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Slashdot's Meta Moderation 284

So its ready for testing on The Meta Moderation Page. Essentially eligible users are presented with 10 comments the moderation done to them. They are then asked to rate the moderation as Fair, or Unfair. Click the link below to read more comments on this addition to our moderation system.
There have been a few minor tweaks to the system since I last mentioned it.

The most confusing issue in M2 is context. We don't have enough of it. The comment is seen without its parent comment and its replies. Hell, we don't even see the story it was written in reply to. We don't know what the score was when the moderator moderated. All of these things are issues that I'll fiddle with resolving as I have time to tweak them around. When in doubt, feel free to leave the button alone and simply not moderate. I've found that usually its pretty easy to flag "Fair/Unfair" on half the comments, but sometimes I need more context: Then the parent link is helpful to see where the comment was coming from. When in doubt, leave it alone. I've found that only a handful of moderation is ever really unfair (maybe 2 or 3 out of my 10).

Some details on the system:

First is some limits. Certain circumstances will cause your M2 to be disregarded. This is to prevent abuses. I'm not going to release the specifics as that would defeat the purpose, but essentially, if you vote to heavily in either direction (like say if you vote that all 10 moderations were "Unfair") your M2 may be discarded.

Second is the addition of a karma bonus for meta moderating. There is a sliding scale of karma that might be "earned" for meta moderating. It won't be enough to ever earn you "the bonus point", but its something. Since you aren't eligible for M2 if you have negative karma, this can't be used to dig you out of the hole. Most of the stuff in place is designed to make abuse difficult.

Third is the finalized restrictions on M2 eligibility:

  • Registered/Logged in User
  • Non Negative Karma
  • Hasn't M2 moderated yet today
  • Account is in the older 75% of all Slashdot accounts (filters out the newbies)

These are basically the same restrictions as the normal moderator access, except that M2 is once a day, and moderation tries to pick from people who read an "Average" amount of Slashdot a day (weeding out occasional readers and obsessive overreaders)

Finally is an interesting idea that has been proposed a few times that I just wanted to throw out for discussion. As it stands, you only see the moderator controls when you have moderator points to use. What if the moderator controls were always visible, but when you submitted the form, they were only counted if you had moderator points. Oh, and you wouldn't know if you had points.

On one hand, people would burn out on moderating fairly rapidly (the randomness in the existing system means people tend to use their points) but on the other hand, only the diligent would actually be relevant. The only question is would the people obsessive enough to do it be honest moderators, or guys trying to push around their own agendas.

Side notes I've been adding a few bits to the FAQ trying to address a few of the, well, FAQs. So read the the guidelines FAQ for answers to exciting questions like "Why don't you give my points back if I post into a discussion I moderated" and "I think I should have longer than 3 days before my points expire". I've also got a few new things in the "Ideas" space that I'm currently mulling over.

Update: 09/07 04:19 by CT :Answering the old questions:

  1. Simply creating dummy accounts won't work.... the accounts need to be older to be eligible anyway.
  2. Duplicates are OK. You're M2ing an individual act of moderation- it just so happens that you got 2 moderations upon the same comment. (this is very likely in cases where comments are moderated in rapid succession which often happens on new/extremely bad comments.
  3. I'll probably link it from the left hand menu. Else from the top of the comments. Maybe right on the homepage "You haven't MetaModerated Today". I'll worry about that later.
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Slashdot's Meta Moderation

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I agree about anonimity being good, might it make sense to have all comments anonymous at all times.

    Don't know how that sort of thing works, but it seems to me not giving people kudos just for posting might help a little.

    There's probably an exception when responding to a reply to your own original comment, and replying to responses to your own reply etc., but most of the time people really only need the comments, not the name of the commentator.

    Basically, I can see problems with this, but think it may be worth it anyway.

    Personally, I'm AC because I don't trust the net not to pick cookies up for spamming (there may well be 10 servers between me and /. some days).
  • I like trolls dammit. I find them very entertianing. I find Slashdot very entertaining. More FUD, more lies, warp muh mind! One man's troll is another man's snicker. Skip all these oh so "insightful" posters. These holier than thou pious pompus asses. Christ but I hate that type of person with a vengance. I wanna go hang out with my own madcapped brethren! I donno I been reading this thread for quite a while now and haven't seen anyone with this point of view yet. Trolls online stand up and be counted! Is Slashdot taking itself oh so seriously? What the hell are you writing here the Magna Carta? I come here for interesting little tidbits of information. Stuff that often interests me. Honestly though this whole moderation scheme is getting rather boring to read about. Slashdot on Slashdot type of thing. Take a lesson from Usenet, they tried to police themselves. Then eventually threw in the towel. Or just be doomed to repeat history. Hmmm Usenet.... nah I'll just go to the binaries section like usual and download pr0n heh

    AC says burn your slashdot login
  • I believe IQ's point was that there is a very real threat from *paid* astroturfer's who have IMHO quite obviosly tried to distort and even hijack the dialog on slashdot WRT a number of subjects, specifically promoting a pro-MS bias in a number of cases. I do not see anywhere in his post an indication that he is opposed to a diversity of views per se, but rather the deliberate skewing of content here and elsewhere being performed by paid propogandists.

    I believe his point is correct. This is a pro open source site, and it is inappropriate for marketers of one of the largest and most powerful organizations opposed to the open source / free software movement to be attempting to use it for their own neferious purposes. To attempt to contain that sort of behavior, through moderation and rebuttal, is a good and positive step if we want /. to continue to be a worthwhile site.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @06:54AM (#1697324)

    Moderators are for moderating content not authors' identities, right? As recently as Slashdot's article in May 1999 on the new terms of use at Deja.com, AC posts with excellent content were being moderated up to score 5 (my own AC post in that article was scored 5). Since late Spring, however, perhaps due to the unpleasant anti-AC bias widely expressed lately on Slashdot, there have been no top scored posts by ACs. As an example, this comment [slashdot.org] in this AskSlashdot article [slashdot.org] on Linux MIDI gives useful information, is highly relevant to the original poster's question and might deserve a correspondingly high score but so far it has score 0.

    Signed, Permanent AC

  • Personally, if the moderation controls were always visible, but not always active, I wouldn't bother using them. When I do have moderator points I take a bit more time over what I read and ensure I use my points wisely. Making them available all the time would (IMHO) severly reduce their effectiveness.
  • I'm one of those. I sometimes read two slashdot stories at one, using 4 netscape windows. I write two replies at the same time, and hit the post button on each one after the other. I don't do it THAT much, but I sometimes do.

    Although, you might want to adjust the posting interval windows according to the lenght of a comment. Or if you try to post a sufficiently long comment very shortly before your last one, the system may "forgive you" and let you go ahead.


  • I guess I will weigh in on this, though the story has already generated tons of comments.

    I should admit that I've been a skeptic about moderation and AC-related stuff for a long time, but I've come around to like slashdot the way it is.

    I do love the idea of allowing people to post anonymously even though they are logged in (if moderator's post anonymously through this link is their moderation of that story undone??), so that's a definite plus.

    I like the term karma for slashdot and think it's a great way to reward the good /.'ers and "punish" the first posters and trolls (if they log in, I guess)... It's utility is more as a bonus for good users, I think.

    I'm not so sure about meta-moderation. Isn't this what moderators should do anyways??? If a moderator see's a comment that's over or under rated they can moderate it down or up. If they see abuse they can fix it by remoderating it (by a point or so anyways). Since there is a relatively small range of scores why worry about it? Just have enough moderators that things get done. If you have too few then there will be abuse and unmoderated comments, too many and you'll get lots of "neutral" comments (up and down by multiple moderators) and lots of over or underrated comments... So just pick out that magic middle (: I know that's harder than it seems, but I think meta-moderation is (as someone alluded to earlier) just an uphill battle against trolls who will always have more time to find ways around your system then you have to fix the system.

    Anyways, my humble opinions. Keep up the amazing work Rob & co.

  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    That's some wild stuff there.. Seems like an overall good idea.

    Another idea would be to have a mini-moderation forum set aside for arguments over scores and such, but that would probably be overdoing it.

  • I have to add my voice to the chorus here. When the moderation controls show up, I drop the threshold to -1, and spend a lot of time reading everything and trying to be as complete and fair as possible.

    I can do that once every several weeks, but I can't do it all the time, knowing that in all probability I'm doing no good.

    PLEASE don't do this.

    Moderate me down for being redundant, but if this goes into effect, I'm turning it off.

  • Good problem spotting.

    I vote for the "reaching enlightenment requires leading balanced life" idea.


  • Well, the post obviously is not being moderated through the floor. And if I would have points right now, I'd moderate it up from 2 to 3, even though I do not agree that the moderation idea is bad. Slashdot improved a lot when moderation was added, and has not lost that again since then.

    I do, however, agree that the meta-moderation idea is a looser. It's overly complicated to use, and based on my experience addresses a problem that does not need (an attempt at) this kind of "drastic" action.

    I also think/agree that this is a case of the system taking on a life of its own. Moderation problems? Simple: moderate the moderators. Meta-moderation problems? Also simple: moderate the meta moderators. Not. This is one big step on the way to something similar to a bureaucracy, where every little action needs to be motivated on a paper form (in triplicate) and approved by a comittee that is not aware of anything but that fact that one of those forms was filled out. And probably not even that.


  • It feels a bit silly to reply to my own comment, but: in the time it took me to type it, the ortiginal one got moderated up from 2 to 5. I guess that shows that moderation can work.


  • I don't agree with the bit about not "needing" the names.

    Especially when I'm entering a discussion that has been going on for a while, I like to know how many active parties there are, and what other posts are by the person who wrote something that I found interesting (or revolting) in some way. This kind of information can save a lot of time (and in Europe: telephone charges).

    Also, this effect actually is more important to me while being a moderator. Not so as to locate preferred favorites or victims, but so as to "analyse" the treads taht I read more efficiently. Being a moderator takes more time than just being a reader, so let's no waste time trying to read while one accidently also happens to be a moderator.


  • Sorry to post a "me too", but in this case I really think I should, for this is a really bad idea that will not benefit Slashdot at all.

    Let's not forget that there is life outside Slashdot (yes, even Slashdot readers have jobs, studies, families, and all that funcky stuff), and that we need people who have one to be an active part of the community in order to prevent a case of mental incest. Please do not expect them to spend lots of time on doing quality moderation that is not going to count. Not only because they deserve some respect for their efforts, but also because they won't do it.

    Always showing the controls would quickly drive away the good, thoughtfull, moderators and deliver Slashdot into the hands of the "randomly firing loose canons". And sure, meta-moderation might help to address that, but somehow I'm getting a strong feeling that this whole meta-moderation idea is a case of a solution that's looking for a matching problem. Besides, who would still care to meta-moderate after a while?


  • So? Have 'em register! It would be 1 post per user or IP address (if not logged in) per 4 minutes (with smaller time window for good karma and larger for bad karma). Takes care of firewalled users.

    Spammed? Click here [sputum.com] for free slack on how to fight it!
  • Now this is just damned silly. Who is to say I'm not a newspaper editor, accustomed to writing and re-writing on the fly, therefore skilled at making useful points in a hurry?

    Do we care? If you get more karma, you'll be able to get a smaller window, and be able to post more!

    Further, I just happen to carefully regard what I'm planning to say long before I hit the reply link. I'm not always sure my arguments are valid before loading the posting page, so I wait and think it over before clicking that link. Many many times more often than not, I'll pass on the opportunity to post because upon further consideration, I find that I don't have anything really worthy of putting up. But when I do click the link, I'm nearly certain about what I plan to say, and can usually type it up in a minute or two, maximum, unless I'm feeling leisurely.

    By that time, your four minutes (or less if your karma is high) would be up and you'll be able to post again. The time would be checked at posting. If you're in the window, you're be notified. And if I read you correctly, you'll take a minute or to actually read the article and think things through, and then write a two-minute post. Or move on.

    Lastly, time-based bonuses for longer delays between clicking the post link and actually posting will just ensure that those who can't type get bonus points. Why should anyone get penalized just because they can type over 80 wpm?

    It's not measured that way, it's measured between submissions of the posts (aka when you hit that Submit button). Yeah, you (or anyone else) can type 80 wpm. I can do around 30 or so. It doesn't matter since it's measured from when you hit Submit. In common useage (replying once or twice per article) it works well. If you're replying to several people in a few threads of an article, you may have a problem initally until your Karma gets high enough to decrease the wait window.

    It's very similar in concept to login and how it delays.

    Spammed? Click here [sputum.com] for free slack on how to fight it!

  • I think you can get away with it if you have sufficently high karma. Besides, which what I'm seeing with my own, and with others, is that it'll be insanely eazy to hit 10 or 20 point karma. The length of the comment adjusting the window a bit... If, say, you posted a concise two-liner and later at another story did a ten-line post (or the other way around, 10 lines followed by a two liner)? Now that's an idea.

    Spammed? Click here [sputum.com] for free slack on how to fight it!
  • Of course, we can't be all good writers. :P

    However, the posting from a slow connection wouldn't be affected (which is my main concern). Even if you're doing a quick one-liner it'll take a while to get it up to the server. Then pull another comment (takes a while)... yep, everything takes time! WHOOPS! The posting window just went by. You can post again. :)

    Remember, the higher the karma, the lower the wait!

    (I know, some like to imitate Katz, some just want to say "me too", and I rather have a four-liner or so that takes a minute or two...)

    Spammed? Click here [sputum.com] for free slack on how to fight it!

  • by strredwolf ( 532 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @06:52AM (#1697339) Homepage Journal
    A few comments...

    Moderation notification: The current system is good, since putting up buttons by default for moderation when the user isn't being a moderator is going to put more load on the server, possibly crashing it again (AIEEE!!!!). Not a good idea.

    Logged in but Anonymous This is worth it, but can be abused. But then, it's psudo-anomymous, so it has to be handled by users with care. Flamers? Kick 'em off.

    Posting restrictions: A good writer would take about five minutes to write up a good post, with nessisary proof backing up the claim. A "Me Too!" post is under one minute. So does a cheapshot flame. I propose a one message per IP/user per 4 minutes time, with adjustments baised on Karma on the time limit (less time to wait for more Karma, more time for less). Do you really care about a subject enough to write a virtual essay, which would be moderated high, or some short statement which really doesn't add more to the topic and stays scored at one or zero? I'd say the most well written ones are ones in which some time is gotten into it, and it shows with the proof used to back it up -- and it takes time to gather that proof. The system is very tuned to how people write!!!

    I wonder what my Karma is looking at now... Is there a Slashbox for Karma?

    Spammed? Click here [sputum.com] for free slack on how to fight it!

  • It's listed on your "member page" or whatever the page is called when you click on your name in the header.
  • Microsoft has hired trolls (whoops, "online evangelists") in the past to bash competitors, what makes you think they have changed their stripes?

    My own guess is that they have at least two and probably around five people in their anti-Linux squad (which had around 30 people in it the last time a Microsoft insider posted the number here) whose sole job is to make the rounds of the pro-Linux sites trying to disrupt them. This would put their anti-Linux efforts onto a similar scale to their past anti-OS/2 efforts along those lines. These jobs are in the marketing department, by the way -- do you seriously doubt that MS has plenty of money to hire marketroids?


  • Karma has to do with your previous articles. If you consistently get moderated up by moderators, your articles will appear with a bonus (I get a +1 score). If you consistently get moderated down, your articles start off with a score of 0.
  • I'm not sure I would like the moderator controls to be always visible. I would like to know when I have moderator status. Whenever the moderator controls pop up, I switch my threshold to -1 and begin to look for abuses. I also tend to read the comments a bit more carefully so I can promote the good stuff.

    I think it would be frustrating to go through moderating stuff up and down and not even know if all the work you just did will have any effect. Or am I misunderstanding what CmdrTaco has proposed?
  • I think it was just a comment that got posted twice (or perhaps more than that), which happens a lot. Might be a real bug though.

  • Witten wrote, in the midst of a very interesting and well-spoken comment:
    This War on Trolls is a lot like the War on Drugs. At a certain point, the effort you must expend to eradicate that last 1% of perceived evil is so great, and so harmful to "society," that's it's really not worth it.

    I have to agree with this. The coder in me is hugely impressed by the moderation system that Rob has put into place here - it's a fine, slick system, and for me, it works very well. I read with the threshold set to 1, and I really don't see much crap. If a story has hundreds of comments or I don't have time to read too many, I bump it up to 2 and see all sorts of good stuff. This is as it should be. But a campaign of extermination upon trolls? It will fail. Let me tell a story..

    Back in the early 90's, before the internet took off for home usage, I used to call this multi-line chat BBS. It was cool, it was fun, a nice friendly open system. A community, if you will. Sure, there were fights, and flamings, and so on - this wasn't alt.cuddle! - but it wasn't too bad.

    As it got bigger, some people got a bit concerned about standards. There were kiddies there - maybe there shouldn't be so much swearing in the chat room? So a profanity filter was implemented to kick off people who swore too much. You can guess the reaction - "fuck that!", or, more accurately "fukk that!" or even "f(_)ck that!". Not to mention newbies being slyly logged off by goading them into saying "wristwatch" or "Scunthorpe" 5 times.

    As an air of conflict began to develop between some users and the sysops, attitudes got worse. Some people became so vicious in their flaming that they got their accounts deleted. So they created new accounts and reappeared. All of a sudden, this once open system now required new users to register with a name and phone number to be verified by voice before they could get full access - until that happened, they could only browse for 5 minutes or something.

    Of course 5 minutes is plenty of time for a barrage of truly offensive flaming, so the next step that had to be taken was to lock unregistered accounts out of the chatroom. Making it all a bit hard for a true new user to check out the BBS and decide whether he wanted to register.

    But the troll arms race continued! Sure you couldn't say anything as an unregistered user, but people were still getting the "Blah has logged on" messages. Hmm.. username.. 9 characters.. you can fit a few swear words into that! So they did! And further code had to be added to suppress the usernames of unregistered users from the list of who was online.

    I gave up at about this point, but I'm sure the arms race continued.

    How does this relate to Slashdot? Well I guess it doesn't really. I've kind of lost my train of thought. I think my point was that you can never lock out unwanted people, just as you can't lock them out of Usenet. All you can do is provide easy means of ignoring them (killfiles on Usenet, moderation and thresholds on Slashdot), and don't feed the trolls! Total war is undesirable because total victory will never be achieved. "The more you tighten your grip, the more trolls will slip through your fingers" ..?

  • How about if moderators get paid $5 per day like jurors? Also, I bet you could probably sell karma for like $5 per point. To get the bonus, people would have to give you about 125 bucks!

    I don't know about anyone else, but if I score enough karma to get the automatic score 2, I'll be auctioning my account on eBay! :-)

  • Silly question maybe...

    But once this article has scrolled to the point where I'm digging for it, where is the M2 link gonna hide.

    The way I read it is that if you're eligible for moderation than you can M2 once a day every day do it should be a handy link..

    Of course the left bar is probally out since not everyone will be eligible, and we should probally only display it to those who are eligible

    Of course I just came up with a wacked idea. How about articles that are only visible to those who are eligible for moderation? (Sounds a little stupid I know)

  • One problem I noticed if you click on a Parent Link and then go back to the MetaModeration page (let's say by clicking the Back button on your browser.) you get a completely new set of random posts and lose the post you were looking for more information ont. At least a warning of this would be nice.

    That or make the links kick of new browsers. I know many people hate this, I usually do, but this is one case where it would be a ok solution.


  • First off, I think that the idea of Karma instead of Points is much better. There are some people (MEEEEPT comes to mind) who are just walking flamebait. Others like ESR and Bruce Perens often have insightful additions to /. and can bring these things to the table.

    I'm glad to see this new moderation technique, as I've used my moderation points in the past to moderate posts that I thought were unfairly moderated to 0 or -1 back to 1 or 0 respectfully.

    Now on to the bugs. I like many others am getting the SQL Error Email Rob and tell him what you were doing please! All I was doing was Submitting my changes for today. I really hope that you get it all ironed out as I think this is a great forum for us geeks and I like to see it prosper.

  • by jafac ( 1449 )
    I think you're taking this whole bru-ha-ha the wrong way (Rob).

    I don't see this as a collapse or a disaster of the previous moderation. I see it as a fine tuning. I think anyone else who's been around since before moderation came into effect will agree that even with the latest abuses, (someone was bound to exploit them eventually), the moderation system is WAY better than no moderation at all was. Just /. growing pains I think. I know AC posting isn't in jeopardy, but this latest issue shouldn't be used as an excuse to eliminate AC posting altogether. (though I think the "post anonymously" box isn't a great idea - it just makes it MORE convenient to do a bad thing - if one's tempted).

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • Disregard the comment's score and it's current "tag" (perhaps this should be removed from the page entirely). All you're being asked to evaluate is that one specific moderation.

    The point is to say, "Yes, that moderator made a good judgement call by saying this comment was 'Insightful,'" not, "Yes, this comment deserves the score it was given."

    It may seem like a small distinction to make, but if you base your meta-moderation on the comment and its score, and not the action of the moderator you're meta-moderating, your vote could affect the moderator's karma when all you want to do is affect the comment itself.
  • The comment was probably moderated multiple times, and you're being asked to more than one moderation on that comment.

    Remember, you're not moderating the *comment* itself, but the moderation that was done to that comment. Try to ignore the comment's score and just answer the question. Was the rating of "insightful" (or whatever) justified?
  • I'm a bit confused.. Define 'Unfairly Moderated'. Not high enough? To High? Is not high enough any of the individual moderators fault? Or is this merely for things that where moderated down unfairly?
  • AAhh..

    Ok, that makes more sense.. So it's not the moderation SCORE itself, (Aka, the Score: value), but the specific descriptive values given..
  • I think that 'appropriate/inappropriate' would be better and more accurate.

  • I had a couple comments where I wasn't really sure if the moderation was fair or unfair: for example one comment was a reasonably insightfull comment that deserved a 3, that had a 5; or a poke at Al Gore that wasn't funny at all until you realized that it was a comment on the 30th birthday of the internet story.

    So I left them blank, neither hitting the fair or unfair buttons.

    When I posted the MM, I got 4 SQL errors. I think that is the number of moderations I did not judge.

  • No, you're supposed to only moderate the one moderation, not the total. So for example, suppose I see a post which looks like this:

    You Suck (Score: 7, Flamebait)

    If I were asked to metamoderate it, I would have to say that it was fair. Why? Because it most certainly IS flamebait.

    Now, there are also at least four other moderators who are going to get a BAD metamoderation, because they gave positive points to such a bad article. But punishing them isn't your job, it's the job of whoever gets to metamoderate them.

  • witten seems to be making the assumption that the primary purpose of moderation is to remove trolls from view. Maybe that is what some people find most important about moderation, but I personally feel moderation has been a huge win, not because of how well it does or doesn't deal with trolls, but because people who don't have time to read every reply to an article can still get the stuff a few moderators thought was worthwhile. Back when 100 comments on a story was a rarity, it wasn't such a big deal, but there are several stories every day that top 200 comments now. Without moderation, I'd never even bother reading the comments at all on those stories. And I do take my moderation points seriously when I get them, it's only fair to all the moderators that helped me wade through 400 comments about Microsoft Bob: The Next Generation or what have you.

    So do I think meta moderation is overkill? Probably. But moderation as a whole has been great. And if some people see a need for meta moderation, that's fine with me too. I probably won't be using it in it's current form, but to each their own.
  • Well, I feel guilty as all hell. My Karma is pretty darned negative (for my liking) granted I may have been a smart ass recently, but I thought it was under the guise of AC (plus it was only a couple of times: I promise!) Anyway, are the Karma points tallied by IP address as well? I guess they should be if this is all to work proper.
  • It's too easy to reload the page to check to see if the point score of the moderated comment has changed.

    In fact, the whole moderation thing in general has proven annoying to me for two reasons:

    • I don't get moderation points often, and I seem to get them at extremely inconvient times - precisely when I don't have the time to carefully read and moderate threads that I am not interested enough in to personally post to. And by the time that I do have time - my points are gone, taken back by the system. I think that moderation points should hang around for a time in porportion to how often they are allocated; or even better, old unused points are lost only when new points are allocated.
    • The temptation to try and post something that will garner moderation points is a demeaning head trip. I try not to post crap, but I'll be dammed if I'll suck up the the faceless moderators. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say.

    Nevertheless, the problem of Trolls and DOS attacks is serious. I am just not sure that the current moderation approach is working, and Rob seems to be getting deeper and deeper into a over-managed tarpit. But most any other solution would require identifing all posters in one way or another (to prevent DOS and to allow alternate unassigned global moderation or ranking schemes to work) - defeating the intent of AC posting...

    Note that I always browse at -1. Every time I have tried to browse at 0 or +1 I always get curious about the 'N comments below your threshold' and click on the link anyway. But the moderation score provides a little extra to the flavor of Slashdot browsing.

  • The link on Malda's name (CmdrTaco) in the author field of the story posted is a mailto to his e-mail address, which is malda@slashdot.org
  • Here are a few of my views:

    1) Moderators need more points, or more people need to be moderators. And I need to learn how to spell :/ Anyway, even browsing at a threshold of 2 is pretty pointless on many articles, as many very good posts never make it past 1, no less 3. And very, very rarely is there a 5, when there are comments that certainly deserve it.

    2) Letting everyone see the moderation controls, but only letting them work for those who have points would just cause problems as people try to figure out if they have points, etc...

    3) If straight AC posting (not logged in) goes away, there should be a time delay implemented for the creation of new accounts. Perhaps a 2 run-of-slashd delay (24 hour minimum) to prevent trolls from creating an account, hitting the bottom end of the moderation, then creating a new one and repeating.

    4) ISP-based karma? This would balance out for the large ISPs, so trolls from AOL wouldn't cause problems for the decent users, etc.. But trolls on small ISPs, where the chance of other users reading slashdot is minimal I guess, wouldn't be able to do much damage and at the same time it'd take care of dynamic IP problems. If the DNS doesn't resolve, or you don't want to deal with the overhead, IP blocks would work just as well. Unfortunatley, if there's 2 trolls and a well-behaved user on one ISP, the trolls ruin it for the well-behaved user. One possible way around this is the karma clears after a few hours, so the well-behaved user can post normally again, and the trolls have probably given up and moved somewhere else.

    Blah... How'd I get -10 karma? My posts average out to unmoderated (all 1s except a 0 and a 2, which average out). Oh well...
  • Ditto on this. Basically it comes down to an old cliche'. Familiarity breeds contempt. If you see something too often, you just ignore it. I for one never notice that I'm a moderator until I see the controls.
  • M2 sounds fun, I just had at it, and it does make me a bit impartial (the middle dot!) whether to mark a comment "Unfair" or "Fair", depending on context, as has been pointed out.

    Regarding the moderation controls always there -- I think that's a bit discouraging, because I've only received moderator access on Slashdot three times, so it's rare that it'll happen, and I wouldn't want to moderate blindly if 1/100 it won't do any good. Of course, that'd most likely weed out abuses, but only leaves the obsessive (good or no?).

    I think the moderation system works pretty well, but usually the ones that are already moderated high are the ones that stay there, leaving some other interesting ones at the bottom (or the comment limit goes into effect and discourages moderators from going through all the pages).

    All and all, I like it. I'm certain it'll effectively filter out the moderation abuses.

    P.S. Sometimes I have problems connecting to Slashdot ("Contacting Host...") which I thought the new server was going to fix. When it's up, it's quick though. Is it just me?

  • So I just MM'd my 10 comments. 9 seemed obviously fair. One I just wasn't too sure about so I left it at the middle button. Is that what that is for? Unsure, don't know, disagree but want to be fair?

    From the info in this article it seems that marking everything unfair flags abuse? Marking everything fair won't count, will it?

    The "middle dot" is for neutral (unsure, don't know, whatever you want to call it), I'm positive. From reading the article again, he says marking everything either way will be "discarded", but not flagged as abuse. Since most are eligible to MM, someone could just easily check unfair for all the moderations.

  • As I said before [slashdot.org], moderation is completely stupid for a site as large as this. A system more like GroupLens is necessary, where the points for articles are tailored to each individual user's historical preferences. Why is slashdot not using this?
  • (..) but essentially, if you vote to heavily in either direction (..) your M2 may be discarded.

    Obviously people believe in some kind of "the good is in the middle of the distribution" wisdom. My uncle told me about the painting "The last supper" that it appropriatley represented statistics of society (1 saint and 1 criminal among 13 people) and a colleague told me the story that a former company he worked for always discarded bids at the statistical extremes without evaluation.

    (..) to pick from people who read an "Average" amount of Slashdot a day (weeding out occasional readers and obsessive overreaders)

    I suspected that the login procedure on Slashdot (and other sites) could be used to generate digital traces of a readers activity. Not unproblematic.

  • I would be really nice to be able to see who has negatively moderated my posts. My Karma has been dropping, and it would be nice to see who's doing it! If you'd rather not let us know who is negatively moderating us, at least you should let us know what posts are being moderated negatively, so we know what kinds of posts we can expect to be pooped on.
  • I agree with you here. When those moderator controls pop up, I know that I need to devote a little more time to perusing the comments.

    I only want the controls visible when they can actually be used. That part isn't broken, so don't fix it! :)
  • I agree with the sentiment that meta-moderation is unnecessary, but I disgree with the idea of losing karma just because you don't follow the herd and moderate the same way the others do. Where's the allowance for sincere difference of opinion? I think that losing karma just because you're outvoted is throwing the baby out with the bath.

    I agree that the system should allow for differences of opinion. But if a person is consistently having their moderations reversed, then at some point it becomes indicative that they are mis-moderating.

    In fact, I would argue just the opposite: that when some moderators vote against the others, that it shows the system moderating itself. This is why meta-moderation is unnecessary: because it's already built, to some degree, into the system.

    Actually, you could well be right. The recent problems seemed caused more because there weren't enough moderators available (or willing) to deal with the situation, rather than mis-moderation. But I have had comments of mine which I felt were mis-moderated, and it would have been nice to think there was some payback.

    I believe the system I proposed is at least no worse than the meta-moderation system. Whether either system can reduce the number of people complaining to CmdrTaco that their comments have been mis-moderated is an open question.

  • by Sinner ( 3398 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @07:12AM (#1697372)
    I don't think adding extra layers of moderation is a sensible way to deal with bad moderation. I think it should be obvious from the way the complexity level is going through the roof that this is a bad idea.

    Instead, I think the system should judge moderators by how often their moderations get overridden by other moderators. Specifically, a moderator should lose karma when a comment they have moderated in one direction is subsequently moderated in the opposite direction. Not a lot each time, because you don't want to allow vendettas or suppress differing opinions, but enough for the system to detect genuine abuses.

    For this to work properly, there would need to be more moderation points in circulation. I don't have a problem with it if some comments get up to +10 or +15, in fact, it would help differentiate them.

    Somehow I don't think CmdrTaco is gonna drop the M2 system he spent all weekend coding, but I thought it was worthwhile getting my idea out there anyway. :-)

  • Regarding Trolling, perhaps it needs to be a different system. Since the "point" system seems to aimed at articles that are more relavent or less relavent, articles that are completly off the scale should probably have a different method of being delt with.

    After all, if one tests for the quality of eggs, you throw out the rocks!

    Hmmm....on second thoughts, I'm not sure I'd impliment this practically. A seperate "de-troll" allowance, and if so many moderators (2 or more) use a de-troll point on the article, then the article is blasted to -100?

    That wouldn't be bad with the meta moderation to help nail over enthusastic moderators. Though I think someone who is good at de-trolling may not be good at moderating up/down and vice-versa. So maybe removing one privlege shouldn't automatically remove the other.

  • Rob, you're prolly gonna be unhappy with me for this suggestion, because I know it adds higher degrees of complexity, but here goes:

    I find the Unfair/Neutral/Fair options to be quite limited, not to mention misleading. As another poster has already pointed out, are we M2'ing the value the moderator awarded or the category they modified the post by?

    My proposal for a better set of buttons would be: Strongly Disagree - Disagree - Disagree Somewhat - Neutral - Agree Somewhat - Agree - Strongly Agree. These can easily be assigned points from -3 to 3. If each of the decisions are being M2'ed by multiple people, then the average of the feedback would be an appropriate reflection on the moderating decision.

    My proposal for differentiating between category and points would be, (sorry) to have a presentation of radio buttons for each aspect. I don't like this solution, so am *very* open to alternate solutions.

    So, what do you think?

    Droit devant soi on ne peut pas aller bien loin...

  • It'd be really neat if there was a page where you could look at what your own Karma was.

    Yeah! With big ol flashing pink neon numbers with funky squigly line radiating out on a puke-green background!

    And we could have some funky Caribean kettledrum music playing in the background! How about Copacabana like on the Super Dave show!

    Then we could do the ANSI version! You'd telnet to a server somewhere and login with your /. account! Don't forget the ANSI music and annoying flashing!

    Wait! We could write an open-source program who's sole purpose would be to login, get your Karma total, and show it to you in lots of funky ways! Whatever you want it to do, just write a plugin or skin or something!

    Think about it! Have your Karma appear as a mysterious sighting in the middle of a hirricane! (ala Satan accoring to some tabloid several years ago) Or a massive etching on the side of a cliff face! Or a Magic-Eye picture!

    Have it discovered as the answer to life, the universe, and everything!(provided you've gotten it up to 42)

    Have it Discovered as a hidden message revealed when playing *insert Beatles tune of choice here* backwards!

    The power! the POWER!

  • If you always have moderator controls, and you try to moderate, won't that stifle people from posting due to the rule you can only post if you haven't moderated? Gordon
  • So I just MM'd my 10 comments. 9 seemed obviously fair. One I just wasn't too sure about so I left it at the middle button. Is that what that is for? Unsure, don't know, disagree but want to be fair?

    From the info in this article it seems that marking everything unfair flags abuse? Marking everything fair won't count, will it?

    After I hit the button, I got a few of the following messages:
    SQL Error Email Rob and tell him what you were doing please!
    It did say that 10 comments were M2'd

  • I rarely post, as There is nothing new to add most of the time. I have had one time where a post was moderated down, but I think that this case was in fact a case of Moderator abuse, which this problem is supposed to help fix. I guess I can't be part of the fix.

    How does one fix karma??????
  • by Ryandav ( 5475 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @06:41AM (#1697386) Homepage Journal
    I really hate to say this, as I hate sounding negative, but I don't see why it's better to have the moderator controls always visible. I, for example, browse most of the time at +2 so I can just read the first 30 good comments or so. If I'm bored later or really interested in a topic i go to -1. If I get moderator access, I need to browse at -1 and see everything. While I enjoy moderating from time to time, I don't want to have to always browse at -1 _just in case I might be mod_... It seems to defeat the purpose: to allow those with limited time or attention span to see a story and read just a few good comments on it. You also begin to make it so that only a few people will participate in the moderating.

    Other than the "bonus point" system for certain people, I really think the system here has been working out great. I hope "creeping featurism" doesn't take over it all.

  • by witten ( 5796 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @07:46AM (#1697391) Homepage
    Am I the only one who sees all of this moderation stuff as incredibly silly and ultimately futile? Rob's getting himself into a never-ending arms race with the trolls. He adds moderation functionality to slashdot. The trolls fight back. He adds restrictions on who can moderate what, and when. The trolls don't give up. He adds karma points and moderation of moderation. My educated guess, based on slashdot's track record, is that the trolls keep it up.

    This War on Trolls is a lot like the War on Drugs. At a certain point, the effort you must expend to eradicate that last 1% of perceived evil is so great, and so harmful to "society," that's it's really not worth it.

    Having said that, I can't say that I blame Rob. As slashdot's popularity grew, the small community-based discussions turned into a frothing troll-ridden free-for-all. And he saw moderation as his only choice in trying to combat the trolls. However, in the long run, moderation is a losing proposition. Try to squelch the trolls, and they'll be that much more determined to screw with the system. Sure, the casual trolls might give up, but the small percentage of sick people who get off by insulting dead people they don't know.. will be back with a vengeance. And no reasonable amount of moderation will silence them. That is unless you're willing to silence many good, reasonable posts in the process. And that seems to be exactly what you're doing.

    Sure, with all these new moderation features, most of the trolls get moderated down, but the price is that many non-troll polls are mismoderated, both up and down. And if the same general group of people are doing moderation and meta moderation and meta meta moderation, whether or not they're trolls, you're going to get the same exact sort of abuses and mismoderations and poor judgement across the board.

    So what I'd like people to think about is this: At what point is the cure worse than the disease? When you keep piling up the rules and regulations and meta moderation and percentages and sliding scales and point ratings, what are you really accomplishing, in the long run? (If I want scads of arbitrary rules and magic points, I'll go play Nethack.)

    I know this isn't really constructive criticism. However, I'm not intending it as flat-out flamage of moderation, either. I'm merely wondering, is this all really worth it? I don't have a better solution, but this ever-increasing moderation simply doesn't feel right. In fact, it feels futile. And harmful. But hey, I'm just one voice in the crowd.

    And now due to the beauty of moderation, this post, which expresses a dissenting opinion, will be moderated right through the floor. And no amount of meta meta meta moderation will change that. Sigh.

  • by Booker ( 6173 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @07:17AM (#1697393) Homepage
    Is all this leading up to a new revenue stream for Slashdot? "Get your Official Cmmdr. Taco Meta-Kharma Decoder ring! Only $9.95!"

    On more serious notes,

    1) I think this is all looking really good, and
    2) I don't want to see much more of it.

    You can legislate forever, but you're never going to codify every possible violation. Try not to let the jerks force you into too many coding contortions, as you'll probably just wind up creating more loopholes, and make it more complicated for everyone. (Think IRS)
  • Rob -

    I don't like the idea of the moderation controls always being present and only counting if the user has points because:

    1. The reasons you describe: burnout and only obsessive people being left. I doubt I'd moderate at all if I didn't know I was doing some good.
    2. If people can moderate everything, they won't feel compelled to pick the very best comments.

    I propose a better system: relative moderation. Let everyone moderate (within the limits of who is currently allowed to), then using a statistical distribution (or something like that - never really liked sadistics) of the points across all the comments to pick out the best (5s), really good (4s) and so forth comments. I think this might even eliminate the need for M2 moderation (and after all that hard work - sorry).


  • I think the meta-moderation is going too far. Multiple moderators should be enough to balance things out. Giving people more moderation points would server to balance more. If I thought a moderation was unfair, and I had moderation points, I'd "counter-moderate" the post.

    Dummy moderation controls is probably a bad idea. Only the obsessive will use them. The people who actually care about doing something useful simply won't use the controls if they think they'll probably just be ignored.

    Also, I have to say that the "auto moderation" thing is very nasty. Just because someone posted a good comment or two, it doesn't mean all of their comments are good. Let each comment stand on its own. Likewise, there is the ongoing debate about whether AC posts deserve to start at 0 or 1.

    How about this:

    1. Increase moderation points, and don't make it quite so hard to become a moderator.

    2. Remove the auto-moderation thing. All comments start at 1 (even AC posts).

    3. Add a "killfile"-like feature where each user can artificially bump-up/down the scores of posts on a per-poster basis. Each person's "killfile" will only affect the scores of posts as they read them. So if you think AC posts deserve to get 1 less than everyone else, you'd put "Anonymous Coward -> -1" in the "killfile". You could even put this in everyone's killfile by default so the behaviour would be identical to what it is now (by default). If this is done, I think the score range should be chnged to -5 to 5 (instead of the current -1 to 5) and the "killfile adjustment" range should be -10 to 10 (so I can bump a -5 to a 5 or vice-versa if I think the poster is deserving of it).

    3. From the main page, if the user has moderation privledges, add a "Moderate" link in addition to the "Read More" link. The "Read More" link will be for reading only, no moderation controls. The "Moderate" link will bring one to a special moderation page.

    4. The moderation page would have moderation controls of course. It would also not show the scores, and sorting by score wouldn't be an option while moderating. And your killfile wouldn't have any effect in moderation mode either.

    5. Finally, I don't think it should show who posted the comment. I really think it should be a meritocracy, and showing people's ID's to the moderators prevents that. I realize that everything having no ID could get confusing (especially in conversations), so I think for each person that posts a comment in a discussion area, there should be a new "fake ID" generated. This fake ID would be used for all of their posts on the moderation page. Fake ID's would not be persistent. In one discussion area my fake ID might be "Hoopy Cow" in another is might be "Green Frood". That way you could still follow conversations in a discussion area, but the identities of the posters would be disconnected from what they are in "Read Mode" and from all other discussion areas. Note also that Anonymous Coward would be treated as another user, so it wouldn't be obvious that AC posts were from AC's. Again, comments would be judged more on content rather than who posted them. Oh, and almost forgot. Signatures wouldn't be shown in moderation mode of course.

    I realize that someone could go and open both "read" and "moderate" to find out who made various posts. It would be possible to disable moderation of discussion areas the user has alredy read, but then they could just read as AC, and moderate as themselves. I think that the above suggestions would at least reduce the chance of people moderating based on identity rather than content though. Having the moderation controls shown right there with the poster's identity just makes it too easy to say "hey, I know that guy" and +1, or "oh, I hate him" and -1.

    Oh, and some gratuitous other suggestions:

    - Make plain-old-text really plain text.
    - spell checking!
    - link checking!
    - better conversion of busted URL's ("relative" URL's should probably be patched up to simply add a leading "http://", as that seems to be the most common error)
    - what's with those "parent" links? I can never figure out which one is really the parent when I'm in flat mode.
  • While I wouldn't doubt your good intentions, I think this time you have somewhat overdone it:

    Giving any eligable moderator 10 M2-points per day to control the other moderators but only 5 M-point per month to do the the actual scoring of the articles is unbalanced to say the least and gives room to much more damaging kinds of abuse.

    If the problem is that say 5% of slashdot users are "bad guys", then the solution should be obvious: vote them out of the sky! Shell out more moderator points (about 3 to 5 times the current amount) to allow for finer grained scores (e.g. in a range from -5 to 15) and higher responsiveness to abuse. Don't allow anyone to vote on the same comment twice and you should come up with a fairly robust mod-scheme.

    Some additional measures which don't require too much user interaction come to mind:
    • Display the most recent comments first while in moderation mode

    • Don't allow score-based filtering while in moderation mode.

    • Instead, allow moderators (and users) to optionally score and filter on the criteria "new comment", "unmoderated comment", "AC post" and "controversial comment" (i.e. comments which got up and down votings) to help them to get their job done more efficiently.

    • Give a (very small) karma penalty to any moderator who voted on a controversial posting (someone *has* to wrong, after all ;-)). Divide the penalty so that the majority get punished less (eg. 4 ups, 2 downs gets the up-voters 33% and the down-voters 66% of the beating).

      Note that this amounts essentially to the same effect as the current M2 scheme as it is reasonable to assume that both groups would equally tend to judge the voting of the other side as unfair.
  • Ok, I haven't been posting as often as I once did... there was a time when I was able to read every thread, on every article that /. could dish. With school, and work, that isn't possible, but how could I possibly have "bad karma?"

    AFAIK, none of my posts have ever been moderated down. Infact, there were time that some of my posts had been marked up. However, when I checked my userpage, I have a karma of -1? Isn't this supposed to be an average? If I've never posted any off topic/color posts, and never recieved a negative moderation? how can I have a negative karma?

    Secondly, how far back does /. search for this Karma rating? Over a year ago, I was posting on quite a regular basis. Several posts a day. I can't maintain the same pace that I once did, call it old age... ;/ but I'd like for those posts to be considerd in my karma. At the same time. If I had been a Troll, but then after rediscovering myself in some reform institution, and now frequently contributed to the /. society, I'd like to disreguard my past existance. How far back does this rating level go?

    A frequent /.er with a negative Karma,

    Time flies like an arrow;
  • My karma just got knocked down two points in the past hour; this indicates to me that I am doing a bad job moderating. News to me - I thought I'd always been sublimely fair and impartial.

    But - here's the important part - I couldn't tell which of my moderations had been declared bad. Shouldn't there be some indication, maybe privately in users.pl displayed only to the logged in user, of what he is accused of doing wrong?

    Of course, this is only worth implementing if meta-moderation proves it's worth keeping. Which I think it isn't. But I'm kinda biased on this, having just lost two karmic points for an unknown reason and I suspect an unfair one... so I won't go any father into this. :)

  • Posting restrictions: A good writer would take about five minutes to write up a good post, with nessisary proof backing up the claim. A "Me Too!" post is under one minute. So does a cheapshot flame. I propose a one message per IP/user per 4 minutes time, with adjustments baised on Karma on the time limit (less time to wait for more Karma, more time for less). Do you really care about a subject enough to write a virtual essay, which would be moderated high, or some short statement which really doesn't add more to the topic and stays scored at one or zero? I'd say the most well written ones are ones in which some time is gotten into it, and it shows with the proof used to back it up -- and it takes time to gather that proof. The system is very tuned to how people write!!!

    Now this is just damned silly. Who is to say I'm not a newspaper editor, accustomed to writing and re-writing on the fly, therefore skilled at making useful points in a hurry?

    Further, I just happen to carefully regard what I'm planning to say long before I hit the reply link. I'm not always sure my arguments are valid before loading the posting page, so I wait and think it over before clicking that link. Many many times more often than not, I'll pass on the opportunity to post because upon further consideration, I find that I don't have anything really worthy of putting up. But when I do click the link, I'm nearly certain about what I plan to say, and can usually type it up in a minute or two, maximum, unless I'm feeling leisurely.

    Lastly, time-based bonuses for longer delays between clicking the post link and actually posting will just ensure that those who can't type get bonus points. Why should anyone get penalized just because they can type over 80 wpm?

  • Please, oh please stop confusing me, Rob! If you put the moderator controls on everything I look at, I won't know what to click! Can you Meta-Moderate yourself? If you can't then you could tell if you were a moderator! How about if we don't know if we are Meta-Moderating? How about if moderators get paid $5 per day like jurors? Also, I bet you could probably sell karma for like $5 per point. To get the bonus, people would have to give you about 125 bucks! Then again why not add a double bonus +2? If you post anonymously while logged in and get moderated up, does your karma get effected? Possibly a moderator could figure out who the AC was if this is the case.

    Please don't cry when you have to code Hyper-meta-moderation because some day you probably will!

    What I really want to see is the ability for me to append to my existing comment without having to reply to myself. I also think that if a person submits a story or has a feature done about one of their projects on slashdot, then they should get like a +3 bonus to their comments in that particular article. It shouldn't boost their Karma though.

    I am even more confused now. Time to click on the next button.

  • Seems like in order to tell if a comment really was redundant then you'd have to go on a witch hunt through the comments and see if this was really the case. So, hypothetically, it could be obvious when there were two comments which were obviously cut-n-pasted copies of each other on the meta moderation page but if you just see one comment and it's been marked as redundant it's more trouble than it's worth to figure out if the moderation is fair or not.

    Perhaps, it would be better to put in some information like how many posts the poster made in that article and a link that summarizes them so that the meta-moderator won't just mark it as fair or leave it unchecked because they don't want to take the time to look into it?

  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @06:51AM (#1697429) Journal
    Now, if that comment was posted because of an article about how Bill Gate's personal wealth had surpassed a trillion dollars, that comment might be moderated as being funny.

    If it were posted because Microsoft bought Redhat, then one might call it insightful

    If that comment was posted in context of a comparison between IIS and Apache, it could be considered flmebait.

    If it were posted in a discussion about Sony's robotic dog, then it'd be a troll...

    Basically without having any context to the comment (at least give us a link to the story and the it's parent) this meta-moderation seems rather pointless. We're (or rather Rob is) spinning in circles trying to figure out what to do about trolls... Just like anything else that's bad in life, it'd be hard to be sure to be rid of them without hurting ourselves as well.

    How about this:
    Moderators get 10 points, rather than 5.

    They can choose which discussions they wish to moderate: so long as they're a moderator, they cannot change their comment threshold above -2 (or however low it goes). Also have it not show other people's moderations to the moderators (everything, regardless, would appear as being posted by the Anonymous Coward with a score of 1.

    They can click a button at anytime that removes their moderations, shows original posters, other peoples moderations, and lets them comment. Kind of how it works now.

    Basically, I think moderators were doing a good job thus far with the tools that have been supplied. What we need is more moderators, and more "un-biased" moderators, with unbiased meaning that they HAVE to view every comment, and not know what other people have said about it.
  • I disagree with you. Historically this site is here supporting Linux & OSS & other interesting technical and scientific bits. Recently - in the last 12 months - this has been overrun with the paid trolls from M$. That is a problem. Moderation is an attempt to rid this site of those (futile) trolls. And I am willing to assist in that worthwhile task.
  • say a comment started with one point, and got moderated up to 5. When you apply your meta-moderated points to it, whose moderation points do they apply to? If the comment has four additional points and you tag it as "unfair," are the unfair-moderation points applied to each moderator by 1/4th?
  • There is, go to your slashdot homepage [slashdot.org].
  • I have to agree, I want to know when I'm a moderator, and when not. When I've been granted moderator points, my attitude changes slightly.
    Sort of like being on your best behaviour when Grandma is over for supper you know?

  • by Yosemite Sue ( 15589 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @07:10AM (#1697444) Journal
    I just tried Meta Moderation, and though you can reasonably guess that certain posts are interesting/informative (or trolls/flamebait) by looking at them, without a link to the actual story it is difficult to truly know the context of the post. I don't think I'll feel comfortable M-Moderating under this system.

    Lucas's suggestion of increasing available moderator points makes sense, especially given the recent scourge of trolls that have been wasting moderator points. Much less complicated than Meta Moderation, too, IMO!

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @06:58AM (#1697446) Homepage Journal
    Moderation is a public service, much like jury duty. Let's not drag everyone into it when we don't have to.

    On the other hand, there could be a system whereby you would specify in your preferences to always have moderation buttons on. Then you could moderate even if you have no points, but the moderation wouldn't really do anything for normal users. For real moderators, though, they would see something like:

    Non moderators recommend:
    -5 off topic
    -2 flamebait
    +4 funny

    Then, using that example, a real moderator might use a point to lower the score of the post. This action would clear out all the recommendations, or at least those that said to move the score in the same direction.

    This might also eliminate the need for M2, as it would allow anyone to attract the moderators to articles that have been miss-moderated.
  • How about this -
    1) Joe Slashdot Reader sends in a neato leeto link
    2) CmdrTaco (or one of the others) says 'hey, that looks neat, I'm gonna put it up'
    3) A script of /. mirrors the site to the /. server in a non public directory
    4) CmdrTaco emails site author/webmaster and says "Hi, your site is going to be on /. It may, however, be pounded into oblivion because of this. Would you mind if I put up a temporary mirror of your page?"
    5) Story goes on /.
    6) If author gives consent, story is updated and mirrored copy is put online

    Sounds good, no?
  • Today Slashdot Inc. (SLDI) today announced the beta testing phase of its new SlashMod 2000(TM).
    The successor of the well established SlashMod 97(TM) will include many new features including
    • MetaMod(TM)
      MetaMod gives users the ability to customize and control the quality of the ModeRate(TM)-System, providing a easy to use interface utilizing intelligent Agents.
      MetaMod includes a new "SlashMod Setup Assistant" that walks users through the basic steps required to set up accounts, moderate, flame and troll.
    • IntelliKarma(TM)
      With IntelliKarma, SlashMod 2000 is able to take previous actions of the user into account, giving the user appropriate feedback. IntelliKarma improves greatly the ergonomic quality of human - machine interaction. The software also includes a "Step-By-Step Navigation" feature that provides users with clear directions and easy access to the system activities they use most often. To help users plan their posting future, IntelliKarma delivers a "Karma Event Modeler" that evaluates the effect of different scenarios -- such as posting wise, or not at all -- on their overall Karma Strategie.
    • ActiveMod(TM)
      ActiveMod combines streamlined document creation with powerful Web functionality enabling the user to work more efficiently and communicate his ideas more effectively. ActiveMod includes a comprehensive set of features enabling to customize how they want to interact with SlashMod.
    According to CmdrTaco, Product Manager of SlashMod2000, most portal software is too complicated to use and not friendly to sensible customers.
    "Slashmod 2000 will give new users the ability to adjust the system to fit their personal needs, dependend on how lighthearted they are", Taco said. "And experienced users will also see clearly the facilites."
    SlashMod 2000 is the result of 1 year of research and programming in the field of advanced group dynamics.
    "By integrating technologies like IntelliKarma an ActiveMod into SlashMod 2000, we are able to to a great step into the right direction. Improvements to SlashMod address top feature requests from users", said Taco. "We are very excited and really want to get the product in the marketplace".
    But SlashMod 2000 will go through extensive beta testing. "We will deliver when our customers tell us it's ready", said Taco. "SlasMod 2000 is the greatest we have ever done, and we want to do it right".

    The final version of SlashMod 2000 is expected to be available in late autumn.
  • Rob wrote
    Finally is an interesting idea that has been proposed a few times that I just wanted to throw out for discussion. As it stands, you only see the
    moderator controls when you have moderator points to use. What if the moderator controls were always
    visible, but when you submitted the form, they were only counted if you had moderator points. Oh, and you wouldn't know if you had points.

    Actually a slight variant of this idea might be worthwhile. Instead of moderating every post, the reader gets to moderate a random subset. This gives

    - a baseline reference so that a score of 2 would be of roughly equal quality which can be confirmed by looking at other posts

    - subset reduces the amount of hard thinking required and given enough samples, should be an accurate reflection of the total population (any statisticians out there that can confirm?)

    - equality and there is greater opportunities for moderation so even those who don't reply, get a chance to shape the conversational flow (a problem with teaching is encouraging the passive listeners who do think deeply but take time and thus miss the discussion window)

    - encourage a larger segment of readers to moderate would slow down the early posters and thus spread the discussion time-span out a bit more, thus (hopefully) avoiding quick off-the-cuff bursts and evening out load on the server

    The only negative feature I can see is that some thought has to b e given to how the "random" subset needs to be selected as you want adequate coverage of all the posts to give later entries or the marginal AC's a better chance for good ideas to float to the top.

  • IQ [slashdot.org] wrote
    Recently - in the last 12 months - this has been overrun with the paid trolls from M$. That is a problem. Moderation is an attempt to rid this site of those (futile) trolls. And I am willing to assist in that worthwhile task.

    Foruntately (or unfortunately as you see it), SlashDot has the policy of being completely open to all comers, regardless of inherent bias. If this was purely a non-profit community then there would be no problems but unforuntately OpenSource and the internet are very business sensitive where branding and marketing hype can outweigh technical merits.

    The way polticians handle it is that lobbyists are required to declare any financial interests. Similar rules apply to journalists and truth-in-advertising (an oxymoron if ever I heard one). Perhaps a compromise is that people can still remain anonymous but if they declare a financial interest, create a special AC name for them (e.g. Corporate FUDer or GNU Advocate) to make it clear that their writings are not personal opinions. Thus their opinions and thoughts are still accepted but people would adjust (as appropriate) for the spin that is being directed from the source. The other measure of self-protection is that people cite the user info when refering to a previous post so that others can check the reputation and/or karma to get a feel for the level of weight of that opinion.

    Otherwise things could get a little nasty in the future as was the case down under in Australia when a popular radio talkback presenter was found to be accepting "commissions" from bank consortium on commenting (or more accurately not commenting) on financial deregulation (I believe 5 separate reviews were initially launched). Nothing wrong with have a diversity of views but it is worthwhile to NOT surpress potentially diversive but valid criticisms/feedback, as well as to expose hidden agendas to the harsh light of public truth and scrutiny.


  • by LL ( 20038 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @12:21PM (#1697461)
    David Gould [slashdot.org] wrote
    That brings up an interesting question: I'll admit that I'm pretty interested in my "karma", and want to gain as much as possible, insofar as it's a measure of "acceptance" within the community, or some such warm fuzzy feeling. But is it good for people to become obsessed with this?

    Depends on how much emotional attachment you have on external peer pressure. I have heard of reports (but seen no formal studies) that females apply a greater value on the social relationships/status with others whereas guys put greater emphasis on the accomplishments they have achieved. Karma (if you ignore the hip connotations) is just a metric that provides feedback on what are the qualities that the /. audience is looking for. Personally I think it is a good idea as IMHO it encourages more critical reflecting thinking which is in a serious shortage in this day and age of impulse thinking/buying. Others may seek "karma" for the perceived kudos assocaited with it but unless /. becomes a global phenomena, has zero value outside the community. Think of it as a localised social currency :-).

    Seriously, it's amazing how fast the stories go by these days. I guess it's an inevitable result of Slashdot becoming so big, but it makes it a lot harder to participate in the discussions. If all the stories have over 300 comments by the time you get to them, all you can really do is read. If you take the time to write a really thoughtful comment, chances are hardly anyone will still be reading the story by the time you post it. This
    is often my problem. I'm not sure how your idea [slashdot.org] would help with this problem, but I think it's an important one.

    Again, I think you have to look carefully at the effect that Rob [slashdot.org] is trying to achieve (at least fgrom my observations). The goal is to gain a representative and comprehensive sample of the opinion-space of /. readers, encouraging greater marginal participation and attempting to float to the top good ideas/commentary. Think of the general problem as a genetic search across a global semi-professional audience, attempting to find the centroid (median consensus view) plus boundaries (interesting perspectives/angles) under a self-optimising strategy (moderation). (Aside ... if the politicians ever get ahold of this, they'll kill to get their ratings up ... maybe Rob should release it only for non-profit use). Thus you want to encourage comments to fill missing holes (if someone has already said something, just agree), discourage repetition and irrelevant gunk, damp down inaccurate information, and dynamically redefine the objective goal to achieve greater illumination and agreement/action.

    The size of the submissions and the short time span of posts may be a problem if /. expands as you point out. Some possible solutions include splitting levels -1 to 1 into separate geographical and/or time zones, but merging higher level comments (a la multigrid iteration). It would be an interesting research project to find how such communications patterns can scale to thousands or even millions of comments/people and the resulting time/energy efficiency for disseminating problems and creating solutions.


  • by LL ( 20038 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @09:22AM (#1697462)
    witten makes some very good points
    As slashdot's popularity grew, the small community-based discussions turned into a frothing troll-ridden free-for-all. And he saw moderation as his only choice in trying to combat the trolls. However, in the long run, moderation is a losing proposition. Try to squelch the trolls, and they'll be that much more determined to screw with the system.

    Given its positive connotations (more==good), I suspect that the karma system will only exacerbate the troll problem as more people post to gain enough feedback (funny or otherwise) to achieve extra height on their /. soapbox. While advertisers would be estactic at the extra traffic, it makes it harder for the time-limited reader to pick out the above average comments. As economists have noted, this leads to cogestion effects (everyone talks a little louder ultimately making the whole room too noisy) while imposing a negative externality cost on other people (increasing time taken to moderate, then moderate the moderators, then ....).

    Solving problems like this are difficult (think trying to balance a real community). As noted in an earlier post [slashdot.org], you have to look very carefully at the social dynamics and add appropriate dampers or incentive structures. One rather simple solution is to given posters a chance to self-moderate and then reward those who moderators concur (ie negative karma if someone thought their post was funny but everyone else thought it was a troll). Then hopefully a reputation system like E-Bay would be encouraged through peer pressure to conform and improve the quality of posts which is (so far) definitely above the average newsgroup.

    The other thing that may be of some use is to encourage very high karma posters to write wrap-up reviews so that late attendees can get the whole picture without wading through all 200+ messages. Ultimately I think being more creative in the the choice of categories and a descriptive filtering language (as other have suggested) will control the complexity but given the wide variety of suggestions Rob has so far, it might be worthwhile setting up some careful double-blind experiments, say selecting random threads to compare 2 moderation techniques then looking at the distribution of scores to make quantitative measurements of effectiveness. You know, that thingy we call the scientific method :-). As we say here, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.


  • by trongey ( 21550 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @08:32AM (#1697463) Homepage
    Ok, I've already got negative Karma from one of the 2 or 3 times I posted in the past so I might as well chime in here:
    >...what to do about trolls... Just like anything >else that's bad in life, it'd be hard to be sure >to be rid of them without hurting ourselves as >well.

    What you're implying here is that "trolls" are intrinsically bad, and that moderators really know what a troll is. I think that we are guaranteed to hurt ourselves if we try too hard to eliminate the trolls.

    If someone says something that the moderators don't like then they become a troll regardless of whether there is any validity to the posting (I think this might be true in my case, but I could be wrong).

    I work with kids in a program where we accept that any comment - however stupid or boorish - can be the catalyst that starts a creative train of thought. I just hope we don't miss something really good because of the troll barriers.

    'I used to have a really cool sig that went here, but I can't seem it keep it working.'
  • Just tried it out, not sure if it worked or not. I got like 7 lines saying SQL Error Email Rob blah blah. But now it says I've already metamoderated today... so I guess it worked?

    Seems like a good idea to me. (The whole meta moderation thing). I was surprised I didnt find any "First Post" messages on my list. heh

    One thing about First Posters... if you First Post as an AC what good is that? ~ANYONE~ can say they were that AC...
  • The only real solution to all of this is a turing-complete filtering/sorting/query language. That's what all of this is expanding into. And writing the most general solution once can be easier than coding up a bunch of idiosyncratic, incomplete solutions. Code a solution to the problem domain, Malda, and solving a specific problem will be (relatively) easy.
  • But, also we have a open sourced constitution, that anyone can borrow from or modify to create their own monarchy, democracy, or whatever they see fit to do. Note: this constitution is currently not available quite yet, but you know, you can't have everything :)

    Anonymous as I was the one marking your comment as funny, now you wouldn't want that undone would you :)
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @06:43AM (#1697474)
    Hardcoded separation of levels is only going to lead to confusion and ugly code. Instead, why not do this:

    For moderators only, show a history of moderation action for each comment. This could be a 2D chart with history being vertical and different moderation "levels" being horizontal. So if I became a moderator I'd see something like this:

    Score: 2
    | Insightful +1 |
    | Troll -1 | Stupid Moderator -1 |
    | Interesting +1 |
    (I hope the sense of this comes through the formatting) Each "decision" can be moderated individually. A moderator is allocated a certain number of points, say 10. For a cost of 2 points each then can moderate a "base comment". For a cost of 1 point each they can moderate anything above that level.

    On a totally different topic: Why are we spending time on esoteric oddities like meta-moderation when simple features like the below need working on?
    • Spell checking
    • Link checking
    • Anti-/. Effect Mirroring
    • Basic uptime issues
    • Non-retroactive signature changes

    Put Hemos through English 101!
    "An armed society is a polite society" -- Robert Heinlein
  • That's a really good point, and I have to point out that, at least in my case, it is actually usually a good thing when I have a hightened awareness when I have points. When I read /. on a daily basis, I do it at -1 mostly because I get a wierd feeling when I see a +3 post attached to a post below my threshold - I have to click on it to see what the +3 post is responding to. Usually I just skim the comments sorted by score until I get the general idea then I'll go look at the article if it seems interesting.

    When I drop into an article an see that I have points, my MO changes. Usually, I will go get a cup of coffee, take my time reading the article then go back and refresh the comments in chronological order and I read them carefully from top to bottom, focusing on promoting good comments. Sometimes I'll go back to the article to see if the comment really is on-topic and adds to the discussion.

    More often than not, I won't score any posts down on the first pass. But I find that I pay more attention to the 'bad' posts than I would under normal reading. I'll apply my points on the comments i've scored then go read another article.
    Later I'll come back and sort the page by scores and go to the bottom to see if any ofmy 'bad' posts got marked down and if they seem to be unfairly scored, I will sometimes move them up.

    I guess the gist is that I feel like I get a little more out of /. when reading as a moderator than other times, and it wouldn't bother me a bit to do it that way more often.

    (ps. I thought moderators weren't supposed to reveal their identities, although everyone seems to be 'breaking' this rule today so Rob, pleas don't bust me)
  • Go to your user page, Rob has added your 'instant Karma' number.

    (good comments too, BTW) :-)

  • If available moderator points are not visible to the moderator then what keeps people moderating? Moderating is 'responsible work' in a certain way, and if it can be 'lost work' then the perceived value of moderating decreases. Everybody will just randomly moderate because there is no control over wether a moderation actually makes difference. I think this introduces unnecessery uncertainity and the resulting noise will just degrade the quality of moderation itself - we dont want that, do we?
  • by expunged ( 30314 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @06:37AM (#1697484) Homepage Journal
    Karma is the sum total of all moderation that's done to you.

    So if you post a lot of stuff that's moderated up, you get good karma. After +20, you start to get a bonus point every time you post (posting at +2 instead of +1). If you post a lot of stuff that's moderated down, you get negative karma. After -10, you start to get a negative "bonus" point (posting at 0 instead of +1).

    So if you start posting with brilliance your karma can go up, and if you start flaming, your karma will go down.

  • by homunq ( 30657 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @07:15AM (#1697495) Homepage
    I don't mind reading the stuff that has been explicitly moderated up as "funny". However, there are a few folks who posted a lot of hair-trigger joke responses. That's great; sometimes they score a direct hit. But when they accumulate enough karma to get a default score of 2, all those jokes start to become annoying.

    So, what's the solution? More feeping creatures. The question is, which ones feep the least?

    -People's karma comes with the adjective that is the "mode" of all their moderation adjectives. Their default-moderation-level posts also acquire this adjective. In your preferences, you can explicitly give a -1 to posts with certain adjectives ("I don't *want* to be amused, dammit!"). Feeps pretty hard, because it requires additions to the already-huge preference screen.

    -You can't attain Enlightenment (enough positive karma for a default upgrade) without a mix of adjectives. Someone with 20 "funny" posts wouldn't make it, but someone with 17 "funnies", 2 "interesting", and an "informative" would. Also highly feepish from an implementation POV, but at least pretty transparent to the user.

    -Only a certain number of posts a day get your default moderation bonus. If you're posting more than once or twice a day, chances are you're not putting excessive thought/new information into each post. This idea is by far the easiest to implement and the cleanest. It would probably solve the problem, even though it doesn't address it directly.
  • I just tried the Meta-Moderation however I noticed a small problem. I clicked on the parent link to see the parent of a comment to put things in context. The problem however was when I hit my back button to to say the moderation was fair.
    Since it's being generated with a perl script it gave me a new set of 10 moderations making looking at the parent useless since I now had a whole new set of moderations to deal with.
  • Please don't cry when you have to code Hyper-meta-moderation because some day you probably will!

    That would be double-Bucky-moderation. After this expands and explodes, it will eventually reach quadruple-Bucky-moderation. We will never reach quintuple-Bucky-moderation because we don't have enough fingers to do so ;^>

  • To be truely unbiased, you should not know for whom you are moderating. The only way I can see that happening is that when you are in "moderator mode" all comments come up as anonymous, and all you have to go on is the content.

    A possible variant for this, for the score side, is that instead of the moderators using a +1/-1 scoring, is that they do not see the original scores, and instead moderate absolutely. If the moderated score is greater than the current score, a +1 is assigned, if less, a -1 is set. If the scores match, then it remains the same, and the moderator doesn't loose a point.

    One problem with the above is that some posts could bounce between scores of say 2-3. Maybe in this case the score would be shown for posts that had been moderated at least 4 times, to allow for the average to settle?

    As for "placebo" moderating, I think it's a bad idea for several reasons, moderators feel they are wasting time and waste of server resources, being just two.
  • Even better, rank the top 50 or 100 posters in terms of karma (which was suggested deep in an earlier thread).

  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Tuesday September 07, 1999 @07:07AM (#1697535) Journal
    Finally is an interesting idea that has been proposed a few times that I just wanted to throw out for discussion. As it stands, you only see the moderator controls when you have moderator points to use. What if the moderator controls were always visible, but when you submitted the form, they were only counted if you had moderator points. Oh, and you wouldn't know if you had points.

    PLEASE don't do this. Whenever I get moderator points, I spend a helluva lot of time reading stuff at -1 and make a real effort to be fair and thorough. If this suggestion was implemented and I just appeared to have access, but didn't know for sure, I just wouldn't bother at all.

    I hate to sound snotty, but I am a technical services manager, have a lot of experience in NT and Linux, have a lot to offer, but I do NOT have time to sit around and waste.

    If you occasionally want me to moderate, fine. I will, I will take it very seriously, and I will be honored by the privilege.

    But please don't jerk me around. It'll get old fast...


  • I have to agree. Why introduce meta-moderation when all it seems to be is a way to cancel out previous bad moderation? That can already be accomplished by regular moderation, so I don't see the point.

    I think it'd be best to let everyone moderate all the time, maybe using karma as a way to determine how many points you have to spend. That way, people would probably end up moderating only when they felt strongly (after an initial flurry of power-greedy moderation, people would get bored of it and moderate only when it struck them to, rather than the current system where I gots 'em for just 3 days, so I better get moderating....)

    As far as Karma goes, I'm pretty sure that negative karma doesn't make much sense. I would think an earn-and-spend model would be more fair and effective. you earn karma for doing good, and you get to spend it. You don't get penalized for doing bad. One way to spend karma might be to moderate a post. Or to upgrade you're own post if you think it's important. I don't think this opens up to too much abuse, because if you didn't make quality posts, you wouldn't get karma to begin with.
  • Why not add Karma statistics page. E.g. 'Your Karma is higher than Karma of 75% Slashdotters' or 'Top 10 Slashdotters by Karma' or 'Your Karma Rank'.

    This would make people try to increase their Karma leading to the better posts and better signal-to-noise ratio.
  • to have the moderation controls always visible, but I think if people thought there was a large chance that they weren't really moderators it would lead to random clicking which would just mess everyone else up.
  • There should be a link or some excerpt of the original story that would allow me know what story the original comment was in response to... and allow me to go look at the article briefly to refresh my memory. I think that this is necessary for accurate meta-moderation. For example... a comment of "wouldn't a Beowulf cluster of those things be cool" comment really isn't that funny on the 4th story about the Sony Playstation II... but asking for a Beowulf cluster in response to the story about the head transplant, that was wickedly funny.

    Also, I noticed that I was asked to meta-moderate the same moderation to the same comment. Even if different moderators made the same moderation, it should roll those multiple identical moderations up, and present it to me as a single request for meta-moderation. Once meta-moderated, it could apply the karma to all the moderators who moderated the comment with the same moderation.

    P.S. I understood what I was trying to say when I first wrote this... but reading it really confused me. I hope someone with better reading comprehension skills than I can figure it out. :)

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard