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A K5 Welcome Center

By jabber in Meta
Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:39:03 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

It's been a few months in the making, with new users coming in to K5 in droves, but now, with the news that Slashdot is beginning a transition to a subscription based site, the dam is on the verge of bursting.

The mass-migration is inevitable. We will see many new users, there is no doubt. There will be massive abuse of the K5 we know and love. The question I pose is "How best can we mitigate this risk? How best can we adapt? What can we do to least painfully integrate the newbies?".. I propose a dedicated area to contain K5 House Rules, K5 Ettiquete, and a Best of K5 sampling to serve as exemplars and tutorials for new K5 users.

Slashdot has over a quarter million user accounts, and most of these are live. There is a particular culture revolving around Slashdot. Slashdot's keepers have, through their best intentions I'm sure, created an environment that accepts and expects certain types of behavior.. That behavior is what brought a great number of us here, where it is absent.

I'm sure I am preaching to the choir on this to a good degree, so I'll spare you the background. If it needs to be expanded upon, I'm sure that can be done in discussion. On to the proposal.

I suggest that when a new user creates an account, they be *prominently* informed of a Tutorial or Welcome Center section of the site, where they would be able to develop a sense of what the current K5 is like, and what it values.. Rather than having new users learn from experience which will result in a decreased S/N on the whole site, let's give them an opportunity to learn what K5 is at it's best, so that the conscientious newbie would not suffer unnecessarily for their lack of experience. Of course there will still be malevolents in the crowd, but at least this way, they will have no excuse of ignorance to fall back on.

The common-sense rules of nettiquete should be there, since many of the newbies will not just be new to K5 but to online discussion sites in general.

Selected articles should be there also, as examples of what GREAT K5 articles can be like. These should be both Technical and Cultural, chosen from a wide sampling of the sections. They should be made up of good content, they should be well written, and they should be followed by a good discussion. Scour the archives and mention your favorites, so that those that are coming will know what K5 is at it's best.

Several outstanding diaries could also be made prominent in the Welcome Center section, to show not only 'appropriate' usage of the article submission and posting features, but to show new users the breadth of functions that K5 has to offer. On that note, a short tutorial on IRC, and specifically #k5 might also be worthwhile.

There should also be "House Rules" in the Welcome Center section.. This would be a listing of local ettiquete and aesthetics that have evolved over the last few years and set the 'tone' of the site. Many of what I consider to be "House Rules" are already distilled into the K5 FAQ, but an essay or two to explain the rationale behind FAQ items might be helpful.

There are many other things that might be suitable for this Welcome Center, but rather than keep on making suggestions, I hope any discussion to follow this article will serve to capture these ideas democratically.

In the last few weeks I've been rather angry and frustrated over the sudden increase in new readership here. I vented, and ultimatelly had my ears boxed by Rusty himself. This gave me pause. It is after all his site, and if he can see this impending change with compassion, then I should be ashamed of myself, and I am.

I think K5 is a great site. It's one of my favorites. I would like to see it succeed in the face of what would break most other communities. I think it can, but it will take a concerted effort of the current users. New users, not unexpectedly don't know any better. We can help them learn.

I hope that you will all give my idea for a Welcome Center due consideration.


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


A K5 Welcome Center is:
o a Good Idea, let's talk 70%
o a Bad Idea, flame on! 5%
o Like a Rest Area. A haven for 'dirty perverted acts'. 11%
o Already there, you idiot! 5%
o Inoshiro 6%

Votes: 92
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o transition
o the K5 FAQ
o angry
o ears boxed
o Also by jabber

Display: Sort:
A K5 Welcome Center | 92 comments (90 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
It's being worked on as we speak! (4.09 / 11) (#1)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:32:08 PM EST


Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
Not the same.. Fuse the two. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
by jabber on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:39:08 PM EST

Guidelines, yes, absolutely. But I think the bast way to teach is by example. A "Best of K5" section would do this nicely. So would well phrased explanations of WHY the guidelines are such as they are..

Knowing the motivation behind the rules often convinces people to follow those rules, while simply having a rule is too frequently seen as an invitation with bend and break it. I'm afraid that a set of FAQ-like Guidelines would not be enough to actually convince new users that these guidelines are sound.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Contribution (3.77 / 9) (#5)
by jasonab on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:51:21 PM EST

My main concern isn't the teachable newbies: they'll learn regardless, and a welcome center will make the transition easier. My concern is the newbie who has nothing constructive to contribute, but still heaps his junk on the stories and queue. /.'s problem isn't that people are ignorant, it's that they're maliciously stupid.

Unfortunately, the comment rating system won't help us separate the wheat from the chaff. I'm just as likely to find a good post rated 3.0/5 as a bad one, given the polarized rating happening here.

I think K5 should consider a tiered system where you earn privleges. Maybe at first your posts are marked as "new." Posts are sorted by contribution level. Stories can only be submitted spontaneously by those who have posted enough. Generally, you earn prominence, and others can trust that you have something real to say.

I know those suggestions will turn off many people, but we need to have some way to trust the material that is coming in without being overwhelmed by the junk, as /. has. Currently, we do that because of the low level of contributors. We can't do that anymore.

Lets form a posse! (5.00 / 2) (#9)
by jabber on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:15:07 PM EST

I'm half serious of course, but when a user becomes a clear hazzard to the community, they could be 'excomminucated'.. The mechanism for this would have to be despotic of course, since making it public would completely devastate the community here.

Rusty and the Editors (What a great 50's rock group that would make!!) already have the means to delete abusive comments ( zero tolerance for 'spam', as noted in the post-comment page) and can certainly kill off accounts, block IP's etc. This would probably squelch the mindless abusers, but would only enrage the determined psychopath. We've seen this on /.

Personally, I think that the non-existant Cabal, with a "license to kill", is the best solution.. Provided of course that I get to be on it, and have some say in who else is on it.. I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say that.. :)

There is no cabal.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

A mere guide won't work (3.83 / 6) (#6)
by jonathan_ingram on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 02:54:06 PM EST

This would be a listing of local ettiquete and aesthetics that have evolved over the last few years and set the 'tone' of the site.

And how is this going to work? How few people would have collude together in order to turn this site into a flame infested wonderland, or get rated up enough to get 0-mod ability, and then go around 0-modding every comment?

The only way to keep up anything like the same level of content as the user population increases is to trust new users *less*. This could range from a 2 day waiting period after registration before people could post (probably easy to work around and very annoying), to putting new users' comments in a moderation buffer, so that they have to approved in some way before they are posted (like the moderated USENET newsgroups, but with some much more decentralised moderation method).

As you've said - new members will not know how they are expected to behave (unless they've done what they should have - and lurked for a period of time beforehand). So, don't expect them to know - find some way of forcibly guiding them. If some percentage find the guidance annoying and leave, then that's no big loss.
-- Jon

Anecdotal (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by jabber on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:07:26 PM EST

I agree in that simply making a bulleted list of 'thou shalt' items will not work. I had more of a Best Practice Museum in mind, where examples could be exhibited, and explanations for the guidelines could be posted and explained without disturbing the Article/Comment part of the site.. Sort of a Tutorial proving ground..

The only problem I see with waiting periods and other new user restrictions is that it would breed a sense of resentment. People don't like to be treated like second class citizens, and if new users see old users with more rights than they have, they will lash out.

Any new user 'indoctrination' will have to be completely voluntary for this reason. The access to 'user status' can be slowed somewhat, I suppose.. And during this delay, the basics can be prominently displayed..

Perhaps making a "Newbie!! READ THIS!!!" link to the guidelines obnoxiously prominent on every page that an untrusted user sees might help.. But more likely, it will promote 'Karma Whoring' and Sociological Experimentation a'la Signal 11 on Slashdot..

Newbies to K5 share the same fundamental mentality as the current users.. They will try to size up and test out the system. The more rules, the more determined they will be to point out the shortcomings.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Ack! (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by Greyjack on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:19:35 AM EST

Perhaps making a "Newbie!! READ THIS!!!" link to the guidelines obnoxiously prominent on every page that an untrusted user sees might help..

Or it'll annoy the hell outta those o' us that don't post that often, and when we do, don't always say things that jive with the local groupthink and thus get modded down enough that we fall below 3.5 (or whatever the trusted level is).

Or those of us that get cranky and make bitchy, snipey little posts from time to time, also hurting our averages.

Overall, I really could care less whether or not I'm a "trusted user" or not; start putting READ THIS links all over the page, though, and it'll grate on me.

The overall idea of the welcome center is sound, though :)

Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett

[ Parent ]
Hence 'obnoxious' (none / 0) (#52)
by jabber on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:30:36 AM EST

And adding in some sort of 'aging' factor to the READ ME, so that it's only visible until you've been around a month or two, or posted a dozen times, or whatever, should not be too difficult.

It's just a suggestion, and the technical details were lean because I had no real solution in mind, just a sense of one..

I too often fail to make that clear. If I were pushing implementation, I would have phrased the comment accordingly..

Life would be so much easier (sometimes) if people were telepathic.. :)

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Hence 'obnoxious' (none / 0) (#85)
by Razitshakra on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 09:17:31 AM EST

And adding in some sort of 'aging' factor to the READ ME, so that it's only visible until you've been around a month or two, or posted a dozen times, or whatever, should not be too difficult.

Making it hinge of the number of posts submitted would encourage nonsense posts just to reach the "magic number".

Lets ride / You and I / In the midnight ambulance
- The Northern Territories
[ Parent ]
Zeroing everybody (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by ucblockhead on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:36:08 PM EST

I doubt such behavior would last long because it is pretty easy for a small group of trusted users to "undo" the zeros of a larger group of malicious zeroers simply by handing out fives.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
I agree, something needs done. (3.25 / 4) (#7)
by Ghost Shrew on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:02:52 PM EST

I'm not sure what "we" should do(I use "we" loosely, as my account is VERY new. Though I've been a lurker for some time), but I've already seen abusive posts and worthless diary entries, like "I'm a wanker" I don't want to filter through all these to find a gem. The story queue seems to be safe, at the moment... but possibly some way the site can have a "karma" system, but not like Slashdot's, exactly. Once an account has had enough decently rated comments, or several diary entries that inspired comment, they get the ability to post stories.

I personally wouldn't mind. I like my diary, and intend to use it a few times a week. But I wouldn't miss having the ability to submit stories for a longer time. I'm no expert on Scoop, and only a casual user of the site, so I don't really have a suggestion. I just know that I like what we have, and I don't see how this could hurt.

Free tabletop RPG!! Grey Lotus

Trusted users. (4.33 / 3) (#10)
by priestess on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:17:26 PM EST

Essentially you want only trusted users to be able to post stories? Bad idea, it'd stop stories being posted whether they are good or bad. Better would be to only allow trusted users to vote on the stories, but that's also a bad idea since the whole point of K5 is to see if we can find a way to democratically chose the content, taking peoples votes or voice away is a bad idea in that context.

I think that education has to be the way to go, it probably won't work, but nor will restricting new users. Eventually all descussion lists, be they usenet or listserve or some web thing, get old and die. The users either get dissilusioned and quit or move on somewhere else. I guess there has to be one eventually that lasts more than five years so or before the noise drowns everything out. I believe that will be through attracting the right users and the setting of example rather than putting a gate on the community to keep the rif raff out. The Rif Raff just take that as a challenge anyway. Every forum I've seen that introduces some censorship gets increased problems and finds themselves in an arms race with the spamtrolls. I suspect that introducing the rating system hurt slashdot more than it helped it to be honest.


My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
[ Parent ]
Addendum. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by priestess on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:21:20 PM EST

I meant to add that when a forum finally manages to convince it's users to ignore the attention seekers, that's when you may find one that doesn't die. Feeding the trolls just brings more of them and they're like ants: First you see one, then two, then a whole army. Take away the stuff the ants are after: The Food and the ants go elsewhere. Take away the attention and the trolls go elsewhere. This is why censoring them doesn't work: they're getting a reaction which is exactly what they want..


My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
[ Parent ]
That's a good point (none / 0) (#13)
by Ghost Shrew on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:31:22 PM EST

You make an excellent point. As I said, I don't know the solution, and I think "trusted" users is too strong a word. In any case, the "Welcome Center" is definitely a good idea. Any other action is debatable, and isn't debate one of the best parts of this site?

Free tabletop RPG!! Grey Lotus
[ Parent ]

Trusted (none / 0) (#18)
by priestess on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:46:37 PM EST

It may be the wrong word, but it's what we call what you described. A user who's comments are raighted highly enough. see here
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
[ Parent ]
Exactly my thoughts (none / 0) (#15)
by jabber on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:36:47 PM EST

Fighting with the malevolent users is a losing battle. Absolutely! Even the mere acknowledgement of their efforts is reward.

Hence, the thrust of my article, and the intention behind it, is to give the conscientious but inexperienced (dare I say, Ignorant) new user a prominent and complete place to wisen up, without making foolish newbie mistakes that will cause 'the elders' to resent them - which in turn causes many otherwise well-meaning newbies to turn nasty. (gasp)

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

When the story queue gets flooded (2.71 / 7) (#12)
by jesterzog on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:22:32 PM EST

Maybe it's negative reinforcement instead of positive reinforcement, but personally I think it could help if users were penalised in some way for having stories rejected from the queue. If it was a monetary system then maybe people would pay a deposit to submit something and get it back if it was posted. It makes things really complicated and less accessible though as soon as money's involved over the web, so maybe an alternative to to lock a user out from posting a story for a few hours to a day after something's rejected. (Or possibly doing that could also be a disaster.)

There's only so much that this would accomplish since people can just create new accounts, unless new users aren't allowed to post stories without earning the right to first. On the other hand if there was a penalty for rejection, it might encourage people to think a bit about what they're posting instead of just flooding the queue with MLP's to every mis-spelt bit of information that comes through the big news agencies.

Also, having the queue flooded with junk might not be seen as such a bad thing by some people. (I find it annoying when that happens, though.) I'd be interested in seeing a ratio constantly visible displaying what proportion of stories have been rejected over the previous week, and maybe graph it. That way it'll be easier to see how bad the problem is at any given time, if there is one.

jesterzog Fight the light

discuraging (3.50 / 2) (#30)
by nodsmasher on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:32:42 PM EST

that would discureage people from puting less normal storys and narow our horizens
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
[ Parent ]
Good idea, but turn it around... (4.00 / 2) (#31)
by whojgalt on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:45:46 PM EST

Instead of punishing failure, reward success. I'm pretty new here, and not familiar with how the whole mojo thing (or karma, or whatever it is) works, but what about getting mojo points for having a story accepted, or for positive ratings on comments? Then those with a certain level of mojo have their story votes and comment ratings counted double. That way, the "untrusted" users still get some say, but those with a good track record get more say.

Still Democratic, but with a healthy dose of elitism.

If you can't see it from the car, it's not really scenery.
Any code more than six months old was written by an idiot.
[ Parent ]

I don't think that'll work (none / 0) (#54)
by jesterzog on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 02:01:30 AM EST

It starts to make the whole thing more complicated and it's not obvious what's happening just by looking at it. Also there's lots of people who just don't care about mojo -- it's not really the same thing as karma on slashdot.

Maybe most importantly, giving people points for submitting a good story won't discourage someone from submitting bad stories over and over and over again, making it harder for the people voting to weed out and properly think about the good stuff.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
Hard Choices (3.78 / 14) (#16)
by SPrintF on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 03:40:08 PM EST

OK, so who's going to explain "K5 House Rules, K5 Ettiquete" to trhurler?

Ya know.. (none / 0) (#19)
by jabber on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:03:44 PM EST

I actually had that in my article as a suggestion (both the EULA bit, and the quiz as a solution for the problem), but ended up removing it, for several reasons. I'm glad, and not at all surprized, that someone brought it up.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Oh sweet god (4.28 / 14) (#20)
by Osiris on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:04:51 PM EST

What is up with all these people complaining about new users? Yes, you, jabber, were new once. So was I. So was wiredog (the main person I've noticed bitching about this, though I have mostly been ignoring diaries and could have missed many).

Oh wait, I forgot, all these new people are going to invade your private club and ruin it somehow. They have to conform, they have to behave in just the manner that you, jabber, expect, otherwise their newbieness marks them as unworthy of life, or at least posting rights.

Get over yourself. Length of time onsite does not make you elite. Total number of comments posted does not indicate how lucid, humerous, or otherwise enlightening the opinions of that user are. Sure as hell there should not be some condescending EULA for the website explaining that yes, we like it the way it is now, please don't touch anything or make any loud noises or break anything, or you might disturb our navelgazing and political whining.

If you want a little private club where everyone agrees with you and posts only exactly what you like, please, make one, pick one of the three dozen weblog packages floating around, modify it to be invite only, and go there and don't come back. Invite your friends. Knock around the hundred or so topics you can cover, for about two months, then realize it's fricking boring to rehash the same material with the same people over and over. We don't want clones of current users. We need to encourage new people, not discourage them by making it look like this board is written to by a bunch of anal-retentive good-old-boys who don't like them uppity new types.

Yes, but misplaced anger (4.33 / 6) (#22)
by rusty on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:13:37 PM EST

We don't want clones of current users. We need to encourage new people, not discourage them by making it look like this board is written to by a bunch of anal-retentive good-old-boys who don't like them uppity new types.

I think that's exactly what this is about. jabber, earlier this week, engaged in some of the kind of attitude you describe, but the whole idea of this story is that that's not how it should be. We don't want to lay down a whole bunch of rules and regulations. We just want to provide a place that showcases the best of what K5 has been so far, and explains a couple of the more common questions people have, like how do diaries work, and how voting works, and things like that.

New people always bring something new to the site, and that's great. That's what we want. But they also often have questions and inadvertently do things that every other new user does (I'm thinking "test diary" here). Wouldn't it be better to provide a place that answers as many of the common questions as we can, in a friendly way? That's what this suggestion is. It's not about elitism or conformity, it's about helping people to join in and contribute as quickly as possible.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Bitching (5.00 / 2) (#78)
by wiredog on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 09:33:48 PM EST

You mean, like this?

Actually, my "auto -1 if new" isn't quite so auto since Rusty tweaked the queue. There were stories going through there in 3 or 4 hours that needed serious editing, or more time for people to vote on them (IMHO).

There was one that was basically a duplicate of a story that had been posted three days before. It's score was up above 20, and it looked like it was heading FP, before the fact that it was a duplicate was pointed out. And the author was new here. No previous comments or diaries. That's the sort of thing that gets me torqued. That, and "intro repeated in body". Both of those things are, usually, avoided by people who've been around for a couple of weeks.

And, yeah, I once submitted a story that was a dupe of a story that had been submitted a few months earlier by, ummm, me. I was quite rightly flamed for idiocy.

If I had the time and money I'd set up my own scoop site. One dedicated to technology and its interactions with culture. It'd be nice if there was a place like that.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Yay (4.91 / 12) (#21)
by rusty on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:07:37 PM EST

This is a great idea, and I hope you all come up wih something. I also like the concept of the Welcome Center a lot, as it ought to be more interestuing and engaging than a simple list of dos and don'ts, and thus actually attract newbies' attention. I will absoluely put this up, hopefully with all of your input. If you don't come up with anything, I'll probably have to muddle through on my own. Please please give me stuff. :-)

I'm envisioning it being the page you get to when your account is confirmed. Like, instead of a simple "Your account is now active, welcome to K5!" you'll go right to the Welcome Center. So it should organize things in a reasonably sensible way, like explaining how to log in first. A guided tour would be nice, that you can just page through, as well. It will also be linked from the account email, and probably the FAQ and somewhere on the normal pages as well.

I don't like any of the "penalize newbies" suggestions, for the record. Assuming people will behave badly just encourages them to. I am much more comfortable with assuming people want to become part of the culture here, like we always have assumed. Some resources to help with that will be much, much more effective, I think, than trying to enforce waiting periods or countermeasures.

Not the real rusty

Penalization? Maybe just a "warming-up" (3.33 / 6) (#50)
by CondorDes on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:12:19 AM EST

I just joined K5 today once I found out about the Slashdot subscription thing (honestly, I think their content was starting to go downhill anyway, but not through any fault of their admins...trolls are REALLY annoying). I too like the idea of a Welcome Center, as it will help me as a newbie get better-acquainted with K5.

I just want to share with you a few impressions I've had so far since I started browsing...these are just my opinions and probably reflect my /. bias.

First, I was surprised to find as soon as I logged in that I had moderator abilities...and nearly-unlimited ones, at that! This system seems QUITE open to me...almost too open. If the /. trolls come over here ($DEITY-willing they don't...), this system will be the first to be abused. Slashdot's moderation system is extremely restrictive by comparison, and I think it's good they made it this way.

Newbies really shouldn't be allowed to moderate until they've gotten a feel for the culture...otherwise K5 risks having clueless individuals (and trolls) be moderators. I also like the /. idea of only allowing users to moderate if they have positive karma/mojo/whatever-you-want-to-call-it; this helps make sure that K5 moderators are fair-minded people who are truly capable of separating wheat from chaff (because they know how to produce wheat!). I see this (abuse of moderation privileges) as a potential problem you could have with newly-converted slashdotters (especially the trolls).

I guess it's better to look at it in terms of giving newbies time to adjust to K5 before allowing them moderator powers. It isn't "penalizing" newbies any more than not allowing a 10-year-old to make his/her own decisions in life is "penalizing" them.

Second, I must say I really like the idea of a user-managed submissions bin. It's a great idea; one that I wish Slashdot had used. I understand you're having issues figuring out just how to figure out when submissions should be posted...I really don't have any words of advice (I don't know enough really to have an opinion), but I wish you luck.

Finally, I have one question/suggestion...does K5 have/should it have a place for asking questions of the general community? Slashdot has an "Ask Slashdot" section; has K5 considered anything like this? I think this is a very good way of airing/discussing questions individuals may have and want to pose to the tech community as a whole (my rejected question to /. about cat-proofing cat-5 comes to mind...).

I haven't had much time to get acquainted with K5, but from what I've seen, it looks like a great site!

-- CondorDes

It's a balance, kind of like the balance between having sex with that girl you just met at the bar and being a nun.

[ Parent ]
Questions like these... (3.50 / 2) (#56)
by rusty on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 03:01:30 AM EST

First, let me say welcome to K5. Glad to have you.

First, I was surprised to find as soon as I logged in that I had moderator abilities...and nearly-unlimited ones, at that! This system seems QUITE open to me...almost too open.

This is one thing we should certainly explain to newbies. Actually, it's a pretty subtle system, that does a lot with a relatively simple interface. We believe it to be abuse-resistant enough for all reasonable purposes. Now whether it does anything useful or not is a subject of much debate. But there are checks and balances that are not immediately obvious, and the whole thing is very open to inspection by anyone. I don't want to re-explain the whole system here, but check out the FAQ.

I understand you're having issues figuring out just how to figure out when submissions should be posted...I really don't have any words of advice (I don't know enough really to have an opinion), but I wish you luck.

Mainly what we're doing now is fine-tuning. It does work well enough for the basic purpose of weeding out things that no one likes, and quickly promoting things that everyone likes. There's a middle range of things that some people like and some people don't which has proven tricky to nail down, but it'll get there.

Finally, I have one question/suggestion...does K5 have/should it have a place for asking questions of the general community? Slashdot has an "Ask Slashdot" section; has K5 considered anything like this? I think this is a very good way of airing/discussing questions individuals may have and want to pose to the tech community as a whole (my rejected question to /. about cat-proofing cat-5 comes to mind...).

We have a "Help!" topic, but it is exceedingly hard to write a good article for this kind of purpose. The problem with them is usually that either they're questions that can be answered by some Googling, or questions that can be answered with one comment, or questions that can't reasonably be answered by any of us. None of these categories make for a very interesting discussion, and the article itself is just a question, so it's not much good there either. The "Help!" articles that have just the right general applicability, prior research, and topical knowledge (on our part) are very very rare. They're great when they show up, but overall, it's no one's favorite Topic.

If you have a question that fits into the "basic information" or "one right answer" category, a diary is a good place to post it. Lots of people read the diaries, and someone will probably know where you should look.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Weighted users from experience? (3.00 / 4) (#23)
by vefoxus on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 04:21:33 PM EST

Just a thought (maybe it has already be mentionned here or in the past) about changing the way ratings are made. In the daCode news engine (quite different from K5, used mostly in France for linuxfr.org), all users aquire experience (XP) points depending on the cumulated ratings they got on their message. And each day, any user can rate +1 or -1 as many messages as he has XP points.

Although in itself it would not do to use this system directly, maybe it could be used to give a higher weight to the the votes of K5 users depending on their experience (the number of their postings, discarding anything below-say-2), and their average ratings. By doing this it could be possible to give the core, most popular and 'dinosaur' users more weight, which hopefully would allow to keep a high standard for the articles.

Of course the drawback is that it would lessen a bit the direct & egalitarian democracy in K5 voting, which may revulse some people. But all users would still be able to comment freely (although they may be moded down quickly), and the "maximum weight" could be tuned in order not to completely over-rate some users: for example never allowing experienced users to have more than (say) 5 times the weight of any other user. And using boththe number of messages and the average ratings, that would still allow to have good weights for users who tend to post more controversial posts, but are still vital to K5 discussions... All that would eventually be filtered are the occasional jerk and professional troller or troll-follower born in /.'s land.

Just my 2 eurocents... Anyway, as a newbie I probably wouldn't rate too high in such a system, so maybe it's not such a good idea ;-)

I believe this would lead to 'groupthink' (5.00 / 3) (#39)
by tlhf on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:57:41 PM EST

Correct me if I'm wrong but:
  • People tend to mod up those they agree with.
  • Thus, those who have the majority opinion, will, in general, pick up more mod points.
  • So, under your proposed system, those who agree with the majority system will have more voting power, and as we know, they will mod up what they agree with.
  • And so, to avoid getting heavily modded,one must agree with the majority.
This voting system would end up as a tyranny of the majority. Which is bad.

Still, at least you're making a point, and not some idiot trying to get (5) Funny

Yeah, I know all those points are mainly sheer conjecture, but, moof!

[ Parent ]
re: Quiz (4.33 / 3) (#24)
by Mysidia on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:11:51 PM EST

I'm guessing most new users would click through that like an EULA. There should be a quiz given,

Well,I think a quiz might be a little too obtrusive:

  • It would complicate registration and use of a new account
  • It might scare or turn away prospective users, ie: they might find the notion insulting
  • Would involve additions to the system, changes that would have limited utility
Perhaps a thing where the user is required to type a line and click "Continue" "Accept" or whatever instead of just "Continue" (and the line is buried in the text) *shrugs*, ie: they would have to key in "Yes, I have read the faq and tos and agree to its terms".. a little less dramatic than throwing a series of 20 questions (or whatever at them)

They could still skip reading the material, but then they could do that anyhow, and they might still pass a quiz depending on how the quiz is administered and how desperate they are to get post access (ie, if they're willing to try and get someone else to do it for them).

Almost certainly a quiz would be multiple choice, unless you have answers reviewed by humans, a computer can't very well verify the correctness of a short-answer response (other than trying to identify keywords of correct responses which is probably bogus anyhow [the user could string together a bunch of nonesense and hope to hit one of the keyword strings]... if you quiz them on a few questions, they might have a good chance of passing just by random clicking.

To be assured against that, you have to limit how often they can take the quiz or at least have more than 5 questions. As with any form of quizzing; however, that still doesn't reasonably assure you that the user understood or even completely read anything, you can't ensure that in Multi-Choice form, you can only make the information available and ask that they read and apply it

Which they might or might not do... So how do you deal with a new user who refuses to even learn the 'rules of the game', let-alone follow them? (And quiz or not, it can happen)

-Mysidia the insane @k5
still (4.50 / 2) (#27)
by alprazolam on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 07:14:26 PM EST

it's a bad idea. i wouldn't want to deny let's say mindmasher for instance an account just because his english isn't good enough to pass a test.

[ Parent ]
Foreign language quizzes? (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by unDees on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 05:12:41 PM EST

How about letting the user take the quiz in the language of his choice? I'd bet that a handful of the most common languages would suffice--let's say ten languages?

I can help translate, but we'd need native speakers to confirm I didn't just ask the new user to go stick his head in a pig, or anything....

Not that we see foreign-language posts on k5 (or do we? I'm new), but browsing articles is a far cry from parsing and taking a test on which your very access depends.

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]

Instead of a quiz... (2.00 / 1) (#33)
by whojgalt on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:53:47 PM EST

The idea of a quiz is a good one, but too intrusive. How about this: Make the process for posting a story some failry simple but totally inscrutable process. Something that you could never guess from randomly poking around the controls on the site, but once you know it, it is very easy to remember and repeat. Then bury that information somewhere deep in the FAQ and/or welcome center stuff.

So anybody who doesn't read it won't know how to post, problem solves itself. At least the problem of people not reading the stuff solves itself, the problem of those ignoring it is another matter.

If you can't see it from the car, it's not really scenery.
Any code more than six months old was written by an idiot.
[ Parent ]

re: Instead (5.00 / 2) (#43)
by Mysidia on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:19:28 PM EST

How about this: Make the process for posting a story some failry simple but totally inscrutable process.

Intriguing, it would prevent posting stories without reading it. What I fear is newbies might start posting comments along the lines of "How do I submit a story?" or "Why isn't there a post story link?" (assuming they only read enough of the documents to find the technique).

Being unable to post stories wouldn't stop them from writing and rating comments. Stories can be voted out of existence if they're done terribly, but useless comments like "me too" might stick around.

My supposition is that blocking new users from submitting/rating/voting (on) articles and stories has a tendency to backfire causing former 'new users' to 'rebel' and indeed ignore what they did read [perhaps to abusive levels -- living up to expectations].

Having extra procedures for users to follow (taking tests or clicking in arcane places) to participate would serve as a distraction from what is important IMO: would be saying 'read the FAQ', while having to make it longer to answer such questions as "Why can't I post anything?" or "What is the Quiz for?"

The "Reminders Listing" on the post story pages is probaby the main place insisting the user needs to read the faq.. and this makes sense [after all, if they aren't ever planning on posting comments or stories then reading the documents would be a waste of time for new users.. they need to be given some interest to read it.

A welcome center is a good idea IMO, esp. if it encourages user involvment in the form of positive thoughtful contribution.

-Mysidia the insane @k5
[ Parent ]
fer chrissake (3.45 / 11) (#25)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 05:52:33 PM EST

Repeat with me: It's just a website.


Other famous sentences... (3.50 / 2) (#28)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:21:15 PM EST

-Pele: it's just a game.
-Ludwig: it is just music.
-Georgie boy:it's just politics.

Yes, I am grumpy tonight.
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
[ Parent ]
Wow (3.00 / 1) (#47)
by medham on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:35:00 PM EST

Your comment is what it's all about here, Quetzelcoatl. I wish fewer people around here were cynical.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

I don't know why (none / 0) (#41)
by Phillip Asheo on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:17:48 PM EST

But some people just cannot help themselves.

Their lives are so empty, they actually care about slashdot :-)

"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

All I can say is... (1.71 / 7) (#29)
by Talez on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:25:24 PM EST

Wish I had one when I was a n00b...

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
Re: All I can say is... (none / 0) (#84)
by marco on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 08:27:03 AM EST

The FAQ isn't good enough?

[ Parent ]
you'll hate me for saying: discussion ratings? (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by hardcorejon on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 08:47:51 PM EST

OK, I can't help it.....

With all the fears of a /. invasion and stories that are little more than troll-fests, I was quite surprised that my proposed discussion ratings system was voted out of the queue so quickly.

OK, I really wasn't that surprised because:
  • It was just a preliminary idea and had a lot of little flaws.
  • The text I posted was WAY too long, and
  • I tended to get off topic a bit.

But I still think it's a neat idea....

- jonathan.

Slashdot User 1677 Reporting (3.40 / 5) (#34)
by mlepage on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:06:02 PM EST

You're absolutely right.

I'd be an even lower (and more coveted) /. userid if I'd registered earlier that day when I first saw the passwords thing.

I wrote over a dozen well-received technical book reviews as SEGV, available here: http://www.antimeta.com/projects/review/book/

And now I'm here. We'll see how things go. Time for new beginnings, in this and other aspects of my life.

Are there any other good sites I should be checking out?

So much for my "low" ID of 6980 (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by DoctorD on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:19:45 PM EST

I could have had a lower ID on /. had I bothered to register. I didn't bother registering until I finally got the nerve to post something.

I typically only post when I have something new or different to add that hasn't already been posted. Hence if someone else has said what I was thinking of saying, I don't bother.

Nevertheless I have gotten fed up of the one-sidedness of the posts that do get modded up, and the signal to noise ratio has gotten so bad, all I get is static anymore. I used to check /. religiously for new and interesting posts. Now I'm here at K5 reading stuff, and a few other sites, and if I load /. a couple times a week anymore that's pushing it.

I just hope that the "possible" influx of people from /. are the ones like me who enjoy quality discussions and interesting topics, and not banter about how linux is better than the OS of the day. I use Linux, I like Linux, but I wouldn't run my mission critical database on it. (But then I may be a tad biased as I work for Sun.)

"If you insist on using Windoze you're on your own."
[ Parent ]
Yeah, you're all 20K sheep now! (none / 0) (#59)
by rusty on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 03:21:17 AM EST

Just kidding. :-) Welcome to K5. Hopefully this article isn't making you feel ostracized or singled out.

Perhaps the ex-Slashdotters who are looking for deeper technology coverage can help us out with that. It's been a little thin on the ground here lately, what with everyone trying to convert everyone else to [non-mainstream political theory of choice].

I think probably the single most important thing to be aware of is that we are most definitely Technology AND/OR Culture. Technology is not a required element to articles, and is wholly lacking in many of them, so we end up with a much broader subject area that Slashdot does. People looking for a tech-news replacement would be much advised to check out the Register.

But if it's a community you're after, you've come to the right place. Just think, in a few short months, you can start bitching about newbies too. ;-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Good plan! (2.57 / 7) (#35)
by shivers on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:39:45 PM EST

Speaking as one of these recent converts (well, relatively recent; I've been an occasional visitor for a few months and just started getting into it a few days before the slashdot subscription post...)...

Er, where was I? Oh yes, as a recent convert, one of the things I'm most impressed about here is the S/N ratio. I moderate at slashdot and have done for a while, but the continual bitchiness, trolling and just downright lame posts (page widening anyone?) really get to me now.

All the ideas listed above by previous posters sound great to me - particularly the limits on new users. Anything to keep the quality here so high!

Newbies not necessarily considered harmful (4.00 / 8) (#36)
by John Miles on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:46:27 PM EST

I'm strongly opposed to any measures that penalize the ability of new users to post stories, moderate comments, gain trusted-user status, or otherwise realize the same benefits of the system that K5 veterans get. These sorts of elitist measures are exactly what give birth to trolls on Slashdot. If you assume a given class of user is going to vandalize the site, you can't be too surprised when it happens. K5 has been relatively free of abuse precisely because of its egalitarian nature.

I don't think there's any reason to assume that vandals on Slashdot are always the newest/least-experienced users. Newbies generally announce their presence to the world with "Meeeee Toooo" posts and the CAPS LOCK key, not by crapfloods and goatse.cx links.

It's easy enough to help a newbie over the first few humps in the learning curve, but it's essentially impossible to reform a hardcore troll. Artificially segregating users into classes serves neither purpose well.

Think about it. Even on the street, graffiti artists don't mess with public bulletin boards; they prefer to tag bridges, road signs, and fences. If you make it seem "cool" or "subversive" to scribble nonsense all over a surface (real or virtual), then you can expect spray-paint sales to skyrocket at the nearest (real or virtual) hardware store.

Creating a laundry list of arbitrary user classifications with varying levels of empowerment is exactly what earned Slashdot its title of Troll University. Don't make the same mistakes here.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.

The benefits of limited democracy (5.00 / 2) (#58)
by rusty on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 03:14:16 AM EST

I'm strongly opposed to any measures that penalize the ability of new users to post stories, moderate comments, gain trusted-user status, or otherwise realize the same benefits of the system that K5 veterans get.

I agree 100%. Luckily we're not 100% democratic, and I get to say that these kinds of things aren't gonna happen. Imagine, if we were a direct democracy, we'd have probably already voted away citizenship for anyone but ourselves by now. :-)

My philosophy has always been expect people to do the right thing and be surprised and disappointed if they fail to, rather than expect them to do the wrong thing and be unsurprised and self-satisfied when they do. Most people will rise to the level of expectation that's placed on them.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

one thing.... (2.00 / 9) (#37)
by Oxymoron on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:49:32 PM EST

we can't let the trolls take over...
sure it's fun to do from time to time over on /.
But, page widening/page lengthening posts cheese me off.
Has this issue been address in Scoop? Because, it's not a matter of IF the trolls come, just a matter of WHEN.
Even though, spam/troll posts are deleted by a site admin, just think of troll tuedays. Is scoop gonna trash posts on its own, or will we move to some sort of /. thing with evil moderators and editors, which fail under the burden of the job?

Fighting the war, on drugs.
"Yeah, girls smelling like oranges is always a recipe for trouble. They'll invariably end up getting thrown on the floor and kissed." -conraduno
Page-widening posts (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by Mr. Piccolo on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 01:14:37 AM EST

are flaws in the browser. That's all. If the browser can't wrap long lines to window width, then it sucks.

Wonder what those posts look like in Mosaic...

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.

[ Parent ]
Good Idea, Dumb Reasons (3.60 / 5) (#38)
by DarkZero on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 09:53:07 PM EST

Information to help newbies is, as always, a good thing. However, your reasoning is just flat out dumb. There will not be a massive migration from Slashdot any time soon, because their subscription plan does not include closing the site down. There are just going to be some advertisements. That's it. They're not going to the same kind of subscription plan that Salon went to, they're just going to the kind of subscription plan that K5 has. If people pay money, they won't see any ads on Slashdot. If they don't pay, they will see ads.

Why would there be a mass exodus from Slashdot and into the loving arms of K5 because Slashdot is moving to the exact same type of subscription plan that K5 has? I've heard a lot of people predicting that "everyone else" (not the person prophesizing, mind you, but everyone BUT them, in their "humble" opinion) will be leaving Slashdot and going to K5 because Slashdot announced a subscription plan. Have any of these people, jabber included, stopped to put any thought into their knee jerk reaction before writing comments and articles about the impending death of Slashdot and rise of K5? Slashdot is just moving to the same plan that K5 has. I doubt there will be a mass exodus from Slashdot because of this, but if there is, that exodus will not be into the hands of K5. It will be into the hands of someone that isn't using the exact same subscription plan that they're fleeing from.

Agreed (4.00 / 3) (#42)
by Crypthanatopsis on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:10:34 PM EST

While I believe that the user base of K5 will continue to increase dramatically, I have no reason to believe that, even if there were a mass exodus from Slashdot for some reason, K5 is not necessarily where everyone would end up. The tone of the two sites is completely different

Let's not make the assumption that just because K5 is not slashdot, it's some kind of backup slashdot in case the first should fail for some reason. The sites are completely different things, and would remain so even with a hypothetical huge influx of former slashdot readers.

Moreover, the problem a K5 Visitor's Centre addresses is not the real problem with slashdot, merely newbies unaccustomed to the tone of the site. While such a thing would be helpful for those willing to stick around and learn what K5 is/was like, that's pretty much a natural process already. A visitor's centre would simply expedite it. It would do nothing to address the problem of trolls, the true problem of a 'slashdot invasion'.

The secondary problem I see has nothing to do with SNR, but more to do with the amount of comments. When I first started reading slasdot, back in the day, I could set my threshhold to +2, and read maybe twenty-thirty comments per story. Nowadays, though the SNR has decreased significantly, the amount of clear signal is much higher. I read slashdot at +4 nowadays, and it's about the same amount of comments as +2 used to let through. Slash has the ability to filter out bad comments, but scoop cannot; they must be removed manually, AFAIK (I'm no scoop master, so let me know if I'm wrong on this one). Though large user base is, overall, a positive goal to have, I do not look forward to the day when I have to load 250-300 comments when I read a story. Just a few thoughts.

"You are just my tool, the unwitting instrument of my nefarious ends." - rusty

[ Parent ]

I don't agree. Rusy? Statistics? (none / 0) (#45)
by jabber on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:25:32 PM EST

I disagree. There has already been a noticable influx, in the last month or two. Or at least that's how it seems.

Hey Rusty, if you're reading this... How diddicult would it be to put together a statistics page for the number of new users created? List of new users added day by day? Posts per day or hour? Just something to let the readership correlate the traffic and site preformance (both techinically and 'content-quality'-wise) to user activity.. Just a thought.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

PS: RusTy.. Rus*T*y.. Sorry.. n/t (1.00 / 1) (#46)
by jabber on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:26:14 PM EST


[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Re: I don't agree. (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by DarkZero on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 03:10:48 AM EST

My apologies, because I should have been more specific. Yes, there has been an influx within the last month or two, and that by itself is a damn good reason for some newbie help information. However, I completely disagree with your other reason, that being that Slashdot's new subscription plan, which started just today, is somehow going to flood K5 with newbies. That reason, which seemed to be vying with the other one for superiority in the article, is complete and utter bunk.

[ Parent ]
Not very difficult (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by rusty on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 03:24:33 AM EST

That would be an interesting page. If I get a free moment, I may whip something up. Any other Scoop hackers reading are welcome to do it for me. :-)

I think the last influx came from the Troll Post Investigation fallout. Looks like a few new people have come by, but not a deluge.

Regardless of motivation, I still think the idea is a fine one.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Intelligent Reasons? (3.33 / 3) (#66)
by fringd on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 01:44:41 PM EST

no, but regardless of the value of the logic behind it, the practice is alive and kicking.

i am a brand spanking new newbie off slashdot. i ussually lurk a while before joining in the discussion when i find a new community, but strangely all the discussion is about me so i feel obligated to converse.

the subscription fee was the nail in the coffin for me. slashdot is pretty hassled it seemingly, and i had been worried about where it was going for a long time. i felt my voice wasn't heard often(almost all posts are ignored), and i felt that the quality of posts was worsening. the subscription fee was just too much. "i'm not paying for this." i thought.

so i started looking for something better. i scoped out kuro5hin, cause some /.ers mentioned it as a better alternative. (some also mentioned "NO DON'T FLOOD K5, YOU WOULDN'T LIKE IT GO AWAY", but i'm inherently greedy so i peeked in.) it has the same payment policy, but everything else is so much better. you can see the raw posts, and help choose collectively which ones filter up. tech + culture is way more interesting to me than just tech. and they're not like "pay or you get big adds!" they're like "pay cause you love this service, and if you do, we'll filter small ads later." i really dig that.

sorry, this post is getting long, my point is that the logic may not be obvious, but it does kinda make sense. a summary:

  1. slashdot sucks
  2. they want me to pay?
  3. shopping around
  4. kuro5hin looks cool
  5. they want me to pay too?
  6. ahh, but they don't suck.
  7. i'd pay for that.

hope this gives some insight into the mind of one slashdotter.

P.S. the recent slashflood scare reminds me of a similar equally volitile topic: immigration. all the same wild denouncements of it as a dilution of quality, competition for limited resources, etc. you should note however, that this is not a real country, and hence does not have any space restrictions inherently. according to the network effect, the more people who join, the MORE valuable citizenship becomes, so maybe there's something to look forward to.

[ Parent ]

They only ask round here, not make the site a pain (none / 0) (#76)
by simon farnz on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 07:21:40 PM EST

K5 only asks you to pay; you can remove adverts if you do so, but frankly the K5 ads have never bothered me, Rusty is honest about their purpose and he provides me with a route to disable them if I am prepared to pay. Much nicer than slashdot's full page ads if you don't pay :)
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns
[ Parent ]
What makes you think they will come to K5 ? (3.80 / 5) (#40)
by Phillip Asheo on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 10:14:40 PM EST

It seems much more likely that such people would feel at home at adequacy (which is just slashdot on steroids).

I mean, these days I can hardly tell the difference between the two.

"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long

Periodical mandatory FAQ/Nettiquete reading ... (1.50 / 6) (#48)
by The Lady on Fri Mar 01, 2002 at 11:49:57 PM EST

... for all users.
Yes, force every user every n months or every x logins through the proposed documentation with several random check-boxes (check-box idea taken from above).
Many of the "old guard" need to be reminded of the rules at least as much as the "newbies".
Also make the FAQ/Nettiquete document a discussion item every m months and modify accordingly.
User education is an perpetual process.

That would make using the site a pain (4.00 / 1) (#74)
by ariux on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 06:30:22 PM EST

Just force a new user to click through it page by page in order to get their account activated. Checkboxes would be incredibly annoying, and mandatory "refreshers" would be overkill.

[ Parent ]

Those mandatory "refreshers" are a pain (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by The Lady on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 09:54:26 PM EST

... because they remind us what this discussion site's ideals are/were.
My idea is nothing new, but modeled after Usenet where periodical FAQ/Nettiquete posting are a common practice (in serious newsgroups). No, they are not "mandatory reading" on Usenet, but their mere presence is a good reminder. I, for one, re-read them, or at least the change-log and I know many others do so as well via their contributions to those very documents.
But your response is expected regarding such a "pain", imaging an evil proposal like a driver's license which has to be renewed every x years. Oh, the horror.

Just because you have driven for years, does not make you a good(responsible) driver.
Just because you have argued on k5 for years, does not make you a good(responsible) k5 member.

[ Parent ]
+5 doesn't help on Slashdot anymore (3.75 / 8) (#49)
by BlowCat on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:09:13 AM EST

As a recent convert from Slashdot, I must admit that Slashdot has been in decline for a long time, it's just that it has become almost useless now.

My default threshold on Slashdot in +3. If there are too many comments at +3 for the time I'd like to spend on the story, I would switch ot +4 or even +5. Until recently, comments at +5 were of acceptable quality. Now the wave of lameness has finally swamped the highest level where one could hide from the crowds of trolls and lamers.

Reading at +5 gives you mostly funny jokes (sometimes they are indeed funny, sometimes they are not) and statements that represent the opinion of the majority without really challenging dissenting opinons.

It is quite common for really good comments to be moderated down after they reach +4 or +5. Moderators prefer to moderate already visible comments instead of looking for new ideas in the new comments. And they moderate the comment down if they disagree, often as "Offtopic" even if there are no reasons for that.

Not only are moderators lazy, they are incompetent. This problem becomes especially visible in the articles about the new 2.5.x kernel. 99.9% of the posters haven't even tried to compile that kernel, yet some posters pretend to be experts and some moderators believe it.

Earlier I could easily distinguish between posts from those who know and those who don't. Now it's almost impossible. You have the comments with all possible "levels" of lameness. It's not uncommon to see a comment making good points and then being simply wrong where it's a matter of fact, not opinion.

Usually there is nobody to correct the poster - with so many stories you have low chance to be moderated if your comment wasn't posted within 1 hour after the story appeared on the frontpage.

This has another consequence - most posters and moderators cannot be bothered to read the story. I once criticized someone for not having checked the facts. And guess what was the answer?

Come on, it's Slashdot!

I'm sorry, but I feel that I should not be wasting my time there anymore. That why I'm here.

throughput (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by martingale on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 10:25:34 AM EST

Usually there is nobody to correct the poster - with so many stories you have low chance to be moderated if your comment wasn't posted within 1 hour after the story appeared on the frontpage.

Perhaps the main reason I'm giving up on Slashdot myself is the sheer throughput, both of stories and comments. Lots of stories is not a problem in itself, but they seem to grow stale very quickly. I'm in the wrong timezone (Oz) and by the time I read most stories, they're fully developed monsters. If I want to post a comment, chances are the bulk of readers/posters has already moved on.

In contrast, K5, due to its smaller size, is *slow* enough that I for example can pick a story and have a discussion over two days. I believe this is an important factor in K5's quality of discussions.

So I'm wondering: would it be a good idea to give each accepted story a time quota to foster "quality comments" (which would then be modded up of course). More precisely, say there was a quota of two Freedom & Politics stories per week. Twice a week, one of the stories is replaced with the category submission which has the highest voted score in the queue. The result is that would-be commenters have two stories to choose from for the whole week, not an unlimited number depending on how quickly new replacement stories are accepted.

[ Parent ]
slashdot escapees (none / 0) (#92)
by martman on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 11:34:54 PM EST

A lot of people seem unsettled by the idea that a lot of people from slashdot might end up here. First of all, i think they're pretty different sites and many people read both. Secondly, I don't think the migration numbers are high (i'm not basing that on anything other than intuition, so correct me if wrong). Thirdly and finally, Blowcat here is the type of Slashdot user who would be migrating - the one who's disappointed with the decline in quality of debate on Slashdot and desire to be reading interesting and well thought out comments (whether of the same opinion or dissenting). In fact exactly the type we want here. Frankly, I find that comforting. It keeps me warm at night.

[ Parent ]
Ease them in, (2.16 / 6) (#55)
by G hoti on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 02:35:52 AM EST

If k5 is swamped my 1/3 of a million users there aint exactly much that can be done, As a fairly new person here I think that the welcome center idea is not very suitable, sure you lot might have the patience to read it but the people who wont read it are the exact audience for it.

For normal newbies there seems to be a natural progression, from lurker to poster.

I think the biggest problem will be those who come here and treat it like /. How about a mandatory step in period

A week of read-only
add diarys for a week
followed by comments & voting for a week
and finaly postings

After all k5 is a discussion forum about intelligent topics, We only really want those who are interested in what others have to say not just themselves.


ps: hope this dosent double post, opera just crashed

Slashdot & Kuroshin user here... (4.55 / 9) (#61)
by maroberts on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 05:22:23 AM EST

As someone with a fairly low Slashdot ID (<20k) I'd like to take exception to the patronising tone in this article. [I'm not sure how old my K5 user is]

Etiquette and aesthetics; these things are direceted by the readership, not something imposed, except for really extreme circumstances. It is far more damaging for kuroshin snobs to have a 'holier than thou' attitude. People who comment badly simply will get low ratings, and I believe it is far harder and takes more effort to be badly behaved on K5 and get away with it.
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
People are people (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by jabber on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 06:45:13 PM EST

The whole point of a Welcome Center, to me, is to make it easier for newcomers to become familiar with site manners, without doing so by trial and error - embarassing themselves and frustrating long-time users in the process.

Etiquette and aesthetics can not be enforced, except vie the rating system and the responses of other readers, I completely agree with you.

A Welcome Center would simply showcase what is considered proper form. If users (both new and old, really) choose to not abide, they will be rated down.

I really don't see how my article was patronising. If it was, I apologise, as it was not my intention. All I intended to do was to suggest a venue where new people could get a sense of K5 'local customs' without belching at the dinner table - as is perfectly acceptable to do in some societies.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Elitism (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by Anonymous American on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 04:48:45 PM EST

I suppose I found the article to be a little patronising too. However it's forgivable because I think your heart is probably in the right place. Be careful though, your welcome center could easily make a new user feel uncomfortable.

[ Parent ]
Some stats, please! (4.28 / 7) (#62)
by Vs on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 05:28:50 AM EST

Rusty, could we have some statistics please about new users? E.g. new accounts/day on the front page?
Where are the immoderate submissions?
I suggest a user filtering process (1.50 / 6) (#64)
by Jel on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 10:57:20 AM EST

It's easy.. put all new users in a "new member filter". Here's how it would work. You might recognise the system, it's the system used to get into heaven in the simpsons.

Put 'em all on an escalator, leading to the "here are your new membership details" area, high, high up in the sky. Ask them to hold onto the escalator's handrail. Ask them not to spit over the side. Any who make it through the journey without succumbing to temptation get to join. Others go to hell, where they can see Satan getting pussy-whipped by Sadam Insane. =^)

They might not be so bad (2.57 / 7) (#65)
by Cro Magnon on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 12:48:35 PM EST

I'm a recent "/. barbarian", and I usually post there for humor. My posting reflects the atmosphere there. On K5, I'm not sure you'll appreciate that brand of humor, so I try to use my head as something besides a blunt instrument. Different environment, different posting style. My recommendation is to welcome most newbies, educate those are are truly ignorant, and ignore trolls and "wankers".
Information wants to be beer.
Well... (3.66 / 3) (#67)
by carlos on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 02:14:32 PM EST

I, for one, have been both a Slashdot and a Kuro5hin user for a long time now, but I've never got around writing on K5 before, because I felt like it was just too complicated or, honestly, comprised by a bunch of self-important assholes. But now I see I was not entirely correct, and will start actually participating here. :-)
Vique's Law:
 A man without a religion is like a fish without a bicycle.
Honestly though... (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by martman on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 11:41:45 PM EST

We are just a bunch of self important assholes. Over time we've learnt to hide it well though. ; )

[ Parent ]
Pretty simple, really (2.00 / 3) (#68)
by spacefrog on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 04:03:03 PM EST

How about a simple filter that kicks a user out for posting a message mentioning goatse.cx. If they try to disguise it as something else or represent it by IP or long IP, we torch their house and enslave their family.

A simple filter that counts the total number of display lines and roots out anything excessive would go a long way. That is one of the major problems I see on Slashdot.

Funny... (4.00 / 3) (#77)
by fluffy grue on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 08:45:27 PM EST

One of the major problems I see on Slashdot is that they try to do what you recommend! Well, the trying isn't the problem, but the fact that it's such a half-assed backwards stupid way that they do things. The "lameness filter" doesn't work (and often filters out legitimate stuff), the "display the link's destination site right afterwards" thing only gives people more freedom to abuse things, and their post throttling stuff is a little too hyperactive, and doesn't do anything to stop, say, a trickle-flood which posts thousands of comments over a several-day period (not that I'd have any direct knowledge of that or anything ;)

Personally, I think that K5's mechanism is quite good. Assuming there's more legitimate users than crapflood trollers, then it all works out, and if there were more crapflood trollers than "legitimate" users, then by definition the crapflood trollers would be the legitimate users anyway (since the site ideally reflects its community).

Let the sentient users decide what is offensive and bad, not some broken regexp written by a half-baked Perl spaghetti-coder.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Teaching trolls? (2.50 / 2) (#69)
by blkros on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 04:49:31 PM EST

I think that most people here are in agreement, about the inability to teach the trolls any ettiquette. The question is, what do we do with them if they come here?(I don't think they will. /. is like an addiction.) My thought is--just ignore them, delete their posts, they'll go away if nobody wants to play with them. Nobody's gonna leave /. anyways, unless it goes under. Most of the trolls, etc. (even people who aren't trolls--I'll give em that) use junkbuster or some other form over anti-ad ware, so they won't bother with subscriptions, anyways. I've grown increasingly tired of the quality of /. in the last few months, and if anything kills it off it will be that, not this new subscription system. /. is it's own worst enemy.

Yet another newbie plunks down $.02 (3.00 / 1) (#71)
by underscore on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 06:13:50 PM EST

By way of a quick background check I've been posting on the net since the mid to late 90's. My favourite sites chronologically have been The LOOP at FEED MAG, /., and, now K5 (although I'm *very* new to K5).

I agree an orientation centre of some sort is a good idea for newbies who sweat such things but I question the efficacy of such centres. The net is just another environment and any one web site is just another niche. Most people need a comfort zone and accordingly struggle to find their niche. For those who find themselves comfortable in any given niche an orientation centre will be redundant simply because being comfortable they will afford themselves the luxury of maintaining their comfort zone. For those who struggle to force the niche to wrap itself around their needs an orientation centre will be of little use. For those who have the native intelligence to *read* their environment adaption will come easily until that same easy intelligence bores and begins to play... polymorphous perversity!

While I applaud your intentions I doubt an orientation centre will be worth your effort. Trolls are leaky hormone sacks not to be reasoned with, lameness filters are, well, ah, lame. A quick mind is the best filter and if you can't skim reams of meaningless dribble to find the germane then you're better off in an overly annal controlled environment.

a geek possessed of animal cunning
is a most fearsome adversary

I don't think the ads are a problem (4.00 / 5) (#72)
by EricKroutDotCom on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 06:23:16 PM EST

I'm a long-time Slashdot contributer (I have a couple different accounts, in fact).

I don't think the new larger ads will be a problem. Most will find a way to run a Junkbuster-like program that removes all advertisement banners and the like. The Slashteam can't outsmart 250,000 members no matter how hard they try.

That being said, I think people will pay for page-views, if for no other reason to show a 'thank-you' to a site that's been around for so long and is a classic. Slashdot won't die, but their subscription scheme won't be serious unless they add some really cool benefits for paying members.

EricKrout.com Is Back In Action :: GNUs For Nerds. Flawless Grammar.

It's not the ads (4.50 / 2) (#81)
by jobi on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 06:21:58 AM EST

As another long-time Slasdot reader and sometimes contributer, I know I won't pay for a subscription.


Because of the way the Slashdot editors treat their readers. I am one of those unlucky(?) souls who found the famous "Slasdot Troll Investigation" post interesting, and moderated it accordingly. As a result, I no longer have a say in what the site is about, I can't moderate or metamoderate. All this for the fact that I found a post interesting.

And after treating me this way, they want me to pay them money? Not likely.

The trolls, the spammers, the "first post" crowd and the goatse-posts didn't turn me off Slashdot, but the way I (and many with me) have been treated by the editors really did.

So, to summarize, it's not about the ads for me, it's about not giving money to people that treat me badly.

"[Y]ou can lecture me on bad language when you learn to use a fucking apostrophe."
[ Parent ]
Slashdot (none / 0) (#82)
by hebertrich on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 07:15:59 AM EST

In the first place Slashdot is " if you dont agree you will be able to say so once " . It's notorious for it.Yes there's a crowd that needs to be herded like sheep and need their thinking be dependent on the opinion of others,and it's really sad.That's the way lots of people are. Independent thinking is the realm of k5.I love it. I dont post much, i read and more often than anything im busy doing what a lot are just dreaming of. K5 is my little heaven far from the noise of the crowd and incessant articles on new chips, new games and all round unimportant stuff. I put a high value on k5 like it is. Most certainly new people can bring new ideas, but in this case,i beleive that a bit of caution is good advice.Like be a member for 2 weeks, a month , before you can post. Get to know k5 before you start posting idiotic " new vid game out " articles that really dont fit in the k5 culture. just 2 cents worth or much of nothing. Loking forward to hear from you all. Richard Hebert

[ Parent ]
page-views (none / 0) (#83)
by cockroach on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 07:20:58 AM EST

i don't like the idea of paying for page-views at all. i don't pay for the megabytes i download, i don't pay for the time i'm online - i just pay my i-dont-feel-like-calculating-how-many bucks a month.

like on k5. i'm not a 'subscribed' member (yet), because paypal is quite annoying, but yesterday i finally got my member code so i can start being one. that's the future. at least for me. NOT pay-per-pageview.

Webisoder - never miss another TV episode
[ Parent ]
This is a great idea! (1.00 / 3) (#73)
by ariux on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 06:27:01 PM EST

Kuro5hin primer. (3.50 / 4) (#80)
by tkatchev on Sun Mar 03, 2002 at 03:41:50 PM EST

Punkt 1: You want here instead.

Punkt 2: See punkt 1.

Thank you for your attention, I will retire my presense shortly. Please don't short your liberalist fuse.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.

Suggestions for Welcome Center (4.50 / 2) (#86)
by devon on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 11:50:44 AM EST

First, the Welcome Center is a good idea. In addition to "examples of what GREAT K5 articles can be like," examples of POOR K5 articles/comments would be in order. Negative examples can often be more instructive than positive ones.

For example: (i'm making this up, but have seen similar)
In reply to a comment with some factual mistakes << END

you are so fucking stupid. why even bother posting if you don't know what you're talking about. retards like you who can't even get there[sic] facts straight should go read some fucking books.


I think most of would like to discourage this kind of post. First, it doesn't even address what facts in the parent are incorrect. Second, it doesn't offer corrections, or links to correct information. Third, the general form of the post is derogatory and inflammatory. It doesn't add anything to the discussion, and therefore isn't worth the time to read and arguably wasn't worth the time to write. This is an extreme case, but the idea is the same for lesser "offenses." Show an example of a bad post, state why it's bad, and perhaps show an alternative way to express the sentiment in a more appropriate manner.

Also, although it shouldn't be necessary, I think a statement encouraging people to take the high ground after an ad hominem attack would be worth the time and effort. Far too often I see people previously engaged in intelligent discourse begin their own character attacks apparently because someone else "started it."

This brings me to a suggestion for a new feature for k5. For lack of a better term, I call it a snub. A snub would carry no penalty besides damaged reputation. A snub would essentially mean that the post wasn't worth reading, replying to, rating, or, in the snubbers opinion, writing. A post like the one above would be appropriate to snub, in my opinion. It's really just a way for each member of the community to have a voice in what is unacceptable, but without actually squelching any other voices.

Call yourself a computer professional? Congratulations. You are responsible for the imminent collapse of civilization.

Policies... (none / 0) (#90)
by node3667 on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 11:24:04 PM EST

Actualy, the rules you are describing here are almost the sames that /. give to new users and moderators : try to keep the signal high, and the noise low. http://slashdot.org/faq/com-mod.shtml#cm600 (and others questions / answers in this page)

Plus, there is the question of what becomes a web site if the community changes... A question already asked here, (http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/11/13/14628/112 is an exemple, but i didn't found the article I was looking for :-[ )

is human hopeless ? :-D
let's not be that cynical,
be happy ! (evil grin)
at least love help.


[ Parent ]
Snubbing (none / 0) (#91)
by martman on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 11:29:47 PM EST

There actually is a moderation option similar to what you describe as a 'snub'. Some users (no idea how many) are regarded as 'trusted' by the k5 site, based upon other users' ratings of the user's comments (no idea of specific criteria). The idea is that if you write comments that are generally regarded by the populous as high in calibre, then you probably have a fair idea of what makes a good comment and, by extension, what makes a bad comment. The extra power granted is not massive, but is significant. An extra option will appear on your ratings for comments so that you can give it a score of zero, as well as the usual 1-5. The guidelines state that a score of zero should only be given for comments with no content whatsoever (eg. flames) and spambot comments.

[ Parent ]
get over ourselves (4.75 / 4) (#87)
by speek on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 12:04:52 PM EST

Afraid of new immigrants who Aren't Like Us? Perhaps some new rules will help Keep Them Away. I see in this story a not-so-subtle undertone of protectionism from newbies.

C'mon people, the difference between Slashdot and K5 isn't the people, it's the way the sites work and the sheer numbers. K5 won't be like Slashdot simply because it works differently. There are stupid jerks here, there are stupid jerks there. No difference.

The reason I am on K5 is because I have a greater ability to control my experience here. I have a say in what articles get posted. I can post articles and have a fair shot of being voted to front page. I can talk to specific users by going to their diary and vice-versa. That stuff won't change.

The numbers, as K5 grows, can present problems, however. To deal with these problems, we've already suggested things that should help in the areas of diary subscription, changes to ways stories got posted, etc.

Maybe in your tutorial/training section, you can include some suggestions on how to have some faith in people.

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

Brand new K5 user here. (3.50 / 2) (#88)
by Anonymous American on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 04:35:25 PM EST

I don't read slashdot that much anymore, but it did link me to k5. However, I don't think that k5 will be stealing slashdots user base anytime soon. I think K5 fills a completely different niche than the slashdot newslog. So I don't think you really need to worry so much about a evil slashdotter invasion. I think k5 is growing on it's own and that probably has to do more with the quality of it's content than with the "slashdot sux" phenonenom.

As far as a welcome center goes, I would have liked to see a quick description of how the system works and a brief list of do's and dont's. However will not read more than a couple pages maximum. I also do not want to read a bunch of heavy handed rules and examples. Try having a little tolerance for newbies and leading by example. It is a thin line between love and hate, as www.slashdot.org can show you.

what is that quip... (none / 0) (#94)
by thanos on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 07:54:38 PM EST

When you move to a new town, you don't start right out writing letters to the editor of the local newspaper with your opinion on everything; instead, you hang out in the town and learn the local ways and issues -- from the sidelines. But when you are new to an online forum the first thing you you do is to let everyone know what your opinion is.

Ahh the times are changing... *sigh*
Savinelli testified that Pickard said on two occasions that he had accidentally spilled LSD on himself, dosing himself with the drug. Pickard acted "giddy" and was less focused and organized for about a month after the second dosing.

A K5 Welcome Center | 92 comments (90 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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