It had been a while since i have visited the worst nodes page. So i decided to visit. Couldn't hurt, right? This actually happened a few days ago, i've been waiting so that i can think through. What struck me though, is that all of the top 10 worst nodes are owned by Nodereaper.

Please take a hiatus of reading to think about that. i'd rather you have an opinion before i say more.

My original thoughts were something like: Why are we covering up the past of the monestary? It is something we have dealt with and a reminder that we dealt with it and can now pass onwards to new things. It is a good thing so we try not to repeat the same mistakes.

To answer this i envisioned an analogy. After a war, one would patch the holes of a building to restabilize its walls. However, the patch is still apparent, despite the wall regaining some stability. This does not directly analogize the situation, but it's close i think.

After thinking about it more i drew these conclusions:
1) This is good, so that the owners of the bad node aren't named directly and given undue shame or vanity
2) This is bad, because it impedes shame and produces vanity

First of all, these are not absolutes. They are tendencies.

1a)  It seems that downvoting gives enough impetus for change without ever visiting the worst nodes page.* The worst nodes page in this case gives extra shame to the person who can already realize they annoyed the community. Using nodereaper would then be a benefit.

1b)  On the other side of the same coin we have the problem that a troll may like to see his name up on the worst nodes page to try for the spotlight. This vanity does not seem to be a particularly large problem of the monestary.

2a)  On a completely different coin, there is the fact that some people don't like attention, and putting their name on the worst nodes page is far more effective than a downvote. In these cases it's probably better that the real name go on the page.

2b)  The other side of this coin being that certain people will troll multiple times so that they can try to "beat the system" and get their coveted position in the spotlight. By constantly being vigilant against this they should reaalize that we do frown on that and (hopefully) stop quickly.

Anyway, like the title says, is this of note? Should we worry about this? Do we need to discuss it? What are your thoughts on (any part of) the matter?


* Albeit a name goes onto the page when the current count of bad posts for the day is less than 10, it's still a consideration.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(jcwren) Re: Is nodereaper on worst nodes of note?
by jcwren (Prior) on Mar 18, 2001 at 11:12 UTC

    I've been talking to vroom on and off about this. My personal feeling is that the NodeReaper is out of hand, and needs to be seriously tuned down. Why?

    Because to erase bad posts is to erase history, and examples of what not to do. This becomes particularly troublesome as nodes are crosslinked as examples in rants, explanations, and general references.

    What would I delete? Flat out trolls, duplicate posts, and that's about it. I'd be leaving vnpandeys post. Particularly debug the error!! as a shining example of what not to do.

    To delete nodes is to erase history. History is what makes us who and what we are, be it good or bad. Denying something happened doesn't make it not have happened, no matter how hard some groups would like to believe this.

    It is my belief that we cannot simply cull for best content. Anytime you start deleting things simply because they have a bad reputation, you've imposed censorship. Granted, it won't ever be a completely censorship free site, since I advocate killing troll posts. But what affect does the aforementioned node have? I don't believe it has any detrimental effect on the site. Nay, it serves as an excellent bad example.

    I can't really agree with neshuras post about eliminating Worst Nodes, or portions thereof. There are some nodes that just suck, and as new people find them and add their opinion that they suck, they are agreeing with the set of mores that we operate by. And have reinforced to them what is considered 'A Bad Thing To Do'.

    Me? I'd delete NodeReaper. I'd start limiting people adding nodes to Nodes To Consider. Too many people are submitting nodes for the wrong reason. I'd probably bump that up from level 5 to at least 6, and maybe level 7. Not because I don't think Friars aren't capable of making good decisions, but because there is too large a userbase making them. And not always for the most informed reasons.

    Death to the NodeReaper and his cherry pie fixation!

    My $0.02USD worth...


    e-mail jcwren
      Just commenting on your last paragraph:
      Bumping the minimum level from 5 to 6 or 7 is only a temporary solution. PM is like a breeding pit when it comes to XP.
      As the userbase is always expanding, more and more people will be casting their votes on posts (either positive or negative).
      This will eventually result in more people with a higher level, who themselves have more votes to spend on each level they go up and thus will up the level of others etc etc ..

      Perhaps one could modify this genetic programming post to describe a userbase of 100 Monks that regularly post and vote, then see how long it would take before one ends up with 30 allmighty saints, und 70 humble initiates :)

        Yes, but proportionally, this isn't the case. There are over 750 new users in the last month. I'd guess that only 15 or so monks level 6 and above have actually gone up a level in that time.

        I completely agree with jcwren. I'm tired of seeing nodes that have been reaped all over the place. Most of them for no good reason.

        Now we have the Editors - they are doing a fantastic job - repairing badly formatted posts. I don't think we need the nodereaper.

        $ perldoc perldoc

      As a friar, I believe that removing my ability to vote on nodes to consider is not going to help; the problem isn't to many people voting on what nodes to delete. The problem seems to be too many people nominating nodes to be considered.

      I rarely put a node on nodes to consider, but I've been proud of the fact that I finally reached a level that I can provide additional input into how the site operates. I believe a much better approach, if this road is followed, is gradually introduce these new powers so as to teach the rising monks what should be on the nodes to consider before they can the ability to put them there.

      This might be as simple as giving the ability to vote on nodes to consider at level 6, but not allowing nominating nodes for nodes to consider until level 7. This would give friars the opportunity to participate in the running of the site while still emphasizing the concept of more responsibilty as you increase in rank and teaching what is the commonly accepted guidelines for nodes to consider.

      I also feel that allowing lower ranked members to view the nodes to consider node, without voting, is something we should consider. This would be similar to how novices are not allowed to vote when they first join, but they can see how voting works.

        I agree that people are considering things that shouldn't be considered. And I also think that the current hack of having people self-identify who considered what is insufficient - the people who are considering like crazy are generally not going to do that.

        I would like to see the person who considered automatically identified so that they can get feedback. Add that feedback and I think we will see more limited use of consideration.

Re: Is nodereaper on worst nodes of note?
by neshura (Chaplain) on Mar 18, 2001 at 10:45 UTC
    I'm for asymmetric shame/praise. Worst Nodes should be temporary (e.g. not list All Time Worst but retain Day and Week) in order to keep trolling down as well as give people a chance to recover their reputations after they have been properly "shamed". Whereas Best Nodes should immortalize great nodes as well as give people their temporary limelight.

    This is not my idea, someone else brought it up earlier. I do not remember who it was or whether it might have been in the chatterbox.

    e-mail neshura

Re: Is nodereaper on worst nodes of note?
by footpad (Abbot) on Mar 19, 2001 at 01:03 UTC

    I agree that NodeReaper has gotten a little carried away and that we should be concerned about it.

    Here's a few ideas:

    1. Access to Nodes to Consider

      I think jcwren has a good idea and that jorg raises a valid point. As an alternative, what if we limit Nodes to Consider to the Top 100 Monks? This is a) a nice, round number, b) should be reasonably trivial to implement, c) features a pretty broad range of opinion, talent, experience, and so on. Furthermore, it would also change as member participation changes and would be resistent to "Saint-overload" as the Monastery grows and ages.

    2. Tweak the Reaper's code

    3. If memory serves, a node is reaped when it receives a greater 5-2 Delete/Keep before getting a reply and so on. In reviewing the nodes that have been reaped, it looks as if the current algorithm doesn't take Edit votes into account. Perhaps the equation should be reworked to a) include Edit votes and b) increase the ratio to 10:2.

      When combined with a more limited consideration membership, this should more accurately reflect the collective will of the most experienced (and presumably participating) monks.

    4. Allow the Editors to "un-reap" nodes.

      No matter how (or if) we tweak the Reaper, mistakes will be made. Since the janitors are trusted to edit, certainly they should be trusted to clean up when the Reaper's gets overly enthusiastic.

    Thoughts? Feedback?


    Update #1: In response to tye's reply below:

    I'm not saying get rid of the Reaper. I agree that he serves a useful purpose.

    Your formula is reasonable.

    One reason why I suggested the janitors gain restoration powers was designed to help off-load some of the work from TFL. Most of the Editors are here much of the time, whereas vroom pops in periodically. It's just seemed a more optimal use of resources.

    As far as getting to word out, well, there have been a number of posts on the subject since Consideration was introduced. Many of these were well received, but the problems they tried to address still exist. I believe part of this stems from a number of people using the Approval nodelet instead of their votes. I don't expect it's the Senior Monks and limiting access to Approval Nodelet should help reduce this sort of Approval abuse.

    I agree with you that duplicate or slightly duplicate questions should be allowed to remain. As I've said previously, vote them down and then take the opportunity to educate the poster and those who follow.

    As far as your extensions to Nodes to Consider itself goes, I agree with them, especially the first ones. :-)

    Update #2: Fixed a "tpyo" and clarified the purpose of Update #1.

      First, I strongly feel that we still need the reaper. Janitors don't have the power to reap nodes and I don't think they should (at the very least not single-handedly, though perhaps three-at-a-time makes sense, especially if they can reap nodes with a positive rep for cleaning up true duplicates). I also feel strongly that we need to adjust things.

      I don't want to just up the number of votes required to delete, nor to just lower the number of votes required to keep. I've seen nodes that should be deleted not get deleted and nodes that should be kept get reaped (and nodes that should be reaped get reaped with about the right amount of work). But I think having a bit more complex formula will help.

      I propose that the "delete" votes reaching 5+3*(other votes) when the node's reputation is negative (I was thinking we should allow reaping of zero-rep nodes, but I've changed my mind) should cause the node to be reaped. So a node with 1 vote to keep and 2 votes to edit would require 14 votes to delete before it could be reaped.

      Update: The current rules are that 5 votes to delete works as long as their aren't 2 or more votes to keep. So votes to edit play no roll and there is no ratio involved. So once there are 2 votes to keep, there is no way the node will ever be reaped (except if vroom does it by hand, which is always possible). 1 vote to keep and 5 votes to delete is currently enough (if the rep is right when the 5th vote to delete is cast) while my change would require 8 votes to delete in that case (or more if there are also "edit" votes).

      vroom already has the power to unreap mistakes and he has used it. I don't think giving that power to editors is required.

      I think a lot will be helped by just getting the word out that it isn't appropriate to reap nodes just because they aren't the best node on the subject (and this word needs to get out or we'll still be reaping the wrong nodes even with all of the other changes I've proposed). If someone asks a question that was just asked yesterday, they shouldn't have their node reaped. They probably shouldn't have their node approved, either, but a polite pointer to the previous question and some hints about learning how to use the site will usually get posted soon enough.

      There are always going to be similar answers posted at about the same time (even if "we" implement something like the improvements I've outlined for reducing the creation of such duplicated effort). I see absolutely no value in reaping any of such duplicates and will continue to vote "keep", even when the original author asks to have their own answer deleted for that reason (actually, right now I vote "edit" so that I have a hope of eventually "unconsidering" the node).

      I'd like for reaping of a reply to check whether the parent has been reaped. If so, and the parent has no replies of its own, the parent should be rereaped so that it will be removed from NodeReaper's list of nodes and can't be accessed any more. The rereaping would also check for a reaped parent node so that an entire thread can be reaped off of the site. This is only meant for trolls.

      Currently, anyone (even a troll) replying to a trolling causes that trolling to be accessible forever. I agree that we want to keep bad nodes around as a part of history and/or as examples of bad nodes. But I don't think we should keep examples of trolls around. I think that would just tend to give a troll a sense of accomplishment and give new trolls ideas.

      I could see raising the level limit for being able to vote on considered nodes, but I wouldn't raise it much. I'd really like to see, on the Nodes to consider page:

      • Automatically display who considered the node
      • Allow additional lines to be appended to "reason for consideration" to allow expressing of opposing viewpoints
      • Show whether the rep of a node currently allows it to be deleted (showing the actual reps of nodes you've already voted on would be nice, too, though less important)
      • Limit the display of nodes on Nodes to consider by:
        • Honoring <READMORE> (if I can have only one of this, I'd probably vote for this one because it gives the Janitors enough power to resolve all of the display issues)
        • Not displaying more than the first N characters or first M lines (whichever comes first)
        • Changing <pre> to <code>
        • and/or just displaying the raw user input as if there were <code> tags around the whole thing
      • Displaying what section each node is in and what approvals it has

              - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")