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Slashdot Moderation:Phase 1.1.1 201

For the last few days, I've been doing virtually nothing except read email regarding comments, and making changes to the code to implement new ideas that people have suggested. Click the link below to read a summary of the changes.
Its been really interesting so far. Some interesting comments from many people ranging from "You are the Antichrist and I hope you get a disease" to "Hey, not Bad". Here are a list of the major notes, changes, clarifications, and fixes.
  1. Moderators can't moderate their own comments.
  2. Simply creating an account does not make you a moderator.
  3. New moderators will be added and old moderators removed over time. I have ideas about this, but we'll work it out. This will eventually be automated, but right now I'm still resolving technical stuff. A lot of you have suggested great ideas (most of which Jeff and I have already discussed long ago) so just hang in there.
  4. The same moderator can't moderate the same comment twice in a row.
  5. I yanked about 15 moderators for abuses and violations.
  6. I rewrote parts of the Guidelines.
  7. I've been rewriting and cleaning up a lot of code. Lemme know if you see bugs. There will be bugs.
  8. I've decided on an absolute range from -1 to 5 for scores. I may change that later, but for now, that seems reasonable: It allows users to have an absolute minimum to browse at, It also will mean that abused comments can be promoted relatively easy.
  9. Moderation dropped over the week from 30% of comments back down to 10-20% as the bulk of moderators got over the initial excitement (presumably). This is much closer to where it should be.
  10. Moderators have been told to concentrate more on promoting good comments then demoting bad ones. I'll probably enforce that somehow someday.
  11. I'm working on better controls for customization of the comments on the fly. It might be a bit flakey, but give it a whirl.
  12. Remember that if you go to or index_F.shtml, your user preferences will not work. Start at and the system will detect if you are logged in and send you to the correct page.

Overall the feedback has been positive. Let me reiterate here that if you don't like the system, you can simply turn it off. 400 moderators is a lot, and we will have people abusing the trust that we have to place in them. If you don't want that risk, I don't blame you a bit. And if you see abuses, please let us know. We've revoked many people's access already, and we'll continue to do it.

The goal here is to allow enough filtering that the guy who wants to just read 10 good comments happy, but also allow the guy who wants to read a thousand flame infested offtopic comments while slugging out a good debate in the trenches to do just that. And hopefully everyone in between too. I think we're getting pretty damn close to making that possible.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashdot Moderation:Phase 1.1.1

Comments Filter:
  • Don't mind me. Just Testin broken crap.
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • yakkity schmakkity
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • by CmdrTaco ( 1 )
    Eventually the system will work like that. I'm simply testing it now with a closed group to iron the kinks out.

    As for the Point Pool, I don't quite think it'll work that way, but I might implement something that would accomplish the same thing cleaner. It won't be tied to a story in any case.
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional

  • by CmdrTaco ( 1 )
    I like mine. I ain't given anyone else one ;)
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • by CmdrTaco ( 1 ) <malda @ s l a s h d o t . org> on Thursday March 25, 1999 @08:10AM (#1962924) Homepage Journal
    Yes I thought about it and no I won't do it. I'd rather add useful features with my CPU cycles than gee whiz ones.
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • I guess its a bit of a Gee-Whiz feature, but how difficult would it be to implement a counter for how many times you have loaded slashdot in:

    a day
    a week
    a month
    a year

    How many minutes of your life do you spend on /. etc. (although that might be a bit harder :))

    Anyways just a thought.

  • Nested is good, but it does the entire set of comments and replies, what I'm talking about is selecting a particular thread and that thread becomes nested while the rest of the comments stay threaded.
  • by Ec|ipse ( 52 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @10:58AM (#1962927)
    I like the various customizations that are appearing, but every once in a while I still wish for one particular feature with the thread flattening. Instead of the entire section of comments flattening, what about an option to flatten a particular thread within that group of comments? So if you see a comment with 15 replies and you want to read those replies all at once, click a flatten toggle within the header of that comment to see a flattened reply list consisting of only those comments and replies. Hope that makes sense, any comments??
  • Am I the only one who isn't seeing the new mini-preferences/Reply To stuff in NS 4.51? I can log out and see it as an AC, but if I move off the page and return, it's gone.

  • The one suggestion I saw the most in the previous article was a way to see what a moderator has done, by moderate number 123 or so, to keep their anonymity.

    Otherwise, it looks great.
  • Perhaps you could devise a system where in addition to moderated points, each author's post average would be tallied and a top X could be created with decreasing order by moderated points secondarily sorted by average moderated post for the author, that way the 2 point message from a person who averages 2.3points/post ranks higher than the 2 point message from the person who averages 0.6.

    I rather like this new moderation system though, makes the comments quite readable again.
  • The new system makes /. comments readable again. Thanks, Rob! Now I have my minimum score set to +2 so that I can't even read my own articles :)
  • I know you've hinted at this in the past but I wouldn't mind being able to view an image/table free version of Slashdot. A 'Lite' theme if you will. It wouldn't help reduce CPU usage but it could help your T1 saturation woes :)
  • Slashdot sure has come a long way from when it started.

    Looking forward to the new Slash code release..

  • by bmetz ( 523 )
    Good for you!
    I wholeheartedly despise the "free email!" syndrome. It's a sure way to tell that some
    marketing idiot has gotten his hands on what the developers are doing with the site.
  • One word: SlashNET.
  • I was getting rather upset in the Katz thread because people were silencing anyone who had a criticism of Katz! I'll admit many of them were just abuse, but not all of them were. In particular, I liked the fellow who said 'Stop coding and pray? No thanks' so much, that I basically restated the idea in such a way that it didn't get immediately moderated..
    Now, the bottom limit makes it much harder to silence people saying unpleasant opinions. I don't like unpleasant opinions either- it's just that the unpleasant opinions that _I_ don't like, particularly baseless slams at Apple, get moderated _up_, while unpleasant opinions about Jon Katz get _suppressed_.
    This does leave me the option of always trying extremely hard to make sure any critique I might have of Katz is so articulate that once it gets suppressed, another moderator more sensitive to controversial opinions will come along and moderate it right back again, either due to agreement or simply on principle... it might not be entirely fair that my viewpoint requires extra effort just to be equally heard, but I _am_ a Mac/Linux user, so I'm very much used to getting marginalized and I don't assume I will automatically get a fair shot.
    Rob's finetuning is making it easier to feel that if I have something to say, and say it articulately and politely (deferentially? and is that really necessarily? Here it seems to be), then I won't simply be shut up based on the content of my opinion.
    This is not as easy to accomplish as it sounds, so kudos to Rob for this whole process- it's shaping up well.
  • Yes, it'd be a perk for moderators "for helping". However, I'd sure there's hundreds of folks out there who'd love to help, just to help and be involved in pointing what's good, without the extra benefits.

    As someone else said, having moderators get special advantages would create a 'caste', where you have those special people and those who aren't.
  • Eh? T1 situation? They've been on a T3 for a few months now.
  • Go to your preferences page and check the "Slashdot Lite" option.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @08:12AM (#1962940)
    Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    Ideas: You are probably already thinking about this, BUT

    1) Anyone with a accumulated score over X should automatically become a moderator. Meta-moderators (the Slashdot Mammals) could mark certain users as being "in the penalty box" so they can't moderate no matter what. This has the advantage of cleaning up the comments (via moderation) but ALSO the advantage that we aren't being ruled from above (by either a dictator or a ruling class). I may have to change my name from "FascDot" to "DemoDot"...

    2) The way to make moderators score more positives than negatives is to link the two mathematically. For instance, imagine each moderator has a "pool of points" for each story. Initially the pool is empty. If they moderate a story upwards, the pool gains points, when they moderate downwards, they lose points. Moderators with empty pools can't moderate (for a given story). If you make a minus more expensive (it costs 2 moderation pool points to lower a story by 1) you suddenly get twice as many plus mods as minus.
  • My impression is that it is working. I really don't have a problem "manually filtering" but this is still nice. It just makes it more manageable and more interesting. I was already competely addicted to Slashdot, now you've gone & sunk the hook deeper. Thanks guys!

  • purple microdot.

  • Moderators numbers could be displayed so that each promotion/demotion was tracked and anonymity of the moderators preserved. This would allow a user to complain about their judge on an abuse page.

  • by EricRCH ( 728 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @10:18AM (#1962945) Homepage

    1) It would be nice to be able to see our own posts no matter how high our threshhold value is set.

    2) We may end up with a lot of people repeating each other since we can't see all of the posts. Not necesarily a bad thing but it would use /. resources.

    3) A "report moderator abuse" link off all pages would be a nice feature to have. (Very odd, but now that we're moderated it _feels_ strange to say that sort of thing and wonder if a moderator will bump my score as a result of commenting on moderation... [Read any Foucalt...?])

  • Thank you for hearing our cries of a min/max value! This means that no one post/person can be moderated to the point of being muted. (I have my threshold at -1000 right now, heh.)

    Also, the change on the threshold bar showing a threshold of "0" being "almost everything" is a very nice compromise. My biggest problem has been that new people will not realize that scores below 0 were even possible since common sense says that 0 is a starting point, now they can see from the drop down that there IS a -1 that shows EVERYTHING. I am satisfied with this solution (plus it looks damn good). I would have preferred a -1 default (or minimum of 0 score) but compromises are good I guess, they keep us sane.

    Also, the controls being put on moderators to curb abuse is a very welcome change. Hopefully this will prevent many power struggles that idealist people have now and then (even me! *grin*).

    I guess I can change my sig now since I'm somewhat happy with the changes made to the moderation system and I know you're only doing this to please me. heh.

    Kudos Rob
  • I second that idea. I was thinking the same thing as I was reading the original post.

    I am still concerned how replies are promoted and seen. I haven't seen very many cases of second level comments with a score higher than 1. And your comment deserves at least a 2.


  • One way to overcome this would be with an aging of scores. They mean less as they get older. But this would be difficult to implement and would mean keeping all scores individually with dates on them.

    Another way would be to only keep score from the past few (days/months/years). Using some reasonable amount of time. This would be much easier to implement and while you still need to keep scores with dates you don't need to keep them for an eternity.


  • Hehehe!

    Besides that, it promotes the idea that moderators are better then the rest of us. This would only create a caste system where us lowly peasants have to suffer with the slashdot effect while the Oh Holy Moderators get to ride in the electronic fast lane.

    Being a moderator should be about promoting good comments. Period. That's it. End of story. Something that is a serious responsibility not a social status badge.

    Ok there was some sarcasm somewhere in there too. :)


  • Hey dillon: you got demoted to 0 just for being sarcastic!

    I thought we covered the "Sarcasm isn't evil" idea under the Userfriendly/Segfault thread. He was sarcastic, but he did have a point.

    If it was demoted for redundancy, I question that redundancy should get demoted below 1. Sometimes people need to read things from different angles or viewpoints, even if the jest is the same as another post. But that is just my 2 cents.


  • Secondly, what makes a "good writer" isn't always what makes a "good moderator", any more than a "good programmer" makes a "good documentor" or a "good tester". Professors have to be teachers and researchers. They often fail at (at least) one of these.

    Agree! But the problem is picking the good moderators out of a crowd of 75k(?). So far the best idea I've thought of is having moderator trial periods where their moderation isn't counted or doesn't count as much. At the end of the trial period their moderation must be reviewed by some person that gives them a thumbs up or down.

    Of course this creates clerical-type work and can promote the same ideals as the reviewer over differing opinions.


  • I have no idea what the moderator's interface is like, but I would assume that being granted moderator status does not require you to exercise that power. It has been said that some twenty percent of replies are being moderated; surely the moderators as a whole are reading more than that fraction of the comments, they're just not rating more that that fraction.
  • Good idea, but I do see one problem.

    Using a purely democratic approach allows the majority to push valid but unpopular opinions to the bottom. There are Apple and BSD users who read this site, and I wouldn't want to see their views discounted any more than they already are.


  • Having everyone vote defeats the purpose of moderation. People who post "first!" probably like reading that stuff. :-)

    It also reduces the higher level settings to reflect popular opinion instead of good, well written posts that might express opinions and views unpoplar with the majority of posters.


  • I read the paper, and it is an interesting idea.

    It would be especially cool if the poster could write their own huristic algorithm to determine what gets filtered.


  • The on-the-fly thingy at the top is really nice. Good work, Rob!
  • I think that the effective priority of a post should be the maximum of all of it's children.

    That is, every post's parent's will have an equal or greater priority than the post itself.
  • Posts should be rated based on a number of criteria instead of a single numerical ranking.

    For example:
    topicality (0..5)
    agreement (-3..3) (Strongly, moderately, barely) [disagree|agree]
    humor (0..5)
    style (0..5) (style in the sense of grammer etc.)
    interest (0..5) (not interesting, very interesting).

    This would allow a much broader spectrum of opionions to be represented. For example, a moderator could indicate interesting off-topic articles; humorous, well-written articles; off-topic articles; relevant articles that they agreed with; and so forth.

    To make the job easier for the moderators, keep a record per (user,moderator) that remembers how the moderator has ranked the user in the past and initialize the voting boxes with those values. Then the moderator only needs to change the different values.
  • i agree with u Rob ... /. has come a LONG way and is truely impressive, and not a bloated [language-of-the-week]-filled mess like most news sites *coff* MSNBC *coff* keep up the good werk! :)
  • What? No :)

    --Phil (I just discover "Nested" and Rob yanks it... Please fix it soon!)
  • What's with the Reply button? Now I can't reply in a new window but have to wait 10 minutes for a comments box to download at 300 bytes/sec on a single window.

    As for groups of albino geese generating the pages, I'll accept nothing but bona fide Microsoft Certified System Engineers generating my pages!
  • I'd like to request a (probably) new feature besides the reply and parent links at the bootom of an article:

    'Look closely'.

    This link should lead to a page containing only the article it was attached to, not at the default threshold, but at threshold 0 or a special 'look closely' threshold.

    I request this feature because I usually read the comments at a threshold of 2, but don't want to post comments that have already been posted in a thread but not (yet) moderated. (Currently I refrain from posting in stories and threads with lots of articles because I'd have to scroll to the bottom or the top of the page, lower my threshold, wade through lots of lower scored articles and be finally able to find out if I contribute something really new.)

  • I still want to be able to see who lowered or raised a comment's score. Yes, this means revealing the list of moderators' names, but until there's accountability among moderators, abuses will be more frequent.
  • As someone else commented, it might be nice to have several "dimensions" to the score, rather than just a "good vs bad" ranking. The example they used was things like "humor", "flame bait", "quality of info", "quality of writing", etc. If you aren't in the mood for humorous stuff, but want to delve into the flame-fest, you could do that.

    On the other hand, there is the KISS priniciple.

    While there are problems with having a fixed range, there are also problems with having an infinite range. Topics that are ready by lots of moderators will, with an open-ended scale, tend to have a wider range of values. So, in one story, a score of "3" might mean "one of the best comments", while in another, it might mean "above average".

    While I like the idea of moderation, I think there are still a lot of kinks to be worked out.

  • The initial bunch of moderators were people who run /., and people they trust.

    The next group were selected by how well these moderators liked the posts that people made. Everyone who had a positive total score from the first moderators became moderators.

    How should future moderators be selected?

    First, you don't want a strongly self-selecting group. If only pro-linux people get positive scores, then you will only have pro-linux moderators, and the cycle repeats.

    Secondly, what makes a "good writer" isn't always what makes a "good moderator", any more than a "good programmer" makes a "good documentor" or a "good tester". Professors have to be teachers and researchers. They often fail at (at least) one of these.

  • I've already found a group of people who like what I like.

    /. :)
  • Learn to "open in new window"

    It's the only way to use threaded.

    Also, Rob has mentioned that hew is considering a threaded toplevel nested/flat rest type mode.

    Maybe stuff like Nested@1 Nested@2 Flat@1 ...
    thing could be done. Personally I love the threaded overview when the messages go over 100 but when I click into a message set I tend to pick threaded and let it pull the full thread...

    OTOH, if /. starts to do everything I want I may never see the sun again...
  • I think part of the "duty" of a moderator should be to decide if the article is "at the right level", not just blind up or down what they like.

    If the article is a 4 and you think it's a 3, you should probably leave it alone, if it's a -1 and you think its a 4, act.

    Knocking them all to 5 isn't going to happen if the moderators have the restraint to notice that others have already floated the article to the right range...
  • I agree except on the second point. Most people seem to only read through the first 20 comments or so before forming + sharing their opinions. This results in large amounts of repition for those who read the comments all the way through (this was particularly noticable on the $500 Bill G book story, I think about 100 people independently made the discovery that it was a box set of books =). Not being able to read many of the comments b/c of a threshold won't make a large difference then, b/c most people don't read them all anyway

    Remove the -x- from my email address to send.
  • I would like to see not only rejected stories, but also ones that the authors (or whatever they should be called) haven't looked at yet.

    Perhaps allow everyone to be able to vote on the unread stories, as someone above me already commented on...

    Personally, I'm enjoying being able to read through the comments and not get the crap posts. Threshold set to 2 seems to be great...
  • There's a problem with that: People can and will abuse the system if given votine rights. The way it works now, if I'm not mistaken, moderator points are given to people who post a certain number of comments and have not been moderated down too much. This is a calcualted risk; these people are obviously at least semi-regular users, and they would be more likely to respect their duties and not abuse them.

    It isn't complately fair, I know. But there is no other way unless you want Rob or the Mammals to personally visit every single person who has ever posted on Slashdot.
  • everythings looking pretty damn good..
    im happy to see the (Score:X) put next to comments that are replyed to comments. its good for just eyeing up Scores and seeing what to read, without not seeing lesser. everyday is something new exciting with slashdot lately, and i look forward to tommorrow, and the next day, and...

    what about customizable stories also? mine would involve Microsoft. *g*
    Scott Miga
  • "I like the suggestion that people who accumulate scores above a certain threshold should automagically become a moderator because that lets the system call attention to people who have been posting Thoughtful Comments."

    A few things to consider:

    * Good writers are not always (or often) good editors. The skills and temperments required for the two tasks are usually different and not often found in the same person. Lester del Ray was an exception, but most writers who try editing fail.

    * Those who are busy writing good, thoughtful posts have probably used up so much of their discretionary time that they won't be able to put much thought into moderating. And vice versa. 'Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, write about it. Those who can't write, edit.' Seriously, I have a lot of respect for teachers, writers, and editors, but most people don't have _that_ much free time.

    Not rejecting/flaming your idea; just offering a few points to ponder.

  • Agreed. Geat work. But point of clarification. When I change the threshold, am I changing one global setting (for me). Does it go out of scope when I leave the site? The story? Or is it equivalent to changing my preferences? It'd be nice to have the "on-the-fly" widgets change settings for just this topic. That way, I can crank my threshold way up or down depending on how many folks have responded.

    Also enconuntered a bug:

    Error:Undefined subroutine &Slash::selectStories called at (eval 317) line 16.

    I was viewing this page, set my threshold to +2, and then clicked on the BACK button (using Netscape).
  • Yeah! And no "Internet" either. All that damn technology! I want to read slashdot on paper, the way God intended.
  • The idea is you make all (logged in) users moderators. Everyone can vote. Gone are all the silly rules about giving away that you are a moderator. Gone is the elitism of a handful of moderators. Best, it'll work better, because there is more data available.

    In effect, you will be choosing a group of people to act as personal moderators. They are choosen by selecting people with whom you have agreed with in the past.

    This isn't my idea, and it isn't new. It was tried on a system called GroupLens [], which was integrated into newsreaders like slrn, tin, and gnus. Check out the ps paper by Miller there.

    The only downside is it might tax /. too much. Not sure. But I'm even willing to help if it's needed, because I think it's a Good Thing.

  • Your first point is a good one, because more data is a good thing for lots of reasons. But there is still a problem. All that accumulated data is just clumped together. If there was enough data (and /. is surely capable of that), then it would be better to get the opinions of people who liked the articles I liked. In the same spirit as people who like country music aren't likely to recommend an alternative CD that I'm likely to like.

    Or something like that...

  • I think you missed a point. With collaborative filtering comments are scored based on how others who are interested in the same kind of comments I'm interested in score. The only way that anti-linux comments would get filtered out, therefore, is if I also gave them low scores.

    The idea is that you get a giant amount of data about comments. But rather than just clumping them all together you find people interested in the kind of stuff you like.

  • I'm a damn poor writer! With that in mind, realize that I missed collaborative filtering's best points in my comment. It's that you only see articles scored by people that vote like you. If you score "first posts" low, or not at all, then those comments get scored low by your "group".

    Arggh. Read the paper if you have the time.

  • This is a good idea and I'm a piss poor writer, so I'm going to try again.

    With a collaborative filtering scheme everybody gets to vote except AC's (for reasons that will become obvious). But you don't see comments scored by everybody--that would suck I'm sure. You only see scores by a group of people that score articles like you do.

    The mighty Perl program that implements this has a big table it looks at. The columns are message ids for all the comments. The rows are users. The cells are scores.

    What the program now does is find people who score like I do. That algorithm is the tough part to come up with. An example might be people that just score as close to me as possible. It might also use how often I score (scores per day/week) as a metric.

    It results in better scoring, using more data, with everyones involvment, with an end to elitism and rules up the wazoo.

    See the link I posted earlier to some good papers about all this. Like I said before--I can't write.

  • That would be cool. Never thought of that.

  • The idea is you make all (logged in) users moderators. Everyone can vote. Gone are all the silly rules about giving away that you are a moderator. Gone is the elitism of a handful of moderators. Best, it'll work better, because there is more data available.

    Yup, I made the same comment in an email to Rob and a post here before seeing this. I think you're (we're) absolutely right and am glad I'm not the only one promoting this as a fair solution.
  • I sent Rob an email regarding this suggestion, and I'm sure he's read it along with the thousands of other comments he's received. Still I'd like to present it in an open forum.

    Why not allow anyone with an account to rate article quality? Then use this to create volume and quality metrics for individual comments and account holders. One could even maintain a database of votes which could provide valuable information of how /. readership opinion changes over time.

    I realize Rob has already decided that not everyone will have moderation authority, but the problem with this is that by dividing the /. community between those with and those without these moderation privileges many moderators will abuse their responsibilities; Rob already seems quite aware of this problem.

    One way to democratically resolve this issue is to let everyone who was willing to create a non anonymous account simply rate any article (but their own). Through such a system users would have by definition a fair sample of user opinion regarding comments; it makes rating articles a voting right and responsibility for the user community instead of a special priviledge for the few /. insiders. And since it relys on volume of votes in order to get a decent sample of user opinion, the system actually gets more accurate the more users vote (or rate) an article. This means that no one moderator could cut a comment down because of personal distaste for its contents.

    One problem with such a solution is that many people might cut interesting comments down because of personal opinion. That is, giving intelligent comments a bad rap simply because many users don't agree with its content. It seems to me the solution to this is to provide extra selection critiera as radio buttons for each comments like:

    o) This comment is complete flamebait crap.
    o) This comment is so poorly written as to be meaningless.
    o) This comment is well written but wrong!
    o) This comment is both well written and I agree with its contents.

    Then allow for a signed integer value for users to give to the comment.

    Based on this users could set threshold values for the volume of readers who have rated a comment along with which values any end user finds interesting. Also one could create GIF charts on the fly for each comment which would quickly show users how the /. community rated any one comment.

    Just a suggestion!
  • If anything is flamebait then this is. Right or wrong may be fine for the number of lines of sourse code that so-and-so has written but what about the times when /. delves into more ideological discussion? For example, the discussion of Falwell vs. Teletubbies brought to the surface a number of ideological differences between slashdot members. Would it be fair so mark another's opinion as 'wrong'? And I don't even want to get INTO the whole KDE vs. gnome religious war. Perhaps if such a system as you suggest was put into place (not likely) a more appropriate method would be to rank the relevence of the comment instead of critiquing its writing style and verity.

    Hi Will,

    The problem I see with your statement is the notion that moderators could make moderation selections fairly and objectivly. People simply aren't objective no matter how hard you try. So it seems to me that the best solution to this problem is not to attempt hiding personal opinion over content, but to make it as open as possible. This way we get to both cut out those obnoxious 'first post!' and 'Meept!' comments and get a general consensus on readership oninion. Also, I'm not suggesting those radio buttons are the only solution to this problem, but I think it might work well.
  • by Lamont ( 3347 )
    Yup. I'd pay for one. Start that poll!
  • This would be excellent - I have sent off two or three stories that interested the hell out of me that never made it fast the Tacofilter, for example that TI patented a MP3-player built into headphones the other week. Surely other readers have sent in nuggets that slipped through the sifting pan we call Taco.

    BUT it should not be a seperate page... the STORIES should be moderated and graded the same excellent way as the comments. ALL stories that get sent in should 'appear' on the main page with, say, 0 grade to start with and the Tacomammals and the moderators can promote them past users' filter levels as they see fit. Maybe Taco should have special powers to promote the stories he likes to 5 so folks can see the 'old' slashdot editorial filter if they want. Now there's a use for those CPU cycles.

    Slashdot is really breaking new ground here and y'all doing an excellent job.
  • I just went through the comments on this article with both -1 and 0 thresholds, and see almost no difference between the two.

    Moderation is a positive feedback system. People like to be liked; they want to be voted for. /.'ers are becoming, in essence, self-censoring to either gain approval or to avoid disapproval... a lot like real life.

    HAVING moderation (at least as taken from the comments on this article, which may or may not be a good sample) would appear to be a self-reinforcing feedback loop that reduces the NEED FOR moderation.

    I think the overall system and range of values are likely fine as is -- this is such an improvement already that spending further CPU cycles will likely gain diminishing returns. There is only one tweak I'd personally like to see -- that a thread carries the score of the highest-scored article in the thread, not the root comment.

    Rob, this is great coding by the way -- you're doing an outstanding job!

  • Not everyone has the time to wade through hundreds of messages. Don't use the moderation if you don't want to. I for one, love it. I set mine to filter out most AC's. I am so tired of "I'm posted first!" If you have something good to say, logon, and say it. There is no reason to hide behind an AC, when you aren't required to give your REAL name.
  • My personal preference would be to have (Threaded, Sort by Score) pages sort by the highest score in each thread, then display the scores for followups next to the followup names. This would have the disadvantage that the largest threads would invariably filter to the top, but it would mean the people who want to read all the Score:4+ posts and skim everything else (which is why we're sorting by score anyway) would be able to do so most easily.
  • I have a couple what-ifs:
    1. O.K., a moderator cannot moderate himself. Is there any restriction on moderators +/- other moderators? Are they anonymous? Can you see who moderates the moderators? What about moderator wars?
    2. Is there any form of voting by moderators on whether to remove or add a user? For example, say CmdrTaco/Rob is out of town, or otherwise unable to remove a moderator (due to abuse of power). Could a referendum be held by the moderators to remove said moderator?
    3. Regarding stories submitted, a system where moderators could (+) flag stories, and if a story reached a high enough + rating, it would move to the front page?
    4. On the other hand, say a story had been posted before. Could moderators with a + enough rating post an update refering to an older story?
    5. We've got rated comments. How about rated articles? Say a user comes to Slashdot once a week. Unless he or she wants to search through the back issues there isn't an easy way to seperate the wheat from the chaff... if there was an option, say Weekdot (rhymes with Geekdot), could display stories sorted upon ratings. The problem with this is that different people have different interests. However, with a wider selection of moderators, it should average out, so that the more interesting or relevant stories 'float' to the top.

    And CmdrTaco: Doing a good job so far. Don't fear giving moderators power... just make sure that there are consequences, and an evaluation system built in.

    Slashdot: A working meritocracy?
  • I second this. I think a bottom cap should be lower than -1. That way there is a distinction between moderated down, noise, off topic and junk.

    But then at the same time, I think the default threshold should be -1 for all so the -1, (AC who a moderator didn't like), should would still be displayed by default. That way it takes at least two moderators to take out an AC and 3 to take out a named poster.

    This way -1 gets not great/off topic, -2 gets noise (MEEP), -3 gets raw (no matter how low the message sinks). Then you just need to have up to 7 threshhold settings, (-3 to 3). There should be no caps.


  • Wouldn't that invite people to inflate a few posts to get points to demote others? Maybe just a hard limit for the number of positive/negative moderations that one could do would work better - easier to code, too. Just set the limit for positive higher than that for negative to encourage moderators to promote rather than demote...

  • Hi,
    Where do I download the new code? All I see released is the v0.2, and that's some revs behind I would imagine....

  • Well, there _is_ accountability, just not accountability to us. Rob said that moderators can't change the score of an article twice and that he's removed some 15 for abuses, so the system has to be keeping track of things. So you should be able to email Rob if you see an abuse and have it fixed.
  • I would pay for one. You could put it on your resume and they would know what a slacker you were.

    Seriously, I think a lot of people would pay for slashdot email addresses.

    Of course, you would need some way to take credit cards and bill them automatically, but shouldn't be too hard?
  • I would gladly pay $50/year, X 25,000 slashdotters = alot of F***ing money for Rob!!!
  • Excellent idea! I hate having to scroll down a huge list of posts trying to find where I was when I followed a thread down a few levels - glad to see I'm not the only one!
  • Rob, I absolutely love what you've done, functionally it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The look of it is going to take a little bit of getting used too, but great work Rob
  • by Akira1 ( 5566 )
    There is slashnet, fire up ircII or your respective irc client and goto, and type /list for channels. =) If you have any problems with IRC send me an email, I can help ya out with it.
  • I had given up ploughing through hundreds of garbage posts to get to anything useful a few months ago. Suddenly, I don't have to. Thanks, Mr Malda.
  • I think this whole idea is really really good. It's definatly the best thing to happen to Slashdot. I like slashdot, but I used to hardly ever read the comments. Picking out the interesting, well thought out comments from the "You suck" comments was starting to get really boring.
    Now we have the slashdot posters moderating themselves. People who have posted interesting and well thought out comments get to become moderators. The moderators raise the score on other well thought out comments. This not only raises the S/N ratio, but encourages people who just couldn't be bothered, people who just couldn't be doing with getting flamed, people who were intimidated by the loud mouthed nay sayers. Those people can just bump up their comment threshold and post away.
    Bit of a shame to stick the "Open source" in the title, but it's the sort of community action that makes Linux and other open source projects tick. The comunity at large overseeing itself.

    Good work Rob (and all those un-named moderators) keep up the good ideas.
  • Assign each moderator an arbitrary number, then display the appropriate number(s) in the header of a moderated article. Then the slashdot readers can ferret out the moderators who are biased for or against certain posters. And, like you say, it would make it easier to report abuse.

    Additionally you could have a separate page tracking all the moderators by number with all sorts of fun stats. Find out which moderators are more active than others, which are slackers, which prefer certain articles, etc. At the very least it would prove an interesting diversion.

    The only downside I can see are the number flames that would undoubtedly ensue. "Fsck you, 319! Who the hell do you think you are???" Actually, maybe that would be amusing. For sophomoric folks like me, anyway.

  • I am to some extent echoing other comments here, but I just want to throw in my own support to the limited collaborative filtering model y'all have introduced.

    I hate to say it, but I was on the verge of abandoning what has probably been my favorite site because I have grown so tired of all the nonsense comments of late.

    Like most people here, I want every reader to be able to say something, but sometimes I only want to be able to read the relatively intelligent responses. At other times, I like to wade into a good flame war. The new system will allow either type of user to utilize the site.

    I actually haven't seen much in the way of results from the system yet, though. I suspect you probably ought to get the percentages up so something like a third of articles are moderated on a given thread.

    By the way, I love seeing a good site like /. evolve.

  • by Some guy named Chris ( 9720 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @09:38AM (#1963021) Journal
    I think anybody who actively seeks to be a moderator should be immediately and irrevocably disqualified.

    Same goes for Presidential candidates, but that's off topic.

    Just seems to me that seeking such a thing demonstrates a significant character flaw; the lust for power.
  • Has anyone considered posting the users average score that their posts have earned in the past along with their current reply's score? It may be alot of extra work, but I'd be very curious to see some people's overall scores. I would be more inclined to pay attention -and read more carefully those who have higher average scores overall. It may be an unwanted, unnecessary feature in some people's eyes though.
    I would second the idea that was submitted earlier about paying for Slashdot email addresses. It would be a great way to help offset the cost of running Slashdot.
    Keep up the great work Team Slashdot. Its been informative to read, and even more enjoyable since the customization features have become available.
  • I'd just like to say that I consider this to be an AWESOME idea. Also, an area where moderators could discuss stuff about moderation (though I guess these pages suffice for now). The moderators could weed out the bad crap so he Rob doesn't haveta waste time w/ it. Kinda like (but not really) old co-sysops on BBS'. (Remeber those? before the Great BBS AKA Internet was formed).

  • I'm sorry if this issue has already been raised. I hope that moderators are required to set their filter at 0 or -1. If the moderators do not look at any AC or slammed messages, then those messages have no means of coming back and getting promoted. A moderator set at 2, for example, would only be able to second the positive opinions of other moderators.

    Bravery, Kindness, Clarity, Honesty, Compassion, Generosity

  • by BiGGO ( 15018 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @08:25AM (#1963046) Homepage
    This is generally a bad idea.

    Minimum value is bad because:
    I would like a destinction between Flamebait and Offtopic versus "First", "Meept", and
    "This message is intended to suck moderation points"

    Maximum values are bad too:
    There must be many levels of messages.
    this will help the "10 best comments" on the HOF page.
    Even the rating will lose, I'd like a better 5-pointer to go before the other 5-pointers.

  • A slightly more refined suggestion would be to not allow moderators to moderate posts when their filter is set. There definitely should be a "no filter" setting that people can use and moderators must use when moderating.

    If moderators want to use the filter, they shouldn't being moderating posts at that time.
  • by BlackHawk ( 15529 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @10:41AM (#1963049) Journal
    A thought I had regarding this whole scoring issue.

    If a poster wanted to make sure that her/his posts were visible to the majority of /.'ers, then it would be in their best interests to make the posts relevant and insightful, actually have content, even. I wonder if we're going to see the caliber of postings and posters increase. A sort of electronic evolution of sorts.

    To that end, I think that it would be helpful if the score of an individual's posts would display on their user page. Just a short blurb in the already-displayed list of past messages. For those who wanted to work on see what other readers of /. thought of their posts (albeit the moderators only), that woudl help them see if their posts were highly thought of or not.

    A possible benefit: a poster who might not feel that his/her posts had anything of value to the community (and there are several, I'm sure) might discover that they actually do have something relevant to say. It might encourage them to contribute more.

    On the other hand, prolific posters who discovered that their comments' scores were consistently low might want to pursue an understanding of why. That could lead to improvement of their posts, to the betterment of the community. The fact that there are hundreds of moderators reduces the likelihood that a single poster will consistently be given false feedback.

    This system might just produce better writers all 'round.

  • 1) after replying to a msg, is it necessary to display the msg ? It's too late to change it, and I personnally never read it

    2) therefore I propose that while sending a reply I may choose between displaying the resulting message, or returning to the message I replied to, or to the top of the story, or even to
    that way you can even reduce the load of the server since I do not have to do Back()

    3) another thing... but I forgot it... ;-(

    4) Ahh ! yes ! even when I filter messages, Is it possible to know how many replies exist in the whole thread ? If I filter score 3 or more & I know there are 100+ score 2 and 500+ score 1 messages in the thread, I may be interested in looking what is inside (but I also want the possibility not to load the whole page, but only the thread at the given temporary score). I mean I filter score 3 messages & I see there are 100+ score 2 messages. Then I click on the button "view thread closer" & I load a new page with only these messages which are one score lower than the current filtering (that is score 2+ messages). Note this does not change my default filtering for other pages...

    Was that clear ?
  • Wow! This article about something Estra Special for the moderators has been moderated up to the top of the list!!! Clearly, the moderators thought this would be of interest to us all!!! Not a selfish bone in their bodies, those moderators!!!
  • It would be ideal if a thread could have it's own rating. This could just be an average of all of the ratings in the thread.

    Let's say you get a comment that is rated at 1 with a couple of great replies that are rated at 4 each, you would get a thread rating of 1+4+4/3 == 3. I'd be more likely to read that thread, and it should be near the top of the sort...

    On another note, these new features are great and all, but at what point in time is /. going to run out of CPU cycles and the site starts slowing down. I like all of the features so far, but I don't like having to wait for them... I think it's important to keep this in perspective...

    - Cees
  • Speaking of the "the guy who wants to read a thousand flame infested offtopic comments while slugging out a good debate in the trenches," I'll bet he would also be interested in the STORIES that don't make the cut. How about making a page on which there are listed all of the submitted stories whidh didn't make the grade. This would keep the main page clean and interesting to the majority but enable your loyal readers to publicize stories that would be of interest to a niche group. To save CPU cycles, you could even turn off comments for those stories, as you so choose. Hows about it?

  • > o) This comment is well written but wrong!
    > o) This comment is both well written and I agree
    with its contents.

    If anything is flamebait then this is. Right or wrong may be fine for the number of lines of sourse code that so-and-so has written but what about the times when /. delves into more ideological discussion? For example, the discussion of Falwell vs. Teletubbies brought to the surface a number of ideological differences between slashdot members. Would it be fair so mark another's opinion as 'wrong'? And I don't even want to get INTO the whole KDE vs. gnome religious war. Perhaps if such a system as you suggest was put into place (not likely) a more appropriate method would be to rank the relevence of the comment instead of critiquing its writing style and verity.

  • With this moderation debate, slashdoters have managed to hit upon and, I believe, contribute to one the most interesting areas of debate about representative democracies: how not to squash minority viewpoints. The reason is this: slashdot has effectively allowed people to elect comments they like in something similar (though *not* identical) to a political election. Part of what is fascinating to me is how the discussion has mirrored the themes and ideas developed in discussions of almost all representative democratic institutions. But, there are some differences, and some novel ideas that I think might teach the political theorists something. I'm not a super scholar or anything, but here goes my summary of the debates:

    Standard Voting Theories

    The base model in American politics is majority rule. Unfortunately, majority rule voting tends to obscure and overpower minority voices every time. See any black nationalists in the House of Reps? Even though they may represent 1% of the population, they will never gain 1% of the seats, and thus never be heard from.

    Disagreement #1: Is this good or bad? It eliminates the doomsday cult members (okay, so some Senators may seem to fall into that category at times, but you get the idea), but it also theoretically knocks out an opposition party that wins 49% of the vote in every state, but gains none of the seats in the House. 49% of the vote = 0% representation. Many people see this as inherently unfair, but many others see this as the 'Merican Way. (I know this is not how slashdot does it, but bear with me...that's coming.) So, this is the first big question: what type of representation of the opinion out there do you want? Just majority or something more representative?

    Disagreement #2: If you answered "b", the next question is what kind of representation? Well, this is where things become similar to the slashdot case. Remember the demise of Lani Guinier? She went down hard for discussing these issues in detail. Her argument was this: We learn as kids to take turns on the swing. That's fair, we all get a turn. It's not as if the kids get together and all the Linux kids and all the NT kids vote on whether or not each group gets to ride. Anyway, her suggestion was another way of voting. She says, let's have a truly representational debate in congress. If that means that the "plants are people too" party gets 1% of the seats, so be it. That's diversity at work, and they only get 1%. At least the 49%ers get their 49% instead of 0%.

    Okay, so here's where the disagreement comes in. There are a million ways to figure this out. Here we go with the Condorcet Paradox, agenda manipulation, May's Theorem, single peakedness, Downsian equilibrium, Black's Theorem, and the like. They involve many of the issues discussed in slashdot: multiple votes, negative votes, vote pooling, etc. And the debates about whether each voting scheme still silences monority voices goes on.But this isn't exactly what is going on at slashdot...

    The slashdot debate is similar and different

    Slashdot isn't trying to get a representative selection of viewpoints. There are meta-moderator police (a sort of Supreme Court that yanks out the unconstitutional actors). There is also a cap on scores. And the goal isn't a truly representative vote, but rather a tool to allow people to filter out the junk, and give props to thoughtful ideas. There's no true loser because no one is really censored. The 1% of d00d2 out there can post all they want, but they just stay at zero or get dropped down. The similarity comes in the voting part. The idea that people get a certain number of votes and can distribute them among posts is classic voting theory.

    The slashdot contribution

    What I think is novel about the slashdot solution is this: people can see whether a post has already been elected or demoted, and thus not waste their vote on that post. This matters because, as elections go on-line (as I think they eventually will), seeing how a vote is going will be a big issue, especially elections where people can vote for more than one candidate and cast more than one vote for a candidate. The novel idea is actually letting people see how votes are distributed in real time and then letting them make a decision based on that configuration. If you realize that your favorite candidate is a clear winner, but your second favorite is a big loser, you can dump all your votes on the second guy. The difference is information sharing in real time and contingent decision making. I think it's a big contribution to the political voting debates of the future.

    Anyway, I'll be waiting to see how things pan out.

    Postscript: reading sources for voting fools. Akhil Reed Amar, Lottery Voting: A Thought Experiment, 1995 U Chi Legal F 193; Lani Guinier, The Tyranny Of The Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy (The Free Press, 1994); Richard H. Pildes, Gimme Five, New Republic 16 (Mar 1, 1993); Pamela S. Karlan, Maps and Misreadings: The Role of Geographic Compactness in Racial Vote Dilution Litigation, 24 Harv CR-CL L Rev 173 (1989).

  • I like it Rob. I think -5 to 5 might be a better range, e.g. let the moderators moderate the "first post!" and "meept!" posts down to -5 with no penalty. Gives you a nice range to play with there.

    I've noticed that when I see a +2, +3, etc, that it's usually a good post, so a large part of those 400+ moderators seem to be doing a good job.

    I don't have the time to scan through all the noise to read the good stuff, so I am very thankful that you are doing this - WITHOUT censoring anyone. :)

  • by ClarkBar ( 24397 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @08:50AM (#1963099)
    All hail to king Taco!

    He has out done him self again!!

    I have one Idea:

    Someone mentioned a moderation of postings. good idea, but I have an expansion. As a reward for the moderators help why not create an area that the moderators can rate stories before they are sent to Rob? This would make sure that the post is on topic with the slashdot community, and at the same time, decrease Robs workload. Where is the reward? Moderators get first crack at the stories. They can hit the sites before the slashdot effect. There should be a time limit though as to how long a story can be left in the moderator "area". This way the rest of the slashdot community will still be able to see it. And possibly a place for rejected stories and reasons for rejections.

    One other thing:
    Why do moderators need a number? so you can complain? Not.

    ClarkBar :)
  • by Ertman ( 29767 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @08:13AM (#1963114)
    In the last few days, /. is starting to remind me of how it was a year ago. With articles sorted by score, I can actually pull out a few good responses from the hundreds of not so good ones.

    A suggestion I have: put the score of the follow-ups next to their links in the threaded mode. That way it's easier to tell if there is a decent follow-up to an article.

    The biggest problem I see right now is that sorting by score only sorts on the top article in a thread. There could be a +5 response to a 0 article, but I won't see it if my threshold is set to +1, and I view things threaded. Perhaps a 0 article with a +5 follow-up could be given a higher priority than a 0 article with no follow-ups? Maybe show all of the +5 articles first, then the ones with +5 follow-ups, then the +4 articles, etc?

    Keep up the great work Rob!

  • by Ertman ( 29767 ) on Thursday March 25, 1999 @09:17AM (#1963115)
    What I would love to see is a way to 'filter out' the articles I have already read. Maybe each time I click on a link, a small update is added to my cookie, and the next time I connect to that article, all of the follow-ups I already clicked on dissapear.

    Or a simpler system, where the last time I clicked on a link for any given article, the time is recorded, and the next time I visit that article, I can hit a button that will hide all of the replies older than the time that is recorded for me. Of course, with that method, articles that I haven't read, but are old, would get hidden as well.

    That way I could read a few of the articles, go away, come back later and finish off the ones I haven't read yet.

    Much like a USENET newsreader, there needs to be someway to tag the articles I have seen already as 'read', so I don't have to wade through them again.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein