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Pan T. Hose's Journal: Unfair Moderation

Journal by Pan T. Hose

Dear friends,

As much as I'd love to believe otherwise, this is hardly the first time I was moderated quite strangely. This time however I would like to clarify few things as well as ask others to clarify for me some other things which I don't quite understand.

First, let me quote the Slashdot message I received recently:

Comment Moderation
sent by Slashdot Message System on 1:05 Thursday 13 November 2003

Dear Sony , posted to Sony Music Testing New Copy Protection , has been moderated Troll (-1). It is currently scored Troll (0).

It makes sense , posted to Perens: Unite behind Debian, UserLinux , has been moderated Troll (-1). It is currently scored Troll (0).

One more thing , posted to What Critics of the Critics of the FCC Rule Miss , has been moderated Troll (-1). It is currently scored Troll (0).

Dear Sony , posted to Sony Music Testing New Copy Protection , has been moderated Troll (-1). It is currently scored Troll (-1).

It makes sense , posted to Perens: Unite behind Debian, UserLinux , has been moderated Troll (-1). It is currently scored Troll (-1).

One more thing , posted to What Critics of the Critics of the FCC Rule Miss , has been moderated Troll (-1). It is currently scored Troll (-1).

Let's forget for a while about the obvious question on how on Earth the above moderation (being the only moderation done to my comments since this farce) could take just few minutes if any single moderator can have only five "mod points" while the above had to require clearly six of them. This is a very interesting issue indeed, but let's focus on the content this time.

The first of the suspiciously moderated comments, Dear Sony, was obviosly an attempt to be funny, we can only argue whether it really was as funny as this comment or not. I would have no problem whatsoever with the moderation if it was moderated as Funny (+1) and then three times as Overrated (-1) (which would be actually worse for my capped Karma, mind you) as there is nothing closer to Not Funny (-1) moderation at the time of writing this text, resulting in overall Score:-1, Funny. It could have been moderated twice as Overrated (-1) even without the preceding Funny (+1) moderation and I would say "Fair enough." But why it was moderated twice as Troll (-1) resulting in the Score:-1, Troll? It remains a mystery. All I can possibly say is "Not fair enough, not at all."

The second comment, It makes sense , might be percieved as moderately (no pun intended) controversial for someone who doesn't know much about Debian (why such a person should moderate a discussion about Debian is beyond me) but somehow I don't see any comments invalidating my points so I can only speculate about the nature of this very controversy. I suppose it was moderated down because I dared to say about GNU distros rather than Linux distros but please answer the question if it was becase the post was troll or maybe there is a chance that I was not talking about Linux distros here?

There are Debian GNU/Linux ports for Intel x86, Motorola 68k, Sun SPARC, Digital Alpha, Motorola/IBM PowerPC, ARM, MIPS, HP PA-RISC, Intel IA-64 and even IBM S/390 (the number which only NetBSD can beat) so people frequently forget about the non-Linux versions of Debian, like Debian GNU/Hurd, Debian GNU/NetBSD, Debian GNU/FreeBSD Debian GNU/Win32 and the upcoming Debian GNU/ELKS (based on the ELKS kernel for 8086 and 80286 et al).

These are all GNU distributions (as are all of the Linux distros i was talking about) while they are not Linux distributions by any stretch of imagination. I assume that moderating this comment to Score:-1, Troll was a knee-jerk reaction to the Linux vs. GNU/Linux farce but here I was not talking only about Linux-based systems. This very kernel- and CPU architecture-independence of Debian, as well as the Debian Social Contract together with the Debian Free Software Guidelines drafted by Bruce Perens himself are exactly the reasons for which I believe Debian is a good choice as the base for UserLinux. If you believe otherwise then provide some counterarguments and I will gladly discuss them with you---maybe I will even change my opinion---but moderating my arguments as Score:-1, Troll is a complete misunderstanding.

Now the last one, One more thing. It is just one sentence, so let me quote the entire comment:

I'm sure (or at least, I hope) I won't be the only one who will raise this very issue, but organizations like FCC or KRRiTV make absolutely no sense whatsoever in the context of Internet medium, in the opposition to common and finite mediums like ether, which we are forced to manage somehow for the common public good.

It was posted as a follow-up reply to my other post, Problem (Score:1, for the record) becuase I didn't want to create another thread. Now, I have absolutely no idea why it was moderated as Score:-1, Troll. Seriously. To be fair, while writing this comment I was expecting it would be moderated as Score:0, Redundant for saying the obvious, but I guess it is not so obvious after all. So let me explain.

First of all, for anyone who can't be bothered to check it for oneself, KRRiTV is a government body regulating TV broadcasting in Poland, somehow analogously to FCC in the United States. It is interesting in the context of UE membership and the largest corruption scandal after the communism. Second of all, maybe instead of "make absolutely no sense whatsoever" I should have written "make little sense" or "make incomparably less sense" but that's about all of my sins---I got frustrated reading another article about the Broadcast Flag (which is as reasonable as the Security Flag from RFC 3514, I might add) and I'm sure I was not the only Slashdot reader at it. Actually, I have no idea what else should I explain, as the whole comment seems to be quite self-explanatory.

The bottom line is that because of those moderations I was banned from posting. That's right:

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are [...] and [...] and (optionally, but preferably) your IP number [...] and your username "Pan T. Hose". [emphasis added]

So I ask those moderators---whoever they are---to explain me the reasons for which they believed other Slashdot readers should not read those three comments and thus moderated them as Score:-1, Troll treating they just like the real troll posts with vulgar and rascist content and misleading links to pornography. I will gladly discuss these issues and adress counterarguments (even if posted anonymously) but I just cannot constructively argue with "This is 'Troll' and should be censored, for no other Slashdot reader shall ever read this comment or counter your arguments, period, or any other future comment you will ever want to write for that matter, so you are banned from posting."

People, please be reasonable. If we want Slashdot to be what it is and always was, we have to be reasonable. Also, why I can't use "—," "–," "“," "”," "‘" and "’" HTML entitties? The inch symbol and double or triple hyphens look so amateurish from the typographical point of view.

Pan T. Hose, PhD

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