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Poll: Comment moderation / thumbs up and down?

I love it, it's a good way of skimming the best posts. 5 (10%)
I like it, it encourages thoughtful discussion. 13 (25%)
I don't like it, it makes me afraid to post. 5 (10%)
I think it's evil, get rid of it. 9 (17%)
Huh? I have no idea what you're talking about. 20 (38%)
   Discussion: Comment moderation / thumbs up and down?
Josh Woodward · 18 years, 6 months ago
I've been browsing Slashdot for years, and since there are thousands of posts per day, a comment moderation system was very necessary. It makes the site much more useful and entertaining. Knowing that Entropy would probably be used for sites bigger than FHDC one day, I added a moderation system to the discussion. I included the feature with FHDC, but I wasn't sure if there were enough comments posted to make it necessary. I personally like it -- it encourages better posts and it makes it easier for casual readers to skim the best posts, but there are also valid points that being modded down can intimidate people out of posting and cause hurt feelings. I know I've given perfectly good posts thumbs down because I felt the scores were overrated, but it's not easy to do.

I'd be very interested to hear personally from anyone who has an opinion on the matter, either on this discussion forum or by frumessage. Thanks..

Misch Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
It's a good idea, but I'm already seeing it abused, certain people getting abused on moderations by certain people without regards to *what* they said... Of course, this opens the door for me to play "Meta-Moderator". We don't have (m)any trolls yet, thank goodness. (But I'm just waiting for somebody to mention Natalie Portman eating hot grits...)
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
i considered a metamoderation scheme where those who abuse the ability to moderate to further their personal opinion or hurt/help someone unnecessarily, but i think it would be overkill on here. one thing i do want to do is limit the number of thumbs you can give per day. The day I see a "first post" or a Natalie Portman troll is the day I start working on this. ;-)
goovie is married! Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
what paul said. i've seen it abused already and it worries me.
ellen, formerly evil Back · 18 years, 6 months ago

I, too have seen it abused. I was a little confused as to how the system works, at first I thought a user's moderation score stayed with them from thread to thread but now I see it is per message.
Since I was the victim of a "thumbs down" and had the impression that my score of 2.50 would stay with me for all time, I was insulted and vowed never to post again. Before I figured it out. :)
Obviously, that has changed. I agree with your thoughts, Josh, that a community of this size might not need it. Or perhaps we can set the universal threshold default to 2, 1, or 0, so that even a "modded down" post will be seen. Anyone who prefers to use this system to skim the boards can then set their system-wide threshold higher. If and when we develop real problems, the threshold default could again be raised.
just thinking aloud, -=ellen=-

lawrence Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
this is actually something i've seen a lot - because this is a new feature on FHDC, a lot of people probably don't quite understand how it works (and as far as I know, it wasn't really explained anywhere, except maybe in passing on the wall)

I can't claim to have a full working knowledge of it, but one thing that I think is important is that the goal is to keep threads on topic. NOT to keep people in agreement. that is, you should downscore posts that have nothing to do with the subject or that are obnoxious or otherwise not worthwhile, and upscore those that are especially informative and useful. (relevant posts that aren't "spectacular" should probably just be left alone)

I think what we're seeing here is that people see the thumbs and think that means they should use it to express agreement or disagreement with what the person said.

a thumbs down now will actually affect your overall rating, just as much as a thumbs up will - I believe the system averages your score on all posts and makes that your default rating. so basically, someone who's always informative and interesting will work their way up towards 10, and someone who posts "first post" all the time will have a default value close to 0. (assuming people use the thumbs appropriately)

Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
lawrence makes a good point here -- the moderation scores are meant to reflect the value of posts, not whether you agree with them or like the person who is posting. it's my fault for not explaining it. slashdot's moderation system forces you to tell why you're moderating a post, and while i like the simplicity of the thumbs, that's a drawback of it.

also, as a minor clarification, the default posting score you mentioned can only sway from 2.5 to 7.5. Thumbs-up represent a 10 point score and thumbs-down represent 0 points. the initial score of a post is ((the average of all prior moderations) + 5) / 2.

Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
Fruheads are by and large hypersensitive. This system has been abused already. That is not a good combination. The last thing we need is an assault on our egos.
Josh Woodward · 18 years, 6 months ago
For those who don't like it, would it be better if there were no thumbs down, only a thumbs-up?
Agent Scully Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
Am I supposed to use this "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" thing? I just hit reply.

nate... Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
In my opinion, no... I think if we're going to have it, it may as well have a balance.

Personally, though, I don't like it in this setting. As others have said, I think all it will really do is cause certain people's feelings to get hurt. Besides.... we're not exactly generating the volume of posts that would necessitate moderation.... it's not like you're scrolling past a ton of "yeah" and "bite me" responses or anything.... most everyone who has posted to any poll discussion has had SOMETHING useful to add.

I think it's more something that could be added if posting becomes a problem.... but really, I don't see that happening.

My $.02 :)

(Oh, and FWIW, I really didn't know it was for judging the quality either.... i thought it was an agree/disagree thing.)
lawrence · 18 years, 6 months ago
I like the idea, but maybe it should be turned off on "private" message boards - i.e. for people's diaries and polls - or have the owner of a diary or poll be able to moderate it.

I also like the idea of metamoderation, although that sort of brings back the idea of "big brother" rather than the very equal system that exists now. and I think it would make people *more* afraid to post than any system where everyone has equal moderation rights.

maybe an interesting way to handle it would be to allow someone to rate one post per message they've posted that is rated above a 5 (to prevent people from posting crap just so they can rate people) because usually those who make the most relevant posts are likely to be the best judges of what is relevant. (although seeding it would be a challenge)

another possibility is that you could keep the current system, but don't allow a single vote to change the value of a post. basically, if you get a single thumbs down, it's not averaged in. if you get two (or three, etc, depending on the size of the user base/message board or how many people are likely to rate posts at all) or more, they're all averaged in. same for thumbs up. that way one person with a vendetta can't screw over someone's rating, and if the threshold is set higher (like a minimum of three thumbs in either direction) people can't gang up on someone, either.

or similarly, allow single votes to change that post, but not the overall user rating unless a post has more than one vote in either category...

A girl named Becca · 18 years, 6 months ago
See, with a site as relatively small and friendly as this one, I don't think it's really all that necessary to keep posts on-topic. Especially since most of the topics haven't exactly been pressing issues...I mean, no offense to anyone who suggests polls and such, but when you're discussing Monty Python and what Jesus would do for a Klondike bar, are marginally relevant tangents really going to harm the discussion? If we're being goofy anyway, I don't really see why we need to reprimand people who like to just toss in random thoughts. Well, I could see how it might become necessary at some point, but so far I don't really think anyone's been abusing the captive audience. :) Also, I tend to be curious about all the posts that got modded down, so I end up reading them anyway...if they weren't hidden, and I could automatically see that all they said was "LOL" or whatever, it would save me some time clicking on links and loading pages and such. Just my $0.02.
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
you may want to try out the filter threshold at the top of the discussion. if you set it to zero, you'll see every post. also, for those who only want the more interesting stuff, try setting it to 6 or 7..
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
Good call. That does improve things for me personally...but the hidden posts weren't my main reason for opposing the system. I still think it's unnecessary to restrict the discussions, and I find the thumb thing slightly intimidating, especially in the current "anonymous reaction with no explanation format." (Maybe I'm just a wimp, but the first time one of my posts got modded down and disappeared, I was like "oh no! What did I do wrong? Maybe I just shouldn't post anything else...") Anyway, I'd like to see what happens if we tried a discussion or two without it...and if people end up unable to stop drivelling about unrelated stuff or the overall quality of the messages suffers, then I'd have no problem with reinstating the moderation thing, though preferably with an option of explaining why a particular post got modded up or down.
Mollie · 18 years, 6 months ago
In a way, I think that the thumbs up/thumbs down *inhibits* discussion. Someone's thoughtful response could be distilled into one mouse click, rather than a typed-out, well-articulated commentary. At the same time, there have been times when I wanted to express my agreement with someone's comment, and clicking the "thumbs up" seemed more appropriate than adding more words to an already lengthy thread. And I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but it would be nice if we could all express agreement or disagreement without having to worry about someone taking our thoughts and opinions personally.
lawrence Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
but the whole point is that you aren't supposed to use the ratings to show agreement or disagreement. they're only for rating the relevance or "quality" of posts. it's basically to keep people from posting total nonsense, flooding the message boards, doing childish things like "first post!" and so on...
Mollie Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
wow. had no idea.
Joy- new picture! Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
I too had no idea. In fact, I didn't know what the thumbs were for either. It may be possible that some of the abuse to the system is coming from uninformed folks like me, although I never touched the scary, unexplained thumbs. Perhaps an explaination, along with a clean slate might be in order? -Joy
Andrea Krause · 18 years, 6 months ago
I'm not entirely sure why. I think part of it is that it was never explained that I saw and it wasn't until this discussion that I even fully understood. Like I never understood why some posts showed up sometimes and were collapsed other times, then would show up again. I didn't even notice the scores changed for a while. And even then I, like some others, thought the thumbs up and down were for agreeing or disagreeing.

It just makes me feel so on the spot. That whether or not people will read what I say depends on random people deciding to rate my post helpful or worthy? (Well, yeah, if nobody thumbs me up I still show up with the 5 threshold...I guess I'm more scared that random people will find my words UNworthy and thumb me down.)

I guess I am one of the hypersensitive folks Gordon refers to. I think I'd take it personally if my posts were thumbed down. It would intimidate me and feel I shouldn't bother posting. I haven't NOTICED it happen to me yet but I haven't paid attention the whole time. But the point is my decision against the moderation is not rooted in a hurt ego. (Though of course some of it is rooted in my fear of a FUTURE hurt ego.)

We've had problems in this community before in terms of cliques and elitism and related things, real or merely perceived, and I just feel that this kind of thing at least at this point in time can exacerbate that perception.

And thus ends my babbling.

Mamalissa! Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
I, too, sort of thought that the thumbs referred to agreement or disagreement, but was never entirely certain, so I never used them.

Maybe Josh could add to the graphic of the thumbs some sort of tag line - "Quality Assurance." Or maybe there should be a brief explanation of how to use the thumbs at the top of the discussion board.

The way I understand it, Josh is working out Entropy with the goal of using it for other sites with wider audiences. With that in mind, the hypersensitivity of Fruheads doesn't seem like it should be a driving force behind the moderation system.

I've seen sites where users are given different categories corresponding roughly to newbie, been around the block, old timer, before the flood.... based on the number of posts they've made. I'm not so crazy about that system - I always feel self-conscious, like I should've been around much earlier, but it would be a way to give weight to votes.

Any thoughts?
Michael (foof) Maki Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
Math is hard. Let's go shopping.
Joy- new picture! Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
so, this is what happens if people don't find a post relevant, right? It disappears? I must say I don't like that at all. Some of these discussions need a little comic relief and, unless I'm very much mistaken, Michael's post here was a clear "lighten up" to the whole thread. I see how perhaps an offensive message should be thumbed down, or an intirely innane one (*lol* or me too!) but I, for one, have nothing against one-liners.
Mamalissa! Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
But...but... I thought "opposable thumbs" *was* funny!

As for those who disagree: "Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is disgrace to them, if they bear it." -- Sampson of the house of Capulet (Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene I)
nate... · 18 years, 6 months ago
If we ARE going to go with this moderation system...... here's an idea.

When you do either thumbs up or down, you are asked for a reason, and your nickname is logged. Then in the discussion, if someone has been modded up or down, you can click on the little number showing mods... and it will give a list of people who did, with the reason.

What do people think about that?

And, more importantly.... Josh, is that feasible?
soul groove feline Back · 18 years, 6 months ago
OK, one of the hypersensitive fruheads speaking out here... :) while I agree that it would be good to be able to post a reason for modding up or down (which makes it a more constructive criticism/reward)...I must say i very strongly disagree with being able to see -who- modded you up or down. Like, if I got modded down and saw -who- it was who did it...I would most certainly feel embarassed since everyone else could see it...and I might subconsciously feel like it was a blow to -me- and my intellegence, since to me, my writing is just an extension of myself, my mind...then in turn I may feel wary around that person, or upset at them, even though I know they didn't mean it as an insult...I'm sensitive in that way. I only think this may cause some unneccessary fighting and anger and hurt. Just one opinion.
Melinda J. Beasi · 18 years, 6 months ago
When I first looked at this poll, I actually voted in favor of the current moderation system. It seemed perfectly reasonable to me, and I thought it would help ward against that kind of "LOL" and "UR dumb" posting which is really only appropriate in chat rooms (if it is ever appropriate at all). After reading the comments here all day, however, I find myself wishing I'd voted another way. When i really look back at the poll topics we've seen here recently, I see very few truly off-topic posts, pretty much none of the kinds of posts I dread in other forums, and frankly not all that many posts, period- probably not enough to warrant a moderation system like this. My own posts have been modded down (for what reason, I do not know) and though it doesn't concern me greatly, i can see how the system could be easily abused. Are my feelings hurt? Not really. Might someone else's be in the same situation? Quite possibly.

Why am I writing this long, rambling post which probably deserves to be modded down? To register a change in my vote. That's pretty much it. This forum is a gift to us from Josh, and truly there is no real complaint I could have against it. It is something he provides for us out of the great kindness of his heart and the truly wonderful enthusiastic geekiness (and I mean that in the best way possible) that makes him enjoy doing so. This is why FHDC is so amazing. This is why we all love it as much as we do. If there hadn't been a poll about this subject, I probably wouldn't have thought about it twice, and I won't be upset either way. So this is merely my vote, or at least my change in vote. Nothing more.


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