LW Update 5/6/2018 – Meta and Moderation

by Raemon1 min read6th May 201814 comments

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LW ModerationSite Meta
Personal Blog

User Facing Changes

  • New posts can only be submitted to your personal blog. Moderators will move it to the frontpage if it seems appropriate.
  • "Personal Blogposts" tab is now labelled "All Posts", and now contains meta posts.
    • We had deliberately been pushing on "disincentivize meta conversation", and still are, but since the Meta section basically has only been used for updates from the admins, it seemed like A) we could lean a bit in the other direction, B) I think having the third tier of posts on the frontpage be "all posts" is a lot more clear about what the frontpage hierarchy is trying to do.
  • Meta posts now appear properly in your drafts on your user profile.
  • Your user profile will now only show the 4 most recent drafts
    • I rarely found I needed to see anything but my most recent drafts, and meanwhile it was a bit annoying to scroll past it whenever I went to my profile page.

Moderator Changes

  • Moderators now have a sidebar that shows a list of all new unreviewed personal blogposts, with easy buttons for:
    • approve (and leave as a personal blogpost)
    • move to frontpage
    • delete

In the past month or so, we've a) continued seeing a rise in post volume, while b) a couple of our moderators have been more busy than usual. I've been increasingly worried about the signal/noise ratio on the site.

So this update has been focused mostly on some tools that make moderation much easier, which many users won't directly experience but which I hope will lead to a better site experience.

Longterm, my goal is to put all moderator To Do items in the sidebar so they are easily seen, and then make it easy and encouraged to maintain inbox zero on the sidebar. I'd hoping this will help both reactive "notice and delete spam" type actions, and "notice and promote good things" type actions.

Minor Naming Convention Update

I'll be calling these posts "LW Update [Date] – {Description}" from now on, since "update" wasn't very each to search for, and hopefully "LW Update" will be. (We'll eventually also make a better search tool, but even when it's done it seems like it should be easy to search naively)


Link to Git history. Commit a7c9879b5f5fa94f0a843993b10c85898913a43e

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14 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 9:53 PM
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Moderators will move it to the frontpage if it seems appropriate.

Not a big fan of this, as writers now have zero input on whether their posts make it to the frontpage. I suggest at least letting writers choose one of three options for their posts:

1. Submit for frontpage consideration.

2. Allow on frontpage, but not really promoted.

3. Disallow moving to frontpage.

This way moderators could just sift through the queue of things marked #1, (and the occasional #2 post if they stumble upon it and really love it). And if someone really wants their own writing out of the frontpage, they can choose so with #3.

We've definitely thought about things in that vein – alongside things like John Maxwell's comment on this post about asking for feedback if a post isn't frontpaged or curated.

The issue is mostly that there's a lot of potential, similar settings we want to give authors. And a serious problem is how to managed complexity-creep: if you give authors a lot of choices it can feel overwhelming (and, in fact, one of the reasons we removed the "submit to frontpage" option is that ever since LW 1.0, and still on 2.0, people have complained that the choice is confusing, and feels like they're either sacrificing the visibility of frontpage, or putting something they're unsure about on frontpage and worry that they're demanding too much attention for an unpolished idea, and it's a bit of a nerve-wracking choice for many people)

We'll eventually give this issue some thought and figure out how to go about it, but it'll require a fair bit of thinking. Meanwhile, I'm not sure how often the "author didn't want a post on Frontpage, but the mods put it there" issue will come up.

I guess it makes sense. I was coming to this from the selfish perspective of someone who's kinda established as a writer, not the perspective of someone submitting their first post to LW with trembling fingers (which was me four years ago).

OK, I've been on LW2 for months now, and I still can't figure out what the green stars/comment boxes/people next to blog posts on the homepage are: https://imgur.com/a/8Y1vseN I just tried clicking on one and apparently the green disappears permanently when you click on it? Oh wait, I guess it must be a "new content" indicator? I would delete this comment but there is no delete comment button.

Yeah, I agree it's not very clear. We needed some kind of indicator for "what kind of post it is" (personal/frontpage/curated/meta), and we needed some kind of "new post" indicator. We've explored other combinations of things but none of them seemed better.

Request a date format like yyyy-mm-dd. Also a number counting upwards. I.e. Update 004, update 005...

I don't really care about the order, but my favored date format has the day and month partially written out, e.g. "May 6th, 2018" to make it unambiguous what is what.

yyyy-mm-dd is sortable. That's why I like it.

moderator inbox zero

How are moderators going to handle things that need more than one moderator's opinion? Can one moderator flag a post for another moderator to say, "I'm not sure, erring on the side of Frontpage but not yet".

Or "erring on the side of deleting because it's spam"

Curious about what's getting quoted in the blockquote?

Moderators have their own chat system on discord where they can confer about anything they're unsure about (and if a moderator makes a decision someone else disagrees with they can just bring it up and chat about it afterwards, although I don't think this should happen too often for frontpage status)

For now, moderators are encouraged to move things to frontpage as long as they a) meet the frontpage requirements and b) the moderator was glad they read the post.

All moderators will also have a "move to frontpage" button easily available on a given post, so if one moderator approves it but leaves it on personal, another moderator who got something out of it can move it to frontpage.

In general, for the "curation moderation" team we have fairly high (and specific) standards for inviting someone to the team, which means once a person is on the team, if at least one moderator found a post valuable, that's sufficient for it to be on frontpage.

I aim looking into rolling out mod-tools like "delete obvious spam" that are granted out more freely because they require less trust and alignment (leaning towards "someone using the delete-spam button triggers a small sanity-check alert for the other mods, but not sure if that's even necessary).

"New posts can only be submitted to your personal blog. Moderators will move it to the frontpage if it seems appropriate." - What's the reasoning behind this? Were too many low quality posts being submitted to the frontpage?

""Personal Blogposts" tab is now labelled "All Posts", and now contains meta posts." - really happy to see this change as removing a level makes it less confusing.

A couple reasons:

  • We're hitting the point now where I do think we've been getting a big too many low (or medium) quality frontpage posts. And while this point is debatable, we'd _definitely_ hit that point soon if we hadn't already.
  • I'd also seen a fair number of posts skirting the line between "fits frontpage norms" and "doesn't". Removing a post from the frontpage is a bit more stressful and/or awkward than adding one to the frontpage
  • People have complained that the decision of whether to put something on frontpage or personal blogs is kind of stressful – it's a weird choice to force people to make, and a similar issue had led to a bit of paralysis on old lesswrong (i.e. is my post worth of main or just discussion?)

I wonder if it would be useful to give users a checkbox like "If this post is not selected for the frontpage, please tell me why" (in the same way scientific journals will tell you why your submission was rejected).

Yeah I was actually just thinking today about a "feedback appreciated" option (I can imagine versions of this that are appropriate for "feedback from anyone" and "feedback from admins")

I don't know that we can promise to give feedback to everyone all the time, but it does seem like something that'd be valuable as often as is practical (esp for people who opt into it)