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Incoherent comments

2004-01-02 18:58:56.857776+00 by Dan Lyke 11 comments

Sigh. That second comment in this entry has me thinking that maybe I need to start a different tack on commenting systems. Any suggestions? Should I just ditch the Flutterby code and switch to slashcode for lots of collaborative filtering goodness, or should I just take a more draconian hand and let any of the Flutterby elite delete comments?

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-02 23:48:42.467622+00 by: dexev

I suggested a while ago a 'waiting period' between signing up for an account and being able to post. Most of the useless posts are from people who sign up just to make a single, pointless post, then disappear again forever

or, even more insidious: make new user posts *invisible* for a week. They can see their own posts, but nobody else can. After the week, the post becomes silently visible.

on all of the collaborative ratings sites I've seen, the ratings were just a source of flamewars

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-03 01:39:10.465851+00 by: ebradway

How 'bout a user rating system like slashcode - and let us each rate each other - our rating is the average of the community ratings and we can turn off display of comments with low ratings. Give new users a medium rating that can quickly get rated down...

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-03 04:23:18.084293+00 by: Shawn

I must admit that I have a bit of a morbid facination with the rating idea. I occasionally post on /. but it's far too big a site for me to track more than the daily headlines.

Here, however, I've had a number of situations where I've made posts which garnered no comments. I find myself wondering if it was simply because everybody was too busy, generally agreed with what I said, already knew about the bit of info I was passing along, or actually felt my post was too pointless to be worth acknowledging.

That said, except for a couple of recent cases, I haven't found the volume of stupid/incoherent/pointless/troll posts to be high enough to bother me. They mostly go unnoticed at this end.

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-03 07:24:43.467937+00 by: crasch

I agree with Shawn -- at least from my perspective, the small number of trolls/spammers here do not justify the cost I expect that switching to a new backend would require. I think allowing your lieutenants to delete errant posts might be useful though, and could handle those that do occur. I don't like the idea of making a new member wait a week to post--why hassle the vast majority of innocent visitors to block a few spammers/trolls?

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-03 15:43:52.531814+00 by: markd

I have no problem with a Draconion hand. Someone posts something insipid, then that post gets yanked and the user account deactivated. The next time they try posting they get a note explaining the situation in language they can understand "u r dum ppl gitlost lol gtg". If someone wants Free Speech to say something stupid, they can go to the trouble of setting up their own website and invest the time and energy building the software and community.

I haven't met anyone here in person (at least that I'm aware of), but I think I know folks in charge here well enough to know that they wouldn't axe a well-reasoned post just because they disagreed with it. Dissent and intelligent opinions are good. Idiocy is annoying.

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-03 19:10:08.478005+00 by: aiworks [edit history]

As time passes and the community grows, I think that arbitrary (at least it will look that way) comment posting will be negative. Over at JoS they do this. Mostly, people don't understand why a post was deleted and generally just get pissed off. It's detrimental to the community over there (people stop visiting when that happens) and, frankly, contributes to the notion that Joel Spolsky is an arrogant blow hard that has NO tolerance for other points of view.

The volume of "undeseriable" posts here is very low so far (you really didn't have to follow those je||ey brac|et posts if you didn't want to...). Of course, that could change quickly.

I agree with dexev, we need some form of gatekeeper. It's too bad that there's not some form of widespread, working micropayment system. I think that would be ideal (want to sign-up to post, give Dan $1). At any rate, there needs to be a small amount of pain involved to get an ID.

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-04 04:22:12.355131+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

I think the waiting period, or some other minor barrier to entry, to post a comment could work, but I'm not crazy about the idea of invisible posts. I sometimes have a hard enough time keeping up with new postings. If I had to jump back and forth along the timeline...

But while reading aiworks comments it also occurred to me that even amongst us... lieutenants (hmmm... I like the sound of that ;-)... there could conceivably be disagreement as to what constitutes a valid/incoherent post.

What about combining a simple rating concept (without the overhead of something like /.) with the draconian axe? Example: Killing a post requires a vote by three (or some other reasonable number) core members. Or maybe not kill it at all - just remove if from the default view, with an option to view all posts for those who would like to. (Which I guess is just a variation on the invisible post idea, so maybe I do kind of like that.)

I would think that would be a pretty simple addition to the back end.

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-04 05:49:29.626088+00 by: Dan Lyke

I like the "dollars for Dan" micropayment scheme, but, yes, implementation is a pain.

I've thought about the rating concept, or even something just as simple as a bozo bit (... WHERE NOT IN (SELECT bozobits.banned_id FROM bozobits WHERE bozobits.user_id=...)) but most of the posts we don't care to read aren't from regular participants. And what I really want is to not get (and store, and...) the posts in the first place.

I've got several splintered remains of attempts at workflow based back-ends for Flutterby, I'm wondering if perhaps adding an approval process to comments might work. Maybe something like...

Having the "one person approves it" rule makes it a little less likely that I'll be dictatorial, and allowing anyone who has vested themselves in the community a little bit be able to approve makes sure that the dissent flows. This has the disadvantage that we need to entice people to do those approvals, but it does make the discussion more of a community decision.

I'm a little burned out on the Flutterby code. I've been playing with some tools with a non-web interface and trying to get those useful, so doing any modification to the CGI stuff isn't on the top of my stack right now. Maybe I'll tolerate the occasional "sigh" comment for right now.

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-05 00:58:05.393023+00 by: concept14

As someone who reads this site regularly but has posted comments approximately twice, here's my point of view: The volume of comments here is low enough that I don't need a Slashdot-style mechanism to hide all but the best comments from me.

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-05 05:33:50.128409+00 by: topspin [edit history]

I also feel the S/N ratio isn't too bad here.

There's the occasional stupid comment.... even from those of us who've been around.... and sometimes from folks who are doing little more than throwing their Big Mac box out the window of their '92 Chevy Caprice as they drive the internet "superhighway."

That's normal for a community. Once in a while in a community a "bracelet brouhaha" is going to break out or some cretin will feel the need to interject "i kneed to lick u." Perhaps never in a research lab at MIT or other rarified communities, but that's not the sorta community I'm commonly comfy in.

I like this place.... even tho' once in a while some trash bounces off my screen.

#Comment Re: Incoherent comments made: 2004-01-06 16:16:18.250712+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Dan, that sounds a lot like the model I'm putting together over at HE Alumni - new members have to be vouched for/sponsored by a current member in good standing. But that's a closed community (current and former employees of Humongous Entertainment), so I felt a more stringent screening process was in order.

I like this model, but I also don't think it's necessary at this time. Put it on the shelf and label it "in case of troll infestation, break glass".