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Slashdot's Disagree Mail 202

Posted by samzenpus
from the well-here's-your-problem dept.
Slashdot has one of the best discussion systems there is. It's grown and adapted over the years to meet various challenges and suit the needs of our users. A lot of time and effort has gone into it and we are always open to user input to help make it better. Some of our best ideas start as user suggestions and we appreciate the feedback. Of course they can't all be gems and sometimes the suggestions we get are unworkable or just bizarre. Here are a few of my favorite unhelpful, helpful suggestions.

On Wed Sept 6, 2006 ********* wrote:
"I can't help but notice the huge amount of trolls posting comments the past few days. I know you guys work hard to keep them down but it's a losing battle. You should make people post comments in groups to get rid of the trolls. Everyone would have a "comment buddy" that has to agree that your comment is worth posting. You could make it part of the preview process. This way trolls wouldn't be able to post because nobody else would mark their comment as worth posting. Maybe if two trolls got together they would be able to defeat the "buddy" process but that seems unlikely to me as I don't think they work in groups do they? Maybe this isn't as good an idea as I think for working against large groups but it might work for lone trolls."

I love the idea of a comment buddy. It reminds me of "Posture Pals" from the famous MST3K short. The next mail comes from a lady who doesn't mind clicking on things, in fact she loves it. If she had her way, everyone would have carpal tunnel syndrome.

On Mon May 7, 2007 ******* wrote
"Instead of a confusing bunch of numbers and some adjectives that don't mean anything why not just have a list of everyone who has posted a comment that a user can go through. That way you could click on a name and then click on their comments until you decided if you liked what they had to say. You could then click on them again and click on a ACCEPT COMMENTS link. Then you could click on them again and let them know that you like what they write so they will probably like what you write. That way it would save some clicking. After a bit you will have clicked on enough people that you could see a dozen or so comments in a story because you can't read much more than that anywy. You'd just have to click on a dozen people for a dozen or so stories and you will have your own little community with only the people who were worth clicking on. Just a thought."

Finally we have someone who thinks speech should cost something. In this case, a nominal fee on an upsliding scale.

On Fri Jan 5, 2007 ******* wrote:
"I have a suggestion to help solve the flame problem you seem to have here. It's simple and will make you enough money that you can get rid of ads. You charge 1 cent for the first 2 comments in a day 3-10 comments cost 5 cents and anything over 10 comments cost 25 cents (nobody but flamers post more than 10 times in a day). People would probably complain at first but they'd get used to it just like I'm sure people complained about stamps but accept it now. I don't think people would be willing to flame if it cost a couple $. keep up the good work."

*

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Slashdot's Disagree Mail

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 10, 2008 @12:58PM (#25330145) Journal

    "I love the idea of a comment buddy. It reminds me of "Posture Pals" from the famous MST3K short. The next mail comes from a lady who doesn't mind clicking on things, in fact she loves it. If she had her way, everyone would have carpal tunnel syndrome."

    "Ms. Martin! Tommy drew a bong! [youtube.com]"

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:00PM (#25330165) Journal

    "Instead of a confusing bunch of numbers and some adjectives that don't mean anything why not just have a list of everyone who has posted a comment that a user can go through. That way you could click on a name and then click on their comments until you decided if you liked what they had to say. You could then click on them again and click on a ACCEPT COMMENTS link. Then you could click on them again and let them know that you like what they write so they will probably like what you write. That way it would save some clicking. After a bit you will have clicked on enough people that you could see a dozen or so comments in a story because you can't read much more than that anywy. You'd just have to click on a dozen people for a dozen or so stories and you will have your own little community with only the people who were worth clicking on. Just a thought."

    Has she approached Amazon with a draft for a 9-click patent?

  • by emart (1343753) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:01PM (#25330197) Homepage
    charging for comments??! that's one of the worst ideas i have heard in a while. i don't think this comment is worth a penny! and i bet a lot of people would agree with me!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grub (11606)
      The mod system is good enough, IMHO. It has enough 'mob mentality' that the end users can modify their settings enough to not see down-modded tripe.

      The buddy system would bring a tyranny of the majority to slashdot.
      • by spazdor (902907) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:11PM (#25330357)

        The buddy system would bring a tyranny of the majority to slashdot.
        Agreed! The letter mentioned that trolls work alone, but...

        Imagine the discord if suddenly all Slashdotters were required to have a friend!

      • Re:costly words (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DiegoBravo (324012) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:56PM (#25330977) Journal

        I think you should be tired of suggestions about the mod system, but anyway....

        About each six/twelve months I read a comment that compulsively deserves to be modded (and nobody cared.) I think you may provide anyone (or maybe anyone who ever cared to mod) with a single extra *persistent* and non-renewable mod point... call it your semestral "gold mod point", just for those cases of flagrant urgency. This also may avoid the redundant (and ubiquitous) sentence "If I had mod points!..."

      • by Tink2000 (524407)

        The mod system is good enough, IMHO.

        Speaking as someone who thinks the mod system is horribly broken (no mod points in over 5 years), your opinion is not only humble, it sucks.
        IMO, of course.

        • I seem to get mod points every other week. I've probably wasted 30 or more in the last few months just for not seeing enough stuff I wanted to moderate. I wonder what kind of algorithm they use for this.

          • by Artifakt (700173)

            I'm only logged on today, because if I only log on to Slashdot 2 to 3 times a week, I get mod points every time. Sometimes I get 'em in groups of 15, sometimes just 5's. 50's are uncommon, but once a month or so I get them. I metamod whenever its offered (at least 1x/week), and occasionally (well frequently, of late), I get extra mod points just afterwards, and even some of those special points that you can use in a discussion you've already posted to, or at least the ones that don't expire for a month. I'

          • by mikesd81 (518581)
            I had that for a while too.. then they died off. And now they come in 15's or 10's.
          • by Skrapion (955066)
            Accroding to the page on moderation [slashdot.org], mod points are given to long-time readers who have good karma and represent "regular" readers (culling out the occasional readers and obsessive-compulsive readers).

            That was supposedly last updated 9 years ago, though, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's changed. Nowadays I get 15 points twice a week, but I'd never seen 15 points until about a month ago, so I'm not sure if it's a new policy by Slashdot, or something I've "earned".

            I often wonder if they use meta-modera
        • I get mod points about once a week, you just have to build karma, post a lot of comments on articles that don't hit the main page to avoid getting down modded by zealots, metamoderate every day and when you get one comment pushed up to +5 you'll get mod-points. After that its just a matter of keeping you moderation percentage up high so up mod rather than down modding.

          • by Tink2000 (524407)

            Thanks for the advice.
            I did everything you say, and about 5 years ago finally got my first set of modpoints.
            Well, most of them must have gotten negative'd in M2, and here I am, excellent karma, no mod points.

            Read my journal.

      • Being too serious for this topic, but the mod system breaks down when there too many +5 comments, which happens whenever there are more than about 150 comments in the story. Try reading yesterday's story on the latest Linux kernel [slashdot.org] and you'll see what I mean. Even if you only read the +5 comments in that story, a huge amount is off-topic/non-valuable crapola (IM!HO). At +4, $god help you. Yet with smaller stories (~100 comments), even +3 stuff is often decent.

        So we need to get rid of the +5 cap, and then

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Starteck81 (917280)

      "Charging for comments??! that's one of the worst ideas i have heard in a while. i don't think this comment is worth a penny! and i bet a lot of people would agree with me!"

      It could work, but that's just my two cents. ;-)

    • by darkuncle (4925)

      why, it's almost like charging to send email [darkuncle.net] (thank you slashdot for the original post)

  • by apathy maybe (922212) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:04PM (#25330235) Homepage Journal

    The Firehose (and by extension, Index v2), came about from people saying that they wanted to vote down stories. But that's the only one I can think of, can you think of any others?

    -----

    As for paying to post, well that would rule me out. I don't even have a credit card (the two times I've tried to get one, the bank in each case refused, I think due to the lack of sufficient income on my part). Not to mention, I'm not about to hand over my details for a few cents a day. (And PayPal doesn't like me for some reason, something to do with my combination of NoScript, not accepting cookies and FireFox?)

    -----

    I don't even understand the second suggestion.

    -----

    And I just don't think the first suggestion could work. There are enough trolls who would vote each others posts up, even if they don't know each other. And of course, one person's flame is another's insightful post.

    • by mangu (126918)

      There are enough trolls who would vote each others posts up, even if they don't know each other

      The troll group would quickly grow to be the largest group in /.
      Or do you know of any other particular subject that draws so much interest from so many people here?

    • by againjj (1132651)

      I don't even understand the second suggestion.

      It is basically the friends/foes system, but not well thought out. She describes a default hiding of comments unless you specifically say posters are friends (through lots of clicks), as opposed to the current system of default showing of comments unless you specifically say posters are friends and hide posts not from friends. In sum, it's the current system with a different default and a sucky UI.

  • by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04 AT highpoint DOT edu> on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:04PM (#25330241)

    Clearly he has not heard of Something Awful. Yes, we^H^H they do work in groups.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:06PM (#25330279) Journal
    Here's an idea. Make the
    idle comment box wider. One
    can barely type more than
    half a sentence in it the
    way it is set up now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Warll (1211492)

      Really? You sure that isn't only you? For me the comment box ends around--Filter error: Please use fewer 'junk' characters"---"Filter error: Please use fewer 'junk' characters"-------"Filter error: Please use fewer 'junk' characters"------------here

      Heres a picture to prove it: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p149/warll/Wide-eh.jpg [photobucket.com]

      • by uberdave (526529)
        It happens with
        my other account
        too. I think the
        comment window is
        even narrower in
        IE7 than in firefox

        So, three different browsers, two different usernames, and three different machines, with two different operating systems, all give me a narrow comment box.

        Somehow I don't think it's just me.
    • by OglinTatas (710589) on Friday October 10, 2008 @02:11PM (#25331151)

      Amen on the comment box, bro.

      One way to improve slashdot and reduce comment clutter would be to have a way for the reader to collapse entire threads which have drifted off topic, without changing the comment threshhold. Does anyone have a greasemonkey script that does this?

      The best example I can think of where this would be necessary, are the articles about evolution, fossils and such related stuff. Early in the discussion the evolutionist, creationist, and intelligent design trolls post, stirring up a whole hornets nest of other trolls and genuinely earnest posters, all of which get modded to +5 insightful. Then you have pages of meaningless comments obscurring any real discussion.

      If I could collapse entire threads when they veer off topic, I can then see the two or three comments which might have something meaningful to say.

      In the meantime, I just skip those articles entirely because other articles go off topic, but nowhere nearly as badly.

      Also, sorry for the offtopic/threadjack, Dave.

      • You might want to try clicking on a comment's title. It does exactly what you suggest.
        • d'oh, you're right--One must enable "dynamic discussion" in preferences.
          But what is up with the fsdn and doubleclick scripts in the dynamic discussion?
          Thank God for noscript.

    • by AioKits (1235070)
      Your post needs commas, and lots of them. Having the regular voice read it back to me just isn't cutting it. I want to hear it from William Shatner!
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      I just got a client-side stylesheet rule to work to fix this:

      form[action*="idle.slashdot.org"] textarea#postercomment {
          font-family: monospace ! important;
          width: 99% ! important;
      }

      Turns out my mistake was using postercomment as if it were a class instead of a name/id.

      • Thanks for the workaround. What do I do with it? More to the point, though, why should I have to adjust things on my (stock install) browser just to make slashdot come out right? Surely this is a server side problem, no?
        • by HTH NE1 (675604)

          Thanks for the workaround. What do I do with it?

          Put it in your userContent.css file. In the Linux version, it is found at "~/.mozilla/firefox/*/chrome/userContent.css". It's read only at launch, so revisions require restarting the browser.

          More to the point, though, why should I have to adjust things on my (stock install) browser just to make slashdot come out right? Surely this is a server side problem, no?

          If a solution is not forthcoming from the server side, it would be wasteful to have the ability to fix it for yourself and not do so. (At times I think it is this way to encourage people to Preview, except Preview doesn't quite work right either.)

          I run with a good-sized userContent.css file overriding lots of things I g

  • Good suggestion (Score:3, Informative)

    by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:10PM (#25330345) Journal

    I like the idea.
    Just my 2c, literally.

  • by Xelios (822510) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:12PM (#25330379)
    I think the correct term is accountabilibuddy.
  • "I can't help but notice the huge amount of trolls posting comments the past few days. I know you guys work hard to keep them down but it's a losing battle. You should make people post comments in groups to get rid of the trolls. Everyone would have a "comment buddy" that has to agree that your comment is worth posting. You could make it part of the preview process. This way trolls wouldn't be able to post because nobody else would mark their comment as worth posting. Maybe if two trolls got together they would be able to defeat the "buddy" process but that seems unlikely to me as I don't think they work in groups do they? Maybe this isn't as good an idea as I think for working against large groups but it might work for lone trolls."

    Or it will do nothing but squash unpopular opinions.

  • Trolls (Score:5, Informative)

    by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:17PM (#25330441) Homepage

    Does the first writer really mean "trolls" or something else? I thought a troll was someone who intentionally posted an unpopular comment to get a frenzy of reactions. A good troll actually requires intelligence and creativity. It's the humorless automatons who reply to trolls that really clog up message boards. But I don't think that writer meant trolls at all.

    • Because she got a response out of you (hell 1/3 of an article!) and a whole discussion. I would say she successfully trolled the slashdot mailbag... mission accomplished!
    • by Intron (870560)

      I thought that was flamebait. Are you some kind of moron?

  • Make it tastier (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday October 10, 2008 @01:29PM (#25330605)
    Getting a comment modded to +5 results in free pudding.
  • As one who has been on both the receiving of mods and moderating sides: Trolls are often in the eye of the beholder. There are a lot of modders who mod down opinions they simply disagree with--especially political ones--as trolls, flamebait and overrated.

    I think there needs to be someone modding the modders. Can the overseers not discover who's consistently moderating unfairly and just not give them moderating points? I know meta-modding sometimes helps correct unfair mods. But is anything done if a person

  • Pay me a nickel every time I read a comment attached to disagree mail?
  • Huh?! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fm6 (162816) on Friday October 10, 2008 @03:55PM (#25332417) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot has one of the best discussion systems there is.

    I say again, huh?

  • I think the last emailers remarks are unfounded.

    I'd like to see the research data that proves only homosexuals post more than 10 times daily to /.
  • I have my minimum viewing value set to 3 usually when browsing comments, and I have friends set to +1 and enemies set to -1 so I'm very likely to see posts from people I like the regular posting of, and less likely to see it from people I dislike.

    Of course, actually using the existing system solved this problem for me, without all the extra clicking :-)

  • People would probably complain at first but they'd get used to it just like I'm sure people complained about stamps but accept it now.

    Remember when we all used to complain about stamps? I remember pulling up Slashdot on that dreadful morning and seeing the headline:

    "FreePostLover writes:

    "The USPS has pulled back on its pledge to deliver all mail for free forever, and is scheduled to begin charging for delivery next month. Sources say the delivery will require you to affix 'stamps,' or small pieces of patterned paper with an adhesive backing, to anything you send. The catch? Those small pieces of paper will cost you upward of 25 cents

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