[CrackMonkey] Slashdot Farewell Speech
whig at debian.org
Tue Oct 3 19:13:15 PDT 2000
I strongly agree with you.
I have given a lot of thought to the question of a well-designed
moderation system, and have considered putting it into effect for
certain mailing lists I've operated for a number of years. None of
these are on the scale of Slashdot, to be sure, but the issue of
signal/noise is omnipresent in any communication medium once a
critical mass of people begin using it on a regular basis.
Slashdot was bound to fail. No amount of tinkering with a
moderation system which is based upon a law of averages will ever
work. People are not averages!
Here's the thing, there are people whose opinions I respect, others
whose I disagree with, and then the vast majority who either have
no discernably intelligent opinion at all or whose opinions I could
not care less about.
The same is true in reverse, some people value my opinions, others
Any workable large-scale moderation system should be based upon the
principle that people choose their own moderators.
So, let's say that I agree most of the time with Signal 11's
opinions, and he has rated a particular article highly. Not just
+1 or something stupid like that, but a real rating on a scale of
1-10 for instance. I see that he has given this article a 9.
Given my opinion of you, there's a good chance I'll like that
article too. If ten people I respect have given it a similarly
high rating, the odds are even higher I'll like it. If their
opinions are mixed, then it might drop in priority for me.
You can take this even further, and let users specify relative
correlations rather than just setting all moderators equal. That
is, maybe I agree 75% of the time with Signal 11, and maybe 90% of
the time with someone else, etc.
Remember the whole point of moderation is to serve as a proxy for
one's own opinion, in advance. I don't have time to read
everything, I want to know whether I'm likely to find something
interesting before I invest the time and effort to do so. The
closer the moderation correlates to my own personal preferences,
the better it is for me.
No system based on averages can ever accomplish this for anyone but
the non-existant "average" person.
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