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masterwit's Journal: Apathy to impartiality in moderating

Journal by masterwit
I have been given another 15 points of moderation this time, and really I wonder if this is for the best? Before anyone ridicules me here I ask to hear me out:

I first would like to begin this strangely motivated journal of mine with a look that poisonous word: apathy. Apathy of the common voter, apathy this and that...to an actavist this is a curse word. But I would have to say this is my curse on moderating in Slashdot: I have a ton of apathy for other people's passions when moderating...

This might, at first glance, seem like a good thing, but it is anything but that. 15 moderator points, this will take me hours. Why you may ask? Because I have an odd system of moderation when I seem to be given these points frequently: Step 0: read the damn article Step 1: read all highly ranked comments and top tier posts for roughly ~50 posters Step 2: turn off ranking Step 3: find a comment with no previous moderation 1st or 2nd tier (no third tier comments yet) Step 4: ignore all comments made to that particular comment Step 5: look for positive qualities

...

Point being, this is a huge waste of time! Moderation is important, we all know this for a fact, but in my short time here I have come to understand the importance of properly moderated discussions: it saves both the reader time and avoids the Digg effect.

I just wonder if a lot of our moderation is in vain. If I see someone post a comment, even if it is relevant, but against my political views...I avoid moderation for the most part. Why? Because I am biased as hell and will readily admit that. We all know that one moderator point or more, in the past, has been spent unwisely by all of us.

I say now if we are to take a look at how moderator points are spent from birds-eye view, say for the entire population of Slashdot, you and I both know this is a scary thought. Internet meme-ing does not belong on intellectual discussions, ever. Sure the occasional joke is funny and will make me smile, but 25 +5 comments of jokes does not do me much good when I was looking to the discussion for insight.

Ridicule me if you may: "Looking to the discussion for insight! Ha is he an idiot?!?!" But I say to you is this not the ultimate design? Don't we want discussion, however intellectually based, to occur? I've spent a fairish amount of time looking over other forums and news discussions and I can say that the moderation system here is broken for this sole reason: user apathy.

This is not a matter of our best interest: our best interest is for the health and well being of this internet "nook". For the most part I can say many Slashdotters agree that they care about Slashdot's future. Instead consider apathy to be incidental here, not under our control. We are forced to read comments and entire discussions before applying that "sacred" +1 or "damn troll -1" mark. This. Is. Bad. To better understand where I am coming from, let us first consider Jury Duty (bear with me here!). Each time a potential candidate is called to perform Jury duty, it is in the hope that the media or other forms of "reporting" had not gotten to this individual first. Why? - because any individual makes up their mind, however small the degree, upon hearing some argument or reporting no matter how convincing.

There is a simple fix, however, augmented moderation: Upon entering a discussion board a user is either assigned to dupe/troll duty or only given 3 comments to moderate (two with at least 1 followup comment). In this way the user is blinded from the rest of the discussion. Moderation points (up to 3 per article) may be applied as seen fit for these three threads, or the user may chose to not moderate on the given article / exit early. Upon early exit or finishing of those 3 comments, the discussion board would open to normal moderation. Now 3 is an arbitrary number here, I do not know what would work best...but the idea that preliminary points should be considered without regard to the rest of the discussion allows for the initial impartial view...and then the mob view later if needed.

An intro screen to moderation for articles would help Slashdot achieve it's goal for effective distributed moderation without loss of the normal moderation we have come to find effective to many regards. Hell, we all know meta-moderation is too shallow of a view to know the context of how to moderate (honestly one has no idea if sarcasm is applied half the time!) and people enter an article not impartial to the current ratings too often.

Hell ignore what I've said here right? This is only a modest proposal that will be completely forgotten and unnoticed (not to say my idea is perfect - it needs tweaking), but it is a damn shame seeing the meme-a-fying** of this place. **(yes it is a word!)
...
So you the reader, before you break down my individual quotes with one sentence comments, what do you think of this idea? Do you find this an issue also...why or why not? I would like to see why the current system exists...for no-one, yes not one person, has really given or shown me a rundown of why our current moderation system makes sense.
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Apathy to impartiality in moderating

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