Community moderation

Discussion of general topics related to the new version and its place in the world. Don't discuss new features, report bugs, ask for support, et cetera. Don't use this to spam for other boards or attack those boards!
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Discussion of general topics related to the new release and its place in the world. Don't discuss new features, report bugs, ask for support, et cetera. Don't use this to spam for other boards or attack those boards!
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soundboy
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Community moderation

Post by soundboy » Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:01 pm

Hi.. I was discussing the future of my site and community with a developer that's helping me out. I've been using phpBB 2 for 3 years and was planning to redesign my whole site and make it more automatic and dynamic, and I was also planning on migrating to phpBB 3 once it's done.

Now, we started talking and the discussion resulted in a whole new way to look at how things have worked on my site and the community that has grown around it, and how their behavior is shaped largely by the way phpBB functions, and I'd like to share my thoughts here and read yours.

It all boils down to phpBB's rating and moderation systems, which are a traditional approach. Users have ratings according to the number of posts they've made, which is a flawed system because it leads to having a lot of trash posts, made by people who, for some strange undescribable reason, have an urge to just get to the highest rating possible in the lowest amount of time, thus polluting the forum with nonsense quick posts (times ten if you decide to install one of those "quick reply" thingies... those are evil I tell you!). So how do admins and moderators solve this? By moderating of course... deleting topics, warning people, banning people... becoming "cops" who will inevitably be the target of anger, rage, hard feelings, and yes.... flames. This can get to be a real problem, especially on larger boards.

So we ended up talking about an entirely different way of handling things, as seen on other discussion boards (i.e. the board on slashdot.org). I'm talking about self-moderating forums, in which ratings (and with them, privileges) come from quality and not quantity. How is this achieved you say? By feedback on posts and topics, given by the users themselves. Every post can be rated or voted either positively or negatively, and those ratings accumulate and influence each user's ratings. It's a simple yet impressive concept. Users with highest ratings get the most privileges (and their own votes are more important than those of lower rated users), and viceversa. Posts with a certain number of negative votes can be hidden or marked for deletion. Posts or topics with a certain number of positive votes can be featured among the best posts of the day/week. Users that fall below a certain rating can be recommended for a suspension or ban. Users above a certain rating can obtain more privileges.

Gone would be the days of cleaning up endless trash posts, because they'd be cleaned by the community itself, plus, there would be no reward on posting an insane amount of messages. Valuable users would be recognized as such, and users that post poorly would be motivated to increase the quality of their posts.

This is not a feature request, more of a comment on a whole new way of moderating a community, that maybe could find a way into phpBB in a future version, and doesn't seem too hard to implement.

harmlessgoat22
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Re: Community moderation

Post by harmlessgoat22 » Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:14 am

one flaw in your "perfect" system. When I go to b2l, a large web development community, I read the posts like a conversation. I'll post an example of part of a thread I was reading earlier today.
someone wrote: What's your favourite mythological god?

Good question. I'd give that 4 stars
someone else wrote: El.
Look up Sumerian Religion to learn more.

I don't like your oppinion. Thats a 2
someguy wrote: Does that include demi-gods? And what about those who considered themselves gods?
Meh I won't be difficult. I'll take 'Ra' (sp?)
Go the Egyptians.

"Meh" vote won't be dificult either. You swore at me in 3 other threads and 1 pm. You get a 1
franklin d rosevelt wrote: I really like Horus and Osiris of the Egypthians.
I also do admire Seth even though he is an Evil God.

You spelled Egyptians wrong. You get a 2
clinton wrote: Loki from Norse mythology

Blahh, blahh, blahh. Talk about someone interesting

Now my example of what I was rating WAS rather extreme, but don't you see the problems when you rate other peoples posts? Moderators are hired because they can act unbiased towards others no matter the oppinion, plus, if they reported the post for something wrong, they would have to give an explanation. This system would most likely be annonamous so people wouldn't care if they had a good reason.
And even if it wasn't annonamous, you would have to get someone else to look through the tons and tons of names and votes to find out if they were accurate, and that would defeat the purpose of doing this, because in the end, you can't have both problems solved. You don't have to have a person, or you don't have bad posts. You pick.

Please excuse the names I used.
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soundboy
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Re: Community moderation

Post by soundboy » Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:08 am

Well, not really. Maybe the guy swore at you, but not at other 80 users. Maybe the guy mispelled Egyptians and that bothers you, but maybe that'll only bother you and other 4 people. One vote won't make a big difference. Now, if 200 people voted negatively on a particular post, then there must be really wrong with it. If a guy makes an awesome post about Egyptians but a few people don't like him or are annoyed by his bad spelling, then he'll probably get 200 good votes and 15 bad ones which won't matter much. See my point?

Nobody would have to review the reasons for the votes, as you're right, they would be annonymous. But no action could be taken without intervention from an administrator, who, one would assume, would be a person that's generally aware of how things are going in a forum.

Another important thing... any would have only a limited number of votes per day. The higher your rating/level, the more votes you'd have. But if you're a new user who just wants to make a mess, you coulnd't because you'd only have a few votes per day and that won't get you far. If you're a seasoned poster and your great posts have earned you a higher level, it's likely that you have a better criterium and you get more daily votes to use.

Cap'n Refsmmat
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Re: Community moderation

Post by Cap'n Refsmmat » Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:47 am

Take a peek at Digg. People who are disagreed with get moderated down, even when they didn't really say anything wrong.

SamG
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Re: Community moderation

Post by SamG » Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:48 am

I'm likely the odd duck here, but I actually liked the pre-Web BBSs/echo conferences precisely because the moderator was virtually all-powerful. We either toed the line or we were gone. No off-topic posting, no flaming, no bashing, no trolling. Discuss intelligently and meaningfully (under connect time pressure no less) or be gone. I personally have yet to find a consistent equivalent on the Web.
"I hate trolls!" - Willow Ufgood

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Highway of Life
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Re: Community moderation

Post by Highway of Life » Sat Jul 15, 2006 4:52 am

Actually, I post on a board that has a feature similar to this, but it's a reputation rating... only good rep can be given. No bad rep.
If you like someone's post, you can give them rep, which adds to their existing rep points based on your rep, post count, and long-time registration on the forum.
With each rep you leave someone, you leave them a comment... tell them how much you like their post, or their insight or knowledge, whatever... but it's only positive rep, and it encourages good quality posts, and this forum is packed with good quality posts and topics. And all this is done with a QUICK REPLY!!!
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ElbertF
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Re: Community moderation

Post by ElbertF » Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:40 am

This is an old post from dhn, I have to say I agree with him on this subject:
dhn wrote: Anyway, my problem with Karma is that whenever you allow people to down-vote other posts, it will be abused. If users don't like a certain post, not voting for them is enough. If you like it, give it a thumbs up or a funny or informative rating. There is no need for a thumbs down. A post is either informative, or it isn't.

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dhn
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Re: Community moderation

Post by dhn » Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:13 pm

Oh the good old karma discussions from 2003. For those who don't know, we actually had a karma system implemented in 3.0 (2.2 then), but it was removed because it was impossible to come up with a system that will work on the broad spectrum phpBB 3.0 will be used in (forums with less than 100 to forums with more than 10,000 users).

The problem even with only allowing positive posts, is that "Karma whoring" is still very easy. People will notice trends, they'll try to get as much karma as possible with the least amount of work. That is why I think that one shouldn't reward users for good karma: no good ranks, no special posting abilities. A system like this should only be used to allow users to guide their way through forums and topics - to help separating the good from the bad content. This is why Slashdot works better than other systems, as there is no benefit from a better karma but more people reading your post.

harmlessgoat22
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Re: Community moderation

Post by harmlessgoat22 » Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:24 pm

Well, apparently you all missed one of my key points (that I conveniently only subtley mentioned). Using the example from my first post, I said I read them like a conversation. If you were in a conversation with your friends, how would you like to rate every post you read? Plus, besides that how would you like to rate the post you just read, click submit, have the page load again, go on to the next one, rate it click submit, have the page load again, and do that for every single post?
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dhn
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Re: Community moderation

Post by dhn » Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:28 pm

harmlessgoat22 wrote: Well, apparently you all missed one of my key points (that I conveniently only subtley mentioned). Using the example from my first post, I said I read them like a conversation. If you were in a conversation with your friends, how would you like to rate every post you read?

Easy solution. You are not allowed to rate posts in topics in which you post yourself. That is the Slashdot solution and it works well for them.
harmlessgoat22 wrote: Plus, besides that how would you like to rate the post you just read, click submit, have the page load again, go on to the next one, rate it click submit, have the page load again, and do that for every single post?

That is what AJAX is for.

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