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Slashdot Moderation Phase 1.1

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the stuff-to-contend-with dept. 515

As many of you have noticed, something has changed recently with Slashdot moderation. Its not my major change that is still coming, but instead its a significant tweak to the old system. Hit the link below to read the summary of these changes, and comments about them. This is extremely important to any of you who read or post comments.Back in the old days, I was the only moderator. Dave pitched in. It was easy, there were only a hundred comments each day. We read them all. They were almost always good- only a couple were really flamebait or offensive, and those were just deleted. This got sticky- I never liked deleting comments.

As Slashdot grew to have hundreds of comments each day, I coded a fancy moderator system. One that didn't involve deleting comments, but rather just organizing them for people who wanted it. Over the following months, friends, family, pets, and even a few bots tried to do the job. At the end we had 25 people moderating a total of about 5 comments per day. It was obviously not working- any regular reader of the comments knows that the signal to noise ratio is simply terrible in those flamebait articles. The system grew to have thousands of comments each day, and the 25 moderators (of whom only a 2-5 were active on any given day) simply couldn't keep up.

I have a new system that I'm devising, but I've decided to experiment with the old system. I think I can learn from it, and make the new system better. Or else, this "Tweak" might even work and then I won't have to write the code. We'll have to see.

So what is the change? Simple, we had 20 or so moderators. Now we have 408.



The system was tracking moderation done to each user internally for just this purpose. (I had a score of 2, Anonymous Coward had a -1628 *grin*) All users with a positive score were given moderator access.

Last week wed. we had 2,800 comments posted on Slashdot. 11 of them were moderated. This week 15-30% of comments are being moderated, and its my hope that this number will increase.

Now a lot of you guys are going to scream and cry about censorship, but that just isn't the case. Anyone can disable the actions of the moderators by simply setting their default user preference to -5 or something really low. Tada! Slashdot in all its flamey off topic glory. But my goal is that users reading with a preference set to 3 will only read the absolute best comments. That type of reader doesn't want a discussion. They don't care about the 300 comments- they just want those 2 comments that are really smart, insightful, and often, better then the story that they are attached to. Try setting your Comment Limit to 10, and your Comment Order by Score. Suddenly the few comments that you see are interesting. They're useful.

The goal here is to create a better dispersal of scores. Last week, a +4 comment was virtually impossible, but we've had 40 since the new system took place. Sure, not all of them were great, but as a whole, they were good comments.

Now the danger. With 25 moderators, it was pretty easy to keep an eye on things. But with 400 its going to get simply crazy. We're going to have abusers. I've already revoked access from a few people. For you moderators, read those The Moderator Guidelines carefully. The rest of you might be interested too. The general summary, is the moderators shouldn't let their own opinions factor in. They do and thats the problem. Its my hope that since we have 400 of them, we'll have some abusers (who will hopefully surface and have their access removed) but they'll be outnumbered by honest, fair people who don't let their own ideals interfere with the task at hand. Its a difficult task, but an essential one.

A few of the more important rules for moderators:

  • Impartiality. This isn't "I agree with That", this is "That is worth reading, and that isn't". This is obviously the hardest, and most subjective part of the task, and the one that will require the sharpest eye on everyone's part.
  • Anonymity. Any moderator who posts that they are a moderator will probably have their access revoked. I simply don't want moderation to be an ego thing.
  • Accountability. Anyone who sees clear breaking of the above 2 rules should send me info (I need a URL to the comment: cid & sid. Click the reply button and send me that URL if you need it). This isn't "3 Strikes and Your Out". If someone is abusing their trust, they'll lose it.

As an aside, if you have problems, bugs, or complaints, email them to me. I don't read all the comments. We have 2800+ of them on a good day. There's no way I'm gonna read them all. Send problems to me. Posting complaints is usually off-topic. Emailing me is much more likely to get a response, plus if you want to complain about how much I suck, don't do it in a story about CD Vending Machines or Wearable PCs- its simply off topic. Do it in this story! Its on topic here. Or email me so I'm sure to read it and cry.

Where is this heading? Think of a news site like Slashdot without a guy like me, or a group of guys at the center. One where the best comments become the articles on the homepage. If we could make that work... wow. At some point I'll have a page of the top 10 comments from the last 24 hours. I think that will be really interesting- I'll probably have a general discussion at some point specifically for this purpose.

Its a delicate thing trying to make all 75,000 of you happy- Your tastes are diverse, and there's just no pleasing all of you 100%. So I'll keep trying new things, and make as many things customizable as possible, so most of us can have it the way they want it.

We're getting closer. But until then, hang in there. Constructive criticism is appreciated (although I simply can't reply to everyone) I even read the flames, although if you make me cry I don't reply.

Update: 03/23 01:53 by CT : Responses to some of the comments:

  1. No, simply creating new accounts won't work. You had to have had a comment moderated up by the original 25 moderators.
  2. No, moderators can't moderate their own comments.
  3. I yanked someone already for revealing that they had access. Someone didn't read very carefully.
  4. An absolute minimum for comments? Set it to -10000 or something. I doubt we'll ever see a comment that bad *grin*
  5. I'll probably figure out a clean way to reassign moderator access occasionally. I haven't thought that far ahead yet.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Question on Moderator Guideline #2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1966165)

Anonymity. Any moderator who posts that they are a moderator will probably have their access revoked. I simply don't want moderation to be an ego thing.

Does this mean I can't talk how I moderate? That's OK, I just want to clarify this. I guess I'll never say anything about what guides my decisions in moderation; OTOH, people won't think I'm some prick with a big ego.

BTW, I'm glad I can post this anonymously. =)

Rob, you suck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1966166)

Are you crying yet?

But seriously, this is a great idea. Since /. is "by the people" let the stinkin' people moderate it too!

What an elegant solution...

2 Potential Problems: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1966167)

On the first problem, I don't think the "anyone with a positive score" is an ongoing thing. I think that Rob took a snapshot of people's scores, and applied it. So someone couldn't reregister now and automatically became a moderator.

OTOH, if someone _did_ reregister and posted lots of good articles to get a good score, I think they deserve to be a moderator despite past transgressions. (If they screw up, Rob will notice.)

On the second problem, moderators get 1 moderation point per 50 articles posted to slashdot. (Not per the moderators posts, but every post, btw.) So, a moderator would have to blow all their points to reduce a single post to obscene levels.

In practice, I've never seen anything near a -10, so I'd count that a safe low threshold.

(An anonymous moderator.)

Nelson from simpsons: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1966168)


80% go with defaults ... this is the problem. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1966238)

I disagree that we shouldn't allow negatives.

I see _no_ value in "First Post!!!!" and in "LINUX ROCKS ALL OTHER THINGS SUCK!!!!!" posts. I defy _anyone_ to show value in things like that.

(Sure, if there's _more_ than what I quoted,it could have value... but there are a number of posts consisting solely of stuff I have above.)

As for scoring wars, moderators don't have enough points for it. 1 point for every 50 posts on slashdot doesn't go very far.

Well, how does one find out if one is a moderator? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1966239)

One finds out they're a moderator by seeing little moderation buttons at the end of posts, by the "Reply to this" and "Parent" links. A sidebar to the article shows the number of points the moderator has, give some brief tips, and points off to the moderator guidelines.

Contact Moderators (2)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966254)

I'll be posting a story that contains their names, addresses, home phone numbers, social security card numbers, sexual orientation, IQ, high school GPA and mother's maiden name next week.

Oh wait. No. Read that section about anonymity again.
Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
Pants are Optional

Well, how does one find out if one is a moderator? (2)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966255)

Umm... because it doesn't work that way?
Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
Pants are Optional

Not happy. (2)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966256)

So turn it off. Set your user preference threshold to be -10. Nobody decides anything for you then.

Its almost like I planned it that way, ain't it :)

Yeah, its a lot like usenet, but not quite. I'm trying to organize things more intelligently. Put some structure into it. Usenet is chaos that you need to go out of your way to order. I'm trying to make it possible for the readers to order it themselves, and then allow all readers to benefit from that.

But only if they want it. You don't. So go set your preferences to ignore this crap and stop letting it bother you.
Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
Pants are Optional

Fixing unfair negative scores [Oops] (2)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966257)

So much for anonymity. 407 moderators now.
Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
Pants are Optional

Moderation - Silly (5)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966258)

Thats exactly how it works. Except only 400 people see those little buttons. I'm trying to keep tabs on it so that people don't push idealogies, and instead are fair and impartial. We'll see if it works.
Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
Pants are Optional

Not happy. (1)

davie (191) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966260)

Think this through. If you don't like the moderation as is, visit the Preferences page and knock your threshold down to -5 or something.

A killfile would be cool, but I wonder what the /. overhead would be?

Nifty, but still not sorted by score? (1)

Jordy (440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966267)

Oh, nifty. I thought comments were sorted by post time, not descending by score (and then ascending by time).

Score good, time bad :)


Use the Prefs, Luke. (1)

Jordy (440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966268)

Got it. Now if moderators will actually raise levels of articles as well as lower them, I'll be set.


Moderation - Silly (2)

Jordy (440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966269)

I still like my original idea about simply voting each comment's sscore up or down and ordering the comments based on score.

At the top of each comment you could put a little header like:

Score 8Vote up () Vote Down()
Freaks in the clown show
by blah blah (blah)

And at the bottom, a little button labeled "vote" which would submit all the up and down votes. Note of course the vote up/vote down are radio buttons for XOR'ness and all voting should be done on an ip-by-ip basis just like forum voting.

Maybe I'm just being unrealistic.


Still don't like it. (1)

John Campbell (559) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966272)

I set my threshold down to an arbitrarily large negative number when the big preferences thing was added the other day. I've been surprised at the amount of stuff that's been moderated down into the negatives... and by the fact that a lot of it seems to be stuff where the only fault seemed to be holding an unpopular opinion.

If I were Rob, I'd abolish the "log in or be an Anonymous Coward" bit... the number of Anonymous Cowards went up _drastically_ the day that went into effect. And I'd get rid of the moderation and install username-based filtering instead. It'd be much better to just be able to say, "I don't want to see anything from Meept," than to have to say, "I don't want to see anything by Meept, or anything else the moderators may have decided to knock down to -3 for whatever reason."

But it's not my site, so I'll just hang around with my threshold at -2000, and rely on my own judgement to skip over the stuff I don't feel like reading...

So you're a moderator (1)

knghtbrd (593) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966276)

Actually, I suspect your article of score 1 to remain score 1. As to the "advertising" above, we'll see.

2 Potential Problems: (1)

Special J (641) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966278)

1. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Re-registering does not automatically confer moderator status, so It sure is a lot of trouble to go to mess things up. There's probably a fair number idiots in Rob's initial pool of 400 moderators. Hopefully they can be weeded out. From that point on, it should be easy for him to spot the dolts.

2. Good point. There should be a floor on negative moderation. That way people can set it to that level and know that they're getting everything.

Very Intresting (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966279)

I think thats what makes slashdot so popular...not that it is a portal..not that its a bbs...not that its pretty...its because all of them work together, so a reader feels as if they helped on slashdot in some way

So you're a moderator (0)

DaBuzz (878) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966288)

You just advertised that you are one of the 408 ... expect to lose it if Rob sticks to his word above (which I doubt he will).

If people can't read the rules of moderation, how can you expect them to make the right decisions on what's worth reading in the first place?

I expect this comment to be at -100 in no time.

80% go with defaults ... this is the problem. (3)

DaBuzz (878) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966300)

Why doesn't anyone realize that forcing a 0 threshold default while setting negative scores is just as bad as integrating IE into Win98 while saying "well they can install Netscape". We all know good and well that 80% of people stick with the default options, so marking a message in the negatives effectivily deletes it since most people will never change their default threshold.

This is a hypocritical method for moderation.

If you want to use scores, that's fine but DON'T ALLOW NEGATIVES and leave the threashold at 0. That way, the default is to see ALL COMMENTS and if someone wants your 408 moderators making decisions on what they read for them, they are free to do so.

I also find it hard to believe that 408 people will agree on what's "worth reading", I suspect there will be scoring wars a plenty in the coming days/weeks/months and this will soon become EFNet with the people with power helping their friends and holding down the people they don't like.

*** DaBuzz joins #slashdot
<DaBuzz> Can I get a +v?
*** Buzz's_Friend sets mode: +v DaBuzz
*** Moderator_with_ego sets mode: -o-v Buzz's_Friend DaBuzz
<Moderator_with_ego> HAHAHAHA you guys suck, I own you ... where's my packet monkey when I need him?

Get the point?

Why not just set up an NNTP server? (1)

Smack (977) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966305)

First obvious point: There are no ad banners on NNTP, so how would Rob pay for the hardware? (And his food?) Also, switching to NNTP would kill the popularity of the site -- most internet users nowadays never deal with netnews. I know I rarely swim in those waters.

75k? (1)

mackga (990) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966308)

Wow, are there realy 75k bone fide /.-ers? Anyway, way to go Rob, keeping the site dynamic. The moderation thing is needed. As was pointed out, the option to set the threshhold is always there. Thanks for making /. a fun, readable place.

What about bad replies to good ones... (1)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966314)

If a response to an article gets a good +score we get to see it, but do we see all the responses to it, or just those that also get a good + score.

I'd rather like to see trolls/flamebait/me-firsts off the root, but not lose down-checked responses on the threads.

Maybe if I could have a threshold of 2 for the root and 0 for the threads (or something?)

Just some random thoughts instead of going to get lunch...

Moderation - Silly (1)

Christopher Craig (1394) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966322)

all voting should be done on an ip-by-ip basis just like forum voting.

And Rob would intantly need a terabyte RAID to keep the list of IPs associated with each of the 2000 comments a day and a UE10k to do the database accesses.

really low (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966324)

-5 used to suffice, but to be sure, set it to -50, or -1000. There is no minimum score, except the bounds of the numeric data type used to score it (at least that's what I figure).

So you're a moderator (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966325)

Hopefully the people that can't (won't) read the rules and moderate based upon less-than-ideal reasons will be outvoted by the number of people doing "real" moderating.

If Joe Abuser says, "This comment sucks. -1 it is!" Joe Cool will notice it next and say, "Hey, this doesn't deserve to be -1.. +2 it is!"

Possible stability problem? (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966326)

Not to play down the problem any, but I really doubt that moderators will be attacking articles in "waves" like you suggest, with the first wave deciding the comment belongs demoted and the second wave deciding it should be promoted.

Chances are, it'll be bounced around "neutral" by the various independent moderators, getting knocked down, knocked back up, etc.

If it ends up being a very visible problem, we'll just have to deal with it when it happens. I haven't noticed any examples.

Use the Prefs, Luke. (1)

wayne (1579) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966329)

Now if moderators will actually raise levels of articles as well as lower them,

I'll be set.

Watch the scores. It appears that the vast majority of moderators up scores, rather than kill them.

A modest proposal... (3)

ploeg (3058) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966360)

To all moderators:
Unless a posting is out-and-out abuse, let the comment sit for an arbitrary length of time (30 minutes, for example). If the comment attracts good-quality responses, it's probably worth keeping. (Unless, of course, the whole thread is abuse heaped upon abuse.)

To all others:
If a posting is not worth a rebuttal, don't post one. This will help the moderators sort the gold from the dreck.

Goes against everything slashdot stands for (2)

Chardros (3099) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966362)

A paid membership goes against everything slashdot stands for. /. is about freedom of information, freedom to share ideas, and express... it is OSS taken to journalism. You make us pay, you lose that. No if ands or buts. This isn't saying "everything in the world should be free!" or "commercial stuff sucks!". I'm not saying any of that, but you turn /. into what your suggesting, then Slashdot becomes nothing more than NY Times online or whatever... /. is much more than that. Today, it's the Linux (or gnu/linux or whatever) of Journalism. Lets keep it that way, sit back, and enjoy the ride. Lets see what happens - Rob will figure it out.

/. moderation (1)

YogSothoth (3357) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966371)

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to learn socket programming so I wrote a chat server program. It worked with simple telnet and initially you could just log in as whoever you wanted. Eventually it became clear that many people have a propensity for impersonating others and making disparaging remarks while pretending to be them so a username/password feature was added. As it turned out, about 25% of the program ended up being features to deal with idiots and one of the most useful features was the "ignore" feature where you could specify a list of nicknames and the program would filter out anything said by anyone in that list. There weren't any complaints since it wasn't censorship "from above" (by me, the author of the program) it was censorship by a particular person. As an example, I might list meept and anonymous coward in my "ignore" list (actually I wouldn't, I like to see what everyone has to say) but this might be an interesting feature to consider adding to /. Anyway, word to the wise when writing *any* software that lets large numbers of people communicate, be prepared to write significant code to deal with the fact that a surprising number of people just don't seem to have any sense.

Vote on articles (1)

James Youngman (3732) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966375)

crow [] writes:-

I like the pure democracy idea of everyone being able to vote on articles.

The only danger is that of positive feedback. An opinion which is valuable (i.e. arguably true, insigntful, etc) isn't necessarily popular. It would be a bad thing if opinions which were not well received (i.e. Foobar has these flaws which need fixing) were moderated into invisibility just because everybody voted them down. For this reason, I'm quite happy with the ideas on moderation.

But then, I don't have the time to read all 200 comments on some of thre threads. I try to guess which ones are interesting by looking at the subjects, but you miss many cases where the reply is more interesting than the question, that way. Maybe I should experiment with my preference level.

Fixing unfair negative scores (4)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966380)

One thing that should be pointed out - not all the unfair negative scores are intentional. I just noticed a comment, Score=1, that while not deserving to be stricken from the page didn't deserve to be filtered up, either. So, I hit the checkbox to knock it's score back down a point.

Apparantly somebody else agreed with me, and tried to fix the problem at the same time, because when I came back, the comment was gone completely, Score=-1.

Rob, a request: Could you set all Moderator thresholds to -100, and just let those who really want to change them back? One of the most important ways to spend a moderator point is fixing an unfairly negative-scored post, but I suspect 98% of the moderators still have their thresholds set not to see negative-scored posts at all.

Moderation. Yay. (1)

jammer (4062) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966381)

I like the new system. From what I have seen, you can signifcantly cut down the SNR by setting your ordering preference to High Score First, and either ignoring anything past where things start to degrade, or increasing your threshold to something above 1.

I like it as it is. :)

2 Potential Problems: (1)

Skip666Kent (4128) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966382)

1. To gain Moderator status, one only needs to re-register as a new account, reguardless of past transgressions. (I haven't actually tested this, so I could be fullofit)

2. Moderators could nullify comments by giving them a ridiculously low threshold. How low can it go? It seems to me you only need a few levels in either direction. I'd like to know that at "x" level (-3?) I'm guaranteed to see anything and everything.

That's it! Exciting changes. Should evoke lot's of "exciting" responses!

If you have to ask, then you're NOT... (1)

Skip666Kent (4128) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966383)

As I well know, sitting here quietly meditating on the many childish, uninformative and inflammatory postings I have penned in the past, leaving me devoid of honor in this time of great change...

Ah well. Fsck it. Now I'm trooly committed!
(or should be, anyways...)

Ronin Forever!


A Brief Defense of Meept (4)

Skip666Kent (4128) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966384)

Every castle needs its Court Jester. Like it or not, "MEEPT" is our Jester.

He/she/it should be given an unchangeable status of +99999, provided the priviledge only be abused in ways that would be fairly and democratically irksome and/or distressing to ALL SlashDot readers accross the board. This would provide much needed comic relief in times of strife and quite possibly bring about an end to World Hunger and Y2K paranoia.


Skip Kent

Not happy. (2)

zempf (4454) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966392)

You can essentially disable the filters if you want to, now that the /. preferences are enabled. Just go a bit of the way down the page & set your default threshold so low that you should see everything, even the moderated posts (unless some overzealous moderator(s) decided to knock them down a couple hundred points). My current threshold's at -10, so I can see everything & not have to worry about what the moderators think is/isn't right for me. That's not to say I have anything against moderation; it seems like a good idea for those who want it. But those of us who don't want it do have a method of essentially disabling it.

-mike kania

Contact Moderators (1)

Breakdown (5084) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966394)

Can we get the names and contact information for the new moderators?


a simple idea (1)

Akira1 (5566) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966398)

As far as displaying articles goes, in displaying the articles and comments, when it either lists comments (in the case of popular articles) or when it just displays threaded comments, I think it would be a good idea to throw in the score along with the posters name, time, etc. Possibly aide in the reading of articles, without sorting the whole thing by score..... Sometimes its funny to read something entirely pathetic. I tend to have quite a few laughs as a result of some extraneously off topic posts. (Self esteem boosters- i.e. someone is more of a moron then me)
just my 2 tenths of a cent

Threading? (1)

Richard (5962) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966402)

How are threads moderated?

That is, if I decide to view by thread, do I have to give up any benefits of "order by score"?

If I decide to order by score, do I have to give up threading?

Is the score of a thread a weighted average of the messages (first messages count more than the nth level deep ones)?

-Richard Campbell (

Re: Why not just set up an NNTP server? (2)

PopeClayton (7881) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966419)

Better yet, don't even make seperate newsgroups. Just "mirror" all of the the /. articles to a moderated newsgroup. Then all of the stories would show up as top level articles, and all of the comments could expand as USENET threads.

Some info on the User Prefs page could be used to check articles that show up on the newsgroup and allow them to be posted to the web site as well. For instance, some "Maldian" program would continually mine alt.slashdot (or whatever) and whenever it finds a new article there it checks some of the info from the header or article and pipes it to the web server. Checking something like email address/name/something else would work for some sort of weak authentication. Likewise, ariticles posted to the web service could be piped out to the newsgroup using the User Information.

I guess this raises all sorts of user authentication issues though. Oh well. It'd be a cool thing to try and see if it works anyway.


Won't scale - tragedy of the commons (1)

Anonymous Coed (8203) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966420)

To get /. back to saneness, you have to reduce the number of posters by about 60%.

Coincidentally enough, setting your moderation threshold to about 3 or 4 will have the same effect. Why don't you just do that, and we can all keep our $29, okay?

I agree with what some other people have said here... charging a fee is a good way to lose most of the comments, including the interesting ones.

Part of the value of slashdot is the diversity of opinion. If you don't like your ideas challenged (even by drooling 12 year old h4x0rZ) then please go sit quietly in the corner and leave us alone. We like Slashdot how it is.

Why not just set up an NNTP server? (5)

lightning (8428) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966434)

I know there's probably some really obvious point I'm missing, but I don't understand why /. doesn't just switch to an NNTP interface. *Particularly* with 75,000 users, and with most articles getting 200+ comments within the first couple of days.

Using NNTP, people could use whatever newsreader suits them best, and do their own filtering and/or scoring the usual way.

There could be a slashdot.headlines group, for instance, where all articles are (cross-?)posted, with followups set to their relevant sub-topic groups: slashdot.debian, s.redhat,,, and so on. Moderate the s.headlines group to ensure that it contains *only* the headlines, and not followup discussions, and that's pretty much all that would be needed, it seems.


deusx (8442) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966435)

Sorry for the caps in the subject, I promise this isn't a flame.

1. A "simple" way to find how my comments are moderated.

Elaborate "how". As in, who did it? What they scored it as? That breaks the anonymity, which is essential to the moderation, or all moderators would get mailbombed each time they did anything. :) Otherwise, I think the "last comments posted" display in one's user page should show what scored those posts have gotten.

2. A "simple" way to find which comments are moderated for a specific article.

Agreed with this... One should be able to see the score of each article, as well as a count of how many messages are moderated in an article. I've been told the moderators can already see this, so why not enable that for all?

3. Tell us what the lowest possible score is, I abhore censorship and would like to see all comments..

That's simple math. 408 moderators? The lowest possible score is -408 then. Got mine set to -9999 so I think my threshold will scale for awhile. :)

Why? So I can trust /.. In this country I can read all the governments documents (that are not specifically secret) and I find that a very good thing.

I think everyone is MAJORLY overreacting to this. No messages are being deleted. No messages are prevented from being viewed. Setting a sufficiently low threshold will reveal all. The only gripe is that the default for users' thresholds are positive, but that's up to the user to change.


1 pt per 50 msgs pretty good limitation (1)

deusx (8442) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966436)

I think the current limit on moderators, one point change in a post's score per 50 messages posted on Slashdot is a decent enough limitation to prevent obscene abuses like that.

I mean, say 1000 posts happen in a Slashdot day, that's 20 points. Not a *whole* lot of damage can be done with that. Maybe force a message down to -20, but that's a pretty blatant abuse and will probably have the person smoted pretty shortly.

But a point here and a point there is a lil hard to cause damage with.

Use the Prefs, Luke. (2)

deusx (8442) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966440)

You can choose by what criteria to sort your comments display. I have mine sorting by score right now, with my thresh set to -999. I see all, but can choose to move along to another story if it starts going silly.

Not happy. (3)

eponymous cohort (8637) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966442)

Many of the most worthwhile usenet groups are moderated. The rest tend to look like this:


1. 4001 best nude teen pics
2. Make Money Fast!
3. New Site best porn on the net!
4. Ware Can I getz sum WaReZ?
5. Best infant porn site!
6. I like alt newsgroups
7. Sell your product on the Web!
8. Bestiality quicktime videos right here!
9. Dis group sux
10. Be your own boss!

Sad as it is.

Won't scale - tragedy of the commons (1)

Cassius (9481) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966451)

The only way to really get moderation here (and I'm going to get flamed for this) - is to make it a paid-for community, with no anonymous access.

Charge $29 a year. Make users use their REAL NAME in posts. If you can't afford $29 a year, I have no pity for you - use usenet until you can save enough coke bottles to foot the bill.

Trust me, paid membership without anonymous access is the ONLY way to keep /. from going the way of the alt.* hierarchy.

Won't scale - tragedy of the commons (1)

Cassius (9481) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966452)

A user fee means only truly interested parties are using the service with write access. Of course anyone could read it. If you lose a few good commenters, so what. More will come along.

To get /. back to saneness, you have to reduce the number of posters by about 60%.

Won't scale - tragedy of the commons (1)

Cassius (9481) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966453)

f you don't like your ideas challenged

how droll.

-4080 (2)

Pac (9516) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966457)

3. By Article above: 408 moderators
By Guidelines: 10 points/day per moderator
Lowest score: 408 * 10 * -1 = -4080

Huzzah! (1)

PD (9577) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966459)

All hail the Commander Taco, and the advancement in forum technology.

Not knowing much about the new Usenet which will replace the old one, is there something that can be applied from the Slashdot forums? Could we actually build a spam proof version of the Usenet? I miss the days when the Usenet was a useful place, and if we can build a new, better one, that would be worthwhile.

Bottom line (3)

Dast (10275) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966467)

is, if you don't like it. Go away. Or send Rob constructive criticism and deal.

Or hell, take the source and start your own Make it everything you want it to be.

Rob has done a damn fine job. Not enough people take the time to say so.

Not happy. (3)

K. (10774) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966471)

>Think of a news site like Slashdot without a
>guy like me, or a group of guys at the center.
>One where the best comments become the articles
>on the homepage. If we could make that work...

It has been made work. It's called Usenet
(+ killfiles).

I thought filters were a good idea. They let you
choose what you wanted to read. But I don't think
much of other people deciding that for me. The
ability to filter out keywords in the subjects of
comments would have helped to eliminate a lot
of flames from view. It would certainly be better
then letting an anonymous group with random
agendas loose on your site.


Contact Moderators (1)

TrentC (11023) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966473)

I'll be posting a story that contains their names, addresses, home phone numbers, social security card numbers, sexual orientation, IQ, high school GPA and mother's maiden name next week.

Uh... Rob? I was joking when I put the thing about the hamsters in the "sexual orientation" part. Can you edit that for me?


Jay (=

Not happy. (0)

Keel (11611) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966476)

I remember when Usenet worked. Those were the days.


Dropping a 1 to a 0 (1)

markhb (11721) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966477)

If the comment you were dropping was one with an ID attached (ie, non-AC), then I would suggest leaving it as is. As Rob described the point system, 0 and 1 are _both_ neutral territory; leaving Score: 1 comments as they are enables a person to filter most anonymous comments by setting the threshold to 1.

NB: IANAM (I Am Not A Moderator).

Moderation - Silly (1)

Davorama (11731) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966478)

Nice idea but probably too easy to abuse though. Just set up a script and zap any comment you don't want heard to oblivian. Or vice versa. pump up your "first post, dude" comment to +1000 forcing Rob to keep reading and deleting.

Possible stability problem? (1)

Davorama (11731) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966479)

This could be a real problem in the system. Say somebody posts something borderline between insightful and flamebait. about half the moderators currently online immediately trash it. Now it's rated at -10 or worse when it should remain fairly neutral. Now, all the moderators who liked it vote it back up again (assuming you take the above suggestion, and they can even see the comment). Probably bringing it well above zero before people start paying attention to it again and zap it back down to -10.

So my questions are how do you keep borderline good/bad comments from seesawing their way into oblivian? Do you have a way of tracking the vote history so you can check to see if this is actually happenning and needs a solution?

Fixing unfair negative scores (1)

Azul (12241) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966486)

Anonymity. Any moderator who posts that they are a moderator will probably have their access revoked.

Will this article get a -10 score? :P

Re: ...I can read all the governments documents... (1)

Lucky (12407) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966490)

In this country I can read all the governments documents (that are not specifically secret) and I find that a very good thing.

Do you really believe this? Try finding out anything about the City of San Francisco's contract with the TCI cable company. You can't.

Voting question. (1)

Poe (12710) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966505)

Though the response comments have been mostly positive, this might be a good time for a voting question. Maybe just one attached to this article.

BTW I am very in favor of this new system. It's freakyfunkyjazzycool.

Could you please provide three things... (1)

bwz (13374) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966508)

1. A "simple" way to find how my comments are moderated.

2. A "simple" way to find which comments are moderated for a specific article.

3. Tell us what the lowest possible score is, I abhore censorship and would like to see all comments..

Why? So I can trust /.. In this country I can read all the governments documents (that are not specifically secret) and I find that a very good thing.


Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?

-2147483648 :-) (1)

bwz (13374) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966509)

Just tested, that was the lowest I could make it (i.e. -99999999999999999999 was changed to -2147483648 after saving "myself").


Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?

I live in the FREE world! (2)

bwz (13374) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966511)

In this country, The Kingdom of Sweden, there is a law that says I can read the prime ministers mail. Actually I can read all (poor translation) "proper documents" that are not explicitly made secret (either because they're military secrets or because of "relation to foreign powers" or because of protection of privacy). I don't live in US of A and I don't know if I'd like to...


Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?

Minimum threshold? (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966512)

I keep seeing the number -10. If anybody posted a comment that went lower than -10 (5 people giving it -- or 10 -'s), I seriously wouldn't worry about it. And if there is a lower limit to the nagative scores, I doubt Rob programmed it in yet :)

About Socre: 1 (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966513)

(I promise to stop posting in this article soon, but it's a doozy)

Personally, I think if the user is a REGISTERED user, a score of 1 should not be knocked down to 0. 0 is reserved for AC's and for comments that deserve that type of moderation. If a comment from a registered user is okay, just leave it at 1....

Correct me if you think I'm an idiot. But that's the way it's been working, no need to change.

Reverse effect..... (2)

Rahga (13479) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966514)

If people paid $29 to become a moderator, that doesn't prove anything except that you aren't afraid to throw around money. I'd personally rather go through controlled peer review than get moderated by someone who just paid to get in......

One more time...with FEELING! (5)

ChrisMul (13717) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966518)

Okay people...lets look at some reality here:

Fact is, the moderation system that Rob's coming up with is prob the best that could really be asked for.

It's basically peer-review, which in a world with people making comments varying from "first post" to the recipe of coca-cola, is probably the best possible form of censorship available (sorry Rob, but any limiting of comments is a form of censorship, though not necessarily in a bad way)
If you want the mindless blabber, then set your preferences low, if you want meat and potatoes, have some higher standards...very simple. Granted, the anonymous coward postings are lower...WONDERFUL! We don't need fingerpointing, but some credability is a great idea, IMHO. And even though there is a lot of good stuff that comes from AC posts, they'll get adjusted as moderators read them and up their status...and *POOF* they appear on my comment list too! amazing, isn't it?

This way of doing things lets the people that actually might contribute something useful help decide what the comparatively useful comments might be. THIS IS A GOOD THING!

Rob: not to kiss ass or anything, but fact is, you've done a great job handling the sh*t we feed slashdot sometimes, and I'm glad you're doing your best to look at your 'baby' as the community that it has become...great job...and on the same note, letting or helping us rule ourselves, well...welcome to democracy...:o)

Good job rob...(and David...and anyone else that fails to be mentioned)...:o)

BTW...When do we get to write the new constitution? ;o)

It will scale. (1)

jerodd (13818) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966519)

Trust me, paid membership without anonymous access is the ONLY way to keep /. from going the way of the alt.* hierarchy.

Actually, that's not quite the case here, because alt.* is controlled by none (other than several thousand newsadmins). /. is controlled by our dear Rob Malda (fear the taco), and he can do whatever he wants to prevent the disintegration into alt.

2 Potential Problems: (1)

jerodd (13818) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966520)

Actually, they aren't problems, because from what I can tell creating an account doesn't give you moderator status. The only way to get moderator status seems to be for Rob Malda (fear the taco) to give it to you. And I don't know how you qualify for that. =) It would be nice, though, to have.

Secondly, I think that out of 70,000 /daughters, some of them have a low threshold (I mean, mine is -99, so I see EVERYTHING), and if you see a comment with a moderation of -10 that isn't abusive or extremely offtopic, then you should tell Rob about it, and he can look into it.

I like this system. I'm setting up my own user discussion system, and it's interesting to see how my thoughts on how to do things are similar to this.

Maybe the opposite. (1)

BiGGO (15018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966536)

Mostly the first threads are answered first.
The first threads root comment is usualy a quick score1 type,
since the good comments usualy are longer and require the time to type.

Thats whay it is common to see good posts as a reply to a lame thread or a question.


Well, how does one find out if one is a moderator? (1)

BiGGO (15018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966537)

Amazingly enough you have recieved a score of 2.
Do you remove moderation of suck-ups?
Will my score be lowered by this moderator for calling him a suck-up?
only time will tell....


Fixing unfair negative scores (1)

BlackHawk (15529) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966545)

Well, thank you for making it easy for us to identify at least one moderator.

I don't think so (2)

SoftwareJanitor (15983) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966547)

First, why do you need my "REAL NAME"? Are you going to sue me? Why do you even care? Why can't I have multiple identities?

It is virtually impossible to make sure you have "real names", even for a subscription service. It is too easy to falsify an identity, particularly online.

Second, charge me $29 and I'll go away. I'll bet most everybody will go away. Has been tried, doesn't work.

Pay services on that level are a hard sell unless they have really compelling content that is exclusive. A hard thing to come by. There is just too much content available on the web for free for sites to get away with charging that kind of subscription fee. Some people even whined when Slashdot added banner ads.

Third, DejaNews makes Usenet quite usable.

Well, I used to be an avid USENET reader/poster. Over the past few years I don't read it like I used to. Partially it is because I don't have enough network bandwidth to make it pleasant, but it is also because the signal to noise ratio on USENET definitely went downhill. DejaNews is a really great service that makes finding the good content on USENET a lot easier, albiet it isn't the most convenient way just to browse news groups.

Vote on articles (2)

crow (16139) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966550)

I like the pure democracy idea of everyone being able to vote on articles. In turn, people could decide that they don't care about particular users' opinions, so they could tell the system to ignore votes by those users when displaying articles.

The only trick is anonimity. How do you stop people from voting twice, but insure that they can vote once? Perhaps only allowed loged-in users to vote. Then if you see an article with a strange rating, you could see who voted to cause that rating, check to see what else the voted on, and then set to ignore the weirdos whose votes you don't like.

Of course, a lot of people like to post as anonymous cowards, even if they don't mind loging in in principle. For such people, you could add a check box to the posting page for "anonymous post." (It could also be a default in the user profile.)

Still, if you let people see who cast the votes, that means voting is never anonymous. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing. If only some votes were anonymous, I would set my preferences to ignore anonymous votes.

I think that would work.

Then we would all want to vote on what we thought of each person's voting history, so as to generate a normalized vote weighting system. :)

means only people who can afford it could talk : (1)

Atreide (16473) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966552)

they are suits & a few others, therefore the whole site would be less interesting

I would be interested to know how many students are writers here...

moreover, if you cannot comment a message, there is less interest in reading (a whole lot of fun is in replying, isn't it ? ;-)

Or : what about good replies to bad ones ? (1)

Atreide (16473) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966553)

your reply to a flaming thread can be a good one & interesting one

reducing threshold inside threads : good but.. (1)

Atreide (16473) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966554)

good idea, I would just add, do not use reduce by 1 each step because many replies do not lose interest that fast

One question (1)

Taral (16888) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966561)

From having viewed the guidelines, it would appear that there is no automatic granting of Moderator access. Does that mean that you will periodically rescan the "ratings" list to find new moderators?

Not happy flame. (1)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966571)

Translation: "I don't trust people. I do trust machines."

I would rather use the opinions of good old fallible human beings. I can sort articles by their score (highest at the top) and set my threshold to -1000. Then I can see everything if I want to, with a predictably degrading SNR.

2 Potential Problems: (1)

augustz (18082) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966573)

If you read the moderator guidelines I think they say that moderators are limited to a certain number of moderator points, which looks like 10 at the most. So I suppose if a moderate wanted to moderate my comment here down to -10 they could, provided they didn't do any other moderating. To get a rediculously low score (-20 or something) a bunch of moderators would probably have to gang up and use up all there points (which take about 1000 comments to accumulate) which might mean the post was pretty terrible in the first place.

Proabably not too big a worry, I'd say if you set your limit to -1000 you will be fine for sure. Why not make it -10000 actually, then you'll be fine for sure sure... :) It's only a couple of extra keystrokes.

Huzzah! (1)

MasterD (18638) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966578)

Actually, this is a really good idea. Why doesn't Slashdot have message boards about certain topics. Instead of just comments on articles, there could be useful discussion groups like Usenet, but with moderation and through the web page.

Gotcha, Mod! (2)

bkw (19412) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966594)

Weren't you supposed to hide your moderating powers from us mere mortals? I'm afraid you just said jehova.
No go ahead and censor me ;)

Minimum threshold? (1)

scjody (19861) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966598)

If we want to see all comments, how low do we need to set the threshold? I would expect one below the minimum threshold would do the job, but what is the minimum threshold?

Or are you using Perl's Math::BigInt? :)

Won't scale - tragedy of the commons (1)

scjody (19861) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966599)

I totally disagree. Free access is an essential part of slashdot, if only for the simple reason that the ability to post messages here is not worth $29 to a lot of people, myself included.

Many of these people have interesting opinions and post good messages (myself possibly included but maybe not :) that we would lose under a pay system.

How is having $29 to throw away a measure of the validity of your opinions or the quality of your writing?

Top 10 comments (1)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966601)

>>At some point I'll have a page of the top 10 comments from the last 24 hours. I think that will be really interesting- I'll probably have a general discussion at some point specifically for this purpose.

I think this is a really good idea. With ego's being what they are, I think people will actually TRY to post intelligent comments just to be on the top 10. It works for other sites that have a daily letter section. So I imagine this can't be a bad thing.

Similarity (1)

schporto (20516) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966602)

Interesting -
A bug will be evident to one in a million eyes.
A bad post will be evident to one in 400 eyes.

Hurm. OpenSource moderation????

As for making it entirely public, think of the idea of letting everyone recode the linux kernel and having it effect everyone. If everyone was a moderator then the "First Poster" could moderate his up till it was a high enough moderated comment to be read.

Kudos (1)

Mr Bill (21249) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966607)

I had stopped reading most of the comments, because of all the useless banter in them. There are some very insightful comments on /. but wading through all the garbage was not worth the effort... Let's hope that this system helps organise the responses.

I suggest that you are very strict at applying the above rules, or you will see this system abused very quickly.

-- I'm all for freedom of speech.....unless it comes from some moron that doesn't have a point :)

Impressive (1)

Mina (21443) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966610)

I like the way it's working out. I've been reading over the comments and I like it. And sort by score is helping a lot too. ^.^

I'm trusting Rob with the moderator picking. I don't trust a lot of people, you go Rob.


Well, how does one find out if one is a moderator? (1)

Kaa (21510) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966611)

Do you get an e-mail, or there is something in your user prefs?

And, what abour people who would generate a new nick/password pair, post one comment, get a +1 rating by default, get moderator priviledges and then abuse the hell out of them? Can even be done by a bot...

I don't think so (2)

Kaa (21510) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966612)

First, why do you need my "REAL NAME"? Are you going to sue me? Why do you even care? Why can't I have multiple identities?

Second, charge me $29 and I'll go away. I'll bet most everybody will go away. Has been tried, doesn't work.

Third, DejaNews makes Usenet quite usable.

Not happy. (1)

phypor (21542) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966613)

Noone is deciding whut you can and cant read ...
set your threshold to -5 or so as suggested,
and you can read any and everything your heart desires.

Filters and killfiles are a good idea regardless,
if they can be implemented without adding significantly
to the load.

Electronic Editing (1)

Dave Manning (21883) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966618)

I think it's a great idea, if done right the first time. Way back when (1990), I was working on a masters thesis about the rise of human-computer communication (read: online communication), and how the traditional media didn't think it would work well because there were no editors to act as gatekeepers for what was good and what wasn't.

They were right, of course - USENET is proof. If articles can be weighted and scored by a number of moderators, the S/N ratio will improve. However, is it too much to hope for a spell checker?


Not happy. (2)

ChrisGoodwin (24375) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966633)

Well, if you don't like moderation, don't use it. No one is forcing you to. You can choose to use other people's decisions on what's good and what's not, or you can choose not to.

If you read a newspaper, or read books, or even watch TV, you're taking other people's word at what's good and what's not (they're called editors).

Moderate the stories too ? (1)

Mr Moose (25219) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966635)

Sometimes, the same story gets repeated after a small interval of time, say 2 weeks. Whoever are in charge of decdiging what gets posted might not have the time to see all the articles on /., but I do.

So can the moderators also moderate the story posted. For a story, the only moderation would be: "it was already posted" or something to that effect.

With enough people watching everyone else's back, well... you get to see a lot of backs.

/. moderation -- a thought on IGNORE commands (1)

Gryphon (28880) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966655)

Speaking from a useability point of view, an user-initiated IGNORE command to throw on annoying posters isn't a bad idea. ( Not sure how hard that is to code for /. )

However, a disadvantage of an IGNORE command is that if a user comes around, receives a bolt of inspiration and starts posting some interesting, useful comments, anybody who had IGNOREed that poster in the past wouldn't receive the benefit of the poster's new-found wisdom and insight.

The new /. system that essentially equals peer review alleviates the potential difficulty I outlined with the IGNORE command above -- if a user posts useless comments, nobody will see them... if they suddenly post great insights, their presence will be known.

IMHO, I'd say lets try the new /. moderation system for a while and see how it turns out... like any software, the bugs come out once the release goes public. :-)


Thats a pretty cool idea.... (1)

Lordahdaring (29285) | more than 15 years ago | (#1966658)

I like that, how about another thing sorta piggy-backed on that?
Why not also allow users to select individuals who they find ususally have comments they want to read, and allow a quick sort by nicknames? That way there would be another level for people to not get lost, besides somebody might be writing a paper on flamebaiters or some such.
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