Managing zealotry

This is some pretty blatant whitewalling. I don’t think we have a current policy for this sort of behavior in general, and it’s looking like we need one, but it deserves some discussion because there are nuances to the situation. This is not any sort of fraud, Stuart checked and they’re all unique IPs – it’s a genuine community brigade, not just someone pimping their own wares.

We want enthusiastic, contributive users just like these. They drive the site! We don’t want to punish them and drive them away. Vote brigades become less problematic when the overall traffic goes up and the bumps they make start getting lost in the average, and meanwhile these users are getting involved with Slant. We really want to be courting them.

The thing we don’t want, is a fat pile of “pros” that are just empty marketing copy, most of them saying exactly the same thing. Easy, simple, intuitive, everyone can! I’m actually not opposed to one entry like this on a given option, because sometimes it really does take hands-on experience to know why something just works, and the affirmation of upvotes is the only “source” available. But that’s all it deserves: a big number. Not two pages of repetition. Every other option could make the exact same claims, and only the vote counts separate them. We aid users in comparing things; there’s only one data point here relevant to that goal, and it’s disingenuous to show it half a dozen times with different labels.

So, what we’ve got here is a PR issue. This needs heavy moderation. It needs all the redundant go-team-go stripped, and if possible it needs some pros and cons that actually help compare it to the other options in relevant ways. Chances are good this means deleting at least half the pros, and radically altering most of the rest. The question is how to do this while pissing off as few of those users as possible?

And remember, these are the sort of users who are willing to go on a spam crusade. Not pissing them off isn’t just so we keep them – it’s also so they don’t set a goal of driving people away from us, because they’ve demonstrated themselves to be the sort who might try. “Any publicity is good publicity” is an oversimplification – good is still better!


This is a complicated issue. Practically speaking, this is solved via a flagging system that clearly, pleasantly & transparently explains that a particular Pro isn’t suitable and will be temporarily hidden until it’s fixed.

What we’re seeing here is the input data we get from the “enthusiastic communities” rather than the data we get from Slant regulars. If we want to grow, this is the sort of input we need to expect as the predominant user contributions and the Slant system needs to be clever enough to transform it into something useful.

I think it’s going to be a combination of flags + “downvotes” on pros/cons/options + penalising pros/cons without sources etc. (Ie tank “Easy of use is at the heart of the design” until it gets sources)

A well designed flagging system will allow us to moderate the content while minimising how many people we annoy as the content won’t just disappear without explanation.

Where are you getting that from?

[quote=“StuartK, post:2, topic:123”]
tejon said:because they’ve demonstrated themselves to be the sort who might try

Where are you getting that from?[/quote]
People who do things in excited groups sometimes gather torches and pitchforks along the way. I probably should have emphasized might… it’s not a prediction, there’s every chance that this game engine really is that exciting (I’ll let you know, heh). Just something to keep in mind. Could be a piñata full of candy, but it’s shaped kind of like a hornet’s nest and I for one don’t plan to swing a stick at it. :wink:

oh, I thought you saw a forum post in particular from the FPS community indicating that as a possibility.

Replying to the rest of what you said – should we just wait for those tools to be in place before doing anything at all here? I was considering some direct community outreach to their forums, trying to talk them into refining the option themselves into something that fits our needs and still represents them.

They did go as far as defacing the cons on the page…

“I feel this is a mis-representation of the product. Being a Beta product, with ‘unfinished features’ is neither a Con, nor a Pro. It is just fact.”

Outreach is probably the best/only solution for now. I want to work on Moderator tools next, but there’s no way I can get that done fast enough to react to something that’s already happened, even without a UI.

Consider them outreached:

1 Like

I’m currently designing the system, but it’s going to involve some features such as soft deleting that tom needs to build as well as a lot of UI. I doubt it will be live in the next month.

You can see the current list of flags I’ve come up with here:

From a UI perspective it will be pretty much what Stack has. They nailed this system IMO.

1 Like

Didn’t notice that you’d already been active on their forum. Cool, I’ll keep tabs on that thread.

taylorcoogan [7:47 PM]
I don’t think that spam is the problem, it’s bad content

stuart [7:47 PM]
what would the flag say?

taylorcoogan [7:47 PM]
“not helpful”

or “is this helpful?” and if it sinks below a certain threshold it dies

maybe the right response is to make the community more aware of good submission guidelines?

tejon [7:50 PM]
A good set of flag titles helps with that, I think.

Things we don’t want: obvious marketing copy; terrible grammar; non-sequitur options; pros and cons that repeat each other.

Probably some other stuff. But a simple “unhelpful” flag is, well, unhelpful. It doesn’t explain what could be done to improve the content, which is always superior to removing it.

stuart [7:53 PM]
is what you just said covered in the meta post @tejon?

make sure it is as I’m going to be using that thread to elicit requirements

It seems to be caused by the lack of neutral points rather than users being ignorant. When/if neutral points are introduced, it should go away naturally.


+Great, fast tech support

+Quick response to user issues

+Prompt warranty service

These are probably all the same Pro, or at best two (how responsive, how actually-helpful) but they’re definitely Pro traits, not neutral. The question linked at the top of this topic had something like this going on before it got some moderator attention.

Speaking of which, it seems to need some more… top Pro has been defaced. :frowning:

I like that approach. I’d rather produce a solution than manage symptoms.