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    • Markos Giannopoulos

      In one of my threads, a post of a user (not one of mine) is now "hidden from other users". It seems that I have the permission to "unhide" it. My understanding is that some Cake moderator took action on this?

      In either case, it would be good if the message was a bit more clear, e.g. like "a moderator has hidden this post due to reason X" (X= one of several generic categories: abuse, hate speech, spam, etc)

      By the way, is the user alerted when a post is hidden / unhidden ?

    • Yes, a moderator hid that post because it was inflammatory, espoused political conspiracy theories, and it was posted by a new account. Hidden posts are only visible to conversation owners and Cake admins.

      I agree we need to add the ability for moderators and conversation owners to provide a reason when hiding a post, and in fact this is on our todo list. We also plan to notify users when a post is hidden (we currently don’t).

    • I think any user should be able to hide any post. If there is a post that you are obviously not interested in, hiding it makes space for you to see the posts that you ARE interested in and new posts. If you don't care about auto racing but an auto racing post is in your feed for whatever reason hiding it both eliminates clutter and also can be seen as a signal that Cake can use to better fine tune your feed. This is something entirely different from moderation though.

    • Markos Giannopoulos

      This sounds good especially since we have the ability to cross-post in multiple topics.

      I might be interested in photography but not in car photography. Being able to hide the “cars” topic would result to me not seeing discussions cross-posted in the “cars” and “photography” topics. Of course this could get complex or confusing to people. :)

    • Please ensure that the admin who takes action on a post informs the poster of why. One of the big things that annoyed people about Google+ was a post or comment taken down by Google was only referred to by a number that meant nothing to anybody and could not be used to work out exactly what had been taken down, let alone why.

    • I might be interested in photography but not in car photography. Being able to hide the “cars” topic would result to me not seeing discussions cross-posted in the “cars” and “photography” topics. Of course this could get complex or confusing to people. :)

      But it's going to be a huge, huge use to people fine-tuning what it is they want to experience on the platform.

      That will probably require actually being able to find tune "how much" you're interested in a given topic/subject/group. If it were up to me, every one of the tags would have the ability to be given a ++, +, -, or -- weighted rating (or, of course, left neutral) which would affect how close to the top of your "interesting" feed things floated. Couple that with being able to apply the same weighted rating to users, and you suddenly, magically, have a way to indicate that you are interested in conversations involving certain people, less interested in conversations involving certain people, and have indicated to the system a perfectly fine way to sort any list of content to be of most interest to a given user at any given time.

      Heck, we can get even fancier than that. If we extrapolate some metadata to be weighted values that are user adjustable, you can have things like "active since I was last on" float to the top, "a conversation I was involved in" float to the top, or "posts which haven't seen activity in over a week" float to the top.

      And if we take one further step and allow the user, may be behind an "advanced settings" control, to give weighted ratings to dyads of things, you can say "I want to read conversations in which Lex talks about role-playing games ("@lex"+"tag:role-playing games" +) but I am far less interested in him when he talks about politics ("@lex"+"tag:politics" --)."

      Or, to express the original issue here, "I am interested in photography, but I'm really not interested in cars."

      ("tag:photography" +)
      ("tag:cars" -)

      Which would result in more photography floating to the top and less cars in general, but if you're interested in cars outside of the context of photography, you might want something more like this:

      ("tag:photography"+"tag:cars" --)

      Assuming that the photography tag is already boosted elsewhere.

      And if we really, really wanted to get crazy, absolutely nuts. We could notice that this little abstract language that I conjured up out of nothing isn't limited to just referring to indexed tags or pregenerated metadata, but if there's enough computing power kicking around – it could just do a straight body text comparison, in case there's something that you really don't want to see.

      ("text:Drumpf" ---)

      I leave it to the more technically minded of the audience to think about what happens if we let a text interest tag be a regex.

      Note that none of these things actually tell the system to hide that content for you. Instead, they accumulate to give a value to a given conversation causing it to appear higher or lower on the firehose stream of your feed. For a real, quality experience, they need to be coupled with an awareness by the system of what content that you have already seen/some kind of "marked read" mechanism so that you really aren't getting just an endless firehose but a stream of things ordered such that you are likely to want to engage with things higher up, and once you do or pass on them, they fall off the visual radar unless you specifically go looking for things you've already read.

      Now, once you have a system for which we can make a reasonable guess about how interested you are in a given conversation, we can look at it and allow you to set a bottom threshold of "how uninterested I have to be before the system doesn't even show this to me at all." Some people, like myself, might make that bound really, really low (into the negative space) because we have the choice of looking at things which we might not be interested in because of participants or topics, but there might still be interested if we finish looking at stuff we are interested in. Some people might set particular individuals extremely, extremely low and never want to be involved in a conversation in which they are, setting the threshold in a medium sort of position.

      This is the sort of thing that gives maximum flexibility to the maximum number of people, and would be a great thing to see on a platform like Cake where there is a ton of good content and you want to read as much of it that interests you as possible, but it is very scant about being able to report back "I think this is interesting to you because," and allowing the user to help sculpt their experience.

      You know, just a few thoughts here and there.

      @yaypie , thoughts from the engineering end? :)

    • Hey @MarkG, today we released a new feature that allows conversation owners and Cake moderators to choose a predefined reason and optionally enter a custom explanation when they hide a post. The post's author will be able to see the explanation, so this is a great way to explain to someone why their post was hidden.

      Thanks for urging us to do this!

      Here's an example of how a conversation owner or moderator could use this feature to tell someone why their post was hidden, hopefully without hurting their feelings too much.

    • After a post is hidden, it will look like this to the post's author, the conversation owner, and Cake moderators:

    • Personally I would be offended if I received a message like that .

      What if it is just a comment that the poster didn't agree with or the tone of the comment was misinterpreted, or they wanted to clean their feed from the dreaded "noise" I sure as heck wouldn't want to get into an email discussion over it.

      I guess this was one advantage of following people, you got to know the person and there quirky ways.

      Edit.. there are already ways implemented to moderate posts.. mute , disallowing the person from commenting, hide , which I think you are referring by doing this notification thing, and flag. How much does one need. Its getting to the stage that only a select few are able to use a voice and if you are not a Guru bam! To the gallows you go.

    • What if it is just a comment that the poster didn't agree with or the tone of the comment was misinterpreted, or they wanted to clean their feed from the dreaded "noise" I sure as heck wouldn't want to get into an email discussion over it.

      Even as a free speech maximalist, I have to ask the question, "so what?"

      Let's start with the assumption that anyone that creates a conversation can moderate that conversation. They have complete control over who speaks there and if someone that speaks there can be heard.

      Okay.

      So if you run into someone who wants to exercise ironfisted control over what kind of responses they get – let them. Your offense is utterly meaningless in that context. So is mine, in complete fairness.

      Nothing keeps you from creating your own conversation and linking to the original, making whatever comments that you want to say about it and moving on. In just the same way as the original poster had the ability and power to boot you from their conversation, you have exactly the same ability and power to keep them out of yours.

      You have the complete power to speak. You don't have the power to compel others to listen to you nor do you have the power to compel others to include you in their conversation.

      It's not a thing you get to have a discussion about. It's just a thing that every single person on the platform has the power to do.

      How much does one need. Its getting to the stage that only a select few are able to use a voice and if you are not a Guru bam! To the gallows you go.

      How much does one need? As much as one wants.

      No one compels you to use these tools. No one compels me to use these tools. Nor can you compel someone not to use them.

      There are conversations I would be interested in initiating and managing in which it's true, literally if you were not a guru you would be hauled off to the gallows – or at least not invited to partake in the conversation. That's exactly what the architecture of panels enables. Being able to manage and moderate the content of your own conversations is what allows people to make the decision of who and what they want to engage with.

      You don't have the right to force yourself on other people. If you did, everyone else would have the same right to force themselves on you – and I'm pretty sure that's not something you want.

      I'm all for the right to speak. I'm not particularly fond of asserting the right to scream and people's ears whether they like it or not.

    • Markos Giannopoulos

      @yaypie This looks excellent and an upgrade over anything other social media have.

      Quick clarification since @Julianne mentioned that somehow we end up having too many options : “mute”and “ignore” are user-centered, e.g. they affect all posts by the user on all threads. They are actually quite drastic (especially the “mute” one - I see people get quite upset when they are blocked by another user on FB/Twitter)

      Whereas the “hide this post” affects the specific comment only. It’s basically equivalent (and improved) of the hide feature on FB.

      I think we need these series of options if Cake is to create a platform for people to have discussions on their own terms.

    • I don't have a well crafted response as , I am well aware of the underlying message you are sending me and hints of a former problem that i was involved in.

      Obviously my sensitivity is a weakness, I should have used your the problem solving technique

      Do I actually care enough to act

      quite frankly NO!

      I think cake already has the tools to handle the situation well enough for moderation without adding more.

    • Markos Giannopoulos

      @yaypie , a related question : if someone mutes me , and I try to access his profile , what happens?

      FB is passive-aggressive on this, giving you an error if you try to access a user who has blocked you, but the error is something like “this address is wrong”. Plus, searching for the blocker's name will show nothing, as if he doesn't exist, which I find quite silly.

      Twitter I think tells you , “user X has blocked you”

    • And Google+ shows the blocker's profile as "Restricted". If you have blocked someone else, their profile shows as "Blocked".

    • @yaypie: This is an off-the-wall idea, but what if blocking became 360 degree feedback for improvement? A learning opportunity, if you will.

      You block someone and have the chance to rate (1-5) the person on several attributes the platform finds desireable: posts on-topic consistently, quality of content is high, argues respectfully, allows others to contribute to the conversation.

      After every third block, the blocked user has a chance to review the consolidated scores for each attribute.

      Off-topic aside: I just deleted several paragraphs of further explanation/justification because I realized that I was starting to write a blog post dissertation instead of having a conversation. 🤔
    • I am well aware of the underlying message you are sending me and hints of a former problem that i was involved in.

      I want to be really clear about this – I don't know you and I don't know anything that you may have been involved in at any point.

      And I don't care.

      There is no subtext. There is no secret agenda. Believe me, I think it's clear by now if you read anything I've said publicly that if I wanted to refer to something it would be straight up, public, and without hesitation.

      Just so we are on the same page.

      I think cake already has the tools to handle the situation well enough for moderation without adding more.

      I would actually like to see some more moderation methodologies. The trade-off is not the question of whether I'm giving someone I disagree with better tools to disagree with me more effectively because that's the sort of reasoning that ends up deciding there's no safety and making new things, so you stop making things.

      It might be interesting/useful to give conversation creators the ability to manage conversations via keyword searches. This is the next step on after my ideas about giving individuals the ability to prioritize content from the hose based on keywords, topics, and metadata – why shouldn't we allow conversations to be moderated by those who want to do so via the same kinds of mechanisms? Want to start a conversation about politics but explicitly remove direct references to Trump? Sure. It would be most polite to tell people the rules upfront before you put on the keyword "Trump" to auto-hide content, but it seems like a thing somebody might want to do at some point – or some other type of content filtering.

      How about multi-user moderation of a specific set of conversations? That sounds like another good opportunity for community-building. Creating dialectic spaces where certain rules are observed and maintained, sometimes experimentally, can lead to some really interesting outcomes.

      I love tools. I like giving tools to people. I like seeing what people do with tools.

      I would love to see some more tools for moderation. Just as I would like to see more tools for discovery. Even if those tools get used by people who disagree with me.

    • You block someone and have the chance to rate (1-5) the person on several attributes the platform finds desireable: posts on-topic consistently, quality of content is high, argues respectfully, allows others to contribute to the conversation.

      Wait, you mean that people who disagree with me so much that they wish to never hear from me again get a channel to communicate with me about how terrible a person I am in a way I have no reply to?

      Yeah. How could that possibly go wrong? I can't imagine that being bad at all.

    • Muting someone doesn’t prevent that person from viewing your profile or even reading your posts. It just prevents them from posting in your conversations and reacting to your posts.

      We intentionally didn’t follow Twitter’s model here because the fundamental flaw in Twitter’s approach is that the blocked person can just log out to see your stuff, because Twitter doesn’t know who they are unless they’re logged in.

      Realistically, there’s no reliable way for Cake to prevent someone from seeing your stuff because your stuff is visible to logged out users. So we don’t bother trying.

    • We want to be careful not to turn Cake into a popularity contest. Scoring users on the quality of their discourse comes dangerously close to that, I think.

      The primary purpose of Cake’s ignore, mute, and moderation functionality is to give each Cake user a way to control their own experience on the site.

      If you’re not interested in what someone writes about, you can ignore them, and they don’t need to know. If someone keeps popping into your convos and harassing you or making you feel bad, you can mute them. If someone posts something spammy, off topic, or abusive in your convo, you can hide their post.

      All of these things are focused on improving your personal experience with as small an impact on others as possible.

    • We want to be careful not to turn Cake into a popularity contest. Scoring users on the quality of their discourse comes dangerously close to that, I think.

      Oh I agree 100% with you. The idea of having a popularity rating that is displayed as a top influencer badge would be quite disgusting.

      But what I was envisioning was a way to let someone know if there was a common reason why they were being blocked by multiple people on the platform.

      This is not a hypothetical user scenario for me.

      My old blog, which I shut down three years ago because the economics were no longer there, was focused on education and employment for individuals on the autism spectrum. Additionally, I’ve provided in-person vocational education and job coaching to adults on the spectrum. Lastly, I have several hundred folks who follow me on Twitter because of my autism advocacy.

      The biggest constraint to life success for adults on the spectrum is not knowing intuitively the social norms and expectations that neurotypicals take for granted.

      It pained me to block a brilliant follower over the summer because he tweeted something that you can’t take back. I would have been happy to fill out a form that allowed me to provide a check box form of reasons why he was blocked and then having the system provide an average of the responses from all of the blockers, of which there were many, so that he could get explicit feedback of how to have an enjoyable social life online. For some individuals with autism, that is the only social life they have.

      Like @lextenebris, I have no interest in knowing the reasons why I was blocked. I would therefore want the option to not receive such feedback.

      Completely understand if this isn’t an avenue that you want to pursue. This is basket-of-wishes-love-Cake-as-is user feedback.

    • If you’re not interested in what someone writes about, you can ignore them, and they don’t need to know. If someone keeps popping into your convos and harassing you or making you feel bad, you can mute them. If someone posts something spammy, off topic, or abusive in your convo, you can hide their post.

      I suspect that making sure that the motivations for each of these actions are clear to users will go at least part way to reassuring people that there is an intent and it's expected that people will use the tools responsibly.

      As we know, that doesn't mean that the tools will be abused – but in the long run, that's a self-correcting problem. People who create conversations and then assiduously police them for opinions that oppose their own so that they can be hidden will just end up getting their creators muted by people who want to engage in reasonable conversation. And if there are enough people who don't want to engage in reasonable conversation to satisfy the original poster, that's on them.

    You've been invited!