On Moderation

The LISNews Moderation Reasons are unchanged from the stock Slashcode reasons:

Normal really isn't a reason, it's just a nothing, Over & Underrated can both be applied to any comment previously moderated as something you disagree with. Offtopic & Flamebait both seem useful, and are usually well used.
But what about Troll, is there really a big difference between a Troll and Flamebait?

The three I really have troubles with are the three I's Insightful, Interesting and Informative. Insightful things are very often interesting and informative. Interesting things usually have some insight and information.

Funny seems good, except humour is so subjective, but there's not much we can do about that.

For those few of you that moderate comments, I pose the question to you… can we come up with new and better Mod Reasons?

Here's some ideas that've crossed my mind.
Pointless: -1
Silly: 0
Stupid: -1
Great: +1
Wonderful: +1
Saklad: -1
Hilarious: +1
LeftWing: 0
RightWing: 0
Moron: -1

Rob Malda has been writing about completely rewriting the moderation system, which could be neat, I just hope they keep us little guys in mind when they're thinking things through.

The question that can't be answered, and which comes up often in my mind is: How can I moderate this as 2 things. One recent comment comes to mind where the comment made such a good point, and, at the same time, was a Troll. How can the moderation system ever cover a situation like that?

LISNews has 2708 user accounts, and 60 different people have moderated at some point. 25 have moderated 10 or more times, and 5 have done it more than 100 (one of those 5 being me). I'll try to run some detailed numbers at the end of the month on some different areas of LISNews, I love watching the numbers.


I don't think we're quibbling all that much about the labels, are we? Do you get feedback saying that we're doing it all wrong?

> For my money, the difference between a troll> and a flamebait is that flamebait is a> deliberately provocative message aimed at a> group or idea in general, whereas a troll is a> personal attack against a specific individual.That's funny ... I tend to categorize these the exact opposite way.Just goezta show ya.

I think about Fark tags all the time, every news story I read ends up with a Fark tag on it!

Fark.com uses "tags" for its headlines, such as:

  • asinine
  • amusing
  • dumbass
  • cool
  • stupid
  • boobies (yes boobies) ...with little graphics included in the tag. e.g.:

    There are many more than those listed here. Have a look sometime.

    Maybe we could use something like "beligerent" non trolling meanness???

In the case of messages which make good points but do so clumsily, why not have a label such as: "thoughtful-but-asinine: 0"?

For my money, the difference between a troll and a flamebait is that flamebait is a deliberately provocative message aimed at a group or idea in general, whereas a troll is a personal attack against a specific individual.

SlashCode runs LISNews, it was started by, and powers, Slashdot.I always wondered where that name came from, now I know!

This isn't directly related to the ratings question, but is sort of in the same area. What exactly is slashcode/slashdot? May seem weird coming from someone who calls herself "slashgirl". However the slash I know and am named after, is, I think, entirely different from the "slash" referred to within the lisnews world.(And my slash isn't in reference to horror fiction, either.)

Although given the slash that I know about, I find the bit in the banner at the bottom of the pages here, that this "site is based on slash" very, very funny.

I could look it up, but, heck, that's too much like work!*G*


Maybe "troll" as a choice should have a link to some website that clearly explains what one is.

If you are going to use the volatile term TROLL, you need to educate your users what it means. My comments about the Janet Ashbrook link to a link to a link posted on a far left blog, in complete violation of copyright, published in a slick magazine by a Bushwacker, was called a "troll." That means someone thought I was deliberately posting something to cause a flame war, which absolutely wasn't true.

The original message more closely fit the definition of a troll. I said nothing harrassing, offensive, slanderous, accusatory or outrageous--simply expressed my opinion that it was petty and belonged in the journal category, rather than moderated library news. It was certainly not of interest to anyone outside the USA, and you seem to be recruiting participants from libraries around the world. The Ashbrook backlash is probably quite boring in Australia and Italy.

A troll is:

  • Deliberately post an offensive or contentious message in a public message base, with the specific intent of provoking flames.
  • An outrageous message posted to a newsgroup or mailing list or message board to bait people to answer. Trolling is a form of harassment that can take over a discussion. Well meaning defenders can create chaos by responding to trolls. The best response is to ignore it. Also, the person who posts such messages.
  • An annoyance usually on Messageboards who posts for the purpose of causing a disturbance. Often by making comments of a slanderous nature, accusatory, or just general pain-in-the-assness.
  • I think SILLY is a good one. Deserves more points (at least one). Now, crazy, that could be a -0- or a -1. Pedantic, dull, preachy, etc., those are other possibilities for negative moderation.

    I've only gotten comments/criticism on the moderation system once or twice, so it's not really something that others seem to be bothered with, it's just something that’s been in the back of my mind for awhile now.And, no, the choices really do not need to be mutually exclusive. I'm not sure it would make any difference.Some things I change as a result of feedback, other things I think need changing for no good reason, other than they just don't seem quite right to me. This was simply something that might be worth opening up for discussion.

    As one of the regulars over at Slashdot, I thought I should respond and say something about how the negative moderations are used over there.First, the Offtopic, Troll, and Flamebait mods have a tendency to get used interchangably. No one seems to mind much, since the whole idea is to separate the "crap" from the stuff you came here to read. Also, many "crap" messages fall into more than one category.My interpretation is this: Offtopic is pretty self-explanatory. Asking what people think of Colorado's chances in the hockey playoffs in a discussion on the Nebula awards is Offtopic. "Flamebait" is stuff meant to provoke a flame -- that is, an angry response. Responding to someone's comment with "that was a really stupid comment, why did you bother posting it?" is Flamebait. Posting "this story is really boring, why can't this site hire better editors?" is also Flamebait."Troll" can be hard to define, but usually a troll comment is one designed to make other people look stupid. There's many ways to do this. Here's some examples from over at Slashdot:1. Insert a factual error into your comment so people will respond to point it out. Example: "Ronald Reagan was a good president, unlike his successor who couldn't keep his hands off the interns."2. Express an outrageous opinion that no one agrees with, and support it with flimsy "evidence." The idea is to bait people into responding as if it were a real opinion. Example: "I think all libraries should be required to install filtering software -- on all the computers, not just the ones used mainly by children -- because a lot of the filth on the internet is harmful not just to children but to adults too. Yes, the software is imperfect, but I'd rather block too many sites than not enough. If someone can't get to the John Kerry campaign site because NetNanny thinks it's about men who solicit prostitutes, they can always go home and look it up from there."3. Link to disgusting/pornographic web sites in the comment. Many lines of Slashcode have been written to make this difficult, but it still goes on over at slashdot as the trolls find new ways to hide their links. It's an endless arms race.Confused? Don't worry. Not all "crap" comments fit neatly into these categories, and some can fit more than one.One last thing: When I get mod points on Slashdot, I never moderate anyone down if I think they're genuinely trying to contribute to the discussion. I only mod people down if it's clear to me that they are trying to add noise, start fights, or otherwise detract from everyone else's ability to have an interesting/informative discussion about the topic being discussed. Many of the "bad" comments on Slashdot could legitimately have any of the negative moderations applied to them (including Redundant due to the lack of originality of many of the trolls).

    Subscribe to Comments for "On Moderation"