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Subject: User Approval of Content rss

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Scott Alden
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Due to the overwhelmingly large amount of submissions these days, I have been toying with the idea of setting up a system of allowing users to approve content.

Let's be concrete on this and only tackle image approval.

I'd like to hear ideas on how to achieve this that makes it as foolproof as possible.

Here are some of the problems we admins face when approving images:

- duplicate images from the same user
- duplicate images (or mostly duplicate) from different users or previously uploaded
- corrupt images
- quality control
- when rejecting images, giving solid reasons back to the submitter.

I was thinking about giving some reward for taking the time and effort to approve images, but I can think of many ways to play the system and get without following the spirit of the system.
 
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Jim Cote
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Create a hierarchy of users who can give special thumbs up to content. At the top level are the BGG admins. They can choose a set of people they are comfortable with and who they must "manage" (if necessary). This could be done one more time to create a third level of people. Admins can give thumbs up for 10 points. The next level down, maybe 4 points. Etc. If a submission gets 10 points, then it gets approved. So 1 admin, or 3 2nd tier, or 5 3rd tier, etc. Anything reasonable will get a lot of thumbs quickly.

People in the hierarchy can see who approves things, so abuse or inconsistencies can be caught easily and passed on up.

Of course, all people who are in this hierarchy would need some listed view of all unapproved content. I assume you have that now for admins. I'm sure most people would do it for free.

Obviously some form of criteria--even for images--needs to be applied. There's no way to know if an image is copyrighted or is given permission. And it gets worse with subjective things like reviews. Left to my own devices, I wouldn't approve half the ones that are approved now.
 
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Man THAT's a big can of worms you have there!

Why not just add a few more admins with only "picture approval" duties/access? Maybe that's not possible, but I think giving the average user that power is gonna end up being a nightmare. You'd hope that emotions wouldnt come into it, but in 10 years there will still be fallout from the "Great Image Wars of 2006"!

Or not.

I think the power should stay with the Jedi and not get lost in endless debate of the Imperial Senate.

 
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Richard Young
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I don't know what criteria you have used to select moderators, but how about adding some more. Maybe a few mods outside of N. America would help as they would typically be online during a different time of the day?
 
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Jared Heath
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manowarplayer wrote:
Man THAT's a big can of worms you have there!

Why not just add a few more admins with only "picture approval" duties/access? Maybe that's not possible, but I think giving the average user that power is gonna end up being a nightmare. You'd hope that emotions wouldnt come into it, but in 10 years there will still be fallout from the "Great Image Wars of 2006"!

Or not.

I think the power should stay with the Jedi and not get lost in endless debate of the Imperial Senate.



I somewhat agree...maybe another moderator or two might be the right direction. How many moderators do most sites like this have?
 
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Richard Pardoe
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Following on Jim's idea - I like the concept of a "probationary" period for submissions. Once there is enough support, the image (in our limited test case) is moved into the database at large. (The assumption here is that all submissions would be in a different part of the database rather than the game entries themselves.)

However, this means that the "probationary" pen also needs some enhanced features. For example, the ability for the submitter to self-delete an image should there be negative feedback. Or even to replace the image if there the submitter has a better image they would like to submit instead.

10 points seems a bit low - I think a higher threshold (and no tiers) would be fine. Especially as the smaller tiers might become just as overworked as the current admins. I also prefer a site that has fewer rather than more levels of user hierarchy.

Better (I think) would be to have say a 100 points as this would eliminate the need for tiers. Another benefit is that while over 100 might be automatic approval - this might also help the admins rank the submissions and take a look at items with over 80 points as a way of prioritizing the approval queue by popularity instead of age. While at first 100 may seem high, I think there will be an initial rush of folks checking lots of stuff. But once this initial wave of activity is over - the parameters might be adjusted to levels that work better.
 
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A L D A R O N
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More admins, assigned specifically to content approval for particular areas seems a better approach.
 
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Brad Miller
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Wow, images are quite the place to start. I'd think that perhaps in the future, some sort of "flagging" system could be implemented, where images could get dealt with that way, (once an image got enough flags it would be deleted, or vice versa if you wanted). Create a "pool" where unapproved things go, and if something gets the requisite number of flags it is approved or diapproved.

You might need to restrict it somehow to prevent newuser abuse. Ugh. A can of worms indeed.
 
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M C
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I like the way slashdot does this. Every so often, active users get a number of moderation points to spend as they see fit. They also have meta-moderation for users to moderate the moderation

This would put some more "power" in the hands of the regular users, rather than having more admins with this as their sole job.
 
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Jorge Montero
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Let me throw a few ideas in:

-I think you'll get more help than you need without offering geekgold. I'd handle geekgold rewards as something special that an admin could do to especially useful reviewers, just like you give gifts for special contributions to the site.

-If you want to open editorial content to everyone, you have to make sure multiple people approve/reject every item. Just single user saying rejecting every 10th good picture for no good reason, or saying yes to everything could pollute the database quite badly, or cause some griefing. I'd also set a minimum amount of time for items in the queue, to make sure that enough eyeballs have taken a look at the submission to guarantee its quality. Otherwise, you'd open yourself up to multi account attacks.

-If moderation abuse becomes an issue, you might end up needing a meta-moderation system, slashdot style, to make it easy to tag the undesired individuals from the moderator/approver pool.

-You'll also need some detailed guidelines for item approval. As ekted says, different people have very different ideas on what should and shouldn't get approved. Otherwise, we might get oruselves into an argument that makes the old recommendations thread look tame. Remember the picture nazis?
 
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Jim Cote
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I like the good/bad idea. 10 thumbs up, the image is approved (or put in the approval queue for am admin). 10 thumbs down, the image is disapproved (or put in the disapproval queue for am admin). If an image gets 10 thumbs one way but also gets some threshold of thumbs (say 4) the other way, then the criteria needs to be discussed or modified. If there were 50+ content people all around the globe, submissions would fly through.
 
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THE MAVERICK
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Aldaron wrote:
More admins, assigned specifically to content approval for particular areas seems a better approach.


I also think that this would be the best approach - follow the KISS principle!

(Especially since it didn't seem to work out when everyone was able to give numerical ratings to images... a seeming attempt at "moderation by the masses.")
 
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Alan Kaiser
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I think a combination of the two prevailing ideas here would work well. Add a number of new admins who's job it'll be to collectively review image submissions. Three people should be able to do it. Two thumbs up from the three would warrent entry. I agree that opening this up to the general user community will create a nightmare that won't soon be forgotten. Recall not long ago when ratings were available for pictures. Look through any group of pictures and based on those ratings you tell me why some pictures were rated high and others low!! Everyone looks at the pictures in a different way. Some see something fun in the picture, others want a good representation of what the game looks like, others want the picture to have a good layout and still others don't care about anything other than the picture be in focus! Who's right?!?! The correct answer in my mind is it all depends on the eye of the beholder! Stick with a few new admins which you select and make them secret (no admin bar). If you want to open it up a little more to the community then give each of these special admins a term (say 6 months) and rotate people in and out.
 
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Marshall P.
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What if you allowed everybody to view pending pictures one at a time and randomly. You view a picture and either give it a thumbs up or move on to the next. If a picture reaches 100 thumbs up (or some other number) it's approved. If it stays in the queue for a certain length of time without reaching the threshold it's kicked out. Let the law of large numbers overwhelm the ones who would abuse the system similar to how game ratings aren't really affected by shillers once they reach a certain number of raters.

Whenever people felt like it they could take a look at pending pictures and vote on them, for some people like me this would probably be never but enough people would probably do it.
 
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Pat T
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I'll second Alan's idea.

If you think there is too much work for 3, then be sure to pick an odd number of image approvers. And go with majority rules. If you had enough of these special mods you could swap them in and out on a monthly basis, to avoid burn out etc.

This solution would also even out the "content only informative shot" vs the "artistic photo" bent that viewers have. Personally, I think there is a place for both types of photos on BGG.
 
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Iain K
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My two cents, I like the admins dedicated to picture approval idea best. I would add that those admins could have areas of focus or specialization. The idea being that focusing on the types of games they know best or are most interested in (a) keeps them happy without GG candy, and (b) lends itself towards their being able to judge content better.

Example, a wargamer may be able to judge whether a picture duplicates the content of another similar picture of the same wargame or not. They might also be better suited to "judge" (cue sound of worm can opening) whether a picture is useful to understanding the game, or any other pre-determined criteria.

A variant of this would be to have admins assigned to games.

Example, Pictures for an obscure game called Good Boy Carl are submitted. Admin #12 gets assigned to judge the photos. Henceforth, Admin #12 will judge all photos submitted for that game. The trick with this approach is to balance the workload among admins with popular games and those with scarce ones.

Final thought, turning off the faucet. At some point, is it possible that we won't need anymore pictures *in the database* for a game. Perhaps, you should cap the number of pictures for a game and refuse submissions from then on. Note to those freakin' out, this could be a very high number.


So are you already looking to hire over at BGG LLC Aldie??


Again, just a couple ideas



 
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Scott Alden
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Here's the problems with admins - not that I'm dissing any of our admins.

I love them all dearly!


The influx of BGG content is a lot - really. Even if you are the most dedicated admin and spend hours approving content it still keeps coming. Eventually you will get bored and stop. It happens, I do it all the time. I can go weeks without looking at the admin section. We've got about 6-10 active admins and we still can't keep up with the daily flow.

On top of that you are going to have to answer up to a lot of harassment:
"Why didnt my pic get approved?!", "Why did this get approved and this didn't?", etc...
 
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Ed Sherman
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alkaiser wrote:
I agree that opening this up to the general user community will create a nightmare that won't soon be forgotten. Recall not long ago when ratings were available for pictures. Look through any group of pictures and based on those ratings you tell me why some pictures were rated high and others low!!


This is true. Different people want different things out of their images.

Some people want "show me what's in the box" pictures
some people want pictures that are arty
some people want pictures of people playing the game
some people want fun pictures
et cetera...

...which is why Carcasonne has an astounding 151 images! Yikes! I say just anoint a couple more admins and keep it sort of centralized.
 
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Mike Pranno
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Quote:
Even if you are the most dedicated admin and spend hours approving content it still keeps coming. Eventually you will get bored and stop.

Why not a simple rotation. And those that fulfill the duty may continue doing it at their leisure.

I also like the "specialized admin" idea.
 
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Well, what if you sort of combine the two main ideas above?

When images come in, they go into some "unapproved" queue or pile. Anyone can look at them, and give them a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. Once an image reaches a certain number of thumbs up (preferably low), it goes in the admin queue? Maybe thumbs-down cancel out thumbs-up, and if it reaches a certain number of thumbs-down, it's tossed from the unapproved area. (For thumbs-down, you want to require people to say why...) "In theory" this could cut down on the work for the admins--images which n people think are bad are filtered out, and their job is more of a rubber-stamp on a stream of images which are already believed to be good by n people.

Or--I don't know how much of a problem this might cause--remove the image approval queue entirely. Submitted images go right into the database. But, there has to be an easy way for people to report abuse, and if an image you submitted has to be removed by an admin, "something bad" happens to you. (Hopefully the "image abuse queue" would be much much shorter than the image approval queue, ha ha.)

Another just-throwing-it-out-there idea... what if images were worth 0GG, or 1/3GG or something? I guess the question is, when an image is rejected by an admin, how often is it because the image was deliberately abusing the system (or an honest mistake where someone accidentally uploads the blurry crappy picture instead of the one they intended), and how often is it because it was just a really lame image only submitted for the GG? (If the latter is only a small portion of the rejected images, then this idea is especially dumb.)

Any idea roughly what percentage of images get rejected, and why?
 
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John Farrell
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I think a public approval process is bad - people will submit porn or just junk simply to amuse or irritate the approvers. I site I used to frequent, kuro5hin, had this sort of process, and all of the buzz about an article happened before it was approved. After it was approved, everybody had seen it anyway.

I vote for more admins. It can't be hard to find even say 20 admins to help out. I don't know how much access admins get, but you wouldn't need much to approve pics or session reports. There definitely needs to be changes in this area - by the time session reports hit the front page, there are so many that some of them have scrolled off. I received this morning for a session report nearly a month old. Maybe you could autogenerate email to one aadmin each day saying please do some approving today?
 
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Daniel Kearns
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Peer review
In science, we would call this peer review.

Maybe, in everyone's profile, there could be a box you check to volunteer to be a peer reviewer. I typically don't like restrictions but in this case (let's say) you could prohibit "new users" from being peer reviewers until the new user period is up (however long that is? I have no idea. Started after I got here). The assumption being that "old users" have a better idea of what content is already here and where to find it.

Then for each item that comes in, it is automatically and randomly sent to 3-5 (let's say) peer reviewers. These reviewers have a week (let's say) to check, with one click, either accept or reject. If the content gets two disapproves in that week then it is rejected. Otherwise, it is accepted.

Maybe one final option "pass it on" in case you aren't sure whether it should be accepted, or you are too busy to read it, and it will be sent to another random reviewer.

The review would be anonymous but also random. To stop cries of "foul" you could omit the name of the person submitting the contect so everything is double blind. Such a system would prevent just one person from vetoing the particular submission as at least two independent people would have to rate it below par. It could handle the fact that sometimes people will be out of town etc, as when the review week is up, there was just one less opporunity to click reject. If you are swamped with work and just can't get to it, unclick the peer review button to stop new submissions coming and "pass on" those you have already received.

No rewards to the reviewer, just the responsibility of volunteering and being part of a community.
 
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Stephen Roney
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kuhrusty wrote:
Another just-throwing-it-out-there idea... what if images were worth 0GG, or 1/3GG or something?


I would think that perhaps there could at least be a number of pictures for a game beyond which the default would be no GG. The GG for the first and even second picture should remain at least at a full GG.

I am close to my Geek Badge despite being a new user because I have added 7 games, 15 first pictures (including all seven of those games) and 8 second pictures, along with 14 other pictures where I had a box that was different than what was already on-line (not to mention one tip and the Christmas present). I did get an extra GG when one of my pictures was approved twice. I don't know if I accidentally submitted it twice or if two admins simultaneously approved it.

Without knowing what the reject rate is, it is hard to suggest anything. Of course, removing or reducing the approval process might increase the number of improper posts......

Awarding GG should require approval, whether the pictures go public without it or not.
 
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Jorge Montero
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Friendless wrote:
I think a public approval process is bad - people will submit porn or just junk simply to amuse or irritate the approvers.


That's a good point, but I think it can be dealt with: hav a special 'item goes against terms of use' option. When someone flags a submission like that, all other open submissions from that user are hidden from view, and sent to an Admin. If the admin agrees with the findings, the user is banned. If the admin finds the approver overstated his bounds, he is stopped from approving content again.

I'm not claiming that public approval is the way to go, but most of its biggest issues can be handled without much trouble. It's obvious that a very small number of admins is impractical, Aldie has explained us why. The question is... Is handling 20-100 admins easier or harder than giving approval access to most/all users?
 
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Aldie wrote:
The influx of BGG content is a lot - really. Even if you are the most dedicated admin and spend hours approving content it still keeps coming. Eventually you will get bored and stop. It happens, I do it all the time. I can go weeks without looking at the admin section. We've got about 6-10 active admins and we still can't keep up with the daily flow.


So add, say, 7 picture-only admins. After the first week or so, that will free up your 6-10 active admins to work on monitoring the forums, approving session reports and reviews, etc etc etc. - and free you up to work on the site itself and to manage the admins. Later, you can add session report/review/file admins. It becomes, in essence, a sort of hierarchy - approving images is almost certainly the easiest task, so that's the first step for an admin. Later, they may 'graduate' to more complex approvals - with forum moderation presumably the Holy Grail of Adminhood.

I don't think that anyone but the forum moderators need have the 'admin' badge. Keep the rest quiet, give them occasional GeekGold if you want to.

Moderation by the general user community is a bad bad bad idea, IMO.

I liked the "2 admin OKs is a go" theory suggested above - but would suggest that the rule be extended to add an image with at least 2 approvals AND at least 2 more approvals than rejections. Or do you want to auto-remove if they have only one rejection?
 
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