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iamthemob's avatar

Would you like the ability to mod your own questions instead of relying on third parties?

Asked by iamthemob (17147points) September 1st, 2010

So recently there was this question regarding blocking on Fluther, which links back to one about a month ago. A lot of the comments covered general censorship problems, being able to simply ignore obnoxious posters, etc.

I’m not the biggest fan of blocking…I can see the revenge questions in the social section already. What I had been thinking about was a function enabling you to mod certain posts so they would be invisible in the thread. This would allow the person to continue to post on that and your other questions. The point would be to enable members to ask questions and remove duplicate answers, stuff that is more social , offtopic things that they think would be rude to flag and get branded as “that guy,” etc. It would make it easier to scroll through for other users so that they could get an idea what had been covered (this would be particularly useful during or immediately following a “feeding frenzy.”

I think ideally, this would also have a feature to allow anyone viewing the question to toggle between the full thread and the modded thread, and could keep track of either they wanted.

What do people think of something like that?

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39 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No thanks.I like the KISS method for most things.and I am a big fan of free speech…even if I want them to STFU! ;)

iamthemob's avatar

I see the merits of the KISS method. But this wouldn’t really do anything to affect free speech if there was an option to view the full thread or the author edited one. If there are 130 responses to a thread, and 50 of them cover everything said, someone might skim something of that nature while giving up on the longer…

…If people read the whole thread, find out what they were going to say was said, and then pick up on a new point, doesn’t that actually inspire free speech (conceptually as the free exchange of ideas)?

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t think users should have any modding abilities. There have been enough instances in the 4 months I’ve been here of people complaining about the mods modding them for me to realize that if everyone had that ability, things would get chaotic. There would be question after question of people asking who modded them and why or the threads would turn into people arguing about if they should have been modded or not. The mods have guidelines they have to follow and everything they do is seen by each of the other mods. Things get modded in order to maintain the qualities that the administrators want. Having both the original and the modded threads available could be confusing, especially to new members.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds

But the mods are third parties that seem to come out of nowhere. Plus it’s weird to have something changed or removed for “standards.”

And it’s clear – the user removes the comments. but everyone can still see it if they choose. If you can still be part of the conversation, then there’s no real change.

Besides…people ask questions because they want to figure out or see certain reactions. They can flag stuff they want off too. Why shouldn’t they be able to manage a way to summarize what’s going on?

Finally…I don’t necessarily think that the mod’s concerns should come into play anyway. The site isn’t there for them, it’s here for us.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@iamthemob The mods don’t come out of no where. They are chosen by the administrators of the site and respond when questions/answers are flagged. Each of the mods was a regular user of the site before they became a mod (as far as I know). I don’t think it’s weird for something to be removed for standards. Fluther has clearly stated quality standards for the questions and answers. They are there to keep the site up to the standards the administrators want it to be at.

If someone says something you don’t like, you ignore it and move on. Once you’ve read it, the damage is already done. Considering you would have to read it to remove it, what’s the point of only removing it for yourself?

We all have the ability to flag the quips we don’t like, but it’s up to the mods to decide if the quip gets to stay or not based on the guidelines. The thing is, this is the way the administrators designed the site. It is their site to do with as they like. We are just here to enjoy the ride (in my opinion). When administrators start turning too much power over to the individual users, they start to lose control of their site (from my experience).

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds
Oh lord, did you really I assumed mods were magic? :-)

I meant that when you have something modded, a lot of the times it seems to come out of nowhere. It’s someone who wasn’t necessarily part of the conversation in question. So there’s a disconnect between the fact that they’re saying something about your comment, and the fact that they are sort of looking from the outside.

The point of removing it for yourself was mentioned in the question. If there’s a really long thread, it allows the new reader to see only one of the same style of question…instead of 12.

The administrators can design it however they like. They can also adjust it as the community demands. We’re not here to enjoy the ride…we’re the customers, this is the service. So if I don’t like it, and everyone else does, that’s my problem. If a lot of us don’t like it and the people upstairs don’t listen, that’s their problem. But this is a business, regardless of it’s purpose, and their job is to try to make us happy right?

BoBo1946's avatar

would send all my question to editing…then i would feel at home!

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think someone looking from the outside is the best option because they don’t have the emotional investment in it. There is enough resentment from some people towards the mods as it it. I don’t think it’s a good idea to have that resentment start to build in between the rest of the users on the site.

Yes administrators can change things to meet their communities demand. I don’t see myself as a costumer of Fluther. I’m part of a community that I enjoy contributing to. I don’t think the site has to make us happy. If we are not happy, we are free to stop contributing.

And no, I didn’t think you thought they were magic, I was just explaining that they are users as well, so they know what it’s like to be on the other side of being modded as well.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds

But see…if we’re unhappy and stop contributing, then there’s no community…it’s the same result, isn’t it?

Consider the community as a unit. It’s the customer. If collectively there are ways to make it happier, the admins should. How is that not a customer/provider relationship?

I’m not suggesting that the current edits are done with anything but the best of intentions. But if there’s a question about why something was self-edited, why wouldn’t the person concerned just comment the author? I agree that it could be messy at times…but it’s a little messy regardless…if we trust the community, shouldn’t we trust that the proper behavior will work itself out?

Seaofclouds's avatar

There will always be other people to fill our shoes. I think we’ve seen that proper behaivor doesn’t always occur on Fluther (thus the need for mods to get involved in personal attacks).

I look at it as a residential community. If my neighbor puts up a fence that I consider to be hideous, I can’t just take it down. There are steps I could pursue to try to get him to have to take it down. My responsibility is to find the best way for me to deal with it. If that means I end up moving because I don’t like it, that’s my choice.

iamthemob's avatar

Yes, but the analogy of when you are asking a question is more closely you having a party, and your neighbor gets obnoxious and confrontational. You should be able to tell them to leave.

And sure, it’s not. But the cases you’re talking about are unprovoked, really…and if they start to misbehave, we don’t need the mods if we can edit ourselves.

There won’t always be other people to fill our shoes. If there’s not a critical mass for a period of time enough that the site makes cutbacks, things go downhill.

I’m sorry, but as the consumer, we have immense power to enact change in all areas. I’m not saying we need to riot on this site…but I’m concerned that you seem to think that you have no say. I thought that was what this section was for…

Seaofclouds's avatar

I feel that I can suggest something, but I don’t feel they have to do what I suggest. I have made a question in this section asking if something would be a good idea. I never said we can’t suggest something we would like to change.

My point was that regular users should not have modding abilities, even if it is only in their questions because it will cause problems within the community. People will begin to take it personally and it will care over from one question to the next.

As far as it being a party and you telling them to leave, while it’s your question, it’s a public place (like having a party at the park). You could ask them to leave, but they really don’t have to since it’s a public place.

iamthemob's avatar

The forum is a public place…your question is your home. That’s how i would conceive of it…which makes the individual ability to edit more sensible.

In terms of upsetting people…I totally believe your point is highly likely. However, I would be concerned with playing to the lowest comment denominator if we let people who react irrationally control what we might do.

Do you think it’s sufficiently dangerous that it could not be beta tested?

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t think our questions are our home. If you were to ask it on your personal FB page, you could remove the answers you don’t like because it was on your personal page. The only personal page we really have here is our profile (in my opinion). Everything else is public domain.

If this was my site, I already know I wouldn’t do it, so I wouldn’t test it because I’ve been on sites that have given modding powers to all users and it got very ugly.

But, since it’s not my site and not really my choice, it doesn’t really matter. If Fluther decided to test it, we would find out just how well people would handle it. I would hope they would test it with the beta testers before making it a change for everyone.

iamthemob's avatar

So all things being equal, would you want the option? Consider again the situation where there is a lot of overlap in the questions, and it was just to clarify content to all. (remember, assuming the people can deal…;-)).

If not, why wouldn’t you want it?

Seaofclouds's avatar

No for all the reasons I’ve already stated. Once you’ve read the answer, the damage is done.

I see no reason to remove answers that are similar because, to me, the repeating of such information gives it a bit more weight. For example, if I asked a question asking if it was a good idea to purchase things from a specific online site and I got 10 answers telling me no and 3 answers telling me yes, if I blocked all the duplicate answers, it would change the percentage of people that said yes and no.

Why silence the voice of one person just because someone else said something similar before they did?

iamthemob's avatar

Sure, but that’s the case where such a thing matters.

What about the scenario where people make the same arguments because they haven’t read through the thread to see that the argument has been dealt with?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@iamthemob I still don’t think what they say has any less merit than when the other people said it. Not everyone reads every answer before answering the question, I believe most of us know that by now. That does not mean their answer is any less important than everyone else’s.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds

That’s not a value judgment (i.e., that’s not saying that the first post is better than the second in some way).

But a person reading through the thread will, in the case of a longer thread, take the time to look through the whole thread in more cases if some of the duplicates are removed.

Shouldn’t the questioned be managed in a manner where there are the most possible answers of the most diverse nature with all authors the most informed by the argument as possible?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@iamthemob Not in my opinion. I don’t think we should start limiting people’s answers just because they feel the same way someone else did. Most of the time, the answers aren’t word for word the exact same. Many people will restate something someone else said and then add a bit to it. Other people just want their opinion on the matter to be heard. I don’t think they have any less of a right to be heard just because they arrived late to the party.

augustlan's avatar

As a mod, my opinion may be naturally biased, but I’m gonna’ give it anyway. ;)

Trust me, there would be hurt feelings and retaliation. As mods, we get all of the complaints, drama, and more than our fair share of hate mail. Would you really want to have to deal with all of that, just to ask a question? It could very easily turn into a sort of combat zone, with moderation wielded as a weapon… ‘He modded me, so I’ll mod him’. That is the last thing we want Fluther to be.

iamthemob's avatar

I have a thick skin, personally. :-)

Also, when you mod, the question’s gone. In this scenario, people could see the modded questions.

And again…do we really want to not try something because of the lowest common denominator? This sounds like juvenile behavior…and if people resort to it…I’m probably not that interested in their input.

Interestingly, for me, I think that this would be an interesting auto-filter.

Plus, I think that a mod’s opinion is SO necessary in this discussion. Thanks!

JilltheTooth's avatar

I have just carefully read through this entire thread, and the impression I get from your posts, @iamthemob , is that you :
A: Don’t think the community members are capable of deciding for themselves which responses are valuable,(and with hundreds of active users visiting every day, the differing language in the “repeat” answers will resonate with different users) or
B: You are inconvenienced by reading through an entire thread.

Just out of curiosity, who decides what (or whom) the “lowest common denominator” is? Do you see yourself as qualified for that duty?

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’m sorry, Point A; was misstated. I apologize. I think you would miss some valuable and subtle differnces.
Point B stands

iamthemob's avatar

@JilltheTooth

I’m glad you did so carefully, @JilltheTooth! And I’m sorry you got that impression. But you couldn’t be more wrong!

I think that community members both have the capability of reading through entire threads, and I myself attempt to whenever I post on a topic.

However, I recently posted a question where there are 250 posts or so. That’s an extreme example, but after a certain amount of time, I got posts specifically stating “I haven’t read through all of these because I haven’t got the time.” There are also people who post clearly showing they haven’t read through all the posts, accusing one person or another of making a statement or meaning something in their post where, earlier in the thread, the person suffering the accusation stated that was exactly what they were not saying.

Sometimes it would be helpful to be able to see what has been stated already. That way, if you think there’s something that hasn’t been said, you can throw it down. Or you can see something that you might not have noticed if you went too quickly through the posts that might make you refine what you would have said otherwise, or add another example if helpful.

In response to your curiosity (p.s., I’m reading this tone as accusatory and uppity, so if I’m coming off as defensive, I’m trying not to and I’m sorry for misinterpreting), the lowest common denominator in that discussion is people who would get upset and start posting wars simply because their post was modded by the author. The argument was that because people might get upset that the author took off their post, it shouldn’t be done at all. However, if the community acts responsibly, if people want to know why something was taken down they could ask the author. The assumption was people would react negatively, this couldn’t be settled amicably, that it would happen in most cases continuously, and that therefore it shouldn’t be done.

I am actually of the mind that the community would be mature enough to figure out how to do it best. I’m saying it’s not appropriate to say that people being spiteful should be a reason not to see if something would be helpful. It’s letting the most reactive decide what should be done without even seeing what could be done.

My position is actually one of good faith and hope. I’m sorry it seems otherwise…but perhaps if I could have summarized…;-)

iamthemob's avatar

@JilltheTooth

Thanks for the clarification! Accepted. And I take my tone back a step too. :-)...

…B is solved, though, because users could view both all responses and the modded ones of the author. If someone saw that there was a point that seemed to be missed in the main thread, they could comment about that. So I see value in all responses, but again, there are times when people post a view already stated, and they just don’t know or just want to talk. I think it helps to reduce the noise potentially, without any judgment.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@iamthemob Even if you got rid of duplicate posts, people still wouldn’t read all the answers before answering a question. There really isn’t any way to make people read the answers already given. So they are going to continue to repeat what was already said. That doesn’t mean their answer isn’t just as valid as everyone else’s though and as long as it meets the guidelines, it deserves to stay.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds

But it’s not a commentary on validity. You can’t get everyone to do it, but you can get more people to do it the shorter the thread is.

Posts stating “I don’t have time to read through this whole thing…” have indicated that might be the case to me…plus, it’s something that I think makes sense logically.

If this is about community knowledge…what is the point of playing to the individual? A community is about providing for the whole, without regard to whether your individual contribution is recognized as YOURS. I think this is about selflessness, not control.

I just get disheartened when people say, “This won’t work because people will get offended.”

So, how could it be improved? What would make it work? If the answer is, “People here will just always be upset and try to get back at you and that can’t be reduced,” maybe I AM in the wrong place…

Seaofclouds's avatar

@iamthemob Have you noticed the number of questions people ask about why their stuff was modded? It happens pretty regularly in my opinion. There are some people that won’t read the answers even when there aren’t many or they prefer to give their answer then read everyone else’s.

I’m curious, why is reading a repeated answer bothersome (that may be the wrong word for it, but it’s the first one that popped into my mind) for you? What is so bad about the system we have now that you feel it needs to be changed? If there is a problem with an answer, we can flag it and the mods will take care of it if it is against the guidelines.

There are some people that won’t be upset, but there will be others that do get upset. The reason the site has guidelines is so that we all are held to the same standards. If regular users had the ability to mod whatever they wanted to, those standards wouldn’t mean as much (especially if people started modding answers just because they didn’t personally like them).

JilltheTooth's avatar

@iamthemob : No snark was intended by me. And no snark is intended when I say that conciseness is a valuable tool when trying to get your point across. Many of us need to work on that, I know, but often greater clarity comes with brevity.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds

Why would you assume I think it’s bothersome, or that it was based on my needs when I’m reading a thread?

Why would you assume that I think the system is so bad it needs to be changed?

And why would this change the standards, if people could still see all answers if they chose? And again, why are you assuming people would mod with the worst intentions?

I think that would be a small, clearly identifiable group of people.

So, I’ll suggest an improvement (did you think it couldn’t be? I’m just wondering because you didn’t respond to my request about that….). What if there were not two options showing modded or unmodded answer threads. You get one thread. The author can then click on answers when new points are presented, or responses to those points, to highlight those answers. Much like a “great answer” function. People could even get points if highlighted by the author. Then we protect people’s feelings. AND newcomers to the thread will have visual cues from the author to speed through if they have to.

Could THAT be something that could even be tried? :-)

iamthemob's avatar

@JilltheTooth

Surely. It can. It doesn’t always. However, you did level accusations at me. Brevity becomes difficult considering the need to try to balance defensive impulses, softening cross-accusations etc. Although brief, if you say to someone that they either seem judgmental or lazy…well, you know…:-)

iamthemob's avatar

@JilltheTooth

Ha! See, now you’re making me smile. (I know you CAN’T see..but I’m pretty sure it’s happening).

Seaofclouds's avatar

I thought it was bothersome to you because you are the one that wants to be able to get rid of the duplicate answers. I was asking you what was so bad about the system that it needs to be changed because you are the one talking about wanting a change. I didn’t say anything about an improvement because I don’t think there is anything that could make people read all of the answers, so there is no way to improve that. We simply can’t make people do something they don’t want to do. I have mentioned in other threads that it would be nice if answers that received a certain number of GAs could be highlighted or otherwise marked to draw attention to them.

It’s not that I think people will mod with bad intentions, it’s that I don’t think users will mod because something doesn’t meet the guidelines and instead will mod based on their own opinions of what meets the guidelines. The mods do a damn good job at keeping the site up to the standards it has. I don’t think it’s something regular users need to get involved in.

I’m curios about why you can’t see self-modding as a problem when in your question you said “I can see the revenge questions in the social section already” in regards to blocking other users. If you can see the revenge questions already from people blocking each other, can you really not see revenge modding?

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds

You said: “I have mentioned in other threads that it would be nice if answers that received a certain number of GAs could be highlighted or otherwise marked to draw attention to them.”

Ha! Awesome…see, a short time ago I posted a similar questions here. I wish you would have responded there and linked out to your thread posts. That’s the concern I was addressing when I thought of this as another solution.

You also said: “I’m curios about why you can’t see self-modding as a problem when in your question you said “I can see the revenge questions in the social section already” in regards to blocking other users. If you can see the revenge questions already from people blocking each other, can you really not see revenge modding.”

I posted that to show I already saw problems with the issues of perceived censorship. That’s why I included an option to see all answers (e.g., something along the lines of clicking “all” or “summarized” at the top of the thread) to reduce the possibility that people would wonder why the answer was just plain gone.

My frustration is that, and it’s shown up here, people just say “that won’t work” instead of “this is the problem you recognize/here’s a problem not mentioned…maybe if instead there was x function as well that could reduce the problem.”

The problem with just letting the answers and questions build up is that it doesn’t add to the community knowledge. The same problem happens as with the internet generally – there’s too many things saying the same thing you can’t find or it’s hard to find the most comprehensive parts of the answer for fast reference.

And I think the meta section is a way to crowdsource ways to make this community more effective at both providing a forum for discourse and a repository for a more and more comprehensive view of key issues we all face and how people have generally responded. I wonder about x solution, but never thought about a, b, and c problems. I ask about x issue and hear about a and b, and think there’s nothing that can be done to improve x solution. If another thread has proposed a similar y solution and got b and c, but no a, both posters and the community loses something. If problem c inspires a new method that makes x better, and a inspires a solution to y, and then someone sees that new x combined with new y leads to z which sounds better then both, something has been done.

Then, someone seeing that in the end, people though z was the best, and sees a solution d that makes a new, more effective z, we’re even better off.

My concern, and why I proposed this, is that people asking the questions are generally the ones that look through all the answers. Sometimes they will be good at summarizing everything to everyone, sometimes they won’t…but if there is the option there that doesn’t shut community responses down but still doesn’t turn away people who just see people saying the same thing and apparently not listening (I’m talking about a hypothetical person with such an assumption), then we lost out on input.

It seems that the majority of the responses here just seem to criticize and not offer a solution. Not to get on ya…but…you have posted repeatedly here, and only so far have said “This would hurt people’s feelings, upset the standards, and things are good as they are.” (drastic overgeneralization of course). But this is the first time you’ve offered an alternative solution, and I agree that there are different ways to try to make it easier for people to read through the “noise.” I present ideas to discuss a problem and refine a solution – there’s too much here we are losing information into the void.

To sum, THANK YOU for the reference! What do you think about an author great answer highlight as a solution to your issues (which I think are problems that would arise) in order to reduce the instance of them? Or is there some other way that we could have the membership cooperate to provide a sense of what we’re producing here to the community at large?

Seaofclouds's avatar

The reason I criticized and did not offer a solution is because I do not believe there needs to be a solution in regards to your original question. I have been on sites were regular users were given modding abilities and it never turns out well. I talk from personal experience and if you haven’t experienced it, you wouldn’t know what it is like (so it’s natural to wonder what it’s like). I don’t have to wonder what it’s like since I’ve been there before. I think what we have in place with the mod team is great and that removing anyone’s answer just because it is a duplicate is a bad idea. Now you are talking about a different issue (identifying GAs).

The best thing I really have in mind would be an answer being highlighted after it receives a certain number of GAs (perhaps one color with 5GAs and another with 10 GAs). I don’t think it should be something marked as coming from the author though because that would get rid of the anonymity of who is giving the GAs that we already have in place.

zen_'s avatar

It would be worse than wikipedia.

There would be just one question, one answer, and every second it would be modded by someone.

iamthemob's avatar

Lord – we just don’t have no faith in each other…do we.

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