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posted by janrinok on Monday May 27 2019, @03:45AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the easy-now dept.

Holiday Weekend: For our international readers who may be unaware, Monday 27 May marks Memorial Day in the United States, a remembrance of members of the military who have passed in the line of service. In reality, if has become the de facto start of summer which runs past Independence Day (July 4) until Labor Day.

Over this 3-day-long holiday weekend, a great number of establishments are closed or run at reduced hours and staffing. Stories appear on the internet at a reduced rate, and many more "fluff pieces" appear as filler.

I have heard quite clearly that, given a choice, the community generally prefers quality over quantity.

SoylentNews runs with approximate story spacings of a bit over 1.5 hours on weekdays and a little under 2.5 hours on weekends. We've been "feeding the queue" 24 hours per day, every single day, for over 5 years (still amazes me it has been that long!)

So, based primarily on those factors, I have suggested the eds adopt weekend story spacing for Monday (UTC) so they, too, can have a bit of a break.

Read on past the break for the rest of the site news.

Staffing: I would like to take this opportunity to formally welcome back fnord666 who had been on leave from the end of last year into early this year. Good to have you back! On the other hand, mrpg has recently moved and will be incommunicado until he is able to get situated again. Please join me in wishing him well! Our Editor-in-Chief emeritus is back in the saddle, too, though his circumstances may change at any time. He has many outside obligations and yet willingly gives of his very limited free time to SoylentNews. We are indeed fortunate to have him with us; thanks JR!

Outage: Well, it was not actually an outage, but on May 22, 2019 at approximately 2300 UTC, people started reporting issues with the site. Symptoms included some of the slashboxes on the side of the main page were not loading as well as some reports that CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) were failing to load causing malformed layout. I got wind of the issue just before midnight. It took me a couple tries to invoke the correct script to "bounce" the front-end servers (which basically just restarts apache on both our front-end servers and restarts the single slashd daemon). I promptly reported the outage and corrective measures to the community and it seems that all is functioning properly again. Please speak up in the comments if you are still experiencing any issues. But... be sure to clear your browser cache and do a hard reload of the site (e.g. Ctrl+F5 works on Firefox and derivatives) to make sure you are getting a fresh copy of all the files.

Finances: We have reached our funding goal of $2000 for the first half of 2019! Better still, we still have the rest of May and all of June remaining. I took the liberty of updating the "beg-o-meter" in the site news slashbox with a stretch goal of $1000. I am happy to report that we have already received $168.93 towards the stretch goal. I am so grateful for the support of the community for our efforts. For those who may be new or unawares, this is a purely volunteer organization. Nobody on staff has ever received any remuneration ($5 word for pay) for their efforts on this site. As I understand it, both NCommander and Matt_ incurred large monetary expenses in getting the site going and established legally as a Private Benefit Corporation based out of Maryland — expenses for which they have never been repaid. They have been more than patient and gracious in their insistence that SoylentNews become well enough established before getting repaid.

When you subscribe, some of the site limits are relaxed and you get a shiny star next to any comments you post. For the humble, you can turn that star's display off in your preferences.

If you wish to help out, click on Subscribe and select whether you want the subscription to start/extend your own subscription or you wish to make a gift subscription. If it is a gift subscription, specify the UID for the recipient. The default of UID==6 is that of Michael Casadevall (another nick NCommander used when setting up the site) or you may replace the UID with 2339 in memory of Michael David Crawford, or any other UID that you want.

Penultimately, select a subscription duration and amount (the suggested amount is a minimum; any in excess of that is greatly appreciated), and click on the Continue button. NOTE: Javascript needs to have been enabled for the following step to work. Lastly, choose your payment method of either Paypal or Stripe, fill in the requested details, and submit.

As I have mentioned before, this site has real expenses with server hosting fees, domain name registration, paying for a CPA to file our taxes, and the like. Those who support us financially help "keep the lights on." Thank You!

Submissions: This is not to take away from those who contribute to the site in other ways. Please accept my thanks to all of you who submit stories for the editors to poke at and bring to the community. Some of the community post stories to their journal which has led to many an interesting conversation. Above all, thank you to those who weigh in by posting comments. It is the primary reason for this site's existence, so please keep those comments coming!

Moderations: All comments are visible, but some have more visibility than others, thanks to moderation. For those who wish to see just the crème de la crème, set your comment threshold higher and give thanks to those who have performed moderations.

With respect to moderations, a user may moderate anywhere from 0 to 4 comments by another user. Any moderations in excess of 4 upmods or 4 downmods in a 24-hour period starting at 00:10 UTC will be reversed. It is our intention at some point to have the site impose that limitation automatically so no penalty is currently being imposed at this time. That means we need to monitor moderations and manually reverse those in excess of the limits. The short form of the moderation guidelines is "Don't be a jerk." On the other hand, 10 mod points are issued to every registered user at 00:10 UTC each day... please use them! Please try to focus on upmodding good (e.g. Funny, Interesting, Insightful, Informative) comments but don't be afraid to downmod (e.g. Offtopic, Troll, Flamebait) where appropriate.

When I moderate a comment, my thoughts are for the next person to come along; how can I help curate the discussion to best help them out?

Thank You! Thanks to all the rest of the staff who humbly trudge along behind the scenes to make it happen. We have posted over 27,000 stories and have received nearly 850,000 comments in the just over 5 years since SoylentNews was launched... here's looking forward to many more years to come!!


Original Submission

Related Stories

This Day in SoylentNews History: Anniversary of Michael David Crawford Passing Away 31 comments

Maybe the eds or someone already have something planned for the anniversary of MDC's death, or maybe the Coronavirus pandemic has overshadowed everything. I checked the subs queue and didn't see anything about MDC.

I'm sorry I don't have anything proper to submit, just a link to last year's article:
Michael David Crawford Passes Away.

His wish was not to be forgotten to be remembered through his works.

FWIW, I'm not the same AC who submitted that one; just a long-time /. & SN reader who was sincerely saddened by the news of MDC's death.

[Ed. addition follows. --martyb]

As a token of respect and thanks for his active participation on SoylentNews, staff updated our Subscribe page to facilitate making a site subscription in his memory. From Meta: Site News: Holiday Weekend, Staffing, Outage, Finances, Submissions, and Moderations (emphasis added):

When you subscribe, some of the site limits are relaxed and you get a shiny star next to any comments you post. For the humble, you can turn that star's display off in your preferences.

If you wish to help out, click on Subscribe and select whether you want the subscription to start/extend your own subscription or you wish to make a gift subscription. If it is a gift subscription, specify the UID for the recipient. The default of UID==6 is that of Michael Casadevall (another nick NCommander used when setting up the site) or you may replace the UID with 2339 in memory of Michael David Crawford, or any other UID that you want.

Penultimately, select a subscription duration and amount (the suggested amount is a minimum; any in excess of that is greatly appreciated), and click on the Continue button. NOTE: Javascript needs to have been enabled for the following step to work. Lastly, choose your payment method of either Paypal or Stripe, fill in the requested details, and submit.

As I have mentioned before, this site has real expenses with server hosting fees, domain name registration, paying for a CPA to file our taxes, and the like. Those who support us financially help "keep the lights on." Thank You!

Many years ago I came upon a definition that I believe embodies how MDC lived his life: "Honest is the absence of the intent to deceive." He set a very high bar that, though I try, do not know that I will be able to maintain the openness that I saw him exhibit.

Lastly, I find it timely that a fortune I saw on our site this morning seems apropos to his life:

So live that you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.

He may not have been faultless (who is?), but I am sure he would have no fears about what might be revealed by selling "the family parrot."

Previously:
Meta: Site News: Holiday Weekend, Staffing, Outage, Finances, Submissions, and Moderations
'This is how expensive it is to attempt suicide': Patient's bill goes viral
MDC Fortunes
Michael David Crawford Passes Away
Depression Strongly Correlated with Taking Three or More Common Drugs Simultaneously


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by MostCynical on Monday May 27 2019, @04:05AM (1 child)

    by MostCynical (2589) on Monday May 27 2019, @04:05AM (#848095) Journal

    When I moderate a comment, my thoughts are for the next person to come along; how can I help curate the discussion to best help them out?

    i really hope people can moderate the comment, rather than the user. It shouldn't matter who posted something useful (even when it may be surprising!)

    It would be nice if the moderation could act as way points for the next reader: "this comment is worth your time", indicating the poster added to the conversation.

    Also: thanks to all those keeping the site running.

    --
    Books are a poor substitute for female companionship, but they are easier to find. P Rothfuss “The Wise Man's Fear"
    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Monday May 27 2019, @05:14AM

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @05:14AM (#848102) Journal

      Thank you. That is exactly what I intended to say, but you phrased it much more clearly than I.

      An example would help:

      That comment was pretty funny, not hilarious, but very good. I think it rates about a +3. If it is currently less than 3, I would mod it up (with a +1 Funny)... but if it were already moderated as a 4 or a 5, then I would mod it down (with a -1 Overrated).

      Maybe it is easiest to think of it as "Olympic Scoring" on a scale of -1 to +5.

      I hope that is clearer.

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Monday May 27 2019, @04:18AM (19 children)

    by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @04:18AM (#848097)

    With respect to moderations, a user may moderate anywhere from 0 to 4 comments by another user.

    Quick question - how is Anonymous Coward counted? Are they singular or legion for this purpose?

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday May 27 2019, @04:42AM (18 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @04:42AM (#848098) Journal

      ACs do not receive any mod points and are unable to moderate other stories. It is part of the price one pays for anonymity.

      As for having their comments moderated, the staff can still view moderations given by others and are able to take action if somebody is unfairly moderating a specific AC. This is not, however, simple. If someone is anonymous it isn't always possible to associate all the comments made by a single AC. Again, anonymity comes at a cost. Good comments from an AC tend to stand out quite clearly and are usually moderated fairly by the community.

      --
      It's always my fault...
      • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Monday May 27 2019, @04:46AM (17 children)

        by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @04:46AM (#848099)

        Ah, I was asking from the point of "if I moderate more than 4 comments posted by AC, do I run afoul of this?"

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by martyb on Monday May 27 2019, @05:33AM (7 children)

          by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @05:33AM (#848106) Journal

          Excellent question!

          In general, don't worry about it.

          If you've been going at it hard and heavy with a single AC in a discussion and there are a bunch of nested replies as if you think it is the same AC each time, it is hard to plead ignorance of it being the same AC for moderation purposes, at the same time.

          In other words don't go on a vendetta when moderating, or, in even fewer words "don't be a jerk."

          The worst that would happen is that some of your mods might get reversed.

          Also, do remember that other people have mod points; you don't have to police all the comments by yourself!

          So just make sure you have your towel and Don't Panic! worry... be happy! =)

          --
          Wit is intellect, dancing.
          • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Monday May 27 2019, @06:58AM (3 children)

            by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Monday May 27 2019, @06:58AM (#848123) Homepage Journal

            I don't think that's the "worst that can happen." I don't think so. Because The Mighty Buzzard got banned for a month!!!!

            • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday May 27 2019, @10:48AM (2 children)

              I spanked myself because the Spam moderation was involved. Were it not involved they would have just been reversed.

              --
              My rights don't end where your fear begins.
              • (Score: 3, Funny) by RandomFactor on Monday May 27 2019, @02:29PM (1 child)

                by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @02:29PM (#848186) Journal

                Any moderations in excess of 4 upmods or 4 downmods in a 24-hour period starting at 00:10 UTC will be reversed. It is our intention at some point to have the site impose that limitation automatically so no penalty is currently being imposed at this time.

                In the immortal words of Malcolm Reynolds. "Darn."

                There I was, hunting for that moderation posting SoylentNews, Moderations, and You [UPDATED] [soylentnews.org] a few months back to be all internet lawyery...and what did they do? they UPDATED it to match this! I sat, stunned, at the unjustice, the cosmic unfairness of it all. I've been punked. Completely shut out. Preempted. My half written post deleted in shame. Booo! [youtube.com]

                --
                В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
          • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Monday May 27 2019, @07:07AM

            by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @07:07AM (#848125)

            Thanks!

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Booga1 on Monday May 27 2019, @10:18AM (1 child)

            by Booga1 (6333) on Monday May 27 2019, @10:18AM (#848147)

            I think it's worth mentioning(for those that are unaware) that the ability to comment AND moderate on the same story is something that makes this place different than the green site many of us came from.

            This is something I think that is a huge benefit, but care must be taken not to abuse it. Down-modding comments you're directly involved with is something I feel should generally be avoided. Up-modding the same is probably less problematic.

            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Nerdfest on Tuesday May 28 2019, @12:51AM

              by Nerdfest (80) on Tuesday May 28 2019, @12:51AM (#848353)

              That's how I approach it. I have no problem up-voting posts in a thread I'm participating in (sometimes even stuff I disagree with if it adds new facts, etc), but almost never down-vote unless someone is abusive or insulting. I generally reserve downmods for spam, obvious flamebait, etc.

              Sometimes I wish there were some other mods, like "-0 misinformed", "-0 facepalm", and perhaps "+0 Really well written"

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by janrinok on Monday May 27 2019, @06:15AM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @06:15AM (#848114) Journal

          martyb has already answered - and as I don't tend to get involved with managing the moderation he knows far more about it than I do.

          I must admit though that on those days that we seem to suffer from ACs who are clearly simply trying to ruin a good conversation with off-topic comments, trolling, or flamebait, I have moderated those doing so appropriately and I do not recall having seen my moderations reversed. The golden rule is "moderate up where you can before moderating down where you must".

          --
          It's always my fault...
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday May 27 2019, @10:55AM (7 children)

          What martyb said plus you don't have a real way to tell one AC from another at the moment, so we can't bust anyone's chops for hitting the same one too many times with downmods. And we don't track ACs on the potential mod bombs admin page, so we'd have to look manually. Which we don't because ACs suck for having a lower uid (1) than me.

          --
          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
          • (Score: 4, Informative) by martyb on Monday May 27 2019, @11:38AM (6 children)

            by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @11:38AM (#848160) Journal

            What The Mighty Buzzard said, but with a qualification.

            I'll repeat that if you have been having an argument going back-and-forth in the comments with an AC, and from the discussion it appears you think it is the same AC each time, don't try and pretend otherwise when it comes to moderations you had performed on the AC's comments.

            In short: Don't be a jerk.

            As for the "potential mod bombs admin page", yes it does not call out ACs. And, between a full-time job, IRL responsibilities, and the time required to keep the story queue filled so there's something here to comment on; well, I don't have as much time as I would like to read all the comments here. But when I do have the time, or a particular conversation is brought to my attention, you do NOT want me on your case. I'll quote TMB:

            And let's not forget martyb who could tear up an anvil given five minutes of playing with it. That's a quality you really want in a QA guy, though it is annoying when you think you're done with something and he shows you you're not.

            As it is, there are a few users on this site who have already attracted my attention. I am personally keeping an eye on their posting and moderation activities.

            The flip side of this is that mod points are there for a reason: use them! If you see a comment that is a Troll or Flamebait, moderate it as such; just don't go on a vendetta.

            --
            Wit is intellect, dancing.
            • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday May 27 2019, @12:45PM

              What martyb said, with an addendum.

              I'd refer folks to Wheaton's Law but it coming from such a colossal, intolerant douchebag would land me in court for contributing to the breaking of people's irony meters.

              --
              My rights don't end where your fear begins.
            • (Score: 4, Funny) by stretch611 on Monday May 27 2019, @04:44PM

              by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @04:44PM (#848207)

              As it is, there are a few users on this site who have already attracted my attention. I am personally keeping an eye on their posting and moderation activities.

              People are paying atttention to me...
              I'm famous...
              YAY!!!

              --
              I think; therefore, I am vaccinated.
            • (Score: 1) by Chocolate on Tuesday May 28 2019, @04:01AM (3 children)

              by Chocolate (8044) on Tuesday May 28 2019, @04:01AM (#848403) Journal

              How does one 'tear up an anvil"?

              --
              Bit-choco-coin anyone?
              • (Score: 2) by martyb on Tuesday May 28 2019, @11:53AM (2 children)

                by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 28 2019, @11:53AM (#848467) Journal

                And let's not forget martyb who could tear up an anvil given five minutes of playing with it. That's a quality you really want in a QA guy, though it is annoying when you think you're done with something and he shows you you're not.

                How does one 'tear up an anvil"?

                That's TMB expressing a bit of hyperbole.

                An anvil [wikipedia.org] is "a metalworking tool consisting of a large block of metal (usually forged or cast steel), with a flattened top surface, upon which another object is struck (or "worked")."

                Obviously, tearing up an anvil would be... impressive.

                His point is that you had better not rely on "security by obscurity". Given time and motivation, I have repeatedly shown I can find the edge and corner cases; where things are outside of the norms.

                If you try and "game" the system, I will find it out eventually.

                Don't do that, mkay?

                --
                Wit is intellect, dancing.
                • (Score: 2, Touché) by Chocolate on Tuesday May 28 2019, @02:48PM

                  by Chocolate (8044) on Tuesday May 28 2019, @02:48PM (#848510) Journal

                  It's hard to game without mod points :)

                  --
                  Bit-choco-coin anyone?
                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RS3 on Wednesday May 29 2019, @04:45AM

                  by RS3 (6367) on Wednesday May 29 2019, @04:45AM (#848780)

                  In other words, martyb is a human fuzzing machine. :)

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