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...aka yet another meta diary.

You know, whenever I see one of those "Yeah!" or "Agreed" or "Right on!" or "Well said" comments, the ones that are either -nt- or one liners, I'm extremely tempted to rate them 2.  Not out of spite, as I often find myself in agreement as well, but because they really are just marginal comments.  They add nothing new to the discussion, they're inherently redundant and just state the obvious.  As much as I am for expressing common support here (our own unity and strength as a community is important to our success, and I realize this), it seems that just rating a comment you like a "4" is much better than adding a useless reply.  Such replies just slow everything down, clog up the database, cost Kos bandwidth/server space, slow down the site for everyone, and perhaps most importantly, adding more noise to the site that makes it more difficult to divine the signal.

Now I do realize there is some irony in putting up a meta-diary about noise and signal, because the argument could be posed that meta-stuff in general is pretty useless noise (that is, we're not actually discussing politics, just discussing how we discuss politics).  I would say that there is some truth to that, but certainly this meta-meta-analysis is even more useless, and at least the meta-analysis has the potential to improve and expedite our actual dialogues, and as such is worth it in the long run.  So, back to that.

I have somewhat mixed feelings on this topic, because I realize that I can't exactly go on a one-person crusade giving 2 ratings to all redundant/content-less comments.  Even 2 is supposed to be seen as marginal and 3 as good, pretty much anything short of a 4 is seen as offensive to most people and such ratings would be received quite negatively.  I don't think I would succeed in getting people to stop making those comments, but just in making them angry at me and complain or possibly even seek reprisal (in the form of rating my comments).  Not the way the rating system is supposed to work, of course, but the way it has developed.

So, I decided to enter this plea.  I realize that ironically, it will likely just be lost to the great torrent of diaries and be swept into the archives of signal and noise as well.  Still, I feel like saying it: please, only make a comment if you have something to say.  Seems intuitive, I know, but it's surprisingly absent in some situations.  You don't have to say something brilliant or insightful, it could just be funny or a minor contribution.  A few threads are exceptions to this (the mojo-drunken C&Js, threads explicitly meant to congratulate somebody for something or similar celebratory threads), but by and large threads are meant to foster dialogue and as such comments should be constructive and have content.

So, that's that.  Thank you for reading, and feel free to voice or express your agreement or disagreement through the mechanisms of comments, rating, recommending, and whatever else.

Addendum for those not catching on - The server costs are marginal. They're not my main point, just a passing point. I feel strongest about the noise-signal ratio, as highlighted by the title of my diary.

Second addendum - this is already fastly becoming my most controversial/upsetting diary, and considering this diary that's really saying something. But anyway, I'm off for the night, but I'll respond to you all in the morning. Please do read my words/entry completely before judging though, I've noticed scores of negative comments and tips from folks who openly admitted to not reading my whole entry. My point is focusing not on money but on the signal to noise ratio, and I'm just providing constructive criticism because I honestly feel that scores of "I agree" comments don't add to dialogue. Thanks.

Third addendum - Holy crap, I didn't expect this to explode. And, I'm running out of ways to distinguish the text of addendums. Anyway, it looks like we had one genuine troll and a lot of bickering besides that. I went through and rated most every comment, and will go through and give some replies, as well as one last addendum, at some point in the near future. I've got midterms at the moment though, so it'll be another day or two. I realize very few people are likely to read it at that point, but I feel like doing it a bit at least, to respond to a few misrepresentations (not from the troll but from some legit users) and such. So, stay tuned (I'll likely also point out the update in an open thread, or a C&J thread, or a new diary, or something).

Fourth addendum: Keep your pants on people, yes I dared to give some of you 2s and 3s instead of 4s, I'll give you responses soon enough, when I have a bit more free time. But the short of it is, if I didn't give you a 4, it's because I felt you misrepresented my stance one way or another, and then proceeded to respond to that straw man, often in a way that sleighted me. So, I rated your comment less-than-perfect. I'll give responses in the near future, just keep your pants on and quit making presumptions about who I am and what I think/do. GN1927, I'm looking at you - yes, I appreciate your opinion, but I'd appreciate it even more if you responded to my actual assertions. You're not the only person guilty of straw-man out there, but yeah.

Fifth addendum: I responded to all y'all.

Originally posted to Aaron on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 03:26 PM PST.

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