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We are sheep

By IndianaTroll in Meta
Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 01:48:20 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

Kuro5hin.org has existed for some number of years.  Frankly, I don't know how many.  As a user who has not been here for all of those years, I am not always privvy to the changes in demographic, style, content and functionality that this site has endured.  Many comments make me nostalgic for the olden days of high signal to noise ratios, troll-free stories and a non-obscene diary section.  There are many like me.  Users with an account-id higher than 34,000.  Users who didn't see the Rustina diary.  Users who don't understand the recent furor.  Can you help us?

There are many many sheep on this site.  We follow the general level of accepted discourse, read our select diaries and follow the lead of what seems to be the general level of politeness.  We are aware of the current site as it exists, and we know which diaries to read and what we can expect in those diaries.  We read the riddles, we read the explanations of future chinese wives and we filter the James A C Joyce into the portions of our brain that are amused by that sort of content.  We come back every day because we love the site as it exists right now.

There is, however, change afoot.  The site is changing ostensibly because a new (old?) dynamic is desired.  A new style of discourse which is supposed to be a return to the old style.  A step away from the site with which we fell in love and towards a new (old?) future (past?)

This is exciting.  Those of us now in this circle are a part of a changing community, but the impending technological changes alone will not change this site.  We will follow the commonly accepted rules of social engagement here.  And those are the rules that must change if the site is to progress (return?) to whatever state the new system intends.

For those new (old?) rules of social engagement to take hold, it will help us to know what template to follow.  What, exactly, was it that you fell in love with, you old-timers who clamor for a nostalgic future?  The discourse?  The usernames which were also plays on grammar?  The size of the community?  The shared intrests?

I see by the comments in the latest site-update that there are users who haven't returned since the "great blackout of 2000."  I can find the factual history of this event by looking through the archives or by browsing over to K4, but then I'll only know the factual history.  What is the real history of the event?  What future (past?) should we anticipate; we thousands upon thousands of users for whom this is to be a novel change?  By better understanding what it is that we want out of our community, perhaps we can better undertake our quest for it.

What is it about this site which makes it so endearing to you?

Please post your favourite thread from the history of this site--the thread which stuck you here.  Was it your first comment?  Your first flamefest, perhaps?  Perhaps it was the first truly helpful suggestion in the edit queue.  I'm familiar enough with site history to know that the edit queue wasn't always a feature...so perhaps it was in voting.  Was it your first interaction with Mr. Foster?  Was it your first interaction with a known site user in another forum?

The site registration is currently closed, and with the new system upon us we're sure to be insulated for some time.  This seems the most appropriate time to ask this question as we're sure to hear from only those who actually have the ability to offer.

Call back the old guard from their hiding places.  Re-activate the old accounts.  There's a large choir here...please preach to us.  Will you to show us the way to our future home?


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We are sheep | 124 comments (93 topical, 31 editorial, 0 hidden)
lol (1.03 / 31) (#3)
by Hide The Hamster on Thu Mar 25, 2004 at 06:10:21 PM EST

Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

Check out, eg, /user/medham (2.20 / 5) (#5)
by jongleur on Thu Mar 25, 2004 at 09:58:58 PM EST

not that he was the greatest but, just one of many, who I happen to remember.

Here's a sort of historical and best-of collection, as well.

"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil

God, he was annoying. -nt- (none / 2) (#77)
by mold on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 02:16:50 AM EST

Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
I value K5 because it makes me a better writer (2.81 / 32) (#6)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Mar 25, 2004 at 11:18:32 PM EST

(Or, "Longest comment ever".)

My first attempt at a K5 article submission was more or less an attempt to get people to come read an article on my own website. It wasn't too well received by the moderators, but might possibly have made section because I guess some people did go read my website's article and thought it worthwhile.

But I didn't want my first article here to be received so poorly so I canceled it and wrote a whole new article which was meant to be a summary of the one on my website, but which I think stood very well on its own: Musings on Good C++ Style.

(Note that I changed my username from GoingWare to MichaelCrawford - the old account is still around but I don't use it anymore. I did that at slashdot and advogato too.)

I worked so hard on Musings on Good C++ Style that I injured my hand by staying up all night in a marathon writing session. I felt very good about what I accomplished, and in the end felt glad to have canceled my first mediocre submission.

I've since got a number of articles posted here. Most of them made front page.

One thing that was readily apparent to me was that working hard to do a good job on an article made a lot of difference in the likelihood the article would make front page. I was disappointed that If Indie Musicians Wanted Their Music Heard... only made section, but then I just kind of tossed it together and submitted it in one evening.

Despite the fact that moderators are often blunt and sometimes downright rude, I found what they had to say quite helpful most of them time.

I felt that what I had to say in Living with Schizoaffective Disorder was so important, not just to me but to others who might read it, that I was very determined that I would make it the best thing I have ever written.

To ensure that, I posted the rough draft on my personal site, and emailed a number of friends to ask them to critique it. Eventually I posted the link in my diary and asked K5 readers to critique it. (My older diaries seem not to be found by k5's search. I hope they're still there somewhere.)

There was some possibility it might not be accepted by the moderators as it was so long, I think much longer than any article ever published here.

When I finally submitted it, I was appalled to find that Scoop has a hard limit of 64k of text for article submissions - my initial submission was truncated. Rusty's advice was to submit it in three installments, which I finally did, despite my reluctance to have any portion of what I wrote taken out of context by someone who might only read one installment.

My hard work paid off - each installment flew to the front page in just a few hours of voting. Not everyone approved, but here's what one moderator had to say:

How can people vote against this article?

You wouldn't know a good article if he wrote it on a brick then threw it in your face.

After its run at Kuro5hin, I fixed up the copy of Living with Schizoaffective Disorder that's on my website so it has nicer presention (and split it into over a dozen HTML pages) and have been very gratified that after a few weeks it moved into the top ten at Google for the query schizoaffective disorder.

The copy on my site gets about a thousand readers a month now, slowly but steadily growing. Very commonly I get email from people who were just diagnosed, or from their loved ones, and who turned to the search engines to understand their condition, only to find my article very first thing. Here's a letter typical of the many I have received as a result:

Mike, my son, 16, has been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder. We are devasted for him, but relieved to have an answer for his misery, and a way out via medication and treatment. You online article is truly, truly a wonder and gives us some insight to our son'd condition. We will point him to your notes, and use it as a discussion guide. Fabulous!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

(Obviously I can't say who wrote that.)

It is very gratifying to me that I am able to touch the lives of so many people in such a profound way. I am very grateful to the kuro5hin community for having helped me achieve that. I think in the end I achieved my goal, that it would be the best thing I'd ever written.

If only there had been such an article around for me when I first got sick. One reason I wanted to write it, and why I felt it so important to do a good job, is that when I got sick in the mid-80's, no one around me had any understanding of mental illness, or what to do about it. I found it very difficult to find out anything of substance about schizoaffective disorder. It took a long time for me to put the pieces back together.

Writing that indie music article got me more interested in the music downloading controversy, and I began to wonder why there was little mention in any of the debate, of a third option - a way to get free music without infringing copyright, the option being to download the music many musicians provide for free as a way to promote themselves. I compose for and play the piano, and offer such music myself.

The recording industry, and the movie industry too, has been spreading a lot of disinformation for years now. It seems to have been forgotten by most - and the RIAA is not reminding anyone - that copyright is a relatively recent invention, and in fact, in the US, copyright is NOT a Constitutional right. Copyright could be eliminated, in the US at least, if one could get enough votes in Congress to pass a law to repeal it.

You might think that pretty unlikely, but consider - as I was very vividly aware - that there are more Americans sharing files via the peer-to-peer networks than voters who voted for George Bush in the 2000 Presidential elections.

Right around this time a friend of mine back in Maine, who I was discussing music downloading with, told me that she paid a small fee for a subscription to a program that offerred unlimited music downloads. It was her understanding that her subscription fee went to compensate the musicians whose music she was downloading. Imagine my surprise when she told me the program she was subscribing to was Kazaa.

So the problem I saw here was that, although the p2p network users had sufficient numbers to shake up the elections, I saw good reason to believe that most of them were not very sophisticated politically.

My aim in writing Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads was, I am happy to admit, shameless propaganda: by offerring the reader lots of ways to get music for free, yet without risking legal trouble, I aimed to educate them about copyright law, and incite them to take political action.

Again I had the objective that my legal downloading article would be the best thing I had ever written. And again I depended on kuro5hin to help me achieve that. And again one way I made that happen was to post the rough draft on my website, and ask for help in my diary - several times, as I made more revisions.

(Most people do this by putting their full article text in their diaries. I prefer to put the draft on my own website, and link to it from my diary, because one cannot alter diary entries after they have been submitted. I don't like to have half-baked drafts lying around for posterity.)

I worked really hard on this article, and spent a lot of time researching links on the search engines, and getting comments, and again my hard work paid off, as the article made front page. 110 voted for the article (85 front page), while only 15 voted against it.

I'm not trying to brag here, about how great my articles are, so much as trying to point out how kuro5hin has inspired me to work hard at my writing, in a way I really hadn't ever done before, and helped me in that many k5 members helped me to do a better job on my articles than I think I ever could have done on my own.

As it's my objective that this article should bring about political upheaval, I've been tracking its progress carefully and promoting it shamelessly.

The copy on my website quickly became the #1 hit at Google for the query legal music downloads (with k5's copy being #2). It ranks highly for hundreds of other queries. Right now - in part as a result of my googlebombing effort - it is the #4 hit at google for free music downloads.

I have been astounded at the response to this article. Lately it has been served to over 2000 unique IP address each day. About 800 of those are search engine referrals for the query "free music downloads", and about 200 for "music downloads".

I was very well aware that much of what I had to say would be old news to k5 readers, such as my discussion of Richard Stallman and the GPL. But my real intended audience was the p2p network users, and I was fairly certain my article would be the first introduction most of them would have to the concept of Free Software, and how copyleft might apply to music.

I get a fair amount of email from readers who were completely unaware they were infringing anyone's copyright. There's no way to know how many of those who hit my page read the whole article, but here's an email I received recently:


I like to think I'm contributing to a general raising of consciousness.

It remains to be seen whether my article ever will have any political effect, but the upward trend in the article's traffic and search engine placement is encouraging.

It's been too long since I've published an article at k5. I've been all tied up with selling my old house and moving to a new country (I used to live in Maine, USA, now I live in Nova Scotia, Canada - not a long distance in miles, but quite a profound change in culture.) I did submit an article a little while ago, but it was one I didn't put much effort into, and so it was not approved.

I have a couple ideas fulminating in my mind. I can't say when, exactly, but I expect I will submit an article sooner rather than later.

I will work hard to do a good job.

One way to bring back the k5 of old, is to encourage people who take their writing seriously to publish here, and to help such writers to do the best job they can, just as k5 has helped me.

One other thing K5 has been doing for me... for some time now I've been feeling like I've gotten too old to be programming computers anymore, and sometimes I think of changing careers. Look through my diaries to see my thoughts on this - I haven't been happy, although I would say it's getting better lately. There are different things I think about doing - going back to school, going back into physics - but what I think most of all that I might like to do if I weren't programming any more, is that I would like to write professionally.

If that were ever to happen - despite reams of articles I've published on the web, I've never been paid to write - Kuro5hin would have played a significant role in making me a professional writer.

Thank you for your attention.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

damn that's long (1.50 / 6) (#8)
by xutopia on Thu Mar 25, 2004 at 11:59:31 PM EST

writing for the web means being capable of keeping it short and simple (KISS).

[ Parent ]
Writing for the *WEB*? (1.92 / 13) (#11)
by RadiantMatrix on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 12:58:34 AM EST

writing for the web means being capable of keeping it short and simple (KISS).

Writing for idiots means keeping it short and simple.  Just because the vast majority of content on the web is either created for or by idiots doesn't mean that should be everyone's goal.

I don't like spam - Parent ]

Idiots pay the bills (none / 2) (#15)
by Perianwyr on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 03:27:56 AM EST

So, he's right in that regard. However, there is no one paying bills here, so it is okay that Mr. Crawford writes whatever he likes.

[ Parent ]
What you've implied is just so untrue. (2.14 / 7) (#18)
by Paulsweblog on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 06:45:57 AM EST

Keeping it short and simple, which is an amazingly universal concept, can often be more challenging than long-winded writing (bloviation). It's obvious that the original writer of this dinosaur is obviously insufficiently skilled to employ the KISS concept.

By your logic, not only would crapflooding be distanced from content created by/for idiots, the latter defined as brevity in writing, but someone could simply ramble aimlessly for hundreds of sentences in order to fit your implied criterion for non-idiotic content. Besides, if you want to fill your page requirement in class, double space it. Also, if you want to help people out, tell them to double space their K5 posts. Then they'll really be geniuses 'cuz it's longer, eh? eh?


Blood for blood and death for death.
[ Parent ]

It isn't a question of intellgence (none / 3) (#22)
by xutopia on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 08:57:08 AM EST

Just because we don't agree doesn't mean that you have to insult the majority of web editors and readers. ;-P

I'm far from being the common denominator when it comes to reading. Despite such a fact, I enjoy reading something concise more than a tomes of fluff amounting to very little.

The KISS principle isn't something you can just dismiss by saying that only idiots require that you write succinctly. A writer's goal isn't easy because they need to make their text pleasurable to reach their audience. Brevity helps them reach that goal.

That being said writing for the web means that your screen isn't as high a resolution as what a piece of printed paper is. Your eyes get tired faster and this is one of the reasons the KISS principle is fundamental.

[ Parent ]

2 reasons for length, 2 for brevity (none / 0) (#114)
by mcgrew on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 03:45:18 PM EST

The two reasons for a long article are:
1. Lots of real information. You really can't describe the aerodynamics of a hummingbird's asshole, or the mating habits of Belgian sheep, let alone the neuclear interactions of a subatomic particle in a few paragraphs and have it in any way be meaningful.

2. Poor writing. I just don't see that in Crawford's writing.

Two reasons for a short article are:
1. Little to say
2. Even less to say.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Hide comment, eh? (none / 0) (#118)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Apr 05, 2004 at 04:56:50 AM EST

Just because we don't agree doesn't mean that you have to insult the majority of web editors and readers. ;-P

I'm glad you took the time to reply.  I noticed that you and several others used the wonderful new "0" rating.  I don't care that you disagree with me -- or even if you missed the point I was trying to make (that short does not necessarily mean good) and decided to give me a "1".  But rating my comment as spam is just plain immature.

Debate, rate, but the "0" is supposed to be for articles that are abuses of K5.  I'd really like to see your case for it in this instance, as my post was on-topic.

I don't like spam - Parent ]

Attention Can't Be Presumed In Any Medium (2.75 / 4) (#60)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 11:02:18 AM EST

Any writer/poster who takes it for granted that you're going to read to the end of the next paragraph is fucked up, regardless of the medium.

Only parrots believes in Rules hard-linking specific media to word counts. Fucking parrots.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski. Personally, I pref
[ Parent ]
No, you mean... (none / 0) (#113)
by mcgrew on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 03:40:23 PM EST

...writing for morons. Michael's "Schitzo" story spanned three full artices because the site couldn't handle it in one chunk, and it was very well received.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

There can only be one Antonin Scalia. (1.50 / 8) (#17)
by Paulsweblog on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 06:37:17 AM EST

Not to discourage you, but part of being a good writer is knowing your audience and, particularly, the patience of your audience. Very few people have read your comment and very few will; there is not enough draw or reason to read it when it's such a behemoth, yet merely a navel-gazing comment. Of course, I only presume that it is navel-gazing, but it is on account of the parent article and a safe bet. If you save this comment, though, then it may be appropriate for use somewhere where you can provide a hook.

Knowing general brevity is also part of being a good writer, not just the willingness of the audience to drone through. Much can be said with few words. Be more succinct. You may have milked Kuro5hin for all its worth if it is not teaching you something so essential.

Blood for blood and death for death.
[ Parent ]

I read it. (1.80 / 5) (#24)
by mr strange on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 09:25:38 AM EST

And I rated it 3. Your comment got 1.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]
that crap is supposed to be a 0 (none / 1) (#108)
by Wah on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 10:24:47 PM EST

no analysis necessary.

Feel the smarm.
sometimes things just are that way and that's it. They're true. Sure, Popper, et. al., may argue otherwise, but they're dead. You get it? Yet?
[ Parent ]

Brevity is my biggest problem (none / 2) (#56)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 09:49:37 PM EST

A few months ago I posted a sixteen-page discussion on political activism to an open source development mailing list, and then the next day apologized, and within a few days went down to the emergency room to ask to speak to a psychiatrist, who adjusted my medication. (From 3 mg of risperdal per day, to 5 mg.)

It really helped!

I've tried and tried, but I find it very difficult to write with brevity. The best I have been able to do is to not waste words (which I won't say I accomplished with the grandparent post) - when I wrote Living with Schizoaffective Disorder, and again when I wrote my music downloading article, I worked hard to take out anything redundant.

I will keep your comment in mind when I write my upcoming article, which I will discuss in my diary tonight.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

not trying to be a dink (none / 3) (#94)
by clover_kicker on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 10:28:47 PM EST

I share your problem, but it can be overcome.
I've tried and tried, but I find it very difficult to write with brevity. The best I have been able to do is to not waste words (which I won't say I accomplished with the grandparent post) - when I wrote Living with Schizoaffective Disorder, and again when I wrote my music downloading article, I worked hard to take out anything redundant.

I am the very model of a K5 personality.
I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality.

[ Parent ]
heh. (none / 3) (#97)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 12:48:36 AM EST


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

One problem is... (none / 0) (#115)
by mcgrew on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 03:47:59 PM EST

no real editors.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

yes you wrote a long post (none / 1) (#33)
by phred on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 01:37:14 PM EST

and as long as you knew that even when writing it, ignore the naysayers. You've got a knack for what you do. I know I've bookmarked your writing on a few occasions.

[ Parent ]
re: missing diaries (none / 1) (#47)
by llimllib on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 05:26:03 PM EST

to find old stuff (diaries, comments, stories, ads), make sure you check the "search archive" box on the search page. You'll probably find your diaries there.

[ Parent ]
Here's my plan for my new article (none / 1) (#58)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 11:34:50 PM EST

In my diary.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

And here's a link to the article in progress (none / 1) (#110)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Mar 31, 2004 at 12:30:55 AM EST

Just started it tonight, I've got a long way to go. But what do you think of it so far?


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

i like this site (2.89 / 28) (#9)
by circletimessquare on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 12:11:13 AM EST

because it's like sitting around a bar, arguing passionately with people about random crap

a good way to waste time at work, a good way to pass the hours of life where you would otherwise be stuck in boredom in your own skull were there no window into other people's minds that the internet and sites like kuro5hin affords

ignore the trolls: those are just the souls in the bar in a more advanced state of inebriation than you

there is always a signal-to-noise ratio in life, 2000000 trolls, 2 trolls: it's all the same to me, just more sycophants to ignore

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

IAWTP [NT] (2.20 / 5) (#13)
by James A C Joyce on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 02:11:42 AM EST

I bought this account on eBay
[ Parent ]

I love you, man. . . (or woman, or whatever. . .) (2.40 / 5) (#29)
by Pop Top on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 12:18:28 PM EST

You speak for many of us here.

[ Parent ]
Well said [nt] (none / 1) (#109)
by nebbish on Tue Mar 30, 2004 at 05:03:41 AM EST

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

The "old K5" is a myth (2.52 / 25) (#10)
by Michael Moore on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 12:38:37 AM EST

Much like all nostalgic reminiscing for times past, it's clouded by the person's desire for their own youth and the fantasy of its splendor. As someone who has been around for much longer than my current UID would have you believe (to the 4-digit days), I can say objectively that K5 is better now than it was then. The myth of the modern crapflooder is just that. It's the scapegoat on which people can blame K5's own deficiencies. This demonization is what's really killing K5, the ridiculous notion that K5 is being strangled by a threat which cannot be destroyed--because it does not exist.

Look at HuSi today. It is troll-free. Everyone plays nice. There's "discussion". But it's boring. It's undiverse, and it's self-obsessed. What's destroying K5 is the non-troll, by the way they refuse to take responsibility for it. How can you fix a website when you won't even acknowledge the real problem? What happens when NIWS is banned (oh wait he already is) and K5 is still a piece of shit? Whose fault is it then?

"My life was more improved by a single use of [ecstasy] than someone's life is made worse by becoming a heroin addict." -- aphrael

Wha? (none / 1) (#19)
by whazat on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 07:27:13 AM EST

"But it's boring. It's undiverse, and it's self-obsessed."

Unlike K5?

[ Parent ]

Dude have you actually gone there? (2.90 / 10) (#20)
by Michael Moore on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 08:25:14 AM EST

It's no comparison. Seriously if you thought trolling was bad try reading about the boring lives of nerds all day. Here's an example of what 99% of HuSi's content is:

"So I went to the mall today and I saw that Finding Nemo was out already on DVD. I thought it wasn't out until the 28th? I'm a bit confused but oh well. I was going to purchase it for my newphew, by the way. Oh, and I ate crumpets for breakfast today. I usually have them with honey but today I tried jam. Variety is the spice of life, after all!"

What is the point of that meaningless anecdote? I don't know, but if you want to see a hundred thousand more, just visit HuSi.

"My life was more improved by a single use of [ecstasy] than someone's life is made worse by becoming a heroin addict." -- aphrael
[ Parent ]

Yeah I go there (3.00 / 5) (#21)
by whazat on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 08:41:29 AM EST

I don't read half the diaries of people. But Mr Queue is interesting, as is Rogerborg and a handful of others. Also the banter about them is generally more amusing than the diaries themselves. Although being UKian probably helps in that regard.

Personally I find, "George Bush needs to be impeached", "Stupid faggit, r0r" or "How to fix the voting system" about as boring as meaningless anecdotes. I am not saying that Husi is very interesting, just that K5 is pretty boring in itself as far as I am concerned.

[ Parent ]

You're dead wrong (2.85 / 7) (#23)
by CodeWright on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 09:21:58 AM EST

Why, I remember that back in the old days, I was sixty feet tall, ate trolls for breakfast, and shot lightning out of my ass.

A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
I second that (no useful text) (none / 1) (#49)
by Elendale on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 05:39:41 PM EST

Except i was only fourty feet tall...

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
But you did have two heads! [nt] (none / 1) (#51)
by CodeWright on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 06:33:59 PM EST

A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
Actually, it's three (2.75 / 4) (#57)
by Elendale on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 10:15:33 PM EST

But only one of the three can be discussed in polite company...

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
hmpf... (none / 0) (#44)
by Sairon on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 04:51:00 PM EST

I'm curious as to how you find UID's on K5.


[ Parent ]

oopss... (none / 1) (#46)
by Sairon on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 04:56:47 PM EST

I found mine. nevermind.

[ Parent ]
"'old K5' is a myth" is a myth (none / 0) (#123)
by codemonkey_uk on Sun Apr 11, 2004 at 07:02:37 PM EST

Nice try old man, but anyone who takes the time to browse the archives can see that the quality of every element of this site has declined. Yes, it is subjective, and thus arguable till the end of time, but I would suggest that most intelligent (yes, I know, a subjective qualification) people can see a difference between "then" and "now".

Perhaps I am wrong, but if I am, can you tell me why people who did post articles, comments, and/or diaries regularly no do not?
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

the kuro5hin dream... fading? (2.66 / 6) (#12)
by myrspace on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 02:11:29 AM EST

I would say something overwhelmingly inspiring and encouraging, but I lack the talent. So instead I will just say that this was a good writeup but there's no point inciting nostalgia among the members on this site because times change and the sooner everyone understands and adapts, the easier this transition
phase becomes.

Ko4ting (2.83 / 6) (#32)
by driph on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 01:34:56 PM EST

General K5 info, including best-ofs, etc can be found here.

In particular, the K5 History might be of interest to ya.

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave

Two things. (2.92 / 13) (#35)
by ilyag on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 01:47:51 PM EST

I've just migrated here from Slashdot, so my arguments will be mostly by comparsion:

  • I like the certain lack of responsibility to make everybody happy with the comment. On slashdot, it hurts the karma to post something the majority disagrees with. As a result, one starts to feel a discouragement to post, and I, at least, post much less.
  • After reading kuro5hin, I realized how much of slashdot's discussion is "violently agreeing with each other" [stolen from some other comment].
  • So much less trolls...


  • Slashdot's run by more than one person. Multiple kudos to rusty, of course, but it is no good that one annoyed person can immediately change the whole structure of a website.
  • Slashdot does not delete comments. I realize that this is hard, legally and emotionaly (especially for a single person), but I like free speech.

common USian misconception (1.90 / 11) (#45)
by TurboThy on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 04:53:09 PM EST

Your right to free speech does not extend to other people's media. No one is allowed to hinder your right to express yourself, but they are likewise not obligated to give you an outlet for your free speech.
'Someone will sig this comment. They will. I know it.' [Egil Skallagrimson]
[ Parent ]
No one said anything about a "right" (2.87 / 8) (#53)
by damiam on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 08:04:12 PM EST

He obviously realizes that he isn't constitutionally guarenteed free speech on K5. That doesn't mean that he can't personally oppose the deleting of comments anyway.

[ Parent ]
puzzled... (none / 1) (#92)
by TurboThy on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 06:03:08 PM EST

How can I be rated by the "Baldrson neutralizer" when Baldrson hasn't rated my post?
'Someone will sig this comment. They will. I know it.' [Egil Skallagrimson]
[ Parent ]
meta-puzzled ... (none / 2) (#95)
by glor on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 10:37:25 PM EST

Why would you find this particular perversion of the natural order surprising?

Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

I am a sheep [n/t] (none / 1) (#101)
by TurboThy on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 06:00:08 AM EST

'Someone will sig this comment. They will. I know it.' [Egil Skallagrimson]
[ Parent ]
Long time Slashdot & Kuro5hin Reader's View (2.77 / 9) (#52)
by Valdrax on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 06:34:19 PM EST

You don't have to make everyone happy with your comments on /.  You can regularly get modded up for an opinion that cuts hard against the grain of majority opinion there if a vocal enough minority like you well enough to mod you up.  I've only once in recent memory had a post have more negative moderation that positive moderation (unless there was only a single point of moderation done to it -- which is very rare for me), and that was because I was horribly Offtopic and spiteful.  Don't fear Karma -- it means nothing in the end, and you generally have to work very hard to drop your score.

I would agree that there are more trolls on /., but the ones of K5 are much, much harder to get rid off thanks to them occasionally giving each other a nice "3" pat on the back.  Plus, even if every single one of your posts is modded down below 1, every new posts starts off requiring the same amount of effort (at least 4 mods) to hide.  On the other hand, K5 has more genuine classic "hit me!" trolls than low-rate, copy-and-paste crapflooders compared to /.

Rusty may be just one guy, but at least he isn't a biased and shoddy editor like many of the jokers that run /.  Articles that get posted are at least generally considered to be interesting on K5 by a plurality of readers.  Articles on /. are very commonly jeered at for gross inaccuracies, outright flame-baiting, horrible typos, and dupes which show that the editorial staff just doesn't care.  If Rusty doesn't care anymore about quality on his site like CmdrTaco, Michael, and Timothy seem not to, it doesn't show.

Finally, /. does delete comments, or at least used to.  Comments which reached -1 used to be deleted from an article when it was archived.  I don't know if this is still the case now that we have moderation modifiers in our preferences.

The difference for me between K5 and /. is that discussion is less aggressive here (not necessarily and more or less intelligent), that articles are more eclectic and political, and that I don't get disgusted with petty, autocratic, lazy admin staff here.  Of course, I like arguing, gadgets & science, and keeping up on tech/OSS legal stuff, so /. still has a lot of pull for me too.

[ Parent ]

ratings are the problem (2.42 / 7) (#81)
by teichos on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 11:17:00 AM EST

In my opinion, though, it is rating comments which is a big part of the problem with both Slash and K5. Rating comments does not encourage the knowledgeable 10% of posters, but only encourages the other 90% who are posers. Posting becomes a popularity contest for the mediocre, and then the trolls come in only to poke at that contest.

I think the best system is one in which there are no ratings at all, but when problem users abuse the democracy, they are banned, and their postings can be deleted. The whole fact that so much is being made about various rating systems is an obvious clue to how none of them work.

flames and modbombs are the most pathetic forms of flattery
[ Parent ]
We do care, and we don't delete comments (none / 1) (#112)
by jamiemccarthy on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 01:05:42 AM EST

Typos don't mean we don't care, they just illustrate the poor quality of our nation's public educational system.

Dupes are because we have more than one editor. We post 10,000 stories a year, and there are 100,000 more we don't post. Do you really think that six people can each perfectly keep track of the status of 110,000 stories in their heads?

Slashdot hasn't removed any comments at archive time since, I believe, August of 2000.

And yes we are biased, gloriously so.

That is all.

[ Parent ]

110,000 articles? No ... (none / 2) (#117)
by Jacques Chester on Mon Apr 05, 2004 at 03:00:41 AM EST

I recognise that a lot more goes on "behind the scenes" at Slashdot than we the users see. However the complaint is not that you can't recall 110,000 different articles; more that the staff often overlook duplicates from the same week. That'd be well inside 1000 submissions, I'd guess.

At the very least, there have been various technical aids suggested - such as a "link already posted" device for yourselves as editors, which perhaps about halve the dupes and make your lives easier.

Well now. We seem to be temporarily out of sigs here at the sig factory. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
[ Parent ]
Public education system? (none / 1) (#119)
by sllort on Wed Apr 07, 2004 at 11:52:55 AM EST

How could it be their fault? None of the Slashdot editors could be victim of a poor education, they created the world's most scalable weblog code while hampered by the world's least scalable language... right?

By the way, you should mention that your 100,000 stories correspond to 100,000 SID's, one of which is created by every user created discussion or journal or section story. Try listing the number of frontpage stories instead. Let's take a more reasonable estimate: 25 front page stories x 365 days a year divided by 6 people is 1500 stories a person a year, or four per day per person.

What is it with you guys and misleading statistics?
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

Additionally, you do too delete comments. (none / 1) (#120)
by sllort on Wed Apr 07, 2004 at 11:55:56 AM EST

Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Mr. Osiris (1.75 / 16) (#42)
by IndianaTroll on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 04:02:21 PM EST


In my exchange with Ms. Debbie below, you modded "0" (which many might interpret as a "content-free" rating) to several of our posts.  Not just mine, I reiterate, but to both Ms. Debbie and my own posts.

I can only assume that you felt that those posts were truly content free.

I browsed through your comment history, and note that your time on this site is truly vast.  Your earliest searchable comment here is October of 2000.  I would assume that you have seen much in this place over the close to three and one half years you have viewed this site.

Can you shed light on some differences in the discourse on this site then as opposed to now?  Can you provide us with an interpretation of your moderation?  If this site is to become a better site, your input will be invaluable.

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

You can't put the genie back in the bottle. (2.91 / 12) (#43)
by pb on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 04:14:05 PM EST

I remember, years ago on slashdot, after the site had grown large and changed for the worse, the userbase largely clueless, the management unresponsive... a few of us would talk in hushed tones in the hidden SIDs, like sid=moderation.

We'd talk about what it would take to build a better site, with a better moderation system. And kmself came up with a great idea where everyone would moderate, and the rating on a comment would be the average of all its ratings. This, we thought, would solve everything, or at least solve or obviate some of the bigger problems we saw -- like groupthink, incidentally.

Fast forward to the present; not much has changed, except that now the site in question is kuro5hin. I think it isn't easy to design a discussion site that scales well and allows a lot of people to participate. This is made much harder by letting anyone and everyone get arbitrary numbers of accounts. But the process has not changed.

  1. Identify the problems.
  2. Figure out ways to avoid/fix them.
  3. Start a new site.
  4. Enjoy the speed and good company while it lasts.
  5. Hope it doesn't stagnate like the rest of them.
  6. Be willing to recognize when it does, and fix things, or go back to step 1 if necessary.
Now who's with me? Don't all jump up at once. We can work on steps 1 and 2 now, and when we're ready, and if necessary, move to step 3. This is exactly the sort of thing that The CMF was designed to do promote, I might add.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
The Magic Sauce (none / 3) (#48)
by Valdrax on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 05:32:52 PM EST

This is made much harder by letting anyone and everyone get arbitrary numbers of accounts.

I think in a way you've right there identified the core problem with most online discussion sites.  There's no way to have a discussion site that has open and worthwhile discussion that is:

  1.  Free (as in money)
  2.  Free (as in not ruled by dictators)
  3.  Accountable
The core of this problem is the ability of users to sign up for new accounts as soon as an old one becomes useless due to community moderation.  The only two ways to solve this are (1) requiring a paid-for subscription which can be cancelled by community moderation and/or (2) an admission process which is only available to a select group.  Money discourages enough people that a critical mass for discussion may never be found.  A selective admission process keeps sites limited to immediate friends and discourages a diversity of opinion.

The "Magic Sauce" that would make a perfect discussion site would be some way of making sure there is at most 1 account for any 1 person for life.  This way trolls could be banned by community consensus and STAY banned.  Unfortunately, one of the greatest advantages that the Internet provides is privacy and anonymity.  Any solution to link an account permanently to a single person is directly opposed to this.

In other words:
"Anonymity, Openness, Diversity, Quality -- Pick Three."

[ Parent ]

yeah. (none / 3) (#50)
by pb on Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 05:45:45 PM EST

You would need to require some sort of unique identification that's hard to fake. Then, if you also wanted Anonymity, you'd need to have a trusted third party verify things for you, or something. Then try to extend it across the world, and make it available to as many people as possible... Good luck.

Interestingly enough, some sort of government-run public key escrow service tied to your identity would be great for this, especially if there's no identifying information on the public key itself. Then you could verify a person's unique identity with a challenge/response. But the entity that held the keys would still have to be trusted to keep your identity secret, and to protect you against identity theft.

However, considering that when my government was looking into such a scheme, they wanted to have a "back door" too... well, let me just say that I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon. Until that day, people will just use credit cards, driver's licenses, and a hodge-podge of other methods.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Credit cards (none / 2) (#61)
by flo on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 11:12:17 AM EST

would still be better than nothing. Few people have many credit cards, and the validity of a number can probably be checked (I'm no expert) without actually charging any money. Of course, there are two problems:

1) Do you trust rusty with your credit card number? Perhaps there is a way to run a CC number through a one-way function, so the number can be tested, but not identified. Anybody know more about this?

2) Not everybody has a credit card, especially kids, and people from poorer regions. Yet we do like to hear their opinions. Maybe people without credit cards will require an endorsement or something by somebody who does have one? This is of course wide-open to abuse once more...
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
yeah. (none / 2) (#91)
by pb on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 05:41:04 PM EST

If you don't trusty Rusty with your credit card number (or more importantly also your name and zip code etc., so you can verify it, especially for uniqueness) then you'd need a trusted third party. The only saving grace here is that if Rusty does something to disclose your credit card number/information and/or charge you $$$, you still have legal recourse, and can also dispute the charges. That tends to discourage such things from happening. As for the one-way function, that's all well and good, but you'd still need to verify it first.

As you said, not everybody has a credit card. That's the other reason that makes this less than ideal. Of course you could still accept some other forms of identification too, but that does make the whole thing more complex and more of a hassle.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

I have something shocking to tell you (2.20 / 5) (#62)
by MMcP on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 12:24:46 PM EST

Once a site gets large enough to confuse the hell out of an individual, all hope of so called "democratic" editing/moderation is out the window.  
In my mind the only solution to allow a site to scale up is the best the world has ever come up with and most likely the best there ever will be:  A hierarchy with empowered individuals.  Editors with more power then readers, who can delete comments, diaries, users, etc. etc.  Pay those editors so that not only can they dedicate more time to a thankless task, they can also have that money taken away from them if they abuse their privileges.  Break up editing responsibility into pieces so that editors have the chance to specialise in their specific role and also do not get overwhelmed with the task at hand.  


[ Parent ]

me too. (none / 2) (#63)
by pb on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 12:48:45 PM EST

I prefer it the other way around--to have readers with more power than editors. If I never have to see the comments that I'd want deleted in the first place, then I'll never have to bug the editors about it.

But yeah, we had some potential there, early on, with Trusted Users. Maybe we could have worked on that a bit more.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

But you see (2.75 / 4) (#73)
by MMcP on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 10:54:16 PM EST

That is going to push the entire system towards utter crap.  Emopwered, ignorant users are not what we want to have a discussion.  

Check this out - On any given subject only 10% really knw what they are talking about.  The rest of the 90% only THINK they do.  In every subject on this Earth we want someone with the free time to sit down, learn a shitload about that or those things and then call bullshit on the other 90% who either want attention or just mistakenly think they know what is going on.  Make it so that I don't read 5 pages of why you are wrong and then come to the same decision - make it so that I can choose to read 5 pages about why you are wrong if I want to.  AND make it so that when the editor says you are wrong I can fully believe you are wrong without that nagging feeling that maybe something hasn't been brought up - unless I choose to.  

And so on.  

[ Parent ]

Counterexample (none / 0) (#76)
by ilyag on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 02:09:01 AM EST

There exists Wikipedia. I cannot really say why it works, but it certainly does seem to work...

[ Parent ]
I would say (none / 1) (#83)
by MMcP on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 01:29:34 PM EST

That wikipedia continues to amaze because the discussion goes on completely outside of the content.  K5 and /. make the poor assumption that people in a discussion forum actually have something relevent and interesting to say about the topic at hand.  This is nearly never the case.

 Not only that but the above-average Joe has the power to delete or change whatever he sees on wikipedia.  The catch being that above-average Jane can change all the bullshit that Joe just put up.  And thinking that wikipedia has no conflict isn't exactly true - take this for example:

March 18, 2004
From 23:09-23:19 UTC there was a fast interlingual vandalism attack on the Wikipedias, changing the Main Page of over four dozen languages (I didn't count exactly, but the attack targeted more wikipedias than not) to an offensive (and badly written) text. [...]

I think that wikipedia has similar problems that any community-edited webpage has but all(most?) conflict is resolved in a civil manner - which sometimes results in a person being banned.  Why troll a serious site with no forum for gloating when you can troll K5 for months on end and point the fact out to everyone and their kid brother?  

[ Parent ]

I don't (none / 1) (#79)
by pb on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 03:48:56 AM EST

I'm all for letting people talk when they want to, and not talk when they don't. If I don't want to talk to you, well, that's it, end of discussion. And there's no need to involve anyone else in it. The remaining 10% can feel free to talk amongst themselves, since that's all we wanted anyhow.

If you're choosing Editors from this common pool of everyone else, then 9 times out of 10, they'll be wrong as well. And if you're just choosing them for their knowledge of grammar and love for fascism, then they'll still get it wrong outside their chosen domains. And it also goes right back to 'who watches the watchers'.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

I'm thinking a little different then you (none / 1) (#84)
by MMcP on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 01:39:13 PM EST

When I want to discuss I always have the option to do so or not - a site that forces you into a discussion makes no sense.  What I am interested in is getting important facts so I may make more informed decisions about whatever I want to whenever I want to.  What I am not interested in is wasting time scrolling through crapfloods to get to those important/interesting/funny facts.  

The problem with "peer" moderation is that my "peers" are easily fooled into thinking that things are interesting/funny/whatever when they are very clearly not.  I dare you to read all the +5 funny posts in /. and laugh at 10% of them.  They all suck.  Hard.  

And if the editors are wrong then it is the people's responsibility to call them on it and demand they be strung up by their intestines in the public square for all to be seen, or, more realistically, be voted out of the editor position so some other chum can try his best.  

Faulting a proposed plan by saying, "yeah, but whoever fills that position will be terrible at it" isn't proving anything.  If I have a terrible doctor I don't blame the structure of the AMA - I notify the AMA that Dr. Whatever PhD in Whatever sucks ass and should be disbarred, here is some evidence.  Then, and only then can I start to blame the AMA for screwing things up.  

[ Parent ]

AMA (none / 1) (#88)
by irrevenant on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 05:16:00 PM EST

(1)  Who chooses who gets to be in the AMA, and how do we know they're not in the 'clueless' 90%?

(2)  Since the odds are that you (the person complaining to the 'AMA') are in the clueless 90%, what makes you think your claim that person X 'sucks arse' has any merit?

(3)  Unfortunately we're not talking about anything as 'simple' as medicine.  We're talking about a site dedicated to discussing a decent proportion of everything under the sun.  You'd need people proficient in a wide range of areas.

I'm not saying its impossible.  I _am_ saying that the same issues that seem to be making automoderation a problem, apply just as much to selecting moderators.

Many have envisioned the ideal of a society run by a skilled elite.  The problem comes when you have to decide who gets to BE in that elite...

[ Parent ]

Things I bet we could agree on: (none / 2) (#93)
by MMcP on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 07:30:18 PM EST

1)  Average Joe is incapable of doing a job he has no training in (moderating, editing, having power to delete posts).

2)  You would have to pay a person money to moderate, edit etc. to guarantee they do a good job.  

Put those together and you have the system about which 99% of hard journalism revolves around.  Money is needed to keep it going which means capitalism get thrown into the mix means it is corruptible.  We start talking about mass-media and everyone stops having fun rather quickly.  

What is the other side of this coin?  Specialty, clique-ish sites that are loosely structured to allow free exchange of ideas and tightly knit enough so that troublemakers are educated/dealt with/whatever.  

I don't think there is a middle ground.  K5 used to be fresh enough of an alternative to /. where a critical mass of people actually gave a shit and kept up the momentum.  This has changed now as people move on to better sources of information (I hate to mention blogs).  No simple rule changes are going to bring it back to where it was when it started.  

I can't see a foothold where K5 is now - it has to move in one direction and my opinion is that the clique is the only way to go.  

[ Parent ]

continuing to be obvious here... (none / 0) (#99)
by pb on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 01:38:25 AM EST

What if you could divide up a site like K5 into cliques? What if everyone could do this? What if trolls and crapflooders could post their own stories, that most of the readership never even sees in the first place? What if?

I think there are a lot more alternatives out there than the few that you see. :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Actually, (none / 0) (#105)
by MMcP on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 06:55:01 PM EST

I wouldn't claim for a second to know all the alternatives.  I do claim to see a dichotomy here:  Large scale, money driven structure vs. small scale, closely knit structure.  Loosen that up a bit and the real dichotomy is large scale versus small scale.  I posit that the only thing that could keep a large scale site on the upper echelons of quality is money and solid hierarchy.

[ Parent ]
Disagree with #2... (none / 1) (#100)
by irrevenant on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 03:46:20 AM EST

There are a lot of people who do good jobs without being paid for it.  http://www.megatokyo.com, for instance has provided a professional quality comic on the web for free, for a long time.  (The creator has since made it his full-time job, but it was just as good before he did).

There are motivations other than money to do a good job (and for that matter, a lot of people who do a crappy job despite being paid for it).

Of course, it's made difficult by the fact that what constitutes a motivation for one person may be of no interest to another.  (And yes, that includes the motivation of $$$).

[ Parent ]

Yes. (none / 1) (#104)
by MMcP on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 06:51:18 PM EST

There are motivations other then money.  There also are problems associated with working at something you care about 8 hours a cay and not getting a cent for it.  Most people would call that dedication bordering on insanity.  

[ Parent ]
Hygeine (none / 0) (#124)
by irrevenant on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 06:45:45 AM EST

For many people, money is what psychologists call a 'hygeine' factor.  This essentially means that money is a huge motivator when you don't have any, but as soon as you have enough to be comfortable, offering more ceases to be a major motivation.

If you've got enough money to get by from other sources (eg. inheritance or investments), what's so insane about spending your time doing something you enjoy rather than earning more money that you don't really need anyway?

People who really enjoy doing something will tend to do a better job than those who don't, whether they're paid or not.

[ Parent ]

reply #2, sorry... (none / 1) (#106)
by MMcP on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 07:05:26 PM EST

obviously the creator of megatokyo makes money doing what he does:  Merchandising, merchandising, merchandising.  Money does not have to be a motivation, but it must be applied if a person wants to dedicate a large chunk of his life to one task.  

Take money out of the picture and basically all editors wouldn't be able to go past four hours a day spent on their job.  That means you need twice as many editors to get the same job done which means you need at least four times as much communication to keep things flowing smoothly.  

[ Parent ]

agreed. (none / 1) (#89)
by pb on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 05:24:31 PM EST

I'm not suggesting that the /. moderation system works well, which is also why I'm not proposing such a system. The fact is, if I don't agree with some of my peers, I should have a mechanism to express that, and therefore not see those comments in the future.

Also, I don't believe I said "yeah, but whoever fills that position will be terrible at it"; just that given a method of selecting editors that's orthogonal to the 90%/10% dichotomy that you alleged earlier, 90% of the time they will be terrible at it. :)

And, as the other reply says, why should the AMA be any better? And why should I even have go to them, if I could instead have a mechanism that lets me handle the problem all by myself, without disturbing anyone else...
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

But how to ensure you have an expert moderating? (none / 3) (#87)
by irrevenant on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 05:05:04 PM EST

How do you make sure that your moderator is in that 10%?

And given that Kuro5hin deals with dozens of different topics (and then some), how do you ensure you have a moderator in that 10% for ALL those categories.  You either need Leonardo Da Vinci's smarter brother, or dozens of expert moderators.

Either way, you're demanding a very high standard for what is essentially a voluntary site.

And you're left with the same problem as now, only at a higher level - presuming you're in that 90%, how do you make sure the moderator you picked is in the 10%?

[ Parent ]

I'm probably proving myself a clueless newbie but (none / 3) (#86)
by irrevenant on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 05:00:35 PM EST

...what's wrong with Slashdot's moderation system?

I read at comment level 5 and it seems to work pretty well to me...

[ Parent ]

if it works for you... (3.00 / 6) (#90)
by pb on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 05:33:44 PM EST

If you look, you'll find a fair amount of intelligent points being made at 2 or lower that aren't modded up. That's because many other people both read and moderate at 3 or higher, and only moderate on the newer stories. Therefore, comments posted later (even an hour later) are at a disadvantage.

Also, slashdot's system for distributing mod points centers around giving them to the 'average' /. reader. They literally don't give mod points to the few people who read and make most of the comments. The system's only saving grace is that there are a lot of people who read slashdot (and therefore a lot of moderators) but even that only helps so much.

That means that if you have mod points, then you probably read /. only very occasionally, and therefore don't know what's going on. If you see a 'funny' post, it could be a verbatim cut-and-pasted dupe, but you'd mod it Funny anyhow. If you see an 'interesting' post, it might have its facts totally wrong, but hey, you didn't read the article either. And so on.

And then, someone replies to the +5 interesting post an hour later, to say that the facts are totally wrong, and why is it at +5 anyhow? This may or may not get corrected, because by now all the moderators have moved on to the next latest and greatest story, looking at everything that's +3 or higher...

Therefore, the entire system encourages quick, karma-whoring behavior. If you write one of the first comments, and it sounds pretty good, you're guaranteed a +5, at least for a while. And if it turns out to be undeserved, it may not get corrected. However, if you write an excellent comment an hour later, chances are good most people won't see it. This tends to discourage intelligent discussion.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

what I probably miss most (2.77 / 9) (#64)
by Arkady on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 02:03:41 PM EST

is being able to read an article in the submission queue and not having to guess whether it was legit or merely feigning sincerity.

This piece is a good example of that. Is it a real attempt to understand what we originally found compelling about K5, or is it merely using that as a stage in which to laugh at the idea that K5 could once have been something uniquely engaging?

There was actually a time when you didn't have to answer this question about _every_ damn submision.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Why does it matter? (2.77 / 9) (#70)
by Michael Moore on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 08:25:50 PM EST

Is perfectly forged art not as beautiful as the original? Is a plagiarised poem not as powerful?

"My life was more improved by a single use of [ecstasy] than someone's life is made worse by becoming a heroin addict." -- aphrael
[ Parent ]
Poetry (none / 2) (#102)
by B'Trey on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 09:21:42 AM EST

You quote Yeats in your sig, so I assume you know a bit about poetry. Exactly how much does the intentions of the poet affect the meaning of a poem? There's a dark thread running through many of Frost's works that he has consistently denied. He never intended to put it there. It's there, none-the-less.

Does it matter whether the author of this post intended it to be sincere? Or does the post stand on its own, completely independent of the author's intent?

[ Parent ]

You don't understand the nature of what happened (2.95 / 22) (#66)
by trhurler on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 07:04:14 PM EST

It isn't that the good posters all left and the shitheads took over in their absence. It is that the shitheads took over, and drove off the good posters. Much is made by some of "site management," but the reality is that the good posters never gave a damn about who ran the site or exactly how it was run. What appealed to them was what the site was, and was not. The shitheads were the exception, and they got beat up ruthlessly until they left. You could be rude, crude, and vile, but you couldn't be stupid, vapid, inane, or pointless.

Sadly, cool things attract people, and most people are idiots, and when the majority are no longer the people who made the cool thing, it is a mathematical certainty that the majority are then idiots, and the thing becomes the physical incarnation of suck. This is the destiny of all things, from democracy to your favorite television show, and it is the destiny of web sites too.

Nobody killed kuro5hin; it isn't dead. But, entropy accumulates - decay is inevitable. You could engage in life support activities, but it'd be easier and more productive to start something else entirely. The danger comes in keeping it from just being a clone of the last thing, either literally or in terms of its users. Do that, and it will suck again very quickly.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

You are a part of what was good. (2.50 / 4) (#96)
by OzJuggler on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 11:24:53 PM EST

Specifically, your occasional ideological battles with eLuddite was for a while a big drawcard for me. I liked eLuddite's wordy style and penchant for metaphor, and disliked his occasional randomness. I liked your factual style and ability to destroy leftist mythologies, but disliked your ideology.

I found the ensuing arguments fascinating.

The initial thing that drew me there was Rusty's article on Gun Control in March/April of 2001, but the cut-and-thrust of lofty discourse generally sustained my interest enough to be suckered into the big charity drive when it happened.

I agree with your wisdom about the decay of things, and the dilution of the essence of cool. The problem is that cool is subjective, highly variable, and probably the greatest example of groupthink that there is.
How could a discussion site be cool (in your opinion) and remain so?
Do we need to embrace the concept of elitism, as the recent Sponsorship suggestion seems to suggest? Can a closed group of elite avoid stagnation, or would they even want to?
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

Stagnation (3.00 / 5) (#103)
by trhurler on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 11:10:16 AM EST

The only thing that makes life seem anything other than stagnant for 99% of the living is their lack of experience. Very few people ever do or say anything new. I recommend either getting over it or not thinking too carefully about it. In any case, yes, while we had our glory days, there were several posters who could actually claim to be doing new things(at least, new to humanity.) That was pretty cool. But, other than that, stagnation was what it always is - the de facto standard. There was nothing new in my arguments with eLuddite, Electric Angst, or anyone else; the reason I could crank out my arguments the way I did is that those guys just regurgitate the same material over and over again, and mostly, so do I. Every now and again some new fact or some minor new argument crops up, but new only to the people involved; none of them likely invented it. This is part of why people have found it so hard to change my viewpoints(and some of them get quite upset about this): I've heard it all before. I've been arguing for a long time, and it is the truth: there is nothing new under the sun.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Well.... (none / 1) (#116)
by bjlhct on Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 11:55:41 PM EST

The development we have is largely from increasing specialization. You can do a lot with current knowledge from several isolated fields. If you're the general purpose expert, what are you doing?

Further, expecting people doing something interesting to come to you is ridiculous (unless you happen to be rich or something). You're probably part of the unwashed masses to them - you need to find them.

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Not the best I've ever seen (1.14 / 7) (#71)
by SilentChris on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 09:37:43 PM EST

If this is what's going to pass as a Meta article... if this is what the status quo will be for Kuro5hin... then I'm afraid I have no choice but to leave the site altogether once and for good.

Then why don't you leave? (none / 1) (#107)
by eladamry on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 08:10:17 PM EST

Then why don't you leave? Then why don't you leave? There is no reason to tell us that you will leave. Just go, it's that easy. Not that disagreeing with the way something is done wrong, but disagreeing in excess, like with k5 is one of the contributing factors to the object's stagnation.

[ Parent ]
Lemme tell you why I am here (1.33 / 6) (#74)
by mami on Sat Mar 27, 2004 at 11:26:17 PM EST

- because I am the most stupid person on K5,
- because I hate almost every comment I read  
- because I still don't understand why in an
  online community everybody behaves like the
  last bastard on the last metro to last red
  light district in the last town on this long
  lost planed
- because I am stubborn and want to know why all
  this shit is happening the way it is happening.

What a meaningless idiocy.

excuse me... (none / 1) (#85)
by PhoTwenny on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 04:26:45 PM EST

but its "most stupidEST person".  duh.

(i'm kind of afraid to send this because i don't know if someone will find me offensive and... uh.. well, whatever they do to those people might happen... but whatever.  i just like to read the articles.)

[ Parent ]

HOW DARE YOU (none / 1) (#111)
by Yori on Wed Mar 31, 2004 at 10:57:33 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Just had to ask a couple of stupid questions... (none / 2) (#78)
by mold on Sun Mar 28, 2004 at 02:45:35 AM EST

In this story, that I got from a link at Slashdot.

I have no clue why. It just interested me. So I made an account, and stuck around for some reason.

Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!

What was it like? (3.00 / 4) (#98)
by phunbalanced on Mon Mar 29, 2004 at 12:49:48 AM EST

Just imagine if every poll let you vote for Inoshiro.

That's how good it was!

Furthermore, I have no idea what you're referring to regarding usernames of plays on grammar.

In all seriousness, the articles (tempted to paste in my hotlist) that are good, are REALLY good.  I've had diaries turned off for a while now, and I have my frontpage set to everything.   It keeps the new content flowing faster, and I pick and choose for myself what's the best.  And as I said, when good things come through, they tend to be well thought out and interesting.  Furthermore, sometimes the people that used to (do, don't follow as closely these days) write articles turned up to be extremely knowledgeable (even specialists) about which they were writing.  Getting to read their ideas for free and then discuss them was always a great plus to me.

That leads to the next bit, the discussion.  Again, these days, I don't read as deeply here, but the discussions used to be great.  There were enough of every viewpoint that almost anything flared up a debate, and 8/10 times both sides of the debate were argued well.  Comments could ramble on for paragraphs and paragraphs adding huge amounts of content to already rather good stories.

Anyway, that's the way I remember things.

I went to see the last time I posted and it said 8/2003.  huh.  However it also only shows 2 comments, I imagine the rest have been archived and therefore don't show up in search?

Personally... (none / 1) (#122)
by bigchris on Fri Apr 09, 2004 at 01:27:51 PM EST

... I liked the following troll.

I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
We are sheep | 124 comments (93 topical, 31 editorial, 0 hidden)
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