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posted by NCommander on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the now-with-longer-half-lifes dept.

Ok, I meant to have an open forum about moderation *way* before this point. I did read the various feedback and comments left on my journal and the last moderation, and have made some changes to the moderation system.

First, mod points now expire after eight hours. I'm willing to extend this to 12 or 16 hours after I'm sure comments will still reach +5 fairly regularly. With luck, we'll get to the point we can extend mod-points to last a full 24 hours which I suspect will end most of the complaining on them vanishing too soon.

Second, I'd like to open the floor to making a more fundamental change to the moderation system. Specifically, allowing people to post AND moderate in the same discussion. We've seen plenty of posts get up to +5, which means 3-4 people gave up their right to post to keep our comments high quality. This was brought up during our last plea for stories, and I wanted to solicit more feedback before unleashing this upon the site.

I've floated the idea on IRC, and it seems there's a fair bit of support for removing the post/moderate split, though we'd need to make some changes to prevent rampant abuse. Here's what was suggested to keep things sane:
  • Mod points won't roll back after a post
  • Moderators can post in the same discussion (either before or after moderating), but can not moderate replies to their posts.

I've heard various ideas such as limiting it only after mods have expended their points (this will require implementing a cooldown to prevent a user from getting points again too soon). I want to hear your feedback, and I'll roll together something for the next major update of the site. Leave your comments

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by calzone on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:16AM

    by calzone (2181) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:16AM (#23934) Journal

    It's not just replies to their own posts that are of concern.

    a) prevent any mods on a post that precedes your post in the same thread (backward all the way to the top)
    b) prevent any mods on parallel posts that share the same grandparent as your post, and any of their replies
    c) of course, prevent mods to replies to your posts

    roll back any such mods if the user posts... ideally give back the mod points instead of having them vanish into the ether


    Time to leave Soylent News []

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

    Total Score:   4  
  • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:27AM

    by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <> on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:27AM (#23940) Homepage Journal

    Complicated to code because of the way slash handles comments/parenting unless I ping the database a shit ton. That being said, changing the behavior to restore mod points may be the way to go here.

    This will require a behavioral logic that after X period of time, points are either not refunded, or rollbacks don't occur to prevent people from being able to get modpoints "on demand" so to speak.

    Still always moving
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TheRaven on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:37AM

      by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:37AM (#23971) Journal
      Stick a thread id into the db then. Every new root comment gets a new one, every comment that is a reply inherits. No moderation if you've posted something with the same thread id as the one you're trying to modify.
      sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:56AM

        by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <> on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:56AM (#23983) Homepage Journal

        ++, figure we can cache the value if need be in the database. We can write a slashd check to generate them retroactively by walking the parent on every comment to generate a thread id (which we can pin out somewhere on the comment bar). A good way to limit moderation to specific threads.

        Still always moving
        • (Score: 2) by TheLink on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:29AM

          by TheLink (332) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:29AM (#24615) Journal
          What I'd really prefer is the ability for users to hide an entire thread/branch for themselves alone. Some stories attract "the same old arguments" over and over again. So it will be useful if we can hide|close/unhide|expand threads/branches. Nice but not so important would be a way to toggle all the custom hiding. The hiding shouldn't persist- if you reload/leave the page it should all be forgotten- this should reduce server resource requirements.

          And back to the topic, I used to call the thread id stuff a "genealogy" - each comment would have a genealogy- which is actually all its ancestor's IDs concatenated together. The genealogy can get quite long though. So you might not want to do that sort of thing.

          I don't actually care much either way - modding and commenting on the same story or not. Even if you implement your "no mod on same thread" thing I bet you'd still have people creating multiple accounts to do so, so you could save a fair bit of work by just not allowing it and then the people who really want to do it will create multiple accounts :).

          But if you really want to go overboard and use lots of resources you could allow users to create "Points of Views" - then you can choose to see a discussion as modded by a particular Point of View. After some number crunching of all the PoVs with some fancy math that I don't know but mathematicians must have figured out years ago, you can probably generate Top X group PoVs. But this is probably more useful for something like NetFlix, Amazon, Ebay (which have the problem of not realizing that sometimes you're not picking stuff for yourself, but for your aunt/niece - it doesn't mean you want a zillion "My Little Pony" suggestions just because you bought one item - and it'll be helpful if you can go she likes X Y Z, hates ABC, and the site says ok try shopping with this PoV). But I digress :p.
    • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Reziac on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:12PM

      by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:12PM (#25199) Homepage

      I think the reason being unable to mod on a discussion where you've also posted is a concern is because post counts are still relatively small, making it easier to add to a discussion (feel more like you'll be heard) and discussions still need all the comments they can get... meaning LESS chance to spend mod points, because, well, *discussion*.

      Second, I'd be more likely to spend all my mod points over 3 days than over 4 or 8 or 24 hours. I take it seriously and I only mod up (a post must be truly egregious before I'll mod down, and I think that's happened all of twice in 15 years). I feel a responsibility to use them well, not to use them fast, and that conflicts with their short shelf life.

      Also, I think worrying over "reaching +5" is silly -- if anything, right now a lot of marginal and meh posts are winding up at +4 and +5, probably because the mod points expisre so fast that they're just being flung at the nearest halfway-intelligent comment, oft as not.

      In short, I'm good with the slashdot system; obviously it worked very well for a long time, and survived a number of upheavals and shifts in the userbase without becoming either a burden or a drawback to discussion. Let nature take its course and don't try to micromanage, and all will go well.

      (Been on the road 4 days and where do I come to catch up on the world? You guessed it. :)

      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by naubol on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:29AM

    by naubol (1918) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:29AM (#23945)

    Uhh, so how about this, post distance is calculated as minimum number of moves from current post to another post, moves being going up to a parent or going down through to a child.

    Then, you say, you may not moderate any post that is within 5 moves of a post you made. Top level posts are considered not connected to each other.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:00AM

      by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <> on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:00AM (#23956) Homepage Journal

      If I need flowcharts to explain why you can and can't moderate system, I think it fails the simplicity test. Moderation is supposed to be quick, easy, and painless, not requiring brain surgery, and a deluge of posts that "I can't moderate X"

      Still always moving
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by FatPhil on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:36AM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:36AM (#24033) Homepage
        Simplicity good. How about:
        a) You can moderate a thread you've not posted to
        b) You can post to a thread you've moderated, the moderations will not be revoked
        c) You cannot moderate anything in a story after you've posted.

        This encourages moderation as you have to hand them out early before you dive into the discussion.
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 1) by crutchy on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:16AM

      by crutchy (179) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:16AM (#23995) Homepage Journal

      /me drives tractor over posts

    • (Score: 1) by Balderdash on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:26PM

      by Balderdash (693) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @06:26PM (#24390)

      Seven Degrees of Soylent Bacon?

      I browse at -1. Free and open discourse requires consideration and review of all attempts at participation.
  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:54AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:54AM (#24001) Journal

    I don't think a) is a good idea. Quite the opposite: I think it would be sometimes worthwhile to be able to both moderate and say in a reply why you moderated that way.

    The only problem that can arise from this is "comment highjacking" to get a prominent position without the parent post shown, but I think that should be addressed differently.

    One possibility would be to have replies to hidden posts be shown in the position where they would be if the hidden post weren't there, that is, if you moderate a post down to invisibility and answer to that post yourself, you'll get a position where your post would have ended up if you had replied to the parent of the post (or if posted top-level, if the post you replied to was a top-level post). This would remove the incentive of "comment hijacking" (and also would solve the problem for those cases where people reply to an already modded down post in order to get a high position, which cannot be solved by moderation restrictions art all).

    BTW, in relation to this: A feature I always had wished for is an option to always show the parents of displayed post, possibly collapsed but definitely not hidden, even if otherwise the post would have been hidden. The lack of that feature is the main reason I currently browse at -1 and just actively ignore any unwanted stuff.

    For (b) I have no idea what problem is to be solved, but I wouldn't object to that; I can imagine it hard to implement though.

    For (c), I fully agree.

    And of course, for completeness there has also to be

    d) You certainly should not be allowed to moderate your own posts.

    This is currently automatically covered by the rule of no moderation in stories you posted to, and therefore might be a trivial case to overlook; therefore it deserves an explicit mention although I'd expect it to be completely uncontroversal.

    BTW, Congratulations for the Soylent team to the design update. The site definitely looks better now! (I cannot say much about the functionality yet, but I'm sure it's much improved, too.)

    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by crolix on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:04AM

    by crolix (3777) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:04AM (#24021)

    roll back any such mods if the user posts... ideally give back the mod points instead of having them vanish into the ether

    Not sure about that last one. With a way to reuse the same mod points, people will be less careful with how they use them. I think it should be like posting a comment that you know you can't edit after you post it. It makes you think more carefully about what you post.