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I've mentioned here and there that we've been working on a new warning system. Well, kids, today's the day we welcome our new and improved robot overlord and also some better systems for the human masters that know where the off switch is.

The new robot can now issue warnings, not just ban.

How can you be the first on your block to get your very own Robot Warning?


Marvin the Paranoid Android from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
I didn't ask to be made: No one consulted me
or considered my feelings in the matter.
-- Marvin the Paranoid Android from
the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
1. Hidden comments will now generate a system warning to the user with the text of the comment. In Ye Olden Days, you could get a comment hidden and not notice. No longer. Acknowledge the warning - this is just so we know that you've seen it - and all your permissions will be restored. We are hoping this helps users know there's a problem before they get to full autoban.

2. Any user with three hidden comments within 24 hours will be given a three day timeout, regardless of mojo standing. We figure that either you're drunk or angry - either way, diminishing your reputation - and that maybe you should take a step back. Users in this state will get a little clock icon. The system will automatically restore you when the time is up.

3. Users that find themselves with multiple three hidden comment per 24 hour situations within a calendar year... will find that the length of the time escalates. Annoy the robot frequently enough and he'll autoban you.

4. Users can still get autobanned in all the old traditional ways. But in most non-spam instances, users will get some sort of warning first.

All this joshing about the All-Powerful Robot aside, really, this is a tool directed by the community. The robot listens to your collective input, 24/7, no holidays, no lunches, no sleeping, no distracting other projects. The idea here is to make moderation more consistent. This is the first update on what will be the DK 5.0 robot, not the last.

Now, to prevent the obvious gaming with HRs that might occur:


The Robot Devil and Fry exchange hands on Futurama episode,
Like Futurama's Robot Devil, our robot will have
to cope with human hands from time to time.
1. Trusted users will only be able to hide rate a particular user once a day. If he's really a bad guy, there will be no shortage of donuts.

2. Robot timeouts are reported to and can be overridden by human administrators.

Please act responsibly. If we have to teach the robot to detect abusive hide rate patterns caused by issue-based disagreement, I'll make sure we set him for Extra Grumpy.

Remember that hide rates are only to be used for comments that are abusive or otherwise in violation of site rules. If admins see users going into these timeouts unjustly, those tossing inappropriate donuts will be sanctioned. If you HR, leave a reply saying why. If you're not sure, there's the option of alerting the helpdesk.

(We're aware that there are questions about clarity in the rules. Expect an update of these shortly.)

For our administrators:

1. Administrators can now also issue a timeout of all site privileges, with an easy reminder to the robot to restore permissions at a particular future time. This creates an intermediate step less severe than banning. Users will get the clock icon in this case also.

2. Similarly, no-rate status will now always have a timer on it, and any sanctioned user will be explicitly told when permissions will return. You won't have to rely on post-it notes stuck to someone's monitor or calendar items left within the admin team.

Also New In This Release!


Most of you commenting will not notice that signup has been completely rewritten, because, well, you're already signed up. What you will start to notice is that starting today new users will not have a waiting period - they'll be able to comment and write diaries immediately.

Whyever would you do such a thing???

Goal #1: We want to increase the number of people who comment and write diaries. Often people sign up because they want to write a comment or diary, and the waiting period extinguishes that impulse. Once upon a time, we needed that, to avoid drive-bys and ne'er-do-wells.

Our new robot, our augmented server capacity, plus some new reports, and our wonderful DK Partners & Mentors Team make us feel like we're up for risking a few drive-bys and ne'er-do-wells to try to convert more people into valued DK community members.

The new signup is hopefully less frustrating, smoother, and more inviting at every step.

Goal #2: Prevent robot signups. We think our new signup may be a bit more immune to spam robots completing the signup and activation process. If it's not, we have a stronger foundation of brand new code with which to experiment until this goal is met. We have some ideas on our to-do list that should get rolled out with time.

If we're overrun with bad guys, we'll obviously adjust.

Full release notes are here.

Originally posted to elfling's Magical Mystery Tour on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Cranky Users, Meta Groupies, Troolz, and Trolls.

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