Recently another user accused me of fancying myself the King of Moderation. Well, I am (sorry, CmdrTaco). So, forthwith, I proclaim:
Most Slashdot moderators do a great job. But there are a few who deserve special mention. And by "special" I mean "Timmy has a special helmet" special. There's at least one type for each of the descriptors.
Insightful doesn't mean "I agree." It means "That post contains a substantive point which no one in the discussion brought up before." Here's a hint: "ME TO" is probably not Insightful, even if the parent was the best Slashdot post EVAR!!1. "DRM sucks" or "M$ sucks" are not Insightful either. They're too obvious.
Almost any post can be "interesting" in someone's eyes so it's hard to abuse Interesting, but some mouth-breathers manage anyway, again by using Interesting to mean "I agree." Repetitive posts making well-known arguments are exactly the ones that aren't Interesting, unless you just like your little echo chamber.
Here's a hint: if you don't know it for a fact, don't mod it Informative until ou verify it... it's really bad when you see something like "No laptop has a DVI-D port" modded Informative. (Here's a hint: I'm typing on a MacBook Pro...)
No Soviet Russia, Beowulf, or Korean old people joke has been funny in years and years and years. If you mod them funny, you're just abusing your fellow users who browse at a high threshold and have to see them anyway. Please stop.
Just like Insightful, but in reverse. Flamebait (and Troll, while I'm at it) do not mean "I disagree." Flamebait is a special kind of troll, designed to evoke heated responses and start a flamewar. A strong opinion, by itself, is not flamebait, or any sort of troll.
As a perfect example, I recently had the following post moderated Troll (which, in part, inspired me to write this journal):
I appreciate the severity of the blizzard and am glad you got home safely. But an all-wheel-drive car with good snow tires would have done the same job. If you were caught off-road, you would have had a much better chance with a Wrangler or short-wheelbase pickup. Your experience doesn't change the fact that other vehicles do everything SUVs do much better.
Controversial? Sure. Strong opinion? Absolutely. Respond and flame away. Mod me "Overrated" if you don't think it's worth a "4, Insightful." But, if that post was a troll, then I am a schnauzer.
Speaking of Troll, real trolls are "trolling" for victims or responses. Goatse links, famous copy-paste trolls such as ATTN: SWITCHEURS!, intentionally wrong posts designed to get n00bs posting away: those are Troll. Crapfloods, GNAA shit, "m0d 3own," and posts designed to break Slashcode are not seeking victims and are therefore not Troll. They are merely Offtopic. Mod accordingly.
And my favorite of all, Redundant
Redundant means "the idea has been expressed before in the discussion, and therefore there is no purpose for this post." It doesn't mean "I disagree" or "This idea was expressed on Slashdot two years ago" or "I can't find any appropriate downmod but I want to m0d 3own." And the first post is probably not redundant.
Another common problem with Redundant is that people don't check the times of posts before modding when viewing in nested mode. Where there are two redundant posts, the first one often gets modded Redundant if it was posted in response to a later reply. Posts also unfairly get modded Redundant when two similar ones were made at exactly the same time. Check the timestamps... or are you too "special" to read the time? I thought that might be it.
Overrated or Underrated
If you're using these because you agree or disagree (not because you actually think the post has been over- or underrated, or because you're trying to award karma for Funny) then you are a chickenshit. Subject yourself to metamoderation like the rest of us, wuss.
Edit: I totally forgot to mention one of the more interesting moderation quirks I've run across. I have been known to post some controversial political opinions from time to time. Unsurprisingly, these often start mod wars, with much moderation both up and down occurring. After maybe 12 hours, people aren't reading anymore, and the dust settles. But, often, two days later, someone will come along and mod down all my posts in an entire thread. I have never had an up mod happen to a political post this late. I am liberal; is there a cadre of conservative mods who like to swoop in at the last minute and get the last word?