18 votes

The Internet's Hidden Rules: An Empirical Study of Reddit Norm Violations at Micro, Meso, and Macro scales.

10 comments

  1. [9]
    Amarok (edited ) Link
    It is far too rare to find actual science that studies human social interaction in detail within the context of online forums, and even more rare to find one that focuses on moderation and...

    It is far too rare to find actual science that studies human social interaction in detail within the context of online forums, and even more rare to find one that focuses on moderation and community norms. If we're ever going to make real, lasting progress on the problems of community self-governance, we're going to need more research like this. Quite the fascinating read, and it's got implications for Tildes' future.

    Some bits that jump out at me as I'm reading it... the fact that comments criticizing moderators were removed at a macro level is just disheartening. That simply can't happen in a healthy community. Moderators have got to defend their actions, not get into the habit of simply silencing all criticism. I can understand the temptation to remove critical comments, but I've also found that giving a good reply to those very same comments is far more constructive. Then again, listentothis isn't politics. Just because I can explain things there to people's satisfaction doesn't mean I could do the same in a more subjective context and with more heated topics. There aren't that many flamewars or mod-slapfights in a place dedicated to finding good music, we've got it easy there compared to other places.

    It also intrigues me that comments that only expressed 'thanks' showed up as a macro violation. Ties into the discussions we've had here about 'noise' comments, and I think our exemplary labels are a wonderful solution to that problem. Now you can thank people privately with a super-upvote once every 8 hours, and tag things as jokes and noise which will adjust their scores slightly in the relevance sort. I'd like to see more thinking along these lines, I think this is the right track.

    10 votes
    1. Macil (edited ) Link Parent
      I think it makes a big difference what is being counted as "criticizing moderators". I'm sure many sites have tons of "fuck the mods"-tier posts, and I'd be surprised if that doesn't make up the...

      the fact that comments criticizing moderators were removed at a macro level is just disheartening. That simply can't happen in a healthy community.

      I think it makes a big difference what is being counted as "criticizing moderators". I'm sure many sites have tons of "fuck the mods"-tier posts, and I'd be surprised if that doesn't make up the bulk of deleted posts labeled "criticizing moderators" here. The paper's example comment for the "abusing and criticizing moderators" category is "lets see if this gets deleted. fuck you r/news mods".

      I helped moderate a forum-like site for years, and it was stressfully common for people who broke a rule and got punished (usually with a very minor punishment, like an individual post being deleted or an hour ban being given) to organize disruptive bad-faith brigades. It was generally decided to allow these, which I think was extremely toxic and that it validated and normalized this behavior.

      9 votes
    2. [7]
      ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      That seems odd to me. I was raised to be polite, and saying "thanks" for any bit of help seems natural to me. While I would appreciate someone sharing a link to something they'd mentioned in a...

      Now you can thank people privately with a super-upvote once every 8 hours

      That seems odd to me. I was raised to be polite, and saying "thanks" for any bit of help seems natural to me. While I would appreciate someone sharing a link to something they'd mentioned in a previous comment, I couldn't describe the link-sharing as exemplary. It's nice, it's courtesy – but not exemplary, per se.

      I know saying thanking people on Reddit feels odd when it's all I have to say, but it also feels odd not to, because I would, in fact, like that person to know their effort is appreciated.

      If "thanks" is too much – maybe add "helpful" or "thanks" as a label? Or render a subcomment that regex's to "thanks" as an addition to the supercomment? I feel like losing the ability to say "thanks" to people online – either programmatically or socially – is detrimental to healthy communication.

      6 votes
      1. [6]
        esrever Link Parent
        I think I understand where you're coming from in a way, but I really feel that there's an inherent "thank you" by way of voting already, and if you want to elaborate in a way that further's the...

        I think I understand where you're coming from in a way, but I really feel that there's an inherent "thank you" by way of voting already, and if you want to elaborate in a way that further's the conversation, you have the ability to reply with a comment. If there's something I have particularly been thankful for because it has greatly benefited me in some way, or the user has demonstrated a continued value to me over time, I've sent a private message.

        I do think that showing gratitude is important in many ways, but I think a lot of the platitude level "thanks" is baked in to the design of how places like this operate, no?

        7 votes
        1. [5]
          ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          I don't think it is. An (up)vote is an (up)vote. It's quantified value of the comment, impersonal, meant as a measure of quality. People look at the amount of (up)votes, and see how the...

          but I think a lot of the platitude level "thanks" is baked in to the design of how places like this operate, no?

          I don't think it is. An (up)vote is an (up)vote. It's quantified value of the comment, impersonal, meant as a measure of quality. People look at the amount of (up)votes, and see how the comment/post/topic has been valued by others. If content has high (up)vote count, people might be more interested in what it has to present.

          "Thanks", on the other hand, is personal. It's never meant to be a measure of quality of anything, because it's an expression of gratitude, and gratitude may not correlate with "quality" of content. Think back to the link example: it's just a link, and it probably took the supercomment's author a minute to look up. I'd be grateful, but I'd rather say "thanks" than upvote.

          I've grown disenchanted with the idea of votes as presented on Reddit and similar platforms. It's a dumb measure, not because it's lacking purpose, but because it's so complex in its origins ("I upvote quality content", "I upvote because I like it", "I upvote to share", "I upvote when I commented on the subject", "I upvote because I want to promote everything", "I upvote because my overlords tell me to" etc.) that it's saying nothing at all. It's mechanized interaction as far as human connection is concerned. I'd rather engage with people meaningfully, even if it's a small interaction, than count another (up)vote on my comment.

          I'm not against votes, per se. They're okay as far as measuring quality is concerned. I don't, however, see it as a viable replacement for something as simple as "thanks". I think it extends your point on "if I have anything to say": it may seem small in comparison, but it's that human bit of faceless, voiceless, text-only conversations we have online that I think should be preserved.

          ...which is all a long way of saying: I think we should express our gratitude online if we feel it, in ways that make our feelings obvious and meaningful to the person receiving them. It's about clear communication over a medium that inherently muddles the message.

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            esrever Link Parent
            I suppose I was maybe projecting my own usage of voting up content in that I personally equated it to gratitude without really considering alternatives. I like to (up)vote content even if...

            It's a dumb measure, not because it's lacking purpose, but because it's so complex in its origins ("I upvote quality content", "I upvote because I like it", "I upvote to share", "I upvote when I commented on the subject", "I upvote because I want to promote everything", "I upvote because my overlords tell me to" etc.) that it's saying nothing at all.

            I suppose I was maybe projecting my own usage of voting up content in that I personally equated it to gratitude without really considering alternatives. I like to (up)vote content even if something hasn't quite enriched me but I feel it would do so in someone else. While I'm not really one to frivolously promote something or follow a hivemind, I do now get what you're saying here on why some added distinction is a pleasant thing to have, especially if there's no true cost in implementation and it makes the experience better.

            My only real counter is that gratitude is used sarcastically and/or with carelessness in daily life outside of the internet too. The added vocalization provides better context, admittedly, but there's certainly a cheapness associated in a subset of cases.

            4 votes
            1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
              Glad we're on the same page now. As for the careless/clueless gratitude... I wouldn't consider it a major factor. I think that, in a community based on clear communication, honesty, and trust –...

              Glad we're on the same page now.

              As for the careless/clueless gratitude... I wouldn't consider it a major factor. I think that, in a community based on clear communication, honesty, and trust – which Tildes definitely aims to be (or is already? we're definitely having a productive conversation here) – people will know the value of saying what they mean, and will stray off that line carefully, because they, too, care about the community.

              Someone, somewhere, will say "thanks" sarcastically. A thousand comments will be made between any two times.

              3 votes
          2. [2]
            leif Link Parent
            It seems like Tildes would benefit from a page which clearly explains the intended purpose and use of each of the site's features, like voting. Perhaps as an update to mechanics?

            It seems like Tildes would benefit from a page which clearly explains the intended purpose and use of each of the site's features, like voting. Perhaps as an update to mechanics?

            1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
              That sounds like a low-priority but eventually-necessary update to the documentation for Tildes. That said, this still requires the admins (and, hopefully, the majority of the users) to agree on...

              That sounds like a low-priority but eventually-necessary update to the documentation for Tildes.

              That said, this still requires the admins (and, hopefully, the majority of the users) to agree on what's intended use and what's convention, and where the line between the two is (if any).

              1 vote