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(more) Problems with the k5 rating system

By GreenCrackBaby in Meta
Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 09:59:32 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

I can hear you all now, "Oh no, not another story about the k5 comment rating system." Granted, there's been a post or two already about it (One, Two, and Three), but a recent event has opened my eyes to the potential for real problems.

I posted a reply to this comment about this article. It was not a troll, nor was it offensive, and it definitely wasn't SPAM. For those of you who don't want to check out links, my reply was to a statement that said co-op jobs are worthless. As a former co-op student I found this insulting and took an appropriate insulted tone in my reply.

The problem arose when the author of the comment I was replying to (a trusted user) rated my comment a zero, effectivly making my criticism of his post invisible to everyone.

I can appreciate that people normally don't like criticism, and some people really take it poorly. However, on a discussion board where opinions are going to vary greatly, criticism is inevitable.

I believe that it is a serious flaw for k5 to provide a system whereby users are able to make other people's comments disappear. I certainly have become disillusioned with k5 as a result.

I think, at the very least, trusted users should be scrapped (making the minimum rating a 1) and users should be unable to rate any comment that is a reply to a story or comment they have written. This still opens the door for people to go after a particular person, rating all their comments 1. However, considering the uselessness of a k5 message rating, there's little current harm in this.

Are there better suggestions? Do you like my idea? Or am I out of line to suggest such a thing?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Is there a problem with the k5 message rating?
o Yes, it should be done away with completely. 7%
o Yes, I like your idea of scrapping trusted users. 16%
o Yes, but I don't know what to do. 12%
o Yes, but not enough to warrant a change. 15%
o No, it's fine. 48%

Votes: 125
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o One
o Two
o Three
o reply
o comment
o article
o Also by GreenCrackBaby

Display: Sort:
(more) Problems with the k5 rating system | 80 comments (59 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
Here's the thing. (4.66 / 15) (#1)
by inspire on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:14:28 AM EST

All trusted users have an extra selection in their "moderate submissions" box - "review hidden comments".

The idea is to go through the comments that have been rated below one and to make sure that they are not unfairly rated. If a trusted user does discover an unfairly rated comment, they can then rate it back up so that it does appear, or at least notify the relevant people as to the abuse of the rating system.

I know I myself have rated "zero" rated comments up because they did not fit the guidelines that trusted users are given (which you can read here, even if you're not a trusted user).
What is the helix?

yup (3.60 / 5) (#11)
by h2odragon on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:19:17 AM EST

I acheived the lofty trusted status a little while back; and started seeing the hidden comments... I think in the past two weeks or so I've seen one comment that I felt needed to be brought back above the threshold. I don't think I've given a "0" to a non-hidden comment yet.

[ Parent ]
Exactly (4.40 / 5) (#15)
by duxup on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 05:05:03 AM EST

I've had trusted user status before, it disappeared and came back. I assure the writer of this article that the comments that are there deserve it. I've fished a few out myself before that did not deserve to be there, and they never fell back in.

I usually check the hidden comments daily. This isn't a hard task because since Jan 17th only six comments have been added and stayed in the que. Looking through the comments most are by the same few posters also.

The comments that are in there get rated quite a bit as well. The average number of times each of these comments have been rated is 16-17 times. So no one trusted user is banishing these comments from view. A number of people have decided these are inappropriate.

[ Parent ]
Lowest number of zeros (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by ucblockhead on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:00:48 PM EST

Looking through the list, the fewest number of zero ratings given to a post that fell below the hiding threshold was five, on a comment from monday. The second fewest number of zero ratings was ten, on a comment from tuesday.

A large number of comments that fell below one have as many as twenty-five or thirty ratings.

So as you say, this is definitely not a matter of one or two people censoring anything. You have to get a lot of people to agree for it to stay down in hidden territory.

People need to bear in mind that if even one user rates a comment at five, it will take five trusted users giving it a zero to hide the comment, so it is very unlikely for a comment to stay hidden unfairly.

This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

democratic proccess, and review (none / 0) (#80)
by kellan on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 09:30:49 PM EST

quick question. why is the option to review hidden comments limited only to the people who can hide them? this seems like a very poor system of checks and balances.

i think the concept of trusted users is a very strong one, but it seems like all systems are eventually abused, and we should design accordingly, allowing for an open review process.

on indymedia we've created a system called the dustbin where the post we find neccessary to remove are sent. our software isn't as sophisticated as scoop (yet!) but as part of the process anyone who hides a story is supposed to post a comment on why they are choosing to hide it. perhaps that is a practice that could be fostered here? (this would only be useful, of course, if everybody could see the hidden stories)


[ Parent ]

Good Point (3.75 / 8) (#2)
by delmoi on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:24:27 AM EST

The best solution I can think of off the top of my head would be to require two or more zero ratings before a post disappears off the page, the score would still be zero, but it would still show up on the page. Giving others a chance to rate it up.

While were at it, I'd really like an ability to link directly to a comment (like on the other site), rather then to a page with a #sign thing in it. (an anchor)
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Don't think so... (4.57 / 7) (#5)
by rusty on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:39:30 AM EST

The comment that spurred this is now rated 3.25. Not cause for alarm, I'd say. This seems to be another case of someone not understanding that ratings are dynamic, and reviewed, but that doesn't happen instantaneously. Nevertheless, one (temporarily) misrated comment does not a broken system make. Especially when it's so easily correctable (and corrected). The system is already heavily biased against hiding comments, since, for example, one trusted user can overrule four others (proof: (0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 5) / 5 = 1) in deciding whether or not a comment should be visible on the page. I don't think having it require more than one is necessary, considering this, and also that a hidden comment will immediately show up in the "Review Hidden Comments" list for all the other trusteds (currently circa 300 of them).

And about the link format, go to: this url. No anchor. Same comment. What the anchor does is scroll your browser right to the exact start of the comment. It's a convenience thing, not a necessity. Why do you object to it, by the way? Every browser I know of supports them.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Subject (3.33 / 3) (#28)
by zantispam on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:55:34 AM EST

Every browser I know of supports them.

My only problem is that in NN6 (and, IIRC Moz on Winders) doesn't realize it needs to stop trying to render. I click on a CID, go to the comment, and the browser keeps working even though the page is rendered.

Yes, I know. This is a bug with NN6. Still bugs me though

Other than that, no problems (and thanks for letting me know you can link to comments like that).

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]
Weird (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by rusty on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:12:04 PM EST

I see. Weird bug. Anyhoo, problem solved. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Mozilla/Netscape 6 bug (none / 0) (#76)
by nstenz on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 04:35:28 AM EST

Did that bug just pop up in the last week or so? It's doing that for me on everything... Images take forever to download; pages don't finish... There was a bug after someone submitted a bunch of files to CVS where style formatting got slowed way down... they pulled the files back out of CVS the morning of the 25th. Does anyone who's downloaded a build since then care to comment on whether things are looking up?

[ Parent ]
Link format (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by delmoi on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 03:00:17 AM EST

If the distance in pixles from the bottom of the page to the top of the comment is less then height of the screen, the comment you are trying to link to won't show up at the top of teh screen (obviously), so if you're scrolled to the bottom of a page, then you don't know exactly what comment the person who lined was trying to link to
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
It works (3.90 / 10) (#3)
by enterfornone on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:28:28 AM EST

The comment is currently above zero - in fact there are no zero mods on it so I guess the original modder changed their mind. The reason there are a number of trusted users is so a single user can't take over. If a post is unfairly hidden it will not be for long as other trusted users will mod it back up.

And yes I do see the irony of me claiming democracy works :)

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
What about this? (3.55 / 9) (#4)
by skim123 on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:32:39 AM EST

How about not allowing people to rate comments that are direct replies to their comments? Also, maybe you could give users an option to still see zero rated posts (and allow them to rate them up, if they chose... or maybe it would make sense to only allow trusted users mod them up...). The default could be only view 1 and up, but let people who want to view 0 posts view them... even if they can't mod it up. Hrmmm......

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

Nope. (4.20 / 5) (#9)
by Seumas on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 03:57:50 AM EST

Wouldn't be prudent.

I vote replies to my messages fairly. If I'm want to score it below the baseline (which for me is around a 3), then I don't score it at all to avoid any conflict of interest in my rating of their comments. Very often, a reply warrents a 4, even -- and I don't see why I shouldn't be able to give that score to the author of an opposing view.

Take a look at the Hidden Comments section. How many comments do you see in there that don't belong there? I can't find any. I can find two or three that may be borderline, but that's it. The system works and it works well. On the rare occasion that someone has been a jerk and modded a post down to 0, it's only a matter of minutes or hours before it's back, thanks to people who take the time to review those messages.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

k5 moderation (3.62 / 8) (#6)
by kaitian on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:46:57 AM EST

I agree that the moderation system here is flawed, and it needs to be fixed.

One of the main flaws in the moderation system is that anyone can moderate. I know that this is one of the main features of k5, but it also opens up an opportunity for abuse. It is too easy to create a new user and use it to magnify your moderation power. To fix this I propose that before new users can moderate anything, they must have had an account for at least two weeks, and posted at least three comments in that time that are rated 3 or above. The time limit will help discourage people who manually create accounts, and the comment requirement would prevent scripts from creating accounts that could moderate.

I also believe that no benefits should be derived from having mojo above a certian level. If people can't get anything by modding their own posts up, they won't do it.

One a related note a k5 user (puzzlingevidence) has been modding some of my posts down and accusing me of being someone who who modded their own posts up. He has threatened to use a script against me that would automatically mod all my posts to 1. Info about it here. He also mentions a script that he is making that would "track every moderation made by every user, check the user number for how new the user is, and run comparisons in order to determine who needs to be watched or "balanced"." Read what he says here. I really don't like the idea of people running scripts like this. Do you really want some script running around k5 and looking for users who's ratings need to be "balanced"?

Two things. (4.33 / 12) (#8)
by Seumas on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 03:52:31 AM EST

First, I wrote about something regarding Trusted Users and our responsibilities in my diary entries (linked in my .sig). Several people have asked me to submit it but I haven't.

Second, there are two ways to deal with this sort of thing. The first is for every trusted user to take a peak in the Hidden Comments queue every couple of visits. Very few messages find their way into there, so it only takes a few seconds of your time to check. The other is perhaps for K5 to disallow participants of a thread to rate other participant's comments in the same thread. I don't think the second option would work, because a lot of people like myself rarely -- if ever, moderate postings down when they take place in threads we participate in and often feel like giving high points to someone who has made a great point, even if it was a contradictory one.

So, like my diary entry (fairly long and detailed) points out, the best solution is simply for everyone to keep an eye on the hidden comments queue. That's what it's there for and it is by far the most effective, simplest fix.
I just read K5 for the articles.

Fair or not? (3.25 / 4) (#12)
by tftp on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:32:14 AM EST

Ok, time passed and there is no zero any more. The comment has been re-moderated, as other people noticed earlier.

However the response is indeed harshly worded. The original advice was quite friendly: lucas advised you not to overestimate importance of one educational resource over another. However GreenCrackBaby replied using terms that many people disapprove; it was a clearly offensive comment, with little to contribute to the discussion. This alone may warrant zero rating.

No... (4.00 / 4) (#13)
by rusty on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:38:13 AM EST

I don't think it deserved a zero. I don't think it deserves the 3.25 it has now, either. I think lucas' response to the continuing thread was a little overly glib-- trusted users should take their zero seriously. It's the limited ability to silence someone. He has a point though, that GCB could've taken three seconds and not been so harsh... so everyone's right and wrong here IMO.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Here is the posting. (3.11 / 9) (#14)
by lucas on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:57:58 AM EST

Actually, I was the one who gave his posting a 0, then I modded it up to a 5 when someone complained. I'm actually kinda amused that getting modded down makes you "disillusioned" about K5. I modded this article up for you. ;-)

I don't rate peoples' postings often, but it was pretty much a trolling that was meant to be a trolling.

No, I don't care if anyone disagrees with me... and I certainly wouldn't post an article about it if they disagreed with me... and if I did, I would use my real name so that people would know I wasn't a troll.

>my reply was to a statement that said co-op jobs are worthless

Regardless of your misinterpreting my words (which you have; I said that you should not use them solely for resume-building purposes), the following is your response you're basing this article on:

>What? What a load of crap. Maybe if you give co-op students working for
>you jobs other than "coffee wench" you might discover that co-op students
>actually come with valuable skills!

...from someone named "GreenCrackBaby".

This appears to me like a trolling from my perspective because I was an intern several times, and developed CTS because one employer exploited my skills and fired me when I became injured from doing the work. It was my naivity as a student not being able to say "no" and the heavy-handedness of my employer that caused it. I felt it was nothing less than criminal because I ended up being disabled at 18. The attitude repeated in your posting is one that I consciously try to avoid every single day.

I mean, what is wrong with just asking, "Hey, why do you have this perspective?" That's what I would have done.

It wasn't a 0. (3.75 / 4) (#24)
by Phil the Canuck on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 08:32:12 AM EST

Whether or not you think the comment in question was a troll, the "0" rating is reserved for spam/crap posts. It effectively censors posts to most K5 users. The fact that you did it to someone who responded with a criticism of your opinion makes it that much worse.

As for his username, I tried as hard as I could but couldn't find anything in the moderation guidelines about modding down personally offensive names.


I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

er, n/m - I understand the issue now. (3.00 / 1) (#48)
by lucas on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:10:19 PM EST

Ok, I understand GreenCrackBaby's issue now, which is not really about me more than it is a trusted user being able to nuke the comments of another person.

...I just wish I wasn't singled out. ;-)

Ah, well, something to think about for next time.

[ Parent ]
some ideas (3.85 / 7) (#17)
by danny on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 06:02:45 AM EST

1. users should have a "show all comments" option - if that's set, they would see 0-rated comments. Better still, users should have a "minimum rating" setting, so they can elect to see only comments rated >3, say (with a "show unrated" option as well).

2. "trustedness" should be variable, not discrete. Something like the Advogato trust metric (which is secure against subversion) could be used - with trust being accumulated when users with higher trust positively rate one's comments. (You could seed it with the current "trusted" base, maybe.)

Users could then select what weighting to give to "trustedness" - ie, they could elect to see raw ratings, or to have them weighted by the rater's trustworthiness.

[900 book reviews and other stuff]

well... (4.50 / 4) (#19)
by 31: on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 07:24:57 AM EST

For point 1, rusty's concern was that if someone were to troll k5, seeing their posts would be more of an encouragement (it was in a comment in the article where he anounced trustedness, it's too late in the day for me to look for it though, sorry)

For the second point, I have a personal sorta objection to that, based in the fact that i'm not a fan of the whole trusted thing myself... if there were to be a weighted trust system, instead of situation where there's 1 class of users that is seperated from the rest, there would be an entire class system setup... and people's ratings would be based not just on how well they contribute to the system (how well they comment), but based on people who are higher ups to them determining how well they interact with the community... right now trustedness is somethings that's fairly easy to slide in and out of, but once a certain group is say uber-trusted, it would be easier for some people to abuse the rating system (everyone's favorite example., sig 11 could apply there... [and sorry i tend to pick on you for these sorts of things, eh..])

and in case that was rambling and not making sense, summing it up: class systems bad. When necessary, keep them simple.

like right now rusty's just a user. if we were to all start rating him down, he'd be untrusted... but in a weighted system, he could start rating people who rated him down to 0 or 1, and thereby have an easier time maintaining a possibly undeserved trusted status...

[ Parent ]
is "trustedness" necessary? (none / 0) (#66)
by danny on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 07:33:49 PM EST

I'm not a fan of a "class" structure either, but I don't see how to protect the community against various attacks without some kind of distinction between Rusty (or even me, for that matter, suprised as I was to find myself "trusted") and someone who signs on just so they can rate everything in site down to 1, or to rate another alias' posts up.

I get the impression Rusty does some manual correction of abuses like that, but that definitely won't scale.

"trustedness" is probably not a good choice of terminology. The idea is to distinguish those users who are compatible with the community from those who aren't. I'm not suggesting by that that we enforce any kind of group-think, just that Kuro5hin has a feel and a style all of its own, and that that should change and evolve as its members do, not through invasion and dilution.

Maybe give some weight to seniority and length and extent of participation?

[900 book reviews and other stuff]
[ Parent ]

KISS (4.00 / 3) (#22)
by itsbruce on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 07:58:41 AM EST

Simple rules good, complex rules bad. IMHO, this site works far better than Another Site® because the rules are simple and transparent, with no hidden weightings or complex arithmetic.


It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
The case for a minimum number of ratings (3.87 / 8) (#18)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 06:23:33 AM EST

Don't count (Mojo-wise or with regard to hiding) or show ratings until a certain number of ratings has been reached. Suggestion: 3. Before this number has been reached, the ratings are displayed as, for example, "none / 2". This system is not only useful to prevent 0-abuse, it also prevents people from effectively voting down comments which are deeply nested in some editorial or otherwise uninteresting thread or some diary (something which I am sure every regular K5 user has experienced). They may still vote, but it will only be relevant if 2 other people also vote.

Let's not forget the purpose of rating comments: Making a list of long comments easier to read, with the really good posts at the top, the bad at the bottom and the spam invisible. Voting down a comment which is only hidden somewhere only does one thing: Give the author bad feelings. (And regardless of what you may say, most people probably do care about the little numbers that their posts are tagged with in one way or another, even if they don't complain openly about bad ratings.) It doesn't increase readability at all.

I've seen lots of users complaining about single bad ratings, but virtually no complaints about bad ratings in a number of good ratings. Some complain about being rated down by everyone ("K5 groupthink! Mojo whores! Karma slaves!"), but the biggest problem is the single rating of a post which nobody else will ever see, and I see this proposal as a good remedy.
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

Good and bad effects (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by duxup on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 07:31:47 AM EST

If this were to keep rating abuse down, I think it would also have adverse effects too. Just as easily as keeping the rating system from becoming abusive, posts could become that way too. Flames, trolls or spam (granted, I personally haven't seen spam yet) could abound in deeply nested comments or diaries where it's unlikely that they will be rated.

As for 0 abuse I see little of that. As I noted in a previous post I can see the hidden comments and most (if not all) that are in there deserve it. I've seen a few drop in that are questionable but I've fished them out never to return. The hidden comments are heavily moderated so it takes quite a few people to give 0s for them to stay disappeared.

My solution for low ratings is simple. I moderate them up. I think I moderate fairly heavily (it would be interesting to see moderation frequencies and averages) and that easily offsets one bad guy out there. If everyone moderates (assuming a large % of us are not bad people) then everything should work out. In my opinion I see very little moderation out there that I think is abusive.

[ Parent ]
It's about ignoring the irrelevant ratings (none / 0) (#67)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 07:36:03 PM EST

If this were to keep rating abuse down, I think it would also have adverse effects too. Just as easily as keeping the rating system from becoming abusive, posts could become that way too. Flames, trolls or spam (granted, I personally haven't seen spam yet) could abound in deeply nested comments or diaries where it's unlikely that they will be rated.

True, but if it's unlikely that they will be rated, it's also unlikely that they will be read. Never forget the purpose of the rating system as outlined in my post above. If the minimum number of people to rate a comment aren't there, it probably doesn't require a rating in the first place (any any low rating is likely to do more harm than good).

As for 0 abuse I see little of that.

I agree, the "review hidden comments" list mostly prevents this. Still, I think it would be a good idea to require a minimum amount of ratings for them to be counted, both to reduce the emotional effect of bad ratings and to reduce the likelihood of abuse.
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

well... (3.25 / 4) (#21)
by fink on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 07:34:36 AM EST

... it looked like a trollish comment to me. The bloke had his reasons to say what he said, I'm sure - experience being one possible.

You made a statement, without much means to backup. That rates as "troll" to me. I use, as evidence, your comment. :)


agreed (none / 0) (#53)
by SEAL on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:49:12 PM EST

I didn't rate that post but I also had no problem with someone else giving it a zero. It wasn't the message, it was the way it was delivered. In my opinion, it was flamebait.

Next topic please...

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]
How not to be an arse (3.80 / 5) (#26)
by ignatiusst on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 08:56:32 AM EST

I never rate a response to one of my own comments unless I am going to rate it 4/5.. It seems a bit self-absorbed to rate someone's response to one of my own comments at 1/2/3...

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift

Good call (4.00 / 3) (#33)
by /dev/niall on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 10:42:39 AM EST

I do the same. If it was worth replying to, then rate it appropriately. If you really feel it's worth a low rating, then don't bother replying because you're probably replying for the wrong reasons.

If it deserves a low score, there are plenty of other eyes that can make that determination for you.

It bothers me to no end when you see a reply rated as 1 by the original author, and yet they feel a need to compose a lengthy reply. If you had to write that much in rebuttle, then it must have made some good points.

Fortunately, not everyone thinks the rating system is for measuring your agreement with posts. And people do check the "hidden" comments. I just figured out last week what that link was for (duh!) and I've been going in daily to check for comments I consider under-rated.
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]

These solutions are way too ad hoc. (4.00 / 3) (#27)
by Paul Crowley on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:30:13 AM EST

I'm interested in this problem and discussing possible solutions, but I can't take this "solution" seriously; zero ratings and trusted users exist to combat other kinds of abuse that would otherwise be rife. These are deep problems and they won't admit to such shallow solutions; you're just pushing the problem from one place to another and back.

At the very least, you should have provided a poll option that said "yes, this is a problem, but some other solution is needed", like I did.
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.

problem with the rating system... (3.80 / 5) (#31)
by Jim Madison on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 10:38:34 AM EST

..is in my mind that rating is a responsibility. I think /. has gone too far in restricting access, but k5 goes to far. who has time to read and rate every comment? can you really be fair to each and every one? there is some balance between those two systems where you take each rating seriously, but not too seriously imho.

Got democracy? Try e-thePeople.org.
Politeness (3.66 / 6) (#39)
by baberg on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 11:58:36 AM EST

I can't think of a polite way to say this, so I'm going to ignore my politeness and just try not to flame.

Get a grip. Say it with me... "Mojo does not affect my worth as a person." Should your post have been moderated to a zero? Absolutely not. Did this trusted user abuse his/her power? Absolutely. Is the moderation system flawed? Of course. Does there exist a moderation system that is perfect? Of course not. But I'd say this one is pretty damn close.

A while ago, I got somebody mad at me here on K5, and they went back and rated my 5 previous comments to a 1. No reason (that I could see), and others had given them much higher ratings. I got a little pissed. I started to fire off an e-mail to rusty about it. But while I was in the middle of it, I realized what rusty would have said to me: Get a grip. There are more important things in life to worry about.

Yes, you were wronged by this trusted user. But it's not worth getting in a tizzy about (my God, did I just say that?). Maybe the moderation system here is flawed. Over in the article about ads (can't link, have to get to class soon) qtmstr had 35 accounts (qtmstr2, qtmstr3, etc) with which he rated one of his own comments 5. It didn't deserve a 5. So the rest of the users rated it down, and when I last checked, it was below 3. The rating system does work, it just often takes a little while.

Let's say it one last time... "Mojo does not affect my worth as a person."

Did you read the article? (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by Drakantus on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:01:52 PM EST

He isn't pissed about getting a low rating. He is pissed because noone else will even see his message because it's rated as zero.

[ Parent ]
I read it... (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by baberg on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:30:13 PM EST

Tell me this: What is the consequence of him getting a 0 rating? Nobody will see his message. It's just a cause/effect thing. He is pissed about censorship because he got a low rating.

It's like saying that I'm angry that my alarm went off this morning, or I'm angry that I woke up. One thing causes another. I look at his rating now, and it's certainly not below 1 (don't have time to check, I'm actually in class now).

The point is: he's pissed because nobody will see his message. Low ratings caused this. Hence, he is (indirectly) pissed because he got a low rating.

[ Parent ]

Do you understand how K5 works? (2.50 / 2) (#44)
by GreenCrackBaby on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:39:45 PM EST

I don't know why I'm wasting my time with this, but here goes.

I am not pissed because I got a low rating. I've said it many times now -- I don't care if you rate me a 1. Ratings here on k5 are useless unless you rate something a 0. A zero rating makes my comment effectively invisible to you. This is put in place to get rid of penis bird style posts -- not to make your criticism go away!

[ Parent ]

Ok... (4.00 / 2) (#51)
by baberg on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:33:07 PM EST

You really need to calm down now. That last post came off as if you were screaming at me. I don't appreciate being screamed at.

I understand that trusted users have a lot of power. I understand that rating a comment a 0 is a very big responsibliity. I understand that you are angry because your comment was unnecessarily given a 0. I understand that this trusted user tried to censor your comment by eliminating it.

But this all does not add up to a sweeping accusation that the K5 moderation system does not work. Here in the USA, we recently had a laughable election (which we've all heard enough about). Does this one isolated election mean that the system in the USA is rediculous and will never work? Of course not.

You were wronged by this "trusted" user. That is a shame. The situation has been rectified. That is a testament to the K5 system behaving correctly. And, honestly, the length of this discussion has long outlasted my interest in it. I will try to make my comments in the future more clear with respect to my intentions and feelings.

[ Parent ]

Aphorisms (3.00 / 5) (#41)
by ucblockhead on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:15:31 PM EST

"Shit happens.:

"Life isn't fair." (My dad's favorite.)

"Nothing is perfect."

Anyway, seriously, if this happens again, just post another post saying "hey, I think I was rated unfairly!!!". Then, most trusted users will likely take notice and check it out. And if you were wronged, it'll get fixed. Of course, if you really did deserve it, expect to get another zero for your pains.

Before bitching about how screwed up the system is, first try to work within the system. And if that fails, ask yourself whether or not this is a HUGE ISSUE or just another of the little speedbumps of life, shit happening, life not being fair. Usually it is the latter, and usually you will cause yourself far more stress by then the actual problem deserves.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

Those benevolent Trusted Users (3.66 / 3) (#43)
by eventi on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:31:48 PM EST

Anyway, seriously, if this happens again, just post another post saying "hey, I think I was rated unfairly!!!". Then, most trusted users will likely take notice and check it out. And if you were wronged, it'll get fixed. Of course, if you really did deserve it, expect to get another zero for your pains.

Here's an obnoxious comment of mine which I accidentally posted twice, and received 2 zero scores. HRH rusty replied to it, requesting that the zeros be changed, but they were not. The reason is simple: no one cares to look back at ratings they've given, and who would anyway. If I had known this was a game, I would have tried to play it as such...

And more ofter than not, trusted users are abusive rather than helpful.

[ Parent ]
Shit happens (4.00 / 3) (#46)
by ucblockhead on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:00:32 PM EST

As I said, Shit Happens. I've gotten a couple scores that I felt unfair as well. But quite frankly, worrying about it just isn't worth my time.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Quote a Bumpersticker, get a 4, brilliant ! (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by eventi on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:38:01 PM EST

Look, I'm a prick, but a sometimes inspired and inventive one... All of the sudden I find out I'm in a game, and the whole time I thought we were just talking. The goal is to get TU status, so you're in control of the paeons.

BTW: be careful with this... #!/usr/bin/perl -wT print "Content-type: text/html\n\n"; use CGI qw(param); $cmd = param("file"); open(INP, "<$cmd") || die "Steve is an idiot!\n"; while() { print "\n"; } else { print $_; } } close(INP);

[ Parent ]
That;s funny. (4.20 / 5) (#61)
by aphrael on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 05:08:22 PM EST

The goal is to get TU status, so you're in control of the paeons.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha ... you know what TU status *gets* you? The ability to see maybe a dozen posts that have been moderated to zero in the last week, most of them in the vein of: "you suck eggs, you asshole!", and the ability to rate other people to zero knowing full well that someone will see it and rate them back up.

If that's your goal, you're welcome to it. Those of us that are interested in discussion and see the benefits of trusted user status as being almost a *negative* will carry on with our lives. :)

[ Parent ]

Below zero comments... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by ucblockhead on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 08:44:05 PM EST

By my count, Kuro5hin averages just over one comment a day that falls below one and is thus hidden. (There have been 29 since January 1st.) And looking at the current list, there's not a one that's really worth much.

Hell, anyone who complains about this moderation system ought to visit "That Other Site" and see how many zero rated comments there are there. They problem get one a minute! Seems to me that Kuro5hin does a damn good job of discouraging the crap comments without hiding anything worth seeing.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Eh? (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by Zarniwoop on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 06:09:06 PM EST

Before rusty made some changes (more rated comments necessary to be trusted) to the system, I was a trusted user.

It ain't all that great. What it really boils down to is systematically checking through posts rated to below one (there's a link where you can review all of them) and rating up or keeping the rating down. It's not some wonderful thing, and There Is No K5 Cabal. Truly.

I'm actually rather glad to have lost the status.

[ Parent ]
How can you say that? (4.50 / 2) (#49)
by finkployd on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:13:17 PM EST

And more ofter than not, trusted users are abusive rather than helpful.

Do you have some facts to back this one up? What makes you say that? As an evil trusted user, I've used the 0 vote maybe 5 times out of hundreds of moderations, and almost always to mod down the wonderful MEEPT a while ago. Go read slashdot at 0 threshold if you want to know what K5 would be like without the 0 mod option.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Look who's talking! (4.00 / 2) (#50)
by MeanGene on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:29:11 PM EST

... and after I replied to your "obnoxious comment" asking you to be careful, I got myself 2 ones and 1 zero - including a "1" by you?

Now, who's abusive?

[ Parent ]

Ouch... But 1 != 0 (3.50 / 2) (#54)
by eventi on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:06:19 PM EST

It just seemed like a pile-on-me party, and I guess I lashed out... I'll go change it now... Zero Ratings are for specific purposes outlined in the mod guidelines. 1's are everyman's right, and can be used for whatever. BTW- I don't know if you're too scarred to share a laugh over a little irony, but my first name's Gene, and I was (am) the one being a Mean.

[ Parent ]
Moderation Gaffs (3.87 / 8) (#45)
by lucas on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:58:16 PM EST

I'm still not sure why, in a community of "free speech", there should be a penalty for someone badly or inappropriately moderating something.

I also don't see how mojo relates to added benefits or why it would be important beyond a certain trusted threshold. I think the idea of people losing trusted status would be worthwhile if mojo translated into something with intrinsic benefits.

I think what we've determined in the past has been:

  • There is no authentication system to K5; people who want to achieve trusted status create different logins to moderate their points.
  • People often "retaliate" to others who have mod'ed them down by modding down their last x postings, where x can equal [1 - 6].
  • Guidelines to moderation are not followed, particularly with greyarea trollings.
  • One person can follow another person (as a "stalker") and continue to moderate him down with negative intent and there is no mechanism to prevent this.
  • Mojo has little intrinsic benefit outside of trusted status.

    Is there anything I left off?

  • Stalking... (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by ucblockhead on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 08:48:43 PM EST

    From what I've seen, once the moderation ceased being anonymous, most of the stalking ceased as well.
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    On censorship and discussion communities (4.60 / 5) (#47)
    by slaytanic killer on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:08:03 PM EST

    Any vigorous discussion community makes use of censorship. Either you have the ability to invite whomever you wish, or you push people out of the discussion who are going overboard.

    If you don't like the censorship, you can easily create a trusted account if you wish. Then you can see the murdered comments and overrule four "abusive" moderators.

    My feelings about letting 0's be publicly seen in a separate section are ambiguous. Any publically accessible channel can become a discussion channel in its own right -- which is why Slashdot doesn't open their own submission queue. However, I hate net losses of information, my pet peeve.

    Some points (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by interiot on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:12:57 PM EST

    Yes, filtering-of-information is used in most discussion communities. But there's certainly a difference between individual-initiated filtering, and one person preventing a comment from being seen by many people. It's not terribly difficult to implement something like Epinion's web of trust.

    Also, trusted accounts aren't necessarily easy to come by... you have to become a registered user AND contribute at a steady rate. I don't know the percentage of users who are trusted, but for those who don't have as much time to spend reading at work as they'd like, they may find it hard to remain trusted.

    [ Parent ]

    Serious rebuttals (none / 0) (#77)
    by slaytanic killer on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 11:46:58 AM EST

    Trusted accounts are trivial to come by. I didn't explain further because it would be best to understand the system well enough to hack it. Once one does, I imagine she, in some small way, cares for the system enough not to abuse it too much.

    Also, about the problem of an individual stopping other from seeing a comment: The point is that it should only be temporarily hidden. Does it sound scary, with all of the possible attacks that the mind conjures? The point is that a fuzzy goal (make a discussion community that enriches people) requires fuzzy execution. At some point, Kuro5hin is likely to be abused. So a different strategy will be pursued then.

    Humans are shockingly fragile systems. But we thrive in spite of that because we route around and through those situations. In this cause, Kuro5hin is a very fragile-seeming construct that works better than anyone can predict, because the system is not machine -- all thé tools here are meant to amplify the power of humans. Fuzzy minds are still what remain powerful enough to handle fuzzy problems, and the machine's ability to play accountant fills in the gaps that humans are not interested in.

    [ Parent ]
    It was a flame. (4.00 / 3) (#57)
    by aphrael on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:28:32 PM EST

    Whether you agree with someone or not, it's important to keep discussion of differences on a civil and polite field ... which your post didn't do; it turned a disagreement on an issue into a thin personal attack.

    I would probably have rated it a 1, not a 0 --- but that's personal preference; I don't think it qualifies as system abuse to rate it 0.

    Absolutly correct... (4.50 / 4) (#72)
    by CyberQuog on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:27:26 PM EST

    I have been annoyed at this for a long time. A person should not be allowed to rate someone who replied to their comment, you just can't rate it subjectively. No matter how level headed you are when you rate it, you're still maybe even unconsciously take into account that they either agreed with you or criticized you.

    A quick fix (4.85 / 7) (#73)
    by jreilly on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 11:46:49 PM EST

    The problem you just described, how a trusted user can nuke a comment away, can be rather easily fixed. Simply make '0' ratings equal to '1's until another trusted user confirms the '0' Then there's less potential for abuse

    Oooh, shiny...
    An alternative, photo.net (none / 0) (#79)
    by codemonkey_uk on Mon Jan 29, 2001 at 08:58:14 AM EST

    The "community" website photo.net recently introduced photo rating, it was quickly changed to hide ratings when there where less than five of them. That might not work out here, as people don't actually rate comments very often, but perhaps no rating counts until there are two (or three) might work.

    Abuse is still possable, but it makes it harder.
    "The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
    [ Parent ]

    yeah but (4.25 / 4) (#75)
    by evro on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 04:11:23 AM EST

    There needs to be a way to make troll/junk posts go away so we don't have to see them. The guy below me had a good idea: have all zero votes confirmed by another user.
    "Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"
    (more) Problems with the k5 rating system | 80 comments (59 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
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