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Journal Mr Z's Journal: This whole Friend/Foe/Fans/Freaks thing 9

Heh. My journal -- probably a bit like pissing in the ocean. It feels good, but nobody notices. ;-)

Anyway, I was clicking through my 'user' pages today (clicking aimlessly, noticing how much snappier Moz 1.1 feels relative to 1.0 on this Solaris box), and noticed that whoa, I have fans!

Up until now, I've entirely avoided the whole friend/foe mechanism. For awhile now, I've checkmarked "unwilling to moderate", and "hide scores". I also browse at '0'. (I used to browse at -1, but it really was too noisy.) Moderation just doesn't seem all that reliable or meaningful, and so I largely ignore it. Too much $3 crack going around. (I don't mind being modded up occasionally though -- if my post is really worth "promoting" to those who browse at higher thresholds.)

The friend/foe mechanism just seemed like another bad idea. It seemed to have the potential to turn Slashdot into a popularity contest like highschool. Either that, or it'd lead to even greater segmentation of the posting populace, with everyone auto-modding up their friends and ignoring everyone else. A sort of "show me only what I agree with and want to hear" mechanism that does little to encourage intelligent discourse and does everything to silo individual cliques. So I just ignored it.

I've thought it over more, now. I certainly don't mind if others mark me as friend or foe. (Although I'd certainly wonder why someone might choose to mark me 'foe'.) I don't have any qualms about marking someone 'friend' anymore either. I don't plan to use the moderation adjustment facility though. I ignore comment moderations for the most part anyway, and I see no reason to change that.

So, I've marked a couple people 'friends' today. Some are longtime acquaintences (either in meatspace or on /.). Others were in my list of 'fans'. And if someone posts a helpful response to one of my posts, or posts something I think is particularly insightful, I may just mark 'em 'friend.' Or maybe not. Who knows.

Well, enough rambling. This post is so long, I've received about 9 or 10 spam emails in the meantime:

Mutt 1.0i@caffeine:=spool/incoming*(reverse-threads) [3173/3173(1% of 71M)][b=0|
. 1 . NDL Sep 26 Jacelyn0828c77@h ( . .25) [Spam] High investment potential ret
. 2 . NDL Sep 26 Rockne Renate . .( . 117) [Spam] Why Wait... Rates Below 4.75%
. 3 . NDC Sep 26 cedrickmills0123 ( . .11) [Spam] how would you like to increas
. 4 . NDL Sep 27 Zared Lucio . . .( . .71) [Spam] Stop going bald, time is stil
. 5 . NDL Sep 27 Brittany Bond . .( . 130) [Spam] In Debt? Get Help!---Free Quo
. 6 . NDL Sep 26 Frayne Clio . . .( . 167) [Spam] Coral Calcium Discovery Lette
. 7 . NDL Nov 25 refi_loans_2@yah ( . .70) [Spam] dont loose sales - take credi
. 8 . NDL Sep 27 celularshop@hotm ( . .38) [Spam] Fwd: Faith is all that is req
. 9 . NDL Sep 27 brellis10@hotmai ( . .54) [Spam] Attn: Do it yourself.

As Stimpy would say: Joy!


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This whole Friend/Foe/Fans/Freaks thing

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  • I've been using the friend/foe stuff to mod up people who post comments that are very good, and to mod down people who just shouldn't have a keyboard. It helps to overcome any bias that a silly moderator has towards a person's comments. e.g. If a moderator consistently mods up Person A's comments, but I think Person A's ideas consistently suck, then I have some control over not even seeing Person's A comments appear.

    Of course, some people may be treating it as a personality contest... but it's not for me.

    • That's cool. I replied [slashdot.org] to 't's post below -- my comments really are meant in response to both of you, since you both had similar things to say.

      One nice secondary benefit of friend/foe combined with journals is that these sorts of "Slashdot meta" discussions don't clog up the main threads. :-)

  • But since you were wondering, for me "friend" equals "said something worth reading" and "foe" means exactly the opposite. After reading the other post here I suspect that other people are doing the same.

    Of course in the future if I see someone with a green dot posting comments that weren't worth reading then I may downgrade them to neutral or foe. It would have to be repeated offenses since even I occasionally slam a moron and subsequently get modded troll for no good reason.

    I also have a penalty on new accounts because the law of large numbers is against me. It's hard enough to kill file the morons scattered amongst the old timers ranks without dealing with people who either just got an account, or just got another account because their old one was trolled out.

    Actually, to be more precise, "fan" to me means said something that *I know* was worth reading. So as interesting as some of the physics posts are, I don't know enough esoteric info to determine whether they are true or full of shit.

    Oth, it doesn't take much for me to mark someone a foe.


    • I suppose that makes sense. It largely seems to be the way people use the mechanism -- sort of a "personalized moderation bias adjustment."

      The main thing I worry about is reinforcing my own opinions by filtering out those who disagree. It's easy to do that without even realizing you're doing it. That's the single largest complaint against the existing mod system, and the friend/foe mechanism opens it up to everyone to tune for themselves. Of course, on Slashdot, many people have similar opinions on, say, Linux vs. Microsoft, etc. :-) Nonetheless, I'd hate to totally be clueless about other viewpoints, and if I 'foe' those viewpoints into oblivion, then I'm doing myself a disservice.

      Signal-to-noise ratio is a tricky business. It's like art--you have to know what to throw away. It's human nature to tend to shy away from differing viewpoints, though, but that isn't always the right answer.

      Every so often, I see an amazingly insightful post that I completely disagree with, but I won't argue the point, because I must admit to myself that I don't have as strong an argument to counter it. Sometimes, it sways my point of view, other times it causes me to seek stronger justification. At any rate, I'd hate to miss those gems. It's what makes the discussion areas worth reading.

      As for marking someone 'foe' -- some people are just out to get themselves marked foe or modded down. I wouldn't give them the pleasure. For others that I simply think are morons, I'd hate to cause bad feelings. I'll just move on to the next post, and let them be clued by osmosis.

      One thing *is* for sure -- I think I might reconsider the moderation biasing that friend/foe provides, if that means I can raise my viewing threshold to 1. There really is some worthless drivel at 0 and below.

      • You don't have to filter anything particularly hard though. I just give +1 to friends and no change to foes (I just set them so I can see the red dot to remind me "this is an idiot") at least for the most part. And now that we're getting the friend of friend thing going on, I've decided to see how giving those a +1 might affect my view of the world too.....

        So you don't have to worry about rose tinting your world unless you go nuts with the bonuses/penalties and select way too many friends/foes.

      • That's why I foe people purely on whether they are trolling, or just spewing crap acting like they know what they're talking about etc... But never because I disagree with them.

        I have marked a few "Intelligent Design" people foe because I considered their logic utterly foolish. The fact is, you can't argue against something unless you know something about the topic. I heard this story about a girl who covered her ears whenever someone tried to explain evolution to her saying, "my mom says if I listen to it I might start to believe it". That seems to be the way most of them argue saying things akin to "there is no explanation for how life started, therefore god exists!" How can you argue with that?

        If I was an artist I'd draw one pro-ID guy and one pro-evolution guy screaming faulty arguments at each other, each with huge wads of cotton stuffed in their ears. Any takers?

        As for scoring, I -1 foe, and read at 0 so all +scores are irrelevant. All being a friend gets you is a green dot. And I -6 funny becuase every joke is old.


  • by pb ( 1020 )
    I thought much the same thing; being a long-time user and not paying much attention to slashdot will do that to you. :)

    How goes it?
    • by Mr Z ( 6791 )

      It goes. Busy at work, falling behind on things at home... etc... etc... etc... And I'm still a Slashdot junkie, for all Slashdot's warts.

      And you?

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.