The Clown Index

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The Clown Index

Postby jjoyce » Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:47 pm

Here's my vision for message board software. The ignore function is stupid, particularly when people publicize who they ignored, or by whom they are ignored. Useless and dumb.

Here's what would work, however. Reading a post by someone who's a clown, you could hit their clown button. The more people hit someone's clown button, the bigger a clown they are in the system. And the more clowns posting to a particular thread, the higher a clown number it has until it hits some sort of benchmark which takes it out of most of the searches people use to make reading message boards easier (last 12 hours, posts since I was last logged in, new posts, etc.).

You could still find threads dominated by clowns, but it would be a little harder. And face it, once people stop looking at a clown, he or she loses all their power.

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Postby Crow » Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:47 pm

Unnecessary. Anyone with reading comprehension can tell who the clowns are within a few posts. The life of threads is determined entirely by those who insist on responding when they know better.

Example: Everyone hates a poster named JohnnyDipshit45. Yet anything he posts is instantly responded to -- and often -- by long-time foron PompousAss765. Why? It's clear to most that JohnnyDipshit45 is just stirring shit up, and by this point, you know that he'll never change his commentary through this online persona. It's pointless.

Participate in a thread when you think that there's an actual discussion going on. When you don't think that's happening, stop. Throse who are tossing comedy back and forth can contine. If a thread spins out of control--days and days worth of anger and threats of violence--between only two nitwits, kill it.

(As stated by someone who drops in every couple of months. Easy for me to say, right?)

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Postby bluethedog » Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:24 am

It would be nice to have a recommend button that you could use on a single post, sort of like the "best of" on craiglist.

Then you'd have a seperate category for only posts that have reached a certain "best of" status.

Danger is people stop reading the topics and go right to best of.

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Postby Bunny Chow » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:31 am

Sounds like censorship to me.

Besides, it's been done already. I think iVillage tried that.

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Postby thebookpolice » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:45 am

It's called Scoop. Daily Kos uses it.

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Postby Bwis53 » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:50 am

I think I agree with Crow. Besides, what happens when several clowns think they're being funny and hit one poster's clown button? You get the bully-clown effect?

When I start getting irritated by something I read here, I have to tell myself, come on bwis, you've got better things to do.

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Postby thebookpolice » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:57 am

I'll elaborate, because apparently not everyone here has firsthand experience on Kos.

Scoopallows for any user to positively rate a post or comment. But only once. Gotta be logged in to rec, system knows when your account has given a rec to a specific post or comment.

If a user has generated enough mojo (and I believe that's the word used in the software), that user is granted Trusted User status by the software, not the moderator.

Then, whenever Trusted Users are logged in, they have access to not only the Recommend button, but also the Troll button. But only 2 per day (I think).

I'd guess that the number could be modified up or down by the admins, as could the mojo threshhold.

But it's a good system that results in a fairly democratic process (with a few weaknesses) on deciding community standards. Because this isn't the government. No one has the absolute right to post anything here.

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Postby Galoot » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:21 pm

That Scoop thingy sounds like a fairly good solution. Jason, thanks for bringing this up. the signal/noise ratio has rarely been worse on TDPF. Users like snoqueen are always a delight to read, and it's tough to wade through all the garbage to find the good posts.

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Postby snoqueen » Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:37 pm

Thanks for the nice comment.

For what it's worth, my two cents on the clown rating thing:

I have no problem with the occasional wildly obtuse posting. For instance, I think Ned performs a service around here. He tosses up targets, totally easy targets, for people to take a shot at. While he sometimes engages in pointless, mean back-and-forth it tends to be entertaining and limited. In a way, he's the straight man to a parade of would-be comedians, some pretty good.

Without contrarians like this -- and there are a few others who do the same -- the forum would quickly devolve into a bland political message board. Having someone to argue against keeps us sharp, encourages research and links to surprising resources, and can bring out some good writing. I doubt I would bother to write on a board where people mostly agreed, but that's just my personality.

What annoys me is the posters here who interrupt every thread (why can't they start their own?) and derail it with illiterate, irrelevant, repetitive foul temper. There's one in particular who starts in late afternoon and continues into the wee hours, degenerating progressively as time passes. Nobody should answer someone like this more than once, but people do and topic after topic sinks under the weight.

I don't know if the clown plan addresses this problem. Purposely annoying people would probably take a failure to draw positive ratings as a badge of success. Maybe the program would work if after a certain point, hopelessly crashed threads are locked so the destructive person's air is cut off. However, hiding them after they're locked seems counterproductive because they often start out with good stuff before the wheels come off. Somehow it seems like this still requires nearly 24/7 in-person moderation (or babysitting?), which is hard to arrange.

I personally just ignore posters who never say anything worth reading, without using the ignore function because it's too much of a reward. And I notice that when I visit other message boards, I rarely pay attention to their rating systems because often what everybody else hated is just what I'm looking for.

These Forum annoyance patches come and go, usually ending because the moderators cut the time-wasters off. Then a new crop of smart people join and things get better. Places like this are inherently unstable and require constant monitoring and management, just like a tavern.

It's worth noticing that what keeps a tavern going tends to be the bartenders: engaged, personable, yet fairly strict ones go a long ways helping a bar do well.

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Postby Shipley » Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:01 pm

SMF has a karm +/- system I use on my forum. You can only bump or spike a user once an hour or once a day or once a week, so even if someone did want to tank another user, it would take a long time. It can be set to display both, so one might have 12 negative point, but 36 positives, so you see a persons might say something dumb some times, but is mostly on the money.

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Postby blunt » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:39 am

Bunny Chow wrote:Sounds like censorship to me.

Besides, it's been done already. I think iVillage tried that.

It was Gallagher.
Only he suggested we hand out dumb darts to everyone to shoot at bad drivers; after a car gets a certain amount of darts stuck to it, a cop pulls it over and hands out a mandatory ticket.


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