First Some Comments on M2 and KarmaAs a whole it seems to be working pretty well. Some people are really irritated, other people like it, and some people simply are fretting over their karma way to much. Let me just remind everyone that Karma isn't that important. You should expect to see some karma come and go since your activity is subject to both M1 and M2 moderation. As an aside, M2 moderation will not push you out of the -10...10 range (in other words, being a bad moderator will never cause you to get the Comment Penalty). The only thing karma affects is eligibility for moderation participation.
I really wish I didn't feel obligated to display peoples' karma on their user info page. It tends to be a distraction. It's not supposed to be an integer determining anyone's value as a human being, it merely functions as a sort of 'Risk Factor' for moderation related activities. High Karma means you are a low risk, negative karma means you shouldn't be given tons of moderator points and turned loose on the world ;)
"The Problem"As I see it, the major problem on Slashdot is bad people gaining moderator points. The M2 system is one way to counteract that: An unfair moderator is (theoretically) weeded out. They are still free to post and participate as always, but they can no longer moderate if their karma drops below 0.
"The Assumption"I'm an optimist. I assume that there are more good people than bad people in the discussion groups. I assume that the good people will participate, and help weed out the bad ones. I also assume that eventually there will be world peace and harmony amongst all races and creeds and religions and genders. I'm young and an idealist here, gimme a break ;) As a whole, I think this is true: I've Meta Moderated many times, and I rarely find that more than 20% of moderation is bad. Many moderations are questionable, but rarely do I read one and think "What a moron". But they are there, and I want to try to make it happen less.
"The Solution"On an abstract level, the solution is to restrict the amount of power that any single user has within the system. Certain restrictions are in place already: moderators occasionally get 5 points, they and they lose them after 3 days, can't post and moderate the same discussion etc. Each of limits is designed to reduce the risk that any given person can screw with the system.
Each of these limits suck for a good moderator. This is given: the naughty people force rules to exist for the good people. If those 84 year old blue haired ladies who drive on the yellow line at 20MPH with their left turn signal on weren't around, maybe we wouldn't have speed limits either (Note: I also tend to drive 5-10 MPH under the speed limit and regularly forget to turn off my blinker, so I am part of the problem ;)
"The Idea"The idea is inspired by M2 moderations removing of the ability to choose what you M2 moderate. (This is flawed of course because you can reload and get 10 new comments but I'll fix that eventually). It also is a pain because you have no context for many of the comments. By not choosing which comments you can moderate, the risk of doing something inappropriate is greatly reduced: eg, when Mr. Bad Moderator gets 5 points he waits until GNOME article appears and then moderates all the pro-KDE comments down.
The solution is to reduce the probability that Mr. Bad Moderator can moderate a comment that pushes his agenda. This is what the point limits and the time limits are designed to accomplish today, and what this idea is designed to accomplish should we decide to implement them.
So here are the ideas:
- Put 5x (Numbers are Variables here: Don't complain about them!) as many moderators into the system.
- When you have moderator access, only display moderate controls on say 20% of the comments.
- Increase the percentage of moderatable comments based on karma.
It makes sense: negative karma users would never moderate, and more karma would give you more choice in your moderation. It would cripple good moderators because they might see a bad comment but be helpless to moderate it, However since there are 5x more moderators, the odds are someone else will get it. Side benefits include more people given "a shot" at moderating and more people will be allowed to contribute. If the M2 stuff works, the bad moderators will lose karma and no longer be allowed to moderate, and the better moderators will be given a larger percentage of all comments to moderate.
Another Sort of unrelated idea:
- Integrate M2 into the comments display tree: this solves the context problem that the existing metamod page has. Simply randomly select the occasional moderated comment for M2 moderation. Plus its much more "Real Time" and becomes less of a secondary chore. Plus it allows more people to participate since M2 moderation has much less restrictions on it. The downside is that this might be a pretty serious performance hit. I haven't really thought through it yet, but its an interesting thought. Comments on it?