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Google Patents Your Rights Online

Google Throws /. Under Bus To Snag Patent 584

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the google-patents-meta-moderation dept.
theodp writes "Before Danny Hillis and Bran Ferren invented Google's newly-patented system for 'Delegating Authority to Evaluate Content', Google says users looking for content evaluation websites were condemned to the likes of Amazon.com and Slashdot. From the patent: 'Many sites found on the World Wide Web allow users to evaluate content found within the site. The Slashdot Web site (www.slashdot.org) allows users to "mod" comments recently posted by other users. Based on this information obtained from the users, the system determines a numerical score for each comment ranging from 1 to 5.' The problem with sites like Slashdot, Google told the USPTO, is that 'because there is no restriction on the users that may participate, the reliability of the ratings is correspondingly diminished.' Commissioning a small number of trusted evaluators or editors would increase the reliability of the evaluations, Google notes, but wouldn't allow nearly as much content to be evaluated. Google's solution? Allow trusted evaluators to transfer a 'quantity of authority' to like-minded 'contributing authorities', who in turn designate and delegate authority to additional like-minded contributing authorities. Think Microsoft Outlook 97 Delegate Access meets Slashdot Karma Points, and you've got the general idea!"
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Google Throws /. Under Bus To Snag Patent

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  • by symbolset (646467) * on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:38AM (#38213840) Journal

    3... 2... 1... Go!

    Meh. This is more like "We think we can improve on the best thing." I believe we actually had a thread about this here recently.

  • by CmdrPony (2505686) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:38AM (#38213844)
    Let's face it, the slashdot moderation system has been broken for a long time. That's where the term slashthink/slashdot group think comes from. If you post a comment that general user base of slashdot likes, it will be modded up. If you post a comment, even a really insightful and interesting one that the general user base doesn't like, it will be modded down. Comments that rank up? Promote free speech, removing copyrights, getting rids of patents, point out how "suits" just don't get us geeks and so on. Comments that go immediately down? Tell informative, but bad points about the current state of Linux, dislike Google, try to be reasonable about copyrights and DRM or say that Microsoft's Visual Studio still kicks ass any other IDE out there.

    I can't find the old post now because it was long time ago, but it went something like this. Every user are given some amount of moderation points, that affect the moderation as a whole. In addition to that, it affects the moderation you see favorable to the likes of you. If they are on your friend lists, their moderation carries more value. If they have moderated similarly to you, their moderation weights more to you. Of course, this should be balanced so that you don't get fully one viewed comments - if some comment is generally modded very high (and forget the -1-5 scale now), it would be displayed to you anyway. If you add to that that comments where you, or similar persons to you have commented, will be fully displayed regardless of their moderation (or some adjustation of that), it would work out really well. Of course, it needs a lot more computation power on the server side.

    For me, personally? I like Reddit's comment system. It has it's faults, but it's better than Slashdot. Interesting posts are on top, and you can just scroll down for more.

    Still, I browse Slashdot at -1 and read what interests me. I come here for the comments, jokes and all that. I like to see it all when the subject is interesting. No moderating system can ever beat your own judgement (even if it's wrong one).
  • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:42AM (#38213904) Homepage
    And the fact is, early, pointless comments like this one get modded insightful, whereas later, superior replies do not receive the same attention.
  • by Dreetje (672686) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:46AM (#38213952) Homepage

    Still, I browse Slashdot at -1 and read what interests me. I come here for the comments, jokes and all that. I like to see it all when the subject is interesting. No moderating system can ever beat your own judgement (even if it's wrong one).

    Sure, but it takes a lot of time to go through all comments off a popular topic. I generally like websites where comments/posts are moderated. I also don't have a problem where I have to trust someone, or a group of people, to moderate for me. If I don't like it, maybe the community isn't for me? But I am always open to new experiments, I don't know reddits comment system. I don't dislike slashdot's system much, but perhaps there's better out there, I don't know, not actively searching for it either :P

  • by Jeng (926980) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:48AM (#38213976)

    If you post a comment, even a really insightful and interesting one that the general user base doesn't like, it will be modded down.

    More often the downmods are due to insults and strawmen arguments. you will not be downmoded for making a respectful informative response.

    If you think I am wrong in this please do some searching and find examples.

  • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:52AM (#38214032)

    You're still trusting random users to metamoderate properly as well. I think it helps keep the system fairer, but still not fair. Instead of moderating directly, meta-mods can choose whether or not to nullify a moderation according to their whim.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:52AM (#38214034)

    As far as I can tell Stack Exchange uses the best moderation system. I think more would contribute to gain the privilege to mod comments if /. used something similar, and moderation would be more effective.

  • by polyp2000 (444682) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:53AM (#38214048) Homepage Journal

    This is true,

    But Slashdot is one of the few places I can go on the internet to find comments that are intelligent and well thought out, and where its just as fun reading the comments as the posted article.

    Compare the comments on Slashdot to comments on Digg or Youtube for example.

    I dont necessarily agree with Google out right. Slashdot is a much valued site for me. The site does have flaws , dont get me wrong! However its the community that makes it a worthwhile and Slashdot has that in droves!

    Nick ...

      N....

  • GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:54AM (#38214066)

    Someone with brains AND A VOICE finally speaks up against Slashdot's miserable organization, wait.....what.....hold on a sec:
     
    Okay, so what am I missing here? Where's the article? I see a link to a patent, a link to a pointless JPEG, and some kid's anecdotal evidence (if even that) that Google hates Slashdot. C'mon, theodp [slashdot.org]. This is the Internets. If you're going to make some absurd comment, at least have the wherewithal to link to someone else's page where someone else actually came up with or cited the idea. Even if it is completely bogus. It looks to me as though you waved your hands, threw some pixie dust, and declared that Google just insulted Slashdot. Where's the beef, sir?
     
    --TSP
     
      captcha: smoked

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:54AM (#38214074)

    Also most items end up at +5 or -1. That is due to popularity not necessarily a proper vetting of comments. Early on in conversations it works. But near the end you loose a lot of good info to +2. Just because there were not enough people reading it.

    It is like the top 10 songs. Many stay top 10 because people look at the top 10 to listen to. So the top 10 get overrepresented.

  • I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:56AM (#38214098)

    I think the /. community mods accurately, the good out weighs the bad, and I have had more than one of my comments modded out of existence, and frankly some of my comments deserved to be (we all have bad days) but the thing to keep in mind here is we, we being the members of /., aren't modding for the outside World we mod for the community here on /. so it works well even with the trolls and hopeless pontificates.

    No changes needed in my view.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:57AM (#38214116)

    So, Google is legitimizing and patenting the bury brigade.

    w00t!

  • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:58AM (#38214128)
    I think Slashdot eds are being a little too sensitive. They didn't sue Slashdot or harm it, they simply claimed in a patent that they devised a better system. While I think software patents are dumb, I don't think creating a different system and saying why you think it's better is much of a problem.
  • One other thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:02AM (#38214182)

    The minute /. starts to "Allow trusted evaluators to transfer a 'quantity of authority' to like-minded 'contributing authorities', who in turn designate and delegate authority to additional like-minded contributing authorities." because that is too much like the current system of media control and politics, or in other words go with the flow or fuck off.

    Again, leave it alone it has worked just dandy all these years.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:05AM (#38214200) Journal

    meanwhile, the headline is written so poorly that I'm impressed by that as well.

    Google throw's slashdot under the bus? How about "google shows slashdot's shortfalls". Slashdot is far from infallible, and the mod system ranges from "useful" to "why the hell was this moderated poorly/positively"?

    However, that isn't the nature of slashdot specifically, it's just an accurate depiction of the internet: those looking for useful things can find gems of very useful information, but there is also a lot of crap and sometimes the crap will be found much easier. This is new?

  • by ZenDragon (1205104) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:05AM (#38214212)
    When I get mod points, I tend to browse from the bottom. I do that generally because, when I come in to work after a long vacation I found it was always much more informative to browser the newer emails first. If I found and interesting chain, or post in this case, I would read the preceding posts.

    The real question is, if this system is so broken, why do people keep coming back?
  • by yog (19073) * on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:11AM (#38214302) Homepage Journal

    Google has a point. Slashdot's moderation is far from perfect; people get modded down for expressing politically incorrect opinions or otherwise taking a stance opposed to that of the majority. You might call it a tyranny of the majority, in fact. I've seen quite intelligent, insightful postings modded to 0 or -1 because the person was taking an unpopular stand on an issue. On more than one occasion, I've seen factual statements dismissed by ignorant posters and moderators.

    Suppressing opposing views in a discussion forum does not improve the forum or raise the level of the discussion. People strive to say things that will get them modded up, rather than say what they really believe.

    The point of a discussion, or an argument, or a debate, is to allow multiple parties to express their views, and arrive at a consensus or at least understand what the opposing view is. I've often been persuaded to change my mind in these forums, although the strident nature of some of the posters is grating and counter-productive. Criticize the idea, not the person who expresses the idea.

    I try to meta-moderate when I can (weird how they don't have a permanent meta-mod link on the home page, though--sometimes I have to search for it if I don't see the "Have you meta-moderated lately?" link at the top). But it often feels like bailing out a boat with a thimble.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:13AM (#38214344)

    It's pretty much completely unpredictable. I've been here long enough to know that it's a lot more complicated than that. Putting an insult in whether or not deserved will ratchet up the unpredictability greatly. But you're fooling yourself if you think the moderators around here are intelligent enough to recognize a strawman. I'd be very surprised if that deviated at all from random chance.

    Also, you definitely can get downmodded for a respectful and informative response, it's happened to me fairly often over time. Usually because I'm pointing out something that the Apple fanboys don't like. Of the factions around here they seem to be the ones that are most prone to abuses of mod points. At least in my experience. Probably the second worst would be the pro-legalization libertarians that can't fathom that there might be good reasons to keep drugs banned pending further research.

    I've also noticed some posts will attract a huge number of mod points as the mods battle each other out. In the end there's a very definite bias towards hiding things rather than showing things and I don't think most people with mod points even bother to read the guidelines.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:15AM (#38214362)

    Superior replies don't get modded up, the repllies that line up with that randomly chosen user's biases do. People alter their behaviour to appeal to public opinion.

    If slashdot really wanted to mod up 'superior' comments then they'd have full-time trained moderators instead of handing badges to everybody with an opinion of which smartphone OS to use.

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:16AM (#38214386)
    So Google is saying slashdot has a systemic problem with idiotic groupthink and it's skewed moderation?

    I'm with Google on this.
  • by yog (19073) * on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:19AM (#38214424) Homepage Journal

    eldavojohn #38214056 As of 10:15am EST:
        40% Insightful
        40% Interesting
        20% Troll

    This is a great example of the stupidity of moderators. Some misguided soul(s) consider the above to be a "troll" posting. I don't agree with everything eldavojohn said, but I'm not going to down-mod him and effectively remove his comment from the discussion for thousands of readers. That's ridiculous; he has a right to express his opinion.

    Now if he had said, "duh, yer a fag" or something similar, then that would earn a flamebait/troll/overrated/offtopic from me and (I hope) most intelligent moderators. Stupid grade school insults are off topic and contribute nothing to the discussion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:21AM (#38214446)

    I don't have a UID and I've been reading /. for 7+ years. Do know, you don't need a UID to frequent this site. So, the UID is NOT an indicator in participation... QED.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:22AM (#38214466)
    The funny thing is we like this post and apparently agree with the premise.

    But we won't change how we moderate.
  • by impaledsunset (1337701) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:27AM (#38214544)

    Yet, Google's suggestion does nothing to address this issue. At least judging from the summary, you'd just add more layers but have more or less the same system. On the top you'd have a few main moderators selected by some possibly unreliable criteria. They would approve smaller subset of moderators depending on their own evaluation.

    The world like-minded is especially concerning. If it means thinking critically in the same lines, it's OK. If it means having the same opinions, you have been bubbled - a group of opinions different from the ones you've expected are invisible. What's more, sometimes even a bit of uninformed crazy opinions that show a total lack of reason are also a great contribution. If nothing else, they give you the chance to explain how are they wrong or how they are badly constructe, and given that quite a lot of us are unreasonable people around us, ignoring the unreasonable gives you no chance to address their questions.

    I don't see how Slashdot's system is that different. Moderators are selected based on past moderations, and the layers are circular. If others have moderated you nicely, you get to moderate yourself. The internal bias created by this system is not that different than the bias created by a tree system, and I don't see how it's worse.

    More important than the system are the rules that are used to judge the quality of the posts. There should be guidelines that outline carefully what is good and what isn't. Of course, Slashdot has that in a sense, and the labels "Insighful", "Informative" discourage voting "+1, Agree", but that apparently is not enough. But the thing that is really missing are higher standards as well as a way to observe these standards.

  • by MrZilla (682337) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:27AM (#38214550) Homepage

    I think your post was very well written, but I just wanted to comment on this in particular:

    People strive to say things that will get them modded up, rather than say what they really believe.

    This, for me, is the biggest "problem" with Slashdot today. A huge amount of posters go in for that "+5 Funny" post, and apart from articles on politics, it's hard to find much good discussion going on.

    I remember when I first started reading Slashdot back in early 2000 (or could it have been late 1990's?). I used to save threads because they contained so much interesting information (especially about physics and astronomy). Maybe it's just me remembering things better than they actually were...

    But seriously, try reading the comments for any article that has to do with Uranus. Or lasers. Or sharks. Or Russia. Or in fact most any article. "Funny" posts everywhere. The remainder is blatant trolls, whining about the EU/US, politicians, lawyers or accusing everyone of being employed by the company that they dared write anything positive about.

    And on top that you have people modding funny comments as Insightful or Interesting, because "Funny mod doesn't give karma"

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:28AM (#38214568)

    Let's face it, the slashdot moderation system has been broken for a long time

    Bullshit. Just because the majority of people here disagree with you on these issues, you therefore assert the system is "broken". You may even be right in your opinions, but the moderation doesn't reflect "truth", it reflects simply what most people here think. If you don't like that, find a community that you are more in tune with.

    I'm personally more critical of the "editorial" process here, which should be focused on verifying basic facts before publishing a story, but instead seems to just go with whatever sensationalistic crap takes their fancy

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:29AM (#38214578) Homepage Journal
    While it's true that's the usual knee-jerk reaction, usually such moderations are undone by other moderators within a couple of hours if the post actually does make a good point and isn't actively trolling. The system can be actively undermined, but it is fairly self-correcting as well.
  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:29AM (#38214586)

    But surely the moderators appointing new moderators will either lead to;
    a) Moderating nominating their friends with similar political opinions, which has the overall result of skewing the mods.
    b) People nominating troll accounts so they can troll without their own account being seen, skewing of the results.

  • by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:31AM (#38214606)

    Perhaps one thing that would help is to ditch the anonymous nature of moderation. It's easy to call someone a troll from the cloak of anonymity.

    Something else, ditch AC posts altogether, which would probably eliminate the majority of the need to moderating in the first place.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:33AM (#38214626) Journal

    say that Microsoft's Visual Studio still kicks ass any other IDE out there.

    Okay let's keep in mind that this is the original quote. "Kicks ass" is a simple stupid absolute. Some IDEs do some things better than others. The plugins I use in Eclipse are simply not available in Visual Studio. Are you now going to tell me that I should disregard this information and just always select Visual Studio?

    How about this little scenario: my boss tells me that I am to be using headless virtual machines running Linux and Ruby to do my development since that's what we deploy on. Do you really think I'm going to try to use Visual Studio?

    It is wrong to say "Microsoft's Visual Studio still kicks ass any other IDE out there" unless you scope your needs! You clearly have limited development experience and do not realize that there are many tools for all jobs and some jobs require one tool over another!

    I agree with some of your post, but seriously, don't drop your own opinion in the middle of a comment about how things get modded down because they are "wrong" not because they are "unpopular". It mostly just makes you look stupid and like a dick.

    Hey thanks for calling me a "stupid dick" I love you too!

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:35AM (#38214662)

    If you want to deal with Slashdot's moderation system, the largest problem today is what got termed on Digg "bury brigades."

    That is to say, users of one political/ideological persuasion who play a "game" of holding multiple accounts ("extra tickets" in the modpoint lottery), and then expend them en masse against other users if they find ones who they disagree with on political grounds. Mostly, this is used to mass-attack someone's karma.

    Think it doesn't exist? I can only provide anecdotal evidence, because Slashdot doesn't provide ways to track mod behavior on a large scale. But anecdotally speaking, more than once in the past 6 months I've seen past comments of mine that were 2-3 weeks old suddenly get downmodded from +5 insightful to -1 Troll, in the span of about a half hour. Karma falls accordingly. Who would go after 3 week old comments to downmod like that, if not someone playing a coordinated "kill this person's karma" game?

    Slashdot, meanwhile, tacitly approves this by the latest "modding structure" they've added. If you can get enough downmods linked to an account or IP, they will actually be BANNED FROM POSTING for a while. That's an added incentive for the bury-brigaders to try to attack someone's karma by downmodding old posts and new alike, regardless of merit, relentlessly; do it enough, have 3-4 accounts out of 50 with modpoints at a given time, and you can essentially hold a partisan "ban button" at your target's head.

    A better solution would be to disallow downmodding and just raise the ceiling on upmodding from, say, 5 to 20. Pure upmods mean that insightful comments will still rise to the top and can be filtered for accordingly, while stuff like GNAA trolling will stay at 5 or below and will still be easily filtered out.

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stanlyb (1839382) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:42AM (#38214758)
    Or to forbid modding after lets say 10 days. And to forbid sudden down modding from +5 to -1, which is ridiculous.
  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:49AM (#38214830)

    Absolutely any kind of moderation system will result in the viewpoint that represents the aggregate of all viewpoints rising to prominence. This is a feature, not a bug. It's only called "idiotic groupthink" and "skewed" by those who tend to disagree with the prevailing ideas. If it were "skewed" towards your viewpoint, you wouldn't call it "skewed" at all.

  • by kiwimate (458274) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:52AM (#38214872) Journal

    There's something missing - a downmod of "you are factually incorrect". Not "I disagree", but you make a statement that is provably (in a binary fashion) wrong [slashdot.org]. As in a statement that is the equivalent of "kiwimate invented Linux" which nonetheless sounds so well written that moderators who don't know any better just go ahead and mod it up to +5 informative, despite it being demonstrably wrong. Not "I disagree", but "here's the documented proof from a reliable source that says otherwise".

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:01AM (#38214978) Homepage Journal

    Your a) is my thought. I like slashdot the way it is. Let's suppose that, ohhhh, about 30 people had uber moderator powers. And, of those 30, 17 of them were real fans of Microsoft, 1 was an Apple Phanboi, 1 was a Luser, and the remaining character just didn't give a rat's ass what operating system was in use. So, 17 uber mods nominate Microsoft phanbois, 1 nominates Apple phanbois, the Luser nominates other Lusers, and the odd man out nominates people with sexy names, that he hopes to meet some day.

    Actually - things wouldn't change much, would they? ROFLMAO

  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:02AM (#38214994) Homepage Journal

    There is a problem though:

    Allow trusted evaluators to transfer a 'quantity of authority' to like-minded 'contributing authorities', who in turn designate and delegate authority to additional like-minded contributing authorities.

    That is already done on slashdot, in automated fashion. By building positive karma through being moderated positive more than negative, the possibility of your becoming a moderator is created. By having your posts metamoderated confirming those moderations, your karma is either further boosted, thereby increasing your chances of becoming a moderator, or lowered, decreasing your chances of becoming a moderator. Once you get mod points for the first point, other factors play into it: your frequency of visits (theoretically improving your moderation competence), metamoderations on what you have moderated (thereby evaluating your work and confirming you are a good moderator, or flagging you as a bad one in the system), how often you post, and so on.

    So, Slashdot's moderation system is therefore a superset of what Google has applied for, because it does all that Google specifies, through a combination of automated and manual manipulation of all of the criteria Google specified, and more. Slashcode (and Slashdot's build of it in particular) is definitely prior art which should invalidate all points of Google's application.

    Coming next: RIM will file an identical application, except it will have ", on a wireless device" to show their "innovation."

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:04AM (#38215030) Homepage Journal

    Uhhhhh - it's called "idiotic groupthink" because it is exactly that. The group decides what is good, and everyone conforms, or else. Kinda like in high school, where the most popular kid's ideas were always right, and the least popular kid's ideas were always wrong, no matter what the actual merits of the ideas.

  • by rufty_tufty (888596) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:10AM (#38215106) Homepage

    The problem with the tyranny of the majority in this case is that descenting views are able to be suppressed by the moderation system. That is an unpopular view cannot be heard.
    This would be like a suffragette being boo'd into silence, or the leading political party rounding up supporters of the minority opposition and locking them up.
    Not good, really not good.

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supremebob (574732) <themejunky@geocitie[ ]om ['s.c' in gap]> on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:14AM (#38215146) Journal

    Why limit this to just high school? Most major business decisions seem to be made to same way as well.

  • by rhakka (224319) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:14AM (#38215148)

    but he's sitting there at Score 5 Insightful in the end.

    the system self-corrects to a large degree. the only big problem is that early comments are more noticeable than later ones. welcome to life in a continuous news cycle.

  • by BranMan (29917) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:14AM (#38215152)
    Then I'm probably partly to blame. If you see a comment that just flat out WRONG, correct them. Post dammit!

    When I moderate, I am not looking at whether the poster is correct or incorrect - if I agree with them or not - that is immaterial. The point is - does it add to or move forward the discussion? If so, I mod it up. I DO NOT use moderation as a way to impose any inkling of my views onto the subject.

    That is what I believe the moderators are supposed to do, so that is what I do.

    And in meta-moderating I give people the benefit of the doubt when I'm not sure. I really need to feel someones moderation is wrong to mark it so.
  • by jgrissinger (533747) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:16AM (#38215178)

    I guess it depends on why you read Slashdot.I have been reading Slashdot for over 15 years (I can't believe I am that old). I really enjoy the humor on the sight. While I agree "funny posts" should not be modded insightful or interesting that does not mean they do not add to my enjoyment of the site. This site is many things to many people.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:47AM (#38215528) Journal

    disabling anonymous commenting will *LOWER* the quality drastically, not improve it. It will however, ensure that people who simply wish to not show their identity will simply no longer be willing to post. It'll also lower the interest of the site and basically kill slashdot.

    Some anons post better comments than registered users and vice versa. Some smart posting registered users will post anon about certain topics, say their own workplace, etc.

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MichaelKristopeit422 (2018884) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:48AM (#38215550)

    Exactly. And LOOK! It was FILED in 2002. Back before anyone even KNEW what Google was.

    i graduated from college in 2000, and used google in the dorms my first 2 years (1998-1999)... so YOU'RE an IDIOT.

    this is exactly what is wrong with slashdot's moderation system... a blatant lie = the highest level of "informative", while the correcting truth is moderated as "overrated" or "troll" just because the moderator doesn't care for the person providing the truth.

    slashdot = stagnated.

  • by xero314 (722674) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:58AM (#38215714)

    anyone can get modded up to +5 insightful or informative if they sound like they know what they're talking about, even if they're flat out wrong

    If you notice the moderation system does not have any options for "Right" and "Wrong", and from what I understand, this was done for good reason. The purpose of the moderation system, on slashdot, is not to determine the correctness of a statement but to determine the readability of the statement. If a person moderates a post upward it's because they believe the statement is worth reading, regardless of whether or not the agree with the statement or believe it to be factual.

    It's far worse that people use the negative mods such as "Flamebait" and "Troll" to down moderate statements they disagree with. But I think in the overall moderation you will find that this is relatively rare. The slashdot moderation happens at such a high volume, and includes meta moderation, that the group as a whole ends up with the result that the majority agrees with. This, in my opinion, is far better than having a select set of the populous deciding what is or is not important to the rest of us.

    Take some time to go back and read some older posts. You will see that the moderation is actually pretty reasonable and accurate. You may not agree with ever bit of moderation, but over all it ends up to be a reasonable representation of the interests of the people that visit Slashdot.

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wiedzmin (1269816) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @12:18PM (#38215956)
    Yes, but now it's at 5, and yours is at 3. So it seems collective thinking isn't as broken as Google claims it could be. In my opinion, 1,000 random users are a lot more likely to crowdsource a diverse, accurate judgement than 10 "trusted" moderators with 20 "trusted" delegates. If half of those "trusted" users are "fanboying" for or against that particular topic, you have 50% of votes being assigned based on personal preference instead of being objective... within 1,000 users impact of 15 users' subjectivity will be a lot lower and has a chance of being offset by subjectivity of the users from an opposing camp.

    I am surprised that Google would be peddling this, it seems to go against their net neutrality principle. If you have everyone generating content, everyone should be allowed to use and provide feedback on that content. Even Slashdot's selective moderation system is too restrictive - how often do you see a great comment that you wish you could mod up, but have no points, or vice versa?

    And if you're worried about bury brigades and want an absolutely, 100% real content and ratings, make a system that prohibits anonymous users (I mean verifying identities via credit cards and social security numbers and all). Then you will have a perfectly accurate system. Except that not many people will want to use it.
  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @12:28PM (#38216074)

    Double blind is basically not feasible for peer review.

    If you don't like someone enough to want to actively harm their career then you are going to be able to recongnise their papers without needing the name to be listed.

    Just "reject everything that has more than two citations to things written by X" would likely do the job well enough.

    And for the slashdot idea - you read the comments while not logged in or logged in as another user and then log in as the user with mod points and do the modding.

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @12:28PM (#38216076)

    Doesn't address the problem of "downmodding old posts" though. Set it to 10 days, and 9-day-old posts will be the targets. Set it to even 24 hours, and you'll just see direct attacks.

    The problems of Slashdot's moderation system are:

    1) Encouragement of mining.
    - Random distribution of modpoints encourages sockpuppet/"mining" accounts in order to collect large numbers of mod points at certain users' disposal.
    - "You can't mod a discussion you posted in" encourages the keeping of sockpuppets for moderation simply to be able to mod in the same discussions that interest you to read/post in.

    2) Ease of targeting.
    - Ability to see other users' long past posts = easy way to find and target old posts for purposes of a massive downmod attack to karma.

    3) Incentives to downmod versus upmod
    - If you upmod, you feel good about promoting good discourse: this does not apply to most Slashdotters, especially modpoint miners, on the basis of John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com].
    - If you downmod, you commit a direct attack on someone. You decrease their karma, you decrease the visibility of their post (directly attacking their words), and as something I didn't know about till the parent poster pointed it out, you apparently also can be hit with a temp ban [slashdot.org]: "Also, if a single user is moderated down several times in a short time frame, a temporary ban will be imposed on that user... a cooling off period if you will. It lasts for 72 hours, or more for users who have posted a ton." Therefore, if you go after someone's old posts, with a slew of modpoints from sockpuppet accounts established only to have more tickets in the modpoint lotto, you can actually ban them as described above by the parent poster.

    I can't see how anyone can justify this as a good thing for Slashdot's discussions. I don't care what side you are on in a discussion, either side - or both side - having access to ban buttons is just not going to be helpful. Human nature says they're not using it on the trolls, they're using it to try to silence the other side.

    4) Ineffectiveness of metamoderation
    - Metamoderation only covers a small sampling of the moderated posts, and only results in a very slight uptick to the percentage chance that an account will get modpoints again sooner. Further, metamoderation pulls from the same group of people that are generally moderating, meaning that downmods produced by polarized bury brigade members are relatively likely to be reviewed by other bury brigade members (who are interested in metamodding, unlike the general posting populace).

    Kamiza's point below is absolutely spot-on; the solution to bury brigades is to take away their weapons.

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monoman (8745) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @12:28PM (#38216078) Homepage

    Interesting but the "bury brigade" types will have one account to read and reveal who a poster is and all of their other accounts to do bury posts with.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @12:39PM (#38216206)

    I was about to reply when I saw yours. Spot on. I didn't check all the comments, but the ones I did reinforced my perception that the moderation system works. off-topic for a speech about how government is always bad, downmodding of posts with no internal logic... it seems to be working.

    Now there are posts that are factually wrong that get modded up. I know I've been guilty of those from both sides - both the posting and the modding. Unfortunately, that has more to do with the knowledge of the modders than anything else. There's no way to fix that, unless we go the appointed-expert route, and that's just not going to work.

    I've said it before, I'll say it again: the Slashdot moderation system has many flaws, but no one has been able to provide a better alternative. Most are just some form of "make me a benevolent dictator" or "abolish all moderation", which are both non-starters.

  • Re:GO GOOGLE! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @12:50PM (#38216382)
    I think you're both exaggerating and misunderstanding the statements and claims made by the patent?

    First, in a simplified sense mod points are given to every user. You can lose the right to get mod points by being enough of an ass, but in general mod points are available to all.

    Second, they are not trying to steal Slashdot's mod system by lying in a patent, they are using Slashdot as an example and then moving on to propose the exact opposite kind of mod system.

    In Slashdot everyone gets to moderate (again, presuming you don't act like an ass) and it is hoped that in general the "correct" mods will outweigh the "incorrect" mods. Then there's the meta-mod system, but again anyone who wants to participate (and again, isn't acting like an ass) generally can. And again it's hoped that the "correct" meta-mods will outweigh the "incorrect" meta-mods.

    The proposed system presumes there's someone in charge who knows what's "correct." They then get to choose some buddies who they also know have "correct" beliefs. Those buddies then get to choose their own buddies who have "correct" beliefs.

    So in short it's the difference between a democratic system and an aristocratic system. In one everyone gets to vote (presuming you haven't recently been convicted of a felony) and ideally the best people/ideas get pushed to the top. As long as the general populace is well educated and not easily misled, it works great. In the other authority descends from the top in a feudal system of vassals. As long as the person at the top is completely fair and 100% infallible, it works great.

    So no, what they describe is not "exactly the slashdot modding system", it is in fact almost the direct opposite.
  • by c6gunner (950153) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @12:54PM (#38216440)

    The problem with a "plus only" system is that it encourages the spread of bullshit. You can make up complete nonsense that sounds plausible and intelligent, get modded to +50, and that rating can never be taken away. Even when someone posts a comment explaining in detail why everything you've said is factually wrong, their comment has to play catch-up before anyone will even see it.

  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @01:26PM (#38216876)

    People on /. have been complaining about this for *years*. Back in the day some /.-ers complained about Jon Katz. Then others complained about anything Stallman related. Still others complained about anything remotely redolent of Microsoft astroturfing.

    The years have rolled on, and the biases editors and community members are accused of have changed too, but you know what? I can still read the comments on any given article here and expect to find insightful information from at least 1-2 actual experts modded high. So, if I want to read about the latest Mars mission, I'm 80% sure to see a comment about it from someone who works *on that actual mission*. Where else can you find that? Digg? I don't think so.

    Knock /. if you will. It's still better than anything else out there. I miss CmdrTaco and Hemos and CowboyNeal and all the others; when CmdrTaco left I was truly sad like a member of my family had died. But the ethos they created lives on, and I hope it never dies.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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