It would not be a controversial statement, I'm sure, to assert
that the k5 rating system (and that of Slashdot and Plastic) is often
swayed (polluted? abused?) by the personal biases of those
who dish out the karma points. My proposal
is an attempt to establish a separation between 'objective' ratings
(is that comment relevant to this discussion? If not, then should it be censored? If so, how highly should it be rated?) and 'subjective' ratings
(let your hair down and your biases free. Do you agree with what was said?
Currently we have one rating system that does the job of two, and I
think this should change.
This extra scoring system ("mana"?) would operate on a scale
from -3 (disagree) through
0 (eh) to +3 (agree). It wouldn't affect how the comments are
displayed on your screen (assuming your k5 preferences are set up like
that - the conventional scores would still deal with
that); nor would it have the potential to cause a comment to disappear
"If someone has something to say, they should reply to the comment."
Maybe people should reply to comments but in practice they
often don't. Maybe they don't have the time. Maybe they don't feel they don't
have anything to contribute to the thread other than "me too" or
"I disagree". Maybe they just can't be arsed. Whatever the reason,
and regardless of whether it is right or wrong,
sometimes people seek a simple alternative to writing out a reply, and that
tends to be rating a post up/down.
Also, I find that it is easier to disagree to a comment/story
than it is to agree to one, simply because the former gives you something
to refute, and the latter doesn't. Result - "Nodding head syndrome"
(or "vocal minority vs contented majority syndrome") and the impression
that the original statement is more unpopular than it really is. Providing
this new rating system should level the playing field.
"This won't stop moderation abuse."
It won't prevent deliberate abuse but I believe it will reduce
the problem of people inadvertently applying a bias to their moderating.
There will no longer be any excuse for mixing subjective and objective
reviews of a comment. And perhaps it might ease those "I disagree with
what he is saying, but I also think that what he is saying is
off-topic and completely irrelevant to this discussion. I should
moderate him down, but I don't want to appear biased, so..." dilemmas.
"People won't bother voting if it doesn't make any difference to the
I disagree. It will not affect how a comment is displayed (and rightly
so), but you wouldn't exactly be casting your vote into /dev/null either.
At the very least, people will be able to see how popular/unpopular their
opinions are (and who agrees/disagrees with them). The popularity of an
opinion may not be an accurate gauge as to whether it is right or not, but nonetheless I think a lot of
people would be interested in this data. Plus, the k5 database could
correlate these figures and allow you to see who agrees with you the most.
Important? No. But try telling me that you wouldn't be curious... :)
In conclusion, this will not completely solve every single
karma/moderation related problem, but I reckon it might help.