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posted by martyb on Monday May 22 2017, @12:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the community++ dept.

SoyentNews is staffed by volunteers who give of their time and knowledge to provide a forum where people can discuss stories submitted by the community. We have no outside funding source.

Per our advance announcement on Saturday, May 20th, we completed our site update... one day ahead of schedule! And, even more amazingly, the community came together and we had over four dozen people subscribe since then! THANK YOU! Read on for more details.

The Site Upgrade: I am happy to report things went smoothly. So smoothly, in fact, I didn't even notice the upgrade was being rolled out! I was on the site at the time, following along on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), and didn't even realize the updates they were discussing were not on some support server... these updates were on the main site! (Given that I have a long background in QA/test, that's high praise indeed!) Many thanks to The Mighty Buzzard, NCommander, a surprise visit in IRC by "NC|FromTheFuture", and the rest of the SN staff waiting at the ready to help out should things go sideways.

IRC Server Updates: As mentioned in the earlier article, we are continuing apace with moving to Gentoo for our base OS across all our servers. Before we update the OS, all of the facilities and services underlying SoylentNews need be ported over. To that end, Deucalion has been working diligently to port our IRC servers to run on Gentoo and to do so in a 'multi-server' arrangement. (Behind the scenes, SoylentNews staff primarily coordinate our efforts using IRC. Should something go wrong, we do have fall-backs in place, but they are much less efficient.) We will keep you informed as to our progress.

Folding@home: Our progress has been slower and competition has been greater as we reach the higher ranks. We are currently still on track to be one of the Top 300 F@H Teams in the World by May 28th, 2017 — barely fifteen months since we started! To put this in perspective, there are over 226,270 teams behind us. Please consider helping us in the fight against many debilitating diseases such as Huntington's, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. (Original Announcement.)

Site Suggestions: The prior story brought a wealth of comments. Several suggestions for the site look to be both helpful and reasonably feasible to implement.

One proposed change is to provide a means for a user to set an explicit time (or a reference comment) for which comments newer than that would be flagged as *new*.

Several people shared how they had failed to notice their subscription had expired. One suggestion recommended dimming the "Site News" box which shows the site funding status, based on your current subscription status. Dim the box (user preference) when your subscription is up-to-date; display full-intensity when your subscription has expired (or you are an AC). Another suggested we add a banner at the top of the main page to keep folks appraised as to their subscription status (and a link to re-subscribe).

Separately, when viewing an article which appears in a nexus other than "The Main Page", some of the links on the page are particular to just that nexus, and not the site in general. This story, for example, is in the "Meta" nexus.

Staffing: It is my pleasure to introduce a new member of our staff, Xyem, who came on board on May 16th and has already made contributions to our code base! Please join me in welcoming him aboard.

Funding - In a word: WOW! The actual dollar amounts deposited into our accounts remain to be tabulated, but the current estimated tally, (as shown in the Beg-o-meter on the main page in the "Site News" slashbox) tells the tale. As of the time of writing this story, we have reached our base funding goal!

It bears mentioning that the base funding goal only covers our ongoing operations expenses. We have no prudent reserve should something goes sideways. Further, when SoylentNews started, there were setup expenses that were funded out-of-pocket by our founders. That was over three years ago and they have more than graciously allowed us to continue operating so far without insisting on getting repaid. Sadly, this all went down so long ago I don't recall the exact amount, but I believe it was on the order of $5K, total, that is owed two to people. It would thrill me to no end to know that they have been made whole. It is also important, as a Public Benefit Corporation that we be beholden to noone so that we can continue an an entity that provides a forum where the community can have open discussions on topics of interest. The community submits the stories, writes the comments, and moderates the comments. We are here for you.

It bears mentioning, for those who might not be aware, one is able to subscribe multiple times and/or specify a larger amount on the subscription page than the amounts offered. So far this year, NINE people have subscribed at $100.00 and one especially generous person subscribed at $250.00! Oh, and thanks to this upgrade, we have regained support for subscriptions via Bitcoin!

So, we have a stretch goal of $2000.00 which, if we were able to reach it, would allow us to make a significant step towards making the founders whole and allow SoylentNews to stand on its own.

Funding tl;dr: For tax and accounting purposes, all values are based on actual transactions to our bank account. Entirely separate is what we record internally to the site based on user's interactions with the UI, and there are some historical issues which we are addressing. The amounts appearing the "Site News" slashbox are, therefore, close approximations.

[*] We just discovered a few days ago that PayPal charges different fees depending on your local currency. For example, Alice (in America) subscribes to SoylentNews for one year with the suggested amount of $20.00 US using a credit card drawn on a US bank. Günther (from Germany) also chooses to subscribe for one year and at the suggested amount of $20.00 US. He, too uses his credit card, but it is drawn from an account denominated in Euros. You can see where this is headed, right? It appears there are additional fees charged for the conversion to $USD. See PayPal's merchant fees page for the low-down. Pay special attention to the fact that the additional fees are denominated in the user's local currency, not in $USD.

PayPal does inform us of the actual amount requested, the fees charged, and the net amount we receive. (We get similar info from Stripe, but of course, in a different format.) That information is now stored in our site database. But it wasn't always this way. In the very early days, we were mostly just trying to keep the site from crashing because the code on which this site was based had not been supported in several years and was rife with problems. As things stabilized over the ensuing months and years, we could finally bring our attention to other areas of the code. Since accounting was performed strictly by what happened through our bank account, there was little concern about what was happening internal to the site's inherited accounting code. And wouldn't you know it, the historical data had the gross subscription amount, but failed to accurately account for fees. Net amount was set to be the same as the gross amount. We are in the process of rectifying this, but it will take some time. Hence, the amounts shown in the "Site News" slashbox are an approximation.

To summarize, the site upgrade went smoothly, we have one of the top folding@home sites in the world(!), we are still working to improve the site, the community has been amazing in meeting our ongoing funding needs, and we are hoping we can start repaying our founders.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Official Soylent News Folding@Home Team 66 comments

I've taken the liberty of setting up an official folding@home team for Soylent News. In case you aren't familiar with folding@home, it's a distributed computing project that simulates protein folding in an attempt to better understand diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's.

There is more information on the project here, which explains it much better than I could.

Clients are available for Linux, OSX, and even Windows (if you swing that way), so come join our botnet!

That Other Site's team is ranked at 1817, so we've got some catching up to do.

On a personal note, my Dad carries the gene markers for Huntington's disease, and will eventually succumb to it. Research like this is very helpful for understanding, and hopefully developing treatments for it.

tl;dr Our Soylent News team ID is 230319


Original Submission

SoylentNews Update 17.05; Backend Changes; Folding@Home News; Accounts Milestone; Funding Shortfall 145 comments
[Ed Note: I goofed. The upgrade is (roughly) 00:00 on 5/22/2017, no 5/21. Sorry for the screw up. - cmn32480]

[Ed Note 2: Damn devs have made a liar out of me... moved it back to the original schedule noted below. - cmn32480]

[TMB Note: Site update complete. Bumped so folks will notice.]

It has been a few months since we last updated SoylentNews, and we've not been content to rest on our laurels. Our next site update is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, 2017-05-21, depending on staff availability. We'll update this story when we know for sure when it will take place.

Since this post was started, other things have come to light, so there's a bit of everything in here. Read on for the full scoop:

Web Site Changes

In this latest update (scheduled around 00:00 UTC on 5.21.2017, but we are flexible), we have made the following improvements:

  1. Supported subscription payments made with Bitcoin [again].
  2. Fixed a bug which blocked non-whole-dollar bitcoin subscriptions.
  3. Provided immediate feedback of theme changes.
  4. Added button that, when clicked, marks all comments in a story as "unread".
  5. Added support for "<s>" and "<strike>" tags.
  6. Fixed bug where a plus sign "+" in a user's nickname made their user page inaccessible from site links.
  7. Removed unused Javascript code.
  8. Made minor, non-user-facing changes (code cleanup, etc.)

Backend Changes

As always, we appreciate constructive feedback. Reply with a comment to this story, join us in #dev on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), or submit a bug on GitHub.

Separately, the team has made great strides in moving to running on Gentoo. We are taking this step very methodically, making sure we have a solid foundation in place on one server before we even think of rolling it out to the rest of our systems. Yes, that means we will be free from systemd. Kudos to NCommander, Mechanicjay, Audioguy, TheMightyBuzzard, Paulej72, and Deucalion.

SoylentNews' Folding@Home Team Update

It's amazing how spare compute cycles add up! SoylentNews has a Folding@Home team which is helping researchers find a cure for diseases such as Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's — among many others. Our team was launched on Feb. 12, 2016. In just over 15 months, we have amassed well over 300 million points which places us at Team 304 out of 226564! Barring any surprises, and continuing at our current rate, we are on track to break past 300 and into the 2xx's on or about May 28th, 2017.

We are always open to receiving new team members. Contact Sir Finkus for more information, either via email at this site, or via the #Soylent or #folding channels on our IRC -- Internet Relay Chat server.

Accounts Milestone

New account creation has been relatively consistent and steady over the past year averaging out to a new account pretty much every day. It is a pleasure to inform the community that, on May 18th, account number 6600 was registered on the site.

Funding Shortfall

Lastly, it is my sad duty to inform the community that our cash intake has been seriously deficient so far this year. Our budget for the six-month period of Jan 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017 is $3,000 and we are currently at approximately half that, with less than 6 weeks to go.

We have in excess of 100 users who have been active on the site within the last 30 days whose subscription has lapsed. It is easy enough to do — I have failed to notice my own subscription's end on more than one occasion!

Plain and simple, the site needs to pay its bills. Please look at your subscription page and consider making a contribution. The dollar amounts shown in the text-entry fields are the minimum amount required for that subscription duration. We've had a few users anonymously contribute significantly more than that in the past.

Some have chosen to give a gift subscription to NCommander (UID: 2) as a sign of support. However you choose to make a contribution, please do so now.

Thank-you
-- martyb

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @12:28PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @12:28PM (#513456)

    A Scotsman parted with some money.

    • (Score: 2) by art guerrilla on Tuesday May 23 2017, @12:40AM

      by art guerrilla (3082) on Tuesday May 23 2017, @12:40AM (#513863)

      (parasitizing on this post)
      1. ok, that was kind of mildly funny, if predictable; don't think it had to be modded trollish...
      2. talk about 'pay to play', kampers are suggesting what already exists in the (un)real world: fee speech, not free speech, those that can afford to pay the piper, call the tune, and the rest of us can go pound sand... but not elitest at all ! ! !
      3. hate commercials in general (yawn), but LOVE the current one -i think by state farm- where it is two people saying the EXACT same words in two entirely different scenarios, one where the young lady is getting her first car, and one where a suit has got his car stripped and up on blocks... they both say the exact same transcript, but one is totally blissed out, and one is totally miserable...
      proves one of my most favorite-ist lessons about communication in general: CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING...
      just one of a myriad of reasons that ANY course of censorship is doomed to fail, but that is not really the point of the censors, is it ? ? ?
      .
      Empire must fall,
      the sooner the fall,
      the gentler for all...

  • (Score: -1, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @12:43PM (56 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @12:43PM (#513461)

    Not only is downmodding abused, but it would be a good source of revenue: If people want to shut others down, then people should pay for that privilege.

    This should apply not just to "Troll", but to any form of downmodding.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:08PM (39 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:08PM (#513470)

      Let's rather require money to troll or post shitty comments! Pay your $5!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:22PM (20 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:22PM (#513472)

        If we could objectively identify which comments are actually trollish or "shitty", then this would be a moot point. The whole problem is that such comments are not objectively identifiable, and thus a person who wishes to identify a comment as such should be forced to render such an opinion closer to being objective by putting his money where his moderation is.

        • (Score: 1, Redundant) by VLM on Monday May 22 2017, @01:26PM (19 children)

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @01:26PM (#513474)

          The whole problem is that such comments are not objectively identifiable

          In practice doesn't it mean "not left wing"?

          Perhaps adding "14/88" and "snowflake" as moderation options would cut down on inappropriate troll modding.

          But then people will do stuff like set user prefs to -5 "snowflake" mods (or perhaps the other) with the result of less social mixing which is generally seen as a net positive.

          • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Monday May 22 2017, @01:43PM (17 children)

            by butthurt (6141) on Monday May 22 2017, @01:43PM (#513478) Journal

            Urban Dictionary has some definitions for "14/88":

            https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=14%2F88 [urbandictionary.com]

            • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 22 2017, @02:18PM (15 children)

              by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @02:18PM (#513493)

              I can't remember if you're Ameri-burger but in the USA at least since the 70s (if not further) all non-left wing political candidates are traditionally labeled as "literally Hitler". Its actually kinda funny when applied to small town mayoral races. If they don't have that long political tradition in the UK or Canada or whatever, then that joke-moderation probably looks weirder than usual. In UK media culture, was Margaret Thatcher literally Hitler?

              The idea of a non-partisian moderation "Political" is interesting to think about as a more serious, more realistically applicable suggestion. Maybe give it a default weight of +/- 0 but people who are truly supremely allergic to politics could configure their rules to -5 or whatever.

              • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @02:27PM (7 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @02:27PM (#513499)

                You whine about "snowflakes" and then complain yourself about people referring to politicians as "literally hitler". You are fluent in hypocrisy, now how about taking some courses in critical thinking?

                That said, we do need more diverse moderation options and it would be nice if you could see the moderation history for a comment.

                • (Score: 1) by Xyem on Monday May 22 2017, @02:43PM (3 children)

                  by Xyem (6597) Subscriber Badge <xyem@soylentnews.org> on Monday May 22 2017, @02:43PM (#513510)

                  > it would be nice if you could see the moderation history for a comment.

                  If you click the comment id [soylentnews.org] there is a little table beneath the comment which shows the moderations. Is that what you mean?

                  • (Score: 2) by n1 on Monday May 22 2017, @05:54PM (2 children)

                    by n1 (993) on Monday May 22 2017, @05:54PM (#513628) Journal

                    As I understand it, only logged in users with staff access can see the moderation histories.

                    displaying for all to see is likely to create more drama and rivalries.

                    • (Score: 2) by Justin Case on Monday May 22 2017, @06:01PM (1 child)

                      by Justin Case (4239) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @06:01PM (#513632)

                      You can see what moderation has been applied but not who made the mods -- which I think strikes a perfect balance, except in cases of extreme abuse, where the staff would be the right people to investigate.

                      --
                      When the government can crack your encryption, criminals can crack your encryption and drain your bank account.
                      • (Score: 2) by n1 on Monday May 22 2017, @06:08PM

                        by n1 (993) on Monday May 22 2017, @06:08PM (#513638) Journal

                        This is correct, I forgot about that part... For some reason I didn't see it on my phone when i wrote that comment... My mistake.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @02:43PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @02:43PM (#513512)

                  Giving myself a bit of a smackdown, VLM was bipartisan with his 14/88 and snowflake tag names. I think my point still stands since VLM has complained about liberal snowflakes in the past.

                • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by VLM on Monday May 22 2017, @08:54PM (1 child)

                  by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @08:54PM (#513752)

                  In a side discussion about "what is trolling vs flamebait" your first paragraph is the response I'd expect to a good troll.

                  TIFU by not even trolling you back. Part of the problem is my comment was mostly serious "agit-prop" style but I couldn't resist inserting a droplet of troll blood in an otherwise technical discussion, because the technical discussion was about political moderation, and how can you discuss politics without a bit of troll fun? Its like breakfast cereal without milk.

                  The other part of the problem is we basically agree on your second paragraph so why would I argue with someone I mostly agree with.

                  Another reason not to troll on back was the course thing in the first paragraph is weak sauce, that was a good response like a decade ago, but now? There's an old pattern to it where the leftist says "read a book" or "take a class" or otherwise learn something and the right wing guy is like "yeah I read Mein Kampf" or aced philosopy or post-WWII history or whatever " ... and thats why we need nat soc", its just been over done, like a hollywood sequel. Try some other attack vector. I admit there is a respect for the classical martial arts forms, and in that way putting out a very classic traditional stance like that is a form of respect to the past traditions I could tip my fedora to, if only I owned a fedora; well done in a retro-sense.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04 2017, @09:32PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04 2017, @09:32PM (#520372)

                    Have you considered joining cirque du soleil?
                    Because your mental acrobatics are off the chart!

              • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Monday May 22 2017, @03:52PM (6 children)

                by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @03:52PM (#513550) Journal

                The idea of a non-partisian moderation "Political" is interesting to think about as a more serious, more realistically applicable suggestion.

                Indeed, I don't know whether this is the best option -- but I'm personally a bit confused over the use of the "troll" mod myself, particularly since it exists alongside a "flamebait" mod. To my mind, the very definition of "troll" is generally (~90% of the time) someone posting unnecessarily inflammatory remarks intended to "rile up" other people and/or promote off-topic arguments. Basically, I think the traditional definition of "troll" is usually someone who wants to incite a flamewar. "Flamebait," if anything, sounds to me like the same thing but perhaps more obvious and extreme -- yet they both are just "-1" mods.

                The only case where I occasionally see a non-intersection between "troll" and "flamebait" is when a post contains what appears to be rational argument expressed in a non-offensive way, but it seems likely the writer is actually either ignorant or pretending to be clueless about a topic that a rational person should "know better" about. It may be a more subtle attempt to "troll" by getting folks who actually know better to come out and say, "You idiot! Obviously that's not true, if you just look at the Wikipedia article!" or whatever. On the other hand, if there's nothing downright offensive or inflammatory about the post, it's really difficult to tell whether someone is: (1) actually trolling by acting insincerely to provoke disagreement, (2) just clueless or ignorant, or (3) so enveloped in an alternative worldview that they don't acknowledge the facts against them as valid.

                I think a lot of the "controversial" mods of "troll" fall into category (3), even though that's not really a "troll" to me -- it's just somebody with a different perspective. (Maybe an irrational one to many other people, but not actually a "troll.") Rational discussion is about trying to see whether you can communicate with such gaps in understanding, not summarily dismissing them as "trolls."

                So even in most of those cases, I personally refrain from modding "troll," unless it became clear from subsequent discussion that the main aim was (1). I don't know that a "political" mod would actually encompass the other cases here, though it might cover most (though certainly nowhere close to all) cases of (3).

                • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @05:50PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @05:50PM (#513626)

                  On the other hand, if there's nothing downright offensive or inflammatory about the post, it's really difficult to tell whether someone is: (1) actually trolling by acting insincerely to provoke disagreement, (2) just clueless or ignorant, or (3) so enveloped in an alternative worldview that they don't acknowledge the facts against them as valid.

                  I will occasionally engage in (1) for several reasons: To point up the idiocy of a particular point of view, to provoke predictable responses from those who lack critical thinking skills, and to test the validity of Poe's Law [wikipedia.org].

                  as to (2) and (3), I suppose you'll just have to judge for yourself whether or not I engage in such comments.

                  Posting AC for (I hope) obvious reasons.

                • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 22 2017, @08:27PM (4 children)

                  by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @08:27PM (#513733)

                  I always saw "trolling" "flamebait" as victim behaviors, speed of ignition.

                  One trolls like trolling for fish, which involves crusing by in your boat with a tasty morsel on a hook hoping the victim snaps at which point its game on.

                  My 14/88 mention was somewhat troll-ish in that way. Although if no one snaps, hey its also valid commentary to claim we'd end up with partisan moderation names that are kinda snarky, the level of snark sounds very SN in those names which makes the post at least semi-legit. I could turn that light-trolling into outright flamebaiting by suggesting perhaps our moderation tag names for right and left wing moderations should be the "master race" and the "cucks". I know darn well that would get a chuckle out of right wingers while also infuriating and insulting the left wingers which is what makes that flamebaiting as I don't need to lure someone into snapping at a hook, this is game on 100% full throttle at the start.

                  Now flamebait is like chumming the waters; its like dumping a bucket of gasoline next to a campfire. You aren't hoping for a response, you know from experience there's going to be a response and proactively you've staked out a heavily defended position.

                  I can't think of a recent example but a stereotypical editor war would be very flamebait, "I use the one true editor that being emacs only chumps would use anything else" You don't even need to trick an innocent bystander into snapping at the hook to light off a flamewar. I could turn that around into trolling by rephrasing it acting all innocent asking if anyone around heres knowns anything about program editing and might someone please have a suggestion for the best editor for me to try out, knowing darn well that's some bystander is going to snap at that hook then its off to the flames.

                  • (Score: 1) by DECbot on Monday May 22 2017, @08:31PM (3 children)

                    by DECbot (832) on Monday May 22 2017, @08:31PM (#513735) Journal

                    Are you so opposed to systemd that you've blocked it from your recollection?

                    --
                    cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
                    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 22 2017, @09:03PM (2 children)

                      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @09:03PM (#513763)

                      Yeah, you're correct, I forgot to mention that trolling always has some off-topic taste whereas flamebait tastes kinda on topic.

                      Trolling is like we're talking about grilling steaks and someone drives by and tosses a molotov cocktail in the bbq and suddenly flamewar everywhere.

                      Whereas flamebait is like we're talking about flaming bananas foster and you're like what the hell lets use a whole bottle of 151 rum and next thing you know the entire kitchen is flamewar everywhere.

                      • (Score: 2) by DECbot on Monday May 22 2017, @09:44PM (1 child)

                        by DECbot (832) on Monday May 22 2017, @09:44PM (#513785) Journal

                        Ah, I'm following along. So my previous comment is somewhat trollish as it is on topic and can be construed as part of the conversation, but lures people to an off topic flamewar. While going to an article about recent systemd updates and spouting some nonsense like "the only merits that warrants systemd as the default Linux init system are dubious!" is flamebait.

                        --
                        cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
                        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday May 23 2017, @01:57PM

                          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 23 2017, @01:57PM (#514239)

                          That's pretty much how I'd see it, although internet culture being extremely big there is an aspect of the blind men comically trying to explain the elephant. With a side dish of I can tell a hell of a story, but if someone can tell a better one, I might dig the better one, so there is cultural drift.

            • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Monday May 22 2017, @07:26PM

              by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @07:26PM (#513688)

              Urban Dictionary has some definitions for "14/88":

              My calculator also has a definition for 14/88: 0.1590909 (recurring)

          • (Score: 1) by oakgrove on Monday May 22 2017, @07:59PM

            by oakgrove (5864) on Monday May 22 2017, @07:59PM (#513711)

            I long for the day I receive (Score 5: 14/88)

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday May 22 2017, @01:22PM (15 children)

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @01:22PM (#513473)

        I could see $5 to post anonymously. I pay $20/yr for the yellow star so I could see posting as anon being "worth" as much, so $5 is pretty cheap.

        Here's a controversial idea... anyone can post as AC as long as they're paid up subscribers (aka $20/yr)

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Soylentbob on Monday May 22 2017, @03:20PM (14 children)

          by Soylentbob (6519) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @03:20PM (#513532)

          Most definitely not. Being required to log in first to post anonymously would be a big red flag for me. I notice there are many anonymous trolls around, and getting rid of them (or make them pay) might be desirable, but there might be legitimate use-cases for people to actually post anonymously, and just having the word of the staff that logging is kept little enough to not be able to back-trace might not be sufficient. (Also, one-time visitors might have interesting comments, but for sure wouldn't want to pay for that.)

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by AthanasiusKircher on Monday May 22 2017, @04:07PM (10 children)

            by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @04:07PM (#513560) Journal

            Absolutely agree. For all the complaints about AC comments, it seems to me that we have a LOT of reasonable ones. Sure, they may not always be as well thought-out as logged in users, but the percentage of actual trollish behavior seems roughly equal to what you see from logged-in users. Moderation stats [soylentnews.org] from last year here said that 83.5% of mods to ACs were positive.

            And there are all sorts of valid reasons for people wanting to post AC, aside from general privacy or not having/wanting an account. I personally avoid doing it, because I think it's important to be held responsible for one's posts -- I'm pretty sure I've only ever posted two AC comments here, one because I thought of a really off-color joke that I didn't really want to be associated with (but couldn't resist sharing), and one because the point I was trying to make required me to reveal some personal details I didn't want following around my account. I imagine a lot of folks have situations occasionally where the latter issue applies.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @04:50PM (8 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @04:50PM (#513582)

              See the title, AthanasiusKircher.

              In my experience, people who have prodigious memories (and the concomitant verbosity) tend to have lackluster reasoning; I suppose that to such people, remembering a statement engenders the same emotional satisfaction as logically validating that statement.

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by AthanasiusKircher on Monday May 22 2017, @06:20PM (5 children)

                by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @06:20PM (#513642) Journal

                See, you just gave an example of an AC comment that isn't "well-thought-out." Not because it's succinct, nor because it criticizes me personally. (In fact, if you just had commented negatively on my verbosity, I would probably mod you "+1 insightful," even with the quip about "lackluster reasoning.")

                No -- the problem is that you make a logical error in assuming because I often write verbose comments that I only value verbose comments. That's very far from the case. In fact, I love a concise, insightful comment as much as anyone else. Many if not most of the comments I mod up make their point clearly but succinctly.

                In fact, I'll freely admit that I have a verbosity problem. It's actually more difficult for me to express myself concisely. I can either spend a few minutes and type out a few paragraphs, or I can spend three times as long editing it down to one summary paragraph that makes the same points. But I figure my time is better spent with other things that editing for concision here. (I also try to contribute some other things to think about and discuss beyond the posted articles; feel free to ignore them.) I'm mildly embarrassed by my verbosity actually, and I would be very grateful to the site admins to reinstate some sort of comment-expansion mechanism that would hide portions of longer posts unless people want to see them.

                • (Score: 4, Touché) by Justin Case on Monday May 22 2017, @06:38PM (1 child)

                  by Justin Case (4239) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @06:38PM (#513653)

                  You're mistaken; I like concise comments.

                  FTFY. :)

                  --
                  When the government can crack your encryption, criminals can crack your encryption and drain your bank account.
                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @08:23PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @08:23PM (#513729)

                  TL;DR

                • (Score: 3, Informative) by Phoenix666 on Monday May 22 2017, @10:52PM

                  by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @10:52PM (#513824) Journal

                  Studying Strunk & White helped me there. Still struggle with verbosity, too, but it helped. It might avail you or others, too, if you've never checked it out.

                  One other source I'd mention, while we're on the subject of composition: Little Red Schoolhouse. It was a writing course offered at the University of Chicago when I was an undergrad. Changed my life. I think the PDFs of the materials can be found online.

                  --
                  Washington DC delenda est.
                • (Score: 2) by martyb on Tuesday May 23 2017, @12:24AM

                  by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 23 2017, @12:24AM (#513857) Journal

                  I'm mildly embarrassed by my verbosity actually, and I would be very grateful to the site admins to reinstate some sort of comment-expansion mechanism that would hide portions of longer posts unless people want to see them.

                  It's neither ideal nor likely intended for this purpose, but there is the option of using <spoiler> Stuff you do not want immediately displayed. </spoiler> — like this:

                  Stuff you do not want immediately displayed.
                  --
                  Wit is intellect, dancing.
              • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Monday May 22 2017, @11:47PM (1 child)

                by aristarchus (2645) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @11:47PM (#513844) Journal

                Cognitive dissonate much?

                In my experience, people who have prodigious memories (and the concomitant verbosity) tend to have lackluster reasoning;

                How could you possibly infer this, from your past experience? You are hoist by your own petard!

                --
                #freearistarchus!!!
                • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2017, @04:34PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2017, @04:34PM (#514358)

                  Aristarchus, you intrepid cleft explorer! Have you found any new little boys? Or, are you still banging on those near-teens?

            • (Score: 2) by Soylentbob on Monday May 22 2017, @04:56PM

              by Soylentbob (6519) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @04:56PM (#513590)

              Similar here. I want to be able to share my gihub-username, codewars-links etc. here, but that means I wouldn't want this account associated with comments too controversial for e.g. my workplace or stories related to my work that could, combined with my identity, damage the reputation of colleagues. So, either I maintain a second account or I post the spicy stuff anonymously.

              I wouldn't mind (nor consider it ethically wrong) having two accounts for such a strictly detines use-case, but it would require careful separation and - not technically, but morally - personal integrity to not mod up your own posts.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday May 22 2017, @05:22PM (2 children)

            by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @05:22PM (#513609)

            OK there is some reasonable opposition but consider three counteroffers:

            1) The population here isn't quite desktop windows users. People here are reasonably talented at sharing as much or as little as they care to. Been a long time since I set up an account here but from memory it didn't require anything interesting (no blood samples or 23andme results or fingerprint jpegs). People who are paranoid will use burner PCs or scratch vmware images for an AC sock puppet, but maybe 99% of the users are not paranoid and would be OK with "check this box to post semi-anonymously as AC" People who are really worried about the NSA are likely only lurking, or are too scared to do even that, so their attitude toward posting isn't terribly relevant.

            2) I wonder if there would be a difference in comment quality between "I'm an AC from the random general public" "I'm an AC who has an account but feels like posting as AC for the politics or off color joke or whatever" "I'm an AC who has a paying account but posting for the politics or whatever again". I could see the first group as a -2, second as a +1, maybe 3rd as a +2 mod points at least for my own reading even if the sit default is zeros across the board. Like animal farm we're all AC but some AC are more AC than others. Not wedded to the AC name for three classes of people, call them gold, silver, bronze or 1st 2nd and 3rd tier AC or whatever.

            3) Really strange idea: Random numbers aren't expensive nor is a database check to make sure its not real. Pay users can get a random looking sock puppet account. Not AC, not you, but kinda both. The information leak would be weird as modding "sock" would affect the main account so abusing the system would leak who is who's sock. Is there any form of useful information transfer for this mode of operation? Its possible, its interesting, but I donno if its useful.

            I'm not ruling out that the current situation is optimal. But it is interesting to daydream some unusual brainstorms.

            • (Score: 2) by Soylentbob on Monday May 22 2017, @08:35PM

              by Soylentbob (6519) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @08:35PM (#513739)

              Generally, I think your ideas have in common that they are hard to apply for the casual reader, but more suited for some of our regulars.

              1) The population here isn't quite desktop windows users.

              We have a number of non-technical articles, and I appreciate very much the insight of the none-geek faction, although that might not be our regulars. Giving the email-address here is already a sacrifice to be made and can lead to identification, if not by the readership than still by the staff, or by any hacker getting hands onto the user-database. A new user, especially if he has something to lose (e.g. because he feels the need to share some delicate information) would be a fool to trust the staff that far. Especially since the clearname of the staff is afaik also not public, and he doesn't know if his neighbour, boss, or co-worker might have access to the user-data. The point is: As long as I post anonymously, without any registration, my privacy is in my own hands. I can use any combination of TOR, public-wifi, fake-MAC-address, VPN and whatever I feel necessary. As soon as I have to give an email-address, it gets far more complicated. (I think there are some throw-away services, but couldn't name one right now. It would be possible to ask someone else to create an account on his email-address, but that person would have full control on the account then.) The handling could be optionally supported by JavaScript on the User-Webbrowser (obviously non-obfuscated).

              2) I wonder if there would be a difference in comment quality between "I'm an AC from the random general public"

              As AthanasiusKircher [soylentnews.org] wrote above, 83.5% of mods to ACs were positive already. And looking at some other regulars, I assume their rate is not better (EthanolFuled...); I guess most have a karma of 50, but once reached this also only means their rating is neutral on average. Therefore I don't see any immediate need.

              3) Really strange idea: Random numbers aren't expensive nor is a database check to make sure its not real. Pay users can get a random looking sock puppet account. Not AC, not you, but kinda both. The information leak would be weird as modding "sock" would affect the main account so abusing the system would leak who is who's sock. Is there any form of useful information transfer for this mode of operation? Its possible, its interesting, but I donno if its useful.

              See 1). Depending on the urgency of my privacy, this might not be an option. It still stays and falls with my trust to the staff not resolving the relation between my main-account and the sock-puppet. Laws can change, todays freedom of speech might be tomorrows hate-crime.

              Hm. How about, for pseudonyms, allowing to add a public key to a database for a small fee? Anonymous could sign his messages like this one [soylentnews.org]. Anyone who wants (e.g. because he likes his style), can donate to soylentnews associated to the key-id. Upon receiving the donation, the public key is integrated into the database, and posts signed with this key are marked as "verified" with Anonymous ($key-owner) and a small link to the signature in case a reader wants to verify himself manually. That adds a lot of value to the post, because they are not convoluted with lengthy signatures, impersonators are immediately found out because the message as a sign "Invalid signature". Subscribed users could have one or two public keys free to add.

              I still think we should allow the ordinary anonymous user, for free, just like we allow the normal account as well for free. There are good reasons for people not to pay, either because they seriously don't have the money to spend, or can't have a credit-card (i.e. minors), or simply because they are just casual visitors, and reading once or twice a year does not justify the expense. And frankly, I think the incremental costs per user are neglect-able compared to the fixed-costs. Therefore having an additional user who contributes good comments but no money is an overall win, because he keeps paying users at bay, too. It would be dangerous to discourage such contributors by making them feel guilty for not paying, or making them feel they had to chose between paying or leaving.

            • (Score: 2) by DECbot on Monday May 22 2017, @09:01PM

              by DECbot (832) on Monday May 22 2017, @09:01PM (#513761) Journal

              I think we've had this discussion. It included autonomous sudo-random names for AC determined by IP address. Yeah, I recalled suggesting the NSA Name Generator [nsanamegenerator.com], and someone thought to translate the names to Russian and then back to English, then add numbers to it. I can't seem to find it now, but it was in one of the meta articles after an update or a call for comments.

              --
              cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:49PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:49PM (#513482)

        I'm in favor of the current system (no money changes hands when posting or modding).

        Negative mod points already extract "payment" from trolls, that's enough to control the very low level that we normally see.

      • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Monday June 05 2017, @11:03PM

        by butthurt (6141) on Monday June 05 2017, @11:03PM (#521023) Journal

        > Let's rather require money to troll or post shitty comments!

        Before the update, TheMightyBuzzard said that subscribers had, optionally, a bonus point that they could have added to their score when commenting. When I tried to moderate a subscriber's comment down from a score of 0 to a score of -1, I could not (and lost the mod point trying)--reminiscent of what you propose. I don't know whether any of that has changed.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:39PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:39PM (#513476)

      > Not only is downmodding abused,

      Hardly. All kinds of outright false information gets up-modded as insightful/informative and then left up.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @03:40PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @03:40PM (#513541)

        Guess what? UPmodding is also abused, but that's beside the point.

    • (Score: 2) by linkdude64 on Monday May 22 2017, @02:08PM (3 children)

      by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @02:08PM (#513489)

      Yeah, sure, and let's let Donald Trump be able to abolish the First Amendment because he's richer than us.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Monday May 22 2017, @06:01PM (2 children)

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @06:01PM (#513633) Journal

        Why not? If the President does it, it's legal. And, as a great man once said, the Constitution is just "a goddamned piece of paper."

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by linkdude64 on Monday May 22 2017, @08:17PM (1 child)

          by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @08:17PM (#513726)

          "the Constitution is just "a goddamned piece of paper.""

          This is absolutely correct! The Constitution does not provide us our freedoms; it is a worthless piece of literature which intends to legally limits the powers of the government through symbolism and faith.
          However, it is one political alignment in particular which is calling for an abolishment of Free Speech, and one ideology in particular which is rejecting diversity of beliefs on college campuses. The other party, which is currently in power, is fighting against them. First with words, and when those were answered with violence, violence was given in turn. We shall see where this road takes us. Much like how the god-damned-piece-of-paper-money we have should be backed by Gold, the damned piece of paper(skin) the First Amendment is written on is backed by lead.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @11:52PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @11:52PM (#513847)

            Shut up, linkdude62! Your ammosexual arousal is showing! (And if you don't be quiet, we have vays of making you not talk!)

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @02:38PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @02:38PM (#513508)

      The whole idea of moderation is for the community to be able to judge which posts should be highly visible. It isn't a shut down, shit posts are still readily available with a tiny click. Your idea would likely make the problem worse since then a smaller subset of people willing to pay money would be able to dominate. Pay to play, that really what you want?

    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday May 22 2017, @03:00PM (7 children)

      by kaszz (4211) on Monday May 22 2017, @03:00PM (#513520) Journal

      Actually the troll modding so far has been accurate to like 90% or better. So no need to "fix" it. Besides moderation provides a value to readers so they can go directly to the interesting material. Comments with a 5-score usually have really interesting content.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @03:35PM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @03:35PM (#513537)

        90% of troll-modding is wrong, moderation provides little value to readers, and most 5-point comments are completely banal—indeed, to be universally lauded, things generally do need to be banal; in contrast, it is usually the "Troll" comments that I find intellectually stimulating.

        Also, just as on Slashdot, the people here seem keen to mark exclusively insightful comments as "informative" and exclusively informative comments as "insightful". Man, does that rustle my jimmies!

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Monday May 22 2017, @03:49PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @03:49PM (#513549) Journal

          "it is usually the "Troll" comments that I find intellectually stimulating."

          You've touched on the problem, but haven't quite identified it. Idealogues abhor intellectual stimulation. They are kinda like priests, in the church. They are always policing, listening for people to question dogma. If you don't accept the dogma, on faith, then you might be excommunicated. Have faith, oh pious one, and strangle all that intellectually stimulating thought inside your head.

          --
          #Hillarygropedme
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @03:58PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @03:58PM (#513558)

          You know, if you log in, you can adjust your preferences so that all comments are score: 1 regardless of moderation if that's such a big problem for you. I think it still displays "funny" or "informative" or "troll" but there you are. Personally I have ACs set so they start at score 1 and karma bonus disabled so everybody starts at score 1 when I log in but I still allow the score to go up and down just because I'm curious what others thought of the comment.

          Or instead of bitching about this endlessly, just click the two drop down boxes between the article and comments for threshold/breakthrough to -1 and hit change. That's usually what I do since I'm not logged in 90% of the time.

          It's not rocket science, idiot.

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @04:53PM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @04:53PM (#513585)

            Idiot.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @06:07PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @06:07PM (#513636)

              Try reading my whole comment next time, dipshit.

              • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @06:16PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @06:16PM (#513641)

                There's no value in reading the rest of your moronic comment.

                Also, I'm not going to click so many things every fucking time I load the page, which is frequently given the crappy system that runs this site.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @05:18PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @05:18PM (#513604)

          Typical AC mind games. Outlandish claims in the guise of legitimate criticism. That 90% contains a lot of nigger and cow comments. Ignore parent, they have gotten enough replies as is.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2017, @12:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2017, @12:58AM (#513876)

      That would turn Ethanol into a massive profit center.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:45PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @01:45PM (#513480)

    As well as currency exchange within PayPal, there is at least one possible other option -- paying from a PayPal balance. My hobby business generates a few bucks that I leave in PayPal and then spend on small purchases. In this case I was able to donate to SN from that balance. At least in some cases this generates lower or even zero fees.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by AnonTechie on Monday May 22 2017, @02:10PM

    by AnonTechie (2275) on Monday May 22 2017, @02:10PM (#513491) Journal

    My heartiest congratulations to the entire team of volunteers for all their efforts. Well done people. I am very happy that a volunteer group achieves what many commercial organisations cannot achieve. Impressed with the professionalism and team efforts.

    I look forward to Soylent's future with great expectations.

    --
    Albert Einstein - "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Wootery on Monday May 22 2017, @02:25PM (1 child)

    by Wootery (2341) on Monday May 22 2017, @02:25PM (#513498)

    Great work, team. Keep it up.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Wootery on Monday May 22 2017, @04:32PM

      by Wootery (2341) on Monday May 22 2017, @04:32PM (#513569)

      Score: 4, Insightful.

      Oh you guys.

  • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Tuesday May 23 2017, @04:55AM (1 child)

    by butthurt (6141) on Tuesday May 23 2017, @04:55AM (#513980) Journal

    This appears unrelated to the latest software update.

    I noticed that one user has been posting with a score of zero. I've seen in the site documentation that this is supposed to happen, but I've not noticed it happening except to that one user.

    /~XivLacuna [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Wednesday May 24 2017, @07:43AM

    by butthurt (6141) on Wednesday May 24 2017, @07:43AM (#514712) Journal

    Previously, the profile page for a user, when viewed without Javascript, would show the user's accepted story submissions. Those are no longer shown.

  • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Monday May 29 2017, @12:36AM (5 children)

    by butthurt (6141) on Monday May 29 2017, @12:36AM (#516941) Journal

    Submissions 20303 and 20306 are marked as "Pending" but aren't shown in the queue.

  • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Saturday June 03 2017, @12:07PM

    by butthurt (6141) on Saturday June 03 2017, @12:07PM (#519819) Journal
    The line below, when posted in a comment in "Plain Old Text" mode, displays rel="url2html-6032" and the URL is not made into a hyperlink:

    <spoiler>lorem ipsem http://example.com</spoiler>

    This works as intended:

    <spoiler>lorem ipsem <url:http://example.com></spoiler>
  • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Friday June 09 2017, @07:26PM

    by butthurt (6141) on Friday June 09 2017, @07:26PM (#523226) Journal

    Scores shown for "Hot Comments" don't always include the Karma-Bonus Modifier.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14 2017, @05:11AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14 2017, @05:11AM (#525273)

    On the search page you can specify author, can we get AC listed there? kthxbye

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