Anonymous Coward writes:
I was going to post this to a particular story, but thought this might generate more attention and discussion as a general submission.
Seriously, what is going on with all these troll mods? Just because you disagree with someone, thus earning a "disagree" mod, does not mean that person is a "troll." To steal a definition from Urban Dictionary:
An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.
Just because you disagree with someone, does not mean they are trying to do the above. Be faster on the "disagree" and slower on the "troll." Under such abuse, it is hard to have a good discussion and, in itself, is trollish behavior by "generally disrupt[ing] normal on-topic discussion." Other than people disciplining themselves, a concerted effort to police such abuses, or making moderation logs public on the bottom of a comment where the score is shown now, I'm unsure of what to do about. As it stands, it is getting increasingly ridiculous to read what discussion is here on any topic remotely controversial, and is expanding outside of even those. It is starting to drive me away from the site, and I'm somewhat confident it is doing the same for others. I'd be interested to see what others think about the depth of the problem, if they even believe it even exists at all, and what solutions you all have for it.
[Ed note. This story is published exactly as received. First off, it bears repeating that complaining about moderations in the comments often leads (rightly) to an off-topic moderation. That is a contributing factor to my decision to run this story. Secondly, moderation is something that I on occasion have found I've fat-fingered and given a different moderation than expected. Thirdly, in the grand scheme of things, a comment's moderation is — relatively speaking — small potatoes. It is NOT a measure of your IQ or value as a human being. or standing in the community. Just accept that stuff happens and that as likely as not, someone will be along to moderate it the other way. Which is a good opportunity to say: PLEASE USE YOUR MOD POINTS! Lastly, if you think a comment was moderated in error, then send the CID (Comment ID) link e.g. "(#876543)" in an email to admin (at) soylentnews (dot) org. Keep in mind however that we are all volunteers here and there most likely will be a delay between when you send out an email and when we can get around to it. --martyb]
[Updated: 20190823_111312 UTC See comment from JR who far more precisely and eloquently expressed the idea I was attempting to. I concur with his assessment. If I want people to upmod a comment of mine that I believe was unfairly downmodded, then I need to be willing to upmod other's mis-modded comments. For perspective, so far this month, anywhere from ~150-~350 mod points were used in any given day. It bears repeating: use your mod points!]
If my suggestion of putting who did what in the score section below was followed, said accountability would already be there. At least it would allow everyone to know who the idiot mods, sockpuppets, virtuous truth-seekers, mod-bombers, etc. are in a giving situation.
We already know who they are, TRDT and Aristarchus sockpuppet quite often. Death Monkey moderates anything they disagree with was Troll, Flamebait, or Offtopic.
aristarchus never sockpuppets. On occasion, when the occasion presents itself, he may change IP addresses in order to up-mod a sorely abused AC post, which may or may not be by the same poster, in order to bring balance to the force. But, sock puppetry is the ability to mod based on a second username, which aristarchus never does. So what aristarchus does is not sock-puppetry.
So, now, admit, AC, your concern is ingenuous, a pretext, a mere bauble designed to distract us from the fact that your comments suck. That is why they are modded down, and everyone knows it, even if it is incomprehensible to you. Idiot.
I prefer that the 'authors' of mods remain anonymous to the general user base, because I think on the whole it is better than making those authors public. While it would increase accountability, I can also see that it could increasingly lead to 'tit for tat' modding when someone gets their nose out of joint.
It could also lead to some being fearful to downmod a comment, fearful of the reaction. For example: "Hey user_xyz! I saw that you downmodded me. You sonofabitch - if you had any balls you'd have simply replied to my comment and rebutted it with a good argument, but you're too stupid and gutless to put your own opinion forward. Incel!". I browse at -1 because I want to make my own mind up about everyone's contributions, but I would prefer not to have to wade through a sea of comments like my example just to get to the interesting content.
I can also see that it could increasingly lead to 'tit for tat' modding when someone gets their nose out of joint.
Which is precisely why we do not show who modded whom.
And so now we play the "Find the Spam mods" game. Looks like two, maybe only one and a bunch of requested troll mods, but definitely the aristarchus has been Spam modded again. And I wasn't even off topic, as I sometimes tend to be!
Nope, you haven't. I just checked. No mod bombs either. Seventeen downmods today but no more than four from any one person and if they're sock puppets they've been playing one hell of a long game.
Seventeen downmods, and sixteen of them are mine? I guess I was
asking for them. Mission accomplished! Point made!
Thanks for checking, Buzzard!
No, seventeen just for you. The next closest contender only has six for today, so that's a respectable accomplishment.
Modding is a form of commenting -- attaching mods to usernames is reasonable.
Reasonable, yes. Asking for a site-wide devolution into revenge downmods, also yes. Just because something is fair doesn't mean it's smart.
Except you've already got that going on. The problem is that instead of people knowing who is doing what, they are just assuming who it is. Basically anything pro-right wing is assumed to be modded up by one group and down-modded by another. The opposite is true for pro-left wing. The abuse is already there, its just everyone will know instead of going by what they think.
I think that is fairly obvious but a blatant example is the one about Sulla and their response to it. Assuming both statements are true, somebody out there believes Sulla downmods everything but Sulla hasn't done any. If that is how the AC is reacting, no small step to downmodding all of Sulla's in retaliation.
Plus, with your logic, this site should not show usernames at all. That is just asking for a site-wide devolution into revenge downmods. Can't downmod your enemy's comments if you don't know it was theirs.
Can't downmod your enemy's comments if you don't know it was theirs.
It also makes following a conversation extremely difficult.
And yet no attempt to differentiate ACs is made either, despite also making following conversation difficult. Yes, I get there is a pro/con balance as to why, just as there is for public vs anonymous moderation.
Differentiating ACs (assuming you are talking about carrying that over between browsing sessions) is functionally equivalent to them having an ID, but without mod privileges.
Not if you give them a per-story ID identified by their ipid but only showing the index number they are in the array for that story and only that story. First AC gets AC1, second gets AC2, etc...
On a per-story basis I can see that being very useful. Would this require a whole lot of extra data storage though (recording IP addresses against posts/stories in perpetuity), or is this something already done?
I think it'd be the least overhead to just build the array at render time. The comment data is all already pulled by then so it shouldn't be a big deal to sort by time and build an array of ipids and add the array's index to 'Anonymous Coward' in the rendering. A hash of some sort would probably be faster but it's late and I can't build the mental data structure right now. The only real question is should ACs be zero indexed or start at one?
The only real question is should ACs be zero indexed or start at one?
It's a fair cop, guv.
If we were actually seeing that happen regularly on the mod bombs admin page, you might have a point. As it stands, you're not even close to right. There are so few instances of 3+ downmods of the same person in a 72 hour period that the list has never been too long to manually scan for actual mod bombs (which almost never happen lately).
If you ban anonymous posting or moderating, only the shameless will post or moderate.
No one has suggested that ACs cannot or should not post. Secondly, ACs cannot moderate - you have to be logged in to get mod points.
Of course you can post as AC also when logged in.
The point was if you publicize who has moderated, it is the same as banning anonymous posting: Only those with nothing to lose by exposing themselves will then moderate.
Two things. First, posting is different from moderating. Commenting only affects your own speech, and attaching your name or not changes its visibility. Moderation affects other people's speech and its visibility.
But if that is truly how you see it, then give moderators a choice to do it publicly or anonymously. If they do it anonymously, then, like AC posting, it carries less weight. If they do it publicly, then, like attaching your name to a post, it gives it a boost. Of course, people will claim, that will lead to abuse, but then everyone will be aware of what is going in those cases and abuse will be easier to catch because of said public naming, rather than living with suspicion or waiting for the private decision of one of these [soylentnews.org] (at least I think that is who gets the email) that may or may not garner a response after a decision is arbitrarily made in private by whomever gets there first. And besides, the anonymous system itself invites abuse.
You have a point. But it would make things more complex yet, like Copernicus's universe evolved until it broke.
Actually, BarbHudson was requesting exactly this - that ACs should not be speakers, in the conversation - quite recently.
She also (intentionally?) misconstrued the social impacts of anonymity, though, and to my displeasure I now count her among the probable detrimentals, alongside khallow and so on. But I guess it makes sense that she would put so much weight in the social currency her ID carries, and that she'd be unable or unwilling to consider that when she posts just to inflate her social currency, she isn't contributing positively to the group. Edifying but a little sad, like finding out why your pet was sick, because now it's dead.
I strongly disagree.Overall, in the long run, the mods get things right more than they get it wrong. Most of the people, most of the time, make the right call on moderation.
Today, across the web, we have a problem with Censorship. Gone is "Disagree with what you say but defend your right to say it", and in is "Disagree, find hateful, move to de-platform, shame, encourage others to ban, move all mentions of Nixon to the filtered topic list." It's getting pretty tiring to not be able to talk about anything without accusations of "Leftists" and "Nazis" flying about in every topic, everywhere, on every site. To some extent, moderators may be exhausted by it, but "revealing their ballots" will just is to draw them into the Great Internet Flame War, and end up basically discouraging moderation altogether.
At some point, we'll develop the collective (Dawkin's) memetics to get through the current civic-socio-economic rabies which the public sphere has developed. But only if we're allowed to talk about it.
Parallel content and content-grading makes for a smoother mechanism. Linked identities brings in social pressures like the ones you point out - and others - that ruin the system.