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I read this comment last night.  I did not intend my next metadiary to be about the rating system, but it seems a lot of new users have some misconceptions I'd like to correct below the fold.

Dkos Reminds Me of That Warren in Watership Down (4.00 / 3)

Where the unspoken rule was that no rabbit was to mention that any one of them can be suddenly, inexplicably disappeared.

I have addressed this topic before, in my seminal Naked dKos and in this comment.  Still, people do tend to misunderstand the self policing mechanisms here at dKos.

First there was Kos.  He owns this site and has truly magical powers.  So do his programmers and a few (very few) other people.  Don't ever doubt that at least one System Administrator watches over you at all times.  Of course so does the NSA and Karl Rove, be careful what you say.

Then there is everybody else.

At the 'Animal Farm' it is true that some are more equal than others.  Let's talk about Regular Users first.

As just a plain old RU what can I do?  I can make comments, diary (once a day), rate, and recommend.  Oh, and I can read stuff too.  Lots of stuff (see Speed Reading dKos).

For ratings you have 4 choices-

  1. Unproductive
  2. Marginal
  3. Good
  4. Excellent

In fact there are only 2 ratings- Excellent and Troll.  Excellent is a kiss and a hug.  Troll is as low as you can go.  Markos has this to say about troll rating- "If you think the poster is clueless, or an idiot, or you just don't agree with them, that is not grounds" for troll rating.

As an RU, your 'Unproductive' will not be hidden, better be prepared to defend it.

Hidden Ratings (yes, I re-edit my diaries the next day before I post them.  Don't you?)

If you are very new, you might go to your page's ratings tab and say "Gasp.  What are all these '[Hidden Comments]'?  (shudder)  Damn, I thought that guy was spot on."

My friend, take off your tinfoil hat (well, there are other reasons to do it).  All it means is that you have rated a comment that no one else has.

Still, as a Regular User there are ratings you can't see.  If you can see your comment, you can see how many zeros you have, but not who.  If you can't see your comment, well there you go.

If you are a careful and attentive reader of controversial threads you may notice comments appear and disappear and reappear again.  Your own comments may disappear, even highly rated ones.  What's up with that?

I call this phenomena 'flicker'.

Trusted Users and 0

Certain 'super powerful' users like me, with my intimidating uid of 49281, after months of posting, rating, and recommending, get to 'dole the trolls'.  These are 0 ratings and they behave a little differently.

It takes 2 ratings to generate an average rating.  Comments with an average rating less than 1 are hidden.  I want to make this very clear.  It takes at least 2 users, one of them a Trusted User, to hide a comment.  Do the math, (1+0)/2=0.50.

What does being hidden mean?  That means that Regular Users (including you) can't see either the comment itself or any of the replies, but the comment is not yet gone.  TUs can still see them, both when they read a diary and in a special list called 'Hidden Comments'.

It is one thing to dole, for which there are specific guidelines; but each TU is also supposed to police the ratings of their fellow TUs by uprating comments unjustly trolled.

Trusted Users may disagree about the utility of a post.  When I assign myself to 'Hidden Comment' patrol, those are the cases I look for, the ones flickering at the edge of visibility.  Personally I'm looking to uprate, not pile on.

As a comment passes in and out of the flicker zone, so too do all it's replies.  And if your very best piece of snark with 40 4s flickers in and out of your Comments Tab, do not despair- mojo isn't hidden (well, you can't see the names anymore because you can't see the comment).  On the other hand I do hope you composed offline and saved your draft.  We all do that, don't we?

"I'll troll rate you out of existence!"

Laugh.  Out.  Loud.

If I am a Regular User there is not much you can do to me.  You can hide my comment, but if it took longer than 15 minutes to compose I have a backup.  You can delay me on the path to Trusted User status (now that I am, I can see that the only impediment was my laziness).  You are of course invisible because I can't see your handle, but I'll know what happened if I'm paying attention.

Don't get me wrong, persistent bad behavior can attract the attention of those with magical powers.

As a TU I have somewhat more at stake, my status is dependent on good behavior and a certain level of activity.  I might become comfortable with the ability to judge others and resent losing it.  Pffft.

"But what about the disappearing diaries?"

There are few things I take more seriously here than people's ability to diary.  It is your chance to take a blank page and express yourself.

More than that, you can do so with very little exposure.  For the most part no one can delete your diary but you.

Which is not to say there aren't rules-

  1. 1 Diary a Day
  2. No Duplicate Diaries

Just for the record I am somewhat opposed to both of these restrictions, but things are what they are.

Last time I checked the 1 Diary a Day limit was software enforced.  You simply can't post another Diary until the time limit has expired.

Duplicate Diaries are enforced by the Diary Police and you don't even have to be a TU to join.  As a group they've gotten much less obnoxious over the last month or so, politely saying "So and so [link here] diaried this a little more than an hour ago, perhaps you'd like to read it.", rather than "THIS IS A DUPLICATE DIARY.  DELETE IT."  A responsible diarist always checks at least the last 50 for duplicates.

Most diaries that disappear do so because the diarist does it themselves, either in response to criticism or because they realize it's a duplicate.  Another common cause is that someone has been exposed as a troll or has decided for some other reason to never post again and is cleaning out their diary box (ps. your comments are forever).

Magical Powers

Well, Kos could kick the plug on the servers.  That's about as magical as it gets.

I have seen diaries deleted, comments vanish, users banished, and other wonderful (hmm... I wonder) things happen.

There is no denying a small group of what I call 'System Administrators' watches over dKos all the time.  If you are persistently bad, I have no doubt they can make bad things happen to you.  I also have no doubt that they have excellent tools to examine your behavior and that they use them.  I recall Kos saying at one time or another that although he accepts recommendations, nobody closes an account but him.  Wish I could find the reference.  And you can always ask for reconsideration.

Lots of people leave every day for very ordinary reasons.  Life is change.  I've found a new shiny object.  I disagree- strongly.  Most simply abandon their accounts, which is why the 70K+ number is deceptive; you get a better read using jotter's diaries.

I suspect that most that do get cut are previous trolls who have reregistered.

After all, if I were willing to abandon my carefully honed and polished ek character I could always roll the dice again.

Or could I?  I like to think my style would give me away.

"Oh for a pen of living fire.  A tongue of flame.  An arm of steel.
To rouse the people's slumbering ire, and teach the tyrant's heart to feel."

Originally posted to The Stars Hollow Gazette on Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 06:12 PM PST.


Do you care about Ratings?

25%36 votes
6%10 votes
54%78 votes
7%11 votes
2%4 votes
2%4 votes

| 143 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Vent Hole (4.00)
    I was inspired by the comment I read, I am not at all angry with the writer.  I think we do a poor job of educating, as a group.  I do what I can to fix that.
  •  speaking of which (4.00)
    What happened to the diary that disappeared off the Recommended List tonight? I think it was by jillian. Hadn't gotten around to reading it yet when it vanished.
    •  Beyond my pay grade n/t. (none)
    •  I deleted it myself (4.00)
      I was tired of the bullies more enraged over my use of "a bad word" in the title than they were enraged over the Environmental stories I took quite some time to collect.

      When one of them called me a Republican, I said well "Cheney" that....

      Thanks for noticing, though.

      I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

      by jillian on Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 06:49:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sorry I missed it (4.00)
        I like the environmental diaries. We need more of them on dkos. Also sorry you got trashed about your title. It's always one controversy or another around here. The controversy du jour. In a couple weeks, it will be forgotten and there'll be dozens of "F" diary titles again.
      •  Hey, jillian, just ignore them (4.00)
        Or tell them to fuck off. Don't let people's reactions to "naughty" words make you pull your own good stuff. Just let them spew and ignore it.

        I was planning on reading it tonight, damn it. (Don't worry, I spanked myself for that one.)

      •  That's really too bad (4.00)
        Excellent diary, some pretty good comments too, ruined by a few commenters seeking to carry over that profanity piefight.  Funny that those two diaries got 1,000 comments between them, while other diaries, like the Katrina Cough diary, had many less.
  •  This seems an appropriate place (none)
    for yet another plea, and plug, for tags. If new diaries are properly tagged, checking the tag pages is an extremely easy and quick way to see what has been posted recently on the topic.

    If. Please check the cloud and try to use preexisting tags, and remember to conform in spelling, punctuation, capitalization,etc. This is for the sake of utility. If you think this is some sort so spelling police trip, you, ahem, don't know what you are talking about.

    Excellent post.

  •  dkospedia (none)
    Well done.  If it's not already over there, you should port this to dKospedia.

    "I don't bear a grudge. I have no surviving enemies."

    by usagi on Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 06:30:32 PM PST

  •  Nicely explained (none)
    There are alot of misconceptions about ratings & censorship. I pretty much lean toward free speech myself except where someone has become really disruptive to a thread. For example there was an unfortunate incident with the weather guy when he posted info on the latest hurricane- Wilma? and someone objected to his graphics & fear mongering. He left in a huff which was truly sad because he did such a great job. At that point I was assisting in zeroing this one guy's comments so that the whole flame war could be hidden & we (those interested in info) could get back to the thread. Alot of people get paranoid but even over the weekend Jeff Feldman's diary wasn't so much about censorship as requesting decorum. But alot of people took it as censorship. Just my .02

    Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought- John F. Kennedy

    by vcmvo2 on Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 06:33:22 PM PST

    •  yeah, too bad about that weather guy (4.00)
      Thanks to his diary, I convinced my parents to get out of the Keys before the mandatory evacuation was announced, so they wound up missing being stuck in the horrendous traffic jams replete with accidents. And they were planning to stay in Miami, but because of his warnings, I talked them into coming up to my place on the Panhandle.

      Turned out their Key was hit hard, but Miami was hit even harder and people who'd gone up there from the Keys wound up stuck without water, electricity, or fuel to get home. Plus my dad's got medical problems. So I'm really indebted to Steve Gregory for posting that diary. Too bad some jerks had to ruin it for the rest of us.

      •  is he gone? (none)
        also, whatever happened to A Liberal US Marine's diary on his supposed account of witnessing white phosphorus being used as a weapon? Do you remember that from a few weeks ago? It was on the reco list, then I checked a few hours later and it was gone but there was a blank space on the reco list...was it because his account wasn't reliable? I didn't think it was and a few people had raised questions.

        Stop saying that blue state people are out of touch with the morals and values of the red states. I'm not out of touch with them, I just don't share them.

        by missreporter on Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 07:10:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I didn't know about jotter's meta-diaries (4.00)
    Being still pretty new here and all.  Thanks for that.

    As for the poll:  I went with "Nice to get a hug and a kiss".  But what I really meant was that it's nice to know someone's actually read what you've taken the time to write.

    Oddly, I happened to post several times on C&J when I first joined.  So I got tons of recommends.  Had TU before I had a clue what it even was.  Still don't really know what's up here.  It's nice to look at hidden comments sometimes.  And, perhaps oddly, I like rooting around in the tags.

    Anyhow, thanks.

  •  Interesting (none)
    Thanks for letting me know what's going on.

    I have three hidden comments. I don't suppose any TU's would tell me what they say?

  •  TU Status (none)
    My user ID is in the 20,000's and I absolutely cannot believe time has passed by that quickly. I check the HC's as I'm supposed to, and I have to say I'm impressed at how well this piece of the system works (IMO). The comments "hidden" there are for the mosr part hideous, and I'm glad they were deemed unworthy.
  •  I like using the 70K+ number (none)
    as a rhetorical works great at times <g>

    "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

    by kredwyn on Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 07:15:10 PM PST

  •  Hmmm... (none)
    I can make comments, dairy (once a day), rate, and recommend.

    ek, Jewish dietary guidelines being what they are, I'm offended by your rigid once a day dairy rule.  ;-)

    Fear will keep the local systems in line. -Grand Moff Tarkin blogomni

    by boran2 on Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 07:57:49 PM PST

  •  Metacarpal Diem (none)

    What does "dwell 12" mean?  (What's the frequency, ek?)

    •  That's what I want to know. (none)
      Dwell 12?
      And- I am the Other. Love the hugs & kisses, but also like to whack trolls, when applicable. Mostly just ignore asshat comments, unless they keep on and on, or are insulting, racist, etc.
      I have no prob with the system, from what I can see, it works well.
      BTW, ek, you forgot to tell about the marvelous tradition of posting recipies for trolls!

      -7.13 -6.51 Pity poor Scott county. They have to take Kilgore back.

      by emmasnacker on Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 08:18:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I believe in diaries. (4.00)
      I really do.

      When my diaries are up I collect dwell times so that if lazy people start whining about how their diary disappeared in minutes I can legitimately accuse them of not using the most efficient techniques.

      I am totally happy with the responses to this diary, over 40 confirmed views (poll), 10 4s in the tip jar, no zeros, no flame wars.  Rec list I sneer at you.

      I can already tell I'll be minding this one for the next 4 hours at least (I think you should pay attention until they drop below 50).

      Right now I'm at 31, another marker (default 'Recent Diary' list limit).

  •  Off the wheel... (none)
    at last?

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