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A Simple Plan

By the ghost of rmg in Meta
Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 04:43:41 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

Some here might remember a time when Kuro5hin was full of (arguably) interesting commentary, articles, and diaries. Today, by contrast, it is about half crapflooding and other inane drivel and half (arguably) interesting commentary, or at least commentary written with an earnest intent to be interesting. How can that situation be rectified? And why should we care?

Within, I discuss these two questions drawing from observation of the Daily Kos (ignoring its political nature if we can).

Why should we care?

The answer is quite simple: A well-run weblog is a surprisingly powerful thing. It has the potential to drive news in the media, organize social, political, and technological efforts, and reach an enormous audience besides. A look at the Daily Kos confirms this: Daily Kos articles are now listed on Google News. Though you might call this a marginal source of news, it is very widely read. The Daily Kos serves as a rallying point for political activists. Recently, readers there took mass action to call out the Secretary of the State of Ohio for his illegal attempt to disenfranchise eligible voters in his state (and were successful). And of course, the Daily Kos is now second only to Slashdot in readership amongst weblogs getting over 32,000 hits per hour.

There is no reason Kuro5hin could not meet or exceed the success of the Daily Kos, given its position midway between technology and political blogs, by far the two most popular kinds of blogs out there, and its nominally nonpartisan stance. Such a success would be especially noteworthy given the democratic nature of this particular site (i.e. "YOU choose the stories," as opposed to the situation at the Daily Kos in which the stories choose YOU). But before we can make this happen, we need to know why the Daily Kos is so successful and how we can learn from that success.

Why is the Daily Kos so popular?

First, one has to admit that a great deal of it is the interest in the elections, especially from Democrats, but there are many liberal blogs out there and only Atrios's readership seriously rivals that of the Daily Kos. Why the Daily Kos?

For one, he has a better site than most of the other guys. It's a scoop site. It has threaded comments and user diaries, in sharp contrast to Atrios's blogspot setup. Posters have coherent identities via user accounts, which creates a sense of community, but Kuro5hin already has these things. Kos hand selects diaries and promotes them to the front page, thereby involving the users in the creation of content, and allows users to vote up diaries so they hang around for more prominent display. But Kuro5hin already has more powerful facilities for involving the userbase than this (though the ability to vote diaries into a "recommended diary list" or even to the front page would be a good thing to have).

The key difference one sees at the Daily Kos is not technological. It's the atmosphere. It's not hostile or adversarial. The Daily Kos doesn't cover your screen with text you'd get fired if your boss noticed you reading. It's safe for work, in contrast to Kuro5hin, where at any given time, you're likely to have a comment or diary on your screen about farts or something equally puerile. At the Daily Kos, you can be pretty sure you won't have to worry about that, and if it happens, the situation will be rectified in short order.

How? Very simple. At the Daily Kos, if you get modded down too many times (enough to get what used to be called "untrusted user status" here, i.e. when a certain weighted average of your recent comment ratings is less than 1), your account is no longer able to moderate, post diaries, post comments, or, due to one of my recent escapades, recommend diaries. In this way, the users regulate themselves very effectively. People who are there just to be obnoxious are quickly eliminated.

Further, to prevent people from just getting a new account and coming right back, there is a waiting period of 24 hours before one can post a comment and one week before one can post diaries.

So how can this be applied to Kuro5hin?

It's pretty clear where this is going: Given the ability to eliminate obnoxious users, the userbase will purge itself pretty quickly. A trivial change to the moderation system, the code for which already exists at the Daily Kos, would compensate for the relative lack of editorial oversight this site has.

Additionally, in order to prevent people from just coming back, a waiting period for diaries would make sense, though one for comments would probably not be necessary. This waiting period would have the advantage of eliminating the "One of my accounts just got banned and I demand to know why" genre of diary. Temporary subnet bans on new user registration and posting would probably also help prevent this sort of thing.

Answers to obvious objections:

But wait, as so many Slashdot editorialists say, "the potential for abuse is staggering!"

True. Editors would need to be receptive to complaints about moderation abuse and act on them quickly. Maybe a complaint system like the one discussed in the infamous "Managed Growth" article could be instituted. (Though private email should be adequate.) It would be prudent to revive the old "Trusted User" system to cut out some of that kind of abuse as well.

But wait, the Daily Kos is a den of groupthink and liberal nuttery, and it's because they ban everyone who disagrees with them!

It's just an example, so Kos's politics are irrelevant. It's essentially true that there is a lot of groupthink and not much room for diversity of opinion, but that is because Kos and the community at large do not particularly value free speech in the context of discussion on their site. Instead, they value an environment in which they don't have to deal with "freepers." This site is different in that respect. It would fall to the editors to see that action is taken against users who moderate people down purely for disagreeing with them (for example, by revoking moderation privileges). This would require a written policy on how moderation is supposed to be used and what, broadly, constitutes obnoxious behavior. This is something the site has needed for a long time anyway. As long as dissent is protected (except where it is purely obnoxious), there should be no problem of groupthink or ideological homogeneity.

But what about the example of Slashdot? Harsher moderation has always led to groupthink, dogmatism, and suppression.

There is an important difference between Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda (and moreso Markos Zuniga) and Rusty: CmdrTaco wants anti-Linux commentary suppressed. He wants people who claim that Microsoft products, for example, are more mature or useful or whatever than their Linux counterparts to be silenced. The editors at Slashdot have a particular set of ideas they want to give air and another set they do not want on their site and the way their moderation system is used reflects that. If they wanted people to get a fair shake regardless of their ideas about Linux, they could act on complaints of suppression and specifically state their policy on it, but they conspicuously do not. Rusty is very different. He does not want Kuro5hin to be "just Rusty's site." He says he wants free speech and diversity of opinion, the very opposite of what the Slashdot editors are trying to accomplish.  If he makes clear (via a written set of guidelines) what sort of moderation will and will not be tolerated and enforces those guidelines, there should not be a problem.

It will be boring without all those wonderful trolls!

Someone always says this, so if this strikes you as an odd objection, just skip over it. First, in my view, all the entertaining trolls are gone. Tex is gone, the Adequacy crew is gone, and the few others that were amusing have left as well. There is very little interesting trolling going on here. Most everything people might consider trolling is done by self-professed crapflooders whom no one would miss. Presumably, there would be enough patrons for entertaining trolls that they could stay around anyway. Finally, I manage to do alright on the Daily Kos with more draconian measures in place than I recommend here, so it's not like all trolls will be eliminated regardless of their merits.

You'll be the first one they ban!

Yeah, that's probably true. I expect circletimessquare and I would get the proverbial boot pretty promptly. That doesn't particularly bother me. The rest of the nameless crapflooders would be gone too. Spilt milk. Next.

Why, after all this time when the problems of this site have been so clear to everyone, do you think Rusty will act on these suggestions now?

Presumably, Rusty wants Kuro5hin to be successful (or at least relevant), but he doesn't want to babysit it or otherwise spend all his time on it. Well, this plan meets those criteria in that it only requires trivial changes, available to him from the Daily Kos codebase to which he has access, and requires minimal involvement from him in terms of upkeep and will significantly clean up the site, thereby making it more likely new people will become interested in it and make existing users more willing to contribute in a positive manner. Hence success.

The problem is there isn't enough signal, not that there's too much noise.

This is another piece of fairly bizarre common wisdom. What you have to remember is that there is a relationship between "signal" and "noise" in the context of online discussion. Noise tends to be distracting, drawing people into offtopic flamefights, which themselves have a self-sustaining character. It also tends to be a turn off to people who are interested in "signal." These people tend to be the same ones who contribute to that signal. Similarly, forums with a large amount of signal tend to attract more readers, as we see at the Daily Kos.

The original goal of Kuro5hin to democratize the internet has been accomplished already by blogs. There's no need to pursue it further.

The Daily Kos has become a focal point for liberal blogs. Liberal bloggers converge on the site and exchange news and links and all the rest of the things bloggers do in a community setting, along with regular bored-at-work internet surfing types. Given the breadth of topics here, Kuro5hin could become a similar focal point for all blogs, but not in its current form. The Daily Kos works because there is a civil community. It is not a place where someone will call you a fag for posting a link to your blog. Unfortunately, that's exactly what Kuro5hin is like and that has to change.


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Display: Sort:
A Simple Plan | 135 comments (87 topical, 48 editorial, 0 hidden)
Go back to crapflooding Daily Kos. (1.43 / 23) (#2)
by My Other Account Is A Hulver on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:12:14 AM EST

-1, more of the typical, uninspired bile we've all come to expect from the most boring crapflooder in kuro5hin's history.

I believe drduck is a genuine account, and I don't delete him because I'm a hypocrite. - rusty
my thoughts (2.50 / 4) (#3)
by forgotten on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 04:47:11 AM EST

actually i have been thinking kind of the same thing actually (what regular reader couldnt be?) and was going to propose the following:

as a preliminary measure, include a button next to a users name: [I want him banned]. it may or may not be annoymous; i dont care. on that users page he/she and everyone else could see the % of users (or maybe just of frequent users) that would like to see that user removed. with the initial implementation there would be no further action, but it would be a starting point for either auto-banning (for some time, maybe) or intervention by k5admin.

actually i dont think offsensive users are a major problem, except that they scare off other (thin-skinned?) users from contributing. but anyway, the above is a step towards combatting it and avoids the claims (eg by ttumeric [sic] in a diary today) that banning is undemocratic.


'thin-skinned' (2.50 / 2) (#6)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:07:05 AM EST

this is a surprising piece of rhetoric that was successful because it was pushed so hard by trolls about a year ago. bizarrely enough, it blames regular users for not wanting to have obscenities on their screens at work or not wanting responses to their diaries be of the form "subject: ror. body: i farted.". frankly, it's amazing that people find this "thin-skinned" thing to be a useful adjective in discussions like this.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
Yeah fine (none / 0) (#7)
by x67 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:11:15 AM EST

But what about the mere voting down of something "the clique" doesnt like? Many an interesting article from an alternative point of view has been shot down by a thinnly disguised conformist mentality.

[ Parent ]
the solution to that (none / 0) (#8)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:26:17 AM EST

  1. to get rid of "-1, for a stupid reason" type comments,
  2. reduce the post threshhold further so fewer stories are rejected, and
  3. make more of an effort to make people aware of how voting is supposed to work, i.e. if it is passably well written and would provoke or has provoked interesting discussion.
it's actually a good point though. part of the reason kuro5hin isn't more popular is that there aren't many stories compared with slashdot, certainly, but also the daily kos and other popular blogs. you need to have a constant stream of content to keep (most) people coming back regular. this is a piece of advice i saw at atrios recently and i think it's very true.

when people's stories get voted down even though they managed a positive score and were fairly well written, they tend to look at "-1, mentions cats" type comments (that often get modded up) and think, "shit, this place is full of unreasonable assholes. why do i even try?"

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

ugh. (none / 0) (#9)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:30:54 AM EST

sorry, i just woke up...

list item three should say you should vote for a story if it's well written, etc. and the first sentence of the first paragraph after that is pretty broken too. what i mean is kuro5hin is not more popular because there aren't enough stories on the front page to keep people coming back once or twice a day (whereas at slashdot and other large blogs like dailykos and atios, there are).

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

The problem with rmg's objections (none / 1) (#26)
by x67 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:41:57 AM EST

is they are part of the clique. They dont like the story, they vote it down, and k5 loses another story. There should something like what Hulver has where the dropped stories are still available. Otherwise rmg and co. endulge in a form of censorship.

[ Parent ]
additionally, (none / 0) (#21)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:13:34 AM EST

there is no "clique." what the hell are you talking about?

before you answer, keep in mind that i observe this site very closely. i could write an encyclopedia in five volumes about it. it will not be easy to argue that i'm just not paying attention.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

no, (none / 0) (#10)
by forgotten on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:35:25 AM EST

i dont mean obscenities or vulgarities. thats fairly universally unwanted. but what about replies like, "get a clue, idiot"? cant see that being ban-worthy myself but some people are offended by it.


[ Parent ]

well, (none / 0) (#11)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:48:13 AM EST

if there were an account that did nothing but post comments that said:

subject: get a clue.
body: idiot.

most people would agree that it's gratutiously confrontational, intended to be irritating, and devoid of discursive value. i think the real test for whether someone is just being obnoxious is discursiveness. i.e. are they actually making logical arguments in a way such that people can respond to them intelligently (that is, without most people just flaming them). someone like circletimessquare who primarily insults the reader as they read his fairly straightforward opinions would probably not pass that test. similarly, the typical crapflooder around here would easily fail this test as well.

the dominant school of thought in crapflooding right now is to be inane and use that inanity to break down the level of discussion. that's why they tend to emulate IM discussions -- "rofl," "ror," "what are u talking about?," etc.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

sorry, i wasn't very clear, (none / 0) (#12)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:53:54 AM EST

what i meant on the "get a clue, idiot," type things is that given a sufficiently well made argument attached to that, you might not want to throw out the baby with the bath water or whatever, though ideally, people would have better social skills and personal character traits than to go around posting "get a clue" left and right...

the last part about crapflooders was to emphasize that obnoxious can mean more than just obscene. the approach to crapflooding i mentioned is designed to make it difficult for soft admins to ban them for borderline behavior, while still be annoying.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

Daily Kos (2.33 / 3) (#5)
by dimaq on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 07:06:33 AM EST

sounds like a popular cafeteria or a newspaper. what is/was it exactly?

it is (none / 1) (#100)
by Delirium on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 03:19:49 PM EST

a popular cafeteria

[ Parent ]
What I'm waiting to see (2.66 / 3) (#13)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:00:55 AM EST

is how well DK does after the election. I suspect the traffic will drop. Substantially. Especially if Kerry wins.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

very likely, yes, (none / 0) (#14)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:08:20 AM EST

but like freerepublic, it will remain relevant as a collecting point for liberal activists. if you're outside of the political blog scene, it's easy not to recognize the power places like freerepublic and the daily kos have. if you've ever seen them mobilize to drive stories and the like, you know what i mean.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
Why be like DailyKos ? (2.71 / 7) (#15)
by minerboy on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:47:45 AM EST

So they have been included in Google news, a sort of rubber stamp of credibility, I guess. But, do you really want a site that promotes a single point of view ? Sure, you could kick me (and others) out, since the point of view I take is not in the mainstream here. But, does that really create a site that makes you sit back and think? Questioning a generally accepted point of view is good, because you learn from the interaction.

Now there always needs to be some limitations on user behavior. However limiting ideas and points of view may gain you more visibility, more acceptance in mainstream media, but it does nothing to push the cutting edge forward, it doesn't effect credibility ( would you believe anything you read on DailyKos, or Free Republic ? I wouldn't) - I like K5, since to me it is like the Knights Templar of the internet- With it's healthy Skepticism and cynicism. Or at least like Usenet before it got fucked with spam.

uh, (none / 0) (#16)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:59:51 AM EST

this was actually explicitly addressed in the article under "obvious objections." but it's a sufficiently important point that i should clarify:

i do not recommend emulating the daily kos's single hivemindedness. what i advocate is the elimination of spam via effective moderation. i say in the article there would need to be "checks and balances," if you will, to prevent people from moderating people they disagree with into oblivion. this would consist of editorial intervention and an explicit written policy saying that moderation is intended only to eliminate obnoxious, nondiscursive crap, not dissenting opinions. moderation abusers would either be banned or have their moderation privileges revoked. very simple.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

I guess I meant to ask (none / 1) (#19)
by minerboy on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:23:22 AM EST

Where you would draw the line. What's crap, What's spam, and what's a dissenting opinion. Would racist statements be allowed or no? Do you allow certain types of Humor ( the Howto Zen Article for instance). Sure you can create such a system - but what will it say

I guess your arguing for a K5 Constitution, well maybe it would be a good thing, but it needs more specifics in terms of the underlying philosophy the constitution will promote

[ Parent ]
agreed. (none / 0) (#20)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:37:22 AM EST

alright, so i would say discursiveness is the key value that should be embraced, along with perhaps cleverness and humor so as to include things like the zen article.

i think crap would be comments that do nothing more than insult or personally attack other users, comments that don't offer any pertinent information or argument, either by being deliberately inane or offtopic. it would be mostly the kind of stuff you see moderated -1, flamebait or -1, offtopic at slashdot.

i think that's a good start at least. as long as free speech, diversity of opinion, and open discussion are explicitly held up by the admins as what is supposed to be protected by moderation and people who use it otherwise are dealt with quickly and decisively, i don't think there would be a problem.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

rah rah is much different (2.75 / 4) (#17)
by karb on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:17:19 AM EST

So it seems hard to draw comparison. On DailyKos there's a narrower band of permitted/expected thought. Everyone agrees Bush is a 'traitor' : it's just an issue of whether he should be impeached or violently overthrown. Kos, of course, is around to push this certain brand of thought.

Plus, don't discount Rusty. Lots of great geeks have web sites. Lots of pol-types have web sites. But not many pol-types have great geeks to run their web sites.
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

on rusty. (none / 1) (#18)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:23:11 AM EST

i think the fact that rusty and captain_tenille run this site and the daily kos makes the comparison even more poignant. at the daily kos, kos sets the policy on what is and is not allowed, and it works very well. here, rusty sets essentially no policy on what is and is not allowed, and this site has been in decline as direct result for over a year and half.

what strikes me is that kos has a good thing going with the idea of eliminating a certain class of users, even if he takes it a little too far. by far the most common complaint on this site in the past two years has been crapflooding, yet something like that could never happen at the dailykos.

the fact that rusty runs both servers technologically makes me think that the difference is in how kos and rusty handle policy at the social level.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

+1FP for analysis (2.00 / 4) (#22)
by Verbophobe on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:14:23 AM EST

But I don't think I'd like to see any of this actually implemented on K5, except for maybe that acceptable use policy.  It just wouldn't be right, y'know?

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration
15 grand says you're wrong (2.66 / 3) (#23)
by sllort on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:33:07 AM EST

Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
fascinating. (none / 0) (#25)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:41:38 AM EST

i think i know what you mean, but i'd rather hear you state your case explicitly (so you won't be able to change it later) before i respond.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
I am a Kerry supporter (none / 0) (#32)
by sllort on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 12:41:44 PM EST

I can change my position at will.

That said, he's not getting cash money to work on this site, so why would he?
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

he does work on this site. (none / 0) (#34)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 12:46:53 PM EST

he did something to fix the autoformat code as recently as two days ago. is there anything more to your argument?

and the programmer mentioned in that article is captain_tenille, not rusty.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

DK has had more features added in the last 2 weeks (none / 0) (#39)
by sllort on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 02:27:14 PM EST

Than this site has in the last 2 years. Approval voting in diaries, dns aliasing of diaries, inline images, etc. You know, visible features, not minor bugfixes.
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
the newest of those features (none / 0) (#47)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:15:55 PM EST

was added a month and half ago. anything else?

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
No, that's it (none / 0) (#53)
by sllort on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:55:08 PM EST

Write him a check
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
HuSi has had those features for some time (none / 0) (#88)
by CwazyWabbit on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 04:16:48 AM EST

I would imagine that K5 could have as well, except rusty hasn't wanted to upgrade the site yet.
"But here's the thing: if people hand me ammunition, what kind of misanthrope would I be if I didn't use it?" - Sarah-Katherine
[ Parent ]
-1 (1.77 / 9) (#27)
by balsamic vinigga on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:56:23 AM EST

kuro5hin is a testament to the actual cesspool of humanity.  A truly democratic website will eventually turn into this.  Especially as the Jerry Springer croud start to get hand-me-down computers installed in their trailers.  K5 represents humanity in its raw grittiness, uncensored and in your face.  Why would we want to mess with something so pure and so natural?

Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
werd. (none / 1) (#38)
by LilDebbie on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 02:05:52 PM EST

preach it, bruthah!

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
bah (none / 0) (#41)
by Wah on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 02:36:33 PM EST

A truly democratic website will eventually turn into this.  

Umm, a 'truly democratic website" would be able to vote for new rules.

Like the death penalty.

Like cutting off hands.

Like voting on representatives.  Like hiring police.  Like building jails.

This is no democracy.  It was a benevolent dictatorship.

Then the dictator wandered off, and chaos reigned.

Why would we want to mess with something so pure and so natural?

Because the best shit gets dumped.
[ Parent ]

I can't argue with that (none / 1) (#56)
by balsamic vinigga on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 04:49:26 PM EST

after all my latest rap battle WAS voted down...

Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]
Policy has nothing to do with the decline (2.33 / 3) (#28)
by imrdkl on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 11:56:51 AM EST

Rusty disappointed a bunch of users, some of said users became angry trolls, angry trolls drove away more users, and some of the rest simply left. In the end, the CMF (or lack thereof) is the basis of the problem.

I'm not sure what to do about it, and I suppose Rusty isn't either. It's a sad situation indeed, because I agree with the author that k5 still has potential - but the foundation has been weakened by the CMF incident. If it wasn't for the open queue and the diverse userbase there probably wouldn't be much interest at all.

no, it hasn't. (3.00 / 4) (#31)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 12:08:45 PM EST

no one really cares about the CMF thing anymore. the trolls here are just the same losers from the slashdot sids you'll see if you read at -1.

if these policies were in place a year ago, the various troll incidents would never have happened. malcontents would have been forcibly eliminated quickly and efficiently. i should also add that the CMF was never anything more than an excuse for the trolls. it was a means of recrimination that, for whatever reason, enough people in the userbase latched onto for it to be effective. nothing more, nothing less.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

further, (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 12:45:19 PM EST

the complaints about the CMF were prompted by the perceived increase in trolling and crapflooding and rusty's refusal to deal with it. people saw a very concrete problem that rusty alone could solve, but would not. people perceived crapflooding as the cause of the decline of the site and blamed rusty for allowing it to happen and were especially pissed off given his talk about how the users had "bought kuro5hin" with their donations. trolls managed to tap into that sentiment to demonize rusty and devide the userbase.

perhaps some people here did not see it that way, but as someone on the inside, i can tell you that's how it happened.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

Whatever you want to call it (2.50 / 2) (#35)
by imrdkl on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 01:10:37 PM EST

The CMF, or the plea for help, or simply the perception of good intentions which motivated so many people to give money and time was based upon a plan and a promise which were never fulfilled. This is what led to the increase in angry users and the decrease in friendly users.

Perhaps you have forgotten, or forgiven, or whatever, but I suspect that there are a lot of people who have not, and perhaps, just perhaps, a few who are still waiting for the truth.

[ Parent ]

so what are ya gonna do about it? (2.66 / 3) (#43)
by JyZude on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:06:31 PM EST

Okay, you say that the failed CMF stuff brought on the angry users and caused all the strife. Fine. The question is what can we do about it? Some of us, or at least I, have forgiven rusty. I don't think it was malice that made rusty take the money and run. I think it was more that spending nearly a year without a real job, running and moderating and paying for a burgeoning web community, seriously hurt his finances. Though he wanted to use the money for the CMF, I don't think there was enough to do it as well as feed him and his family. What would you do?

Whether or not your believe this, you still have two choices: work to make Kuro5hin a better site, or leave and find a new site better than Kuro5hin.

Bitching a whining about how you were "screwed" is not going to change anything. Bitching that all the users are jackasses will not make them stop posting. If you are waiting for "the truth"... well, fine, keep waiting... in silence please. Some of us are still trying to make the best of the situation.

Honest to god, you can say all you want about rmg and the trolls and the crapflooders and the signal to noise ratio, but unless you have something constructive to do about it, please lurk in silence.

k5 is not the new Adequacy k thnx bye

[ Parent ]
what's your deal? (none / 0) (#51)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:29:19 PM EST

"the plea for help"? "a few who are still waiting for the truth"? what's with all the innuendo? are you still pissed at rusty? what's this all about? wasn't this stuff laid to rest about four months ago?

i've given a pretty compelling narrative of the so-called angry users you talk about. do you dispute it? and if so, how?

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

that is not what led to the decrease of signal (none / 0) (#77)
by the humble USian on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:32:36 PM EST

Rusty not caring about content providers did that. His definition of "collaborative" means enough people to write articles on his model blog. The people are irrelevant, they're just replaceable cogs. Community my ass. He doesn't care about it.

[ Parent ]
The reason Kuro5hin sucks (2.85 / 7) (#40)
by Wah on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 02:33:21 PM EST

is that too many jerks vote down stories.  They disappear.

This makes contributing a work of sado-masichism (sp).

What does get through are tepid rehashes of obscure technololgy and zany hobbies.

The structure was better when the voice needed to be controlled, but the lease has choked the dog, and made his will limp.

Kuro5hin died a long time ago.  It is an empty shell.

note: by sucks I mean in relation to 'what it could have been'.  At one time it was right on the edge of discourse, a true modern day Salon.  Then the assholes started pouring in, and I'm sorry to say, weak enforcement of any type of code other than the literal code that runs the site, caused it to stagnate and falter.

Just as everyone else started running.

Rusty fucked up, didn't go large. The is no CMF.

It was a troll.


Interesting ideas (3.00 / 5) (#49)
by aphasia on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:23:46 PM EST

Unfortunately, rusty has repeatedly said he is uninterested in continued social engineering and monkeying around with the way moderation works. Unless something has changed lately (could have happened, considering my last logon here was maybe a month ago), your ideas have the same chances of being implemented as a snowball has of being 'robustly implemented' in hell.

More topically, dailykos is a circlejerk -- anyone who doesn't fit the prevailing mindset gets canned. I don't consider that a good model for a true collaborative discussion site, and I don't think a 'mission statement' about how to properly use ratings is going to change online human nature. Don't we have such a moderation guide here? Don't we still have a problem with ratings being applied inappropriately? Do we need to give the unwashed masses a more powerful tool they can use in their quest to become ever-more effective assholes?

"You have *huge* brass balls. Tex would be jealous." --ti dave

more topically? (none / 0) (#52)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 03:40:01 PM EST

the specifics of the daily kos's ideological homogeneity are, if anything, less topical. this isn't about emulating the dailykos's ideological aspects, but rather trying to learn something from the way they've managed their problems with maintaining a sanitary environment. (understanding, of course, that we might find their idea of sanitation perverse and might use a totally different definition.) i was quite clear that abuse would have to be dealt with quickly and efficiently. properly treated, it would become scarce enough to be irrelevant.

rusty is in control of site that he claims is democratic in nature, but which is languishing because it is no longer a suitable environment for many people. this situation creates for him a compulsion to act. in the past, it has always seemed that there was either a lack of good and proven ideas set before him about how to go about it, but now there is a very clear, successful model built on the same platform as this site with code he works on himself. this is a substantially different situation.

more to the point, however, it would take just one comment from rusty to show that his position is as you say. if we see that comment, then by all means, i'll agree that the effort here is wasted. until we see that, i would rather not let your speculation on positions he might take on this particular proposal, based as they may be on his past statements, stand in for the word of rusty himself.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

IAWTA[phasia's]P (none / 0) (#63)
by the humble USian on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 06:12:41 PM EST

Rusty has said that.

[ Parent ]
i think rusty is worried about getting it wrong. (3.00 / 5) (#64)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 06:24:04 PM EST

what was striking (and baffling) about the aftermath of last october's moderation change and rechange is that rusty seemed to think that no one had any better ideas (!) because no one else was in the position to understand the situation (!!) because they didn't have a site of their own (!!!).

now, a year later, there is a viable model in existence that would achieve what rusty presumably hoped to accomplish with his -1 rating. it is proven on another site to be effective and workable. to my mind, the only missing element is some indication from the userbase that there is interest in such a thing here.

i simply think that in view of new information and the fact of the continued decline in readership, the issue is worth another look. again, if rusty is uninterested in this, it would courteous of him to say so directly right here, right now. it would be great if he'd give a brief explanation too.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

K5 means something else to its members (3.00 / 4) (#55)
by wakim1618 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 04:48:56 PM EST

The Daily Kos works because there is a civil community

It is probably more to the fact that the suppression of diversity means that it is a great selection mechanism for identifying zealots.

I suspect that one of the reasons that people come back to k5 because they can find intelligent comments from people who disagree with them.

Do you know of any examples of forums with a diversity of opinions somewhere in the real world? Doesn't that make you suspect that the people who come here are also unusually tolerant of other ideas?

One of the problems (imo) is that many of the political social rants are poorly written. It is not so much the partisanship in question.

Why change K5 into something else? If you want to make points where it may be heard by a larger audience, you can think of k5 as the training grounds. If you can make your points here, you can get many good objections and improve your argument and thinking in other forums.

If I wanted dumb people to love me, I'd start a cult.

okay, (2.50 / 2) (#57)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 04:55:23 PM EST

i don't understand your objection. i do not advocate changing the situation you describe. i go to great lengths to make very sure that that's not what i sound like (i thought).

what i'm getting at is a lack of editorial oversight, resulting in crapflooders and flamers moving in and doing whatever they want, to the detriment of the environment and therefore the audience that will tolerate it, leading to a smaller, less diverse community in which one will find a smaller range of ideas and arguments. my proposal is a method by which to compensate for the lack of editorial oversight in a more or less democratic way.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

you suggest getting penalized (none / 0) (#61)
by wakim1618 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 05:50:15 PM EST

for being modded down 'too often'. In short, you are proposing a bold new experiment because it changes the incentives for modding dramatically. It may not be a great leap mechanically from how things are now but, to me, that is like saying a voluntary payment system can be implemented at Walmart.

Your proposals may not change things a whole lot. Maybe they will and the changes will mostly be for the better. I fear that it won't be and there isn't anything else quite like k5 elsewhere.

If I wanted dumb people to love me, I'd start a cult.
[ Parent ]

that's understandable. (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 06:02:01 PM EST

you're very correct that it would vastly change what it means to moderate and to be moderated, but again, if rusty and the crew is receptive to complaints of abuse, i don't think there's anything to fear.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
exactly (none / 0) (#123)
by speek on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 09:15:27 AM EST

RMG's solution would only work if it succeeded in making K5 a homogenous community of agreement - that is why other places can block spam and bad trolls successfully - they have enough motivations in common to clearly identify the posts and posters unacceptable to them. At K5, we can't, as a group, make that identification as well. Let's leave it that way.

I suspect that one of the reasons that people come back to k5 because they can find intelligent comments from people who disagree with them.

Bingo. And if that means K5 will never be huge and popular, what's wrong with that?

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

-1, contains nothing about blacks or Mexicans. (1.20 / 15) (#65)
by Esspets on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 06:58:37 PM EST

-1 (2.12 / 8) (#66)
by Wallas A Hockpock on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 07:02:16 PM EST

 I totally disagree with the kind of "moderation" you seem to think is a good idea. K5 does pretty darned good the way it is. One of the reasons I came here. Of all the moderation systems out there kuro5hin.org has a pretty fair one.

 Of all the places I have been the quality of the content here is the best I have seen for the most part.

 It's not broke, don't fix it.

My better idea: (2.83 / 6) (#70)
by handslikesnakes on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 08:59:17 PM EST

A killfile, or equivalent. In the end it works out the same (you don't see people you think are stupid), without any potential for abuse.

Or if you're too lazy to block all the people you don't like (or worried that everyone will ignore certain people and new meat will be turned off by the unchallenged crapflooders), have a site-wide killfile with individual um, resurrection files.

Agreeing with a KillFile (none / 0) (#112)
by anotherdeadbard on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 09:37:25 PM EST

A killfile/bozo bin - I agree would be a great idea - especially one well done enough - for example being able to both bozo certain authors, and set threshholds (for the theoretical karma/modded up-down system), with exceptions. Think of it as a spam filter for kuro5hin. Would be more coding to the engine, of course, but I think it would help the site (ALL weblogs/forums actually). It could also address the safe-for-work thing.

[ Parent ]
Killfiles aren't a good solution (none / 0) (#124)
by gidds on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 10:04:08 AM EST

The problem with an individual killfile (and one I see myself on CIX) is that it doesn't stop threads developing. Many people may have blocked a particular poster, but it just takes one user who hasn't to respond, and you get a discussion. Often that discussion is just flamage; but you either block the whole subthread (and risk missing important stuff), or get to read it, which makes the killfile mostly worthless.

And a site-wide killfile is hardly different from the existing moderation. Of course, moderation itself shares some of these problems, and I don't have any better ideas. But I don't think a killfile is a particularly good solution.

[ Parent ]

-1 Article. (1.57 / 7) (#74)
by gzt on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 09:47:05 PM EST

traitor! (none / 0) (#75)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:11:31 PM EST

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
Oh, come on. (2.00 / 2) (#76)
by gzt on Mon Oct 04, 2004 at 10:31:37 PM EST

You already know my position on this: the site must die.

[ Parent ]
In a retarded world, the dumb man is a genius (2.56 / 16) (#82)
by felixrayman on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 12:52:05 AM EST

Fuck spending time or effort to make k5 safe for work. That's gay as fuck. Let's fight like cornered weasels in order to make work safe for k5.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

look at meatball (3.00 / 3) (#84)
by ultimai on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 01:26:59 AM EST

its an entire wiki/community based on online communities and they have been talking about this for years.

Even rusty posted a bunch on it, although he hasn't really at all for several years.


Interesting (none / 0) (#126)
by mikepence on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 11:30:20 AM EST

They have lots of stuff about Kuro5hin and Rusty that gave me a good half hour's reading -- meta-wankery heaven.

[ Parent ]
You know something? (2.00 / 13) (#86)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 01:48:41 AM EST

If we'd implemented your proposals some time ago you wouldn't be posting on this website right now. So stick that up your pipe and smoke it.

AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
wow. (2.60 / 10) (#91)
by the ghost of rmg on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 08:46:21 AM EST

not only was this comment addressed in the article under "obvious objections," someone else already said the exact same thing, to which i replied that it was addressed under "obvious objections."

so not only is your comment obvious, it's redundant too. and you're getting modded up for it!

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

Troll are like (3.00 / 2) (#105)
by cam on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 08:39:00 PM EST

parents that remorselessly beat their children senseless and then claim that it is for the child's own good that they are forced to do it.

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

-1, Meta (2.66 / 6) (#89)
by trezor on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 08:21:23 AM EST

Call me cynical, but I don't want to encourage another meta-crap-flood. like the last one that seemed to never end.


Richard Dean Anderson porn? - Now spread the news

the danger of that is slight. (none / 0) (#94)
by the ghost of rmg on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 12:25:14 PM EST

given that things have cooled down substantially, there is probably no risk of this snowballing into some widespread hysteria like you'd see several months ago. this article is simply intended to consider a problem, look at a solution from another site, and explain how it could be successful here.

there doesn't seem to be much interest, even in the comments, in providing lots of different alternatives, unlike a year ago when everyone had a different theory they had to share. people are calm enough about these issues to stick to the topic at hand, which speaks volumes to whether we can reasonably expect a new surge of meta articles following this one.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

So I should listen to an obvious troll? (1.40 / 5) (#103)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 06:26:28 PM EST

I don't think so. Next!

AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
[ Parent ]
Brazil.com and Colombia.com had it right.... (2.50 / 4) (#95)
by tonyenkiducx on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 12:26:08 PM EST

Negative ratings death squads. That would sort them out, just get their name and address when they register. Troll sandwich anyone?

I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called
Groupthink? (2.50 / 2) (#113)
by cdguru on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 10:03:03 PM EST

What exactly are you smoking? DailyKos isn't just a "groupthink" blog. The policies there ensure that one, and only one, message is displayed on their pages. Should one minor wisp of disagreement appear it is instantly modded down to make it invisible. The end result is as you point out - people that disagree are simply banned.

Ignoring what the the discussion is on DailyKos is a good thing. The single-mindedness and positive feedback there leads to some of the most unbelievable conspiracy theories and displays hatred for anything that could one day grow up to be a difference of opinion.

Implementing similar policies here would be a serious mistake. Differences of viewpoints are a good thing.

again, this was addressed. (none / 1) (#115)
by the ghost of rmg on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 11:08:11 PM EST

i completely agree that the dailykos has a lot of nuts and if you try to call one of them out, somehow they turn you into the villain.

but i stress that that is because of the way their policy is implemented. they use their moderation to eliminate a certain kind of comment. we could tool our moderation system to eliminate a different kind of comment. in other words, while they use their system to eliminate dissent, we could use ours to eliminate crapflooding.

i'm pretty hush hush about it, but i happen to have an account with trusted user status at the dailykos through some trickery. i am an avid reader of their hidden comments. to their credit, they do not eliminate people who aren't clearly in violation of their stated policy, perverse as we might find it, against being disruptive and intentionally trolling (which is what i do at the dailykos) or attacking their candidates or liberal ideology or whatever else. i rarely, if ever, see them nail someone for a reason outside of their stated standards in moderation.

-- and again, i stress that i don't think those same standards should be adopted here. i am talking about adopting a technique. i am not suggesting adopting their ideology or specific attitude toward what constitutes trolling (which, to them, includes any conservative and most nader supporters). i think we have (or can have) our own ideas about what should and should not be tolerated, and as i say in the article, i think that should be strictly limited to comments that are without discursive value or are solely, primarily insulting or obnoxious, or deliberately offtopic and/or irrelevant. i take "discursive value" to mean representing an opinion or set of facts or beliefs or whatever related to the discussion at hand in an intelligent or simply valid manner -- or simply being clever or entertaining and related to the topic. that's not too high a standard.

if you're worried about abuse, i explicitly mentioned (repeatedly) the need for there to be a clear policy on what moderation is and is not for and what will and will not be accepted and for that policy to be enforced, thereby keeping moderators from carrying out ideological vendettas or banding together to eliminate certain ideologies or perspectives or whatever.

the intended result is a forum that is not full of obnoxious crap, which will attract more people and therefore more perspectives. right now, the number of posters is way down from where it was two years ago and the number of different perspectives has gone down accordingly. it is my opinion that if you want more diversity of opinion, you have to get more readers and right now, this site is losing readers and has been for two years. it's clear the problem is crapflooding (because that's the first thing you hear about when kuro5hin is mentioned elsewhere -- how it used to be a great site, but crapflooders and trolls have made it suck), but that has not been dealt with effectively.

we know from the example of the dailykos that users will eliminate problem users if given the opportunity. with the right definition of "problem user" -- i.e. crapflooders -- and enforcement that prevents abuse, we can do the same here.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

A distinction that should make the point easier: (none / 0) (#121)
by the humble USian on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:09:22 AM EST

CommunitySolution vs. TechnologySolution. People are conflating the two, when you are only advocating one.

[ Parent ]
Not especially simple (2.75 / 4) (#116)
by up on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 12:10:18 AM EST

And less a plan than a delusion.

Fix the title, please.

-1, username mentions rmg (1.50 / 8) (#117)
by FreeBSD on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 12:13:43 AM EST

and rmg is a known virgin.

What do you mean current trolling is poor? (2.00 / 2) (#118)
by IndianaTroll on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 12:58:54 AM EST

Why, look at this.


Your personal experiences don't mean diddly in a nation of 300 million people. jubal3

Can't agree. (2.40 / 5) (#119)
by jd on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 02:03:00 AM EST

First, I've seen (and been in) plenty of debates about Microsoft and its products, where pro-Microsoft views have been modded to a +4 or +5. I've also seen debates where anti-Microsoft sentiments end up at -1 or -2. CmdrTaco doesn't do the moderating. Individuals do. Neither he (nor anybody else) has time to read through every single post placed on there over a typical 24-hour timeframe.

Let's say he DID, somehow, manage to find the time. In order to "cheat", he'd need to find the record in the MySQL database and then add enough negatives to drive it to a -2. (If it's only a -1, someone can come along later and mod it back up. The only way for a message to be beyond reach is to go to -2 or below.)

But now he would have another problem. With all those negative mods, it's a sure bet that the post will be meta-moderated. The metamods are quite likely to declare the negative moderation to be unfair. Not only that, but by having such posts repeatedly stand out in the metamod queue, the messages would get far more publicity and visibility than if they'd just been left alone to start with.

The only rational conclusion from this is that CmdrTaco is, in fact, innocent. He might use mod points the system fairly awarded him, in a way that fitted his personal perspective, but all Slashdot moderators do that. It's churlish in the extreme to single him out for that. Odds are, though, he doesn't moderate at all. There's more to life than judging other people's opinions and I'm inclined to believe he has a life.

Those who are modded down, when talking about Microsoft, are often the ones justifying or rationalizing illegal or unethical practices, poor standards, questionable legal manoevers, or unjustifiable hate propoganda against competitors.

I would also like to note that people will get modded down on Slashdot when promoting unacceptable behaviour, for ANY company. When IBM was caught sketching pro-Linux graffiti in various cities, those promoting vandalism (even in the name of Linux, or it's largest corporate sponsor) typically got modded down.

I believe it's safe to say that I've been on Slashdot longer than most people. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I've seen the sorts of people drawn to it, before they even HAD a moderation system. In the brief phase they went through, actually calculating a numeric karma, I was probably one of the very few who had a karma score higher than their user ID. I think that should tell you something about how well I know what is acceptable and what isn't.

Now we get onto K5. moderation as a tool of censorship is rarely practiced anywhere. (Even Slashdot doesn't do this, except for those -2s. You can set it to show you all posts, in whatever order you like.)

In fact, that is the crux. Moderation does work when it's used as a sorting mechanism, NOT a filtering mechanism.

I would therefore offer this alternative system: Each user rates (from -5 to +5) their interest in specific areas, ideologies and/or other specific users. This does NOT affect anyone else's view, this is all information that goes into their personal profiles. The category types can even be made up by that user, they don't have to be anything globally recognised.

Each article and each post within it is run through a couple of filters. One filter looks for usernames, the other - a simple Bayesian filter - looks for content. The scores for the article (and posts) are added up. If the score is zero or positive, it's visible (or at the start of any list). If it's negative, it's invisible (or at the end of any list).

At the start, K5 wouldn't be able to tell what fitted into the categories you created. So you train it. Each time you find a post, you moderate it - but not with a score, with a classification. That classification would train the filter to recognise what it was that you liked and disliked.

Because this is all very individual, by far the most effective way of doing this is to have an applet running on the user's machine. The applet does the filtering. This would spare Rusty from having to buy a new Cray in order to stop K5 killing the CPU.

At the start of each session, the current filters and preferences would be uploaded into the applet. The applet would then crunch on the data and spit back what entries the user rejected back to the server. When generating the web pages for the articles, the server would then just do a set subtraction from all that would be displayed, to produce what would now be displayed.

This system would be highly individual, allow people to avoid content type they didn't like (regardless of reason) and steer them towards content they did like, without censoring anyone and with comparitively little programming effort.

It's also a system people are familiar with. Many anti-spamming packages, these days, use Bayesian filters that the user trains into spotting content they don't like. It's a method that works, that avoids the objections people have raised over how to make a system workable, and (because it's individual) it is entirely voluntary as to whether you use it or not.

However, as others have noted, K5 has barely changed at all for many years - except to ban new users, or render subscriptions useless. Things that don't really impact much. (Excpet it was slightly saner with no newbies.) However reasonable or however powerful any proposed suggestion is, DON'T expect to see it here first. In fact, don't expect to see it here at all.

If you want to try a new way of managing weblogs, that's great, but it'll need to be on your own system.

LOL! (none / 1) (#120)
by Empedocles on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 03:46:27 AM EST

He might use mod points the system fairly awarded him, in a way that fitted his personal perspective, but all Slashdot moderators do that.

I think you missed the episode where everyone discovered that the editors have unlimited modpoints.

And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]

it's well known and documented (none / 0) (#122)
by the ghost of rmg on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:15:12 AM EST

that slashdot editors have infinite modpoints and use them to suppress republicans and microsoft fans.

and that's as far as i read.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

Sucky troll <nt> (none / 1) (#125)
by wurp on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 10:22:19 AM EST

Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
dont be naive (none / 1) (#129)
by forgotten on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:45:45 PM EST

what you have to realise is that slashdot is now part of a linux-promotion business.

when the site first started (1998?) it naturally attracted some anti-ms clientele. but it wasnt an exclusively pro-linux site either. it was a discussion site and there was a wide range of interesting ideas and concepts discussed. you actually had smart people posting. then like everyone else - and good for them - they wanted to make some money out of their successful site. its very hard to make money out of a single website so they hooked their star up to the linux.com bandwagon.

nowadays, slashdot is not a discussion site. its function within the group is just to promote linux. by necessity freeform discussion has to be frowned upon. so they make it kind of like fark: post news item, follow up with a few comments. but never analysis, never anything more than skin deep. because they need to push a well-defined viewpoint to support their open-source business. ironically, this is how they predicted msnbc would turn out.

moderation is just one tool they have to keep viewpoints in line. far more effective is the choice of stories. "Your Rights Online" my ass, they censor whatever does not fit in with their business ideology.

dont like it? want to change things? tough. the site now has a HUGE moment of inertia. sad really, for those of us who enjoyed slashdot when it began.


[ Parent ]

Are you joking? (2.66 / 3) (#127)
by Fon2d2 on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 02:28:37 PM EST

I've never been to the Daily Kos before so I headed over there today to give it the once over. I read the follow-up on the Cheney-Edwards debate and perused through about a few dozen comments.

There is not a strong signal to noise ratio there. And it wasn't less puerile either. Basically what I saw was a lot of groupthink. It had a very Slashdotish feel to it in the tolerance and support for the inanity of the comments as long as they supported the group's view. Not much real content. Not much opposing view. Not really any real discussion. It reminds me of when I joined the Campus Green party.

If you want tolerance of other people's viewpoints, you have to accept the trolls along with that. And trolls aren't necessarily bad in their own respect. They can have points, pass on useful information, and change opinions all while in the process of trolling. It's all in the context of human nature. Imagine a person who can't take hints or understand sarcasm or has some other social deficiancy. You wouldn't go try changing the rest of the world for his benefit. It's just the way normal human nature is. And if you want to have normal uninhibited discussions that don't tend toward groupthink, you have to accept that the discussions will have those elements to them.

do you honestly (none / 1) (#128)
by the ghost of rmg on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 03:46:53 PM EST

think i would advocate banning trolls? use your brain.

i am talking about crapflooding, not trolling. there is a world of difference.

now on the dailykos, you're simply wrong. their concept of signal is what you see. i'm sorry you can't step outside yourself for a minute and think about what other people might think of as signal, but at least try to engage the ideas on the table here. moreover, the dailykos is chock full of information relevant to political activists. further still, the site is precisely what kos wants it to be because he has removed all obstacles to it being so and set up obstacles to it being otherwise via moderation.

it would be impossible to do to the dailykos what was done to kuro5hin a year ago.

the argument here is that rusty could do the same to create here the community he says he wants (or said he wanted back when he started the site) by following a procedure similar to kos's, but by upholding a different set of values and enforcing a different set of guidelines with respect to moderation.

this a devastatingly simple idea.

rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

I'm sorry, (none / 1) (#134)
by Fon2d2 on Fri Oct 08, 2004 at 03:10:05 PM EST

I seem to be a bit daft here. I guess I'm not fully following your argument. Are you saying your proposal will help to get rid of the crapflooders but not the trolls? I guess I never seriously distinguished the two before. That kind of proposal I can support but Kuro5hin doesn't seem like it gets enough traffic to make doing the footwork oneself prohibitively time-consuming. But then if you're also arguing the proposal would help garner more traffic, then that's significant.

As far as the Daily Kos is concerned, I'm sorry, but I can just never accept that as a strong signal to noise ratio. They're wearing the bias on their sleave over there, and without any dissenting voices, you'll never know how much fact is getting through, and how much rumor. That's one of the reasons I hate the organization Moveon.org so much; They seem to willingly distort the facts. I'm sure the Daily Kos has lots of good information not covered in other news outlets but it'd have to be taken with a grain of salt. Personally, I consider the discussion and the dissenting view points to be part of the signal. Without that, part of the signal is missing. As long as the signal's their, you can sort it out from the noise. But there's not much you can do if part of the signal's missing in the first place. That's what I like about K5. It's a generally liberal leaning website, but if somebody is putting up wrong or poorly supported information, somebody speaks out, usually quite visibly.

[ Parent ]

One problem is a single moderation scale (3.00 / 7) (#132)
by jolly st nick on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 02:47:15 PM EST

People squeeze two things into the moderation scale: how much they agree with the post and how good they think the post is.

It would be interesting to separate these concepts and require moderation be done on two scales simultaneously -- the degree to which I agree with this post, and the degree to which I think this post has high quality.

You could then do some interesting analyses on posts as well as moderators, for example finding posts that were unusually well rated by people who disagree with their content, or knowing the degree to which a particular moderator is willing to rate posts he disagrees with highly.

Daily Kos? Liberal? Ha! (1.83 / 6) (#133)
by kurtmweber on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 04:55:09 PM EST

ESR's blog is liberal. The Cato Institute is liberal. Capitalism Magazine is liberal. Daily Kos is just socialist, and very much so.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
I am a Newbee. But (none / 1) (#135)
by computao on Thu Oct 14, 2004 at 12:55:09 PM EST

Yes, I am newcomer, I find this community by search the net. A Good Blog Site should be cared by all paticipants. I do think everyone's effort is of same importance. So, we need speak our mind by our true heart. Computao's Homepage
A Simple Plan | 135 comments (87 topical, 48 editorial, 0 hidden)
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