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posted by martyb on Wednesday January 05 2022, @06:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-nice-to-be-nice dept.
[UPDATE: 2022-01-05 20:48:08 UTC]
We are aware there are some issues (dead links) where indicated by links to "here" in the story. It seems to be a long-dormant bug in the code. Will address this issue when addressing any other issues raised here. In the meantime, try using the links that appear in the liked-to article, directly, at: ( . Yes, we are aware that those are not the best examples and we are aware that those examples may need to be updated to point to better ones. --martyb

I've been made aware of some discussions about the permitted use of the "Spam" moderation. This has spawned a great deal of discussion among Soylent staff.

What's The Point?
The whole purpose of comment moderation is for an (early) reader of a comment is to provide guidance to later readers. Like "breaking trail" for others when hiking through deep snow. The "Trail breaker" makes it eaier to navigate the path for those who follow. Before we dive into the Spam, it is important to note that it is encouraged to "upmod" more than one "downmods". I receive an e-mail each day that includes the number of each that were performed on the preceding day. I am happy to report that I generally see 2x to 4x more upmods than downmods! YAY!

Where to start?
Start at the at the top of the Left-Hand side of the Main page. There one can find a link to the FAQ. Click that link and scroll down to the link about our Moderation System. Click that link. Located there is a list of items including one on the Spam Mod.

There it states:

Spam Mod

The spam moderation (spam mod) is to be used only on comments that genuinely qualify as spam. Spam is unsolicited advertisement, undesired and offtopic filth, or possibly illegal in general. Spam can come in many forms, but it differs from a troll comment in that it will have absolutely no substance, is completely undesired, is detrimental to the site, or worse.

The spam mod is special in that is removes 10 Karma points from the user that posted the comment. This mod is meant to combat spam and not to be used to punish commenters (when in doubt, don't use this mod). Our goal is to put a spammer in Karma Hell and for them to not be able to get out of it easily. As we do not want this used against non-spamers, we monitor all spam mods to make sure moderators are not abusing the spam mod. If we find a moderator that unfairly applied the spam mod, we remove the mod giving the poster back the Karma points, and the modder is banned from modding for one month. Further bans to the same modder add increasing amounts of ban time. If you inadvertently applied a spam mod, mail the admin and we will remove the spam mod without banning you. Even though we have updated the interface to physically separate the spam mod from the other mods, unintentional modding may still be an unfortunate occurrence.


If you are unsure of whether a comment is spam or not, don't use the spam mod. Here are some examples of spam:

  • Proper spam. Anything whose primary purpose is advertisement (unless somehow relevant to the discussion/article).
  • HOSTS/GNAA/etc... type posts. Recurring, useless annoyances we're all familiar with.
  • Posts so offtopic and lacking value to even be a troll that they can't be called anything else. See here, here or here for example.
  • Repeating the same thing over and over. This includes blockquoting entire comments without adding anything substantial to them.

These examples cannot cover every type of Spam that you might encounter. Please exercise common sense. We expect all comments to be on-topic or following a clearly defined thread that has developed as part of the discussion. Raising personal complaints or starting completely new discussions unrelated to the main story are certainly off-topic and also possibly trolling. Remember: if in doubt do not use the Spam moderation.

"Sock Mods" and "Mod Bombs":
You may ask: "What's that?". Simply stated, when a logged-in-user, uses one (or more) account(s) to "updmod" other account(s) in unison. This is similar to using other account(s) to "Downmod" one (or more) account(s) in unison. Both practices are Forbidden. As always, when such activity is discovered, Admins notice and discuss it to confirm the observation with other admins. Actions taken can range from a ban on moderations (for increasing durations for repeat offenders) to an outright ban on use of the accounts(s). We have observed such activity happening recently and are preparing to take action. Similarly, when several accounts can be shown to have repeatedly cooperated to prevent someone from expressing their opinion or have given other accounts an unfair advantage then that can also be a form of 'bombing'. My advice is: stop right now. We do not like taking such actions, but it would be unfair to those who DO follow the rules for us to ignore such activities.

(1) simply follow Wheaton's Law:

Don't Be a Dick

(2) "Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean."

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  • (Score: 2) by martyb on Wednesday January 05 2022, @10:32PM (9 children)

    by martyb (76) on Wednesday January 05 2022, @10:32PM (#1210317) Journal

    Censorship on SN is forward thinking: it is not a matter of concealing or removing a post already made, instead it is aimed at preventing that poster from being able to do so in the future. If karma falls low even, the user is unable to post as AC. At some lower level of karma, the user will have all posting disabled. This is what happened to Ethanol_fueled, and is why he only posts in IRC.

    Comprehension fail. The comment is still there and can still be accessed.

    Nothing has been removed.

    Wit is intellect, dancing.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Mockingbird on Thursday January 06 2022, @01:41AM (8 children)

    by Mockingbird (15239) on Thursday January 06 2022, @01:41AM (#1210391) Journal

    Reading comprehension fail? I was referring to the comments that never get posted in the first place, because the poster is banned. That is what karma is for.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday January 06 2022, @02:08AM (3 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 06 2022, @02:08AM (#1210394) Homepage Journal

      I would like to see some verification that any registered user has ever been banned. Someone mentioned Ethanol Fueled somewhere, implying that he was banned. Can anyone verify that?

      Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06 2022, @03:31AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06 2022, @03:31AM (#1210417)

        Just try logging into your sock puppet accounts, you'll see oh unhinged repugnican with the memory of an amoeba.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday January 06 2022, @04:26AM (1 child)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 06 2022, @04:26AM (#1210434) Homepage Journal

          I specified "registered user". As in, a real user. A single, individual person. And, obviously, the banned sock puppets can still post - aristarchus is proving that almost on a daily basis. Apparently they are MOD banned, but ari still posts here.

          Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06 2022, @04:52AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06 2022, @04:52AM (#1210441)

            Whatabout whatabout! Starting to think you've invested a lot of effort into cloning Ari's speech patterns to false flag him. Degenerates like you have no scruples and believe the ends always justify the means. Just stop boyo.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Thursday January 06 2022, @09:05AM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 06 2022, @09:05AM (#1210478) Journal

      I was referring to the comments that never get posted in the first place, because the poster is banned

      Are you complaining that people who are banned cannot post stories or make comments? What do you think the word 'ban' means? But ACs can submit stories and make comments so there is literally nobody who can ever be in this state. Perhaps your opening comment should be "....because the account is banned for preventing others from expressing themselves in comments"

      The only current (but temporary) bans that I am aware of are all for moderation abuse arising from the use of sock puppets. They were used in an attempt to abuse the karma system to prevent other users from expressing their views or to give the controlling account an unfair advantage in discussions. Sock puppets are forbidden, and will not only be banned but could also be disabled preventing the same username being used again on another account. We always attempt to contact them prior to such action being taken by a direct Admin-to-User message and by sending an email to the email address that they have provided - which we realise might no longer be active.

      We do not discuss such matters publicly but they are invited to contact us at the usual Admin email address to defend their position. This is to protect the abused users from having their personal information revealed. It is not something that the abuser can waive.

      Lets assume that isn't what you are suggesting.

      If a user cannot maintain a level of karma sufficient to keep his/her ability to post alive then (s)he must not be submitting acceptable submissions, and (s)he is not making any relevant comments, and (s)he is repeatedly receiving negative moderations for the comments that (s)he does make. If this is the state of affairs over a long and extended period of time then I think the moderation system is working as designed. Even staying silent does not allow the karma to decay to a level where it would affect an account's ability to function. The system encourages members of our community to behave reasonably and, as you probably know, we ask that there be far more positive moderations given than negative ones. But there has to be something worth moderating positively to start the ball rolling.

      You have had a couple of submissions accepted and you are posting comments now so I take it that this discussion is entirely theoretical?

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07 2022, @03:58AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07 2022, @03:58AM (#1210758)

      I was referring to the comments that never get posted in the first place

      That's happened to me. I get banned for saying something like "Being a Trump supporter is automatically racist, while endorsing CRT is not. It's not just slippery, it's a slimy slope." Last I checked, it was at 5 mods, but some like that have hit 10, with net result of +/- 1, and it doesn't take more than a couple of posts to ban one of these dynamic IP addresses. I also said that running this place without a programmer, is like opening a restaurant, without knowing how to cook.

      In the long run, I appreciate that I didn't squander those banned words, especially when I scan the context, and I'm glad to not be part of it. I'm finally returning to a project I'd shelved for too long, feigning writer's block. If you wonder at all, you can see a lot of my posts in a couple of nostyle journals, and schtick like "prehensile ass." So feel free to ban me again. You don't need the likes of me, anyway.

      I drink Dr Pepper, and I'm proud
      I'm part of an original crowd

      • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Friday January 07 2022, @08:33AM (1 child)

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 07 2022, @08:33AM (#1210790) Journal

        I get banned for saying something like .....

        I think that you mean you get 'moderated' not banned. There has never been a ban issued by us against your username.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07 2022, @04:25PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07 2022, @04:25PM (#1210875)

          I get banned from over-zealous moderation that results in too many -1 scores. Some moderators trigger so easily.