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Saving Diversity on K5: The Dangers of Careless Voting

By dalinian in Meta
Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:47:01 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

It seems that there is a widespread agreement that if you do not care about a story, you should vote it down (in other words, -1). There are several difficulties with this view, and if it remains fashionable, it can have seriously bad effects on the site.

I believe the view is popular because Rusty advocates it. But that is of course not a valid philosophical argument: ipse dixit went out of fashion after the Medieval times. But of course, if no arguments against that view existed, it would be reasonable to adhere, because after all, Rusty maintains the site and puts a lot of work into it. But arguments against that view do exist.


This essay

I will first go through the arguments for the view that you should vote -1 if you don't care. This is necessary to clear the way. Then, I will move on to the arguments against that view to prove my point.

Why to vote -1 if you don't care

  • If it's something you don't care about, then it shouldn't be on kuro5hin. Who wants a site full of things no one cares about?

    There is a difference between "you don't care" and "nobody cares". That difference completely destroys this argument, because the conclusion does not follow.

  • The whole thing depends on everyone registering their vote as if you were the only person in the world that matters.

    This argument probably rests on the belief that when everyone acts egoistically, everyone will be better off (because if it doesn't, it does not seem an argument at all, but a mere statement of opinion). This works in a normal society precisely because not caring about something means that you simply ignore it. In the real world, the "vote it down if you don't care" policy would mean that if you heard an opinion in which you are not interested, you would go to the person that has expressed that opinion and tell her or him literally to shut up. Would you be willing to do that? If not, why would you do that on K5? You can't say that the analogy is incorrect because K5 is not a real society, because then you would lose the original argument as well: if K5 is not in this respect like a society, acting egoistically does not necessarily lead to everyone being better off.

  • If you vote 0, you effectively are saying you don't care about what gets posted on K5.

    This is true. If you vote 0 when you don't care about a story, you don't care about what gets posted on K5. But that's not a bug, but a feature. In a liberal system, people should not care about what others do, because nobody has to participate. We should take care that no sabotage occurs, but that's about it. In fact, if you vote -1 when you don't care about a story, you are effectively saying that you don't care about what makes K5 great: the freedom of thought and the diversity it entails.

Progress and trolls

My first argument is about free speech. Legally, K5 doesn't have to allow free speech. But it is - as far as I can tell - a progressive site, and we can't have progress by suppressing speech. Progress is a chain of good choices, and like James Mill writes in the Liberty of the Press:

We may then ask, if there are any possible means by which the people can make a good choice, besides the liberty of the press? The very foundation of a good choice is knowledge. The fuller and more perfect the knowledge, the better the chance, where all sinister interest is absent, of a good choice. How can the people receive the most perfect knowledge relative to the characters of those who present themselves to their choice, but by information conveyed freely, and without reserve, from one to another?

It is important to distinguish "sinister interests", particularly nihilist trolling, from "declaring an opinion". Usually, trolling is simply sabotage, but not always. Some trolls use sabotage as a means to combat dogmatism. Trolling has been popular throughout history: for instance, "The Clouds" by Aristophanes is a classic troll piece against the sophists. Diogenes of Sinope was a professional troll. It is not easy, but not impossible either to see the difference between sabotage and creativity: usually one can see that the troll that really cares about something is willing to put considerable amount of thought and work into a story, whereas a nihilist troll is careless and lazy. We do not need to put up with nihilist trolls, but that is where the paradoxical "democratic censorship" must end.

Save the pigeons

Let's build a thought experiment: Suppose that from the first hundred people that get to vote on a story, there are 10 people that are very interested in pigeons, and 30 people that are not at all interested in pigeons. Someone writes a great, insightful article about pigeons, and those 30 people don't care and therefore vote it down. This means the story will die.

The consequence is that the site becomes hostile in the eyes of those that are interested in pigeons, because they don't get to discuss matters in which they are interested. And that means they will find a site that is less hostile, and leave K5. Because of that, we will have less diversity, and less expertise on pigeons. The stories don't get any better because of this, and those that really care about something (pigeons) are alienated.

Mass culture, from the trenches

Our justification to kill stories we don't care about comes from subjective tastes: caring is a feeling. As a result of that policy, we will without doubt have a K5 that feels better. It will provide a soft and comfortable pillow of predictable, unquestioning and standardized culture, with no sharp edges or spikes to keep us awake. It will be as good as everything that is popular, from music to food, and from furniture to clothing.

I don't want K5 to be nice and easy; I want it to be bad and challenging. We need to keep the alternatives alive. Otherwise our ability to choose what we read will be limited in the future, because those that think different will have already left the site. We will not have more interesting articles by voting down the uninteresting ones; indeed, we can have interesting articles only by creating a friendly environment that encourages every kind of intellectual contribution. Please use -1 responsibly, and always encourage serious effort.

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Poll
How should you vote if you don't care?
o you should vote against the story 16%
o you should abstain 72%
o you should vote for the story 1%
o you should not vote at all, and not even abstain 10%

Votes: 175
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Rusty
o advocates
o ipse dixit
o If it's something you don't care about, then it shouldn't be on kuro5hin. Who wants a site full of things no one cares about?
o a difference
o The whole thing depends on everyone registering their vote as if you were the only person in the world that matters.
o If you vote 0, you effectively are saying you don't care about what gets posted on K5.
o sabotage
o Liberty of the Press
o nihilist
o trolling
o The Clouds
o Diogenes of Sinope
o music
o food
o furniture
o clothing
o Also by dalinian


Display: Sort:
Saving Diversity on K5: The Dangers of Careless Voting | 212 comments (172 topical, 40 editorial, 0 hidden)
I don't care... (3.13 / 15) (#1)
by godix on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 06:03:58 PM EST

...about this story. Accordingly I'll give it a -1 when it comes out of edit mode.

could you explain? (3.75 / 4) (#2)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 06:10:34 PM EST

Could you explain what is wrong with my arguments? That is the only way I can learn.

[ Parent ]
the queue is there for a reason (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by beleriand on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:14:14 PM EST

I think you worry too much about this.. We need enough people to -1 (and not 0 `cause they think it's unfair to the author) when they think a story to not be interresting or a good addition to the site. The author can allways post it someplace else (diary, usenet, website..)
I think you got rusty's "i don't care" wrong. See http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2002/7/16/231539/804/18#18
By "don't care" I mean "don't care if this one lives or dies."

[ Parent ]
I don't know (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:19:22 PM EST

I have read that comment as well, so I don't think I got it wrong. What part of my essay makes you think I got it wrong? I could try and fix it.

[ Parent ]
Explaination (3.66 / 3) (#92)
by godix on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:18:10 AM EST

"Could you explain what is wrong with my arguments?"

I actually abstain on stories I don't care about but are reasonably well written. So there's nothing really wrong with your arguements. Your sense of humor on the other hand might need checked into.

[ Parent ]

you are probably correct :-) (2.00 / 1) (#93)
by dalinian on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:22:26 AM EST

Your sense of humor on the other hand might need checked into.
You know, you're not the first person to tell me that. :-) And you may very well be correct. But it's hard to learn to understand what's fun, if one doesn't see it intuitively. And I really seem incapable of that.

[ Parent ]
Most Of My -1's (4.80 / 10) (#3)
by n8f8 on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 06:18:35 PM EST

Are from either poorly researched submissions,to request the submitter rework and resubmit the story, or obvoius flamebait. I'm not particulary concerned with grammer or spelling. Just ideas and well form opinions.

As far as "VOTING 0", I usually reserve this for stories that seem to be decently researched, but involve a topic I'm either not interrested in at the moment or I don't feel qualified to evaluate.

I do see diversity on Kuro5hin as a problem. The ratio of conservatives to liberals seems to be about 1:8. What this translats into is lots of poorly researched flamebait stories getting modded up and conservative stories don't stand a chance.

If there is any "problem" that I can see with the way the website moderation system functions it is the apparent lack of penalty for obviously rude comments. Sure some get thrown into the troll bin, but because of the overall slant to the entire unserbase, more from some viewpoints than others.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)

ratio of conservatives to liberals (2.00 / 10) (#54)
by dr k on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 09:21:50 PM EST

Although conservatives aren't that bright, they are generally smart enough to not talk about their foolish beliefs in a public forum. Libertairians excepted.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Conspiracy (5.00 / 1) (#181)
by bloat on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 05:49:21 AM EST

Hey - don't forget the liberal media conspiracy!

It must have overrun K5 as well. Poor conservatives... how ever will they get their view point across?

Oh yeah... by running the world.

CheersAndrewC.
--
There are no PanAsian supermarkets down in Hell, so you can't buy Golden Boy peanuts there.
[ Parent ]

I don't see why we can't have everything? (4.66 / 3) (#4)
by bigbtommy on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 06:25:41 PM EST

Why do we need to discourage peoples articles? The Internet has enough space for good articles AND trashy ones. Why not just let everyone get on with their own thing and judge things that one has no knowledge of. I personally abstain from judging any article related to Science. Why? Because I know very little about science. I don't down-rate them. I just abstain. They are probably not bad articles, they just don't interest me.

Meanwhile, I rate articles to do with the arts as I wish. Book reviews, and other stuff about art will get it's fair share of marks from me. Why? Because that's what I'm interested in.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up

voting proclivities Vs time zones (5.00 / 6) (#7)
by ageing hippie on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 06:46:17 PM EST

A question pops into my mind, is there a difference in the voting patterns as each time zone slips through its day/night cycle?
------------------------
Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me
I would say there most certainly is [nt] (1.66 / 3) (#9)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 06:49:08 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I would say there most certainly is not [st] (5.00 / 4) (#14)
by J'raxis on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:10:53 PM EST

But if I were to say that, I’d back it up with some actual evidence.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Hmm... (4.75 / 4) (#62)
by maozo on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 10:22:20 PM EST

So you could manipulate the voting result on, say, an anti-US article by waiting until most US-ians have gone to sleep? I'm sure there would be enough users in Europe and eastward to get the story through.

Interesting...

[ Parent ]

Yes, and it has been done (4.00 / 1) (#176)
by inerte on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 10:21:44 PM EST

I don't remember the exact article. But it was an Anti-USA piece dealing with European issues.

I didn't realize that the author planned this until he said so. Too bad I can't find the comment link, but it's been done.

--
Heya! Once I saw a monkey. And I built a website called Inércia Sensorial


[ Parent ]
Know what? (3.77 / 9) (#10)
by br284 on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 06:55:28 PM EST

I really don't give a damn about what everyone else wants to read. I come to read K5 because it has stuff that *I* want to read. I'm not here to vote for articles that everyone else might appreciate but me.

As far as I'm concerned, the voting system is solely for the reason of filtering out articles that I don't want to read, and for promoting those that I do want to read.

To hell with the rest of you.

-Chris

PS. I posted something similar over a year ago here.

PPS. -1



I completely agree (3.66 / 3) (#15)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:11:40 PM EST

I agree with you: we should be egoists. But you seem to assume that egoism is the same as short-term egoism. It is not. We don't get good articles by killing unpopular articles. We only get more McPopular articles. And that means those people that are unpopular will leave, and what's left is a group of people that have exactly similar ideas and interests. And that is when no article on the site will be good or interesting anymore.

[ Parent ]
Wrong (4.50 / 2) (#26)
by br284 on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:57:06 PM EST

I what you said was true, there would be more like me on this site as time goes on.

As it stands, the general k5 population is moving farther and farther away from my types of views as time goes on. By your rationale, I should continue voting as I am in order to bring a more centrist focus to the site.

Frankly I find your representation of typical k5 articles as McPopular to be insulting and I think that one of two things have happened. One, you've seen stuff voted down that you liked over stuff that you didn't like and are trying to bring things back into your sphere. Or two, you're opinions are so far outfield, almost everything anyone else thinks outside your intellectual clique is McSomething.

From my perspective, which I consider to be pretty average, the stuff that is posted here is quite diverse and advocates a variety of viewpoints. I'm still interested, thus I'm apt to characterize your statements as "the sky is falling" when from my vantage point, the sky is just fine.

It is true that the types of articles may make some leave. However, I think rather than it be a function of the difference of positions between k5 and the person, it's more likely to be a function of how much a person is willing to be challenged and honestly engage the "McKuro5hin" crowd in some honest (and sometimes position-altering) debate. Which is fine by me. I don't want those who are unmovable in their beliefs come here to lecture me. I prefer the posters who are willing to challenge and be challenged.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

cool (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:20:58 PM EST

Frankly I find your representation of typical k5 articles as McPopular to be insulting
Actually I didn't mean to say that. My mistake, sorry. I meant that what I say will probably happen in the future. After all, it has happened in the real world as well, with an even weaker mechanism: in the real world we just ignore things we don't care about.
thus I'm apt to characterize your statements as "the sky is falling" when from my vantage point, the sky is just fine.
But the sky may be just fine the day before a tornado strikes. Again, I'm looking for a rational long-term solution.
I prefer the posters who are willing to challenge and be challenged.
Great. So I think we basically agree.

[ Parent ]
Pessimism (4.00 / 2) (#38)
by br284 on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:38:31 PM EST

I guess the major difference between us is that you believe that the community will become homogenous. I beg to differ because of the fundamental type of user that is core to the community.

The people who come here are here to read and think. People who like to think like to be challenged and to challenge. Since there are those here, I know that those types will often argue for the sake of arguing. It is possible that a topic will be argued to death and everyone will cease to care, and thus less articles will be written (Israel v. Palestine), but people here will find other things to argue about.

To me, this is hardly conducive to the masses who prefer to ignore things because it doesn't concern them. Since those are not the types here, I really doubt that k5 will become yet another homogenized site.

It's simply no fun if everyone agrees, and that will be the fuel that keeps this fire going.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

agreement (2.00 / 1) (#40)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:49:44 PM EST

The people who come here are here to read and think.
I'm not sure I agree with that. Could you provide evidence? :-)
It's simply no fun if everyone agrees, and that will be the fuel that keeps this fire going.
Agreement is good. Disagreement is bad. But reasoned disagreement is the best, and also quite rare on K5.

[ Parent ]
Question (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by br284 on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:53:23 PM EST

Fine then. I'm curious... Where is there a better place for reasoned agreement than k5? I've not seen one yet that manages to stay interesting.

As for agreement, swing down to http://www.freerepublic.com and tell me how great agreement is.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

in my mind (2.33 / 3) (#48)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:57:01 PM EST

That place is in my mind. It exists a prescriptive idea, or a dream. This essay is one reflection of that dream about a better discussion site.

[ Parent ]
Are you saying (5.00 / 1) (#133)
by davidduncanscott on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:59:31 PM EST

that the voices in your head are having a reasoned disagreement? :)

[ Parent ]
No... err... yes! (n/t) (none / 0) (#182)
by MisterX on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 08:34:08 AM EST



[ Parent ]
+1FP Excellent analysis (4.72 / 11) (#11)
by localroger on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 06:56:29 PM EST

This is a problem which is only getting worse.

There are already several topics which cannot be approached here, not because unpopular presentations will be voted down but because anything that seems like an unpopular presentation will be voted down -- and let's face it, you cannot honestly write about any difficult topic without facing arguments you don't like.

A case in point, my recent story "Walking In" was killed after the 36 hour timeout. From the comments, a large number of people misread it as advocating a metaphysical presentation of an event that happened to me, and voted it down because it "promoted metaphsyics" -- even though about 2/3 of the way down, I pointed out that I favored a secular interpretation. I led off with the metaphysical interpretation because it's favored by the vast majority of people who have had similar experiences, and it would be unfair to those people and to the phenomenon to ignore the powerful subjective impression the experience leaves.

Although the conversation spurred by that story was getting very interesting, it was killed by a bunch of yahoos who could not be bothered to read past the intro and find out what it really said. (One particular yahoo actually boasted in a comment that he didn't have to read the whole thing, making me wonder if K5 will be able to survive without some kind of slashdot-like voting controls.)

Another group of yahoos featured prominently in the editorial comments to that story reflexively vote down anything that looks remotely in their estimation like a diary entry -- regardless of whether it has enough substance to justify wider exposure. It makes me wonder if this story could even get published at all today on K5. It's no less a "diary entry" than "Walking In" was, after all.

It would be simple enough to maximize my chances of getting through the edit queue in these New and Improved Times; the problem is that I neither want to read nor write these short, direct, simple, obvious pieces that are the literary equivalent of McDonald's and the Gap. I want to be surprised and seduced, and I will try to do the same for my readers.

If that gets my efforts voted down in the queue, then I'll eventually move on.

I can haz blog!

Paddle harder (4.50 / 4) (#19)
by imrdkl on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:31:31 PM EST

Yes, the dynamics have changed. But this is no time to start whining about it. Having an article run the queue gauntlet and die is nearly as satisfying, sometimes, as going to section. And not just for the author either, methinks.

If you, or any other author, really believe what you're saying, then having time in the queue, and in front of the faces of those with whom you wish to affect, should be reward enough. The fact that the "Whole World" never sees your handiwork is perhaps disappointing, but hey, this ain't a uniformly distributed democratic population of voters, either.

Fight the good fight in the queue, and then bow and take your leave, if you didn't win. All are welcome back another day, and that's what really matters.

[ Parent ]

illuminating metaphor (3.00 / 3) (#21)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:42:01 PM EST

Your fight metaphor is very good, because it helps me understand the issue better. My question is "Why should we fight at all?" What's wrong with working together? It is simple and probably a lot more efficient, and nobody gets "hurt" (metaphorically speaking).

[ Parent ]
Why should we fight at all? (3.50 / 2) (#25)
by imrdkl on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:56:16 PM EST

Because that's what we do here, grasshopper. :)

We don't just hang around and spout random musings, and then hope that everyone else agrees that they should be presented to the world as "Our Site", after all.

[ Parent ]

yeah (3.00 / 3) (#30)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:03:07 PM EST

OK, I see. But I think you misunderstood. We can fight, if it is constructive fighting. But fighting implies destruction.

What I would like to see is rational debate about all kinds of issues. What this essay was intended to fix is that part about "all kinds of issues". Maybe I'll write something about rationality later.

[ Parent ]

So is diversity possible (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by imrdkl on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:31:47 PM EST

only with a large population of authors? Perhaps. I certainly wouldn't want to lose our much beloved localroger, who laments with you above. Perhaps your story will live, perhaps the heart of k5 will soften a bit, perhaps our great nation will seek justice instead of revenge, perhaps all will be revealed, and nothing will be hidden.

But not today.

[ Parent ]

And the whole world doesn't even care (3.50 / 2) (#27)
by Pac on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:59:32 PM EST

I think that except for very fast divers or risers, the average article exposition in the queue is just a bit smaller than in the front page. After 24 hours in the queue an article will probably have all its main topical points already discussed. The latecomers will rarely do more than add an observations here and there.

And the whole world does not really uses K5 as its default home page.

Those students who have become one with the universe will be allowed to go on and become two with the universe


[ Parent ]
The problem (5.00 / 9) (#29)
by localroger on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:02:32 PM EST

I don't mind if I get voted down because I found a topic nobody is interested in or expressed a viewpoint that really pisses everyone off. I understand that. I don't mind getting voted down if I fuck up and make a fool of myself. I understand that too. If interest is mild and it only goes to section I understand that too.

What I don't understand, and mind very much, is when I spend time and effort working something up and it dies because some fucktards can't be bothered to even read what they're voting on, when they say in numerous editorial comments that they're voting it down because they believe things that are obviously not true about the story in question.

Look, everyone agrees that K5 needs quality content. There are some of us who spend time when we could otherwise be smoking dope or getting laid or playing Quake writing pieces and polishing them up in the hopes that someone will find them worthwhile. That is a lot of work. It took me an entire week of free time to write A Casino Odyssey, and several days each for Paleotech. Quality writing isn't free, and on K5 the only people paying for it are the authors ourselves.

Now, having gone to that effort it is irksome to have my work trashed by some fucktard who is too lazy to even read what he is voting on. Look, if you aren't interested in it I understand. If the editorial comments are all "I really have no interest in this, -1" I understand if the comments accurately describe what I wrote. But people who are mean enough to vote against stories they are too lazy to read don't deserve quality content. And if they keep doing it they will get what they deserve. And the rest of us who are still hanging around will get it too.

Make no mistake, "running the queue gauntlet" is not the same as publication. I submit things here to get comments and so I can conveniently link to them in the future. Writing for publication, even in an alternative non-paying venue like K5, has certain perks; writing for "running the queue gauntlet" is masturbation.

Look, if I was that interested in masochistically inviting rejection I could submit my work to places that actually pay. The reason I don't do that (and people have asked, so here's the answer) is that I have no patience with pointless rejection. I can handle not being good enough. That's fixable. I have no interest in the possibility that some overworked editor will simply dump the entire slush pile, including my manuscript, in the dumpster because they don't have the time to bother.

So yes, I'll keep plugging away at the queue if I'm rejected because I hit a hot button or didn't impress anyone with my research. But if half the comments are +1FP, great, interesting, wonderful, and the articles start dying regularly because of the yahoos who obviously haven't even read them, don't ask me to keep coming back.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

The point he's missing (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by imrdkl on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:15:11 PM EST

is that not everyone has adopted Rusty's strategy. A few weak-minded fools may have taken his advice, but I believe that most people still have their own personal reasons for voting. Sometimes it's as simple as a mood, yes. Other time's it's the title that pisses people off. But mostly, it's because people say to themselves, "Self, do you want this on your site?". If the answer is no, then Self votes no.

I don't have a problem with those dynamics, if I believe in what I'm talking about.

[ Parent ]

Another thing (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by imrdkl on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:54:25 PM EST

if you just wanted to be able to link to your story later, you could have put it in a diary. In fact, I suggest that we continue this discussion in a diary. The current story, after all, is not really about your (only?) rejection.

[ Parent ]
My rejection vs. the topic at hand (5.00 / 5) (#55)
by localroger on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 09:25:24 PM EST

I really only brought up "Walking In" to illuminate the problem, which is worsening by slow degrees. "Walking In" isn't my first rejection by the queue. It does, however, have the dubious distinction of being the story I've put the most work into that was subsequently rejected.

I don't think there is a problem just because I had a story rejected. I've noticed a larger proportion of stories I find interesting not making it through the queue. (Ironically, this one is having difficulties too.) It's like the issue of freedom of speech in general; at first nobody notices a problem, because it's just the edgy things that suffer. But over time the edges will contract. Various cliques will stake out their territories and nothing will get posted that isn't either solidly within the territory of a clique that is numerous enough to keep it alive, or solidly outside of a minefield of hot buttons pre-rejected by those same groups.

I was attracted to K5 partly because I felt it was an interesting experiment. Unfortunately, I think it's an experiment in the early stages of failure. By its nature K5 has attracted a lot of belligerent egoists who feel it is their duty to put their stamp on the site by their voting patterns (voting naturally being a lot easier than actually writing something).

With tens of thousands of users, it is not hard for a small group to exercise de facto veto power over the queue. With enough of these groups censoring their various pet peeves nothing controversial or different will ever be able to get through. This is a problem that gets worse as K5's population grows, both because newcomers are less likely to take the long view of K5 as a community and because the percentage necessary to overwhelm the queue gradually decreases.

Fixing this problem will require more creative ideas than I can muster right now. Eventually some kind of voting restrictions will have to be imposed or the system will implode. This, incidentally, is why the United States is not really a democracy; our Founding Fathers recognized the problem, and installed the representatives as a buffer between the voters and the end result. (And even that hasn't worked too well recently.)

I can imagine some scenarios, though. We might get a limited number of votes per time period. We might designate representative editors. We might have to be qualified as voters through some process like "stage voting." We might lose the privilege of voting temporarily or permanently for various statistically detectable abuses.

I do think something will have to be done eventually, though. So far we are seeing only the first gusty breezes. The hurricane is still far offshore, but headed this way.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

yahoos (none / 0) (#134)
by fhotg on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 02:05:52 PM EST

I see the same problem. IMHO it boils down to people voting without having put enough energy into reading and understanding the story. The problem would not occur if only people voted down a story after digesting it to a certain extent. If I'm reading a story, try to understand the author and still feel this is uninteresting I vote it down.

The problem are quick knee-jerk voting decisions based on some key words or by putting the author or the text into a ideological or thematic category which you personally have associated with -1 or +1. This automatically kills, selectively, the most challenging out of the box thinking contributions, because they cannot readily be associated with the +1 drawer.

I think that is the core of the problem to target if you want to fix it. My first stab at it: You can only vote if you give a reason for it, in a special editorial comment. The moderation you receive on your 'justification-comments' has an impact on your future ability to vote on storys.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

Well this yahoo ... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by Kalani on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:23:49 PM EST

... voted -1 on that story because it didn't interest him.

I read the whole thing too, since the vast majority of your submissions have been interesting to me.

Also, I think that your casino stories would still get published. I don't think that the voting trends mean that K5 will only get the "literary equivalent of McDonald's and the Gap" (what would that be anyway? Harry Potter?). I'd personally prefer more Science/Math related stories, but if I see something that I like I won't hesitate to vote it up. But then I think that I have realistic expectations about what makes a "good" story.

The end result might be that the meaning in a submission is voted up when in one form and down when in another. But the structure is important, in that it essentially defines whether or not the reader will be able to extract the meaning out of your submission. If there are no forms that communicate the meaning of the submission to the audience, then the audience is either incapable of understanding the meaning of the submission or there is no meaning to the submission. In the former case, it probably is a good idea to go somewhere else so that you might find people who are capable of understanding what you want to say. The same can be said for an audience that understands the meaning of a submission but isn't interested in it at all. I would likely vote down the pigeon story example, for instance.

That's my policy anyway.

-----
"Images containing sufficiently large skin-colored groups of possible limbs are reported as potentially containing naked people."
-- [ Parent ]
Non-yahoo behavior (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by localroger on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:54:11 PM EST

I would not classify your -1 as the behavior of a yahoo; you read and understood the story and voted it down because you didn't like it. No problemo.

I understand that some stories are marginal; they test the boundaries of K5's charter. "Plant" was like that, and "Letter from the Delta." I have no problem with a story getting voted down because the readers thought it didn't belong.

I have also come to terms with simple disagreement, and would not pitch the whiny fit today that I did when "Yet Another Effort" was nearly ditched.

But when more than ten people not only vote, but leave editorial comments revealing that they didn't have a fucking clue what they were voting on, it does torque my 'nads. If a writer was that sloppy he'd be slam-dunked for sloppy research, bad grammar, and assorted other sins. But when the votors act that way they get all sanctimonious and pissy about anyone who complains.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Non sequiter (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by imrdkl on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 09:03:04 PM EST

Plant and Letter were both about technology, at some level (and both made it out of queue). Asking people to give the same type of evaluation to metaphysics was not only unrealistic, it was perhaps even a bit naive. Sorry.

[ Parent ]
perhaps close voting for an hour (none / 0) (#188)
by Shren on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:43:41 AM EST

Why should people be able to vote down a story right after it goes up? Surely anyone voting on a story in less than 5 minutes after it's posted isn't actually *thinking* about the story, they are just voting based on some prejudice. There should be time for at least a little editorial debate before 20 fools mug it like some guy being relieved of his wallet in an alley.

[ Parent ]
I'd abstain, still. (4.87 / 8) (#23)
by Torako on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 07:47:28 PM EST

I have a problem with voting -1 when I don't care. I usually vote -1 when an article does not meet my requirements for being a good article, that is if it isn't well-researched, if it's trolling or flame-bait etc, or when I want the author to resubmit.

Voting -1 is, by that definition, a statement of my opinion about the article. When I don't care, then I don't care whether I see it posted or not, and that means that I can't vote the same way as if I did not want to see the story at all.

Therefor I abstain on articles I don't care about. The people that do care will vote their 1s and -1s and I won't negatively influence that voting process.

I agree (2.50 / 2) (#47)
by crowbraid on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:55:56 PM EST

That's about what I was going to post. You seem to have said it more eloquently. Thanks.


[ Parent ]
You should vote down stories... (tea) (4.16 / 6) (#31)
by noogie on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:03:43 PM EST

that you don't care about. I am interested in some techy stuff, some cultural stuff.

I don't care about politics, so I vote anything politcal down. As a community, it is up to us to decide what we care about and what we don't. If we don't vote down stuff we don't care about, we'll end up with a site full of shit we don't care about.


*** ANONYMIZED BY THE EVIL KUROFIVEHIN MILITARY JUNTA ***
Not everyone thinks like you... (3.25 / 8) (#41)
by speedfreak2K2 on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:52:09 PM EST

Look at it this way. Say someone was your exact opposite (likes politics, hates techy stuff,cultural stuff) and votes everything down that they don't like. What if enough people like that came along. What would this site become? Diversity would be lost, and maybe something that would change their mind or tie politics and techy stuff together (DMCA, OSS in Peru) would be modded down. I wouldn't like to see that happen since I'm interested in all three.

You! Take that crown off your head, I'm kicking your ass!
[ Parent ]
if that many people don't care (4.00 / 3) (#39)
by speek on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:42:39 PM EST

Why should it get posted? Why should there be stories posted to K5 that the vast majority of K5ers don't care about? Does K5 have an obligation to cater to its extreme minorities? There are diaries, you can say anything you like in your comments, it's not hard to find those few who share your interests, after which you can talk to them directly. Seriously, why would anyone want to ensure that everyone has to see their pet issue that no one cares about?

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck -

huh? (2.50 / 2) (#46)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:54:33 PM EST

Seriously, why would anyone want to ensure that everyone has to see their pet issue that no one cares about?
Have you already looked at the reasons I provide in the essay? If you don't agree, or if I've failed to make something clear, tell me.

[ Parent ]
ok (4.66 / 3) (#52)
by speek on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 09:17:27 PM EST

The consequence is that the site becomes hostile in the eyes of those that are interested in pigeons, because they don't get to discuss matters in which they are interested

Well, that's wrong. As I pointed out, pigeon lovers can still talk about pigeons.

I don't want K5 to be nice and easy; I want it to be bad and challenging.

I thought you were talking about stories I don't care about? This sounds like you want me to vote up stories I actively don't like. Stories I don't care about are not likely to be "bad" or "challenging". They're likely to be dull and pointless, or about knitting. Or both.

And I really don't know what you're trying to say about trolling. If a troll writes something that know one cares about, well, that's a piss-poor troll, isn't it? Probably should be shot down.

Frankly, this is making it seem like not caring the single best reason to vote a story down.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

good point (3.25 / 4) (#58)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 09:53:49 PM EST

As I pointed out, pigeon lovers can still talk about pigeons.
But why would they stay on K5, if they can't talk about pigeons here?
Stories I don't care about are not likely to be "bad" or "challenging".
That's a very good point. But I tend to believe that there is a connection between challenging stuff and stuff the majority does not care about: if we lose the stuff the majority doesn't care about, we will almost certainly lose the challenging stuff as well, because writing about something the majority does not care about implies some deeper disagreement. That disagreement may be about the importance of pigeons, or religion, or whatever, but as I said, things are interconnected: if you agree with someone about thing X, you are more likely to agree with her or him about thing Y as well than if you disagreed about thing X. And disagreement works the same way.

For instance, K5 is already hostile toward religious people. After they are gone, the next non-K5-mainstream view starts to get less and less room, because the religious people are no longer here to keep everything a bit more diverse. For instance, I have noticed that I agree with a lot of religious people even though I'm an atheist (because we agree that morality is not derived from biology, but for different reasons), and without them around, my chances of getting my voice heard are slimmer than before. And this makes me less willing to stay around. This means that if I voted against a religious article because I don't care about religion, I would be hurting myself. And if I voted against a physics article because I don't care about physics, I would be hurting myself too because there is a correlation between liking physics and liking some stuff I like. Conclusion: I should not vote down stuff I don't care about.

And I really don't know what you're trying to say about trolling.
That part is only to point out that talented trolls should not be treated as saboteurs. Nihilist trolls should be voted down, because they are trying to destroy what we have just because they have an urge to destroy stuff.

[ Parent ]
hmmm (4.00 / 2) (#73)
by speek on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 11:34:10 PM EST

By your logic, everything should be voted up because you'll be able to find a connection between it and something that interests you. Thus, you'll want to encourage it.

But K5 will be useless if there is no weeding out of the chaff. You know that. It is also inevitable that any pruning process will prune stuff that you don't think should have been (except a pruning process that is entirely dictated by you). The best solution to the problem of encouraging diversity without encouraging junk is to create sub-communities within K5. I think Rusty is against the idea, but K5 will probably get big enough that the concept will make more and more sense to him. And then, stories can bubble up through sub-communities and into the entire K5 community, or not, depending on the voting within that sub-community.

But if no one on K5 cares about a story, it doesn't belong here. That simple fact won't change.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

maybe (2.50 / 4) (#78)
by dalinian on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:16:44 AM EST

By your logic, everything should be voted up because you'll be able to find a connection between it and something that interests you. Thus, you'll want to encourage it.
Actually, even that is a better idea than voting down stuff you don't care about. Then you would at least have some kind of chance to read non-mainstream articles, no matter how minimal. But of course this approach has plenty of problems as well, and I'm not advocating it either. But the point was that there is a significant long-term problem in voting down stuff you don't care about.

Maybe the whole system should be changed.

The best solution to the problem of encouraging diversity without encouraging junk is to create sub-communities within K5. I think Rusty is against the idea, but K5 will probably get big enough that the concept will make more and more sense to him.
That's an interesting idea as well. It could work.
But if no one on K5 cares about a story, it doesn't belong here. That simple fact won't change.
Yeah, but if that was the only condition, just one +1 vote would be enough.

Also, it's interesting how some people complain about the amount of rubbish on K5 (or even the threat of it!), when they themselves are willing to go through the stories in the voting queue. I mean, K5 doesn't have that much stuff - I could easily take more. If there were 30 stories in a day, and one of them was really interesting to me, I would be ecstatic. I would just ignore the other 29.

[ Parent ]

How can you claim this? (2.00 / 1) (#120)
by eightball on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:18:13 PM EST

It only take 20 people to reject a story. How does this imply "majority of k5ers"?

If The voting requirements were symmetric (ie same votes down to reject as it takes to post), then maybe I could see doing it this way. Then there will be more time to counteract regional or conspiratorial biases (there are more I am sure..)

[ Parent ]

good point (none / 0) (#123)
by speek on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:42:28 PM EST

The fact that K5 does so well with highly non-symmetric voting requirements indicates to me that we really don't have the problem dalinian is claiming we have. If so many people were voting -1 when they don't care, nearly every story would quickly hit that -20 limit. And, if that were happening, it could easily be fixed by making the voting requirements symmetric.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

cause and effect (none / 0) (#199)
by adiffer on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 04:43:48 PM EST

It is the assymetric cutoffs for posting or dumping that lead me to my current voting habits.

I happen to be a proponent of diversity.  All communities need diversity if they are to avoid stagnation.  If the voting cutoffs were symmetric, I might be willing to use the "Don't Care = -1" rule.  Until that day, though, each -1 vote from me threatens diversity too much for me to use it on articles about which I don't care.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Yes, let's all walk in lock-step.. (none / 0) (#204)
by mingofmongo on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 05:40:51 PM EST


"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

If your story gets voted down... (2.00 / 2) (#42)
by ShadowNode on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 08:52:17 PM EST

Just post it to your dairy. No censorship here.

readership (3.33 / 3) (#59)
by dalinian on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 09:59:26 PM EST

No censorship here.
And in my case, no readership either. :-)

[ Parent ]
Well, less readership... (2.00 / 1) (#75)
by ShadowNode on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 11:42:44 PM EST

But you could say the same of being posted to the section instead of front page.

[ Parent ]
get rid of -1 votes (2.25 / 4) (#51)
by dr k on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 09:15:00 PM EST

In the larger scheme of things, having three (four, actually) different kinds of votes is just a waste of a lot energy. Whatever reasoning people use justify a 0 or a -1 makes absolutely no difference to the system, it only slows things down - and gives people the illusion that they aren't just a number in a database.

Comment ratings greater than 1 should also be eliminated.


Destroy all trusted users!

why rated so low (none / 0) (#125)
by speek on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:44:55 PM EST

the parent comment makes a good point. I don't see why it was rated so low.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#136)
by dr k on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 02:40:51 PM EST

Many reasons:
  • goes against the status quo
  • my case doesn't seem very intuitive, so people dismiss it out of hand
  • I encourage people to rate '1'

Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]
I probably misunderstood (none / 0) (#143)
by speek on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:11:01 PM EST

Removing some of the excess voting options makes sense to me, and that's what I thought you were advocating.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

no no (none / 0) (#151)
by dr k on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:36:32 PM EST

You understand correctly. But if it makes sense to you, then you are in a minority, because a lot of people/most people believe that the system works great like it is. People really don't percieve the system as being broken; k5ers really believe that being trusted is a meaningful concept, and not just a mostly random event that promotes inequality.

There are 3 planks to the dr k platform for a next-generation weblog:

  • Binary voting (yes/no) for story moderation and comment ratings.
  • No arbitrary classification of users into "equal" and "more equal" categories. (Trusted users being "more equal" - their ratings being worth 6/5 the value of a regular vote.)
  • More direct, data-centric access to the database - i.e. the ability to run pseudo-SQL select queries on the comment rating table.

Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]
Ok then (none / 0) (#160)
by speek on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:53:26 PM EST

Ya, I already vote binary, 1 or 5. I don't have anything against trusted/non-trusted though - but I was under the impression that only had to do with being able to rate comments to 0.

IMO, comments should default to a middle score with a set weight (say 20 votes-worth), and then positive votes move it upward, negative votes move it downward, thus providing a useful sorting mechanism, which is the only purpose of ratings (as it should be).

For stories, I see nothing wrong with only 1 vote option - +1. Your other option being not to vote.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

why not do this? (3.60 / 5) (#53)
by logiterr on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 09:18:12 PM EST

accept all story submissions. then let the stories be judged based on the quality of the commentaries. if the discussions are generating highly rated responses then obviously the story is important enough to people. make a special super category which presents a sort of graph or web showing stories with the highest running quality comments this way readers can immediately see the topics and themes that interest the k5 community.

this makes it easier to systematically check the quality of k5 commentors. now we can still put the edit cycle into good use by forcing stories to meet a certain standard which is imposed by the k5 community assuming the author is cooperative enough to want criticism. this leaves it up to the author to conform to the standard and possibly gain a lot of supportive commentary or to be placed at the bottom of the graph where they are most likely not going to be seen as readily.

this should also increase the pressure to acquire mojo by forcing people to make good comments.


I think comment moderation is more broken (4.00 / 1) (#124)
by eightball on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:43:14 PM EST

First I think scoop has the best system I have seen for moderation. Sometimes, I would like to be able to vote with keywords to say "I voted this favorably because I believe it is funny". Other than that it does what I like: votes for all registered users, being able to vote what I think it is worth and not a delta based on the last known score.

There is more division over how comment moderation should be used and more opportunities for abuse. There is a population on k5 that moderates fairly. I am not targeting them. Many others use their vote to steer moderation of comments, voting only 1 or 5. Another set of voters appear to vote based on whether they agree with the sentiments of the comment rather than the content.

So, to some degree this new system would encourage only stories that the majority can stomach and finds acceptable.

I do think that diaries and 'stories' could be tied somehow. Stories that are voted down could go to diary and the occasional extraordinary diary could make it to 'storyville'. I think this could mediate the harm done with the voting system. At least if it is voted down, you can still read the story and see why it might have been voted down.

[ Parent ]

i like your idea better than mine (none / 0) (#132)
by logiterr on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:57:27 PM EST

specifically the reason for your particular vote. we can create a standard way for giving reasons something like emotives which are clearly defined and less prone to misinterpretation. or we can take the reasons with the context of the voter which should clear up any misinterpretations.

but instead of pushing articles that didnt make it into diary a new category which is farthest away but easy to access is create where articles are given a second chance to gain good karma. this gives choice and maintains diversity. the only quibble would be the interface, that is placing that category far away from the section and frontpages. almost like hiding our ugliness behind make up (joke).

the only reason i mentioned my idea was because not only are there interesting articles to read but sometimes i like to read what other people thingk about certain topics. i do this in real life some times. go out into downtown and people watch. make up stories about their lives. it is relaxing. but that's just me.

[ Parent ]

congrats (none / 0) (#186)
by Shren on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:37:31 AM EST

As a fancy side effect, you've just encouraged people to troll, badly, in any story they don't like. Why don't you just find the kuro5hin.org box and kick it? It would be a faster and less painful way to kill the site.

[ Parent ]
When I don't care. . . (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by IHCOYC on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 10:09:17 PM EST

. . . I first decide how intelligible the story is about what I don't care about, and how different it is from what I ordinarily would have paid attention to.

Many technical computer stories do not interest me. These, I glance at briefly, and judge mostly about how much I got out of a brief look at the intro paragraph and maybe the first couple. Stories bristling with unexplained acronyms (i.e. assuming the reader knows what they mean) and quotations or examples of C++ code or Perl scripts are my surest -1s. Stories that actually explain the significance of these minutiæ get at worst a 0, at best a +1 section from me.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy

Um (none / 0) (#141)
by carbon on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:04:22 PM EST

If it's an article about something you simply don't have much experience in, that isn't a fault of the author. I.e., if you see an article on Perl with lots of acronyms that are common among Perl programmers but not very well known anywhere else, well... that's an issue with it simply being presented to the wrong audience (you, who does not care about Perl) rather then being badly written.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
With modern technology... (5.00 / 3) (#63)
by bigbtommy on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 10:28:52 PM EST

...why can't we have it so that people can pick and choose what articles they want to see on the FP.

For example - I am here for culture. Book reviews, a bit of freedom and a slight bit of liberal politics. I'm not interested a great deal in the techy stuff, and I'm not interested in world conflicts - Afghanistan, Iraq etc.

Why can't I put all this in my profile and get a customised front page to suit me? Isn't that the whole idea of personalisation on the Internet. Or is it so I can have a nice lame comment in my sig?
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up

Your at the wrong site. (1.33 / 3) (#64)
by resquad on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 10:36:37 PM EST

I amn sorry to say this but you are at the wrong site.  Go else where if that how you think.  You can look for what ever type of news you want.  But the little caption of the K5 logo says "TECHNOLOGY and culture, from the trenches".   You are here but you don't want to read about tech?

Think about it.


-----------
"I WIN THE END!" -Me
[ Parent ]

No... I wanna read about culture. (4.00 / 3) (#66)
by bigbtommy on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 10:39:46 PM EST

I don't mind some techie news, I mean I look at 'the other site' occasionally. I'm not in to hardcore programming, but I'm always interested in what the crazy nerds get up to.

I'm in to culture.

Look at the title. It says CULTURE too.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]

this site is ours to create into whatever we want (4.50 / 2) (#101)
by sayke on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:50:19 AM EST

if you like the technology stories, vote for the technology stories, but seriously... who are you to tell us what this site (or anything else) is about?

perhaps you didn't notice that this site is community-edited - various forms of feedback mechanism modify its self-modification. it can become whatever we want. in fact, it is designed to do just that.

fwiw, i like the technology stories too... but i'll never say "you are at the wrong site" to anyone. i'll just vote -1, and move on to the next story in the queue.


sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */
[ Parent ]

By voting -1 (none / 0) (#128)
by Trevasel on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:33:09 PM EST

You are saying "You are at the wrong site." If I vote down a political article I am saying to everyone who might like that article, "You are at the wrong site."
-- That which does not kill you only makes you stranger - Trevor Goodchild
[ Parent ]
Righhttt (2.66 / 3) (#69)
by resquad on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 10:48:36 PM EST

I understand what you are trying to say, but in your inital post it says (and I quote) "I'm not interested a great deal in the techy stuff".  Now I am a proggrammer and tech head and what not, but I don't like long drawn out detailed explanations on things, I like little news bits.  I still vote it up if its good, if I don't care at all I just abstain instead of nocking it down.  The only time I -1 an article is if I think the person is a moron or its flamebate or the like.


-----------
"I WIN THE END!" -Me
Basic voting (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by Korimyr the Rat on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:34:50 AM EST

 That's pretty much my response, though I do also -1 articles that "irritate" me-- usually the result of someone repetitively making an argument I strongly disagree with.

 Discussion and debate don't just rely on disagreement-- they rely on innovative disagreement, in which the arguments used grow and change over time, and the reasoning used evolves.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

And k5 will be filled with uintresting articals. (3.80 / 5) (#72)
by delmoi on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 11:29:09 PM EST

There is a difference between "you don't care" and "nobody cares". That difference completely destroys this argument, because the conclusion does not follow.

Yes, and that's why you only get one vote.

Well, that's why you only get one vote. The system isn't dependant on everyone being self-centered, it's dependant on polling everyone to find out what's interesting to the most people. That way, the content on the site is most interesting to the most people most of the time.

Let's build a thought experiment: Suppose that from the first hundred people that get to vote on a story, there are 10 people that are very interested in pigeons, and 30 people that are not at all interested in pigeons. Someone writes a great, insightful article about pigeons, and those 30 people don't care and therefore vote it down. This means the story will die.

Yeh, that's fantastic. Now multiply the 'pigeons' story by 10. If only 1 in ten articles is interesting, kuro5hin is uninteresting. I honestly believe that this is what was happening to the site and I hope my sig is helping to change it.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
interest (2.75 / 4) (#76)
by dalinian on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:08:01 AM EST

That way, the content on the site is most interesting to the most people most of the time.
Just like McDonald's and Britney Spears?
If only 1 in ten articles is interesting, kuro5hin is uninteresting.
I disagree. It takes you only a few seconds to go through the titles of those nine stories. You don't even have to click them. You can just ignore them. But the person who can't get her or his story posted because it isn't popular, can't ignore that. And it becomes less likely that that person will keep using K5. And for what? So that the masses don't have to spend a few seconds every day looking at the story titles. And the sad thing is that of those masses, very few people have actually ever written anything (I'm not saying you haven't, or that you're part of the masses), but that one voted down person is.

[ Parent ]
It only takes you a few seconds.. (none / 0) (#137)
by Kwil on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 02:43:20 PM EST

..presuming the one interesting article hasn't already been scrolled off the page.  That's the crux. There is limited FP space, why should we promote stuff that doesn't interest us up into that limited space - thereby scrolling off stuff that does interest us?  If you're only an occasional visitor, it's quite possible to miss good articles.

Your comment about McDonald's and Britney Spears confuses being "most interesting to the most people most of the time" with being "least offensive to the least number of people the least amount of time"

The two do not equate.

And guess what, if the person who can't get their story posted because it isn't popular leaves (or simply stops posting their unwanted stories here) then the queue has done exactly what it is intended to. Unless the poor maligned soul has some sort of obsession with becoming a K5 poster (why, I haven't a clue) there are a number of other ways to put their opinion out. Such as their own site or blog. If they want to get comments, try submitting to SlashDot.  If they won't take it, there are a number of other Scoop based sites out there - each with a particular focus on a particular topic.  And if that doesn't work, why, the Scoop source code happens to be free. They can roll their own.

In short, the community has no obligation to promote anything that the community itself does not find worth promoting.

If it doesn't interest you, vote -1.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
There is more than FP (none / 0) (#146)
by eightball on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:54:30 PM EST

If there was only the front page and no sections, then what you said would be dead on. A quick count of stories posted so far in August shows out of 42 stories posted, 16 were to the front page. So, approximately 62% of the accepted stories were believed to be worthy of posting and yet not worthy of front page.

If you want the "best" then you can stick to the front page. If you want to discuss less popular topics, there are sections. Just because you don't want a story on the front page does not make it unworthy of a section discussion.

For the record, I would support a personalized front page where you would only see front page stories for the sections you are interested in.

[ Parent ]

Hate votes (3.50 / 6) (#74)
by mami on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 11:34:45 PM EST

If one doesn't care for what articles goes through the queue, why would you read the queue to begin with?

If you vote for 'abstain', it just says you are too either to coward to shoot a story down, too undecided to support a story and a lame nice guy who doesn't want to hurt a story. Most probably you want to see how others have voted, before you influence the articles' survival with your own vote, admit it.

If you vote -1, you hate the article, the subject or the author, simple as that.

So, here my voting advice.

Don't care = go away, don't vote
Can't stand author, subject, article = -1
Be lame = abstain
Be an activist = +1
Be a lobbyist and demagogue = +1 FP

Why to vote Abstain (2.00 / 1) (#79)
by J'raxis on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:34:59 AM EST

I vote Abstain if I don’t care so the story does not show up in the (x/y/z) count anymore and I don’t come back later and think there’s a new story when it’s one I already saw.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

I vote abstain... (3.00 / 1) (#103)
by dipipanone on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:43:24 AM EST

...when I don't give a shit about the story personally, but I'm interested to see what kind of reaction it's getting.

--
Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
hmm (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by mami on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 10:08:35 AM EST

why are you interested in the reaction, when you don't give a shit about the story? If the story is shit (in your personal opinion), so will be the reactions (in your personal opinion), or not?

The only thing you could find out is how many other people think the story wasn't shit.

That also doesn't make much sense, because it takes only 20 accounts voting to make a story look like it was a shit story or subject.

It takes only 115 accounts voting to make it look like the story was great.

Both numbers are minuscule, if K5 has a couple of thousands regular readers (if that is the case). The voting K5 readers are a minority among K5ers, I believe, and not representative of anything.  

As you can get 20 accounts voting -1 in a couple of seconds, the queue is an invitation to be hijacked by political pundits and the whole thing ends up to be extremely boring, frustrating and, surprise, surprise, the opposite democratic.

I think 'abstain' is only there to satisfy the need of the voter, who doesn't want to vote, but wants to see, if his guts feeling about a story were round about with the vote of the herd or against the vote of the herd. So, you don't have the feeling you messed up a story, you don't like, but the personal satisfaction of thinking privately "I knew K5 voters are a bunch of idiots or a bunch of thoughtful trenchworkers". I guess that makes you feel good.

But it's worthless. I don't believe the votes reflect anything but the opinions and intentions of a small group of regulars who vote. Why they should representative of anything I have no idea. If they are not representative and the self-editing design of this site ends up to be less democratic than any sort of benign editor's censorship, why would you want to get "a good feeling about something", which isn't worth what it pretends to be?

[ Parent ]

... in addition (3.00 / 1) (#111)
by mami on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 10:19:17 AM EST

not only is the vote not representative of most reader's opinions, the commentaries are neither.

If a story is of the kind that it provokes a lot of comments, either because some special interest groups among the K5ers want to push their agenda and like to provoke, or because the subject is painful to discuss for a lot of people, then you will chase away all opposing view points to the herd's opinions out of disgust.

Look at any article that either discusses race, sex or libertarian's pet issues, and you will see that this whole voting and commenting thingy is a self-fullfilling, circular endeavour, which doesn't include massive amount of reader's opinions.

The only reason to stay here and observe it, is to find a solution.

[ Parent ]

Because (none / 0) (#170)
by dipipanone on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 08:46:28 PM EST

why are you interested in the reaction, when you don't give a shit about the story? If the story is shit (in your personal opinion), so will be the reactions (in your personal opinion), or not?

My not giving a shit about a story doesn't mean that the story is shit. It just means I couldn't care less whether the story gets posted or not.

The only thing you could find out is how many other people think the story wasn't shit.

Not at all. I can tell that you've never done this before. What you learn (at any given point in time) is what proportion of voters think the story *is* worth posting. That can be quite interesting and surprising. (You can sometimes tell from the comments, but not always.)

If I thought the story was shit, I'd have given it a -1, and then I'd know what these proportions were anyway.

--
Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
Abstention (4.00 / 3) (#85)
by Korimyr the Rat on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:39:51 AM EST

I usually vote "Abstain" for well-written, thoughtful articles on subjects I just don't care about-- or for marginal articles that seem to have generated some discussion.

Maybe it doesn't send as strong a message as +1 or -1, but that's why Abstain *exists*-- to express ambivalence, undecidedness, or mixed opinion.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

My voting philosophy (2.18 / 11) (#77)
by qpt on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:16:01 AM EST

-1, always -1.

I suppose you will be pleased to learn that I do not vote articles down because I am not interested in them. I vote -1 regardless!

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.

Vandalism (4.00 / 4) (#108)
by localroger on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 08:39:20 AM EST

I suppose you will be pleased to learn that I do not spray-paint my name on parked cars because I dislike the owners. I spray-paint my name everywhere! You should take pity on me that I'm so bored and restless but such a talentless loser that I can't find any other way to express myself. It's not destructiveness, it's cute! It's not like I slashed your tires or stole the distributor cap. You can still drive the thing.

Or something like that. Sorry, I'm still pressing charges, and I don't see why the rest of us should be expected to put up with assholes like you.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Go ahead and counter them (none / 0) (#142)
by jbridges on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:08:28 PM EST

Create two accounts.

Vote +1 FP for every story using both accounts.

Happy now?

[ Parent ]

Unfair. (2.00 / 1) (#147)
by qpt on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:17:38 PM EST

Were I to vandalize your car, which I never would, your car would be ruined and it would cost you a great deal of money to repair it.

On the other hand, my vote does not matter. How I vote simply makes no appreciable difference whatsoever. My vote has never changed the ultimate fate of a story. Why are you so worked up, then?

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

If votes don't matter... (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by localroger on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:00:39 PM EST

...how in hell do stories get posted around here again, exactly?

I chose my metaphor with some care. I didn't say you broke the car, I said you spray-painted it. You could say that this doesn't really hurt anyone since the car remains operable, and if somebody is so vain as to be concerned about a bit of spray paint maybe they need to get a life.

But of course, a lot of people do care about their cars, their homes, and their environment -- some of us even care about the websites where we hang out. Just because you think your vandalism is minor and inconsequential doesn't mean your activities go unnoticed; indeed, I doubt you'd bother modbombing peoples' comments or downvoting everything in sight if it didn't give you some kind of tingle to feel it was noticed.

As I've explained elsewhere it doesn't bother me if someone like Kalani obviously doesn't like a story of mine and -1's it for that reason, but I didn't spend four hours writing to become part of some nihilist shithead's art-project-cum-life. Showing casual disrespect for the feelings of other people doesn't prove you are coolly cruising above that sea of mediocrity called life; it only shows you are a loser who doesn't respect other people.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Slow down. (3.50 / 2) (#164)
by qpt on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:09:39 PM EST

Let us get something straight. My vote has never appreciably altered the fate of any story. This is undeniable.

What, then, is the substance of your complaint? I did not affect the content of your site in the slightest. Every story that was voted up would have been voted up had I done nothing. Your analogy is nonsense. If you do not like how I vote, ignore it.

Your casual presumptions about my motives are amusing, but not of any consequence.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Voting -1 in the first hour is a big deal (5.00 / 1) (#185)
by Shren on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:34:43 AM EST

Many stories that make it to section or the front page often get really close to -20 before they rise to 95. One of my recent front page stories dropped as low as -16 before rising to 95. The jaded "I hover over the edit queue and minus one everything that bores me, but because my life has been reduced to hovering over the edit queue I am terminally bored" crowd has more say as to what goes on K5 than any other group.

[ Parent ]

Oh. (none / 0) (#205)
by qpt on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 06:47:45 PM EST

I do not do that. I would guess that, on average, most stories have about 100 votes when I vote them.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

This is what my -1 is for... (4.60 / 5) (#81)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:16:30 AM EST

There's already too much crap that gets posted on kuro5hin as it is; I reserve the use of my -1 to filter that crap out. If the problem is that people can't be bothered to read the articles before voting on them, that's a different problem.

IMO, it's much easier to change the voting mechanics than it is to change people's behavior.  For example, I would tend to rank comments higher as a story languishes in the queue.  (if a story stays in the queue for 36 hours, there's likely some controversy involved; if it has a lot of discussion in it, chances are it's a good story that people just disagree with).
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall

Well. (4.81 / 11) (#83)
by valeko on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:34:18 AM EST

I think this is a very good write-up and makes a number of good points.

Personally, I think that the most important thing to remember about K5 is that the user base that votes, rates, comments, etc, is a rather minute percentage of the "lurkship" - the casual visitors who skim the content of the site on a superficial level, and perhaps maybe browse one of the sections once in a while.

What stuff makes it to the front page is a big deal, guys. A lot of the lurkship only visits the front page and skims down, and K5's headlines are also syndicated in quite a few places. The exposure of an article to this enourmous population (perhaps a majority of the hits K5 gets) really does matter. Despite the ease of making an account and the straightforwardness of the interface and mechanics of the site in general, there are only a few hundred of us (my guess) that actually do that "behind the scenes" stuff like make an account and browse the moderation queue. Sure, you may feel like these are the only people who should be served up the site's content, but in reality there is an enourmous "surface readership" that probably outnumbers us by a factor of 10. (We should ask Rusty for some more emperical stats on this.)

Therefore, the "I don't care, and not many others seem to either, judging by the score" thesis is even more invalidated by the fact that if the pigeon article got to the front page, it may be read quite substantially among the silent majority. As far as our mission as participants of this forum is concerned - speaking our mind and informing people - this is really a very important aspect of the whole thing.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

Right on (4.00 / 1) (#184)
by Shren on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:30:55 AM EST

A number of valid points. Personally, my voting pet peeve is that most people associate +1 Front Page with "really like" and +1 Section Page with "sort of like". They see "front page" as a somehow 'higher' vote, probably because it's at the top of the list. Lots of injokeish stuff makes it to the front page, which must be confusing to new readers. Imagine you go to a new site and the first title is "How to make an Aquarium in a Pint Glass" or perhaps "Confusingly Titled Meta-Story"

I've often wondered what would happen if you changed it to +1 Front Page/+2 Section Page/0 abstain/-2 Dump.

[ Parent ]

+1 FP = "Technology AND Culture" (none / 0) (#198)
by Trevasel on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 04:37:27 PM EST

If it's not technology and culture, I'll +1 section it.  But that's just my rather simplistic criterion.
-- That which does not kill you only makes you stranger - Trevor Goodchild
[ Parent ]
Democracy != Freedom (4.60 / 5) (#86)
by hettb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:41:15 AM EST

We do not need to put up with nihilist trolls, but that is where the paradoxical "democratic censorship" must end.

Democracy is simply the rule of the majority of the people, so there is no paradox. If the majority of the people in a democracy want to censor or get rid of freedom, then they can do so. (Read up on the situation in Germany in the 1930s.)

connotations (4.50 / 2) (#91)
by dalinian on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:08:43 AM EST

Well, K5 is not an actual democracy either, but I used the word because of its connotations. If you only consider the denotation of democracy, censorship isn't paradoxical, but if you consider all the connotations, things get different.

[ Parent ]
I wrote a diary entry about this... (4.66 / 3) (#88)
by SpaceCoyote on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:49:05 AM EST

.. and the first comment posted was: "haha, you're a funny guy. You don't like it? Get the f*ck out!". I agree that if you don't care about something, use the 'abstain' option. There's probably some kind of psychological desire to have an impact on the system, and that little '0' next to 'abstain' seems to jump out at you, saying "if you choose this, you are not exerting the power you've been given". People like exerting power, making the abstain option far less used than it probably should be.

In the end it boils down to this: we can either have a good community, one in which diverse views are discussed and encouraged, or the bad kind of community where the 51% of people who think one way get to decide what 100% of the people are going to see.
___ Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum.

Abstaining (5.00 / 5) (#94)
by zvpunry on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:24:33 AM EST

Sometimes I have voted -1 because of the level of discussion I expect. (Sometimes the story gets through anyway and I'm proved wrong.)

Take this story, for example. Witness the comments thus far. It's not very interesting. Nobody's voting habits are going to be changed (except those who have no habit of voting). Some of the raunchier K5ers have come out to call people lame for abstaining, or to insist that -1 votes mean you hate the author. Others are just here to jump on the bandwagon you started, railing against -1 votes.

Where's the intelligent conversation?

OK. Maybe this comment will spark a sub-thread that's interesting. Probably not.

Your article is obviously well-intentioned, and your argument is well-presented. Not very meaty, but that's OK. Does that mean it should get a +1FP by default? Why FP? It's only relevant to K5 voters, who should be reading the meta section as a matter of course.

That leaves +1 Section, 0 and -1. The converse of the above is that the people reading the meta section are the same people voting on stories. So I'd expect the comments presently on this story to reflect the overall level of comments even more than normal.

I'd fall into your trap if I voted -1.

So that just leaves 0. I think abstaining is an important choice. It gives the author a sense of how many people really were ambivalent, or had reservations about the quality of discussion that would ensue, or whatever else. And, I think without 0, there'd be a lot more stories voted down.

I'm not convinced that there is, or needs to be, a consensus on how to vote. I'm also not convinced that we need more stories making it past the mod queue. We need (or I want) better stories, with better discussions. That seems, to me, to run contrary to the "+1 By Default" argument that I see in your story.


my mistake (4.00 / 1) (#95)
by dalinian on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:39:02 AM EST

That seems, to me, to run contrary to the "+1 By Default" argument that I see in your story.
Oops, another case of misunderstanding resulting from my stupid wording. Sorry about that. I really don't mean to advocate a "+1 default" policy. By encouraging serious effort, I meant a lot of things, but in retrospect, I should have written "never discourage serious effort". But I still stand behind the opinion that we should have a more friendly environment, and that voting -1 if we don't care doesn't help that at all.

[ Parent ]
we should have a more friendly environment (none / 0) (#122)
by speek on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:33:33 PM EST

That is K5's biggest drawback - the pointless arrogance and insults. But, I'm not talking about voting practices, which shouldn't have an emotional quality read into them. Comments and stories should be friendlier, votes should be more hard-nosed, IMO.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

Voting (none / 0) (#206)
by wnight on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:41:46 AM EST

I think the poster was calling for people to default to abstain, unless they feel strongly one way or another.

That's how I already vote. If something doesn't affect me much, like stories about TV, I ignore them, but I do it with the abstain vote just to let people get a feeling for the popularity.

For things I dislike, it's different. If it's badly written, it's -1. If it's terribly redundant, or I irrationally hate the topic, -1. Otherwise, I usually abstain. While more posts about Topic X may bore me, that's because I've been on the net since '88 or so and I've seen a lot of discussion. Other people haven't and have a right to their say.

And the good thing is that stories don't just sit in queue until 90 people +1 them. They need to get it fairly quickly. The true key to voting is to not +1 a story you don't want to read. If not enough people want to read it, it'll stagnate and not be posted, without having been actually squashed.


[ Parent ]

Oh Please... (2.83 / 6) (#96)
by Talez on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:02:09 AM EST

For fucks sake. There's a name that covers the process of telling people how to vote. I think it was "dictatorship".

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
dictatorship? (5.00 / 1) (#98)
by dalinian on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:14:15 AM EST

There's a name that covers the process of telling people how to vote. I think it was "dictatorship".
Isn't that called "campaigning"? I thought that in a dictatorship there are no elections, or if there are, for some reason people always agree 100% about everything.

I'm not even campaigning here. These are my own honest opinions, and I try to provide reasons for them. I try to be as objective as I can. I'm not forcing anyone to do anything. If you agree, great, and if you don't, but provide good reasons, even better. All in all, I fail to see what I am doing wrong.

[ Parent ]

Dictatorship is when debate is forbidden (5.00 / 2) (#130)
by QuickFox on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:53:59 PM EST

Seems you want this debate silenced.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Vote for discussion (4.33 / 3) (#99)
by iLurk on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:18:07 AM EST

I vote for stories that I think will foster good discussion. K5 is meant for discussions. Stories I don't agree with get my vote if they'll lead to good discussion, and stories that would lead to flame wars or few comments won't receive my vote even if I agree with the story.

My voting is fashioned after my rating. Just as I give higher ratings to views that I wasn't aware of or others might not be aware of, I vote for stories that can expand my horizons or those of others.

My voting pattern (4.50 / 2) (#105)
by locke baron on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:23:57 AM EST

It's probably not relevant, but here's how I do it - maybe I'm way different from other K5ers, I dunno.

If it's obviously crap, it gets -1 without a second thought. By 'obviously crap', I mean nihilist trolling (good way to describe it, BTW), crapflooding, spam, or excessively flamish. Some rants are OK, but for the most part, raw, pointless flaming should be confined to comments and diaries.

If it's useless (too biased, bogus, etc), I'll probably -1 it unless it's generating good discussion, then I vote 0.

Missectioned stuff usually gets a +1 section if it's good, or a 0 if it's merely OK, and an editorial comment to that effect. Missectioned stuff doesn't belong on the front page, but some of it still deserves to be posted.

If I don't give a damn, it gets a 0. I don't care, but someone else probably does, so I leave it up to them. To me, giving -1 on stories means that you do care, and specifically don't want that story posted.

If I like it, it's +1, and usually section, unless it's notably good - I dislike front-page clutter, but tons of section stories are OK by me. Sometimes I +1 section stuff that I don't care about if it's generating interesting discourse.

My only other rule is that MLP almost never gets FP. Indeed, I don't think I've ever voted +1FP to an MLP (though I vote them to section all the time).

Maybe that system makes sense to someone other than me, or maybe I'm just stoned...

Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy

Well, how about this situation? (4.00 / 1) (#112)
by mami on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 10:32:49 AM EST

You have found two articles of opposing viewpoints on the net, published and signed by hundreds of academics and intellectuals on both sides. The issue they are discussing is painful and important and has been discussed to death in certain circles without resolve, but the articles themselves are thoughtful.

If you post them in an MLP, knowing quite well, that people don't want to discuss the issue, because it's a painful one, isn't that a considerate way of letting people know there are two good articles of opposing view points on the net discussed among academics and politicians?

An MLP submission of such links is not an article that I think needs to create discussions. If you don't want to talk about the content of the given linked articles, that would be fine, but the others just could read them, if they wanted to.

To me an MLP submission doesn't need to create a discussion, but gives the readers the opportunity to learn about stories someone found worth to be propagated. Why one would vote such submission down, is beyond me.


[ Parent ]

I'd vote +1 section (N/T) (none / 0) (#172)
by locke baron on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 09:03:07 PM EST


Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]
-1 for "Don't Care" (4.00 / 6) (#109)
by Simon Kinahan on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 09:48:27 AM EST

Voting -1 for "Don't Care" is often legitimate. Not for carefully written, thought-provoking articles, but for the kind of mindless junk that shows up in the queue on an almost daily basis.

Think about it: if nearly everyone voted 0 on every Israel-Palestine article that showed up in the queue, because we're all sick to death of talking about it, the small number of people who seem obsessed with the topic could get them all posted.

It makes K5 look bad if the front page is full of boring, repetitive articles, full of long arguments between obsessive-compulsive pedants arguing the same unresolvable points again and again and again. To make the site more interesting and varied, if a particular topic gets worn out, or if someone isn't putting effort into their articles, we should vote -1, even though the article itself may be no worse that the last one.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate

Yeah. Good point. (4.00 / 2) (#115)
by bigbtommy on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:15:08 AM EST

Yeah. I agree. Bloody articles about Israel and Palestine. Although I have sympathy and  regard for people in conflicts, I come to K5 for 'technology and culture from the trenches' not for a bunch of people whining about the Isreael Palestine conflict. It has existed for centuries, and is likely to unless everyone decides that religion is a useless concept and gets rid of it.

I am going to now vote -1 on all articles about Israel and Palestine that show up on the mod queue. Because in small amounts politics is good. In slightly larger amounts technology is good. And in enormous amounts, culture is good.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]

Flaw (4.00 / 2) (#139)
by majubma on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 02:49:24 PM EST

If you're "sick to death" of seeing a topic, then obviously you do care, and in fact you would rather not see the story posted. In whoch case, you are justified in voting "-1, Dump it."

On the other hand, you are not justified in voting -1 when you don't care.


--Thaddeus Q. Thaddelonium, the most crookedest octopus lawyer in the West.
[ Parent ]

Kuro5dump.org - Would this make a difference? (4.50 / 6) (#116)
by mami on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:16:05 AM EST

1. The voting process should be private. No one should see how many people voted for what until the article disappears from the queue, either to go to section or to go into the trash can.

2. The articles, that disappear from the queue, because they were voted down, should appear in a sister site, like "kuro5dump.org".

3. Kuro5dump.org wouldn't have any voting queue and would just be a discussion site with comment ratings.

4. Kuro5hin.org should keep a list of all downvoted articles that went to the dumpster for a month, so that those people, who can't read K5 regularly and could miss good articles, which were voted down by vandals, have a chance of knowing. I am not going to read diaries to find out, if someone had to continue his article discussions in his diary space.

 

Good idea (3.75 / 4) (#118)
by roam on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:24:08 AM EST

There are many stories that get voted down where an equal number of people voted +1 and -1... those would be prime candidates for the trash bin.  Maybe it should just be a section on K5.

On another note... I don't think usernames should be displayed when a story is in the moderation queue... I think it should be totally anonymous.  Maybe the name could appear to you after you've voted.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
Which user's name? (3.00 / 2) (#119)
by mami on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:15:41 PM EST

Do you mean the author's name of an article in the queue or the user's names of people who voted ?

If you mean the author's name of an article, I am against it. There are people, who have written several articles over time that were well received and the author has gotten a reputation as a good writer. I would like to know the author's name. It takes a lot of work to write a good article.

If some people have "damaged" their own reputation in the past and would therefore like to write stories under another nickname, you can't avoid that anyhow, and I think they have enough of an opportunity to "hide their past nick identities" already by being able to change them anytime.

If you think as an author, you don't want to be recognized as long as the story is in the queue, chances are you don't want to be recognized later on as well. May be, you like to write about a touchy issue. Well, I think, if it's touchy and you have the urge to write about it, you just take the risks and don't hide your nick identity in the queue.

May be I misunderstood you?

[ Parent ]

I was (4.00 / 1) (#159)
by roam on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:51:48 PM EST

talking about the authors name... It was kind of an off-topic idea.

I think we should allow the article to be judged on its own... I don't think we should allow the username (or UID) to determine whether a story gets posted.

I think it would be a much fairer way to vote on stories.  I think the nickname should show up after you vote (just like the other users who voted on the story shows up now).

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
hmm, you are right (4.00 / 1) (#161)
by mami on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 06:26:47 PM EST

if I think about it. Actually it would even be kind of fun to try to find out, if one had guessed correctly on the author and it's true that would focus the voter on voting purely according to content and style.

[ Parent ]
I don't think a section on K5 for dumpsters works (4.25 / 4) (#121)
by mami on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 12:27:43 PM EST

What happens in that case is that people flood the queue with stories that are just there to get dumped and they would flood the dumpster K5 section.

A sister K5dump.org would be same site as K5 in layout, just without any possibility to submit articles or diaries. Stories there would only be the ones that have gone through Kuro5hin queue, got dumped and are automatically submitted to the sister site.

This should make vandal voting on K5 ridiculously superfluous, as dumped stories still get published under a somewhat known k5 name. As you can't submit anything else to that K5dump.org site but articles that have gone through K5 main site and queue, it should have an impact on story voting and submission on K5. Well, keep hope alive ...

I just wonder, which site would have more good stories in the end. :-)

[ Parent ]

We have the rules for voting logic already (4.60 / 5) (#117)
by roam on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:21:33 AM EST

it's just that nobody uses them.  

From the faq:

It is important to remember that, just because an article might not be about a topic you are interested in, it is not a reason to vote -1. Vote 0 if you are not sure. Likewise, if this article has "been seen before", or "I saw it on the other site", or any such similar thing, that is not a reason in and of itself to vote a story -1. Vote it 0 if you do not really care.

This obviously supports this story.  So some may say that's changed since the faq was written... Ok, then it should be updated.

It seems to be one of those rules that nobody follows, but should.  Like comment ratings, most everyone votes on agreement/disagreement rather than on the structure of the comment (it's much harder with comments though).

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


So I should give 5's to comments... (4.00 / 2) (#152)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:36:47 PM EST

... that have grammatical sentences, don't miss any commas, and in which every paragraph has a topic sentence, but in which I find logical errors, self-contradictions, stupid ideas, and obviously false assumptions (not made explicitly to further some reasonable point), etc? I don't think so.

I'm more likely to give good numbers to a good idea and nice reasoning expressed in broken english that would make Strunk and White scream in terror, than to a well-written, syntax-perfect piece full of semantic noise.



[ Parent ]

You should be (4.25 / 4) (#157)
by roam on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:49:08 PM EST

looking at the overall "quality" (which is subjective) of the post... such as, is it logical, does it have any errors, etc...

You should not be looking at whether you agree or disagree... such as if you rate down an anti-abortion comment just because you're pro-aborition.... if the argument is well thought-out and executed, you should be rating it up even though you don't agree.

No one does this though.  If they tell you they do all the time, they're lying.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
That is one of the nice things... (none / 0) (#193)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 01:40:09 PM EST

... about a properly calibrated voting system, we don't all have to vote correctly all the time. We don't even need a definition for this dubious idea of voting correctly.

"Rough consensus and running code." It isn't just clever alliteration.



[ Parent ]

Actually, you should vote that way. (none / 0) (#208)
by roam on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:11:53 PM EST

Voting comments you don't agree with down causes everyone to start thinking the same way... people with ideas that you don't agree with will stop posting until finally you have a site with no diversity.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
Unless they are zero... (none / 0) (#209)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 08:37:50 PM EST

... low scores don't make comments disappear, so I don't see how I would be lowering the diversity by voting based on agreement. Does anyone stop posting because they get low scores?

Besides, you have implicitly overstated my position to be something like "vote only on agreement". I never said anything like that, but perhaps I could have been more clear. I was decrying the idea that one should ignore the message/content and vote only on the "structure". If nothing else, you left that term, "structure", super vague, and I'm simply trying to force "structure" to include at least some of the content of the message.

Further, what if I were to think that there were no well-formed arguments for abortions without the consent of both parents? Anything that might otherwise look like one, I see as a reductio of the assumptions used. Thus anyone that disagrees with my rational opinion on the matter is displaying (and misleading people with) obviously faulty reasoning, and I don't see why I should give comments with bad logical structure a good vote.

On another front, why do you think you have this desire to tell other people how they should vote? You say you are for diversity of thought, but apparently only in the narrow range of which you approve. The rest of the community seems perfectly happy to muddle along with some personalized mix of grammatical, coherent, "makes good sense (seems right) to me", and "that person is nice" as their voting scheme. Don't you want to be a pepper too? :)



[ Parent ]

You have implicitly overstated my position (1.00 / 1) (#210)
by roam on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 10:38:39 PM EST

First, it's entirely possible people would feel alienated and stop posting due to low ratings, is it not?  Please provide proof if not.

Second, I'm not telling you how to vote, I'm telling you how the FAQ tells you to vote (which is here if you haven't taken a look).  Not only that, but my original point was that no one sticks to that.

Third, if I were to give my opinion of how I think you (and everyone else) should vote, what would be the harm in that? It is my opinion after all.  You're giving me your opinion right now, why do you think you have this desire to tell me that I'm narrow for having an opinion (and sharing that opinion) on how to vote?  Seems that you're trying to preserve your narrow voting views.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
Nah... (none / 0) (#211)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 08:35:29 PM EST

First, it's entirely possible people would feel alienated and stop posting due to low ratings, is it not? Please provide proof if not.
Oh no you don't. You are the one claiming the existence of a damaging effect. The burden to proof is clearly yours. However, here is some prima facie evidence: there is a good deal of diversity on k5 as it is. Therefore the damage you warn of isn't having all that much of a pronounced effect.

As to your opinion, state it. Try to convince us of this utopia that could be if only we all adhered to your interpretation of the all knowing faq... whatever. I just figure there are better topics for opinions than how other people should use their voice.

...why do you think you have this desire to tell me that I'm narrow...
Because I'm a cruel, cruel person. And the design of this site promotes disagreement, petty quarrels, and snideness.

Someday maybe the net will be useful for promoting consensus and constructive chains of thought larger than any one person could build. Or something.

[ Parent ]

Indeed /nt (none / 0) (#212)
by roam on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 09:36:49 PM EST


___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
Counters (4.33 / 6) (#126)
by Irobot on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:01:50 PM EST

This is a long comment; perhaps longer than it needed to be. I apologize in advance. However, I felt it's length was necessary to adequately treat the article in full.

The thesis of the article is that the guideline "if you do not care about a story, you should vote it down" is a faulty one, due to the conjecture that doing so limits the range of viewpoints on the site. Of course this is a valid statement - the act of voting something down inherently limits what is seen. In and of itself, that point alone is much ado about nothing. But dalinian's real problem is equating "not caring" with persecution, as evidenced by his "supressing free speech" argument, the "hostility to pigeon lovers," and finally the "safe, homogenized view" argument, each of which is flawed. But first, let's go over his analysis of why K5 readers vote -1 in the first place.

There is a difference between "you don't care" and "nobody cares". That difference completely destroys this argument, because the conclusion does not follow.
No, it doesn't "destroy this argument." K5 is a community and as such depends on its reader's desires and tastes to dictate what is worth seeing and what isn't. Some mechanism has to exist as a filter; on that other site, the function is performed by only allowing an elite number of moderators to post stories. On K5, there is a truly democratic method for filtering signal from noise. If a person cares enough to be an active part of the community, it is their obligation to participate in filtering - including what should and should not "see the light of day." This is not to say that the recognition that others may very well be interested in a particular story should play no role in a voting choice; that consideration stems from being a part of the community and should have some weight. But it also doesn't justify turning one's back on shaping the contents of the site.
In the real world, the "vote it down if you don't care" policy would mean that if you heard an opinion in which you are not interested, you would go to the person that has expressed that opinion and tell her or him literally to shut up.
A better analogy would be that of a university philosophy class where one person at the table begins talking about the relative merits of the Intel vs. the Alpha processor architecture. It's simply neither the time nor the place for that particular discussion. When someone votes -1 on a story they don't care about, they are in essence saying that this is not the place for that discussion. (Or, as others have pointed out, it may not be the time for it either, if a story was recently posted about the same topic.)
If you vote 0 when you don't care about a story, you don't care about what gets posted on K5. But that's not a bug, but a feature....In fact, if you vote -1 when you don't care about a story, you are effectively saying that you don't care about what makes K5 great: the freedom of thought and the diversity it entails.
Once again, this is not only a matter of controlling the signal to noise ratio, but it's also a matter of shaping the site's contents. There's no doubt that voting -1 on a story, as stated above, is a limitation on what is seen. And again, that's part of being a member of a community. It doesn't limit "freedom of thought," it simply allows one to say "I don't think this is a topic that matches the interests of this community."

Now, for the arguments presented as to why voting -1 is bad. The flaws in the arguments stem mostly from a slippery slope fallacy. It's the use of inappropriate inflammatory terms that hide the slide:

My first argument is about free speech....we can't have progress by suppressing speech.
Equating someone voting -1 on a story because they don't care about it is not "suppressing speech." Voting -1 because someone doesn't agree would be speech suppression. Linking the two is a wonderful rhetorical device, but is wrong-headed in this context.
Someone writes a great, insightful article about pigeons, and those 30 people don't care and therefore vote it down. This means the story will die. The consequence is that the site becomes hostile in the eyes of those that are interested in pigeons, because they don't get to discuss matters in which they are interested. And that means they will find a site that is less hostile, and leave K5. Because of that, we will have less diversity, and less expertise on pigeons. The stories don't get any better because of this, and those that really care about something (pigeons) are alienated.
Ah - hostility and alienation; wonderful appeals to pathos. Once again, K5 is a community whose members get to choose what appears. With the caveat of considering whether others might be interested in the story, there is an obligation for active members to choose what is worthy. Voting -1 fills that obligation.
Our justification to kill stories we don't care about comes from subjective tastes: caring is a feeling. As a result of that policy, we will without doubt have a K5 that feels better. It will provide a soft and comfortable pillow of predictable, unquestioning and standardized culture, with no sharp edges or spikes to keep us awake.
Again, the equation is off. "Not caring" is not the same as "not agreeing." This goes back to the decision about what topics are worthy to be on the site, not whether they promote a particular point of view. And finally:
I don't want K5 to be nice and easy; I want it to be bad and challenging....We will not have more interesting articles by voting down the uninteresting ones
Voting down uninteresting articles does not make K5 "nice and easy;" it makes it more challenging. Although I don't think dalinian meant "bad" in the way I'm interpreting it, I would encourage readers to focus on that word. Personally, I don't want K5 to be bad; I want it to be the best it can be. That means interesting stories and interesting discussion. Which entails voting uninteresting stories down.

Ultimately, I agree with the final point ("Please use -1 responsibly, and always encourage serious effort."), but have to disagree with the arguments that lead up to it. Remember, as an active member of the K5 community, you have an obligation to make it the best it can be. As anyone who has voted on a story has seen:

Your vote really does count! You decide whether this story ever sees the light of the front page.

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn

Short version (4.00 / 1) (#131)
by Irobot on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:56:31 PM EST

After posting my parent comment, I realized I could sum it up like this:

dalinian makes the mistake of equating voting -1 on an article with "I disagree," not "I don't care." Both do in fact restrict what appears on K5; however, only the first actually has a negative impact because it serves to silence potentially valid opinions. K5 is a community whose active members have an obligation to filter out uninteresting stories. It makes the site better both by raising the signal to noise ratio and by increasing discussion traffic. His final point is valid and deserves repeating - "Please use -1 responsibly, and always encourage serious effort."

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

Wow, someone wasn't as apathetic as me. (3.66 / 3) (#127)
by Shovas on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:19:37 PM EST

I've wanted to write a story about voting for the longest time but never had the motivation to go through with it. Good job!

There's a big problem on K5 and that is voting on opinion or emotion and not based on the qualitative properties of the piece. Voting should be done based only on quality of writing, structure, spelling, etc., and the level of discussion the story may provoke(if little, don't vote +1 FP).

Now, someone brought up that "Don't care" shouldn't be used in situations where there are too many of story X getting to FP. In that case, it's not "Don't care", it's an active reason to vote "Dump". You just don't care if it goes to the front page, you actively do not want it on the front page; vote -1.

If you truly don't care, however, go nuts and vote 0.

On that note, personally I could care less if the front page gets cluttered with stories about X. K5 is not out to impress people, we're here for quality discussion. Like they say, don't judge a book by its cover, and if visitors are doing that and not reading discussions, do we want them here?

K5 is about discussion. Quality discussion. Voting -1 Dump is an active choice to hinder the power of others to get a story to the front page. Voting "0 Don't Care" allows your fellow K5'er to have their say about what they care about.

As an aside, read the whole freaking story. If you don't, vote 0. You are not fully informed if you vote any other way and you are hindering the system. Make no assumptions. You hurt others by doing so. Either do not vote or vote 0 Don't Care.
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
But I hate things I don't care about! (1.33 / 3) (#129)
by Shanoyu on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 01:34:44 PM EST

I don't care about violence in the middle east, but I still hate it! I don't care about Clinton, yet I still hate him! I don't care about a lot of things which I still hate. In fact, I virulently hate most things I don't care about and wish to see them destroyed in a violent, medium sized fireball, so that they wont beg for my attention anymore!

That is a blatant self-contradiction. (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:23:55 PM EST

It is almost too obvious to say, but I call 'em as I see 'em.



[ Parent ]

I'd give Aristophanes a -1. (4.00 / 2) (#135)
by haflinger on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 02:11:02 PM EST

This page explains part of the reason why. Basically, we shouldn't listen to people who want other people put to death for their beliefs.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
The anti-k5? (4.00 / 4) (#138)
by wytcld on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 02:49:17 PM EST

For folks who think it's cool to hang out with the unpopular, just add an option to view the Anti-k5, featuring all the proposals with the highest negative voting.

Voting is for quality, not content, control (4.95 / 20) (#140)
by mech9t8 on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:00:04 PM EST

It should be very easy to avoid stories you're not interested in: read the headline, go "I'm not interested", and move on with your life.

The reason there's a voting system, IMHO, is to prevent crap from being posted; so that people don't waste their time reading crappy articles about stories they'd otherwise be interested in.

So the only argument, IMHO, for voting down a story you're not interested in is if it has a deceptive or non-descriptive headline and opening paragraph that caused you to waste your time reading about something you're not interested in.

If you read the article, and it was good enough for people that are interested in the topic, vote +1 Section.

If you read the article, and you think it's so good that everyone should read it, even if they're not interested in the topic generally, vote +1 FP.

And if you read the article, and you feel that you wasted 5 minutes of your life reading it, cheerfully give it a -1.

If you want to shape the content on K5, write something.  There's no need to kill stuff that other people are interested in; no one's forced to read it.  If you kill articles simply because you're not interested in them, you're not going to gain more articles on your favorite topics, you'll just restrict the audience and creativity of the site as a whole.

That's my take on the whole thing, anyway...

--
IMHO

an individual is only an individual (none / 0) (#167)
by speek on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 08:07:03 PM EST

If a story fails to interest me, I ought to give it a -1. It's not mean. It's not an insult. It's my voice on the matter. My one vote. Yes, my one vote helps shape K5 - that's why its a community site. But it's only one vote, to be counted amongst everyone else's. Not something to be feared or hated.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

depends on the site you want (5.00 / 2) (#175)
by mech9t8 on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 10:06:22 PM EST

Your system would ensure that k5 becomes a site that caters to the majority; my system would ensure that k5 becomes a site that caters to a wide range of tastes.

Say there's a well-written story that's of interest to 40% of the k5 votes.  By your system, it'll get killed after 100 votes (60 down vs. 40 up).  By my system, it'll eventually get posted.

Of course, by my system, a well-written story that's only of interest to 1% of voters will eventually get posted.  I have no problem with that.  Heck, maybe I'll sometime find myself interested in that topic, or maybe the presence of that article will picque my interest, and I'll know it's worthwhile because people who are interested in that topic have deigned it to be so.

It's all a matter of what you want k5 to be.  I see no reason for decent content to be turned down simply because it doesn't appeal to the majority.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

2 things (none / 0) (#187)
by speek on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:42:07 AM EST

1. The current imbalance between the positive threshhold, 95, and the negative threshhold, -20, is due to the fact that people are not giving out -1 votes often. Thus, this whole discussion is about a problem that ain't happenin'. If it did happen, you could always even out those numbers, or better yet, allow only 1 choice: +1. If you don't like a story, you don't vote that +1.

2. The fear of majority rules in this sense is unfounded. Comparisons to TV and pop music are incorrect, as those reflect the choices of a tiny number of hugely powerful entities catering to a perceived popular interest. Those entities don't like the "risk" of trying to reach smaller audiences. K5 is very different in structure.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

Re: 2 things (none / 0) (#194)
by mech9t8 on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 02:04:18 PM EST

The current imbalance between the positive threshhold, 95, and the negative threshhold, -20, is due to the fact that people are not giving out -1 votes often. Thus, this whole discussion is about a problem that ain't happenin'.

The one has nothing to do with the other; the problem is not about whether too much -1's are going out, the problem (as discussed in this article) is that -1's are going out for the wrong reasons.

Anyway, whether it's a real problem or not is largely moot - I find this more interesting as a theoretical discussion.

(I was always under the impression the imbalance between the thresholds was so that lousy articles could be killed quickly; only twenty people have to read a really lousy article before it gets killed and thus fewer people waste their time.  The large positive threshold is used to determine if so-so articles get posted or not - if it's not good enough to generate a clear "post" vote, other factors (like comments and whatnot) come into play.)

The fear of majority rules in this sense is unfounded. Comparisons to TV and pop music are incorrect, as those reflect the choices of a tiny number of hugely powerful entities catering to a perceived popular interest.

If there was only one radio station, and the content of that radio station was determined by "-1 if I don't care" votes of the entire listening audience (without corporate influence), there'd still never be any classical music: the +1's of the classical music fans would always be outweighed by the -1 "don't cares" of the mass audience.

Whereas, if the classical music fans voted for the content of their own channel, and the popular music fans voted for their own channel, everyone would be happy.  Since k5 is non-linear, and its easy to choose what you want to read, it falls more clearly into the "multi-channel" model; and thus, people should vote for what their interested in, and leave the other stuff alone.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

subject line (none / 0) (#195)
by speek on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 02:31:48 PM EST

The one has nothing to do with the other; the problem is not about whether too much -1's are going out, the problem (as discussed in this article) is that -1's are going out for the wrong reasons.

But it's a good indication that people aren't, in fact, voting -1 don't care. If they were, all it would take is 20 people not caring, and good stories about odd topics would disappear as quickly as the horrible stories.

As far as multi-channel/single-channel, K5's story queue is pretty much single channel. There's only one queue, and all the stories, regardless of section, are found there. This has to do with size, mainly. The diaries are multi-channel, however.

there'd still never be any classical music: the +1's of the classical music fans would always be outweighed by the -1 "don't cares" of the mass audience.

I don't agree. I think that's a popular and intuitive view, given credence by the way our capitalist economy creates a feedback loop that exacerbates the "popular" effect. Without that feedback loop, however, I think there would be classical music heard on that radio station.

But, I keep saying, it can all be fixed with a simple change to Scoop: story voting should consist of just one vote choice, +1. No other choices. You either vote +1, or you don't. Posting threshhold changes appropriately. I would do something similar with comment ratings.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

How about... (none / 0) (#207)
by wnight on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:46:32 AM EST

What if you abstain on stuff you don't care about, instead of giving it a +1? Let the people who want to read about it vote it up. Just don't hamper it by voting it down.

I've seen many stories that seem to have been +1'd by default. The story sounds good, and gets posted, but the article didn't really incite discussion and thus gets ignored. I think if it had to have a certain number of people who actually like it, it would have either been discussed, or never made it out of queue.

If you consider that there's a finite number of comments people can post, it's probably better that they aren't wasted in a story nobody is reading. It's better to have one good story than two mediocre ones. And, to use the example in this story, if there aren't enough pigeon fanciers to +1 an article (regardless of pigeon haters) maybe K5 isn't the place for them. Maybe we need an "Introduction to Pigeons" instead.


[ Parent ]

Look, it's very simple (4.91 / 12) (#144)
by majubma on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:20:37 PM EST

This is a Democratic Process. You vote based on what you want to happen, which is a judgement based on what effect the votes actually have.
  • -1 Dump it!. This option increases the likelihood that a story is dumped. Therefore, choose this when you are thinking to yourself, "I don't want to see this story posted."
  • 0 Don't Care. This option has little affect on whether a story posts. Therefore, choose this if you are thinking to yourself, "I don't care if the story posts or not. Alternately, you could simply not vote.
  • 1 Post it to the Section Page. This option incrases the likelihood that a story will post to a section page. Therefore, choose this if you are thinking to yourself, "I would like to see this article posted, but only to a Section page."
  • 1 Post it to the Front Page. This option increases the likelihood that a story will post to front page. Therefore, choose this if you are thinking to yourself, "I would like to see this article posted, to the front page if possible."

Some of you are thinking, "It seems very simple, right? So what's the catch?" The catch is, there is no catch.

Some people, on the other hand, are arguing that votes should be based on some nebulous idea of the "community." Irobot states that a vote for -1 says "I don't think this is a topic that matches the interests of this community."

This is an anti-democratic attitude and it irks me. What do you know about the "community?" What do I know about the "community?" Nothing. I will not and can not presume to be an arbiter who knows the tastes of the "community," and can judge what the "community" will like. That's what we have votes for! What I know is that what I vote "-1 Dump It!," it's less likely that I will see the story posted. That's all I know, and that's all I can know, and that's how I decide how to vote.

Some other people are saying that if you vote 0 on endless strings of articles based on an topics uninteresting to you, than k5 will become a boring place. Well, duh! If you don't want to see a story posted, vote -1! Simon is confusing "I don't care about this topic" with "I don't care whether this story posts." Since the latter statement reflects the actual effect of the vote, it's what the decision should be based on.

If you think diversity of articles is good, then obviously you must want to see a diversity of articles posted. Therefore, vote accordingly. If you want to see only articles within your limited world-view, then vote accordingly.

Certainly, you should be avare that the action of posting or not posting or not posting articles has some effect on the overall ambiance of this site. That's a consideration that should fuel your feelings on what posting action you want to take place, but it's not a consideration that should be used to justify voting against the posting action you want to take place. That might seem like a fine distinction, but it's very important -- how are you supposed to be an informed participant in the process if you don't take the actions that have the effects you desire?

Apologies about the length and tone of this comment, but I hope I've managed to clear up some misconceptions about how democratic processes work.


--Thaddeus Q. Thaddelonium, the most crookedest octopus lawyer in the West.

Community clarification (5.00 / 2) (#153)
by Irobot on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:10:23 PM EST

Extracting just the relevant lines:
"I don't think this is a topic that matches the interests of this community."
This is an anti-democratic attitude and it irks me. What do you know about the "community?" What do I know about the "community?" Nothing. I will not and can not presume to be an arbiter who knows the tastes of the "community," and can judge what the "community" will like.
Sorry for irking you, but there are reasons. I know about the tastes of the "community" (and so do you!) through two things:
  1. The K5 tag-line - "Technology and culture, from the trenches." Granted, "culture" is a nebulous term, but there is a certain type of content appropriate for K5.
  2. Reading the articles - I at least skim every single article. I have a sense of what is desirable and what's not, based on the comments I see. It's not clearly defined; no checklist of what "makes it" exists, nor could it.
Now, as for being anti-democratic - it's actually just the opposite. IMHO, a community is only as good as its constituents make it. To lend your voice - both with approval and disapproval - is part of the democratic process. One person, one vote and all that. To remain silent is to be apathetic, which isn't a very good way to make the site the best it can be. How can anyone possibly claim that not providing input is democratic?

Am I wrong? Where and why?

At any rate, this gets away from the point I was making about the article. There is a confusion between "I don't care" and "I disagree" that should be made explicit when responding. It's a great rhetorical device, as the line separating the two is not clear. If you vote -1 based on "I don't care," you're justified. If you vote -1 based on "I disagree," then you really are making the site bland and unworthy of reading.

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

Voting is no different fom any other action (5.00 / 2) (#158)
by majubma on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:51:38 PM EST

There can only be motivation for voting if voting actually has a chance of making an effect. Consequently, one's vote must be chosen based on the effect it will have. Votes are an exercise of power; they are actions taken with an intention to bring about, or increase the likelihood of, particular consequences.

So when I have the opportunity to vote on an article, I have a set of actions I can take. Some actions increase the likelihood that an article will be posted (and all of its subsidiary consequences), some actions reduce that likelihood (and have their own set of consequences,) and other actions have little effect on the likelihood that an article posts.

Remaining silent is not necessarily apathetic; it can be a conscious, considered decision. Why do you want to limit my choices? Maybe I think the likelihood of an article being posted is just fine where it is, and I don't want to alter it. Maybe I know that other people in the community would be a better judge in a particular instance, and I don't want my vote to add noise. How can a system be democratic if every participant is expected to vote, excluding other perfectly reasonable courses of action?

I think your final point is wrong-- there is a big difference between "I don't care about this topic" and "I don't care whether this article posts." When your feelings are "I don't care about this topic," it could be that you think it would be good to post it anyway--vote +1. It could be that you don't want to see it posted-- vote -1. It could be that you don't care about whether it is posted either--vote 0.


--Thaddeus Q. Thaddelonium, the most crookedest octopus lawyer in the West.
[ Parent ]

Power & obligation (none / 0) (#178)
by Irobot on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 01:16:10 AM EST

I have no issues with your first two paragraphs. Voting has consequences.

I have only a slight issue with your third paragraph. You are correct - abstaining is a choice one can make, and rightly so. The small issue I have is with your last sentence, which I'll quote:

How can a system be democratic if every participant is expected to vote, excluding other perfectly reasonable courses of action?
You're correct that no reasonable course of action should be excluded in a democratic system. The feeling I get from your statement is that you think it is wrong to expect every participant to vote. Isn't that a dictionary definition of apathy?

Your last paragraph misses my point - or rather, puts a finer edge on the dichotomy I gave. OK, so there's three choices:

  1. I don't care about this topic
  2. I don't care whether this article posts
  3. I disagree with this article's viewpoint
The third option is what dalinian was railing against with his "suppression of free speech," "hostility to pigeon-lovers," and "homogeneity of viewpoint." As I pointed out, I think that dalinian was making a faulty appeal to pathos to make his case against voting -1. I think everyone involved agrees this is a bad thing. As for number two, I'd agree with choosing to abstain, so long as it is a conscious decision. It's the first option that I feel (potentially) deserves a -1. My guess is that you disagree.

I realize the following may sound patronizing or sarcastic, but it isn't meant to. I'd like to thank you for discussing this with me, as it crystallized my ideas of what a democracy entails. Which will, for better or for worse, carry over to things beyond voting on K5. To me, having the power of a vote brings with it an obligation to use it to express my opinion. Up until now on K5, I've generally not voted down stories I didn't care about, choosing instead to leave it up to others. I think I'll have to start living up to my new-found democratic ideals by voting -1 more often.

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

A New Voting Option (5.00 / 15) (#145)
by Evil Petting Zoo on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 03:30:35 PM EST

Perhaps we need to have a new voting option for stories. What about -1 Rewrite to force stories to be put back into the edit queue? This way we can let the author know we like the story, but we think it should be cleaned up before posting.



Why do you hate Kuro5hin so much? (4.00 / 1) (#150)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:31:35 PM EST

Okay, jokes aside... I do agree with the -1 for don't care, and I've already argued (peacfully) the reasoning in a comment to the author's diary.

It has to do with probable outcomes. If a story is acceptable but uninteresting to the vast majority, and those who don't care vote 0, then there's a story posted that most people simply don't care about.

If the story is really that good, and really that interesting, it's voter positive base will make up for the difference when those who don't care vote it down.

Voting -1 does not register as an attempt to silence the speaker from saying something. Zeroing their comments is more like that. Voting them down is giving your opinion on an article that they've submitted for approval.

Further, while I agree that the 0 vote is a feature, I don't believe that voting -1 on a story you don't care about actually harms the diversity, but can in some ways strengthen it. There's a lot of articles posted that I don't care for, and have voted -1 on. It's a sign that there's enough people who do care to support the article. The different groups have enough voting power to support themselves.

In this way, I think that the diverse aspects that are strong enough to be seen will not be flooded out by those that aren't. If K5 was mostly content that I didn't care for, I wouldn't have joined - of course. I liked the idea of K5, but only so long as it was actually useful to me.

Taken to an opposite extreme, if people voted solely on the quality of the article, and not on the content whatsoever, well, kuro5hin would not have passed the 10k users mark, I think.

I don't think the voting system is perfect. I don't think there is a realistic perfect system. When I'd first read rusty's comment, I thought, "nah..." but I started to consider it, and realized that it made (to me) statistical sense.

In addition, I find it necessary to at least skim the article and read through the comments before dropping a -1 (or any other vote). The reason being that a lot of the time an article that seems uninteresting turns out to be interesting, or the even more likely possiblility that some really interesting discussion makes up for my lack of interesting in the article itself.

I think this makes a lot of sense. K5 is a discussion site more than a news site. In that respect, a piece must be discussable before it can get posted. If a perfectly written article is destined to get only two people talking, then it probably shouldn't get posted, unless the content is actually truly interesting to a large group.

Anyway, that's all I've got to say for now.

farq will not be coming back

bad moderation (3.75 / 4) (#162)
by parasite on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 06:33:16 PM EST


Another major problem that I think should be addressed is BAD MODERATION.
Some people don't seem to get the idea that coherence of argument and internal
consistency, or at least an obvious attempt to do so, deserves a reasonable
rating of 3-5. But without fail when I post a comment with obvious Objectivist
philosophical leanings in it -- 30-40 people vote it down down down. When I
disguise my philosophical position MUCH MORE deeply, a lot of people are too
dense to realize it -- and I generally get 3-4 votes of 4's and 5's. This is
a sad state of affairs -- it means MOST moderators are voting not on the
quality or logic of the argument but on HOW MUCH they do or do not agree with
it. Anything that isn't leftist leaning, or disguised enough that people cannot
tell it is non-leftists gets shot down hard.

/me claps (none / 0) (#169)
by Fuzzwah on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 08:40:24 PM EST

I swear that is the most well crafted comment ever, hell how can I not give it a rating of 5 :)

--
The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris
[ Parent ]

or... (3.66 / 3) (#173)
by tebrow on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 09:24:26 PM EST

Maybe Objectivism has no quality or logic.

[ Parent ]
you just proved the poster's point (5.00 / 1) (#183)
by Shren on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:19:16 AM EST

You throw out a shallow Objectivism bash which is a slander with no real argument, and you get good mods. And there are lots of people out there who make it blatantly obvious which side of the whole "US" debate they are on.

On the other hand, I hardly see this as a problem. Most of my views are Libertarian leaning, and I am from the US and thus have a big target on my chest these days. I don't find negative moderations ruining my K5 experience, though, because usually my posts are deep enough to not just be a shallow parroting of some ideology. I try to use evidence, reason, passable writing, and persuasion in my posts, instead of using some ideology as a club.

Objectivism is not distinguishable from Libertarianism on casual analysis - if people can tell that you are an Objectivist from most of your posts, you probably bring up obscure bits of Objectivist philosophy that the average person doesn't give a fuck about. Would your mojo be higher if you stepped into the middle of the road K5 demographic? Yes. Is it impossible to have high mojo while habitually standing against the median K5 opinion? No.

[ Parent ]

I agree (5.00 / 2) (#189)
by dalinian on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:50:24 AM EST

And while the K5 mojo is better than Slashdot karma in that it feels less like a competition, some people still care about the moderation they get. I did too, but now that I lost my trusted user status while defending this article, I see that if you want to say something meaningful, you will annoy someone. And when you annoy someone, you get moderated down. It's still worth it.

Mojo doesn't pay your bills, have sex with you or bring world peace. It's just a number.

[ Parent ]

I disagree (none / 0) (#197)
by tebrow on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 04:25:04 PM EST

I was only suggesting that one reading the poster's comments might disagree with his comments on the basis of the quality or logic of his presuppositions. Perhaps they find his Objectivist methods of deduction to be flawed. I don't know.

My comment was merely a suggestion, as indicated by the "maybe" prefix. Perhaps raters found it to be a logical guess. I don't know.

My point, finally, is that the logic and quality of a post, as perceived by a rater, could have enormous bearing on whether or not they agree with it.

On a tangent, I fail to see any "evidence, reason...persuausion" as to my alleged slander. I wonder if the accusation in question is not METASLANDER!

[ Parent ]
Maybe (none / 0) (#174)
by Pseudonym on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 10:05:13 PM EST

My rating is not even based on coherence, internal consistency or logic, but rather how much it contributes to the current discussion. That's a hard thing to measure, but in general, if I thought it was uncalled for (in context) I'd moderate it down, probably to 2. (I reserve score 1 for absolutely no contribution and 0 for gratuitous trolling.)

For this reason, I've occasionally voted down comments with what you would call "obvious Objectivist philosophical leanings in it" because occasionally such comments are of the basic form "I'm right and you're wrong, and you simply don't know enough to realise this" which, even if it were correct, is not a useful contribution to the discussion.

Naturally I'm not suggesting this is you, but such comments do exist coming from all sides of philosophy, politics and religion.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Let's see if I understand (3.33 / 3) (#166)
by tokage on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:40:13 PM EST

You're saying I should have voted -1 to this story?

I think 0 story ratings are the way to go when there's a story that is well written & intelligent but it's just something you have zero interest in. If 10 people care about the story and 30 people don't care out of the first 100, those 10 people are free to find/start a site that has other people with similiar interests. 0 ratings should weigh less than a -1 on determining if a story gets posted, and I am pretty sure they do.

The one of the problems with k5 is there are many people with many interests, but a relatively low number of people who vote on stories. K5 has never been in your face cutting edge discussion anyway. It's more gentle geeks getting fired up about political discussions & thinking they're billy badasses online.

If I had voted on this story, the whole troll part of it would have inspired a -1. It's such an absurd and tired conversation. Worse than gun control & abortion debates even. It's too broad and misused of a label. Satirists get labelled trolls. People with different political/personal opinions get the label. It's all just pretty tired. Same old story for the past 15 years or so.

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

Deciding to Abstain (4.00 / 1) (#171)
by exceed on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 08:57:19 PM EST

I often vote abstain (0) because I do not care for the article, however I feel that others may. So, essentially, I am letting the other people that may take interest in the article decide instead of me.

If abstaining is "going against" your right to vote on K5, why is it even there?

If you don't care for an article, you should abstain, not dump it. If you think an article is really inappropriate/stupid/whatever, then dump it.

void women (float money, time_t time);
-1 FP, 0 section (3.25 / 4) (#177)
by Sloppy on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:42:16 PM EST

From reading the comments here, it sounds like what people might like this voting option: -1 FP, 0 section. A way to vote that you have nothing against the story, provided that it only goes to section and doesn't "pollute" the front page.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
yes... (none / 0) (#201)
by Shren on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 04:56:41 PM EST

Take my choices away, please. I for one wish that both my online sites and government would reduce the number of choices I have on a day to day basis.

[ Parent ]
You should... (4.50 / 4) (#179)
by rusty on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 01:39:34 AM EST

...vote however you want. I believe my argument is valid (and isn't based on "rusty said so" for me, anyway). You present a clear and coherent opposing view. People, as always, will do whatever they want anyway. Hopefully one or the other of us will help them make choices in an informed manner, whichever manner that may be.

____
Not the real rusty
why vote at all? (3.00 / 1) (#180)
by dazzle on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 05:36:34 AM EST

But why vote at all. Why are we trying to constantly find order in the chaos? Let the chaos reign. Have no voting system. Just post and comment and edit.

---
the internet: a global network of small minded people


Rusty's argument (4.66 / 3) (#190)
by strangename on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:57:37 AM EST

Like everything, it's up to you. No reason you can't think something is a good article and belongs here, even though the subject doesn't interest you. By "don't care" I mean "don't care if this one lives or dies." If you think it's a good article, than you already do care in some way. Maybe that wasn't clear. Personally, I find myself interested in the subject of a good article, no matter whether I ever have been before or not. That's what good articles do, IMO. Like the article on Go; I could totally give a rat's ass about Go, and still don't really expect I'll ever play it much, but that article was fascinating.

I don't think enough people got the gist of Rusty's argument; if I grok it fully, it means that "-1 Don't Care" is not "-1 Topic Uninteresting", but rather "-1 Article Uninteresting." Well-made articles should be interesting to read, even if you wouldn't care to continue on to discussion. Take this article, for example: if it is good enough of a writing, then it should be interesting to read even to people who don't care about the review system and don't vote in it themselves. If everyone had voted as some suggest is wise (topic not interesting -> -1), then this article would have received no -1's on this basis, since anybody in the article-voting system is interested enough to participate in it. This shows the skewed results such voting would give; since not everybody reviews articles, the statistical sample of topic interests could be highly disproportional.

In fact, it is highly likely that people who are not interested in something are a valuable resource to the moderation of an article, in that if somebody isn't interested in a topic but finds the article moderately interesting, then can vote it +1 Section, but if they found it so interesting that all topic preference doesn't matter, then +1 FP is more appropriate. People natively interested in the topic of a good-but-not-awesome article would be more likely to think it FP material than it really deserves.



topic vs article (none / 0) (#200)
by Shren on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 04:51:25 PM EST

Personally, I think one should never vote an article up based on the topic, only the quality of the article. If an article on topic U could have easily better treatment, don't vote for topic U.

For a while, anything on Israel would get voted up. Now, anything on Israel gets voted down. Why? People vote on topic. If people had been more picky on the Israel articles they voted up, then the community wouldn't be burned out on the whole topic, and we'd still be discussing the issue in an interesting way.

Could this be done better? is the big question to ask yourself. The answer is so often yes, but people want to debate hot topic 'foo' right now so they vote up the first article so the holy wars can begin.

Probably the best solution, IMO, is for Rusty or Rusty and a small group to try to pick out the "topic of the day" and issue a "call for articles". All of the articles go in a special queue, but a few days pass between the call for articles and the voting process. That way, people can pick out a selection of good articles.

Imagine running an academic conference where the person who got to speak first was the person who got to the podium first with a reasonable coherent topic. That's K5, right now. Speed needs to be underplayed. 2 hours in the edit queue, 4 minutes of voting, and it's in, encouraging people to try to write an article about the newest hot issue in 2 hours. The edit queue should last up to 24, with a minimum of 12.

[ Parent ]

topics aren't similar (4.00 / 1) (#202)
by dalinian on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 05:03:43 PM EST

if somebody isn't interested in a topic but finds the article moderately interesting, then can vote it +1 Section
A good point. But I don't think all topics work this way. For instance, I don't care about physics as a topic, so an article about physics would have to be very good if I was to care about it. "Very good" in this context means being easily understandable and containing some really interesting new discovery that has significant practical implications on the way we think and act. With these requirements, not even Einstein could make me care about a physics article. Most likely, when I see a physics article in the queue, I don't even bother to read the article before voting.

Should I really vote an article down if I don't even bother to read it? No. Voting zero seems the only good solution. Even if I don't care about physics, I know that others do, and I'm going to respect their wishes.

I believe it's about how much the topic determines what the article is going to be. In physics, you can't write about cartoons, metaphysics or knitting, for example. But in philosophy, you can write about pretty much anything you want. This means that you might care about an article about philosophy without caring about philosophy as a topic, but probably couldn't care about a physics article if you don't care about physics as a topic.

[ Parent ]

TU status (none / 0) (#191)
by Shren on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 10:31:49 AM EST

TU status is highly susceptible to short term fluctuations. It'll probably be back in days or hours if you move on. I've lost and gained it more times than I can count.

Just post it on my site... (1.00 / 1) (#192)
by dipierro on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 11:39:42 AM EST

It has to be really really bad for me to reject something.
SlashdotSucks: The world's only copylefted internet news site.
The most important opinion (5.00 / 2) (#196)
by skintigh on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 03:23:27 PM EST

is the least popular opinion. That is the opinion that raises questions and causes thought and discussion and is a catylizt for change.

Kill all the witty critics! (none / 0) (#203)
by mingofmongo on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 05:35:30 PM EST

It has been said that a critic becomes useless from the first time he gets a joke in print. This is the gospell truth.

How many times have I seen an editorial comment with some snappy (or intended to be snappy) wittizism to go with a -1 vote. When people have a reason to vote something down, they often post a reason. When there isn't a good reason, there's often a joke to go with it.

And another thing. If you feel tempted to vote something down because you don't see a point to it, consider - just for a moment - the possibility that you might be MISSING the point. I'm a pretty smart guy and I have missed a couple points in my time. You might too.

I have no real solution to the problem. I'm just whining.

DAMN fine article.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

Saving Diversity on K5: The Dangers of Careless Voting | 212 comments (172 topical, 40 editorial, 0 hidden)
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