First up, Jon over at Brain Power has improved the job search engine to allow boolean searching, and parenthesis, so you can search for "c++ and not "visual c++" or "(unix and perl) or linux" to help you on your quest for unemployment. Second is a minor change to the posting system. I'm not quite convinced about the exact numbers, but users are now getting a default score based on their comment posting history. ACs still post at 0 and normal users at 1, but based on your past commenting, your scores can start at anywhere from -1 to 4. I've posted the exact numbers, more details, rationale, as well as assorted other comments on the system below.Ok, your "Alignment" is the sum of all moderation done to all of your comments on Slashdot. A posts initial score does not affect your alignment: only actual moderation. The "Score" of any comment, is your default score, plus or minus a fudge factor based on your alignment, plus or minus any moderator activity.
ACs post at 0. Logged in users post at 1. When you break the following alignments (I played a lot of Tradewars 2002, can ya tell?) your default score will be as follows:
-1 at -30
0 at -10
2 at +5
3 at +10
4 at +25
I suggest that this system will encourage posting of good comments. Currently it actually is only affecting about 1% of the comment posters. But extreme comment scores (-1 or 3 or more) tend to draw much more attention from moderators, so they will likely get knocked back towards the median unless they are consistantly high quality. Assuming that moderators are doing a good job anyway.
I've been fiddling with those numbers for the past few days. I've been making them pretty high, but we'll likely need to make them higher as more moderation occurs, but I'll need a few weeks of moderation to determine what those numbers are. Sorry to the people who have been surprised by these changes.
The mass moderation system is actually running now. I'm tweaking numbers, but it'll probably be a few days before any readers actually start getting moderator points. The system is basically what I discussed last week with a few numbers tweaked. We'll have to see how it works.
By far the most controversial change to the moderation is the new restriction against posting & moderating the same discussion. Let me try to defend this decision a bit. First, I think this prevents people from getting to play the judge and the prosecution at the same time. Many people argue that this will discourage moderators from posting comments. That might be true, but since the new moderation system will have more moderators, there will be people available to pick up the slack. Plus, currently the moderators have an abundance of moderator points- the new system will make them much more scarce (they'll expire after 3 days too!) so most of the time, people won't even have an option to moderate. Plus, if someone moderates and then decides to post, they can do that. Sure the moderation is undone, but that isn't the end of the world. The workload is distributed, hopefully (!) other people will pick up the slack.
The most important factor however is that our initial batch of 400 moderators were selected from the comment posters. The new batch will still have that element, but there will be many more lurkers as well- and since these guys don't post, this point is moot for them. I think that these 2 groups will offset each other and give us a good scoring system.
Finally, I added an option to the user preferences to allow users to say "I don't wanna be a moderator". By default all users will be flagged to be moderators. Remember that unused points will simply disappear after 3 days, so if you don't want them, just don't use them. A lot of people suggest that people ought to be required to turn moderation on, but I want to give this a try for now simply because I'm trying to get as large of a body as possible. Realistically, moderation is fairly easy. And since you'll only have a few points every few weeks, it won't be a major problem.
Anyway, I'll have a bit more on the subject soon. I'm sure this is a lot of stuff to talk about for now *grin*.