Threads for ungreen

  1. 2

    very useful in debugging API calls from a phone, for example

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      How is the WebSocket support (mentioned on that page)? The protocol I use is based on WebSockets.

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      phone calls over the internet taste good and go down smooth. just take a SIP.

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        I wouldn’t consider SIP a small protocol, especially if you include the extensions.

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          As someone who works in SIP daily and pays my bills, I agree wholeheartedly. It is far from being small.

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            As someone who will never work with SIP voluntarily again, I completely agree.

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          This works as a dad joke too. Cheers

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          shoveling, working on finishing renovating my office room, playing video games

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              It does, but different! It’s specifically called out in the README.

            1. 2

              This is exactly why I refuse to use npm, pip, etc. I only use the OS’s package manager, which uses a cryptographically signed package repo. I absolutely hate these hacks of workarounds.

              1. 1

                And you are sure that zero packagers use NPM or pip as a source for the OS packages and not the source repo? (Am I being paranoid now?)

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                  I’m sure there are. And I hate that. But at least it’s going through my OS’s package manager, making it easy to use a single interface for auditing potential security issues.

                2. 1

                  The issue is that sometimes you’re much much behind. For example python-cryptography is still stuck at 3.2.1 on RHEL8… So either you use pip… or a very old version…

                  1. 1

                    Fortunately, that’s not an issue I have being a BSD user using the nearly-always-up-to-date ports tree. I enjoy up-to-date software on a regular basis. Minimal lag between when a project’s release is published and when the ports tree gets updated to the new version.

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                      How is this different than using pip? You manually download the file?!

                      1. 3

                        The problem with per-language package repos like npm is that anyone and everyone has access to upload their project. That inherently means users must trust the most malicious of developers who upload malware to the repo.

                        In the case of FreeBSD ports, the ports tree is gated by FreeBSD developers who have the opportunity to audit every single part of creating new ports or updating existing ports. It’s much easier to place trust in a (relatively) small set of developers who ensure sanity before committal.

                        The package manager I use for my system (FreeBSD’s pkg) makes it incredibly easy to audit packages, even checking something called VuXML to check if any of your installed packages have known vulnerabilities. I can see which files (config, lib, application, etc.) have changed from their default since pkg tracks hashes for each file it installs. Additionally, the package repo itself is cryptographically signed so that it’s not possible to inject malicious code in transit. If the server hosting the package repo is compromised, there’s no problem since the private crypto key material is stored elsewhere. And this bit of crypto is protected by the OS itself.

                        1. 1

                          That’s fine in theory, but when someone packages a program for FreeBSD that uses a language-specific package manager, they use the built-in infrastructure in the ports tree that downloads the dependencies, then packages them in distfiles and records their hash. This is no more secure than pulling from upstream directly. The folks that package things for FreeBSD aren’t auditing the upstream any more than npm / pip / gem / whatever does.

                          The only thing that the signature gives you is an attestation that the package was built on a FreeBSD build machine and has not been tampered with between there and you by anyone who did not have access to the signing key. It does not give you any assurance that the build machine wasn’t compromised or that there weren’t supply-chain vulnerabilities upstream from the builders.

                          Most FreeBSD packages don’t use reproduceable builds, so you don’t have any assurance that your packages contain the code that they claimed they did: if you try to rebuild locally from the same port, you may or may not get the same binary. Is the one you got trojaned? Who knows.

                          pkg audit is great, but npm and friends have similar things that tell you if there are published vulnerabilities in their libraries. They have two problems:

                          • They tell you only about published vulnerabilities. Good projects will go through the process of getting a CVE assigned and doing coordinated disclosure. Others just push out a new version. The auditing tools tell you only about the former.
                          • They are very coarse-grained. They don’t let you know if the vulnerability in a library is on a code path used by anything you have installed and they don’t let you know if that codepath (if it is reachable) is using any data that can be influenced by an attacker. So pkg audit shows a vulnerability in curl’s URL parsing. Does it matter? Is curl used only with trusted URLs? Maybe it’s fine, but can a server-side redirect trigger it?
                      2. 1

                        How minimal?

                        1. 2

                          Sometimes minutes. Sometimes hours. Sometimes days. It depends on the time and resources of a volunteer-run project. For example, I’ve seen FreeBSD update the Tor port just minutes after a new release. FreeBSD generally updates Firefox to RC releases so that we can test what will be the next version before it comes out (which means we have a negative time window in this particular case.)

                          1. 1

                            Sometimes minutes. Sometimes hours. Sometimes days.

                            So basically the same boat as rhel then

                  1. 3

                    Agree, upgrades are annoying. Some software more then other. Like Fedora vs OpenBSD (Fedora’s kernel and other packages are updated too often).

                    Not sure about this one though:

                    Java over Go

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                      One person’s “too often” is another’s “they fixed my bug quickly, I didn’t have to wait a year for another release”. In the extreme case, Pipewire gained what feels like most of its functionality and polish over the last year in pretty frequent updates.

                      1. 2

                        Yes, and this brings out a very specific problem. I can’t use an LTS distro if I want some bleeding edge software (and for my work, I often need some), but I also can’t use a bleeding edge distro because I have to update stuff every day.

                        I think things like NixOS are solving this problem partially, I just can’t get myself to try it. (Plus I suspect there’s a tradeoff to be made even in this case).

                        1. 1

                          Are you actually blocked on some very system-specific issue? Usually software doesn’t really depend on the distro - for specific apps you usually have the choice of: compiling it yourself, private repos, nix, containers, snap, flatpak, appimage, and possibly others.

                          1. 2

                            Nothing specific, just a small rant.

                            But when I used a centos version of whatever, I remember some software in the repos being to old versions. I don’t remember it being as pronounced in Ubuntu LTS or mint, but still occasionally this world happen. Nowadays I mostly run fedora, but that’s on the other side, daily updates.

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                      New job, onboarding

                      1. 1

                        Long weekend, removing carpet in a bedroom to install hardwood floors and fixing a few things in between.

                        1. 1

                          Let’s read it before it gets removed

                          1. 33

                            HashiCorp sponsored this post.

                            1. 1

                              I wonder if the post is will be deleted by the powers to be…

                            1. 4

                              Why would anyone use this? I mean, I’d much rather use Perl than javascript on my servers.

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                                Because a great many people prefer JavaScript to Perl, or at least know JavaScript better than Perl.

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                                  Not everyone is you. Hope this helps.

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                                    A use case would be using Pulumi for provisioning and zx for configuration, deployment and automation, with common libraries between both.

                                    1. 2

                                      I gotta admit JS leaves me wanting when it comes to really basic stuff like list comprehensions and dictionary syntax, but being able to throw together an async-y tool to run stuff in parallel cleanly, for example, is a pretty great party trick.t

                                      For example, you can easily make your build scripts just follow their dependencies cleanly without having to go full Bazel to get the proper speed boosts you might want

                                    1. 2

                                      Mostly reading The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Cliff Stoll

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                                          Independently of what burntsushi decides, I think that the following concrete actions would be in order:

                                          1. Remove the last half-sentence of the banner that explains how to delete your account. Having it as the last part of the message adds a lot of weight ot it: after you read the banner it’s the main thing you remember, the oddly detailed explanation of how to erase yourself.

                                          2. Reformulate the rest of the banner to indicate that this is a heuristic that may be wrong. It’s important when providing hints from data to tell people explicitly that we know the hints may be wrong. Otherwise it feels very different.

                                          Let’s rephrase this banner with the explicit goal of doing no harm (better, doing good) when it is wrongly displayed, instead of thinking about the formulation when its assessment is correct.

                                          1. 59

                                            Speaking as somebody who’s gotten that banner basically permanently on their account, I think a lot of folks here may be missing important context:

                                            • The call to delete your account makes a lot of sense if you have to handle users dramatically declaring, in DMs/IRC/elsewhere “One more and [clutches pearls] I shall leave, forthwith!”. This is tiresome from a moderation standpoint and annoying for a community, and if one can nudge somebody into removing their account–in the common case!–rather than continue to engage in a community they don’t fit into (for whatever reason), it’s a win for both parties.
                                            • This isn’t some randy sketchy heuristic–the warning links directly to a histogram that shows where you are in the flaggings. It’s deterministic, it’s impartial, and if you’re getting flagged a lot there’s something going on with either your posting or the community.
                                            • Moderation team here is currently basically just @pushcx. It’s a large community with real, actual bad actors, and asking for any sort of increase in manual moderation is a very real burden.
                                            • One of the biggest reasons for Lobsters coming from the orange site was @jcs being annoyed at opaque moderation. While I might disagree certain particular actions, there is a public log. The thing here being complained about? It’s in the source code, it’s very clear how it works, and it provides impartial, statistical feedback about what’s going on.
                                            • There’s a trend for folks to go on IRC, Twitter, or wherever and talk trash about our community, about how @pushcx is powertripping, or whatever. This behavior probably plays well with the circles they’re familiar with and probably feels like punching up, but it’s gotta suck for the person who manages the community to have people he’s tried to work with and accomodate throw it back in his face.
                                            • People are really flag-happy, and this is what happens when you are.

                                            (Minor annoyance: we used to have a very good explanation of how to use flags, what borderline cases looked like, and so forth, but that was purged for whatever reason. I’ve seen a lot of bad flagging by either new folks who don’t know better or users with an axe to grind.)

                                            1. 35

                                              Moderation team here is currently basically just @pushcx. It’s a large community with real, actual bad actors, and asking for any sort of increase in manual moderation is a very real burden.

                                              This bit deserves signal boosting IMO.

                                              Lobsters doesn’t cost anything to join or participate in. The people who run it are clearly doing it for love, not money.

                                              Speaking for myself I’d much rather get past the momentary ouch of having a red warning message attached to my account than have the owners or moderators rage quit as a result of feeling UTTERLY drained by the experience.

                                              I’m watching the life get sucked out of some very stalwart well meaning people in another community I care about simply due to the sheer VOLUME of constant negative feedback, so I think we all owe it to the mods to suck it up and cut him/them some serious amounts of slack.

                                              1. 22

                                                <3 Thank you very much.

                                              2. 24

                                                (Minor annoyance: we used to have a very good explanation of how to use flags, what borderline cases looked like, and so forth, but that was purged for whatever reason. I’ve seen a lot of bad flagging by either new folks who don’t know better or users with an axe to grind.)

                                                I would love to see this come back in some form. As someone who joined after that was removed, I feel there isn’t enough information about flags. Every single time I’ve ever flagged something, I’ve been really hesitant because I wasn’t able to find any guidance on what qualifies to be flagged.

                                                1. 3

                                                  I agree. I actually don’t think this is so minor on its own though I can see why you phrased it that way in its original context.

                                                2. 23

                                                  I realize I’m not as active as I might be - I’m bipolar, my ability to spend time on things comes and goes - but I promise that I do still pay active attention to the site and step in when it seems warranted. Also, the mod team has lots of discussions behind the scenes. Just because @pushcx is the face of a decision doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t involved.

                                                  I felt I should address that, since you mentioned it.

                                                  Edit to add: Thank you for the kind words, overall. It’s helpful to know that you and others do see the point of the banner.

                                                  1. 22

                                                    People are really flag-happy, and this is what happens when you are.

                                                    Speaking from experience as someone who’s moderated some decent-sized subreddits – where reddit has both the ability to downvote, and a separate ability to “report” for posts/comments that break subreddit or site-wide rules – this is absolutely the case. The number of people who just spam-click the “report” button thinking it’s some sort of super-downvote that will remove the thing they dislike is astounding. Same with people who periodically decide they just don’t like some type of content even if the subreddit generally allows it, and go mass-report a hundred posts to express their displeasure.

                                                    1. 11

                                                      Yeah, this is what I think is fundamentally the issue. A lot of people simply have no emotional control. They have strong believes but no ability to defend them. With that, when they see opinions they dislike, instead of engaging with a retort, they will use the report button. Perhaps in their mind, if the post was deleted, then the opinion no longer exists or is somehow invalid???

                                                      I have gotten the banner too. I thought the words were harsh. But over the years I have noticed that some of my posts will follow the pattern of (+10 upvote, -8 troll), except the troll downvote count has increased over time. Based on this I assume that the general ratio of people on this site who like to report opinions they don’t like as troll versus people who are willing to engage in intelligent discussion has increased.

                                                      People simply think people who disagree with them are either stupid, or trolling (deliberately saying stupid things hoping for a reaction) or both.

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                                                        A lot of people simply have no emotional control. They have strong believes but no ability to defend them. With that, when they see opinions they dislike, instead of engaging with a retort, they will use the report button.

                                                        It’s also true that people sometimes repeatedly post tired nonsense, and that merely (and at obviously low cost) repeating something that’s poorly researched, or broadly offensive, doesn’t entitle the poster to a vigorous debate. Sometimes the use of a flag is the only viable option.

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                                                          If somebody posted some tired nonsense then it should be very easy to dispute.

                                                          doesn’t entitle the poster to a vigorous debate

                                                          You don’t have to reply. The issue here isn’t whether or not to reply but whether or not reporting is an appropriate response to somebody saying something that you think is wrong and the answer is no.

                                                          Sometimes the use of a flag is the only viable option.

                                                          Anybody could deem all your posts ‘tired nonsense’ and just report all of them? That is as legitimate as when you do it. Do you somehow think that your idea of what is tired nonsense is universal and therefore a good metric for when a post should be reported?

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                                                            If somebody posted some tired nonsense then it should be very easy to dispute.

                                                            In the case of trolling, the whole point is to trick people into taking the bait, which I believe moves the subthread higher up in the scoring ranks.

                                                            You don’t have to reply. The issue here isn’t whether or not to reply but whether or not reporting is an appropriate response to somebody saying something that you think is wrong and the answer is no.

                                                            I think that detecting trolling is a skill that’s pretty key to the survival of a community, but a good troll will make it quite difficult to resist engaging. Trolling isn’t commonly overt, over the top rudeness. Way more often it is an attempt at looping other community members into a “debate” that ends up in people pointing edgy and charged hot takes at each other.

                                                            In its worst form, it will promote socially harmful conclusions through pseudo-from-first-principles lines of reasoning that are aesthetically attractive to the type of people that visit tech forums. To dispute requires dissecting phony arguments, which at a glance, appears to legitimize the “debate” and grant the troll a certain level of community approval, especially if they’re good at giving off the appearance of rationalism. IMO ignoring and flagging this type of content is nowhere near what’s required fully address it.

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                                                              How are you not using an accusation of trolling as a free ‘You lose’?

                                                              How do you know that something is true? It is via putting your ideas up for others to engage and debate. But you want to simply circumvent that by calling opinions you don’t like trolls, and then saying that those opinions don’t even need to be debated or engaged because that will legitimise it.

                                                              Sooner or later instead of having attacking each other’s ideas so we can improve then, all we will end up doing is claiming the other side is ‘trolling’ so they are immediately wrong and don’t even need to be disproven.

                                                              Why even bother defending your ideology against opposition, when you can simply claim the opposition is a foreign spy or a mentally ill person and then getting rid of them?

                                                        2. 5

                                                          I have gotten the banner too. I thought the words were harsh. But over the years I have noticed that some of my posts will follow the pattern of (+10 upvote, -8 troll), except the troll downvote count has increased over time. Based on this I assume that the general ratio of people on this site who like to report opinions they don’t like as troll versus people who are willing to engage in intelligent discussion has increased.

                                                          Or maybe you’ve gotten more and more trollish over time.

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                                                            Or maybe we have too many politically driven ideologues who are not interested in communication and they simply throw the word troll around to avoid having to engage with their opposition on the idea plane.

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                                                              Nah, I’ve been around just about as long as you have, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve not seen you be a troll in a thread. I don’t even know what technical subjects you have expertise in, since I’ve never seen you contribute technical insight to a thread. Pretty much all you do is get into fights around here.

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                                                                Devil’s Advocate: Perhaps @LibertarianLlama is among a new breed of Lobsters who are also concerned with the human side of things, not just the technical one.

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                                                                  I’ve not seen you be a troll in a thread

                                                                  I suppose you are one of those people who have a very low margin for what constitutes ‘trolling’.

                                                                  I don’t even know what technical subjects you have expertise in, since I’ve never seen you contribute technical insight to a thread.

                                                                  I didn’t realise technical expertise in a subject is a requirement of using this website. Regardless you can just assume that I have no expertise in any subject.

                                                          2. 6

                                                            I wonder if a literal “super downvote” button would work as a psychological trick. It would act as a normal downvote, but just look like a bigger, angrier button that would absorb more anger from whoever clicks it. (At the same time, possibly rate-limit the actual report button per user…)

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                                                              That’s a pretty cute idea. I’m tempted to say that, for people who have the self awareness to realize that what they mostly need is catharsis, I recommend getting it from their favorite action videogame, or a trip to the gym or whatever… I don’t want to dismiss your idea though, it’s true that it could help to have some sort of reminder or prompt to seek catharsis.

                                                              1. 3

                                                                Edit: someone has looked at the system and much of this is actually already automated(!): https://lobste.rs/s/zp4ofg/lobster_burntsushi_has_left_site#c_qiipbc

                                                                Previous:


                                                                OK, another cute - or hopefully even better - useful idea:

                                                                I think HN has a pr account setting that ignores flag from that user, I’m fairly certain dang has mentioned at some time that one should be careful with flags. (Now that I think about it it might have been the vouch option he was writing about.)

                                                                I’m not really sure how it would work with perfectly transparent moderation:

                                                                • would the user get a warning?
                                                                • or would it just show up in the moderation logs?
                                                                • maybe it is a fraction so if a user has 1/5 flag weight it takes more than 5 such users to flag before it counts as one ordinary user? Then the moderation log could still say “flagged based on user feedback” or whatever it say but omit the details about there being 10 flag abusers counting as two full votes and 3 ordinary users?
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                                                                  Good thoughts. On Lobsters, if I know that a user is going to continue using flags vindictively, I would rather just ban them… of course, I’d talk to them first.

                                                                  Automation in this sort of thing can be a false savings because if we set up a certain automated rule, we are implicitly sending the message that any behavior that falls within the rule is allowed. So in your example, I would expect to see users who intentionally stay just below the threshold for having their flags de-valued, as well as users who intentionally go past the threshold and flag in a wanton manner because they know that the punishment for doing that is just that their flags will have less numeric weight. Having it be a socially enforced rule, counterintuitively, can often lead to better behavior overall compared to having a technical enforcement mechanism.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    Good thoughts. On Lobsters, if I know that a user is going to continue using flags vindictively, I would rather just ban them… of course, I’d talk to them first.

                                                                    Automation in this sort of thing can be a false savings because if we set up a certain automated rule, we are implicitly sending the message that any behavior that falls within the rule is allowed. So in your example, I would expect to see users who intentionally stay just below the threshold for having their flags de-valued, as well as users who intentionally go past the threshold and flag in a wanton manner because they know that the punishment for doing that is just that their flags will have less numeric weight. Having it be a socially enforced rule, counterintuitively, can often lead to better behavior overall compared to having a technical enforcement mechanism.

                                                              2. 5

                                                                The moderators of r/TheMotte (a subreddit which has the best moderation IMO) observed pretty much the same:

                                                                No one who has seen a mod queue would be surprised by this. Even those of you who are always very calm and nonconfrontational, with middle-of-the-road opinions, might be shocked how often your posts are reported. Some of the most reasonable, unspicy posts get marked as “It’s targeted harassment.” Some people will report “Inflammatory claim without evidence” just because they don’t agree with the post.

                                                                I pretty much started brushing aside (like several other users reportedly do) the red warning that lobste.rs throws in your profile for this reason, as well as for that condescending final phrase “Reconsider your behaviour or take a break” which rests on the erroneous assumption of there incontrovertibly being sound rationality in this community’s flagging behaviour.

                                                                I have a theory that this became worse after the site removed the downvote functionality thus removing a potential anger-outlet for users, who have now shifted to channel that affective energy via flagging. This theory however can only confirmed by doing a simple analysis of the data (was there an increase in flagging right after disabling downvoting?)

                                                              3. 12

                                                                It’s irrelevant that it is impartial if it is exploitable. Which it very much is.

                                                                So the system allows for a mob to harass an user into leaving the site, but you claim that it is important to note that anyone can be harassed. That is the matter subject to challenge here, not “important context”.

                                                                Yes people are trigger happy, for that reason, the flagging feature might be counter productive.

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                                                                  you claim that it is important to note that anyone can be harassed.

                                                                  I’m not sure I see where you got that from my post.

                                                                  The ability of the mob to harass users here exists, and is exploited, at scale and quite apart from this notice that “yo, you’re getting a significant number of flags.”

                                                                  It doesn’t make sense to optimize for people who run away when told others disagree with them.

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                                                                    No one wants to be told they don’t belong here. I really enjoy Burntsushi and a system that is constructed that make it so people like that dont want to be here is a system that needs to be fixed.

                                                                    Your response of “I don’t want people with a thin skin”, is itself thin skinned in the opposite direction.

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                                                                      OK I see an important distinction here. I tried to point this out to burntsushi on Twitter.

                                                                      If you read the message he got VERY carefully, it sets forth a very specific sequence of potential and suggested routes to mitigation. They are:

                                                                      1. Take a breath. Take a break. Step away for a bit and think about whether maybe the problem might exist at least partly in your head and the resultant behavior you’re exhibiting in the community.

                                                                      2. Talk to a moderator about the situation.

                                                                      3. Then, and ONLY then, does the message point out that you can if you so choose also delete your account.

                                                                      Having gotten the big red warning myself a ways back, I DO sympathize that it’s an ouchy thing to have happen in the moment, but I strenuously believe that the intent here isn’t to make anyone feel unwelcome. Just the opposite, my read of the intent is an earnest attempt on the part of the community to help people moderate their behavior, and if that’s not possible or applicable, to seek other options for mitigation.

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                                                                        No one wants to be told they don’t belong here.

                                                                        I’d agree, but we have done very poorly by some of our users in that regard already and the mob likes it that way. Remember that time recently the mods banned one of (if not the) current expert on evidence-based software engineering because of an off-hand comment touching culture war stuff? Peppridge farm remembers.

                                                                        There are no shortage of Lobsters who will clack and freak out if made aware of anybody who doesn’t appear to be in their political tribe–and they’ll get even angrier if you suggest that maybe, possibly, we should focus on something else.

                                                                        So, while I agree in principle with you, the community has through its actions demonstrated that it does not care.

                                                                        Your response of “I don’t want people with a thin skin”, is itself thin skinned in the opposite direction.

                                                                        I don’t believe that it is. You are, of course, welcome to your own interpretation.

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                                                                          Remember that time recently the mods banned one of (if not the) current expert on evidence-based software engineering because of an off-hand comment touching culture war stuff?

                                                                          IIRC he had a pattern of problematic behavior, and also I’m not sure how much of an expert in ESE he actually is: his book is overwhelming, but keeps giving me bad vibes. I’m struggling to explain what it actually is, but I’m really suspicious that there are serious problems with it.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            I’d definitely be interested to hear more.

                                                                            I’m struggling to explain what it actually is

                                                                            Mind giving it a try? I couldn’t see anything particularly bad (relatively speaking) in their comment history, nor anything related to the ban rationale. Seems like you’ve been paying more attention, haha

                                                                          2. 14

                                                                            There are no shortage of Lobsters who will clack and freak out if made aware of anybody who doesn’t appear to be in their political tribe

                                                                            The basic problem with statements like this is that nearly everyone can feel it applies to the angry mob that’s disagreed with them.

                                                                            Personally I’m on record as believing that there is no way to separate “politics” from what we do (simple example 1, simple example 2) or to write software without considering the impact it will have on people.

                                                                            But I also see plenty of “oh woe is me, the cancel culture and the woke and the leftist and the SJW are taking over” stuff that gets left in place and even highly upvoted, which says to me that it’s not that people don’t want “politics”, it’s that their definition of what is and is not “politics” is at issue. The hypothetical guy (example 2 above) with no criminal record who can’t get bail because the system could only store his name as a bunch of “aliases” is “politics” to me, but apparently not to many other people (it’s just “falsehoods programmers believe about names”), while holding a software project’s leader accountable for misbehavior is “politics” to many of those people and common sense to me. A staggering percentage of actual “political” fights really are that sort of thing.

                                                                            1. 3

                                                                              But I also see plenty of “oh woe is me, the cancel culture and the woke and the leftist and the SJW are taking over” stuff that gets left in place and even highly upvoted, which says to me that it’s not that people don’t want “politics”, it’s that their definition of what is and is not “politics” is at issue.

                                                                              I mean the proof is at hand right? A “let’s not discuss politics” non sequitur as successful troll.

                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                But I also see plenty of “oh woe is me, the cancel culture and the woke and the leftist and the SJW are taking over” stuff that gets left in place and even highly upvoted

                                                                                I don’t think I’ve ever seen this on Lobsters, only on others sites. Do you have any examples?

                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                I think we disagree about what it means to be thin skinned. I thought you were admonishing the people who leave into toughening up. If that is the case, I think it will lead to either an echo chamber or a dungeon of trolls or both.

                                                                                But based on your other comments, I don’t think you meant what I interpreted.

                                                                                You in this context means, us, or the offended user that flags people into quitting. How about we make flags public and you can only spend them in certain ways? Do comment points even mean anything? There is a huge distinction between “this person is harmful” and basically anything else. if someone is harmful, they should be removed. Otherwise … if you don’t want to see their posts, then that would be a personal choice.

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  Making flags public is a terrible idea.

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    I agree. I DO think that people here are overly trigger happy with the flagging, but given other comments in this thread I’m willing to believe this is simply human nature at plan and unavoidable. Making flags public would be in effect shaming someone for trying to make a small contribution to the community by flagging a post.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      I feel that maybe 60% of flags are not trying to contribute to the community, but rather to avenge themselves, or to have an outlet for disagreement without having to engage. It’s part of the problem with the Internet at large: for digital natives, disengagement is no longer an option. People can’t just ignore stuff they disagree with; they have to respond to it, and if it’s a troll, they shouldn’t engage directly, so they instead engage indirectly by flagging. There’s a reason why Twitter’s first option when reporting is “I disagree with this”. It’s just human nature.

                                                                                    2. 1

                                                                                      Because? Without justification your statement is opinion, what am I to do with that?

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Because it can lead to retaliatory, tit-for-tat flagging of the flagger’s comments. Mods can already see who flags what and can take action against those who misuse it.

                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                  a system that is constructed that make it so people like that dont want to be here is a system that needs to be fixed.

                                                                                  Who are “people like that”? To me, this sentence seems to extrapolate based on a single data point, which is based on some observations of another person. That is to say, we don’t know Burntsushi well enough, and maybe no matter how we setup the system, he would find something to quit. And striving to optimize for one would put burden and alienate others.

                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                    people like that

                                                                                    Hardworking, smart, helpful, writes a lot of great Rust. Reddit and github

                                                                                    I am talking about specifics not a generalized idea of a Lobste.rs user.

                                                                                  2. 0

                                                                                    Since that person left, I’m not getting a flag on every single of my comments anymore.

                                                                                    An interesting coincidence. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

                                                                                    1. 0

                                                                                      Obligatory “correlation is not causation”.

                                                                                  3. 5

                                                                                    That is the problem right there. It.s not a “disagree” link, it’s a “flag” link. Obviously, looks like there are people abusing it because they disagree with something rather than unacceptable behaviour being reported.

                                                                                    Personally, I wouldn’t take it too seriously much less posting on other websites about it. But it is rather shitty to be told to take a chill pill just because one’s opinion is not widely accepted.

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      Accounts with low “karma” can’t downvote but can flag. Perhaps this needs to be looked at..

                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                        There are no downvotes, only flags.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          TIL. I stand corrected

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            Thanks for clarifying this. I was wondering where the downvote links were.

                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                              iirc the downvotes were the flags, just with a downvote arrow instead of being hidden.

                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                        It doesn’t make sense to optimize for people who run away when told others disagree with them.

                                                                                        I think discourse is improved when all participants feel safe. Then instead of spending energy in handling negativity emotionally, they can make better arguments. Moreover I don’t want to see valid viewpoints shut down due to mob shouting. I think human discourse works well with a variety of opinions.

                                                                                        1. 16

                                                                                          I think human discourse works well with a variety of opinions.

                                                                                          I agree!

                                                                                          I think discourse is improved when all participants feel safe.

                                                                                          The problem we’re seeing in the last several years is that there are people who will never feel safe, at least not without massive sacrifices from everybody else in a community, often including systematic self-censorship and topic avoidance. The great online community question of the age is how to strike a balance between being welcoming and letting your demographics become taken over by–for lack of a better way of putting it–people who are not robust enough to survive or flourish in a sufficiently diverse/hostile memetic ecosystem.

                                                                                          1. 9

                                                                                            people who are not robust enough to survive or flourish in a sufficiently diverse/hostile memetic ecosystem

                                                                                            I’m not sure what kind of online future you’re envisioning but I don’t want any part of it.

                                                                                            1. 15

                                                                                              An (only slightly contrived) example:

                                                                                              You run a message board that hosts tech content.

                                                                                              On one extreme, you tell everybody “hey, we want you here! everybody is super nice and you’ll never be criticized!”.

                                                                                              After some period of time, you end up with a bunch of users of C and a bunch of users of Rust.

                                                                                              Some of those users cannot bear any perceived slight of their chosen language. There are C people that go off in a tizzy if anybody points out the memory safety issues in C, and there are Rust users that freak out if anybody complains about long compile times. The house rules–because remember, we’re optimizing for welcoming and that means supporting everybody, no matter how thin-skinned they are!–end up including “Never talk about shortcomings of another language.”

                                                                                              Since engineering is all about tradeoffs, and since no language is actually good for all things, strict adherence to this rule ends up with only the most optimistic and vapid discussion–worse, it infects other topics. It’s really hard to explain why you might like immutability for concurrency if you can’t talk about memory safety issues because you’ll trigger the C programmers. It’s really hard to explain why you like dynamic or interpreted languages if you can’t talk about how much long compile times suck because you’ll trigger the Rust programmers.

                                                                                              On the other extreme, you tell everyone “hey, we talk about tech and things on their own merits here, and if you can’t stand commentary that offends, fuck off!”.

                                                                                              Our C users and Rust users come in.

                                                                                              Some of these users are just assholes. There are C programmers that strictly use bizarre sexual analogies for anything involving pointers, there are Rust coders that sign all of their posts with Holocaust denial, frequently threads devolve into seeing who can outlast who in massive shit-slinging, and in general a sport is made of making miserable and hazing anybody who won’t stick around.

                                                                                              Obviously, there will be users who would be knowledgeable assets to this community but who are squicked out by this stuff and leave. There are other users who can put up with the rampant nonsense but who don’t want to spend the cycles required to weed through the bullshit to talk about what they want. Over time, the community stagnates unless it can find a way of attracting and retaining new users, and odds are that’ll be based on its reputation for no-holds-barred “discussion” rather than actual technical insight…this userbase will also skew towards younger folks who have a deficit of experience and all of the time in the world to share it. This is, incidentally, how /g/ works.

                                                                                              ~

                                                                                              I’m not sure what kind of online future you’re envisioning but I don’t want any part of it.

                                                                                              My point isn’t to advocate for one or the other, but to point out that it’s a central question of community.

                                                                                              It’s also a question whose answer shifts over time, as groups tweak the trajectory of their tribe.

                                                                                              1. 8

                                                                                                Some of these users are just assholes. There are C programmers that strictly use bizarre sexual analogies for anything involving pointers, there are Rust coders that sign all of their posts with Holocaust denial, frequently threads devolve into seeing who can outlast who in massive shit-slinging, and in general a sport is made of making miserable and hazing anybody who won’t stick around.

                                                                                                And there’s a pretty easy way to fix that – kick ’em out. There are communities which do that.

                                                                                                Because as the saying goes, there are two ways to be a “10x programmer” and one of them is to have such an awful effect on people around you that they drop to 0.1x their prior productivity while you stay average. And even if someone really is “10x” (whatever that means) on some aspect of technical skill or knowledge, it’s still likely to be a net loss to put up with “asshole” behavior from them.

                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                  This is good advice and knowledge for me as I try to build one or more Open Source communities. I think you are correct that such communities should have no room for such users.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    For the purposes of that thought experiment, we take the position in the second case where we do not eject members for being assholes.

                                                                                                2. 3

                                                                                                  I saw another attempt at creating a HN clone go down a few years ago, not because of flaming or lack of interesting users but because some early users decided they and everyone else decided they needed to be much nicer than HN.

                                                                                                  I quit commenting soon after.

                                                                                                  You can check my comment history, I’m not at rude person but those rules made me feel unsafe. I started carefully considering each word. Then stopped posting,

                                                                                                  I wasn’t the only one. The “super nice” crowd didn’t have anything else to contribute and the site was down a few months later.

                                                                                                  1. 8

                                                                                                    Honestly, one of my main issues with HN has always been the focus on superficial civility. You can be an absolute horrendous awful drive-others-away-in-droves trainwreck of a poster there so long as you do it the “right” way. And you will be valued and rewarded for it.

                                                                                                    A real “anti-HN” would care less about those superficial aspects and more about dealing with the actual trolls and assholes.

                                                                                                3. 4

                                                                                                  people who are not robust enough to survive or flourish in a sufficiently diverse/hostile memetic ecosystem

                                                                                                  Perhaps I don’t see this as an issue. I believe, in my ideal community (where I’m stressing “ideal” because it’s probably not practically realizable), that any commenter with a good-faith argument should feel empowered to make that comment, even if others in the community viscerally disagree. There are two problems at hand here, one is defining what “good-faith” mean and the other is protecting arguments from being shouted out. When it comes to “good-faith”, due to the nature of human ideology, there will be disagreements. In my mind, the easiest way to come to a consensus on what “good-faith” means is to clearly define it. This is why I’m a fan of Code of Conducts. They lay bare what a community considers “good-faith”, so the minimum bar of participation is met. Ideally the CoC would change infrequently and have community buy-in so that it acts as a minimum bar to entry.

                                                                                                  Ideally (again the ideal here not the practice, probably), we can create a community where there is no hostility after agreeing to “good-faith” rules. It’s one thing to enter heated discussion, but I’m hopeful that a community can use its own moderation tools to ensure that a heated discussion does not turn hostile.

                                                                                                  I just don’t see a world where diversity and hostility are equivalent.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    When it comes to “good-faith”, due to the nature of human ideology, there will be disagreements.

                                                                                                    I make good-faith arguments all the time that seem to fall into the class of bad-faith arguments that @bitrot points out, so I get what you’re saying.

                                                                                                    I just don’t see a world where diversity and hostility are equivalent.

                                                                                                    In the interest of naming things, it seems what’s under discussion is the paradox of tolerance. I’d link to Wikipedia, but it seems it’s a Marxist idea, which I know not everyone would be comfortable with 😄


                                                                                                    At some point, I think you just have to go by how things seem. Which is a shame, because that makes it a game of “survival of the fittest”, where those who are best at branding, or putting things “the right way” to seem good to other people, survive; while those who are prone to misrepresenting themselves, or discussing “untouchable subjects” such as the example in @friendlysock’s comment, are booted out.

                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                      In the interest of naming things, it seems what’s under discussion is the paradox of tolerance. I’d link to Wikipedia, but it seems it’s a Marxist idea, which I know not everyone would be comfortable with 😄

                                                                                                      Indeed, I am familiar with the Paradox of Tolerance. My hope is that a CoC or otherwise similar guiding document or constitution would provide a floor on tolerance, but everything beyond that would be tolerated. Not only does that set community baseline rules but it keeps rules distinct, clear, and constant. There’s a reason many real, representative governments go through due process to change laws.

                                                                                                      At some point, I think you just have to go by how things seem. Which is a shame, because that makes it a game of “survival of the fittest”, where those who are best at branding, or putting things “the right way” to seem good to other people, survive; while those who are prone to misrepresenting themselves, or discussing “untouchable subjects” such as the example in @friendlysock’s comment, are booted out.

                                                                                                      Perhaps the conclusion I should arrive to is that direct democratic (e.g. “upvote” and “downvote”) discussion sites just lead to dynamics that create and sustain echo chambers. I’m not sure, it’s certainly something I’m mulling about myself.

                                                                                              2. 2

                                                                                                when told others disagree with them.

                                                                                                But that’s not what flagging tells you… If you’ve been doing everything alright, it tells you that others who disagree with you have leveraged a system unrelated to disagreement to make you look unreasonable, unkind, and/or trollish.

                                                                                              3. 4

                                                                                                I’d be interested in learning if mods have any way to detect brigading, possibly such as by looking at correlations in users who consistently flag the same comments.

                                                                                                1. 13

                                                                                                  Yes, we do. If you look at the mod log you will see that people are banned for this practice now and then. Don’t do it.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    I’m not sure why you needed to admonish me like that at the end. I wasn’t probing your defenses. I was merely going to suggest this if you didn’t have it.

                                                                                                    No need to reply, I know this is a tough time for all the staff.

                                                                                                    1. 7

                                                                                                      Sorry, I should have been clearer that I wasn’t directing that at you in particular. I know you were trying to help.

                                                                                              4. 8

                                                                                                Preface: I don’t have his comments handy and am just looking at the system. Despite this I will be embarrassed if it turns out he was actually making an enormous mess 🤣

                                                                                                Also want to add whoever worked on the existing system clearly put a lot of thought into it (e.g. factoring in flags on multiple stories, percent-flagged, and limiting to N users all seem wise, and thought went into the message). Probably no fun to see someone armchair quarterbacking with much less time thinking about the problem space than they have. Hope this at least crosses the threshold of possibly useful.

                                                                                                The thing here being complained about? It’s in the source code, it’s very clear how it works, and it provides impartial, statistical feedback about what’s going on.

                                                                                                It looks like this is it. My guess is if you’re prolific, it’s inevitable you’ll pop over the hard numerical thresholds sometimes and the 10% of comments is the biggest barrier, followed by the top-30 ranking.

                                                                                                10% of comments seems not that unlikely if 1) your recent comments are seen by lots of people (upvoted, early, etc.), 2) they address things a lot of people disagree about, and 3) some % of folks who disagree will flag, which seems likely as long as flagging is one of the easier ways to express disagreement (more below). You could do something like subtract the upvotes/N from the flag count (lots of fiddly options), just because there isn’t a number that represents visibility directly.

                                                                                                The top-30 ranking has has the same considerations as flag count, and also if discussion is going well enough, the 30th “worst” person might not be that bad. (Somebody’s the least polite person in a group of absolute diplomats.) The histogram/rank data does seem interesting to expose to the more flagged folks. Given all that, I’m not entirely sure what I think about the wording of the message–definitely already phrased to aim for “stop and consider this” not “you’re a bad actor”, but I can also see how humans get defensive.

                                                                                                People are really flag-happy, and this is what happens when you are.

                                                                                                (Added clarifications here in [brackets] after friendlysock’s comment.)

                                                                                                A nice thing about [the idea of downvotes for simple disagreement, as used on some other sites, is that it lets] people who simply don’t like something say “I don’t like this” without putting noise in the channel that’s used to catch abuse, spam, and so on. I think the dream behind the current system is that not having [no-reason] downvotes leads to a very pluralist site where many people disagreeing (or fewer disagreeing strongly) doesn’t count against a comment as long as there’s no objective problem with the phrasing/on-topicness/etc. Realistically it seems as if without another outlet, some fraction of disagreement will get funneled into the flag system (even just through people looking hard for technically valid reasons to flag) even if you try to discourage it.

                                                                                                Just as a random thought, you can offer downvotes without treating them as -1 upvote (-0.5 or -0.25 or whatever in a ranking algorithm), or disagree flags that you treat differently from others.

                                                                                                tl;dr if I guessed at possible tweaks they might be allowing [no-reason] downvotes or disagree flags that have less impact than existing flags, just to keep that self-expression out of the flagging system; look for a way to factor in that being more-read will get your comments more negative attention; and maybe there’s something to do with the message wording, though it’s clearly already had a good amount of thought put in it.

                                                                                                1. 16

                                                                                                  A nice thing about downvotes is it lets people who simply don’t like something say “I don’t like this” without putting noise in the channel that’s used to catch abuse, spam, and so on.

                                                                                                  Yes, I very much agree with this. On Reddit and Hacker News, which lobster.s is modelled after, I think of as:

                                                                                                  • upvote: “I would like this to appear higher on the page”
                                                                                                  • downvote: “I would like this to appear lower on the page”

                                                                                                  Flag is a totally different thing than downvote – it means that the user is abusing the site, and continuing that behavior SHOULD result in getting banned from the site.

                                                                                                  But expressing minority opinions (thoughtfully) may result in downvotes (*), but it should NOT result in getting banned or encouraged to leave.


                                                                                                  As far as I can tell, the burntsushi warning was a result of mixing up these signals. I only read a portion of the Rust threads, so I haven’t followed everything, but from what I understand he was probably just expressing some opinions that people disagreed with, not actually abusing the site.

                                                                                                  So I think you have diagnosed it correctly – the lobste.rs UI is sort of mixing these 2 signals up by omitting downvotes. The “flag” button has 5 reasons, and “off topic” and “me too” should be a downvote, not a flag IMO.

                                                                                                  Again, the difference between the two is whether continuing the behavior should lead to a ban, and that’s a very important distinction.

                                                                                                  (Honestly I am surprised that I haven’t gotten this banner ever, given that there is a minority of people who disagree with my opinions on shell. Since I’m writing a new one, I’m opinionated about it, but also invite disagreement)


                                                                                                  (*) Some people may want opinions they disagree with to appear lower on the page, and some people might not. In my view it’s up to person to exercise that discretion – that’s why you get one vote :)

                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                    upvote: “I would like this to appear higher on the page” downvote: “I would like this to appear lower on the page”

                                                                                                    That’s not actually what they mean on Reddit:

                                                                                                    Vote. If you think something contributes to conversation, upvote it. If you think it does not contribute to the subreddit it is posted in or is off-topic in a particular community, downvote it.

                                                                                                    ‘I would like this to appear higher/lower on the page’ is so ambiguous that it leads to different people misunderstanding it and applying it differently.

                                                                                                    1. 6

                                                                                                      I’d say that’s a prescriptive definition, but a descriptive one is more useful [1], and thinking about it that way will be more likely to solve the problem.

                                                                                                      That is, “users don’t read documentation”, and it means whatever the users think it means, and it changes over time. FWIW I’ve been using Reddit since 2007, and HN since 2011 or so, and there’s never complete agreement on what these things mean.

                                                                                                      I’ve seen the debate about downvote vs. disagree several times over the years on the sites. I choose to sidestep it with the vague definition – that’s a feature! :) It’s OK to be vague sometimes.

                                                                                                      In cases like this, where the number of flags leads to either banning or encouragement ot leave, I think it’s better not to be vague, and have 2 distinct mechanisms. This isn’t a big change, as lobste.rs had both downvoting and flagging until very recently.

                                                                                                      [1] https://amyrey.web.unc.edu/classes/ling-101-online/tutorials/understanding-prescriptive-vs-descriptive-grammar/

                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                        This isn’t a big change, as lobste.rs had both downvoting and flagging until very recently.

                                                                                                        I don’t think it had both, rather the flag button just looked like a “downvote” button. You still selected from the same reasons that flag presented. This change is the one that altered the styling I believe. There’s plenty of places that refer to it as “voting” in the code still, but unless I am mistaken there was only ever the one mechanism.

                                                                                                  2. 7

                                                                                                    A nice thing about downvotes is it lets people who simply don’t like something say “I don’t like this” without putting noise in the channel that’s used to catch abuse, spam, and so on.

                                                                                                    So, the purpose of downvotes was emphatically not to express disagreement…it was to signal one of a handful of error conditions (bad information, factual inaccuracy, etc.). There is very little utility in seeing how many people merely disagree about something, especially given how fast people are to be mean to each other.

                                                                                                    As a historical point, @jcs at one time disabled downvotes. It did not last more than a week or two before it was brought back.

                                                                                                    1. 11

                                                                                                      Sorry, I see how it was worded unclearly. I understand that the intention currently is to have no “disagree” button. I’m saying that having that button could reduce how often people flag comments they disagree with as having one of the error conditions, which they might do by by stretching definitions, picking a random reason, or just preferentially noticing real flaggable issues when they happen to dislike the content. (I think the unclarity comes from me using “downvotes” to mean “a no-reason downvote button” as opposed to flags as they exist–I edited to clarify above.)

                                                                                                      It may be useful to let people push a button for disagreement even if your algorithms assign a low weight to those clicks. I say low weight rather than zero because having a 100%-placebo button in the UI raises other issues, even if moderators give zero weight to an easy expression of disagreement. I’d probably give a no-reason-given downvote nonzero weight in my head but I don’t expect others to adopt my weights.

                                                                                                      Shorter, the idea is that people sometimes find a way to “downvote” for disagreement however you set up your UI, and you might get a net harm reduction by just giving them the button they want and then deciding what to do with the data.

                                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                                        Ah, so kind of like the buttons on crosswalks?

                                                                                                        Anyways, thank you for elaborating further. :)

                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                          Very well said. Even if the system is not equipped with a “disagree” button, some users may desire one and use whatever means are at hand to express themselves. The phrase, “the purpose of a system is what it does,” comes to mind.

                                                                                                          If existing mechanisms are not meant for use in disagreements, then we might ask if that is actually how they are being used.

                                                                                                        2. 4

                                                                                                          That’s nice, but you can’t make users behave the way you want them to behave, if you’re not going to actively act against it. People not only downvote because they disagree, but they’ll also flag things as spam or off-topic or “troll” just because they disagree, or feel you’ve insulted their particular religious (as in vimacs-vs-spaces) beliefs.

                                                                                                          1. 6

                                                                                                            I think I’d prefer a system that discourages misuse of flags. Maybe a similar message for people who flag a lot

                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                              Sure, folks determined to game things would still flag. My theory is decently many who flag today are not determined to game things, and would click a down arrow for “just no” given the option. That’d reduce noise in the flag system even though it wouldn’t eliminate it. (And not saying you couldn’t do other changes too.)

                                                                                                          2. 4

                                                                                                            in fact, you can have placebo downvotes that show up for the person doing the downvoting but do not affect the vote count otherwise. that would keep (almost) everyone happy, i think.

                                                                                                          3. 6

                                                                                                            Agreed.

                                                                                                            I think it’s fair to discuss whether the wording of the warning message can be improved, but various comments here that pretty much amount to “person X is popular, he should be exempt from the rules” are just tiring.

                                                                                                            1. 8

                                                                                                              How is being flagged a rule? It’s not a rule. That is the whole problem.

                                                                                                              Anyone can flag any comment any time.

                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                Receive too many flags, get a notice. That’s the rule.

                                                                                                                1. 9

                                                                                                                  That is not a rule in the sense of rule that can be followed by users. I did’t read a single comment suggesting that shouldn’t apply to some user because of its popularity, but rather many people pointing out that this is a clear case illustrating that such system is broken and should be fixed for all users.

                                                                                                            2. 5

                                                                                                              rather than continue to engage in a community they don’t fit into

                                                                                                              Is lobster a community that accepts a plurality of opinion? If it is, then you will always have people disagreeing with you and therefore be liable to be reported by some of these people.

                                                                                                              Democracy leads to lynching. Mass reporting is basically the lynching of internet persona. Any kind of automatic penalty that can be initiated via reporting is simply giving power to the angry mob. Autoban and autosuspend based on reports have always been abused.

                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                You’re still here, so evidently the suggestion doesn’t apply to you. You’re glad to contribute.

                                                                                                                Why not show the warning to flag-happy people? I don’t have stats but I feel like that could be a better indicator of who doesn’t want to be here.

                                                                                                              2. 21

                                                                                                                Why do we need this passive aggressive banner anyway? It looks bad for Lobster, not for the person seeing it, and it’s not clear what problem it’s supposed to solve.

                                                                                                                1. 19

                                                                                                                  We consistently see the vast majority of bad behavior come from the same few users. There’s a phenomenon, called the normalization of deviance, whereby people whose behavior is far away from the norm often genuinely don’t realize just how far it is. The banner, and the histogram that it links to, are intended as a way for people to self-correct. I personally am a big believer in giving people opportunities for redemption, and the histogram makes the point in a way that mere words can’t.

                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                    far away from the norm

                                                                                                                    Far away from the norm doesn’t mean bad. You seem to be assuming that it is.

                                                                                                                    1. 8

                                                                                                                      I appreciate you raising that. On the contrary, I agree that sometimes people’s behavior is far from the norm for positive reasons. I do think that, even in those cases, everyone can benefit from a heads-up and a chance to reflect about whether it’s what they want.

                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                        As in reflecting on do you want to be good when everybody else is bad?? Am I reading that right?

                                                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                                                          Well, yeah. I know for a fact that people have left Lobsters for that reason (or at least, that’s how they see it). While I am sad when people leave, I don’t think anyone is obligated to stay somewhere that doesn’t make them happy. It would be wrong of me to try to trick or coerce people into staying when their free choice, with all the facts available, would be to leave.

                                                                                                                          I’m not really sure why you’re asking this, though. The flagging system doesn’t have the ability to determine who’s right and who’s wrong. Even if I wanted to take my personal concept of “good” and write code that ignores flags that aren’t “good”, there is no existing technology that can do anything like that. If that’s what you’re advocating for, feature request noted but I’m not able to do it.

                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                            I’m not really sure why you’re asking this, though

                                                                                                                            I am not asking anything. I was commenting on an implicit bad argument you made (the implication that the norm is correct). You decided to double down by arguing that even if somebody was correct, they should ‘reflect about whether it’s what they want’. I simply then pointed out that this doesnt reinforce your original argument, because it itself is bad, because having a bad feature (aggressive warning about being reported) is not validated by having that feature also be useful to do useless thing (letting people reflect on whether they should be good, because the answer is always yes).

                                                                                                                            I don’t think anyone is obligated to stay somewhere that doesn’t make them happy.

                                                                                                                            Of course not. The point is that assuming that lobsters want a community that engage in meaningful discussion, then it should make people want to stay and be happy, that is a worthy goal. all of this is following your argument for the banner, the argument which I consider to be invalid, as pointed out.

                                                                                                                            1. 5

                                                                                                                              Being distant from the norms can hold little moral judgment and yet be relevant when operating in a constructed community.

                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                Okay, I guess that’s fair.

                                                                                                                                I think we disagree about something in there, but it sounds like figuring out what isn’t a high priority for either of us? I appreciate the discussion, anyway.

                                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                                          I at least didn’t read that implication into the post. Not all ways of being far from the norm are likely to result in seeing the banner. It isn’t a perfect system but it’s definitely not symmetric, so that assumption isn’t necessarily required.

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                                                                                                                          Thanks for clarifying. But I still think it doesn’t make Lobster looks good because this feature implies that “deviant” behaviour should be corrected and can be automatically detected, and I expect most people (especially in tech) aren’t comfortable with either of these.

                                                                                                                          I’m wondering what’s the worse that could happen if the banner is not displayed? Maybe the person who’s being flagged all the time will get the point and adjust their behaviour, or maybe they don’t need to adjust anything and it’s other people that will start seeing that perhaps that person has a point. I also believe in giving people a second chance but I don’t think the solution to everything has to be algorithms, sometimes simple human interactions are preferable.

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                                                                                                                            The hypothesis that motivates the banner and histogram is that, by displaying them, those conversations about what to adjust will happen sooner and be more productive. The goal is to head off situations where somebody doesn’t believe mods when we tell them something needs to change, and they ultimately leave the site. It may be right or wrong but that’s the motivation.

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                                                                                                                            Do you think that the banner has an observable positive effect? Do you see a change in behavior from the few users you say produce the majority of bad behavior? As friendlysock says above, they see the banner nearly all the time. Do you think they have been falsely-flagged by this system? If so, can you estimate how high the false-positive rate of showing this banner? If friendlysock has been appropriately warned by this system, have you seen any change in their behavior onsite?

                                                                                                                            If it is truly only a few users producing undesirable behavior, could it be more effective to simply reach out to those users personally?

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                                                                                                                              I’m not going to publicly discuss my personal feelings about specific community members. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone.

                                                                                                                              I don’t have a methodology to conclusively determine how much influence the banner has had, but the site has a lot less flagging in general than it did a couple years ago. I take that to be an indicator that things have calmed down significantly, and I do think that’s good.

                                                                                                                              I do reach out to people personally from time to time, as do the other mods. The banner and histogram were created to address a shortcoming in that approach, where sometimes people aren’t willing to listen to criticism unless they’re presented with data that validates it. I’m skeptical of going fully data-driven for everything, but I think it’s nice to have at least this one particular metric for those who find it easier to take concerns seriously when there’s a metric.

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                                                                                                                          Additional suggestion to all the previous improvements: make that banner a thing that’s moderator-initiated. I of course don’t have statistics on how many people see it (I never got it, so I just learned about it now, anecdotally) but I could imagine that this is rare enough that moderators could just evaluate sending this message to users by hand after the system flags the user internally.

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                                                                                                                            I of course don’t have statistics on how many people see it

                                                                                                                            I don’t have that statistic either, but as I posted elsewhere, only 13 people have been flagged more than me in the last month and I haven’t seen it. Only 7 people have been flagged 10 or more times. I’d therefore expect that trimming it down to 5 people that moderators need to take a look at per month is quite feasible.

                                                                                                                            If even that is too much of a load for the moderators, then it might be possible to select a dozen people who have been active recently but not participated in any of the flagged threads to do a triaging pass. At that point, having someone reach out to the person and say ‘you’ve had a lot of things flagged recently, is there anything going on in your life that you want to talk about?’ would be a fairly low load.

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                                                                                                                              You can a chart that gives you a clear idea how many people see it at /u/you/standing. So you can see it at /u/david_chisnall/standing and I can see it at /u/hoistbypetard/standing. The red Xs should represent users seeing the warning.

                                                                                                                              I’d never suggest that someone else should just add a thing to their plate, but it does seem like the kind of thing where, if there were a few active moderators, requiring someone to approve the red box might be an improvement for a relatively low effort. That feels like the kind of statement I should only make if I’m accompanying it with a patch, though, and I can’t offer that right now.

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                                                                                                                            Yep, I think the current wording will probably trigger exactly the wrong people “have I overstepped a border? Probably” and the people who are actively engaging in a little bit of flaming won’t be bothered.

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                                                                                                                              Following on the “let’s get shit done” vibe, is there an open issue for discussing this in more detail on github? I did a quick lookup and didn’t find any, would be cool if it was posted here (even better if as a top comment)

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                                                                                                                                Good idea, thanks! (Obvious in retrospect, like many good ideas.) I created an issue.

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                                                                                                                                I mildly agree with both of those things, but I also think that the suggestion further down the thread to re-introduce downvoting as “non-bannable feedback” could address the issue more directly.

                                                                                                                                https://lobste.rs/s/zp4ofg/lobster_burntsushi_has_left_site#c_padx5h

                                                                                                                                Some people may misuse flags and downvotes, but overall I think these guidelines are intuitive and easy to remember:

                                                                                                                                • upvote: this should go higher on the page
                                                                                                                                • downvote: this should go lower on the page
                                                                                                                                • flag: if the user continues this behavior, they should eventually be banned
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                                                                                                                                  In my post I’m trying to focus on an easy thing to do to help reduce this problem. I have the impression that rewording the banner is something that’s reasonably easy, while “let’s reintroduce downvotes” or “the banner should be approved by moderators before being shown” are important change in process that require a lot of discussion. They may be excellent ideas, but it’s a lot more work to discuss and turn them into action, so I think it’s best not to mix the two kind of suggestions if we want to change anything at all in the short term; they should be discussed separately, and maybe differently. (I could just send a PR to rephrase the banner; any of the other suggestions requires more discussion with contributors, etc.).

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                                                                                                                                    Yes, it makes sense to do the easy things first. My impression was that we had downvotes several months ago, so it shouldn’t that big a change to restore them, but I’m not involved so I could be wrong.

                                                                                                                                    I was mystified by the removal of downvotes, and never saw the rationale for it. I saw one thread discussing it 3 or 6 months after they were removed, which still didn’t answer my questions about why they were removed. It made the site worse for me, but not enough to really complain about it. I know this is an all-volunteer effort and I didn’t have time to look at it myself.

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                                                                                                                                Too bad then don’t support BSD OSes..

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                                                                                                                                  There’s pobox.com from Fastmail

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                                                                                                                                      Am I missing something or this only works in/with Ruby on Rails?!

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                                                                                                                                          The example is Ruby on Rails, their frameworks are written in TypeScript though so they could work for other setups.

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                                                                                                                                            It only requires a header and HTML tags. You can even do it manually without much effort, the libraries are only lightweight helpers. AFAIK there are already libraries for Django and Laravel, in addition to the original Rails gem

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                                                                                                                                            Just finished my vacation and The Cradles series - https://www.goodreads.com/series/192821-cradle (first heard about it on lobters🙃).

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                                                                                                                                              If you’re on reddit, come join us at https://www.reddit.com/r/Iteration110Cradle/ and see https://www.reddit.com/r/ProgressionFantasy/ if you are interested in similar books

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                                                                                                                                              Nothing against combining some shell utilities and today I was reminded of column. But my goto for handling csv / tsv files is definitely csvkit.

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                                                                                                                                                There’s also csvtk

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                                                                                                                                                  Came here just to say that :) csvkit is pretty great. For me, it’s a must for handling CSV files.