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 (8)
Willem Van ZylBlogger KrunalVico BiscottiSerrocFinnianUD 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

It seems the AUP allows community approved bans on accounts that violate the AUP - once the Tribunal is community run. And the company can remove copyright infringements, as well.  Is it a matter of waiting for a community run tribunal to make the decisions in tandem with HQ in how AUP violations are dealt with?  If so, I think  @Banter 's suggestion for three strikes and monetary consequences makes a lot of sense when the time comes. 

And I hope a blocking/muting feature comes soon, too.

The spec says Tribunal elections take place sep 16th.  I really hope this is being kept at the priority level it should, so that we stick to schedule.  

I read a lot of discussions about violation the TOS. I wonder why this bad actors are not punish. I was punish since beta stage for some blogs really at the beginning,  without reading the rules (yes, ... my mistake) and I am still waiting. Do you have a list of people wich are punished on narrative? I am just curious to see how many people have restritions since May. Or is not possible?

As long as we're talking about the community having the power to ban bad actors, I'd love to see a built-in approach that takes into account the number of times AUP/TOS violations occur, specifically with regard to IP violations. When a user is downvoted for copyright violation XX number of times on XX number of posts by other Narrators with an average reputation of XX, they are automatically moved into a removal trajectory. That trajectory may look like any number of systems that involve elements of gamification. It can involve the Tribunal, a Tribunal-appointed committee specifically designed for the process, or a community election process similar Niche suggestion elections. But it needs to take into account, at the very least, the following:

  • Verifiable evidence regarding specific violations (similar to a legal proceeding)
  • Allowance of the accused to face their accusers and giving them a chance to defend their actions
  • A trial-like process that includes judging by one's peers that includes the removal of persons of obvious conflicts of interest (for instance, niche owners and moderators of niches where violations occurred)

I recommend Narrative team study Kleros and similar justice protocols and model one after them for the Narrative platform. Better yet, inquire about their partnership program and integrate Kleros into Narrative. While this is in development, a community-centric approach that involves evidentiary review and appeal can be implemented to allow community members an actual means of getting rid of those who degrade the community with IP theft and other serious bad acting.

Well, we need to be careful about the IP issue, for I have different opinions on the bottom line related to it.  As I replied to Christina, Google allows you to search for "free to use" under advanced settings.  If Google says it is free to use, I'm going to use it.  Some people like her have a different opinion however.  Am I going to get banned because I take Google's word for it?  I'd hope not.

Finnian posted:

@Malkazoid I wonder if the devs are going to take a step back, or do they plan to run for the election too?  My hope was that it would be more Narrators than original developers.

Excellent question @Finnian   It wouldn’t be a great look for their decentralization ethos, to have company members elected to the Tribunal.  So my guess is they won’t.  

Then again, it could be a good thing to have at least one present Tribunal member get elected to the new Tribunal so the new members can hear the perspective of someone who has experienced all the deliberations behind the decisions to date.   

That's (commercial use) an option in advanced image searches.  How is using it on my blog on Narrative considered commercial?  Then that is true for all other blog sites?  That's news to me.  Ugh.

Google is just fine for images as long as you use it appropriately and still source the image:



I'm still not sure why me using it would be considered "commercial" however.  In the past I simply picked "free to use and share."

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Finnian posted:

That's (commercial use) an option in advanced image searches.  How is using it on my blog on Narrative considered commercial?  Then that is true for all other blog sites?  That's news to me.  Ugh.

Ah - good that there’s the option. 

We’re getting paid for publishing content here - I think that is enough to constitute commercial use?  

Not sure what the bottom line is, but I really like the idea of having high standards for this sort of thing.  We want as much original content here as possible, both for SEO and the rep of the platform, so when an image isn’t available for free, more people will be encouraged to take their own photos. 

I have two food related niches, and I encourage people to take their own photos to accompany their recipes.  I also flag it with them when they’ve used images snagged from other people’s blogs.  That’s just been my approach.  I’m curious to hear what others think?

If the images are marked for free use and sharing and the user properly sourced it, I am not going to down vote them for it.  Lots of other sites pay users, and I've never heard of this being such an issue before Narrative.

Teddy posted:

I read a lot of discussions about violation the TOS. I wonder why this bad actors are not punish. I was punish since beta stage for some blogs really at the beginning,  without reading the rules (yes, ... my mistake) and I am still waiting. Do you have a list of people wich are punished on narrative? I am just curious to see how many people have restritions since May. Or is not possible?

I don’t think there is such a list @Teddy.  

Thank you for being involved in this discussion.  We need to be more consistent with how we deal with these things. 

One serial plagiarizer is still conduct positive, although his posts no longer seem to be hitting the platform (after months of posting every day).  So it looks like the team has taken some sort of action, but not the same kind that was taken in your case?  They might be experimenting with the best approach to take. 

 

Finnian posted:

If the images are marked for free use and sharing and the user properly sourced it, I am not going to down vote them for it.  Lots of other sites pay users, and I've never heard of this being such an issue before Narrative.

I agree if they are labeled for reuse, as per the image you included above (thanks for that). 

If the image is labeled for non-commercial reuse, this generally means our context would be considered off-limits.  It doesn’t mean there would necessarily be consequences, but I think we have to set our standards according to best practices.  There are some interesting articles out there on the Creative Commons licenses, that discuss commercial use and best practices. I’m basing my approach on those.  I’d give a link but I’m responding on my phone and have to run now anyway!

@MALKAZOID  Yes, I understand, I was the experimental case, but I think Molly will take some action. I never left narrative, because I belive in this project and I support narrative now from the distance. I never give up :-)

Teddy posted:

@MALKAZOID  Yes, I understand, I was the experimental case, but I think Molly will take some action. I never left narrative, because I belive in this project and I support narrative now from the distance. I never give up :-)

I’m glad you didn’t give up!  I look forward to when your situation is normalized. 

Malkazoid posted:
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?

We will be posting something soon on this to give a preview of what we are designing to help control bad behaviors. 

Finnian posted:

Well, we need to be careful about the IP issue, for I have different opinions on the bottom line related to it.  As I replied to Christina, Google allows you to search for "free to use" under advanced settings.  If Google says it is free to use, I'm going to use it.  Some people like her have a different opinion however.  Am I going to get banned because I take Google's word for it?  I'd hope not.

@Finnian I've found that if a google pic tracks back to wikimedia commons, the licensing info is there - if it states free with attribute, I link to this when I publish the photo. 

Finnian posted:

Google is just fine for images as long as you use it appropriately and still source the image

I tend not to use Google for finding free images, for two reasons:

(1)  There's a lot of crap to wade through

(2)  The usage rights are not verified by Google.  All they are telling you is that someone has posted the image and said you can use it.  

@ChristinaGleason just posted some good sources for free-to-use images:

https://www.narrative.org/post...eptable-image-source

I was going to agree with @Robert Nicholson on using Google for image searches, but I had not seen the "labeled for reuse" dropdown before on Image Search, so I decided to check it out myself. What I'm seeing, which is typical of Google, is a menu of images that can be found on other websites. After all, Google is a search engine.

@Finnian, and anyone else, my recommendation is, if you're going to use Google to search for images, to, first, use the "labeled for reuse" option as it is not limited to noncommercial (there are two other search filters for those choices). But I also recommend actually visiting the site where the image is being drawn from.

Google, being a search engine, only gives you search results based on criteria that you set as a searcher. As good as it is, it isn't perfect. You still need to do your due diligence.

A lot of sites I see recommended are Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, PublicDomainPictures.net, Pexels, Flickr, etc. What you need to know is each of these sites have their own terms of service and licensing agreements, and it's possible that different images on the same website could have different licenses. In the case of Pixabay and Pexels, all images are free to use without attribution, but some websites may use a Creative Commons licensing system, and others may simply have their own house license that they offer. So you'll need to read the terms of the website you get the image from. DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE FROM GOOGLE'S SEARCH RESULTS. That could be a hot water recipe.

Only after you are certain of each image's licensing on the website that has the legal right to issue such a license (Google does not), only then should you download an image and use it. 

 

I only support 'muting' in the comment section only. This way the annoyance can be silenced, but other's can still see them until they themselves mute the user.

We all have two reps here; the site rep through the algorithm and a virtual rep we each keep mentally of others. This way all can see facetious comments and judge accordingly.

 

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