Maybe it is just because I am particularly stingy with my use of the exemplary label, and maybe I should just start using it more often, but over the past week I have noticed quite a few comments...
Maybe it is just because I am particularly stingy with my use of the exemplary label, and maybe I should just start using it more often, but over the past week I have noticed quite a few comments that have received exemplary labels that honestly... I don't consider to have been that great.
This is not a particularly new phenomenon. I think anyone who has been on Tildes for a sufficiently long time has seen comments receive exemplary labels that they felt were undeserving. Part of that feeling is undoubtedly just disagreeing with the content of a comment, or disagreeing on what level of quality a comment should reach to be considered "exemplary". That just seems like an inevitable, organic contrast between users.
However, there should be some minimum level of quality for a comment to be considered "exemplary", right? I don't think we could ever actually define that minimum level of quality though, and I certainly don't think we should try, but exemplary labels also can be misused and abused, so how do we somehow separate out a difference of opinion from a genuine instance of abuse, when we can't come up with an actual definition of "quality"?
That's a very "organic" problem, as in, each person has a different definition of "quality", so I think the only way to solve that problem is through an organic solution.
What if we allowed users to "flag" and challenge comments with exemplary labels?
I imagine this would work much like the malice label, except it wouldn't have any effect on comment weighting or sorting, it would just require the user to enter a message explaining why they disagree with the exemplary label on the comment, and why it should be removed.
Then, our intrepid
overlord administrator can review the message and take action if necessary.
Now, you might be wondering, why not just let the administrator handle it all in the first place, and not get users mixed up in the business of identify misuse of a label?
Well sure, that's a valid enough way to go about it, considering that is how it has been done since labels were implemented, but one of Tildes' "big ideas" is community moderation and trust. I think allowing users to participate in the process of identifying label misuse fits very well with the theme of the Tildes community moderating itself. Yes, for now the administrator would be the only person who could actually make the decision to keep or remove a label, but that responsibility could easily be handed to trusted users in the future when needed.
You also might be wondering why I don't just message the administrator about these "misused exemplary labels" when I think I have come across one.
The answer to that is actually quite frank and simple: there are often too many for me or any other person to single-handedly explain why I think each individually mislabeled comment should be "corrected".
However, I myself am not 100% sold on this idea, mostly because of one big point:
Giving a comment an exemplary label, and then finding that label to have been removed, would fucking suck.
Hm yeah, not exactly a situation overflowing with good feelings.
I almost didn't even post this, because I understand just how frustrating it could be to find that your label was removed, but I still thought the idea was worth putting forward.
I have a lighter, alternative suggestion that might help to amend misuse of the exemplary label (if or where it does exist) but wouldn't require as many drastic changes to the site:
Just make exemplary labels public.
To be honest, I find it kind of strange that they aren't public. For me personally, labelling a comment as exemplary is a pretty strong endorsement that I appreciate and respect the quality of a comment. If I really am going to go out of my way to give a comment some sweet, sweet blue highlighting, I personally would also be fine with my username being next to that endorsement.
Not everyone uses the label like I do though, and not everyone feels the same way about the comments they label as I do, so I can understand that having to endorse a comment with their username when labeling it as exemplary might shy some users away from using the feature.
To that point, I have a question:
- Shouldn't it though? If you're not willing to endorse a comment publicly, then is it really deserving of an exemplary label? I mean, you're having a big impact on the way discussions are ordered and presented to every other user on the site. That's a big deal. Shouldn't that sort of power carry with it some semblance of responsibility?
Maybe we could cut the difference and have "light exemplary" labels that are anonymous, with less effect than the current label, and "heavy exemplary" labels that have the same or greater effect than the current label, but the user who applies the label is publicly named. That all feels like an over-complication though.