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Permission Denied's Journal: thoughts on moderation 2

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So, I received my fiftieth karma point sometime this weekend (around May 12, 2002). This is from a little over one hundred posts, during a period of around two months.

Some thoughts on the moderation system: overall, I'd say it works fairly well, but there are some problems. The first problem I'll note is that moderators are also slashdot readers, so they're very likely to read slashdot the same way, whether or not they have mod points. When I read slashdot, I filter at +2 and occasionally click the "x replies beneath your current threshold link" if someone made an interesting point. This means that if I were to moderate, I would only see posts from people who already have the +1 bonus or posts that someone else has already moderated up. I would be less likely to see the posts stuck at 1 from logged-in users and much less likely to see anonymous posts stuck at 0, and far more unlikely to see posts that have been moderated down.

This phenomenon is substantiated by my experience as a poster: the first twenty karma points were quite difficult to earn, whereas the last thirty came in a period of about two weeks. My writing has not improved over the course of these two months. Also, posts to older articles (ones about halfway down the default front page) are very unlikely to receive any moderation.

I've only once found a case of unfair moderation: in this post, I received a -1, Overrated. The post quickly came back up to +5, however. There is no way that anyone could consider that post "overrated" - it was modded down because I pissed off some moderator, and "-1, Overrated" was the only option they could use to express that my writing pissed them off. A couple of fellow slashdotters responded to the post mentioning how it actually made them think; this is a sentiment which I very much appreciate and is extremely rarely expressed on slashdot. Hopefully, that moderator will lose mod access in meta-moderation.

In each of my posts, I try not simply to complain about a problem, but also to propose a possible solution. I would like to see a "moderator mode" added to slashdot: when you have mod points, you have an option to enter a mode where you continue seeing random posts in a random order until you've disposed of your five moderator points. Basically, it works like meta-moderation: you separate the action of reading slashdot from the action of moderating slashdot comments. In addition, it would hide the current score of the post and the author (whether the author is logged-in or anonymous). This would solve the problem of too many +5s and too few +4s and +3s, it would ensure that articles posted only to sections like BSD or YRO would receive moderation and it would ensure things posted to day-old stories receive a chance at moderation.

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thoughts on moderation

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  • Certainly there is flaws in the moderation system. I have only been visiting slashdot for just over a month, and my karma is about half way (23 or so), so I'm following a similar path.

    The moderators aren't infallible, its easy to get bias mixed up when moderation, and thats the purpose of M2. What irks me with the moderation system is the modding down of often insightful posts. I always browse at -1 now, because i can see the whole comments, of which there are some funny (albeit quite rude and offensive) and interesting comments. You also, as my sig indicates, get free recipes.

    Everynow and then posts get modded down intially, for whatever reason, and sometimes browsing at -1 is the only way to view them, until they're modded back up again. The whole thing is a system of checks and balances, but its easy to see the examples of knee jerk reactions.

    Anyway, my point is I agree with you. Happy Slashdotting. (BTW, the comment you linked to as your example was very insightful. Another case of Mods on Crack :)
  • Only thing I would say is that I try to post in threads where there is something interesting still undiscovered, even though I have never been given mod points, because my +1 bonus can add emphasis to someone else's good point. Seems to work sometimes.

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.

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