Many users provided me with interesting bits of feedback about my plans to replace threshold with viewing modes and volume controls. Overwhelmingly positive feedback with a few good points that I'll take into consideration. The biggest challange will be retaining context for users who want it. This will be tied to volume controls... we will provide a drop down with a few different volume controls: one will be very strict, choosing only the best comments, often (usually?) at the expense of context. Another setting will provide many comments and more context... at the bottom will be an uncut view with all the glorious context, even if said context is crap... I think this is gonna work out pretty well.
My next major problem is the moderation labels. Insightful, Informative, Interesting. These have a lot of overlap. I'd like to update the list of mod labels with a handful of new labels that will make it easier to focus discussions. We're not gonna add things like 'Pun' or 'Asshole', but I would love to do a better job letting moderators choose appropriate labels. Perhaps labels that address specific problems (plagerisim? opinionated? misleading?). I don't know exactly what these labels are... but I always appreciate feedback (in my journal if you can post, or my inbox if you can't). A good moderation label has a matching up and down label (like Funny, Unfunny). I really hope that most labels in the revamp have opposites so we can remove 'Overrated' and 'Underrated' and instead let you moderate an Interesting comment as Uninteresting. (Assuming we keep 'Interesting' that is).
A very good point was made by a forgotten user who emailed me... why include a score at all? Percentages? Scores? What true benefit does this provide a casual reader? Assuming our scoring system works, your preferences say "I want to read only a few comments, and I want to read with less humor". Do they really CARE that a comment that they are reading scores within the 93rd percentile of all comments? If they want to read more comments, they simply choose a mode that gives them more comments. We can offer scores to logged in users who turn them on... but for anonymous users reading at default modes, are the scores simply distracting? I'm not talking about the labels here... I think a comment with a note in the header saying it is 60% Insightful is more helpful than today's "Score:4" or a revised system with something like '55th Percentile". Users will always be able to find the garbage posts by increasing the volume of comments they read... but some users carry their Score:-1 comments as a badge of honor, or proof of a conspiracy against them. Anything I can do to remove "The Game" can only serve to improve the focus of discussions for the vast majority of our readers who never post, and just don't want to read garbage.
I suspect that would be a helluva controversial move tho.
It's also worth noting that the Karma Bonus is deprecated under this new system... I think that might bother people too... posters LIKE their karma bonus. I get angry email whenever ANYTHING related to the bonus comes into question. Users feel that it is their god given right to have that checkbox. But in this new system, the function... the simple Score+1 bonus no longer really exists... instead the users karma is one of countless factors used to sort discussions. It's probably worth running some stats to see what % of users with the karma bonus available to them choose to use it vs disable it.