I'm sure many out there consider the moderation system to be something akin to sewage in a modern town: Perhaps necessary, but stinky, and best left to others who make it happen. For those of you who couldn't care less about this journal, feel free to comment on the uselessness of it and discourage me from further filling your inbox with such drivel. For those interested in maintaining your custom, state of the art cess pool, complete with fans, luminescent paint, and alligators, read on.
Personally, I still get a little excited whenever I get modpoints, and whenever I notice a significant code change has occurred, I head over to the Slash CVS and try to pick over the pertinent changes. It's sometimes amusing listening to people speculate about these changes in conspiratorial tones when Slash is all open secrets (Since when did that site go down? Misconfigured squid perhaps? We all know how much trouble /. had with Pound when it started using that to load balance.).
The recent changes did a lot of things. Yes, it gives you modpoints more often if you metamoderate. I've seen someone claiming this is a lie in his sig. Well, here's the thing: When you M2, you have a good chance of getting one mod token. It takes 40 tokens to actually get modpoints (Slash/DB/Static/MySQL/MySQL.pm - sub convert_tokens_to_points) (also, (sql/mysql/defaults.sql - sub maxtokens) which can modify this minimum). As such, if you're not getting mod tokens any other way, it'll take you nearly a month to work your way back to M1.
And why wouldn't you be getting any tokens any other way? Probably because you did something I did right when the system came in: Bad moderation. Now the system keeps track of how 'well' you've moderated in the past, based on M2. The higher this percentage, the higher the odds you'll randomly be assigned tokens. More exactly, the higher your percentage among your peers, the higher the odds. From the comments CmdrTaco has made in his journal, it would seem most people maintain around a 90%-99% approval rating with their M1.
So if you were M2'd badly right when this system was introduced, you probably noticed these shiny new "Metamoderation Results" messages in your inbox. They reported your present approval rating was sitting around "85%" or some such low number. And then, well, you were just voted out of moderating. It looks like democracy is tyrany.
Now, the groovy thing about all of this, is that if you read comments in the code (Slash/DB/Static/MySQL/MySQL.pm - sub _csq_bonuses), you'll notice there's actually a fair bit of explanation for the logic. In fact, there's some detailed thinking and response to user feedback. Do you remember when Slashdot posted an article criticising and praising its own moderation system? They quote that article above the sections which implement specific suggestions. Unfortunately, I'm not sure this knowledge is widespread.
This poses an interesting question. If changes are made to reward 'good' moderation practices, but these changes aren't publicised, will they be effective? It seems the system is designed to have maximum feedback, so most of the benefit of good moderation is that you're asked to moderate again more quickly -- often with a small or nil karma bonus. But I speculate there are some motivated moderators who may already be trying to game the system. People who feel they can moderate fairly, and want to, but can't seem to figure out what to do to get the opportunity to do their civic duty. So, if good people know about these rewards, perhaps moderation will improve. So for friends and trolls alike, let's see if this helps:
- Meta-modding a comment which has been multiply moderated only positively will adversely affect you and have little effect on the actual moderator
- Moderating comments positively shortly after they have been posted will give you a token bonus; Moderating a comment from 1 or 2 (either negatively or positively) will give you a token bonus
- Moderating a comment posted late in a discussion will give you a token bonus
- Moderating replies (non top level comments) will give you a token bonus
- Tokens continue to accumulate even as you mod, so you may mod again very soon now if you do a good job
- Letting your tokens expire is one of the worst things you can do if you want to moderate again soon
- Having a low M2 fairness rating is just about the worst thing you can do if you want to moderate
Personally, I think this system is improving dramatically. The key is to ultimately eliminate the huge amount of redundant posts in high traffic discussions. To do this, you reward people for moderating down marginal redundant comments, and you don't reward users who try to post as fast (but unoriginal) comments as possible. There may never be an effective way to prevent Slashbotting, though. If it's what a large portion of the audience wants to read, why not? Much to the joy of the trolls, I imagine.