Since it hasn't been explained very well, here's the rundown on "slashpoints."
1. What is the new system? The name and moderation system is borrowed from slashdot. Slashpoints are their attempt at self-moderation, in the same way the thumbs-up/thumbs-down was. I'll quote their FAQ:
How did the moderation system develop?Before Moderation
In the beginning, Slashdot was small. We got dozens of posts each day, and it was good. The signal was high, the noise was low. Moderation was unnecessary because we were nobody. It was a different world then (Ed: it was also 1997). Each day we grew, adding more and more users, and increasing the number of comments submitted. As this happened, many users discovered new and annoying ways to abuse the system. The authors had but one option: Delete annoying comments. But as the system grew, we knew that we would never be able to keep up. We were outnumbered.
Sound familiar? Continuing:
How does moderation work?Moderation takes place by selecting an adjective from a drop down list that appears next to comments containing descriptive words like "Flamebait" or "Informative." Bad words will reduce the comment's score by a single point, and good words increase a comment's score by a single point. All comments are scored on an absolute scale from -1 to 5. Logged-in users start at 1 (although this can vary from 0 to 2 based on their karma) and anonymous users start at 0.
There are a number of key differences between this system and slashdot's setup (not everyone gets to moderate everything, for one), but the basic premise is the same: pick the word that best describes your feelings toward the post. Good words == points++, bad words == points--
2. How does all that tie into what we've got here? We used to get points for a up-vote, and lose points for a down-vote. Now, you get points from a good moderation, and lose from a bad moderation. In addition, the points tracking allows you to view only the top-rated comments in a topic, i.e. Comment Viewing Options, View +1, +2, etc. So the system isn't really all that different, but you get an adjective to go along with the post. This will hopefully be modded by 5 people "Informative", for example, and be seen as +5, Informative. I think the adjective is the last one used, or the most commonly used one. The points are capped at +/- 5 to avoid "negging to Bolivia." Once more from the FAQ:
What is a good comment? A bad comment?
A good comment says something interesting or insightful. It has a link to a relevant piece of information that will add something to the discussion. It might not be Shakespeare, but it's not Beavis and Butthead. It's not off topic or flamey. It doesn't call someone names. It doesn't personally attack someone because of a disagreement of opinion.
Some of my favorite "bad" or off-topic comments are things like "Slashdot sucks!" and "This isn't news for nerds!" and "Moderate this XXX!" Any of these may be true, but they're probably off topic!
3. This system sucks! That's not a question. I agree that the categories are unfair, that they're unbalanced. There's no direct correlary to "Flamebait", etc., but it's the best they've got. Try to pick the best you can find, and if nothing matches, just pick something that shows either "Good" or "Bad." The adjective doesn't really matter. It's not really so much for punishment/reward, as it is for selecting good comments and filtering bad ones.
4. Ok, make a prediction or something. The way this is set up here is similar to slashdot's original set-up. Everyone moderates all the time, and points are visible (slashdot has gone to a basic Good/Bad "karma" setup for years). If the module allows it, I think moderation will become an occasional thing, not an all-the-time option. It really only takes a couple points per thread to weed out the good and bad.
5. Bbbbut-my points! Ahem:
Karma used to be a number, now it is a word, this sucks!
People like to treat their Slashdot Karma like some sort of video game, with a numeric integer representing their score in the game. People who do this simply are missing the point. The text label is one way we've decided to emphasize the point that karma doesn't matter. Karma is used to remove risky users from the moderator pool, and to assign a bonus point to users who have contributed positively to Slashdot in the past. It is not your IQ, dick length/cup size, value as a human being, or a score in a video game.
To sum up, the whole system is a change from the Reddit/Digg model where everything is give a plus or minus, but the end result is the same: good votes improve your points, bad ones take them away.
(Stubob, slashdot ID #204064)