Hey folks, You may have noticed we took about 2.5 hours of downtime this morning for a performance improvement. Previously we memoized the number of upvotes and downvotes on both the stories and comments tables. Many queries sorted by score, which they had to calculate per-row with upvotes - downvotes. No queries directly used upvotes, so I replaced it by memoizing score instead. The migration for this locked the tables, so we took downtime - that’s now completed. @355E3B and I are squishing have squished some small followup bugs; please file github issues or let us know in chat if you see anything odd. And then as long as finishing that migration meant running it five times on my machine to iron out bugs, I picked up some other features we’ve been figuring out for a long while. I’ve redesigned the tags page with categories to help make sense of it. This was prompted by @355E3B’s analysis of our tags and the page’s longstanding design issues. I’m leaving the issue open because there’s still room for improvement. Perhaps use our newly added svg graphing library to add sparklines showing usage? I know categories are a really tempting bikeshed, so let me emphasize that categories and tags are not intended to be an epistemologically complete ontology of the entire field of computing. They make the page look nice. Maybe, like domains, they’ll slowly grow functionality, but let’s not overthink them too quickly. I’ve revamped the comment flagging UI to further emphasize that they’re for alerting mods when a user doesn’t want to engage and curb their abuse for punishing disagreement. Visually, flagging comments now looks like flagging stories with a text link rather than an down-pointing arrow, and flagging a comment collapses the tree. Nothing on the site refers to “downvoting” any more. I’ve also expanded the about page with material on flags and topicality compiled from many meta stories and subthreads about topicality and the purpose of flags. These changes also address a recent thread on whether the warning about being heavily flagged by trying to improve the signal of flags so that granular warnings aren’t necessary. (These links are not exhaustive.) I’ve also deactivated the ‘Incorrect’ flag reason that was mostly used to disagree with people rather than indicate serious problems. I hope this is a roughly accurate collection of community norms and expectations. As usual for changes, these are not the final version we’ll ever have. If you see ways to improve these things, I appreciate help identifying what’s wrong, proposing solutions, and implementing them. Finally, last month I asked kyle if he was still interested in being a moderator, as it had been a long time since he was active. He replied that he’s not not active online much anymore and not interested in continuing as a mod. A few days later he deactivated a bunch of online accounts, including this one. He leaves with our thanks for volunteering and best wishes.
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Full disclosure: I currently have the warning with 11 flags. The warning doesn’t bother me, and...Full disclosure: I currently have the warning with 11 flags. The warning doesn’t bother me, and I’m only raising this because several other people are bothered by it. A few months back @pushcx added a warning feature, that gives you this banner across the site if you’ve been flagged in too many comments: Your comments have been heavily flagged across several stories in the last month. Review your standing for context on how unusual this is. Reconsider your behavior or take a break. Currently the cutoff is 11 flags in a month. The purpose is to let honest users know they’re treading the line and give malicious users warning they’re on banwatch. To my understanding, several notorious bad actors have been banned after being warned this way. I believe this feature is overall a net positive for the community. However, several people said the warning really bothered them. I suspect that it might be a little too harsh for people who are just above the cutoff. Any healthy forum is going to have disagreement, so it’s surprising to get a giant “you need a break” message if you disagree with people. If you go to u/<your-user-name>/standing you can see the breakdown of how everybody in the past month was flagged. We see 14 people had 11-20 flags 8 people had 21-30 flags 5 people had 31-50 flags 5 people had 51-150 flags There’s a cluster of posters who are just above the cutoff and then a long tail of posters who are way above the cutoff. I suggest we have at least two tiers: People who are below 20 (30?) flags should get a friendlier warning. Something like “hey, several people are flagging your comments. It could just be disagreement, but you should still review the flags and see if you agree or not” People above 21 (31?) flags get the current warning.