So, you've found my journal. Chances are, you're probably here because you're bored, and you noticed that I have a journal entry. I'm afraid you won't find much of interest here, but that's not why you're reading. You're reading this because you're interested to know why I'd be posting about the Slashdot relationship change notice you probably received because I have either added you as a friend or because I have culled you from my friends list and you would like to know why. Fortunately, it's really simple.
The Friends List is my User Bookmarks
It really is that simple. If you're on my friends list, you've probably made it there because you happened to have made an interesting, insightful, or humorous post that I enjoyed so much, I've decided to make you stick out like a sore thumb. I browse with friends set to +5, regardless of their modifier, so I will always see your posts no matter how ornery the moderators happen to be feeling. (Bonus: If you got moderated into oblivion, I have mod points, and you've put the time and effort into writing a good post, I might be able to get you out of it if I'm feeling charitable and want to mod you up.)
However: If you're on my friends list, it doesn't mean I agree with you. It just means I enjoyed a post you made.
If you've made it here, you've been selected as my friend exclusively for the reasons I outlined above. Chances are, you wouldn't like me in person--I'm generally politically conservative (with some socially liberal leanings, and I mean this in terms of the United States' political system), I'm religious but somewhat secular in my views, and I could probably outline a further 100+ reasons why you wouldn't like me regardless of your political affiliations (yes, I piss off even some conservatives). But here's the deal: I added you precisely because you shared a great post with the rest of Slashdot, made me laugh, or I disagree--but you made a good enough point that I think may have received an unfair shake from the moderators, so I'm watching out to make sure you don't get zinged again by someone who has it out for you (karma stalking).
That said, there are some exceptions to the rules I've outlined above. Specifically, I occasionally friend individuals I might otherwise call "flaming liberal nutjobs," because I happen to have some appreciation for the points or argument they're making. I probably disagree completely, but if that person happens to be arguing with someone who is quite clearly a total moron, I'll probably add them simply because they're the only party showing at least some signs of intelligence. I may also add people for various other reasons such as generally snarky behavior, a propensity for trolling idiots, playing devil's advocate, or because you won the lottery (not really--but you get the idea). In other words, there is probably a why behind, well, why you got added--and received the "relationship changed" notice--but it could be for any reason.
Two examples that come to mind are the users spun and tepples. Both of these guys are probably liberals, probably borderline crazy, and I know very well that they can get under the skin of other Slashdot users--and that is exactly why I like them. Both of these two characters have the tendency to get on the nerves of people who either have no sense of humor or, generally speaking, are exhibiting traits endemic to idiots. I seldom agree with either of them (spun for political reasons, tepples because of his occasional pro-Apple leanings), but because they go out of their way to make lesser beings look stupid, I applaud their efforts. Sure, they sometimes get a little out of line--don't we all?--but I think that the vast majority of people who become targets of their ridicule deserve it. Sometimes it isn't deserved, certainly, but oftentimes it is well-placed. They even occasionally post things that I enjoy reading.
Other individuals, like Opportunist, cayenne8, TheRaven64, and at least a dozen other people who may or may not have added me in return (see my fans list for a comprehensive rundown of most of these people--save for a handful--and sorry if I haven't expressly mentioned you) make posts that I greatly enjoy reading. Again, I may not always agree with them, but these individuals are typically very civil, respectful, and informative in the majority of their posts. Sometimes their posts are just outright entertaining.
Minor update: I should have added mcgrew to this list a long while back, because he's another one of the individuals whose posts I enjoy reading. Although, if I recall correctly, I had added him precisely because of a journal entry he had posted (either on mcgrew or another account) that I found very educational. mcgrew also continues to update his journal fairly regularly, so you should put some effort into reading it if you don't already. Yes, I'm guilty of not reading it as much as I should, too!
Of course, you could probably guess which of the two groups you fall into--or maybe you can't. Either way, you've done something I enjoyed if you're reading this.
Big Deal You Long-winded Baffoon! Why Should I Care that You Added Me?
Well, you shouldn't. There are some minor benefits, but in most circumstances, you shouldn't care. If you don't care, you probably wouldn't be reading this.
For the rest of you that have more time on your hands than I do (you are reading this, after all), here's what benefits you may (or may not) receive by being friended by me:
1) People on my friends list are more likely to be modded up whenever they make a good post.
- This means that if there's 2 posts I find really interesting and I have only 1 mod point left, yours gets priority. There is one exception to this (below).
2) Your posts will be visible to me, regardless of their rating.
- I browse with friends set to +5. That means you'll have at least an audience of one. This really only implies #1, but you get the idea.
3) If I catch a post hinting that you've been the victim of a karma stalker, I might (if I'm feeling charitable) look through your comment history for posts I feel were unfairly modded down. If I have the points, I may try to make what corrections I can to offset the damage to your karma.
As I mentioned, there is an exception to #1: If I have 1 mod point and you've made an interesting post, you will receive priority if you have friended me in return. Fans of mine receive priority over friends, so if you need a bit of a karma boost, and I feel you've made a good post, I'll probably throw you a bone karma-wise. I usually feel a bit more charitable toward people with whom I am both a friend and a fan.
Of course, your posts really do need to be worthy of a boost; if you post some inane one-liner (e.g. "in Soviet Russia..."), I don't care who you are. I'll ignore the post, and it won't receive any moderation from me. The one exception to this is that your meme usage--or whatever it is--has to be exceedingly clever. If it is, I may mod you funny. Of course, +1, Funny doesn't receive a karma boost, but if the post is something I feel worthy of karma (and it's funny), I might mod you +1, Insightful/Informative and let the other moderators sort out and puzzle over why a funny post got modded "incorrectly." I can't guarantee you'll keep the karma given the meta moderation, of course, but that's just how things are.
Okay, but You Removed Me from Your Friends List
I'm sorry. It happens. I don't read Slashdot incessantly enough to be a subscriber, so I'm fairly satisfied with my friends list being limited to 200 people. Unfortunately, this is a limit that I hit about a year or two ago, so I do occasionally need to cull my friends list. If you're reading this because I removed you, I'm truly very sorry. However, there are some ground rules I've set for people I'll remove, and if you're here, I removed you because you matched one of these rules:
1) Friends on my list must have at least one (1) post or one (1) journal entry made sometime within the last year or so. This means, for example, that since it is February 2011 as of the time of this writing, you'll be culled from my list if your last comment (or journal entry) was on or before February 2010. Yes, you may still browse Slashdot while not actively participating, but I have no way to tell the difference between someone who doesn't visit the site anymore and someone who just doesn't want to comment anymore.
2) You've marked me as a foe. This doesn't happen often (if at all), but someone who marks me as a foe will probably be taken off of my friends list. I might even add you as a mutual foe. I might just leave you neutral. Or, hell, I might just change my mind at random every day for three weeks. I figure that anyone who marks me as a foe either doesn't like something I wrote and can't handle a respectful or vehement disagreement (translation: you're being petty) or you're just in a bad mood--and that's OK! That's what I'm here for. I'm here to remind you that you might just have one last friend in the world. Or not. It depends!
3) Your account has been banned/deleted/disappeared. Okay, this doesn't happen (as far as I know), but there's nothing much else to say about it either way.
4) You're trolling (and not in the good way) or generally contributing to behavior that I don't like. Maybe you used a derogatory term toward someone inappropriately. Maybe you're starting to spam Goatse links. Maybe you're trolling in an exceedingly childish form. If that's the case, I'll remove you. I friend people exclusively because I enjoy their posts. If I stop enjoying them, I'll remove them very quickly.
5) I removed you because I felt like it. This hasn't happened yet (unlike #4 and earlier), but I do reserve the right to remove you for whatever reason I like.
In short, I need the room on my list, and your number came up. I'm sorry. I truly am. There is a silver lining, though: If you continue to make insightful posts, I may just re-friend you again.
Just remember one thing. You're on my friends list because your posts entertain me or maybe because I learned something from you. As such, if you continue to be fairly reasonable with others and continue to participate on Slashdot, you'll probably stay on my friends list indefinitely.
There is yet one more exception to the culling that I occasionally perform (like now) on my friends list. If you have added me as a friend, you're automatically immune to culling. I don't have a lot of fans, so I can't imagine that the number of fans will approach 200 users any time soon, and for the foreseeable future, if you've friended me in return, you'll never be removed from my list. Fans are slightly more likely to receive beneficial moderation than exclusively friends, but you do still have to make a worthwhile post.
Okay, I get it. Do You ever Downvote Friends/Fans/Foes?
Nope. I never downvote except in cases of obvious spam which is almost never. I will never, ever, ever, ever downvote anyone. Even if you've added me to your foe list and you hate everything I stand for, I will never downvote your posts. Modding posts down is, as far as I'm concerned, a filtration method for spam and clearly abusive posts. I realize some Slashdotters tend to resort to downvotes as a means of -1, Disagree, and I think that's wrong. That's why you'll never receive a downvote, even if I disagree with you 100%.
Of course, as I pointed out, you will probably receive upvotes from me for various reasons--much more often if you're a friend or a fan--and it's not because I agree with you. Upvotes are useful for increasing the visibility of quality posts, posts that correct the obvious errors of others, or posts that otherwise deserve to be made more visible.
Again, you're on my friends list because it's a useful bookmark to make your posts more visible to me. Nothing more, nothing less. There are some (rough) rules that I follow to maintain the quality of my "organic bookmark" system, and if you're here, hopefully you've learned a little about why you received that ominous note: Relationship Changed.