On comment abuse
Posted Nov 20, 2003 15:13 UTC (Thu) by fdesloges
Parent article: On comment abuse
Two ideas to contribute:
1) I think that the main source of troll food is the subject of stories that are published. It is much more difficult for a troll to be inspired by "Stable kernel prepatch 2.4.23-rc2 released" than by "Thomas Bushnell is no longer Hurd maintainer". Keeping _any_ form of "religion" out of scope is may be the best way of starving the trolls. I however often appreciated in the past the way Jonathan Corbet is able to write about delicate subjects (like RMS, Microsoft) with civility, which almost always discourage subsequent trolling. But this is not the case for the two-lines-news. So I suggest that "troll subjects" be only reported in the famous high-quality original content published by lwn. Or in a "higher troll risk" filterable section of daily posts. After all, it has been said again and again that it is the original content of this site that is most valued by paying subscribers not the raw daily news post.
2) If the starved trolls still need to be identifed in some way, provide a simple system to allow trusted subscriber/staff to filter _down_ noise. (Not filter up signal, since good signal can vary from people to people, whereas I think the subscribers community has a pretty commun notion of what a troll is). If the data says most unsubscriber post valuable comments, is it really wise to deprived the subscribers from this ressource?
Food for toughts:
I consider that posts in slashdot-like sites fall in 3 pretty clear-cut categories.
The first easy to identify is the undesirable troll/offtopic.
The second is the "supported opinion or additionnal information", which is the only one valuable from my point of view. A "supported opinion" is one with exposed rationale behind it, typically based on analysis, or insider information.
The third one is the "unsupported opinion". It includes "this is bad/good because I like this flavor of thing". It includes the funny comments, that are, well, funny. It is a great way to feel like having a voice in a community, and is an even greater way of transforming a news site in an unreliable polling system. These posts are somehow as worthless for the information-seeking reader as the troll/offtopic posts, but much less easy to identify and thus more time-consuming. Creating a category for them in a moderation system is also difficult without hurting some posters feelings. And it is difficult to be impartial, since these "unsupported opinions" could be a delightfull, entertaining and insightfull topic when they come from high profile leaders like Linus, Perens etc.
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