Suggestions regarding the Slashdot moderation system

Written September 13. 1999, at 03:00 GMT.

Slashdot has this neato moderation system for it's discussion board. However, it seems to be gradually turning into something monstrously complex. It's newest feature is Meta-Moderation.

I recently had the chance to do both moderating and meta-moderating, and this latter experience got me thinking so hard that I could not resist sending Mr. Malda an e-mail where I explained my ideas.

Hi!

I have an idea and some suggestions regarding the /. moderation system.

I just tried the Meta-Moderation feature and liked it *really really* much.

I also was "lucky" enough to gain moderation rights for a few days (during which I was 90% offline) and didn't really like it that much. I have the gut-feeling that this whole moderation and meta-moderation system is getting a bit too complicated and could do with a little overall re-design. (Please note that I am in most respects in favour of the Moderation system, especially it's democratic - yet anarchistic - feel.)

The *problems* I see with todays moderation system are:

  • Most moderators arrive early and thus only see (and moderate) the first few hours of comments - potentially leaving lots of quality comments unmoderated.
  • There's nothing to keep moderators from reading comments sorted by 'Highest scores first'.
  • The ability to moderate hits you unexpectedly and is gone before you really get the hang of it.
  • Too complex (hurts the designer part of my brain) [It's easy to use - sure - but the stuff under the hood is complex.]

*What I like* in how the Meta-Moderation system is designed:

  • The system can systematically request moderation (and/or remoderation) of *every* comment.
  • Ten comments a day is a managable amount of moderation and gives one a feeling of having done one's plight, now being able to relax, read /. and feel good about oneself.
  • Almost everyone can be eligible for moderation rights.
  • I don't get to choose which comments I review.
  • Badapples(tm) are unable to do selective, wide-spread harm to the discussion.
  • It seems dead simple.

What I suggest:

  • Moderation system based on the Meta-Moderation design.
  • Each and every logged in user with at least n-days old account gets to moderate.
  • Each day moderators get to moderate, say, 10 randomly selected messages. (users might have some control over how many messages they feel like moderating each day.)
  • System would focus on having each message reviewed at least once. And by default trust the moderation done by only one moderator.
  • Given enough human resources the system would auto- matically cycle through all messages for second opinion. Starting with those messages given negative scores (to counter the effect of badapples(tm) ).
  • Meta-Moderation would be done by everyone - even ACs.
  • Below each comment in the discussion area there would be a 'the-moderator-of-this-message-was-evil/mad/wrong- please-queue-this-message-up-for-immediate-reevaluation'. Everyone could, by pressing this button request another moderation effort for any message.

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