posted by Anonymous Penguin on Tue 3rd Mar 2009 10:21
Conversations So, here I am again. It is, how many years since this moderation system was created? And how many zillion times I have complained?

But basically the problem is still there, identical.
You don't get modded down because of one of the "legal" reasons, but because some A$$hole doesn't like your opinion.
Let's see the latest instance:

http://www.osnews.com/permalink?351338

What is wrong with that? Is it trolling? Hardly, unless I am not allowed to say that I regret the rebranding of Firefox and Thunderbird and the disappearance of Seamonkey.
Is it off-offtopic? I can't see how.
Is it inaccurate? Again, I don't see how, considering that I am expressing only an opinion.

Or is it maybe that some *buntu kid can't stand me me calling Debian "the top distro, bar none"?

Whatever the explanation, the moderation system still gets abused.
No wonder when some people have less than 50% positive moderations.
For those who don't care to read my profile, mine is 85%.
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Comments:
Comment by Thom_Holwerda
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 3rd Mar 2009 11:26 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

You can keep on complaining, and we'll keep on patiently explaining that the moderation system is designed to thwart stuff like this.

We have complex algorithms in place that deal with this sort of thing. Stop looking at your individual comments, and look at your averages. The system has been designed NOT to be influenced that easily. Personally, I know that a select number of individual routinely moderate down my posts, but I'm not freaking out because I know it doesn't matter, it doesn't change my average standing one bit.

The same applies to everyone else. User Kaiwai was systematically moderated down by a few individuals for weeks, maybe months on end - and it didn't have any effect on his standings whatsoever, because the moderation system detects such behaviour, and deals with it. The system is a lot more complex than you think.

Just because someone gave you one down moderation is no reason to start crying. The moderation system is working as good as it'll ever will, and if you can't handle a single measly downmod, then you have much bigger issues.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

Personally, I know that a select number of individual routinely moderate down my posts


I know that, and personally I find it wrong. I am used to the old, traditional methods where staff can't be moderated by users and where senior users get more respect. Eugenia didn't take it nicely, and she got a message of support from me.

Just because someone gave you one down moderation is no reason to start crying. The moderation system is working as good as it'll ever will, and if you can't handle a single measly downmod, then you have much bigger issues.


As I have always said in such cases, it is about the principle. It is enough to shoot once in order to kill. A crime committed once (but I just mentioned the latest instance) ain't much better than a crime committed several times.
Besides, I don't post a lot here and I use self-censorship because of this moderation system, something I don't do in other forum. With other words, if I say in another forum that Ubuntu is overhyped crap, I'll be attacked and I know how to reply, but only a member of staff can mod me.
Odd enough, I find this idea of a "rule of the majority over the minority" profoundly undemocratic.
You, as a Dutchman, should agree with me about that.

Reply Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

You are using really strong language to describe a number beside an exceedingly average post on an online forum.

Moderating is a time consuming, thankless, and fairly difficult process, crowd sourcing it makes sense when it is a small volunteer staff. Sure, the guy that modded you down was an idiot, but in the grand scheme of things the little number next to that post is exceedingly irrelivent.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Thom_Holwerda
by Adam S on Tue 3rd Mar 2009 19:39 in reply to "RE: Comment by Thom_Holwerda"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

Look, we all get that you don't like the mod system. But it's not going to change significantly.

Here's where I think you continue to stumble: you can't outline what the ACTUAL problem is, because you are SO focused on the score of each comment you fail to see the big picture. I removed user average comment scores JUST FOR YOU. You reminded me how unnecessary it is. My next step is to remove percentage of moderation from all but admins, because it doesn't help you, the user.

One LAST time, to be clear: the GOAL of the mod system is to remove trash from the flow. It does that, and does it well. I don't really care if your comment is a 1, 2, or 3. It's irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that, over long periods time, we can id the problem users and auto-locate them. We can. They get penalized with fewer mod points, or, eventually, suspension. PROFIT!

I don't understand what you want from the system. It appears the only thing that will make you happy is a person who is employed full time to work sifting through the comments for you. What ISN'T getting done today that a new mod system would fix?

BTW, if you can't make a very compelling case right now for what needs to be changed today, you should just let the issue die.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Thom_Holwerda
by Adam S on Tue 3rd Mar 2009 21:32 in reply to "RE: Comment by Thom_Holwerda"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

On re-read:

Odd enough, I find this idea of a "rule of the majority over the minority" profoundly undemocratic.


How does that even make sense? It's more democratic to have a small group of admins with strong opinions than to have a much larger, much broader, much more diverse group of people modding? I don't think you understand what "democratic" means.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

On re-read:

"Odd enough, I find this idea of a "rule of the majority over the minority" profoundly undemocratic.


How does that even make sense? It's more democratic to have a small group of admins with strong opinions than to have a much larger, much broader, much more diverse group of people modding? I don't think you understand what "democratic" means.
"

Good moderators should be like a democratic government, they should care for the needs of all.
If OTOH I can't say that "X" OS is shit without being attacked by its zealots, that is akin to belonging to a minority group (gay, black, foreigner) and being abused by the majority.
Regarding your previous post. How to change the moderation without too much "cost" for you?
Just like every other forum: engage trusted, volunteer moderators. People with a proven record of being impartial.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Thom_Holwerda
by kaiwai on Sun 8th Mar 2009 07:01 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Thom_Holwerda"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Good moderators should be like a democratic government, they should care for the needs of all.
If OTOH I can't say that "X" OS is shit without being attacked by its zealots, that is akin to belonging to a minority group (gay, black, foreigner) and being abused by the majority.
Regarding your previous post. How to change the moderation without too much "cost" for you?
Just like every other forum: engage trusted, volunteer moderators. People with a proven record of being impartial.


Democracy in the purist of meanings basically is the tyranny of the mob; wolves protecting the sheep - that is why the US was set up deliberately not to be a democracy but as a Republic.

Even a parliamentary democracy is not a democracy; with the move to individualism away from a collectivist identity, the purpose of politicians isn't just a matter of pandering to the mob but to also uphold the rights of the individual from the tyranny of the mob. Quite honestly, there is no democracy in the world in the purist of meaning of the word.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Just like every other forum: engage trusted, volunteer moderators. People with a proven record of being impartial.


Yes, and as soon as we find impartial people, we can all go hunt for unicorns, while sprinkled under fairy dust, in a land where the trees are made of chocolate and chocolate is made of trees.

Reply Score: 1

My 2 cents
by fretinator on Tue 3rd Mar 2009 22:40 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

I made two comments recently - the first was modded up to 3, the other was modded down to 1 (I start at 2). The funny thing to me, is that I am much happier with the comment that was modded down to 1, because it started a thread of 20 comments (many of them good comments). I don't like the comment that was modded up to 3, because there were no responses. For me, the goal is to start lively discussions, not see how many users give me the thumbs up.

Reply Score: 2

RE: My 2 cents
by Kroc on Wed 4th Mar 2009 06:05 in reply to "My 2 cents"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

But my life isn’t validated unless I have a high number next to it D:

Reply Score: 1

Comment by averycfay
by averycfay on Fri 6th Mar 2009 02:37 UTC
averycfay
Member since:
2005-08-29

I don't think they will change the moderation system, but any system that allows down votes inevitably turns into "i agree" or "i disagree" votes. If I were to design a moderation system, I would probably only allow up votes and have a report abuse link that would flag the post for an editor to look at. Then, just change the minimum comment threshold per story so that x posts show by default.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by averycfay
by Anonymous Penguin on Fri 6th Mar 2009 06:27 in reply to "Comment by averycfay"
Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't think they will change the moderation system, but any system that allows down votes inevitably turns into "i agree" or "i disagree" votes. If I were to design a moderation system, I would probably only allow up votes and have a report abuse link that would flag the post for an editor to look at.


That is also a good idea and it has been another suggestion of mine all along.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by averycfay
by Alex Forster on Tue 10th Mar 2009 21:37 in reply to "RE: Comment by averycfay"
Alex Forster Member since:
2005-08-12

Exactly. This is the solution. No feelings get hurt if you can only agree. The ability to quiet somebody because they voice an unpopular opinion is indeed detrimental to forming a sense of community, and community == ad revinue.

But an "agree" button doesn't have the added benefit of hiding obvious spam. So let's go through what kind of information you can derive from a simple "report abuse" link...

Say we have a user with tons of history, and randomly one of his posts gets flagged for moderation. It's safe to assume that whoever flagged his post was doing so in malice, because he is "trusted" due to his extensive history. If the post is only reported a few times, it can probably not even be shown in the "moderation queue" - maybe the person who wrongly flagged the post could even be punished! Perhaps if it is flagged more than just once or twice, it should be listed in the queue; that threshold is negotable.

Now let's say we have somebody who is newly registered with few or no posts, and a post gets flagged. It's likely that the flagging was genuinely necessary, so it should be listed as "high priority" in the moderation queue.

Etc. You should get the idea. I believe this presents a much fairer system than the one currently in place.

Reply Score: 2

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

Very good analysis and suggested methods, I couldn't agree more.
I am also glad that I am not the only paranoid who finds that the current system is unfair :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by averycfay
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 10th Mar 2009 22:33 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by averycfay"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

What you don't understand is that we do not WANT to do moderation. Back when we did, it was a monumental disaster. Try running a large website with lots of comments every day, and you'll soon grow tired of people accusing you of unfair moderation, biased moderation, and whatnot. apart from that, it takes far too much time to sift through a moderation queue, read all the threads, and decide whether or not a comment should be deleted or not.

We don't want that. Our moderation system isn't perfect, but it does what it is supposed to do: automatically sift out spam, without hurting honest users.

I will repeat what I said before: if you feel the need to throw a fit every time someone gives you a downmod, then you have far bigger issues that no moderation system can fix.

Reply Score: 1

bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

You'd expect someone to mod down and once finished, reply to the post with which they don't agree, but how many have multiple accounts (perhaps with zero posts) just for modding down people, while using a single account for writing posts?

Reply Score: 2

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

You'd expect someone to mod down and once finished, reply to the post with which they don't agree, but how many have multiple accounts (perhaps with zero posts) just for modding down people, while using a single account for writing posts?


That is an extremely good point.
It is basically what is it all about: if you are a mature person, instead of modding down, you reply and explain why you disagree.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

but how many have multiple accounts (perhaps with zero posts) just for modding down people, while using a single account for writing posts?


Don't underestimate us. The system also takes care of this. Having multiple accounts on OSNews is very, very difficult, as we actively keep track of everything. I won't explain how we do it, but via our methods we prevent this from happening.

Reply Score: 1

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I can't imagine how you would do that effectively. It's standard for web-based signup systems to disallow creation of new accounts that use an EMail that's already associated with an existing user account. But I've literally encountered middle school children who had multiple EMail accounts - so I doubt that would present any real obstacle to the typical OSNews reader.

And if you did it by IP address instead, then you run into the problem of false-positives - since having multiple computers behind a single IP address is the norm these days (E.g., I'm relatively certain that my roommate has an account here, and we both use the same internet connection).

Reply Score: 2

Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

I can't imagine there are that many people actively signing up for multiple accounts, but suffice it to say: if people try that hard, let them have that second mod point. They aren't making a difference anyway.

Those are the people that ruin the internet.

Reply Score: 1

bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

I can't imagine there are that many people actively signing up for multiple accounts, but suffice it to say: if people try that hard, let them have that second mod point. They aren't making a difference anyway.

Those are the people that ruin the internet.


Perhaps there aren't many but from the behaviour I've seen, I'd expect several but perhaps, it's a little clique. You'd think that they'd be 14 year olds but I think more likely that they're well into their twenties but as they say, Life happens.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Sun 8th Mar 2009 06:57 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

I stopped caring long ago and I suggest you do the same. For me, those who moderate down my post basically just prove exactly what I state. If people feel the need to moderate down posts then it states more about their lack of rebuttal than any real valid contribution on the matter.

The only problem I have is, for example, if I make a post to a story - on a completely unrelated thread, I cannot moderate on a completely different thread on the same story. I can understand not moderating on the thread you're participating in but to stop moderation on the whole story after one post is pretty damn stupid.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by Adam S on Mon 9th Mar 2009 03:31 in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

Yeah, that rule seems to have killed Slashdot, which only does a million page views a day.

</sarcasm>

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Mon 9th Mar 2009 06:24 in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Thank you for demonstrating the immaturity of OS News editors - you might as well be part of the digg and slashdot user base with the attitude you're holding.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by kaiwai
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 9th Mar 2009 08:59 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Thank you for demonstrating the immaturity of OS News editors - you might as well be part of the digg and slashdot user base with the attitude you're holding.


What attitude? The attitude that our data and experience shows that the moderation system is working perfectly? Our attitude that we are tired of explaining that that little number next to your comment means absolutely nothing at all? That it is the bigger picture you need to worry about? And that the biggest picture is protected by fancy algorithms which perform their duty so well that consistent downmods and mobbing-up against someone has zero effect?

Our attitude that we are tired of the same three people bringing forth the same three complaints every thee weeks, even though those three users rank among the top 20 of most trusted (and therefore, best-voted) commenters on OSNews?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by kaiwai
by Adam S on Mon 9th Mar 2009 11:19 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

The funny thing is, when I saw you replied, I intended to leave a comment apologizing for being harsh when you had "come around," so to speak, but Thom nailed it. GET OVER IT.

The mod system does what we ask it to do perfectly, yet a few people are SO focused on each individual vote and appear to be unable to understand large numbers. In fact, it actually makes me laugh that anyone would suggest they have cut their entire use of the site for fear of the other users recklessly modding them. Puh-lease.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of mod points applied regularly, each individual one is meaningless. Do you think the one insignificant mod makes any difference at all? It's hilarious to me that the people who grouse the loudest are generally people with high trust. It's like you can't stand to be average: anything that threatens your ability to speak loudest amongst your peers is a personal offense.

Forget any apology - your problem isn't poor moderation (which does exist in small numbers from time to time), it's that you are unable to process that the mod system is about presenting a certain experience to our readers, and in that respect, it succeeds wildly.

Reply Score: 1

An idea...
by looncraz on Tue 10th Mar 2009 07:56 UTC
looncraz
Member since:
2005-07-24

I have an idea... I see it often on many other sites...

Have one 'grade' for how many people agree or disagree, and then another method to report abuse.

I'd just adapt the current model into this simplified model and leave it be.

[Reply] ... [Score: 1] [UP] [DOWN] [ABUSE: 0]

Here, the score reflects those who [dis]agree. Reporting abuse should be a bit more complex, and there should be an abuse index. The same complex algorithms currently used should be used with the abuse index, and the score should be left to simple math alone with false reports of abuse adding back to the average.

I'd hate to do the work, certainly, but once done it should be a end-all solution. Only the most abusive comments get moderated out of the discussion, with an automatic threshold which will be reviewed by staff at some point.

Heck, you can even bump up a degree of 'respect' for certain individuals to allow them to 'abuse' the rules a little more than average.

The possibilities are endless, but there is a big question as to the value :-)

Personally, I'd prefer this method over what is currently implemented - I get modded up because people agree, but I'm not technically supposed to be modded down unless I violate a rule.

Now, if need be, the score could be confidential, keep the current mod system but add a single negative selection : "Being Stupid." This could be a silent value, or could go 1/2 as strong towards the moderated score, whatever.

Many times I wanted to mod someone down because they were being completely stupid - but weren't violating any of the standard rules.

For that matter, a simple "Right On, Dude!" should be added on the positive side - of course the options keep growing... ;-(

Just my $0.31 ( used to be $0.02, but the dollar is collapsing more than most know ).

--The loon

Reply Score: 2

2 cents worth
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 11th Mar 2009 17:03 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

The main problem I see with the current moderation system has more to do with its anonymity. I frequently see posts that are fairly mild / uncontroversial (to my eye, at least) - but are also modded-down and have no replies.

Based on that, I would guess that there are a decent number of users here who down-mod in order to anonymously "punish" or bury posts/posters they disagree with. I'm also guessing that said practice is contrary to the way that the moderation system is intended to be used (at least, I see no "Just to be petty (-1)" option in the moderation options).

If the admins here have no problem with that behaviour, then I would suggest giving up on the notion that it's a moderation system - rather than a purely-subjective rating system.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 2 cents worth
by Anonymous Penguin on Wed 11th Mar 2009 20:42 in reply to "2 cents worth"
Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06



If the admins here have no problem with that behaviour, then I would suggest giving up on the notion that it's a moderation system - rather than a purely-subjective rating system.


Exactly. But all they can say is that it must be me having God knows which psychiatric disorder.

Reply Score: 2