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Comment author: AspiringRationalist 03 February 2016 02:56:05AM 0 points [-]

Good point. I'm not sure what the right threshold would be.

How difficult would it be to look up the percentage of votes that come from different karma levels?

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 03 February 2016 11:12:20PM *  0 points [-]

Here are some existing Python scripts for LW.

If you can look at them, and then write a script that takes a number (or a list of numbers) as an input, and displays total number of LW users, and number of LW users with karma smaller than given number... well, that would be the first step. Otherwise, we need to wait until someone does it.

Comment author: AspiringRationalist 31 January 2016 03:49:32PM 10 points [-]

What if we set a significantly higher karma threshold for voting? I think a threshold of 250 or so would make Eugene's sockpuppetry and mass-downvoting shenanigans prohibitively difficult.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 02 February 2016 10:49:15PM 1 point [-]

Sounds like this could work.

Well, depends on how large fraction of votes currently comes from users with karma under 250. It would be bad to reduce the total number of votes drastically. They do have a positive role, in general; most people use them correctly.

Comment author: Houshalter 31 January 2016 01:43:52PM 1 point [-]

Also, Eugine's comments seem like optimized to offend. Such comments are "convincing for the already believing, and irritating for the unbelieving".

Did he start out this way or did this develop over time as he got more frustrated? I thought his comments got particularly worse after he got banned.

I mean, feel free to speculate about his true reasons. I am just saying they don't change anything about the ban.

Let me be clear, I'm just trying to understand why this happened. This behavior absolutely should be banned. Even if he had reasons for his actions, they were still wrong and he's still an asshole.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 31 January 2016 02:32:05PM 0 points [-]

Did he start out this way or did this develop over time as he got more frustrated?

I don't remember.

Comment author: gjm 31 January 2016 02:33:02AM 4 points [-]

sockpuppet accounts to downvote people he didn't like

I've been mass-downvoted quite a bit by Eugine and I don't recall ever seeing any comment of mine downvoted more than once. If he's using sockpuppets, it's not so much "to downvote people" but either (1) to hide his mass-downvoting by splitting it among socks or (2) to upvote his own comments (whose karma trajectory over time is often rather peculiar).

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 31 January 2016 10:36:22AM 1 point [-]

Traditionally he posted quotes in Rationality Quotes threads to farm karma he could use for the downvotes. Maybe he got tired of doing that.

Comment author: Houshalter 31 January 2016 01:37:42AM *  7 points [-]

I'm not saying that I agree with him at all, but I think it's important to understand this kind of behavior, rather than merely dismissing it as a crazy person. Though it is quite possible he is crazy, too.

But I think he feels like his political beliefs are being dismissed by others because they are controversial. There's a certain kind of person who's really attracted to contrarian beliefs like that. He thinks he can provide rational arguments for their beliefs, but people dismiss him and downvote him anyway.

This probably led to t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶o̶c̶k̶p̶u̶p̶p̶e̶t̶ ̶a̶c̶c̶o̶u̶n̶t̶s̶ ̶t̶o̶ downvote people he didn't like [and sockpuppet accounts to upvote his own comments to undo it]. Again, not defending this at all, just trying to understand it.

Many people treat downvotes like insults. If your comment gets downvoted, its kind like if a bunch of people told you loudly and publicly "Shut up!", or that you are stupid. It's a public humiliation and a loss of status. That can lead to anger and frustration and a desire to get revenge.

Downvotes as shaming is a real effect. I certainly don't post comments which I think have a chance of being downvoted. Which is why I post comments here much less frequently than I otherwise would on other discussion sites. And I'm not trying to complain, because I love reddit's comment system and think it's really good at filtering discussion. But it is problematic that people treat it like a disagree button.

Then he gets banned for that behavior. That feeds into his persecution complex and gets him even angrier. And well, we've seen the results of that.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 31 January 2016 10:32:15AM *  13 points [-]

Eugine's beliefs are "politically incorrect", but that's not completely unusual at LW. The main reason why we don't see them here often is that we don't debate politics often. And ironically, Eugine's downvoting crusades have contributed significantly to reducing the political debates on LW. There were times when we used to have a political debate in a separate thread or in an Open Thread once in a while. And at some moment, such debates started predictably ending with someone saying "I have disagreed with Eugine yesterday, and today I see I have lost hundreds of karma points and most of my old comments are at -1; fuck this". This makes the debate unpleasant even for the people who on object level happen to agree with Eugine on the specific topic. Most of us see the difference between "I won the debate by providing convincing arguments" and "I won the debate by strategically downvoting or otherwise harrassing my opponents" (or "I won the debate because my opponents were harrassed by a third party").

Also, Eugine's comments seem like optimized to offend. Such comments are "convincing for the already believing, and irritating for the unbelieving". They don't change anyone's opinion, and are usually used by a majority, to silence a minority. Ironically, majority is exactly what Eugine doesn't have here. So this leaves me with two models:

  • Eugine is too mindkilled to understand all this nuance, despite having spent years here. He still doesn't get what LW is about. In such case, his mental abilities are insufficient for LessWrong.

  • Eugine may understand the nuance, he just doesn't give a fuck about rationality or LW culture. For him, victory of his tribe is the ultimate goal. That also means he doesn't belong here, just for different reasons.

Regardless of whether he understands or doesn't understand what he is doing wrong, he has shown no capacity to learn or to improve his behavior. Like, come on, it's not like moderators are paranoidly observing IP addresses of every user to make sure the lifelong bans stay enforced. All he would have to do is to create a new account and change his behavior so that no one would suspect it's the same person. He is either incapable or unwilling to do that. Well, fuck him; we are not here to provide him group therapy.

I mean, feel free to speculate about his true reasons. I am just saying they don't change anything about the ban.

Comment author: Alicorn 31 January 2016 06:34:08AM 1 point [-]

I am occasionally summoned to address spam. I currently have the ability to ban comments, but not accounts. Should I talk to someone about acquiring this ability or just refer anyone trying to summon me over to you instead?

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 31 January 2016 09:11:40AM 1 point [-]

NancyLebovitz is currently the main moderator, with the right to ban accounts, so you can send her a private message.

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 30 January 2016 08:28:42AM 6 points [-]

Enough with the sphexiness, and let's implement some software measure preventing anyone from casting too many votes.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 30 January 2016 08:12:34PM 9 points [-]

We don't even have a good specification yet. Even if you add a specific number, "casting too many votes" isn't really what we need.

Ironically, I believe the problem could actually be not enough voting by the regular users. That gives a rabid voter such large fraction of the total votes on the website.

For the record, I would support a software solution, but it would be one that would do data analysis in order to find various kinds of voting abuse (retributive downvoting, sockpuppetry, etc.) and would provide reports to moderators. Clicking the "ban" button is the part that only takes a few seconds. Analysing the data to find out if the user really does what they are accused of, that takes a lot of time, because it's currently done ad-hoc, and because the Reddit code and database are unnecessarily complicated.

Comment author: casebash 30 January 2016 03:08:19AM *  3 points [-]

Everytime I publish a post, someone seems to down vote without comment. I'd be really curious to find out if I am being targeted by a specific user or whether there is just a lot of hate for abstract discussion.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 30 January 2016 03:28:33AM 6 points [-]

I am sorry, this is an announcement post; I will not handle the requests posted here. This was a one-time action for me, and I will soon return to hibernation as a moderator.

The currently active moderator is NancyLebovitz. If you have a strong suspicion that something wrong is going on, please send a private message to her.

Comment author: Daniel_Burfoot 30 January 2016 02:56:16AM 2 points [-]

I think we should be able to detect this with a smart data analysis program that is able to do SQL queries on the database that holds the LW voting records.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 30 January 2016 03:06:15AM *  3 points [-]

In theory, yes. However, LW is based on Reddit code, and the code and the database structure are quite difficult. (See some example database scripts here.)

Comment author: ChristianKl 29 January 2016 11:05:15AM 11 points [-]

There nothing problematic with a moderator actually trying to enforce moderting decisions. Given that past attempts didn't work, it makes sense to use other measure like this.

I am posting this so that we can have a transparent discussion about moderation, something at least one moderator apparently doesn't want.

Given your lack of any justifications of your actions or engaging in criticism it seems like you don't really like transparency either.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 30 January 2016 02:46:44AM *  2 points [-]

Exactly. Eugine/Azathoth/Ra/Lion was already sufficiently transparently banned in 2014.

He either didn't get the memo, or he pretends to be dumb for the sake of scaremongering, or maybe he actually is delusional. I don't care which one; the outcome is the same.

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