Good point, Banter, I think this sort of ties in with another post I just made that people might create a ton of junk content for their niches and/or try to use that junk content to boost their visibility and clout on Narrative. Right now three of the top 10 niches by number of posts are "Audi," "Nike," and "Air Jordan," three brands that I wouldn't think would attract much beyond marketing material, affiliate links, and empty content from enthusiasts talking about how much they absolutely adore their favorite athletic shoes. Maybe we could work it into the reputation system that they can be dinged if there are signs that they're trying to artificially increase their clout through things like fake traffic?
That is why i suspect it is based on the same vote up or vote down system that our niche approval has.
@Emily Barnett - if you are suggesting that the outcome of content approved to a niche could cause the moderator who approved it to receive a small ding if it falls below a certain level of quality, I agree that could be an interesting route to explore. The process would have to be quite forgiving, with the ding being small, and the threshold being set to only cause demerit for very low value posts... since the idea is to only produce a penalty for behaviour that is deliberately manipulative.
As will probably always be the case, it will be important to use a sliding scale of demerit proportional to just how beyond the threshold the post is. But the system could also monitor a moderator's content scores, and warn them if there seems to be a pattern of questionable moderation - if the problem does not improve within a week of the warning, the demerit could jump into a higher range.
Niche owner involvement
To involve a human element into this, without involving the Tribunal, we could consider that the niche owner could be a good person to involve in this process.
The warning could first be sent to the niche owner, giving them some choices as to how to proceed. They could be given a link to a digest of the moderator's approval choices so their human eyes can provide a human analysis of the gravity of the situation. They could then choose between various degrees of increased demerit, ranging from a mild increase in the penalty, all the way to the suspension of the moderator for a period of time (which would carry a significant reputation ding as well).
Once the niche owner has chosen the appropriate remedy, the warning could then be sent to the moderator communicating the problem, and the outcome if their performance does not increase within a set time period (perhaps a week).
Over time, if the system flags the same moderator more than once with this sort of problem within a given time window (perhaps six months months), then the options given to the niche owner in terms of demerit could increase in severity, including the ability to terminate the moderator's position.
I've been concerned that niche owners should have that option if they get paired with a problematic moderator. They need some recourse. This could be one approach to providing such recourse.
This brings about another consideration - a period report to the owner of moderator performance could be a great way to keep owners involved in their niches. Even if all their moderators are performing above system-gaming levels, knowing which ones are admitting the lowest quality content, and which ones are getting poor or great feedback from the community on their moderation performance, could help owners in their interactions with their mods. They could be given the ability to influence slightly the distribution of moderator rewards to their mods, based on performance. For instance let's say 70% of the mod rewards could be guaranteed to be distributed automatically via whatever calculation Narrative determines, but the remaining 30% could be performance based, and skewed in favour of the best mods in a distribution pattern the niche owner gets to determine. And perhaps the niche owner could be given the ability to determine the percentage of guaranteed rewards, within a range of 50% to 90%? A 50% setting would then create the strongest performance-based setting, and 90% would create an environment where the performance bonus is small?
I realise these considerations are drifting away from those of prevention of system gaming, and more towards improving the system overall... but still interesting!