Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Best Practices in K5 posting

By jolly st nick in Meta
Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 11:55:18 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)
Kuro5hin.org

I have a three part suggestion for improving the quality and quantity of K5 article submissions:

  1. Give constructive editorial advice in the edit queue, and nothing else and nowhere else.
  2. Hold your topical comments until an article is voted up.
  3. Debate article's worthiness in the voting phase, and nothing else and nowhere else.

These suggestions are not meant to be exhaustive; they focus on the simplest things we can do to improve the site while doing the most common activity on the site: posting responses to stories.


The Need for Best Practices

K5 had a strong run of several years. However the Iraq war followed by the 2004 elections raised activity on the site to a fever -- some would say fevered -- pitch. Everybody is a bit burned out.

Participation has dropped somewhat, but more importantly the rate of article submission has dropped precipitously. As I write, only one new article has made front page in the last week. Others have pointed out the problem this poses and have posted interesting ideas for fixes. As interesting and valuable as these ideas are, I see some flaws in the very idea of "fixing" K5, not the least that the one person who has the power to actually implement these kinds of fixes has other items higher on his agenda.

So, we're in a position of trying to effect change without the power to dictate the rules of the playing field. How do you make everything better in this position? The answer is you don't. You set a clear achievable, and much more limited goal, in the hope of establishing forward momentum.

My goal is to encourage more people to contribute constructively to the editorial process. By improving the editorial process we will automatically improve the quality of submissions. An improved editorial process, along with higher quality content, will attract a greater number of submissions. This will, I hope, nudge momentum in a positive direction.

And yes, I am fully aware of the irony involved in the reactions this article is going to elicit.

1. Give constructive editorial advice in the edit queue, and nothing else and nowhere else.

Rationale: Premature topical comments in the edit queue reduce article quality several ways. First, they distract from the editorial process. The author is supposed to be improving his article, not debating with you. Second, they tend to harden the author's positions and attachment to the way he's put his article together. Third, as topical posts begin to accumulate, the author may be tempted to move to vote before the conversation burns itself out. Finally real feedback from real readers is a valuable commodity to a writer, and this will encourage writers to submit their works more.

Writing a good editorial post is an interesting exercise in its own right. It's also rewarding to see an article improved due to advice you have given. The edit queue is the only place where you have the power to improve an article.

Methods: Grammar and spelling help is always welcome, but maybe that's not your cup of tea. You have a topical comment burning inside you that you have to get out. That topical comment might just as well be an editorial one. So, instead of writing "You're wrong because of the 1620 Treaty of Blavatsk...", you can write editorially, "Your article needs to consider the effect of the 1620 Treaty of Blavatsk on..." Then you might have the satisfaction of seeing the author change his article, or even his mind. If not, your satisfaction will be that much greater when the time for savage topical response comes.

There is a corollary to this suggestion, which bears mentioning even though I am focusing on the quality of responses:

1b. Authors Should Focus on Editing When Their Article is In the Edit Queue.

Rationale: This is your only chance to improve your story. Plus, you don't want it to flame out before it even reaches a vote.

Methods: If the posters are insisting on making topical comments, mentally convert them into editorial comments. Use the topical comments as a guide to the questions and problems people will have with your article, and strengthen it accordingly.

2.Hold your topical comments until an article is voted up.

Rationale:Encourage new blood to contribute by reducing stale front page articles. Sharpen the focus in the editorial and voting phase.

So, an article's made it to FP. A new person looks at this article and thinks, "This is interesting, and there's some interesting responses." He then puts in his own response, but nobody is home. Very quickly, he will figure out that the front page is a place for stale content. It doesn't follow he'll want to wade into the "Moderate Submissions" for fresh content.

Methods If a topical comment has been burning inside you, and the article gets voted down, post it to the diaries.

3. Debate article's worthiness in the voting phase, and nothing else and nowhere else.

Rationale: Increase the diversity of articles by reducing the tendency to knee jerk vote based on your topical differences with the author.

Methods:Try announcing your intended vote first, seeing if there is a response, then casting your vote, rather than casting your vote and maybe posting why later.

OBVIOUS QUESTIONS

Hasn't This Kind of Thing Been Beaten To Death Already?

Well, yes. It's the intractability of the problem that suggests to me that we aren't thinking about the solution space correctly. Most of ingenious ideas proposed would work to a degree, none of them is perfect, and none of them is going to get implemented any time soon.

It occurs to me that while we wait for the perfect techincal fix to come along, we might explore an alternative approach: setting a good example. That couldn't possibly work, could it?

How will these rules be enforced?

They won't be, because they aren't rules. I find that many people leap to the conclusion that every suggestion for improving the standards of conduct is necessarily a call for official rules and enforcement mechanisms. In fact enforcement mechanisms are often self defeating. There's always a way around them, and for many they present a challenge that is a reward in itself for bad behavior. Remove the challenge, and you've removed the motivation.

What I am suggesting is a code of personal behavior, followed on the honor system, that an individual can follow to improve K5 society. I believe such a code of conduct, if followed voluntarily by a relatively small number of sufficiently talented people, could have the effect of changing the direction of the site.

What about Authors who Can't take Editoral Advice Graciously?

Well, I'd handle the issue of cranky authors scaring of editors the same way I'd handle the issue of trolls scaring off authors: dodge it. If a few flames and a little dudgeon is more than you can bear, the Internet is not your medium. Let's assume for the moment that somebody who is interested in particpating here is capable of mentally screening this kind of thing out. The real problem is lack of positive reinforcement for contribution. If that is there, the negative stuff will be just background chatter.

Will this Work?

If by "work" you mean turn K5 into exactly what you'd wish it to be -- no. But the site will be better for every person who contributes good editorial advice to an author. It will be better for every person who contributes to activity on an article once it is voted up. The site may die, but as long as you're here and partipating, why not do it in the most constructive way possible?

Meta

I'm not going to be offended if somebody decides to violate these guidelines in the course of editing or voting on this article, for two reasons. I am proposing a personal standard of conduct which I have no right to impose on anyone else -- this is not my site. The second reason is that my aim here is to generate discussion and hopefully consensus among a subset of K5 participants. I don't expect you to join that subset in order to discuss the merits of joining.

Sponsors

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

Login

Related Links
o Others
o fixes
o Also by jolly st nick


Display: Sort:
Best Practices in K5 posting | 103 comments (60 topical, 43 editorial, 0 hidden)
This proposal isn't very modest... (2.50 / 2) (#1)
by Booji Boy on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 02:41:14 PM EST

Oops! I meant to click editorial.

META (none / 1) (#2)
by jolly st nick on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 02:43:14 PM EST

I'm not sure if I should respond.

[ Parent ]
I think it was a good decision (3.00 / 2) (#3)
by Booji Boy on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 02:50:25 PM EST

It shows you're not afraid to break your own rules, but competent enough to hesitate: +1.

[ Parent ]
Suggest how to get help with one's writing (2.40 / 5) (#14)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 03:37:06 PM EST

One can find many well-written and informative articles and discussions on writing, meant specifically for writers rather than the general populace, at Write On! It's a Scoop site, so it has diaries, where it would be appropriate to ask for help with writing problems.

Most members are fiction writers, but I have felt welcome there even though I write non-fiction. (I am not the kind of cruel monster who would actually publish the kind of fiction I have occasionally written.)

Here's a piece by our own CheeseBurgerBrown:

I have also had great success with asking for help in my diary here at K5: [1] [2] [3] [4].

I really cared about doing the best job I possibly could with both articles. As I wrote each one I was very determined that it would be the best thing I had ever written, and the vote showed the moderators agreed: Links to Tens of Thousands of Legal Music Downloads was approved 110 to 15, with 85 front page votes, and all three installments of Living with Schizoaffective Disorder made front page.

I would have been crushed if Living with Schizoaffective Disorder hadn't made front page. You can imagine it meant a great deal to me.

A useful thing to do is to include a diary poll asking how the reader would vote on the current draft if it were submitted as-is - +1 Front Page, +1 Section, 0 Abstain, or -1 Dump It.

Asking for help in my diary has also helped me to understand that a piece I personally felt was well-written was not well-written enough to reach its intended audience: Diary, Constructive Criticism. I Have So Many Questions About Music also means a great deal to me, but it wasn't getting the response I had hoped, so I have set it aside until I could figure out how to improve it. I expect to return to it soon though.

One must decide whether to post the whole story in a diary after asking for help in the intro, or to host the story on one's own website, linked from one's diary.

It's probably easier to publish it all in a diary, and likely would get more people helping out if they didn't have to leave k5 then return to comment, but I prefer to host it on my own site. Mainly I don't like the idea of several half-baked drafts remaining permanently on the Web. Hosting at my own site allows me to maintain a single copy that I can edit as I like. I can post new drafts whenever I want, and not just when I feel it's time to ask K5 for help. Sometimes I also ask friends for help privately via email, on very early drafts, before asking more public help at k5.

I must say though that your advice is sorely needed by K5 if it is to survive as a community, let alone prosper. I won't tell you how I'll vote yet though ;-)


--

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


Do you think it would be on topic? (none / 0) (#16)
by jolly st nick on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 03:45:54 PM EST

The main thrust of my story is that by posting responses in a certain way, the state of the site can be improved by individuals. Improved writing would also improve the site, and a post like yours would be welcome as a topical post, but I'm not sure that this information belongs in the story itself. I don't think the story can afford to become a catlog of every idea for how to improve K5.

Of course I violated that a bit with point 4, but I felt it was so strongly logically tied to 3 it should go in.

[ Parent ]

You do address authors directly (none / 0) (#19)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 04:16:23 PM EST

maybe you could put it in the context of "If you feel you don't get the help you need in edit, here's what you can do."

One other thing you might mention is that moderators sometimes vote down an article that has some merits, but vote against it because they don't feel the author has done the best job he could. They invite the author to rewrite and resubmit. But hardly anyone ever does. I'd like to find some way to encourage others to make the effort.

Another point to make is that the effort one makes to edit an article doesn't just make that one article better, it makes one a better writer in general. That's one of the reasons I continue to publish at K5 - the help I've gotten from the moderators have made me a much better writer than when I first joined.


--

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 ]

Too much (none / 0) (#30)
by Sgt York on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 06:39:06 PM EST

Adding in links to editorial adivce is beyond the scope of the article, and would dilute the focus, IMO. It's a good idea, though, but perhaps for a seperate story.

I started putting stuff up here for exactly the same reason; I wanted the input so I could be a better writer. I got the input. I need to work on the better writer part though.

Oh, and if you really would like someone to do a rewrite, ask them a second time. Post a diary, or just reply to one of their posts. Getting a story voted out is an ego blow, sometimes, we get attached to what we write sometimes and having it voted down is a rejection. A second request for a rewrite would probably do the trick.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Well, yeah. I could write such a story. (none / 0) (#31)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 07:30:33 PM EST

Now that you put it that way, I think you're both right, that this story shouldn't address how to write better stories.

I think you're right, that advice on how to write better would be best published in its own story. I have more I could say. I recently read Julia Cameron's The Right to Write and now I want to stand on the streetcorner, waving my copy at the passersby, while telling them that it will change their lives.

I just started reading Steven King's On Writing and it is also very good. I recommend it if only for this little gem:

People who wipe their asses with poison ivy probably don't belong in a smart person's club.

Also I think E.B. White's essay on writing style in The Elements of Style is the best piece of writing I have ever read of any sort.

So I'll see what I can do about writing a story with advice to aspiring K5 authors.


--

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 ]

Dogme 05 (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 03:54:25 PM EST

I'm caught in a meta-editorio-topico mode brought about by the nature of this topic, but here goes anyway:

Because of the open architecture of this site, and the unenforceability of these rules, it's clear that if someone wants these rules to apply to their article, they're going to have to be the one that enforces it.

So, here's the K5 Dogme 05 (alluding to a poorly implemented comparison to the only slightly more innovative Dogme 95):

1. Post the story to the voting queue with editing turned on. Include a note indicating that this copy will be destroyed before voting takes place.

2. When author selects the story to move to vote (or if it unexpectedly goes there) the author destroys the first copy of the story.

3. Author posts the improved second copy of the story directly to the voting queue with editing turned off.

During the editing phase, this encourages topical commentators from either refraining from comment, reposting a second time when the article is ripe, or abandoning their comment slip to oblivion.

Once in the voting phase, editorial suggestions really could only be for debating the article's merits since presumably all of the easy editing (grammar, spelling, etc.) would have been cleared by the time it left editing; there's nothing you can really do about it at that point anyway.

-Soc
I drank what?


This is a good suggestion. (none / 0) (#18)
by jolly st nick on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 04:01:27 PM EST

again, feel free to post topically if you have something topical to say. I have no desire to enforce any norms that you don't agree with.

Taking your post editorially, I'd respond the same way I would to MichaelCraword's suggestion. It think this is a good idea, welcome as a topical comment, but may not belong in the story, which is about voluntary behavior when posting responses. As such Suggestion #4 probably doesn't belong here, but it is so closely related to suggestion #3 that I decided to include it. However, this may have opened the gates, and perhaps it should be submerged in #3.

[ Parent ]

well (none / 0) (#20)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 04:17:28 PM EST

I think it's a symbiotic relationship: Some people don't care if their article is heavily scrutinized for editing and some posters won't adhere to any restrictions that aren't enforced. As a result, it chastens the "best practicing" commentators and leaves the first part of the discussion in the hands of those who can't be bothered.

Since your goal is: "to encourage more people to contribute constructively to the editorial process", only the author may have any influence. But if an author is serious about getting the best possible article, then I think there's a handful of tools he has at his disposal and my proposal is one of them. Besides, wiping out topical comment during the Move To Vote process has added benefits since comments after that point would apply to the actual article. An edited article can render an otherwise sensible comment as nonsense.

Not that I'd actually advocate doing K5Dogme95. But as long as we're talking about posting behaviors, this is a way to influence it (with the added effect that is would make the K5 inmates irate--always a bonus in my book).

Anyway, good luck with the article. I applaud its spirit if not its efficacy.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Who cares? n/t (1.30 / 10) (#22)
by 123456789 on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 04:52:37 PM EST



---
People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.
- Soren Kierkegaard
I'd like the idea more if.. (none / 1) (#27)
by Ward57 on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 06:24:32 PM EST

you were mailed whenever an article on which you have commented editorially went into voting, thus leaving editorial comments and topical comments as editorial and topical comments respectively.
Editorial comments don't make it past the voting section, and I generally scroll past them anyway.

Best Practices in K5 posting (2.50 / 4) (#28)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 06:33:00 PM EST

Avoid posting Meta stories.  They are rarely worth reading.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
Don't. (1.75 / 4) (#50)
by noogie on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 03:53:34 AM EST




*** ANONYMIZED BY THE EVIL KUROFIVEHIN MILITARY JUNTA ***
Question (3.00 / 8) (#51)
by godix on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 03:57:21 AM EST

If your idea gained widespread adoption which of these scenarios do you think is most likely to happen? Feel free to pick more than one if you think it applies:

A) User X reads a story that speaks his interest somewhat and sees a topical comment that prompts him to want to reply. He sees it in editing so refrains from commenting and instead makes sure to remember his desire and message then comes back later to post replies.

B) User X reads a story that speaks his interest somewhat and sees a topical comment that prompts him to want to reply. He sees it's in editing so refrains from commenting. Later on he sees the story on the section page and goes 'oh fuck it, I already read that story AND the topical comments from people who didn't follow the Best Practice. Why bother slogging all that again?'

C) Brand new lurker sees a story that just went to FP a few hours ago. He reads it and all he sees are trolls and crap because no one who follows the best practices has caught the story since it went up.

D) Brand new lurker sees a story that just went to FP a few hours ago. He reads it and sees interesting discussion going on because most K5 users figure the 'best practices' are stupid and ignore them.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.

Well, then (none / 0) (#55)
by jolly st nick on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 08:13:53 AM EST

so you think the status quo and current direction of the site is healthy?

You are assuming that articles basically burn themselves out before they get voted out. I think this is a bad thing.

Alternatively we could look at this as a two tier system: a wide open discussion area (the voting queue) where the payoff is a nice cenotaph for the story. This could work, and does work for many people.

However, suggestion 1 would still stand -- there's no point at all in posting topical comments on an unfinished article.

[ Parent ]

the site has no "direction" (none / 0) (#60)
by speek on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 08:44:35 AM EST

Stories post, stories get voted down. Some stories get 500+ comments. Some get only 40. Some are done when they hit front page. Some aren't. It's messy - that's life and freedom for you. Let live.

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

You may be right (none / 0) (#62)
by jolly st nick on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 08:53:46 AM EST

K5 has always had a kind of rhythm to it. Sometimes there were stretches of days with little new article activity, which would encourage a number of authors to submit their article ideas. You can see that currently -- there's quite a few submissions put in the queue in the last day after a drought of a week or so. But it certainly seems to be the case that the drought periods are lasting longer.

[ Parent ]
So... (none / 0) (#61)
by skyknight on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 08:47:00 AM EST

There's this tourist walking around in the streets of some city or other. He's trying very hard to get to the art museum, but can't quite manage to find it. Eventually, he runs into a police officer and decides to ask for directions.

"Kind sir, could you please tell me how to get to the arm museum?"

The police officer scratches his head and furrows his brow, taking a moment to ponder the question. He then responds...

"Well, I certainly wouldn't start from here!"



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
There's always more than one way to do things (none / 0) (#63)
by jolly st nick on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 08:56:50 AM EST

And some things work despite the way they are designed to work.

[ Parent ]
Slight reworking (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by godix on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 12:00:33 PM EST

"Kind sir, could you please tell me how to get to the arm museum?"

Then the police officer responds "Well, I think you meant arT instead of arM. I'd suggest you correct that. As to the actual question, I'm sorry but I can't help you right now. We're in editing mode and I'm not allowed to address the actual topic currently, I'm just able to make pedantic spelling correction. Come back in 5 or 6 hours, we might be out of editing mode and I'll be glad to tell you where the art museum is then."

So the lost tourist walks off still lost and mutters "What a total wacko. Must be a K5 user."


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

OK, if we're playing that game (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by jolly st nick on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 12:13:58 PM EST

Pedestrian:"Kind sir, could you please tell me how to get to the art museum?"

Officer: "What is it with this Picasso bullshit?"

Pedestrian: "I think you misunderstood me, I'd like directions to the museum."

Officer: "Yeah, so what? Picasso was the biggest fraud of the twentieth century. My dog could paint better than he could."

Pedestrian 2: "Um, excuse me. You just go up 7th Ave here for six blocks, turn right on West 53rd st, and walk two blocks. You can't miss it."

Pedestrian 1: "Hey, thanks!"

Officer (following Pedestrian 1 down the street): "Plus, did you know he was a fuckin' pervert?"

You see, if somebody steps into the role of Pedestrian 2, then the bad behavior of the officer doesn't matter so much.

[ Parent ]

No, not really (none / 0) (#66)
by godix on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 11:35:18 AM EST

so you think the status quo and current direction of the site is healthy?

Nope. I just don't think your idea will influence the current direction of the site at all. Whoever posted 'HELP SAVE THE TITANIC, REPLACE THE BROKEN LIGHT BULB IN ROOM 718' presented a pretty damned accurate portrayal of your idea.
You are assuming that articles basically burn themselves out before they get voted out.

I'm not assuming anything, I am observing what actually happens. The next time an article goes FP note how many comments it has when you first see it on FP. Go back one week later and see how many new comments there are. Consider how bare the conversation would be if those few comments were ALL the comments the article generated.
However, suggestion 1 would still stand -- there's no point at all in posting topical comments on an unfinished article.

Depends. I can see some topical comments that would help editing. It happens quite a lot (depending on the author). Hell, even you did it with this story. SocratesGhost comment should have been topical except he was trying to make a point but despite that you took his topical suggestion and edited it into the story.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
WRT to the titanic (none / 0) (#68)
by jolly st nick on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 12:01:53 PM EST

I suppose it's a matter of personality -- in particular optimism vs. pessimism.

Optimism, at least the kind I practice, isn't about believing everything will turn out perfectly. It's about believing that less than perfect can be good enough. It's about taking the stance that making things better is worth the effort, rather than holding out for all-or-nothing.

Pessimism, by contrast, is about seeing the world in sharply contrasted categories of black and white. Either something is nearly perfect or it is nearly hopeless. Since very few things in life approach perfection, most things then are hopeless.

Comparing the state of K5 to the Titanic strikes me as a bit of overwrought drama. If you look back over time, K5 has a cyclical nature. Sometimes the articles dry up; an extended drought then causes people to think about articles they might write, and you suddenly get a glut. You can see this operating right now with a flurry of submissions to the queue. What is different these days is the period of the cycle s long, so droughts are more noticeable.

So, in my optimistic way, I see the current situation as not essentially different than any other time. Instead of seeing the site as a once proud ship slipping into the deep, I see it as a ping pong ball that bounces around in a box from one end to the other. If enough people swat it in the right direction, it will move that way.

[ Parent ]

Here's my constructive criticism (2.50 / 4) (#52)
by extremely tedious HuSer on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 05:21:03 AM EST

Or, why I voted -1

*) Whenever I read a meta story, I am always reminded of 7th Day Adventists preaching outside underground stations. Nobody listen to them, and they look rather stupid

*) The ( troll ) : ( constructive editorial advice ) ratio on this site is massive .

*) The time and effort you spent writing this, you could have written  an interesting article instead.

--
I wouldn't take any of this too seriously. It's just numbers in a database.

OK (none / 0) (#57)
by jolly st nick on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 08:26:03 AM EST

*) Whenever I read a meta story, I am always reminded of 7th Day Adventists preaching outside underground stations. Nobody listen to them, and they look rather stupid

Well, that's just you. And if you feel that way, I'm not really talking to you. As you can see from the reaction, other people feel differently. My goal isn't to make everyone virtuous, it's to encourage a small number of people to contribute to the editorial process, and to inject a small amount of non-troll activity on articles once they hit the FP.

In any case, I take from this that you are interested in the meta topic -- just so pessimistic that anything can be done that you react negatively to even discussing.

*) The ( troll ) : ( constructive editorial advice ) ratio on this site is massive .

Yes, and there's nothing that can be done about that directly. However, a single person giving strong editorial advice can make a big difference to article quality, which alter the situation indirectly. There's also a subtle UI point here too: posts against a story are displayed LIFO. This means if the non-trolls finish with an article well before it is voted out, then the trolls are relatively more prominent. If several substantive posters begin to respond an article after it has been voted out, then there contributions will be relatively more prominent.

*) The time and effort you spent writing this, you could have written an interesting article instead.

Thank you. I'm flattered you think so.

[ Parent ]

You are right on one thing (none / 0) (#64)
by extremely tedious HuSer on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 09:08:14 AM EST

In any case, I take from this that you are interested in the meta topic -- just so pessimistic that anything can be done that you react negatively to even discussing
Good luck!

--
I wouldn't take any of this too seriously. It's just numbers in a database.
[ Parent ]
Why I'm ignoring the content of the post ... (none / 1) (#53)
by canwaf on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 07:44:34 AM EST

Quite frankly, people vote on content more often then merit of content.  A good example would be that Christian only view on Homosexuality with a little CS Lewis mixed in: it's not that great of an article, I disagree with the content... but I voted it up based on the discussion that started in the edit queue and continued in the voting queue.

Our problem is we don't have enough stories to have people be bothered to check the section page or the front page.  I. personally, hop straight to the queues and try to find something that would peak my interest.

So now I'm commenting even in the edit phase, and when a story with an excellent dialogue hits the voting queue (and gets voted down by people who don't read the entire story) just beforehand I save the page so those treads are not lost.

Maybe the addition of a "story graveyard" would solve some issues?

Well at this late date (none / 0) (#56)
by jolly st nick on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 08:15:57 AM EST

it's clear that many little software tweaks would improve the site. I'm working on the assumption that none of these are forthcoming.

[ Parent ]
+1 meta-wankery!!! (1.00 / 5) (#70)
by juvenile delinquent seeking attention on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 12:14:45 PM EST



I call (none / 0) (#71)
by jolly st nick on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 12:17:43 PM EST

meta-meta-wankery.

[ Parent ]
Too much is placed on the user (2.66 / 3) (#74)
by fluxrad on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 03:16:20 PM EST

A good system will have two things. First, it will have a structure that emphasizes etiquitte. Secondly, it will have a structure that necessarily inhibits abuse. Personally, I can't say that rusty or this article will take great enough strides to cure either problem. Your ideas are good but they'll never get implimented because people just don't have the self restrain to wait to post and/or not be a dick about it when they do. I know I don't.

Part of the problem is that stories are just hanging out in queue too long. I think this can easily be solved by doing one or more of the following.

1. Lower the posting threshold. Get these stories out of queue quicker. An article that's hit 35 is probably going to reach 80, so just get it into its designated section sooner rather than later.

2. Remove the ability for all user accounts to vote on stories. The biggest reason discussion is taking place in the queue is because everyone's already voting in the queue. I think rusty should look at going back to a trusted user type of structure where only people with a certain amount of mojo (or, if you're into monocles ad yachts, those who pay some monthly fee) get to vote on whether or not stories make the FP. Well, either all of this or put in place some editors and call the site kurodot.

3. Remove comments from the voting queue altogether. Users post editorial feedback in the edit queue which is then wiped out as soon as the story is moved to vote. From there, no comments are allowed until the story hits either the section or front page.

Of course, this is all just meta-wankery. This site has got more wrong with it than self restraint is going to fix. K5 needs an architectural overhaul and rusty has made it very obvious that he does not have the inclination to make those changes (note: I'm not changing my position that the real onus is on the community to fix K5's problems, just that we do need help from rusty to right the ship). Now we've got half the users that refuse to let it sink completely into troll-run chaos and half that know it's dead already but just don't give a shit. I guess what I'm trying to say is:

K5 is the internet equivalent of Terri Schiavo.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
Question (none / 1) (#75)
by duffbeer703 on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 04:03:06 PM EST

How do these suggestions relate to the unethical War in Iraq? Or the so-called democratic elections of 2000?

Unless you can address these questions, it doesn't belong here.

Important! (none / 1) (#76)
by sllort on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 06:44:30 PM EST

If people followed best practices guidelines, there would be no moderation system, article queue, or circletimessquare.

Film at 11.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.

Make Meta articles funny / interesting (2.00 / 2) (#77)
by Zealot on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 07:05:12 PM EST

or no bugger'll read them.

Only One Thing Will Save K5 (2.66 / 3) (#78)
by thelizman on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 07:29:13 PM EST

Stronger editorial control. Those highly trusted users who get editor status (probably needs to be a few more, like JChen or Mike Pence) should be able to go through and wholesale delete comments, even put temporary blocks on certain accounts to try to moderate the activity of particularly trollish users. I'm all about freedom of speech, but freedom of speech does not mean freedom to spew.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
what fucking bullshit (1.12 / 8) (#79)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 07:37:35 PM EST

who fucking gives a flying shit about grammar or any of this ultra-nit picking focus on process

grammar doesn't mean shit

thought does

well formed crap is inferior to a grammatical trainwreck that provokes a firestorm of comments

maybe in your mind it is the reverse

well then enjoy your attempt at making kuro5hin a sterile pretty useless shopping mall of bland but pretty nonsense

WHY the fuck do people prefer well-formed placid lies over rude honest truths?

if a lie is well-formed and quietly spoken, people will prefer it over the truth simply because the turth is sometimes rude and ugly in this world

that fact alone about human psychology gets to the bottom of so many problems we have in this world

so yeah, i really enjoy your ultra-anal attempts at controlling minutiae

it's a perfect exercise for a small minded self-important prick


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

No offense.. (none / 0) (#83)
by kamera on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 06:37:05 AM EST

No offense, but reading your comments is painful. Although pedantry shouldn't be encouraged on this site, a minimal level of grammar should be. For example, I could read your comments more rapidly and with less ambiguity if you employed some minimal level of punctuation and capitalization. I know you can--I've read your far fetching polemic about closeted homosexuality being the driving force in conservative politics.

Anyway, it's not an either/or problem as you seem to suggest. A well argued post can also employ grammar. I personally prefer content to style, but a synthesis is superior.

Also, asserting something as truth is inconsistent with most critical and analytical frameworks. For example, "that fact alone about human psychology gets to the bottom of so many problems we have in this world". Regardless of whatever evidence supports it, it is hardly a fact. Even if you had presented it in a quiet, well-formed manner rather than ranting it, I still would have disagreed.

"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." -- Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

so you're telling me (none / 0) (#89)
by circletimessquare on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 04:43:43 PM EST

that in this world, there doesn't exist people who prefer quiet well-formed lies over rude loud truth?

you want to talk logic?

well then, don't ASSUME that i said truth and pretty grammar are mututally exclusive... and then, don't use that ASSUMPTION to ignore the validity of me pointing out that there exists small minded pinheads who don't like the boat rocked, even if it means ignoring some truth because it is ugly

the importance of my point trumps yours:

TRUTH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PRETTY GRAMMAR

and if you err on the side of PRETTY GRAMMAR, you have lost in the seearch for truth

believe that, moron


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

[ Parent ]

Get a brain! Morans (none / 0) (#93)
by kamera on Sat Mar 26, 2005 at 01:46:12 AM EST

well then enjoy your attempt at making kuro5hin a sterile pretty useless shopping mall of bland but pretty nonsense

That comment could be construed to suggest that if we strive for grammatically correct articles, then most or all meaningful thought will suffer. Anyway, I wasn't the only one who extracted that from your article. Vacuity seems to have done so as well. Maybe if you had put more effort into your post, that ambiguity would be lost. This is one obvious downside of poorly written articles.

WHY the fuck do people prefer well-formed placid lies over rude honest truths?

if a lie is well-formed and quietly spoken, people will prefer it over the truth simply because the turth is sometimes rude and ugly in this world

This should be "WHY the fuck do some people prefer well-formed placid lies over rude honest truths?"

"if a lie is well-formed and quietly spoken, there are individuals that will prefer it over the truth simply because the turth is sometimes rude and ugly in this world"

In its current form, it reads like a grand generalization posited as a fact. I do believe that there are some pedants who prefer style to content, but I don't think as big a problem as you suggest. You might place me in that camp, but as I have tried to demonstrate, style should enhance content. I agree that it is basically useless on its own.

Anyway, good grammar is a cue for most people that the article well thought out and argued. There is a strong correlation between poor grammar and poor content and reasoning. I can't read everything, so why waste my time on something that is likely to be horrible?

Also, calling someone a moron is what I consider a bad practice. I'm obviously not a moron, and the word is inflammatory. In short: please grow up. link

"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." -- Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

here is my problem, stated simply: (none / 0) (#94)
by circletimessquare on Sat Mar 26, 2005 at 04:48:34 PM EST

WHY do people give a fuck about grammar?

why are people so fucking obsessed with style over substance?

isn't it so much more important to focus on the substance, and say fuck-all to the grammar?

it seems braindead obvious to me

i simply cannot understand people like you

so please, you go ahead with your effort at making things pretty

i'll worry about what really matters

i just don't fucking understand the style-obsessed


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

[ Parent ]

Maybe you should try harder (none / 0) (#96)
by kamera on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 02:27:41 AM EST

Yes, content is more important than style and grammar. Nevertheless, we can have both. An article with great content will always be that much better when paired with clarity, conciseness, sentence structure, appropriate tone, and, in general, communicability.

If you can't understand that, you aren't trying very hard.

Also, did you even read my post? I thought I was quite clear that I prefer content to style, but understand that style can enhance content.

"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." -- Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

put your money where your mouth is (none / 0) (#98)
by circletimessquare on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 03:13:49 AM EST

"Yes, content is more important than style and grammar."

...

and then you spend the bulk of your statements emphasizing the importance of style

but your money where your mouth is, agree with me, and be gone with it

but if you insist that content is more important than style, and then spend the bulk of your words arguing about the importance of style, then you're simply full of shit, and you won't mind me saying you are


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

[ Parent ]

Both can't be important? (none / 0) (#100)
by kamera on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 05:13:45 AM EST

I don't understand. Is this an either/or dilemma? I thought we already went over this. I can't think that both have value?

If I think that both are important, does that make me full of shit for thinking one is more important than the other? I'll never vote up a boring or egregiously argued article simply because it is well written. However, I'll usually vote up an article with interesting content even if it is poorly written. Am I full of shit for preferring that the article was well written?

and then you spend the bulk of your statements emphasizing the importance of style

But we already agree on the importance of content. I am trying to help you see that style also has value insofar as it helps readers intake and understand the material. Much of reading comprehension depends on how well the author conveys her message. Do you really disagree with that?


"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." -- Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

if you spend the bulk of your attention (none / 0) (#101)
by circletimessquare on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 05:34:23 AM EST

on one particular issue, but then you come to me and say that another issue you didn't talk about is actually more important, you'll forgive me if i think you're full of shit


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

[ Parent ]
Are you serious? (none / 0) (#102)
by kamera on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:51:48 AM EST

So the importance of something is exactly proportional to the amount of time spent typing about it. If we both agree on something, we should spend our time talking about how we agree, but ignore the actual crux of the argument because it happens to make you look foolish.

Here is the question I want you to answer: Do you honestly believe that style is completely valueless, regardless of whether poor style leaves the content incoherent and incommunicable?


"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." -- Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

Good form and content are not mutually exclusive. (none / 0) (#87)
by vacuity on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 01:55:05 PM EST

While I agree with your priorities in what makes a good article/missive/post (a/m/p), I posit that authors should firstly dedicate themselves to content, and then work mostly on cleaning it up for easier consumption while the a/m/p is in the edit queue as a service to the community. Anything less would rightly be construed as arrogance or just plain laziness.

[ Parent ]
when you think that truth (none / 0) (#88)
by circletimessquare on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 04:39:28 PM EST

that is not dressed up pretty is "arrogance or just plain laziness", then you have started down a path of human psychology that gives us much of the problems in this world


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

[ Parent ]
Context (none / 0) (#91)
by vacuity on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 09:57:35 PM EST

You'll note that I specifically referred to posts and articles within this forum. When the author has plenty of time on hand (edit queue) to render what should be common courtesy, then not doing so can be taken offensibly.

Also, what's your beef with psychology?



[ Parent ]
i have no beef with human psychology (none / 0) (#92)
by circletimessquare on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 10:38:17 PM EST

and i have no beef with a well-formatted article

i have a beef with small minded ultra-anal fucks


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

[ Parent ]

Well then; isn't that swell? (none / 0) (#95)
by vacuity on Sat Mar 26, 2005 at 10:12:02 PM EST

I'm glad you're at least leaving yourself open to enjoying a well formatted article.

Just out of curiousity, what would you say are some of the tell-tale signs of a 'small minded ultra-anal fuck'?



[ Parent ]
Is it.. (none / 0) (#97)
by kamera on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 02:30:39 AM EST

Is it whatever he isn't?

"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." -- Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]

i'm anal-expulsive (none / 0) (#99)
by circletimessquare on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 03:22:43 AM EST

so yes, you are correct

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

[ Parent ]
My thoughts over time. (2.66 / 3) (#80)
by Sairon on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 09:31:52 PM EST

Having watched K5 for a while I can say that the users interest in its function is likely one of the things that makes it so good. If governments had the same amount of involvement, i.e. serious well thought proposals, we might all be better off. I completely agree with your big three points, you've obviously thought about this a bit. However, over time I have seen quality and quantity of article wildly fluctuate. I have come to believe this is just a norm to live with and not always indicitive of a need for fixing, its just the nature of the beast. I think that Rusty waits until something MUST be done is a good thing, really. It has lead to a consistent site with a high amount of continuity in the social aspect of the site.

That said, I think there is a social way to take your suggestions into practice. Perhaps by way of writing groups who all agree to certain roles and rules. There are some other implications of doing this which may be unsavory, but the benefits might outway that. With that, good luck and have fun. Thanks again.

Jared

Another topic altogether. (3.00 / 4) (#81)
by Sairon on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 09:35:28 PM EST

I'm in the mood for sharing thoughts right now. If I were to start from scratch and take from where K5 is now, this is what I would do that works a bit like what you've said:
  1. The edit queue would not allow topical comments and would have a wiki-like function.
  2. Editorial comments would disappear when it went to voting.
  3. Voting would actually be an automatic threshold based on the comments and their ratings. A story that got alot of highly rated comments would post, otherwise it would go away.
Theres more to it, but I thought I'd throw that out there.

Jared

Nice ideas, don't agree with all of them (none / 0) (#84)
by curien on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 08:22:05 AM EST

In particular, there have been some absolutely wonderful K5 articles with very few comments.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
There could be two mechanisms... (none / 0) (#90)
by MrMikey on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 09:39:45 PM EST

one that was a function of the number of comments, and perhaps their ratings, and the other a function of votes.

That way, we'd get stories that were popular in terms of votes, comments, or both.

Sounds like the best of both worlds to me...

[ Parent ]

Voting mechanism (none / 0) (#104)
by MostlyHarmless on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:44:03 AM EST

Quote:
  1.  The edit queue would not allow topical comments and would have a wiki-like function.
  2. Editorial comments would disappear when it went to voting.
  3. Voting would actually be an automatic threshold based on the comments and their ratings. A story that got alot of highly rated comments would post, otherwise it would go away.

The catch on #3 is that voting based on comment ratings is would be highly vulnerable to trolls and maldoers: rating all the comments down would be a good way to dump a story. Of course, this attack is easy to detect if it is done thoroughly enough to cause damage, but the story might be dumped by the time a mod notices, deletes the accounts, and undoes the damage.

I like the other ideas, although I'm not sure how keen I am on the comments starting over when a story is posted. My gut says that people would save and re-copy their posts to get around it.

I suspect that the main barrier for wiki-style editing of articles in the edit queue is simply the fact that someone would have to code it. I think trolls would be even less of a threat than they are on Wikipedia: the 'pedia has to deal with subtle defacements of older articles, whereas articles in the edit queue would always be actively watched.

--
"Nevertheless, that is the theorem." - Tom Stoppard
[ Parent ]

An interesting paradigm. (none / 0) (#103)
by bjlhct on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 05:09:06 PM EST

Thusly I break my year-long abstinence from this overused mediocre word originally meaning "set of forms."

Many people, myself included, tend to decide how to vote on an article largely on how the the discussion has gone. Sometimes authors realize that their article is voted down because of a discussion infested with trolls, and try again, trying and hoping for a better discussion, sometimes, they wrongly blame themselves. Sometimes they wrongly see being voted down as because of the discussion and try again. The last one is not such a problem, since people generally let them know and the trolls abandon the sinking ship like rats. The second case of these is less easily remedied, but would be fixed by some of the ideas for moving stories that fail to diary, saving discussion, with an option to move it back to vote, preserving the discussion.

You, however, see K5 as being about the articles first and foremost. You want to get the best articles, because you figure people care more about them than the comments, which you see as being there to improve and check the article as much as progressing into an independent discussion. Well, lately we have gotten a few good articles that have been linked to by semi-MLP sites. That doesn't happen because of the discussion, and I'll guess that most of those readers weren't so interested in the comments. However, this is good for K5 because some of them might feel compelled to write a story for K5 after reading that article. They will be more likely to do if they see more constructive criticism and article-focused discussion going on, but quality independent discussion stemming from the article also looks favorable. It might encourage people to sign up to write an article if there was an option to view editorial comments and the quality of editorial comments they see would be high.

The problem leading to this dichotomy, as I see it, is that the S/N and coherence of the comments section is lower than that of the articles. The coherence difference is no puzzle - comments are inherently more "choppy" than articles. As for S/N, well, the standards for comments are lower, and, I would say, the comment rating system is actually less successful in filtering than the voting system for articles. I find it ironic that the filtering for comments is considered rightly set at a lower level when the volume of comment coming in is much greater than the volume of article coming in. (Here's lookin at you, CTS.) As it is, many people just ignore comments with ratings below some amount - a mental version of . view at settings. That's why Rusty made ratings invisible until there were at least so many put up. A possible partial solution that comes to mind, then, would be this: users can vote -1 or +1 on comments - that's it for voting choices. Comments get divided into 3 sections - at the top are the comments that have reached a certain positive vote value, at the bottom are the ones that have reached a certain negative vote value, and in the middle are the ones that have not reached either value. Voting would be allowed only on the comments in the middle. Will any of this happen? No. =

Phew.

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

Best Practices in K5 posting | 103 comments (60 topical, 43 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!