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Is it time for Killfiles?

By h2odragon in Meta
Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:02:01 PM EST
Tags: Scoop (all tags)

This community has recently passed the point at which trolls and other jackasses begin to infest the system. Is it time for killfiles, and how should they be implemented?

For those who aren't familiar with the term, a killfile is a list of authors whose posts are hidden by Usenet news readers.

Some of us are not always able to refrain from feeding the trolls' need for attention by responding to their tripe when we come across it. If the pages we see don't contain those comments the tone of discussion overall should be improved.

Since even the trolls ocassionally have something to say, perhaps an exception for highly rated comments could be worked in. Perhaps it would be a good idea to show our killfile lists to the world on the "user info" page; and possibly even show whose killfiles you're in.

Considering the complexity of each story page as customized for logged in users, it shouldn't be too much load on the system. I'm abysmally ignorant of PHP and SQL myself and so can't offer a patch. The real question is: "is it a good idea?". If so I have faith in Rusty and crew's ability to implement it.


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o promote discussion 22%
o promote flames and dissent 15%
o cannot be avoided or cured 20%
o should be shot 4%
o ...with a bazooka 37%

Votes: 86
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o trolls
o other jackasses
o Also by h2odragon

Display: Sort:
Is it time for Killfiles? | 48 comments (46 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Trolls and Jackasses (2.00 / 13) (#1)
by acestus on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:18:18 AM EST

I think it's quite rude of you to post an article like this with links to a major contributor as "a troll" and someone with nothing but two diary entries as "a jackass". While I am certainly not a big fan of Signal 11, he follows procedure like everybody else and lets his stories get moderated. As for h2odragon, I'm not sure what he's done to offend you, but all I see are two diary entries -- and he can say whatever he wants in his diary, I'd think.

Personally, I think this is a dreadful idea and completely contrary to the spirit of kuro5hin. Usenet had killfiles because it was not moderated. kuro5hin is moderated. A killfile says, "We don't care what you have to say," and I can't imagine that we really want to send that message to anyone.

This is not an exit.

Look at the author of the story... (3.66 / 3) (#3)
by Nick Ives on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:22:01 AM EST

h2odragon is the author. Hes trying to make a link to Sig11 appear 'jokeish' by also linking himself. I think he failed in that respect.

And as for the rest, I concur completly.

[ Parent ]

well, partially (3.50 / 4) (#6)
by h2odragon on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:28:06 AM EST

...but some of it is the "end of a long day" realization that I am more of a jackass than Siggy at times.

[ Parent ]
Pay attention now (3.00 / 3) (#7)
by duxup on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:32:59 AM EST

"for h2odragon, I'm not sure what he's done to offend you"

h2odragon is the author :-) He's referring to himself.

[ Parent ]
thanks (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by h2odragon on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:41:52 PM EST

Thanks for the defense. In this particular instance 'tweren't necessary, but it's a really nice thought.

As to Signal11, yes, he has made contributions before and will again; but not all of them were valuable. The election story he wrote last night (which was voted down as I was writing this story) was both a prompt for this story and the reason for my using him as an example. Too bad it's gone once voted down, I'd have liked to link it direct.

[ Parent ]

Is that a bug? (3.33 / 3) (#39)
by pb on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 05:51:27 PM EST

Voted down stories lose their article info, but not their comments.

Personally, I'd prefer a trash bin of some sort, because they really don't make sense with just the comments.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Now I get it (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by kimbly on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:02:02 PM EST

Thanks for clarifying the motivation for your post. I didn't think of the "What if Bush gets elected" post when thinking of trolls. On the other hand, I was one of those who voted for that article, so it makes sense that I didn't think of it. It's interesting that you thought it was a troll. I thought it was poorly titled, but the article itself I found very interesting, since I had no idea what was involved in leaving the U.S. Perhaps I was in a generous mood when I read it.

[ Parent ]
Kill Files = Bad. Score Files = Good (3.46 / 13) (#2)
by kraant on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:18:47 AM EST

Kill files are a fundamentaly unsound idea, they're the net equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and going "LALALALALA"

All they do is let people ignore points of view they don't like. That and give people an excuse to speak bull and then claim "If you don't like what you're hearing don't bitch just killfile me"... Basicaly it's a tool to help people be close-minded.

If you want anything like this score-files are a much better idea.... they allow you to high score people you like and low score people you don't like but at least you can't totaly ignore them.

"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
Kill Files = Bad Score Files = Bad (2.75 / 4) (#4)
by Nick Ives on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:26:25 AM EST

Score files would allow automated abuse of the mojo system to be easily carried out. Putting that feature straight into k5 would just be evil. Forcing people to manually think about each comment and rate on the merit of the comment at hand instead of who wrote it is essential for the rating system to be worthwhile. I consider rating based on who someone is rather than what they are saying to be an abuse of the system.

[ Parent ]
You misunderstood (3.66 / 3) (#8)
by kraant on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:33:26 AM EST

Score Files is a common feature in most good newsreaders where you can score a person so that for you they appear closer to the top...

It wouldn't make sense to auto-rate people and affect their rating... But if you scored them (And perhaps altered the rating of their comments for you or perhaps it would be seperate) then if you read sorted by score you would get their comments at the bottom of your page...

/me sighs

"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
Sounds more reasonable (3.00 / 3) (#19)
by Nick Ives on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:29:48 AM EST

OK, that sounds more reasonable.

If I understand what your saying correctly, your own personal score-file would alter the rating of the comments you see, but only for you. You would then be free to sort by rating and thus the score-file would let you dump all the people you dont like at the bottom and all the people you like at the top, correct?

I personally wouldnt use such a feature (at least, not at the moment), but I can see how some people would like it. I think that such a feature would actually be a good addition to Scoop.

Cheers for correcting me on my misunderstanding.

[ Parent ]

I don't use them, but I can't see why not (3.83 / 6) (#9)
by duxup on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:59:20 AM EST

I think people on an individual basis should be allowed to use some system like killfiles. If they want to do that and accept the consequences then that is their choice. Perhaps a short warning for individual users before implementing such policies could come up before they enable them?

Regarding your suggestion that it might make for less discussion oriented posts, If someone is so lame as to simply post and state they do not wish to discuss anything the that is a problem with the poster, not people who wish to ignore them. With or without killfiles such posters will suck and still post. The argument could be made that without killfiles they know they're getting to their target and would be more likely to post.

In the end I don't agree with using killfiles myself and I don't think they're really necessary at this point. However, I have no reason to believe someone else may not wish to use them now or in the future and can't see any reason to turn down such a suggestion.

[ Parent ]
If I follow you... (3.50 / 8) (#12)
by iGrrrl on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:27:24 AM EST

It seems that you propose a personal rating system, sort of like the old D&D method of having (-X) applied to die rolls. If you hated my stuff and scorefiled me as -2, you would only see comments of mine which had been ranked as 2 or higher. Is that it? That way it does not affect anyone's mojo, or any other user.

If that's the case, then why not have it both ways? If I like your stuff, I could give it a +2 in my personal scorefile, and you'd always rise to the top. From my ignorant pov, the database implications of personal rankings of each member for every other are kind of staggering.

You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.
[ Parent ]

Yay! (3.50 / 4) (#24)
by ramses0 on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:42:03 AM EST

I wanted a system like this a while back... only I wanted to be able to "hotlist" particular users, so that I would be notified of the next time they posted. There are a few people on K5 nowadays that really just aren't worth my time to read, and I would love to be able to go "lalalala" anytime they're talking.

I think it's a very good thing if I can 'hotlist' a user, but I'm not sure it's a good thing if I can 'blacklist' somebody. And I usually don't sort by score (I'm a newest first kindof person ;^)= so a scoring solution miiight not be the best way to do things.

[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

I disagree (3.50 / 6) (#15)
by sbeitzel on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:39:53 AM EST

If, for example, one had decided that the ravings of Doctress Neutopia were not worth the time spent reading them, then putting D.N. in one's killfile is an appropriate action. It's not just about being closed-minded; it's about being smart in allocating a limited resource.

As a more concrete example, I have specified that on Slashdot, I don't get shown articles by Jon Katz. The guy is annoying, true, but beyond that I think he's a poor journalist. I have a lot better things to do with my life than to waste it reading his garbage.

You bring up moderation as the solution, but moderation is most specifically not the solution. Can you design a system in which the moderators have as much power as the trolls? Moreover, your position amounts to saying that part of the cost of reading Kuro5hin is that one must read everything, but that's patently untrue. The reason there are sections, and a vote option "+1 Section Only" , is that some people just don't want to spend their time thinking about each and every category. Saying that we must anyway smacks of an attempt at mind control.

However, let's remember all the functionality of a killfile: not only can one filter based on posting name, but also on keywords and content. That's where the power really lies. Add a line like /natalie portman/i and *plonk* goes half of Slashdot.

[ Parent ]
Bitch, bitch .... (1.12 / 24) (#11)
by rednecktek on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:23:32 AM EST

Moan. moan
Bush, Gore
Boxers, Briefs
Fruit Loops, Rice Krispies

Just remember, if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.
more general (3.21 / 14) (#13)
by mikpos on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:34:12 AM EST

Instead of "time for killfiles?" I think they question should be "time for something kind of like USENET?". Like it or not, I think Microsoft's everything-XML agenda might be a good idea in this case: if you don't like k5's interface (or want to add something like killfiles), then you don't have to; just grab the XML and write your own client.

Could you expand on that? (3.75 / 4) (#29)
by kmself on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:23:02 PM EST

One of my firm beliefs is that the Usenet model seperating data from viewing client is fundamentally right. Weblogs are fun and cool and neat, but they have several problems:

  • Single point of failure. When the weblog goes down, the service is unavailable. Usenet is largely tolerant to failures of individual nodes.
  • Constraint of user client features. There is one client interface to Kuro5hin, and that is...Kuro5hin. While it's possible to user various browsers, the filtering and ordering capabilities are intrinsically linked to the site itself.

What K5 has that Usenet hasn't is a data sharing capability -- I can share my preference data with other users -- and extensive metadata on posts, users, and content. There are data syndication features as well, it would be interesting to see how Scoop could be extended to support distributed weblogs across multiple nodes, while pooling user and content data and metadata.

So. I'm not sure quite what you mean with your "XML-everything" comment, but I'd be interested in seeing that fleshed out.

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

you're right on (4.33 / 3) (#35)
by mikpos on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 03:50:45 PM EST

About the advantages. Really you'd have to abandon the idea of user accounts then, though (AFAICS, the only reason k5 has user accounts at all is to prevent spamming) and rely on USENET-like killfiling (using regexen on stuff in the headers and content), since user accounts would be tough to have in a distributed fashion.

Still, you wouldn't need to have a distributed fashion. The extra control that the user gets (in terms of interface-design and features, such as killfiling) would be enough.

What I mean about the XML stuff (which fits into Microsoft's .NET platform) is that Microsoft wants to move away from the Web as it currently is, where you go to a site and see the site as the designers want you to see it. What Microsoft proposes is that you get the XML (not necessarily into a browser: maybe into a spreadsheet or 3D modeller or ...) and then display it how you see fit. In other words, on the server side, there is no interface, only content.

[ Parent ]

Weblog user clients (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by jesterzog on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:36:51 AM EST

About the advantages. Really you'd have to abandon the idea of user accounts then, though (AFAICS, the only reason k5 has user accounts at all is to prevent spamming) and rely on USENET-like killfiling (using regexen on stuff in the headers and content), since user accounts would be tough to have in a distributed fashion.

I may have read through something, but I don't know that you'd need to abandon the idea of user accounts. It might be workable if there was a dedicated weblog protocol, and kuro5hin (and others) could implement a dedicated server for accessing the database through it. If the specs were available I bet it wouldn't be long before there were a lot of clients around designed to connect to it for both reading/commenting, as well as getting various meta information about users, etc.

It probably wouldn't be that different from a newsreader - at least in interface - except it would be more centralised and user accounts would (possibly) be required depending on server side settings.

Have I read though something you've both discussed already? I do that sometimes.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
Fourth posthumously written essay (none / 0) (#47)
by kmself on Wed Nov 29, 2000 at 07:38:05 PM EST

There are a number of things I really want to write about, and this is about number four: electable user profiles for webbrowsing.

The fundamental idea is to use signed PKI (public key infrastructure) identities, preferably maintained independently of the browser, for use in situations where maintaining an online identity is useful.

Integral to the idea is that you might:

  • Use the same ID across multiple sites (eg: syndicated weblogs).
  • Use an ID on a single site. Dedicated UID, preventing usage and behavior tracking across sites, particularly with, say, one-time payment mechanisms. Commerce and behavior tracking is a currently strong interest of merchants and concern of privacy advocates.
  • Use multiple IDs on one or more sites. No problem with being pseudonoymous or polynymous.
  • One-time keys. For sites which require maintained user state, basically say "fuck you, this is who I am today, stuff yourself". Generate a one-time identity and discard it at end-of-session.
  • Keysigning. Both trust webs and signing authorities might be used. a particular site might have various criteria -- any ID is OK, multiply signed IDs are required (this could also be provided for with one-time IDs), IDs with minimum trust metrics (web-of-trust), or keys with mandated signatures. The last might include some trusted authority -- corporate, institutional, government -- which may make demands of identity proof, payment, or other criteria -- in granting keys.

Tie this to a directory protocol of some sort and the idea of distributed and multi-site IDs becomes both manageable and paletable.

This probably deserves a story writup. I'll copy to my diary for the time being.


Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

If we treat K5 like a democracy... (2.91 / 12) (#14)
by TheLocust on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:39:41 AM EST

...and I think we generally do, as a community by the users, for the users, then killfiles are against all that we stand for. Free speech for all, right? That, and I'm against negative moderation. Score files or something of that gist is a more favorable idea.

Remember: this is no Ministry of Information at K5.

.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

Misunderstanding (3.80 / 5) (#17)
by B'Trey on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:53:23 AM EST

You're getting a few things confused. First, a pure democracy offers no guarantee of free speech. It's simply majority rules. If 51% of people want you to shut up, you shut up. Second, if we assume a sort of constitution of K5 which does guarantee free speech, your right to speak does not require me to listen. If I put you in my killfile, then I've chosen not to listen to you. Your right to speak is not impacted at all, anymore than it's impacted by the millions of people who do not read K5 at all. The only way that there would be a restriction on your right to speak would be if Rusty (or whoever) created a site killfile that automatically worked for everyone.

[ Parent ]
Yes, a misunderstanding on my part. (none / 0) (#48)
by TheLocust on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 01:25:20 PM EST

I must've read the original wrong... the site-wide killfile is what I was referring to...
.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

[ Parent ]
It's larger than that (3.90 / 10) (#16)
by Defect on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:44:45 AM EST

There has been an enormous amount of talk about the next steps of K5 in the past month or so. From trying to extend beyond the internet, to having constitutions, to small but important changes to scoop, it seems that there is a massive amonut of interest (and assumedly support) in changing K5 not so much in it's core but in the way it's viewed (literally) by it's users. I think it's a good idea to be able to choose what you want to see with the amount of traffic that's coming through here lately.

Since this is such a broad site in terms of content, there are sure to be general topics which don't spark any interest in some of the audience, and rather than that disinterest work against an otherwise well written story it would be nicer if the people who didn't care didn't have to see it (i've noticed a good amount of people saying they don't care but voting -1, and admittedly so i've done that as well without thinking). And as for filtering out comments and stories because of personal grudges or whatnot else, that would be an excellent step in the right direction.

Judging from some of rusty's comments in the past few weeks i think it's just a matter of if K5 changes, will it be accepted by the users who helped it grow this much. Some good compromise between evolution to maintain usability and the same look and feel to please the old-timers is what's needed.

I can't really see how having a killfile or customizing the front page (for example) could really hurt anyone but the user, who would be hiding some potentially good discussions, but that's his/her choice so it wouldn't be K5's fault. As long as every option remains just that, an _option_, then i can't possibly imagine it hurting the overall balance of the site.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
Killfiles are private data: need shared solution (3.70 / 10) (#18)
by Paul Johnson on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 08:55:01 AM EST

A killfile merely benefits its owner. However a good killfile encodes useful information which could be used by others. Therefore a better solution than individual killfiles is some kind of communal system.

The principal behind killfiles is, roughly, a probabilistic one (in fact Baysian logic comes in here): given observation of past postings from an individual, what is the probability that the next one is going to be worth reading? Based on my past observations I assign the probability, and if it is sufficiently low then I put the individual in my killfile.

However the probability that a given poster will be in different peoples kill files is not independent. If someone has annoyed Alice then its a good bet that Bob finds him pretty tiresome as well. You can tackle this in Baysian terms based on correlations between the way different people rate postings.

What you get out of this is something that could loosely be termed "reputation". People who regularly post good stuff will have a high reputation, and we can use this to predict that future postings by the same people will also be good. Hence if Scoop were to rate these postings upwards then on average you can expect the proportion of good postings you read to increase. You can also note the people who tend to be early with accurate ratings on a similar basis: people who accurately predicted the ratings of others in the past are worth listening to more when they rate new postings.

On top of this is a social aspect: people love numerical scores and try to boost them. Over on Slashdot this is referred to as "karma whoring". The key thing is to make sure that your metric is an accurate one. That way people who score highly really have made contributions that other people value.

One of these days I'm going to sit down and work this stuff out in a formal way.

You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.

killfiles = bad; (4.00 / 3) (#27)
by vinay on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:08:34 PM EST

I'm more inclined to agree with Carnage4Life up above. I think that killfiles will more than likely just stifle people. It goes along with the idea that it's "better to let a guilty man free, than to imprison an innocent one." Granted, I'm sure y'all could argue that too. :-)

While your reputation idea does seem intreguing, I think it would do more harm than good. I'm sure that while the "someone" that both Bob and Alice find annoying may indeed be so, that doesn't mean they shouldn't occasionally listen to what he has to say. He could be annoying because he has radically alternative (but still valid) ideas.



[ Parent ]
You can lead a horse to water... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by Paul Johnson on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 02:40:16 PM EST

...but you can't force someone to listen.

Sure, anyone with radical and different ideas is going to be at a disadvantage in an environment like this. Terry Pratchett's latest book put it well: people think they want news, but what they really want is olds: things that tell them what they already think they know.

However there is simply no way around this, beyond asking people to respect ideas which are different (maybe frighteningly different) but well presented. Simply allowing trolls and spammers to mix on equal terms with thoughful posters won't help the radical views because Bob and Alice will never get to the radical views: they will give up after N pieces of junk.

One element of my ideas which might go some way to avoid this problem (I'm not sure) is the system of measuring the accuracy of ratings. It should help to prevent Eve trying to moderate things down that she merely disagrees with, because if she does it regularly then the system will spot the pattern and distrust her ratings accordingly.

You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Stop bitching about Signal 11 (2.35 / 17) (#20)
by boxed on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:41:02 AM EST

Why do you keep on screaming "TROLL!" everytime Signal 11 says anything at all? This is just pure prejudice since it's fairly obvious that siggy has contributed to several really good articles and discussions.

the boy who cried wolf (3.22 / 9) (#21)
by cetan on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 09:52:33 AM EST

S11 branded himself a troll in many minds. Maybe he is trying to change maybe he is not. For most, they don't want to even bother with it and keep him in the "troll" bucket.

===== cetan www.cetan.com =====
[ Parent ]
Tie personal scorefile to moderation (2.83 / 6) (#22)
by galen on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:30:28 AM EST

Why not set things up so that when you moderate posts, there is an option to apply the moderation to the poster as well? That way, future posts from the same individual will have their scores adjusted for you, and you only.

This should be optional, and the weight of the score should be offset by the number of people who moderated the post, and the length of time since the score was established.

Another way of looking at this is that you are prejudicing the system about a particular user. This prejudice can be swamped out if enough people moderate the post. Over time, this prejudice will fade away unless renewed periodically by the user.
Time flies like an arrow. Time arrows with a stopwatch.

Mojo is a partial attempt at this (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by kmself on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:14:55 PM EST

Mojo influences, to an extent, how a users posts appear, but only in the extreme perverse negative sense. If a user posts endless trolls, moderated to 0, and has their mojo fall sufficiently low (< 1, IIRC), then they post at score=0. This effectively hides them from all users, including themselves, but excepting trusted users.

Mojo currently has three levels: untrusted, normal, and trusted. Untrusted carries the 0 score penalty, normal is, well, normal, and trusted carries the ability to moderate posts to 0 and to see posts moderated below 1.

The problem with tying mojo to post moderation is that it starts to build in a feedback cycle -- higher-moderated users get higher moderated starting points and tend to get higher mojo. Likewise for lower-moderated users. Mojo doesn't suffer from the unbounded characteristics of Slashdot karma -- more recently fixed in a kludged 50 point karma cap. Your mojo can only range from 0 to 5, and "rolls over" after a period of time or number of posts (30, IIRC). I believe this would avoid the more perverse problems affecting Slashdot. Still, I'd have to think about it.

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Why I Hate Killfiles (4.31 / 22) (#23)
by Carnage4Life on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:35:58 AM EST

In my opinion implementing killfiles will be more destructive to K5's social dynamic than a thousand trolls for several reasons which I will enumerate below.
  1. Lots of insightful commentary is lost due to killfiles because nobody is a troll all the time. As rusty has repeatedly pointed out, although Signal 11 may seem full of crap to some people, his posts are still full of interesting and relevant commentary half the time. This probably goes for my posts and the posts of many K5ers I have seen. 50% stuff that is crap, 50% stuff that is literary gold.

  2. It reinforces groupthink, stifles open discourse and exchange of ideas because people usually label trolls as anyone whose opinions conflict with theirs. If shared killfiles become in vogue, then it is possible that a certain kind of poster may eventually be silenced because his opinions conflict with that of the majority. Killfiles turn newsgroups in to elitist circles of mental masturbraters who act like ostriches with their heads in the sand refusing to hear any opinions that run counter to theirs.

  3. Killfiles antagonize people who believe they have been wrongly killfiled and leads to vindictive behavior. After all lots of slashdot trolls/spammers became that way because they were wrongly scored (-1 Troll) for expressing an alternate decision. Making killfiles publicly viewable will excarberate trollish behavior, not hide it. Which will be sad because all the logged in users will simply killfile indiscriminately while people without accounts will see the ugly side of K5 (just like slashdot with logged in users viewing at +3 and non-users viewing at +1)

  4. It is a lot of work to implement, not just code wise but also on the load it will place on the server because it will be handpicking posts to remove from articles viewed by each user. Unless you are willing to have Javascript turned on or use an XSL compliant browser (MSIE 5.x) so that these details are handled clientside instead of server side, I do not believe handling killfiles is worth the effort.

    Note: slashdot just hides posts by score not users, and the server load is why they never implemented killfiles.

  5. I have more objections but I'm late for class.

Too true (3.44 / 9) (#30)
by Inoshiro on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:26:16 PM EST

"It reinforces groupthink, stifles open discourse and exchange of ideas because people usually label trolls as anyone whose opinions conflict with theirs ...... Making killfiles publicly viewable will excarberate trollish behavior, not hide it. "

This is very painfully true. A fellow who lived in Regina and went by the nick of 'TomG' on #Kuro5hin used to ignore people. He would ignore people who were jerks, who spammed, who had other things, etc. He was reinforcing his own group think about the world. But the people who he ignored took it personally, and regularly vilified him beyond any reasonable levels. Eventually he was kicked off the network as he had ignored some opers. The people he ignored still look into the ignore list semi-reguarly and curse him. It was a bad situation all around.

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
I'm beginning to think it's all moot. (3.38 / 18) (#25)
by marlowe on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:25:05 AM EST

We've got a site that started out promising, but degenerated into mostly-lameness, and has recently sunk to "everybody here is so wonderful, so what kind of music do you like" articles. A mutual ass-kissing society. Faugh.

This wouldn't be bugging me so much if only I hadn't got my hopes up at the beginning. No amount of killfile or moderation technology will make up for uninspired particpants. I haven't been so let down since Usenet went to hell back in `95.

Oh well, there's still IWETHEY.

I'll stop in here from time to time out of morbid curiosity, or to see if things have improved any. But I'm not going to try to be a regular anymore. It's just not worth it.

By the way, here's my dream moderation system: an online intelligence test for signup. If you can't get past the test, you can't get an account. Maybe add a knowledgeability test, specific for each section.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
Tests. (3.33 / 6) (#26)
by Spendocrat on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:03:14 PM EST

Might as well add a few tests for critical thinking, and whether or not posters are interesting based on some arbitrary metric provided by... whomever.

That is, if you want to go that way.

I for one don't think any kinds of tests are going to screen in or out the "kinds" of people that would make this site interesting. If people aren't motivated to post or participate nothing is going to happen, no matter how intelligent, knowledable or capable of carrying a rational argument the people who visit the site are.

[ Parent ]

Community buildout (4.00 / 4) (#31)
by kmself on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 01:26:33 PM EST

There's a world of difference between the front page and section view of K5. I find that if I avoid the Culture and Politics sections, content becomes much more compelling.

I'd argue that IWETHEY has its own issues in maintaining quality content. That board has less than a fifth the participation that K5 does, it's far easier to maintain a sense of community. K5's growth has made it difficult to identify personally with participants, particularly newer arrivals.

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

the (your? someones...) law (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by Dacta on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 05:12:08 PM EST

Someone (was it you? I think it may have been "Kaa".) used to have a K5 .sig that said:

xxx's Law: In any sufficiently large group of people, most will be idiots.

I always thought it was pessemistic, but probably true.

[ Parent ]
Kaa's law, try Google (none / 0) (#45)
by kmself on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 02:11:31 AM EST

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Lack-of-posting spiral (3.25 / 4) (#34)
by skim123 on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 03:26:14 PM EST

I use to post quite frequently (at least by my standards), but it was a pain to see if anyone had responded to my posts and, over time, fewer and fewer responses were made... so I posted less and less (thereby giving fewer responses myself to other posts...) and the downward spiral continues.

Is k5 dead? Nah. Hardly. I just am being an old, reminicent fart. :-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
What are you looking for? (3.75 / 4) (#42)
by rusty on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:44:03 PM EST

I haven't been so let down since Usenet went to hell back in `95.

I don't get it. What are you looking for? And what did we used to have that we don't have anymore? Can you honestly go back in the archives and point me to a story that was just scads better than anything we've had in the past months, or is your memory playing tricks on you? I suspect the latter.

IWETHEY is an interesting community, in that it has survived changing venues, and has always more or less lacked a clear focus, but has persisted anyway. But if IWETHEY is your ideal in communities, then we simply won't meet your expectations here. See, K5 is alive, and growing. This means that you have to deal with newcomers who don't have all of the shared history and culture. But it also means that we can continue to offer new perspectives and ideas. IWETHEY is great for shared history, but despite having met four or five members personally, and knowing a lot of the history, I am still totally unable to feel any sort of welcome for new users there. It's a closed society, for all intents and purposes. We are an open society.

Evolve or die. IWETHEY will die if it doesn't find a way to refresh itself with new blood. I don't see why this is a good alternative, really. What did we have here that got your hopes up? And what has been lost that had disappointed you so severely? I've, obviously, been here from the start, and I think the community is much stronger now than it's ever been. I'm puzzled by your assessment that it's all over.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

I'm not saying it's all over, I'm saying it's all (none / 0) (#46)
by marlowe on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 07:07:42 PM EST

...ceasing to matter.

What I'm talking about is this: the rate of worthwhile articles is not appreciably increasing, in fact it's decreasing, while the rate of pointless articles is going through the roof. A killfile feature will lessen - not eliminate - the impact of the second problem, but won't help the first problem one bit.

For some odd reason, the participants in the moderation system seem to think that so long as something is relatively free of spelling and gramamtical errors, it's worth reading. I don't see it that way. I'll gladly overlook typos if an article has worthwhile content.

Worthwhile content is something that I derive some significant benefit from reading. If it gives me useful and accurate information, it's obviously worthwhile. If it presents a novel point of view with an argument that makes sense, I'd call that worthwhile, since it expands my understanding. If it's at least entertaining, that's worthwhile - nothing wrong with a little fun now and then. But only a tiny minority of articles here have any of these qualities. Most give useless and/or unreliable information, or present tired old points of view supported by overheated twaddle, and are in either case deathly dull.

And yes, I've seen articles that I thought were worthwhile get voted down more often than not. Meanwhile the tripe gets voted into office. A democracy is only as good as its citizens, and the majority of voters are getting the junk they deserve. So I guess my problem is with the majority. This is why I fantasize about intelligence tests for participants. Think of it immigration standards. At Ellis Island they used to turn back those who were below a certain standard.

I'm willing to meet you kids halfway (I can't escape the feeling that most of you are quite young.) Maintain decent quality in the Technology and Internet sections, I'll just stick to those, and vote "I don't care" to all submissions for other sections. (I'm being generous, since I would have liked to frequent Culture and Freedom & Politics as well, though I guess that's too much to hope for.) But when tripe wanders into the sections I care about, I will be irate.

And could we fix it so logging in doesn't catapult one to the main page?

So why don't I start my own site? Well, I haven't ruled it out. But I do have to make a living, and I know a major time suck when I see it. By which I mean doing it right. Anyone can set up a forum on Ezboard or some such, but those who've done so report many frustrations once it's up and running. So doing it right means some serious CGI coding plus finding a web host. When my frustration level rises enough to outweigh these considerations, I'll do it.

P.S. Say what you will about the IWETHEY crowd. A large fraction of them are knowledgeable and articulate. And the rest are easy to ignore, since the forum views display only titles of articles and not excerpts. I wandered into Kuro5hin because I was concerned about possible stagnation at IWETHEY. But now I'm thinking a (very) little stagnation is better than a vast wasteland.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Drown them out. (3.87 / 8) (#36)
by enterfornone on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 04:22:34 PM EST

It would seem at least at this point that the trolls are outnumbered by the rest of us. Why don't we all quit bitching and start writing some good articles and comments and drown the bastards out.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Funny (3.50 / 6) (#37)
by Khedak on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 04:47:50 PM EST

This was a cool troll. It was self-referential. It's k5's Goedel string! A discussion about censoring trolls that is itself a troll, by any standard. Okay, well maybe it's not a Goedel string, but I thought it was funny. :)

No need for killfiles (3.80 / 5) (#40)
by zerth on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:10:50 PM EST

If anyone really wants killfiles that bad, they should just get something like <a href=http://members.tripod.com/Proxomitron>proxomitron. I use it whenever I read that other site. I haven't bothered creating a type for this site, but it should be as easy.

For example, if I don't like to see my own posts:

by <*mailto*> zerth* Parent</a>? ]

replaced by

by zerth< tr>< td>

It doesn't affect sorting order unfortunately(unless one was to perhaps run two in parellel).

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus

Christ (2.71 / 7) (#41)
by delmoi on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 07:29:38 PM EST

Signal 11 bashing is annoying
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Is it time for Killfiles? | 48 comments (46 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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