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Journal of FortKnox (169099)

Slashdotters Anonymous Privacy At Risk??

[ #2881 ]
Tuesday December 11, 2001 @01:31PM
I know you guys don't like to discuss Slashdot as a whole on the site (and the slashcode). But after this comment by Jamie, admitting to author moderation and the infamous "bitchslapping" script, and the changes to 2.2 that weren't discussed (authors can see IP and subnet of all posts, including anonymous posts, and can sort based on them), I'd like to know what the slashdot population thinks of the changes? Do they feel that their anonymous privacy is being threatened? I understand this is a privately owned site, but it is always known to believe in "free speech", and "privacy", and "Your rights online". What is the community's reaction to the "unnamed changes"??

I submitted this as an "AskSlashdot". We'll see how fast it is rejected...
Addendum: 1 minute! I think its a record for me ;-)
Addendum 2: Comments are enabled, and michael has added to the conversation. Check it out!
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashdotters Anonymous Privacy At Risk??

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  • Since joining /. I can honestly say I've never trolled. However I've been marked many times unfairly. (abusive moderators seem to like the "over-rated" option for +2 comments or ppl they "don't like")

    How unfairly? Try going from 40 to 23 karma in the space of less than 2 weeks.

    Essentially it started with a post by me calling /. moderators on thier bullshit...to have a +2 comment modded to 0 in ~30 seconds smites of something foul. Moderators not even reading your comment but modding according to name.

    The irony here is even having an on topic post modded down and up so fast it was rather funny to watch. So, rather than get pissed that some a**hole(s) out there are being just that, I created another account.

    What happened? less than 150 post, hit the karma cap on thanksgiving...leading to my lovely sig.
    I've proved my point, to myself and all who read my comments (if at all).

    Judging from the moderation on some of my best comments (wish I had a link) you notice that the "crack smoking" moderators are outnumbered by the non-CSM's.
    My favorite went something like 4 insightfuls, 2 funny's 2 underated, 2 overrated, 1 flamebait, 1 troll (I think)...it wound up with around 12 points worth of moderation...all on one comment.

    What strikes me as "wrong" with the system is this:

    +2 comments get there for a reason and yes there is "bonus" abuse. However, I think the poster who posts at +2 should be given the benefit of the doubt, don't you?
    So, I'd like to see +2 comments modded up, if they deserve it, but to prevent moderator abuse, only allow negative moderation to be effective after 3 or 4 "modding down" marks.

    Reason: none of the newbie moderators nor the experienced CSM's seem to read the FAQ of "don't mod down what you don't agree with" and "don't mod down to punish"...ahem, never happen? just remember 40 down to 23, most moderation took place in literally less than a minute!

    Heh, as a "tribute to CSM's" my sig at one time said "help! help! I'm being repressed!"... gee, wonder where that came from.

    It strikes me as odd that no one has thought of a abuse filter not only for trolls, but for moderators as well.
    You see, trolls can have their account "suspended" for a certain length of time as I understand from some of the -1 comments.
    For moderators, I think, if more than 1/2 of your moderations (every 10 points, let's say) are marked as unfair...then how about "suspending" that account as well (i.e. no moderating for a month/year whatever the cycle, and for the # of unfair marks, apply those negative points to the moderator, perhaps?).

    Anyone have any better ideas, I'd love to hear them.
    • No offense, but you sound like a whiny bitch who posts complaints and then can't take it when you get modded down as a result. +2 posts should get the benefit of the doubt? Bullshit. Those with +2 have a power. As a result, they must be put in a more vunerable position to prevent abuses of that power.


      As long as you keep "speaking out on this topic" (aka, whining), you will probably continue to be modded down.

      • That's fucking pure genius. Seriously. Everyone knows that the best way to enact change is to lay low and keep your mouth shut. Works every time, without question.

        Complaints, for the most part, should NEVER be modded down or otherwise edited, as long as they are relevant and supported by hard facts, and those who have made a valuable contribution to this "community" should be given a chance to make those complaints heard (via the +2 posting privilege), because that is exactly what Slashdot supposedly stands for - free speech and freedom of information. That's been the central theme of this site for a few years now, and will surely continue in that vein for some time.

        And while it might sound like whining, and while you might think that it's uncalled for because we aren't in charge around here, please keep in mind that Slashdot has always promoted itself as a free and open forum to be used freely and openly by anyone with an opinion. If they can't stick to that model, then they need to stop promoting themselves as such. Slashdot IS run by a bunch of hypocritical ingrates who are only concerned with being "in charge." In reality, they care very little about what their audience thinks; this fact should be made known to everyone who frequents this site under the guise that they are going to be heard.

        Now if you are so spineless as to turn your head to this - or even worse, defend slashdot - you don't deserve to even have a voice.
        • Complaints, for the most part, should NEVER be modded down or otherwise edited, as long as they are relevant and supported by hard facts


          But they are NEVER relevant. When I am reading a story about the new linux kernel (for example), complaints about moderation have no place. Moderation has no relationship whatsoever to the linux kernel, nor the arrest of Dmitry Skylarov, nor new patents granted to TIVO.


          If you want to whine, make your own website, and link to it in your .sig. Offtopic posts and trolls will continue to be moderated as such, whether you think they are imporant subjects of discussion or not.

          • I disagree ENTIRELY. If a post is directed at challenging a slashdot editor's statements, as many are, then it is most definitely ON TOPIC. For example, I posted a comment about a month ago, directed against michael. The story was about a Microsoft security flaw; in his post, michael commented that the flaw was a WINDOWS security flaw, when in actuality, it was a flaw in the recent versions of IE. A valid argument, without question, that sat very nicely at +4 Interesting or Insightful for about 30 minutes. Then, suddenly, michael posted a reply to my comment. The rating on my post IMMEDIATELY dropped 3 full points to +1 Troll or something like it. Eventually, the REAL moderators sent some leverage my way and put me back up to +3 or +4. In this situation, the fact that michael's reply was so closely followed by a rash of negative moderation can hardly be called a simple coincidence. The guy doesn't like to be called out on ANYTHING that he says, and he showed it that day.

            My question to you is this...knowing that my complaint was VERY RELEVANT to the posted story, where else would you suggest that i post it?
            • While not really relavant to the discussion about moderation, I would point out that IE is so integrated into Windows that any IE update is in effect a Windows update. I came to this journal from the story about the uber-patch for IE 5.5SP2 and 6.0, and it was pointed out at least once that any other program that uses the IE engine is vulnerable, since it's available at the system level.

              But anyway, back to the topic at hand. I've read all the 76 comments so far (at -1) and have a few comments to make. Except that I suck at written expression, and so am going to make a few random statements:

              I've been reading /. since Jan 1999 (nearly 3 years), but have only posted 15 comments. Why? because /. is but one of many online communities I participate in, and I simply don't have the time/care enough to get more involved in it than reading the front page, and occasionally reading the +5 comments attached to a story. When I first started using /., I read the comments on far more stories than I do now. This is in part because (like many things), /. has become a victim of its own success - as a discussion site, it breaks down with too many users. As a weblog of cool sites and stories (News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.) it performs well. But the discussion part has attracted legions of trolls who (in an attempt to attract attention to themselves) ruin the quality of discussion. So slash had various anti-troll measures implemented, in an attempt to restore the quality of discussion (I read somewhere that one of the aspects (paradoxes?) of online discussion is that to maintain a community in which free discussion is encouraged, rules must be put in place to stop wasted discussion like trolls.)

              Anyway, there has probably been misapplication of these tools occasionally. But more to the point, people want their posts to be seen, because they (like most people) like the sound of their voice. And so they get upset when their posts get moderated down (for whatever reason), and blame the moderation system. Now whether the /. mod system is better/worse than the k5 system is not something I'm going to argue, since the amount of traffic that k5 gets is not the same as /. (or so it seems). While /. is more open, in as much as you can view every comment, k5 is more open in as much as there isn't a threshold. (Wait, I am comparing the mod systems, bugger. Oh well). And so, people get pissed off about being modded down (and so losing their visibility) much more on /. than on k5.

              Enough about k5. What I'm trying to say here, is that inequities in the /. mod system are in part because a) no mod system is perfect b) it tries to be very open, and stuff (note: my train of though was derailed here)

              Anyway, guys, get over it. I sincerely doubt that /. is a good place to hold a meaningful discussion, simply because it's so big. It's not like your posts are really that important. Perhaps you should consider another discussion site, which, while it may be smaller, gives you a better chance of becoming a big-shot poster? ;-)

              As for the claims of editor abuse of moderation, well, the editors are human too, and will almost certainly have biases (and egos - the censorware.org account (while not complete, and from only one side) shows this), and so are probably guilty of not being objective, but at least they try. As for CSMs, it's a well known fact that people don't read the docs. I'm on a mailing list which just had an influx of newbies, and it's amazing how many didn't bother to read the rules and guidelines which were posted to them when they joined. People are stupid/jerks, get over it.

              Something else: this is the sort of discussion I like to read, since it's got a remarkable lack of trolling that makes it possible to read at -1. "Discussions" that are only readable at +2 (or more), are more just bunched of topic-related comments, since responses are filtered out (unless you click on the "## messages below your threshold" links). I don't, in part because (as I say above), /. is one of many fora which I read/participate in, and my time is limited. The net is vast (mmm, GitS), and there's plenty of discussion sites out there that cater for any taste imaginable, and no human could possibly read all of them.

              Anyway, that's my poorly organised (and not really on-topic - but better here than in a story) diatribe. I probably won't make any more comments for the reasons above, but while the info stored by websites is important, there's better targets than /., where this argument is between people who've come to hate each other. Or something (this is more related to the yro comment).

            • Just a throw away comment but over the years I have noticed this abuse from Michael as well. In fact I recall the original outcries when he was made an admin.

              Oh well as a free community we can't... oh wait a second these guys get PAID for this. And we pay for it by looking at ADs and contributing content.
      • Bingo. If I understand the above complaint, he's complaining that he's got 50 karma, and that he managed to get two down-mods in thirty seconds on one occasion. Gee, there are only 10,000 readers with mod points at any one time, what are the odds that two of them would moderate something at the same time (hint: it's a birthday problem, the odds are essentially 100%).

        I disagree entirely with A_Non_Moose about +2 posters being given the "benefit of the doubt". In the real world, if you're nice to a person ten times and nasty to them once, what are you? An asshole. But on Slashdot, you're up nine karma. Slashdot's system is *far* more forgiving of abuses than the real world is, and kids like FortKnox who live on Slashdot (713 comments, christ!) need to get out more.

        I was talking to a grad student the other day who's doing a thesis paper on Slashdot. I told her that one of the mistakes made when building the site was giving "karma" a name, because that made it a game. Guess what people, your self-worth is *not* dependent on what value is stored in Slashdot's users table under the karma field. The sole purpose of the moderation system is to make discussions readable. Other sites delete posts that are off-topic. We do not. But I never fail to be amazed at the people who spend all their time trying to fill discussions with garbage and then complaining that the system worked as it is supposed to.
        • Looking at an aggregate without any idea of how long they've been posting for (an average of 1 comment a day for 2 years isn't that bad, for example), or what their life is like (perhaps they have a job where they're stuck from 9-5, but have time to post on slashdot), is very misleading.


          I too have posted over 700 comments, but on a day to day basis, I spend very little time posting, and most of it is when I'm stuck at work.

        • Jesus fucking christ

          You come into my journal to call me a child for having over 700 comments posted?
          Perhaps, when an intersting topic comes up, I post not only my opinions, but argue with others opinions? Maybe I like to defend my opinions?

          You want to talk about childish, then lets speak of the censorware project, shall we?

          I'd been DYING for authors to come in here and give their arguements so we can sort this crap out, but you come in here to insult me?

          Who's being the child, michael?

          You just proved to me what all the trolls say about you.

          And as far as "getting out more", I have a well paying job, a wife, a son (next May), and a life.
          • I've already gotten about 394 comments posted in the month or so I've been here (and karma hovering around 50 now)

            When they reimported all the old files into the DB I checked my old account. Almost 4,000 comments. michal is basicaly insulting everyone who uses slashdot 'alot' instaid of just posting boring and poorly thought out stories.
          • God, I can't wait for K5 to come back so I can get out of here. I really can't believe that michael actually insulted you for contributing to Slashdot! What a riot... it's almost as entertaining as adequacy.org!

            Hmm... I wonder what would happen if he found out that I was the "michael is a wanker" troll. Ooops. =)

          • Heh,
            I guess I am an infant since I have well over 1000 posts accumulated over the last say two or three years. Okay, in 900 days is 1000 posts honestly that much? So ive read slashdot daily and commented heavily in every 50-100 articles, BFD.

            Jeremy
        • One more thing...

          Out of all the complaints on slashdot about slashdot, if you replace those with "complaints about censoring/law/patents", and replace JonKatz bashes with "Microsoft Bashes", what do you have? (If you're really dense, the answer is 'slashdot articles')

          Just because I'm complaining about something not the norm, should I (or the parent) be called an "asshole"??

          BTW - mike, your professionalism needs some tweeking (if you want to get technical you are at your job speaking to your audience). I hope your future employers look at your posts to your 'clients'.
        • Hrmmm... Does anyone else find it amusing that micheal, who WORKS for /. calls FortKnox a kid because he spends time there? That would be like me as a Network Admin saying the people I work with spend too much time on computers!

          I don't think micheal understood Moose's comment at all. He wasn't complaining that he got modded down. He was complaining that he got modded down because he was logged in as A_Non_Moose, rather than based on his posts. THAT is the issue.

        • what are the odds that two of them would moderate something at the same time (hint: it's a birthday problem, the odds are essentially 100%).

          I've actually submitted the solution to this problem many times before, but I will do so again for the record:

          When moderating, moderators should be able to choose a threshold they wish to moderate to. If I see a comment at one I think should be 3, I would like to moderate it Insightful to 3. If I moderate it and it's still at 1, it goes to 2. If I moderate it and it's at 2, it goes to 3. If I moderate it and it's at 5, then I don't waste my moderation point. Someone linked a comment last week that was moderated up 14 times (+14, Insightful) because of the Birthday Problem you just mentioned. This doesn't change moderation to be like K5, it just makes Slash moderation un-broken and limits the number of accidental +5's that spout garbage.

          If you try to prop up a straw man about not having time to add little features, I would point out that if you have an acknowledged problem (you just acknowledged it) in the basics of Slashcode, and you're spending all your dev resources on new features [slashdot.org], then that argument is bogus.
  • You wait and see how quickly those fuckers "retract" that little blurb by making the whole thread mysteriously disappear. This has been going on for ages...it seems that the authors have been fairly lucky for the most part, as they've only had to cover up those nasty "unwanted" posts on very few occasions.

    Information wants to be free my hairy white ass.
  • I submitted this as a YRO, waiting for rejection now.

    We all should submit this story to slashdot...

  • Add the following link to your .sig:

    http://slashdot.org/journal.pl?op=display&id=288 1& uid=169099

    Perhaps if enough people find out about this bullshit, some change will come about...
  • Do I care if my IP is seen? No. Do I have anything to hide? No. Am I a troll? No.

    It would be truly amazing if a moderation system existed that got rid of trolls and flamebaits quickly... but as it is, there's some turds who like noise over signal, and as long as that keeps up I'm fine with /. authors moderating, bitchslapping, whatever.

    Don't like it? Ask yourself why.

    • I think you've missed the point here. Nobody's pissed off because of the fact that authors can moderate and bitchslap. We're pissed for three entirely different reasons:

      1. Because authors tend to "push their own agendas" with moderation, in severe contradiction to one the core principals behind distributed moderation (see the slashdot FAQ for CmdrTaco's explanation of why EVERYONE gets to moderate).

      2. Because Slashdot tries to pass itself off as a COMPLETELY FREE AND OPEN FORUM, when in actuality, it is quite restrictive and subject to censorship by those who maintain it.

      3. Because "anonymous coward" is supposed to mean "anonymous coward" - not "anonymous to everyone except for the guys who want to bitchslap dissident voices." If editors can view the IP's of posters, then the entire purpose of the AC system is defeated, and should thus be removed.

      None of the things that you mentioned (editor moderation, bitchslapping, IP availability) are inherently WRONG or inexcusable - however, the fact remains that Slashdot refuses to provide readers and posters with appropriate caveats. If slashdot wants to keep these practices up, then they need to inform their audience that they will do so. However, it is unlikely that they will tell anyone, as it could lead to a large-scale withdrawal of a great deal of its readership (a.k.a. "money in OSDN's bank account"). I think you see where I'm going with this.
      • Re:big hairy deal (Score:2, Interesting)

        by michael (4716)
        A few points -

        1) bitchslap. Rob's name for a perl script to take care of flood-bots. He should have named it "anti-flood.pl" instead. Rob is the only one who has ever had access to use it; I don't think it's been used many times on the site at all; I'm almost certain it hasn't been used in many months. The dreaded formkeys now prevent flooding from scripts proactively instead of the previous reactive system, so it's doubtful it will ever be needed again.

        2) IP availability. According to Slashdot, your IPID is "8e451..." Mr. Ska's IPID is "b18e8..." Whoop. Big invasion of privacy there. The IPID system is solely a reaction to people abusing anonymity to post hundreds of crap comments. Now people who do that get automatically IP-banned for 72 hours. I'm all for it.
        • According to Slashdot, your IPID is "8e451..." Mr. Ska's IPID is "b18e8..." Whoop. Big invasion of privacy there.

          Can you expand on that? If I wanted to make an anonymous comment, on an article that I already posted on as "FortKnox", will they both be the same 'IPID'?
          Point being, number or crypted number, it doesn't matter, cause our "so called" anonymity is nothing for people that have posted with logged in account.

          Please, also note, my non-agressive demeanor, and non-insultive attitude. I'd appreciate it if you'd show the same to the others posting in this journal entry.
          • Yes, if they're both posted from the same IP address. It's an MD5 hash of whatever the actual IP address is. Doesn't mean it's the same person - there might be ten people logged in from the same corporate firewall, or people coming through AOL's proxy servers, or whatever.

            I *think* the IPID records are supposed to be kept for a rolling two-week period, but I'm not certain that that's the actual policy, so don't quote me on that.
            • Re:big hairy deal (Score:4, Interesting)

              by turbine216 (458014) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `612enibrut'> on Thursday December 13, 2001 @08:37AM (#2698261)
              an MD5 hash of an actual IP address can still be deduced to a real IP address...there is no question about that. And again, I really don't have a problem with a website logging my IP address or making it available only for purely "administrative" purposes. My problem (and i think everyone's for that matter) lies in the fact that this information is not made available to all slashdot readers. The FAQ NEVER states that IP addresses are available (in ANY form, MD5-hashed or otherwise) to editors. Take, for example, Malda's explanation of the AC system from the FAQ:

              We think the ability to post anonymously is important. Sometimes people have important information they want to post, but are afraid to do it if they can be linked to it...

              That's it. That is the ONLY mention of anonymous posting that is included in the FAQ, and it leads me to believe that my anonymous posts are just that - anonymous. But they're not. The last sentence even goes so far as to indicate that anonymous posters CANNOT BE LINKED TO THEIR COMMENTS, when in fact, they can.

              While this might not seem like an issue, it is. As long as editors have the ability to moderate poster comments, they have the ability to discriminate against certain users, based on that user's IP address. That's where the entire problem lies. If editors can moderate, they have two VERY unfair advantages - infinite points, and the ability to truly push their own agenda on any topic they choose. If either one of these two abilities were removed (and the other made blatantly obvious to readers), there wouldn't be a problem. If posters were TRULY anonymous, then editors wouldn't be able to single them out even when they post anonymously. Conversely, if editors were subject to the same rules of moderation that regular users were, then even the ability to sort by IP address wouldn't help them, as they would no longer be able to mod a single user into oblivion.

              I don't see why this is such a big problem for you to understand, michael. You seem like a fairly reasonable person (when you take away your very un-journalistic biases), but you have yet to acknowledge the fact that some people might have a problem with this system. Tell me, how do you rationalize the fact that these unadvertised "features" give editors a very unfair advantage over dissenting readers? Why can't the "features" be advertised? Why does the AC system even exist, if AC's aren't really anonymous?
              • Re:big hairy deal (Score:2, Insightful)

                by michael (4716)
                Unlimited power for the owners of a site is a fact you're never going to be able to get around. We've got SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE on our side. We've got Apache's log files to identify you, and a firewall to keep you out. That's just the way the world works [slashdot.org].

                If you don't like it you can build your own site. You can even use the code we provide, for free. What a deal!

                Agendas? We have the *ultimate* agenda tool, the ability to decide what stories get run! Nothing else compares. If you think our story-selection sucks, my advice is don't read them.
                • Re:big hairy deal (Score:2, Insightful)

                  by sllort (442574)
                  Michael Sims, I refuse to fight your straw man.

                  No one cares about story selection. Let me spell it out for you: we don't trust you. We want to know when you're moderating posts, when you're banning users. You have detailed systems to accomplish this [slashdot.org] and everyone knows it.

                  If you don't want people to know when you're posing as a User and moderating posts, that's fine. But if you don't tell people about it in your FAQ, that makes you just as hypocritical as every corporation you post an article to bash. You're forgetting your audience. We're nerds, computer geeks, programmers, hackers, freedom fighters. We have a finely tuned bullshit meter. And you people are setting it off.

                  Correct your FAQ to tell people that you're logging IP's and moderating posts. Or don't. But if you choose not to tell people what you're up to at the very least, don't whine about the consequences of being caught. You run a website that lives to "out" people, hell anytime Microsoft makes a wording mistake you are on them like hounds. That's your userbase. If you want to talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.

                  Read the link in my signature. We're just asking for a message when an editor moderates us so we know when we're in danger of being blacklisted. And you know what I mean by blacklisted, the $rtbl flag, a secret user database flag to mark "the bad people". We read the Slashcode. We're not stupid. We won't be silenced. And the more you talk down to us, the angrier we'll get.

                  You should know what happens when people act condescending [microsoft.com].
        • Rob's name for a perl script to take care of flood-bots.

          It was used on me, and I have never in my life used a script to access Slashdot.

          I was also IP-banned.
          • I was hit with it as well (my 'homepage' link gives some details), the explanation being that he (Taco) used the script to disable accounts for other reasons as well (in my case, moderation abuse). I've been IP banned as well, but I suspect this happens when someone behind the company firewall (or maybe 5 different jerks) manages to get 5 posts downmodded. After 24 hours, this ban gets lifted (happened at least twice).
        • 2) IP availability. According to Slashdot, your IPID is "8e451..." Mr. Ska's IPID is "b18e8..." Whoop. Big invasion of privacy there. The IPID system is solely a reaction to people abusing anonymity to post hundreds of crap comments. Now people who do that get automatically IP-banned for 72 hours. I'm all for it.

          I'd say one of the central questions here is: are the IPIDs attached with the message? I'm not so interested in whether a Slashdot editor discriminates some individual, but what if, say, the FBI/NSA/other-three-letter-department comes knocking at your door? They can get any information that you store about the comments. If the IPIDs are attached to the messages, then when posting anonymously you always risk the chance that your IP _can_ be traced from that comment. (The MD5 hash doesn't help in this case, since you just have to try 2^32 combinations - shouldn't be a major problem for a fast machine.)

          The flood-banning could be implemented just by keeping a log of IPs or IPIDs, and how many messages have been posted recently, but without attaching them to the messages in question.

          Are the IPIDs attached to the posted messages? That's the point I'm worried about.
          • Yes.

            In the field displaying the post's vital information (posted by, subject, etc.), the ipid and Subnet are also displayed. Clicking the displayed info lists all posts made from the ipid or Subnet. Anyone with editor status may view the ipid and Subnet hashes.

            The info is discarded in approximately two weeks.
    • If you've got nothing to hide you shouldn't mind being tracked?

      Teehee.

    • Does Mr.Ska ever go against the Slashdot party line? No. Does Mr.Ska kiss Slashdot's collective ass? Yes. Is Mr.Ska just another acerebral Slashbot? Yes. Should Mr.Ska shut his cake hole? Yes.
  • If Slashdot can effectively remove comments from view (setting comments at -2 does this. Yes, I think it can be changed by manually editing the URL, but this is pure lawyerism, and not likely to stand up very well in court) then how can they defend themselves against M$?

    Remember the lawsuit they got alleging that /. was aiding and abetting in dissemination of stolen materials or some such? (Don't have a link, and too lazy to look). /. claimed that they don't censor anything. Clearly this is false.

    I've got no problem with dropped submissions. But bitchslapping, tracking IP's, etc... Sounds like in the effort to make it easier to appeal to advertisers, /. is painting themselves into a legal corner.
    • All i can say to that is EXACTLY. I am of the opinion that Slashdot's "upper brass" (if they can legitimately be given that title) has made themselves IMMENSELY liable for ALL comments posted on their site, because of the fact that there ARE situations on this site to which "censorship" is the only term that can be applied. Modding to -2 is an example. While the comment still "exists" in the database, there is no indication that would lead any reader to believe that. This is comparable to imprisoning a person secretly in order to cut off their ability to make their opinion known. Is this censorship? In Skylarov's case, Slashdot seems to think so. And if slashdot has EVER censored a poster in this manner, then ALL comments on this site are their responsibility (as recent cases have shown). Maybe it's time we started letting software vendors know about this...they might be interested in knowing that they've been essentially duped by those clever editors...
      • The only comments that were ever modded to -2 were due to a bug in the moderation system, fixed very quickly. There's a story posted about it somewhere.

        I think the problem here - our failure to communicate - is because you're believing the various conspiracy theories without evidence.

        And no, moderation is not comparable to putting someone in prison.

        And no, from a legal standpoint, the moderation system does not make Slashdot more or less liable for comments posted. The law on this is now fairly clear - since Slashdot has the power to remove comments from the database, once we receive a complaint about any particular comment we're essentially "on the hook" for its content. If Slashdot receives fewer hassles over comments than other sites (and I think we do) it's because of the potential bad publicity (see what happened when Microsoft tried it), not because the law protects us in any fashion.
        • fair enough -- I'll wait for more evidence before arguing this point any further.

          However, you seem to be avoiding the other concerns that I and the other readers here have expressed - in regards to IP tracking, unlimited editor moderation, and discrimination. Would you care to respond to those allegations?
        • What about slashdot's bad press from deleting the CoS document that was posted? Why are you willing to stand up to MS but not to the CoS which is ostensibly much more evil than MS can ever be? I never understood that decision? Why not also come clean about accounts that you have tampered with? that's the collective you, not the sigular you. If someone has been affected by admin intervention, shouldn't they know that? For instance, though I don't really troll much, have never used a script to post to this site, etc. this account still NEVER gets mod points. The account is old enough, and I do participate regularly enough that I should, at least once get points. This leads me to suspect that my account has been given the secret "don't let this guy moderate" flag in the system. Can you (and will you) please confirm or deny?
          • Can this account of yours metamoderate? Assuming positive karma, your account should be able to metamod, given the fairly low UID.

            If you cannot metamod, your account probably has been flagged in $rtbl, the Real Time Black List. Flagging the account also makes the account ineligible for moderation, AFAIK. It can be flagged by account, ipid or even subnet. If ipid or subnet is used, any account using said ipid or subnet will be affected by the action. Comments can be sorted by these id's, and the resulting comment list looks like if you were just browsing a user's comments list from clicking a link in a discussion. You also might be on the Top Abusers list, but I'm not too sure. I have yet to use said feature myself.

            This account, despite high karma and existing for over 6 months now, never has moderated either. Also, this account has lost metamod capabilities some time ago. I'm pretty certain that my ipid has been $rtbl'ed, put on the Top Abusers list or both.

            You gotta admit, it does take care of the multiple account issue, listing by ipid/subnet pretty much merges your accounts together.
            • It would be most interesting to me if they would actually admit it though... I know I've been given the "hidden" slap, it's only all too obvious. I suspect the motivation for this action was political.
            • Interesting... this account Im using now is ~5 months old and I have never received mod points.. I can metamod though. I even tried checking/unchecking/checking the willing to mod check box under my settings, nothing.
            • No kidding :( I have only one account and I have not had metamod in a long long time. I never abused my metamod privileges or my posting privs. I have always been straight up. *sigh*

              oh well its just the /game.

              Jeremy
          • The Scientology situation was handled way above my head. I have no particular opinion about it, except to note that Scientology has more money than VA Linux (excuse me, VA Software) does. And more lawyers. And a demonstrated immunity to bad press.

            I don't think most people understand moderation very well. I see there's a reply that is correct about changes in Slash 2.2 that let the site maintainer turn off moderation, comment posting and story submission for particular users. CmdrTaco is the sole administrator of that on Slashdot.

            So if you never get moderation points on Slashdot, there are two possible reasons. You might not qualify normally - moderator points are assigned to people who aren't within the newest accounts created, read the site often but not too often, and so forth, several different criteria. Or you might have been flagged. Doing things like moderating up goatse.cx links is a good way to get flagged as a bad moderator if CmdrTaco notices.

            Is that "political"? Yeah, I suppose. But the politics being promoted is "trying to run a good discussion site", same as the motivation for everything else.
            • Thank you. That was very informative. I do appriciate that you answered my question.
            • Ok, I have to admit that Galvatron and Michael were quite amusing by completely ignoring what I had said and drew their own conclusions based on that.

              Lovely.

              However, like turbine, I do make very valid points but lack the coherency at times trying to make that point clear. C'est la vie.

              When most people talk about "Crack Smoking Moderators", I think what they are really trying to say is; 2/3's of the moderators really do make an effort to do a good job, the other 1/3, however, don't seem to have a clue.
              Why?
              Well, IMO the 1/3 have never read the faq I think.
              I've seen well done sarcasm modded as a troll.
              For me, I fell for it, but I think of it this way:
              if you read something that makes you angry, read it again. If you get angrier, that's flamebait. If you think it is dumb, that is a troll. If you laugh, heh funny, informative, insightful or a + score of your choosing.

              Now I've gotten mod points, what? a grand total of 3 times...read the faq the first two time, beacuse: I did NOT want to fall into a CSM.
              I don't recall modding anyone down, either, because the trolls had been taken care of.
              Now, IIRC, does it or does it not say "don't mod people down because you disagree with them?".

              That is exactly what I saw going on. Modding down (censorship, if you will) not because of what I said, but "who" I was.

              I'll admit, it was the same "pissed offedness" that lead to things such as the the Boston Tea party, and the various wars.

              I've said it before (as have others): Moderators are the "other white meat" aka Anon. Cowards.
              Or, in someone's better words: Moderators should not be both *anonymous* and *unaccoutable*.

              Does metamoderation do any good? Hell if I know, for I gave up metamoderating for a while.
              Now I just look for modding down of comments and apply the rules I've mentioned above. Blatant troll/flamebait is modded as fair, otherwise I mark it unfair.

              Hence my benefit of the doubt philosophy, Mike.

              The point of all this?
              Simple: The /. team does things a certain way because it works the majority of the time.
              We get angry when it does not work or is applied unjustly.

              We, as techs, like to fix problems. It is our nature. I'm sure if I gave it some thought I could think of something, but, alas, I'm too tired, too buzzed, and too relaxed at the moment to give a shit and think about this particular thread anymore.

              Cheers, my friends.

              Moose.

              PS. Could we add a "reply karma" category? 75 replies so far..heh, and I did not say "First post either".

              Anywho...

              .
              • I'm with you on the meta-moderation...

                I go through the meta-mods fairly quickly, looking for things that have been down-mod'd, and if it's Redundant or Over-rated, I check the context of the post (but not the author), and it usually gets mod'd back up.

                Redundant is actually the one I'm hardest on...
          • Who would you rather piss off? Steve Case, or Osama Bin Laden. Both may be 'evil' in a certain light, but while AOL users may be stupid they aren't out on suicide bombing runs.

            I wouldn't get into a legal battle LRONs minions over some stupid AC comment.

            Microsoft isn't going to make your life into a living hell or anything...
            • But evil is evil isn't it? Both should be resisted or eradicated of possible. Indeed, you make my point - The CoS *IS* the more evil of the two, and thus should be stood up to.
              • by autopr0n (534291)
                If you want to ruin the rest of your life standing up the CoS go ahead. It may be noble to stand up to evil, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. The information was all on the web anyway, a google search would have gotten it for you. Fight evil yes, but choose your battles to.
                • I'm not saying that you are wrong. Not at all. I just think (and this is only my personal opinion) that slashdot is a little hypocritical in how they handle these things. Just my personal opinion...
            • Microsoft isn't going to make your life into a living hell or anything...

              You've obviously never used Windows.

        • I had a couple posts modded to -5 once, after a bug in slashcode that allowed images to be embeded in comments. I stuck a few in (nothing offensive). After a while a script was run that killed all image tags and modded them to -5.
        • The law on this is now fairly clear - since Slashdot has the power to remove comments from the database, once we receive a complaint about any particular comment we're essentially "on the hook" for its content.

          Really? How does that interact with the Court ruling that message board posts are opinions, not facts? [slashdot.org]
  • You might want to look at what some of the 'trolls' are posting in this journal entry. They do have some insight into how the Slashdot editors (ab(use) their powers.
  • How this [slashdot.org] gets modded as a troll never ceases to amaze me, when "you need to adjust your tinfoil hat" (a la michael) gets passed over *and* other post pointing out the *exact* same thing I was talking about are passed over or even modded up!

    You see this is the exact kind of hypocritical behaviour that this discussion is targeting.

    And whilst I'm at it: Does metamoderation actually *DO* anything? Seriously, Mike, does it?

    Consider that if a post is marked as a troll, and it is not a troll, does the moderation get *undone*? Or is the moderator just marked for a period of time?

    If you see my point of view, you have to admit that if a moderator is doing a bad job, his/her moderations *should* be undone if at all possible.

    Because the point we are making is: No good deed goes unpunished and the opposite is also true.

    On the whole, Slashdot is doing an excellent job.
    But, that good job is being undermined by (and this is my opinion, mind you) by a certain few.

    {I'd also be willing to bet that Galvatron recently got mod points on that day. If it were possible...hey, a new slashcode idea...I'd bet, oh, say 10 karma points---what else are they good for? Nothing, really--- that it was him. J'accuse! If I am right I get 10 of his, If I am wrong, he/she gets 10 of mine}
    :)

    Gotta love the new math, tho, at the kap, got a +4 from a comment...but one -1 and now at 49.
    Heh, 50+4-1=49? cute.

    Oh, well, ever since hitting the cap on the other account, I stopped taking moderation seriously (and metamoding for that matter)... I just post here to realax.

    hasta.

    Moose
    .

It's been a business doing pleasure with you.

 



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