There is clearly a problem that most of the politics and news communities on Lemmy are unpleasant places to take part in discussion. People yell at each other. The tone of disagreements is that of saying what your opinion is, and insulting the other person if they don’t agree with your opinion, or a bunch of people giving quick one-off statements like “well I think it’s this way” or “no you’re wrong” which adds nothing. I’ve heard more than one person say that they simply don’t participate in politics or news communities because of it.

Well, behold:

I have made some technology which attempts to take a much heavier handed approach to moderation, by just detecting assholes or people who aren’t really contributing to the conversation, in other communities, and just banning them pre emptively en masse. In its current form, it bans about half of hexbear and lemmygrad, and almost all of the users on lemmy.world who post a nonstop stream of obnoxiously partisan content. You know the ones.

In practice it’s basically a whitelist for posting that’s easy to get on: Just don’t be a dick.

I’d like to try the experiment of having a political community with this software running the banlist, and see how it works in practice, and maybe expand it to a news community that runs the same way. There’s nothing partisan about the filtering. You can have whatever opinion you want. You just can’t be unproductive or an asshole about the way you say your opinion. And the bans aren’t permanent, they are transient based on the user’s recent past behavior.

(Edit: I think making a general news community might fit better with slrpnk than politics. In thinking about it and talking with people, I think electoral politics just doesn’t belong in the slrpnk feed, but maybe general news specifically with the political bickering that comes along with it being muted, would be a positive for the instance at the same time as I get to test out my little software project.)

I don’t want to explain in too much detail how the tech works, because I think some segment of assholes will want to evade the tech to come into the community and be assholes again. But I’d also want to set up a meta community where anyone who did get banned can ask questions or make complaints about it. (As long as that offering doesn’t turn into too much of a shit show that is.)

Is slrpnk a place where a little experiment like this could find a good home? What does everyone think of the idea?

  • Can you please comment on:

    1. What programming and/or scripting languages are used in your tool
    2. Whether is uses an LLM
    3. How the algorithm functions from a high level
    4. What user data is stored on your machine
    5. If 4 applies, then any measures taken to secure that data and maintain privacy.

    My intention is not to be pedantic, but to learn more about your proposed solution. I do appreciate your thoughtful answers in the comments here.

    • auk@slrpnk.netOP
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      1 month ago

      I don’t want to go into any detail on how it works. Your message did inspire me, though, to offer to explain and demonstrate it for one of the admins so there isn’t this air of secrecy. The point is that I don’t want the details to be public and make it easier to develop ways around it, not that I’m the only one who is allowed to know what it is doing.

      I’ll say that it draws all its data from the live database of a normal instance, so it’s not fetching or storing any data other than what every other Lemmy instance does anyway. It doesn’t even keep its own data aside from a little stored scratch pad of its judgements, and it doesn’t feed comment data to any public APIs in a way that would give users’ comments over to be used as training data by God knows who.