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Vladimir_Nesov comments on Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism - Less Wrong

105 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 April 2009 02:44AM

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Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 21 April 2009 12:38:00PM *  8 points [-]

One problem I have with hesitation to downvote is that some mediocre comments are necessary. Healthy discussion should have the right ratio of good comments to mediocre comments, so that people may feel relaxed, and make simple observations, increasing rate of communication. And current downvote seems too harsh for this role. On the other hand, people who only make tedious comments shouldn't feel welcome. This is a tricky balance problem to solve with comment-to-comment voting.

I would downvote more, if we had a separate button, saying "mediocre", that would downvote the comment, say, by 0.3 points (or less, it needs calibration). The semantics of this button is basically that I acknowledge that I have read the comment, but wasn't impressed either way. From the interface standpoint, it should be a very commonly used button, so it should be very easy to use. Bringing this to a more standard setting, this is basically graded voting, --, - and ++ (not soft/hard voting as I suggested before though).

An average mediocre comment should have (a bit of) negative Karma. This way, people may think of good comments they make as currency for buying the right to post some mediocre ones. In this situation, being afraid to post any mediocre comments corresponds to excessive frugality, an error of judgment.

Also, this kind of economy calls for separation of comment Karma and article Karma, since the nature of contributions and their valuation are too different between these venues.

Comment author: Tiiba 21 April 2009 05:22:19PM 2 points [-]

I just had a related idea. Let people mark their own comments as highbrow, lowbrow, or NSFW. Highbrow if it's a serious comment, lowbrow if it's a bad pun. And then there could be related viewing options. This way, people who want to relax wouldn't be told that they're bad and stupid, but those who came here on business wouldn't have to see it.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 21 April 2009 06:04:51PM 4 points [-]

This can't work organically, generation of content has to be performed in the mode of presentation sufficiently compatible with the mode of consumption. Taking out a portion of comments from a discussion raptures it, making it too tarnished to hold together. It takes human intelligence to selectively abbreviate a narrative, an automatic system that just takes track of some kind of threshold is incapable of doing that gracefully. Removing offensive outliers works, but little else. See also this comment, made before it was made possible to easily see comments' context.

Comment author: ciphergoth 21 April 2009 05:28:07PM 2 points [-]

The requested feature list for this site's software is now huge - we're going to need a lot more coders if we're to make such progress.

Comment author: Nominull 21 April 2009 05:30:22PM 1 point [-]

Even if it were a good idea to split the community like that, what are we to do with people who consistently post middlebrow posts, like pointed jokes, or philosophy interspersed with anime references?

Comment author: aausch 21 April 2009 07:44:28PM *  0 points [-]

Why have a button that performs a default action? If, by default, a read comment is worth 0.3 points, give it those points every time it's read.

This could be used in reverse, too. Have comments' points decay (say, for the first 4 days only) - to motivate people to save the ones they want to keep, from dropping below the readable-threshold.

Edit: In order to preserve the Karma of writers, the decay could be implemented in a smart way (say, readability threshold for comments increases as they age, so, if a comment doesn't get 3 upvotes by day 5 or after 10 reads, for example, it disappears)

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 22 April 2009 01:36:28AM 1 point [-]

The first point is answered here. The second point is not about the problem discussed in the article, it won't help in defence against trolls.

Comment author: wiresnips 21 April 2009 05:16:29PM -1 points [-]

The mediocre button should be the same as simply not voting, I think. Especially since it'd have to be used quite often, no-one wants to be pushing a button for every mediocre comment. Maybe a similar effect could be reached if comments gradually accumulate negative karma with time?

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 21 April 2009 05:46:43PM 1 point [-]

That would be nice, but unfortunately you need to somehow signal that you have really considered the comment, understood it, and decided that it's nothing special. Simply downloading the page, or even reading the comment, doesn't do the trick. See also this discussion on validity of voting in ignorance.