13 votes

Idea: ranking alternate links to prevent linkspam and improve access to quality sources

I was reading this thread and the important concept of finding the original source came up. I think two things that a lot of content aggregators run into as they grow is people will often post links from low-quality sources, and when a big newsworthy event happens a lot of similar links from multiple sources appear at once. Obviously not a big problem here now, but it may happen as Tildes grows.

Both of these issues often require significant moderator input, either through deletion of duplicates or banning of unsavory sources. One way we could instead approach this issue could be to allow for "alternate sources" to a story. For example, if a user is unsatisfied with a link to a news article, they could submit an alternate source to the thread that would show up in the discussion. If enough other users prefer that source, it could replace the link in the OP. The original source would still be visible, but all alternate links themselves could be ranked within the thread.

It seems the primary focus of Tildes is to be a discussion board, and so in my mind that means the link that engages the discussion doesn't matter much -- if we are voting on individual links anyway, this could be a way to automatically compile multiple similar threads into a single discussion.

4 comments

  1. cfabbro (edited ) Link
    There was something similar to your ideas proposed a long time ago as well: allowing merging topics into a megathread like format, which I think is a viable solution that would work to help cut...

    There was something similar to your ideas proposed a long time ago as well: allowing merging topics into a megathread like format, which I think is a viable solution that would work to help cut down on the noise and repetition. Another idea that was also discussed at the time was allowing people to vote on the individual sources listed in a megathread so that ideally the original source and more quality secondary sources rise to the top of the list.

    I think the standard one link per topic works best in most cases, but for news and politics in particular it's often the opposite and megathreads seem to be the best approach that solves most of the problems you stated.

    p.s. I really like your idea of users being able to submit more alternate links and think that could work well in a megathread format too, as it would cut down on the work that moderators would have to do wrangling all the separate individual topic submissions into one place.

    11 votes
  2. jackson Link
    I think this would be an excellent feature. We always have posts on reddit that compete with each other to be a favorite news source, so I think something like this could really keep this site...

    I think this would be an excellent feature. We always have posts on reddit that compete with each other to be a favorite news source, so I think something like this could really keep this site organized and clean.

    Here's a quick mockup I did with inspect element, there should probably be some sort of vote button next to each source, and I think a downvote option for a source should be implemented, too. This is because sources can be verifiably false, and downvoting all the sources will have no effect. This way, you're not downvoting a person or an idea, you're downvoting a specific source, which will have no affect on its overall score.

    Clicking the header in your feed should take you to the highest ranked source, with these options shown in the expanded comments view.

    9 votes
  3. Algernon_Asimov Link
    I like the majority of this idea. I think it's a good suggestion to allow other people to suggest alternate links for a post. Those links might be more informative, or provide a different angle,...

    For example, if a user is unsatisfied with a link to a news article, they could submit an alternate source to the thread that would show up in the discussion. If enough other users prefer that source, it could replace the link in the OP. The original source would still be visible, but all alternate links themselves could be ranked within the thread.

    I like the majority of this idea. I think it's a good suggestion to allow other people to suggest alternate links for a post. Those links might be more informative, or provide a different angle, or be an opinion piece about the news, or be a more up-to-date article if it's current breaking news. And those alternate links could be listed as part of the post.

    However, I don't believe any of these alternative suggestions should replace the original link, as I've previously explained.

    4 votes
  4. halfjew22 Link
    I've been dreaming up something that would aid this in the long term at scale. I think of it very much like a URI, but perhaps rather than a Universal Resource Identifier, we could think of them...

    I've been dreaming up something that would aid this in the long term at scale.

    I think of it very much like a URI, but perhaps rather than a Universal Resource Identifier, we could think of them more like Universal Physical Identifiers that characterize the who, what, when and where, etc of content.

    Now, not all content matches this pattern, but your mentioning of alternate links inspired me to write about it. After all, what are those alternate links actually pointing to? Well, they're pointing to the place and time that an event occurred and writing about it as quickly as possible to beat everyone else to the punch to get clicks, etc. People try and link those articles in aggregators to get votes and attention for that quick little hit of dopamine, etc.

    At scale, you need lots of moderation to monitor duplicate links / low quality links, etc, but if we combine our ideas and along with the submission, you can also include those very basic details, we can begin to create a "Google Earth" of link aggregators, if you will.

    Let me know if anything was unclear there as the idea is slightly abstract.

    1 vote