OK- I've been on Slashdot for a while now. At first I read it for the links, which were great. Then I started reading comments. I didn't post for a long time. I watched the moderation system evolve into what it is today.
But the fact is, Slashdot is broken. If you're not familiar with the most moderated thread on slashdot, go here. Without going into too much detail, nameless Slashdot editors 'threadslapped' an entire thread of comments under the comment entitled "The first Slashdot troll post investigation." Every post there goes to -1, Offtopic within minutes it appears.. which is why I'm not posting this comment in that thread.
When I first read this, I was pissed - isn't Slashdot's moderation system "user based" as CmdrTaco has insisted on since the beginning? CmdrTaco has ALWAYS recommended a moderation system that was completely controlled by the users. He said he was against manually intervening.. until he admitted to bitchslapping users because he didn't like them. But that's old news and if you've been on Slashdot long enough, you know it's par for the course.
Let's compare: Why does Slashdot suck while K5 continues to be a good community? Don't forget that K5 editors reserve the right to kill comments and even ban users. Rusty is the first to admit that K5 is NOT a democracy. Still, the two biggest differences are users moderating story submissions, and the fact that you can SEE who moderated each comment, if you want. These two features are enough to prevent this kind of thing (wholesale downvoting of comments) from ever happening on Kuro5hin.
Is it hypocritical to disapprove of Slashdot's editors, while praising K5's editors, even though they have always reserved the right to dictate the content of their site? Yes. But do I care? No, I don't care. The fact is that Slashdot's editors are a bunch of hypocrites themselves. CmdrTaco, champion of "your rights online," violated his own philosophy by sticking his nose in a "user moderated" forum. Jamie McCarthy doesn't post stories often, but this comment on K5 makes you wonder if he wasn't behind the systematic downmodding.
From his comment: "But if editors (who of course have unlimited mod points, we've said this before) happen to notice off-topic threads taking over stories, we moderate them as such. Duh."
Ah.. but where do you admit to that, Jamie? Not in the Slashdot FAQ.. (no, admitting it on K5 does not count). Actually, the FAQ says "Slashdot is committed to the idea of a completely free and open forum." CmdrTaco wrote that, over a year ago. A completely free and open forum that silences an entire discussion because one person didn't like where it was going.
A couple things before I post this and lose all my karma (btw it's just a number and I don't care how much I have). This moderation wouldn't bother me so much, if it wasn't for all the (justified) bitching and moaning from the editors when MS wanted to get a comment taken off of Slashdot. Now they have the gall to do the same thing themselves, without any public comment? I think this deserves a front page 'sorry' from whichever editor did it.
You'll notice I didn't use the word censorship once. This isn't censorship! You don't have a god given right to post to Slashdot. The editors can do what they like. I prefer to look at the site as a sort of failed human experiment. In these comments, you can find humanity at its most eloquent and compassionate (read the 'Hellmouth' stories again. It's worth it. They are that good). You can also find, well, mindless garbage that gives real trolls a bad name. But in the end it comes down to the editors. They're the bread and butter of a site like this, and they used to be good. Many of us have watched this community die, thanks to them.
Well, that's just my take on the matter.