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Keeping Web Discussions Open, Yet Civilized? 156

gsnedders asks: "With the rise of 'Web 2.0' and user created content, often in the form of comments, how do you keep the discussion open, yet civilized? I've found Slashdot's moderation to be very good — the good stuff gets moderated up, and the bad stuff down. On Digg, correct and valid information often gets dugg down, and offensive comments up, showing that having an open moderation system doesn't always work. However, moderation like on Slashdot, requires a large numbers of users to have enough moderators without giving everyone moderator access, therefore making it impossible to use on smaller sites. How can you keep the discussion civilized, while keeping commenting open, and not requiring large numbers of users for the moderation to work?"
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Keeping Web Discussions Open, Yet Civilized?

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  • heres how! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    stfu n00b!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dshaw858 ( 828072 )
      However, moderation like on Slashdot, requires a large numbers of users to have enough moderators without giving everyone moderator access, therefore making it impossible to use on smaller sites

      I don't think that this is necessarily true. For sites as large as slashdot, you need a large pool of moderators. For smaller sites, you'd need a much smaller pool of moderators. You could have median posting group moderation points given, plus dedicated moderators to overrule, or no mod points given at all- just
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:27PM (#16345215) Homepage

    Note that on Slashdot, not everyone has moderation privileges. Moderators aren't selected entirely randomly, either. Only users somewhere near the median posting rate are selected. This filters out both new users and overly active users. It works surprisingly well.

    Now if only we could use it on stories, too...

    • That may not be the only way moderators are judged. I used to be able to moderate, and I didn't post any more or less than I do now, and I have excellent Karma. I somehow lost moderation privileges at some point, and I have no idea why. I meta-moderate every so often, and I've got "Willing to Moderate" checked., and I usually post once or twice every day. Unless the metric for measuring the level required changed, I lost them through another way. Maybe too many of my moderations got meta-modded "Unfair

      • I get points every now and then and it's usually not during a period where stories are interesting to me or related to my expertise. It's getting to the point where I dread my random moderation status and then I end up up-modding anything with a Monty Python reference, imagined or not.
        • You dread your random moderation status? You could just, ya know, uncheck that "Willing to Moderate" box if you don't like doing it. Maybe you keep hoping that one day, you will get mod points on a day that a particular article intersects with your expertise or interest.

          • Dammit, my +1, perceptive mod for your comment just got undone.
            • Sorry, I must be tired from being up late working on a project.

              Although, I started a different type of Adderall today, and the slightly euphoric side effects from it just might be making me overly helpful.

              Maybe that's it.

      • One thing I noticed is that the quicker I spend my mod points, the longer it takes for them to return. If I blow them all in an hour, then I won't get them back for a month or two. If I don't spend them at all, it takes a couple weeks. However, if I spend most of them, and over the course of a couple days, they come back the next day.
  • Yeah, hhrm (Score:1, Interesting)

    by genrader ( 563784 )
    It seems to me the only way for most discussions is simply to have some sort of a online-friendship type thing emerge via message boards or comments. If people don't know each other, they're going to be more likely to be "uncivilized". Slashdot's system works from the large number of users. Most forums can't really do that unless you have losers with no life sitting and moderating forums all the time.

    On another note, I wouldn't say Slashdot's moderating system is THAT good (though it is better than competi
    • It seems to me the only way for most discussions is simply to have some sort of a online-friendship type thing emerge via message boards or comments.

      It is possible to get there -- but I believe you have to consciously work for it. The "standard" will quickly degenerate if you don't educate new users when they arrive. (My politeness level isn't always that high on Kuro5hin, but much better here on slashdot.)

      To get a "nice" culture, I think you have to work for it. Perlmonks got there by a quite simp

  • All relative (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Keebler71 ( 520908 )
    I've found Slashdot's moderation to be very good -- the good stuff gets moderated up, and the bad stuff down.

    You've obviously never posted anything representing a remotely conservative viewpoint.

    • Don't be surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lazerf4rt ( 969888 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:51PM (#16345335)
      Conservative viewpoints are discouraged on the Internet because the Internet has no central governing authority, thereby giving it a liberal bias.

      Plus, all forms of ideology are gradually becoming unfashionable due to open communication on the Internet. Conservatism is more recognizable as an ideology and that's why it's targetted first.

      And, there's the whole Bush thing too.
      • Isn't ICANN a central governing authority?
        • Yes but it holds no real sway with the internet populace. They have about as much respect from the general public as Bush does in Australia when he's waving the latest trade agreement that destorys our health system. Which is perfect for the Internet.

          Basically as long as the authority is to busy in a power struggle to govern effectively (set rules and enforce them on the net) we can do what ever the hell we want. It is the number one reason the internet has been so successful.
      • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:34AM (#16346787)
        Conservative viewpoints are discouraged on the Internet because:
        • Theory A:
          ... the Internet has no central governing authority, thereby giving it a liberal bias.

        • Theory B: Like minded people tend to group together (even on the Net) and you're not frequenting the right sites (ie, those with a conservative bias) and thus in your perception the Internet is a liberal place

        I do agree that central governing authorities tend to promote the status quo - they obviously want things to remain as they are (since after all they have power and they would very much like to continue having it) - which by definition makes them conservative (as in, they don't want change).

        However i don't think a lack of a central governing authority would switch the political gears on a whole information-exchange media all the way from conservative to liberal - to me, it seems more logical that the Net is more or less politically neutral and whichever slight political bias it might have comes from the demographics of it's users - if most of it's users are young people instead of old people, expect to find more opinions from apolitical, progressive and/or liberal people than from conservative people (in average young people tend to be in the "disapointed with politics"/"wanting change" field while old people tend to be in the "keep things as they are" field).

        As more people join the discussions going on the Net (discussion groups, blogs, etc), expect that the range and intensity of the opinions being voiced on the Net more closelly match the "outside" world.

        Note however that there are two factors which might skew what you see on Net vs what you see outside:
        1. It's much more easy to express one's opinions on the Net than it is outside. The (semi-)anonymity of posting on the Net allows one to express opinions which are currently non-mainstream without the social risks of publicly going against the majority (like the risk of losing one's job for being a "radical").
        2. In sites such as Slashdot you're in contact with a lot of non-Americans. This means that in here you're getting a much broader, world representative range of viewpoints which you won't get from mainstream American media (which in my good days i call the "navel gazers" and in my bad days i call the "circle jerk"). For example mainstream European political beliefs could easilly be percieved by Americans as having a strong "liberal" bias - allowing gay marriage, abortion, consumption of soft drugs and looking at the world as a complicated place in shades of grey - while in Europe we percieve American political beliefs as having a strong conservative-religious-moralistic bias - forbiding consenting adults to engage in non-mainstream behaviours, seing the world as "us the good ones"/"them the bad ones")


        Quite possibly, the Net is much more representative of full range of opinions (political or otherwise) throughout the world than any local media would be (which tend to focus on the "accepted" mainstream opinions on a specific country). For an American the contrast might be even more glaring since American mainstream media seems to be even more guilty of navel gazing and always painting everything with the same two political colors ("Democrat" or "Republican") than most mainstream media i've been exposed to (the mainstream media of several countries, which mainstream media do have a tendency for navel gazing and for often using a restricted palette of political colors, though rarelly quite as extreme as the American one).
        • It's theory B in a landslide. Check out Free Republic [freerepublic.com] for an example. It's as big as Slashdot, if not bigger, and is 100% conservative.

          I'm amazed at the ignorance of conservatism expressed in this forum. Conservatives welcome change just as liberals do; it's just the type of change that's at issue. The conservative critique of the status quo, with its political correctness, defense of poorly run government programs, awful public schools and largely socialized medicine is every bit as strong as the left
          • First of all, I do want to acknowledge that, in general, your arguments were fairly reasonable, even if they suffered from some selective perception. (Who among us doesn't?) Furthermore, it is nice to treat other sides with respect. I will attempt to expose some of your selective perception problems - and I'd appreciate it if others do the same for me.

            What is this with President Bush, anyway? You do this to every even modestly right-wing President. I've gotten in the middle of an International ANSWER prot

            • It may be necessary to generalize about people ("us" vs "you") just to write an argument simple enough to be understandable and sound good. Literal correctness just doesn't have the same punch. Sometimes simplifying things really does work better.

              We've done a lot of talking in the middle east, and about Palestine, whatever that actually is, and I can't think of any of it that's actually done any good, at least over more than the very short term.

              President Carter may have had moral purity but I don't feel H
              • President Carter may have had moral purity but I don't feel Hugo Chavez or Kim Jong Il do. By assuming those nice folks are just like him, I think he buys into a self-deception that hurts us all. And, of course, we cannot forget his record as President, parts of which helped turn Osama bin Laden against us by making him feel we were all weak imbeciles who could be easily defeated.

                OK, first of all, I agree completely about Chavez and Il. However, blaming Carter for bin Laden is some pretty strong revisioni

                • You're buying into some common but unfortunate misconceptions. Bin Laden and his Arab crew had essentially nothing to do with the defeat of the Russians in Afghanistan. In fact, in a particularly brutal power grab they murdered the guy who actually did the heavy lifting, Ahmad Massoud.

                  Carter quite rightly mobilized and supplied people within Afghanistan to take back their country. Unless you wanted Afghanistan to remain a Soviet client state, that was the right decision. We did not supply Bin Laden, at
                  • I wasn't actually trying to judge whether or not we should have assisted al Qaeda and/or Saddam, as this is always a difficult game to play. I was merely pointing out that blaming Carter for "emboldening" al Qaeda is a fairly large stretch. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of my political viewpoints are shaped based off environmental issues. Things like the "Clear Skies Initiative", "Healthy Forests Initiative", redefining water ways, and the "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act" have strongly color

                    • I'd be curious to hear what you think of the works of Bjorn Lomberg ("The Skeptical Environmentalist") who pointed out that there are almost certainly factors other than pollution behind global warming, and our ability to reduce CO2 output is limited at best. He recommends that instead of trying to prevent what's probably coming no matter what we do, we instead try to take advantage of the positive impacts of global warming(*), and mitigating the circumstances of people affected negatively by it. He sugge
                    • I wouldn't consider myself a doom-sayer, but my policy with the environment is somewhat similar to my foreign policy. Also, I have faith that we're ingenious enough to reduce our CO2 without stalling the economy. Furthermore, part of the reason that some "doom" never happened is because people took steps to avert the doom. I was a computer programmer during the whole Y2k scare, and if we hadn't taken it seriously, it would have been an issue (many in the younger crowd don't "get" that, but I suspect that yo

      • Conservatism in its purist form is the opposite of ideology, it is a type of cynicism. It is the belief that the average decision made by a human is more likely to be bad than good. Ideology is a strong belief in a cause and the desire to base ones choices around this belief.

        People like Dubya get mislabeled as conservatives as a bit of a euphemism, but conservative governments are careful, slow to act and even indecisive. George Bush however is a cowboy and could never be any such things (with the exceptio

        • by sco08y ( 615665 )
          People like Dubya get mislabeled as conservatives as a bit of a euphemism, but conservative governments are careful, slow to act and even indecisive.

          I disagree. That's almost entirely a function of the leadership of the executive. Some leaders are decisive and have the backing of their constituency.

          Contrast GW Bush and Clinton. Clinton's government failed to act because a. he didn't have a clear foreign policy vision and b. the GOP wouldn't support him. Even in Bush's presidency you can see before 9/11 wher
          • A mistake virtually all popular pundits make is in viewing the decision to go to war as an ideological one. I don't want war, but if I see the violence as inevitable we should go at it to win it decisively. Pfft, considering that in the context of Iraq would make milk come out of my nose if I was drinking it. Violence was never inevitable, there was no impending danger, there was no sudden crisis, Bush had a score to settle with a country he personally didn't like and used all his powers of rationalizatio
      • by sco08y ( 615665 )
        Conservative viewpoints are discouraged on the Internet because the Internet has no central governing authority, thereby giving it a liberal bias.

        This doesn't make any sense. First off, the MSM is an example of a well established authority and culture (i.e. an establishment) that is philosophically and materially opposed to conservatives.

        Most media that conservatives have been successful in (radio, think tanks and the Internet) are notable for their lack of central authority.

        And conservative opinion on cent
    • by ChePibe ( 882378 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:10AM (#16345405)
      I've found this to be somewhat true, but not always. If a post contains direct criticism of the DNC or praise/direct agreement for Bush, you can count on a few "flamebait" or "overrated" moderations.

      For some posts, such as this one [slashdot.org] I receive all kinds of complaints about how "right wing" I must be to dare complain that the DNC still hasn't come up with anything resembling a platform. I receive angry ALL CAPS COMMENTS - DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING, IDIOT!?! responses. Still, it at least retained a respectable 4, insightful.

      Then there's posts like this one [slashdot.org] which held onto its 5, insightful, but received responses like this [slashdot.org] where I'm reminded from someone about the left that I shouldn't "THINK", just do whatever the left says because what is happening is wrong, WRONG!

      And all along I thought the right was supposed to be anti-intellectual...

      I don't really care about the biases among editors, moderators, or whatever. I post what I think, and receive moderations accordingly.

      I do, however, remember this when it comes to meta moderation time and, while acting within the rules, I act accordingly when I see posts modded inappropriately.

      The moderation system, however, consists really of choir preachers - people mod up what they want to hear and mod down what they don't. That's all it comes down to.
      • If a post is simultaneously receiving loads of troll and insightful mods, the community is probably split along some axis. (left/right, mac/linux, sick-sense-of-humor/think-of-the-children, etc, etc). Groupthink is enforced when, for example, a well thought out conservative post is labelled "troll" because 6 liberal moderators have outvoted 4 conservative ones.

        If however you could identify the prejudices of the moderators, you could build a system which didn't enforce groupthink like this. Instead, a well t
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        And all along I thought the right was supposed to be anti-intellectual...

        The moderation system, however, consists really of choir preachers - people mod up what they want to hear and mod down what they don't. That's all it comes down to.

        You complain that a few trolls responded unintelligently to your posts, while the silent majority modded you up fairly? You got to say what you wanted to say, and even got to have people read it, even though it disagrees with the popular opinion of this site. What more do yo

      • I disagree with quite a bit you wrote in the posts you're commenting on, and a little bit with the post you've just made. However, I feel that the moderator who modded you "interesting" was fair, and hence I (just) meta-moderated him as such.

        Additionally, I should add that the people who moderated you flamebait/troll were being unfair and/or funny. I respect the fact that the points you do make in the posts mentioned at least seem to be your own, are reasonably well thought out, and are respectfully state

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There does seem to be a problem. They really should be modded -1 Stupid, but the mods currently have to choose between Flamebait and Troll.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There does seem to be a problem. They really should be modded -1 Stupid, but the mods currently have to choose between Flamebait and Troll.

        I disagree with using the word stupid but the essence of your post is a good point. The way /. moderates is confined by the words in which we moderate. Good posts are moderated insightful or interesting. Yet how many are genuinely insightful or interesting? In strunk and whites 'elements of style' there is a passage on the word 'Insightful'. It states the following:

        Th

        • "Insightful" becomes a synonym for (usually) "I agree with this point." "Interesting" on the other hand means, "I don't agree, or am not sure I agree, but the point was well written."
    • I've found Slashdot's moderation to be very good -- the good stuff gets moderated up, and the bad stuff down.

      You've obviously never posted anything representing a remotely conservative viewpoint.

      Try posting something pro copyright or against downloading copyrighted material. It's an automatic Troll or at best you get modded down. There's party line and troll on Slashdot about some subjects. There's no real discussion of the subject it just turns into a bashing of copyright holders everytime. A waste o

      • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

        Try posting something pro copyright or against downloading copyrighted material. It's an automatic Troll or at best you get modded down. There's party line and troll on Slashdot about some subjects. There's no real discussion of the subject it just turns into a bashing of copyright holders everytime.

        That's because the average "pro copyright" post is either the standard (and utterly worthless) "it's illegal so you shouldn't do it [because it's wrong]" or something that roughly equates downloading a song wi

        • by bit01 ( 644603 )

          They also like to ignore the fact that copright-law-as-currently-implemented is only one of an infinite number of possibilities including variation in copyright conditions, applicability and alternatives like tax subsidies and patronage.

          The simplistic artificial scarcity we have today with copyright and patents on things so important to the economy and so easily reproducible is sad.

          ---

          Scientific, evidence based IP law. Now there's a thought.

  • by thedogcow ( 694111 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:36PM (#16345263)
    Moderation is the key. Take a look a three sites.

    Slashdot.
    IMOH, I think Slashdot has a "pretty good" moderation system and meta-moderating is making it better. Most of the comments are are insightful or interesting is moderated as such. People come to Slashdot really for the comments because I think most of the readers are articulate and can provide something interesting/insightful to a story. It is really an intelligence thing. Generally, nerds are smart.

    Digg.
    I think Digg has a "fair" moderation system. One can see that it is fair to you if you think like most of the Digg users. Now, some can say that about Slashdot but stories are not deleted on /. just because they express something that a Digger doesn't want to hear like on Digg.com. I personally don't like Digg that much... or at least the comments and they don't offer or contribute that much to the parent story. I think Digg is mostly a trendy thing.

    Fark.
    I think that Fark has a "poor" moderation system. They let any yahoo express his or hers opinion. I think that the majority of Farkers are jobless alcoholics anyway... but that is besides the point... Most Fark comments are just random knee-jerk reactions. Moderators of Fark don't care... all they do is focus beer and naked people anyway... nothing insightful or interesting.

    • Could you develop a system that filters messages like spam? If a post contains keywords that add up to be more that the limit for the site (or user logged in) the post would automatically get modded down.
      • It's called AC. If people post with a nick thats new that gets hit with negative mods much it'll be worth as much as an AC post. I think /. has some form of psuedo lameness filter too, but I'm possibly wrong there.
    • Moderation is the key.

      Indeed it is. The newsgroups proved that completely. Every single moderated group disappeared over time because moderation
      DOES
      NOT
      WORK.

      Instead every newsreader on the planet lets you killfile trolls or other posters you find offensive. Slashdot is part way there with the friend or foe concept. Now if it would only drop the moderation nonsense, it would turn the corner and start to work as a discussion medium again.

      There are too many moderators on crack who are incapable of followi

      • Some days I wish I could set the threshold to a range from 1 to 3 so that I could block out the pointless shiny comments that got moderated to 5 by the crack users.

        You can use your Slashdot preferences to give bonus points to "offtopic" and "flamebait", and penalty points to "insightful", if you want. I browse with flamebait +2 because sometimes posts are modded down for disagreeing with the moderator, but it turns out to be justified 9 out of 10 times IMHO.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 )
      Slashdot...People come to Slashdot really for the comments because I think most of the readers are articulate and can provide something interesting/insightful to a story

      Totally true. People complain about the moderation but really it generally works out pretty well. Someone else posted about an anti-conservative slant here and that is true; but moderators do mod up some conservative views and so even that is not as bad as it could be, you can get both sides of things at least some of the time.

      Digg.
      I think
    • thedogcow: Fark.
      I think that Fark has a "poor" moderation system. They let any yahoo express his or hers opinion. I think that the majority of Farkers are jobless alcoholics anyway... but that is besides the point... Most Fark comments are just random knee-jerk reactions. Moderators of Fark don't care... all they do is focus beer and naked people anyway... nothing insightful or interesting.


      Fark's moderators use a light touch, like a safecracker or a pickpocket. Or a guy who burns down a bar for the insuran
    • by Vo0k ( 760020 )
      Note even slashdot moderation is vulnerable. I once made a troll account, with solemn purpose to max out its karma using only false information. Comments that sounded very confident and reliable and "revealing" information that is not contradictory to common knowledge, just hidden facts that don't exist. The account was quite successful till someone detected it and slashdot admins bitchslapped it into oblivion.
  • by also-rr ( 980579 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:37PM (#16345265) Homepage
    Group moderation like Slashdot -Pro, very hands off (once past a critical mass of users). -Con, promotes group think.

    Wikipedia style moderation -Pro, very hands off (once past a larger critical mass of users). -Con, promotes group think.

    Direct moderation (approval of everything) -Pro, very accurate. -Con, very time consuming.

    Retroactive moderation (normal form style - post first delete spam later) -Pro, very accurate. -Con, very time consuming and crap still shows up until it's dealt with.

    I have never seen a working system that was not based on one of these principles. Things that have failed:

    Anything with no moderation at all. Look at usenet. These systems are only sucessful if combined with user filtering - one prospective area might be a system with very good user filtering, but then you shift the burden from the admin to the users and why should they bother when there are people willing to do the work for them?

    To give you an idea here is a small graph of spam activity [revis.co.uk]. It took 5 days for comment spammers to find an open site and start abusing it, and once they find something that has worked once they just dont stop. And that's even before you consider the malicious idiots who aren't exactly spammers but just twist and distort and abuse other posters - how do you deal with them exactly?
    • What's wrong with group think? If you had an original idea, and nobody took it seriously, you might claim that it's due to group think. But if your idea got adopted, and became part of social consciousness, that would be due to group think too. So you can't really call it a con. It's just always present in discussions. If you really wanted to avoid it, you probably wouldn't discuss at all.
      • What's wrong with group think?

        Because it can be exploited. If I happen to know that group x thinks idea y is either good or bad I can exploit group x's perceptions by putting idea y in a good or bad light and thus either antagonize the group or in the case of /. be modded up for basking the idea in the light of the groups preconceptions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 )
      While there is groupthink anywhere, having participated in both, I think something like Digg is more prone to groupthink than /. is.

      I have seen /. consistently promote comments that went against standard group mentality, while at Digg comments I deem intelligent are shot down and many comments that I think are inane or at least plainly obvious get promoted to the heavens.

      There, it doesn't even seem worth it to come up with anything more than a one sentence post (the other problem being the threads).

      Part of
    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @02:28AM (#16345871) Journal
      It took 5 days for comment spammers to find an open site and start abusing it, and once they find something that has worked once they just dont stop. And that's even before you consider the malicious idiots who aren't exactly spammers but just twist and distort and abuse other posters - how do you deal with them exactly?
      I propose door-to-door moderation of these characters...
  • by Jack Pallance ( 998237 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:37PM (#16345269) Homepage Journal
    One of the biggest challenges that such a system would face is the fact the most sites will order the oldest posts first. Thus, these get read more times, and get proportionately more points up.

    This would seem to make sense because other posts may need to be read in context with the previouse messages.

    However, this same principle negates the effect that the later posts are often times more valuable that the first posts, because they incorporate thoughts from the earlier posts (usually more efficiently). That is to say, when a new topic is opened up, the earlier posts will make the most basic statements. The later posts will combine these into more complex, but relevant conclusions. But these later posts are the same ones that would not get modded up because the simple posts have "gotten in the way," and the readers never follow along long enough to get to them.

    See also: SlashDot.Org

    • Right. Another thing I've found is that, as good as Slashdot's method is, *timing* matters a whole lot. You can post a very insightful comment, but if you're X hours late to the party, there won't be moderators around to mod you up. Similarly, I have seen many examples both on here and on Digg where people post mediocre comments and get modded up highly and quickly just before they were among the first to comment.
    • I agree. In general, I tend to read at 2, Threaded, Highest Scores First, which generally shows me older, higher moderated comments (and any decently moderated comment made in response to it).

      I find that most of the top four or five parent posts on an average Slashdot story have 2-3 moderated replies on them, at least.

      When I have moderator points, I read at my normal 2/thread/highest, but never moderate anything I see. I then go back, change the story to 0/flat/Newest (ignore threads). Reading like this is
  • Use a double-tiered forum for reading and writing.

    The top tier (the privileged tier) permits only those who have earned the privilege to read/write to the top tier forum. Top tiered folks can read and write in the bottom tier forum as well.

    The bottom tier (common tier) grants anyone read and write access. Bottom tiered folks can read the top tier and quote from it, but can only write to the second tier until they earn top tier privileges. Use your karma system to measure worth?

    By making the bottom tier fo
    • Caste And Slums (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 )
      I know you mean well, but what I think ends up happening with a tiered system is that the lower tier always ends up being a ghetto, that upper tier people do not want to wade through - and newcomers cannot get through (or are not willng to) because of lack of upper tier particiapation and response to comments.

      Lots of people have said on Slashdot they value replies more highly than high moderation, and I think that's true for a lot of people.

      I just don't think any forum that doesn't let a user spontaneously
      • "...but what I think ends up happening with a tiered system is that the lower tier always ends up being a ghetto...do not want to wade through...."

        I've not yet seen a tiered system such as this, so I'm not sure as to how it would play out. If Slashdot, for example, were to implement this on top of their current system, the top-tiered folks would not be the ones determining who gets into the top tier -- the readership in general gets points to hand out for worthy posts. A restriction on those in the common
  • by Anonymous Cowdog ( 154277 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:00AM (#16345371) Journal
    Early comments get most of the mod points.

    Late comments, even very good ones, get almost no mod points.

    Fixing this would help encourage civilized dialog by keeping some of the good quality commenters interested.

    It's fine to reward early posters. But the magnitude of the effect is way out of proportion to what it needs to be, and it means that many excellent comments go unmoderated, just because they came an hour after the story instead of ten minutes.

    What? Me, bitter? Heh.
    • New stories should cost more to moderate than old ones. Moderating a post in a day-old story should only cost 1/10 of a moderation point.

      OK, probably integer math was used.Equivalently:

      Give 50 moderation points instead of five. Adding one point to a new story will cost you 10 points. Adding a point to an old story costs only 1.

      • New stories should cost more to moderate than old ones. Moderating a post in a day-old story should only cost 1/10 of a moderation point.

        So in your system, with just one moderation access I can moderate somebody's karma from 'excellent' down to 'terrible'?

        • by r00t ( 33219 )
          Time can also be considered for that effect, with low-cost moderations having a low effect on karma.
      • New stories should cost more to moderate than old ones. Moderating a post in a day-old story should only cost 1/10 of a moderation point.

        After second thought I'll add to my previous comment that it might be better to hand out moderation points more often and make only 2 out of 5 points valid for new discussions (for example younger than 6 hours).

    • Early comments get most of the mod points.

      True, and the subscribers (I'm one) get to formulate the highly-rated funniest first replies.

      Often I look back into stories that I *know* some of the regulars will chime-in on later because I value their opinions. I enable "notify me of replies to my post" for that reason. There are some really smart people here whose thoughts are worth paying attention to.
    • For occasional/irregular readers blessed w/ mod points, the late comments are a good area to sprinkle moderation joy. The early comments are often already moderated into position before "Capt'n Occasional" arrives.

      After a quick scan of the early posts, Capt'n should heigh on down toward the end to trawl for gems.
  • I think one of the main things that makes the slashdot system work is metamoderation - the moderators are subject to random, annonymous peer review. When moderators mod posts up or down because of their own biases rather than the merits of the posts, they'll loose their karma when their ratings get metamoderated by someone not in their on clique.

    Of course, it's entirely possible that the entire userbase may develop a bias of its own, but I don't think anyone can reasonably characterize slashdot as a mono

    • Monoculture, no. As others have already pointed out, though, it is subject to groupthink.

      Pro-piracy, pro-Linux, anti-Microsoft, skewed left/libertarian, Natlie Portman Overlords naked and petrified in a Beowulf cluster of hot grits, to name a few examples.

      Kind of why I post here, actually.
    • Remember, though, that metamoderators are subject to the same groupthink as everyone else. Quite a few times when moderating I've modded posts up because they are genuinely insightful --- well thought out, argued properly, backed up by solid evidence, and presenting a side to the argument no one in the last hundred posts has managed --- yet I'll completely disagree with them. This is what moderation is all about --- rewarding good comments, even if you disagree with them.

      It really is frustrating when a MM b
  • On Slashdot, comments are either hidden (as a subject line, or "Below Threshhold"), or displayed in their entirety.

    Perhaps instead of showing comments in their entirety, you could show previews. The length of the preview could correspond to the mod points. For instance:

    -1 = Below Threshold

    0 = user name only

    1 = user name + Subject Line Only

    2 = user name + Subject Line and first line of comment (Or x number of characters)

    3 = user name + Subject Line and first two lines of comment (Or x times 2 number

  • On most sites, all comments essentially go into one huge thread. Is there a way to add categories for a user to choose from when posting.

    Some of the complaints on this site are that disenting view are automatically modded down for no other reason that they are dissenting. Perhaps there could be checkboxes for categories to post the comment to such as "Devil's Advocate" or "Conservative Viewpoint". If people don't want to be bothered with other views, they can automatically fiter these out. Alternative

  • First of all, you need to foster a community - something that people care about. Then go with the idea of Karma (ripped straight from slashdot ;) ), and like slashdot use karma to set the starting rating of a comment. Now unlike /. grant successively more and more administrative role priviledges to users as they progress through karma levels. Say at 20 they get to mod down what they think are bad comments at 30 they get to mod up at 40 they get to delete comments and so on, make up your own numbers and a
    • ...This allows the people who matter most to your community and are much more likely to hang around moderating and fixing things....

      When did English become my second language? ;)

      What I meant - and I'll just rewrite the whole thing - is: By putting control of your community into the hands of the people who have invested the most effort in to it is likely to create a positive cycle where said people spend more time interacting with the system thereby doing most of the moderating and adminstration and en
  • by Dr_Ish ( 639005 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @03:40AM (#16346135) Homepage

    This post will almost certainly get modded into the basement, but what the hell.

    I have been watching the blogs and noticed an interesting phenomenon that arises there, as a function of the lack of moderation, quality control, or anything like that. The fact that bloggers can post what they wish and also delete comments that might challenge their positions can lead to some pretty unhealthy outcomes.

    Although I hate it when folks post commercials for their blogs as much as the next person, I am going to suggest that interested folks might want to look at a couple of recent posts that deal with these issues. My post Poison Girls [blogspot.com] describes in detail the kinds of things that can go wrong when there is no quality control. Another post, Blogs and 'Community Solipsism' [blogspot.com] also deals with this issue. Both posts offer concrete examples.

    I am an academic and thus have some investment in the blind refereeing process. It is far from perfect, but it keeps some of the worst excesses of 'anything goes' at bay. Hopefully, something like the slashdot system will get implemented for blogs too.

    What really concerns me is seeing people who lack competence in a field, still pontificating at length on topics. People who do not know better tend to get sucked in by the more manipulative types. They end up listening to worthless advice, yet taking it as gospel. For instance, I have a colleague who is pretty much a failed academic. They have had nothing appear in print for over six years (however, they are tenured). Yet, they are currently offering apparently sagely advice on being a scholar. The putative advice is bad and misleading. Yet, there is nothing that can be done about it.

    My best response is to remind folks that, as the Bard said in the Merchant of Venice, "All that glisters is not gold" and that is especially true in the world of blogs, yet it seems that the problems appear to continue. Any comments or suggestions on this matter would be very welcome. I live in fear of the day that a high school kid starts claiming to be a cancer physician and offering bad advice to people with serious health issues. In the blog arena, it appears that it is likely to be believed by some. This is a very scarey thought.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hankwang ( 413283 ) *

      This post will almost certainly get modded into the basement, but what the hell.

      I wish people didn't use this type of karma-whoring phrases. If the post is not utter flamebait or troll, it has a fair chance of being modded up by a moderator who wants to prove to himself that he can value a comment that doesn't agree with his own opinion. (I think I've done that myself one of the first times I had mod points. Now I never mod such posts, even if I think they deserve it based on the rest of the content.)

    • >> For instance, I have a colleague who is pretty much a failed academic. They have had nothing appear in print for over six years (however, they are tenured). Yet, they are currently offering apparently sagely advice on being a scholar.

      I obviously do not know the particular circumstances of this case, but I think you may be generalizing too much from that one data point.

      I was an academic myself in a previous life --- I had tenure, and I wrote papers at the department's recommended rates, but I left a
    • This post will almost certainly get modded into the basement, but what the hell.

      It's ok to be more confident in yourself. You don't have to start a post with a disclaimer that you expect to lose.

  • Collect a fee for a posting license. Suspend the licenses of those who misbehave. Cancel the licenses of those who post inappropriately.

    Something Awful uses this straightforward technique.
    • by Goaway ( 82658 )
      And once you've paid for something you could get for free anywhere else, you pretty much have to convince yourself you're getting your money's worth, and thus everybody is happy!
      • You cannot "get it for free" by definition, anywhere. What you get is the right to post in a forum where posting is permitted only to paid-license holders in good standing.

        Paying a door fee at a club gives you admittance to a group of people who also paid the door fee, and omits the people who were unable or unwilling to pay. A club with no door fee cannot provide the same good.
  • Slashdot readers are getting older and wiser (yeah, right), while Digg readers need to see the latest, coolest stuff to pass on to their friends. Plus, Taco was never a TV personality, so points to Rose in that regard.

    The stuff I pass on to people are the comments, not the video of the guy that lit his fart on fire and rocketed into space. Rob, have you tried that yet? It might help with the Digg wars.
  • Which is going to collect more flames, a board about collecting 17th century navigational instruments, or one about abortion?

    Seeding with a group of initial users who will set the tone for others *might* work but don't grow too fast or there won't be time for cultural transmission.

    Have an "ignore" command and encourage people to use it. The damage from trolls comes when people read them. If they wind up talking to empty air they'll escalate for a while and then stalk off to stalk someone else.

    Careful with a
  • Only

    - Ad Hominem attacks
    - Threats

    Should be modded down. Nothing else. (and remember that what is perceived as an attack to a group external to the discussion is NOT an ad-hominem)

    Slashdot's moderation system is overly left. It is not a very good example. It's not republican or democrat or so, people just tend to very strongly choose their own side. E.g. the mp3 downloading debate (stuff like "it's not wrong" when the parliament has decided it IS wrong, ...)

    Meta-moderation seems to help though.
  • How about encouraging participation by actually making it easier for people to post and talk, rather than worrying about how to prevent them from doing so?

    For instance, see http://blog.topix.net/archives/000106.html [topix.net]
  • Morons.org is an atheist/gay politically charged site. I like their method of moderation. Basically, anyone the mods flag as a troll cannot be replied to. It just locks the thread and sends it to the bottom of the list. Doesn't censor them, since they can still be read, but it also removes the primary impetus for trolling... being fed.
  • Or else moderation is pointless. If you can't recruit serious members of the community to do the job, there's no way to keep a good web forum going anyhow.
  • How can you keep the discussion civilized, while keeping commenting open, and not requiring large numbers of users for the moderation to work?

    Fuck You.

    -

egrep patterns are full regular expressions; it uses a fast deterministic algorithm that sometimes needs exponential space. -- unix manuals

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