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Author Topic: Is there a way to stop frivolous postings in response to news articles? Back to Topics
khawk858

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Shreveport

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Message Posted: Jul 15, 2013 12:56:27 AM

I am interested in most of the articles contained in the daily news articles for reading. However, it is abundantly clear many people skip to the comment section and write "interesting", for example, just to get the points for reading and then posting a forum comment. The effect of such posts, which almost always outnumber pertinent ones, is to make the blog responses almost useless, because the clutter of the garbage remarks makes it nearly impossible to keep up with any comments.

If one only wants to get points for making some one-word comment, why don't those people go to the Just for Fun section and use a section which requires only putting an "x" for example. It would end the clutter of useless remarks and leave ones where people actually care about the article's information and want to comment on it.

I don't know how it could be accomplished without some minimum word comment required. Maybe there is another way and I hope GB can come up with a solution.
REPLIES (newest first) Topic is locked
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Aug 26, 2013 2:32:04 PM

tenasha12 wrote:

"I AGREE WITH YOU, BUT THIS IS A FORUM AND GB HAS THE SAY FORGOT I POSTED HERE ALREADY MY BAD"

I'm not sure I understand the post, but as for "I POSTED HERE ALREADY", you can post multiples times in a thread. No apologies are necessary for multiple posts in a thread.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Aug 26, 2013 11:22:47 AM

Why the yelling? Does someone need a hug?
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tenasha12
Champion Author Manitoba

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Message Posted: Aug 26, 2013 9:46:00 AM

I AGREE WITH YOU, BUT THIS IS A FORUM AND GB HAS THE SAY FORGOT I POSTED HERE ALREADY MY BAD

[Edited by: tenasha12 at 8/26/2013 9:47:54 AM EST]
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tenasha12
Champion Author Manitoba

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Message Posted: Aug 25, 2013 6:34:49 AM

Absolutely agree with GasBuddy. We are unable to control others, however losing or making this forum difficult too some I use that word loosely is not fair
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Aug 22, 2013 11:29:41 PM

Indeed, I've been reporting each instance. Since the expected response is that the message will be removed without a trace, and I don't bother to record which topics they were infesting, I can't easily tell whether that action was in fact taken.
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Byte_Doctor
Champion Author Akron

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Message Posted: Aug 22, 2013 7:33:53 AM

Which is why we must continue to report every instance of those postings here in TBTU and SGBI. Otherwise we will also be overrun.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

(Yeah, OK, it's a bit of a stretch to equate that quote with our situation, but hey, close enough!)
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Aug 22, 2013 7:24:35 AM

Bingo - exactly it kwzh.
Now we have a few that have found their way over here. The news topics are filled with JFF posts, but why expect anything else?? They have let ALL categories become filled with "topics" that are nothing more than JFF, and now they are letting posters here on these two boards (TBTU and SGBI). I know that one has been reported by many of us more than once.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2013 11:22:21 PM

I think people who are responding to the news articles *are* generally doing it for points; the ones who just want to inflate their message count can do so just as easily in JFF. The only reason to prefer the news category, I think, is because they're already reading the news for points anyway.
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LarryMarg
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2013 10:50:38 AM

OK. Interesting. :-)

I like the idea of not awarding points for replies to news articles.

Of course, that would stop the people who are doing it for the points, but not those who want to get their "Messages Posted" count sky-high.
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2013 7:05:09 AM

khawk858 - I suspect the change to eliminate points to comments in Newsville is problematic for them at this time since probably tied into the entire forum coding, which seems to be somewhat old / out-dated. I suspect they have had some software entropy over time and need some code refractoring to make some of the bigger changes safely w/out breaking other things.

Hopefully, they now have the resources to do some of this refactoring so they can make these types of changes since it is highly rumored that they are working on tying the price posting to the MSL data.
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khawk858
Champion Author Shreveport

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2013 1:41:26 AM

I think this thread is a perfect example of what some thoughtful postings csn achieve, including finding people who have real opinions on comments, not "ok" or "interesting." I think the forums are a good way for people who are concerned about energy use and policy to discuss such. However, for those who only want the points: Go To Just For Fun (per my original suggestion). Therefore, I don't see how point reductions or moderator monitoring suggestions could work. However, I fully agree with Gas Buddy that Scrapheap's suggestion to not award points for news discussions is a workable method. It allows the horses to be led to water (giving points for, at least, making people access the news story) but recognizes you cannot make them drink (read the article), so why not just award the access and let those who are only interested in the articles stick around to read them and comment because of personal interest, not some point reward. My question would be if the mucky-mucks of GasBuddy have ever considered making such a change, or is it deemed too much of a hassle?
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2013 12:20:11 AM

GrumpyCat: Not feasible, for the reasons stated by Gas_Buddy. Also, the mods seem to be strongly against anything that deducts points, even when the point-earning activity is of questionable value.

I think that the point system is extremely unlikely to change, except in ways related to modification of the point-earning activities themselves. (E.g., if E85 were to be added as a new fuel type, then a decision would have to be made as to whether reporting it scores 0 or 150 points; either could be considered consistent with the status quo.)
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Aug 20, 2013 8:05:33 PM

"One point for the first 5 words in reply and one point for every word thereafter up to 20 points."

I would hate to see the computer coding for that. But more seriously, all that would do (if the suggestion is serious) is have members post long sentences instead of the short or one-word ones they do now. For example: "The issue discussed in the original post is interesting and may be concerned to a number of members. This thread should be prominently displayed." (That would give me one point for the first five words and 19 additional points for the 19 additional words in the reply.)

"If moderator determines a posting was bulked up with useless padding then dock the poster triple the credited points. Award up to 20 points to the first reader to flag the posting as points-padded bulk."

Do we really want the moderators to read each and every post to determine if a posting was "bulked up"? What one person may think is an intelligent or useful response maybe be considered by others to be verbose or filled with unnecessary detail (even though the person making the post thinks the content is useful).

Moderators should be word counting to decide the number of credited points and then make deductions?

Award points to the first reader to flag the post? Unless that first member is immediately recognized and/or publicly acknowledged by the moderators, you don't think that the "gotcha police" will inundate the moderators' inbox competing against each other to see who's "first"? We already have complaints from members that other members are quick to say that topics are in the wrong category; you don't think that "tattle taling" (my choice of words) won't get excessive?

"Allow moderators to hand out 100 point or 1000 point bonuses for exceptional posts."

Why? What determines exceptional posts? A simple one line sentence "Here's how to do what you're asking..." is exceptional to the person who asked the question. On the other hand, a very detailed (though lengthy) response may be considered exceptional by some, but not by others. Again, however, do we want moderators to essentially be like teachers reading answers to essay questions?

"If I was Dictator of GasBuddy.com I'd outlaw "do you" threads."

I wouldn't outlaw "do you" threads, any more than I would outlaw "How many...what color...have you ever...has anyone every...do you add additives...which brand" or "Is there a way to..." because (like it or not), a good response to "Is there a way to...", in the opinion of some, is "No, there's not." "Do you..." threads have their place, however misplaced they may be, but they should generally be in the Off Topic or General Gas Talk discussion categories. The "do you..." type topics simply lend themselves to one word answers.

As the original post is concerning responses to news articles, two possible solutions are to not allow responses to the articles, meaning that if a member wants to start a discussion on the issue, the member can; and to not allow points for news article discussions (that is, encourage discussion about current issues for the sake of discussion and the exchange of ideas and opinions). (The follow-up to the second suggestion is to awards points for discussion-participation only in the Just For Fun category, an idea for which, I believe, Scrapheap deserves credit.)

Sorry, but I can't find much that can or should be implemented in the "One point for..." post. Just my opinion, however.
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GrumpyCat
Champion Author Alabama

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Message Posted: Aug 20, 2013 4:42:58 PM

One point for the first 5 words in reply and one point for every word thereafter up to 20 points.

If moderator determines a posting was bulked up with useless padding then dock the poster triple the credited points. Award up to 20 points to the first reader to flag the posting as points-padded bulk.

Allow moderators to hand out 100 point or 1000 point bonuses for exceptional posts.

If I was Dictator of GasBuddy.com I'd outlaw "do you" threads.
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Aug 20, 2013 7:14:02 AM

kwzh "Let's just lock all of the offending threads, and not move any of them. If the fluffers want to continue their game, they can start a new thread in a fluffy category. (They could even link back to the original, to provide continuity.) "

I think that would actually work better than moving. There would need to be a "sticky" at the top indicating the fact that the existing rules were actually going to be enforced and the locked one would drift down off the first page.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Aug 20, 2013 12:12:42 AM

I would suggest giving points only for posts in JFF.

Failing that, I would suggest volunteer moderators with limited abilities who can lock threads or move JFF threads to JFF.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Aug 20, 2013 12:04:49 AM

Let's just lock all of the offending threads, and not move any of them. If the fluffers want to continue their game, they can start a new thread in a fluffy category. (They could even link back to the original, to provide continuity.)
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Michael29644
Champion Author Greenville

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Message Posted: Aug 19, 2013 12:54:27 AM

"I don't want to see the fluff threads *moved* -- that doesn't provide any real incentive for the original abusers to change their behavior, and they might not even notice the move if (a) it was a hit-and-run post with no intention of returning, or (b) they've bookmarked it in their Favorite Topics List."

It's not how I would handle it, but then again, I wouldn't have let the situation slip so badly as to become the current mess. As I see it, moving the topics would accomplish three things. First, it clears out the worst of the clutter with minimal effort. The mods don't have to review every post in every thread. At most, all they have to do is look at the original post of the questionable threads and decide if/where to move them.

Second, when the serial abusers come back to the GGT forum, they may wonder where all the old threads went. I might even suggest locking a bunch of threads on the first page with a message to the effect of, "This thread has been locked because its contents violate forum guidelines," and include a link to both the guidelines and the JFF forums.

And third, when new users come to the forums, they won't see trash threads and think that is the accepted behavior on the forums. Ideally, I wish they would address the individual abusers on a case by case basis, but that would take a LOT of time.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Aug 18, 2013 11:56:34 PM

I don't want to see the fluff threads *moved* -- that doesn't provide any real incentive for the original abusers to change their behavior, and they might not even notice the move if (a) it was a hit-and-run post with no intention of returning, or (b) they've bookmarked it in their Favorite Topics List.

I'm not coming up with a good solution that is likely to fit in seamlessly with the existing framework, and not involve subtracting points (which the mods have been rather emphatic about avoiding).
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Michael29644
Champion Author Greenville

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Message Posted: Aug 18, 2013 8:47:21 PM

"Heck, even most of the not "JFF" have more fluff threads than real threads other than maybe SGBI and TBTU"

Sorry TPTB, but much of this is an issue of lack of moderation. There are many threads in the General Gas Talk forum which violate forum guideline #1.

"Likewise, topics which cater to one word responses, or non-discussion topics, should also be posted in the Just For Fun forum. These topics include topics like “Highest Prices in your area”, Lowest Prices in your area”, etc."

Until they start moving these threads to the JFF or OT areas, this problem will continue to get worse. New members come here and see long time members abusing the forums, so it's natural for them to think, "Hey, if they are doing it, it must be OK."
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LarryMarg
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Aug 18, 2013 8:26:45 PM

One way would be that if a one or two word post matched one of a set of responses (including "OK" and "Interesting"), then when "Post Message" was clicked a pop-up would appear asking if the user really was posting something relevant, or if the response should be directed to a "JFF" topic.

However, I'm sure that there are many more important things on the "pending site enhancements" list, so ignoring short messages may be the best short-term solution.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Aug 8, 2013 3:38:52 PM

For those that don't understand TxJeans' post, several of Beachguy's one or two word posts have been removed since TxJeans made her comment (moderators apparently have removed Beachguy's comments as a result of their "frivolousness").
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Aug 7, 2013 9:41:48 PM

"Is there a way to stop frivolous postings in response to news articles?"

Banning Beachguy? ;-)

Seriously, they need to make it easier for points grabbers to find the JFF than the news or serious categories. Heck, even most of the not "JFF" have more fluff threads than real threads other than maybe SGBI and TBTU
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durangohex
Veteran Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Aug 2, 2013 9:17:30 PM

Let the monitor make the call. I think many are just trying to wrap up the points. Someone could review and then delete the ones that are just padding their totals. Of course sometimes the one or two words responses are serious!
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Michael29644
Champion Author Greenville

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Message Posted: Aug 1, 2013 2:07:45 PM

Khawk858,

You may have to resort to putting the offenders in your ignore list. To me, if they are that disrespectful of the site and its members, I don't care to see anything they "contribute" in any other thread. What is truly shocking is the number of red car members who are now in my ignore list. If TPTB haven't gotten the posting guidelines across to so many of the long time members, there's virtually no hope that newer members' behavior on average will be any better. It becomes a degradating game of "monkey see, monkey do."
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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Aug 1, 2013 1:17:30 PM

CampKohler, I think the site prefers the Teddy Rosevelt method to the Nun-with-a-ruler approach. That is, rather than the less drastic but effective ruler crack on the knuckles you suggest, they speak really softly and then hammer someone with their big stick. I suppose that, practically, a point penalty might cause the mods more trouble from all the protests it would generate.

I think the ignore short posts button is as good as it's going to get for quite some time. It took years' worth of complaints just to get that.

Requests to use points punatively probably have about as much chance of being adopted as the futile suggestions to expand the points system. Electricity or water (hydrogen) will replace gasoline -- rendering this site obselete -- first.

Note to scoutmaster: CK's reference yesterday was a serious but funny followup to his July 17th post that first introduced NWAR to the discussion along with a (or is it an?) punny use of the word habit. Nicely done, CK!



[Edited by: SUVFan at 8/1/2013 1:23:14 PM EST]
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khawk858
Champion Author Shreveport

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Message Posted: Jul 31, 2013 5:54:45 PM

ds2dale,

I had read the SUVFan post referring to the buttons and, apparently, did not understand (my inability to read not an inability on his part to write). Now, after your letter, I looked closer and finally found the Replies bar and the Ignore Short Posts button. I cannot believe I had missed it, but I will now liberally use that button and the ignore writer buttons as SUVFan had suggested. I was already using the ignore button as much as I could, because so often the worst violators of the spirit of responses do it day in and day out with the same responses everyday. Thanks again.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jul 31, 2013 5:13:38 PM

CampKohler is this another poor attempt at humor by you because it sure has nothing to do with this topic.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Jul 31, 2013 4:44:47 PM

Don: Whats a nun without a ruler? (You know, the heavy wooden kind with a inset steel edge and bloodstains all over it.)
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ds2dale
Rookie Author California

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Message Posted: Jul 30, 2013 1:20:56 PM

I agree with the Fan of SUVs. If short posts annoy you, the very first thing you should do when reading a news item is tap the 'Ignore Short Messages' button in the 'Replies' bar.

Voila, frivolity is gone and seriousness reigns. You might miss some 'funny', but a truly serious person doesn't need all that frivolity.

Second paragraph written mostly in jest....
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GoGoGoodyear
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Jul 26, 2013 5:22:44 PM


1) stop giving points for posting responses to news

2) add a link to JFF forum in every news article, next to Post a Reply link
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Don
Moderator
Message Posted: Jul 25, 2013 3:27:14 PM

CampKohler,

There's nothing on our system that is designed to remove points from anyone's account, but there are tools to add points for missed account activity - we do this to help deter complaints from people claiming the site removed or deleted people's point activity under circumstances when users simply were not active.

-Don

[Edited by: Don at 7/25/2013 3:27:35 PM EST]
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phinum
Rookie Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Jul 20, 2013 4:39:53 PM

I agree that a "penalty" should be assessed for obviously frivolous attempts to gain points. The only way to do this is for a monitor on the site to make judgement calls.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Jul 18, 2013 11:37:20 PM

Point subtraction has been suggested before, and the mods have been pretty emphatic about saying that it'll never happen.

I agree that disallowing points for news comments is probably next to impossible due to the nature of the code. Removing the news threads themselves might be a possibility, as they're already a special case of some sort.
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khawk858
Champion Author Shreveport

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Message Posted: Jul 18, 2013 12:16:19 AM

Thanks for the responses. I like the idea to disallow points for commenting on news articles. That would make people go to the forum for their comments if they want points. If they want to make no meaningful contribution, they can post z's or countdown from 20000 in the fun section.

The news article commentary would for the most part be left to people who care about the topic. I would heartily endorse such a movement by GasBuddy.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Jul 17, 2013 7:49:57 PM

Howzabout this: A moderator periodically looks at news comments and deducts, say, a thousand points from each frivolous poster's account. Put up a permanent warning above the news section, say a month ahead of time. Then after that, just a few deducts and the word will fly like the wind* all across the GasBuddy kingdom, and the problem is permanently solved with NO code changes.

It's called the nun-with-a-ruler method. We would just have to get Don in the habit. :-)

___
*A literary device. No actual flying is involved.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jul 17, 2013 7:37:39 PM

I too agree with Scrapheap.

My earlier comment, "The way to stop "frivolous postings in response to news articles"? Stop allowing responses to news articles and make it an effort to start a topic to discuss the news articles, as well as to respond to the articles." was suggesting that if there was to be discussion about a news article, then a topic should be started from scratch to discuss the article (not merely click on a link and make comments).
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Jul 17, 2013 7:24:17 AM

I agree with Scrapheap on this one. Just remove the posting points for NEWS. Unfortunately, it is probably integrated in the overall post posting and coded so long ago that they don't know how to quickly unwind that decision.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jul 17, 2013 6:09:18 AM

To stop the posting of frivolous responses to news articles, all GasBuddy needs to do is to stop giving point posting responses to news articles.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jul 16, 2013 9:36:55 PM

Part of the problem is that's what frivolous to you may not be frivolous to another member. Some members think it's non-frivolous to say okay, or interesting, or (even) old news, to let others know they read the article in case other members might want to contact them privately regarding their opinions.

Do I think most postings in response to news articles are constructive or provide insight? No; I think most responses are either flippant, irrelevant, or (to use your word) frivolous. But such comments are allowed, and some members apparently think their comments are relevant, even if others don't have the same opinion.

The way to stop "frivolous postings in response to news articles"?
Stop allowing responses to news articles and make it an effort to start a topic to discuss the news articles, as well as to respond to the articles.
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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Jul 16, 2013 8:34:32 PM

The only way to stop it involves making a site announcement and then enforcing the rule. With so many members posting, that could be a big job at first. There seems to be no appetite for that. Instead, the site offered up the ignore short posts button and also suggests liberal use of the ignore member button, especially for repeat offenders.

If there is no plan to enforce the site's rule, as I posted elsewhere recently, the site should remove the prohibition from the forum rules, which might help member relations.
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gas_phil
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Jul 16, 2013 1:00:51 AM

The short ones are actually good. They don't ignite a flame war.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Jul 15, 2013 4:41:27 AM

It's a known problem. For now, the workaround is to click the "Ignore Short Messages" checkbox.

"why don't those people go to the Just for Fun section" -- most likely it's because they're earning their points for reading news, and earning their points for posting to the forum, in the same trip. If so, then it might be fixed by making it harder to post to the news article threads. People will take the path of least resistance.
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