Blog Post

6 years ago

Proper use of FLIGS

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: Features FLIGSModeratorsThe Site
The FLIGS 'reaction' system is meant to be subjective, and as such harder to 'abuse' since how you feel isn't 'right or wrong' as such.

However, it's become apparent that at least some members have already been misusing it in various ways...

One of these ways is to give pity reactions, or to 'balance' out negatives, resulting is a pile of positives that don't really seem fitting at all (like marking a poor post as +G, +I, +S, and +F, when dozens of other people have all reacted to it negatively, and things like support don't even apply to it).

Another was is to pile on the positives - or negatives - to show a singe view. For example, you may like ponies, and a post somewhere mentions the word 'ponies' without talking about them in any detail, so you give it a positive reaction in basically every category.
This is wrong, of course, because you're giving the reactions based on a single idea - 'I like ponies' - but actually saying 'I appreciate this, it made me happy, it is interesting, I agree with it, and it has been said very well'. Which is ridiculous, but I've seen it done.

The system has probably been used well for the most part, but I can see much more misuse of it when the unwashed masses come swarming in, with their inability to think or read and itchy trigger fingers. Yes.

We have moderators now.
If you are a moderator, you should try to do something about obvious misuse of the system.
Talk to the person directly, asking them nicely to explain the reactions that caught your attention.
If they cannot, or their explanation is insufficient, then ask them nicely to remove their reactions.
If they don't, or if they reply snottily, you should remind them that if they don't, they'll get an infraction. Maybe that'll make them act.
If they are still resistant, then you should give them an infraction for ratings abuse.

The things you should look for are pity reactions, 'balancing out' reactions, and piled-on reactions, using many letters to make a single point.

To you non-moderators, uh... use the system properly! Yes!

on 4 Roots



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I am a bit disappointed that I can't be neutral anymore while rating something. For example, on the old site, you could rate brown for neutral, but know I am always being 'forced' into being either happy or unhappy about a post or comment or what-have-you. Also, not being able to rate something "in between" is inconstant with how I feel about some things, for example what if I truly cannot make up my mind about how well written a post is or if it is a waste of space, or more importantly, if it is a "good idea" or a "bad idea". Sometimes I don't think something is a good idea, but (oddly) I don't think it is a bad idea either, I just think it is... in between.

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Then you shouldn't 'rate' at all... or 'react', rather. They are meant to represent strong and clear emotional reactions, leaving the fuzzy 'oh, I don't know' stuff out completely.

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I think the 'pity ratings' are rather a consequence of there not being a neutral rating. In the past, a brown rating often stood for ambivalence, for posts that were not quite good posts yet not something that needed to be discouraged. In FLIGS and UFELTA, a person must either rate positively or negatively, or not at all, so the only way to express that a post is underrated, or that it is not as bad as the popular vote judged, is to rate it positively.

I know there has been quite a bit of discussion on rating and reaction systems lately, and if the readdition of a neutral rating had already been proposed, I apologize.

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The main problem with these 'pity ratings' (or reactions, I suppose, since that's what they are now) is that they usually seem to be given in most or all of the categories, all at once, for the sake of adding as many positives as possible.
It would be fair enough, I suppose, if there was a post with a bunch of negative F ratings that one person gave a positive F rating to to say 'well at least I didn't get annoyed by this! It made me smile, actually', but to ALSO give it positives in every other category would be misusing the system...

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As early as now, I think you and the mods [your puny little mods, mwahaha] should prepare yourselves for the mass of people who'll say that the UFELTA system is better since it allows users to measure posts with more objective means. For example, it's usually easier to *justify* whether something is "friendly" rather than "This post made me feel nice!". I'll illustrate using the following quote:

Simulated Post said:
This other user is a complete waste of Oxygen. He should put the rest of his efforts in digging his grave so he'd be useful for once. No one likes him, and he should regret he ever lived.

Assuming the post was given seriously as a comment on someone's user page, it's definitely easy to give that post -F under the UFELTA system since it's downright hostile. Moderators probably don't even need to ask why someone gave it +F, if ever someone gives that. It was definitely incorrectly given.
We compare to the current system, which I still prefer to call FIGLS [and I'll keep calling it that no matter what you say, hmp. ]. Users here can actually give it a + in almost every category and get away with explaining it.
There's really no strange thing if someone simply likes frankness and saying things like Simulated Post said earlier.
It could be justified as being well-said since it *is* a creative way of expressing distaste for someone.
The person who'd feel the same way about the user, but neither has the time nor the will to express is actually justified in giving it both +G and +S.

Anyway, I understand this is your site, not mine. Aside from that, this system is interesting anyway. Even though my personal opinions don't matter to you, the thoughts of the masses of Fighunters should. So maybe you should listen *if* they start complaining about the unfair ratings, and how easy it is to get away with giving those as long as you're cunning in crafting words, really. Moderators will try to be understanding with your explanation unless they hate you since it *is* meant to be subjective. And that would make it that much easier to abuse the system and get away with it.

Another concern I have with this system is that there seems to be no point in displaying an overall orb for users since it shows nothing more than popularity. Even though the S rating isn't factored in the ratings, the subjectiveness of the other ratings make me think sometimes that it might as well be factored anyway, since the posts are judged on the most part based on how well-liked they are, rather than whether they contain contributory insights.

What is the ratings system meant to *be* anyway? As I see it, the FIGLS system is a mere measurement of the popularity of posts, rather than overall post quality. I feel it's rather limited, too limited to require than an orb [that appears whenever someone's name does] be based directly and solely on it. Is someone's overall worth to the site measured by the average popularity of only his forum posts? I can actually post one comment each month, and get it to green. Then I'd not post for the rest of the month. Would the green orb next to my name really represent my "contribution" to the site? What of members whose contributions are valued but only have blue orbs due to having so many short and not-particularly impressive posts? Does the system address this?

Pardon my inquisitiveness and criticism, I am an auditor by profession. :B
There is something I can recommend, though! Since there are moderators now, perhaps they can award "Stars" for posts. These proposed stars would be awarded by moderators for posts with exceedingly high quality, and should be the model for what posts are. Then users can have their total number of stars counted on their profiles, and be collected just like medals. Uh, that's just the theory anyway. I think they're a better measure of a members' contribution than these orbs anyway, and at least people would aim for "good posts", rather than "popular posts".

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I want to move away from that rather pretentious, 'essay writing contest' sort of feel to this place, since it bothers me seeing humongous posts (like the one I'm currently writing), or thinking of how well these posts did in some kind of objective sense... What's the point of having ratings in the users' hands if posts can only really have a 'right' or 'wrong' set of ratings given to them anyway? Why not just let some AI, or moderators, rate them?
This system is still sort of like that, but less so.

In all communities, some people are liked more by the others, some are ignored, and some are just hated for the way they behave, the things that they say. Emotional reactions come naturally to us from the things that we read, so a subjective 'reaction' system is more intuitive, less forced.
It shows what's actually happening in the reader's mind rather than forcing them to 'rate' against their actual feelings, like rating up 'well written' posts even if they make them fume in disagreement or offence.

I think it's more meaningful to have the orbs by your name represent generally how the community FEELS about your behaviour rather than just whether or not you've got 'good grades', so to speak.

Also, to use an example, let's imagine that there are two identical comments, like 'I hate you, you are a disgusting excuse for a human being, and I pity whatever girl may end up with you', or something, posted on two userpages; one of completely ordinary member who was nice to his friends here but kept to himself most of the time, and one on the userpage of a malicious troll who had been tormenting people for giggles in the chatroom, being subtle enough about it to evade a ban but harsh enough to really hurt people.
By an objective system, they'd get basically the same ratings, probably, because the system only allows you to view the post in isolation, essentially. But that doesn't really reflect the impact of the posts on the community in any real way.
With a subjective system, the one aimed at an innocent might be widely panned, and rightly so, because it was cruel and uncalled for. But the other, on the bully's page, might be met with happiness and agreement. It might not be 'right' in some robotic, ideal sense, to derive pleasure from such a thing or to encourage it, but the fact is that it does give some people pleasure, because he 'got what he deserved', and a subjective system would show how many people thought that way.
If a dozen highly-regarded members Support or derive pleasure from an insult aimed at you, that says so very much more about your place in the community than negative ratings given to an insult just because every insult gets negative ratings.

It's a way for the community to show what they as a whole do and do not want to see more of, while rating posts based on their 'quality' doesn't really mean a lot in any terms that matter to anyone but the poster.
It may be 'easier' to give objective ratings if your mind works in a certain way, but they don't really mean anything. At least, not anything significant.

A brief post may create more of an impact in someone's life, and in the social dynamics of the site, than a long essay ever would, but with an objective system, the essay would more fairly get the most praise or attention. This seems wrong to me.

I hate how long posts on the old site - like many by david s - basically always got cyan or green ratings, since, well, they're long, so that makes them good, right? I wonder if people gave those ratings without even reading the posts, since being long meant they were 'good' in itself, so no further analysis was required.
This encourages tedious, repetitive, pretentious, fluff-ridden posts which made forum threads unreadable for me.

Also, I very much doubt that newcomers will insist that UFELTA was better because it's not like any of them ever actually used it. Most wouldn't even know it ever existed.

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Silence 26 Australia PhlegmaticCholeric ISTP 5w6 72C
Well I think both of you are arguing over an example that simply shouldn't exist, and that your arguments should use a different one.

I think a better approach to those comments would be to have an exclamation mark at the end of FLIGS. The idea of this is that if someone were to be posting such comments, selecting it would send a sort of alert to the moderators, who would then come in and inspect the problem, and if necessary, remove the comment and award an infringement to the person who posted the hateful comment. Sort of like the violation system of old.

Secondly, I agree with CtG that the ratings should be objective. I really disagree with the points you have put forward there Pseudo. If we were to rate things subjectively, I feel you would make several topics either difficult or close to impossible to talk about without everyone in the thread receiving a lot of negative ratings. I feel the following topics would be greatly affected by such a scenario.

Alcohol/Illicit drugs
Politics (depends on country and no. of users from said country though)
Stance on abortion

There are probably more, but those are examples of highly arguable topics that would result in many poor ratings from people who disagree heavily. While they should be able to disagree with a point, they should not be able to hate the user from it, or hate the entire post in all aspects other than agreement. An objective system would force them to consider the point of each persons statement for such a topic, and to rate them solely on the merits of the argument, rather than responding poorly because it made them feel bad.

I disagree very strongly with your stance about how the community feels about your posts being the only way to develop an opinion of someone. That I feel will lead to disaster, either isolating many people who will simply not post for fear of a bad rating, or much worse, returning the old habits of the HP system, where people could form collective coalitions to down-rate people into oblivion. I DO NOT want to see that happen and I fear it will from a subjective rating system where people can do this with almost no chance of consequence, as CtG has already outlined.

Thirdly, I think the community should be able to be exposed to a wide variety of topics, and not just the ones that make them feel all warm and fuzzy. It's important to learn about these things because they may very well have experienced them, or soon will, and they could use preparation for it.

And on a final note, not really related to my arguments, I don't think you should be using David s as an example Pseudo, as you are inherently biased against him as you have stated before that you refuse to read any of his posts, and I don't think it has just to do with length either. Long posts do add value as it is quite hard to sum certain things up (scientific arguments would be a bit harder, as an example). Although I do agree to keep it short as much as possible.

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I used a fairly 'extreme' example to show the vast difference between objective and subjective system in terms of meaning in a social context. Marking any insult as aggressive only says 'that is wrong here regardless of the situation', which doesn't reflect what is actually going through peoples' minds when they read the post.

I've already seen what objective systems work like over the last few years, and I don't like them and want to go in a different direction. I'm expecting some opposition - like this - at first because many people don't like change, and are still thinking in a way appropriate for the old system.

To get good ratings with this system, you need to behave in a way that the community appreciates, just like in any other community in the world. With an objective system, you have to strive for 'good grades', often by being too wordy, pretentious, showing off, or just not expressing your true opinions. I've already seen this happen, and I've been disliking it for ages, I'm glad to have finally done something about it.

You speak as if everyone should strive to achieve positive orbs all the time, and to not post unless they get them... This shouldn't really be the case. I post about religion a lot, and I know full well that creationists and theists would hate my posts, and use the reactions system to say so. It won't prevent me from posting, though, because while I will get some negative ratings, I'll also likely get some positive ones too, and the ones that I DO get will have a whole lot more 'social meaning' than ratings that say 'this is well written, A++, well done', because I'll be able to see who amongst the members is 'on my side' and so on, and whether or not I'm going too far (when the negatives outweigh the positives, and I get negatives even from people who usually are on my side).

This post of mine that you replied to is an example of something that may have got 'good' ratings with an objective system, but it got mixed ratings with FLIGS. It seems that two people dislike it in various ways, and that has more social meaning to me than if I were to get a lot of expected positives.
It makes me think more, to try to understand what I might have done to bother people, or at the very least it exposes people who don't see eye-to-eye with me.

You also speak as if abuse of negatives will just be allowed to go on and destroy people without me and the moderators catching the perpetrators and doing something about it... Abuse of the system won't go unnoticed if it's extreme.
There's also the fact though that if someone is getting many negatives from many people, that says something about their role in the community; largely 'you're not welcome here; improve or leave'.

I used david s as and example because his posts are consistently huge blocks of text even when everyone else seems to be leaving much shorter posts. I've heard others complain about the way he posts, and the undeserved high ratings he gets just for being lengthy, so while I know I'm biased, I'm at least not alone in my feelings about him.

Anyway, whatever the rating system is, people will always think in certain ways. Even if we have an objective system, where you must rate 'well-written' essays as good and anything offensive as bad, people will still be enraged by certain posts, or wish others weren't posted at all, etc. They'll just have to ignore these feelings, in order to be objective, which is difficult, unnatural, and at times painful.
Using FLIGS doesn't change how people think; it just makes clear and open the way that they already think, which is much more useful for the community than 'grades'.
Would you prefer a system where I have to rate creationists' posts as positive because they took the time to write them? That I find disgusting, fake, and meaningless, because it wouldn't express how I actually feel about them at all.

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Silence 26 Australia PhlegmaticCholeric ISTP 5w6 72C
Well, thank you for further clarification of what you have set out to achieve with this system. This does help, but I still have concerns.

I think abuse of negatives is a very real possibility, regardless of moderators present. Your statement about how to obtain good ratings only confirms my fears, that if people deviate from the overall feeling of the community, the community itself, rather than the moderators, will see to it that the person is run out of town, so to speak. It's a lot harder to reprimand a larger group, than say a rogue individual or two.

Consider the HP system you had of long ago. That system was an incredibly steep learning curve to new users, as an early mistake could be fatal to staying upon the site. While this system is improved somewhat as there are no "Autobans" or something similar to them, for becoming so negatively rated, I think people will still make the learning curve very high for newer members, risking driving away a potential audience of new, possibly paying members, from repeated discouragement.

I prefer to be objective and speak out against the change because I believe that other than a personal opinion piece, feelings have no place in discussions. They dilute the information by persuasion; making you feel something that would otherwise override your judgement on what you actually know, or persuade you without knowledge on topics you are not informed about. People should be able to write something without someone automatically dismissing it because they do not agree or that it stirs up misery/anger, but the content itself as something that increases, or maybe decreases understanding. (Although to be fair, religion may not seem informative at all depending on how its presented, and the faith/lack of faith of the reader, and persuasion towards a religion is rather unavoidable).

The point is that I feel FLIGS could use some form of objectivity, otherwise what is the point at all of posting information on a topic if people will dismiss it because they don't like it, rather than understanding from the information presented? We should not have to "sugercoat" every topic for fear of offence, but be able to present it for, and have it rated on, the purpose of information.

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If someone has done something bad enough to be getting negatives in great quantities from many people, then it's likely that they deserve them. Getting negatives in itself is not a problem if the person did something to get them in the first place.

If only the ratings of posts from the last month are taken into account, people will be able to recover from a rocky start, in time.
But since the system is not based on breaking or following rules, only emotional reactions, it's more intuitive; people would get negative ratings if they are showing obnoxious behaviour that would be hated anywhere, rather than by breaking some arcane rules that they just weren't aware of.

Hmm, I seem to remember, come to think of it, that you are a rather unemotional person, and that this has come up before... I'm a very emotional person, though, and as such I see a focus on emotion as a positive thing. I think emotions mean more, and are the driving force of so much behaviour...

I think you're seeing the site differently to how I do. I don't see it as a 'place for discussions' like some kind of political or scientific meeting, or a school classroom, or anything like that, where people should be analytical and exhaustively detailed. I just see it as a group of people, who can share their thoughts, interests, and opinions with others in order to derive social pleasure from it.

I imagine that people come here to be entertained in some way or another. This entertainment can be ruined by the presence of certain individuals acting in certain ways, so in voicing their frustration, people can get rid of - or at least hopefully discourage - these fun-ruiners and make this a more enjoyable place for themselves.

Emotions have as much a place here as they do when you're sitting talking with your friends in the pub (or whatever it is that people who actually have friends do; I wouldn't know). While I try to keep some unusually high standards for behaviour here, it's still meant as a relatively casual place. It's not school.

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I give this blog post a +F, a +L, a -I, a -G, and a +S!!1 Or some such!!1
Also, "I like ponies"?
What happened to the "I like Stoats" thing you had going on some time ago?
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