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Question: Quick Poll : Do you believe that the merit system is sufficient for not only reducing spam in the forums but to truly increase quality?
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pvk444
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April 18, 2018, 07:13:48 PM
 #1

I understand that the merit system was implemented to improve the quality of posts and reduces spamming in forums.

With 4 months in operation, it seems that merits delivered to some extent on the second objective, but, at least from what I have experienced thus far, missed to improve on the first.

It is still very rare to find a discussion which is not highly technical in focus that is of a somewhat decent quality. I would love to have a good debate about, for instance, the economic, social, financial, ecosystem etc. impact of bitcoin and crypto-currencies, but very quickly every topic gets flooded with one liners, empty statements withouth any reasoning, and often not even connected in any way to the topic of the thread.

It appears as if the merit system encourages good posts, but does not discourage bad ones. I find this really a shame.

I would like to see whether there are some means that could augment the merit system and which would more effective in raising the quality of some of the discussions and posts.

For instance, on other occasions, the concept of dismerits (negative merits) was suggested.

What I found even more effective is the system that's implemented by, for instance, Stackoverflow, where questions and answers are up of down voted. Applying a similar approach to individual posts together with perhaps means to visually emphasize higher rated posts, might just do the trick.

This, or any similar system, is not meant to replace the merit system. The merit system would be still relevant for gaining ranks and the benefits that come with them. And merits would still be awarded for particularly relevant and good posts. But such up and down voting of posts would be less restrictive (e.g. no limit like with sMerits) and if giving a vote is a simple click, would likely also be more actively used than merits.

I have not considered how difficult it would be to implement any such measure in the software, so this is just meant to kick off a conceptual discussion for the moment.
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April 18, 2018, 07:29:03 PM
Last edit: April 18, 2018, 07:55:42 PM by Sova_tmb
 #2

Merit is very good for this forum. I think dont need to imput dismerit becouse its not youtube and social network. You help another member and give merit as a thanks a lot. For spam and shitpost watching moderators.
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April 18, 2018, 07:41:50 PM
 #3

Some users have suggested that a up vote could be introduced which would show that they appreciate the post but, don't think it's worth a merit. The only thing with Stack exchanges system it wouldn't likely work at this forum. Stackexchange is primary used for asking and answering questions. But, this forum is much more complicated than that, and there's probably no real incentive of having an alternate account on stackexchange where here there's multiple reasons why someone may have an alt.

This opens the possibility of abuse, but not only from alt accounts. A lot of people have made a lot of enemies around here specifically those who point out scams and would be targeted by these down votes. This is also why a lot of people including myself are against the idea of a demerit.

I think if we ever introduce a system like this it would have to be limited to a 'like' and you could like a post. Honestly though, I don't think it's a big priority and there's probably better things to worry about.

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April 18, 2018, 07:54:56 PM
 #4

I started a thread about twitter campaigns on the beginners board, and it hasn't received any replies yet. In it I said that I was told to leave and go to Reddit if I wanted to talk about Bitcoin, and that this forum is now all about bounty. This is my thread -
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=3346535.0

This is what the forum has come to, and it is difficult to see how it can dig itself out of the bounty hunter hole.

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pvk444
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April 18, 2018, 08:03:44 PM
 #5

Some users have suggested that a up vote could be introduced which would show that they appreciate the post but, don't think it's worth a merit. The only thing with Stack exchanges system it wouldn't likely work at this forum. Stackexchange is primary used for asking and answering questions. But, this forum is much more complicated than that, and there's probably no real incentive of having an alternate account on stackexchange where here there's multiple reasons why someone may have an alt.

This opens the possibility of abuse, but not only from alt accounts. A lot of people have made a lot of enemies around here specifically those who point out scams and would be targeted by these down votes. This is also why a lot of people including myself are against the idea of a demerit.

I think if we ever introduce a system like this it would have to be limited to a 'like' and you could like a post. Honestly though, I don't think it's a big priority and there's probably better things to worry about.

I did not mean to replace or adjust the merit systems using votes or likes. These two systems would opperate independently. And I recognize the difference between a discussion forum and a "support" system (which the Stacks are).

As for demerit, I don't favor that either, but included it as it was suggested in other places.

However, I did not consider the issue of alt accounts. This adds of course an interesting twist.

From your comments I take it that you don't think there is anything else that can be considered (aside from the merit system) that would increase the quality of the discussions? It would be disappointing if the quality issue is just a fact of life which simply has to be accepted.

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April 18, 2018, 08:08:41 PM
 #6

Merit is very good for this forum. I think dont need to imput dismerit becouse its not youtube and social network. You help another member and give merit as a thanks a lot. For spam and shitpost watching moderators.

In case you missed the memo, this forum is a social network.

And I'll quote myself here because .. well. I'm awesome.

Merit is not supposed to be earned as a payment, its a gift, a sign of generosity for the nature of your helpful or otherwise cooperative and or constructive post.

And its an exception, not a rule, I do not have to thank you for your helpfulness or usefulness to me or to anyone.
pvk444
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April 18, 2018, 08:20:26 PM
 #7

I started a thread about twitter campaigns on the beginners board, and it hasn't received any replies yet. In it I said that I was told to leave and go to Reddit if I wanted to talk about Bitcoin, and that this forum is now all about bounty. This is my thread -
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=3346535.0

This is what the forum has come to, and it is difficult to see how it can dig itself out of the bounty hunter hole.

Just FYI, I tried to follow the link, but could not find the replies you mention. Maybe they have been deleted (or they were PM)?

But yes, this is shocking.

And honestly, it puts a damper at least for me, to engage much on bitcointalk.

Anyhow, another thought, and maybe this would be easier to implement:

How about creating an invitation only section of the site? Anyone can read and follow the discussions but posting is closed to the "public". Only those who have proven that they can articulate a cogent argument, have been recognized by existing members as suitable discussion partners and only through invitation by an existing member can join the closed sections and post in the discussions.

Sounds perhaps elitist, but it could help to increase the quality at least in some areas.
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April 18, 2018, 08:32:57 PM
 #8

I believe that it is time to filter out all the new people just hunting bounty. Maybe most of the boards should be members and above only

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April 19, 2018, 03:01:36 AM
 #9

As for my opinion, I believe merit increased the awareness of the members to be more considerate about the true existence of the forum, to others' feelings and to one's creativity and eagerness to provide quality posts. Since, merits require quality, full of sense and out of the bush posts, like me, I became more aware that I joined a forum about bitcoin and not only an ordinary forum where I can join bounties to earn some money. The forum for me is something I need to value so it can value me as well. It's like a crystal glass needed to be taken care of. When it is valued, the value itself is getting higher and higher. The worth of this forum increases as well. If it is full of unqualified and senseless posts, the value/worth of this forum decreases.

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April 19, 2018, 03:30:47 AM
 #10

Do you think that merit has improved the quality of the posts? Go look at the politics and society thread, or look here in the meta section to see everyone complaining about meta.

I personally don't think merit has done anything

rent my signature just PM me, or pay me to not post ;P
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April 19, 2018, 03:54:48 AM
 #11

thank for your writting. I still go for the first merit, I think it would be great to get new levels.
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April 19, 2018, 04:14:48 AM
 #12

Merit has easily cleaned up the boards. Sure im only reasonably new here when compared to most members but I remember when i joined that there was a lot of dumb posts everywhere especially the 'nice project how join' ones (they really tear at your soul when you see them posted on a thread about an ico that happened months ago). I've made a conscious effort to not just post for the sake of joining in a chat, or feeding a troll. I like looking for people with questions and seeing if i can answer them (although most times i cant Sad ).
The only downside i can see with merit, other than me not being a higher rank by now *tiny violins*, is that it has concentrated all the shit posts into the nuclear wasteland that is the meta section. This was pretty foreseeable though, people are going to whinge when you take their free shit from them.

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April 19, 2018, 05:17:55 AM
 #13

im already vote Yes.  because its true. when the merit system not added before. there have a lot of uselest topic. and abuse it of few users. just put a post anything to make there rank up. but there have a disadvantage also of merit system. like us. its hard to make a higher rank.
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April 19, 2018, 07:14:06 AM
 #14

I understand that the merit system was implemented to improve the quality of posts and reduces spamming in forums.

With 4 months in operation, it seems that merits delivered to some extent on the second objective, but, at least from what I have experienced thus far, missed to improve on the first.

It is still very rare to find a discussion which is not highly technical in focus that is of a somewhat decent quality. I would love to have a good debate about, for instance, the economic, social, financial, ecosystem etc. impact of bitcoin and crypto-currencies, but very quickly every topic gets flooded with one liners, empty statements withouth any reasoning, and often not even connected in any way to the topic of the thread.

It appears as if the merit system encourages good posts, but does not discourage bad ones. I find this really a shame.

I would like to see whether there are some means that could augment the merit system and which would more effective in raising the quality of some of the discussions and posts.

For instance, on other occasions, the concept of dismerits (negative merits) was suggested.

What it really did was turn low quality posts and topics into long low quality posts and topics that can give you eye cancer. Hahaha.

Quote
What I found even more effective is the system that's implemented by, for instance, Stackoverflow, where questions and answers are up of down voted. Applying a similar approach to individual posts together with perhaps means to visually emphasize higher rated posts, might just do the trick.

Good idea! But sadly it is not possible in SMF. Sad

Quote
This, or any similar system, is not meant to replace the merit system. The merit system would be still relevant for gaining ranks and the benefits that come with them. And merits would still be awarded for particularly relevant and good posts. But such up and down voting of posts would be less restrictive (e.g. no limit like with sMerits) and if giving a vote is a simple click, would likely also be more actively used than merits.

I have not considered how difficult it would be to implement any such measure in the software, so this is just meant to kick off a conceptual discussion for the moment.

I believe mods should start issuing temporary 7 day bans on repeat low quality offenders as an experiment.


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Welsh
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April 19, 2018, 08:07:25 AM
Last edit: April 19, 2018, 08:50:24 AM by Welsh
 #15

From your comments I take it that you don't think there is anything else that can be considered (aside from the merit system) that would increase the quality of the discussions? It would be disappointing if the quality issue is just a fact of life which simply has to be accepted.


There probably are ways to go about dealing with the spam, but I don't think this can be done without restrictions which affect legitimate users. At the moment we've only stopped users who post bad quality posts from ranking up not removing it. Generally though I think the forum is in a much better place than it was a year or two ago.

There's a constant juggling act when implementing restrictions and dealing with the spam. If there was a solution which couldn't be abused and wouldn't limit legitimate users that would be great and would probably be implemented in a heart beat.

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April 19, 2018, 08:46:26 AM
 #16

From your comments I take it that you don't think there is anything else that can be considered (aside from the merit system) that would increase the quality of the discussions? It would be disappointing if the quality issue is just a fact of life which simply has to be accepted.


There probably are ways to go about dealing with the spam, but I don't think this can be done without restrictions which affect legitimate users. At the moment we've only stopped users who post bad quality posts from ranking up not removing it. Generally though I think the forum is in a much better place than it was a year or two ago.

There's a constant juggling act when implementing restrictions and dealing with the spam. If there was a solution which would couldn't be abused and wouldn't limit legitimate users that would be great and would probably be implemented in a heart beat.

Yes, there are always two sides to things.

So, how about the idea of write-restricted areas that are accessible (for posting) only by invitation or, as was suggested above by Jet Cash, only for accounts with a certain rank?

I'd like to suggest a third alternative to use the number of merits received, instead of the rank / total number of merits. I've seen posts from hero and legendary members that don't pass muster, and those individuals have actually not received any merits, aside from the initial allocation. Although I have no idea how much effort this would take to implement, I can't imaging it would be too difficult. And since awarded merits are to a large extent (although not completely) reflective of the quality of the contributions, it seems like an appropriate yardstick.

And using the awarded merits as an entry point to the write-restricted areas would not materially affect legitimate users. Since users can still read the forums, they are not loosing out on the content. But only those who have demonstrated in the open areas that they can provide valuable input and have been recognized as doing so by having received merits, can start contributing actively to those write-restricted areas. Whether this applies to sections in the forum, or at the thread level is perhaps a secondary question, but I can't see how this would not lift the quality, while not being too restrictive either.

Any thoughts?
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April 19, 2018, 08:58:17 AM
 #17

Yes, there are always two sides to things.

So, how about the idea of write-restricted areas that are accessible (for posting) only by invitation or, as was suggested above by Jet Cash, only for accounts with a certain rank?

I'd like to suggest a third alternative to use the number of merits received, instead of the rank / total number of merits. I've seen posts from hero and legendary members that don't pass muster, and those individuals have actually not received any merits, aside from the initial allocation. Although I have no idea how much effort this would take to implement, I can't imaging it would be too difficult. And since awarded merits are to a large extent (although not completely) reflective of the quality of the contributions, it seems like an appropriate yardstick.

And using the awarded merits as an entry point to the write-restricted areas would not materially affect legitimate users. Since users can still read the forums, they are not loosing out on the content. But only those who have demonstrated in the open areas that they can provide valuable input and have been recognized as doing so by having received merits, can start contributing actively to those write-restricted areas. Whether this applies to sections in the forum, or at the thread level is perhaps a secondary question, but I can't see how this would not lift the quality, while not being too restrictive either.

Any thoughts?
I don't think it's a terrible suggestion. It really all depends on what sections will be rank/merit restricted. If we limit all Bitcoin related sections and only allow people to rank up in the altcoin, Beginners, and local boards we'll just see an increase of spam there. Yes, it might be restricted to one section, but that just means whoever is moderating that section or frequents those sections will be overwhelmed with low quality posts and people attempting to get merits by making their poor quality posts look constructive or of an outstanding quality.

Possibly, we could make merits spendable to unlock certain sections or certain threads. If someone is willing to spend 1 merit to unlock a thread then you would probably expect them to at least try and get that merit back by posting in that thread. Although, this is assuming that everyone cares about merits not everyone will and the likelihood not many people make enough posts let alone quality posts to get enough merit to do this. I don't think this is necessary and is adding a sort of pay wall behind threads which not every post needs to be constructive.

I don't think this is a good idea side wide, but could be an option for those people who make self moderated threads and want the discussion to be of high quality. They wouldn't receive the merit it would just be lost forever to avoid abuse. This would also have it's drawbacks including less sMerits being spent on quality posts, although we could just leave that up to the merit sources in the future when there's a lot more of them around.

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April 19, 2018, 09:29:43 AM
 #18

It really all depends on what sections will be rank/merit restricted. If we limit all Bitcoin related sections and only allow people to rank up in the altcoin, Beginners, and local boards we'll just see an increase of spam there. Yes, it might be restricted to one section, but that just means whoever is moderating that section or frequents those sections will be overwhelmed with low quality posts and people attempting to get merits by making their poor quality posts look constructive or of an outstanding quality.

I see your point, and yes, perhaps there would be some "migration effect". However, a counter-counterargument is that we already face the challenge of many low quality posts, and for now this is universal across all the sections / threads.


Possibly, we could make merits spendable to unlock certain sections or certain threads. If someone is willing to spend 1 merit to unlock a thread then you would probably expect them to at least try and get that merit back by posting in that thread. Although, this is assuming that everyone cares about merits not everyone will and the likelihood not many people make enough posts let alone quality posts to get enough merit to do this. I don't think this is necessary and is adding a sort of pay wall behind threads which not every post needs to be constructive.

Well, if somebody has "legitimately" earned merits to spend, i.e. has been awarded those merits for their posts, they already have proven themselves in the eyes of their peers, so the spending of merits would not provide any additional measure to ensure quality. Or did I get the wrong end of the stick?

I don't think this is a good idea side wide, but could be an option for those people who make self moderated threads and want the discussion to be of high quality. They wouldn't receive the merit it would just be lost forever to avoid abuse. This would also have it's drawbacks including less sMerits being spent on quality posts, although we could just leave that up to the merit sources in the future when there's a lot more of them around.

Yes, site wide does not make sense. Perhaps just creating a write-restricted level 1 area (same level as Bitcoin, Economy etc.) would be sufficient, or there could be several level 2 sections, one each under Bitcoin, Economy etc. I would, however, not make this a thread specific option only. Otherwise these (hopefully) high-quality discussions will be intermingled in the index with the open threads, and thus will most likely go unnoticed.

Although I don't see how receiving merits as part of those restricted discussions could  lead to abuse, you actually hit on an interesting idea:

If merits can only be earned in the open areas, but not in the restricted discussion areas, but earned merits are used as an entry requirement for posting in the restricted area it could create on one hand quality discussions in those restricted threads, while not "starve" or "marginalize" the open threads. It seems to me that this would create an ideal balance without introducing an unwanted "run-to-quality" bias and at the same time continue to raise the quality of the overall forum as currently intended.
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April 19, 2018, 10:03:43 AM
 #19

I mostly agree with what you wrote, but these lines, are exactly my thoughts.


It is still very rare to find a discussion which is not highly technical in focus that is of a somewhat decent quality. I would love to have a good debate about, for instance, the economic, social, financial, ecosystem etc. impact of bitcoin and crypto-currencies, but very quickly every topic gets flooded with one liners, empty statements withouth any reasoning, and often not even connected in any way to the topic of the thread.


Once I had a discussion at a thread with Bitmover about the electricity consumption of Bitcoin, and how big of a problem that is. However that thread was locked, and I dont know where could we further discuss that.

If anyone knows what part of this forum would be the right place to open a thread about it, please let me know.
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April 19, 2018, 10:31:13 AM
 #20

It is still very rare to find a discussion which is not highly technical in focus that is of a somewhat decent quality. I would love to have a good debate about, for instance, the economic, social, financial, ecosystem etc. impact of bitcoin and crypto-currencies, but very quickly every topic gets flooded with one liners, empty statements withouth any reasoning, and often not even connected in any way to the topic of the thread.



You can make these discussions in the Serious Discussion board if you're worried about sig spammers and farmers. Maybe we could experiment with an up-vote/down-vote feature on the new forum in one of those boards, but I'm not sure I would want it site-wide. I think if it was people would just abuse it with bots and down vote comments from people they just don't like.

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