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Moding this board must be 'a lot of work'

Moderating this board must be a lot of work but it must also give insight into how people 'operate.'  (It must also provide for a lot of comedy and I would image frustration from time to time.)

Every post I make is 'on purpose' so-to-speak in order to derive a reaction from whomever would respond.  Not that what I'm posting about is really about me (even though that's the way the post reads) or that I care what I'm posting about - it's just to derive and observe the reaction from people.  I make stuff up about whatever topic I can think of then I post it.  Some posts get a lot of reaction and some don't. (Some also get deleted and some don't.)

The things that motivate people to speak don't really seem all that software related.  Instead they're related more to the 'human' side of things:

Why does HR treat me this way?
What about that Google billboard ad?
How do the old/young people differ?
How did my interview go?
Should I work at this place?
Why do software engineers have such a mentality?
What makes a good hire?
Why is my manager treating me like this?

...and so on and so forth.  Most of the technical questions get short answers quickly but the questions dealing with human feelings and human relationships tend to get many times more responses that the pure technical questions.  Even technical questions with a 'human' spin get more responses than pure technical questions.

Has anyone ever run a big message forum like this and been able to observe the behaviors of it's users?

Bugs Bunny
Friday, July 16, 2004

I'm guessing you're just out of school, or new to the internet? (Not an insult, but you're pretty much stating the obvious...)

C. McGee
Friday, July 16, 2004

Nope not just out of school and not new to the Internet.  I know I'm stating the obvious.  I'm asking if anyone else that participates in this forum runs a forum and what kind of behavior the people on their forum exhibit?  If it is the same then the forum implementation is not related to how people interact on the Internet.  I'm also wondering how much time is put into moderating a forum like this.

Bugs Bunny
Friday, July 16, 2004

Yeah, I used to help out a bunch (wrote a good chunk of Scoop, and helped admin the site) at

If I took anything away from it, its that I never want to do it again.  Rusty Foster (the guy who started kuro5hin) has my utmost respect, for running the site and not going screaming down the roads of the internet.

Not to make it sound that bad, it was quite interesting watching some of the people interact.  The problem is that 5% of the users take 95% of the time to maintain the site.  You have to clean up after this user's crapflooding, another user called someone a bad name, etc. etc.

50% babysitting, 40% dealing with "the forum is nice, but it'd be *really* nice if it did [user accounts|edit posts|moderation|longer articles|etc etc]", and 10% enjoying the fruits of your labor.

I'm rambling I think.

Overall: I enjoyed the experience it gave me, fun to people-watch from an administrative level as it were (you can see who posts under multiple names).  But it convinced me I'll never run for a governmental position ;-)

Andrew Hurst
Friday, July 16, 2004

I think...

That there exists a fuzzy object behind the curtain that analyzes:

IP address of poster.
Poster name.
Writing style.
Content (pro Microsoft, pro Linux, pro H1B, etc.)

Weekly reports are sent to the Cigarette Smoking Man.

One day we will be alien drone slaves. 

Post intelligently, you might be spared.  Soylent green is Cow Pie.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Thanks Andrew.  Did you ever get upset at a user?  How did you keep it from getting personal?

Bugs Bunny
Friday, July 16, 2004

++Most of the technical questions get short answers quickly but the questions dealing with human feelings and human relationships tend to get many times more responses that the pure technical questions.++

Clear-cut, technical questions get quick, clear-cut answers, while controversial, subjective topics breed conversation.

Wow, you're a genius.

Yes, I've got a forum.  It's 99.9% babysitting and fixing whatever the users perceive as 'broken' and .1% actually enjoying any fruits at all of your labor.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Back in the Dark Ages, me and a couple other guys ran a BBS.  Andrew is dead on.  The 5% of the population that is ignorant, anti-social, or immature made us think seriously of pulling the plug on the modem on many occasions.  We finally did; it's been so long I don't recall why.

I'm not sure I'd do something like that again.  And I too have a lot of respect for people who admin a forum.

Oh, and BTW Andrew, I'm a member of kuro5hin, and I now know all the problems there are YOUR FAULT!!!  :-)

Should be working
Friday, July 16, 2004

Did you ever get upset at a user?  How did you keep it from getting personal?

There were a few users I knew by name, but it wasn't worth trying to fight with them, or totally block them.  They had much more time and energy than we did.  They'd make use of new anonymizing proxies regularly and new accounts.  I really think a couple of these people didn't have jobs and just screwed around with Kuro5hin all day long.

It drove one user to threaten lawsuits against us for not reacting quick enough to another user.  A common refrain around that time was "its just a website!"

So the things that kept it from getting personal for me were:
1. Rusty actually ran the site, everytime the users got too much for me I could retreat into the "hey I'm just a programmer" stance.
2. I didn't want to spend the time fighting with users of a message board when I should be doing homework.

I think that this forum is one of the better run ones that I've come across.  The "hidden moderators" stuff is quite effective, and I appreciate it.  Check out k5 sometime; much of the discussion is about how the site should be run, what features should be added, etc.  "meta-discussion"

Though thats how that site aims to be run, so its par for the course.

The problem is you get into an arms race with the users, to stop them from doing bad things.  Thus "karma" on k5, and moderation on slashdot.  And meta-moderation on slashdot. And post throttle limiting on both, and the slashdot "lameness filter", etc.

All things that are not that fun to implement because they're designed to clean up programatically after a small subset of the users who will work around it anyway within 2 days of uploading the code to the live site.

Andrew Hurst
Saturday, July 17, 2004

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