Post Rate Throttles:
I mention these only because the values may need tweaking early on. Basically, there are now throttles that will prevent users from posting too many comments or stories in a short period of time. This is not intended to ever affect normal humans, but instead to be an anti-script mechanism.
The system has preset maximum comments, time period, and maximum stories. If you exceed max stories or max comments in time period, you are prevented from posting for a timeout period of a few minutes. The site will show you a warning screen when this happens, and will also alert the admins. If you've been warned after posting normally, we will know about it and adjust the rates appropriately. We do ask that you bear with us initially, while we fine-tune these values.
If however, you are a spamming script, you will probably not notice that you've been warned and locked out. If you attempt to post again while you are locked out, the time period you must wait will double and restart. This continues as long as you keep trying to post during the timeout period. If you reach a maximum timeout period, the system will decide you must be a script, and your user account will be stripped of all posting privileges (and admins will be alerted again).
I must stress-- if you are posting normally, and are a human, and you get locked out, just wait a few minutes, and don't be too angry. We hope that this will never affect real users, and will make every effort to tume the initial parameters to make this so.
We finally have sections! Each of those blue boxes up at the top will take you to a different section front page, which looks just like the normal front page, but only shows stories in that section.
When you submit stories now, please make sure you pick an appropriate section! I'd also prefer you don't pick "Front Page" as the section, as any story can end up on the front page, regardless of section. Which leads me to...
You now have four options when you vote on stories. "Post to Front Page" is a vote to post the story in it's section, and also to run it on the front page. This option should not be used too sparingly! I'd rather too many stories go up on the front page than too few. Nevertheless, there will be times (I expect many times in the case of the MLP section) when a story is just not really front-page material, but fits well in its section. In that case, vote "Post to Section Only", and that will be the case. The story will appear in its section, but not on the front page. And of course, you still have "Don't Care" and "Dump It" as always.
Comment rating is still the same system, but now you can set ratings as you read, and submit them all with one click, on any of the "Rate All" buttons. Submitting one rating at a time always was silly, so we fixed it. I urge you all to rate comments as a matter of habit, since the more folks rate, the better the rating and Mojo systems work! And that means I should probably explain...
Ok, bear with me, because this is a little complicated.
The site now includes a system called Mojo. Its goal is to identify users who have exhibited a strong history of contributing good comments, and who therefore probably have a strong motivation to keep the comments high-signal, and to enable these people to do that. Conversely, it should also identify those who have a history of spamming or being noise-generators, and require their comments to undergo peer-review before being posted. And overall, the goal is to keep the site as high-signal as possible for the greatest number of users.
So we start with your Mojo itself. "Mojo" is just a cute name for the rating that we would expect your next comment to earn, based on previous ratings. The system will take your last 30 comments, or however many you posted in the last 60 days (whichever comes first), which have been rated by other users (unrated comments don't count toward Mojo), and calculates a weighted average of those ratings, with newer comments counting for more than older ones. The number that comes out of this will be between the minimum and maximum ratings (0 to 5, here-- more on "0" later). Note that this number is bounded by the rating scale-- you cannot accumulate mojo, and it is pretty temporary, based on your very recent activity.
Users who have a mojo greater than 3.5, *and* who have a certain number of comments which contribute to that mojo, will become "trusted". This does not change how they post at all. What it does is gives them the option to rate comments 0; or one point below the standard rating scale. They also have the ability to see comments rated below 1, which normal and untrusted users do not have. So, trusted users can rate comments down below the visibility threshold for most users (1), and can rate comments up that are invisible to most users.
Please note that trusted status is earned solely through the ratings others submit on your comments. This is not some elite club of rusty's cronies, but the people you have voted for, by rating them highly on a consistent basis.
Normal users can always rate comments between 1 and 5, and can see comments that are rated between those values. They cannot see comments that are rated below one.
Now, if your Mojo is less than one, that means your comments have been rated 0 by one or more trusted users. If you have a certain number of comments contributing to your mojo, and it is still less than one, you will be considered untrusted. This means that your comments have been rated down often enough, by trusted users, that we would generally expect your next comment to be rated down as well. In this case, you are considered "untrusted".
Untrusted users can still post comments, and they can also rate others comments, between one and five, like normal. However, when an untrusted user posts a comment, it starts off with one rating point, equal to that user's Mojo. Since, by definition, that's less than the minimum viewable score, those comments will not be visible to anyone but trusted users. Part of the responsibility of being trusted, then, is reading comments by untrusted users and rating them up if they deserve it. Any comment may be rated up above the minimum threshold, and upward ratings will improve the untrusted user's mojo of course.
Yes, this means that if you are untrusted, you will not be able to see your own comments until they are rated up by a trusted user. The motivation for this is to provide a strong disincentive to spam, since the results of your spamming will not be visible to most users, including yourself. It works ultimately like a self-organizing peer-review system, where users who have demonstrated their responsibility in posting are given the added responsibility to review the input of those who have been less-than-trustworthy in the past.
Is this just Karma by another name? Most emphatically not. Key points of difference are: it is bounded both upper and lower, it is strongly responsive to the current state of things, and cannot be hoarded. A trusted user can easily become untrusted in a single day, if they happen to have such a Jekyll and Hyde personality.
So, welcome back! We hope K5 will be better than ever, and we are glad the long wait is finally over. Now get those stories you've been saving up all summer rolling in. :-)