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Several Slashdot Notes 255

First up, Jon over at Brain Power has improved the job search engine to allow boolean searching, and parenthesis, so you can search for "c++ and not "visual c++" or "(unix and perl) or linux" to help you on your quest for unemployment. Second is a minor change to the posting system. I'm not quite convinced about the exact numbers, but users are now getting a default score based on their comment posting history. ACs still post at 0 and normal users at 1, but based on your past commenting, your scores can start at anywhere from -1 to 4. I've posted the exact numbers, more details, rationale, as well as assorted other comments on the system below.
Ok, your "Alignment" is the sum of all moderation done to all of your comments on Slashdot. A posts initial score does not affect your alignment: only actual moderation. The "Score" of any comment, is your default score, plus or minus a fudge factor based on your alignment, plus or minus any moderator activity.

ACs post at 0. Logged in users post at 1. When you break the following alignments (I played a lot of Tradewars 2002, can ya tell?) your default score will be as follows:

-1 at -30
0 at -10
1 (Normal)
2 at +5
3 at +10
4 at +25

I suggest that this system will encourage posting of good comments. Currently it actually is only affecting about 1% of the comment posters. But extreme comment scores (-1 or 3 or more) tend to draw much more attention from moderators, so they will likely get knocked back towards the median unless they are consistantly high quality. Assuming that moderators are doing a good job anyway.

I've been fiddling with those numbers for the past few days. I've been making them pretty high, but we'll likely need to make them higher as more moderation occurs, but I'll need a few weeks of moderation to determine what those numbers are. Sorry to the people who have been surprised by these changes.

The mass moderation system is actually running now. I'm tweaking numbers, but it'll probably be a few days before any readers actually start getting moderator points. The system is basically what I discussed last week with a few numbers tweaked. We'll have to see how it works.

By far the most controversial change to the moderation is the new restriction against posting & moderating the same discussion. Let me try to defend this decision a bit. First, I think this prevents people from getting to play the judge and the prosecution at the same time. Many people argue that this will discourage moderators from posting comments. That might be true, but since the new moderation system will have more moderators, there will be people available to pick up the slack. Plus, currently the moderators have an abundance of moderator points- the new system will make them much more scarce (they'll expire after 3 days too!) so most of the time, people won't even have an option to moderate. Plus, if someone moderates and then decides to post, they can do that. Sure the moderation is undone, but that isn't the end of the world. The workload is distributed, hopefully (!) other people will pick up the slack.

The most important factor however is that our initial batch of 400 moderators were selected from the comment posters. The new batch will still have that element, but there will be many more lurkers as well- and since these guys don't post, this point is moot for them. I think that these 2 groups will offset each other and give us a good scoring system.

Finally, I added an option to the user preferences to allow users to say "I don't wanna be a moderator". By default all users will be flagged to be moderators. Remember that unused points will simply disappear after 3 days, so if you don't want them, just don't use them. A lot of people suggest that people ought to be required to turn moderation on, but I want to give this a try for now simply because I'm trying to get as large of a body as possible. Realistically, moderation is fairly easy. And since you'll only have a few points every few weeks, it won't be a major problem.

Anyway, I'll have a bit more on the subject soon. I'm sure this is a lot of stuff to talk about for now *grin*.

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

Several Slashdot Notes

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So far I've been in favour of all of the moderation changes/improvements, but I'm a little skeptical about these latest batch of changes.

    - Alignment is a fairly good idea.

    - Blocking people from posting after moderating a topic, imho, is not necessary, and a deterrant to moderation. I seriously don't believe existing lurkers will be putting in the nessecary time to moderate things as much as "frequent posters" do. Furthermore, it could be argued that many good moderaters are also "good posters", and you're losing one or the other.

    - Giving "mass moderation" access will be an interesting experiment, but you are running the DEFINITE risk of biased-moderation here, as you have more people that can play "moderator wars" now over unpopular opinions. This remains to be seen, of course.

  • by drendite ( 3 )
    Why reinvent the wheel? I'm sure there's someway you could interface port 23 on your machine and dosemu/bbs software. That would be sweet. Telnet bre.slashdot.org... (:
  • One problem that I can see with the system is that it might have a tendency to favor old timers simply because they've had an oppurtunity to post more and thus gain a better default score. Considering how rapidly the net and /. are growing, I don't know that this is a good thing. There's a decent chance that /. will continue to attract new and interesting people whose comments might be overlooked simply because they do not carry the initial higher weight.
  • ok lets see what we got
  • It's been done... :)

    There are a large number of telnet BBSes available. Try wandering darktech.org, or check out the telnet BBS webring at http://www.spuncrystal.com/public/bbstel.htm

    I'm in the process of setting up a BBS for telnet+dialup right now.

    Isn't nostalgia wonderful? :)
  • One of these days, Rob will make an algorithm for moderating that is so complex it requires a supercomputer. Until that day, I'm sure he's having a lot of fun chewing up extra cycles on the main server ;-)
  • They'd have few points to begin with and spend them rather quickly, with 4,000 moderators out there to play whack-a-mole. Not a problem, IMO.
  • I think Rob has some sort of hard-coded "my posts start at 2" thing, because his posts have been starting at 2 for weeks now, long before this whole alignment thing was implemented.
  • Either that or you could call some actual BBSs. There's some lists of ones still up you can find from directory.mozilla.org's BBS section.

    I've heard of some problems in trying to get door games working with telnettable BBSs, as many of them have COM stuff hard-coded into the executable.

    Anyway, if /. does set one up, put up Falcon's Eye. Great game by the BRE people (similar, but with more features and more interesting gameplay).
  • Yeah...that's true. Though moderators are supposed to keep their status confidential, they are pretty-well on the honour system.

    A few moderators are bound to abuse their status. If a few did conspire to bring up their "alignment", I suspect the large number of other moderators could undo the damage. Hopefully CmdrTaco can catch those incidents if they happen.

  • This is Perl-induced madness! Rob has obviously gone drunk with power, thanks to the infinite possibilities of Perl. What next? A "pingouin, you've got mail" Slashbox? SlashICQ? An animated paperclip? How about simultaneous translation to Tagalog, Joual, and Esperanto?


  • I'd like to see moderator comments. These could be something you could turn on or off with preferences.

    Now that is a GREAT idea! Moderators could be required to justify their reasoning for raising/lowering scores. This would get rid of any moderation-happiness (unless you feel like making up descriptions all day) and at least give the writer of the post a small sense of relief that he wasn't being picked on.

    And, instead of enabling/disabling it via user accounts, it would be easier just to have a button in the header that would display it for a specific message. If on top of this, there was a "psuedo-id" for each moderator that was posted with the comment, this would probably make rob's job a lot easier in resolving who is really doing the job, and who's broke out the proverbial d!ck pump moderating.

    This would definately solve a lot of problems at least with the human aspect. Frankly I think it would be most honest to have direct information of who's moderating your posts and why, no pseudo-nothing. That would press the moderators to at least THINK about what they're doing before they do it.

  • I've heard of some problems in trying to get door games working with telnettable BBSs, as many of them have COM stuff hard-coded into the executable.

    I run a (telnet) BBS right now with 4 doors. As long as the BBS runs on fossil-based communication, it'll work with most of the telnetfossil wrapper programs out there (netmodem, SIO, etc).

    The big dilemma (much to my dismay) is this: 90% of these games won't work properly because they were written in turbo pascal, and most of you familiar with the it will know about the PPro (including PII's) breaking the delay() call in TP, which uses the system clock, something that's used rather often in BBS doors.

    The other problem, is finding half ot these doors for anything but DOS is nearly impossible, and the registration costs for TW2002 are still outrageous ($50 for version 3, another $25 for the DPMI or 20,000 sector version)... I just do not get how these BBS authors have the nuts to keep charging for these programs, or, at least that much, and expect to make any money.


  • I think something that Rob should consider more is the human aspect to moderation. I understand moderating down a flame, or something "flame-like", but people are still human.

    I currently run a REAL BBS (you know, telnet, ansi, matrix logins, message areas, file transfer areas, door games, the whole 9 yards), and have been running it for ... good lord, something like 6 or 7 years now.

    I have had "subject operators" or "moderators" before on the BBS, and if you want to maintain a high quality of free speech, it's nearly impossible. People are human, and they're going to moderate posts that differ from their views.

    Myself, being "off the norm", especially in the engineering crowd's GENERAL (and I use that word with caution) point of view, fear a lack of respect for my POV may occur just because my opinion differs that from the norm.

    And something else, if I were mailicious, and selected for "jury duty", and just wanted to be an ass, I could easily just moderate down every post and help total the collective alignment. This is not really my idea of free speech, which I believe rob is trying to preserve.

    Of course this is all hypothetical, but the first suggestion that I would make would be to wax AC's period. No one is required to offer their real name here, and now that you can set your own password the cookie dispute should be simpler also. Granted, there would still be multiple account bimbos but that can be defeated with ip filters and such. This has all been done before on BBS's, IRC, and various other forum and chat systems in the world, why try to re-invent the wheel?

    Just some suggestions, not a flame.

  • You get to roleplay one of several classes: open source political freak, 14 year old script kiddie, stuck up programer whose ideas are somehow automaticaly more valid than anyone else's, or just plain troll.

    Ooh! Can we play multiple classes?

    I want to be a FSF/Troll/Fighter/Mage :)

    Hell heh, you could make it 80% D&D and the other 20% Paranoia, heh.

    "Speaking of your mutant power is treason. Lose a clone, 1 alignment, and 100 experience points"

    teehee (it's late, it's my birthday, and .... mmm.. stout)

  • A compilation of the results for the first week or so, plotted by movement and initial score, would be interesting... more so if there were some easy way to correlate movement up or down (baseline or average score) by user and plot that too.

  • Is there any way I can find out my default post score without actually posting anything?
  • It's back at 2 now.

    But it would be a good idea to be able to "down-moderate" yourself when you want to post something pointless. Saves you from having to log out, post as AC, then stick your name on the bottom to disclaim anonymity.
  • Say I have an automatic level of 4 and I follow up to a -1 post. What does this imply about my posting?

    There are a couple of possible interpretations:

    1. The -1 post is better than that, after all, I'm a fairly cool dude, my posts are automatically at level +4, so maybe we should bump the -1 post up to 0....
    2. I'm responding to a flame. Which is usually not a cool thing to do. Maybe we should bump my post down a point.
    Actually, there's rather more than two possible interpretations, but these two seem the most interesting. Certainly my GNUS scorefile has a rule which automatically lowers the score of any followups to posts with particularly low scores, and this set of rules works well for me.

    As for the self-moderation downwards for certain posts, that definitely seems like a good idea. Encouraging moderation (in the sense of 'moderate behaviour') on the part of posters seems like a very good move to me.

  • by X ( 1235 )
    Rather than having to fiddle with the numbers for your auto-scoring system, why not use a simple bell curve/standard deviation formula? For example, +1 standard deviation gets you +1 on your posting scores, and +2 standard deviations gets you +2 on your posting scores. This will make +4 very rare, as it should be, and will scale and adjust no matter how many moderation points are flowing through the system.
  • I figured Rob was just throwing in a little play on words to mess with our minds. It could be a typo, but still, if you can't play with language, what good is it?

  • I like the changes on the whole but I think it is a very bad idea for people who write stupid comments to start with a negative score.

    The main reason is that they will just get themselves different accounts. If they are juvenile, loud and offensive they want to be heard and will certainly go to the trouble of creating a new account. This means that not only will they not start with a negative score, but readers will no longer recognise the name as someone who writes crap, so we lose the best form of filtering (individuals using their own judgement to not read something by X).
  • L.O.R.D rocks! I remember playing that game all the time back in high school, along with Usurper and Exitilus (sp?). A BBS-style door server on the Internet would be great.
  • Fully agree. I said much the same thing in an earlier post. I notice that, while neither of our posts have been moderated down, neither were bumped up. They must not have been as relevant and pithy as some of those +2 "Checking my default score" posts above. :-)

    (I'm guessing that our two posts have been, and ultimately will be, read by only a few people. We didn't get in early enough, and our default scores aren't high enough, to propel our comments into the "mainstream".)

    The point is, the very word "moderation" implies a movement toward the mean, a limiting. And when you limit the very bad, you most often limit the very good along with it, leaving you with the Very Mediocre. I'm not certain that this new (or any other, for that matter) moderation system will drive /. toward a least-common-denominator position, but I must say the thought has crossed my mind.

    Ah, well. It was good while it lasted.

  • Should I moderate a post, I'm not going to jack it down just because I don't agree with it. But I am going to jack it down if it's not interesting. I think most moderators will do that.
    Noble sentiment, and well spoken. To quote Ernest Hemingway, "Isn't it pretty to think so?" I can hope you are correct, but I cannot help but fear that you are not.
  • I've already seen the trend toward a more homogeneous viewpoint. This isn't necessarily a bad thing--if you are looking to identify and reinforce a uniquely "Slashdot" identity, if the reduction in diversity isn't a negative for you, then this system is the right one.

    In combination with the "sort by score" or "filter by score" options (and to a lesser extent, even without using either of those), it is a self-reinforcing feedback loop. People will see mostly posts which "conform" to the /. ethos, whatever that winds up being. Seeing them, other posters will tend, even unconsciously, to adopt that ethos. They will learn what characteristics cause a post to get a higher score. And so on.

    It works for moderators, too. People who qualify are those who have adjusted their behavior (again, quite possibly without being conscious of it) to fit the /. norm. People who don't qualify will tend to be less interested, and thus less likely to participate in any way. They'll go read Salon or something instead.

    The end result, I believe, is a smaller, less diverse community. Another, less pejorative way to characterize it is more tightly focused, more unified, and probably more peaceful and coherent. If that's what we want, this is how to get it.

  • Okey Taco, what I would like to see is tying the user scores to the Everything project, while removing the arbitrary two post limit on topics. This would be cool and would allow for everythign to grow even cooler than it is.

    Chris DiBona

    Grant Chair, Linux Int.

  • >The 3 day rule throws away most of the inertia in >the moderation system, which will cause chaotic >instability: moderation will become much more >noisy.

    Agreed. Further, I see a possible trend that could arise from this. If a moderater had x points and 3 days to spend them, he might just feel obligated to spend them on something that didn't deserve moderation to avoid wasting them.

    I don't think that moderator points should time out(at least not so quickly, I can see how it would suck for someone to have 30 or 40 saved up for a rampage) simply because it comoditizes them.
    I've already seen instances of moderators moderating aparently, simply because they can. Even in this set of comments, I've seen one line me too posts with a score of 2 or greater. I don't think we need to give anyone more reason to moderate simply because they have the points.

    I think that perhaps the alignment concept is a bit flawed as well.

    Like Bruce says, it's entirely possible that someone who writes great comments may want to write something without it having to be "golden prose" On the other hand, it's also possible that the worst troll on slashdot could come up with a profound, insightful comment that half the readers would miss because their alignment is -12. Like someone else mentioned earlier, each comment should be judged by it's indivitual merit.
  • Someone needs to market all these ideas.

    Slashdot: the RPG

    The goal is to build up as many points as possible while maintaining a positive alignment.

    You get to roleplay one of several classes: open source political freak, 14 year old script kiddie, stuck up programer whose ideas are somehow automaticaly more valid than anyone else's, or just plain troll.

    Watch for your copy in local comic and gaming stores,
  • I posted and only got a 1. Sniff. sniff.

  • The main slashdot page is showing 0 of 0 comments for this story for me. I wouldn't normally post a message like this because someone else always beats me to it but I've not seen anyone else comment on this phenomenon. Is this a know problem affecting others or just me? The previous story has only 7 comments according to the front page as well.

    Richard Forster
  • Somewhat confusing description, but I think the idea has merit. I'll think about it for inclusion if I have some time.

    I like letting good posters choose how to spend their alignment rather than simply bumping up their scores automatically. It would allow a user to "Get on the Soapbox" occasionally if they've proven that they have something to say in the past.
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional

  • See that option up there that says 'Threshold -1'

    If you don't like it, turn it off. No sweat off anyones back. Its totally at your discretion.
    Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
    Pants are Optional

  • by drendite ( 3 )
    I think a user should be able to "nice" his or her comments. Let's say I want to post a joke that is vaguely related to the subject at hand. I dont want my alignment to go down a point from someone bumping it down to 0 or -1. So, I could "nice" it to 0. Or, let's say my alignment is so high that my default score is 2. I want to post a "me too" post that doesn't have any value to the discussion. I should be able to "nice" it down to 1 or 0 because it doesn't deserve to be above the pack.

    Anyways.. besides a nice option.. I think there should be an option to post as an AC without having to log out.
  • I've noticed that /. has the same tendency as Usenet groups to have occasional threads which got stupid at some point and all subsequent replies (i.e. everything in the subtree rooted at the stupid post) are stupid as well. I treasure the ',' command in trn, which allows me to junk the subtree of posts below the post I am currently reading. Perhaps such a thing should be available for moderators so that they can demote an entire subtree. I realize that this is a lot of power, but there should be some way of adjusting for it.

    By the way, I would be delighted if the color of the subject bar of a post corresponded to its score, darkening for higher score. Or maybe the user prefs could have a color choice for each score level. Yeah, it's eye candy, but if used well it could be effective visual feedback.
  • Earlier today I found that I was defaulting at 2, and I thought to myself, "Hmm...that's strange, I guess I'll have to make sure all my comments are worth that two."

    Let me tell you all, right before I hit the submit button I think really hard if what I'm writing needs to be said. Perhaps it has already been said, or it's flamebait, or I'm coming down a little hard on somebody. Usually about half the time I write out an entire comment, think about it for 30 seconds and hit the back button. I'm sure that if a lot of people do this (and they might, who can tell?) then the overall comment quality will rise.

    Speaking of which, I want to voice my support for the alignment system. I figure it can have two effects. One: People will abuse the system and use their Alignment to boost up bad comments. These comments will get moderated down and you will lose alignment points. Two: People will tend to write comments that deserve their default rating. I know that's my reaction to the whole thing. Perhaps Bruce Perens shouldn't be posting things that aren't worth the 3 default points? Just maybe we all don't need to see his latest tidbit of humor.

    Time can only tell, but in the past week, I'd say the overall quality of the posts that I see has definitely risen. I think it only aspires people to think originally and creatively so that their comments get moderated up and their voices get heard.


  • I've been pondering late posting since the 'Expanded Moderation System' took effect. Some thoughts:

    What happens to a late post? Like this one? Does it dry up like a rasin in the sun? I have the feeling that by now (some 10 hours after the origional story was posted) nearly all the moderators have moved on to other articles.

    Back when posts were ordered oldest-first, (ahh the old days) late posters always got the bottom of the page. So there was incentive to post early. But at the same time I think that more people read further down the page because there could be some real jems down there.

    Now days, readers have less reason to surf to the bottom (I'm assuming that most people view their comments by rank- I could be wrong about this). I guess I'm whining about something that can't be helped. What we really need are more moderators in Australia!

    I'll check back tomorrow, but I don't think that this post will have any replys or be moderated. (Note: this is not a challenge! Please don't reply or moderate just to be contrary ;) If you do reply I would be interested in discovering where geographically you are from.

    One final thought: How cool would it be to have stats on stuff like how people choose to format their page (oldest 1st, highest score, etc) or what threshold most people prefer. Or which statboxes are most popular. Are you getting all this Rob? ;)

    Final thought two: Have you ever wondered if Rob has a page where he can view all the posts with his name in the body? Or even better- how cool would it be if you could easily search posts not just stories? Bah. Enough of this stream of consciousness. Im out.

  • Personally, I think that the auto-moderation is just going to make things a bigger mess... I believe that it's best to keep things simple, and I prefer it if one of my posts have high ratings because the moderators like that post, as opposed to, because they liked my previous posts.

  • All these user settings that have been added recently have been wonderful. But, could you add an Expires: line in the HTTP header? As it is currently, the page has to reload with every click of the back button, and proxies aren't caching the pages. A brief expiration time, say 10-15 minutes would be perfect. It would allow one to quickly go back and forth with less stress on the Slashbox(es?), and it'll reload fairly often so one can pick up the latest articles and comments.

    So, what do yas think?
  • Hmm, not a bad idea. Perhaps some sort of filter based personal setting. Posts by certain people, subject lines, etc, could automatically start at what you want, then add/subtract points appropriately.
  • You should really email these requests to Rob himself instead of posting them here... odds are pretty high that nobody is gonna be reading them, particularly the person you're aiming it to - Rob. Understand that he's very busy :) Must suck to be so busy you can't read slashdot... hehe... ;)
  • For people who do not like the idea of the pre-alignments, perhaps there could be an option under preferences to allow users to ignore the alignments when filtering comments? Dunno if that'd be hard to implement, but then again I don't know much PERL so I can't really say. Not sure whether I'd filter the alignments or not... I think that it's a good idea, but it will require a little toying with. But really, that's not a bad thing. Everything needs a little ironing out before it works right. Part of life.
  • Sounds like a good idea to me - this would prevent one of the problems I see with the current alignment system, that users with high alignments would be discouraged from posting anything small or somewhat trivial, since those posts would be moderated down (not being deserving of a 3). This moderating down would then kick them down from their higher alignment, so the users would be discouraged from posting anything but long, likely-to-be-kept-at-3 posts in order to keep their high alignemtn. The good posters would therefore in effect be constrained because of their own merits, which isn't such a good thing.

    Anyway, your proposal solves all of these problems by allowing the user to say "yes, i know this doesn't deserve a 3, but i want to say it anyway, so i'll give it a 1."
  • I find I'm less likely to get a 2 if I post to a thread later. That's OK per post, but if I'm lowering my average by doing it it means I'm best off only posting if I can get my comment in early enough. I suspect this is only one of many biases in alignent calculation that (a) throw it further away from a good indication of someone's posting form, and (b) bias people towards strange behaviour directed towards maintaining a good alignment. Running more than one account could also be used towards this end.

    If I've misunderstood and it's a total rather than an average, biases the other way happen: very frequent posting is encouraged, and those who post only the best are discriminated against.

    I think this stuff is really difficult to get right. I'm surprised that there's no bazaar development around Slashdot so you don't have the same pressure to implement ideas before suggesting them.

  • I might be repeating a few things out there, but here it goes:

    First, I don't like the way the new alignment works. What happens if a user with alignment posts 50 comments, each at +3. They would then be posting at +5. Oops.

    Second, this encourages frequent posters and discourages new users. This is the biggest problem IMHO. Why should a newbie post a good message if it will automatically be rated down?

    Finally, I have found that an easy way to get moderated up is to segment your post into points, with a paragraph or two for each point. Then all you have to do is ramble and make sense, and then poof! You are moderated upwards.

  • I hate to me too, but I agree with this completely.

    (And if you moderate me down, please mod the parent article up.)
  • As I started reading the comments in this post I came to the conclusion I came to during the last discussion. I unchecked the "can be moderator" button in my prefs last time. I read the posts high to low with a threshold of -1. If something intelligent was said, I'll eventually see it. I may have to go back to flat.

    Rob, this system is completely whacked. You want to encourage good writing. Thus, all posts should start out at 0. Like the stock market, past behavior in not an indication of future performance. The system you have proposed is designed for creating elites. (I'M A THREE!!!)

    Don't worry about the judge and jury problem. Someone else will come along and raise that opposing viewpoint back up. Why? Because there will be another moderator who agrees with the other guy. Allow moderators to post.

    How you pick the moderator is probably a better use for the delta system you just came up with. Just as long as it isn't me. I waste enough of my time here as it is.
  • I don't know. From what Rob has said, I think he's moving toward the goal of making moderation like jury duty and picking different people from the Slashdot readership on different days. If he's doing that, then the posting/moderation exclusion is a good balance. It prevents people from moderating others when they may have a stake in the results, it forces people to think carefully about whether posting or moderating is more important to the for that story, and it only affects the person when they've been chosen as a moderator.

    --Phil (I'd just like some sort of selt-moderation option, for when I want to be off-topic.)
  • Simple really. Get a good job, make a lot of money, live on the cheap so you can save a lot, put it all in mutual funds, and retire in a few years. Presto -- unemployment.
  • Job search sites are a poor way to find a job. Here's a recent [eet.com] quote from Ask The Headhunter over at the EE times:

    It should be no surprise to you that the big career sites where you can post jobs and resumes are owned by advertising companies. The objective is not matching people with jobs; the objective is selling as many ads as possible. That's why none of these sites (that I know of) can or will report on hiring rates resulting from those postings.

    If I'm wrong, and this site is different, then prove it. Show them stats!

  • it seems a bit twisted imho... you can become a moderator by posting a lot of good comments (emphasis on "good", not on "a lot"), but then you practically prevent moderators from posting. moderators are by definition the people who generally have something interesting to say, but you put them in the dilemma of posting or moderating.

    on one side, the rule will prevent people from moderating posts that may oppose or advocate their vision, but I think the average moderator is intelligent enough not to do that. and the fact that there are a lot of moderators also works here, because a post that is valued too high or too low will be re-evaluated by other moderators and put back where it belongs, while still allowing moderators to post there on average good comments. or am I completely mistaken about this?

    the Gods have a sense of humor,
  • How about this as a method of normalizing alignment: every week, go through all the registered users' alignments, divide by some constant (say, 2), and add another constant (say, 1/2). This gives users a chance to "rehabilitate", but also doesn't give posters who've been inactive for a while good default scores. This sort of exponential decay would encourage posters to be consistently good. The down side is that it would punish those who post irregularly, but are always good. That could be solved by decay of average moderation, rather than the total amount of moderation, plus judicious selection of the constants. A few test cases would probably work to determine those better.
  • The minute sombody posts a comment to try and up thier point tally, even if it is extremely intelligent.. ?
    If the comment IS extremely intelligent, then I would LIKE it to be posted. That's what I'm here for. If someone trys to up thier score by posting "whee... first", they will fail, and possibly lose a point or two if they had it. This would discourage bad posts and encourage good posts. Plus, it would allow those posters that we know have insightful comments (regardless of if they are right or not) to boost the score of the posts they want, instead of having ALL thier posts boosted.

    If we stick with this system (which I personally don't like all that much), then a person with 2 good comments will start showing up at the top of my list with thier regular insipid ones. (If I understand correctly). I'd rather the pool.

    Remember, because this forum is very open to the public, you can't stop stupid posts. I'd rather keep the system open, then try to eliminate ALL the ways a clever idiot (heh) can abuse /.
  • Heh. Now watch and see if the moderators adjust your score on that post. Wouldn't it be ironic? :)
  • I think that each comment should stand on its own and be judged as such. I think that I have written some really good comments and also some really bad comments. I try to post good comments, but I don't think that they all could ever qualify as "5" material (if I ever got to that point). Also, if I knew that all my posts were always going to be seen, I would probably be too scared of posting a "bad" comment because everyone would always see it. If you are going to have auto scoring, I would say that you can get to up to a 3 with auto scoring but for a *really* good comment, it takes moderation to make it a 5.

    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
  • That actually is a valid point... But it takes a lot to get a 0 or -1 score, so if you continuously post shabby posts, then its easier for the moderators. But I do think it is pointless to give -1 to users, because, im assuming few people look at -1 posts (i for one dont), but it can get some fairly good comments never read...

    Whatever :-)
    Stan "Myconid" Brinkerhoff
  • I've used the internet since 1987 and love any trick which will increase the signal-to-noise ratio. Some people post because they can, and others post because they have something worth saying. If someone builds a reputation for wisdom and credibility, their remarks should initially carry more weight. Anyone abusing this will eventually get moderated down to where they belong.

  • Whenever you post in a public forum, your post is judged by all who read it, even if the judgment is fairly superficial, such as "reading this post (was|was not) worth my time." Of course, judging the relevance and worth of a post is somewhat different than judging the person that's posting.

    The point-pool idea doesn't create a currency in the typical sense, since posters cannot exchange this currency directly. The closest thing to such an exchange is the fact that moderation actions on a post will affect someone's pool. I, as a poster, would not be able to exchange points for favors, etc. with other people. And with moderators turning over every few days, it'd be very hard to make a black-market in moderation points.

    Given that all of the "currency" comes from and is ultimately controlled by the moderators, and given that the moderators come from a large subset of the posting population, this sounds alot more like a meritocracy with a touch of democratic socialism than the "invisible groping hand" of capitalism.


  • Rob!

    Just look at this here discussion for instance. Bzztzpht! Noise!

    I have my threshold set to 3+ (has worked fine until now) but today all I see (right away anyway) is some "low-quality" chit-chat between the selected few. a.k.a. the Slashdot Elite.

    I don't care who's hip on the /. discussion forums, and who's not. I just want insightful and interesting comments on todays news. Personally I don't care who posted what.

    I have a suggestion:
    Moderators should by default not be allowed to see who posted what. So that we don't have to trust them not to moderate up only their friends.
    Make the moderators person-blind and have some sort of setup to help them review only the newest postings on a thread. The system today only moderates the first few postings, and then the rest is left unread by the moderators, nomatter how insightful or otherwise interesting they may be... this sucks

  • I only see one potential problem with this:
    One person could self moderate their messages very low in order to gain global ranking when he is going to be moderated back up. I think that if there is self moderation (and I like the ides), the adjustment to the global ranking should be:

    Let f be the final rank of the message,
    Let d be the default rank of the writer
    Lef m be the self moderation
    (with m = d)

    if m d, add f-d to global ranking.

    That way, if a person over-estimates his message, he loses point, if he is being modest, but the message doesnt exceed his average, the score doesn't change, and if he is better than his default ranking, he gains points, regardless of his self-moderation. I think it's important that gaining points do not depend on the self moderation.
  • You know, duplicates, flame bait, windbags...

    Running, ducking, and hidding.... ;-)

  • Yeah I'd like to know mine as well.

    Also I find myself agreeing with a number of the
    comments on this page. *SOMETHING* should be done
    to change the default score on the comments.
    Bruce's idea of self-imposed moderation is nice,
    but requires too much action on the part of the
    user. I prefer the other idea of seperating
    "reputation" from "commentValue", and allowing the
    viewers to sort the comments according to either
    (OR, better yet, allow the user to type in their
    own evaluation function, like

    rating = 2*commentValue + reputation

    Whaddya think?

    finally, re: the restriction on commenting and
    moderating in the same article, I'd fear that the
    moderators would stop *Moderating*, not
    commenting. Is there any known abuse of the
    system with friends pumping up each others

    Perhaps we could even allow the user to
    parameterize this, with an option like

    - Ignore moderation from commentors.

    That way all moderators can moderate freely, but
    they know that abusing the system won't always
    work. And, of course, Rob's alignment function
    will automatically have this Ignore function
    turned on.

    -Felix Klock
  • My guesses:

    1. You're off-topic posts were repetition of the other off-topics,
    and you should have been on their thread.
    (moderators tend not to lower the score of big threads)

    2. Have you ended all of your comments' subjects in the word "sucks"? ;-)

  • I believe he was suggesting that he be able to moderate it down. I'm at 2 default, and I thought it was a good idea, until Taco explained that those high-score comments will draw more attention and will get bumped down if they're not great (if they see a so-so 5, it'll become a 4). This lowers their overall rating, and they may become a lower score by default. Of course, the original author in this thread had a good point: I wouldn't want to post something stupid if it's going to be a 5, but then again, I might still want to post something stupid. I guess this doesn't work well for people who were moderated up in the old system (me included), but for new people, this will create diminishing marginal returns (i.e. my posts start at 2, and I've never had anything moderated above a 3. Under this new system, I would have gotten only 1 point for each of those 3's, as opposed to getting 2 both times; and I doubt the moderators would have thought my petty witicisms were worth 4). So it may not work too well in the short run, and I think the option of self-moderation without penalty would be a good idea, but in the long run I think this will work out.
  • Hmm, not a bad idea. Perhaps some sort of filter based personal setting. Posts by certain people, subject lines, etc, could automatically start at what you want, then add/subtract points appropriately.

    Damn! I don't know why no-one thought of this before... it's so blindingly obvious (and simple)!

    This is the perfect solution... in combination with the existing system... in that people should be able to "pre-modify" the moderation points of any article based on the poster.

    Therefore people who don't particularly like/want to hear about Bruce Perens (for example -- it happens to be a good one) can set his particular modification to, say, -3.

    So. By default, Mr. Perens has a score of 4. Someone who doesn't particularly want to read his stuff can add -3 to that, making a default of 1. And, of course, set their threshold to 2, or something. So an "average" Perens article wouldn't show up. If Bruce has said something "really" worthwhile, it would be moderated up, and get a 5. Add -3 and you get 2, which would show up. (Note I'm not conscientiously ragging on Bruce; I just happened to read a post complaining about him recently, and it's still on my mind).

    On the other hand, someone who doesn't particularly mind Bruce could just leave his modification at default (0), so an "average" Bruce post would be 4 + 0 = 4, a good one would be 5, and so on (as things are now).

    In theory, someone who really likes him, could assign a + modifier, so he would always get scores of 6, 7, whatever (for that person). Pretty much guaranteeing that that person would always catch Mr. Perens' posts. This would still apply if Bruce made a quick, "off-the-cuff" remark, that got demoted to 1, but 1 + 3 (for example) would still be 4, and still be seen.

    Now, this system would automagically apply to anyone. The same would happen if people did/didn't like my posts (which I believe default to 2 at the moment), or (and here's the beauty of it), our old favourites, the Anonymous Cowards!

    That last point, I think is a godsend... hopefully it will put to rest once and for all the "AC's should/shouldn't be allowed to post" argument. A solution was tried with automatically demoting AC posts to 0, of course, but I still see the occasional "that's like censorship!" claim, and also the occasional "They shouldn't post at all!" one.

    But, if the viewer was allowed to set their own preference, those who wanted to see AC's should leave their modifier at zero (ie: 1 + 0 = 1 = default), those who like the system as-is modify to -1 (1 + -1 = 0 = as it is now), and those who don't want to see AC posts at all (unless they're really good ones) modify to -3 or something (a 1 + -3 = -2 post will never get seen if the threshold can't be below -1).

    Of course, still leave the moderations in place (note I distinguish between moderation and modification). That would indicate how good/bad a post was compared to other posts by that same person. But the modification (done on a personal, not a global, level) would determine whether a "default" post by that person would show up.

    (I guess this is sort of like multi-dimansional moderation, as suggested by someone else... just thought of that now...)

    And of course, as you mentioned, the same thing could be applied to subject lines, helping out with alleviating the old "First Post!" syndrome, among others.

    Anyway... I'm sure this would all create a hell of a lot of work for poor Rob, but hey... you can handle it, right Rob? And of course... "there is nothing that Perl cannot do! Nothing!"... hehe.

    Anyway, yes... I think this is a brilliant idea. Simple, elegant, and would do the job!
    - Sean
  • If a whole bunch of people reading a comment in reputation + score mode find its score to be too high and moderate it down, people who come along and read the comments in score - reputation mode will see a set of scores that just isn't really that useful (they will tell you how the comments you're reading compare to other comments made by the same people -- who cares?). I think having multiple scoring "modes" in general would be a bad idea for just this reason.
  • Which brings us to this: At what point does the pursuit of points supercede the importance of posting insightful, relevant comments? And we know it will come to that, for some posters.

    Actually, I think that's a reason why it shouldn't say your current level on your homepage. That way the only way to find out what your score is is to actually post a message, and you don't want to post a stupid message (which will probably get moderated down) just to find out your score.
  • How about making the default score be based on the average score of all previous posts (or previous posts in the last n days), instead of on a total point basis?

    IMHO, somebody who posts 10 things a day scored zero or +1 deserves a default score of 4 less than somebody who only posts once a week but always gets scored +3. The alignment system seems to reward meidocre quantity over true quality.

    Also, this would eliminate the need to be constantly adjusting the alignment thresholds over time. An average is always an average.

  • Apparently Rob's alignment only gives him a +1 posting bonus...I don't know why, but I'm a little surprised that it's so low.

    (I'm also posting to see what my alignment is...'cuz I'm too lazy to do the math myself.)


  • There appears to be no way to find out one's current alignment besides figuring it out by hand or posting a message. This would be easy to fix.


  • this score pool business is just like recreating a currency where the rich have more power.

    In the real world, someone who has more $$ can defend themselves better in a court of law despite the statement that ALL ARE EQUAL..

    please please please dont start reproducing this kind of thing on slashdot, even if "intelligence" (measured in slash dot points) is the currency. It wont work. Just the same as traditionally, the concept of $$ for rewarding "work" has been completely corrupted..

    does everybody realise that the minute somebody posts a comment purely to try and up their point tally then /. has reproduced a capitalist system. Even if that comment is extremely intelligent..

    /. scares me these days. It's like everything you do is judged.
  • I gotta hand it to you Rob-
    I have a lot of ideas about how to take over the world/end capatalism/emancipate information, but at this rate you will have the "new world order" on your hands before I write any pseudo code:)
    Its a weight off my back if you can take over the world for me:)

    -dont bother flaming me about brown nosing, I dont plan on even reading the responses to this one:)
  • Hey Rob,

    Until you get up a way to see your default score, why not set up a "See your score" area that is unmoderated so people can see their scores?

    I saw that a couple of these were already moderated.

    Soooo, until then, how about people replying to this post not get moderated so they can see their scores?
    "Responsibility for my career? I'm just a freakin' phone monkey!"
  • They did. I refreshed and it was down to 1. Heh.
    "Responsibility for my career? I'm just a freakin' phone monkey!"
  • Look at your post and you'll see it listed in the title bar (or whatever that's called

    "Responsibility for my career? I'm just a freakin' phone monkey!"
  • by Aaron M. Renn ( 539 ) <arenn@urbanophile.com> on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @04:42PM (#1946254) Homepage
    It gets harder to get better. If you go in with a score of 3, you are much less likely to get moderated up than if you went in with a score of 1. Moderators will think that you have already been bumped up! I kind of like it. As long as it doesn't result in people getting bumped down for comments that go in at a high moderation level (due to alignment) that are good, but probably aren't worthy of the high level. I think everyone should be able to make postings (especially replies) that are brief but not abusive or lame. These might be worth a 1, but if your alignment is 4, somebody might bump you down just because they think the comment is rated too high! I hope that doesn't happen.
  • by bjk4 ( 885 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @08:35PM (#1946255) Homepage

    I agree with this completely. Another recent change also introduces a bad effect in my eyes.

    If I were a newbie to Slashdot, someone with a low alignment, or an infrequent poster, I would feel pushed out by the big boys who post often and therefore have a hugely positive alignment. Why would I post unless my comment will be read by others?

    The effect is, I think, that we will see an increase in frequent posters, and a decrease in new posters. This is not necessarily a good thing.

  • by BadlandZ ( 1725 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @07:59PM (#1946256) Journal
    Ok, now I post everything at 2, based on past preformance. And, I don't think I am comfortable with that (like Bruce's comment). I would prefer to stay at 1, at least for most of my posts.

    The pool idea where every +1 contributes a 1/2 point to a users score pool that can be drawn on to later "get on a soap box."

    BUT, my over all opinion is this is getting chaotic already. Not the potential to, but it's there. I am very impressed with Malda's mod_perl abilities now, and what he is capable of doing. But, IMHO, we have reached the level of "overkill."

    This is my opinion, but I personally liked it when there was a small pool of moderators, people started at 1 (AC's at 0), and things were streight forward.

    My suggestion would be gut it all, do half points, or a 1 to 10 scale (because of the larger number of moderators, and potential for several people to +1 something). And leave everyone start on the level field again.

    At first I wasn't sure I liked the idea of "earning" moderation points (the ability to moderate)... Now, I think it's probably for the best. That may be the best place to focus Rob's coding efforts.

    But I don't think I like the "auto start at level X" stuff. At least not when i don't have the option to 0 or -1 myself! (I guess I wouldn't mind sticking my foot in my mouth more often if I could -1 myself and go somewhat un-noticed unless someone else found my comments interesting).

    I guess I still like command line better than GUI, so maybe it's just my natural inclination to not fully apreciate this "automation in moderation" thing?

  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @07:36PM (#1946257)
    What if, in the (x posts, y moderated, etc) thing on the main page, a number (perhaps "total rating") were added. This number is simply the sum of all of the ratings of all the posts under that topic. A heavy flamewar would make that total rating very negative and warn users away, while a high rating indicates good discussion.
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @07:23PM (#1946258)
    Notice the thing about alignment. You don't go down in score for a positive rating, even if that rating is below your current default. You only lose points for posts moderated all the way to -1. So for a +4 person who posts something mediocre, being moderated to a 2 or a 1 isn't bad at all.

    At least, that's how I read the changes. Am I wrong?
  • by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @05:33PM (#1946259) Homepage
    ... where's the source?

    Sorry to be a nudge but no-one seems to have answered this. I'm curious to see how this is implemented, and (with my semiconscious perl skills) possibly augment with more features, clean up cruft, document, etc...

    Please make a statement about the source. Anything would be useful:
    o "it's so cruddy right now we're embarrassed to release it in this state: give us time to clean it up a bit, it'll be available X"
    o "we're going to turn it into a saleable product and make some m00la off it, v0.2 is all you're gettin' and if you don't like it you can lump it"
    o "oops, we forgot, here's the link to the tarball"
    o "you jackass, it'll be available when it's available, just like Quake, so quit yer whinin'"
    o "you jackass, we've had anonymous CVS for aeons now, here's the CVSROOT"
    o "you jackass, it's at (freshmeat|rob's page|foobar), you just didn't look hard enough"

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
  • by Evan Vetere ( 9154 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @09:29PM (#1946260)
    Silly boy; it'd be designed to prevent that.

    Ideally: You'd be presented with a SELECT item when you make your post, with all the scores possible less than or equal to your current default. You select the score for your post from that list, but you're barred from rising above your current default.
  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @06:08PM (#1946261)
    I've liked all of the mod improvements, until this. I clicked on a couple a folks with a default greater than 1 and found the majority of their recent comments (prior to this change) right at 1. And, for the most part, they were typical comments. Nothing amazing, but not off topic or rude or "first" or anything. With the newest changes, high-rated & nested comments spill out. This means someone else thought that the *comment* was really something people should look at (and I mostly agreed). But now it's the poster that will stick out, regardless of what he says now. It's a step backwards.

    If you really MUST base something on reputation, make it separate and parallel from the comment ratings. I can then set my preferences for posters ranked at 5 to spill out and comments at 3 to spill. I could sort by poster, comment, date, etc.

    My only other question is... what about AC? Does his reputation remain at 0, or will he eventually be knocked down to -1? Doesn't seem fair to knock AC down since it's not one person, and it seems even worse to knock identified posters have anything lower than AC.

    Again, kudos to all the other great changes, but please consider this one a bit more...
  • by maphew ( 14702 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @06:33PM (#1946262) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to the Submit script to hand me back to comments when processed. Currently I have to 'back' three or four times or return to the index.


  • by typo ( 15376 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @04:42PM (#1946263)
    Firstly, I think the moderation addition and changes have all been great so far, definitely in the right direction.

    I don't normally read that many comments, haven't got the time, but now I read those that spill over the 4 and this is rewarding. Previously I would scroll down searching the subject headings. So overall I am reading far more comments now than I used to.

    It is also encouraging me to come into a story 'late' so that there is a decent chance of having some good comments. How about having an indicator on the front page showing where abouts the comments lie, just showing the number of comments that 'spill over' with your own settings would be enough, but there are a thousand variations along this theme that would also be useful.

    Doing this would tell me when a story had 'ripe' threads.
  • by BlackHawk ( 15529 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @05:50PM (#1946264) Journal

    As long as it doesn't result in people getting bumped down for comments that go in at a high moderation level (due to alignment) that are good, but probably aren't worthy of the high level.

    I believe that's the point: higher scoring posters are usually of consistently higher quality (though admittedly, not always). In order for someone's alignment score (AS) to remain high, the quality of their comments must also remain high. In your example, if a poster with an AS of 4 posting a comment of only "normal" quality (AS 1) would probably have that post moderated down, with a corresponding drop in the poster's alignment factor. This could result in a high-quality poster dropping from an AS4 to AS3 as s/he posts more comments of limited value. In order to maintain the higher score, s/he would have to maintain higher quality posts.

    Of course this will also result (in those to whom AS is important) in fewer posts, since it is easier to maintain a high score by not being moderated down!

    Which brings us to this: At what point does the pursuit of points supercede the importance of posting insightful, relevant comments? And we know it will come to that, for some posters. Fortunately, IMO, the moderation system Rob et al. have put in place should account for that, and the "point-pursuers" will simply have the effect of raising the bar for all posters. All in all, an elegant solution to the SNR problem.

  • by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @05:29PM (#1946265) Homepage
    I REALLY liked the last change. I'm not so sure about this one. (I hereby define "reputation" as "the default score of a person's posts".) I like the idea of comments being judged on their own merits, and not on the reputation of the person who posted them. Yet, I sort of like the idea of posters having a reputation, since people who posted intelligently in the past ARE more likely to do so in the future. But there are no guarantees - if a person with a high reputation posts something silly, it will still be way up there (if you order by score). Granted, it will probably be down where it belongs in a few days, but I want to read it now! NOT LATER! NOW NOW NOW! (kidding :)

    It would be nice if there was some way to separate a writer's reputation from a post's score (defined as solely what the moderators did to the post, disregarding the writer's reputation) and sort accordingly, either by reputation OR by score. Or by reputation + score (current moderation scheme). Or by score - reputation (previous moderation). Or score * reputation * 0 (no moderation). Or score * reputation, or reputation * 5 + score, or score * 5 + reputation. Of course, these last few mean there should be no non-positive scores. It would allow you to do some pretty cool customization of your sorting if there were multiple criteria and you could come up with your own formula to sort based on those criteria. But now I'm getting kind of silly.
  • by Josh Turpen ( 28240 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @06:12PM (#1946266) Homepage
    Posters with a history of posting good comments can still post bad comments, and vice-versa. The whole point of moderation is to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, which this won't do. There are just too many variables that go into what is a good comment and what isn't. What if a good comment poster posts an irrational comment because the subject matter was sensitive to him?
    If you are a user that sets his threshold really high so that you only see the good stuff, you are still going to get these guys with pretty good reputations but the occasional bad comment. The more users that /. gets, the more this score-history system will break down.

    In the beginning, we had no moderation. Then we got moderation through scoring. Now we have moderation through scoring + past history. Next it will be moderation through scoring + past history + grammar. Then scoring + past history + grammar + buzzwords, etc.

    Let the moderators decide, not past history. Moderators are the most effective noise filters. The logic a moderator goes through determining what is a good comment and what is not is a lot more involved than something you could code in Perl ;).

  • by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @05:08PM (#1946267)
    First off, I've had two comments now that have been moderated to -1, and I have examined them over and over and neither of them can I come up with a single reason why. In each case they may have been a teeny bit off-topic, but they were the same topic as the posts I replied to, which were NOT moderated down, so off-topic can't be the problem. What the hell happened there?

    Second off, this is dumb because it is possible that someone with a bad posting history could post a pretty good comment. Then nobody reads his post - by the time some moderator gets round to reading his default -1 post and moderating it upwards, the article is old and stale and noone is reading it anymore.

    The only exception is when someone obviously is a troll and is out to continually post only crap. Then there should be some other type of flag that can be set on that user, like "troll" or something.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @06:37PM (#1946268)
    Posted by Mike@ABC:

    I was wondering why my posts were defaulting so high today. I thought they were good posts, but certainly not Pulitzer material. Now I know.

    This isn't necessarily a bad system, but I think this should be the last tweak for a while. An allegorical story, if you'll permit me:

    I had a friend who wrote his own role-playing system, did the points up and the skills and dice rolls and all that math stuff. It ended up being way too complex to play smoothly. Just finding out who walked away alive from a single battle took all day. The system barely survived one session before all his notes were thrown in to the fire. Literally.

    I cannot help but wonder if Slashdot might eventually fall to that same phenomenon, where the bells and whistles not only drown out the static, but the pure sound as well.

    That's not to say that CmdrTaco and his crew haven't done a superb job thus far. They have, and I for one am thankful for the great resource they've provided. But perhaps they should let this settle a while and see how things play out before tweaking any further.

    And that's all I have to say.
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @07:10PM (#1946269)
    The problem with that is that people will abuse it. You wouldn't, but I'm willing to bet that every flamebaiter, first-poster, spammer, l33t @01 h@x0r d00d, and MEEPT! would. They'd moderate their stuff up as high as it could go, and keep moderating it up as necessary.

    It's sad that it has to be that way, but there isn't much that can be done about it. People should be rewarded for posting good stuff.
  • Yeah, but Bruce -- We want to see your opinions easily.

    (laughing out loud) It won't be a problem. I've sure done my best to keep them in your face up until now, haven't I?

  • Perhaps Bruce Perens shouldn't be posting things that aren't worth the 3 default points?

    I reply to a lot of posts, and most of my replies are not +4 material, although they may be important - for example one of my replies today was to a -1 post that displayed some easily-corrected confusion about the GPL. I might have wanted to put my reply at -1 so that only the readers of the original post would have seen it. But I was stuck with using a +4 nuclear warhead to swat a -1 fly.

    I hope that makes my quandry more clear.



  • Yes, that's what I meant. I want to be able to self-moderate down. For example, I sometimes answer a -1, and I might want my answer to be a -1 in that case. And when I'm just making a joke or something I'd make it a 1 rather than a 4.

    There is a built-in encouragement to self-moderation. If you do it well, moderators will demote your comments less often and your score will be higher.

    Maybe we are really figuring out how to do this sort of online discussion well, after years of people talking about it but not getting anywhere. I'm really intrigued.



  • by sinator ( 7980 ) on Wednesday April 07, 1999 @02:25AM (#1946273)
    For the record, this is probably going to be the first post I ever make that drops below 1.

    Hopefully it shouldn't be any new information for me to say that it's a fine line between including all points of view and succumbing to the line noise that mass voices can create.

    However, I subscribe to the belief that the truth doesn't neccessarily have to be phrased in eloquent, multisyllabic aphorisms. The truth is ugly, people, and often the messengers of the truth are despised for their frank talk. We don't want to hear some things. We don't want to hear that some people are stronger, better, faster, smarter than others -- unless, of course, it applies to you :) .

    What I fear this moderation alignment will do is remove many people like MEEPT!! -- who, despite his or her incoherency at times, told the truth in ways that irritated people because it was the truth about them.

    It's a sad day when I find myself defending MEEPT!!, but there's something to be said about an inherent anti-bluntness bias in slashdot...

    Let's take an example. Recently I read a post w/respect to Linux in a Dilbert article. Some killjoy posted his or her frustration about how Dilbert was mocking "The cause" and how Scott Adams was "like a weapons dealer", appeasing both the management and (in his/her words) "us peons".

    A couple posts were put in response to it, more or less politely telling the poster to lighten up, that he had a lot of bitterness locked up, etc. All of them were moderated down, because the posters had the audacity to draw a correlation between the tone of a post and probable experiences in the personal or work life of this poster. The truth was ugly, but it's something we can all recognize in a grade school sandbox: the bitter poster had a stunted sense of fun and felt trampled on, and was ruining someone else's fun. I don't particularly believe that everyone's posts have equal merit -- neither does Rob, if we have moderation to begin with --, but I find it grimly amusing that it's easier to bitch about the decline of Slashdot as if it were the fall of the Roman Empire, than it is to take the truth that someone's social skills cast a bias on their statements and add a pompous air to Slashdot.

    On the Internet, no one knows if you're a dog, unless you talk a lot about bones.

    There gradually is a PC -- Politically Correct, not Personal Computer or Program Counter -- mobocracy when it comes to approval of posts and the like. This leads to a spiraling affect, the articles which please hoi polloi tend to go up in score, and the ugly truths, the insightful posts that no one wants to hear, the laments that only become appreciated after their time are covered by the posturing of killjoys. What kind of moderation is this that only the virulently PC posts, the posts that kiss the ass of our ego, the posts that pat us all on the back because nobody makes mistakes, can get a high score, and the posts that tell people to suck it up and face the facts objectively get shot down? Moderation? Try Extremism.

    Other examples include the recent slew of articles about the so-called "Future of Open Source." -- I happen to like these articles very much, but something doesn't seem right. Open Source is all about putting your code where your mouth is; you don't talk, you don't spew, you do. Why the sudden overload of articles on Open Source when there's no need to promote it? There is no need to promote it, people. The sheer fact that Open Source hinges on volunteerism means that no matter how hostile the climate, it's still going to be done. But if someone were to point out that the majority of these so-called essays on the future of open source were made because it's "cool" to be associated with open source, they would be shot down.

    "Oh no! Someone dared accuse us of jumping on the bandwagon! Someone spotted us trying to steal a little credit we never had before in our lives! No matter, Open Source is my credo, (as long as it's convenient,) and I'm an individual, just like everyone else!"

    The irony of the above paragraph is that a good deal of /.'ers don't understand sarcasm is a very profound way of debugging the ideological operating system.

    Here I sit in the face of the mobocracy with the brazenness to call them animals, twisting real ideals into pop culture. How dare I stand up for materialism, and moderation (of behavior, not posts), and the fact that the same criticism told you when you were five still applies if you haven't changed? At least you have to respect me for trying ...

    Allowing mass moderation is going to galvanize /. and alienate the silent majority of truly moderate individuals, that make decisions based on facts and utility, not dogma and ideology. "Slashdot: Propaganda for Nerds. Stuff that Enlightens."

    -- my $0.05. Keep the change.

  • by BiGGO ( 15018 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @04:56PM (#1946274) Homepage
    People with stupid comments, that may have had good ones before, can expolit the system.
    (intentionaly or unintentionaly).

    I have a good idea.
    For every point someone's comment have got,
    he will get half a point on the pool.
    When he posts a comment,
    he can boost it up according to his pool.
    If someone wants to say something stupid, like "agreed, blah blah",
    he can choose the score for the comment to stay 1.
    but, if he had an enlightenment, and has a very good point (and he knows it), he can pull from the pool,
    and get attention.

    but, if the moderators thinks the comment is bad, they can lower it down, thus lowering the amount of score in his pool to spend at other times.
    (and ofcourse, when he posts the comment, he lowers the pool by himself).

    negative pools will FORCE users to post at bad score of 0 (no choice for the user).
    the user will rely on moderator to give him thumbs-up to normal score and higher his pool.
    he will get a score for the act of posting,
    if a poster post "this is meant to higher my score" he will get thumbsdown,
    and it won't change anything.

    however, positive pools cannot be set for such a thing, and may not recieve score in such a way.

    also, an extra 1/2 point should be given to a user who got 4 points.
    a point for going to 5 points,
    and -1 points for getting to -1.
    (and the reverse on the opposite direction)

  • The 3 day rule throws away most of the inertia in the moderation system, which will cause chaotic instability: moderation will become much more noisy.

    Consider that people will lose moderation points semi-randomly: if there's a three day weekend when they're offline, or few interesting stories, etc -- it rewards only extremely recent behavior, yet it's people's long term behavior that you want to reward.

    It's also true that, the more capricious and unpredictable a reward system, the less it is perceived as a reward system, and therefore the less it tends to motivate behavior.

    (I don't mean "reward" here necessarily in a moral sense, just in a behavior modulation sense.)

  • Rob,

    Not everything I write is a 4, and the posting form should have an option if I'd like to self-moderate it to a 1, 2, or 3, rather than wait for a moderator to come along and do it for me.

    The way it's set up now, I feel as if I should never post unless it's golden prose :-)



When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard