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The a2k world is changing 3: about voting

 
 
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 12:11 pm
If you are following the other threads in this forum about the coming version of a2k (tentatively scheduled for launch this month) you know we are launching the new software soon and beginning to explain the changes. For an overview of why we are including a rating feature please see this thread:

http://www.able2know.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=120671

The basics are that we are going to have the community be more responsible for maintaining the culture they want and the individual more responsible for their own experience.

Many people who have used other websites with rating features are concerned about the abuse of the system and while I'm sure there will be some of that on the new site we are also going to do a lot more to prevent it than other sites you may be thinking of did.

So here I want to talk about how it can be positive for the community and the ways the community can help to make it so.

1) We are not making a simple number on the screen. Many sites with ratings systems don't do anything other than change the number associated with the user or content. This makes it completely pointless except for the purpose of vanity, which is not something that any site can serve well.

We are using the data to provide editorial control to the users. The content users vote up will be more prominent. The content users vote down will be less prominent and sometimes hidden.

Getting all the details right is going to require tweaks to the way it's done and we probably don't have it nailed yet and will learn a lot after launch but we are committed to making it more useful than just an arbitrary number on the screen.

2) We are committed to preventing abuse of the system. We are going to work hard against those who use sock puppetry. Other systems allowed a lot of fake accounts and multiple votes. We are going to silently discard fraudulent votes. If you create a second account to vote for the same thing, your vote will not be added to the aggregate vote even if it seems to show up for you. The downside is that legitimate users who share the same computer will not have both votes counted but this will prevent the basic level of sock puppetry.

But there are other ways to get around something like that that is predominantly based on IP addresses and we expect people to try. We also will address that through vote weighing algorithms that will dramatically reduce their effectiveness.

We don't think we've got this nailed out of the box but will adapt the technology to fight this. We aren't making the free for all that Abuzz was for example so don't assume the abuse we'll see will be of a similar scale.

3) The community is going to have a big share of the responsibility in keeping this positive. We'll do our part to shape the technology, and and prevent scale of abuse but the users can do their part by:

- Voting based on objective site values and not whether or not whether they like the person or agree with them.
- Not using the ratings for character assassination. We will put algorithms in place to react to this so don't expect to be able to go on a binge of voting down all of someone's posts just to get at them. We are going to build ways for the system to learn from its data and excessive use patters like that will trigger loss of trust and authority for your votes. In short, if your actions look like a malicious robot your account will likely be treated that way.
- Using the vote to help keep this place civil and up to our standards.

In the past, if someone was abusive or disruptive or just plain being stupid the only way to deal with them is to try to ignore them (with no consequence to the abusive or disruptive person) or to respond to them and feed the attention to the behavior because of all the site being based on activity.

Now we are making the collective judgment of the users an editorial control, so use it! The people who want to abuse it will, and the best defense against abuse of a ratings system is a lot of honest use of it. If we have enough members using it we can make code to mitigate the abuse but without the members establishing the positive use pattern it will be much harder to do so.

So vote away. Now that everyone can help with the moderation please do so. The site will be better for it if it is more than just a few bearing this burden.
 
Craven de Kere
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 12:29 pm
And to clarify, there is still reporting and moderators. But the focus of the moderator post deletion will be spam, porn and illegal content. Civility and community culture is what the focus of the voting should be.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 12:31 pm
I guess I'd like to say --if that's not inappropriate on this thread-- that I hope people will really think hard before censoring posts/ideas. Maybe there could be a thread to discuss post removals before they occur...? (If I thought the majority political consensus bode badly before...LOL)
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 12:33 pm
As far as I can tell, nothing except illegal stuff will be utterly removed -- the idea-type stuff can be viewed by anyone, just that there is an extra step. People who don't want to see it can glide by, while people who do want to see it can click on (something) and see the post.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 12:39 pm
But they can't completely censor it either. They can remove it from their view instantly and make it less prominent for others but the others can also turn off the effect of the collective censure for themselves.

In detail here are the basics as they will start:

- Moderators can still delete posts. Doing so makes them unavailable for all. This censorship will be reserved for little more than spam, porn and illegal content.
- Users can vote posts down. Doing so "collapses" the post but it is still available to them if they want to see it. Here is an example of what that looks like:

http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/8075/a3kur9.jpg
Between the first and third topic is a topic I voted down on a test site. I can still click "view" to see it.
- When enough users vote something down, it will show up collapsed by default. Logged in users can change the threshold at which that happens or eliminate it entirely.

This way, you don't have to fit right in with the mainstream. You have ways to limit their censure on your experience or eliminate it altogether.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 01:06 pm
Thanks for that expanded explanation. Glad to know we can minimize the censuring effect. Happy in this corner.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 01:34 pm
"Voting based on objective site values": now there's a phrase.

Let's say each of us over time accumulate a few people whose posts annoy us for other reasons than simple disagreement but possibly other reasons than "site values". The reasons for annoyance may be as simple as the way one person routinely phrases their thoughts, or some other personality quirk, which I'd consider not a site value. I can't predict now that I will ever "censure" any thread, or post, if that kind of pinpoint voting will ever occur. But one day I may be in a mood to do so, with the offender's words not actually being any 'worse' than any other day.
And, as we grow, my not very strong interest in "censure" may grow.


I guess I'd like to hear what you think of as site values, Craven.


Secondly, I guess I'm not clear, though you probably were - we will have the ability to screen out posters entirely, screen out a particular thread in entirety, screen out one poster on a particular thread but not all other threads?


More confusion: if, at least as this starts out, I or others don't vote lots of people or threads down, that will look like I'm interested in everything, which is not far off the mark. But we are all interested in some things more than others. So, these votes will also be a way of marking interest level? Will it be clear a low mark doesn't mean censure of a person/thread but simple lack of interest? Or will interest level be marked by what threads we choose to open?
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 01:55 pm
ossobuco wrote:
So, these votes will also be a way of marking interest level?

I read that as "marketing interest level...." Wink
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 03:27 pm
Will there be a way to avoid seeing nested quotes?
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 03:55 pm
ossobuco wrote:
Let's say each of us over time accumulate a few people whose posts annoy us for other reasons than simple disagreement but possibly other reasons than "site values". The reasons for annoyance may be as simple as the way one person routinely phrases their thoughts, or some other personality quirk, which I'd consider not a site value. I can't predict now that I will ever "censure" any thread, or post, if that kind of pinpoint voting will ever occur.


I'm sure it will occur and isn't necessarily bad as long as the use of the feature is predominantly positive.

Quote:
I guess I'd like to hear what you think of as site values, Craven.


I guess it will differ for each user and then the collective will be the site's culture and values. For me, I will vote up things I am interested in and vote down things I find personally untoward.

So I see myself trying to use the positive votes to highlight content I think is interesting and useful, and use the negative votes to bury content I think is rude or obnoxious.

Quote:
Secondly, I guess I'm not clear, though you probably were - we will have the ability to screen out posters entirely, screen out a particular thread in entirety, screen out one poster on a particular thread but not all other threads?


At launch there will be:

- the ability to ignore a user site-wide
- the ability to vote down a topic, which will hide it from you
- the ability to vote down a post, which will hide it from you


Quote:
More confusion: if, at least as this starts out, I or others don't vote lots of people or threads down, that will look like I'm interested in everything, which is not far off the mark. But we are all interested in some things more than others. So, these votes will also be a way of marking interest level? Will it be clear a low mark doesn't mean censure of a person/thread but simple lack of interest? Or will interest level be marked by what threads we choose to open?


Yup, voting up interesting content will make it more prominent and is a good way to indicate that you think it's useful to others.

Think of it like this. A2K is a newspaper that let's everyone be a journalist and an editor. When you vote things up, you are promoting the story. When you vote things down, you are burying it.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 03:56 pm
ehBeth wrote:
Will there be a way to avoid seeing nested quotes?


Not at launch, but we've had ideas for this that we'll eventually get around to.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2008 04:59 pm
BBB
Applause!
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2008 02:21 pm
Won't this result in certain posters starting new threads by the dozen (even worse than now)? Miller alone, for instance, must have started 100 Obama threads by now, in an apparent attempt to drown the opposition in volume… so she can get her negativity out there (and isn't that basically spamming anyway?). Does there come a point where a poster's default entry is a big thumb down for being so consistently negative and rated accordingly? I guess I'm wondering if the content offered ever has any bearing on the person posting it, beyond the collective eventually learning to like or dislike them on their own. Some responsibility.

I also wonder if down the road you will build some kind of code to perhaps weight a member's opinion higher or lower based on how often he or she votes in line with the collective… or would that just exaggerate the popularity aspect of it? Or maybe allow us to rate posters into having greater weight in our own browsing experience? You know, like giving a Soz or a Nimh superpowers when it comes to rating politics whether it be for one or all. Or maybe Veto powers! Say, if any three of a select group calls it garbage, it's garbage.

I'm just wondering out loud because A2K is the only such place I've ever really participated, so I don't know what's feasible or common.
0 Replies
 
real life
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2008 09:22 am
Get ready for groupthink. Laughing
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2008 10:05 am
real life wrote:
Get ready for groupthink. Laughing

Get ready for having to be coherent or moderately entertaining.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2008 10:10 am
ehbeth wrote :

Quote:
Will there be a way to avoid seeing nested quotes?


"nested quotes" are a great brain exercise for us older members :wink: .
hbg
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2008 10:11 am
be prepared for, if an individual posts "Good morning the sky is blue", the other individuals who personally don't like this poster will vote the post down negatively.

This is what happened constantly on Abuzz.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2008 10:14 am
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
be prepared for, if an individual posts "Good morning the sky is blue", the other individuals who personally don't like this poster will vote the post down negatively.

This is what happened constantly on Abuzz.

Yeah, well, who likes someone who posts the obvious?
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2008 02:24 pm
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Won't this result in certain posters starting new threads by the dozen (even worse than now)?


Maybe, but now you can bury it and that's more than what the moderators can do for you right now with this.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2008 10:04 am
@DrewDad,
drewdad wrote :

Quote:
Yeah, well, who likes someone who posts the obvious?


particularly if i look out the window and it's raining or snowing here .
if you have any good or cheerful news , stay away from me !!!
hbg
 

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