Kmself has a lot of interesting
ideas. Unfortunately I think they're bad ideas.
My comments are intended as a discussion point. For the most part
I'm concerned with speeding the submission queue and improving the
quality of stories. Introducing a "karma"-like system is incidental to
this, though it could provide benefits. You have a strong preconceived
notions that any such system is identical to Slashdot's implementation --
I certainly hope not. I also find your arguments regarding submission
queue voting singularly unpersuasive.
Merge sucks too. If I'm sick of a subject
I'll dump it.
If a story's not worth posting, the proper vote is "dump", not "merge".
If you don't agree dump it, maybe tell him to post under an existing
article if you want
That's precisely what I'm looking for.
If a post raises good issues but closely duplicates existing content,
suggest that two authors work together rather than submit competing
content. If the post properly belongs as discussion underneath another
(the followup Meyer article IMO should have been), note same.
Weblogs tend to compartmentalize convesations under many different
pages, instead of combining similar threads. This is particularly true
with rapidly (r)evolving front-page content. If two conversations are
one logical unit, provide the support to make it so. "Merge" is not a
functional proposition, it's an advisory one saying "merge this story
with foo". The effect is similar to dumping the post, but the
message is that the information is inherently interesting.
Three counterexamples are: Usenet, the
IWETHEY. Rather than
Slashdot's rapid-fire post, rant, and retire mode of discussion, all
three of these formats allow a topic to "live" as long as there is active
interest in it. Usenet does through by use of newsgroups which somewhat
focus dialog, and threading, which maintains topical integrity. Wiki
are other interesting examples based very much on the web metaphore.
Open voting is bad.
We've clearly got different views here. Part of the problem is
that we're thinking of different activities.... First of which, the
process is editing, not just voting. Deciding what's worth posting
is a part of the process, but there's much more to it. From Merriam-Webster Online:
editing: 1c. to alter, adapt, or refine especially to bring about
conformity to a standard or to suit a particular purpose: carefully
edited the speech
Without belaboring the obvious , both hattig
did a good job of describing the difference between a simple submission
queue, and the option of interactive editing.
Simply, the model is that of the open source, "Cathedral" development
model itself. And this requires open voting -- at the very least open
commentary and interchange. There are a number of interesting studies of
decisionmaking in light of the free software phenomenon. Most research
finds better decisionmaking outcomes from groups than from individuals.
One study (Sniezeck, 1989) evaluate five types of group decision
- consensus: face-to-face discussion resulting in a single
- dialectic: group discussion of decision bias factors.
- dictator: best member's solution is selected.
- delphi: anonymous responses provided in "rounds" until
consensus or stability is reached..
- collective: interaction prohibited, individual judgements
are aggregated to form "group" response.
The context was five college students asked to solve a quantitative
practical problem. In the study, method five provided the worst results.
Each of the first four was better, but the "dictator" method reduced
absolute error by a factor of three over any other. I'd prefer to
call this a meritocracy, though Linus Torvalds occasionally refers to
himself as a "benevolent dictator". Key to success is that vesting of the
"dictator"'s power is the vote of the group -- the only sway the dictator
holds is her ability to come up with good results, there is no
other vesting of power.
General results of group decisionmaking:
...for brain teasers [and similar logic puzzles], groups
usually outperformed individuals, but...the best member of a group,
working alone, tended to do better than the group as a whole.
...brainstorming was more effective when ideas were generated
independently and later combined.... [T]he best way to generate
solutions to a difficult problem is by having several people work on it
independently and later share their ideas.
If you do open voting the weaker voters won't learn to become strong
voters, they'll just fall in line with an elite cadre of users, if only
on a subconscious level.
I far prefer to think that by seeing the thought process involved in
deciding merits of a story, people may actually learn to walk through
the steps themselves.
K5 wants to know what the individual thinks and from that we learn
what K5 as an organism thinks and how we as individuals are different
and similar to each other and to K5 as a whole. I find this extremely
valuable and its genesis is closed voting. K5's greatest strength is
its ability to value the individual.
This is encouraging people to work in cloistered isolation,
individually propogating various sets of mistakes. Better to employ the
power of the individual in addressing the strengths or weaknesses of a
story, and working to either craft it into something better, or ditching
it rapidly and painlessly (well, with some help from tweaks to the
queue discrimination algorithm).
Why make K5 a republic? K5 is and should remain a pure democracy. That
is it's strength!!! K5 is a reaction to the /. republic remember? You
want to go to war with the K5ers, you want to minimize and suppress
their full participation as equal (and deserving to be equal) members
and creators of the K5 experience.
First, neither Slashdot nor K5 are a democracy or a republic. They're
collaborative content engines. /. happend to pick a particularly broken
collaborative rating scheme. It worked fairly well with 40 moderators,
passibly with 400, but didn't scale beyond that. K5 is principally the
same fundamental weblog with a different moderation scheme, no filtering
mechanism, and a few different viewing options.
The Spam and Troll selections will be abused by trollers using throw
away accounts. I suppose since you're going to suppress participation
by using karma this could be controlled.
I'm unable to fully express my intense (but entirely reasonable)
dislike for karma weighting the vote process. I posted a comment that
was rated a three and in the post I asked a question. The post was
worth a three. Another user posted a short reply with a valuable link,
that post was rated a four, but really worth a two or perhaps a generous
three (the link was to a mildly anti-Linux statement). I replied to that
post with little more than a link to a related less anti-Linux page,
and it got a 5 rating, worth maybe a one at best.
You've got two conflicting thought lines going in this little ramble
of yours. The first is that the individual matters, and that the
sanctity of the individual's thought process isn't to be violated. The
other is that there are all these other individuals out there
who abuse and troll the system, or who grant inappropriate scores
to posts. So which is it -- do individuals get it or don't they?
Or do you want a democracy of good democrats only?
There are some people who are good at identifying submissions,
there are some people who aren't. There are some people who are good
at creating good submissions, at editing, at commenting -- and those
who can't. Karma, mojo, juju, whatever you want to call it, is based
on a couple of basic assumptions:
- People have different skill levels.
- There's a rough association between certain skills. For
example, writing good comments, and good editing skills.
- If you can come up with a good way for evaluating
ability, with emphasis toward recent trends, and
with a bounded valuation (eg: 1-10, 0-2, 1-5, etc.),
and you work out a way to actually apply this value to
things such as comments, comment moderations, and submission
moderations, you might have something useful.
Your concerns appear to be these :
- Trolls/spammers could abuse the troll/spam controls to rig the
- Comment moderation could "permanently" reduce a poster's karma
to some ungodly low level (actually made here by CodeWright, but I see the same sentiment here).
- People don't moderate posts (yours or others) the way you think
Let's ditch the word "karma" for a moment and coin "persistant
consequence metric", or PCM. "Persistant" (but not permanent) -- the
tool causes actions to play out over a period of time. "Consequence" --
the tool is reflective of past actions. "Metric" -- the tool attempts
to provide a useful measure. These exist all around us -- personal
reputations, grades, workplace evaluations, salary, insurance ratings,
credit risk. You name it.
The specific intent is to address your concerns -- that trolls and
spammers can't abuse the system, and that those who do contribute
meaningfully can have their input reflected. This is very similar to
the concept used by the Google
search engine, which uses both links and linking-page importance to rank
I'm also against hattig's 'open source' editing. Remember, we have
commenting folks! Commenting is for expressing new ideas, adding new
knowledge, disagreements, and corrections.
...and editing is for coming up with something worthwhile to comment
on. The idea of the edit process isn't to comment on and annotate an
article, it's to improve the quality of the article. I'm currently
looking at the Gerald Dwyer story (FRB economist paper on free software)
in the submit queue. The paper is actually (to my econ-biased background)
worthy of a story, though the writeup could use some help. It's had
over 110 votes, and appears near the posting threshold, but has been
sitting in queue for a while.
 Incidentally, spun off of InfoWorld's forums by the user
"community" after several years of editorial abuse (though the
columnists were largely good), and a really bad forums software
choice by IWE. A case of "community" up and walking away.
 Pity, as I seem to revel in it.
 ...and please do me the favor of ignoring the fact that I'm
trying to browbeat you into submission....
 Discussion, examples, and quotations on group decisionmaking
behavior drawn from Scott Plous, The Psychology of Judgement and
Decision Making, McGraw Hill, New York, © 1993, ISBN
0-07-050477-6. Particularly Chapter 18, "Group Judgements and
Decisions", pp 205ff, discussion the work of Janet Sniezek, Becky Henry,
and Gayle Hill. This book is very interesting reading and very highly
recommended. Decisionmaking traps, including groupthink, are also
 Note that I've posted
asking for other feedback on how specifically the Slashdot karma system
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]