I've been using Slashdot for 67 posts now and I think it's time I offer some views on Slashdot's moderation system. Firstly, I think it works surprisingly well. With discussions of Slashdot's size, anyone actually using Slashdot as a news site who wants to read interesting comments depends and can depend on outsourcing their earlier levels of discernment ("this is interesting, I'll think about it more" or "this is not interesting") to moderators.
The main issue that disturbs me when reading posts' modding - and when fulfilling the duty myself - is the occasionally tendency to oversimplify Slashdot moderation into, "I Agree" and "I Disagree". A comment can be "Insightful", whether or not you agree. As I said, though, it usually works out, in my opinion, accurately; insightful posts eventually end up highly moderated regardless of the popularity of their ideas. The issue is just that inevitably, what you consider insightful is swayed by ideas you, personally, most identify with.
But I don't think we should be modding down comments we disagree with. Indeed, what I find to be a consistent problem is overly enthusiastic modding down. I think the open-ended descriptor "Overrated" and the vague one "Redundant" facilitate this. Case in point
. I don't agree with what he said. And, in this case, I don't think he what he said was actually insightful, informative, interesting or funny. He didn't deserve to be modded up. But it also wasn't offtopic, flamebait (in my opinion), redundant or a troll. He provided a valid opinion that the mods disagreed with.
I draw attention to this point because I modded him down "Overrated" before I thought about it too much. His post should have been left as "Normal". It was nothing special - it didn't deserve to be lifted into general readers' consideration - but it was a legitimate
Perhaps I don't understand the mod system. But if I do, I understand it that posts are modded down because they are not relevant or are abusive. This post was merely unpopular. It should have been left at 1 (which was how I found it - I don't know if it started at 2 or 1).
My thoughts. Uninteresting but legitimate posts I think should just stay at their default score. Good ones, that fit one of the positive descriptors, should be modded up. Only posts that do not fit within the discussion should be driven down to -1.
I recognize the difficulty with this. Namely, that if a post is modded to say, 3, Insightful, and you don't believe it deserves to be there, you mod it "Overrated". By the time you click "Moderate", it might already be at 0. That's an issue that moderators will undoubtedly encounter and about which little can be done. My fundamental point is that I think that the mod descriptors shouldn't degenerate into "I Agree" or "I Disagree". Something to consider. Happy Slashdotting!