And the comments that don't quite get hidden; the Tip Jars that disappear and the diaries that vanish from the face of the
earth Recent List, or never make it there in the first place.
Welcome to the Shadow World, inhabited by Trolls, Zombies, Sockpuppets, Spammers, Somewhat Trusted Users, Secret Masters of the Universe (stealing that one from SF fandom), and other variously interested people with too much time on their hands. And elfling, the Help Desk angel and general Commander of Spambots, who expects to get some sleep after about July.
This is both as a companion piece to my previous epic work on Spammers, and a sop to all the people who keep bugging me about Hide Rate Statistics.
I've noted before that one of the many things Daily Kos is, is an ongoing experiment in Community Moderation. This is one of the reasons why it tends to be hard to collect all the pertinent background information on everything in a FAQ - next Tuesday, it might change substantively. That does make it just a wee bit hard to learn everything you need to in any coherent way, so every once in a while the Administration does an Ask Me Anything posting, and from time to time various users collect bits and pieces of information to make it available to New Users.
This is intended as a primer for those proud users who have managed to survive at least their first 90 days here, and have accurately gamed, er, satisfied the algorithm that puts them up past 2 bars of MOJO. (If you've never noticed this, check the top left box on your Profile page.)
Congratulations. You've gotten your third bar (or fourth, or fifth, depending on how fast and deeply the addiction set in) of MOJO. You are now a member of an elite group of about 9,000 individuals who have Trusted User status, and who have posted within the last year. A second Radio Button - Hide - has appeared next to the Recommend button you have gotten used to, and you can set your Profile Page to Show Hidden Comments.
You now have the ability to Hide Rate comments made by other users, and to get into new and even more serious trouble than was possible before, if you're not careful. You should take the time to read the latest guidelines on Hide Rating, and it might not hurt to memorize them, or at least Bookmark the diary, before you are ever tempted to use your new-found powers.
It takes 2 Hide Ratings to originally Hide a comment with no uprates. If there are mixed opinions, it takes 3x+1 Hide Rates to counter x Recommends, so a comment can accumulate Hide Rates without ever being Hidden, or bounce between Hidden and visible to non-TUs several times over the course of a particularly hot debate.
Specifically, you may use up to 5 Hide Rates per day, on 5 different users. You may not Hide Rate a user more than once in 24 hours, and if you Hide Rate a comment and then take back the Hide Rate (by clicking a second time on Hide), it does not come back to you for re-use.
"Do I have to?"
No. You can participate in Community Moderation without ever "throwing a pastry". (Also known as Hide Rates, donuts, zero ratings, Troll Ratings, hydrates, etc..) A clear and cogent rebuttal to a comment which infringes on the site rules is every bit as admired (or scorned, depending on the company) as clicking the Hide button.
The vast majority of users on Daily Kos have never hit that second button. Out of over 3 million comments made last year, only about 10,500, or .35%, ever saw a Hide Rate. The average number of Hide Rates (HRs) per comment is between 3 and 4 (I'm going by past checking, since the Search function for comments seems to have been a casualty of the server upgrade), so my high end guess for HRs is about 42,000. Seems like a lot, right? Around 115 a day, which would mean a minimum of 23 people who care enough to give the very worst. The reality is more likely somewhere between 200 and 300 people who semi-regularly take the time and effort (and risk) of actually using the Hide button. Out of 9,000. Let that sink in for a moment.
"I keep hearing about people ganging up using HRs to get somebody banned. I wouldn't want to do that."
Good, because it's nearly impossible to manage. A spammer:
"My sister's friend makes over $900/day from her own home..."
or a troll
"...all you stupid limp wrists that voted for O'bummer..."
can be banned immediately, and automatically, if their very early comments are Hidden. In fact, those two rather obvious classes account for about half the Hidden comments, and the majority of the BOJO'd (banned) users.
But. Once a user has a certain minimum number of comments, the most that can be done using HRs is to put a user into a TimeOut. This takes a minimum of three hidden comments, so at least six people need to be ticked off enough, within a 24 hour period, to Hide a user's comments. At the same time (or at any time, for that matter) another user can make the case to Administration that the first user should be banned. Administration is more likely to issue a warning than ban a user, but since the comments which caused the Hide button to be used are generally the same ones which are submitted to admin, the causes of both warnings and bannings tend to seem mixed up from the outside. Thus, the notion of coordinated "gangs" colluding to Hide Rate innocent users who happen to disagree too much with the Powers That Be. These cases cover about .005% or less of comments, at a guess.
On the gripping hand, if the user thinks the TimeOut or banning was not legitimate, they can appeal directly to admin through the Help Desk, and any automatic action can be overturned by a real human being if it's felt that the Hide Rates were unwarranted.
On the fourth hand (I hate fourth hands, except in Bridge), from time to time there is what seems like a concerted effort to provoke a user into breaking one or more rules, at which time massive HRing somehow occurs. At least some of these situations are likely to be exactly what they seem - a deliberate attempt to get rid of a user. My personal guess is that this occurs in about one fiftieth, or fewer, of the cases which actually get reported up the line to admin, and that most of the time it doesn't work anyway, but it is perhaps the strongest Urban Myth that wanders the site in the wee hours of the night.