MEMBER LOGIN   |   Username: Password:
Twitter: (The Twitter thing is temporarily down due to a Twitter-related bug or something!)
Recent Updates: The New Site is now open! (6 years ago) Which of [these facial express... Vulpin Adventure OST| "Blast to the past!", a review of Plazma Burst 2 by Rating Orb Duogduogduog
...

Forum History131 in total

This shows all forum posts by the user Rating Orb hlbeta:

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago Islam71.252.XXX.XXX6 years ago
The key issue with Islam is with the way in which it treats the Qur'an. The Qur'an itself is a quasi-biographical account of the life and ascent to power of Islam's prophet. His laws and decisions are still considered unquestionable and unchangeable by virtue of divine inspiration in many places. Even in those nations that do not officially enforce or permit sharia law a great many ungoverned zones and ethnic enclaves nominally under the control of various states continue to operate by those laws. While the laws of the prophet may have made sense for his time and place, they translate poorly to the modern day. Further, the Qur'an itself is confusing in layout and occasionally self-contradictory. The traditional scholarly approach to dealing with those problems was to list the suras by length instead of chronology or theme and then rule that later verses override and replace earlier ones. As a result, many of the most controversial verses concerning law and warfare were shuffled to the back to the Qur'an and thereby made nigh impossible to override or disqualify without going directly against the grain of traditional interpretation.

Mohammad was a warrior. His sermons reflect his great talent in raising the morale of the men under his command and talent as a shrewd commander but they also set an unfortunate, and exploitable, precedent. The passage to which zeus referred earlier is quoted from the fifth verse of the ninth sura of the Qur'an, commonly know as the "verse of the sword". [LINK] While I cannot lay hands upon my personal copy of the Qur'an at the moment, Wikipedia uses Marmaduke Pickthall's translation which reads as follows:
Marmaduke Pickthall said:
Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

This verse and others like it have been used as rational and justification for the slaying and subjugation of nonbelievers for centuries. These verses dictate an inherent xenophobia within the religion's practice and we can all be grateful that modernization is finally starting to erode that philosophy.

The established doctrine of religious expansion combines poorly with the laws of Islam as well. It is far more than a simple moral code. Within the pages of the Qur'an lie an expansive societal blueprint built upon archaic thought and harsh punishment. Sharia law is a blight upon the world that is employed for such atrocities as condemning 13 year old girls to death by public stoning for the crime of being raped. In 2004, 13-year-old Zhila Izadyar was sentenced to death by stoning in Iran for the "crime" of being raped by her older brother. In 2008 a 13 year old Somali girl named Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was gang raped by three men and stoned to death for that crime. The court in question falsely added a decade to her age so that she could be put to death. Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Somalia still punish consensual male homosexuality with the death penalty. In 2003 it was ruled in a Malaysian court that, in compliance with holy law, a man could divorce his wife via text message so long as he stated it clearly. Under classical interpretations, it is the duty of the believer to impose those laws upon every man, woman and child they possibly can.

Modernization has done much to soften the worst of Islamic dogma, but fundamentalist organizations still hold enough power to be a threat. There are still many with the drive to impose sharia upon the world and I am grateful that they remain relatively few. I would not argue that Islam is inherently evil, only that it is outdated, prone to violence and largely unwilling to change.
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (4)

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago New rating system from Pseudo? What do you think?71.252.XXX.XXX6 years ago
I don't really operate on any kind of fixed criteria, but there are some steady patterns in how I rate things. First and foremost, I read a post in full before rating it. So while I don't bother to read most of the comments on a blog thread and therefor do not rate them, all prior posters now have one more shiny orb to their name. For the handful of abusive or technically unsound posts I tend to apply whatever negative rating most accurately represents my desire for the user in question to stop wasting my time. Major typographical errors get a yellow to encourage improvement while incoherent profanity gets the crimson badge of "HLBeta wants you to go die in a fire". Most posts do not interest me or are technically sound without contributing much of anything to the discussion at hand. Those get browns. Anything that felt it was worth my time to read receives a blue. Cyan orbs get awarded to those rare posts that manage to effectively expand or successfully complete a thread of the ongoing discussion. Green orbs are reserved for exceptionally well thought-out posts and clock in at a massive 3% of my ratings given, most of which are personal ratings for long-standing friends.

In order to better illustrate these principles, let's examine my rationale for the ratings on the previous posts!
-Brock netted himself a blue. His post's composition seemed poor and I needed to read it through a few times to fully work out his point and purpose. He gets a blue instead of a brown because I find his choice of topic genuinely interesting and worthy of discussion (enough so to post after two weeks of stagnation in the thread). With some tastefully inserted line breaks to improve the legibility of his opening paragraph this could easily become a cyan.
-I gave david s a brown. His post is a massive wall of text, which makes most folk's brains shut down and rate cyan+. Unfortunately, a long post is not automatically an intelligent or well-written one. This post takes whole paragraphs to convey old information from the rules page and Pseudo's blog that could easily be condensed into sentences. There are some valid points buried in there, so if it were to be rewritten in a more concise manner it would merit a blue.
-Supergnash got a blue for partially addressing the idea of personal bias in ratings, a key factor in most member's decision-making process. This post almost merits a cyan but lacks the degree of insight I generally associate with that category. Some minor improvements to the post's formatting and expansion on the ideas of ratings bias would turn this into a cyan.
-TheMightierWolf received a brown for aping previous posters without bringing new perspective or information into the discussion. There's nothing wrong with it, but it just doesn't do much to promote the discussion.

None of this is intended to be a personal attack. I simply seek to explain my thought process and work from the readily provided examples.
My ratings given: 3% - 6% - 18% - 56% - 9% - 4% - 5%
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (3)

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago Tactical/Autopilot battle system for BS71.252.XXX.XXX6 years ago
I find your proposal interesting, but I wouldn't want to see it implemented in Beast Signer. I would rather have a very simple battle system that grants me constant control than one where I merely manage the behavioral patterns of my agents and watch them fight. When I determine the exact actions of each and every turn I, as a player, feel more deeply engaged in the game. If my party fails then I can reasonably conclude that I have made an error and may progress by identifying and correcting it. Even if it drives me to ragequit, I will likely come back to it later to explore possible solutions. In an indirect control system the player is almost always going to assume that their failure resulted directly from a crappy or cheating AI running their resources into the ground. After a round or two of failure in such a system, the player will almost certainly stop playing and never come back to the game. Many will go so far as to permanently discard the associated brand, Pseudo, or to actively defame the brand/game thereby damaging it further. FF13's battle system is one of the rare few that tries to float new mechanics, but it is also one of the most universally unpopular combat systems I have ever found precisely because the player feels their failures are systemic instead of a mendable error.

I do not mean to say that the concept is wholly without merit, but I'd want to see a well-executed incarnation before I consider endorsing it as a substitute for the Alpha's combat style.

Player psychology aside, it also seems that this route would place an undue burden on Pseudo. We all know how very much he hates such large-volume tasks and yet you would ask him to set up unique combat AIs for every single skillset. Even with the reduced artistic burden, this system would hugely increase the time needed to complete the game. Pseudo would need to prepare encounter maps or drive himself to madness setting up every area map to be encounter-friendly. Then he'd need to write AI routines for every single skillset. Even with some tag- or variable-based streamlining it's a huge project of the sort that gets projects abandoned for some shiny new side project. I don't think our supreme overlord has the mentality needed to carry it off, however sincere he may be a project launch.

As for the Alpha AI, it's clearly not a finished project. Insofar as I can tell, it's a move list hooked up to a random number generator. I'd expect any final project from Pseudo to perform better.
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (1)

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago The Motives of Divinity71.252.XXX.XXX7 years ago
I will say right here and now that I have never systematically studied the Bible as a whole. I do not consider myself to be a member of any religion. Like anyone living in a western civilization I am regularly exposed to the odd bit of Christian theology and most of what follows is based upon that rather crude understanding, mild paranoia and extensive sleep depravation.

One of the notions that I keep running across is that God feels the need to constantly test the faith of his followers. I am fine with this up to a point but when taken to extremes, like suggesting that the earth is only a few thousand years old and all evidence to the contrary is such a test, it seems patently absurd. Granting humanity the capacity to develop complex understandings of things is pretty pointless if all you plan to do with it is lie to them constantly and doesn't exactly seem to fit with the image of a friendly and supportive New Testament God that I so often hear about (I would not put it past Old Testament God). So it occurred to me, what if we invert the arguments of the more extreme Christian sects? What if we consider the possibility that the physical world as we observe it does not contain intrinsic falsehoods and that SCRIPTURE is the testing falsehood? That God may well be a benevolent parent figure to the whole of humanity, but that perhaps he does not need us as much as we seem to need him. What if this is simply his way of aiding us to develop a collective maturity akin to personal maturity? Maybe that scripture is his way of providing a starting point, rules and guidelines by which to live that provide a psychological shelter akin to that which a parent provides to their own children. As we grow in maturity we are increasingly able to provide for ourselves by developing greater empathy and constructing new moral codes from that enhanced understanding. During Genesis, God comments on how humanity has grown to be worryingly like him and his servants through their newly gained knowledge of good and evil. While he may not approve of such changes, perhaps God came to realize that to leave such a transformation incomplete would be far worse than striking his creations from existence. Thus we were given, through various agents, laws and parables by which to better understand what it is to be human, to be elevated beyond all other creatures on this earth. Yet God knew that for humans to truly serve their purpose as the appointed masters of creation they would eventually need to turn from him and grow into fully independent beings. So into his words were woven contradictions, logical fallacies and subtle errors that would be made increasingly obvious to humanity as they grew to understand their surroundings. By these a growing humanity might realize that they cannot turn to a higher authority to conduct their lives or beliefs and emerge as adults, able to function as adults and possibly find their own divinity by the long route.

Of course, one could also take this a step further and speculate that this is some manner of divine reproduction. While knowledge of good and evil may be an early step on the journey to divinity, life everlasting may be considered a later step and a responsibility unsuited to those who have not yet earned it for themselves. Perhaps the sparing of humanity at that critical juncture in their development was an act of parental or moral responsibility and the banishment from the realm divine the start of a journey to divinity by the long route.

Read. Discuss. Flame.
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (1)

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago Ratings Overhaul71.252.XXX.XXX7 years ago
The vast majority of this post will be directed at CtG's analysis of and recommendations for the ratings overhaul. I will attempt to address other users' posts in the final section of my post, as is rapidly becoming customary.

Thoughts on CtG's Thoughts About My Proposal
On the Credibility of Evaluations
I'd say you grasped the ideas behind this element of the proposal firmly. I am of the belief that equality hardly ever the same thing as justice and designed my proposal to reflect that sentiment.

On the Mechanics of the Preposition
Mechanics said:
-A user starts with no votes. They will be allowed to rate other user's posts, but these ratings will have no impact until the user has gained at least one vote.

This element of the proposal is primarily an attempt to make an spam-account based attack on the site impossible or just too much work for anyone to consider. It just also happens to impose a fairly brief trial period onto new members, so that's a bonus. I feel that this is a critical component in the system's security that should not be removed for any reason.

You also note that giving a user who has not passed the trial period the ability to give out ratings is “an exercise in futility”. I do not believe that is true. A voteless user will have a chance to familiarize themselves with the system and its interface as well as retain the ability to express their opinion through ratings even if that opinion has no formal power. This way a new user still may participate fully in the community even if they have not yet earned a vote yet they are kept from wielding any real power until they have earned the community's trust.

Mechanics said:
-A user starts with no votes. They will be allowed to rate other user's posts, but these ratings will have no impact until the user has gained at least one vote.
-After their fifth post, the user will be granted one vote and the ability to claim votes from other sources.
-For every 50 posts (2 levels) the user will gain an additional vote. Each of these posts much have an overall rating above zero to be counted.
-For every six months since the creation of a user's account that account will gain one vote.

As I said before, the five-post rule intended to be a defense against account spam but, as you point out, it does force a user to gain a measure of familiarity with the community before they are granted a vote. Since the system is aimed at rewarding those who contribute to the community, the other two rules quoted here are designed to reward users for their quantity of contributions and time invested in the site, respectively. I realize that some users may feel that they are inadequately compensated for their dedication to the site, but it should balance out once the other factors are incorporated.

Concerns about absentee users from the early days of the site being afforded undue power seem unfounded to me since a user can currently gain a maximum of 6 votes from their account's age. DeNovo would gain at least that many votes from a ratings conversion in addition to 3 post total votes and 2 seniority votes. Our hypothetical absentee user would gain no votes whatsoever from ratings because of the 7-point scale's relatively recent implementation and may not even be able to use their seniority votes if they have not passed the 5-post barrier. It is worth noting that the system is designed so that an account's age will become less significant as the the system matures and more votes are gained from receiving positive ratings, the seniority boost is mostly to stabilize the early implementation stages and provide a small reward to senior users.

Mechanics said:
-Whenever the user's net total votes on their posts passes a multiple of 100 the user will gain or lose a vote dependent upon if the total was increasing or decreasing, respectively.
-Users with a negative vote total would have one vote deducted from their total for each negative hundred votes on their posts, although a user's votes could not go below zero.

While you do point out what appears to be a flaw in the system, I have noticed an oddity of the ratings system that covers it quite nicely. People who make high-quality posts also make long posts and avoid dividing them into multiple parts if at all possible. The same set of habits and behaviors that lets them make good posts keeps them from splitting up their ideas for personal gain, although it's largely moot by this point since it looks like scaled votes are going to get incorporated into the next system (see post 9 for my thoughts on this), even though certain users seemed to feel that they were not being treated fairly by the 7-point system.

Mechanics said:
-To keep the bookkeeping easy for poor Pseudo a user's vote on a particular post would remain static after it is given. Users interested in doing so would be able to “refresh” their votes on a particular post to make it reflect their current voting power.

You summarized the purpose of this point quite well. For those who haven't yet worked it out, the “looping” I keep referring to is a case where a user gains a vote and then his increased vote total causes some other user(s) to gain votes from the original user's newly adjusted ratings which then results in the original user gaining new votes from the other user(s) newly adjusted ratings ad infinitum or until the site breaks under the weight of the logical looping. Nobody wants that.

Mechanics said:
-The list of users who have rated a post and their ratings would be made public.
-Ratings from comments would not have an impact on one's votes although having a negative net total of votes would likely provide grounds for being banned from commenting for a certain period of time or some similar punishment. A sufficiently negatively rated comment would be eligible for deletion or have a toggle to set wether or not they are displayed that defaults to hiding the comment.

I liked the way the value system was run, it made it really easy to tell who was abusing the system and who openly liked or disliked who. It is my hope that by reintroducing public ratings trolls will become easier to find, extreme voting will become less common and ratings will generally be less eccentric. I also like the idea of reintroducing a certain degree of personal responsibility to one's ratings, which is barely present in the current system.

My general philosophy on the way the site should be run is that reasonable and explicit rules should be installed and adhered to in most parts of the site and this section reflects that sentiment. I believe that a forum post is worth counting towards one's contributions to the site because the rules of forum are well-defined and best adhered to. The rules concerning comments are far more vague and the comment system has spent most of its history sheltered from the rules of the site. I believe that they help the community because they provide an outlet for dialog that may not fit within the formalized structure of the forum but that they cannot fairly be counted as a source of voting power for that exact same reason. If Pseudo is willing to explicitly and formally state that his expectations for certain comment areas are greater than in others and enforces that then I will have no problem counting those comments as if they were forum posts for the purpose of gaining votes.

Mechanics said:
-Every user would have a personal rating that works much like the current like/hate system except weighted according to a user's voting ability. They would still see the total individuals who like or hate them, but there would be an additional stat shown that represents their like/hete total adjusted for the voting power of each individual. This stat would not impact the user's voting power although it would provide grounds for banning if it was negative for a sufficiently long time. Unlike a rating on a forum post, this rating would be automatically updated as each individual's vote total changed.


This wasn't really intended to be a direct replacement for the 7-point personal rating but for the current like/hate system to make it better able to reflect one's perceived value to the community as the new system would express it. Hybridizing this system and the 7-point scale's personal ratings may present an even better result and would build into the interface nicely. We could keep the current like/hate scores and retool them to reflect the total positive and negative scores given, then replace the current orb with one's total (linear) personal score in some way that incorporates the color of one's 7-point scale average rating. It shouldn't take much more space and would communicate far more information at a glance than the current system can.

Mechanics said:
-Upon banning, all of the banned user's rating would be cleansed from the site in order to remove any abusive ratings they may have given.


I don't know if this is incorporated into the current system, but it should certainly be included in any future system as a simple troll defense.

Additional Considerations
The role of moderators - I deliberately avoided incorporating moderator powers or moderator-based mechanisms into my proposal because of Pseudo's reluctance to appoint them. It was my goal to build something that could operate independently of any other aspect of the site's administration and that Pseudo would have little reason to object to. That's not only why I excluded moderators, but also why I made it so that a ban-eligible user would have no votes, so that their impact on the site is lessened while we wait for Pseudo to get around to banning them. That said, I see very few ways in which a moderator would be useful in this system except in handing out bans (my detailed analysis of this issue can be found here: [LINK] ).
Disappearing members - While this has been a concern in the past, the “vanishing n00b” should no longer be able to have a meaningful impact on the site since they would have very few votes compared to the other users. This would also apply to people who just leave the site for long stretches of time. When a user leaves the site for an extended period the rest of the community continues to steadily earn more votes, thereby diminishing the absentee user's relative power over time.
Gaming the system - Okay, I get it! Binary ratings may not have been the best idea! I've already discussed hybridized solutions for counteracting that weakness in this thread.

Common Features of Proposed Alternatives
As a point-by point response would be overly long and inappropriate, I will attempt to summarize my thoughts on this matter.

-I have no real complaints about your proposed moderator functions, except that I believe that an abusive post or comment should not be deleted. Instead a toggle should be placed on each such comment or post to set wether or not it is displayed that defaults to hiding the body of the post/comment. Any post or comment that unpopular will likely provide valuable evidence if a case needs to be made for banning the user at some later date, and should not be fully removed from the site.

-I too believe that a certain degree of moderator anonymity is important, but also that giving the community an opportunity to identify with the moderators is key to getting the community at large to accept the moderator's authority. The best solution to this paradox that I could develop is to grant moderators access to a mask account with moderator powers. When using moderator powers or otherwise acting in an official capacity the user would effectively be logged into a special account solely accessible from their primary account. The moderator accounts would have a special user color to make them easily identifiable (like Pseudo) and be unable to give or receive normal ratings. These accounts would not track stats as normal, but instead serve as somewhere to send a PM or interact with the moderator through comments. I'm just not certain if implementing such a system is possible or practical.

-The whole “stars” thing seems a bit over the top and I can see it encouraging users to deliberately pad the length of their posts try and pick up bonus ratings. I can understand that would want some extra rewards for you extra effort but our goal is not actually to make you god-emperor of Fig Hunter.

Proposed Alternative 1
-Requiring a user to receive 10 ratings before their first votes just seems to be too easy and reopens some of the vulnerabilities the 5-post requirement was meant to fix. If a user can get a account to 10 ratings then it becomes that much easier for a secondary account to do the same. They can just keep smuggling in new accounts until they amass enough voting-enabled accounts to validate any future accounts and the only real sign of their abuse would be a buch of accounts fromt the same IP, which nobody really checks for and can be easily fooled with a proxy site. While the five-post requirement may be easier to defeat, it makes abuses really obvious so that the community can easily identify and take action against an abusive user. Combining the two approaches so that both conditions must be met may be a good idea but I don't see this working well as an independent rule from a security standpoint.

I'm not especially worried about the 5-post requirement being a major barrier or punishing lurking members. For a new user it should take less than a week to take care of that requirement, maybe two if they really agonize over each post. That's two or three posts in an introductory thread in the Newbie corner and then a few more in a MARDEK speculation thread or a similarly open discussion. I have yet to see an account with fewer than five posts stick around for more than a week after their account's creation and even the lurkiest of the chat lurkers have that many posts to their name.

CtG said:
♥ Each 25 posts that average at least a cyan rating after a total of 10 ratings [as opposed to 20 people who gave ratings] would earn a user one voting right.

CtG said:
♥ OPTIONAL: Each 25 posts that average at most an orange rating after a total of 10 ratings would incur a deduction of one voting right from the user, provided said user has at least 1 voting right.

I'm going to have to disagree with this one. Most posts don't even get 10 ratings, much less 10 exceptional ratings. Instead of rewarding exceptional posts, this would stagnate the system. In a linear rating system it would take a minimum of +/- 500 points to increment one's voting power up or down using your model and it also places a cap on how influential the ratings from a single post can be, rewarding the “spamming of good-enough posts” you try so hard to discourage. Please keep in mind that my model is designed so that votes derived from one's post count pale in comparison to votes derived from the ratings on a post. 50 good-enough posts are going to come out with fewer votes than 10 or so well-composed posts, especially considering that the users with the most voting power will be those with high standards of what defines a worthwhile post. Granting a new vote every 50 posts is really more of a way to crudely allot power in the early stages of the system's implementation if a proper ratings conversion cannot occur and a small gift for our more prolific members if it can.

CtG said:
♥ Each user would have a new stat called idle time, which would be the accumulated total of the period of inactivity for said user. The system will mark the user and time as soon as it becomes inactive. When the user logs in again, the difference between the log-in time and the inactivity time would be added to the accumulated idle time to get the new sum for that statistic. The resulting amount would be subtracted from the account's age [which would be the difference of the forum time and the user's join time]. THIS figure would be used to compute for the user's activity. Each 6 months of accumulated time would give the user one seniority vote, as opposed to the initially proposed system where simply the age of the account would be used. The alternative proposed would favor those who stay on the site despite lack of activity, and prevent those who joined the site early, but suffer from long periods of inactivity, from gaining significant seniority power.

This really seems needlessly complex. A single vote is a small thing. The most votes a user could presently gain from seniority is 6 and even a lazy, infrequent poster like me stands to gain at least that many from a ratings conversion and quite possibly more if the conversion can properly account for the voting power of each user. You really shouldn't be getting this worked up about a hypothetical user with an ancient account being afforded tremendous power. They'll be pitifully weak because they weren't building up ratings with the rest of the community. There is no problem here.


BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! Just as soon as I get around to typing it and editing this post accordingly!
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (4)

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago Ratings Overhaul71.252.XXX.XXX7 years ago
Just skip this post. Nothing to see here.

Also: Character limits are sto<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>o<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>o<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>o<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>o<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>o<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>o<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>o<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>o<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>o<sub>o</sub>o<sup>o</sup>opid.

EDIT: For goodness sake people, this post is just a placeholder to allow CtG to continue posting after he hit the character limit. It's not abusive, it's doing another user a favor! I'm not saying you have to rate it high, but I'd prefer that you didn't give it negative ratings.
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (9)

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago Ratings Overhaul71.252.XXX.XXX7 years ago
This post is directed at DetroitLionsFan's proposal, and in no way relates to the introductory post or the other comments it has spawned.

[u]This system is terrible. Let me explain why:[/u]
It's easily exploitable.
This proposal actually increases the system's vulnerability to spam accounts. A new account has the ability to give an unlimited full-strength ratings in the 0-2 range and cannot lose that status except by posting nine or more times. Because of this it is quite nearly impossible to stop a user who is abusing the ratings system. Even if an account is forced out of its new member status then it is tremendously difficult to actually reduce that account to a ranking of -1 and literally impossible to reduce them to -2 or -3 without getting a moderator involved. Your proposed formula (R= (F+C+P-(V/3)/3) is designed in such a manner that even if a user has received nothing but -3 ratings for their account's entire lifetime they can not have a ranking of -3 so long as they have never posted or made a comment. In order to ban such a user, they would have to be flagged with a confirmed abuse violation repeatedly, possibly even six or seven times to get them within acceptable ban territory. Even then, the abusive user can just create a swarm of extra accounts to support each other and claim disproportionate voting power thereby allowing the user to nullify abuse violations, requiring Pseudo's direct intervention to stop the user.

It accentuates the flaws of the current system.
By narrowing the range of ratings a user can give you also limit the range and distribution of ratings that can result. If the average user (rank 0) sees an obviously abusive post then they cannot mark it as such. If they give it the lowest rating they can, zero, it actually helps to keep that post's average within the acceptable range. The community cannot be self-policing if you place such limits on ratings. The limitations on who can give +/-3 votes present a similar issue. It's absurdly hard to reach +/-2 and effectively impossible to reach +/-3 under the current system. Placing such limits on extreme voting would only worsen this problem, making it nigh unto impossible to reach a +2 overall rating and tremendously difficult for the community to drive abusive users into the negatives at all without assistance from administrative users and it would still require Pseudo's input to enact a permanent solution.

Violations are awkward
Violations are arguably too powerful. They have a large, permanent impact on a user's stature. You seem to be trying to make violations fill the role currently occupied by banpoints while still making them relatively easy to earn. For the most part, violations have been very minor penalties, more intended to be a reminder and a warning than a punishment in their own right. This system would make even a single violation cripple a user's account, giving them motivation to ditch the damaged account and create a new one instead of trying to actually learn from their mistake. Strangely, violations are also far too hard to give. It is unrealistic to expect moderators to actively monitor all parts of the forum for possible violations, especially when one considers that Pseudo's reluctance to create moderators in the first place will likely mean that we'll have far fewer moderators than your system would require. There is no way that they could flag violations as effectively or as efficiently as the community could collectively and the system would remain hideously vulnerable to multiple account abusers. I am all for reintroducing violations and possibly even requiring you to flag a post with one before giving it a -3 rating, but they should never be this powerful. Their purpose i should be to instruct, not to destroy. We have banpoints for that.

You presume too much
The proposed system also seems to make some bizarre assumptions about your control over Pseudo's behavior. The community does not get to decide on how Pseudo will select moderators, Pseudo does. As the site administrator he gets the overriding vote in all matters pertaining to site policy. He could appoint moderators via random number generator if the was so inclined and you would have no real say in the matter. You may make suggestions as to how he should act, but you may never make demands.

And finally...
"A more feudal society?" Really? Because I don't want to be required to take up arms on behalf of my liege-lord when God-King Pseudo issues a call to war. That simply is not what I'm after in a ratings system.
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (7)

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago Ratings Overhaul71.252.XXX.XXX7 years ago
After reading through the thread it has become clear to me that there were a few key points where I did not do a very good job of explaining my reasoning, which I shall now attempt to remedy.

[u]My thoughts on...[/u]
Scaled votes and color rankings
Attempting to remove the scaled votes is largely a reaction to the number of complaints I've seen from other members about how a particular rating is unfair or that they feel their vote is worth less than that of an abusive member's who rates at extremes because they try to rate honestly. By removing scaled votes I hope to stop the constant whining about the impossibility of getting a lasting green on anything and similar complaints. I hope that this would also make it so that user ratings are more useful and varied than they are now. At the moment, almost every user is rated brown or blue which tells me next to nothing about them because so many have identical ratings. It is my hope that a check of a user's voting power would yield a pretty good idea of their popularity and power, much like their HP totals used to. Weighted votes should also make it much harder for a user to artificially boost their personal rating with multiple accounts since it will not be subject to the averaging that drives the current system.

If you want to incorporate scaled voting it may be appropriate for a user to be able to rate a post up or down up to a maximum of their voting power although that would probably make the interface needlessly complex and too time-consuming for common use. If you remain attached to the orbs I would still prefer to make rating a post linear instead of based on an average and the orbs could be used to designate how many times over or what porion of your votes you want to apply to a given item and in which direction (with brown doing nothing more than adding your name and rating to the list for that post), although that may make it necessary to increase the amount of positive or negative votes necessary to gain or lose a vote to prevent spectacular inflation. You may even want to keep the current system as a means of showing the average vote strength given to a post but I firmly believe that it is insufficient as a stand-alone system. Either way, it would probably be best to try to convert the current dots into up/down votes, although I worry that it may trigger some mean looping caused by vote increases from ranking scores if the conversion is not carefully designed to prevent such.

The scoring system
I realize that the system may start out with a bias in favor of users who post large volumes of low quality posts. I cannot devise a good way to avoid that without dramatically reducing the overall voting power available on the first day if a ratings conversion can not or does not occur, my only workable idea was the seniority bonus to votes which should be similarly insignificant once the system is up and running. Since it will be far easier to gain or lose vote power from ratings than post count much of the bias from post counts and age should disappear within the first few months as terrible spam posts receive negative ratings or far lower ratings than the users who make fewer and better posts will receive. Basically, a spam poster will experience a low or negative growth in vote power while a superior poster will experience faster overall growth with fewer posts, eventually removing that initial disparity. All of that should be a non-issue if a successful system conversion can be performed in which case post count and age will become far less significant factors and more just small gifts for sticking around and contributing.

Wether or not a conversion can be performed, it may be appropriate to not include posts from the Forum Games section since that area ignores most of the standard rules of the site and actively encourages the exact sort of posting this system is designed to discourage. It would probably be best if that part of the forum was treated and scored as comments for the purposes of accumulating vote power. That should also help to reduce the influence of some of the members with stupidly high post counts from the inane megathreads that area spawns.

[u]Individual responses[/u]
Soul: I'm not worried about people sneaking their first five posts into obscure threads since so many users choose to monitor the Currently Active Threads Panel found at the right of the forum page. It was my intent to apply the same requirement for a positive total rating that I have on the other post count rule to the initial vote rule and I shall edit my earlier post to reflect that.

Mythrrinthael: I realize that this system would be more complex overall than the model we currently use but once installed it should be able to function in a fairly unobtrusive manner. At least that is the idea...

SavageWolf: I'm really trying for a break from the current rating system, especially with regards to moving from an average based system to a linear one, so there isn't really a good way to incorporate most of your suggestions. The only reason I chose not to request that the strength of a user's vote be dynamically changed to match their current power is the worry that it would put undue strain on the system and possibly cause the whole thing to start looping, badly breaking the site in the process.

Pseudolonewolf: I have done my best to address your points in the above paragraphs, but it is good to know that you are interested in and supportive of your discussion. I was actually kind of worried that this thread would fade into obscurity and that my proposition would never be noticed by you.

Eleanor Rigby: The lack of an incentive to rate things is still an issue but the only real reward mechanism I have is additional vote power and I would rather see fewer ratings than a bunch of ill-informed ratings given for the sole purpose of increasing one's own voting power or increasing some other stat. It happens on Newgrounds and I don't want to see it happen here.

DeNovo: I have read your proposition for the ability to dispute ratings and believe it suffers from many of the vulnerabilities of the violation system with the added effect of producing far more screens of information and drama than seems truly necessary. I would rather that an abusive user be acted against directly and their power diminished by that action than require that each one of their abuses be individually combatted. I am also against placing direct limits on how a user can rate items, as it encourages frivolous rating to balance out one's averages. I have attempted to make it so that the system will place far more power in the hands of the mature and established users than the newer members who interpret ratings in an entirely reactive manner. This should make it possible for a user to down rate an idiot without worrying that said idiot will be able to have a meaningful impact on their stats, thereby circumventing concerns about rating wars. Better yet, if the idiot chooses to lash out at that user, their impact will still be minimal and rapidly diminish as their abuses become widely known. There may well be ways to exploit it, but exploits will always exist and it is my belief that this system will significantly reduce the number and magnitude of vulnerabilities to be found in the ratings system.

Afterthoughts
I know that automatically adjusting ratings as a user's vote count increases is dangerous because it can result in looping, but perhaps it would be a good idea to automatically modify votes as a user's power decreases? It would help to automatically suppress trolls and not have much of an impact on regular users, maybe downshifting their votes by 1 if they're hanging close to a milestone. That may be a problem if the site is attacked and the stats get messed up, but I think that such an attack would require actual hacking to perform since the new system shouldn't have any easily used exploits that couldn't be casually countered by the community.

It would probably be wise to lock in the votes on a post at whatever point it gets archived, including preventing any automatic downshifting on votes. It prevents attacks against senior users and helps keep the votes on a post representative of the state of the community when it was posted. It may also end up serving as a defense against the vote inflation that will inevitably occur.

Speaking of vote inflation, it'll probably be necessary to raise the thresholds for gaining votes from accumulated ratings from time to time to keep things from getting stupid. I think it would be really neat if we could automatically curve it so that the top rated user gets 20 or so votes from their rating score (not factoring in age and post count) and then divide their score up into 20 equal segments for the vote thresholds, although it may be necessary to move to a percentile curve if the top rated user pulls too far ahead of the general populace. We'll have to see how that turns out and then improvise a little.
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (8)

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago Ratings Overhaul71.252.XXX.XXX7 years ago
[u]Introduction[/u]

As those of you who have followed these discussions know, a great many believe that the current rating system is widely abused and much time has been spent coming up with ways to avoid such abuse. I am of the position that any addition that could possibly "fix" the current rating system would likely be more complex than the system itself. So I believe that it is time for another overhaul. I have attempted to devise a highly tamper-resistant system that rewards our users for the quality of their contributions to our community.

In order to devise such a system I have developed the idea of the amazing Weighted Vote!

My basic complaint with the current system is that it is too democratic for its own good. I am sick and tired of being down-rated or assigned violations by users who don't even stay on the site for a week. I also believe that certain users deserve to have more clout in the community than someone who just visits for a week and vanishes. I will attempt to outline my ideas for how such a system will operate and then go on to discuss the foreseeable impacts of such a system.

[u]Mechanics[/u]
Each user would have the ability to rate a post up or down, much like in the old value system. No finely tuned levels of like or dislike, just up or down. The value of their rating would be affected by their history on the site as follows:
-A user starts with no votes. They will be allowed to rate other user's posts, but these ratings will have no impact until the user has gained at least one vote.
-After their fifth post, the user will be granted one vote and the ability to claim votes from other sources.
-For every 50 posts (2 levels) the user will gain an additional vote. Each of these posts must have an overall rating above zero to be counted.
-For every six months since the creation of a user's account that account will gain one vote.
-Whenever the user's net total votes on their posts passes a multiple of 100 the user will gain or lose a vote dependent upon if the total was increasing or decreasing, respectively.
-Users with a negative vote total would have one vote deducted from their total for each negative hundred votes on their posts, although a user's votes could not go below zero.
-To keep the bookkeeping easy for poor Pseudo a user's vote on a particular post would remain static after it is given. Users interested in doing so would be able to �refresh� their votes on a particular post to make it reflect their current voting power.
-The list of users who have rated a post and their ratings would be made public.
-Ratings from comments would not have an impact on one's votes although having a negative net total of votes would likely provide grounds for being banned from commenting for a certain period of time or some similar punishment. A sufficiently negatively rated comment would be eligible for deletion or have a toggle to set wether or not they are displayed that defaults to hiding the comment.
-Every user would have a personal rating that works much like the current like/hate system except weighted according to a user's voting ability. They would still see the total individuals who like or hate them, but there would be an additional stat shown that represents their like/hete total adjusted for the voting power of each individual. This stat would not impact the user's voting power although it would provide grounds for banning if it was negative for a sufficiently long time. Unlike a rating on a forum post, this rating would be automatically updated as each individual's vote total changed.
-Upon banning, all of the banned user's ratings would be cleansed from the site in order to remove any abusive ratings they may have given.

[u]Goals of the System[/u]
Abuse Prevention
This system is designed to reduce the power of new members relative to senior members. Most importantly, it is designed in such a way that a brand new member cannot rate anything until they have made their presence known and so that a user who is widely seen to be abusive will not retain the ability to rate others. These mechanics each work to reduce the impact an abusive user can have on the site. Creating swarms of accounts Alberto-style will not give the user any votes without spamming up the forums really hard and making their presence obvious. Reducing the votes of poorly-rated members prevents trolls from dragging down other users. Making the names of users who have voted on a post public serves to keep them honest and makes it easier for the community to identify users who are exploiting the rating system to pursue personal vendettas or simply trolling the system.

Encouragement of Quality Forum Participation
The system is designed to reward use of the forums by increasing one's voting power. More importantly, it rewards well thought-out posts over large volumes of posts. A single post is 1/50th of a vote, while each net positive vote is worth 1/100th of a vote. Users will likely gain votes far faster from writing posts that other users enjoy than they ever would from simply posting. It also works the other way as a defense against mindless spamming, a user who fills the forums with pointless posts to boost their count will actually lose votes rather than gain them because of negative ratings on those posts.

Rewarding Fighunter's Best
Because of the way the system is constructed, our best and most liked users would finally be given a concrete reward for their contributions to our community. Let's take a quick look at how much power certain members would have before anyone can gain votes from ratings.
-CtG would have 3 seniority votes and 4 post count votes for a total of 7.
-Chocobo_Fan would have 5 seniority votes and 10 post count votes for a total of 15.
-Pseudolonewolf would have 6 seniority votes and 11 post count votes for a total of 17, although I am certain that 17 of his votes are worth more than a thousand of anyone else's.

As always, I thank you for your time and appreciate any feedback you may have to offer. Especially so in the case of CtG who put up with my vague ramblings and helped me to refine this idea into a coherent post.


EDIT:
I will continue to edit this post to remove typographical errors, but not change its content. Every time I re-read this I notice new mistakes and they embarrass me.
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (15)

hlbeta`s Avatar
22yr
United States
CholericMelancholic
131F
19 / 4
Rating Orb hlbeta, Neutral Good Mathemagician – joined 9 years ago Sex71.252.XXX.XXX8 years ago
First off, I would like to commend Zuriki for a remarkably mature handling of these very sensitive subjects.

The Value of Sex:
Regardless of sexual orientation, sex is an act of profound trust. By engaging in sexual activity you are surrendering a measure of control over your life to another person and must trust them not to abuse that power. Nakedness is a common symbol of vulnerability for a reason, one is stripped of the physical barriers that help to define social behavior, leaving one without the concealments that define safety or grant the ability to tell subtle visual lies. One's form is laid bare before their partner and one is seen as they truly are. That's before you even begin to consider more ling-term risks like pregnancy and disease, each of which can derail or even end a life. Sex is not something that ever should be taken lightly. Even with today's technology birth control still fails, some diseases cannot be cured or only treated symptomatically and some fools may manage to deny you an abortion out of the belief that unwanted children should be forced upon the unfortunate. There are always risks, some of which are truly dire. One who approaches sex casually (especially as a gay male) places themselves at great and unnecessary risk in pursuit of short-lived pleasure, one of the lowest forms of behavior of which I know.

Under Age Sex:
I am of the position that if one is unable to deal with the consequences of sex, especially children for straight couples, then one has no business engaging in such activity. None. Full stop. Now because I know many people are not willing to wait until they finish school, land a steady job and decide that they are willing to dedicate a large portion of their time and income to raising a child before risking conceiving one I am in favor of very easily accessible birth control regardless of age and similarly easy access to medical personell equipped to perform abortions so that one may attempt to lessen the impact of a poorly made decision. I believe that age of consent should actually be much higher than it is in many places at present albeit with allowances for individuals of similar age so as to avoid criminalizing normal sexual behavior.

Virginity:
As I said above, one who cannot or is not willing to deal with the possible consequences of sex should not be having sex. Virginity is something that one should hang onto, not some thing to be tossed aside as a right of passage. It is to be guarded until one is truly ready to deal with the awesome responsibilities that can come with being sexually active. Besides, the internet offers a great many alternatives to actual sex with significantly fewer consequences, if you're bored it's your own fault.
As always, I thank you for your time.
  (6)

Page 1 of 14: