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Journal osgeek's Journal: Slashdot Moderation, Going Downhill? 7

I've been reading Slashdot since the early days (ugh, wish I would have registered and gotten a lower user id :). The comments section has always been an interesting beast. It's interesting because within the unimaginable din of total idiots chiming in there are some really smart people capable of participating in great discussions. It's those smart, funny, informative people who keep me coming back and encourage me to try to be smart, funny, and informative when I post.

I'm not saying I succeed at the higher levels of quality consistently, but I'm polite and I try to add value to the discussions. Contrary to historical norms, I've been fairly astounded by the number of "troll", "flamebait" and other negative moderations on my posts lately. If anything, over the years I've mellowed and become more polite in my communications; but the negative moderations are pretty glaringly obvious in my admittedly-anecdotal case.

I tend to be skeptical compared to the norm, and my posts often express a contrarian point of view. In the not-too-distant past, that contrarian point of view would have merited a decent amount of "insightful" moderations. These days, however, many posts that are simply questioning or opposing the traditional Slashdot groupthink are moderated troll or flamebait. What the hell?

If I had to guess, I'd say that the removal of metamoderation from the moderating system has given moderators an unhealthy amount of freedom in being negative in moderation. It's brought out the worst in moderators. It's like chickens in the henhouse pecking the odd bird to death. If you don't toe the line, moderation will eliminate you from the discussion. Instead of having healthy debate on topics where thought provoking comments from all sides bubble up to the top of the moderated pile, you end up with a homogeneity of opinion that frankly gets a bit boring.

Yes, the RIAA is the anti-christ. They have no reason to fear piracy ever. Copyright in all forms should be abolished because it's the right thing to do, not because file downloaders don't want to pay the price being asked for by the content creators. The science and models proving that Global Warming is man made and going to wipe out all the coastal cities in the next 50 years is unassailable and should never be questioned. The CRU wasn't guilty of dodgy anti-peer, anti-Science behavior, and even questioning it or suggesting they keep to a higher standard means that you're a troll. Microsoft is evil, Apple has become evil, Google is evil... hell, all corporations are evil, management is evil, capitalism is evil... on and on and on.

Besides just wanting to vent, I'm interested in fielding opinions from others on /. Is this just my imagination, or is there a pattern here?

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Slashdot Moderation, Going Downhill?

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  • MM (Score:2, Interesting)

    If I had to guess, I'd say that the removal of metamoderation from the moderating system has given moderators an unhealthy amount of freedom in being negative in moderation

    Technically, metamoderation still exists. You can still go and metamoderate all you want.

    However, none of the metamoderations count for anything. You'd be better off writing your complaint on a carrier pigeon and encouraging it to fly to Rob Malda's house. If you try metamoderation you'll find that it allows you to metamoderate (mostly) un-moderated comments. If you comment enough you'll even likely get a comment of your own for metamoderation. However that doesn't matter because all the metamoderat

    • by osgeek ( 239988 )

      You're correct, there is something called "metamoderation"... but it's not the old style of moderating other peoples' moderations. It's more like "lost in the cracks" moderation for looking at posts that no one else has.

      It's surprising that even that system is ignored for regular moderation. I didn't know that.

      • I just noticed that someone thought they would be cute by tagging my message as "troll" when I was discussing the moderation system (and the futility of metamoderation). Not sure if it is the same person who just tried to mod-bomb me or not, but since they're reading this I'll just openly say it's not working.
        • by osgeek ( 239988 )

          That's another ugly aspect of modding these days, mod-bombing. It seems like it wouldn't be too tough to detect when someone stalks a user's posts and mods them down across multiple threads and journals.

          Slashdot should host a contest like Netflix did to improve their moderation system.

          • "Slashdot should host a contest like Netflix did to improve their moderation system."


            For Netflix, improving their recommendation system directly makes them a lot of money.

            Improving moderation would make money for Slashdot how? If you piss off the trolls, and they stop loading the pages, you don't push the ads, and you don't make the money.

            If anything, we should have a contest to try to come up with a way to make Slashdot want to improve, so they would have a contest to improve....

  • Yes, moderation has degenerated into a feedback loop, a high-Q medium of Stupidity Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Moderation, moderators pumped by the hordes of slashbots, emitting their moderation points upon seeing other moderations, reflected between the mirrors of Groupthink and Moderator Selection, emitting quanta of stupidity that are both coherent (in all being alike) while simultaneously being incoherent.

    Even simple little things, like highlighting every "loose" and "it's" to help people le

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson