The New Tagging System Further Erodes My "Enjoyment" of MGoBlog

Submitted by ForestCityBlue on May 4th, 2011 at 7:24 PM

There was a time in the "old days" when I actually liked this site.  I discovered this blog during in its early days and at that time it was the only source of Michigan Football material on a daily basis.

Then things began to change...

The whole points and neg bang thing has largely ruined my posting experience. I find people post stuff simply to get up votes, basically kissing up to the board. There are too many "clever" and redundant posters. Restraint is not a virtue among many. Gaining points for simply posting encourages lost of meaningless comments.

At one time I had another account [I suppose I technically still have it] that I had from day one of the "account" era and when points came on board I thought they were a bad idea that would change how people post. It did. But I did manage to accumulate a rather large amount of points over time, a five figure number. Then I had a bad day and someone on the board annoyed me so I ended up spouting off and getting justifiably neg-banged. I am a big boy and can take my medicine, but then I got an automated message that because my one message had received a threshold number of negs [I am still not sure what that number is], that I would be reduced in points below the point where I was a "trusted user."

That pissed me off enough that I walked away from the blog for a while. I have a busy life and it was fairly easy after the first few days not to read the blog, but then during the jihad, came back but did not post anything, and because of that discovered that the rest of my points were being taken away because I had not posted for too long a period.

If in any way points = reputation, then the automatic systems of the blog had completely obliterated my reputation over one hissy post. I walked away again. Then after a while I thought I might start fresh and just read the news and dip into the diaries and the board only if something compelling came up worth commenting on. After pretty much a full season with my new identity, I have managed just a 150 or so points, have no reputation on the board and do not care anymore.

I used to enjoy posting in this community and as I am self employed, I enjoyed the regular banter and dialogue that the board used to provide me. But points and negging has really made me shrug when it comes to the diaries and board and in some ways to the blog as a whole. I read each main page story and sometime have a look at the comments, but for the most part, if it were not that this is the still the best place for Michigan Football news I would have said good riddance a while ago.  Ever since Hoke has been hired Brian seems to be pissy [although in fairness that is starting to diminish].  Over all, though, it has been this stupid points system that has slowly ruined my experience of this web site.

I can understand the need to self police the board and comments, but if Brian is intent on making this system work there needs to be helpful categories such as:

troll, flame bate, idiotic, poorly written, repetitive, makes no sense, insightful, smart, funny, interesting, well written, informative, well researched, sublime, elegant, nails it and the like.

Also, it should take a number of negative grades to make something disappear, something like -5 or -10. That way it encourages people to both rate content and write stuff that people want to read [or just not write in the first place].

There should be no points simply for posting. Reputation should be based entirely on the evaluation of the community.

Like I said, the whole points thing has soured me on the this blog and this board, perhaps irreparably. The exceptions as posters are Misopigon, Magnus and Ctitown...all of whom I find actually add something when they post...

[Edit: now for some reason that i cannot figure out, I can no longer rate other posts, even if I wanted to...]




May 4th, 2011 at 7:43 PM ^

While I agree with this, "If you want to leave mgoblog, just leave", he did bring up some good points at the end.  Namely:

1) Let comments have higher/lower thresholds for points (i.e. -10, +10).  I agree with this, and If it were up to me, they'd be limitless.  If a comment deserves +/-100, let it be so.

2) More moderation tags.  I actually disagree with this.  I don't see the huge value in the tags - a simple +/- would do for me.  Maybe others see differently?

One more thing I would add would be to have a "zero" threshold for comments.  Brian has -1, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5 but no "0".


May 4th, 2011 at 9:17 PM ^

There technically is a zero, as some people seem to have zero karma points and thus their posts show up automatically collapsed (this actually happened to me briefly at one point, while this new system was being implemented).  The problem is that a downvote skips zero.  That should be an easy fix.

The primary problem from my perspective is that the voting doesn't seem to work predictably.  If I moderate a -1: Flamebait and pick "Flamebait", that post doesn't drop to -2, but stays at -1.  Likewise, occasionally the tags will switch, e.g. from "Underrated" to "Interesting" or something, but if you upvote something with "Normal", you could end up with a +1: Trolling designation that makes no sense.

I do agree that the threshold for collapse should be lower, say -5.  Given the current system all you need is some disenchanted MGoMember going through voting everyone "overrated" (as appears to have happened on the Bri'onte Dunn Board post early), and virtually all of the comments get collapsed.  Now, this might not be a large loss, given that most of us don't have the insider information or technical evaluation skills of say, Magnus, but it'd be nice to know that multiple people have to think something is terrible before it's collapsed.  I don't want to read all of the collapsed drivel to try to find decent posts that may have been hidden for some reason.

Finally yes, things should be votable up to infinity.  If TomVH posts that Gunner and Zeke have both committed and we want to upvote him 5,000 times, that should be allowable.  Likewise, if you're an obvious troll, you should be able to be downvoted 5,000 times.


May 4th, 2011 at 9:13 PM ^

Sub par experience? Jeebus. It's a god damned football/basketball/hockey blog (with a little of this/that of the regular sports world); I never came in with expectations of "experience". Anyone who remembers the holocscan "wild west" era would accept the current "experience" for what it is...

Personally, I enjoy the comments and the "clever" posters. Dave, I think your point above is rather prescient.


May 4th, 2011 at 7:34 PM ^

but the karma thing is annoying and if you say something unpopular your comments will have a rating of 0 for awhile. just saying


May 4th, 2011 at 7:50 PM ^

I don't really understand the karma thing.  For example if you have a karma of 2 do you get 2 points everytime you post?  At this moment I only have a karma of 1, I guess my karma is not so good.


May 4th, 2011 at 9:19 PM ^

I'm no expert by any means, and have no idea how Karma actually works (whether you accrue Karma points through quality of posts or through totality in MGoPoints), but 1 seems to be what most people have.  Magnus has 2, I know, and I assume the same for Brian, Misopognon, Tim, etc., but I think the majority of us have only 1.


May 5th, 2011 at 8:43 AM ^

Karma is determined by upvotes (there was a board post about this a few days back), if you have a certain number of comments in a row that are positively upvoted, you get good karma, and your posts start with a 2. If you get downburst consistently, your karma goes down, and you start with a zero. It's a way to encourage "good" posters to post more, since their karmically good posts are worth more.


May 4th, 2011 at 10:18 PM ^

I haven't seen a comprehensive explanation posted here. You might want to look at the Slashdot Comments and Moderation FAQ page (because I believe Brian said he's using the same system used at Slashdot). Not everything on the page applies, but it does explain the various moderation options and the karma system. Karma evidently runs from 0 to 2 and is based on how your posts have been moderated. Thought this was interesting:

Note that being moderated Funny doesn't help your karma. You have to be smart, not just a smart-ass.


May 4th, 2011 at 10:39 PM ^

I'm looking into it. Another strange point to the system that I just might be discovering is whenever I moderate as funny something that was insightful, the post score doesn't go up at all. I thought the number would increase from 1 to 2 or whatever, even if the tag remained the same.
However, as normal, if I moderate as whatever the popular opinion was, like clicking interesting on a 2 interesting post, it does go up one. So maybe there's a system to votes counting and it's not a glitch when my votes don't appear to...
Perhaps it's not just positive and negative moderate words that change points. Hmm. More on these strange findings in this new world later.


May 5th, 2011 at 10:13 AM ^

I tried what you did--moderating as funny something that was labeled insightful--and found that the post score did go up. So I can't help you there, but the system does seem to have some quirks.

I find the "Normal" option to be odd, and I wonder if it's set up properly. Why should applying a "Normal" tag to a post result in an up-vote? The Slashdot FAQ makes it sound like a neutral default:

Normal -- This is the default setting attached to every comment when you have moderation privileges. Normally, you should not need to actually select this option, but if your mouse slips and you accidentally moderate up or down a comment you didn't mean to, you can undo that mistake by choosing Normal before you hit the "Moderate" button.

Obviously, the system here and the one at Slashdot aren't set up exactly the same way, but it seems as if people here are using "Normal" to give people a generic up-vote. Yet there's no generic down-vote.

I also agree with whoever complained about the location of the post score. I find that its placement right next to the post subject interrupts the natural progression of reading the subject and then reading the text of the post.


May 4th, 2011 at 7:43 PM ^

First, the blog has blown up since 2008. I don't have any numbers, but I would bet that MGoBlog is looking at huge increases in posters each month. I'd assume (I wasn't around for the beginning) that this means it went from more of a niche site to a more general one. I think this is what you're describing as bad, but incorrectly attributing to the point system.

The tagging system you mention is exactly what we have now, with the exception being that points are given for posts. Ultimately, and this is going to be tough to hear, the only thing you can do is stop visiting the site. If people agree that the new system is lacking and dislike it enough to leave, it will eventually change or Brian will lose all of the time, effort and cash that he put into the site.


May 4th, 2011 at 7:48 PM ^

I'm a big fan of the points; for people who post it's nice to get a "reward" for posting good content, it's also satisfying to neg someone when they deserve it. For outsiders (and apparently views are 33% posters and 66% lurkers) it gives some indication of the quality of content. Obviously it isn't perfect, but I think it works well.


May 4th, 2011 at 8:35 PM ^

People don't just get points for posting good content, they get them for posting any old worthless garbage. The quality of the posts has been hurt by points as much or more than it has been helped. You have to sift through way too much bickering and mindless chatter these days to find the good stuff.


May 4th, 2011 at 8:42 PM ^

They're given out to people who benefit the board. If a cat picture gets one hundred points, then one hundred people liked it. I agree with what you're saying, but look at the news for example.How much crap is included to draw fickle viewers? People don't just want mechanical evaluations of Denard's throwing motion, people obviously have a desire for both that and cat pictures.


May 4th, 2011 at 8:54 PM ^

Like I said before, I agree that it doesn't add anything. However, there's obviously interest. I'd like to hear an explination of why Brian would get rid of page views instead of deal with a few loyal consumers who probably aren't going anywhere.


May 4th, 2011 at 9:08 PM ^

That is part of my problem is that there is no real incentive to clean up the board, except for keeping it from going beyond a tipping point where it drives people away and his page views go down.  In fact any flame out posts are in some way a good thing [up to that tipping point] in that they bring tonnes of page views...


May 4th, 2011 at 9:10 PM ^

People get points for posting the most worthless stuff or bickering back and forth like children. Even on good threads, too many people chime in without anything of value to add and they get points for their mindless drivel and bad jokes (term used very loosely).


May 4th, 2011 at 8:49 PM ^

The idea of posting a picture of a cat or something shouldn't be rewarded. It doesn't add anything to the discussion, and quite frankly causes the important stuff to be somewhat covered up. 

In addition, the countless posts that are redundant, followed by the points out the said redundancy just get old. In order to solve this, topics  should potentially get pre-approval before being posted although I understand the difficulty in this.



May 5th, 2011 at 9:03 AM ^

The problem is that not everyone agrees with you. Some people like pictures of cats. So who should decide whether cat pictures are rewarded with points or not? I say we put it to a vote... wait a sec...

It seems to me like the system is currently set up to deal with exactly this problem. When something is posted that does not add anything to the discussion, the MGoPopulace gives it a negative point value. When something is deemed contributory, it earns points. Simple. This ensures that it's not just one person's opinion (read: yours) driving the point system.