Posts Tagged ‘karma’

motivations: karma

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

[written for Media Economics & Participation at ITP]

Slashdot users are seeking karma. However, gaining positive karma at Slashdot is just a means to an end; Slashdot users are seeking (limited) power and status among their peers in the form of fleeting moderator access for the vibrant comments component of the highly active, technology-focused news aggregation site. Moderators are chosen from among the registered users using a somewhat obscure algorithm which incorporates each user’s karma rating (a scale of Terrible, Bad, Neutral, Positive, Good, and Excellent), length of membership and randomness. Selected moderators are given special status and 5 mod{eration} points with an expiration window of three days. The moderation status ends when the points have been used in the act of moderating comments or have expired.

The moderation system has been borne out of necessity as the Slashdot community has grown large, bringing the signal-to-noise ratio down and decreasing the satisfaction in reading the raw comment threads. “Flamebait” and “trolls” contribute little more than instigation for starting arguments and fights among the users with typically strong opinions on matters which usually appear on Slashdot. Rob Malda, founder of Slashdot, explains this phenomenon on the Slashdot FAQ: (more…)