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A Modest Proposal for K5

By fuzzrock in Meta
Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:33:48 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

It seems to me that Kuro5hin is not scaling very well. As the number of users expands at a tremendous rate, the signal to noise has been dropping steadily. Where once our trolls occasionally were intelligent and witty, and otherwise were ignored, now they can easily get a rise out of someone, clogging up stories with flamewar. The number of comments, and the repetition of comments, has also spiraled into unacceptability.

I have a small proposal, intended to hopefully go some distance towards alleviating these problems.

Kuro5hin has been growing to be more and more like the other site, at least in terms of signal to noise. IMOSHO, the moderation here is better, the stories are often more interesting, and the general usability and attractiveness are higher, but recently I have entirely despaired of seeing interesting discussion. The comments seem completely dominated with flamewars and knee-jerk comments, often written in a tremendous hurry so as to make it into the first 25 comments. Not usually very much pure noise (no "first posts"), but less in the way of thoughtful discussion than I'd like to see. So I think we need some kind of system to reduce the number of comments posted, and increase the quality of the comments. This story is my idea for how.

Some other sites have vaguely similar schemes, and their systems have certainly influenced my thinking here. In particular, the basic concept of cost for commenting and etc.. was taken from www.half-empty.org. And of course many aspects of my proposed structure is from K5. But you knew that.

So the basic thought here is to introduce a kind of "currency" for actions taken on K5. Some actions are free, some cost, and many earn. In ruthless disregard for copyright, I'd like to call the basic unit of currency a "zorkmid".

Here is the basic scheme:

  • submitting a story to the queue = +0
  • rating a story = +1
  • having your story post = +100
  • posting a comment = -5 per word
  • rating a comment = +1
  • having your story, journal, or comment replied to = +1 per word in reply
  • rating a comment to 0 = -20
  • having your comment rated to 0 = -20
  • rating a comment to 1 = -10
  • having your comment rated to 1 = -10
  • posting a journal entry = +0
  • having your comment rated something that isn't 1 or 0 = value of rating (2, 3, 4 or 5)

I think it should be possible to attain negative status, even by one's own devices. In particular, one should always be able to rate comments 0 or 1, and you need only begin positive when writing a comment. For example, if Inoshiro only has 28 points, he can still write a 25 word comment and post it - he just ends up at negative 97. Then he has to rate a bunch of other people, or hope his comments get replied to and rated, or get a story posted.

So, what do y'all think? Is this a basically good idea? An awful idea? Tweak the numbers a bit? Did I forget something? Am I worrying about problems that aren't really there? Discuss!


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Currency system for K5?
o Great! Tomorrow! 5%
o Good idea. Do it soon 12%
o Whatever. I just read stories 15%
o Bad idea. Don't do it 35%
o Awful idea! Never! 32%

Votes: 99
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o the other site
o other sites
o www.half-e mpty.org
o Also by fuzzrock

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A Modest Proposal for K5 | 109 comments (97 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
Submit a story to vote on submittions (2.60 / 10) (#3)
by dram on Wed May 16, 2001 at 09:43:13 PM EST

This is a bit of a tangent but since we are talking about improvements to K5 I think it will fit in. My one idea is to make it so people must submit a story before they can vote on submissions. I think this will cut down on people just arbitrarily voting -1 or +1FP without really reading the story. A down side to this could be people just submitting crap so they can start to vote on things. What you could do is make it so you have to get a story posted before you can vote on submissions.


have you seen this as a problem? (3.40 / 5) (#4)
by kellan on Wed May 16, 2001 at 09:49:11 PM EST

I've really never run into this, of course I'm not sure how you would spot it if you did. Still even if some people are doing it, this would seem to be a self correcting problem, can we assume roughly half of people are good natured, or undiscerning and vote +1, while the other half, are grouchy, or vindictive, and vote -1? And everyone else votes how they believe, or they choose that critical (and insightful) 3rd option, don't care.


[ Parent ]
Good idea! (3.33 / 6) (#5)
by kaemaril on Wed May 16, 2001 at 09:49:38 PM EST

And while you're at it, you could maybe arrange things so that people can only vote in elections if they've already run for office!

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?

[ Parent ]
Maybe we should. (2.00 / 3) (#26)
by dram on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:28:05 AM EST

I think we should have test for people befor they vote to make sure they know what is going on in the world. We have a huge amout of people that don't give a damn in this country, many of them don't vote but some do. These people are making uninformed decisions for our country so why not make some sort of requirement. And I don't mean make a hard test just things like "California is having a power crisis. True? False?" something that is that easy.


[ Parent ]
Why we can't have a test? (3.33 / 3) (#42)
by John Milton on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:46:58 AM EST

Because when they outlawed Jim Crow laws, poll test went with them. They were used to discriminate against minorities and the poor.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

[ Parent ]
One question (4.00 / 3) (#39)
by quilla pandora on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:25:40 AM EST

I'm sure you thought of this, but how would the first story get posted?

[ Parent ]
My experiences.. (4.57 / 21) (#6)
by nebby on Wed May 16, 2001 at 09:57:44 PM EST

Well, it's flattering to see that you were inspired by my setup over at half-empty.. though I'd like to give you an idea of some problems I see in your ideas that I've picked up along the past 6-8 months of uncovering the subtlties of this type of system once it goes live.

First off, the most important thing I've learned is that a very prominent display of "points" for posting is a very, very bad idea. You will find that the meta-talk here about points goes through the ceiling, if it's anything like .5e, since points ultimately become the currency of communication and people start pinching them or try outsting each other for more, no matter what the magnitude. Think Karma Whoring * 10^10 :)

I'll go over a few things specifically in how they relate to .5e's setup:

submitting a story to the queue = +0
On .5e, submitting a story is the major way to spend your points. Regardless of if it gets posted, adding more content into the system should be limited by your points system, I think.

rating a story = +1
This is good..

having your story post = +100
A possibility would be to allow the points you spend on putting your story in the queue be re-issued to you if it makes it to the front page.

posting a comment = -5 per word
Eek. This is bad, you're encouraging short comments.. people will be picking apart their words for brevity and not want to "spend all their points" on a single comment when they could save them for a bunch of shorter, less thought out comments. Having this "per word" cost really makes points into a huge game, and IMHO will take away from the experience drastically.

rating a comment = +1
This is good. The way .5e works is your points to be spent on each post is determined by your past ratings.. but this probably isn't necessary here.

having your story, journal, or comment replied to = +1 per word in reply
Hmm.. it seems like you're trying to make points "tradeable" through comment posts. Ie, if I post a comment, the person who's article I'm posting to gets points. If this is the case, all it will take is a band of like 10 trolls to spam the hell out of an article, giving points to the poster, rinse and repeat. Since the -5 for the comments is different than the +1 for this they'd eventually be silenced.. but this point game will actually promote trolling since it actually becomes a game.

rating a comment to 0 = -20
It's important that users don't fear expressing their opinion on posts, particularly in rating down trolls. Don't fall into this trap.

having your comment rated to 0 = -20
This kind of makes sense, though you have to make a call.. leaving the previous rule will keep people from abusing the minus, but it will also keep people from using the minus at all. Why mark it down and sacrifice your own points?

rating a comment to 1 = -10
having your comment rated to 1 = -10


The most important rule in enacting a point system is to make it relatively transparent and think ahead to the human psychology involved. You don't want to turn k5 into a points game.. by making the system relatively transparent the game effect can be dampened while allowing the mathematics to do their magic.

Hope this gets some thoughts going.. getting .5e to work right and fairly and without constant flaming has been a grueling process. Initially the system I had envisioned was a simple point trading system like you've outlined here, but upon launching the site statistical chaos ensued. However, I think it's getting there now though, I'm going to write the second version of the engine, Glasscode, this summer using the experiences I've had in the past 6 months. Finding a happy medium which will keep people from worrying about points while using the limiters points allow is a tough but worthy goal.

Half-Empty: A global community of thoughts ideas and knowledge.

zorkmids, not points (3.00 / 5) (#8)
by fuzzrock on Wed May 16, 2001 at 10:14:15 PM EST

submitting a story to the queue = +0 On .5e, submitting a story is the major way to spend your points. Regardless of if it gets posted, adding more content into the system should be limited by your points system, I think.
I actually thought about that. But that hasn't been a problem so far - the built-in system of just rating stupid stories into the toilet has been working just great.

Another possibility is to assign negative zorkmids to the poster of a story under some circumstances... Like, say, if the percentage of negative votes is past 80% or something, then having the story die is worth -100. Or even without the conditional. But I really want posting stories to be fairly easy, and open to newbies.

having your story, journal, or comment replied to = +1 per word in reply Hmm.. it seems like you're trying to make points "tradeable" through comment posts. Ie, if I post a comment, the person who's article I'm posting to gets points.
Yeah, that's a problem. But at least it means trolls have to get organized, right?

In general, the per-word cost is the number I am least sure of. I want it to be high enough to make the sort of behavior you describe difficult, but not so high that it makes comments prohibitive. Short comments don't bother me - I think most people would benefit from a more careful analysis of extra words and/or paragraphs.

As for the 0 and 1 rating thing - I want very much to make those difficult behaviors. It only takes one trusted user to sacrifice him or her-self to hide a comment, and I think that the emotional lift from that will usually make it worth it. It's possible that it would be better to not differentiate between rating values. I was actually trying to solve another problem there - retribution ratings.


[ Parent ]

Points per word (4.66 / 6) (#67)
by ocelot on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:29:56 PM EST

That comment would have cost you 1595 zorkmids under your proposed system. I'm glad you consider this particular point to be one that needs fixing, as that many zorkmids seems very difficult to obtain under your system, and this is nowhere near an excessivly long post :)

Here's my thoughts about the proposed system. I don't really think that the current system is all that broken, so any suggestions I make are mainly theoretical, not actual suggestions for k5.

The cost of comments is based on a factor that has very little to do with the quality of the comment. I'd much prefer to read a long, detailed, well written and thought out post than a short post that doesn't add much. I suppose the system could be adjusted to the extent that only excessivly long posts would be prohibitive for the average user. Still, I think that a cost per word is focusing on the wrong factor.

I can see the point in having a cost for commenting. However, I think that whatever scoring system is in place should make it so that any post that is reasonably worthwhile recoups the cost of the post.

Your system would seem to make it difficult for newcomers and less active members to be involved in the site. Just because I don't have time to rate every comment that comes along or write good stories shouldn't mean that my ability to comment is restricted.

I doubt that a system that rewards people who rate will increase the quality of ratings. Rather, I think it will encourage people to rate indiscriminantly in order to get zorkmids. Hell, I know I would. I don't have time to read each and every comment and give a meaningful rating. So the easiest way of getting more points to post a comment would be to choose a story or two and rate every single post in it randomly, or at best, based on a quick skim of the comment. And I'm generally not someone who plays point games - just the average person who wants to participate in the site.

I like the idea of a cost for giving 0/1 ratings in theory. However, I don't think it would work in practice, at least with the current moderation system. Say there's a spam post. A buddy of the spammer comes through and rates it to 5 (and gets rewarded for doing so). It'll now take several people sacrificing points to get it hidden. Your system relies on the 0-rater being the only person to moderate the post and/or the rating system being used as intended.

I don't see your system improving the situation of people posting quickly in order to be in the first few posts. In fact, by making future participation dependant on your comment being rated well by many people, and penalizing long posts, you'll encourage short posts that jockey for the best position. Most likely, a large number of humorous one-liners, as these are the short posts that are most likely to be highly rated.

I do like the idea of penalizing bad posts and stories that die quick and ugly deaths. While it might discourage participation to some extent, I think it'd go a ways towards encouraging people to post things that k5 wants to read.

This comment cost 2810 zorkmids. Was it worth it?

[ Parent ]

You want to encourage trolls to organize? (none / 0) (#107)
by coffee17 on Tue May 22, 2001 at 08:29:00 PM EST

Yeah, that's a problem. But at least it means trolls have to get organized, right

Yes, and if you make it a necissity that trolls be organized, it will mean that they will organize. Organized trolls are bad, IMO.


[ Parent ]

in defense of per word (2.80 / 5) (#12)
by kellan on Wed May 16, 2001 at 10:37:24 PM EST

Amazing how much you learn actually doing something isn't it? I think you're post in an amazing indictment of micropayments, you should send it to Clay Shirky, he would be thrilled.

posting a comment = -5 per word
Eek. This is bad, you're encouraging short comments.. people will be picking apart their words for brevity and not want to "spend all their points" on a single comment when they could save them for a bunch of shorter, less thought out comments. Having this "per word" cost really makes points into a huge game, and IMHO will take away from the experience drastically.
That was my first response as well. So I was thinking how about a flat-rate on comment? But I found a hole in that pretty quickly. If it costs you 10 zorkmids to post a comment, then the economic thing to do is to post everything you have to say in a single comment, essentially cancelling the benefits of threaded comments, and killing the dialogue I think this system is intended to foster.

I think what the point system is doing is making it expensive to waste peoples time, rewarding to be insightful, and relatively cheap to be the peanut gallery.


[ Parent ]

Actually.. (3.75 / 4) (#22)
by nebby on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:28:42 AM EST

Flat posting costs is how .5e works, and it works well. Because it's internal using a "posting bar" people don't really complain about points, as it's rare to have said bar go to zero. However, it sends a good enough message to "make your posts count."

People do put more thoughts in each comment, but this actually seems to work out to be a good thing. Every comment in the thread has a thought, and debunks responses, includes facts to back things up.. instead of spreading it over a handful of comments, most people take the time to think through what they're going to say and anticipate rebuttals.

The focus of the system on .5e at its core is there just to control system abuse. On a higher level, it provides the incentive of more posting privileges to those who contribute things which are accepted by the community. I had posted an article a while back about how things worked internally, though it's probably largely changed.. I might consider posting another in depth analysis of the current setup, which works quite well. Providing of course, it doesn't get tossed as if it were SSP (which, in a way, it probably would be since I'd link the site.)

When I first posted it, it was a "to be proven altogether" method, and people said it would never work. Now it's tested, and works at least for a small scale site of 1300 users. We've seen our trolls, and they've come and gone after realizing their stuff isn't appreciated and is systematically removed when the numbers say it should be.
Half-Empty: A global community of thoughts ideas and knowledge.
[ Parent ]

More (4.20 / 5) (#16)
by Devil Ducky on Wed May 16, 2001 at 11:27:23 PM EST

First Post!
-10 zorkmids or whatever the hell they are
Comment's score: [2/300]

2 would become the new 1, and 1 would become the new 0 (some people who take trolls seriously would lose the points in the name of the community, but very few would spend 20 points doing it)

Since few would want to spend the points on a 1 or 0, but many would want to express their dissatisfaction with a FP! comment the few 1's and 0's would be averaged out to a 2, the poster loses only -10 points, many people make points rating it at 2, and the comment never disappears.

Even better yet:
-5 points

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
[ Parent ]
Ithinkhaving-5perwordisjustfinewhat'stheproblem? (4.25 / 4) (#85)
by marlowe on Fri May 18, 2001 at 12:39:07 PM EST


-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Nice (3.33 / 6) (#7)
by regeya on Wed May 16, 2001 at 10:04:15 PM EST

I especially agree that 0 ratings should have consequences for both parties, and not just some moronic backlash from people who just can't handle this icky moderation (and therefore moderate, if that makes any damn sense.)

If nothing else, yes, this would promote quality discussion, but it could also just encourage the slightly bizarre types who'll just rate so they can post "first post!" and know that nobody wants to spare the points to rate it down. Erm, I seem to have poked my first hole in the system. Dang.

Anyway, the idea has some merit. What I've actually been thinking is that maybe I've been too harsh about making k5 a for-pay website. Maybe people would be less likely to post their latest rant about their uninformed opinions on Christianity, ESR, RMS, and how the failure of Eazel positively proves that Open Source in the business world can't work.

Maybe I'm just in a foul mood, or something. I wonder if spending my days in a darkroom has anything to do with it? ;-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

I just had a great idea. (3.42 / 7) (#9)
by John Milton on Wed May 16, 2001 at 10:15:30 PM EST

An interesting idea would be to limit membership and have a crap queue. Let newbies post stories there. Only let regular members vote on them. If they get voted up, they story won't get posted to the site, but that newbie becomes a regular member.

Either way, crap queue stories wouldn't be permanently stored. If they were stored permanently, there would be no difference between the normal queue and the crap queue. This would also prevent trolls from abusing the regular queue. It will also help keep the obvious trolls out. The ones who contribute nothing to the discussion but flames.

If a newbie wins the gold, they can resubmit their story to the regular queue. I think most newbies would get in easily. I like this idea the more I think about it. Rusty, if you see this, please give it some consideration. :)

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Newbie shadow world? (4.00 / 3) (#35)
by brion on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:07:25 AM EST

The rusty, corroded gears in my head are slowly cranking away, and I think this idea might be taken even further... A whole shadow existence for newbies - newbies can post stories to the queue, and comments to regular stories, but their stories and posts would only appear to regular users if rated up, hence garbage and trolls are kept out.

Of course, this is essentially the same as a rating threshold system la slashdot, and the ability of newbie posts to get anywhere is dependent on other people's willingness to wade through the crap queue. Since the point of having such a system is to let people avoid having to wade through crap...

I'm not entirely convinced that a separate crap queue would do any better. Most people will simply ignore a whole second queue ('why bother with that, it's just the crap queue! won't be anything good in it anyway'), and a troll only needs to establish an intelligent-seeming account or two first, then can vote up their newbie accounts.

But the idea appeals to me on some level, so if you've got a solution, do tell...

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
I changed my mind (3.75 / 4) (#38)
by John Milton on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:14:54 AM EST

I've decided I like things the way they are. Lets just get rid of trolls and idiots the good old fashioned way. Flame them to death. Anything else is too complicated and will just get in the way of what I came here to do. Rant.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

[ Parent ]
Question (4.75 / 4) (#53)
by retinaburn on Thu May 17, 2001 at 09:02:18 AM EST

What good is flaming a troll ? None.

Get trusted status and mod those posts you find to be just noise to a Zero. If others agree then they posts will vanish from normal users view. If you want rating suggestions read the FAQ, if you haven't done so already ;)

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
How do you judge newbie? (4.00 / 3) (#58)
by kostya on Thu May 17, 2001 at 11:56:17 AM EST

By userid? If so, you are up there pretty high ;-)

Everyone is fine with a newbie system (inclduing myself) as long as they aren't the newbie.

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
No, thank you. (3.66 / 12) (#11)
by Jin Wicked on Wed May 16, 2001 at 10:27:24 PM EST

This is interesting, except I have a problem with the 25-word post, 28 points scenario you described. First of all, I don't understand why you would need points to post anything of a certain length. I have read extremely insightful comments barely a sentence long. Or some witty one-liners, which I appreciate when they're good. I think counting words in any post is unnecessary. Moderating the posts for content is be good enough, without trying to count words. -5 points per word, for posting a comment? I have to spend "points" I earn to post my point of view? I think not.

Institute something like that, and watch how fast I stop wasting my time posting comments here, and just put everything on my homepage instead, where I don't get negative penalties or some nonsense like that just for wanting to talk.

I also don't like restricting who can and cannot vote on submissions. I've seen FP votes on the most inane of MLPs, but that has never caused those items to actually reach the FP or stopped something from being dumped. If enough people vote something stupid to FP, then so be it. That's what they want, I guess. But I'm not interested in some sort of moderation system where only the hardcore users who post lots, of high calibre, and often, end up making all the decisions of what articles I see. On /., I know I don't have any say in what gets posted. I'm ok with that, because they aren't pretending to be democratic about it. K5 tends to crow that it's so much better than /. because the stories are "picked by you," but if I have to expend extra energy to get to pick stories, then that isn't "picked by me." That's BOUGHT by me, and the currency is my time and energy. Am I supposed to be restricted, because I only have time to come make one really worthwhile post a month? If so, then I think I'll just take myself elsewhere.

Either I'm correct, or you've done a poor job of explaining this idea of yours. From what I've read, I don't particularly like it. I personally find alot of things you might call "flame wars" to just be real discussions worth reading. Up until recently had been very bored with the lack of difference of opinion, and stale boring discussion on this site. Lately there have been some real arguments, and more controversial stuff going on. Good. I may not like all of the trolls, but at least I have to think about what I say before I post it because of them. I don't desire to go back to the overly-polite, politically correct commentary I was reading when I first joined k5.

If you can't stand the heat, then stay out of the kitchen.

This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.

The point I got out of this was... (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by John Milton on Wed May 16, 2001 at 11:35:57 PM EST

Any system of moderation should directly reflect the quality of my posts. The proposed system of currency isn't directly related to the quality of comments. It doesn't make it any harder to make stupid posts. It just makes it harder for people to have real discussions.

Point taken, and I don't see any real problems with the system right now. People post stupid articles. People mod them down. The discussions in the polygamy article didn't seem to be just noise to me. Some articles just don't provoke much interesting sentiment. However, it doesn't hurt to consider the future.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

[ Parent ]
brownie points (3.14 / 7) (#25)
by Jin Wicked on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:24:05 AM EST

I don't need some twisted scoring system to decide what is and is not a quality post to me. I'll judge them myself, as I read them, and I'll read what I have time for. It's as simple as that.

This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.

[ Parent ]
I don't like it (4.36 / 11) (#15)
by adamant on Wed May 16, 2001 at 11:26:00 PM EST

I think that you might be trying too hard to fix something that's not really broken. In general, I think that people should be left alone to do what they'll do (within reason of course).

Yeah, it's been a good ride here at k5 -- but it's bound to change eventually. Who knows? Maybe this place will get even better after the publicity settles down.

I've seen a few examples lately of obvious trolling, flame-wars, bad writing, etc. But I've also seen at least one example in the last week of the process working remarkably well where a horridly written but interesting story was posted to the queue, went through quite a lengthy editorial process, got yanked and replaced with an excellent story and spawned a very high quality discussion. That's a good thing, right?

I think that human nature leads us to believe that things were always more attractive in some "golden age" of the past. But I also think that we should really value and enjoy what we have at the present. It's not such a bad thing.


I guess it's just me.... (4.57 / 14) (#17)
by AmberEyes on Wed May 16, 2001 at 11:31:35 PM EST

....but I fail to see the practicality of making a plan designed to keep K5 from becoming "like that other site"...
Kuro5hin has been growing to be more and more like the other site, at least in terms of signal to noise.
P.S. It's called Slashdot. It's not a bad word.

....set up to where only certain people can post, certain people can comment, and certain people can do whatever, mirroring Slashdot's own system of the Illuminati that run the site choosing the stories, indirectly (through code) choosing who can rate, and other such nonsense.

A band of determined trolls could get past this system with ease. What if I want to spam the diary page into oblivion? Looking at your formula, it doesn't cost me anything to do that. Or, some of my troll friends and I could post a bazillion stories to the queue, then vote on them all with reckless abandon, thus increasing our points. The more interwoven the rules get, the more they can be tweaked and pulled apart, much like bugs cropping up in huge code chunks.

Face it. Web communities CAN'T be run as pure signal. To try and cram it into a "pure signal" mold is ludicrous. This site ceases to be a bastion of free speech and expression of opinion (which, face it, is it) when we have to start counting our zorkmid to see if we can say something.

I have no problem with seeing this site grow, so long as it doesn't in any way, shape, or form, even potentially change my abilities to post my opinions. Otherwise, why would I come here? Why would anyone come here?

Personally, I don't think any of the trolls here are that bad so far - especially if we compare them to Slashdot's bunch. But as soon as you declare kuro5hin to be this high pillar of pure signal and trollicide, you can bet droves of them will come.

I don't understand how fewer comments will automatically increase the number of good comments, especially if you have drooling and bloodcrazed trolls pounding at the doors to say something.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. K5 ain't broke, at least not in this way.

I voted +1 Section, not because I agree, but because I'd like to see compelling argument as to why this is a good idea. One of my K5 friends thought this should be sectioned as "Humor". I would tend to agree.


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
Do you need a receipt sir? (4.66 / 9) (#19)
by reel_life on Wed May 16, 2001 at 11:45:24 PM EST

You have just deducted 2,065 zorkmids from your account. Would you like a receipt for your transaction? [Y/N]

Thank you for posting at K5. Have a productive day!

Please note that pushing Y or N will automatically deduct 5 zorkmids from your account.

All your webcam pics are belong to the k5 cabal!
[ Parent ]

it is increasingly more broke (2.50 / 6) (#27)
by kellan on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:48:40 AM EST

The signal-to-noise ratio really is getting worse, and the chance of getting any sort of meaningful response to a comment after the top 25 is going down. Why wait until the thing totally stops working like /.? Slashdot is essentially Rob's personal site at this point, I mean who bothers to read the comments?

I have no problem with seeing this site grow, so long as it doesn't in any way, shape, or form, even potentially change my abilities to post my opinions. Otherwise, why would I come here? Why would anyone come here?
Well maybe you come to post your opinions, but I come for the dialog. If all your looking for is a place to state your opinions then you're right, K5 probably is working.


[ Parent ]

Slashdot (4.00 / 5) (#29)
by sigwinch on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:28:06 AM EST

Slashdot is essentially Rob's personal site at this point, I mean who bothers to read the comments?
I often read and participate on the technical items. E.g., I have followed the Bluetooth and Linux PDA comments closely. The "cultural" news items, like the recent 13 yro suicide, also have some interesting and informative comments, often by people who are (or at least *claim*) to have first-hand knowledge of the situation.

I think the main problem with Slashdot is that Rob & co. are drowning under the submission queue. Because so much crap is submitted, and so many good submissions are dumped, there's less incentive to write good stories, and more fluff shows up that there's no point discussing. I mean, what is there to say when you see "Open-Source Pundits Respond To M.S. FUD" for the 37th time?

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

my problem is not the stories (3.20 / 5) (#31)
by kellan on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:36:40 AM EST

My problem with Slashdot is not the stories, I think the stories are about on par with any other personal weblog. I'm shocked that you find the comments interesting enough to participate in. I periodically check to see if anything intelligent is being said, but I'm constantly disappointed. Maybe I just remember how it was....

Got a link for that Bluetooth and PDAs stuff? As an ex-Palm employ I can tell you that the Bluetooth stack we bought along with Extended System sucked. Bluetooth is a royal pain in the ass to implement.


[ Parent ]

Slashdot comments (4.00 / 4) (#45)
by sigwinch on Thu May 17, 2001 at 04:23:41 AM EST

I'm shocked that you find the comments interesting enough to participate in.
Well, I read quickly and have a really good crap filter. Up until about 6 months ago I read with a 0 threshold, and before that I read at -1. (Besides, where else am I gonna see penis birds and the spork family? ;-)

Here's an annotated list of recent stories I found useful:

  1. Dell Notebooks Catch On Fire! I have one of these beasties, and it was nice to see that Dell was actually trying to a good job.
  2. Bioinformatics This is an area I'm interested in, and there were a lot of interesting comments from industry insiders.
  3. Version Control For Documentation Lots of informative comments with good links. But not a single link to an open-source document control system oriented towards engineering work. Looks like I'm gonna have to finish the one I've been writing on and off for the past few years.
  4. A Wireless Revolution From The Garage Ultrawideband radio technology. A couple of comments had better technical criticisms of why it wouldn't work well for comms than I've read in the industry rags. OTOH, it seems like it would make a decent portable imaging radar (just the thing for explosive ordnance disposal).
  5. No link. Numerous articles on insecurity of IEEE 802.11b. I'm designing this into a product, and it's good to see continual news about 802.11b's problems.
  6. Embedded Linux Flexes Its Muscles @ ESC 2001 I'm doing embedded Linux currently. The comments had lots of good links to other embeddable OSes, including some interesting-seeming ones I'd never heard of before.
  7. No link. Numerous Bluetooth articles. Comments confirmed that it's mostly vapor.
  8. No link. Free space optical wireless comms. A comment mentioned a guy who was dodging the spectrum and copper fascists by lasering voice and data across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Got a link for that Bluetooth and PDAs stuff?
BlueZ Bluetooth stack for Linux. For Linux 2.4. GPL. Berkeley sockets interface! (If I see another ioctl() hack I'm gonna murder someone). Service Discovery Protol is in userland! Haven't tried to build it yet, but the source is readable, functions are short and sweet, and it seems sanely architected. And the primary author doesn't seem like an idiot. Quite a contrast to the other Linux stacks out there.
As an ex-Palm employ I can tell you that the Bluetooth stack we bought along with Extended System sucked.
Care to elaborate? Or should I just wait for the Extended Systems stack we're negotiating for to show up, and find out for myself?
Bluetooth is a royal pain in the ass to implement.
Gah! I actually started writing a stack at one point and gave up. It's a lot more complicated than TCP/IP, and the spec is nowhere near RFC-quality writing.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

bluetooth (2.00 / 1) (#88)
by kellan on Fri May 18, 2001 at 02:06:57 PM EST

Care to elaborate? Or should I just wait for the Extended Systems stack we're negotiating for to show up, and find out for myself?
send me an email kellan@protest.net

Gah! I actually started writing a stack at one point and gave up. It's a lot more complicated than TCP/IP, and the spec is nowhere near RFC-quality writing.
you've to love that design by a corporate committee feel don't you? at least 802.11 was designed by one company, its still a proprietary mess, but better then bluetooh.


[ Parent ]

being popular is lame. (4.09 / 11) (#20)
by ikarus on Wed May 16, 2001 at 11:53:14 PM EST

i've noticed a lot of people lately complaining about the fact that k5 is getting popular and there being more activity (ie. comments, stories). i even recall reading a post about people wanting to modify scoop to make "invite-only" sites.

is a little bit of popularity that bad? do you think that a site like k5 could sustain itself (financially [ads])with only a handful of visitors? the fact that k5 has a userbase is what has allowed it to get a revenue stream (maybe large, maybe small, who knows), some new equipment, and bandwidth. do think k5 got a mention in wired magazine for being a small site with a selective elitist userbase? who want to run a site with no or few user?

it got me thinking of song called "handbook for the sellout" by five iron frenzy which describe the attitude it seems many are starting to take. here are the words:

you found a way, to draw a line, between the world and you. Faking your identity it's true.
Do you think that they're too cool now? Being popular is lame. You're the one who made them popular, all their songs are still the same.

You found them first, it made you stand apart, you know? But then everyone jumped on the same bandwagon, making you an average joe. A lemming for the mediocre, you were just a plain old joker status quo. Blame it on the band now. If you prick them do they bleed? What's the point in playing what they want, if you won't let them succeed?

Do you remember where we all came from? Do you remember what it's all about? When you made a point to be objective, before you started writing Handbook for the Sellout.

You sunk your worth in being different, just to be like your own kind. You traded in objectiveness for the underground you follow blind.

sure, k5's not a band, but i believe the thinking is the same.

The problem with k5... (4.57 / 21) (#21)
by plastik55 on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:13:36 AM EST

...is not the signal to noise ratio. The signal to noise ratio is just fine.

It's the signal to wank ratio.

See this story for an example; here is another. Hundreds of comments, yet the comments making points you coldn't have thought of in yourself in five minutes can be counted on one hand. Most of them are rated 3 or below.

People make a big stink about "meaningful conversation" here. Apparently this means pseudo-philosopical definition-grubbing, done with a rhetorical technique of the "my words are bigger than yours, and my logical analysis is better too" variety.

A clue, folks:

Meaningful discourse does not mean beating a dead horse with endlessly rehashed arguments. It does not involve cultivating a "persona" through post after post filled with navel-gazing and self-inflating pomposity.

It does not mean arguing over fine points of grammar. It does not mean inflating a one-sentence thesis into five hundred words, just to make yourself look good. It does not mean blockquoting every other sentence of the parent comment and disecting them with the rhetorical equivalent of blows with a blunt object.

Meaningful discourse does not--no, can not begin with a "we're better than the others" attitude, whether the "others" are Slashdot, "trolls," or the unwashed masses.

And meaningful discourse cannot be enforced (and WILL be destroyed) through an exclusonary, overcomplicated moderation system.

Also... (3.40 / 5) (#52)
by Wonko The Sane on Thu May 17, 2001 at 08:12:23 AM EST

Also, meaningful discourse does not consist of a dozen statements of the form "X is not this. X is not that. X can not be something!". If you write something, don't forget to back it up.

This is an EX-PARROT!
[ Parent ]
You're phenomenally good at missing the point. (3.00 / 1) (#94)
by plastik55 on Sat May 19, 2001 at 01:12:21 AM EST

I must have forgotten to say: Meaningful discourse does not require posts like the one I just wrote.

Happy now?

[ Parent ]

Like the idea, don't like the numbers (3.90 / 10) (#23)
by Sheepdot on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:29:15 AM EST

I'd really quick like to let you know I appreciate what you've suggested, it's an interesting idea even if it is somewhat swiped from other sites.

The problem is that neither of those two sites you mentioned are growing at the rate that k5 currently is, and the numbering system might be a reason why.

Now to really rip on the system you proposed:

>> submitting a story to the queue = +0

Okay, so no benefit, no loss. Why exactly no loss? Wouldn't it be a good idea to make those that attempt to post pay a small amount for doing so? Currently your system has no way of stopping queue flooding by the ardent troll.

>> rating a story = +1

I'd call it "voting on a story", but giving points for voting encourages getting stories through the queue in a timely fashion, I like it.

>> having your story post = +100

Karma whoring is all I can say. What about those of us who have never submitted a story and prefer rather to moderate comments or give ones of our own?

Also, coupled with the first point you made about submitting a story, there is only an incentive now for trolls or Katz wannabes to continually submit crap to the queue, giving the rest of us a headache.

>> posting a comment = -5 per word

Eek! Now I'm *REALLY* getting a kick in the pants for being a guy who likes to read, moderate, and comment! How about a bell curve that *adds* to your counter after the first 25 words have a bell counter that subtracts from them? Here's an example:

"First post!" - Minus -10 for first word, minus -5 for second word.

"Why not look at the social implications of enacting such a system? When everyone can ride motorcycles without a helmet, what kind of crazy world would we be living in? I mean, what are we doing when we send that kind of message to our kids? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!" (Not my views on the subject at all) The comment would come out even with 50 words, for a total of 0 points lost or gained. (Granted, trolls and first-posters could get around this by posting long comments, but the longer the comment, the easier it oft is to find the troll, and the number of words can be used against you if your comment is rated 0)

>> rating a comment = +1

Well, I like this, but here again, you might get people to simply start rating 2's, so they don't give others high comments, and they get comment points themselves. Then you'll get the ardent folks that will rate everything 2 using a script. Good idea, just needs to be thought out. Like maybe having a random chance of increasing your count when you rate by a sum of 10 or 5 or so, depending on the scale.

>>having your story, journal, or comment replied to = +1 per word in reply

Here again, you have people getting points for feeding or worse, biting on trolls. Maybe no points in this would be best since it could work both ways.

>> rating a comment to 0 = -20

Well, this right here is a shocker. To rate with 5 0's is going to cost me 100 rates of comments or one story. Since I can submit a story to the queue for no cost, I'm going to keep firing them off.

>> having your comment rated to 0 = -20

Ouch, I can see flamewars happening as folks blame each other for karma whoring and attempting to knock each other off their high pedestal with multiple accounts and much, much, more.

>> rating a comment to 1 = -10


>> having your comment rated to 1 = -10


>> posting a journal entry = +0

Well, you've pretty much given legit diary posters no incentive to post, and spammers the reason to. Team this up with getting your journal commented on and you have a bunch of people unknowningly giving a troll all he needs to fire off his next comment.

>> having your comment rated something that isn't 1 or 0 = value of rating (2, 3, 4 or 5)

Interesting idea, and what I think should probably be the foundation of your point system, if you attempt to revise it.

All in all I like the idea, but I really don't like the way you propose doing it.

Making K5 more elitist than it already is (4.65 / 26) (#28)
by Saxifrage on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:50:46 AM EST

I will preface this by saying: I love this site. I read it more religiously than the New York Times or the Oregonian (my local newspaper). It's wonderful. But sometimes, we get a little full of ourselves, and then, we start seeing problems.

I'm going to echo a number of people who have gone before me in saying, there's nothing wrong with being like Slashdot. What there IS something wrong with is having meaningful content blasted into oblivion; it's the whole reason that our rating system exists. Slashdot in and of itself is not a problem; it is the way that Slashdot's community deals with itself that is a problem. Convoluted? Let me explain this before I launch into a diatribe of sorts as to why I believe the suggested plan will make K5 hostile, and more elitist than we already are.

Slashdot, in and of itself, is a wonderful site-- breaking news immediately goes up, with a link to a news source, usually reputable, that has more information on the topic. Discussions can be wonderful, and pleasant to read. But there are no controls on how the discussion flows, and so as a result, the site suffers from a crisis of image. If you browse at a high enough threshhold, you will generally see meaningful discussion for the first 25-50 comments. (It drops off afterward, but that's because after that, things get a little hard to follow there.) This even wouldn't be a problem, except that the fact that their staff has never really implemented a system encouraging limited but meaningful discussion, as we have here -- leading to a proliferation of meaningless, irrelevant discussion and flames embedded within the context of what could be an interesting story.

The reason, I believe, that this system could be nothing other than detrimental to Kuro5hin's community is primarily that this system encourages the development of an active, vocal elite. One could argue this is already true; however, there is flexibility among the elite, because anyone can join it if they read often enough and post insightful comments. (Then there are those of us who TRY, but have not yet achieved the reputation requisite to enter the elite; I count myself among those.)

Veterans and articulate, vocal individuals would be greatly benefited by this plan, of course. Over time, a veteran could accumulate a huge number of points, by just rating positively and posting stories, without ever actually posting comments, and could then, maliciously or without really trying, blast the system to oblivion by virtue of their large resources. It's akin to a politician who spends all his career hedging his bets, voting the party line, gaining popularity, so that in his last term, he decides to be his own man: He has the capital to do so, and it's his last big thrill. (Anyone who has read "Interface" by Stephen Bury and Neal Stephenson will recognize the reference.)

However, it would be extremely difficult for someone who is new to post terribly often. We all know, as something on the order of seventeen thousand, six hundred and seventy-seven different stories have remarked, that the queue moves slowly; if one's ability to speak relied on the capital inherent in posting stories and getting comments moderated up, it would be a royal pain to post regularly, for a newbie and for anyone (like myself) who would have difficulty economizing words or comments.

In short, to sum up everything I've said up to this point, the system would encourage an elite, in particular the group of us whose comments are already regularly moderated up, to continue being vocal, because they could afford to, while discouraging new users from becoming vocal. Is this really what we want? A community that uses an inequitable system in order to discourage immigration? This is the Internet, and we cannot isolate ourselves from the new users streaming in from every corner of the world, unless we hope to become an insular, tiny enclave of intellectuals. If that is what we want, well, I don't know if this is really the kind of community I want to be in, at all.

Sound bite time: I believe that all individuals, whether they have spent one minute or one week or one month or one year here, have the right to participate in our great experiment. I believe in Kuro5hin because we are a community that educates, not a community that discriminates.

"I may disagree vehemently with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." - Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire
Of course (2.75 / 4) (#43)
by John Milton on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:56:11 AM EST

Once you create currency or capital in any form the fatcats arrive. And they'll hold on to their fistfuls with a death grip.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

[ Parent ]
On reflection... (4.38 / 13) (#32)
by John Milton on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:52:06 AM EST

I've been looking through all the comments in this story, including my own, and I have to say that there is no signal to noise problem. The fact that I'm reading this and not running through 2000 goat links and inane comments proves it. Some of the people here have said that there is a problem of no duh comments that anyone of us could figure out. I've noticed that we usually see those comments when the stories pretty crappy, and no one has much to say about it anyways.

If there is a sufficiently interesting topic, intelligent debate will ensue. You can't expect people to say much about the fact that aol is making it's customers use their email software. (No offense starbreeze) On the other hand, I enjoyed the polygamy article a lot. It was a topic that you could really comment on. Does every story have to be filled with intellectual jems? I don't always look for them. Sometimes, I just want to know what's going on in the world.

Kuro5hin is not slashdot. Slashdot makes no attempt to allow the community to contribute. You listen to what Malda gives you and you sing with the chorus. The community has no emotional investment in slashdot. Their ideas aren't wrapped up with it, and so they turn on it, because they realize that they are just it's junkies.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

New User Cap (3.62 / 8) (#34)
by Anonymous 6522 on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:58:12 AM EST

Personally, all I think K5 needs is some kind of cap on how many accounts per time period can be created. Then we won't get a big influx of people who post slashdot-style, and continue to post slashdot-style because that's how all their buddies, who also joined recently, are posting. It would keep the newbie to non-newbie ratio relatively low, and allow us to absorb them instead of them taking over.

Scripting attack (4.75 / 4) (#37)
by John Milton on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:10:51 AM EST

I thought of that before, but someone would just right a script to sign up for accounts as soon as they became available. Then genuine newbies would never be able to sign up.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

[ Parent ]
Make it hard for automated user creation (4.00 / 5) (#40)
by Anonymous 6522 on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:26:11 AM EST

What we added some kind of quiz to make it harder for a script to make an account? It could have some questions about k5 (they'd have to read the FAQ to answer them) and some general questions that would be hard for a computer to answer (which of these is a butterfly?). The answers would be mixed around randomly, and any images used would have randomly generated names.

I think freenet is discussing a simliar idea to limit automated insertion of data into their network.

[ Parent ]

Hmm yes Smithers. (3.50 / 4) (#41)
by John Milton on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:44:02 AM EST

And blood tests, don't forget blood tests. Seriously, I don't know. It would be worth a try. On another note, I just looked at my last comment. Why oh why can I not remember that right!=write?

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

[ Parent ]
yup, and we've discussed it here (4.00 / 4) (#76)
by jayfoo2 on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:15:21 PM EST

In fact just a few weeks ago in this story.

Interesting discussion, very tough problem.

[ Parent ]
The problem with numbers (3.33 / 6) (#44)
by thunderbee on Thu May 17, 2001 at 04:09:58 AM EST

...is that you don't take into account the content of the post (being a submited story or a comment or reply). Whatever you do, there will be a way to get around the rules, and sometimes you'll end up substracting points from someone with an intelligent post because in this situation warranted a sort or long post.

Not to say that one shouldn't try or think about it, it's just that I believe it'll take way more than this to solve all the problems (and I'm not sure there are so many), without creating new ones like heavy karma whoring or discouraging the "good" writers.

Sort of like the IRS (3.50 / 2) (#74)
by John Milton on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:06:30 PM EST

Sort of like the tax code. Originally most of the exemptions were meant to help people. Now there are so many of them that the ordinary people get caught in some legal trap, while the rich and crafty ones play them like a violin.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

[ Parent ]
Good post, even just for the discussion (3.00 / 7) (#46)
by nhems on Thu May 17, 2001 at 04:53:04 AM EST

It's obvious theres rumblings of discontent between various parties. Instituting a full-scale karma system could have nasty ramifications on the quality of stories posted, and induce all kinds of weird flame wars and political bullshit. We have to think very carefully before limiting anyone's ability to think (and troll) freely, and as always we (um, i mean rusty:) need the flexibility to re-change the system if it becomes unworkable. cheers
posting (3.40 / 10) (#47)
by chale on Thu May 17, 2001 at 05:34:51 AM EST

i have been around for a while, reading more than posting. i think that anything limiting posters, even the trolls, will take away from k5 that which makes it appealing, the open discussion of what we the members of the community find interesting.

i'm ambivalent about rating comments since i don't really care about how my own comments are rated.

the current system regarding the submission queue might be improved, if rusty didn't get carried away trying to make it perfect.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -John Muir

Interesting but misguided (4.92 / 26) (#48)
by kmself on Thu May 17, 2001 at 06:14:54 AM EST

You need to define "not scaling well" more explicitly. Where you seem to be doing so "the signal to noise has been dropping... trolls... number of comments... repetition of comments", I'm pretty sure I don't agree with you.

There are some articles that generate a lot of discussion -- close to 400 comments in some cases. There are an awful lot that float around a score or two comments. This is a broad range of interest levels, and is a good thing: K5 can accommodate an intimate conversation, or a rollicking debate society. Number of comments is not of itself a bad thing. Repetition will naturally occur in long threads. You'd need something akin to a Wiki to avoid this. That's not a K5 design goal.

There are more trolls. There was a rather interesting episode earlier this evening as I write in which an author became unhappy about a story that was dropped from queue (hey, it's happened to me too). But the overall troll level is pretty damned low, and even now the hidden comments display rarely shows more than one hidden post every day or two. How does this compare to Slashdot again?

Signal to noise -- this is probably true, but with increased size, the really good signal is increasing, and the moderation system tends to pick it up. Not always, not perfectly, but pretty damned well for a pretty simple system.

So, I have to ask, what's your specific goal. You're going to do better describing your preferred system, and then designing controls to help assure it. I don't see this here -- you've got an awful lot of design, but not much goal.

There is a certain logic to having some resource limits on specific system actions. How this gets tied together, I'm not really sure, and any system is probably going to be relatively ineffective against concerted attack -- you have to remember that there's no such thing as an authenticated user on K5. A K5 userID is as close as the nearest free email service. Still, it might make sense to have some sensible limits per user, such as posts and submissions per day and/or week. A set of descending limits -- say:

  • 3 posts/minute
  • 15 posts/hour
  • 40 posts/day
  • 2 submissions/day
  • 5 submissions/week
...might make sense.

I am somewhat interested in ideas for making it worthwhile for people to post high quality submissions, and not post low quality ones. I haven't had any compelling ideas on this myself though. I'd also like to encourage quality moderations, and discourage low quality ones -- a key problem, of course, is working out what a quality moderation is. A related problem is working out what K5 has of value to provide its users. I suppose you're indirectly suggesting that privileges to post, comment, and moderate, are those benefits.

Which gets to a few other issues.

Really abusive behavior only exists on the fringes. There have been a handful of cases of flagrantly abusive moderation practices (and a few more of people taking up vendettas or tit-for-tat campaigns, but to little effect). We've had a couple of flameouts. There's Sig11, thurler, and streetlawyer. And for the most part, K5 creaks and groans around them. Limits sufficient to restrict comment postings or article submissions would almost certainly have a more oppressive effect on the white hats at K5, stifling conversation. It's better to have effective monitoring systems to identify abusive accounts and cancel them than to penalize everyone in the possibility that they might misbehave.

Unbalanced incentive schemes do more harm than good. Case in point is Slashdot karma whoring. K5 Mojo is mostly...worthless. I get to see some of the low-level crap that's posted here. Hardly a compelling benefit. OK, so to sooth my ego, I get a '0' rating to swat imbeciles with. Better than nothing, but as Rusty puts it, the thing that makes Mojo work so well is that it's really not worth anything.

Cumulative benefits promote distortions. This is another element of /. karma, and is the reason why K5 moderation (and Mojo) is on a 1-5 floating point scale, rather than an open-ended cumulative point system -- which now has caps hacked onto it. Mojo isn't something you can bank. It's not something you can use to get ahead of the pack. You're either approaching perfection (5). Quantity doesn't matter, quality does. And in the case of Mojo, old basis is aged out over time -- your score is present-weighted.

Where incentives and weights are used, they should be tailored to goals. I'm pretty convinced that none of the specific values for scores you've suggested are suitable. I'm also pretty convinced that suitable values would most likely only emerge from a predictive scoring model based on statistical analysis, for a system such as you're presenting. By simplifying the system to a set of activities and resource limitations on these activities, a direct correlation can be determined. This simplifies cause and effect, and management. Not that resource limits are necessarily required.

Growing the system is a goal. One criticism of K5 I've seen expressed in several different ways it that growth is not necessarily good, or that it's not a necessary goal, or that it inevitably leads to failure. Larger communities make conversation more difficult, granted. But the corollary is that all large communities break down. I'd like to think this isn't necessary. As I put it recently, I'd like to stop running away from where all the people are. K5/Scoop are an experiment in scalable group discussion.

A sufficiently large community can't be fully centralized. Bits and pieces of K5 have to be split off. I'd like to see the article submission process decentralized such that submissions go directly to some section -- Meta, MLP, News, etc., with a quick "fix, kiss, or dump" assessment made. The submission would then be floating either to the original section (if good enough), resubmitted to a more appropriate section if miscategorized, posted to the author's diary (if dumped), or to a morgue (spam, trolls). Moderation and other activity including reads, comments, and comment moderation, on the article in section would determine whether or not it got front page placement, with rotation and retention times specified by section (and yes, this really is simpler and better than what you're suggesting, besides, I'm on a roll ;-). And good content from various areas, including diaries, could be promoted forward. The centralized submission queue would disappear. The apparent data load on K5 would be dispersed.

K5/Scoop provides a wealth of data already. There's an awful lot of data, some explicit, some implicit, being gathered by Scoop all the time. Posts, moderations, reading patterns, submissions. I'd like to see the existing data used in a form directly aimed at specific goals (encouragement or discouragement of behavior) rather than layering some Byzantine indirect scheme onto the system.


You make some good points. Coarse resource controls may be helpful. Better incentive systems might help things out, but I don't feel this is a currently critical issue for K5. Straightening out the moderation queue is far more important. Tossing a scoring system willy-nilly isn't necessarily going to fix things and may make them worse. Certain of your goals appear to contradict K5's aims. But I don't agree with your assessment that K5 isn't scaling well.

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

Help me here people (3.33 / 3) (#70)
by kmself on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:26:33 PM EST

I can't be right about everything.

Someone's got to give a primer on how not to write "end-of-argument" posts.

There's some ideas up there, some good, some bad, I'd be interested in hearing what works and doesn't for you.

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

Aagh! So much! (3.33 / 3) (#78)
by fuzzrock on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:48:54 PM EST

Okay, you make a lot of points, so I'm going to pick and choose.

First, I agree that this system (as described above) is clearly not even close to perfect. It has become clear to me that the system I described would likely have a number of awful side-effects. Probably not a good idea.

You asked for my goals. Okay. I read K5 for two reasons. The first is to expose myself to other people's ideas. In order to do this, I would prefer that the ideas I read have had some thought put into them by the author. I would also prefer that the ideas be relatively new - at a minimum, they haven't been brought up already in the same discussion. So the problem for me right now is that many discussions on K5 are suffering from a surfeit of comments. The top story currently has 438 comments. Reading them all to make sure nobody else has made my point would be prohibitive. So one goal of mine is to decrease the number of comments posted.

I also regularly see almost pure noise. Posts longer than 2 sentences tend not to get rated 0, even when they are clearly trolls or just plain stupid. I myself never rated those to 0 - I would always think that maybe they seemed good to somebody else. So I'd like to put some kind of system in place to discourage those. That may be an unattainable goal, but there you go.

The AI thread I mentioned earlier has 438 comments. I skimmed through it, and didn't see a single comment that had been rated more than 10 times. I gotta admit, I didn't rate anything either. In fact, I hardly ever rate anything that doesn't really strike home for me. That's another goal: encouraging the rating of all comments, by every reader. How cool would that be?

I think limiting the number of posts someone can make is not a good idea - mostly because I don't think the problem stems from people writing too many posts too quickly. I think it stems just from people writing posts too quickly.

I'm not sure how I feel about decentralizing the story queue. I don't have a whole lot of problem with the story queue, at least not in terms of too many stories. It is clear that we need editing facilities for stories (see my earlier poll-adding editorial comment for example) though. Let me turn your question around: what problem are you trying to solve that way, and what is your goal?


[ Parent ]

Filtering (4.20 / 10) (#79)
by kmself on Thu May 17, 2001 at 05:52:25 PM EST

I left one idea out of that rant, one that I've been plugging Rusty for since forever: filtering.

Slashdot has a broken moderation system, but it does have filtering. I'd like to see same on K5, though how it's implemented is an interesting question. Thoughts, largely recycled:

  • Mean moderation score. Hit an article with, say, mod > 3, to filter out most of the cruft. Make filters floating point.
  • Allow a ceiling. Slashdot is limited to just a floor -- display comments with a minimum rating of value. This is useful for finding unfairly downrated posts. So, say, mod < 2.
  • Allow factoring in number of moderations, age, and standard deviation. Say, don't filter any posts less than an hour old, or with fewer than three mods, or add the SD to the mean to get a composite score factoring in controversiality.
  • Tree clipping. If a tree root is below your threshold but nodes within it are above it, reparent these nodes at the root discussion display.
  • Branch view settings. When dropping from main page to branch view (following a thread), apply a secondary filtering ruleset. Moderation tends to work better for main tree than branch nodes. At /., I usually browse main display at +3, trees at +0.

I think this would address most of your concerns, no? What K5 has right now is a good comment moderation system, but aside from some sorting rules, it doesn't make much use of the data.

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

Your post = 430 words (none / 0) (#109)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon May 28, 2001 at 02:47:51 AM EST

You got 100 for getting your story accepted. So my quick estimate of your total is somewhere around -2050 points.

Better get to rateing some posts. At one a second it shouldn't take much more than half an hour to pay for that post.

In other words, your point system seems to needs some work. For one thing, if you are wanting quality posts, putting such a cost on long posts seems a bit counter productive.

btw, The above cost me about 400 points. By your system I should go rate some trolls up, eh.

[ Parent ]

A reward system may be ? (3.00 / 2) (#100)
by mami on Sun May 20, 2001 at 02:33:15 PM EST

I am somewhat interested in ideas for making it worthwhile for people to post high quality submissions, and not post low quality ones

A reward system for people who agree to authentication and post only under their real identy, giving up anonymity. The more people are willing to write without pseudonym, the better the qualtity of their posts. May be through donations via a tip jar. Or a yearly mandatory subscription fee of $12.00 per year for all account holders. Add a features to allow the account holder to post donation to those authors they want to reward. Each account holder would have one dollar to donate per month to any non anonymous author they like best.

[ Parent ]

A nation of whores (4.00 / 8) (#49)
by delmoi on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:01:55 AM EST

Remember slashdot karma?

Remember the new term we all learned soon after?

That's right kids, Karma Whore.

By giving out 'points' like this, you turn k5 into a navel-grazing game. I don't know, maybe it has a little bit of those factors already. But that could seriously detract from the intellectual honesty of the site, while superficial raising the quality of the prose.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Navel-grazing? (2.66 / 6) (#81)
by pwhysall on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:47:04 PM EST

Is that what the tiny tummy-cows do?

I *wondered* where the fluff all went.


Sorry :-)
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
[ Parent ]

bad idea (3.75 / 12) (#54)
by codemonkey_uk on Thu May 17, 2001 at 09:08:57 AM EST

But when you ask why, I won't have enough points left to post a reply.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
55th Post! (3.22 / 9) (#55)
by baberg on Thu May 17, 2001 at 10:54:25 AM EST

Huh. Guess 55th post doesn't mean much around here.

But the problem with this model is that, as dozens of other people have pointed out, it leads to karma whoring, where people will post popular stories just so that they will get voted up and get the incredible +100 bonus.

I mean, let's look at the other positive points that you propose: +1 for either rating a comment or rating a story. Ooooh... Considering that you remove 5 points for every word of a comment, that means that we'll have people posting "First Post!" because that's all the points would allow them to do.

I'm sorry, I think that, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", and I really haven't seen the SNR go down that much. Just my opinion, as a post-DoS K5er (at least we haven't had any stories about how things have gone downhill after the DoS anymore)

Yowza... (2.41 / 12) (#56)
by RareHeintz on Thu May 17, 2001 at 10:58:56 AM EST

That's the best (K5 moderation revamp) idea I've heard in a while, and the first one to which I'll give a +1. The idea of directly reflecting the value a user creates (or destroys) has some real appeal.

- B
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily

We already whore enough ... (4.58 / 12) (#57)
by kostya on Thu May 17, 2001 at 11:42:17 AM EST

To use an over-generalization, we all whore enough already. Since mojo appears to be invisible (I can't find my rating except whether or not I'm "trusted", which I assume means you have mojo "high enough"), what do we whore for?


Yes, we are social animals. And while we can post our opinion for the world to see, we actually want the world, or at least K5, to listen. You can post, but will people read and listen? This matters to all of us--except perhaps the luser who just posts random gibberish like html graffiti. But that's why we have 0's.

Many would love to claim they are the paragon of independence, that they do not care what others think. But I think that would largely be self-delusion. Pretty much everyone on K5 cares what the K5 community thinks about their posts. What they regard as respect differs: thoughtful replies, compliments, high moderation, empassioned replies to the contrary, etc. But whatever it may be, we do care very much.

Some people would like to assign "troll" status to various userids; but the fact remains that many tollish accounts are well-read and responded to. Why? Because even if people hate them, they have some grudging respect for them. Otherwise, they would just ignore them. And many people do.

How do you get respect? Is there a system, an algorithm, some rating you can check daily?

Not really, although moderation seems to be how most people judge whether the community respects them. Most--many are clearly above that and post for the good of discussion, moderation be damned! ;-)

The problem with your system is that while it might defeat apparent signal-to-noise problems, it provides explicit terms on how the game of respect will be played at K5. And people are just too vain not to exploit the system. We can't help it. Even the best of us just love that warm fuzzy feeling of respect, judged by what we perceive it as (moderation, pissed of replies, whatever).

I think K5 works expressly because it doesn't have a formal system. People are forced to fall back on the quality of their discussion. And this, in a way, provides the self-policing behavior that allows for good discussion. Hey, a community that is self-policing? Whodathunkit?

I tried to find the comment, but my memory is bad. Someone (streetlawyer, spiralx, signall 11, somebody) was described as a troll in a discussion thread. They replied that yes, they do post inflamatory stuff, but they don't troll lightly. To do it too much would make their account worthless--no one would read their posts anymore.

Now, if someone who admits to trolling occasionally (for good purposes, in their mind) says that they do it carefully to preserve their respectability in the community, what does that say for the current K5 system?

That it works.

P.S. Additionally, I think your system sucks because I am one long-winded bastard :-)

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
*inhale* (3.42 / 7) (#59)
by ODiV on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:19:03 PM EST

He writes comments as a meditation<be> And those he plays never suspect
He doesn't whore for the mojo he wins
He doesn't whore for respect
He trolls the group to find the answer
The interesting, insightful comments
The hidden law of a probable flamewar
The numbers lead a dance

Apologies to Sting

[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
That was awesome! (2.00 / 3) (#60)
by kostya on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:22:13 PM EST

I'm sure others will say otherwise, but that was great!

Doesn't hurt that it is one of my favorite songs by Sting either :-)

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
grrr (2.33 / 3) (#61)
by ODiV on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:24:17 PM EST

thanks... Just wish I would have previewed.

Now I feel like doing the whole song. :)

[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
What was the song? (2.00 / 3) (#62)
by khallow on Thu May 17, 2001 at 12:51:54 PM EST

Another singer I don't listen to enough...

[ Parent ]
Shape of My Heart (2.50 / 4) (#64)
by kostya on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:01:31 PM EST

"That's not the shape of my heart"

Uses card playing analogies to portray an interesting picture about the inner man.

Great lyrics, but the song is even more moving. Some nice guitar or mandolin playing. Very moving, actually.

It's on 10 Summoner's Tales. An oldie but a goodie.

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
I was going to give you a -1 (3.00 / 4) (#63)
by khallow on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:00:50 PM EST

But the response is terrific. BTW, I think that you should increase the number of points for posting a story. Maybe, +10 points for each story in the queue. The main idea is sound, but the point distributions are all wrong (fortunately we can move points!). And I can see the need for fractional points particularly with the points per word. Maybe +1.1 or even +1.2 points per word instead of a meager +1 per word (err, for replies to your story).

Once we've implemented the system, the fractional points will come in handy to adjust anything that may be out of whack. Also, while this probably isn't within K5's budget, you should consider cash prizes for the ones that are the best K5 users. This point system will give us a great method for determining that!

Stating the obvious since 1969.

I believe this would be a bad idea. (3.50 / 4) (#65)
by Wiglaf on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:03:49 PM EST

Ok let me get this right. Just cause I rate comments and am semi active on posting comments I would have to start to worry about whether I am doing enough to be able to get the points to talk. I like the idea that if what I say has merit people will vote it up and if I don't they will vote it down. There is a quote that I am going to butcher so if anyone has the right one post it.

"There are men in this world who do nothing but ride in carriages and smoke cigars all day. IF you were to pay them for these activities they would immediatly cease those favoured past times."

-Mark Twain

The task of making this place a nice little msg board is and should be it's own reward. It shouldn't be turned into an ego stroking event. Nor should you disobey the important tenet of Keep It Simple Stupid.

what a great idea! (3.83 / 6) (#66)
by Shren on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:07:45 PM EST

I thought for 10 seconds.

But first... -5 points *per* *word*? This post already, excluding this sentance, has already cost me 55 points. Getting a story posted, and getting 100 comments to that story, would net me . . . 200 points. That's, what, one 40 word comment? Uh, no.

Second - why does it cost so much to rate something down? Rating something down is one of the most important aspects of moderation - it gets rid of noise.

Third - You *do* realize that anyone with a handful of accounts can have almost as many points as they want? All it would take is one shell script to log on, mod all my comments to 5, mod a bunch of other comments to 5 to hide my actions, and then never log that account again? Just one of many exploits...

no more users? (3.14 / 7) (#68)
by Seumas on Thu May 17, 2001 at 01:54:52 PM EST

I don't see any real solution other than limiting the number of users. After a point, all sites become noise and the people that were around when it was something special leave for greener pastures.

Slshdot was great for a couple years before it really started to spiral. It's still decent -- for links and stories, but it's pretty rare that I'll venture into the comment section to see what people are saying. Even rarer is that I might post a comment.

K5 has been great for the year and a half I've been around, but I've noticed it starting to spiral, too -- just over the last two months. Before that, you could see it on the horizon, but it was all paranoia. Now, you actually see people following up to other people's comments with worthless comments that are only intended to rile someone up or disrupt the flow of discussion. Some are as obvious as "You're a troll!" or "What a fucking commie!", while others are the less direct "you spelled that word wrong / put a comma in the wrong spot, used this phrase incorrectly".

Hopefully K5 will manage well and won't continue to turn into another Slashdot story -- I'm not sure where I'd move on to after that. In fact, I may not move on anywhere. I often wonder what life would be like if I spent more of it reading, working or studying rather than reading K5 front to back.
I just read K5 for the articles.

Contradicts a design goal (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by kmself on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:15:16 PM EST

Mine, if not Rusty's.

K5 is meant to scale to large amounts of traffic, diverse interests, and many readers, while delivering easily attainable, high-quality, information and discussion.

I throttling subscriptions is not compatible with this. Restricting the rate of growth might be an idea, but this would have to be addressed carefully.

Better would be to accomodate growth by allowing K5 to become a number of largely autonomous communities. See my earlier comments for more on this.

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

throttle (2.25 / 4) (#82)
by Seumas on Thu May 17, 2001 at 08:44:37 PM EST

No, I wouldn't suggest limiting subscriptions, either. While the larger a site gets the more trouble there is with general noise, it just isn't in the spirit of a community like this. But perhaps some sort of "initiation" or "posting privelege" . A minimum requirement to be met before being allowed to post at all. Or, perhaps, a posting privelege to match the "review hidden messages" theme.

For example, you need an average of xx points over xx period of time to be a trusted user that can mark posts '0' and view hidden comments. You could just as well require that a person maintain an xx score over xx period of time to post at all.

If the only 'votes' a person's comments gets are 0's and 1's, then there's probably not much value to their contribution and throttling their posting (or at least the rate at which they can post per day) may be a definite way to limit the amount of noise. For obvious reasons, it wouldn't make sense to set the throttle anywhere at or above about 2 points.

Just a rough idea, but who knows.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

Chicken/Egg (4.00 / 2) (#84)
by kmself on Fri May 18, 2001 at 04:38:55 AM EST

You've got a seeding problem: how does someone get moderation points before they can post for moderation? K5 already requires you have an account to post (though several freebies are out there, including the standard cypherpunks/cypherpunks), which is going to be enough to stymie participation by a large share of the public. Throwing additional barriers at people who haven't decided whether or not the site's worthwhile yet probably isn't the best way to proceed.

This is one of the neat things about Mojo. You get a rep early on, but the system reserves the right to change its mind. Note that there is a time and post component to trusted status -- I think 30 days and ten posts or something like that. Defaults are in the source, sites can change 'em.

The problem with disallowing posting rights entirely is that it's hard to break out of that state if you're put there by error. Right now untrusted users post with a default score of zero. Essentially, someone else has to come along and say "oh, that is worth reading", and moderate it up. And that someone has to be trusted.

The other problem is, as I've said elsewhere in this article, abuse is at the fringes. There's a very small number of accounts that cause problems (kezdeth, for example). These can largely be dealth with administratively, though tools to identify them might be helpful.

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

Er ... (3.50 / 6) (#71)
by aphrael on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:39:02 PM EST

two things in that proposal really bother me (and i'm not even getting into the meta-issues of whether or not the goal is a good one).

  • Why do you want to penalize people for posting comments? This is supposed to be a *discussion* site .... per word sanctions against posts will decrease discussion and probably discourage good discussion, as well.
  • Why would you want to sanction people rating posts at 1? Some posts are all noise and no signal, and while they shouldn't be caused to drop below visability threshold, they certainly aren't deserving of a better rating than a 1 ...

What problem are you trying to solve by doing this? It seems to me that it's an attempt to massively change the K5 culture, without really thinking through the infamous unintended side effects.

Wait a minute (3.25 / 4) (#72)
by makaera on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:45:16 PM EST

I have a few problems with this idea. First, you begin by calling it a "modest proposal" when it is actually a major overhual of the system. Second, you bemoan the thoughtlessness of many comments, and propose a system that would limit the size of comments. I think what you intend is for people to think twice before commenting. What I think will happen is that the average poster will just say what they want using fewer words. This will cause the discussion to be even more thoughtless and even more incoherent than it currently is since the posts will have less space to provide well-reasoned arguments and ideas. Finally, posts will become hard to read because posters_will_hook_sentences_together_so_that_they_are_only_one_word. This could be policed, but it would be difficult. The difficulty of improving the quality of the comments cannot be fixed by playing with the quantity or size of the comments.

Finally, who is going to implement all these changes? Rusty may be a genius :), but he is no god. This system seems to me like it would be difficult to implement.


"Ninety rounds in there," Joel Andrews said. "If you can't take it down with 90 rounds, you better turn in your badge!" -- from Washington Post

a modest proposal: a quick history (4.66 / 3) (#87)
by kellan on Fri May 18, 2001 at 01:36:43 PM EST

The name "A Modest Proposal" is drawn from Jonathan Swift's essay of the title "A Modest Proposal: For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being Aburden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public". Written in the early 1700s, Swift's satirical proposal was that poor children should be eaten.

It has become something of a tradition to call any similiarly controversial proposal, "A Modest Proposal" in reference to Swift's.


[ Parent ]

cool (2.00 / 1) (#90)
by makaera on Fri May 18, 2001 at 02:35:02 PM EST

I didn't know that. I'll have to remember it though, it might come in handy. Now, having learned something, I can go back to sleep.


"Ninety rounds in there," Joel Andrews said. "If you can't take it down with 90 rounds, you better turn in your badge!" -- from Washington Post
[ Parent ]

nice idea (2.75 / 4) (#73)
by jdtux on Thu May 17, 2001 at 02:58:49 PM EST

but as people have already said, this is a DISCUSSION site. why penalize someone for talking? perhaps penalize them for getting their comments rated down.
-1, I don't think it'd really work anyway

Thread divergence, like this comment for example (4.33 / 9) (#75)
by KWillets on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:13:40 PM EST

One problem that I think contributes to the "shotgun effect" when you have a lot of people posting is the large number of similar threads that come up under a story, with many, many top-level comments competing for attention. Everybody has a different point of view, and it's often difficult for an individual to present his or her views as a followup to another's comment.

A related problem is the horse race phenomenon, where you know that your comment will not get the ratings it "deserves" (OK, a bit of humility here) if it isn't posted within 5 minutes of the story appearing. People read, write a post, and submit it simultaneously with 50 other people, who may be saying the same thing.

The mere fact that you've been crowded out of the "in crowd" of early posts makes you feel like a troll, because you're reduced to getting attention by posting fragmented followups to others' comments instead of taking the time to put together a thoughtful post that won't get read, let alone rated.

For example I posted 3-4 times on the last two Quantum Cryptography stories on /., and I don't think any of them got any points at all (although most of the comments were the kind of fragmented followups that I mentioned above). One of the posts was a fairly technical debunking of some published research, a day or so after the story had run. I doubt if the person I was replying to even read the message, let alone a moderator.

In regards to the diverging-thread phenomenon, I wonder if there's some incentive that would make people group their comments into "interest groups" or threads that aren't necessarily all followups to another comment, but share a common topic. It would also help if people could somehow avoid duplicating efforts by posting the same views simultaneously.

Idea: If authors were required to post a title or summary when they push the "post a comment" button, before they write anything, the title could be displayed to other users, and people could get an idea of what's currently in the pipeline, before the comment is fully written.

Another idea: Allow moderators or others to group similar posts. This grouping would be controversial, but one might allow authors to designate voluntarily other posts that appear to say the same thing. You could have a "See also" followup, for example.

I agree... (3.00 / 1) (#102)
by Shren on Mon May 21, 2001 at 05:04:19 PM EST

I also tend to think that the appearance of comments should be delayed for some short time, say 2 hours, so you don't have to sit on the site to post a comment that will be seen.

[ Parent ]

Indirectly.... (3.25 / 4) (#77)
by minusp on Thu May 17, 2001 at 03:44:45 PM EST

...see this for a handbook of "what not to do."

Remember, regime change begins at home.
What About An Enforced Delay? (3.16 / 6) (#80)
by tudlio on Thu May 17, 2001 at 07:05:09 PM EST

I like some of the suggestions, but agree with the crowd that the cost per word is far too high. The idea is to encourage thoughtful (and therefore generally verbose commentary), not sound bytes.

I wonder if some sort of randomly implemented delay (on the order of 15 to 45 minutes) between when a comment is submitted and when it is posted might discourage the jump-on-the-bandwagon mentality and encourage more thoughtful responses?

insert self-deprecatory humor here
submissions (3.25 / 4) (#83)
by Seumas on Thu May 17, 2001 at 08:47:41 PM EST

This wouldn't work for submissions which, sometimes, can be voted out within an hour. Still, decent discussion can occur during that time.

Plus, if someone usually posts comments that (when rated) are rated at a 3 or higher on average, then throttling their posting ability doesn't do much good. You're now limiting the *signal* along with the noise.

Throttling posters who usually post at 1 to 2, on the other hand, would more severely limit the noise without doing so much damage to the signal. And setting a very strict limit to anyone with an average of 0 to 1 would give them an occasional chance to redeem themselves without giving them full bandwidth to scorch the board.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

would encourage repetition (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by kellan on Fri May 18, 2001 at 02:15:23 PM EST

I think this would encourage people to say the same thing over and over. If there are a limited number of inane things one can say about a story (not a proven fact at all :) then perhaps its best to let people say those things as quickly as possible, as a determent for those who follow.

And I particularily dislike Semuas's idea, which while interesting, seems like to install a k5 caste system faster then any other idea we've discussed in this thread.


[ Parent ]

I modestly propose a market-based "points&quo (4.00 / 1) (#93)
by khallow on Fri May 18, 2001 at 08:39:01 PM EST

I like some of the suggestions, but agree with the crowd that the cost per word is far too high. The idea is to encourage thoughtful (and therefore generally verbose commentary), not sound bytes.

I don't know, as in my previous post, I find the per word cost to be a little low actually.

I wonder if some sort of randomly implemented delay (on the order of 15 to 45 minutes) between when a comment is submitted and when it is posted might discourage the jump-on-the-bandwagon mentality and encourage more thoughtful responses?

This sounds like another good idea (we are coming up with so many in this discussion!). But I have a better idea.

We should have a market in points. In this way, valuable K5 members (those who have lots of points) can sell them to the slobs who don't for gifts, money, and services. It'll be beneficial for everyone! Then K5 can put in an eBay like market where you buy and sell things with K5 points (and take a cut off the top)! It beats banner ads, right?

[ Parent ]

I would prefer a posting ration... (4.33 / 6) (#86)
by marlowe on Fri May 18, 2001 at 12:46:30 PM EST

to either penalties or enforced delays. Let each user be allowed only so many bytes worth of comments per 24-hour period.

The smarter ones will use their ration wisely. And the jackasses will at least be posting less of their usual drivel. The quality of comments can only go up.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
Posting rations (none / 0) (#108)
by phobia on Thu May 24, 2001 at 07:43:27 PM EST

Is rationing posted bytes can only lead to an increase in comment quality, then you have assumed that the verbosity of a K5 member is inversely related to his/her value.

Does it then follow that lurkers are the ideal citizen?

[ "never talk to strangers" - RFC 1855, 2.1.2 ]

[ Parent ]
watchcarefully (4.00 / 5) (#91)
by funwithmazers on Fri May 18, 2001 at 04:56:58 PM EST


noproblem (3.00 / 2) (#92)
by khallow on Fri May 18, 2001 at 08:31:24 PM EST


[ Parent ]
problem with points per character (3.66 / 3) (#98)
by reel_life on Sat May 19, 2001 at 12:27:37 PM EST


np, we can all make comments n dis fashion..
"how r u? I was l8. w8, I n da middle... LOL!"

What a wonderful kuro5hin that would be!

And how would this effect those poor Spelling and Grammer Nazis?

All your webcam pics are belong to the k5 cabal!
[ Parent ]

Problem is... (4.00 / 2) (#95)
by Elendale on Sat May 19, 2001 at 02:35:36 AM EST

The essential problem that you are attempting to solve (if i understand this correctly) is that the queue is pretty spammable right now. Neither the last fix (mojo) nor the next fix (you'll see) take care of this problem. However, "Karma Reincarnated" will not solve this problem. Next "how to save K5" idea please.

-Elendale (on second thought, lets skip the next one...)

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

So... (3.33 / 3) (#96)
by Crashnbur on Sat May 19, 2001 at 08:47:38 AM EST

I get points just for rating you people? Excellent!

But wait, this is much like that other site, and will only generate karma wars, or, as the case may be, zorkmid wars.


Another question (4.33 / 3) (#97)
by kostya on Sat May 19, 2001 at 09:27:46 AM EST

What about quotations?

K5 likes citations. Especially outside sources. But we are all very much into citing and quoting the posts we reply to.

If I post a reply, I want to be counted for my own words, not the one's I'm replying to. But OTOH, if you offer some loophole for people like me, others will abuse that loophole to keep more of their points.

While a system that rewards participation is interesting, I'm pretty much against all of the "word counting" portions of your system. But then I already explained that--I'm a long-winded bloke ;-)

And what about smileys and emoticons? Do those count? They are very important for conveying intent, but they aren't really content.

Great. That would be the next flamefest/whinefest under your system: what is fair to count as a word and what is not.

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
K5 working as designed (4.40 / 10) (#101)
by Wondertoad on Mon May 21, 2001 at 05:01:22 PM EST

As someone who's run various online communities for 15 years, there's nothing wrong with K5.

The biggest problem that I can see is that while K5 asserts itself as a site where the community runs things, at a certain size there truly can be no "community". In the real world, a village becomes a town, a town becomes a city, and suddenly instead of having 1/100th of the pie, you have 1/1000000th of the pie.

There can be no community of over, let's say... about 1,000 users. Past that point, you have some users who are more active than the rest, giving it a community-like feel, but the lesser members are really left out in the cold.

Part of the sense of the word "community" is that it's more human. A community cares for its members, sometimes even nurtures them. The failing of the online community is that it doesn't nurture anyone. For 99.99999% of /. and K5 users, if they died -- the worst thing that could happen to them -- you wouldn't even know.

In fact, at a certain point, each additional user is a burden to a community. The community sense of the site would be greater if that person did not exist.

And so, for any successful site, complex moderation systems can keep the quality of the posts high, but cannot return that community "feel" to the site as it originally existed. There's nothing that can be done about this; it just IS. If you really want community, go elsewhere. (Blatant plug: my own cellar.org is small enough to maintain a community feel...)

I *think* that what K5 still gets you is an online forum that has a strong sense of fairness, a group that values critical thinking and originality. And even if K5 cannot care for its users, and other K5 users cannot care for its users, you know that K5 users care about K5. This is much less possible at /., where the posting system echoes the old broadcast model because stories are choisen by the elite few and broadcast to the many. To put it another way, on /. the comments are from the bazaar, while the stories, polls, editorializing and section choices are definitely from the cathedral. On K5, the stories and polls are also from the bazaar. Huge difference! On K5, I know that the stories were important to a healthy subset of the K5 user base. On /., I know that the stories were important to the submitter, the editor... and maybe no-one else. If the editor is an idiot, the site reflects that!

Eating babies (3.60 / 5) (#103)
by mbrubeck on Mon May 21, 2001 at 08:00:35 PM EST

Gosh darn it, you really had my hopes up. I read the title and thought for certain this would be a proposal to eat our own young.

Modestly relate unrated-ness to noise-ness (3.50 / 2) (#104)
by pavlos on Mon May 21, 2001 at 10:09:27 PM EST

Personally, I don't think that k5 suffers particularly from poor signal to noise ratio. If anything, I have a higher opinion of the average comment than the average story.

I do have a modest prposal for those occations when one really wants to read in a way moderated by ratings:

Have Scoop keep track of how many times a comment has been viewed without receiving a rating. Downgrade the comments that fail to get rated for too long in some way selectable by the user. For example one might choose to display only the X% most recent unrated comments.
That would result in the most recently posted articles always being visible, so that they are not silenced completely by the rating system. Any one person reading with ratings on will see only a fraction, but they will get read.

On the other hand, if the article has been viewed thousands of times and nobody bothered to rate it at all, not even 1, then the article is probably boring or repetitive. While I usually read with ratings off, I would appreciate dropping such "boring" articles on occation.


Ugh. NO (3.00 / 1) (#105)
by tzanger on Tue May 22, 2001 at 08:59:21 AM EST

They day K5 starts becoming that draconian is the day I leave this blog. Forget it.

I come to K5 to post and read. If you start imposing restrictions on my abilities to do so I'll leave and take my witty and insightful comments elsewhere. Mind you I'll also be taking my trite and inciteful comments too so it may not be such a loss, after all. :-)

Seriously: K5 is NOT anywhere as bad as Slashdot (PS it's not a bad word, say it with me: Slashdot) -- the S/N ratio is still very very very good compared to slashdot. The current rating system seems to be doing a wonderful job and there's no karma whoring because you can't tell what your karma is. Having an open queue keeps duplicate posts out. All that is needed is a way to edit queued stories.

DO NOT try and go Mao on this system. You have to take the good with the bad. If you can't hack it, maybe Rusty or Inoshiro will add a "squelch" feature so that you don't see comments below a 3 or something. But don't try and come up with some assinine currency system. Ugh. I'm gonna have to go wash my eyes after reading what you proposed. blech.

-5 points/word for comments is BAD (4.00 / 1) (#106)
by coffee17 on Tue May 22, 2001 at 05:24:16 PM EST

I think that we want to stay away from systems which encourage one or two liner posts. Sure, it is nice to be succinct however encouraging people to leave out the/a/an would be annoying. Worse, it would be devastating to encourage people to not fully develop ideas/comments because they are on a word budget.


A Modest Proposal for K5 | 109 comments (97 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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