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
I think the 1-5 system is too shallow once the site has grown. Posting with a karma bonus starts at +2 then only requires two mods to get to +5. If a few people are still reading through the comments, they may all see the same comment at +2 and push it to +5 if they otherwise wouldn't. Karma bonus makes the problem slightly worse, so I'd eliminate that.
I'd start comments at 3 (neutral) and scale down to 1, and up to 10. So2 -> 43 -> 64 -> 85 -> 10
Or something like that. This would give people a little more control over filtering, allocating more modpoints without flooding the system, and further differentiate the quality of posts.
I also really like the idea of a XP based system based off your total score, with each level requiring more karma. But I think for many of us, we just don't like the "stuck at 50 points" thing.
Most people don't mod down. This was one of the false assumptions my rewritten mod point algo based on, assuming more mods would go down than up (which is roughly true on the other site). I'll have to dig the raw numbers out, but the Troll/Overrated/Flamebait mods are *drastically* lower than upmods. If we start at 3 or 1, it would make no fundamental difference. Posts don't go down unless they're really asking for it.
Looking at my post I'm not sure those numbers line up, but you know what I'm getting at. I think 1-2 point downward point slots is good for filtering purposes. Probably one point less for posting anonymously, and the lowest level for truly troll posts.
I would like to see changes to the moderation system that favor Anonymous Cowards a little bit more (like the one suggested here). We don't have too many trolls on the site (yet), but we do have people who want to participate without creating accounts. I know I've felt a disincentive to post with the current system. All it takes is one person who doesn't get the joke or disagrees with me, and I'm down to negative one and the comment is never seen again.
Please consider Anonymous Cowards in your rewrite. Most users who support the site start out as Anonymous Cowards, and some stay that way.
Interesting point. I will point out the obligatory/obvious fact that you can easily register an account while maintaining some degree of anonymity - it's not like you have to provide a SSN to register - and thus obtain the same benefits registered users do. That said I'm personally not opposed to giving a bit of a bump to Anon Coward posters. (Heheh SSN - Soylent Security Number? :P)
I think you will find the current setup is mostly just due to how slashcode was built. On that other site they needed subscription revenue, so it sort of makes sense that the system would give some buffs to registered users to encourage them to subscribe/maintain their subscription. If SN ends up on a donation-based system these sort of incentives may have less use/importance.
[Posted without karma bonus out of respect for parent's point of view]