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Being more positively negative

By trhurler in Meta
Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:42:37 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

One thing that has become quite apparent very quickly is that Kuro5hin readers are not picky enough about story moderation. It may be that this will improve with time(we should all hope so.) Here's what's happened so far, the hope being that people who are aware of the problem can work to correct it when they see it in their own habits.

First off, people are voting up stories that they either don't care about or just want to argue with the authors of. If you want to argue with the author but don't think the story should get posted, use email or post an editorial comment in the queue; voting stories up for this purpose is just plain wrong. If you just don't care, then vote that way.

Secondly, some people seem to take pity on stories with negative scores. As I write this, there are nine stories in the queue, with an average score of around twenty-five. None are negative. Some were negative for quite a while, but as the votes pile up, the scores creep upwards. There is nothing wrong with burying a bad story, folks. If it could be edited into a worthy story, then post that in the queue comments, and explain how, but still vote it down, because that's what the voting process is for.

I thought about giving examples to make these claims more credible, but I don't want to embarass the author of any particular story. I do think there should be the ability for the author of a story to directly edit it in response to commentary rather than having to reenter it, and I'll probably post something to that effect on the scoop site, but even as things stand, reworking a story to make it worth publication is a good idea, not an unreasonable hassle. Quality writing is not something most people can do the first time around; there is nothing to be embarassed about in the act of editing your work.

There has been much(often front page, unfortunately,) discussion of "how things used to be" and of short articles with no substance or discussion. That's all well and good, but if the people voting on stories did a good job, it would be a moot point. Don't be afraid to smack a story down when it isn't up to snuff - and don't take it too personally when it happens to your stories sometimes. If we don't do this, the site will suffer for it, and "not hurting someone's feelings" is not a good reason to let something this good go to hell. In a similar vein, if your skin is so thin that you can't possibly handle rejection, then don't post stories, because unless you're a very, very gifted writer, some of what you produce will deserve to be voted down. I fully imagine that the same will apply to me.

There's one last little issue here, which deserves clarification from Rusty and friends. Their description of voting makes it sound as though content(or rather, lack thereof,) is not really an acceptable reason to vote something down. I tend to disagree - what is unacceptable is voting something down because you disagree with the content. If there is none, or if it is of poor quality(regardless of your opinion of the correctness or lack thereof exhibited,) then say so, and vote it down. If there are tons of unsupported factual claims, say so; the author can always rework the story with some support. If there are contradictions that make it hard to even figure out what the author means, say so, although these might not be so severe that the story couldn't be posted, because they can be fodder for discussion. If there's a complete lack of any content besides "what do you guys think about x?" say so. Maybe the administration agrees with me and I don't know it; maybe it does not. Hopefully we'll find out.

As an aside, I used the preview button about five or six times working on this submission. You should too, and more if necessary. Correct mistakes, even if they're trivial little nits. If you aren't good at editing(or can't do it to your own work,) then maybe you'll miss some things, and I may have also, but at least try, because you can bet other people will notice problems, and this might lead to anything from rejection of your story to misunderstanding of your point, which in some ways is even worse. Take some pride in what you say; if you can't, then is it really worth saying?


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Display: Sort:
Being more positively negative | 72 comments (63 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
This... (2.60 / 20) (#1)
by Dolgan on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 08:33:38 PM EST

I realize this is a "me too!" comment, but I still feel the need:
What's said in this story simply could not be more true.

Don't hesitate to knock a bad story down. You'll be voting -1 more often than not. There's tens of submissions a day and it's looking to be too rare that they get dumped. You're only going to hurt someone's feelings if the junk story gets posted and the author gains his/her confidence, then discovers he/she has a ways to go skill-wise. The real favor is to be strict and fair with voting.

I strongly recommend everyone read this article. I vote +1, Front Page. Normally, this wouldn't go on the front page but a story like this needs more attention right now.

topical (3.04 / 23) (#9)
by evro on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:11:01 PM EST

Secondly, some people seem to take pity on stories with negative scores. As I write this, there are nine stories in the queue, with an average score of around twenty-five. None are negative. Some were negative for quite a while, but as the votes pile up, the scores creep upwards. There is nothing wrong with burying a bad story, folks. If it could be edited into a worthy story, then post that in the queue comments, and explain how, but still vote it down, because that's what the voting process is for.

You don't see the score until AFTER you vote.
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Cogent observation (1.33 / 12) (#22)
by kmself on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 01:42:26 AM EST

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

You said it. (4.51 / 33) (#10)
by rusty on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:17:02 PM EST

This is the clearest, best, and, most importantly, least "I was here before you were" snooty statement of this point I've seen yet. Everyone, if you didn't read this article carefully, read it again. Especially if you are new. We welcome all of you wholeheartedly (despite the whining from some folks), and hope that you will come to understand the way we've found things to work best. And the above is a really damn good statement of that.

You read it again didn't you? :-)

Not the real rusty

Re: You said it. (2.25 / 8) (#19)
by Wah on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:49:57 AM EST

don't you guys have some control over the posting algorithm? That gives you some type of general "volume control" doesn't it?
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]
Yes, threshold is adjustable (3.45 / 11) (#21)
by kmself on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 01:41:22 AM EST

I'll have to actually D/L and look at the code to figure out how this works. Limits are hardcoded, and the algorithm is IMO still a bit squirrly. Ideally I'd like to see something somewhat responsive to current volumes -- story threshold is set according to, say, average volume over past week, possibly dynamically responsive to the day's actual submissions.

I'd also like to see optional admin intervention -- there are a few people -- Rusty, Inoshiro, HurstDog -- who are ops on K5. I'd say that at a certain hand-picked level, admins have the power to act as editors, selecting content in or out.

I'd also like to see some method of combining, or marking as similar, a set of submissions. Part of this might be a few barriers to queue -- pages to roll through to make a submission, review of current headlines in queue, etc. If K5 rockets the way it appears to be at the moment, submissions aren't going to be an issue. Slowing the flood will be a good thing.

The other element is to grow the site in such a way that posts can be made to sections without global control over them. If there's a community with a strong interest in Sino-Franco culinary theology, then I really don't need to opine on the merits of a post to that section.

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

Re: You said it.(slightly OT) (3.00 / 6) (#31)
by current on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 06:58:53 AM EST

And I could not agree more.

And, yes i did read it again ;-)
But the problem is not new. People were nagging about the same thing before the fall too. (at least once in every meta dicussion there was). This "attitude problem" can be seen everywhere in the net. The reason I chanced to kuro5hin from the other site was the open attitude with everything. Everyone is a newbie once. And there is nothing wrong with it, actually I think being a newbie is like bein young, everything is new and cool, and the oldies nag about your behaviour and staff all the time.
I think newbies are far more carefull than "old ones" when it comes to voting.
<opinion>They've said it before and i say it again: Vote what youy like to discuss, not what you think is cool.</opinion>

The Eternal Meta-Discussion

[ Parent ]
Potential Solution (2.53 / 15) (#11)
by FFFish on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:24:58 PM EST

(Third time lucky?)

Fewer articles = better articles, better discussions, less time required to keep up-to-date on K5.

Achieve by:
a) limiting number of new front page stories per day
b) taking only the statistical best (those that are in the 3rd percentile of scores).

I prefer the latter. Not sure of implementation -- 3rd percentile of scores for submissions in the past six hours?

(Hmmm. Maybe the first postings didn't take 'cause I needed to choose a comment format. Terrible UI! Should default to "Topical" not "Choose!"

Re: Potential Solution (2.75 / 4) (#45)
by FFFish on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 01:37:13 PM EST

Why is my suggestion being downgraded? Is it that the idea is unpopular, or that I'm being punished for being terse?

If the latter, let me elucidate:

There are at least nine submissions in the cue at this point. Inevitably, most of them will make it to the front page, regardless their quality. With so many people casting positive votes, and so few people willing to cast a negative vote, darn near every submission eventually gets a good enough rating.

It's not because the articles actually are good: it's because the system isn't working.

I suggest the statistical approach, because it is immune to floods of non-discriminating newbies, reluctant nay-sayers and under-voted submissions.

You take the voting scores for the past X submissions, calculate the standard deviation (http://www.robertniles.com/stats/stdev.shtml) and take only the postings that significantly beat out the average.

Now, actually, since I suspect the distribution is extremely skewed (looking like a bell curve that's been pushed to the side), it may be more appropriate to use -- if I recall my ancient statistics courses -- t-test or chi-square tests.

Any which way, the end result is that only submissions that are superior will make it to the front page. You'll still be able to see the lower-quality submissions by visiting the submissions page. But those of us who care only for the best... will get only the best.

I believe that there will be a reduction in the number of front-page articles, which will in turn lead to higher-quality discussions: with only so much time to devote to K5, the time available to each of fewer articles is more than the time available to each of many articles.

It seems like a win-win-win situation: better articles, better discussions and better use of time -- without making it impossible to view and participate in the unposted articles.

[ Parent ]
Re: Potential Solution (2.33 / 3) (#46)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 01:48:51 PM EST

The only problem I see with this is that it will probably have the exact opposite effect; hordes of kiddies will get their friends to vote up their stories, giving them even more votes than the good ones get. Of course, then you could always go see the good stories by visiting the queue:)

I think it is unfair to blame the whole thing on newbies, though. I'm relatively new, but I'm far pickier than just about anyone. To some extent, we're suffering from a pervasive anti-critical mentality - if you point out shortcomings in something, you get slammed for it, over and over, and so eventually you just don't do that anymore. Unfortunately, sites like this one need you to be critical.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Re: Potential Solution (3.00 / 4) (#48)
by _peter on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 02:11:47 PM EST

I did not grade your comment down, but the problem I have with your plan is that I foresee the average quality of the stories in the queue varying from day to day.

On some days the average submission may actually deserve to be posted (so I'm a dreamer; it is possible, especially if the ones that fail miserably are weeded out as seems to be occuring). But on other days, even the best of a very bad batch may not deseve front page status.

I would also dispute that every article currently in the queue will get through. I've seen two articles disappear shortly after submission just in the last 16 hours, and I was asleep for most of those moments.

Statistical approaches are not immune to anything when the data itself is bad. That's why it's important to vote intelligently, and explain your reasoning editorially. "The unconsidered vote is not worth voting," or something like that.

[ Parent ]
I guess we have to go through this ... (2.94 / 19) (#12)
by forrest on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:32:21 PM EST

I've just seen a boatload of meta-articles, and I'm beginning to tire of it. I do generally agree with the tone of what's being said, and this is one of the better ones.

It's unfortunate, though, when you vote on one article -- and find another is better shortly thereafter. Surely we don't need all these close-to-identical meta-discussion articles posted.

I didn't want to vote this one down, but in the context of the other articles, it's redundant. I compromised by voting it to the section.

I really hope that people will take K5 in the spirit which is being suggested here. I hope the wave of meta-discussion will subside soon, but for now, I guess we have to go through it.

I propose (3.00 / 24) (#15)
by Dacta on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:49:36 PM EST

that we call all the old users here CPMers.

Why? Well, it isn't a title that implies superiority (Like "Old Ones"), and it makes sense.

(In case you don't get it: CPM = an operating system that was around before DOS. That is, the CPMers are people around in the days before the Denial of Service (DOS) attack. PreDOS = CPM)

Oh well... it makes sense to me!

Well said (2.72 / 18) (#16)
by Perpetual Newbie on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:21:18 PM EST

I've noticed it too.. for a while I was thinking of waiting until April Fools day and then submitting a short poorly-written essay about how K5ers would vote up just about anything in the queue. =)

As a newbie... (2.82 / 17) (#17)
by Colin Winters on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:30:29 AM EST

I completely agree. I started coming here about a month before the DoS attack, and now that kuro5hin is back up, I must say i really enjoy some of the discussions. I have a proposal-most people are talking about how the newbies don't know what kuro5hin's all about, and can't vote accordingly. Why not simply have people who have an account over a certain number of days, say, 14, vote, and newer accounts not be allowed to? That way the newbies could see what this site is before changing it. Just a thought. Colin Winters

TOS doesn't let the newest 25% vote. (2.20 / 5) (#36)
by pin0cchio on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 09:36:14 AM EST

Why not simply have people who have an account over a certain number of days, say, 14, vote, and newer accounts not be allowed to?

Some Slashcode-based sites limit moderation (Slashcode's equivalent of voting) to the oldest 75% of user IDs.

[ Parent ]
Re: TOS doesn't let the newest 25% vote. (1.85 / 7) (#41)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:12:39 PM EST

Some Slashcode-based sites limit moderation (Slashcode's equivalent of voting) to the oldest 75% of user IDs.

Yes and? Therefore it's a crappy idea? What? You didn't state any opinion, but from the tone of your post it sounds like you're saying "Slashdot does this, so we won't, because we hate them." Am I wrong?

And Colin didn't say that, he said accounts 14 days or newer. That's a lot different from newest 25% of accounts.

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

I know i'm guilty (2.82 / 17) (#18)
by Elendale on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:32:37 AM EST

I've been around since before Kuro5hin went down (lurking mostly) but now that its back i find myself guilty of voting up too many things. The problem is, i genuinely like most of the things that get posted- at worst i will be indifferent to the story, but more often i'll like it. The thing that has been working for me is to ask myself before i rate it: has this been said before? Does it add something new? Is this well written, does it present good arguments? Its really too soon to tell if i'll change my voting habits (and i may be just coming out of Kuro5hin withdrawl) but i think everyone, not just the 'old schoolers' should take a look at what the article would add to this site before voting it up.

-Elendale (that said, i voted this one up too...)

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

Please read... (2.00 / 21) (#20)
by pulsar on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 01:20:11 AM EST

Please read this, especially those of you who are not K5 readers before the DoS. I have been a K5 reader for a long time and am somewhat sad to see the quality of some stories after the DoS to be low. To put it as simple as I can: please proof read what you write before submitting it and ask yourself "is this worth submitting?" but that's not all of it, so read what trhurler had to say. Thanks!

(3.29 / 17) (#23)
by daani on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 03:18:39 AM EST

Well I'm a post-DoS fellow, and I don't think I quite follow. All you seem to be saying is that too many stories are getting posted to the front-page?

Oh yeah, my point. Well I did the decent thing and read the FAQ and it seemed to say that participating in story moderation was a "good thing". And I think it is, newbie or otherwise. It's a pretty easy decision: do you want to read other peoples comments on this or not? I don't think you need to be an old-hand to decide that. If it results in too many stories ending up on the front page then the algorithm that sets the threshold should be changed. The data (peoples moderations) only gets better the more people moderate. The algorithm needs to be changed to take advantage.

But what the fuck would I know?

Also, just for interest sake, did you mean this story to go to the front page, or just to the section?


PS: I should imagine most of us newbies came over from /. (or do I have to say "the other site" to fit in?) for a more substantial discussion. So far, it is that.

PPS: editorial comment is deleted after a story is posted, topical is not?

Replies from an old hand (4.22 / 9) (#29)
by Strange Charmed One on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 06:17:43 AM EST

Well I'm a post-DoS fellow, and I don't think I quite follow. All you seem to be saying is that too many stories are getting posted to the front-page?

A lot of us are saying that- it makes the discussions too short because the stories drop off the front page too fast.

Well I did the decent thing and read the FAQ and it seemed to say that participating in story moderation was a "good thing". And I think it is, newbie or otherwise.

I couldn't agree more- the point is that too many people are being too uncritical about what they vote up,and what is posted to front page, not section.

But what the fuck would I know?

As much as any other reasonably observant person who posts here. The nature of places is to change, and produce nostalgics who say that things aren't what they used to be.

PPS: editorial comment is deleted after a story is posted, topical is not?

No- editorial comments are kept but hidden under the default views. To see them, Under the story are a few drop down menus. The first one is marked "View(default)" and hides any editorial comments when the story is posted. To see the editorial comments change view to either editorial or all.
Feel the urge to put excessively cute little quotes into your .sig?


If you or one of your friends is frequently plagued by this tendency, Help IS available- Ask me how.
[ Parent ]

Re: (2.50 / 2) (#44)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:56:50 PM EST

This was intended for the culture section, topic being Kuro5hin. There was some grumbling that it belonged in rants, which might have some merit, but I deliberately tried to avoid a ranty tone:) I'm not at all surprised that it got put up front, but I have to say that this is mildly ironic. I do think people might be more willing to vote to section if there was a user preference to make all the sections show up in one big page, but I might be mistaken.

I do firmly believe, though, that the real problem is that most people don't like criticizing unless they disagree strongly with something. If I had to guess, that's what makes some people better book editors than others, too.

And yes, editorial comments disappear when the story is posted, which makes them ideal for things like "reformat it and submit it again." An excellent feature, despite the complaints about it; my only comment there is that the screen you get if you fail to select one is easy to mistake for the successful post screen; a big red border or something might make this clearer.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
A possible (partial) solution? (3.75 / 20) (#24)
by thomas on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 03:19:11 AM EST

I believe that making "don't care" votes slightly negative (say, -0.1)... this may help to offset some of the undeserved +1 votes; and anyway, if no-one cares, why post it?

War never determines who is right; only who is left.

Re: A possible (partial) solution? (2.14 / 7) (#33)
by seanmeister on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 08:34:28 AM EST

I say take that reasoning a step further - get rid of the "don't care" votes. They're pointless! What purpose does it serve? If you truly don't care, then act like it and don't vote on the story, period.

[ Parent ]
Re: A possible (partial) solution? (2.77 / 9) (#34)
by unayok on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 08:52:10 AM EST

If people "just don't vote" on a story, it's hard to tell what they mean by not voting. The three possibilities that come to mind:

1. It's not quite good enough for me to vote +1, but not bad enough to vote -1.
2. I don't look at the submissions page
3. I haven't decided yet.


If you take away the "don't care", it's hard to distinguish reason 1 from the other 2. This could be important. When I use it, I use to indicate "yes I've seen it and I'm not ignoring you, but the issue doesn't grab me, or your arguments could use some tweaking, or, I'm just not sure. But I've seen it." Having to Post/Dump it (only) is far too binary a decision for something as soft as the submission queue.

[ Parent ]
Don't Care votes (3.50 / 4) (#53)
by rusty on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 03:30:40 PM EST

The point of "don't care" votes is to let people who don't want to vote either way see what the score is. That's all.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Price of popularity (1.42 / 21) (#25)
by GreenEagle on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 03:24:16 AM EST

I vote so much stuff down I should write a script for it :)
Of course, since the DoS more people come here.
More people => more morons.
Such is life.
I miss the old days before the DoS.
Yes, IAAE.

One thing to add (3.72 / 25) (#26)
by pwhysall on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 03:32:52 AM EST

Don't vote a story down because you disagree with the content; vote it down because there's nothing to talk about, because the formatting's dismal, because the story is inappropriate.

Hitting -1 because you disagree with the content is a sign that you should be voting the story UP.
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.

Really? (none / 0) (#72)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 29, 2001 at 06:55:18 PM EST

So someone writes a perfect essay in favour of something you're bitterly against.

And you're telling me you'd vote it up? I think more likely that you'd find it rediculous, assume the poster was trolling and vote it down.

[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Easy - a display option. (2.56 / 16) (#27)
by Rainy on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:53:36 AM EST

Just make a display option 'display only X highest rating
stories for today.' In fact, there doesn't need to be
a queue at all. They're all posted, but you can set either
the minimum score of a story to view it or limit by number
of highest ranking stories to look at.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Re: Easy - a display option. (2.00 / 3) (#59)
by zlite on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 06:38:42 PM EST

Without a queue, how does a story get to the front page? Do you just save one or two slots on the front page for insta-posts: a quick moment in the sun for new posts to get a snap score, before they either earn a long-term slot or are expelled? (That would seem to put a lot of crap on the front page; it's also not fair to only give a story a brief moment to get scored) Or do you have a "new post" section, which would effectively be a queue?

I'm confused.

[ Parent ]
Re: Easy - a display option. (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by Rainy on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 05:07:00 AM EST

Oh, sorry, I thought it was obvious - *all* stories are on the front page, but you limit the number displayed by modifying the 'score' threshold. So it works kind of liek this: you submit a story, someone who wants to look for new stories that weren't moderated much yet, sets thres hold really low and sorts by newest first. He then sees tons of stories, most of them are crappy and not moderated up for that reason, but some that weren't moderated up because they were recently submitted. He then mods up only the ones that interest him. If a user doesn't want have time to do this at the time, he just sets threshold rather high or limits number of stories to display and sorts by highest score first. This way, each person sees exactly how much he wants to see. Let's say one guy doesn't have much time and he just wants to look at 2 stories that are absolute musts for that day - so he sets 'stories to display' to 2 and sets 'sort by highest scored articles first'. Another guy has tons of time and is bored, so he sets number of stories to 30, for instance. or 50. By the way, this can be used to deal with the fact that some old stories might still be interesting to many, so they don't get modded down and stay on highest ranking list for a long time, until people lose interest and start modding it down. Another story might be new but not so interesting, so it stays high in the scored list for say half a day and then gets modded down quick.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Re: Easy - a display option. (1.00 / 1) (#65)
by zlite on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 11:02:12 AM EST

So moderation is all done by bored guys with too much time on their hands? Hmmm. I'm starting to see why this hasn't happened yet.

[ Parent ]
Re: Easy - a display option. (1.00 / 1) (#66)
by zlite on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 11:14:51 AM EST

Actually, that wasn't fair. It has caught on: it's just what they do here. Only people with too much time on their hands bother clicking on the moderation queue (actually only people with too much time on their hands visit K5 at all, but that one hits too close to home). Which is part of K5's quality content problem. Not that I always agree with The Other Site's editorial judgement, but at least I know where they're coming from.

Also, you do realise that you're just constructing queues in different ways. There is no functional difference between setting a threshold lower and clicking on a link to take you to low-score posts (which is what the K5 moderation queue is). Whether it's on the same screen or not, the effect is the same.

[ Parent ]
Re: Easy - a display option. (none / 0) (#69)
by Rainy on Sat Sep 23, 2000 at 07:34:10 AM EST

Well the story was: too many stories make it to front page.
My suggestion takes care of that, for all it's worth.
I never claimed it solves all the world's problems ;-).
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Perhaps because many of the stories are good? (2.11 / 17) (#28)
by ewan on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:54:37 AM EST

Coming from reading slashdot for several months, even the bad stories here are that much better, so maybe people are just going "thats actually very good" to almost everything? I know i am.


Re: Perhaps because many of the stories are good? (2.00 / 7) (#32)
by Matrix on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 07:31:31 AM EST

Ditto... Although there are a few stories that got voted up that look like the kind of thing the Other Site would post. The quality seems to be slowly improving, so lets hope that it continues. As for voting, I think it'll take a while to get used to that again. Even for people who were here before the DoS.

"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Understanding the culture (3.10 / 10) (#30)
by Aquarius on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 06:49:26 AM EST

This was a deeply useful article. Although I was peripherally aware of k5 before the DOS, I'd never really looked into it. After the DOS, I came back, was interested, and decided that I'd like to be a part of the community, if I could. Since then, however, I've been voting down many more stories than I've been voting up. I was somewhat concerned about this; that I might be doing the exact opposite of becoming part of and helping to build the community, by systematically denying most of the posted stories. It's reassuring to see that I was, conceivably, doing the Right Thing in at least some of the cases.

It will no doubt take me a long time to fully grok the k5 culture. I'd like to give myself the chance to do that.


"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace" -- Ronin, Frank Miller
Why not just limit the rate of stories? (1.75 / 12) (#35)
by BTilly on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 09:34:29 AM EST

Decide on what rate stories will enter each section, and then periodically take the top story that could go into that queue, and let members of the queue that don't get in expire in some time frame. Then the entry of people who only vote up or only vote down won't affect the overall feel of the site as much.

Am I missing something?


Easy solution: Vote! (3.40 / 10) (#37)
by eskimoses on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 09:49:02 AM EST

It's rather easy to complain (and I'm decently annoyed myself at the marked decline in quality), but there is a much better solution -- vote! I've voted on just about every submission that's come through since the reopening of Kuro5hin, and I don't think I've voted +1 to more than one or two of them. Editorial comments explaining why you voted the article down are even better -- especially if they constructively point to what steps the author must take to deserve your cherished +1 vote.

The whole purpose of the Kuro5hin system is to filter out the chaff. Mediocre articles in the queue are not in themselves a bad thing. My hope is that they then turn into brilliant articles. Provided we keep educating posters (especially through the use of editorial comments), and keep voting judiciously, we should easily be able to turn this re-emergence of Kuro5hin into a true renaissance.

I would further state that a community is what the community defines itself to be. Sometimes this means that the community will change. Change, however, is not in itself a bad thing -- we need to remember that communities are dynamic entities with a personality all to themselves. It is independent of the personalities of the participants, but is still influenced and fashioned by them. Sometimes change is drastic enough that the original participants decide to jump ship. That's not a bad thing -- the continual creation of new communities and dynamic growth of existing communities is part of what keeps them exciting (and non-stagnant).

Ode to Change (1.75 / 4) (#40)
by interiot on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:09:54 PM EST

Disclaimer: I'm a newbie, not an Old One.

Change is not inherently bad, nor is it inherently good. Change is just Change, and you have to look at how something is changing to decide if it's a good or bad one.

If K5 is valuable and is relatively unique among the weblogs, then it will be a loss to the internet if it changes to become like all the others. The Old Ones can always leave, but that's not very fair if there's no other place to go.

I haven't been around long enough to make any concrete value judgements about K5 yet, but so far it seem special... people take more time when posting or reading comments.

[ Parent ]

Amazing!! Like cows being led to slaughter. (2.80 / 10) (#38)
by redwood on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 09:54:39 AM EST

This is a well written comment. Structured well and full of information. But, it has COMPLETELY changed the way people are approaching moderation. The goal is perfect submissions which are either: on topic, intelligent and insightfull, or on topic and funny. This will happen from the organic flow of the post-reply relationship. Good posts are supposed to be thrust into the spotlight for others to see, bad posts, shunned. Over time this results in a natural moderation process akin to sanctioning. Eventually people whos posts are irrelevant or just plan stupid will stop posting. Although geeks do have the ability to overcome rejection easily. Check most of the current replys in moderation, they are full of people showing K5 how they can be "picky", "critical" and intelligent by voting down posts. This is of course the natural effect of posting an article like the above, but the process would have ironed itself out. Please don't worry, K5 will be itself soon enough, remember, K5 IS the people who moderate -post -reply.
T: "how that workin out for ya?" J: "what?" T:"being clever"
Re: Amazing!! Like cows being led to slaughter. (3.00 / 5) (#49)
by Arkady on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 02:26:10 PM EST

I think the article is part of the process of ironing out. While the system Rusty &co. set up, with its new Mojo addition, is certainly intended to be self-organizing, I doubt that they expect it to organize itself without discussions of the organizing process itself. I realize that this sort of thing does get a bit meta, but K5 is for discussion, so it's reasonable to expect there to be discussion of discussion.

And are you saying that the moderation queue is now the province of Mojo-whores? My, but that came about quickly! ;-)

I wouldn't say that any change in the way the mod queue's been working is due only to folks putting on a front of '"picky", "critical" and intelligent' just to make themselves look K5-ish or to gain Mojo ratings. It seems natural that after articles and comments start expressing a dissatisfaction with the way things are being used that the use patterns would change.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
Vote more to sections (3.18 / 11) (#39)
by Rand Race on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 10:35:37 AM EST

Not much to add to the title, but I would recomend only voting articles with very broad appeal to the front page. No offense to anybody, but I could care less about the vast majority of Linux development stories, and judging by the discussions on those types of stories on the front page, many people feel as I do. For instance; "Workflow for Open Source Development" has 25 comments, "Release often, sure. But early?" has 21, "Why not parallel (agent frameworks)?" has 12; while "Post Napster, DeCSS/DivX" has 57 and "Don't spank those kids" has 101. Even this meta-story (these need a section) which is younger than any of the others has 38. I do think these subjects are fine for K5, I just think that we need to use the 'post to front page' option much more sparingly.

This just occured to me, and while it's really more of a Scoop issue I will mention it. Why not default all stories to sections and promote them to the front page when a certain number of replies are posted?

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

Re: Vote more to sections (2.00 / 3) (#58)
by rongen on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 05:01:36 PM EST

This just occured to me, and while it's really more of a Scoop issue I will mention it. Why not default all stories to sections and promote them to the front page when a certain number of replies are posted?

* lightbulb over head goes on *

Sounds good to me. I think this idea merits some discussion... Are you saying that a story can never get to the front page until it has caused a certain amount of reaction in the section? Good idea, but you may have the problem of "stale" stories hitting the front page.
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

Here's the solution (3.92 / 14) (#42)
by zlite on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:17:55 PM EST

The problem is not that too many people are voting positively, it's that the system doesn't adapt to handle that. As I understand it, the "front page threshold" is based on what fraction of the number of users who have logged in have voted the story up (3% is the example in the FAQ). The more users, the more positive votes the story needs.

This is a mistake. What you need is a moving threshold based on a stock-market-like "price" for a limited commodity: spaces on the front page. So say that you decide to limit the number of slots on the front page to six a day. Then you'd let in just the top-scoring six stories. The necessary winning score would depend on the number of stories in competition for this space, not the number of users logged in.

Problem solved: you've basically reset the curve, just like in high school history tests....

Re: Here's the solution (2.16 / 6) (#47)
by Trypnotic on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 02:01:16 PM EST

This is a great idea. This way, as K5 grows, we'll get *better* stories instead of *more* stories.

[ Parent ]
Here here, great idea! (2.00 / 6) (#55)
by torpor on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:19:47 PM EST

I also think this is a great idea...

However, it makes me think about this 'economic' model a little more - what's needed is a Fed, which dictates (based on consumer-oriented statistics, just like the real Fed, put simply, where consumer=K5 reader) how *MANY* of these 'story slots' are available on a daily basis, set weekly...

That way, the more quality stories we get, and the happier people are with the consumption of these stories, the more "quality story slots" are available on a daily basis.

i.e. to prevent and control 'inflation' (too many good quality stories, consumers get overwhelmed and stop reading), a K5 Fed reduces the story-slot allocation for the next week or two, and to promote growth in readership and consumer (K5-reader) satisfaction during down-times, opens up the story-slot allocation accordingly.

I hope someone understands what I'm saying here. I get it, anyway ... We need a K5 FED! :)

j. -- boink! i have no sig!
[ Parent ]
tougher submission voting (2.10 / 10) (#43)
by gnuchris on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 12:24:24 PM EST

I for one, am getting tougher with Kuro5hin submissions... I want to see the same quality content that was on the site, pre-crash... So just vote for what you want to see.
"He had alot to say, He had alot of nothing to say" -TOOL-
Re: tougher submission voting (1.75 / 4) (#57)
by rongen on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:55:38 PM EST

Just vote for what you want to see...

I think the problem the poster of this story has is that people are not voting negatively enough. Most people are fairly positive most of the time *ahem* :) so they don't want to vote someone else's submission down. They feel it would be rude, etc. A much larger proportion of people (based on my personal observations) like to vote submissions up. An even larger group abstain rather than cast a negative vote. So basically the positive votes will win a lot. I know Rusty (and many others?) have given this a lot of thought and dealt with it but you just can't change human nature.

One possible route I would propose is to treat every first-time viewing of a submission that provokes no reaction as a slightly negative vote. In this way sheer apathy could be a story's undoing instead of it's saving grace.
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

Re: tougher submission voting (1.40 / 5) (#61)
by scorpion on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 07:56:56 PM EST

I find myself agreeing with your comments. I would like to see the " Don't care" removed. Vote the article to the front page or a section or get it out of the que..

[ Parent ]
Re: tougher submission voting (2.00 / 3) (#62)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 08:03:58 PM EST

Seeing as people want to vote so that they can see the scores and clear their "new" number on the Moderate Submissions link, and seeing as some stories generate significant "don't care" votes, I don't like this idea; the end result would be even MORE false positives as people said to themselves, "I don't care about this story, but I don't want to ruin it for others." I dislike this idea.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Re: tougher submission voting (1.50 / 2) (#64)
by rongen on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 06:03:15 AM EST

I agree... I am not saying to remove "I don't care". I just think that total apathy should be a mildly negative vote... Not that hard to implement. You could apply the mild negative when viewing the page for the first time, then negate it with whatever vote they choose later (so scoring is unchanged except for apathy causing a slight drop in the score).
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]
It's a simple matter of interface. (3.33 / 9) (#50)
by torpor on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 02:34:58 PM EST

I've been a K5 reader since pretty much the beginning, and I sorely missed its absence during recent months - welcome back crew!

I'd just like to say that my personal problem with story moderation, is a simple yet lame one. It requires a degree of honesty: I'm lazy.

*All you have to do to make moderation work better is change the user interface.*

The existing one sucks - using a combo-dropdown box for "I don't care", "Post it", "Reject it" just does not make sense. This should instead be either a) individual links, so all I have to do is click once, or b) radio buttons.

Option a) would be far better - I could moderate the story just as fast as I click things (And when I'm reading K5, I'm in a lazy state of mind, and just wanna read)... when it's done marking my moderation, it should then take me to the next story in the moderation queue, so that I could burn through them really fast, moderating all the way.

That's all it takes to improve the moderation policy of K5, which I think is damned good and (at least, it used to) it improves the quality of stories quite well.

j. -- boink! i have no sig!
Re: It's a simple matter of interface. (2.00 / 3) (#51)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 02:42:28 PM EST

In your case, this may be true, but the general problem as I see it is not lack of votes - there are lots of those. The problem is that most of them are to-front-page. Many should only be to-section, and many more should be "dump it," albeit perhaps with an explanation of why, such that a new submission might correct the flaws in the original.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Re: It's a simple matter of interface. (3.50 / 4) (#67)
by 57uD3n7 on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 11:48:06 AM EST

I think the root of the problem may lie in the choices that are offered as they don't seem to reflect the options available.

The current selection of choices are
- post to front page
This should be used for very good articles which will be of great interest to people interested in that subject *and* to people in general.

- post to section
This should be for articles that are good but probably not interesting to people who are not generally interested in that topic.

- don't care
It seems to be written and structured ok but I don't know enough on the subject, or really don't care about it.

- dump it
The story is a waste of space, its flamebait and nothing more, i.e. we should get rid of it and wipe it off the face of the earth.

The choices as outlined above (it's how I understand it anyway) do not give you the following option which I think is needed.

- needs re-editing
This story has potential, either for the relevant section or even the front page, but there is something that is not quite right about it and you think if the author takes your comment onboard then it could become a good story to which you could then vote for again.

I hope this makes sense to everyone.

"I learn therefore I am"
[ Parent ]
Re: It's a simple matter of interface. (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by BrettJB on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 09:05:50 PM EST

I agree... In fact I'd like to see a few more options made available:

For one, I'd like to be able to select post to section... and be able to specify the section I feel it belongs in. Every so often I'll see a discussion that comes along and catches my interest, but it's posted (IMO) to the wrong section. It would be even more interesting to see stories jump into and out of sections (or the front page, if enough people feel it worthy) based on the voting.

I'd also like more dump options. As 57uD3n7 points out, "Needs re-editing" is glaringly absent. Let the poster know that they're on to something with potential, just need to do a bit more research/re-wording/polishing. Also useful would be a "dead horse" dump option, with the ability to provide a link to the previous discussion. Unless the story has taken on a dramatically new and compelling aspect, there really is no need for a rehash, is there?

My opinion, FWIW... thanks for reading this far!


[ Parent ]
Re: It's a simple matter of interface. (3.20 / 5) (#52)
by _peter on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 02:56:23 PM EST

With all respect to your seniority, I'm not sure that a vote should be made if you're too hurried or lazy to to select from a pulldown rather than click on a link. Radio buttons, otoh, don't seem so bad. If they were to be applied to story voting, they probably ought to be applied to comment moderation.

However, I kinda like like the current setup. It takes up minimal screen real estate and it's pretty easy for me to scan a page for selections I haven't made. There's also a click-select-release,pause,submit sequence which is pretty mindless -- sometimes in that empty span a new thought pops up and I end up changing my vote because of it.

Being taken to the next un-voted story in the queue after voting on one, that I would like.

[ Parent ]
Re: It's a simple matter of interface. (2.00 / 5) (#54)
by torpor on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:09:52 PM EST

Well, while I might agree with you that perhaps a vote shouldn't be made if one is too hurried or lazy, I also think that making it *easier* for the moderator to vote will mean *more* votes - and *more* votes increases the likelihood of more *accurate* votes, and thus, better moderation...

Ergo, just because I'm physically lazy doesn't mean I won't moderate properly if possible.

I do read the stories queue frequently, and I do think about the moderation to be done to each story - its just that I read K5 when I'm in "input" mode more than I am in "output" mode, and thus having to deal with a drag-click to deal with a combo box (which is, in my view, a shit GUI component anyway) when it could as easily be a click to vote (URL-style, or radio-button style), is a bit of a hassle.

Honestly. Rusty, you should take a close look at this issue - it could make a *HUGE* difference to the moderation statistic. I know it's simplistic, but think about it ...

j. -- boink! i have no sig!
[ Parent ]
Re: It's a simple matter of interface. (2.50 / 4) (#56)
by trhurler on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:40:47 PM EST

Bringing in more votes by allowing lazier voting will probably decrease the overall percentage of good votes. Even if the total number of good votes increases, they'll be drowned in a sea of garbage. This doesn't seem to be desirable.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
While I'm inclined to agree (none / 0) (#71)
by ODiV on Fri Jun 29, 2001 at 06:34:31 PM EST

at first, it doesn't hold up in my eyes. There's no real way to check the ratio of "good" votes to "bad" votes as it is. There's also no way to measure what kind of effect this will have. What if this encourages other "good" votes and makes up for "bad" votes?

I don't think it's really worth thinking about like that. If an interface is better (ie: easier to use), then I say go with it. Otherwise you struggle with how hard to make your system in order to deter non-serious voters. And that's pretty dumb. Can you imagine suggesting that we make the voting system harder? "Before you vote, you must answer a skill testing question."

It just doesn't making any sense to me start wondering about 'garbage' votes, even though I know we're getting them.

I was just talking to agharta (yes the devil himself :) about "bad" votes. There are people who don't read the articles, people who cast their votes on a whim. It happens. There's nothing you can do about it.

[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Things seem to be going well, now. (2.28 / 7) (#60)
by Dacta on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 07:29:24 PM EST

It's now (check the post time - I can't be bothered working out what the date is)

I think the moderation seems to be going pretty well. There was only one new story in the queue this morning, and a number of new ones posted, all of which were fairly interesting. I think my pessimissim was un-warrented. Excellent!

Nice. (none / 0) (#70)
by agharta on Fri Jun 29, 2001 at 04:24:45 PM EST

This is one of the few articles that i have read that I would have voted to the frontpage. Ironic, eh? ;)

Being more positively negative | 72 comments (63 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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