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Assorted Slashdot Changes 138

I've attached a summary of the major changes and bug fixes below. These are regarding Nested Mode, Anonymous Posting, Highlight Thresholds, and Login Problems. Also some comments about moderation. If any of these things are on your mind, read on.
  1. I enabled the time zone selection stuff (you probably noticed some craziness with the times this morning while I was ironing some kinks out). You can choose your time zone in the User Preferences (default:EDT).
  2. I think I've fixed nested mode- it was almost as borked as Anonymous Posting which also should be fixed now. (god the conspiracy theorists love it when I break code- the story refreshing daemon hiccuped last night, and I get accused of censoring and removing stories because the static page isn't updating. Broken code == Evil Rob. I know how it works. God I need a beer).
  3. I also added an interesting feature that I call the "Highlight Threshold". Basically, once a discussion has "Comment Spill" (Default:100) messages in it, it switches to indexed mode (it just displaying subject, byline, score and time). Comments the excede the Highlight Threshold (default:4) are displayed in full. This allows you to quickly spot and read high rated comments without bothering with extra clicks, or losing the flow of the discussion. I like this a lot. Much of the benefit of Order by Score but without the tradeoff of losing the original discussion order.
  4. I'm still working on the various login problems people are having. Usually its a firewall or a proxy server thats filtering cookies, but there is some stranger stuff too. I'll figure it out, but it'll take longer if people keep emailing to complain and/or suggest features that I'm planning on, but just haven't had time yet. Hang in there- I'm working as fast as I can over here.
  5. Moderation Guys have patience here. I've picked 400 people to test out a lot of stuff with in a fairly controlled way. In the next few weeks I'll start rolling out features that will allow more scoring at the hands of the masses. Stop flaming and let me debug what we have before I start implementing the rest. I'm working on a system that will have a limited pool of points that will be dispensed to participants in a fair way. Hopefully. I'm simply not going to rush it. We're learning a lot with 400 moderators. This is a great intermediate step.
  6. As a whole, I think the system is stabilizing again. There are still some posting problems and login problems that need fixing, but so far most of the feedback has been pretty positive. At least, the good mail outweighs the hatemail so I'm breakin' even. I appreciate the feedback- most of the suggestions that are coming in are things that I'm planning, or I've already decided not to do. I apologize for not replying to everyone, but I'm behind enough as is. Once the dust settles a bit from this round I'll go in for more.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Assorted Slashdot Changes

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Thanks for the fish.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    As a moderator (boy I hope I'm logged out correctly :-), I actively look for well written contrary posts. I have always liked to play devil's advocate, and I think it is important to hear all sides of the story.

    The problem is that it is real hard to do. All the posts that you don't agree with have "obvious problems with them", otherwise you would agree with them. So, you look for ones with "the fewest flaws", but you still aren't going to find many.

    I am really not sure how to fix this problem. I am really worried that the moderators are going to be come a very self-selecting group. Opening up moderation to everyone doesn't fix this problem at all, you just have the tyranny of the majority.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I agree with this assessment, enough to bump a couple of your posts up a point, but with a caveat: Human beings, by nature, have opinions, and are therefore biased. Here's my own moderation policy:

    * I have never down-scored a post and specifically plan not to. I agree with the preceeding poster that moderators should only increase scores, not decrease them.

    * I try to up-score posts that make a good point that I agree with. Posts I don't agree with I generally leave alone; someone else can promote it if they think it's worthwhile. In a distributed scoring system, it is not necessary for every moderator to read and score every message. With 400+ moderators with 10 pts each, there are plenty of points to go around.

    * I usually don't bother to read or score responses to comments, concentrating on head of the thread.

    * I also tend to promote deserving posts that are low scoring. Anything already rated 3 or better I probably won't touch unless it's really fantastic. Fours should be rare, and fives nearly unheard of.
  • by CmdrTaco ( 1 )
    Don't mind me.
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • Don't mind me 2
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • Don't mind me 3
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • Don't mind me 4
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • God this must be annoying :)
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • God this must still be annoying :)
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional
  • An anonymous coward was caught asking this useful question:
    Great improvements to Slashdot, Rob! How about http://slashdot.org/index_N.shtml as a shortcut to nested mode, like you already have http://slashdot.org/index_F.shtml as a shortcut to flat mode?

    That wouldn't work, as any page that has to parse the score would have to be a dynamic page rather than a .shtml page.
  • I'm sure that Rob is doing exactly that, running the conferencing source code on another box (probably his own workstation) to clean up the obvious bugs.

    But, if years of work on my company's Web community/conferencing system have taught me anything, it's that there are some bugs that just don't show up until you have the system on the public server and have lots of people banging on it. Even having a separate "QA" or "staging" server that the entire company can bang on doesn't always spot the bugs.

    That being said, if Rob were to establish a "beta code" site (beta.slashdot.org?) and invite people to come bang on the new code, he'd probably get a decent response. (The Slashdot Effect should be most pronounced for Slashdot itself, wouldn't you agree?) But there is very little chance that even that round of testing would find all the bugs, though it would probably eliminate quite a few.

    Then, too, having another "live" site up for beta purposes might cost money that Rob can't afford at the moment...he's gotta eat and buy beer, too. (Rob, I'll send a virtual sixpack your way. And none of that Bud/Miller/Coors crap, either. Maybe there's a good Santa Barbara County microbrew you'd appreciate.)


  • Before you flame Rob, remember freshmeat.
  • I'm not sure when you added the reply counter to the list of postings in the user info, but I like it. Makes keeping an eye people's responses to my postings much easier.

    I also like being able to set the number of comments it'll display on a page to something ludicrously high, too, so I don't have to laboriously page through comments one at a time as soon as the number of responses hits 100. Being able to just page past garbage posts without waiting for the page to reload is great.

    I'm still not sure about the moderation... I'd be happier about it if the default setting was to display all postings. Also, I notice that on this page, there's at least one comment with a score of 6... is that a bug or a feature? And if it's possible to raise a score above 5, is it also possible to lower one below -1? Is that why I haven't seen any "First post!" idiots today, despite running with my threshold at -1? Or is someone just flat-out deleting those? Or have they just stopped posting (unlikely, methinks, but possible)? Wish I could set my threshold back down to -2000 to look, but it doesn't seem to want to let me go lower than -1 anymore...

    Anyway, thanks for the cool features. Just wish I could figure out how to use them properly without cookies...
  • I too had troubles, until I told Rob about it. He was able to log in find and now I am too. ;)
  • Good job Rob.
  • Posted by Open Matrix:

    I agree, Way To Go Rob! You're doing a wonderful job. Keep up the good work. Thank you for making the comments bearable again.

    Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so!
  • Posted by Mike@ABC:

    The site's looking better every day, and those who use it every day really appreciate it. Don't let the hate mail get you down. Go get yourself that beer.
  • I have the preferences:

    • Comment display: flat

    • Comment order: oldest first
      Comment threshold: 0

    Here are the names/dates of some consecutive replies it showed me:

    • by wayne (wayne@midwestcs.com) on 13:58 26 March 1999 PDT

    • by adam on 14:23 26 March 1999 PDT
      by David Gould (dgould@ocf.berkeley.edu) on 15:17 26 March 1999 PDT
      by beryl on 16:00 26 March 1999 PDT
      by Jamie Zawinski (jwz@jwz.org) on 16:21 26 March 1999 PDT
      by Anonymous Coward on 16:21 26 March 1999 PDT
      by burnsbert (burnsbertNOSPAM@netscape.net) on 13:34 26 March 1999 PDT
      by Alan Shutko (ats@acm.org) on 14:01 26 March 1999 PDT
      by Signal 11 on 14:02 26 March 1999 PDT
      by TedC on 14:06 26 March 1999 PDT

    As you see, not only are those not in the order they were posted, they are also not sorted by date.

    Does the fact that I have to pick between "PST" and "PDT" mean I'm going to have to change this by hand when daylight-savings time next toggles?

  • The view-setting menus on each page are cool, but they should not change the user's preferences. It would be better to be able to change the view settings for each window independently, without the changes becoming permanent

    I agree, but there is a way around this: I run Junkbuster [junkbuster.com] to filter out ads. By default, it also filters out cookies. So, to let slashdot save its cookie, I had to add slashdot.org to /etc/junkbuster/cookiefile [etcjunkbustercookiefile]. After you do that, exit your browser, and change ``slashdot.org'' to ``>slashdot.org'' to make it be willing to send cookies to slashdot, but not to receive them. That way, you'll log in by default, but slashdot won't be able to change your settings.

    Of course if you want to change the global defaults in the future, you need to muck around with cookiefile again.

  • by bjk4 ( 885 )
    1) Moderator limitation

    You should only allow moderators to modify scores when they can see all of the comments. This would prevent a problem I forsee where a moderator goes through the +3 comments and ups/downs them, but ignores the really good, unmoderated AC comment because their threshold is too low.

    2) Chop long comments

    Set a length threshold (# lines, # kilobytes...) after which a comment is cut off. Allow someone to expand it in a manner similar to the story expansion already available.

  • Moderation will never be perfect, since it relies on human judgement, and anyone can have a bad day and make some mistakes. Overall, though, I have have noticed that the quality of comments has improved dramatically since the moderation system has been implemented. Hopefully this will enhance the reputation of the Linux community a bit in the mainstream press.


  • Since you show a list of articles posted by a user, why not stick a button next to it that will let you view and/or delete it? Then move the first child up in the thread and make it the parent if you delete a message that is a parent. That's the only feature I find lacking.
  • by drsoran ( 979 ) on Friday March 26, 1999 @03:22PM (#1960852)
    Why do you do your development on a live web server? Shouldn't you try ironing out the bugs, move the development to another server and then fsck around with that until it's stable? I love slashdot, but I don't see other sites on the net having the incredible amount of problems that plague slashdot each and every week simply because you choose to do active development on the server. That's just crazy. If you can't get it to run on any other server then perhaps you should stop adding new features and bloat until you CAN get it to stabily run on another box no?
  • Grab that beer! (If you're ever in Savannah, Ga, I'll buy you a keg.)
  • Daylight savings time doesn't start until April. It should say EST. (Or am I way off?)
  • Well, it's happened that /. has been out-of-order for a while at a time. However, that's not happened in awhile now, that I've seen. You're definitely doing better, Rob. Keep it up. :)
  • I think it is kind of cool that he does his dev on the system. If you think about it, it is almost a living thing. It changes everyday. Somedays it is sick and doesn't want to work properly. I think it would be silly if he were doing this site as an ecommerce site. However, he isn't (yet...) doing it for money. Now, if he gets some generous offer someday... Maybe he might want to reconsider his development stragedy. Currently though, I can fully understand the reasoning. As long as the site generates a webpage and displays his banner ads, and allows other people to post comments, it works as far as I'm concerned. User comments help him develop the system and iron out bugs. It would be one thing if /. was inaccessible to people for long periods of time. I have yet to see this. I think we owe it to him to thank him for the service he provides, as we nag, scream and yell about the problems we see on our end. He does a good, professional job. Thanks Rob.
  • I really like this idea.

    I've set my default threshold to 2 so that I normally only see stuff that _somebody_ thought was worth reading. However, I don't like the idea that one moderator can override another's decision to bump one up.

    If you really, really want to keep the possibility of voting -1, maybe that should be limited to a small number of moderators (i.e. Rob and a couple of others). Presumably Rob can override a moderator's vote manually anyway if he really wants to.

  • by patrikr ( 1360 )
    Your timezone is Eastern European Time then. (Same as Finland.) I don't know if that's possible to select in the prefs though... I had a quick look but didn't see it.

  • allowing people to only moderate up, will effectively only change the "range". Zero would be the AC sewer, one would be the non-AC sewer. If you all posts that are even reasonably good would have to be moved up to a higher level.

    I could see maybe having a "moderate down" be more costly than a "moderate up", but I'm really not sure that it is necessary. Look at how few -1 scores there are vs scores >= 2.

  • Take a look at the left side of your screen. See the thing called "faq"? That stands for Frequently Asked Questions, such as yours. Read it! It says where to get the source code from. Or, since your question is so frequently asked, there is even a spot on the left side of the screen labeled "code"!

    Shouldn't someone start treating these like the "first post" comments?

  • Slashdot doesn't need moderators; it needs
    an editor.

    This isn't a flame against Rob. He's clearly
    a techie with a high threshold for bullshit.
    When it comes to putting a site up and dealing
    with the hassle, this is a good thing; and
    when it comes to making decisions or meta-
    decisions about content, it's a bad thing.

  • by Matts ( 1628 ) on Friday March 26, 1999 @05:37PM (#1960862) Homepage
    Please take note moderators!

    It's no use you just moderating the original post in a thread - you have to mark up replies as well. Reading in +2 mode is a blessing, but dull unless you moderate the replies too.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work.

  • If the stuff is going to get whacked on, why not let it get whacked on? I think the fact that you CAN test with a high load says a lot about Slash -- and about Rob's Perl cahones. :)

  • It looks like the moderators agree with you. ;-)

  • I'm trying it out now--one small problem, the first level of replies doesn't get indented in Lynx. Or is this intentional? :-)

  • forget that secret server stuff Rob!

    Part of the fun of coming here is being a part of the whole process. Everyone reading this article and posting to it likes being a part of the process, whether they realize it or not!

    Don't let'em change this, I love seeing the page change from reload to reload, features appearing like magic from day to day...
  • I think that the selection of EDT implies that it autoswitches. There is another EST selection way down the list for the bozo hoosiers in Indiana that never switch to summertime.

    (can you tell I live in Kentucky?)

    What is a formal dinner in Hoosierland? Everyone wears shoes!
  • by jnik ( 1733 )
    Check out Taco Hell [slashdot.org] for where Rob used to do some development work--don't know how much testing he still does there.
  • I hadn't been able to login as copito for a week and I felt like a casualty of progress. I made myself a new login (rmminusrf but it just wasn't the same. Thanks for reaching back and fixing the problem. The new format is excellent.

    Let's see, this might be the first customizable community news portal for techs. Can somebody say IPO? Although I hope for Rob's sake that he can make lots of money, I pray that this place will never lose it's soul. So far so good.
  • I too will pitch in my vote of praise for Cmdr Taco's improvements for ./
    With all of these nifty new features there was no way I could resist logging in.
    3 cheers for the Taco!
  • by BluBrick ( 1924 )

    I think he probably does do his development on a separate machine, but some of these niggles only show up on his live system.

    He also may not be able to afford to set up a complete test environment complete with equivalent bandwidth and 75k users providing load testing.

    I'm getting my money's worth, what's your beef?

  • he goes his testing, or some of it at least on the live slashdot server because of obvious reasons. as others mentioned the load, the slashdot load is incredible, and i cant imagine something that would emulate it. where do you think the slashdot effect name came from? :) secondly, he wants the users to test out the features, see if they like them, dont like them, want modifications. cant do this on a non-live workstation. and third, the pur e experience of it. the whole reason why Rob started Slashdot was to run a news site and to also test his web skills, i believe. so those are some easy reasons why. i dont know about you, but i dont ever really have problems with slashdot, just the occasional server-down for a few mins. :)
    Scott Miga
  • by TazQ ( 2482 )
    The new features are really nice. I specifically like the new highlight spill or whatever you called it! Thanks Rob for making /. so cool!
  • I might just have to start reading all of the comments....much better than threaded.

    Way to go Rob!!!

    rich minear
    AMC Theatres
  • they weren't British Army, they were ex-British Army. First world war veterans who had nothing else to do, so they were packed off to Ireland to keep the 'unruly' irish under control.

    unfortunately they were ill-disciplined and badly led, and were prone to killing peoplle, burning down houses and the like, for no good reason other than that they felt like it.

    this just added to the ill-will felt by the irish towards the british, and solidified the will of the people to get the British out.

    wasn't soon after that the cowardly De Valera sent Mick and Arthur Griffith over to London to negotiate a treaty with the Brits.

    but that's a story in itself.

  • by planet_hoth ( 3049 ) on Friday March 26, 1999 @03:31PM (#1960876)
    Way to go Rob, the new discussion features seem to be really coming together nicely! At the very least, they are already a big improvement over the old, albeit simpler system.
    As promised, I have an Idea for Slashdot comments. How about allowing moderators to only *add* to a messages score? Here's why I think this would work better:

    * Less people moaning about censorship, because no one has the power to have fewer people read your post. If it's offtopic/inane/flamebait, etc, it simply will not be moderated up to a higher score.
    * People with unpopular, yet reasonable views cannot have their views squelched by the majority. If even one or two moderators think he/she has a legit point, they will show up on high threshholds, even if the majority of moderators want to censor it.
    * Under this system, the more you try to get people to agree with you, the more people will see your post. If you want to be heard, it will pay not to be TOO antisocial.
    * Moderators will have less opportunity to abuse their power. Currently, a "loose cannon" moderator could go through and moderate down all of a person's posts, giving them a negative overall score and removing any chance that person had of being a moderator in the future.

    One thing Slashdot has plenty of is negative feedback. My system would promote more positive feedback, in a wholly non-censoring manner.

  • Maybe you're right, folks. Maybe as the moderators get used to their role, the moderation will become more consistant and less political. For the time being, I will keep my mouth shut (about this) and my eyes open and see if things improve.

    I will say this, though: Rob's done a great job adding features to /., and the new moderator system was probably the best way to handle the recent problems with spurious and vulgar posts (I can't think of a better way or system).

  • You make a good point, it's difficult to be truly objective about anything.

  • by burnsbert ( 3282 ) on Friday March 26, 1999 @03:34PM (#1960879) Homepage
    I've mentioned this before, but this seems to be the proper forum to bring this up. It seems to me that moderators are upgrading the ranking for posts they _agree_ with and downgrading the ranking for posts they _disagree_, rather than rating the posts based on their cogency and how ralated they are to the topic. Look on the Utah/censorship discussion, and you'll see that the a bunch of anti-censorship posts got 4's and 5's, while the highest rating someone arguing in favor of the Utah school board could hope for was a 2.

    Does anyone disagree with this assessment? I will read any (non-flame) rebuttal with an open mind.

  • Nothing helps me relieve "angry user" stress more than a good Guiness Stout. That's why I keep a four pack of pub droughts here in the office, for just such an emergency! ;-)
  • Well, I'm an American, and I love Black and Tans. Guess that makes me a traitor, eh? ;)
  • Love the new arrangements, but there's one bit that has disappeared that I really loved. If anyone can tell me how to do this under the new arrangements please tell me!

    Basically, I could to pick a particular thread with everything as threaded comments. If the thread looked interesting I would swap just that thread to flat mode and read the lot. Now, if I'm in a thread and then tell it to view in flat mode it moves the entire article + all replies to flat mode - dumping me out of the thread I was in and back to the original page. I can't just optionally see a thread flat (or nested for that matter either). Rob, I'd really like to see this put back in again please!

  • Yes, the presentation of the comments section is a lot better now. Thank you Rob.

    Now, if we could only improve the content of the comments section.

  • Like the others said.. the new stuff you've put into place has made the comments useful again.
    Keep the faith! If you've ever in Athens, GA I'll by you that beer. :)
  • I like to rotate that with Fosters to alleviate repitiousness. And the occasional Mead or port is fine too!
  • My score is set to 1 so I don't have to see the a.c.'s comments. However, if I posted something and an a.c. responds it might be nice to see it just out of curiousity. Then again, unless a moderator raises it to 1 maybe you don't want to see it :-> hmmm, maybe better a mod raises it rather than risk raising your blood pressure :-)
    never mind...
  • Read USENET for a while.

    You become adept at mining useful information from chaos.

    The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

  • I can think of two reasons why. One is resources, mainley $$.

    The next is the fact that the most important testing for slashdot is load testing. And a test server just won't get the load the main server will.
  • Nice one, Mr Taco, sir!

    The comments used to be that annoying bit at the bottom of the page that delayed the content from rendering. Now they're fun to read and join in with.

    If I wore a cap, you can be damned sure that I'd doff it to you.



  • It is his site - but I have to wonder occasionally what people expect. I wonder if it's possible to really thoroughly test code without god-knows-how-many slashdotters pounding on it in all possible ways to find things that are wrong.

    I think that the new moderation stuff is neat. I've noticed that the page is broken sometimes, but usually when it comes back and is not broken anymore, it tends to be better. Broken Code != Evil Rob ....
    ->(= brokencode evilrob)

  • The Highlight Threshold is a a great feature.
    Using a low comment threshold (say 1) and a
    high highlight threshold (say 3) and a comment spill of 0 gives a nice way to view everything without being overwhelmed by comments.

  • Thanks, I'll check that out. Still, I think it would be a nice feature for /. Especially if we could have two buttons: "Change For This Session" and "Set Preferences".

    By the way, another small problem with preferences: my sig uses "& lt;" and "& gt;" escapes for ">" and "<" symbols but whenever I go back to my Preferences page, it evaluates them, and interprets them as tags, fooing my sig bar unless I remember to fix it. The comment box does this too; made it a real pain to type this, and I still had to use spaces.

    Also, to the first reply: my suggestion was meant for the threaded/flat/nested and sort-order menus, not the thresholds (I stick with -1 anyway). Those are the ones that I think are most important to be able to adjust according to the length and threadedness of each particular discussion, without wanting the change applied to other windows or subsequent sessions.

    David Gould
  • by David Gould ( 4938 ) <david@dgould.org> on Friday March 26, 1999 @05:17PM (#1960893) Homepage

    He already set an absolute minimum score of -1, which takes care of the negative infinity problem (I personally want to see the discussions with nothing filtered, and I was pretty pissed a while back when I first realized that there were negative scores, because I realized that without a minimum possible score, there was no way I could be sure I wasn't missing anything). I still think killfiles (let each user have a list of authors whose posts are to be filtered) would make a better filtering mechanism because that would allow people to make their own decisions. I'm surprised, given the political climate around here, that more people aren't advocating this.

    I also still don't quite agree with automatically assigning lower value to anonymous posts, but I can sort of accept it, especially since it's just one point and good comments are now more likely to be promoted. Now, a score of 0 means "anonymous or downgraded", -1 means "defninitely downgraded", 1 means "signed or upgraded", and 2+ means "definitely ugraded". Unless you want to set a higher threshold, there is no further discrimination involved.

    However: I really think the default should be -1 instead of 0, i.e., show everything unless a user opts to have it filtered. This is especially important since (I assume) people who don't log in are not able to set preferences, meaning there's no way for them to get around the filtering. As I see it, this is worse than them not being able to benefit from it. Remember, ever since logins were created, there has been ongoing debate between those who like logins and filtering and those who object to both for reasons of principle. If the default were -1, everyone could be happy; with 0, those who don't log in are still discriminated against. It's sort of weird that you have to log in to see all the anonymous posts. Yes, I know you only miss the downgraded ones. Still.

    One other small problem: The view-setting menus on each page are cool, but they should not change the user's preferences. It would be better to be able to change the view settings for each window independently, without the changes becoming permanent (e.g., pass the settings around as a hidden cgi parameter instead) -- I always want to start with the same view, but depending on the nature of each discussion, I'd like to be able to adjust it without having to go back and restore my original setting.

    Also, the previous post said: Currently, a "loose cannon" moderator could go through and moderate down all of a person's posts... I don't think that's a problem. I don't know the rules exactly, but I think moderators only have so many "moderator points", so to do what you suggest, someone would have to waste a whole lot of his points and give up the chance to do other "real" moderation. Who's that vindictive? Besides, he still couldn't raise a completely insurmountable barrier.

    David Gould
  • The Utah cencership discussion is pretty old... more recent ones might be more valid, since the moderators are probably getting used to things, and Rob's been able to bounce abusers. And I think it was before the new high limit and low limit, and I'm sure moderators are adjusting to that...

    What do recent posts look like? They've seemed ok to me, but I haven't read many older (ie, more likely moderated) posts.
  • The new comment system is great for me. I had given up on reading comments because I was so tired of first posts and the like. Now, with the new comment system, I've set my threshold to 3 and I'm reading stuff that keeps me interested and keeps me informed and thinking. And hell, my comments don't even make it up to that threshold, so the system is obviously working. *grin*

  • Release early and release often....

  • 0.2 is ancient! :)
    please release me, let me go!
    Release your code Sir Rob!
    You're doing great!
  • Ahh yes, Guiness. The perfect topping for a hard day, or a half-pint of Bass Ale in a black-and-tan.


  • I'm an American. I don't catch the
    British Army reference at all. All
    I know is a good drink when I sip it.

    Heck, even Adam Yauch of the B. Boys
    pays lip service to the wonderful
    drink, in A Year And A Day on
    Paul's Boutique:

    I'm fishin' in my boat, and I'm
    fishin' for trout. Mix the Bass Ale
    with the Guinness Stout. Fishin'
    for a line, inside my brain, and lookin'
    out at the world through my window pane.

    Nothing like getting a little inspiration
    from a tall pint of Guinness.
    The New Gnu Knew, Very Soon At The
    Zoo, That Guinness Is Good For You.

  • *blush*

    For as generally pedantic as I am about spelling, I managed to pull a major brain fart there.


  • Way to go! Slashdot's really shaping up! I actually am wading back into the comments areas again full steam. Nested mode rocks my world.

  • It's probably easier for him to find the bugs with thousands of people banging on the system. Also easier to find out what people would prefer, because they can comment on the proceedings. I think it's better than having him test a system, iron out all the bugs, then move it live only to find that the average slashdotter hates the system.

    I've found slashdot to be perfectly useable while he's been toying with the features, anyway. And it's kind of cool to see the site change as per Rob's whim. It's not like any of us has money invested in the site, so who cares if it's a little buggy? We get to be involved in the evolution of the comment system! I think it's worth it...
  • It's true to a limited extent. There's two ways you can take this.

    1. It's the "will of the majority" -> this is a largely homogenious group of people - geeks/hackers/techno-nerds/whatever, and most of the moderators are of the same cut. So *naturally* anything posted will be viewed through the colored lens of that demographic group.

    2. The second way you can take it is, Rob's moderator-selection-process is broken. He should choose people who are "open minded", and select as diverse a group as possible, at all points along the "political scale", as it were.

    Both methods have their pros and cons, and I shall leave that to the savvy reader to pick up and fill in in more detail.

  • I think the moderation system stood up quite nicely to the standard RMS rocks/sucks responses in the last item mentioning him. Specifically, the messages were generally more concise, better thought-out and less insulting than in previous times, just by merit of the system's existence.
  • I really like the new features... Makes browsing the comments bearable.

    Thanks Rob!
  • Rob, I gotta say that all your improvements have been wonderful!
    You'll never see any flames from my direction. I'm sure that people will come up with more complicated ways to make the preferences even more useful, and that's great - - but I'm thrilled with what we have right now.

    Really, I couldn't be happier. With all the new preferences available (especially Nested mode - Rocks!) I can't help but log in to use all those options. For the first time in months, I'm logging in, reading more comments, and actually posting a thing or two from time to time. :)

    So keep up the great work. I'm spending more and more time at Slashdot every day since these changes have taken place. Remeniscent of USENET, but with a great way to filter out all the crap.

    And kudos to the moderators: Been doing a great job, and I've enjoyed reading all of the "moderated-up" comments. Makes /. SOOO much more enjoyable.

    Woooo! Viva Slashdot!
    (okay, I'm trying to calm down, really....)
  • What is the default set at for new or non-logged-in users?

    If it is "all posts viewed" I don't have a problem.

    If it is 0 so no negatives appear, it's no longer Open...

    I'm repeating myself, I know...

    BTW, meept!, first post!, etc.

    --diva (Invisible Malcontent)
  • by Baggio ( 8432 )
    No fair.... Rob, you can't play favorites on yourself and give yourself a ton of score: 2's... you are only given a limited amount of moderator points, so spend them wisely... :)

    J/K, I love the changes in this place... Nesting wonderful, and the links on the left panel no longer line wrap... Overall, I am very impressed with the new features. Kudos.
    Time flies like an arrow;
  • The Order by Score feature is really helpfull. Thanks Rob! Just when I thought nothing could top the previous state of slashdot, all of these cool features start appearing. Now I'm sure nothing can top slashdot.
  • I really appreciate what is done here, these customizable pages rock and at least it is possible again to take a look in the comments without spending a whole day in them.

    'Moderation' (I think evaluation is a better term for the situation) by at least all logged in readers should be the next goal, but it sure takes time. A lot of you should now it from own experience.

    Go on, Rob
  • Up until a few days ago, there was little reason to visit the comment (other than to troll for flames) section. Now, I visit everyday.

    Kudos CmdrTaco!
  • I think you will find that when this new moderation was announced that Rob said that all of his posts start with a score of 2, as ours start at 1, and AC start at 0.
  • If nested mode was changed like that, how would it be different from threaded mode?

    I like nested mode, as it is, as it combines the best of both threaded and flat modes. Like flat mode, you get the whole subject in one page (which for those of us who have metered 'phone calls with a minimum call charge is very desirable) and it allows you to see the relationship between comments (ie the parent child relationship)

  • Its been said many times, but
    Nested mode == Rules!

    The little [X] boxes at the top of the side boxes (whatever the heck they are called) to instantly turn one off, well, it's a great thing.

    Now, if I could set up multiple user configs under my same account, so at the click of a button, I can change from my work settings to my home settings, to my x-terminal settings, to my lynx settings...

    Ahhh, now that would be cool...

  • by Mooset ( 9986 )
    That's all well and good, but I'm sure Rob doesn't have extra crash just laying around to throw into a new server. Besides, it really can't be tested on another server since the /. load levels wouldn't be there.
  • I would also like to note that, as I recently discovered on a 10 day trip through rural Ireland, Guiness is an effective treatment for /. withdrawl, the effectiveness of which increases with the dose. The downside, of course, is that so do the side effects.
  • Actually, there are buttons on the page that allow you to adjust its threshold when you are reading it even if you are not logged in. Where you default to is affected by your logging in, not the ability to change your threshold.
  • >>This kind of site, with thoughtful not-very->>arrogant-at-all commentary, run by someone who >>either gives a damn or fakes it really good - >>this IS the net as far as I'm concerned. I agree, this site is what i'm looking for online and is what the web is all about. What a great place to visit and enjoy. Thanks to all who make slashdot possible, including those who come here and post!
  • I figured you were probally getting enough angry stuff and complaints so I figured I'd just say that I like it. Rob, you're doing a great job. Keep up the good work.
  • Love the changes, Rob...mucho functionality :)


    Poor old me succumbed to the temptation of downloading IE5, and now the damned thing is hell erratic with SlashDot logins... sometimes it works (and displays my fortune on the main page :), and other times, it doesn't!. But at all times, when I click "User Account", it says I'm already logged in. Is this a /. problem or Micros~1?

    Ta. :)
  • Hmm...closed IE5, opened /. again (from that damned Favorites menu :P, and now I get my customised /. main page....

    Why is it so?

  • Timezones should be GMT +/- X istead of an initial.
    I'm from Israel, i have no idea which timezone it is (GMT+2)

    the hour format should have 23:00 26/9/99 too. (my favorite)

    the comment bar (that apeard above comments) should have all the features,
    (comment spill, highlight, etc.)

    keep up the great work, rob.

  • However: I really think the default should be -1 instead of 0, i.e., show everything unless a user opts to have it filtered. This is especially important since (I assume) people who don't log in are not able to set preferences, meaning there's no way for them to get around the filterin

    I disagree. J. Random Surfer who wanders in does not want to be exposed to a lot of the lame stuff that gets a -1. It makes this place look like a bathroom wall. If he decides to stay around for even a short time, he'll find the switch to see all of the posts.

    Furthermore, even if you don't log in, you can set the comments to display more or less thanks to the neat new controls after the story. But why don't you just log in and set the cookies? You can always log out if you want to post anonymously.

    With the new code, Rob has given everyone a great deal of new control over what they see on /. Use it.
  • by Gruuk ( 18480 ) on Friday March 26, 1999 @03:16PM (#1960929)
    Take all the time you need; after all, it is YOUR site. There are no perfect sites on the web, but Slashdot is already good and can only get better with all the effort you put in it. I'm curious though as to how this moderation experiment will work out. Anyway, keep up the good work and don't forget your asbestos suit.
  • The site was great to begin with thanks for taking time to make it even better. Really a first class job.

  • When reading articles in the nested mode, and filtering by score, I'm getting only the threads where the toplevel post passes the filter. Let's say my score threshold is 2. A toplevel post has a score of 1 and one of the followups to it has a score of 4. I will never see the followup.

    Is this a bug, a feature or a misfeature? I, for my own part, would like to see highly scored posts even if they reply to some junk and are thus down a level or two.

    The new highlight feature (all posts = 1 line except for those which pass the threshold and are full-text) sounds *very* useful. Could we get it as one of the standard display choices? (I understand I can set my spillover to 1, but that would be a kludge :))
  • It doesn't make sense to select Daylight or Standard time zones --- do I have to go change it twice a year? I never remember which one's standard and which one's daylight anyhow.

    Minor nits aside, Slashdot is great and I want to really thank you for running it!
  • Congratulations on a job well done! You deserve a break. I can wait a while longer for my other requests...tap...tap...tap...okay, that's long enough :).

    The "Highlight Threshold" is a great idea. It provides most of the benefits I was seeking through some of my earlier (different, maybe not as good) suggestions.

    I agree with the poster who wants to be able to trigger "Highlight Threshold" on request (rather than setting his spillover to a low number). Just add a "Headers" option to the "Flat, Nested...".

    I agree with the poster(s) about the "Order by Score" problem, whereby it only works for first level comments. I also have a concern that if moderators use this option, they will tend to bump up messages that already have a high score, while ignoring new messages that should get a higher score. Personally, I think that "Highlight Threshold" makes "Order by Score" unnecessary.

    Nested mode is nice, but I will support capital punishment for anyone who repeats the maximum-depth experiment that some turkey carried out under Moderation 1.1.1.

    I think that Rob has been successful enough at implementing changes, that we don't need to berate him for the temporrary bugs that do get through. I would, however, like to see a status page (or a section on the home page) to tell us what is currently happening. That way I won't be bugging him by telling him about things he already knows (like I apparently did earlier today).

    I disagree with the idea that moderators should only be able to moderate upward. In that case, how would you get rid of MEEPT? Would you kick out any Moderators who were weird enough to bump up his score? Where would it end? That really would lead to censorship. (Of course, a vote-averaging system would solve the whole problem--nudge, nudge--broken record).

    Contrary to some posters, I think that Moderators should increase the scores of (good) posts that are in agreement with their own ideas. Since not all moderators will think the same, this sort of mini-survey would allow us to see the best arguments on both (all) sides of a debate. To me, the moderators should be bumping up posts that make a good point (with which they probably agree), that make an interesting point (agree or not), that provide useful information, or that are entertaining (especially humour).

    Lastly, lest it be forgotten, let me repeat an earlier request for a filter-by-date-time option to allow me to view the posts that are newer than my last visit, even if they are nested.

    Once again, great work!

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.