-46

I've seen and experienced several examples of mis-moderations. Cases where people with high reputation misuse their power to shut down the voice of others, even when there was no intended vandalism or verbal abuse. Such cases suggest that there is an ultimate authority of what is Truth -- those with the power.

For example, a moderator find an answer "low quality" or even "wrong" and they delete the post where no further input from the community is possible. How does one know if the moderator is wrong? No one gets to know.

It seems that with the right voting model, reputation could be allocated perfectly and no moderation would be needed -- even in cases where vandalism or intended misinformation is given.

Do people think it is possible and/or worth trying? To solve this problem solves a > $1Billion dollar problem for the world.

So:

  1. Do you think it's possible?
  2. Is the potential gain for the world as high as I think?
25
  • 7
    Do you mean diamond moderators, who are elected to have special powers, or high-rep uses, whose experience earns them privileges?
    – bobble
    Jun 19 at 18:14
  • @bobble: Ultimately both, a proper voting model should be able to do away with all such "moderation". For example, people could "spend" their reputation if they wanted more power than the up/down vote.
    – Marxos
    Jun 19 at 18:17
  • 22
    Responding to: It seems that with the right voting model, reputation could be allocated perfectly and no moderation would be needed -- even in cases where vandalism or intended misinformation is given. What about the privilege of reversing serial downvotes? Who gets to use that? Deleting harmful hurtful comments? What about abusive, low quality and wrong answers? Moderators can zap them immediately on sight. What about sockpuppets, you know users who create multiple accounts to upvote their contributions. How would removing moderators resolve that problem? -1 you need to think this thru Jun 19 at 18:33
  • 22
    We generally advise people to stick around for a while to get to know how the sites work before suggesting improvements. I note you've been a member for over 7 years, and yet still haven't achieved the trusted user privilege. I'm not clear what problem it is that you're trying to solve here. Could you be specific - as just saying "mods/high-rep users are misusing power" doesn't match my experience at all. Please be specific about the exact nature of the problem.
    – W.O.
    Jun 19 at 18:41
  • 4
    Can you be more specific about the examples in your question? What are you alluding to? Dupe hammering on Stack Overflow? Deleting of answers? Deleting of comments? Voting cabals by a small clique on a smaller site (effectively voting cabals, not organised)? Or something else? (But without "Edit:", "Update:", or similar - the question should appear as if it was written right now.) Jun 19 at 22:53
  • 1
    Or on Academia? It is quite a feat to get that many downvotes on relatively late answers (as attention would already have died down (I presume)). I don't think this proposal is from first principles. Jun 21 at 9:39
  • 3
    I find it in very poor taste to close this as opinion based. Almost any question here on MSE is opinion based, as it usually boils down to "is this a good idea or not". Is it a very helpful discussion, I don't know, but it is a valid one to have. - Voting to re-open.
    – Luuklag
    Jul 8 at 7:15
  • 1
    @W.O. The OP does so in an answer, there is nothing wrong with that. My preferred close reason would be none, leave it open. Not everything that isn't very helpful should be closed.
    – Luuklag
    Jul 8 at 7:20
  • 2
    @Marxos That's not true. Users with a high enough reputation can see deleted answers and judge for themselves whether the deletion was correct. If they believe it was incorrect, they can flag it or raise it on Meta.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 9 at 16:57
  • 2
    The "little guy" is also the one who downvotes out of revenge. The "little guy" is also the one who bullies the newcomer, and trolls the older users. What makes you think that the establishment is all evil but the community is all good? That's never the case unless we're talking about a oligarchy and a tyrant. Do you feel subjected? Do you mistrust the management? Maybe you do, then you are free to leave or stand up and defend the user whose answer is unfairly deleted explaining why it should stand. Do this by earning 10K that's when deleted posts are no longer hidden. Jul 9 at 17:16
  • 2
    I have successfully argued for the undeletion of posts that were mine and of others. Users have asked the community to reopen closed questions, 9/10 these requests were successful. The moderators and the community would agree. Not everyone, and not always, but fairly frequently. english.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7042/… Overalllthe system is not imperfect, there are indeed bad apples, but it's a system that works. Jul 9 at 17:21
  • 1
    The Stack Exchange model, system and organisation is about as close to democracy as you are advocating for. Moderators are elected (although I do believe it shouldn't be for eternity as if they were Popes, landowners, parliament Lords or powerful industrialists) the vast majority of mods were elected by the community. Are you saying that moderator elections are unnecessary and should be eliminated? Jul 9 at 17:38
  • 2
    and who is going to do the policing? Who is going to handle the "red flags"? You're saying the community should self govern, in a certain sense it already does. Users who care about equality, fairness and impartiality keep their eyes open. Users who care about quality vote content. Users who care about the repository of knowledge will handle the review queues themselves. Users who witness a mod repeatedly misuse their privilege can write to Contact Support. Mods have been removed. Some fairly while others unfairly. Jul 9 at 17:50
  • 1
    @Mari-LouAСлаваУкраїні: No, when you delete content, it often remains silent. Ward Cunningham's wikiwikiweb project knew this long ago. Read why WikiWorks on his website. Participation is the SOLUTION to abusive behaviors while EXCLUSION is its cause.
    – Marxos
    Jul 9 at 18:01
  • 1
    "When people can't express themselves, they always resort to something else you can't control or they abuse themselves (like suicide)." - If someone genuinely considers suicide because their Stack Exchange posts got deleted, they most likely have some sort of pre-existing psychiatric disorder such as depression. People taking their imaginary internet points too seriously isn't really our problem, to be frank.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 9 at 18:42

3 Answers 3

24

No, impossible.

Moderators are exception handlers. Moderators handle cases normal users can't.
For example, Cleaning up spammers, sockpuppets, abusive accounts and harassment.

Normal users vote on content quality. Just as it doesn't take a helicopter pilot to see that a helicopter landing upside down is being piloted poorly, most bad questions don't require domain knowledge to determine they're of low quality, and what's wrong...

There's no magical system to suddenly make everything perfect. If that were anywhere close to possible, we'd already have it.

5
  • I wasn't suggesting that vandalism and personal abuse be handled by the voting model, although, in theory, it possibly could. All users vote on content quality, so I'm not sure why you suggest otherwise. there are so many problems with this site, I need to postpone further comment.
    – Marxos
    Jun 19 at 19:27
  • 22
    Yes, you are: "What's the best way to make a voting model for SE so that moderators aren't necessary?" and " Ultimately both, a proper voting model should be able to do away with all such "moderation"." You're suggesting moderation shouldn't exist, @Marxos.
    – Cerbrus
    Jun 19 at 19:28
  • Why the acerbic tone? Are feeling threatened by not having power over other users as moderators? I was giving a graded solution to the issues that most sites use moderation for. Your body uses a complex process of trust and reputation to make a complex system work. The only time it seeks conscious input is when it encounters an unknown. Vandalism and personal abuse (like some moderators show here), are known quantities in the 21st century. They can be solved.
    – Marxos
    Jun 20 at 2:29
  • 14
    'personal abuse (like some moderators show here), are known quantities in the 21st century. They can be solved'......umm......Twitter, Facebook etc - not solved yet:( Jun 20 at 2:59
  • 18
    @Marxos: You keep repeating that there are solutions, that this "can be solved"... Go on then, provide a solution? Because you're not giving a "graded solution" All you're doing is saying we have a "tone", assume we feel threatened somehow, and frankly, insult our intelligence.
    – Cerbrus
    Jun 20 at 5:26
8

It's not a good idea to try to completely eliminate moderators.

Moderators have greater access to information than ordinary users. We can see voting patterns and view personally identifying information. We need this to be able to moderate effectively and identify sockpuppets/targeted voting, but it's also not information that should (or in many cases, legally can be) be public.

Moderators perform large-scale cleanups targeted at users. It's not unusual for us to delete dozens or even hundreds of a user's posts in one fell swoop after discovering they plagiarized most of their content. A lot of this content was very well-received from a voting perspective, because the person who actually wrote it (who isn't the one who posted it and stole credit) did a good job. We correct what the voters got wrong.

Moderators provide a point of accountability. There are a small number of us, and we're accountable to the community. People complain all the time about inexplicable up/down voting. Now imagine that applied to every type of action that can be taken, without being able to appeal decisions with the moderation team.


That said, reducing dependence on moderators is a good idea, because it would allow the moderators to do their work more effectively. Increasing the amount of problematic content that can be handled by the community, while retaining the ability for moderators to step in as needed, is a good thing.

3
  • Letting moderators have access to information that other users don't sounds like a bad idea and opens up to abuses of power. If you want to identify abuses of the voting system, SE needs to use algorithms to track such things. In absence of that, regular users just have to be the police by using COMMENTS, or perhaps red flagging to a HIGHER-LEVEL USER (not moderator) to have a look at the situation (who could then quickly dispatch the issue with a high-rep vote or targeted comment).
    – Marxos
    Jul 9 at 16:16
  • 1
    So-called "cleaning-up" sounds like something the users should do when they see (from a COMMENT) that someone has simply ripped the work off of someone else. It's called "crowdsourcing" and it works. Moderators have LITTLE to NO accountability -- hardly anyone can track what they are doing at all. I don't buy it.
    – Marxos
    Jul 9 at 16:16
  • 3
    "If you want to identify abuses of the voting system, SE needs to use algorithms to track such things." SE already does have algorithms for that, but they're not infallible. The mod tools for identifying voting abuse are there to deal with cases that slip through the net.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 9 at 16:59
-23

Yes, it is possible.

First, allocate votes based on tags, keeping track of where people have received recognition of authority by the crowd.

Second, reward the voter by keeping a "bank account" of how much they've given their vote. These "credits" can be used to get more power than the standard +/-1 for tags in which the user has a balance. In other words, if a person wants to use some power over a post tagged with "computer security" then they must have a positive balance on that tag in which to do so.

Comments get "claps", not the standard vote. These don't get recorded onto the commenter's reputation tags, but simply send a credit to their reputation account. This creates a distinction between "mental" value (posts and votes) and "social" value (comments and claps).

That's a start.

5
  • 11
    It's a horrible start, as it prevents any new sites from getting content voted upon. stackoverflow.blog/2010/10/19/vote-early-vote-often
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jun 19 at 18:31
  • @Tinkeringbell: With the right voting model and tagging system, you don't need to make new sites. Would you like to work it out in chat? Then, we'll see what you really know.
    – Marxos
    Jun 19 at 18:32
  • 8
    Also, that's not what you abuse community wiki status for, that's only for posts that are truly a community effort.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Jun 19 at 18:32
  • 17
    This seems to be for some sort of popularity contest, rather than that which works or is based on the most recent best quality research, that which suits the popular view will dominate. How the internet works at the moment in fact, and what distinguishes SE from the rabble by providing a much better quality alternative to this.
    – W.O.
    Jun 19 at 18:34
  • 1
    @JiminyCricket.: Interesting, this very topic was debated in early American history, the problem of mob rule. How do you suppose they addressed it?
    – Marxos
    Jun 19 at 18:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .