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What's up with flat/threaded/nested comments?

These are just different ways of displaying what can be a rather long list of comments. Here's the rundown:
  • Flat mode displays all the comments in one gigantic list, without showing anything in the way of relationships between comments.
  • Flat Mode

  • Threaded shows a hierarchy of responses, with replies as links to new pages.
  • Threaded Mode

  • Nested displays the same hierarchy of responses, but displays all of the comments. (This can be a bitch of a page to render on weaker platforms and in longer discussions.)
  • Nested Mode

Updated by: Robo
Last Modified: 01/02/02

Will you delete my comment?

No. We believe that discussions in Slashdot are like discussions in real life- you can't change what you say, you only can attempt to clarify by saying more. In other words, you can't delete a comment that you've posted, you only can post a reply to yourself and attempt to clarify what you've said.

In short, you should think twice before you click that 'Submit' button because once you click it, we aren't going to let you Undo it.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 7/10/02

Why did my comment get deleted?

The only time we ever delete comments is if the comment contains malformed HTML that is somehow causing Slashdot to fail to display properly. Comments are not deleted on the basis of content. At this point, however, it shouldn't be a big worry. The comment engine is reasonably bulletproof, and it's pretty tough to post a comment that breaks Netscape.

If you posted a comment and you don't see it now, it may have been moderated down below your threshold (see below). If you set your threshold to -1, you should be able to see it again.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

Why did it take so long for my comment to appear?

If the system told you that your comment got submitted, it'll show up. Because of the way data gets cached in our system, it could take as much as ten or fifteen minutes (although it doesn't usually take that long).

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

What's up with "First Post" comments?

"First Post" comments are one of those odd little memetic hiccups that come out of nowhere and run amok. Basically, people with altogether far too much spare time sit and reload Slashdot, hoping that they will get the "First Post" in a discussion. This is one of those things that the moderation system was designed to clean up, and for the most part, it works. "First Post" comments usually get moderated down as off-topic almost instantly.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

It seems like the quality of comment posts is declining. Are you doing anything about it?

We have a moderation system.

One of the unfortunate side-effects of the increasing popularity of Slashdot is that the number of trolls, flame-warriors and all-around lamers increases as well, and it only takes a relatively small number of them to make a lot of noise. Keeping this noise to a minimum is one of the primary goals of the moderation system (which is explained in detail elsewhere in this FAQ).

Since this system is essentially an experiment in trying to solve the problems inherent in mass communication, one would expect its success to be variable, and indeed, this is the case. Some days it works great, and some days it doesn't.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

Moderation seems restrictive. Is it really necessary?

In short, yes.

As you might have noticed, Slashdot gets a lot of comments. Thousands a day. Tens of thousands a month. At any given time, the database holds 50,000+ comments. A single story might have a thousand replies- and let's be realistic: Not all of the comments are that great. In fact, some are down right terrible, but others are truly gems.

The moderation system is designed to sort the gems and the crap from the steady stream of information that flows through the pipe. And wherever possible, it tries to make the readers of the site take on the responsibility.

The goal is that each reader will be able to read Slashdot at a level that they find appropriate. The impatient can read nothing at all but the original stories. Some will only want to read the highest rated of comments, some will want to eliminate anonymous posts, and others will want to read every last drip of data, from the First Posts! to the spam. The system we've created here will make that happen. Or at least, it sure will try...


  • Promote quality, discourage crap.
  • Make Slashdot as readable as possible for as many people as possible.
  • Do not require a huge amount of time from any single moderator.
  • Do not allow a single moderator a "reign of terror."

On the whole, we think the moderation system works really well, but often people disagree. Their disagreement usually stems from different expectations. They see a bunch of moderations countering each other. They see a comment moderated blatantly wrong. A 'Troll' flagged 'Off topic' (or vice versa) and feel that the system is flawed.

Of course it is flawed! It's built upon the efforts of diverse human beings volunteering their time to help! Some humans are selfish and destructive. Others work hard and fair. It's my opinion that the sum of all their efforts is pretty damn good.

Read Slashdot at a threshold of 3 and behold the quality of the comments you read. Certainly you aren't reading a wild and freewheeling discussion anymore, but you are reading many valid points from many intelligent people. I am actually pretty amazed.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/26/00

Most of the trolls and useless stuff comes from "Anonymous Coward" posters. Have you thought about eliminating anonymous posting?

We've thought about it. We think the ability to post anonymously is important. Sometimes people have important information they want to post, but are afraid to do it if they can be linked to it. Anonymous Coward posting will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/21/00

Doesn't this open posting policy ever get you into trouble?

Yes, and we've got a ton of legal correspondence to prove it. We regard this as a risk of doing what we do.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/21/00

Why am I receiving the message "You can't post to this page."?

You're reading Slashdot from behind a web proxy that allows connections from any host. This functionality has been abused. Therefore, comments are not allowed to be posted from this address until the proxy is better secured. Please notify your Proxy Admin.

Answered by: Robo
Last Modified: 08/05/02

How did the moderation system develop?

In order to understand the system, it might help to understand how we got there. It wasn't random, it was trial and error and progression. I'm constantly tweaking and changing, trying to squeeze more out. Trying to make a more efficient, more fair system.

Before Moderation

In the beginning, Slashdot was small. We got dozens of posts each day, and it was good. The signal was high, the noise was low. Moderation was unnecessary because we were nobody. It was a different world then. Each day we grew, adding more and more users, and increasing the number of comments submitted. As this happened, many users discovered new and annoying ways to abuse the system. The authors had but one option: Delete annoying comments. But as the system grew, we knew that we would never be able to keep up. We were outnumbered.

Hand Picked Few

So, I picked people to help. Just a few. 25 or so at the end. They were given the simple ability to add or subtract points to comments. The primary function of these brave souls was to weed out spam and First Post and flame bait. Plus, when they found smart stuff, to bring it out.

The system worked pretty well, but as Slashdot continued to grow, it was obvious that these 25 people wouldn't be enough to keep up with the thousands of posts we were getting each day. It was obvious that we needed more.

400 Lucky Winners

So we picked more the only way we could. Using the actions of the original 25 moderators, we picked 400 more. We picked the 400 people who had posted good comments: comments that had been flagged as the cream of Slashdot. Immediately several dozen of these new moderators had their access revoked for being abusive, but they settled down.

At this time I began to experiment with ways of restricting the power of moderators to prevent abuses. 25 people are easy to keep an eye on, but 400 is another matter. I knew that someday I would have even less control since I intended to eventually give access to even more people. While moderators still added and subtracted points, the number of points they were given dropped from hundreds to dozens.

As time went on, I began working on the next phase: mass moderation. I learned a lot from having so many moderators. I learned that I needed to limit the power of each person to prevent a single rogue from spoiling it for everyone. And then we took the next step.

Today: Most Anyone

Today any regular Slashdot reader is probably eligible to become a moderator. A variety of factors weigh into it, but if you are logged in when you browse Slashdot comments, you might occasionally be granted moderator access. Don't worry about it. Just keep reading this document and learn what to do about it!


It's probably the most difficult part of the process: who is allowed to moderate. On one hand, many people say "Everyone," but I've chosen to avoid that path because the potential for abuse is so great. Instead, I've set up a few simple rules for determining who is eligible to moderate.

  • Logged In User If the system can't keep track, it won't work, so you gotta log in. Sorry if you're paranoid, but this system demands a certain level of accountability.

  • Regular Slashdot Readers The scripts track average accesses from each logged-in user. It then selects eligible users who read an average number of times. The homepage doesn't count either. It then picks users from the middle of the pack- no obsessive compulsive reloaders, and nobody who just happened to read an article this week.

  • Long Time Readers The system throws out the newest few thousand accounts. This prevents people from creating new accounts to simply get moderator access, but more importantly, means that newbies will have to be part of the community for a few months before they gain access to the controls to a system they don't understand.

  • Willing to Serve If you don't want to moderate, just visit your user preferences, and set yourself as "Unwilling."

  • Positive Contributors Slashdot tracks your "karma." If you have Positive, Good, or Excellent karma, this means you have posted more good comments than bad, and are eligible to moderate. This weeds out spam accounts.
The end result is a pool of eligible users that represent (hopefully) average, positive Slashdot contributors. Occasionally (well, every 30 minutes actually), the system checks the number of comments that have been posted, and gives a proportionate number of eligible users "tokens." When any user acquires a certain number of tokens, he or she becomes a moderator. This means that you'll need to be eligible for many of these slices in order to actually gain access. It all works to make sure that everyone takes turns, and nobody can abuse the system, and that only "regular" readers become moderators (as opposed to some random newbie ;)

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/10/03

How does moderation work?

When moderators are given access, they are given a number of points of influence to play with. Each comment they moderate deducts a point. When they run out of points, they are done serving until next time it is their turn.

Moderation takes place by selecting an adjective from a drop down list that appears next to comments containing descriptive words like "Flamebait" or "Informative." Bad words will reduce the comment's score by a single point, and good words increase a comment's score by a single point. All comments are scored on an absolute scale from -1 to 5. Logged-in users start at 1 (although this can vary from 0 to 2 based on their karma) and anonymous users start at 0.

Moderators can not participate in the same discussion as both a moderator and a poster. This is to prevent abuses, and while it is one of the more controversial aspects of the system, I'm sticking to it. There are enough lurkers that moderate that, if you want to post, feel free.

Moderation points expire after 3 days if they are left unused. You then go back into the pool and might someday be given access again.

Concentrate more on promoting than on demoting. The real goal here is to find the juicy good stuff and let others read it. Do not promote personal agendas. Do not let your opinions factor in. Try to be impartial about this. Simply disagreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it down. Likewise, agreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it up. The goal here is to share ideas. To sift through the haystack and find needles. And to keep the children who like to spam Slashdot in check.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/19/00

Do Editors Moderate?

The Slashdot Editors have unlimited mod points, and we have no problem using them.

Our moderations represent about 3% of all moderation, and according to Meta Moderation, the fairness of these moderations are either statistically indistinguishable from non-admin users, or substantially better. The raw numbers are: 95.1% of non-admin upmods are fair, and 94.7% of admin upmods are fair. 79.1% of non-admin downmods are fair, and 83.6% of admin downmods are fair.

The editors tend to find crapfloods and moderate them down: a single malicious user can post dozens of comments, which would require several users to moderate them down, but a single admin can take care of it in seconds. This tends to remove the obvious garbage from the discussion so that the general population can use their mod points to determine good. Otherwise, a few crapfloods could suck a lot of moderator points out of the system and throw things out of whack.

You can argue that allowing admins unlimited moderation is somehow inherently unfair, but one of the goals of Slashdot is to produce readable content for a variety of readers with a variety of reading habits. I believe this process improves discussions for the vast majority of Slashdot Readers, so it will stay this way.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 4/12/03

What are thresholds?

Your "threshold" is the minimum score that a comment needs to have if it is to be displayed to you. Comments are scored from -1 to 5, and you can set your threshold at any score within that range. So, for example, if you set your threshold at 2, only comments with scores of 2 or above would be displayed. Setting your threshold at -1 will display all comments. 0 is almost all comments. 1 filters out most Anonymous Cowards, and so on. Higher threshold settings reduce the number of comments you see, but (in theory, anyway) the quality of the posts you do see increases.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

What is karma?

Your karma is a reference that primarily represents how your comments have been moderated in the past. Karma is structured on the following scale "Terrible, Bad, Neutral, Positive, Good, and Excellent." If a comment you post is moderated up, your karma will rise. Consequently, if you post a comment that has been moderated down, your karma will fall.

In addition to moderation, other things factor into karma as well. You can get some karma by submitting a story that we decide to post. Also, metamoderation can cause your karma to change. This encourages good moderators, and ideally removes moderator access from bad ones.

Note that being moderated Funny doesn't help your karma. You have to be smart, not just a smart-ass.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/03/03

What does "Good", "Bad" etc. Karma Mean?

Karma is the sum of your activity on Slashdot. This means posting, moderation, story submissions. It's just an integer in a database. The tiers are Terrible, Bad, Neutral, Positive, Good, and Excellent.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 7/12/02

Karma used to be a number, now it is a word, this sucks!

People like to treat their Slashdot Karma like some sort of video game, with a numeric integer representing their score in the game. People who do this simply are missing the point. The text label is one way we've decided to emphasize the point that karma doesn't matter.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 7/12/02

Is there a limit to how much karma you can accumulate?

Yes. Karma is now capped at "Excellent" This was done to keep people from running up insane karma scores, and then being immune from moderation. Despite some theories to the contrary, the karma cap applies to every account.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 1/24/02

It seems unfair that I can't get any more karma than that even if I earn it.

Karma is used to remove risky users from the moderator pool, and to assign a bonus point to users who have contributed positively to Slashdot in the past. It is not your IQ, dick length/cup size, value as a human being, or a score in a video game. It does not determine your worth as a Slashdot reader. It does not cure cancer or grant you a seat on the secret spaceship that will be traveling to Mars when the Krulls return to destroy the planet in 2012. Karma fluctuates dramatically as users post, moderate, and meta-moderate. Don't let it bother you. It's just a number in the database.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/19/00

Why didn't I get karma for a Quickie or a Slashback story?

This is a shortcoming in the code that we haven't solved yet. Essentially, the system can easily track a submitter of a story and grant them karma, but Quickies and Slashback each operate differently. A dozen or more people might contribute directly to any one of those stories. The system doesn't really have any internal record to handle sorting out the karma distribution. Besides that, we currently grant karma points for an accepted homepage story.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 7/15/02

What is karma good for?

Karma is used to determine who moderates and who doesn't. Extremely bad karma usually indicates a user account that is being used to spam the discussion board.

Secondly, users with better karma are given a bonus point which can sometimes increase your karma level. Logged-in users normally post comments with a score of 1, but the theory is that if a user earns higher karma, they may post with a score of 2. Essentially it's a reward for being a good participant on Slashdot, or a punishment for being a bad one. Users with very low karma might lose the +1 associated with being a logged-in user. Extremely bad users might even be penalized to a -1.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 7/15/02

Why is my karma not what I expect?

If you've been moderating or posting, your karma will likely fluctuate a little as you are moderated or metamoderate. Don't worry about it; this is normal. Please remember that this is just a number in a database that helps us determine who gets selected as a moderator. It doesn't determine your IQ or your value as a human being. It's simply not a big deal.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

My Karma: How low can it go?

The lowest your karma can go is "Terrible." Check out "What does "Good", "Bad" etc. Karma Mean?" if you want to learn more about how the karma reference are tiered.

Once you get really low, you start posting at -1, and the moderators are less likely to see your posts, so it's hard to lose any more karma.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 7/15/02

Whenever I use my +1 Bonus, I get moderated down and lose Karma!

As a good poster, you earned a bonus: you are allowed to speak slightly "louder" than other people. In most cases, this is because you've earned it. But with that right comes a responsibility - you have to justify that bonus score. The louder you speak, the more likely you are to be moderated down, unless you're sufficiently interesting to prompt the moderators to let you keep your bonus score. This is how the system is designed to work: you can't just rack up karma, and then post nonsense.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

I'm not getting the Karma I deserve (or Unfairly Losing it!) for posts once I get near the Karma Ceiling!

You're right.  But please keep in mind that once you are "Excellent", that's as high as you can go. You have your bonus point already.  What more do you want?  Karma by its very nature fluctuates fairly dramatically, and the karma ceiling does tend to cause some ripples in that fluctuation at the top end of the scale... but they are only small ripples, and they are normal.   They really don't matter at all.  Its not punishment, its just the normal flow of things.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 9/19/02

I just got moderator access. What do I do?

Moderate! Read comments (preferably at a low threshold) and when you see comments that are very insightful, or perhaps just plain off topic, select that option from the drop down list. When you are done, hit the 'Moderate' button. That's it!

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

Why can't I moderate any more?

You either used up your moderator points, or they expired. Moderation is like jury duty. You never know when you're gonna have to do it, and when you get it, you only do it for a little bit. Once those points are gone, you're done.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

Why don't you give moderators unlimited moderator access to 5 stories instead of giving them just 5 points?

It's a good question. Moderators' primary complaint is that they are often crippled by the tiny amount of points they have, and the overwhelming amount of comments that need moderation. If a good moderator could moderate all the comments in a given story, certainly that would be a great improvement.

The problem is that a single bad moderator could wreak havoc across those same 5 stories. By limiting the number of moderation points to 5, any single moderator can only do so much damage. Sure they can only do so much *good* too, but that's the trade-off. I'd rather see a hundred comments unmoderated than see a hundred comments moderated badly by some jerk with an axe to grind.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/26/00

I found a comment that was unfairly moderated!

Most of the time we've found that, for every moderator out there pushing an agenda, there are a dozen good moderators making sure that everyone is getting a fair say. However, to the extent that there may be problems with unfair moderation, we have come up with a system of meta-moderation (moderating the moderation) to address this.

Answered by: Loon
Last Modified: 6/12/00

What about separating the rating (+1,-1) from the qualifier (off-topic, informative)? Often a post may be flamebait, but of excellent quality nevertheless.

While this may be true in some cases, its limited applicability doesn't justify complicating the moderators' user interface. Also, there's too much potential for abuse.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/26/00

Is this censorship?

I don't think so. Nothing is deleted: if you want to read the raw, uncut Slashdot, simply set your threshold to -1 and go crazy! This system is simply a method for us to try to work together to categorize the thousands of comments that are posted each day in such a way that we can benefit from the wisdom contained in the discussions. It's in there! It just takes some work to find it.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

I found a comment Rated -2 or 6!

What are you smoking? We squashed this bug three years ago!

Answered by: Jamie
Last Modified: 10/09/03

What is a good comment? A bad comment?

A good comment says something interesting or insightful. It has a link to a relevant piece of information that will add something to the discussion. It might not be Shakespeare, but it's not Beavis and Butthead. It's not off topic or flamey. It doesn't call someone names. It doesn't personally attack someone because of a disagreement of opinion.

Some of my favorite "bad" or off-topic comments are things like "Slashdot sucks!" and "This isn't news for nerds!" and "Moderate this XXX!" Any of these may be true, but they're probably off topic!

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

3 days is not enough time to moderate!

I disagree. The 3 day limit exists to help push the system along. If users were allowed to hang on to their points, they could save them for a discussion within which they wanted to push an agenda. It's all right if points go unused- points are free, and there are always hundreds of users with more points who can fill in.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

If I Post in a Discussion I moderated, Why Don't I get My Points Back?

This is intentional. If you could retrieve your points, you could abuse the system very easily. Here is an example:
  1. Naughty Bob moderates 5 comments in a discussion. He uses up his points.
  2. Naughty Bob waits 2 days, and then posts a message to that discussion.
  3. Naughty Bob gets his 5 moderator points back!
  4. GOTO 1
If Naughty Bob was out pushing an agenda, he could keep his 5 points indefinitely, saving them to push discussions around. By taking his points away, he is unable to do that. Now Naughty Bob has to wait until the next time he gets points.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

How can I improve my karma?

What follows was originally a story submission by dkh2. It seemed to me that it would better serve readers here:

10 Tips for Improving Your Karma:

  • Post Intelligently: Interesting, insightful, thought provoking comments are rated higher on a fairly consistent basis.

  • Post Calmly: Nobody likes a flame war. In fact, more times than not the flamer gets burned much more than their target."Flame Bait" is hit quickly and consistently with "-1" by moderators. As the bumper sticker says... "Don't be a dick."

  • If You Can't Be Deep, Be Funny: If you don't have something truly developing to the topic, some humor is welcome. Humor is lacking in our lives and will continue to be promoted. Remember though, what rips your sides out may be completely inane to somebody else. [This won't help you anymore; see above.]

  • Post Early: If an article has over a certain number of posts on it already, yours is less likely to be moderated. This is less likely both statistically (there are more to choose from) and due to positioning (as a moderator I have to actually find your post waaay at the end of a long list.)

  • Post Often: If you only post once a month you can expect your karma to remain low. Also, lively discussion in an open forum is what makes Slashdot really "Rock the Casbah."

  • Stay On Topic: Off topic posts are slapped quickly and consistently with "-1" by moderators.

  • Be Original: Avoid being redundant and just repeating what has already been said. Smirk. Yes, being moderated as "redundant" is worth "-1" to your post and your karma. Especially to be avoided are the "what he said" and "me too" posts.

  • Read It Before You Post: Does it say what you really want it to say? Check your own spelling and grammar. Occasionally, a perfectly beneficial post is passed over by moderators because of this completely irrelevant-to-content feature. This is also a good approach to checking yourself for what you're really saying. Can't tell you the number of times I've stopped myself from saying the opposite of what I meant by checking my own spelling and grammar.

  • Log In As a Registered User: I know, this sounds obvious but, "Anonymous Coward" does not have a karma rating. You can't reap the perceived benefits of your own accidental brilliance if you post anonymously. Have pride in your work and take credit for it.

  • Read Slashdot Regularly: You can't possibly contribute to the discussion if you're not in the room. Come to the party and play.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/12/00

Lots of early posts that "seem" to be informative/insightful and get mod-ed up when they really shouldn't be. If the author sounds confident, people seem to just give him points. By the time an actual informative post makes it in, it's too late to go back. How could you accommodate this in the moderation system?

Moderators are human beings, and human beings make mistakes. Still, moderators should try to be as thorough as they can. If there's a link in the comment, moderators should check it. If there are facts in the comment that a moderator knows to be wrong, he or she should take that into account. If the moderator doesn't know if the facts in a comment are correct or not, maybe the moderator should skip that comment.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/19/00

What sorts of anti-troll filters exist?

A handful of filters have been put into place to try to make sure that people don't abuse the system. The most important is that the same person can't post more than once every 120 seconds. Also, if a single user is moderated down several times in a short time frame, a temporary ban will be imposed on that user... a cooling off period if you will. It lasts for 72 hours, or more for users who have posted a ton.

The vast majority of you will never encounter any of these troll filters. If you do encounter one unfairly, let us know so we can fix it. This stuff is fairly beta code, so there are bound to be problems.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 1/27/02

What about comments copy-and-pasted from other sources?

If someone copies text from elsewhere and doesn't mention that it's copied or name the source, it's plagiarism. Moderate it Redundant, or feel free to alert moderators by posting a link (perhaps anonymously).

Answered by: Jamie
Last Modified: 1/17/03

Why can't I search or filter archived stories?

Why can't you? What are you talking about, you can! Go to the front page and scroll all the way to the bottom. There's your search button. You can search for anything you'd like in the Slashdot database, stories, comments, users, polls, and even journal entries. Filtering is a little tricky, you can filter for authors, topics, or sections, but not filter out authors, topics, or sections. Occasionally our search feature gets bogged down when many users are accessing it. In this case we recommend using google. Google likes to cache Slashdot stories and is reasonably accurate.

Answered by: Robo
Last Modified: 12/17/01

What is this  ?

In a story where a user posts a comment, you'll see one of seven images next to the comment defining the poster's relationship to you:

Friend friend

Fan fan

Neutral neutral

Foe foe

Freak freak

Friend of Friend Friend of Friend

Enemy of Friend Enemy of Friend

For more information about "Friends" check out Friends and Journals

Updated by: Robo
Last Modified: 01/02/02

What are post modes?

Comment posting modes are not related to comment viewing modes. Instead, they determine how the text that you enter for a comment is interpreted and thus how it will be displayed to the reader. There are four post modes:
  • HTML Formatted: You determine the formatting, using allowed HTML tags and entities.
  • Plain Old Text: Same as "HTML Formatted", except that <BR> is automatically inserted for newlines, and other whitespace is converted to non-breaking spaces in a more-or-less intelligent way.
  • Extrans: Same as "Plain Old Text", except that & and < and > are converted to entities (no HTML markup allowed).
  • Code: Same as "Extrans", but a monospace font is used, and a best attempt is made at performing proper indentation.

In addition, there is an extra "tag" you can use called ECODE. This functions like the "Code" post mode, but may be inlined in "HTML Formatted" and "Plain Old Text" posts, and the entire block is indented. (Getting really fancy: if you wish to use the text </ECODE> inside the ECODE tag, you may instead use <ECODE END="SOMETAG">...</SOMETAG> instead of <ECODE>...</ECODE>.)

You may set your default post mode on the Comments preferences page.

Updated by: Jamie
Last Modified: 07/16/02

A comment I posted shows a different score on my user page than in the
comments page.

Your user page displays the comments' "Natural" score. That is the base score that all users share for any given comment. This number includes things like moderations up and down, default posting bonus, and so forth. However, that same comment, when displayed in the context of a discussion, reflects the bonuses or penalties associated with any number of user preferences. These options are all configurable, and include settings like the small comment penalty, the long comment bonus, and any reason modifiers you may have defined.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 7/15/02

What do the choices in the moderation drop-down boxes mean?

  • Normal -- This is the default setting attached to every comment when you have moderation privileges. Normally, you should not need to actually select this option, but if your mouse slips and you accidentally moderate up or down a comment you didn't mean to, you can undo that mistake by choosing Normal before you hit the "Moderate" button.
  • Offtopic -- A comment which has nothing to do with the story it's linked to (song lyrics, obscene ascii art, comments about another topic entirely) is Offtopic.
  • Flamebait -- Flamebait refers to comments whose sole purpose is to insult and enrage. If someone is not-so-subtly picking a fight (racial insults are a dead giveaway), it's Flamebait.
  • Troll -- A Troll is similar to Flamebait, but slightly more refined. This is a prank comment intended to provoke indignant (or just confused) responses. A Troll might mix up vital facts or otherwise distort reality, to make other readers react with helpful "corrections." Trolling is the online equivalent of intentionally dialing wrong numbers just to waste other people's time.
  • Redundant -- Redundant posts are ones which add no new information, but instead take up space with repeating information either in the Slashdot post, the attached links, or lots of previous comments. For instance, some posters cut and paste otherwise legitimate comments in multiple places in the same discussion; the pasted versions are Redundant.
  • Insightful -- An Insightful statement makes you think, puts a new spin on a given story (or aspect of a story). An analogy you hadn't thought of, or a telling counterexample, are examples of Insightful comments.
  • Interesting -- If you believe a comment to be Interesting (and it's not mostly Redundant, Offtopic, or otherwise lame), it is.
  • Informative -- Often comments add new information to explain the circumstances hinted at by a particular story, fill in "The Other Side" of an argument, provide specifications to a product described too vaguely elsewhere, etc. Such comments are Informative.
  • Funny -- Think of Funny as being a good moderation choice if you actually think the comment is funny, not just because it seems intended to be. Not every knock-knock joke is Funny.
  • Overrated -- Sometimes you'll run into a comment which for whatever reason has been moderated out of proportion -- this probably means several moderators saw it at nearly the same time, thought it was Funny, Insightful etc, and their scores added together exaggerate its relative merit. (A knock-knock joke at +5, Funny) Such a comment is Overrated. It's not knocking the original poster to say so, but it's probably better to spend your mod points on comments which are deserving of being moderated up.
  • Underrated -- Likewise, some comments get smashed lower than they perhaps deserve by overzealous moderators. If you moderate a comment as Underrated, you're saying that it deserves to be read by more people than will see it at its current score. As with Overrated, if you can think of a more specific moderation reason, do so -- if a comment has already been moderated with an appropriate label though, and you just want to indicate that it deserves greater visibility, that's what Underrated is for. However, if a comment is labeled with a fitting (negative) label, choosing Underrated isn't such a great idea, because you could end up with contradictions like "+5, Flamebait."

Answered by: timothy
Last Modified: 2/17/03

What does it mean when I see an Asterisk following a user's ID number?

You may have noticed user IDs with an asterisk after them, like: John Doe (12345) *. The asterisk means that this user is a subscriber to Slashdot. They have shelled out some coin to help keep Slashdot running. They get assorted extra features for helping support the site, including the asterisk and the glorious bragging rights that go along with it. If you are logged in, you can use this information to assign a bonus or penalty to their default comment score. Or disable it outright. It's really up to you.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 4/22/03

Does the Karma Bonus Disappear On Highly Moderated Comments?

You might have noticed that the karma bonus seems to disappear from comments that are heavily moderated. To be more accurate, when a comment that was posted with the karma bonus has been moderated down twice, the karma bonus is removed from the score's total.

There are two major reasons for this. The first is more technical: using the default settings for the Karma Bonus, a post moderated down twice would be at score:0. If this post is in fact a bad post, moderators will now continue to moderate down this score:0 post, but the Karma Bonus will prevent the comment from ever falling to negative one. The bonus is not intended to prevent bad comments from being moderated to -1.

The second major reason is more social. The karma bonus is designed to accelerate the moderation system. The bonus is given to trusted users who have a history of positive contribution. Essentially, the karma bonus lets the user moderate their own comment, nudging it from Score:1 to 2. Normal moderation has the balance of meta moderation, but since the karma bonus is not subject to normal M2, we decided 2 moderators could counteract the bonus.

Please note that when the karma bonus is removed, no karma penalty is assessed to the poster. This has been in the code since early 2003 and has been working quite well.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/04/03

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