Block feature in comments

Service: Narrative

Hi, I hope I'm not repeating something already suggested, but I couldn't find anything in the archive, so here goes; there's a need for posters to be able to block comments in their own posts, rather than just downvoting.   It's too hard to monitor every post for new comments, and there will always be some  who chronically post undermining comments. It's not about out and out trolling per se (not that blocking wouldn't help with this, in my opinion). It's to help posters stop "graffitti artists" and those who don't get the difference between criticism and condemning. 

TY

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Votes (5)
SerrocFinnianUD IbekweColleen RyerMalkazoid

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Yes - the need for this is being felt!

I hope measures like this, and moderation tools/elections, can be fast-tracked.

Although we can't have moderator elections until we have solved the current troll problem, and hardened our game theory to ward against it.  The troll accounts have nominated themselves to moderate a large amount of niches.

Their influence on the platform is already damaging the otherwise good Beta launch, but if trolls get elected as moderators, we'd see a whole new level of disruption to the platform: one that would have observers declaring the experiment a failure.

This is just an idea, and not even necessarily a good one - just an option to consider...  If the team decides it needs some time to harden the platform, it could temporarily only accept new accounts that certify.  They could use a cheaper certification service, or subsidise the current one so that certification is much cheaper...

Not an awesome solution for a number of reasons, but it would allow the Beta to progress without distractions once the current troll accounts are banned.  Ethereum included, not just his sock puppets, if the team is satisfied he's the source of them.  All evidence points at him, but the team would possibly have more data than we do.

Ideally we would have waited until moderation tools were in place, to launch Beta... but now that we're here, any option that allows the Beta to move ahead without sabotage, should be considered.

Hi @Malkazoid Trying to get all the ducks in a row is hard when some of the ducks are trolls - I wish it was funny, but trying to figure out how to keep trouble makers from messing up everyone's program is difficult. I think for certification to work as a "right now" tool, it would have to be free. Whether there's an effective way to do this or not - I wish I knew. But maybe someone knows of a way and will offer it up.

Realistically - free certification probably isn't going to happen.

Even if certification isn't made mandatory temporarily, lowering the cost of it even a little, would increase amount of certified people, allowing their reputations to further crowd out the troll influences.

But I think what we need now, most urgently, is:

1) rep and account age rules to be put into place to prevent brand new accounts from nominating themselves for moderation and niche appeals

2) for the troll accounts to be banned

 3) for moderation tools to allow the community to deal swiftly with these problems...

 

Just to be clear, if we as a company were to ban someone it would violate one of the most basic tenets that Narrative was founded upon. Decentralization.  I think it safe to say that we are far away from ever coming to the point where that will happen.

Better though is to just use the tool that is there. Downvote.

And then move on.

Stop engaging. Stop giving them time, giving long well thought replies, or even short terse responses.  All good intentions. But any response is engagement which feeds the Troll's ego and in some cases has fed the Troll's the rep too.  Just downvote and let the posts or comments submerge naturally as the system was intended.  A problem that we are seeing is that people keep engaging with the Troll, which is giving the absolute inverse reaction that is hoped for.

Nice thing is this is Beta, where problems occur and solutions are found.  I keep saying that the development of Narrative continues to be potential materiel for more than one Doctoral Thesis on human behaviour. It's fascinating.

Yes, my engagement is minimal. I've been baited several times. I don't bite. But I don't like seeing the trolls making a mockery of the platform. Still, your point is well-taken. I like the doctoral thesis comment. Ha ha. Yeah. I've thought that quite often. :-)

Hi @David Dreezer As per blocking, would still like to have this.

Psychoanalysis aside, in the real world, people get banned - be it booted out of school, fired from a job, dumped in a relationship, etc., due to chronic refusal to respect the rules. I don't think a perfect idealized state of decentralization could work - even if it existed. There is a limit - questions are, "Where is the line?" and "Who draws it?"

@Colleen Ryer. Circling back to your original suggestion - we are discussing something similar internally now.  Thanks for bringing it up and we will circle back when we have more information. 

Colleen Ryer posted:

Hi @David Dreezer As per blocking, would still like to have this.

Psychoanalysis aside, in the real world, people get banned - be it booted out of school, fired from a job, dumped in a relationship, etc., due to chronic refusal to respect the rules. I don't think a perfect idealized state of decentralization could work - even if it existed. There is a limit - questions are, "Where is the line?" and "Who draws it?"

I agree - and I hope the Team has a little bit of time to discuss this internally, despite all the other things vying for their attention.

NEO, the very network our project is built upon, isn't decentralised yet.  They have the intention to become increasingly decentralised, but they decided that in their earlier phases, elements of centralisation would be necessary, in part to protect the network.

To emphasise your point @Colleen Ryer, I don't know of a single aspect of human society that can function without having recourse to excluding destructive elements.  If we plan to build a utopia that ignores what we know about humanity here, we'll fail.

Law and order are necessary for prosperity.  The Content Economy can't thrive if it remains a lawless frontier.  People were excited about the gold rush in California in the 1800s, and some people moved out there at great risk because of the lure of great rewards.  Little did they know that California would become the world's 5th largest economy, but only because the old lawless days of the wild west were replaced with stability that allowed for a broader society to develop and prosper.

I can only speak for myself: what I admire in Narrative's team is a vision that respects the ideals of decentralisation - within reason.  Absolutist versions of this idealism that fly in the face of the basic viability of the network are of huge concern to me, and should be to anyone else committing time and energy to Narrative.

If we can't muster the pragmatism to ban a person who is actively attacking the core functions of Narrative, do we even deserve to survive?

 

We do need some way to disassociate with people who make a point of harassing you.  If people admit to abusing the low quality down vote to economically harm a Narrator, there is currently nothing we can do to stop them.  A simple way to block that user would help.  If people blocked everyone for any reason, they would have lower interaction, less up votes, etc.  Every other site has a way to disassociate voluntarily from others who cause trouble.  Why not have a way on here?

Finnian posted:

We do need some way to disassociate with people who make a point of harassing you.  If people admit to abusing the low quality down vote to economically harm a Narrator, there is currently nothing we can do to stop them.  A simple way to block that user would help.  If people blocked everyone for any reason, they would have lower interaction, less up votes, etc.  Every other site has a way to disassociate voluntarily from others who cause trouble.  Why not have a way on here?

Thanks for reviving this thread.

@MOLLY O might want to update us, as the team was discussing this internally back in April, and probably reached some sort of conclusion?

David Dreezer posted:

Just to be clear, if we as a company were to ban someone it would violate one of the most basic tenets that Narrative was founded upon. Decentralization.  I think it safe to say that we are far away from ever coming to the point where that will happen.

David, I don't really understand what is meant by "Decentralization" in this context.  There are certainly MANY aspects of Narrative that are not decentralized.  The community does not set business priorities, does not determine policies, does not govern the roadmap.  Can you explain what you mean when you say decentralization is a basic tenet of the platform?

More to the point, I think that the refusal to ban users is a very risky one.  Assume you have a user who is regularly violating copyrights.  Yes, in the US you have almost total immunity under section 23 of the CDA.  But almost is an important word.  A determined attorney bringing a lawsuit against Narrative would seek to establish a pattern of allowing copyright violations, and NOT banning the offending users.

Things could get nasty even more quickly if the users were posting child pornography, solicitations for prostitution, or other actions that could run afoul of SESTA/FOSTA laws. 

It seems to me that it's short-sighted to eliminate a key tool from your ability to manage the site.

I have. on a couple of occasions, accidentally broken the rules on Facebook and YouTube.  I was VERY impressed with the responses, and frankly, I think they would be an excellent model for Narrative:

  1. The response came very quickly, indicating that content filtering was highly automated.  
  2. In each case, my offending content was removed immediately.
  3. There were no punishments.  No demerits, no penalties, no "time outs."  I simply got a notice saying essentially  "You broke this rule.  Don't do it again.  If you continue to break the rule, your account will be deleted."
  4. I have tried to avoid breaking any rules since, but I have no doubt that my account would be deleted just as quickly and efficiently as the original warnings were generated.

It seems to me that this approach would be much better for the long-term health of the platform than the current losing battle against plagiarists and trolls.

And there's nothing wrong with learning from companies that have been managing enormous networks for many years (with the advice of a small army of attorneys).

Here's an example of the kind of account that should be dealt with harshly. Not only did this content thief take someone else's work, but instead of trying to pass it off as their own, they came up with a story about a friend whose talent is wasting away in Cameroon. And judging by the upvotes, people on Narrative are way too trusting. The artist is not a female in Cameroon, but a male in the UK, with a DeviantART account, an Instagram account, and a YouTube account. Pretty easy to find, in other words.

Robert Nicholson posted:
David Dreezer posted:

Just to be clear, if we as a company were to ban someone it would violate one of the most basic tenets that Narrative was founded upon. Decentralization.  I think it safe to say that we are far away from ever coming to the point where that will happen.

David, I don't really understand what is meant by "Decentralization" in this context. 

I mean that the community governs the community.  

The company is handling designing, creating, hosting, and maintaining the software.  We don't moderate or govern the people using it.  This has been a basic part of the vision since day 1.  There is no central authority rating content, or making decisions on people.  There is the Tribunal, which acts as a backstop. It currently has staff members on it only because the voting part for that has not been finished yet. That will not remain so.  That also will become community governed.

The problem we currently have though is that there is no good way for the community to manage the trolls and abusers.  If not a way to block them, at least give us a way to mute them. 

They can still down vote us, but we can better ignore them.  When they go to all your posts to harass you over and over and openly declare they are using the low quality down vote to hurt you economically, we have no way to stop them or punish them.

The usual and peaceful way to do that in life is disassociation.  I can do that in my life, but I currently have no way to do it on Narrative.  Bad actors here should be muted or blocked, and then they can "shout down" all they want.  No one will see it.

This is a site breaking issue too.  People have left because of it, more people will leave because of it, and lots of people are not going to come here because of it.  We need some solution to the problem.  I don't know what solution is best, but we need something.

David Dreezer posted:
Robert Nicholson posted:
David Dreezer posted:

Just to be clear, if we as a company were to ban someone it would violate one of the most basic tenets that Narrative was founded upon. Decentralization.  I think it safe to say that we are far away from ever coming to the point where that will happen.

David, I don't really understand what is meant by "Decentralization" in this context. 

I mean that the community governs the community.  

The company is handling designing, creating, hosting, and maintaining the software.  We don't moderate or govern the people using it.  This has been a basic part of the vision since day 1.  There is no central authority rating content, or making decisions on people.  There is the Tribunal, which acts as a backstop. It currently has staff members on it only because the voting part for that has not been finished yet. That will not remain so.  That also will become community governed.

OK, that distinction makes sense.

So, with that in mind, I'll make a few more points:

(1) It's fine to have "community" moderation as a guiding principle.  But moderation (or lack thereof) can have legal implications for the company.  Consider the SESTA/FOSTA law.  (See https://www.narrative.org/post...rnet-is-under-attack).  If you end up being brought up on charges under this law, the fact that your site is "community moderated" will not be a defense.  From a simple company survival standpoint, Narrative management must reserve the right to step in and take direct action.

(2) I believe that the threat of banning users, and actually banning them, is a critical tool for fighting bad actors.  If you don't want this to be a management function, them make it a community function.  Provide a mechanism for members to flag repeat offenders, and empower the tribunal to delete accounts.

(3) I don't think that community moderation - or any sort of human moderation - is adequate in the long run.  We are discussing the problems with spammers and plagiarists as if it's a big problem.  But right now, the scale of the problem is tiny.  Narrative is flying under the radar.  If it becomes big enough to be visible, the problem will increase a thousand-fold.  The big platforms all use automated filters.  When I broke the rules on YouTube and Facebook, my posts were gone in minutes.  I just don't see how you can expect the members to deal with a flood of spam factories and bots.

@Robert Nicholson - I fully support your proposal for the Community to be able to ban repeat offender accounts.  I also agree we will need a robust plan in place for if we grow large enough to attract the real bad actor hordes.

The quicker this page of having a weak hand against flagrant bad actors is turned, the better.  It is a drag on morale and growth.

This platform post from April may be of interest:

https://www.narrative.org/post/confusion-about-bans

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