Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Jan 2012 23:53 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes The last few weeks there's been a considerable amount of chatter on the web about whether or not a news website, blog, or some hybrid thereof, needs comments. Since we are working on the next version of OSNews, which means I've been thinking about things like this a lot, I figured I'd pen down my thoughts on comments.
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Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by Anonymous Penguin on Wed 11th Jan 2012 01:01 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

You have always known what my beef with OSnews comments is: the +/- peer moderation.
Minus votes aren't fair in many cases, they just mean: I don't like/I don't agree, not "you are breaking a rule"
Sometimes they ever mean: I don't like you
As an administrator of a forum with 800,000 users, I believe I should know what I am talking about. We have only allowed "like it".

Edited 2012-01-11 01:05 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by Morgan on Wed 11th Jan 2012 01:07 in reply to "Comment by Anonymous Penguin"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

You're correct that the "mod down" ability allows unscrupulous people to censor ideas they don't agree with, but unfortunately there isn't a really good way to have metamoderation that properly deals with spam and deliberate trolling otherwise. How do you handle spammers and trolls on your site without dedicating way too many hours to moderating by you and your staff?

Reply Parent Score: 4

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

1)We introduced 2 quizzes. That on its own was plenty to stop spammers, but the very occasional one.
2)Since IPB 3.2 we have very good filters.

Nowadays we have 0 (zero) spammers.

In fact the very nature of my job has totally changed: from "policeman" to community manager.

Reply Parent Score: 3

stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

If I notice someone is being down-voted for making a valid comment I mod them up, I'm sure others do as well.

Having a yes/no system is not a problem it's all about the community that uses/abuses what you give them.

Reply Parent Score: 8

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

If I notice someone is being down-voted for making a valid comment I mod them up, I'm sure others do as well.

Having a yes/no system is not a problem it's all about the community that uses/abuses what you give them.


Yes, many do, but not enough.
Human beings will always abuse what they are given, if they can (not all of them, of course).

Reply Parent Score: 2

bryhhh Member since:
2005-07-22

Why not have a moderation system like on the stack exchange Q&A sites. Users on these sites earn reputation from being up voted, the higher your reputation, the more 'moderation' power you have. If you vote down a question or answer, both the poster and your own reputation will be reduced. The site also encourages you to post a reason why you've down voted a question or answer, so that the OP can improve their post based upon your feedback. This mostly discourages needless down votes, however it doesn't stop them, and like your self, whenever I do find down voted questions or answers, especially when nobody has bothered explaining why they've down voted, then I'll counter the down vote with an up vote, except it cases where the down vote was clearly justified of course.

Reply Parent Score: 3

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

If I notice someone is being down-voted for making a valid comment I mod them up, I'm sure others do as well

I certainly do this. If it's particularly egregious I will also post a chastising comment, which may serve to shame down-moderators and usually Streisand-effect's the post they were trying to suppress as my reply encourages others to take a look and up-mod it.

As long as a few are vigilant the problem is a minor one.

Reply Parent Score: 3

wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

My thoughts exactly. Why not have a two-dimensional ranking system? One dimension would be perceived quality and the other one would be agreement. Then you could configure your account so that, for instance, you see all high-quality comments, regardless of how popular the views expressed are.

Reply Parent Score: 6

drstorm Member since:
2009-04-24

I support this idea. It sounds interesting!

I had a very hard time on multiple occasions to refrain from down-voting someone's comment simply because I strongly disagreed with it.

I am sure that I am not alone in this. And that's just it! I believe that many people here actually fight this urge - and quite successfully! I think that that is one of the things that make this community great.

Reply Parent Score: 4

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

You have always known what my beef with OSnews comments is: the +/- peer moderation.
Minus votes aren't fair in many cases, they just mean: I don't like/I don't agree, not "you are breaking a rule"


I have noticed that more often than not, any sort of negative remarks made about *nix or FOSS in general get modded down by overzealous fanboys, so I'd be in favor of getting rid of the moderation system. If need be, have a method in place to report posts as spam or obvious trolling, but not the generic '-1' we have going right now.

BTW: Thom, glad you are dialing back the patent stuff - I guess all that bitching did some good afterall ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

YellowRoze Member since:
2012-01-11

I've been a reader for some years now and never bothered to sign up. Now however, that just changed.

Dial down the patent news? but I like the patent news!
Of course, I'd rather have a world where copyright and patents didn't interfere so much in the development och software in general but now that we live in said world, I want to know whats going on.

To everyone his own, where do I go to get the patent stuff?

Reply Parent Score: 2

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Minus votes aren't fair in many cases, they just mean: I don't like/I don't agree, not "you are breaking a rule"


This is a real problem. Perhaps a solution would be to require every down-vote to come with a reply. So, upvote all you like, but make it "Downvote and reply" - in which you must make some justification for your choice.

Or, perhaps, it could be done stackoverflow-style where you need e.g. 3 votes of "Troll" before the post is slapped with any negative score, at which point it drops 3 points immediately. That way one guy saying "Troll" and one saying "Inaccurate" and one saying "Off topic" don't have any effect; a consensus must be reached, first.

As an administrator of a forum with 800,000 users, I believe I should know what I am talking about. We have only allowed "like it".


I passionately hate this misfeature. It misrepresents reality, badly. Some things are bad and it should be possible to identify them as such. Allowing only positive moderation only works in a utopian world, which we don't have. Requiring it in this world is the same as lying to yourself. I distrust any forum where you're only permitted to express positive opinions.

Edited 2012-01-11 13:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06


I passionately hate this misfeature. It misrepresents reality, badly. Some things are bad and it should be possible to identify them as such. Allowing only positive moderation only works in a utopian world, which we don't have. Requiring it in this world is the same as lying to yourself. I distrust any forum where you're only permitted to express positive opinions.


It seems to work fine with us ;) User should only be able to say "I like it". Staff should get rid of crap.
During the years I have got rid of idiotic, arrogant members of staff.
IMO, that is the root of all evil (in a forum). OTOH I run the forum with an iron fist in a velvet glove, and that works very well, believe me ;)

Edited 2012-01-11 13:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

drstorm Member since:
2009-04-24

Sorry for not being able to up-vote you, because I already posted.

That's the one annoying thing about OS News commenting system. I guess it is alright for this limit to exist within the thread I posted in, but not in all the others.

Reply Parent Score: 3

cmchittom Member since:
2011-03-18

Or, perhaps, it could be done stackoverflow-style where you need e.g. 3 votes of "Troll" before the post is slapped with any negative score, at which point it drops 3 points immediately. That way one guy saying "Troll" and one saying "Inaccurate" and one saying "Off topic" don't have any effect; a consensus must be reached, first.


I really like this idea. Though of course, then somebody has to decide how many votes is "enough."

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by ricegf on Wed 11th Jan 2012 13:55 in reply to "Comment by Anonymous Penguin"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

I'm not sure that's much of a problem here, actually.

On a couple of occasions, I felt a poster in a long thread was being intentionally obnoxious, and without realizing it began voting down his or her comments as I read through the thread (I rarely downvote otherwise - it takes a rare form of obnoxiousness ;-). On the second or third downvote, or something - not sure as I've only seen it a couple of times - I got something like a "You've already moderated this poster, let someone else take it from here" message, realized what I was doing, and stopped.

It's also good negative reinforcement. One reason I rarely vote comments down is recognition (encouraged by the above message) that others may find the comment valuable even if I find it obnoxious. Better to let others "take it from here" than to censor the poster.

In any event, I vote for keeping the message. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by jptros on Wed 11th Jan 2012 16:59 in reply to "Comment by Anonymous Penguin"
jptros Member since:
2005-08-26

Maybe OSnews needs community elected moderators for the comments section with the ability to nix a comment at their discretion. This would probably cut down the situations you've described to nothing assuming we can keep responsible people wielding the power. There would still need to be guidelines in place on how and when authority should be exerted over what people are saying.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Anonymous Penguin Member since:
2005-07-06

That is basically what I have always said: a forum moderated by "official moderators", responsible to somebody.

Reply Parent Score: 2

tanishaj Member since:
2010-12-22

You have always known what my beef with OSnews comments is: the +/- peer moderation.
Minus votes aren't fair in many cases, they just mean: I don't like/I don't agree, not "you are breaking a rule"
Sometimes they ever mean: I don't like you
As an administrator of a forum with 800,000 users, I believe I should know what I am talking about. We have only allowed "like it".


Well, I like that real noise can be voted down. But I agree that the "popularity contest" effect can also be a problem.

Perhaps it make the most sense for upvotes to overpower downvotes ten to one or some other ratio. That way, stuff that everybody agrees is just trolling or noise can get voted out of sight while stuff that is merely just "controversial" sticks around to be read by all.

Reply Parent Score: 1