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k5 FAQ and DOC

By farl in Meta
Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 10:43:06 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

It is clearly evident that K5 needs a new, updated FAQ and doc. In speaking with Rusty, I have offered to pick up the task of doing this.

What i would like to know is what people think should be in such a document... All comments are appreciated. Please feel free to email me at farl@sketchwork.com if you don't want to post your comments publicly.




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k5 FAQ and DOC | 28 comments (28 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Checklist (4.47 / 17) (#1)
by jesterzog on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 04:59:39 AM EST

It would be nice to try and have:

  • full user documentation on how the moderation system works, including things like what 'pending' comments are, and that 1 means bad while 5 means good, etc.
  • Technical information about story moderation, thresholds (what causes the thresholds to change?), and what happens to stories when they're dumped. (They seem to stay there but the body gets wiped.)
  • Information about how stories travel through the system, explaining how not everything is seen on the front page but it can all be seen on the section pages.
  • full user documentation of how to post and reply to comments, and post stories. The difference between topical and editorial comments.
  • Where to find different stories (eg. Diaries and Everything are special cases).

Much of this is already available, but if you're planning on rewriting things, make sure you don't accidently miss it.

More subjectively, I think it should have instructions on ettiquite. Inform people of what is expected. This is a user managed site, but if people start crossing a line and ignoring general expectations the system will just end up changed to compensate anyway. It should include reminders about things like:

  • Acceptable stories.
  • How to critically moderate a story. (ie. Don't moderate it based on agreeing or disagreeing with it.)
  • Descriptions of what all the topics and sections are for. What's the difference between a Topic and a Section?
  • Proofreading.
  • Proofreading.
  • Proofreading.
  • True-to-life examples and case scenarios to back all of this up.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I might post more later if nobody else does. Have fun. :)

jesterzog Fight the light

My thoughts (3.33 / 6) (#2)
by vastor on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 06:04:17 AM EST

Also where the post a comment link is.

It's easy to find when you know where it is, but I was expecting it to be right at the immediate end of the story and so had trouble finding it when I finally got an account here (I think I ended up finding it at the very bottom of the page and then discovering it up at the top where it is).

Plus I went to post a story once and couldn't find it (in the blue bar at the very top). Things just don't seem to be quite where I expect them to be (and that wasn't in the FAQ that I could find when I went to look for it). Not that I ended up posting a story, but it was frustrating (I thought it must have been an option from the moderate submissions area at first).

If it happened to me it probably has happened to others too (I should have called the subject Confessions of a Newbie perhaps :-).

Some kind of mention about the maximum length stories can be would be handy too (I spent ages trying to upload a diary entry with a large text area included as well without success and ended up having to move it into a comment so it'd work).

Giving nice full examples of what you can do with the View/Display/Sort/Rated stuff would be handy too.

Commenting about the Hotlist might be useful too (I've found it handy, but don't think I saw it mentioned anywhere except for the +Hotlist link).

It might be nice to have a bit of a timeline and history to K5 as well (plus some usage statistics if they're available - it'd be nice to get an idea of the ratio of lurkers to comment makers).

[ Parent ]
Better Post A Comment button... (3.25 / 4) (#3)
by BonzoESC on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 08:24:09 AM EST

Instead of making Post A Comment a link that can easily blend in among the other, less vital (IMHO) links, make it a form button, like on /. That way, users see:
link link BUTTON
(excuse my simple description, but I'm not one for ASCII art). /. graduates will find it, and it will stand out from the links in every browser except Lynx.


Normally, my sig is an image.
[ Parent ]

Umm. (3.33 / 9) (#6)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 10:10:07 AM EST

I've never had any problem finding that. Maybe I'm just weird...

But remember, this is for FAQ things, not change suggestions. Email Rusty for that one. Or talk to him in #kuro5hin.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

Another Item (3.00 / 7) (#7)
by Nafai on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 01:04:32 PM EST

Encourage new users to read through the "meta" section. I think this section is very useful for new users to get a feel for the "culture" of K5.

[ Parent ]
Explain the sections (4.14 / 7) (#4)
by Defect on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 09:23:50 AM EST

The only section AKAIK that is explained in the slightest detail is MLP, but i think it could benefit others if there was a little more clarification as to what each section/subsection means.

Submission "etiquette:" don't repeat yourself word for word in the intro/body (i could have sworn i read that somewhere anyway but it still happens occasionally). And as happens semi-frequently, split up diary entries so longer entries are not entirely in the intro.

And if there was someway you could possibly add something to the faq that forces every single person submitting a story to proofread submissions word for word it might help get rid of some of the blatantly obvious misspellings and typo's.

But that may be a little wishful thinking.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
Sections explanation. (3.87 / 8) (#5)
by simmons75 on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 09:47:35 AM EST

I've seen a few submissions go down in flames simply because people felt they were in the wrong category. I really don't see the explanation anywhere. Sorry if I missed it. :-)

I think that a short doc on editorial decisionmaking/editorial comment might be beneficial. I see people post a lot of crap as editorial comments. Yeah, I know; some real editors would tell a person to stop wasting oxygen. I really don't think it's necessary here. :-) None of us are doing this for pay, but instead out of the good in our hearts (or maybe you just have an axe to grind. :-)

Heck, I'm looking forward to seeing some new FAQs and docs.
So there.

rules. step by step (2.00 / 10) (#8)
by macewan on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 01:19:44 PM EST

connect the dots.

make it easy to find these rules and most will follow.
Comment rating system explained (4.00 / 7) (#9)
by Erf on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 01:26:45 PM EST

I would really like to see a more explicit description of what it means to "rate" a comment. Are we rating the comment itself, or the ideas presented, or both? And what are the criteria? (Coherency? Insight? Originality? "Good point"-ness? Tactfulness? Lack of trolling/baiting? English usage (ugh!)?)

Maybe I'm making too much of this -- the ratings don't have much effect on which comments get viewed, except the order, which is optional anyway -- but it sure would be nice to have a better idea why people do(n't) like what I have to say.

...doin' the things a particle can...

Yes! Explanation, please! (4.00 / 4) (#13)
by flieghund on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 02:17:48 PM EST

As messed-up and as easily exploitable as /.'s moderation system is, I miss terribly the ability to explain why a post is rated up or down. I'm not saying we need the same choices. I mean, what is the difference between Interesting, Informative, and Insightful, really? I know there are differences, but they are so incredibly subtle that I usually ended up rolling a die to decide (that is, before I decided to abandon moderating altogether).

What I really miss is the ability to rate humorous comments higher. As I understand it, k5's rating is based upon "value to the discussion" -- does the comment add to the dicussion at hand, or does it distract it? Well, humorous comments generally distract discussions. Yet it is one of the features of human nature to inject humor into a stressful situation in order to ease tensions. At some basic level, I'd like to explain that the post I'm rating up is done so because I find it funny.

Eeek. Well, here I've digressed from the topic of the article. I'll try to tie back in by saying that an explanation of what it means to "rate" a comment is an absolute must -- and please include several different examples. Show us what constitutes 5, 4, 5, 2, 1, and even 0 posts. Provide multiple examples of each, to demonstrate subtlety.

Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
[ Parent ]
um, duh? (2.50 / 2) (#22)
by vsync on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 10:56:25 PM EST

<dl> <dt>Interesting <dl>Provokes thought and discussion. Not necessarily right or wrong itself. <dt>Informative <dl>Containts useful information, preferably relevant to the topic at hand. <dt>Insightful <dl>Deep thoughts, or old thoughts presented in a new way. Once again, bonus if the post is relevant. </dl>

"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."
[ Parent ]
should have been (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by vsync on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 11:53:02 PM EST

Provokes thought and discussion. Not necessarily right or wrong itself.
Containts useful information, preferably relevant to the topic at hand.
Deep thoughts, or old thoughts presented in a new way. Once again, bonus if the post is relevant.

I actually convinced rusty to support DL and its associated elements (wow, basic HTML, what an idea :P). rusty is l33t. Seriously, it's so cool that we can suggest things to him, and maybe they go into the site.

And yes, I was stupid and used DL over and over, instead of DD.

"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."
[ Parent ]

How does one pronounce kuro5hin? (2.18 / 11) (#10)
by Vesuve on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 01:41:37 PM EST

kuro-five-hin? Kuroshin? I just use K5...

Corrosion (3.00 / 6) (#11)
by jesterzog on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 01:51:56 PM EST

I usually pronounce it as corrosion because of what rusty said in the FAQ, here.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
From the FAQ (3.57 / 7) (#12)
by Malicose on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 01:53:04 PM EST

What's up with the name? What is a "kuro5hin"? Is that 'l337 Sp33k?

No, it is most decidedly not 'l337. It's a pun on my name. Kuro5hin == corrosion == rust == Rusty. The gratuitous '5' in the middle in an homage to the character "Da5id" in Neal Stephenson's excellent Snow Crash. It started out as just an amusing thought that popped into my head, and became an online alias. It stuck around as an online alias since it wasn't ever registered or used anywhere, being a word that I made up AFAIK. And it became my domain name cause all the other short snappy names were taken (well, "kuroshin.org" is now taken, hey -- it's too late to change now :-)).

Update: John Prevost informs me that while "kuroshin" doesn't appear to be a valid Japanese compound, the roots "kuro" and "shin", smushed together, could be interpeted roughly as "dark devotion" or "black heart," among other variants of that basic (gothicly depressing) theme. I thought that was pretty cool. For the record, I don't know any Japanese, and the name wasn't supposed to be Japanese anyway. At least it didn't turn out to mean "lustful ferret" or something. :-) (or "Demon fetus" :)) A helpful reader submitted some links to the deeper meaning of Kuro5hin: kuro meanings, and shin meanings.

[ Parent ]
from the t-shirt (3.33 / 3) (#15)
by Potatoswatter on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 08:17:14 PM EST

If you look in the k5 store (link in the blue bar at the top of the page), you'll see the correct phonetic spelling. The accent is after the "o" and the "u" is a schwa, so I guess it's "corrosion" after all. ("Kuroshin", at least as I interpret it, puts the accent on the first syllable. Love English.)

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
[ Parent ]
Willing to participate (3.40 / 5) (#14)
by r0cket on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 04:24:18 PM EST

I think this would be a good idea. From both the usability standpoint as well as a technical standpoint I think that together we could build much better documentation for k5 (and Scoop).

Speaking for myself, I can say that good, thourough documentation can make a world of difference, and can certainly sway the desion to use a system or not. I have an English degree, and all the skills I have as far as programming have come from my experience using variuos open source products. For a person like me (a hobbyist with no formal CS training, and no real desire to become a programmer), documentation makes the difference between frustration and enjoyment.

Rating system (3.50 / 10) (#16)
by Potatoswatter on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 08:42:53 PM EST

Beginners get a 1-to-5 scale, but its relevance isn't really explained. Consistency between each person's rating system is important to the health of the whole.

My rating system is:

  • 5: insightful, answers a question perfectly.
  • 4: insightful, answers a question well. Or is just funny or interesting.
  • 3: In general, effort was made to answer the question.
  • 2: No or little effort made to answer the question. Mebbe they misunderstood. Mebbe they're just restating it and saying they're interested in the answer. Good intent in writing, but affected by bias.
  • 1: troll, or entirely devoid of merit but relating to the topic.
  • 0: troll.
Depending on how I'm feeling (and how unjustly something was rated), I might rate something past what's defined as the proper score by this table. Is that wrong?

Also, a code of ethics for rating comments in diaries, where unjust moderation isn't likely to be fixed by the slow trickle of passers-by, is in order.

See the discussion about Rating the Rating Scale.

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;

of course... (2.50 / 6) (#17)
by Potatoswatter on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 09:02:27 PM EST

You need to use a different set of values in cases like this, where there's no specific question being asked. Did I not, in general, try to answer the question? Oh, the irony is terrible...

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
[ Parent ]
No OFFTOPIC (2.40 / 5) (#18)
by Dacta on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 09:04:18 PM EST

We need to point out that people shouldn't be marked down for being offtopic on K5. Provided their comment is interesting, it can still be rated a 5.

[ Parent ]
power of pointing out (3.00 / 6) (#23)
by Potatoswatter on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 11:26:25 PM EST

I don't think we can't change the way people moderate so drastically. We can get people to calibrate their systems, mebbe - this is necessary because there are people out there who rate things 2 by habit - but it's a pretty broad and deep change to simply stop modding down offtopic posts. I think it's a bad idea, too.

Threads that wander offtopic shouldn't be summarily modded down, as is the problem on /. . But that isn't a problem here. So long as the post "answers the question being asked", it doesn't matter if the question changes in the course of the discussion (which it necessarily should if the discussion is of high quality).

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
[ Parent ]

Re: Rating the rating scale (2.00 / 4) (#25)
by farl on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 02:36:52 AM EST

just as an aside i felt i should point this out...

The article that you refer to "Rating the Rating Scale" was also written by me. Hehe. But thanks for pointing it out as a relevant article. Glad someone pays attention to the articles i write. I intend to summarize that article and all the responses into the general DOC.

[ Parent ]
how to rate comments (3.33 / 3) (#26)
by jesterzog on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 05:10:26 AM EST

This is getting subjective.. Personally I don't really rate answers based on how well they answer a question.

A comment might answer a question perfectly, but I'll probably give it a 2 if it's just a one liner or not far from it. It's not that I think it shouldn't be there, only that I don't think it would be particularly interesting for the majority of readers. (Usually I won't go below 2 unless it's an obvious troll.)

Often my comments get rated similarly, and I don't take offence. Especially if I was mostly intending to just address one person. Sometimes there's the situation when there isn't a question. It's just someone making a very useful comment. I try to rate anything and everything based on how interesting I think it'll be to the majority of readers.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
Are your being reduntant? (3.42 / 7) (#19)
by mystic on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 09:38:52 PM EST

When I spoke to rusty a few days agon in #kuro5hin about the need for such an FAQ/user_docs, he said that Inoshiro was already on the job. If that is the case, maybe you should check with Inoshiro/rusty and clarify whether you are redoing some work already in progress. If Inoshiro is already doing it, maybe you can help him rather than start all over from scratch.

My check list:
  • Explnation on the section for story submission.
  • Explnation on how a hotlist works.
  • What are diaries
More later if I remember anything else.

thick skin (3.20 / 10) (#20)
by radar bunny on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 09:45:45 PM EST

An advisement that thick skin can be needed at times and that you need not take a lot of criticisms personally. Many people have voted a story down for a few spelling mistakes. People new to k5 need to understand that this isnt just nit picking or people being jerks, but rather an attempt to raise the bar and produce the best stories possible.

kuro5hin and slashdot (3.69 / 13) (#21)
by jesterzog on Sat Dec 02, 2000 at 10:33:43 PM EST

I know this is likely to be contriversial, but since so many users seem to migrate from slashdot, I was wondering if it would be beneficial to have a special guide for the differences between slashdot and kuro5hin.

I'm not sure if this could actually be done cleanly though, since it might easily seem to be declaring k5 as "better" when I think they're just different.

On the other hand, they are different and something like this might help slashdotters settle in easier.

If it's just an "our site is better than your site" thing I'd be against it, but is it possible to write in a way that it's constructive and helpful? Would it be useful?

jesterzog Fight the light

Advise newbies to lurk for a while. (3.60 / 5) (#27)
by Louis_Wu on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 11:57:03 PM EST

Most FAQs exhort the few who actually read the FAQ to lurk for a while, to get the feel of the place. I think that this would be even more important for K5, given that we change/ask-for-change-to the site quite often, and the FAQ would likely lag. Additionally, no document can really describe, for every reader, how any community behaves - ask anthropologists and sociologists whether the report is as good as being there. :)

Tangentially, should we have a newbie/newusers section? When I first started getting into Usenet, newuser and FAQs helped me from making a fool of myself. Do we owe this to our new friends? Or is 'the hard way' the best way to learn?

"The power to tax is the power to destroy."
John Marshal, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Rate All (3.50 / 2) (#28)
by leviathan on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:28:10 AM EST

That damnable button had me confused for a couple of days...until I hit it and watched the numbers change.

"Rate all? But I don't want to rate them all to 3! I just want to rate this one!"



I wish everyone was peaceful. Then I could take over the planet with a butter knife.
- Dogbert
k5 FAQ and DOC | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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