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Slashdot Forum Updates

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the we're-getting-there dept. 202

I've made several major and minor changes again over the last few days. Mainly again regarding moderation, but also you ought to see a few minor UI improvements on the homepage and the comments as well. I like 'em. Hope you do to. Click the link to read some comments on updates to the moderation system (especially important for moderators- you guys have lost some power, so read why :) and more importantly, read my suggested requirements to be eligible for 'Jury Duty'.The most significant change involves moderators posting comments and moderating within the same discussion. This is no longer possible. If you post a comment in a forum, you can no longer moderate. More so, if you moderate, and then post a comment, all of your moderation will be undone.

Why? Right now 400 people moderate. But when 4000 people moderate, I think it becomes much more important to make people chose: do they want to participate as a moderator, or as a speaker. I don't think its fair to let people do both.

I'm getting closer to implementing the mass moderation system folks, and I figure now is as good of a time as any to address the biggest issue: Who will moderate. Please don't worry about what moderators will do for the moment, lets just talk about who ought to be allowed to contribute as a moderator. We can talk about what moderators will be able to do another day- each of these topics are tricky and confusing unto themselves so lets try to keep them seperate and solve them one at a time.

Here is my proposal for defining an "Eligible Moderator". Note that not anyone who is eligible will be a moderator. It'll be like Jury Duty- this is the group that will be eligible for Jury Duty. And like Jury Duty, nobody will be on Jury Duty 24/7, 365 Days a year, you might only be allowed to moderate a few comments a week. Maybe less. I don't know yet what size "Jury" we need. We'll play with that. But who is eligible? Here is my list:

  1. You must have a user account. Sorry. I need some way to tell everyone apart. This is required.
  2. You can't be a newbie. I plan to enforce that by only making the first 2/3rds of User Accounts eligible. So if your user ID is greater than about 21,000 right now, you'll be ineligible. Don't worry, we get lots of new accounts, so this body will grow.
  3. There will be an option in the user accounts to simply say "I don't want to moderate". By default, everyone will want to be moderators, but you can turn this off.
  4. You must have a positive alignment. Your alignment is the sum of all moderation done to all of your comments. The last batch of moderators were selected from those with positive alignment. I'm changing that to 'non-negative' to widen the scope. Note that the default score of a comment (right now that is usually 1) has no effect on alignment.
  5. You must be a relatively active Slashdot Reader. I've got a script that figures out how many time each reader hit Slashdot in the last 48 hours. I'll count the number of articles & comments each user read. I'll throw out any account that was inactive, and the Eligible Pool will be something like the middle 33% of all readers. This will throw out anyone who only loaded a few pages yesterday (this guy isn't interested in moderating anyway) and it will throw out the psycho overactive guys who load Slashdot 1000 times a day (there are a few guys, but mainly this will prevent someone from simply pressing reload a few hundred times to get moderator access). Frankly the narrower that slice is, the less likely automated attempts to gain moderator access will succeed. Plus we can randomize it a bit. Select 1000 random users from the middle third? This will require some tweaking when it goes into place.

I think these requirements will let us a get a cross section of lurkers and posters. Most important, it should prevent evil tricks being used to gain undeserved access. And finally, it requires you to be an active reader and not a newbie.

And as always, anyone who doesn't like it, can simply disable all moderation and enjoy Slashdot in all its uncut splendor. I've even added Links on the homepage to accelerate that process for those who want it.

I'm looking for feedback, but it would really help if we stay on topic here: Just help with ideas about who. Don't worry about what moderators do, or how much they can do: Each of those topics are seperate issues. I've put a lot of time and thought into them too, and I'll hopefully address them in the next few days seperately so we can give them the full attention they deserve.

Bring on the feedback.

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flat and moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950729)

I usually resort to reading everything flat,
because even though I set my threshold to
-10 or so, the replies that aren't taken out
for low scores, are only shown as links.

I want to see everything flat that is above
what I set my moderation too. Am I missing something is this possible?

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950730)

Easy. Log out to post. Or create a separate account for posting, and one for moderating.

-BOredAtWork, who's at work without his cookie.

Moderation, moderation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950731)

Hmm... I think there's a problem. If you were
marked down even once, you don't get to moderate? Come on, Rob, we all have grumpy days, and the early days of moderation led to some grevious errors by the moderating parties... The moderators were *wrong* in how they carried out their jobs in many cases -- they didn't yet know how to avoid being censors.

I think you need to do something like an average score... If I posted 200 comments, and only one of those ever got marked down... I think I'm a good user (albeit one who seems to have lost
his cookie and can't remember his password right now ).

too complicated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950733)

There's always some merit in KISS.

That's great, but... (Lynx) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950734)

These are the steps I have to take to post using Lynx; the best damn browser in existence:
1) lynx -reload (because of the stupid squid server)
2) when replying, enter name & pw
3) enter message, then submit
4) accept cookie #1
5) accept cookie #2
It's too time consuming (even if it is only 30 seconds each time) to log in when all I want to do is read a few messages.
And I use Lynx because all that glitters is not gold.

That's great, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950736)

My posts are always moderated beyond belief, and they are never hostile or insulting.
One minute, my post can be "x" and the next minute "y" and not even show up.
Now, my main gripe is this: I use Lynx, and the only time I log in is to post a comment. I post maybe once or twice a week, but read /. 10 times a day. That's 50 times a week, but I'm only logged in twice. How do you keep track of that? You can't.

Conflict of Interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950737)

> If you post a comment in a forum, you can no longer moderate.

Uh, there's a bit of a problem here. It seems to me that the
only people likely to *see* a particular article are those
interested in the subject. The very same people that would most
likely want to comment.

Doesn't affect me, as I have no intention of ever having a /.
account again, but I was struck by the contradiction.

Do moderators post as ACs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950738)

Moderators are not allowed to reveal their status as moderators. This probably prevents moderators from taking part in this particular discussion without using the AC feature.

Since user logins are enforced by cookies, there's no way short of IP tracking, to verify whether a moderator is using this trick. And even that won't work when a would be moderator/AC uses seperate ISPs. If there were, a good many readers of slashdot would be extremely pissed off.

AC postings start a moderated value of 0. That does pose a hurdle for any would be "self-moderator."

anouther negative comment value, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950740)

I'm a moderator, so I've set my default read level to -1 to check up on the rest of us. I'd like some way to either move the -1 comments to the bottom, or have 02 comments that I don't see (odds are two moderators will be right) so that I don't have to wade through first posts just to moderate properly.

Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950741)

God, I hate having to log out every time I want to post on one of these. Hey Rob, how about a "Post as AC" option for moderators?

Anyway, I have a user account so people will know who's posting in the first place. That's the whole point, or at least so I thought.

21000? (0)

John Campbell (559) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950745)

Wow... and I've got a three-digit UID...

This is getting ridiculous (0)

drsoran (979) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950746)

It's sad that people just can't behave themselves in a civilized manner when posting to a public forum. All this programming effort could be better spent on adding new and exciting features to /. instead of babysitting the lusers who seem to have nothing better to do than try to annoy people. Ah well, keep up the good work... the new features are interesting to play with.

Positive alignment? (0)

Pyro P (7396) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950748)

Been playing MUDs, Rob? :)

Hey I am just happy that I moderated Katz OUT! (0)

cholko (10212) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950750)

That was the best change here recently... the ability to self moderate - or is that censor the available news stories.

Still, since you are going to allow more active moderation, and you have all the filters perhaps this means you can post more stories (and properly categorize them). This way there would be more content that has a chance to appeal to more people.


Wonderful!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950751)

I do not have an account and will likely never create one. I think I have posted twice, several Anonymous Cowards deep in a thread. Reading /. regularly keeps me sounding wise when I am talking to the suits.

I have a feeling this is going to be huge and this moderation method will be copied many times. What a great system.

It increases my guilt though. In addition to using Open Source without contributing, I now get the benefits of the new slashdot without participating in the moderation process. Perhaps you should start selling hair shirts?

How will you deal with threshholds? (1)

Maryck (84) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950757)

One thing that doesn't seem to have been addressed is whether people's threshholds will be taken into account. Presumably, for someone to be an effective moderator, they need to be open to all of the posts (not just those with positive values, etc); otherwise, you have people moderating only those items which have already been moderated. Perhaps a person's default threshhold should be taken into account in the selection process. If a person does use a higher threshhold, this should not necessarily eliminate them, but if they are selected as a potential moderator, then they have lower their threshhold.

Wrong approach (1)

unruh (414) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950761)

The idea of moderation is to separate relevant postings from white noise. It is not about censorship and preferring certain political views.

Your idea is orthogonal to the current system and may be implemented additionally. Rob?

What are the other changes? (1)

Jordy (440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950762)

You listed the moderation changes in detail, but what are the other changes? :)

Maybe my reading comprehension skills need work or something :)


All things in moderation (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950764)

I'd hope that a moderator with something good to say would post instead of moderating. Of course, this leaves the moderation up to the lurkers, who can't be moderators because they don't post...

[snif snif] Hey, I smell a catch 22 here. Maybe you should only actively post until you become a moderator....


All things in moderation (1)

Analog (564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950765)

Hopefully though, if a person has something they really want to say they will say it. There will be plenty of other people to moderate the first posts, etc. Especially when you consider that they can only go down a maximum of two points (if posted while logged in).

One other effect I haven't seen mentioned, which I think is important. The way Rob is talking about setting this up will discourage people from moderating in threads where they're emotionally involved; they'll want to post instead. This can only have a positive effect on objectivity.

Perhaps I misread it, but ... (1)

Herschel Cohen (568) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950766)

my impression was that comments and moderation for a particular article would not be permitted, though the word "forum" makes it open to interpretation - hence ambiguous.

Do moderators post as ACs? (1)

Enry (630) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950767)

I see people posting as ACs who mention they are moderators. How is this done? Does a moderator log out, post their comment and log back in? Or are all moderator comments automatically ACs?

#630, but not a moderator. So there.

All things in moderation (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950768)

Posted by Mike@ABC:

I can't help but wonder if the moderation vs. posting scheme will work. If a moderator has something really cool to say, but has to choose between that and supporting someone else's comments (or blasting a idiot comment down to -1), I think we'd lose out on some good perspectives.

As for the number of moderators, well, 4000 seems like a lot. Maybe I'm wrong, but the bigger the pool, the bigger the chances for someone to abuse the privilege.

Good thoughts on the mass mod (1)

mackga (990) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950773)

I just went back and re-read the proposals on who will be eligible, after reading through the comments. I think the jury-duty idea is smack on - it sounds almost random to me. Using the selection process seems logical to me as well. I dunno if it'll work, but it sounds okay. One thing I'd like to know right now, though, is how many times I've hit and read through /. a day - I would venture that I'm not eligible due to obsessive hitting :). I have no idea how long I've been reading /. either. Rob, can you email me this info?

I agreee... select based on typical threshold (1)

Viper (1186) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950776)

Those of us us who have time to wade through the more numerous lower scored posts will have the time and patience to read ALL posts to be able to moderate ALL posts effectively.

Privacy Policy? (1)

jamus (1439) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950779)

Now that slashdot is counting how many times people visit this site, shouldn't it have a privacy policy stating what information is gathered, and what it is used for?


An initial thought (1)

Thomas Charron (1485) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950781)

>Of course, there needs to be some type of
> control on this, so people just don't score
> their friends high to get them to be
> moderators...hmmm...

That's what's nice about the new system. The 'highest rated' people don't automatically become 'the most eligible'. They have to be active, and with a positive level..

Learn from Google (1)

wayne (1579) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950784)

[ ... ] the basic idea is that if you moderate the same way as a lot of good moderators do, then you too are a good moderator.

Ok, so /. is already Linux-centric. Chances are the current group of moderators tends to think that linux==good, everything else==bad. In order for you to become a moderator, you have to match the current moderators, so you have to tow the party line. Even if you start off with only a mild bias, this self=selecting process is going to make things much worse over time.

Reasonable ... But ... (1)

extremely (1681) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950785)

I think this reasonable in that it makes a "Jury Memeber" (JM) think about whether they want to post to participate or moderate. JMs, as you said, won't have that many opportunities to moderate since their point allocation will be low.

The REAL drawback is that the best moderators for a particular subject are the best clued. Now we have the ones we most want posting and moderating deciding which to do.

OTOH, limiting the points sufficiently may overcome this, the same way it overcomes the "Tyranny of the Majority" by preventing emotional votes. You don't have enough votes to be flippant with them, you have to save them for when they count. Also, I gather marking up is more important than squelching, and the moderator system is geared to that by the -1..5 system.

All in all it sounds OK to me. Especially the backing out of moderation if you just HAVE to post. That lets you moderate first and participate if no one else gets to your point.

Interesting. How does one go about moderating? (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950788)

I was under the impression that moderators had an extra option on the Comments page? I think I match the qualifications listed, but I don't see anything.

the problem with who (1)

jfm3 (2260) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950790)

The main problem I see with who? is that there is not a 1:1 mapping between accounts and people. I can create one account for every email address I can muster. If I am a sysadmin at a medium size installation, generating email addresses is trivial. Heuristics like "the first 2/3ds of all accounts" seem good, and may work, but are not as air-tight as they might be.

In general my rule is "accounts can gain, but not lose". If I can gain and lose, I'll just create two accounts. With one I'll do everything that will result in gain, and with the other I'll do everything that will result in loss. You can try to monkey around this, but it always boils down to the infinite-account posessor winning.

In tandem with that rule is "only trusted folks can grant gain." You can't be on both sides of the fence. You can't be a gain haver and a gain giver. Simple rules like "you can't give gain to yourself" are easily defeated by two-account holders. Complex rules like "n people must agree give you gain for you to have it" are defeated by n+1 account holders. A good way of granting and ensuring trust was developed in PGP, and in fact that self same technology can be used here...

OK. I'm going to leave it at that. Vague and brief.

Moderation, moderation. (1)

asmussen (2306) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950791)

That's not exactly true. Getting marked down once isn't going to automatically negate you as a moderator, it just means that you must have been marked up at least once to balance it out.

Sounds good so far (1)

planet_hoth (3049) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950793)

I think this sounds very sensible. We'll have to
see if it works in practice ;)
One suggestion: you may have made the criteria
a little too narrow. I think the closer you come
to letting everyone moderate, the more the
moderation will reflect the views of the /.
Or maybe I'm missing the point? Maybe the idea is
to let the "wise elders" run everything. I think
this approach would have its own benefits, too.

Direct Democracy Doesn't Work: I don't buy it. (1)

docwhat (3582) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950795)

I don't buy that direct democracy doesn't work. I'm not sure that it does work well, but I can't believe that it doesn't.

In other (non-US) countries, there is a much higher voter turn outs, voters make efforts to educate themselves with the issues and vote smartly. It appears that this isn't a hard and fast rule but is rather based upon the culture.

The US obviously convinced its self that democracy doesn't work; as shown by extreamly low voter turn out.

Before I sign off, I'd like to add that I think that excessive calls for votes, or voting for every little detail, would probably fail outright. If not from burn out, then from eventual apathy as many topics would appear unimportant.

No moderator selection. (1)

docwhat (3582) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950796)

Using the theory that anyone who wants to be a moderator is unfit to be a moderator; I would like to suggest that moderators are picked 100% at random.

As one poster pointed out, we're playing with statistics here, anyway. We cannot hope for perfect moderation, anyway. And as SlashDot becomes bigger, then we will need moderator-moderators (meta-moderators) to watch and remove improper moderators.

Slashdot is only as good as it's contributors, anyway. So I think that everyone should have a nearly equal chance to be picked as a moderator for a month. I wouldn't eliminate people from the running for appearing useless, even the "I'm first" posters.

You never know, the guy who was driving everone nuts with inane comments might gain some respect for the job of the moderators and the importance of being useful, and contribute in ways we can't dream of.

Its called httpd-log. Get over it. (1)

Jim McCoy (3961) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950798)

All http requests are logged. If you are unaware of this then you need to get whacked pretty hard by the clue stick. If you are concerned about your privacy vis a vis Slashdot then join the great masses of Anonymous Cowards (something I do frequently for just such purposes.)

That's great, but... (1)

Orion (3967) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950799)

I think you answered your own question... Rob has given fairly good reasons for the rules he wants to implement. If people don't log in, there is nothing he can do about it. He can only do so much.

Learn from Google (1)

Mawbid (3993) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950800)

Do you know how Google gets such wonderfully relevant answers to your searches? First they rate each page in their database individually, according to number of matches, phrase matches, etc. Then they rate each page on the number of highly rated pages that link to it. That way, if there are a bunch of pages that appear to be about the GIMP, and most of them point to, then is assumed to be a mother load of GIMP resources.

As the people running Google admit, this is a rather circular definition, but it really does work.

What does this have to do with slashdot moderation? Well, a similar system might be used to rate moderators. I won't suggest implementation specifics, but the basic idea is that if you moderate the same way as a lot of good moderators do, then you too are a good moderator.

This system could no doubt fail in many ways, with disasterous consequences, but if it doesn't, I think it could turn out to be the best system. It's certainly worth thinking about.

Interesting. How does one go about moderating? (1)

boinger (4618) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950802)

It hasn't been implemented yet, as I understand it.

"The Constitution admittedly has a few defects and blemishes, but it still seems a hell of a lot better than the system we have now."

Moderation Groups (1)

chriscmp (5983) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950810)

I'm thinking of a system which allows various moderation groups. The idea is that you create a cluster analysis system which attempts to find trends ( ie groups ) of moderators who tend to rate things in particular ways. (I'd aim for like 4 groups total ) Provide some means for us, the readers, to use these groups to provide a more customized view of what we like. For example even though their may be some very well written and rated comments if the "hyper-GNU-heads" ( a theoretical group ) are the only ones who like it, I may choose not to read it. I realize that this will have the effect fracturing the slashdot readership, but it provides even more interactivity, and it allows users to userstand the various viewpoints better.

Moderators posting (1)

Dan S. (6539) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950812)

As long as you are keeping track of people (which isn't always a bad thing) you may as well say 'moderators can post on articles that they moderate as long as their average score is above X' That way moderators who post good comments, and moderate are allowed to do both, and those who do it, and get moderated down to a low score for posting stupid comments can't. You figure you've already got the data,just give it a whack, play with the threshold and see if it works.


Why Jury Duty? (1)

mahlen (6997) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950813)

I'm not clear on the intended purpose of limited periods for moderator eligibility (aka Jury Duty). Are some people moderating too much? Then i'd just reduce the rate at which people accumulate moderator points. It feels like an impediment to action to have to check my "On Jury Duty" status when i note a bad/good comment.

Or is this an effort to spread responsibility around to a larger group, so that more people can participate as moderators? I can see the value of that. It may help prevent an Us vs. Them feeling among

So far i'm quite impressed with the moderation as it stands. "Many hands on the tiller make light work." (Mao, I think)

Just don't post the "how often i read Slashdot" info. That's the last thing i want my VP of Engineering to know!


We may not return the affection of those who like us, but we always respect their good judgement.

Seconded (1)

Sam Ruby (8995) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950819)

I believe that giving people the choice on a thread by thread basis to EITHER moderate or contribute is both an excellent idea and sufficient.

Put another way, if only a small number are actually selected for jury duty at any given time, either these chosen few will effectively be gagged for the duration, or less moderation will take place.

who and what (1)

cpeikert (9457) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950821)

There are lots of great ideas here, and it looks like the quality of Slashdot comments (the ones *I* read, anyway) will really be improving. I've already seen a great leap forward. However, the issues of who should be moderators vs. what they should be able to do are inseparable. Saying that they're different issues (repeatedly, and forcefully) just don't make it so. We've got to know what kind of powers are involved before we talk about whom we should trust with those powers. In the extreme example, consider the following potential moderator permissions:
  • Ability to moderate comments
  • Ability to delete comments
  • Ability to add/delete stories
  • Ability to trash entire webserver
Obviously only Rob should have all of these powers. However, their are thousands of people who could/should potentially have the first one. So I'd like a better idea of what kinds of powers there are for moderators, and what kind of abuse-prevention devices would be in place, before I think about who should be granted moderation privs.

What was the name of that game? (1)

Juggle (9908) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950823)

Don't all these new rules remind anyone of that game about making rules? I just spent half an hour searching the net and can't seem to find it. All I remember was it was a hacker game that revolved around making rules and making rules about how to make rules.

clarification (1)

giuoco (11567) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950826)

I agree with you when you say that this system deprives the moderators, but I think that is a choice they are going to have to make if there interested in moderation. I also think that rob might be trying to pool a larger moderation source so that at least a couple people can moderate every single article. And, how can you tell number of comments read when there all displayed in flattened mode?

Not a bad idea if you ask me.


Moderation, moderation. (1)

purp (12986) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950830)

Sounds good, Rob. I imagine that you've wrestled with the "Moderate vs. Participate" aspect of this one for a while; while I'm not firmly convinced that I agree with you, I'll give it a ride for a while.

ObSuckup: Thanks for all the work you do on /. It's become a vital resource for me (and thousands of others, I'm sure =) in fishing the information out of the data stream.

n+1/abuse of the system at 4k+ (1)

maestro^ (13683) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950832)

most people who read this site have at least two email address they could use. sure i can beat the system no matter what rob does. to that end why not just try and crack /.? i agree that there is a potential for abuse, but i dont know of any way to uniquely identify an induhvidual in cyberspace. your n+1 argument works even with pgp keys. it comes down to trusting the people who are moderators. 4k is a large number and as someone suggested before, 400 probably represents a good cross-section of readers anyways. lets come up with some good ways to find a few good men^H^H^H people to moderate and spend more time ensuring that they moderate well. ie, they _do_ represent varied opinions, they are active, and basically arent abusing the system. i dont see any advantages to haveing 4k+ of moderators if we can get 400 or maybe even 1000 who want to spend a little bit of time moderating. im afraid that no amount of automation can detect the misuse of identities. my hope is that /. moderators will have the integrity to follow the rules. lets put the emphasis on choosing good moderators, not on how to prevent an abusive moderator from abusing the system.

big brother? Hey, I don't mind (1)

webslacker (15723) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950837)

Being tracked? Nothing wrong with it. There's a couple differences between being tracked by Slashdot and being tracked by Microsoft. First, being tracked by Slashdot means that you get benefits, such as being able to customize out lamers. Of course, if your name is First Post, this is not a good thing. Secondly, the info stays confidential. Can you spell GUID? I can't speak for everyone else, but when you believe in God, you get used to the idea that someone's watching you 24/7 and rather enjoy it. In the case of Slashdot, as long as Rob or Hemos don't sell our emails to, I'm cool with it.

To moderate or to comment (1)

dosowski (15924) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950840)

I think the whole moderate vs. comment thing is a pretty good idea. Yes, there are disadvantages to it, but there is also a good reason to implement it. If a person has a strong enough of an opinion on a particular topic that they will take the time to write a comment about it, it is likely that that person, if they were an abuser, would moderate comments that they agree with up, and comments they disagree with down. This would eliminate that from happening.However, if the topic is fairly new to you, and you want to learn more about it by reading the comments (I've done this), you are likely going to be more objective in your moderation, marking up the worthwhile comments.

Yes, this obviously doesn't apply to non-abusers who moderate objectively, but in any large-group situation you will find a small group of people who force restrictions to be put on the whole group.

Comments and Suggestions (1)

grrrreg (16026) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950841)

I agree....voluntary moderation should be proactive right from the start.

Better justification for 2/3 cutoff (1)

SissyLaLa (17392) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950843)

Yeah, I lurked for a while too, but
I have no proof -- therefore I am newbie, hear me roar. I usually load /. 1000 times a day too, But I just want to see what Jenni is up to.

big brother? (1)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950845)

Don't worry:

/. is not tracking your reading habits, it is tracking ywwg's habits.

Granted that you may be interested in your privacy but may also have entered personal information into /.'s user database, you can delete your user and become a 'named' AC by becoming a different user totally unrelated to your real self. As long as your username does not connect with yourself, you have your privacy.

You have stated that you trust /. to be responsable with their database, and inherent in this trust would be the trust that they would not cross-index their database with anyone else's to come up with a useful profile. (In an MS-esque way) It seems to me that /.'s gathering of data is in no way a threat to privacy because the data is used purely internally. Never-the-less, I think there should also be an "I don't want /. collecting data on me" button in preferences. Perhaps this could be keyed to the "I don't want to be a moderator" button because it seems one is used strictly for determining eligibility for the other.

If this is truly an issue for you (or others) simply remain an AC and accept the -1 relative priority. You'll just have to write better comments to be heard. -12345678910

A minor request (1)

umoto (19193) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950849)

I think the changes you've been making to Slashdot are great but please be sure the front page doesn't come out in all bold. It's harder to read.

=P (1)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950850)

Woo.. I'm 19919.. hehehe.. But it would suck if I was removed.. I think I have put in alot of input to this site to make people think about the stuff that is posoted and to think about about my point of view on deals..

=P . Oh yeah.. (1)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950851)

I think i'm plent eligable!!! Check me out!!!

A little unclear on the "middle third" idea (1)

for(;;); (21766) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950854)

So, will it weed out us obsessive /. addicts, seeking only a middle ground of recreational /. users? Or is this only to weed out automated attempts at grabbing moderator status?

some issues (1)

avdp (22065) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950855)

A few issues that come to mind:

Newbie: it is a little bit discriminatory to eliminate users simply based on the age of their account. I don't think that how old/new to slashdot you are really has ANY influence on the quality of the moderation/posting. I'd like to mantion my case - for instance - I have been reading slashdot for ages, but I only recently signed up for an account. Partially due to the descrimination against "Anonymous Cowards". I think you will be missing a lot of great people (and I am not neccessarily saying I am one of them).

Can't post and moderate: another problem. I read the subjects that interest me. And I cannot moderate what I don't read. Therefore I cannot be a moderator AND a slashdot participant. Read a few messages in here, seems a lot of people agree.

Non-negative alignment: let's face it, most posts don't get moderated at all. And it only takes one negative moderation from an overzealous moderator would didn't understand what moderation is about to be out of the pool. Bummer. Problem.

The way I see it, Rob should pick one of three options:
1. Dismiss the moderation system (seems unlikely at this point, although I personally would not be against it)
2. Leave like it is now (don't like it now, but probably better than what is being proposed now)
3. Let EVERYONE logged in moderate (my favorite: I'll explain)

I think that statistically you probably will have the best moderation if everyone is free to moderate. Right now, you have a select few. That's a problem because you have kind of a "ruling class", and quite frankly I question the judgement of those people. So, now you want to expand the pool a bit. Fine, but it's essentially the same thing, although I may trust the score a little bit more. If everyone could moderate, I would definetely trust the score, because it essentially would be representative of everyone's opinion.

Issues with everyone being a moderator: well, there might be abuse. So what? you can deal with this and revoke priviledge for people abusing it. I think the advantages would outweight by far the dissadvantages. At least you wouldn't have to read these postings from would-be-ACs, just because they cannot say what they think while logged in (due to the "you can't reveal you're a moderator rule").

Better justification for 2/3 cutoff (1)

Emilio (22274) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950856)

I agree with your comment here. I started reading slashdot a long time ago but I never bothered to set up an accout (once it was an option). Instead, it was the customizations that lead me to register.

Other than that, everything else in the system looks like a good idea.


A little unclear on the "middle third" idea (1)

macgeek (22429) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950857)

I'm not addicted, I can quit any time I want!

I think that the 2/3 will give a very nice mix of addicts, recreational users (never thought it would be used in that context!) and even some relative newbies (i.e. people such as myself who've been around for a while, but only just signed up).

The great thing is that it's pseudo-random, so it could be anyone. And with a "jury duty" system being used, we won't have people letting the power get to their heads (or if they do, the power won't be there for too long).

Power corrupts, absolute power corupts absolutely. Wonder how moderating affects this? :)

Of moderation and commentary (1)

a9db0 (31053) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950863)

I have to agree with several of the folks here that not allowing moderators to moderate and comment within the same topic is probably not for the best. It would be too limiting to the moderators, and might reduce the number of people willing to moderate. I know I only read the topics that interest me, and respond to threads that I find intelligent. If I was a moderator who had been excercising my franchise, and knew that adding my 2 cents to one thread would negate any voting I had done in other threads in the same topic I would think twice before responding. I don't believe that's what you have in mind.

I think it would make more sense to allow/disallow moderation at the thread level. That way moderators can speak up on issues that concern them in one thread without eliminating their ability to do the job they were asked to do in other threads.

Or am I asking for the impossible?

BTW, I'm not a moderator, and with a UID in the nosebleed section, I don't anticipate becoming one anytime soon.

That won't work. (1)

rking (32070) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950865)

"If someone makes a habit of posting as AC so that they can moderate as well then they will loose their moderator status because they haven't been posting."

So far as I can tell, it's only proposed that you have to be an active reader, not an active poster too.

Better justification for 2/3 cutoff (1)

mudder (32780) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950866)

I would agree with this, and in fact add, that perhaps there are a lot of people out there who read a lot more than they post, and as such they would make really good moderators, since they wouldn't be forced to choose between posting for an article or moderating it. In fact, there are probably quite a few lurkers without accounts who would make great moderators, so maybe you could have some sort of system that allows frequent readers to moderate.

Better justification for 2/3 cutoff (1)

grem (32975) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950867)

Right. That would be me. I've been reading /. for about 2 years now. But never felt the need to create an account until yesterday. Ah well.

Why is cutting off at 2/3 wrong? Because it really only tells how long someone has been around here. Not how valuable a resource they are or how pertinent their opinions.

I'd highly suggest that moderation be given to ALL users whose total posting scores are in the top 50%.

Positive alignment? (2)

CmdrTaco (1) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950870)

Tradewars 2002.

Ah the good old days.
Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
Pants are Optional

Post as AC - moderate yourself up! (2)

Viper (1186) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950874)

The moderation/posting restriction is only a hinderance.

There is nothing to stop a moderator from logging out, posting as an anonymous coward, and then moderating up their own (anonymous) post. Sure it's a bit harder and takes longer, but that is about the only thing it will do.

Choosing moderators (2)

Chexum (1498) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950876)

Don't ... over-democratize the process -- that way lies chaos!

At least, that's how the traditional wisdom goes. But I don't agree. I just have the weird feeling, and I am more and more certain that we live in interesting times, and something really extraordinary will grow out this whole "thing".

I guess, the silent software revolution around Linux, Open Source, Slashdot, Communities (not the way the current "media" buzzwords for it) are just the innocent seeds of something really-really better. Even "Open Source" was an interesting, but failed and tried method in the eyes of outside observers a few months ago. (I mean, it's alive since a very long time, and Gates has "proved" that the other way is better, eh?).

I'd tell don't be afraid to try old things, if they sound right, and their failure is not fully reasonable. This is a new world we are building.

User input to moderatorhood? (2)

wayne (1579) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950877)

That way, when I notice a poster whose comments are really cogent, I can mark that person as a potential moderator.

My problem with this idea is that being a good writer doesn't necessarily mean you would be a good moderator, or vice versa. The same is true for good programmers != good documentors, etc.

How can you easily judge the quality of a moderator? Seriously, I don't know. Suggestions are welcome.

How do you tell the difference between someone who is trying to promote a "contrary view" and someone who is promoting crap? If someone posts an article before they meant to, and then repost the completed article, should a moderator lower the score of the incomplete one? What might be considered "off topic", or "redundant" to one moderator might not viewed differently by most other people.

The problem of selecting "good moderators" strikes me as a very hard problem, and one I don't have any good ideas of how to solve.

Do moderators post as ACs? (2)

wayne (1579) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950878)

I see people posting as ACs who mention they are moderators. How is this done? Does a moderator log out, post their comment and log back in?

Yes, that is all the moderator, like anyone else, has to do is log out to be an AC. It is also all that a moderator will have to do to be able to post to a story that they have moderated. This doesn't make sense to me.

User input to moderatorhood? (2)

Max Hyre (1974) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950883)

Would it be worth a try to let readers nominate moderators? That way, when I notice a poster whose comments are really cogent, I can mark that person as a potential moderator.

Of course, this posits that good comments come from people with the balance and judgment to moderate well. I think that's true as a first approximation.

How to use this input, however? Count up the number of times a particular poster gets nominated, and the highest numbers get moderator privileges? (`Nomination' is really voting.) Alternatively, if the count goes over some threshold, have a human look at that person's posts and decide yea or nay. (`Nomination' is just that, with other criteria for acceptance.)

I suggest giving the first mechanism a try, because there are some folks whose judgment I respect, and would like to see have some input based on their abilities rather than pure numerology. (<nose color="brown">Not that the numerology isn't a damned good shot at automating a tough call.</nose>)

  • nomination would allow for notably-clueful newbies to get moderatorhood
  • only logged-in readers can nominate (and only nominate a given poster only once)
  • keep an eye on who gets nominated to watch for attempts to stuff the ballot box

Maybe nominations can come only from readers in domains other than the nominee's? Perhaps only from the older 2/3 of the population? (Both of these to prevent someone from registering an bunch of IDs and performing auto-nomination.)

That won't work. (2)

Nathaniel (2984) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950884)

If someone makes a habit of posting as AC so that they can moderate as well then they will loose their moderator status because they haven't been posting.

I think the 'post or moderate' choice will tend to reduce the effective moderation. It will create a situation in which each person needs to decide if they want to participate or judge, but with a limited amount of time available to each person, and only the people who participate allowed to moderate I see the whole thing becoming very cyclic.

Wow. Lot of coding, eh? (And a suggestion) (2)

Uruk (4907) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950886)

You know, Rob, I knew you were dedicated to slashdot and that it took up a lot of your time, but this kind of stuff, with moderation access schemes this complex, is really first rate stuff. Even though I enjoy moderation, it is excellent to know that I can switch it off with a click and look at slashdot in all of the comments in their, ahem, "glory".

Still using MSQL, maybe it's because I don't do SQL much that I have no idea how you did all of this.

Keep in mind, Rob, that the kind of stuff you're implementing right now is the kind of stuff people get paid wheelbarrows full of dollars for. (But don't let that convince you to take a job elsewhere and desert /.!!)

I honestly don't care if I become a moderator, but I don't think it would be that bad...kinda cool.

One possibility would be to also have the moderators stick to a certain quota of grading too, although I don't know how feasible that would be - depending on the articles, to make moderators stick to a relatively standard value, for example, if you're a moderator, and the sum of all of your moderation is -1200, something's wrong. Likewise, if you have a value of 5000 points assigned to the various articles you've moderated, that's not good either..

So much for that (2)

Uruk (4907) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950887)

All though I don't know if Rob would approve, you can always do exactly what you're doing now, which is, post as an anonymous coward and still be able to moderate the discussion. I think the main thing was that he didn't want people to abuse the priveledge of moderation because of the fact that so many people aren't very objective in general, and aren't necessarily going to be objective in posting and moderating. (Not saying anything about you, just in general)

Moderating articles on moderation (2)

L. Ron McKenzie (7095) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950889)

It's interesting to see how moderators moderate moderation comments :)

Seems they are busier then usual. Very opinionated when it comes to moderating, I guess.

So much for that (Direct Democracy?!) (2)

Evan Vetere (9154) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950892)

There should be no other rules. Let everyone moderate, and on any forum. Otherwise, Rob is acting as some kind of Russian-like intelligencia, believing he always knows best.

Direct Democracy never works with large groups. Never, ever works. We -need- a smaller representative body to moderate for the whole - I for one do not trust the slashdot reader base to moderate my articles properly or fairly.

Then again, I don't trust the American people to vote for a good president who'll act fairly and not make our country look like a bunch of raving fools. I guess I'm way off base. [evil grin]

clarification (2)

Harlequin (11000) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950893)

Ok, let me see if I understand how this works. Once you're selected through [insert process here] you are in a pool of aproximatly 1000 moderators. If you are in this pool, occasionally you will be called upon to moderate some subset of the articles available in a similar fashion to the way things are currently moderated. But, if you are randomly selected to moderate an article, you aren't allowed to post comments about that article? If you're chosen to moderate an article, do you have the choice of not moderating and commenting? If not, it might deprive the /. community of valueable comments these people might make. If you are allowed to choose to moderate, I'd think it would discourage people from moderating subjects they were interested in (and might make good judgements about what to moderate). If you're not allowing people to moderate their own comments, I don't see the harm in them moderating the thread they're reading (dispite the possibility of people moderating down comments against them or their position). Anyway, I'm sure the modeation system will settle out into something that works well.

BTW, how does your script check to see how many comments people read when they're in flattened mode?

Better justification for 2/3 cutoff (2)

baby fishface (14578) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950896)

I think there are a lot of people out there who've been around for a while but have only recently relented and made an account.

I don't think it's fair to call them newbies just because they didn't sign up earlier.

Instead use the 2/3 cutoff to stop people from creating new accounts specifically to abuse the system.

So much for that (2)

takshaka (15297) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950897)

There are, however, only so many hours in the day. I'd prefer not to spend my free time reading about Amigas, because I have no interest in them. I might as well read a crochet magazine.

Other than on a purely literary and common sense basis do I know the difference between a good Amiga--or crochet--post and crap.

I does make a "sort of" sense, and I'm not sure it isn't actually the best way to handle mass moderation. But since I don't have time to read about Amigas and Palm Pilots, I'll likely be checking the "No Jury Duty" box.

Sounds Good..Some Suggestions (2)

mr2Ę (16489) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950899)

Your ideas for picking the moderators are good ones and I don't really see a need to change those criteria until you're proven it's not a good model to work from.

Now here are some suggestions...

1. Restricting a moderator from posting in a topic they want to take part of, and vice versa, is a double edged sword. Sure if they post, they already have an agenda which may indicate a biased slant on other posters they moderate, but here are two arguments against that...
  • There seems to be a greater chance of a moderator who posts to an article to have a greater understanding of the topic than those that don't. Ergo they should prove (percentage wise mind you) to be better moderators than those who have no desire to post.

  • If you're forcing moderators to read replies to articles they have no interest in posting to, it sounds more like 'work' than something worthwhile.

2. Moderators should receive Peer-Review at intervals during their "career" here at /. Something that brings up their moderations for review in an anonymous "poll" where no one knows who they are but they can evaluate a random snapshot of their moderations.

I have my threshold at 2, which was great in the begining where some really nice posts showed up but now I'm seeing more, and more, replies like "Who is this Linus guy?" being scored a 2.

Perhaps this could also be helped if there was a grading scale like.

-1 Raw, off-topic, flaming-flamingo slug-fests
0 One liner comments, not much meat to 'em (AC Default)
1 Light on content, but interesting (Registered Users Default)
Raises an interesting question or point
3 Like 2 but well done
4 Wow, great insight...this could be another article
5 Are you sure you're not RMS or ESR?

...although I might be straying a bit off topic, this will probably be an issue in the future: How to police the moderators?

Just my 2

big brother? (2)

ywwg (20925) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950901)

I had no idea users' behavior was tracked so specifically on slashdot. I know you guys have no intention of using the information in evil, microsoft-like ways, but I would have appreciated a warning along the lines of: "once you become a user your actions on slashdot will be monitored and will affect your eligibility for moderator-ship."
Internet people seem to be extremely privacy-conscious, and yet slashdot is tracking their reading habits.

what do people think?

Don't like/understand jury duty idea (2)

braman (22386) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950904)

I'm not sure why you would want to adopt a "jury duty" model for slashdot moderatorship. Why not just let long-term members decide if they want to moderate a story or not. Once they moderate a post, they can't participate and vice versa. All other restrictions apply as well. I guess this could be gotten around (people could set up two accounts), but that seems like more work than fun.

Maybe I don't understand the idea, but it does seem too limited to me. Or maybe I'm just annoyed that I waited so long to set up my account.

My input (2)

Yogger (24866) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950905)

Like someone way above mentioned, I've been reading /. for months, but only recently bothered to make an account because of all the neato customizations you had. I'm somewhere in the 24ks as far as user numbers go. So that might not be the best solution for weeding out newbies, but I suppose you need to figure out somewhere to make a cut.

I'd like to voice my vote for moderators not being able to moderate the thread they're posting to, not the entire article.

Do moderators post as ACs? (2)

Big Ruff (28749) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950906)

Yep, you can log right out and be an AC..

I wonder, with rob's idea that if a moderator has moderated and then posts all moderation done by that moderator is 'undone'.. what is to stop that moderator from moderating then logging out, posting as an AC, OR logging into his/her spare account to do their posting.. does he have some kind of way to prevent this?

So much for that (2)

mondamay (30539) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950907)

I agree. And it's part of a bigger problem too. The problem is that Rob wants to give good articles higher scores, but he doesn't trust /.ers to do it right. So he's tweaking, which is the wrong thing to do.

Essentially, what Rob is doing is statistics. He wants a lot of data (moderators), and wants good results. But with statistics you have to use the data you get. The only thing you worry about is errors in collecting data. In this case, thats making sure that people don't moderate on more than one account. But that should be it.

There should be no other rules. Let everyone moderate, and on any forum. Otherwise, Rob is acting as some kind of Russian-like intelligencia, believing he always knows best.

Of course, you don't have to just average the scores. that might not work. Instead you could perhaps use some kind of collaborative data techniques.

only middle 33% ???? ...not convinced (2)

xpunter (30644) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950908)

I work in electronic commerce (yes yes I know ....)

Recently, I set up a specialised portal (like a really really simplified /.) but on e-commerce. Every morning, I do the rounds on all the e-commerce sites to pick the most interesting articles. I have since become a highly highly valued resource for the people I work for because I am so well informed.

The more I read, the more my "opinion" becomes less subjective.

Hence I dont think that the big readers should be cut out.

Isn't possible to null the "cheaters" by simply upping the moderator threashold so that if you DO post a 100 times then you have to have posted a 100 intelligent comments. (in which case you aint a cheater, just obsessive ...... )

I think letting the big readers moderate is more important then letting 0+ posters moderate.

is there maybe an other option to achieve this?

Have FEWER moderators, not MORE! (3)

Tony Shepps (333) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950912)

It appeals to the hacker mindset to come up with some sort of algorithm to pick and maintain moderators. But now we're dealing with human beings; and as meat becomes part of the algorithm, it becomes harder to predict its nature.

If people asked to become moderators, were expected to read and apply guidelines in order to stay moderators, and were occasionally reviewed to make sure they were in fact applying guidelines... the whole site would probably be more interesting in the long run.

If the guidelines are important, it will become more difficult to maintain them as more people become moderators -- no matter what sort of algorithm is applied. Think about the difference between the suggested model with thousands of moderators -- and a site with 30 moderators, all of whom are directed and good at what they do.

As it is, the algorithm is (apparently) going to now exclude moderators from operating on the stories that appeal to them the most, and anonymity prevents them from peer review and/or personal reward. This worries me. I wonder if it will inevitably end in CmdrTaco posting a lot of desperate pleas for moderators to apply the guidelines well and correctly. (Such appeals have already been necessary with hundreds of moderators, and it will only get worse.)

And I suspect that moderators will disregard requests to not simply promote messages they agree with -- and with thousands of them online it will be impossible to police them. If only 10% go that way, with no fear of reprisal, a number that is expected in other online forums (see Usenet), it will cause a lot of problems.

Lastly, as more and more minds are applied to review of anything, there is a homogenization effect that occurs -- through averaging. Extreme views, though they may be pointed, useful, interesting and important, are more likely to be moderated into average scores. Consider the difference between messages that earn half "A" and half "F" scores (resulting in a "C" grade) and messages that earn all "B" scores. Are the "B" messages more useful? They represent a certain type of message: non-offensive, lightly interesting, but *boring* in the long run... homogenized.

Conflict of interest? (3)

Doug Merritt (3550) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950914)

If someone has to choose between commenting and moderating, that forces a conflict of interest. If they choose moderating, then it will encourage them to give positive points to comments they agree with, as a way of voicing their opinion.

Yet you've said that, ideally, moderation shouldn't be about agreement, it should just be about accenting worthwhile comments.

So I think that particular change goes against your intended goal.

I understand that this is an intricate business to figure out, and will likely undergo changes for a long time.

So much for that (3)

Orion (3967) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950915)

It makes a sort of sense to me... it just means that if you are a moderator you should read articles you *aren't* interested in. This would make you the most objective person possible.

Moderation is a service we are volunteering for on Slashdot. That may mean we have to do things we don't like... including reading articles we have no interest in.

Comments and Suggestions (3)

Evan Vetere (9154) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950916)

This is shaping up well. Coupla quick ones:

3. There will be an option in the user accounts to simply say "I don't want to moderate". By default, everyone will want to be moderators, but you can turn this off.

I think it'd be smarter to actually make people visit their user account and hit the switch to become eligible. Signup should require -some- action on part of the user. It'd make them feel more like they've got a stake in this - they weren't just given Mod status, they asked for it.

[I] will throw out the psycho overactive guys who load Slashdot 1000 times a day (there are a few guys, but mainly this will prevent someone from simply pressing reload a few hundred times to get moderator access).

Isn't this a bit overdoing it? It's the avid readers you -want- to participate in the moderation. Throw out the top 5% or 10% maybe, but I bet a lot of that top slice constitutes your major comment-posting / discussion-following userbase.

(Heck, I'm probably one of those top 10%. :)

On issues of moderation. (3)

cholko (10212) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950917)

I don't like the idea of the moderator not being able to moderate and post at the same time. Granted some twink could abuse it, but hey! There are going to be others here as well moderating the moderator!

So, instead of preventing a post by a moderator in a conference if he has "moderated" someone simple flag his message as from a moderator who has done some "moderation" with in the conference.

IOW - Let him post his ideas (we would lose too many good ones - or worse no moderation).

Should he/she have done some "work" in the same thread them flag his message as (active moderation within this discussion).

Perhaps highlight changes made by moderators and the moderator that is visible ONLY to other moderators. Basically if the message is still visible mark it in a special color and attach the moderators name to it (again - only visible to other moderators)

This allows policing of the police.


So much for that (3)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950918)

Your missing the point... With a sufficiant user base, there is likely someone with the same point of view as you. And with good moderation, the desier to post will return.

The literary quality here has droped to the point of bathroom stalls. With moderation clued people will want to post. Other clued people will reply. And as a moderator, you are more important because your responsible for higlighting the best

Look at computer books, even technicial computer books. Proably 50% of them are crap, and thats only the published ones. Proably 95% of compputer books writen suck, and only the top 90% are published. Look at ORA books. There always the best. They solocit good authors, and they publish good independents. If Im looking for a book, and know nothing on the topic, and there is a ORA book, then I buy the ORA book. In effect they moderate out all the crap, and guarentee ony good stuff.

Posting VS. Moderation a vote for compromise (3)

lalartu (13962) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950919)

I do not agree with the "no moderating of forums you post in" aspect of the change.

If forced to chose between posting and moderating,
I think I would chose posting(since I personally tend to lurk this is not as much of an issue).

If the majority of moderators(that posted), decided that they wanted to post, although the quality of the posts would be good(on average), I'm not sure that I would ever see them. I currently read at a moderated score of >= 2. With the moderators posting instead of moderating, or vice versa, I think the quality of both the posts, and the moderation will suffer.

Admittedly, the number of people who are/will be moderators, all don't post(thankfully?), so my aregument is on the weak side.

I must say in defense that doesn't it make sense to have people who are involved with a particular discussion have access to moderate it? Allowing them to take the cream of the crop as it were, and raise it's level for those people who are only interested in the best.

In reading the other comments thus far, I believe that a compromise allowing people to both post and moderate in the same forum, with the exclusion of
a thread they are involved in.

This also brings up the idea, of allowing moderators to moderate within a thread they are posting in, but only above the level of their post(thus allowing them to raise the score of a previous post and respond to a previous post as well, but not allowing them to supress responses to their own post).


Bad idea (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950921)

Why the hell would you block moderators from moderating forums they are interested in enough to post to?

This just turns the whole moderating thing into a big chore that prevents you from getting involved in the discussion.

Right now, when I moderate, it's just something I do as I go down through a thread. I read the article, then go through the comments to see if anyone else had anything interesting to say. 90 percent of them don't, but the 10 percent who do get a boost, until I get to the bottom and decide if I have anything to add.

The new system means you have to decide whether to participate in the discussion or help weed out the crap/add to the good. That's annoying.

Nevertheless, Rob, I think might sort of work when you get 4k people doing the moderating.

And I really like the random draft model you are considering. That is a concept that I have thought society as a whole should entertain: randomly drafting people to do unpleasant tasks that no one wants but which need to be done.

Overall though, there was no need to #make# moderating an unpleasant task. It was kind of fun when you could just hum along and do it without worrying about the consequences to your own freedom on /.


It's fun watching this stuff evolve anyway.
-A temporary Coward-

Bad idea (a "middle ground" approach?) (4)

davie (191) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950922)

Wouldn't the "post or moderate" concept work better if moderators were simply restricted from moderating replies to their comments, rather than all comments? If a user is considered worthy of moderator status based upon the overall value of his comments, shouldn't slashdot encourage his input as well as his moderation, limiting moderation only when he might be most inclined to abuse it to subvert dissenting opinions?

I wouldn't want to see those with a proven track record forced to choose between moderation and input except where it makes sense.

Tyranny of the majority (4)

wayne (1579) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950923)

Personally, I am very concerned about the "tyranny of the majority." That is, if you have a democratic process where everyone gets one vote, then 51% of the people can easily silence the other 49%.

I think it is very important promote contrary views. I think it is very important not to become a self selecting group, where only certain views are tolerated.

Statistically speaking, even a sample of 400 people taken at random is going to be indistinguishable from the entire population. So, having 400 or 4,000 or 40,000 moderators makes very little difference, because they all effectively represent the entire population of slashdot. OK, so Rob isn't selecting people at random, but it is not clear to me that the typical moderator is much different than the typical /. user either before or after this new way of selecting moderators.

One of the methods that has come out of studies on the voting process is that giving each person more than one vote, and let them distribute those votes any way they like, promotes diversity. This is contrary to the "one person, one vote" view that is so ingrained in the American thought process, but it doesn't give anyone more power, it just gives minorities a chance to target their vote to their own views. This lets the 49%, or 15%, or whatever a much better chance of getting 49% or 15% of the final voice, instead of nearly 0% that typically comes out of a democratic process.

I also don't want an elite few deciding which articles are most interesting, but with the number of people reading /., 400 isn't "a few", at least when compared with most elected offices.

That won't work: Problem with Moderate xor Post (4)

docwhat (3582) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950924)

If a person is forced to choose to moderate or post exclusively, the I would fear that someone would moderate with the goal of making their feelings on the subject clear.

I'm not saying this is deliberate, but that moderators are human and are not given extensive training to understand their own motivations for their actions.

So, I'd like to suggest the following:
That a moderator be allowed to either post or moderate on thread level. If a someone posts on a thread then that person cannot moderate on any subthread posts or on any posts at the level of the parent post.

This would help keep things in balance, eliminate some potential conflict of interests, and not ban these people entirely from discussions they are interested in or knowledgeable. Note also, this can still block out a person's ability to moderate for an entire article if they post at the root or child of root level!

Moderation VS. newbie segragation WAS:My thoughts. (4)

lalartu (13962) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950926)

Moderation will/should raise the signal to noise ratio. Use the filters. This should keep the "Me too posts, and the "fist post KNEEP" posts from bothering you.

The goal though is to not need to filter on that level of post, and instead filter on the quality of the posts.(read further if you would like my opnion on what to do about that).

Slight diversion of topic follows:

I see where you are comming from, but we were all newbies once, trying to . Excluding newbies is not the answer, some times it really feels good to flame the living crap out of someone, or berate them for their ignorance.

Yes, /. is cool, it has lots of usefull information, You can say to your friends, hey did you read that article on /. today(Woo Hoo instant proof of your imminent geekdom).

If you were a newbie, and you were comming to /. looking for new information, trying to not be a newbie any more only to find out that because you are a newbie you cannot get away from being a newbie(that would suck, think about the potential loss we could suffer).

The answer has been and always will be user education. At times I hate to admit it, talking about lusers and coworkers(cow-orkers) making your job painfully hard because they are stupid.

With rare exeption, a good program of education and available resources(and a willingness to learn) will take the worst person you have to deal with and at least make them tollerable.

In summary:
Don't alienate newbies, we were all newbies once.

You don't have to hand hold newbies, just point them in the direction of the information they need and be available to answer questions.

User education is the key to a happier existance(OK, a ST1550 makes a good LART and brings a smile to my face, but that goes against the point of this post)


The answer instead of creating nerds. geeks. BOFH./. may be an educational page. Like hey here are some general guide lines, this is good this is bad, whatever.

So much for that (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1950927)

Hi, I'm a moderator and I qualify for "jury duty", but I doubt I'll moderate a comment and have it stick ever again. Here's why:

I post to friggin' often.

I only really read those threads that I'm interested in, and because I'm interested in them I usually post a comment or a follow-up someplace.

Not letting moderators moderate in particular threads that they either started or in which they participate isn't a bad idea, but not letting them moderate in whole forums seems kind of counterproductive. You want people who are active to be moderators, but you don't want them to be active and moderate....

My thoughts. (5)

Elwood (4347) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950928)

As a long time /. reader (well, ok just over a year and a half, but that is a long time for me to keep hitting the same site), here are my simple ideas.

Moderation is needed. I have seen this site grow quite a bit over the last year, and that is good. But the singal to noise ratio has gone up alot, Malda is doing the right thing by setting up moderation.

I also belive that who moderaters may be more important then what they can do. Considering the fact that most people just use the defualts, moderators will set the tone for the whole site.

The question is, who do we want setting that tone? Who do we trust? And what do we want that tone to be?

For instance, as Linux has gone mainstream over the last year, and Slashdot right along with it, the "unwashed masses" have decended with a vengence. These are the people that use Linux not for its merits, but because it is cool. And part of the "coolness" is coming to the Geek sites and belonging. These are the people that cause the most noise, they are the ones that the "old timers" get annoyed with the most.

Now, God love the newbies, some day they may very well teach everyone a thing or two. But they have to grow up. They are quick to flame, and quicker to post without understanding the topic.

Now, I have always thought that Slashdot has reflected the nerd computer user communtiy, not Linux or Open Source or whatever. And it has done a good job doing it. But as the community changes to embrace the onslaught of newbies, and slashdot changes with it, where do the hardcore users go?

I think the plan that Taco has layed out is a good one for letting slashdot reflect the reader base. What my idea is, whynot have a, or or whatever for the old time readers. Those of use that would come here before it was hip. Those of us that want a place to dicuss topics with other like minded people, not newbies doing their best to be accepted.

How that would be done, I have no idea. Whats to stop the newbies from russing in there so they can say they are hardcore? I dunno. I just know what I would like to see, not how to get there.

Now this may very well be a stupid idea, and I am open to that suggestion. But anyways, I have babbled enough now..

An initial thought (5)

genehckr (23251) | more than 15 years ago | (#1950930)

One thing I didn't see in Rob's suggestions: it seems only logical to have some balance between restriction and privledge for moderators. So, given the way the system is (or was), the need to choose between moderation and participation makes sense. Given the way the system is going to be (or is), it seems too restrictive. If everybody (or most everybody) is potentially eligible to moderate, restricting participation as a consequence of moderations seems excessive.

As far as choosing moderators: I think the current system (the Gang of 400) has been working just fine. Don't inadvertently take us backwards by attempting to over-democratize the process -- that way lies chaos!

My personal preference would be for moderators to be choosen by some kind of emergent criteria. That is, for example, a strong positive score on all posted comments. Of course, there needs to be some type of control on this, so people just don't score their friends high to get them to be moderators...hmmm...

Must think more...

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