List of posts flagged as Fantastic October 14, 2005 3:29 AM   Subscribe

Feature idea: bubbling up the really good stuff (or: this is what we'd like it all to be like) [more inside].
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Feature Requests at 3:29 AM (72 comments total)

Although I do think that, all Freakonomics-y, the comment-flagging feature has had some unintended consequences, I accept that it's here to stay. At the moment, though, the only output we see from flagging is negative: deleted comments and/or posts. Yeah, sure Matt occasionally sidebars something, but he sucks at doing that, kinda.

Sorry, big guy.

So, how about this? A page that lists, automagically, the top X (where X is whatever seems sensible) comments and posts that have been flagged as 'Fantastic!', where they bubble to the top based and ranked on how many times they've been flagged as such. It might be gamed, a bit, sure, but (and I don't know if this is currently the case or not), if the number of flags for a given comment/post were limited to one per customer, that wouldn't be that much of a problem, I wouldn't think. No counts, no who-voted-what, just a simple linky list.

Then -- hey ho! -- when quivery-lower-lipped shinynewuser complaints like 'I tried, damn you *sob* ... I tried! what do you bastards expect?' come up, there's a handy URL to send the poor confused newbie to. And it's an automatic best-of guide to conversations you might have missed otherwise. No fuss, no muss.

Ya reckon? Opposite of King-Of-The-Shitpile?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:30 AM on October 14, 2005

(I think I've thought of this because I've flagged way more things as 'Fantastic post/comment' in the last while than I have as being Teh Suck, with no discernable feedback. Makes no sense, user-experience wise, I know, but I'm a great one for banging my head against walls.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:34 AM on October 14, 2005

It might be gamed, a bit, sure

You think?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:41 AM on October 14, 2005

You think?

Do me a favour, and describe how you think it might be, rather than just snarking.

(If, as I suggest, it's one flag each on a given post, the only way I could see it happen (in the 10 minutes I've spent thinking about it) is offsite/MeCha/#mefi/whatever plotting. Which would get pretty old pretty fast, I'd think.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:47 AM on October 14, 2005

Meh. With MeFi as is, each comment is weighted equally (except that whomever posts first gets read first). What you're suggesting is an added layer of moderation that isn't necessary, nor do i think it would be very useful. From what I've surmised from both Matt and Jess, the comments that get many flags are often times comments that, IMHO, shouldn't have been flagged at all. My point in that a page that is the direct result of mob opinion is not a good thing, whether or not that opinion is a positive expression.

I don't like the mob here for good or bad (because I distrust it; there are many stereotypes of a typical MeFite I could use to further my point, but let's say that just because lots of people think "something" is good doesn't necessarily mean that said "thing" has any actual value) and any changes to the site that allow for additional "mob input" are inherently flawed based on that logic.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 3:51 AM on October 14, 2005

Fair enough -- it was only a brain fart.

Still, I'm not suggesting any change to the mechanics of the site -- just an added page (like this one, currently linked nowhere that a new user might be able to easily discover) that each user could check or ignore at their whim. Not, god forbid, inthread.

I'm just proposing a better-than-sidebar way of surfacing positive feedback, in an attempt to balance the way that negative feedback is currently and visibly surfaced.

Also: your objections, SeizeTheDay, would seem to apply equally to negative flagging, the results of which, when moderated by Matt or Jessamyn, do appear inthread -- to which you don't seem to have any objection, if I understand you -- flagging which does and apparently will continue to dictate what is deleted and what is allowed to stay.

And what is allowed to stay sometimes seems to me increasingly... suboptimal.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:06 AM on October 14, 2005

There are several factions at mefi - there's the newsfilter people who seem to think that mefi should be newsfilter most, if not all of the time, there's the arts types who think likewise about their interests, the web design people who feel similarly about their hobby and the fark people who, uh, well you know about them.

I suspect you're more optimistic than me that these different groups will somehow combine to make a list that truly is the best of this site. I have my doubts.

On the other hand, if the options were something like "best news post", "best arts post", etc and the five most recent were sidebarred then I think that might be more successful - although then this place risks turning into the goddamn oscars.

So yeah, I think your idea is appealing but if it's done in the way you suggest it'll just give people another thing to complain about - "Is this the best of the best of the web?!?!?"
posted by dodgygeezer at 4:11 AM on October 14, 2005

I like the idea, Stav. I think it could work as a positive incentive, because many of us would feel quite set up if our contributions appeared on the list.

Sure, there's a possibility of it being gamed, but how hard would it be to set up a few safeguards against that, i.e., can't flag your own posts, can't flag the same one more than once, etc.
posted by orange swan at 6:10 AM on October 14, 2005

I flagged this as [fantastic post/comment] and am moving on.
posted by geekyguy at 6:12 AM on October 14, 2005

stavros, though I was initially a proponent of the flagging system, as time goes on I'm slowly beginning to despise its insidious nature. I don't like the idea that simply because "something" gets a lot of negative flags, it has an exponentially larger chance of getting deleted when compared to any random comment. That's mob rule at its worst, and though both Matt and Jess have said that the number of flags does not dictate their editorial behavior, I think it's fair to say that muliple flags influence their decisions, if only slightly.

Quite frankly, I wish that the flagging system had only three descriptions: double post, self-link, and fantastic post. That way the negative posts are brought to MeTa and hashed out as a community, as opposed to quietly expunged by the editors. Only the egregious errors should be flagged, like the ones I mention above. Nothing else should be flagged because the rest is just personal opinion. In addition, great posts can still be recognized on the sidebar when necessary.

I think that if people took self-policing and MetaTalk more seriously, the entire (negative aspect of the) flagging system would be moot. However, it seems that MeTa is becoming far less useful in guiding behavior and far more useful in antagonizing fellow members.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:13 AM on October 14, 2005

In theory it is a good idea. I'd like to see it. "The following threads have been marked 'fasntastic' by members."
posted by terrapin at 6:15 AM on October 14, 2005

I've never flagged a single post and I don't intend to start. I hate the idea of giving posts "marks" like some bloody junior school teacher. And I agree with SeizeTheDay about the slightly creepy side of it, too: "I don't like that post/poster! Black mark! HA!" Bleh.

If you don't like something update your personal opinion of that poster and move the hell on. No doubt other people feel differently about it. I have my own "flagging" system. I read people and figure out who's smart, funny, entertaining, thought-provoking and worth reading, and who isn't. Works fine for me. I love MayorCurley and Bevets.
posted by Decani at 6:30 AM on October 14, 2005

Although if we could mark threads "fasntastic" I might go for that, terrapin. :-)
posted by Decani at 6:31 AM on October 14, 2005

I'd like to see a way to give people The Black Spot.
posted by Jon-o at 6:36 AM on October 14, 2005

I like the idea.

One particular problem this causes is feedback loops. You tell people what the flagged posts are, they often read them and flag them themselves. The good go higher, the bad go lower, and things that weren't in the list never make it.

(You see this on digg, where things that were dugg to the first page get way more "diggs" because of it. Actually digg is a very instructive case of what not to do as far as user selection.)
posted by smackfu at 6:44 AM on October 14, 2005

Stav is right that we need some kind of system for sorting posts to fit our interests. I am of the faction, but Matt has said that is not on his to-do list. A modified flagging system, or the ability to sort by tags, could work as well.

I go to the bargain shopping site pretty regularly, and admire their ratings filter. Every user can click a plus or minus sign to rate each post, and the cumulative ratings appear next to the post on the front page. Even better users can set a rating filter with six levels of filtering, from showing all posts to only those with excellent ratings. It makes for a very useable high volume community site.
posted by LarryC at 6:45 AM on October 14, 2005

I like the idea.
SeizeTheDay: The mob acts bad when it's angry. An official suck-o-meter page would probably give the effects you describe, but not a list of fantastic posts. To limit the power of people's special interests (eg newsfilter and politicsfilter promoters) there could be a limit of one flag per person and day (or several days). It shouldn't be a mere yes/no vote to a post, but a notification of something outstanding.

stavrosthewonderchicken: "My Recent Comments" is something i've been wishing for. Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by springload at 6:46 AM on October 14, 2005

I think it's a great idea, mostly because I have always tilted far more in favor of positive support as an incentive rather than negative attention as a disincentive. Right now we have what could be considered "mob ranking" in a sense, as described by SeizeTheDay, but, functionally, only for criticism, and while it has been useful since Matt and Jess can't have eyes everywhere, I bet it has been at least something of a contributing factor towards the increasingly nasty atmosphere.

Imagine if, at work, you were encouraged to notice and report by some kind of a flagging system every time your coworkers made a mistake, goofed off, or fell down on the job. Now imagine if you were encouraged instead to flag every instance when you noticed somebody go out of their way to put in some extra effort, or come up with a great solution, or help somebody else out, etc. I'd wager those two places would be vastly different in terms of attitude and, probably, work quality.
posted by taz at 6:47 AM on October 14, 2005

Metafilter: Opposite of King-Of-The-Shitpile?

(it had to be done before some sycophant stripped the question mark...)
posted by Chuckles at 6:50 AM on October 14, 2005

[this is good]
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:53 AM on October 14, 2005

Decani - try to flag a post so that you understand the mechanics before decrying the system you haven't participated in. You can flag posts or comments as being fantastic. The flag system has proven to be a valuable tool for mathowie and jessamyn in managing this beast.

smakcfu - I would imagine that once a post is flagged-up by reaching a certain threshold, (static or dynamic), that it could be closed to flagging.

I think this is a great idea that may require only a small amount of coding to implement.
posted by geekyguy at 6:59 AM on October 14, 2005

I like this idea very much. And not just because it comes from one of my favorite people.

I admit I rarely use the "Fantastic" flag, because while I think many things are very good, saying "Fantastic!" seems a bit hyperbolic, but I can adjust that and use the flag where appropriate.
posted by frykitty at 7:05 AM on October 14, 2005

Maybe something like this?

posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:24 AM on October 14, 2005

No. Not at all. All I'm talking about is a page to show the results of the [!] system that's already been put in place.

Fuck. How many times do I have to explain this shit?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:32 AM on October 14, 2005

[this is good]

Woah! That is good!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:33 AM on October 14, 2005

Stav -- did you check out monju's link?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:34 AM on October 14, 2005

Memeorandum does something (sort of? maybe?) like this (and i'm sure a bunch of other places do this...hell, even flickr)? Collecting the most discussed posts and arranging them dynamically.

"The most highly linked articles appear at the top and in bigger font sizes. Less popular items are below. Super-popular items eventually are pushed down as newer popular stuff goes up."

Maybe? Maybe not? Of course, I am fairly clueless about the implementation...but hey...
posted by tpl1212 at 7:36 AM on October 14, 2005

At first contemplation I was against this, thinking the site would begin to suffer from design by committee, but I think if a very,very low level of ranking was used it could be beneficial. I know I can't visit every post and am often overwhelmed by the amount and usually I go to the post with the highest number of comments. I have a feeling a lot of people do this also, the comments being the only ranking we have, and not a good indication of the quality of the thread.

If perhaps "x" amount of people mark a thread as good and then the "posted by" signature was perhaps highlighted or some other non-invasive way to say "this thread is better than the rest", it would help recognize good posts if the poster themselves did not craft the post correctly.

I actually like the amount of flagging that Matt/Jess do. It only picks out the best of the best in the sidebar and only (to my knowledge) gets rid of the truly antisocial comments. If this was applied in a similar way to what Starvos describes (2-3 posts a day perhaps?) it'd be awesome. You know it'd be greater if the whole thing as dynamic. Say we set the limit to between 3-6 posts good a day and will not include posts that get an outlier of good (x distance away from the next least voted good). That way in the morning post a,b,c might be the best but as the day progresses posts e and f might be better and subsquently b, c will lose their flags while a retains her flag. Make sense?
posted by geoff. at 7:36 AM on October 14, 2005

No. Not at all. All I'm talking about is a page to show the results of the [!] system that's already been put in place.

That's what I'm advocating, but instead of saying "x amount of votes" we make it simpler and after a certain threshold is crossed the post is highlighted, it makes it easier than distinguishing between (35 fantastic posts, 32 fantastic posts). What's the difference between that? None so let's use a different metric to see the actual results of the voting.
posted by geoff. at 7:39 AM on October 14, 2005

If I leave a positive comment in a thread, aren't I doing just what you suggest?

I don't favour ranking things. There's too much ego involved all around. I would rather random arbitrary sidebar entries from mathowie based on his random arbitrary system. If you think some people post great material, link to them on your profile page and you won't miss their stuff.

Otherwise there is the MeFi-remix. Beyond that, I like the idea of wandering aimlessly around the site turning up neato things when I'm lucky. Flagging isn't a ranking thing, it's just an assist for the moderators. I'm glad mathowie doesn't give direct feedback about it and I think the most reasonable thing to do when you love or hate is to comment to that effect, hopefully more of the former than the latter.

You can't make me vote. But this was a good post.
posted by peacay at 7:40 AM on October 14, 2005

Decani - try to flag a post so that you understand the mechanics before decrying the system you haven't participated in. You can flag posts or comments as being fantastic

I'm fully aware of how the flagging system works, thanks.
posted by Decani at 7:42 AM on October 14, 2005

It has a certain seductive merit, but I come here to get away from the /. experience.

On the other hand if flaging posts caused the thread to bubble to the top, I don't think that would be such a bad thing. "Hey, there's good stuff in here!"

Or monju_bosatsu's idea.
posted by bonehead at 7:43 AM on October 14, 2005

Whoa, Monju's link is sweet!
posted by tpl1212 at 7:44 AM on October 14, 2005

Fuck. How many times do I have to explain this shit?

Pretty much just once. Thanks.

stav, MeFi Remixed does exactly what you want to do, although it doesn't leverage the existing [!] system, as it predates the implementation of flagging. Here's the original MeTa thread on the project (note the ironic comment from Matt). I use a greasemonkey script to put the [this is good] link right next to the post, so it's easy to start using it on a regular basis. The downside: MeFi remixed doesn't do comments, and doesn't do AskMe. Maybe somebody should email webmutant (who has a sweet-ass user page) and see if he can add some functionality.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:55 AM on October 14, 2005

Not a bad idea Stav, and something I'll definitely consider adding.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:14 AM on October 14, 2005

Flagging has had the (I assume unintended) consequence of more people just dumping shit into threads with the rationale that if someone doesn't like it, it'll get flagged,

I don't think this is right. First, unless you can quantify shit, I have no reason to accept your premise that there is more of it now. And second, the assertion that people prone to posting shit were less likely to before flagging is giving them too much credit. Do you really think anyone ever consciously pulled their hand back from the post button back in the old days because they were afraid their shitty comment might mess up the site? Of course not. People who post crap do so for their own reasons: they don't think it's crap, they do and they don't care, they want to be funny, they want to be transgressive, whatever. You're assuming they had some kind of restraint before which is now gone. As if there used to be some kind of honor system among site abusers, which the cold and calculating flag system has nudged aside. That's romanticising the past at best.

I would like to see more "best-of" stuff, though. I can't agree that matt "sucks" at sidebaring, though. All the stuff in the sidebar is always stuff I missed, and worth reading.
posted by scarabic at 8:16 AM on October 14, 2005

Do me a favour, and describe how you think it might be, rather than just snarking.

Do us all a favor the next time you have a feature request: post your feature idea without insulting matt and making a bunch of bogus criticisms about how the site has gone downhill.
posted by scarabic at 8:18 AM on October 14, 2005

I think this will both encourge gaming andalso be of limited use. Unless your going for a "best of craigslist" humour kind of thing a single post is rarely so good as to stand alone minus it's thread.
posted by Mitheral at 8:26 AM on October 14, 2005

A site which sort of resembles what Stavros has suggested is Alterslash. I can't stand reading SlashDot, myself, but this "digest" displays only threads that have scored highly, and comments that have scored highly. It doesn't read so much as a "conversation" as the original site, but that's okay with me. You get the posting, the link, and you get up to 10 "reaction" comments that range from pro to con to funny to bizarre. Any back-and-forth flaming is completely filtered out.

But then again, the comment-level ranking on SlashDot is much more extensive than it is here. If we're talking about showing posts which have been ranked highly, then yes, we already have that over at Remixed.If we're talking about showing only positively flagged comments, too, then we may have very little data to work with right away. And the purpose of the "fantastic comment" flag would change from "head and shoulders above the rest fucking awesome" to "good enough to show on the digest page." That might be mor valuable in the end, I'm just saying it would change things, even notwhithstanding gaming.

One possible consequence is that it might become impossible to use the flags to find the "Best" comment posted in the last week (as seems to be the function of the sidebar right now) because there would just be too many flags.
posted by scarabic at 8:27 AM on October 14, 2005

I'd love a more +/-/DANGER system of flagging personally. In the immediate future matt and I can make more of an effort to put things in the sidebar. I think this is a good suggestion.
posted by jessamyn at 8:27 AM on October 14, 2005

If this is just a personal function that people keep to themselves on their userpage, then I don't see any problem with it, though I see little value in it. As said above, it looks like monju's link would be good for the purpose you are seeking.

But I do think it is a bad idea to do anything about Metafilter proper using a voting system, especially given the ever-increasing newsy-politics emphasis and the stridency therein. I can envision a comment about how someone wants to rape Jesus with a thorny black cock until Bush acknowledges he is a drunk faux-christian and that evolution and Macs are the bestest. Such a comment would find a lot of "this is good" emphasis from people here as shrillness and stridency seem to be merits to a certain segment of the community. Of course, my comments will recieve much more "this is bad" flags then "this is good" because of... well, because of various reasons that you are free to draw your own conclusions about.

The result of such a system would be to make this place more of an echo chamber, and less of an accepting place for various viewpoints. Thus, I think it is a bad idea to have any structure in place that would effect the presentation of the posts and comments which can be ruled on by mere mob rule.
posted by dios at 8:38 AM on October 14, 2005

I'd rather make my own mind up about threads/posts, thank you very much. I'm with Decani, I think even the present flagging system is redundant and will never use it.
posted by Joeforking at 8:48 AM on October 14, 2005

I like stav's idea so long as it is a separate page as he suggests. I don't really like the idea of there being points or karma or whatever displayed on the front page. And for the record I like the idea of newsfilter so long as it was a purgatory that bad posts were sent to and good newsfilter could stay on the front page. Yes, I am willing to make those decisions on behalf of everyone. ta ta.
posted by Rumple at 8:48 AM on October 14, 2005

Let's take it up another notch. After getting to the page with the list of best comments, their should be another layer where we can flag the best of the best comments. Then another layer after that for the best of the best of the best comments. And so on. Eventually, one comment will rise to the top and the Internet can shutter its windows, lock its doors, and turn off the light forever.
posted by Falconetti at 9:26 AM on October 14, 2005

Good idea Falconetti. My bet is that the ultimate comment will have something to do with the Flaming Globes of Sigmond.
posted by dios at 9:40 AM on October 14, 2005

Falconetti writes "fter getting to the page with the list of best comments, their should be another layer where we can flag the best of the best comments. Then another layer after that for the best of the best of the best comments."

Not that it hasn't been done before: rec.humor, rec.humor.funny and their even more selective friends, rec.humor.funny.funny and rec.humor.funniest.
posted by nkyad at 10:01 AM on October 14, 2005

You know, Monju, I kind of the metafilterfilter thing, but I would like it more if I could label posts [this is crap] instead of specifically having to point out the ones that are exceptional.
Because, you know, I like volume, but there are some posts that you can just tell at a glance are crap. There are some that might not be crap. I like to have those ambiguous ones around to check out when I'm bored -- but the crap should just not be there.
posted by blacklite at 10:11 AM on October 14, 2005

It's always the other people who are shrill and strident--never oneself. It's always the other people who indulge in group think and only the individual 'I' who is the independent thinker.

But what group, what mob ? This place is a collection of individuals with individual points of view and long, long memories--individuals who forget their own worst moments instantly but never forget anyone else's.

But lose it once, hear about it forever. Say something nasty and every comment made thereafter will be filtered through the worst thing one has ever said. Say something awful once and it will follow forever after. Try to steer away from from the negativity and one is a hypocrite, striking a pose, faking it. The better angels of our natures always forgive our own faults--all others deserve to burn in Hell.

It's always the other people who are tearing the place down. If there is a discernable tilt here, it's a snowdrift of unique, individual snowflakes. Individual snowflakes with a bone to pick with some other individual snowflake.
posted by y2karl at 10:12 AM on October 14, 2005

No snowflake in the avalanche ever bears responsibility.
posted by Falconetti at 10:18 AM on October 14, 2005

I dunno about you, karl, but I tend to remember my worst moments for quite a while. Every time I post something I end up looking through the list of my posts and checking to see what got a response and what didn't. I like to think a number of us try and incrementally improve like that.

Anyway, that is nitpicking. Your point, which seems to be that there is no tilt and we are all beautiful snowflakes, doesn't seem to be very useful for this discussion whether or not it's true -- the validity of arguments for or against group voting are independent of our uniqueness as people.

Besides that -- I don't think +/- on comments would be good for Mefi. I like the flat thread, community feel. I like conversations. I think comments should generally be left as alone as possible. A +/- type system on posts might not be a bad idea -- or some sort of click-tracker in the server code so we can see what posts get the most traffic or not. Even if that isn't used in some sort of direct modification of the front page, we could at least provide the info as a bit of feedback to posters. "Seven people clicked on this link." Let people take their own lessons from it. The more laissez-faire approaches are good for Matt & Jes, and, I think, good for the community.
posted by blacklite at 10:31 AM on October 14, 2005

Just as a reminder, stav's suggestion was simply for a separate page that would show the posts and comments that got the most "this is fantastic" flags.

Karma, or +/-, or being forced to view anything in any particular way, or even view that page at all, doesn't have anything to do with the idea presented here.
posted by taz at 11:07 AM on October 14, 2005

posted by delmoi at 11:24 AM on October 14, 2005

I'm sure a lot of people would rather view some distilled form of this site. I often come here to browse the marketplace of reactions to various things, and most times its a select few comments that wind up being of value. These are usually drowned in 110 noisemaker comments.

However, if it works really well and most of the lurkers and reasonable folk spend all their time there, the incentive to keep the regular site clean may be less urgent. The one-boat approach has its benefits. Taking the focus away from the main site might reduce its quality - not because people would feel less guilt about posting shit, but because it would become that much easier to let shit slide (on the part of the admins).

I couldn't blame them if they changed tactics from managing a small proportion of shit to bubbling up a small proportion of good stuff. For many objectives, it's a valid approach.

Incidentally I am making the same assertion that stavros made about the flagging system: that it encourages shit, but I think there's a huge difference. The flagging system is shit-management on steroids. IF this feature were to influence overall site management strategy (and it wouldn't, necessarily) it COULD be in entirely the opposite direction to shit-management: giving up the neighborhood to the thugs and focusing on constructing a small "green zone."

All up to the admins, of course.
posted by scarabic at 11:54 AM on October 14, 2005

Do us all a favor the next time you have a feature request: post your feature idea without insulting matt and making a bunch of bogus criticisms about how the site has gone downhill.

I didn't insult Matt. I was just funnin'. I thought that was obvious.

My criticisms may be bogus, but just calling them that doesn't make it so. If I'm suggesting something that hill help to fix what I criticize, at least in my opinion, how can making those criticisms be bad?

Honestly, scarabic, why are you such an asshole all the time these days months?

Fuck. How many times do I have to explain this shit?

Sorry, monju. That was a bit of just-about-to-head-off-to-bed assholery on my part, as well. It just seems that every time I do bother to post a thread in MeTa, I end up re-explaining myself about 17 times.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:48 PM on October 14, 2005

This is a terrible idea because of how badly it would be gamed, and I guarantee I'd be the first to game it.

Not only does conversation take place offsite in places like 9622, MetaChat, Monkeyfilter, and #tapes where support for a comment can be 'rallied,' but you'd also run into the issue of trusts.

People would naturally band into voting blocs that boosted themselves and lashed out at opposing factions. Right now if I bothered to flag every Alex Reynolds and Ethereal Bligh post as 'noise,' Matt and Jessamyn would simply roll their eyes and ignore it at best, or at worst silently filter me out within the flagging system. The flagging system works and works well because all tangible results are performed by two trusted parties who view all the incoming data. They act as buffers applying a reasonably consistent maturity filter that we've all agreed upon as evidenced by our being here.

If that data itself is able to directly produce tangible results, a massive shift in how and why it is used will occur. Cliques of users will form - beyond the established groups like #tapes and MetaChat - to engage in voting wars with each other. If the voting system existed in a vacuum, that would be one thing. It doesn't. There are too many other channels of data for other people to find out about the activities of those they despise to make it workable.

Even if the final implementation does not allow for voting 'down' in any way, this system will still be abused for such a purpose in a more circumspect manner. Otherwise very informative comments with one or two stinging insults buried in the middle will get voted straight to the top. I know it because it's the first thing that petty, vindictive part of my personality would do, and I know I'm not alone.

This system would hurt the site not just because it is fundamentally flawed, but because there are too many users now who take this site too seriously.
posted by Ryvar at 6:17 PM on October 14, 2005

I do see what you're saying, Ryvar, but I think you overstate the case a bit. If nobody knows who flags what as (using the current system) Fantastic! or otherwise, and the machinery, as it were, is totally invisible, can you really see people so pathetic as to hang around offsite somewhere and plot together 'OK, let's all mark my "This X, does it vibrate?" comment as 'Fantastic!' and really blow their minds!'? All for a separate little page, hanging off the side of the site somewhere?

Shit, you're right. I can see that happening too.

Ah well, it was just a thought.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:33 PM on October 14, 2005

Why does it have to be a seperate page, even? AIM and the existence of things like flash mobs should tell you all you need to know - there is zero barrier to collusion in the modern world. None. Nada. Zilch.
posted by Ryvar at 6:40 PM on October 14, 2005

Sorry, I meant why do people need a seperate page (or IRC channel, or whatever) to hang out and plot at?

The tags system is invisible to 95% of the userbase, possibly more. First thing that happened when it went live? The quonsar tag debacle. Immediately after? Someone at #mefi ran with my bright idea1 of HTML injection.

If anything, the barrier to collusion could almost be thought of as negative because people inherently like to work together to accomplish some task that they feel raises their status - especially when it's at the expense of those they mutually dislike. We never outgrow the tree fort clubhouse - it's just that the venue changes.

posted by Ryvar at 6:54 PM on October 14, 2005

My criticisms may be bogus, but just calling them that doesn't make it so.

I didn't "just call them so." I discussed the feature you suggested, offering some support for the idea and several dangers to consider as well. You can't say I haven't explored your idea in detail and good faith. But, of course, you would prefer to ignore all that and focus on the one line where I said you shouldn't waltz into Meta and start telling Matt he sucks (an observation which, clearly makes me an asshole - uh-huh). I didn't aim any curse words at you or launch a scathing attack at any one thing you said to the exclusion of your larger point.

So, that said, and considering several other extremely bitchy comments you've made in this thread, your name-calling doesn't mean as much to me as it once might have, and I strongly suggest you take a look at your own behavior before you start throwing stones. I also notice your tone over time, and you're on no solid ground to lecture me about mine, as you once might have been.
posted by scarabic at 7:02 PM on October 14, 2005

Voted: -1, Unfunny
posted by Ryvar at 7:17 PM on October 14, 2005

I didn't aim any curse words at you or launch a scathing attack at any one thing you said to the exclusion of your larger point.

Argue that my idea is a bad one all you want. That's fine. It probably is. Curse, even. I do it all the fucking time. Talk down to me, though, and as far as I'm concerned you can fuck right off. No real animus, just plain and simple.

you would prefer to ignore all that and focus on the one line where I said you shouldn't waltz into Meta and start telling Matt he sucks (an observation which, clearly makes me an asshole - uh-huh).

Well, yes, because it was gratuitous, nasty, and almost schizophrenic in the way it jarred with your otherwise cogent commentary about the idea. See, that's the problem. It was also the kind of personal, vindictive jab in which you have come to specialize, in my opinion, but about which I've refrained from comment up until now. Even in your repetetion, which I quoted above, you use the phrase 'waltz into Meta' in an attempt to belittle or insult me. Which is par for the course, of course.

Again, I made a joke about Matt. He's a big enough fellow to take that with good humour, and clever enough to understand that's what it was. You on the other hand, well, I guess not. Why are you so invested in defending him, anyway, particularly when there is no attack occurring, but merely friendly taking-of-the-piss?

several other extremely bitchy comments you've made in this thread

You reckon? Well, perhaps, although I've noticed that you tend to offer 'extremely bitchy comments' in every single thread you grace with your presence. Perhaps others think that I do, too, but that would surprise me, because I have made a conscious effort to be pleasantly jocular rather than snarky and bitchy for quite a while now. But one man's jovial is another man's bitchtacular, it seems. As far as snark goes? I don't suffer dumbness gladly, but no one should have to, I don't think, and I don't feel that it's counterproductive to speak of it.

For what little it's worth, although I quite liked you (or your persona here, at least) when you first started to participate on this site, you've become one of the very very few people that I've thought several times that I would deliberately skip a meetup to avoid, were I living somewhere that allowed me to attend one. You increasingly strike me as someone with whom it would be very unpleasant to spend any time.

Which is neither here nor there, and all of us have people who like and dislike us, often for spurious or seemingly inexplicable reasons. So it goes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:31 PM on October 14, 2005

This makes me sad. I engaged your idea. You pounced on anything you could find that I said which was negative. You seem stretched and defensive, now. Not your usual self.

Decent feature idea, anyway. I think it will have consequences for the site that deserve examination. And you live in Korea, which is about as close as one can get to avoiding me, so you're in no danger. I guess I have been around the whole "I used to like you so I paid more attention to you, now I'm suffering the inability-to-read-anything-you-say-without-thinking-you're-a-prick" block with you, but at least I made it through this thread without calling you an asshole. Really, you can't come out swinging your dick and expect to retain the moral high ground.

Let us return to MetaFilter-as-normal, where all of your comments are obviously jokes to anyone with some sense, and mine are all obviously the misanthropic attacks of a notoriously unpleasant person.
posted by scarabic at 8:43 PM on October 14, 2005


Really, you can't come out swinging your dick and expect to retain the moral high ground.

You're right, of course. Although I do try to keep the rough edges smooth, I can be as much of an asshole as the next guy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:52 PM on October 14, 2005

You're both assholes, frankly, but assholes of the variety I wouldn't mind meeting. I will agree with Stav that your personality has changed markedly over the past while, scarabic.

If you guys need me to act as a go-between in order to pass messages, I'm game. If you need me in order to pass blowjobs, though, you'll have to find somebody else.
posted by Ryvar at 10:13 PM on October 14, 2005

I completely disagree. I've always been an asshole.
posted by scarabic at 10:15 PM on October 14, 2005

Look, I said some pretty harsh things, and for that, I apologize.

I've gotten angry at people in the past for making uninformed assumptions about me based on the things I say here, believing they knew more about me than they possibly could on that basis. I shouldn't do scarabic the same disservice -- that I have found the way he interacts with people here a little grating at times does not in any way mean that he's actually a Bad Man, or anything of the kind. I'm sure he's actually a stand-up kinda guy. All I know of him is through his participation in this website, and that's far to little to make any kind of informed decisions about a person.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:18 PM on October 14, 2005

This is an excellent idea. Unfortunately, having no faith whatsoever in human nature, I can't see it working for more than about 5 minutes, which is a real shame.

Also, scarabic, you may have always been an arsehole, but you have become a much grumpier one lately. It takes one to know one, so take it from me - it's true.
posted by dg at 3:54 AM on October 15, 2005

Well taken. I'm not against grumpiness, per se, but I note the observation.
posted by scarabic at 9:15 AM on October 15, 2005

So. Hey. Hi guys.

What if mathowie based the top x for each month based not just on the number of flags for [fantastic post/comment] alone but also factored in the number of posts/comments one year ago. Might this prevent gaming since those measure values are closed?

For instance, if this month 3500 posts receive individual positive flags and of those 1750 received more than 50 unique flags. Looking back to this month a year ago there were 16000 posts. Without factoring those that receive more than x noise/derail/offensive content flags you could then take the number of posts last year and divide it buy those flagged positive this year. In this example it returns 10.9% which would then result in 175 posts bubbling up to a dynamic page or qualify them for sidebar submission. Considering the vast number of posts in a month this should still be a workable number.

All numbers were made up.

I'm just suggesting that it could be made tougher to game and is still a pretty good idea.

Although, with the one-year anniversary of the Re-Design Contest submission deadline I'm still waiting for that.

I suspect that with all of the bitchiness that took over this thread mathowie is no longer reading it.
posted by geekyguy at 7:39 PM on October 15, 2005

Stavros, consider this a first draft crack at what you asked, for Ask MetaFilter. I know it leaves a lot to be desired and it should pull up posts and not just their IDs, it should group multiple votes and show those first, etc

But this is just a first crack at it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:21 PM on October 17, 2005

I think I'll call her Sparkle.
posted by smackfu at 9:57 PM on October 17, 2005

Whoah, thanks, Matt! That was (almost) totally unexpected!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:46 PM on October 17, 2005

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