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User Journal

Journal Journal: An experience in metamoderation

I originally posted this to CmdrTaco in response to the BeatlesBeatles furor. . .

(The base problem was that a lot of people were mad or jealous about the number of stories certain users got posted, particularly if those users were disliked by a majority. What happened was that nasty offtopic comments about the users were being modded up and actual useful discussion comments were being modded down or ignored.)

This is slashdot everyone gets roasted. If the offtopic posts about an author are getting modded up, and the metamoderators are not nipping that in the bud, then that is how the site works currently. The next step is probably to have periodic meta moderation audits to make sure that the site is going in the direction you want.

Positive Moderation
As a regular metamoderator I can tell you that I can rarely quibble with +1 insightful or +1 interesting. A +1 informative needs to at least have a cross reference or impart real knowledge. But, +1 insightful or +1 interesting on a post that contains an unemotional, plain response always works.

Negative Moderation
The -1 moderations get scrutinized under the hot lights. Roughly, half of the -1 trolls usually are not. But the unfortunate part about being a metamoderator is that you are exposed to the more disgusting real trolls (*YUK*). Probably two out of every three of the -1 offtopic posts really are, including the stupid first posts and repetetive crap flooding. The -1 Redundant moderation is more often than not correct in that the post is redundant. But, is just sending a similar response or common link enough to warrant the stinging rebuke? That is questionable many times. Unfortunately, Troll, Offtopic, and redundant are way overused to attempt to shut someone up with a valid contribution that does not agree with a more vocal faction.

Other moderation
I look at +1 underrated and -1 overrated posts and make a judgement call. It does not seem to be a commonly used mod. +1 Funny . . . well . . . if the rumor is true, that Funny does not count towards your karma, then that is probably for the best.

Today's Example
+1 funny - unfair (judgement call, but hey, you would have stared at anyone who said this out loud. Shameful waste of a mod point in my opinion.)
-1 offtopic - unfair (I won't name the subject, but it is one of the hot buttons on the site. It was a topical post within a +5 thread)
+1 insightful - fair
-1 offtopic - fair
+1 funny - fair
-1 redundant - fair (but probably should have been -1 offtopic)
+1 insightful - fair
+1 informative - fair
+1 insightful - fair
+1 insightful - fair

8 fairs to 2 unfairs is a pretty typical session. Also, 7 upmods to 3 downmods is pretty typical.

User sllort has a great journal entry on moderation: have you read the Moderation Guidelines Addendum?
User Journal

Journal Journal: Benny Bell's Shaving Cream song

ARTIST: Benny Bell with Paul Wynn
TITLE: Shaving Cream

I have a sad story to tell you
It may hurt your feelings a bit
Last night when I walked into my bathroom
I stepped in a big pile of ...

...Shaving cream, be nice and clean
Shave everyday and you'll always look keen

I think I'll break off with my girlfriend
Her antics are queer I'll admit
Each time I say, "Darling, I love you"
She tells me that I'm full of


Our baby fell out of the window
You'd think that her head would be split
But good luck was with her that morning
She fell in a barrel of


An old lady died in a bathtub
She died from a terrible fit
In order to fulfill her wishes
She was buried in six feet of


When I was in France with the army
One day I looked into my kit
I thought I would find me a sandwich
But the darn thing was loaded with


And now, folks, my story is ended
I think it is time I should quit
If any of you feel offended
Stick your head in a barrel of


There are more verses to this than you can imagine. In fact, there are an infinite number. People continue to make them up all the time. First are the words to the original recording. It was written by Ben Samberg (a/k/a Benny Bell) and sung by Phil Winston (a/k/a Paul Wynn). It originally came out in 1946, but finally hit the Billboard charts in 1975!

This original recording is available on many 45's, as well as the original Paul Wynn album of 78's called _Cocktail Party Songs_,
the LP/CD _Dr. Demento Presents the Greatest Novelty Records of All Time, Vol. 1 - The 1940's (and before!)_, Rhino 820, 1985,
and the CD/CS _Dr. Demento's 25th Anniversary Collection_, Rhino 72124, 1995.

Dr. Demento sings it on _Dr. Demento's Dementia Royale_, Rhino LP/CS 10, 1980, and also sings it periodically on his radio show.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Favorite apps in Egypt

The slashdot community wanted to get excited about a Linux Installfest in Egypt. Egyptian Linux Advocates' Replies was a response to Ask the Egyptian Installfest Organizers

The response to "What is the killer app?" was: "that must be IM, probably MSN followed by Yahoo Messenger and ICQ "

The response to "what is the most widely used distro in that part of the world? " was: "you're kidding right?? of course windows is as big, its probably even bigger, the most widespread OS is probably windows 98, then comes WindowsXP, and then windows 2000, you get my drift?? most of it is illegal copies of course. "

I also detected some humor in a response to one question. Alaa Abd El Fatah, Responding to a question about a lack of women, "only word I have for you is "Ya Moftary" I don't know how to translate this, literally it means you despot, but actually it is used when someone makes a very clearly unfounded claim or accusation" .

Slashdot and its sister site, comp.os.linux.advocacy, ended up with the exact opposite response they were hoping to get: Microsoft OS's are used everywhere and Egyptians want to run Windows-based apps.

"Ya Moftary" is now my new favorite expression
User Journal

Journal Journal: Dr. James Gosling on GPL

As for Richard Stallman's "Free but shackled: The Java trap," it's hard to know where to begin. He has his own rather peculiar definition of "free" that I think violates the First Law of Thermodynamics (energy is conserved): Developers put a huge amount of energy into creating software, and if they can't get that energy back in a way that balances, then the system falls apart. I've been in this discussion countless times, and I'd like to avoid landing there again. GPL software is not "free": it comes with a license that has a strong political agenda. Like GPL software, the Java platform is "free" in many senses: You don't have to pay anything for the runtime or developer's kit, and you can get the sources for everything. Unlike GPLd software, the Java sources don't come with a viral infection clause that requires you to apply the GPL to your own code. But the sources for the JDK do come with a license that has a different catch: redistribution requires compatibility testing.

Dr. James Gosling is a Sun Microsystems fellow who managed the group that created Java in the early 1990s

Journal Journal: Spray on Usability

This article appeared on Slashdot on 4/2/04: "John Gruber of Daring Fireball has written a long and considered riposte to Eric Raymond's recent lament concerning the poor quality of user interfaces in free software. The core of his argument is that 'developing software with a good UI requires both aptitude and a lot of hard work.' "

This topic of "Open Source Sucks/Closed Source Sucks" seems to be the #1 topic of conversation in ANY Slashdot article. It seems to be a political and religious struggle. Any self respecting nerd would do well to stay away and just peek in now and again so see how the stew is cooking. Otherwise it is quite tiresome and makes it difficult to wade through other interesting comments. Much of the good stuff is moderated out in the same vein as the "first post" crap and all that is left is Mandrake vs Debian vs FreeBSD. Or Gnome vs KDE. Or ObscureWeirdName 0.2 vs Wayoutthereapp 0.1.2.

Here is how to get punished on Slashdot: Dare to speak the truth on the shortcomings of any open source project. You will find yourself metamoderated down by some freshmeat 0.0.0.x project contributor with a chip on his shoulder.

John makes an excellent point, which I agree with 100% "Talented programmers who work long full-time hours crafting software need to be paid." We will see whether that paid talent comes from Russia, China, or India in the long run.

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