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Journal Journal: Want to see something bad happen? 22

Talk about a case for deleting comments. This guy has got problems. Load it quick before the men in suits come.


<Captain_Tenille> Seen the presidential threat comment yet?
<rusty_> oh yeah
<rusty_> he's gonna get a visit
<Captain_Tenille> Have *you* been contacted by the goons yet?
<rusty_> yep
<Captain_Tenille> Oh my
<rusty_> i turned over the info. this is as clear-cut a case as I cna possibly imagine. I just wish the secret service would investigate threats made on ordinary people too


Journal Journal: Anybody Moderating Again? 12

Got Points?

Remember back when Taco et al went on a reign of terror and banned hundreds of users in a little Civil War? We all got the $rtbl flag for moderating up a single post... And most of us are aware that Administrator-enforced blacklisting died with the $rtbl (Realtime Black Hole List).

What I'd like is for everyone who was originally banned from moderating (anyone who was $rtbl'd) to talk about whether they've gotten mod points since the $rtbl was repealed. Everyone should be able to MetaMod now, but I'm talking about flat out Mod Points.

People have often pointed out that just because Slashcode is open doesn't mean Slashdot is. I'd like to know how many formerly $rtbl'd users have gotten mod points, how many haven't... post your experiences, post-$rtbl.

The Gimp

Journal Journal: New Issue of Trollback! 2

I wanted to let everyone know that a new issue of Trollback hits the shelves today. Much of the credit for this issue goes to our newest editor Gustavo. Grab yourself a copy and enjoy.



Journal Journal: GPGP for Slashbots and Normal People 18

Since I've started posting anonymously and signing my posts, I've received a surprising number of emails along the following lines:

  • What's to keep me from signing my emails with your key?
  • Is this post yours?!?! (link)
  • How do I validate your signatures?
  • You idiot, signatures require a pen!!!

While I'm hoping that a large percentage of these emails are just people trying to troll me, I guess it's only fair that I present a quick HOWTO document for checking GPG signatures. You can use this document to determine whether or not a /. post was actually written by me (quite a few with my name on it aren't).

Step 1: Getting the software.

Windows users (Graphical Installer for GPG)
Source Code for all Unix users

If you're a Windows user, unzip the file and run the setup program. If you're a Unix user, you probably know what you're doing, i.e. ./configure;make;su -;make install. Additionally most modern Linux distributions (specifically RedHat) come with some version of GPG; just type 'gpg --version' to see if you have it.

Step 2: Getting my key

My key is available from Slashdot's public key hosting space: http://slashdot.org/~sllort/pubkey . All you need to do is save this web page (or its text contents) to a file somewhere on your hard drive, using wget in Linux or Save As in Windows. Next, you'll want to import my key. There are a number of ways to do this, but the best is probably to use the command line and 'gpg --import'. Just type 'gpg --import (name of my public key on your hard drive). Here's an example of how to do it in Linux:

[root@slashdot.org root]# wget http://slashdot.org/~sllort/pubkey;gpg --import pubkey
--12:47:15-- http://slashdot.org/%7Esllort/pubkey
                      => `pubkey.1'
Resolving slashdot.org... done.
Connecting to slashdot.org[]:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: unspecified [text/plain]
        [ ] 1,298 181.08K/s
19:47:15 (181.08 KB/s) - `pubkey' saved [1298]

gpg: key E8D51376: not changed
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg: unchanged: 1

Your output will look a little different since you'll be importing a new key, not an old one.

Step 3: Validating a signature

This is somewhat tricky. Any post in which I use HTML formatting such as bold, italics, links, etc, must be copied from the HTML source, not from your browser. I try to avoid HTML formatting for just this reason, so if you don't see bold or italics, just highlight and copy the whole thing from '----BEGIN PGP' to 'END PGP SIGNATURE-----'. Nice Windows clients like NAI's PGP let you validate the contents of your clipboard (nice!) - this lets you highlight, right click, and press 'Validate PGP Signature'. The basic way to do this is to paste your selection into a file, save the file, and run 'gpg --verify' on the file like this:

[root@slashdot.org]# gpg --verify .sllortpost
gpg: Signature made Tue 29 Oct 2002 12:51:18 PM EST using DSA key ID E8D51376
gpg: Good signature from "Sibil Llort (sllort) "

If you see anything other than 'Good signature from Sibil Llort', you're reading content from one of my dilligent fanboy impersonators. Lucky you!




Journal Journal: Moderation Guidelines: an Addendum 15

Slashdot Moderation Guidelines : Addendum.

Slashdot's venerable Moderation Guidelines have long been a subject of speculation and interpretation. This is due in large part to the fact that they contain almost no information on how one should actually moderate. The Guidelines are in general rife with vague handwaving such as 'Bad Comments are flamebait' [sic] (from which we can divine that 'Flamebait' always means 'bad comment', as illogical as that may sound). This addendum has been written to be a useful resource for new Moderators and battle-hardened Slashdot readers alike. It is my intention that this Addendum, frequently updated, shall serve as a companion document to the original Guidelines and hopefully improve the quality of Slashdot moderation in general. If you would like others to read this document, you can place a link to it in your signature or user history:

<a href=/~sllort/journal/15007>have you read the Moderation Guidelines Addendum?</a>

General principles.

  • Patience. As a moderator, you have five points and three days to use them. There's no need to 'blow your load' and go moderate everything at once. You have a very limited amount of influence. You should save it for comments which are extraordinary, whether they be extraordinarily good or extraordinarily bad. If you are knowledgeable about something, pick stories which you know something about to moderate - this will help you to avoid accidentally moderating up garbage. Additionally, the best comments in a story are usually written well after the story is posted. In general, ignore the first hundred comments before you moderate.
  • Maturity. When you moderate a user, you affect their karma, an internal score which is the single most important thing in dictating someone else's Slashdot experience. If you negatively moderate the same user with all your points (for instance), that user will probably be gagged from posting, and may suffer a decrease in their posting score, a decrease in their number of posts per day, and other negative consequences. You have been granted power which, if exercised malicously, can be used to silence or even eliminate someone else's voice from Slashdot. Approach this ability with maturity, and avoid using it. While Slashdot Editors have been known to use this power in anger, Slashdot users must hold themselves to a higher standard.
  • Objectivity. It's easy to hold your own convictions close to your chest. When someone thoughtfully points out that the Verisign certificate used by Windows Update is in fact more secure than apt-get without signature checking, it's easy for Linux users to get angry at their operating system's weakness and direct that anger into bad moderation. While this is just one example, it's applicability is universal: don't break the system and moderate poorly just because someone has pointed out a fact you're uncomfortable with. As it stands, this is probably the #1 problem with Slashdot moderation today.

How to view a story
You may have already heard that Moderators should always view a story in '-1,Nested,Newest First', with all your Reason Modifiers set to Zero. If you haven't heard this before, now is the time to memorize it, because it's true. Here's why:

  • Threshold: -1. Yes, you have to read the crap at -1 as a Moderator. Horrors! It's really not that bad, especially if you're reading the newest posts first, and not reading the first 100 comments. After the first 100 comments have gone by, most of the stuff that the average Slashdot reader objects to is no longer posted (because the visibility is too low to bother). The reason it is so important to read at -1 is to spot posts that have been unfairly moderated to this level and correct the mistakes. You won't believe how often this happens until you read at -1 and see for yourself.
  • Nested: This is simple - the best comments on Slashdot are almost always replies, so you should read all of them. This is because, in general, people who reply have first considered someone else's opinion before considering their own. Think about it.
  • Newest First: This too is a no-brainer. The older a comment is in a story, the less time someone spent thinking about it and writing it. Newer comments include people who read the article, people who did some research, or people who learned something new. All the good comments are the newest ones, and they are also the ones that Moderators tend to ignore. You can fix this problem by reading Newest First.

Remember to set your Reason Modifiers (located in User Preferences->Homepage) to zero if you've modified them already. Nonzero Reason Modifiers will distort your view of comments so that you can't find out what tier comments are viewed in by default.
- Krow, 10/23/02

So remember: -1, Nested, Newest first, zero Reason Modifiers. Don't click Moderate without it.

Moderation Scores
This is probably the biggest mystery on Slashdot. What do Insightful, Informative, Interesting, Offtopic, Flamebait, and Troll actually mean? You'd be surprised how many people don't know. This is probably because Slashdot has never documented what these labels mean. Are they mystical, magical, and purely subjective...? No. Here's what they really mean.

  • Troll: The Big Ugly Moderation, reserved for those nasty people who live under bridges and eat children. What is a Troll comment? Well, the Troll moderation actually comes from the phrase "trolling for newbies", a fishing reference. The Troll moderation does not have anything to do with mythical creatures, and never has. Dedicated gun nut and German dance sensation Eric Raymond defined in detail what a troll is in his Jargon File. While hard to define, a Troll comment is a very specialized type of post which is crafted by an author to provoke replies which reveal the person replying to be stupid or immature. The key requirement when you are considering moderating a comment as a 'Troll' is to determine whether or not the person writing it was just kidding. This requires a great deal of insight, a personal trusted relationship with the author, or (preferably) psychic powers. If you are unsure of the author's intent, avoid this label like the plague, as you will (justifiably) be destroyed by MetaModeration. The Troll label is for 'experts only'.
  • Flamebait: It is noteworthy to point out that the Jargon File entry for Flamebait reads 'See also: troll'. Flamebait is actually more specific than Troll, as it is a moderation label for troll posts which are designed to start an angry discussion or 'flamewar'. Because flamewars are universally stupid, Flamebait and Troll both meet the general requirement of attempting to humiliate anyone who replies. Flamebait is even harder to use than Troll, and requires not only the psychic ability to read the intent of the original poster, but also the ability to determine that the author was attempting to provoke a flamewar. This is a double-diamond super-expert moderation label. If you can use it correctly, you're probably either psychic or God. Keyword: correctly.
  • Underrated: The most confusingly labelled moderation in existence, this should probably be renamed 'Good'. Underrated provides a means of raising a comment's score without judging it, and this dovetails with our goal of Objectivity nicely. Because you're not attempting to divine why a comment is good, you are not subject to MetaModeration when using Underrated. If you are a beginning moderator, you should probably use this 100% of the time. Once you are an expert, you can toss in the occasional "Informative" or suchlike moderation when you're really, really sure.
  • Overrated: Overrated is also poorly labelled, as it can in general be applied to comments which are scored too highly but also to comments which are bad, useless, or stupid (for which no moderation labels exist). This can apply to content-free 'first-posts', meaningless babble, etc. Overrated is especially useful when attempting to wipe out the smattering of +5 scored comments from the first 100 posts which are content-free and posted for the sole purpose of elevating a user's karma. Overrated should be your negative moderation of choice, except in cases where you're 100% sure something is way Offtopic, or you're a psychic capable of using Troll. Remember, Overrated is immune to MetaModeration!
  • Offtopic: The most abused moderation on Slashdot. The most important rule when using Offtopic is that the context of a post is relative to its parent. Therefore direct replies to the story should have something vaguely to do with the story, and direct replies to a comment should have something vaguely to do with that comment!. Here is an example:
    1. Poster A replies to a story about video cards with the comment 'I have one of these and I like it a lot'.
    2. Poster B replies to poster A with the comment 'Thanks for sharing. Your comment told me nothing, idiot.'

    Which one of these comments should be marked Offtopic? Neither. They both are direct, on-topic replies to their parent post. The second comment is probably Overrated, though, because it contributes little to the discussion, and there is no 'Uncreative Insult' moderation label.

  • Insightful, Informative, Interesting: These vanilla positive moderations are pretty easy to understand, and require little interpretation. Remember that when you use them, you limit the ability of a comment to be interpreted as anything else. If a comment is both insightful and informative (think Jon Carmack) and you label it Informative, you've put the comment in a little labelled box that constrains it from being thought of as insightful unless someone actually reads the comment. Remember that each label has a subjective, user-defined score, and some people may have Informative rated higher than Interesting - so be careful when boxing up comments to make sure they fit. Remember, when you're not sure, use Underrated. If a comment is already marked as Informative, and that label is correct, there is no need to pile on another Informative moderation. Just use Underrated instead.
  • Funny: Never use this. Well, ok, you can use it, but understand that a lot of people have it set to zero. If you've never read Laugh Lab's 'world's funniest joke', now is the time for you to read it. This will help you understand that what you find funny is often not what someone else finds funny, and things that are universally funny are at best mildly amusing. That said, this moderation can be appropriate, but it's usually just a waste of your points.

Moderation Thresholds

This is probably the least understood facet of moderating on Slashdot. There are seven possible scores for every comment, each score representing a tier with requirements for each tier. If a comment is where it belongs, leave it there - otherwise move it. That is your job as a moderator.

  • +5 : Absolute Gold. Comments worthy of a score of 5 are rare, and may not occur in every story. A +5 comment should be clearly written and contain information which really makes you a better person for having read it. Think about that requirement for a minute before realizing how few comments actually fit that bill.
  • +4 : The Good Stuff. This is the category for exceptional comments which are not just clearly written but contain something valuable such as unique information, a relevant experience, or a new perspective.
  • +3 : Good Comments. This is where you put just the good comments, stuff that may have some spelling or grammar errors but is far from useless. Informative links, calls for comments, enlightened discussion in general.
  • +2 : Good conversation. This is where most regular Slashdot readers post by default. Toss someone out of this tier only if their content is hard to understand or lacks value. A little bit of adversarial tussling is ok in this tier.
  • +1 : Average Conversation. This is where the millions of screaming voices that make up a Slashdot discussion should sit. Nothing extraordinary, nothing particularly well written nor anything particularly abusive. Moving someone down from this tier should only be done for good reason, such as abuse or illegibility.
  • Zero : Anything but Abuse. Leave everything at tier zero unless it has a reason to go up except abuse.
  • -1 : Abuse. This is the tier for attempts to break browsers, rendering hacks, malicious exploits of Slashdot or user browsers, hate speech, and copyright infringment. Think of tier -1 as 'deleted', and use it with the utmost care. Nothing belongs at tier -1 unless it was written to harm someone else.

Go forth and Moderate!

Hopefully reading this document has made you a better moderator (or at least helped you understand the system better). I will continue to add good suggestions to this document as I learn more, so feel free to send me your ideas and suggestions via the comment section or via email at operation_mongoose 'at' ziplip.com.

Have fun,


User Journal

Journal Journal: The birth of Anonymous Hero 34

Hash: SHA1

Moderation is a game. The only way to win is not to play.

What is the value of a dollar? The answer is that a dollar is worth as much as the government says it is worth. Money is a game we play to create scarcity in the face of abundance; it is a means of keeping track of something imaginary. So what is a Karma point worth? Well, it's worth whatever CmdrTaco says it's worth. Karma is an imaginary thing that has gained value through an electronic construct. sound familiar? The truth is that Slashdot is in many ways the first of the Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Games. Before the first castle in Ultima Online, there was a user with the most Karma to blow.

Slashdot has changed quite a bit since those days. We have a strict levelling system defined now. Here are the various levels you can achieve, and the powers you are granted at each level:

Levelling up

Last I checked, here are the various levels in the vast Role Playing Game that is Slashdot:
(Your score in the game is called 'karma'):

  • Score: -24 to -10: Ghost. Ghost players attack (post comments) with a -1 threshold, making them unable to hit any target except those who choose to be hit. Ghost players are limited to two attacks per day, and the label 'Terrible' is placed next to their name.
  • Score: -9 to -1: Zombie. Zombie players attack with a threshold of Zero, making only their subject lines visible and reducing the effectiveness of their attacks. Zombie players, like ghost players, can only attack twice per day, and the label 'Bad' is placed next to their name.
  • Score: Zero: Dying player. In this transitional state, a player appears to be a normal player, but the label 'Neutral' is placed by their name to signal that they are close to death.
  • Score: 1-12: Journeyman. A journeyman player can attack ten times a day with a score of one. The label 'Positive' is placed by their name.
  • Score: 12-25: Adventurer. An Adventurer attacks with the same effectiveness as a journeyman, but has the label 'Good' placed by their name.
  • Score: 26-50: Sword Saint. A sword saint can devastate his opponents in combat, attacking with a bonus of +2 and flaming them up to twenty-five times per day. Sword Saint players have a distinct advantage, but they are not invincible.

Player killing

So how do you turn a Sword Saint into a Ghost? Well, player killing is alive and well on Slashdot. I'm not going to go into the details of player killing in this article, but suffice it to say that it is possible to defend yourself from normal players but not from Editors. The best way to defend yourself is to create as many separate accounts as you can, and continue levelling them up. This is very time consuming, and it's one way to keep you 'hooked' on the game.


Guilds are a recent addition to the game of Slashdot, and they were retro-fitted and bolted on in much the same manner that many MMORPG's added guild support after product launch due to massive player demands. Basically, Guilds allow you communicate more easily with your allies and gain bonuses to your attacks when attacking enemies, though these bonuses are temporary and cannot be used for player killing.

How do I win the game?

Before addressing how to win the Slashdot MMORPG, it's important to look at how other similar games are won. For instance, how do you win at Ultima Online? I believe the answer to that is that if you play, you have already lost. The only people winning in the MMORPG market are Origin, Microsoft, Verant, et al, i.e. the people taking your money. The more time you spend playing, the more time you spend losing. While you are questing for karma, trying to get just one more level, you are losing. Perhaps the only way to win is not to play.

Consider for a moment that when you mark another account as a foe, you assign a numeric penalty to that person's comments which causes you to never view them again. This means you have judged everything this person will ever say in advance, and deemed those future words not worth viewing. You have prejudged them. You are engaging in automated prejudice. How do you explain that to your kids?

The only way to win is not to play

The game is a construct not just to waste your time but to manipulate what you say. If you have ever altered what you post to Slashdot because of fear of karma retribution or the possiblity of a karma reward, then you have bowed to the pressure of an artificial system, a plastic reality placed upon you in order to control you.

I challenge you to break free of the system. You can still post comments to Slashdot without playing the game. You can do it very easily. Just post everything as an anonymous coward. How will people know it's you? Use you public key to sign your comments. If everyone did this, the game would be over, and everyone would win. It's a huge prisoner's dillema, to be sure, but only if you are still worried about getting a high score.

This journal is probably being read by quite a few Sword Saints thinking to themselves 'how can I afford to stop attacking with my +2 bonus??'. Stop thinking inside the box. It's probably harming your brain.

- -s.
Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: For info see http://www.gnupg.org


The Gimp

Journal Journal: Trollback 11

Why is it that after all these years we don't have a trolling topic? I've picked "The Gimp" because naming software after insults for handicapped people is the most offensive thing I can find in the list. Hopefully someday Stallman will write a web editor named "The Gook" and prove me wrong, but until then, this will have to do.

Enough beating about the bush. Our semi-regular almost-collaborative non-publication, Trollback, has a new issue, and I have almost no responsibility for it. Enjoy.



Journal Journal: Trading $rtbl for ~rtbl 63

Today marks a pretty big policy change for Slashdot. $rtbl, the database flag whose presence indicated a user had disagreed with the Editors and been "blackholed" from the Mod system, has been totally removed. There is no $rtbl flag, no secret list of banned users. Thousands of banned accounts can now participate in MetaModeration and Moderation. Moderator eligibility appears to be affected only by your click count.

What happened? Did they listen to us?

I'd like to believe that, but sadly evidence points towards a different scenario. When the Zoo (journals/friends/foes) system was first introduced, Starship Trooper predicted that it was a plot to maintain an interlockling blacklist of verboten users. I wasn't so sure. ST went on to propose that the account No More Trolls was an Editor-maintained blacklist. Not surprisingly, Mr. Trooper was right all along.

Trading $rtbl for ~rtbl

The secret blacklist $rtbl has been replaced with an open blacklisting system. The first step was implemented today. Take a look at your friends list and your foes list. If you have enough friends and foes, you should see new, pill -shaped icons that represent the second degree of seperation: "foes of friend", "friend of foe", "friend of friend", etc. The next step in this system will be the addition of user-assignable penalties for each relationship. Example : "Don't show me comments by foes of my friends". This would allow you to subscribe to an Editor maintained troll blacklist and drop all comments posted from accounts that that blacklist is tracking. Some users may eventually surpass editors in their dilligence of tracking new accounts they disagree with, and users will be able to subscribe to these blacklists as well.

It is probably a better blacklisting system than SurfWatch ever dreamed of having. A huge, opt-in based referral network which will allow thousands of people to subscribe to lists which will filter out all comments except the ones they agree with.

Once the system is fully implemented, I suggest you subscribe to the new $rtbl. This account will be used to dilligently track hypocrites. For more information on blacklists, visit this site.


P.S. This change is a huge step in the right direction. At least now there isn't undocumented secret blacklisting and skewed M2 voting results.

P.P.S. There may still be ways of banning users from M1 & M2, but I'm getting the news out as fast as I can. Please correct any inaccuracies in the comments section. Jamie mentions "revoking M2 access" in this comment but I haven't found any new mechanisms for permanently revoking M1/M2 access - let me know if you find them.

P.P.P.S. The messaging system notifies Moderators of the voting results of M2 that affected their Moderation. In my opinion, this is the kind of visibility that has been sorely lacking. A good change, even if it took me too long to mention (ok guys?).

P.P.P.P.S. As tps12 points out, I belive that for better or worse this is a good change. Sorry if I came off too negative. At least now, it's all in the open. For now..... things look decent.


Journal Journal: Attention MySql Experts (a call for comments) 23

Have you ever noticed you can't view old Slashdot comments by users who have posted more than 24 comments? For instance, take a look at this user page. That account has posted 702 comments, of which only 24 are linked.
Slashcode has the ability to display old comments, but it is disabled for Slashdot itself. I talked to CmdrTaco about this in IRC a few days back. I'm not going to bother pasting an entire IRC log in here, but I will present the following summary of what I learned:

  • Slashdot does not enable old comment viewing ('morecomments') because it does not scale to Slashdot's volume (i.e. it generates too much database load).
  • Allowing each Slashdot user to view old comments only once per day would also generate too much load.
  • Allowing each Slashdot user to view only one old comment per day would also generate too much load
  • A patch which would generate a static HTML page per user of old comments, regenerate these static pages every night during offpeak hours for users who had posted new comments would be rejected because it would generate too much load on Slashdot

This is all well and good, and nobody wants to tax Slashdot's servers to death. CmdrTaco wasn't able to mention any specifics about why this operation would generate too much load on Slashdot's servers because he's too tired of explaining technical details about Slashdot.

But I'm curious. Having read the code, it appears to me that MySql just makes a SELECT call on a table full of comments with the most recent comment id as the index every time you load users.pl (given it caches this page, but it still has to be regenerated regularly). I can't figure out why changing the index on this select call would generate as much as 1000x as much load on the MySql database, and neither can anyone else I've asked.
So, my open call for comments is as follows:

  1. Why do you think retrieving old comments is so hardware intensive for MySql/Slash?
  2. Can you think of any way to view old Slashdot comments without modifying what Slashdot is running?

Please don't bother responding "use google", search engines don't archive posts at zero, -1, or in journals, rendering them nearly useless.

I'm sure someone out there is a brilliant MySql programmer who knows why retrieving older records can nearly destroy a database's performance. Enlighten me!


Journal Journal: Overrated : Still not being abused 6

Moderation of "Richard" Monday July 22, @01:50PM *
Moderation of "Re:Minor correction" Monday July 22, @01:51PM *
Moderation of "Re:Palladium is E-V-I-L" Monday July 22, @01:52PM *
Moderation of "Re:Palladium is E-V-I-L" Monday July 22, @01:52PM *
Moderation of "Aptly named" Monday July 22, @01:54PM

When someone uses Overrated to moderate down five of your comments in five minutes, regardless of content, remember : they're not using Overrated to escape M2. The site's owner is sure of it.

This happens to me all the time; I'm not trying to complain about it; I'm just sharing the messages log for everyone. This is why I still use this account to post comments : it keeps things challenging. If this kind of thing has happened to you, feel free to comment on your experience.


Journal Journal: Slashcode Updates 13

Many of you have noticed that CmdrTaco has changed a few things in Slashcode this week. The three changes I've observed so far are:

  1. Karma displayed as an adjective
  2. Karma score determines posting limit
  3. Client IP addresses placed in readonly mode more easily

None of these are earth-shattering, so I'm going to cover them as a group.

Karma score determines posting limit:
Taco reminds everyone in this (non-archived) post that:
"KARMA DOES NOT MATTER". He goes on to prove this by making karma determine how many times you can post a day. Remember, you shouldn't use all caps, because caps is like being wrong. Here's a summary of how important karma actually is now, and while some of these details may be off, this reflects my best knowledge from reading Slashcode:
Karma: (PPD is posts per day)
26_50 : Post at 2, 25 PPD, Karma = Excellent
12_25 : Post at 1, 10 PPD, Karma = Good
1_12 : Post at 1, 10 PPD, Karma = Positive
Zero : Post at 1, 10 PPD, Karma = Neutral
-9_-1 : Post at 0, 2 PPD, Karma = Bad
-24_-10: Post at -1, 2 PPD, Karma = Terrible

Note that (as Taco points out) these are the default values in Slashcode atm; Slashdot itself may at any time be running with different values. Each IPID/SubnetId is allowed 10 AC posts per day, unless an IP is being 'abused', at which point things get more complicated. So the land of -1 trolling should be moving to threshold Zero, AC. Taco stated on IRC that the rate limiting change was made to prevent scripted crapflooding from -1 Accounts. I'd love to see a link to this crapflooding (I've never seen it) so if any of you have seen it, email me at operation_mongoose 'at' ziplip.com.

Karma adjectives:
Here's CmdrTaco's journal on the subject, and here's the non-archived discussion on the topic. Read it while you can, it will be deleted in two weeks. Taco states that he didn't just enable comments in his journal because he "didn't want people trolling his journal". Additionally, all the comments he made WRT to changes in the Karma system will be deleted. Make of this what you will.

Client IP addresses placed in readonly mode more easily
My details on this aren't very good, but as many have pointed out, the "readonly" error message seems to be popping up more often. The message is "You can't post to this page." and it appears when your IP address has been marked readonly. Basically, readonly mode means you're banned from posting anything, but you can still read the site. I think the only modification was one to the criteria for being placed in readonly mode, but I don't know exactly what the change is, only that pudge mentioned in IRC that he turned it up too high, and that now everything should be "Ok". If you've been placed in readonly mode, feel free to leave a comment and tell us what you did to get there. AFAIK, you can be placed in readonly mode for posting Offtopic comments as AC, or for posting a lot of comments that receive negative moderation as AC (ex: Windows is a pretty good O/S). That's just my experience; fill me in on yours.

That's all for now,


Journal Journal: Selected reading from the Slashdot FAQ 6

What follows are important highlights from the Slashdot FAQ. I've used hyperlinks to make this portion of the FAQ easier to read.

3. Do not require a huge amount of time from any single moderator.
4. Do not allow a single moderator a reign of terror.

Why don't you give moderators unlimited moderator access to 5 stories instead of giving them just 5 points?

It's a good question. Moderators' primary complaint is that they are often crippled by the tiny amount of points they have, and the overwhelming amount of comments that need moderation. If a good moderator could moderate all the comments in a given story, certainly that would be a great improvement.
The problem is that a single bad moderator could wreak havoc across those same 5 stories. By limiting the number of moderation points to 5, any single moderator can only do so much damage. Sure they can only do so much *good* too, but that's the trade-off. I'd rather see a hundred comments unmoderated then see a hundred comments moderated badly by some jerk with an axe to grind.

Do editors moderate?
The Slashdot Editors have unlimited mod points, and we have no problem using them. These moderations represent approximately 8% of all moderation, and according to Meta Moderation, the fairness of these comments is statistically indistinguishable from the moderation of non admin users (92-93% of moderations are ruled 'Fair'). You can argue that this is somehow inherently unfair, but one of the goals of Slashdot is to produce readable content for a variety of readers with a variety of reading habits, and this process improves discussions for the vast majority of Slashdot Readers, so it will stay this way.


Journal Journal: Slashdot Blackout Conclusions 5

Update : Starship Trooper has an easy-to-read version of the final stats here.

You'll want to read the raw data I published on comment posting percentages during the Slashdot blackout. They are far from final, but they are representative of the first five days. It would be far more accurate to get real average data on comments posted per-day, as well as the standard deviation. I don't have that kind of time, and for reasons I'll explain later, I don't think we need to be that accurate to reach a conclusion. To summarize the data, total posts and posts at threshold +2 have dropped approximately 10% during the "Great Slashdot Blackout".

I could go on all day about whether or not 10% matters, but consider this: Taco needs about two pages of "Insightful" comments for normal Slashdot readers to view, per page, in order for Slashdot to continue to have a "stories and comments" format that people come here to read. For any kind of blackout to cut into this, you'd need over a 99% reduction in comments. In short, maybe 10% of Slashdot posters stopped posting this week. It doesn't fucking matter. No individual users or even a large group of motivated users is going to change the course of this web site. Taco has a history of ignoring his userbase, and I don't blame him. His programmers are trained to reject nearly every piece of code submitted to them with the rubber-stamp "it doesn't scale" - trying to contribute to Slash if you're not a personal friend of Slashteam is a futile exercise that I've remained wise enough to stay away from.

In short, while I admire rho & company's effort to create a reasonable and heartfelt protest, it was doomed to fail. Sorry guys.

The only thing that has ever effectively prompted change at Slashdot is publicly embarrasing Slashteam. To my knowledge, every heartfelt polite request ever has been patiently ignored. Feel free to prove me wrong, but I believe history is on my side. If being civil or contributing code had any chance of succeeding, I would have tried it by now.

You may think I'm being a little hard on the folks at Slashdot. You're right. Considering that their subscription system has generated about three grand in revenue, they've got much bigger problems to worry about. Like how they're going to pay for food. Or why the subscription system and business model at fark makes so much more sense than theirs.

So for now, I'm content to declare the "Blackout" a failure, and let it be. I've got better things to worry about, and I bet you all do too.

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