167) Homepage
                Ah, OK, sorry, I'm being a bit thick. That's not a term I am particularly familiar with (I think I've only seen it during the "gamergate" fuss, which was something I didn't get too involved in).

                However, as both participants in this exchange have accounts, the matter of whether I did in fact mod-bomb you can be settled by a site admin with one very simple query. Were punishment for a false accusation to be something similar to a false "spam" moderation, karma-death and/or a ban, would you risk it? (This is one reason I like the inability to edit comments - once baseless accusations are made, they cannot be retracted - evidence remains clearly visible.)

                And in other news, I upmoded another foe earlier today! I'm beginning to wonder whether I choose my foes wisely!
                --
                Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
                • (Score: 2) by GeminiDomino on Friday March 13 2015, @10:54PM

                  by GeminiDomino (661) on Friday March 13 2015, @10:54PM (#157551)

                  However, as both participants in this exchange have accounts, the matter of whether I did in fact mod-bomb you can be settled by a site admin with one very simple query.

                  A valid point, but the solution suffers from scalability issues - n1 posted the other day about staff members' workloads, so something needing human involvement to settle it might be less of a disincentive knowing how busy that they already are and that it might fall through the cracks.

                  --
                  "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
                • (Score: 2) by GeminiDomino on Friday March 13 2015, @11:54PM

                  by GeminiDomino (661) on Friday March 13 2015, @11:54PM (#157580)

                  Well it looks like [soylentnews.org] they're going to be handling any mod-bombing by human hands after all (I hadn't seen that story yet when I posted my response).

                  --
                  "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by wantkitteh on Wednesday March 11 2015, @02:34PM

        by wantkitteh (3362) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @02:34PM (#156066) Homepage Journal

        This site uses a system that acknowledges a simple fact - commenting here is not a privilege because the ability to post comments cannot be taken away. To think any other way is to be naive to the technical nature of the Internet.

        However, mod points are a privilege awarded to those who participate in the community in a manner that community approves of overall. They are also a responsibility in that they should be used according to the guidelines laid out when you get them. Having people abuse mod points is far less of a problem than people posting abusive comments in the first place, whatever form that abuse takes.

        I would argue that, while imperfect, the modding system here is the most effective system we are currently aware of. It maybe needs a little parameter tweaking every now and then to deal with the steadily-increasing number of users, but I would say I'm perfectly happy with it. My own modding habits involve finding stories I'm not interested in commenting on myself and then modding comments however is appropriate. I don't try to stick to an arbitrary ratio of up/down mods as I find that, overall, the occasions when I do heavily down-mod are far out-weighed by the number of up-mods I use, simply due to the quality of discourse this moderation system encourages - messing with that too much is far more likely to be a very bad thing than a good one.

      • (Score: 0, Troll) by Arik on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:06PM

        by Arik (4543) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:06PM (#156090) Journal
        "Social justice" is a codeword for real injustice.
        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
        • (Score: 1, Troll) by Arik on Thursday March 12 2015, @07:49PM

          by Arik (4543) on Thursday March 12 2015, @07:49PM (#156865) Journal
          "Social justice" is a codeword for real injustice.

          If they actually wanted justice then there would be no need for 'social' to modify (reverse, in this case) justice.

          --
          If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11 2015, @04:41AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11 2015, @04:41AM (#155920)

    I did it!!! It was me!! And I would do it again in a second! You are being modded as a troll because you are trolling about being modded as a troll, which makes you a recursive troll, which would be alright if you used *nix! I hope you are happy now that you know who is modding you down!

    Yours, AC

  • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Wednesday March 11 2015, @12:47PM

    We need names associated with mods

    When somebody mods a comment then we should know who did it

    Maybe that would make people think twice about doing bad mods

    The admins and editors know who is modding what. While it's difficult to keep a handle on all mods, it should be fairly clear if some folks are ignoring the moderation guidelines [soylentnews.org] and using mod points to promote their personal agendas rather than improving the quality of discussion.

    I'm not sure if the admins have tools (I suspect it would be appropriate DB queries) to look at users' moderation behavior. Presumably someone who mods down more than they mod up might be subject to closer scrutiny.

    It wouldn't (I know you guys have tons of work to do, but this might be quite useful in identifying those who abuse the moderation system) hurt to have weekly/biweekly/monthly reports detailing the ratio of upmods to downmods and the frequency of the various types of up/down mods for users. Assuming that most users are responsible and judicious in their moderation behavior, taking a closer look at the outliers might provide good information.

    Perhaps this could even be crowdsourced, with the reports being anonymized and an ever-changing group of users identifying those who might be abusing the moderation system.

    I don't know enough about how things are set up on the back-end of SN, but since SN is "people", why don't we use that resource to identify those who may be abusing the moderation system and, based on that information, have the admins take action as appropriate.

    --
    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:09PM (#156093)

      There are all kinds patterns in moderation you can look for.
      Like frequency of mods between user accounts, whether up or down.
      But before we go off hunting bad actors, how about we decide if there is even a problem in the first place?
      A handful of bursty cases isn't a systemic problem, its just a glitch.

      At a bare minimum, come up with some well-defined behaviours that we can agree on as being bad for the site and then start running those reports looking for those behaviours over a period of time, like six months and see how frequent they really are.

      Then publish those reports and we can all decide it there really is a problem worth bothering with.

  • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:48PM

    by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:48PM (#156117) Homepage

    I've seen others complain about bad modding here lately

    People always complain. Modding takes a keen eye, there *will* be less-than-ideal-mods. The idea is that the community is self-correcting, and *in general* mods are indicative of a comment's quality; NOT, that ALL moderations should be held as the word of FSM.
     

    We need names associated with mods

    From the AC...

    Redundant mods on the first comment expressing an idea

    I beleive you refer to this [soylentnews.org], and the redundant part was "how is this news?" which had been discussed previously [soylentnews.org] in this thread, though I'll note the rest of the comment was interesting at least to me.

    When somebody mods a comment then we should know who did it. Maybe that would make people think twice about doing bad mods

    This has been discussed, and I'm under the impression it would do more harm than good, but I'm still not sure. We do have a system setup to help us spot excessive down-modding (abuse), but we really aren't interested in being the "mod police". Feel free to continue discussing, but please consider that this can exacerbate the problem [soylentnews.org], i.e. spark the mod-wars.

    --
    (Score:1^½, Radical)