Badges for Commentards
Today we introduce badges for commentards. This feature will be rolling out over the next few hours. Check out our story here.
Thank you, my kind Overlord, for the lovely badge. Just one problem... Where is it?
I notice you've awarded yourself one. That's favouritism that is! [sulks]. Then again, it's just as well, as you've only got your Reg staffer Vulture badge on some of your posts.
I feel all warm and special now. Like some people I've never met on the internet weally wub me werry much.
"The Register currently publishes almost 40,000 comments a month, and forum posts account for more than 10 per cent of site traffic."
Presumably the ultimate aim of the frequent flyer scheme is to get both those figures as high as possible so that you can all put your feet up and watch the ad money roll in. Kerching, trebles all round.
Rewarding volume is just going to encourage certain types to unleash a lot of dross, surely? Kinda sucks for those of us dumb enough to trawl through those comments. Hmmm...
If an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters can compose the works of Shakespeare - how many monkeys does it take to replace just one Register writer?
More worryingly, how many monkeys are required to replace your average commentard? This could be a new El Reg unit of measurement - for both writing and perhaps software writing quality. So we might say that Windows 7 would require several trillions of monkeys to achieve it by random chance, whereas Windows ME could have been written (probably better) by one monkey, in an afternoon. Probably when it wasn't feeling well, due to some dodgy bananas it had the night before...
The answer to "how many monkeys does it take?" is obviously always infinity.
Err, any fraction of infinity, no matter how large the denominator, is still infinity. You seem to be suggesting that "a really big number" ~ ∞
I know you're joking, but its the sort of joke that arts-educated journos make & seeing that there's several billion of those versus the three that know what all the buttons do on their calculator, they need no help with writing nonsense about mathematics.
Indeed. I'll have you know I sweat blood and tears over my dross. Mostly blood. Blech.
btw - does AManFromMars(n) get a special award for Services To Incomprehension / Comedy / Ability To Never Make Spelling & Grammar Booboos Despite Writing Reams Of Indecipherable Nonsense in Mixed Caps / whatever?
I think he/she/it should.
"Rewarding volume is just going to encourage certain types to unleash a lot of dross, surely? Kinda sucks for those of us dumb enough to trawl through those comments. Hmmm..."
To avoid this quantity over quality scenario I'd recommend awarding Silver Badges based on upvote to downvote ratio rather than a static barrier to entry of 2000 upvotes. This would reward genuinely insightful posts rather than encouraging hundreds of mundane posts in the hope of gathering a few upvotes here and there.
I'm not making this post out of self-interest btw, most of my upvotes are from AC posts and therefore wouldn't count and even if they did a ratio of 3.6:1 is fairly poor anyway.
To each their own, Fibbles. Personally, I find that Ars Technica consistently attracts the best commenters on the internet. Their community is second to none and the recent enhancements to their commenting system have only increased the signal to noise ratio.
That said, it depends entirely on which articles you read there. I tend to stay away from Ars' technology articles - especially anything to do with Microsoft - or their video gaming ones. "Cyclone of shrieking trolls" about covers all you'll find in the comments section there...and frankly, the majority of Arsians which IQs larger than their shoe size have taken to avoiding those sections as well.
I do however feel that the community that has grown around the intellectual property, internet legality and most especially the science articles is amazing. An example for the rest of the internet. Even the trolls in those sections deserve medals; the quality of their trollish little arguments are that good.
There are – rarely – people who will try to post lots of meaningless drivel in order to drive up post counts. These will get flagged in any forum by the regulars. Those folks are usually astroturfers trying to build a credible-looking account, or just people who want to feel important out of the gate. In either case, they rarely morph into useful contributors to the overall conversation and end up representing such a small fraction of any given online community that policing and enforcement by the de facto mods (at El Reg, those with silver badges) will keep these sorts in check.
One of the things to learn from Ars Technica specifically is the rich discussion they've have recently about the quality of discussion itself. The site and it's community have engaged in very open and honest dialogue concerning the use of upvotes. The idea being to upvote those who truly are adding to the conversation, no – as is all to often the case here – those who we agree with.
Shockingly, it works. Ars has managed to create a community where people aren't downvoted en masse simply because they are disagreed with by the majority. Quite the opposite; if they present an unpopular argument well and support it with evidence, they will get upvoted by that community. Robust debate is generally encouraged, so long as you can back up your claims.
If, however, you are the kind of person who gets their panties in a bunch because you get downvoted when you say "climate change isn't real and I have a link from Watt's Up to prove it" then too bad, so sad. Twats that repeatedly come along and post crap so thoroughly debunked as "anything on Watt's Up, ever" to websites like Ars where evidence is respected above all else are going to get rightly downvoted into the ground.
Not for disagreeing with the hivemind, mind you. They get voted into oblivion for trolling in a tired, predictable fashion using bullshit that's been debunked as "evidence" about eleventy squillion times in every other article on that topic before it. Rightly so.
Conversely, I've seen robust debate where people have poked legitimate holes in individual studies get massively upvoted. Because they presented peer reviewed evidence and/or things like math that can be checked.
Really though, it's all about the quality of the community you want to build. If you are working to build a community of something other than a cyclone of shrieking trolls emoting their gut feelings and prejudices all over the internet like so much pestilence, then I seriously doubt you're going to end up with a problem where people are posting mass quantities of comments to "make it into bronze."
If, however, you are obsessed with providing a forum for the intellectually stunted to wave around their cerebral dirty underwear, you are certainly going to get an increased volume of posts. This will be tightly coupled to a decrease in quality as anyone with a sense of self respect abandons your forums as they degrade into Youtube's comments section.
I prefer to believe that The Register is filled with intelligent, capable individuals who are perfectly willing to help prevent the forums from entering a terminal Youtube degeneracy. I sincerely hope that faith is not misplaced.
I've though of a use for the purple badge suggested earlier in the thread. It should be a badge dedicated to those who post big, long, enormous, fucking huge posts. The Purple Prose Badge. As a warning to other users to watch out for eyeball bleed.
Admittedly I plead very guilty of this offence. But when it comes to walls of text, I bow towards your superior waffling skills...
From what I've read I'd agree that there is some very insightful discussion that goes on at Ars but it's not my experience that is the bastion of enlightenment you paint it to be. The comments on the science articles in particular can become an echo chamber full of 'me too' comments. It has the advantage over El Reg in that there are far fewer trolls commenting on these articles but it is not a particularly inclusive community. On the Reg forums commenters will attempt to explain and educate the less well informed whereas on Ars they're treated with derision. It is a community that often reeks of elitism. I'd say that your perception of the 'good' comments always being upvoted and the 'bad' comments always being downvoted is observation bias. It seems like a community that always gets things right because it is filled with people of similar opinions who reinforce your world view. Ultimately we'll have to agree to disagree here because I wanted to discuss the new badge system not the merits of the Ars Technica community.
The Register is primarily a technology news site. It's all very well for you to avoid articles that are going to act as flamebait for Microsoft / Linux / Apple / Android / PS3 / Xbox fanboys but they make up a fair percentage of the articles posted here. I could quite easily reach 2000 upvotes by posting a few comments on each of these articles stating that "Only idiots buy products from Company A, Company B is so much better". These comments could be completely contradictory and placed one beneath the other but I'd be guaranteed a slew of upvotes. I'd also generate a large amount of downvotes but since these currently count for nothing I'd still achieve that silver badge just as quickly. Even if I obtained the silver badge through decent posts, under the current system there is no incentive to maintain that quality once I have reached 2000 upvotes.
The Reg staff seem to be promoting these badges as a way to discern the merit of a posted opinion at a glance. I'm not particularly happy with such a system as I'd much prefer people judge posts on their content. If we are to have such a system though, it should not be one that is so easy to manipulate. It should not be possible to gain a silver badge by posting drivel on game reviews and then use that badge to give ones opinion authority on science and technology articles.
I'm proposing a system based on ratios, where you can gain as many upvotes as you like posting comments containing words like 'micro$haft' and 'crApple' but it will count for naught because you're likely to get just as many downvotes. You could argue that we should be reporting such posts but in the end we'd be reporting 90% of the posts made to Reg Hardware. I'd also point out that this is not the letters section of some peer reviewed journal, it's the comments section of The Register. A place renowned for its sarcasm and generally laid back atmosphere.
There'd still need to be a starting cap, otherwise new members with, for example, 10 upvotes and one downvote would be obtaining silver badges. I'm happy for that cap to remain at 2000 but it is not sufficient by itself, downvotes need to be taken into consideration.
To be honest I don't understand your hostility towards my suggestion. Your argument seems to be that you personally don't see any manipulation of the system in the small subset of articles you read, therefore we shouldn't bother trying to design a system that is resilient to manipulation.
@Fibbles my argument is that I don't see manipulation across a massive subset of articles across a wide array of websites, so we don't need to design a system resistant to manipulation.
Design takes time and effort. The more you design something to be resistant to manipulation, the more onerous it becomes to use it. The more complicated the rules are, the fewer people will play.
So no, I don't believe there is a requirement to design the system with the resiliency you describe. If – and only if – we see it emerge as a problem should we then sit down and decide to make the system more complex. Keep it simple. It's a fucking internet forum; not a bridge across a river.
A 'massive subset' which apparently excludes a large percentage of the articles posted here. Articles which you admit you avoid because the quality of discussion is poor. Articles in which a lot of upvotes are dished out.
Design does take time and effort if what you're designing is complicated. A bit of code that checks if the user has over 2000 posts, then divides their upvotes by there downvotes and checks whether the result is over (for the sake of example,) 6, is not complicated.
I don't understand your assertion that this will somehow make posting more onerous. It requires no extra input from those commenting. If those commenting can't understand a simple ratio on their 'My Posts' page then I do seriously worry about the future of the science and technology sectors.
Is there any chance you can calm down please? It'd be nice to discuss this without being sworn at in every reply.
@Fibbles a 'massive subset' means I read comments and articles across a wide array of sites. I do avoid certain ones as a daily habit. That said, I also make a point of randomly selecting articles (and non-article comment sections) on the various websites I frequent for in depth analysis, even - I would go so far as to say especially - if they are the types of articles where I would not normally spend my off hours.
In those cases, I am not spending my personal leisure time to trawl the comments and participate as a commenter. I am reviewing the comments with an eye to understanding the community, the various factions within. It helps with understanding my readership and helps with understanding the evolving nature of the IT community; things that help my clients.
Building in ratios and such to the posting system might not seem complicated from a design standpoint. Certainly, when you are approaching it from an engineering standpoint, trying to anticipate every problem and create a rule or bit of code to cope with it seems like the way to go.
The problem is that people aren't machines. You don't engineer communities; people have a natural aversion to rules. I argue that – not only philosophically – but from a pragmatic "if you don't want to have to keep butting heads with your own readership" standpoint, you only enact the absolute minimum necessary rules.
Your suggestion would require adding a layer of regulation for a hypothetical problem that not only does not exist today on The Register's forums, there is little evidence that it exists on the forums of similar communities. It may be relatively simple from a code point of view, but it is "one more thing" to bear in mind as a comment; one more rule on the list.
So my argument is simple: until such time as there is a demonstrable need to address this hypothetical problem, it should remain unaddressed.
As to not swearing, hell no, I won't go. I have no reason to adjust myself to meet your expectations, demands or desires. Ain't the internet great?
Maybe you should regulate it until until it works exactly like you want. It's just a little bit of code…
Ok, if we're playing it that way.
"Fibbles a 'massive subset' means I read comments and articles across a wide array of sites. I do avoid certain ones as a daily habit. That said, I also make a point of randomly selecting articles (and non-article comment sections) on the various websites I frequent for in depth analysis, even - I would go so far as to say especially - if they are the types of articles where I would not normally spend my off hours.
In those cases, I am not spending my personal leisure time to trawl the comments and participate as a commenter. I am reviewing the comments with an eye to understanding the community, the various factions within. It helps with understanding my readership and helps with understanding the evolving nature of the IT community; things that help my clients."
This is the biggest load of bullshit I've read in a while.
"Building in ratios and such to the posting system might not seem complicated from a design standpoint. Certainly, when you are approaching it from an engineering standpoint, trying to anticipate every problem and create a rule or bit of code to cope with it seems like the way to go.
The problem is that people aren't machines. You don't engineer communities; people have a natural aversion to rules. I argue that – not only philosophically – but from a pragmatic "if you don't want to have to keep butting heads with your own readership" standpoint, you only enact the absolute minimum necessary rules.
Your suggestion would require adding a layer of regulation for a hypothetical problem that not only does not exist today on The Register's forums, there is little evidence that it exists on the forums of similar communities. It may be relatively simple from a code point of view, but it is "one more thing" to bear in mind as a comment; one more rule on the list."
More arse gravy as demonstrated by the numerous communities on the internet that use a ratio system rather than a hard number because it's less open to manipulation (everything from torrent sites to eBay). Replacing one rule with another is hardly adding complexity. Instead of 'achieve 2000 upvotes' the rule would become 'maintain an upvote / downvote ratio higher than 6'.
"So my argument is simple: until such time as there is a demonstrable need to address this hypothetical problem, it should remain unaddressed."
Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Always a sound plan...
"As to not swearing, hell no, I won't go. I have no reason to adjust myself to meet your expectations, demands or desires. Ain't the internet great?"
It was a request not an expectation. Perhaps you should pull your head out of your own arse, the fresh air will do you good.
@Fibbles some communities use a ratio system. Most don't use anything, really. The upvotes/downvotes and badge systems being entirely for the ego of the reader as opposed to a method of controlling the message.
The Register made a decision about they'd like it to go and you haven't even let them give it a try before you are in here dooming about how it won't work. You don't have direct evidence about why it will or won't work, you're just appealing to your own authority as the rationale for why it must be done your way. Otherwise doom.
As to your dismissing my research practices regarding online communities...*shrug*. You can believe or disbelieve whatever you wish. I disagree with your take on human nature, so I am - quite obviously - wrong, lacking appropriate information and possibly insane. It is clear that if I had the information available to you and the social context that you possess to filter it I would reach the exact same conclusions as you because you are simply correct. I bow before you in humble awe.
Regarding your "request" to be nice to your precious feelers: I so no margin in honouring it. I am who I am, I don't pull punches. I "calls it like I sees it;" part of that is a deliberate choice in word usage. The words, tone and even expletives chosen are chosen very specifically to convey what I want to convey. My arguments, my ideas and – in this case – my contempt.
The Register isn't a torrent site, and sure as shit isn't ebay. The whole concept of a ranking system in the first place – badges, titles, what-have-you – is of dubious relevance to begin with. The badges system however does provide a neat way of rolling out new forum features to commenters one "layer" at a time. A great way to ensure that The Register can continue to evolve how it allows it's forums to evolve without simply throwing the doors open to everyone.
My contempt for your ideas and rules stems from the competitive nature of your approach. "Use a ratio," "game the system" and so forth. You would appear to quite blatantly view the badges as a rank. As though they indicate some level of importance.
Quite frankly, I think that's bullshit and not remotely reflective of the kind of community that The Register has tried to build. The badges are emphatically not ranks. They are instead a measure of "this person has been a part of the community long enough to understand how it works and has become 'plugged in' enough that we can trust them not to abuse things like HTML posting, editing and so forth."
The badges are an extension of an already extant internal system by which people were granted forum privileges in the first place. They are not an epenis.
Let's examine this a little more closely:
Let's say that I have 2000 upvotes and 50,000 downvotes. Looking at how downvotes work here on The Register, people downvote people into the ground because they disagree with what that individual says. The community is starkly different from Ars Technica or Reddit, and different again from Spiceworks, Puppet, Zenoss or so forth.
That individual with 50,000 downvotes could be a troll. They could also be the guy who believes something ardently. The Apple lover circa 2002 who isn't trolling, he just happens to be a believer.
The number of downvotes accumulated really isn't relevant. To punish people for getting downvotes in The Register's community – and I am very specifically talking about The Register's community here – is bad form. It would have a direct impact of punishing people for saying things that others disagree with, even if they aren't trolling in an obvious sense.
The Register isn't Reddit, and it isn't Ars. The community hasn't evolved to use the upvote/downvote system as a means of judging whether or not the comment was topical and non-redundant. If you go back, it was originally hoped that this is how it would be used, but this is not how it ended up being used here in practice.
That said, 2000 upvotes is an indication that you have been around here for a while. You could theoretically farm 2000 upvotes in a short period of time if you put your mind to it, but there has been zero evidence that anyone has tried this. More to the point, if you did farm 2000 upvotes in record time, then you probably understand The Register's community quite well. So I don't see the problem in giving that individual a Silver badge and letting them run around with HTML and whatever other advanced forum privileges will eventually come with that badge.
Again: the badges are not a damn ranking system. They are a screening system to help The Register find out which readers can be trusted with some more advanced features. Nothing more, nothing less.
You pass an arbitrary point – 2000 upvotes – and you are considered to know enough about the community to interact with it in a meaningful way. Ratios and so forth would help you create a nice echo chamber in which everyone agrees with one another, but they don't help you create an open, free discussion system where your only real interest in community moderation is keeping the advanced tools out of the hands of newbies, astroturfers and marketing types.
"You pass an arbitrary point – 2000 upvotes – and you are considered to know enough about the community to interact with it in a meaningful way. Ratios and so forth would help you create a nice echo chamber in which everyone agrees with one another, but they don't help you create an open, free discussion system where your only real interest in community moderation is keeping the advanced tools out of the hands of newbies, astroturfers and marketing types."
That's a decent counter-argument. If you'd posted that 4 replies and some name calling ago you wouldn't have revealed yourself to be the arrogant and egotistical arse you clearly are. If the gold badge you have been given is an indication by the Reg staff that you are a commenter we should all be aiming to emulate these forums are going to go down the shitter pretty quickly.
Not weird - some people post under multiple handles, and some post mostly but not all as anonymous cowards. If we grant privileges across all variants, we risk giving others the tools to associates these posts to one person.
It makes more sense to impose one handle+ anonymous option restriction per account.
When I changed my handle for one single post only I wasn't allowed to change back, so since then my non-anonymous activity is under my second choice of handle. As to anonymity, anyone who googles enough could probably associate both my new and old handles without much difficulty.
Should be at the top right of your screen, under Forums. You'll have a bit of blurb saying Welcome, John Smith. (Not you? Log in here)
Under that you've got a few links. Click on My Posts and you get a list of all your posts, sorted by topic, with your votes at the top. I have to confess I'm now tempted to find out whether downvotes cancel out upvotes by hitting that tempting thumbs down button, but that would be naughty...
In total, your posts have been upvoted 5232 times and voted on by Anonymous Haters 840 times.
Survival of the haterest; they even deprived me of me badge! And that's only the account, not even counting the handle. bastards!
And apparently links and other niceties have been revoked as well. Buncha vultures. *sigh*
Actually, I think it's more or less time to leave this place. Going too much the way of the zuckbook, bitch.
JUdging by your post history you qualify for at least a bronze badge. The article does atate the change is "rolling out" though.. which by that I assume means that somewhere, some old 486 is running a BASIC script that's repeatedly doing SELECT and UPDATE statements, and we'll all get our badges eventually.
...somewhere, some old 486 is running a BASIC script that's repeatedly doing SELECT and UPDATE statements...
That's T-SQL. BASIC would be doing rs.ReadNext and rs.Update.
Shurley, as this is EL Reg, the script should be running on a BBC Micro, and be using PEEK and POKE?
I always remember ?&FE4E=&7F
It would freeze the computer by setting all the interrupts and the only thing to do then was hit Break (which would do a power-on memory wipe) or switch off and back on again. Either would wipe the memory but it was so much more elegant that *FX 200,3 :-)
Break did not necessarily clear all memory. Some things that depended on wierd assembler routines couldn't be recovered, but there were plenty of times when an accidental "break" press could be undone by typing "old".
IIRC, there was some difference between "break" and "ctrl+break" as well, though I'll be damned if I can remember what it was off-hand.
I feel a little sad all my anon posts don't count (ergo all of them) sad times.
upvoted 3276 times and downvoted 589 times
And my first post
Back in the day. olol.
Submitted on Thursday 22nd February 2007
Plus a few letters in the old mailbag posts before we even had ye'olde comment sections.
lol, funny looking back at old posts and going "oh dear..."
'In coming weeks we will roll out a few more commentard voting options - such as "helpful" and "informative"'
Your optimism is to be commended, but surely if you wanted a voting system that would actually get used, perhaps you'd be better off with a negative rating system... "troll", "fanboy", "shill", etc.
I do like the idea of a "helpful" or "knowledgeable" badge, as it would be about the only "peer-reviewed" indication of substance for a handle. Especially in a forum setup where you can switch your handle at the drop of a hat.
This set of badges is nice, I guess.. Although I wonder how much the usual Battlefields will now get spammed with trollposts...ermmm.. "highly polarised viewpoints" to hit that elusive +2000 upvote threshold.
whether "upvotes" means upvotes minus downvotes.
Frankly, I doubt I'll manage to both double my positing volume and increase upvotes by a factor of ten in the very near future.
In fact I'm not sure that bronze badges shouldn't have some sort of upvote requirement. Isn't that an invitation to spam?
So bronze and silver badges reward activity / with a dash of upvotes for quality - and gold badges reward quality.
We can of course change the criteria for selection - but we have to start somewhere. And somewhere is here.
We will add other voting options to help determine "quality" - but any more badges we do introduce will be awarded on an automated basis.
And we welcome all suggestions for more badges - I see we have a call for purple! OK, but what is a purple badge in recognition of?
I see an advertising partnership opportunity there for ID Lubricants or KY Jelly to sponsor all purple badges - you Reg guys should get your sales department on to that, especially if there's a competition involved - sorest comentard wins an iPad and a years supply of helmet protector!
I'd be up for entering that!
In another forum somewhere I postulated the existence of a Brown Badge, awarded on the basis of the number of downvotes a poster gets, or perhaps a ratio of downvotes to upvotes.. So, someone like Barry or Eadon might qualify for this dubious distinction.
Something to think about....
"And maybe it would stop newbies reporting him."
You could turn it around and gives everyone who reports it a badge. Potential badge titles are: "I didn't do the research", "I failed the Turning test"*, or just plain "Suckered!". The first has wider application as a discretionary badge for people who annoy mods. The last one could repurpose the facepalm icon.
* Okay, technically it's "I gave an algorithm a pass in the Turing test."
The badges are dandy, and giving gold/silver folks the ability to edit posts will be interesting!
However, I would like to propose that comments receive a number, in order that they were posted... so that when commenters refer to another's comment, we all don't go blind looking to track down the greyscale name marking the comment in question. A nice big number on each comment would be most helpful to keep track of the comment-recomment flow.
"The badges are dandy,"
Nope. Useless waste of CPU and bandwidth.
"and giving gold/silver folks the ability to edit posts will be interesting!"
No. Absolutely not. Posts are written by induhvidual commentards, and should not be re-written by pseudo-Olympic medal winners.
"However, I would like to propose that comments receive a number, in order that they were posted... so that when commenters refer to another's comment, we all don't go blind looking to track down the greyscale name marking the comment in question. A nice big number on each comment would be most helpful to keep track of the comment-recomment flow."
That number already exists. Why ElReg doesn't do exactly what you propose is beyond me.
Wow, you're a cheery one, aren't you?
Waste of CPU and bandwidth? You know, my grandpa lived through the depression and wasn't one to throw away money or time on trivial comforts... but really? Waste of CPU and bandwidth?
And, uh, the ability to edit comments means 'the ability to edit *your own* comments' - an ability you'd have done well to avail yourself of, fellow silver-badged-1024-byte-PNG-bandwidth-wasting-pseudo-Olympic-medal-winning member.
It's not much bandwidth or CPU, but it's a monumental waste of time. Someone's spending time working on this and for what.
It's pretty much the equivalent of getting the gold and silver stars that I vaguelly remember being dished out in my first year in primary school for being able to tie your own laces, picking up a pencil for the teacher, telling Miss Adams that Patrick Johnson had peed on the floor, or something equally trivial.
The sad thing is, the ability to edit comments would be a benefit to the site as a whole if *everyone* had it. It seems utterly bizarre to develop genuinely useful functionality and then limit it to a subset.
Since my badge appeared, someone seems to have downvoted the first half page of my posts. Heaven knows why they bothered...
Are they embittered because my badge is better than theirs? Or have El Reg turned me into a trolling monster, by giving me a golden vulture?
Yippee! Just got to edit a typo.
Sometimes the downvotes are interesting. Particularly when someone takes the trouble to waste 15 minutes of their life downvoting your posts one after the other. That's downright fascinating. One hopes, this being an IT site, that they've written a script to do it...
On the other hand votes can counteract the echo-chamber that many internet forums become. For example: It's still kool to hate Micro$oft, apparently. However even if 90% of the comments on a thread are on that theme, a comment that's a bit more balanced will often find more upvotes than downvotes - even thought the composition of the thread would indicate to the contrary. I guess that means there really is a silent majority. Many people just don't enjoy an argument, which is fair enough.
Plus, I'm always willing to upvote a good pun. Or even a bad one.
There should be a 'martyr for his people' badge for people who've often been heavily-downvoted in posts containing the phrase "At least [in whatever country / here] we [etc etc]"...
Perhaps badges for people who've used certain icons an absurd number of times? EG, 'I'll be here all week' for using lots of get-my-coat badges, or 'pyrotechnician' for using lots of 'flames' icons, or 'obnoxious little git' for using lots of penguin icons...
Badges like the 'top ten upvoted posts' idea but for posters who've had highly-controversial posts (tons of upvotes AND downvotes - say, upV + downV / (1 + abs(upV - downV), or something like that... Maybe that one should be a magnet: You know - polarizing?
I see what I did there...
(Oh, and, if any of the previous are accepted, it goes without saying that there should be a badge for 'had a badge suggestion accepted'...)
And maybe a badge for people who won a Reg contest and never got their t-shirt and man that was like years ago but now never will because they attacked Andrew Orlowski's IP positions too many times. I mean... it has to happen quite a bit, right?
"And maybe a badge for people who won a Reg contest and never got their t-shirt and man that was like years ago but now never will because they attacked Andrew Orlowski's IP positions too many times. I mean... it has to happen quite a bit, right?"
I'm still waiting for my packet of "Camel Balls" and -why yes- I may have disparaged Mr. Orlowski once or twice. Put me down for one of those.
With an up:down ration of about 18:1, I heartily endorse this idea! :)
You didn't want to say that. Now you've put the evil idea into my head that I can quickly change that... Just pop through a few pages of your posts and vote. Of course, it could be in a positive direction, I could see if I could boost you into the stratospheric 20-1 range.
But we all know that as an embittered old lag of an El Reg Commentard, it's going to be downvotes.
I'd rather it hadn't been done, but I guess silver looks quite nice.
I do think it is a bit too simple to base it just on hitting 2000 upvotes , though : that can be achieved relatively quickly if you take care to get in the first post which captures the mood of the pitchfork-wielders.
Those commentards who will go unacknowledged will be the sort who tend to post contrary (non-troll) views that gather downvotes rather than upvotes, but which spark some very decent and informative responses.
But PLEASE don't go down any path which affects the thing that I like most about elReg : all comments and all commentards are equal. Especially don't link the proposed ability for commentards to vote on posts to affect whether or not a post is visible.
<blockquote>Where can I check my upvotes? Just so I know how much more karma whoring I have to do. And do downvotes negate upvotes?</blockquote>
<ul>Most</ul> of my down votes have been awarded to me by Freetards due to my stance on copyright which is taken as a direct result of having my IP ripped off by people who ought to and do know better, right up until they are caught. Then they claim they had no idea, good faith. Blah blah blah.
I do have a dog in this fight unlike the academics (the tinkering classes) who are paid other people's money to theorise about how other people should run their business, to better benefit people with lots of money over those with less. Still, at least I will wear my bronze badge with pride and I'll enjoy <sub>playing</sub> with my <sup>new tools.</sup>
I didn't think I'd made bronze, so I spent the whole night thinking up idea for badge I would be entitled to:
* Automatic: 50 upvotes or downvotes on a single comment.
* Discretionary: an "I helped with an SPB project" badge. That would be far more rewarding that an ephemeral promise of beer...
Don't like it. Badges deter new commentards and give forums a whiff of pettiness. Also, it makes people post for the wrong reasons, which may have a detrimental affect on post quality. Also it may encourage trolling - trolls are always voted down, but sometimes they get many thumbs ups too.
Eg. This post would have garnered more favour if I made it a rude one-liner about how apple fans love badges
Also the Reg for an impressive bit of social engineering. I try to post only when I think I have something to say, and so it's taken me not one but three years to get to one hundred posts, but I was sorely tempted to abandon my principles and try to score a bronze. I would stand and applaud El Reg for the genius of the idea, but I'm too busy fretting over the revelation of just how pathetically low my self-esteem is and how greedy I am for any sort of validation.
I'm glad you're moving this, I've clicked it by mistake a couple of times.
I also agree with the suggestions that other have made, to move the badge before the username, so it doesn't end up floating way out in the middle of the page for those with really long user names.
There is? I guess this is for gold badge holders only.
Personally though I don't use ignore functions. It's like sticking your fingers in your ears and going "laa laa laa" while the people you don't like carry on talking anyway, and you're unable to counteract their arguments because you can't hear them.
Could be a bit of a backfire, basically.
Mr Gale, I would kindly ask that you read this comic by The Oatmeal. I recognise that Senor Oats is not to everyone's taste, but I believe that he has summed up my feelings on the matter in a manner more succinct that I am capable of expressing.
TL;DR...some people are just toxic shitheads. Putting your fingers in your ear and saying "la la la I can't hear you" is just good for your sanity. There is a difference between ignoring dissent and cutting out the truly toxic individuals who will have a demonstrably negative effect on your mental well being.
There honestly and truly are some individuals in this world who have fucking nothing worthwhile to contribute. I can say with 100% confidence that my quality of life will improve by simply never having to deal with those twatdangles ever again. I have no interest in counteracting thier arguments; there's no margin in that for me.
"There is an ignore button. I am so happy."
Why are you happy? What is it about ASCII text commentardary that you want to shy away from?
Seriously, dude/tte, if you put yourself out there and offer-up myopic comments, us commentards will give you shit. Ignoring it on your part won't change the reality of the situation.
Woo shiny Yay
I take it going forwards that badge assignment is going to be automatic from now, rather than El Reg staff having to hack through the assignment process every day/week/month/when they remember.
AC stuff should count towards your score, or the My Posts page should be updated (You have 100 upvotes, 20 downvotes total. (AC 10 upvotes, 19 downvotes)) Actually, that'd be pretty cool to see anyway. Do people react better to me or my mask?
OR AC could still show the right badge for the commentard. AC, gold badge... "Well, I don't know who this was, but we can narrow it down a bit!"
Member since 2007-10-13.... Check
Haven't change handle since forever ....Check
Postcount this year >100 ... Check.
So according to the criteria posted I should be entitled to a bronze thingie. Yet while my "your posts" page is getting close to a pagecount of 5 ( @ 50 posts per page), mostly from this year, the info in "Details/my forums" states:
In total, your 5 public posts have been upvoted 590 times and downvoted 93 times.
View them here"
Unless I have made some truly epic posts to get that amount of applause and derision that may have happened to slipped my mind, I'd say something is wonky here. Specifically that somehow any post after jan/2008 is not counted, even though the up/downvotes are.
*Disclaimer* This post is entirely engendered by a deep worry that something may be amiss in the back-end of the precious Commentard Archive at Vulture Central, and has nothing to do with El Reg handing out Shineys... welll sort of anyways
I have the same issue, forums.theregister.co.uk/my/posts/ says:
"In total, your posts have been upvoted 2027 times and downvoted 559 times."
Whereas account.theregister.co.uk/edit/forums says:
"In total, your 5 public posts have been upvoted 2024 times and downvoted 549 times."
I'd say about half of my posts are AC and I've never changed my alias. Any idea what is going on?
We don't require people to be signed in to file a correction. And that means hand-tooling whatever we do.
Our production guys are the ones with handle on who the regulars are - if we have names, we can cross-match against handles. Not perfect, I know.
I submit the following points to aid in your consideration of my shameless self-promotion:
1) I believe that the 5-minute editing window was my idea...certainly I was the first to suggest it last time we had a round of suggestions for forum improvement.
2) I'm 220 upvotes short of silver. This sounds like hard work which I'm obviously not prepared to put in.
3) I don't give much of a shit about the badge, but I could really do with editing...I seem to have a mental block where pre-submit proofreading is concerned.
4) Out of four pages of commentarding, I'm the only one with the barefaced cheek and total lack of shame required to just ask. Obviously you don't want to open the floodgates, but pioneering should be rewarded, no?
Thanks for listening. I shall be appearing under the pier all week. Please take a leaflet on your way out.
Ah yes, that's because my CV says "Mr. BigYin" on it. Plus I list the handles I use on the sites because I am just that freakin' awesome!
Actually I don't think I want to work for someone who doesn't understand that when you are bashing your forehead off the desk, it can sometimes be helpful to think about something else for 5 mins. And if I did work for something like that, they'd get 9-5, work-to-rule and the current overtime I do for free would be time-and-half, double on weekend and holidays.
btw - nice bronze you got there. :)
I found out about these badges from my email inbox - my first thought when I saw an email about the Register Forums was "oh shit, has Paris Hilton or Apple finally decided to sue me for libel or something?", but then to my joy, it was the best news I have literally had all, well not day, but in last five minuets at least!
My suggestion for additional badges would be one called "P+" which stands for "Paris Positive" for those of us like me who just cant shake her off, so to speak, and always have one working brain cell devoted to finding the Paris Hilton angle on a story. How about it?
I'd like to recommend that the forums be scrapped altogether, as they have proved a massive drain on my productivity time and the posts seldom add anything of merit to the intent/substance of the article. I know mine never did. Even if such a thing were possible, you could always email the author and make a case for a Bootnote to be added if it was really worth it. Too much chatter. Do not like.
Just in case for some unfathomable reason you don't see fit to accede to my demands, my back-up suggestion is an "Orlowski" badge: nobody's quite sure how you earn one, but it awards you the power to disable all
dissentreplies to your posts.
ahem, slight snafu in who got what1.
1 : bronze lacked extra html, and silver the ability to edit posts. Both should be fixed. Sorry :/
ps. I used my special powers to get a bronze badge long enough to post this, then reverted back to regular commentard ...
Badges on El Reg? - really, what has the world come to!!!
For me this sort of social, community, collabollocks is the antithesis of what El Reg is about. Did you consult the BOFH on this? Stob? - I bet not.
...and another thing - it's bloody confusing - I thought millions of El Reg moderators had suddenly sprung up all over the forums with their little vulture icons.
Cease and desist immediately!
You're only a silver badger. So my opinion of your opinion of his opinion of your opinion must be lower than my opinion of his opinion of your opinion of his opinion of your opinion of his opinion, due to him being (to use the vernacular) the golden badger's nadgers. Like the dog's bollocks, only stripier...
"Poor jake, a nerd who doesn't understand sarcasm :)"
There is a time and place for sarcasm (read my back-log if you don't believe me from this post). This isn't one of them. ElReg seems to be trying to establish a "serfs" to "royalty" hierarchy. I, me, personally, am against it.
Just out of curiosity why only count the posts under the current user name? When showing the total number of up and down votes the page seems to show the total for posts that include messages that I posted as A/C. I don't understand why then the badges can't be displayed for the user rather than current name being used provided they aren't posting as A/C at the time?
Many forums do not allow members to change handles at all - we don't allow people to re-use handles (to make it a little harder for sock puppeting). We also do not second-guess why people change handles and we do not publish anything that could make it easier or possible for people to infer identity.
Hey Drew. Don't know if your drewc@thereg[...] is just used for mailers (and thus the inbox is generally ignored?) but I've tried emailing you over two issues and got no reply so I'm trying here instead....
One issue is I got the email saying I've been "upgraded" to the bronze badge 4 times and the other is that I seem to have had the bronze badge I already had removed instead.
If you could look into these I'd be most grateful, especially the removal of the badge after saying I'd been "upgraded" to it, I miss the extra formatting options!
Wow...that seems a bit draconian.
So what constitutes the "Last 12 months"? Is it 12 months from the current day, the current month, or the current year? If I happen to just get back int he Reg beancounters' good graces, will it re-appear later in a given day?
I'm never going to qualify for a badge, as I don't comment enough to come close. I try to live by David Byrne's sage mantra, and so if I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed. Nevertheless, my cerebral palsy does cause me to make more typos than I'd like, and there are occasions when I wish I could edit them. I think it would be nice if a brief edit window was opened to commentards with a sufficiently high upvote percentage, say 95%. Anyone with such a ratio is highly unlikely to resort to trolling via edits, but would likely enjoy the granting of the privilege as recognition for the overall positive reaction to their contributions.
Oh and, yes, this is obviously a self-serving plea, but not quite THAT self-serving - my upvote ratio is not yet at 95%, so I'm not saying "give it to me, now!", just that such a target might be something for less loquacious commentards to enjoy aiming.
Ok, so the badges thing has been running for a while now. My thoughts on the system? Aiming for these medals seems to have prompted certain commentards into a frenzy of just spamming useless comments on every story published. I think it would be much better to reward the *quality* of the posts, rather than the *quantity*, (or at least some kind of hybrid). You already have the metrics to do this.
For starters, can you just remove medals from people who predominantly get down-voted?
You really think that's a good idea?
I just blindly downvoted every post on the first page of your back-log, without reading any of 'em. Happens regularly to a lot of us. Most ::shrug:: it off, but a few of us are trying to point out the bullshitness of ElReg's thumbs/badges system.
Have a nice day, and relax & have a homebrew on me :-)
Am I due for a badge yet? There have been a few occasions now where it would have been nice to be able to go back and edit a post shortly after submitting it but I don't seem to have that option.
If I'm not is there any chance of considering extending this to members without a badge and not posting as AC?
Haven't you changed your handle? Or is there another, slightly different, Vimes? Anyway, no badge for you. You need 100 posts and a year's use of the handle to get bronze:
The qualifying thresholds for badges are:
Bronze More than one year members and more than 100 posts in the last 12 months.
Silver Silver badge holders meet bronze requirements and have more than 2000 upvotes.
Gold This discretionary badge is awarded by Reg staff to commentards who have been very helpful - to us, through news tips and beta testing, for example - and to their fellow readers, through their posts.
Forum privileges are awarded according to commentard handle - not by user account. This means that if you change your handle, you will lose your forum privileges. Also, votes on your anonymous posts do not count towards you gaining badges.
So you've got 6 months in the salt mines before elevation to bronzeyness. And if you've got 2,000 upvotes I guess you go straight to silver, do not pass go, do not collect £200.
Sadly they've not extended editing to the other badgers yet, only the 10 gold ones. I don't know quite why, as they said they were going to, but maybe it's just a case of not getting round to it.
I have a theory. If you look at your posting history, you've got nearly 200 posts, spread over 4 pages, since you joined last March. However you seem to have slowed down in your posting, because your first 2 pages of posts all happened in the 3 months from April 2012 to July 2012. So my suspicion is that you haven't posted 100 posts in the last calendar year (I'm not going to count them manually, I'm too lazy). But something like 90-odd.
Weirdly their badge-giving seems to be quite slow and inefficient. People keep posting a couple of weeks after they should have one, saying "where my badge?". But you have been efficiently de-frocked. One test would be to post a few quick replies on this thread, and see if Mr badge comes back? It's probably only 5-10.
Top right => Comments (last year)
201 live comments (95)
So 95 in the last year.
As for slowness of badges - our logs say this is working - badges are upgraded within six hours.
As for this losing and gaining badges - it is not satisfactory. We have three options.
1.Award badges permanently
2.Build a page users can check that explains why their badges are the way they are
3.Accept they will be forever saying "something broken" when the system is, to them, a bit of a black box.
My inclination is to plump for the first option.
From earlier comments, and badges then being issued, I was under the impression your badge script wasn't running all that often. Assuming you do it with a script... You've obviously now fixed that, if it's only taking 6 hours.
I was impressed that your system coped with me reaching 2,000 upvotes, and didn't downgrade me from gold to silver, assuming I was on bronze.
Talking of gold badges, shouldn't you be changing your gold one to an El Reg red one? Surely being on the staff is a far greater honour than being a mere scummy commentard with delusions of adequacy?
I think your option 1 is the best. It seems a bit odd to take someone's badge away, because they've only posted 95 times in the last calendar year. Unless you only want to reward continuous regular posters. But I presume the badges are just a bit of fun, and aren't meant to have any real purpose. So it's sad to take them away.
I suppose it could be considered a just punishment, by an angry Vulture-God, for abandoning the regular worship on the El Reg forums...
Even if you go for option 2, and have a badge page, people will probably still complain if they feel insufficiently badged. Even if it's only to ask when they're due their gold one. Plus option 2 seems like a lot more effort than just making the things permanent. You could make the badges a hyperlink though, that takes you to the badges bit of the forum rules.
Looking at your posting history, there's about 50 posts per page, and you've posted just over 2 pages of them in the last year. So you should be all bronzy and shiny.
Either you're just 1 or 2 shy of 100 posts in the calendar year, or the mice in the El Reg badge-slinging server haven't been fed for a while. Silveryness requires 2,000 upvotes though doesn't it?
I appear to have gone silver, which is nice. Best bit is the 5 minute revision option on a post - posting from a mobile sometimes (this post included) for some reason a page won't scroll up so the keyboard covers the text field. At least I no longer need to copy paste withdraw just to get rid of typos!
Erm, no, I don't think I do have two accounts. When I look at /my/posts I get told In total, your posts have been upvoted 2023 times and downvoted 391 times.
There's been a few anon posts, but they don't count, do they? Maybe I've only (!) made 918 posts this year. Is that the criteria?
jake, there is a kind of grey pumpkin face between the commentard's handle and its badge which reads "Repeatedly incoherent? Just ignore them!"
Funny though I cannot ignore myself although I have no doubt about my own incoherent comments. May that be the reason why El Reg granted me a 10 minutes edit?
EDIT: the Edit (10 mins) button reads "Something missed? Afraid of grammar nazis? Edit your post while you can!"
Ten minutes it is :-)
However, :EDIT: the Edit (10 mins) button reads "Something missed? Afraid of grammar nazis? Edit your post while you can!":
My "edit button" reads "Edit"
The fly-over does read "Something missed? Afraid of grammar nazis? Edit your post while you can!"
The ignore button is likely to make forums rather incoherent, if some ignore but others reply. The ignorers won't have the context to understand the replies.
And the post-edit is also a bit dodgy - open to gaming. Write a message, wait for a reply, then change the original, make the reply look stupid. Not something I would let a bronze badger (or me) have.
They gave the ignore button and ten minute edit to gold-badgers almost as soon as they handed out the badges. As a test apparently. So perhaps we're not the superior forms of life I supposed, merely the beta-bitches...
Then the silver badgers got the edit, months ago. Although weirdly I keep seeing it referred to as 5 minutes, can't imagine why they'd only get half the time. So I guess they've now rolled it out across the board. I suspect they've been meaning to for ages, and just not got round to it.
I've tested my ignore power, but never used it in anger, as I'm too damned nosy. It's not like I have to read more than the first few words of any comment, if it's annoying me.
I do remember being a Mod on a huge forum, many moons ago. And some of our more troublesome users would beg for an ignore button, as they didn't think they had the self-control to ignore the posts of the ones they didn't like. But then in my experience they'd probably put them on ignore - loudly telling them they'd done it - but then take them off ignore to see what was being posted behind their backs, then flame away regardless, ending with the loud promise to ignore them again.
I even got asked by some if we could control an ignore list for them. We didn't have that tool, but I found the ban-hammer to be quite effective at stopping people from flaming all over the forums. Until the ban ran out at least...
Thanks for turning me into a grey badger.
However, as I wrote above, I think you may live to regret introducing the edit functionality. Consider the following scenario:
Poster 1 posts "Your mother dislikes lorry drivers!"
Poster 2 posts "My mother does not dislike lorry drivers!"
Poster 1 then waits nearly 5 (or is it 10?) minutes and changes his post such that "dislikes" is replaced with "fellates".
You get the picture? Then add a million and 1 further varieties of the theme, generated from the depths of depravity of the collective commentard brain.
It's gonna get messy in here. (And funny.)
You've only got 10 minutes to edit. So you need to be watching pretty closely, and for your victim to be answering pretty quickly, and then for them not to see the change in time to edit their post. Plus they can always delete at any time.
I think your depraved commentard brain is running away with you... Although I'm sure someone will manage something amusing. For the particularly paranoid, there's always the solution of not replying to any post that's under 10 minutes old.
> So you need to be watching pretty closely
You're right. But to be sure, I'd like to see the edit window cut short as soon as the first reply comes in.
It would be truely terrible for a pedant to comment on someone's use of their/there/they're and then see the original incorrect usage corrected. My heavens, that would make the correction incorrect and/or superfluous!
Can you imagine the distress that would cause
me the unfortunate predant?
You've shattered my illusions now. I was just about to congratulate you for the new word predant: to correct someone before they've made the error. And now you tell me that it was just a typo. Boo!
Still, quite a nice one. As I know that in your reply to me, you will incorrectly use the word whom...
The ignore button never went away. Or at least I've always had it - and still do. Have they taken it away from everyone then? I'd be interested to know how much it gets used, although as they only gave it to about 10 people at first, it's unlikely to be much.
Silver badges are on 2,000 upvotes, and it's not net. So even if you manage to get 20,000 downvotes in the process, you still get to have the badge.
I'd like to see them award badges for downvotes too. Maybe just a brown one, for achieving your first 1,000. Or perhaps a halo above your badge for anyone managing to achieve a ratio of 10 up to 1 down.
Mr Auditor - or can I just call you Evil,
I believe that it does have to be 2,000 pure Evil Auditor upvotes, and not anon ones, or ones from a previous username (if you've ever changed it). Similarly for the 100 posts allows you html rule, they don't accept anon posts. They really have a thing about anons on 'ere.
I'm not picky about my name. Anything goes as long as it's somehow recognisable.
The problem with the pure evil votes is that they are down ;-) Seriously, there were a few anon comments but I'm not going to check them. Anyhow, I'm not mad about the badges, especially not about the silver and bronze ones. But the idea of the gold badge given at discretion is nice.
"Make it better"? Really? Good gawd/ess. That language points squarely at the "do-over" culture that has been polluting yoof for the last couple decades.
Is Sarah Bee's replacement a "Pink Princess"? ::shudder::
If you want to be understood by the yoof you have to write like the yoof. Not.
Now I do remember Sarah Bee (and how, El Reg, could you have let her go?!) but what the heck is a Pink Princess? Something obscene I didn't know of?
*was too long for a title.
"what the heck is a Pink Princess?"
It is a very, very ugly thingie that's been happening here in the US for the last ~20 years. Worse than "Barbie" (which is a subroutine of the phenomenon), even.
I would love to see an article on aggregate figures on AC's, sockpuppet accounts (based on IP will do, or browser fingerprinting), and downvote behaviours. I have a pet theory that there are just a few people who habitually use AC posting to generally spout incoherent opinion as facts, and generally because they dread having to justify their febrile ramblings. Some stats and analysis would be interesting reading, especially if well considered like okcupid used to do. Is there at correlation between sockpuppets and downvotes for instance? In fact how many accounts exist which have only downvoted never upvoted? Or only upvoted for one other account? And never posted, just voted? You get the idea.
I thought this reading about ignore buttons and lack thereof above. I wouldn't miss 90+% of AC postings for instance. If we can't ignore, can we shrink the default text size for AC and other accounts, or something like that? So the thread stays intact and a dash of CSS magic and the apparitions don't get the visual credibility of those who post under their own accounts?
I've barely noticed any sock-puppetry on this site. In the realms of one poster says something, and then another replies immediately saying how wonderful, correct and perceptive they are. Also, despite many accusations, I don't notice many shills around here either. You see the accusation a lot, but it's rare that it looks convincing. More that it's a standard insult for people that don't agree. I've seen a few, very obvious ones, although it's obviously hard to tell if the marketing bods have been subtle (for once) and built up an account's reputation with regular non-shill posts.
I don't know if it's just me, but the numbers of votes seem to have gone down in the last month or two. Along with the number of forum posts on the non-article forums.
I remember commenting, on an article on Julian Assange I think, where I got a couple of up and down votes pretty quickly. I came back to the thread and read down about 10 comments, so we're only talking a minute, and clicked on 'My posts' again as the quicker way to get back to mine, and see if there was a reply. Suddenly, in under 2 minutes I'd gone from 2 up - 2 down to about 2 up - 12 down. I suppose it's possible, I'm not Julian's number one fan, and he does provoke some strong opinions. But I've never seen voting that fast before, up or down. It's also possible the site was just updating the votes slowly, and did a whole batch at once.
I've had most of a page of my comments, mostly in different articles, downvoted at once before. And a few other users have had that happen. Which is quite amusing. But they're obviously not using multiple accounts, or surely they'd have multi-downvoted the post that actually annoyed them, rather than resorting to the tedium of clicking through your post history.
^^ you could well be right, I'd still be interested to see some real numbers though - I just find it interesting. I enjoyed reading the okcupid blogs where they did some statistical correlations spotting some fascinating patterns.
My personal observation is that you can go from 2+2- to 2+12- on any Apple article with a neutral or non-Apple-positive comment when America comes online. Seppoes sure love their Apples.
Stick with your handle. The idiots following you around after some perceived sleight don't deserve the "victory" of your name going away.
Badges? We don't need no stinking badges. They are an ugly artifact of marketing.
So-called "thumbs" are worse ... random, faceless idiots trying to do a binary "I approve" vs. "I disagree", without actual explanation, is pretty much next to useless.
ElReg really needs to reconsider the entire "badge" and "thumbs" concept. It scares people, and keeps them from posting. It's not censorship, but it is stifling over the long-haul.
Jake, I've got mixed feelings about the badges myself, but the thumbs do serve a valuable purpose in my opinion, and having both directions is an important part of it. In real life, if I say something, people may not respond to me with a considered response, but simply smile or laugh, or instead frown or storm out of the room. The thumbs provide a similarly light-weight means of response. I'm sure I've occasionally made the inflammatory post-- the forums would be pretty crummy to use if everyone who felt one way or the other about it had to post "me too" to that (see some of the old forums with Eadon as an example of how this can go wrong).
It strikes me that your personal grudge against the thumbs might be that you receive consistent negative feedback through the medium. Possibly you don't get this in real life-- it strikes me based on your posting history that you are a person who has a good deal of authority and possibly people are fearful to tell you when you're being an ass. Maybe instead of railing against a feature on a website that has no real impact to you, it might be worth considering why you are drawing consistent negative reactions when I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of thumbs on the site are up rather than down.
I don't think you're a troll and I do think you frequently have good contributions to the forums, but the constant one-upmanship and boasting about how amazing your life in Sonoma making everything yourself and expressing your contempt for people who don't live as well or aren't able to do as many things as you do is tiresome and childish.
I have no grudge against thumbs. It's a logical thing, when you think about it. Consider that I can easily write a script to either "thumbs up" myself for all the posts in my posting history, using any number of open proxies ... or likewise, "thumbs down" all of the posts in your posting history.
In the case of me personally clicking (running a script to) "thumbs up" my own posts, only I would know that it happened. I'm not narcissistic. So that will never happen.
In the case of me down voting all your posts, I see no real reason for that ... I did do that as an example a while back. I down voted all of a user's posts on the current first page of their posting history. Manually. I regret it.
My point stands. Thumbs are pointless as currently implemented.
As for "badges" ... surely we're long past serf to crown?
No badge = the rabble.
Bronze = valued foot soldiers.
Silver = Been here long enough to make the kingdom money.
Gold = Self-appointed Nobility (or by the Nobility).
Seriously, grow up ElReg. Allow humans to interact without artificial, meaningless pigeonholes.
You get your silver badger automatically, once you hit 2,000 upvotes on Evil Auditor posts. Not anon, or previous username ones.
I agree on the downvotes, I try to reserve them for trolls, idiots who don't read the damned articles, and humourless grumpy-guts. Mostly this seems to be a majority upvote site. But some people do seem to use them as 'I disagree'. I've also had a recent bunch of downvotes for what I thought were uncontroversial short jokes. So I suspect someone is also using them for 'you aren't funny'.
You always used to get downvoted for saying anything positive about Windows Phone, but now there's a larger number of people on here who use it. And that hasn't happened to me of late. Saying anything even vaguely bad about Google or Android gets downvotes though. The Google fanboys are alive and well, it seems. Snowden and Assange both seem to bring out the voting frenzy on both sides. I find myself doing it too. I see a reasonable post that's been unfairly (in my view) downvoted, and feel the need to give it a sympathy upvote. Tend to do this any time I come across it, so I find myself voting a lot if I bother to read an Assange/Snowden thread. Once I'm hitting the buttons already, I think that also makes me more likely to hit downvote. Although that could just be because so much crap gets written on those threads.
I ain't Spartacus,
you aren't funny - It seems that some commentards simply don't do humour. There are posts (not only mine) which I believe cannot be mistaken as a serious contribution. Truth is, they can and are.
Also saying anything critical about Apple tends to fire up the votes, in both directions.
I agree that the thumbs serve a purpose - but which purpose? Do I thumb-down a comment because I don't agree with it or because it is rubbish? Personally, I hardy thumb-down a post unless, eg it's inflammatory and humourless, even if I agree with it. Then there seem to be people around who thumb-down a comment simply because it was posted by jake.
However inconsistently they are used, I don't think we should get rid of the thumbs. The only bad thing was to insert the three top comments below the article which was a kind of thumbs-up machine. But El Reg got rid of this long ago.
The badges though, well, I addressed my reservations already earlier on. Btw, is the silver badge awarded automatically?
Perhaps this comment took you back over the edge? As you have now been re-embadgened.
But I think it's a perfectly logical decision. By being ill, and failing to post inane drivel on El Reg, you were letting them down. Abandoning them! Just because of a minor thing like bits of you being chopped up. What a wuss! Man up! You should have been posting interesting IT-related musings from the operating table, and witty banter from the recovery room...
I ain't Spartacus,
Not only that but Someone Else should have told us upfront of his surgery plans and, of course, where and when it was going to take place. So, someone else would have had the chance to hack and fiddle the surgery schedule, changing both the surgeon to someone else and the planned operation. And now Someone Else would instead of having a new knee be missing at least his/her testicles/boobs. That way Someone Else would not only have posted witty comments but also passively created a totally IT-related story for El Reg and thereby contributed to someone else's living and many else's entertainment.
I haven't noticed any new ones around, so I don't think there are any more. And only some of the staff seem to have been given one. I suspect they've forgotten about them, and that they could give more out if they felt like it.
They could do it like nightclub bouncers. One in, one out...
ISTR something about the criteria only applying over some particular length of time before now.
I think it means we're now regarded as "stale" and are being encouraged to post more upvote-worthy thoughts.
Perhaps we should be represented by some sort of baked good that's obviously past its best?
Yep, it's 100 posts over the preceeding year. So what El Reg giveth, El Reg taketh away. I seem to recall they said they were just going to award the badges and not take them away again, but I'd guess it's way down the priorities list, and so hasn't happened.
Perhaps if you all sued for mental distress?
As one of the privileged elite, I don't think this affects me. Certainly when I got my 1,000th upvote, I was expecting my badge to be de-goldified and ensilvered. But it didn't - so maybe I'm safe from the indignity of demotion, should I stop posting for a bit.
I'm wondering how many upvotes I need before I'm upgraded with silverly goodness.
The current tally shows the total me as a user but not the current alias I've been using, so finding this out does not seem to be currently possible since badges are associated with aliases not actual members (unless of course I've missed a link or something that could answer this question for me).
Can anyone confirm or deny if the 100 posts/year threshold still applies for keeping a badge? I'm just not as active as I used to be, especially as my employer seems to think that El Reg comments should be blacklisted as some kind of web forum* but I don't want to lose the kudos of the badge.
Rather than having to go through my own posting history and counting how many posts I've made in the past 12 months, could El Reg provide some kind of early warning indication that such apathy was about to be punished?
* Of course if El Reg didn't put the comments under a different URL containing the rather obvious "forums", I might get around to a bit more cyberloafing...
I can confirm that what the vulture giveth, the vulture taketh away again. If you fall out of the 100 posts within the last calendar year group, the vulture will swoop down upon thee, cawing madly, and mercilessly rip the badge from your bleeding chest.
I think there's about 50 comments to a page on your post history. So go back 2 pages, and see what the dates are - and that will tell you if you're in danger of de-badgification.
"El Reg forums are supposed to be a fun way for commentards to interact with other commentards, exchange useful information, (and innuendo), and generally relax and be happy."
Assumes facts not in evidence, judging by the quantity of my on-topic, by-the-forum-rules posts which have been rejected by an apparently immoderate moderator over the last several months.
"If you are obsessing over your status, posting count, upvote to downvote ratio, or anything else, please, step back and ask yourself whether you are taking it all too seriously."
Agree. So-called "badges" and "thumbs" are both a bloody useless metric, as implemented here on ElReg.
"Oh, and if you really are obsessed, check out the perl script I posted in another thread, that lets you track your posting statistics in quasi-real time."
Writing said code suggests obsessiveness. Physician, heal thyself.
Personally I would have thought anybody sufficiently narcissistic to want this sort of attention is not going to care whether they get up votes or down votes - as long as they get votes.
Perhaps they'd see them as some sort of geek equivalent of marbles? They care more about the size of their collection rather than the type of each vote?
Ignoring somebody would be a bigger insult in that situation.
Why would you dry frogs in any way, shape, or form? They are quite plentiful, even here in drought-stricken California. Fettuccine with frog's legs & browned-butter sage sauce. Yummy! Especially now, we can toss in a handful of freshly harvested cherry tomatoes & a bit of Basil. Fresh bread & homemade butter ... Chow doesn't get much better than that.
If you prefer, I can offer you a couple of ton(ne)s of road apples ...
The original post says "bronze + 2000 upvotes = silver". I'm languishing.....languishing I tells ya, on bronze, when I have more than 2100 thumbs up to my credit. First, I was bitterly disappointed to be overlooked *yet again* in the Birthday Honours list (thanks a lot Liz), and now this.
A gold badge? I'd have absolutely no ambitions in that area at all. I'm probably at the time in my commentard career that I'd be looking forward to spending more time with my family. However, if one's friends were to persuade one that the best way one could serve the great institution that is El Reg was as a Gold Badge owner, then one would, reluctantly of course, be willing to take on the responsibility.
"I would have liked to have seen "JRandomUser's" Up/Down counts before being booted off!"
Honestly? Does it really matter? Why? Some kind of vicarious "us geeks vanquished the vandal in our forum" kind of thing? Do you honestly think that your up or down thumbs have any impact on who is or isn't allowed to post here on ElReg?
 Actual name elided because it's not germane to the discussion.
"It does seem odd, however, that everybody can see their own posting statistics, but only see the total number of posts made by another user, and not the up and down vote totals."
Frankly, I couldn't care too much less (and that's a rather minute quantity) about who can view my posts, nor how many of them I have made.
Why, exactly, do you want to see thumbs up/down for other posters? What value is it to you? Consider for a second ... I can downvote every post you have made here on ElReg. And can do it again tomorrow. And again on Thursday. The entire concept of "thumbs" here on ElReg was probably invented to keep the fanbois thumbs-downing instead of wasting the time of the moderators.
"To know whether I am 'typical' or not, just that really. But I already know that I'm not, so..."
... so why ask? Does it matter?
"Oh, it's you who is doing it, is it?"
No. I did it once, years ago, to prove a point. And still regret it.
"So now the moderators have more time to moderate your posts."
Perhaps they just want to be "first" to read my musings. Who knows.
"By the way, you haven't commented on this story yet, which is in need of some creative comments."
Done. Well, you DID ask ...
Well when it comes to Eadon, I do not think anyone currently active can garner so much...passion.. and translate it into thumbs, regardless of direction. ( no, not even you , Jake.. :P )
I do think/remember he has been the only one to have reached Gold status [ with gold status set to Editors' Pick or "this is ridiculous"-amounts] at some stage, simply because of the amount of downvotes he got on his posts. On a good day he could hit a couple 100 downvotes, per post.
He really moved the posts when it comes to "tinfoil hattery" and "internet warrior" to near unachievable heights over here.
I just noticed that for silver you need "2000 upvotes". But nothing about downvotes. Just because someone posts something unpopular doesn't make it false. You're encouraging a typical echo chamber where people only post what they know others will already approve of. Rather than being shit-disturbing muck rakers who MAKE people think about what the hell it is they're reading.
Biting the hand that feeds you rarely garners upvotes. You're only rewarding the kind of behaviour that you yourself decry in other publications. Popularity should never be the sole measure of validity or rewards, especially amongst geeks, nerds, and muck raking journalists.
How about requiring that people also have a certain number of downvotes, just to make sure they're not just agreeable Milquetoasts who just jump on popularity inspired bandwagons rather than put any mental effort into what they post.
(what, you think it's EASY being a raving angry loony?)
Bring on my Brown Badge! ... I had well over 4,000 downvotes from a single serial downvoter around 10 years ago. The CowardlyAC seemed to think it could intimidate me into leaving with the obviously bloody useless "thumbs". Didn't seem to work all that well. ;-)
Nobody ever owned up to it, but I still feel very sorry for it's useless fit.
 Can we have both gold/silver/bronze and brown, side-by-side? Pretty please? Or are only official ElReg commentards allowed to have two icons?
 "CAC", an AC that cowardly serially downvotes (an) individual(s) without owning up to it publicaly.
I'd like (heh, here we go again) something along the lines of 'agree / disagree' in addition to the thumbs up/down option.
I like (or dislike) a joke, but I agree (or disagree) with a statement/point/argument/etc.
Plus this is quite often mixed - I agree with the point made as such, but thoroughly dislike the way it has been made in. Or vice versa. You get the general idea.
It's certainly not 2000 upvotes in total. I've over 6000 upvotes (net) and never had a (worthless) silver badge.. Just reluctantly traded my (worthless) bronze badge in for a new moniker which (hopefully) won't make me cringe quite so much. What's puzzling me is why changing my name got me on the naughty stool... Losing the (worthless) badge I can understand - some small inducement to retain an identity for the sake of "community" or suchlike - but why the naughty stool? Are they expecting me to be so overwhelmed with excitement that I'll be rendered unable to contain some long suppressed latent urge to splaff profanity laden spam? Or have they so much time on their hands at Vulture Towers that there's nothing better to do than "moderate" the banal whiterings of people who've been splaffing away here for years without incident?
My permission to post trivial "advanced" tags has been revoked too, which also seems needlessly harsh :(
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