Thursday, July 22, 2004

Slashdot moderation and reputation

I've been frustrated with Slashdot moderation lately. The current system doesn't properly emphasize the most informative and interesting comments.

While the suggestions in Slash(dot) and Burn may help, I'm convinced that more is needed. In particular, I think the comment and moderation system needs to do more with reputation.

Currently, Slashdot has a simple reputation system called karma. Users with karma over a threshold have a higher initial score on their comments. High karma users also are occasionally given a few moderation points to raise or lower the score of other comments by +-1. Comments have a score in the range [-1, 5] and users can elect to filter all comments below a threshold.

But why these thresholds? Why not have everything work as a function of karma? For example, the starting score of a comment from user with low karma could be 1.15, from a medium karma user 1.31, and very high karma 2.38. Allow almost all users with positive karma could do at least some moderating, but moderations from a low karma user should barely nudge the score, perhaps by as little as +- 0.04, while a moderation from a very high karma user should move the score by +- 1.33.

Since high karma users mostly get their karma from posting interesting comments, giving high karma users more influence should improve the quality of discussions. In addition, using the full range [-1,5] instead of only integer values will allow more subtle differentiation between comments.

What do you think? Would this work? Are there other ways Slashdot moderation could be improved?

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