Let me state that I am not a IT person, so some of my questions/comments may
not be the most appropriate lingo that is used by you folks. It is also very
likely that my issues/ideas have been raised before, though I have not been
able to find it in the archives. I have been moderating non-commercial
mailing lists (initially majordomo and then mailman) since the mid 1990s.
One of the biggest issues has been in the moderation of posts on these
discussion lists. Usually, we have had a set of volunteer moderators who
review the posts for spam, obscenity, personal attacks etc before they get
approved for distribution. While stuff like spam, obscenity etc are for the
most part obvious and can be auto filtered using various options, the
problem remains that the issue of more mundane posts are still subject to
the moderator's bias. Besides being subjective, it can be many, many hours
before a post gets approved, which hampers the continuity and spontaneity
of the posts.
An alternate approach to moderation could be via a "user reputation score"
as is often found in many web based discussion forums. A person with a
higher user reputation score could have fewer restrictions posed on him, in
terms of the number of posts (say per unit of time) without moderation,
before he gets flagged for manual moderation. At this stage, it is not my
intent to propose an a specific mathematical algorithm, but rather to bring
out general concepts.
The issue of course is how would a "user reputation score" be determined? I
would think it would be composed of a variety of components such as: (in no
1) Feedback scores as determined by the general mailing list population. The
feature could be embedded into an email to allow collective input from the
reader base. This will automatically provide a feedback loop to poor
quality posters to either reign in their posts or suffer a demotion in their
posting rights via the pre-defined algorithm. Furthermore, it will be based
on the fopinions of the collective masses, rather than that of the
2) Verified identity/open ID: I understand that open ID is one of the
features being considered for a future release of mailman. Individuals with
larger networks on sites such as facebook etc could be given a higher
starting reputation score as opposed to a ID that has little or no prior
history or network to back that person's identity. This will help reduce the
possibility of fraudulent posts under freshly created IDs.
I would appreciate some feedback on whether something like this is possible.
Since I am not a programmer, I would not be able to provide technical
support for the development of this code. However, I may be able to get
some funding from a non-profit foundation to get this done.