In the social media reading group today, Yi-Chia Wang led discussion over Slash(dot) and Burn: Distributed Moderation in a Large Online Conversation Space, by Cliff Lampe and Paul Resnick at UMichigan. It's an interesting study of comment moderation on Slashdot.
I don't participate in comments on /., but I occasionally read them if I really don't have enough other things on the internet to distract me, and was always a little confused about how comments were moderated and decided upon (I never read this little FAQ of theirs). Users can vote for comments to be upgraded or downgraded. Most comments are not moderated (only 28% are), so there is a high tendency for default values between -1 and 2 to remain as-are: -1 is trolls, 0 for Anonymous Cowards, 1 for regular users, and 2 for users with good "karma", which is decided by whether you've posted.
One not-surprising thing was that at a median, 18 hours is how long it takes for 90% of a post's comments to happen. Not sure if it necessarily follows a power law dropoff, but if it does it is somewhat steeper than the -1.5 power law for post-responses in general for blogs that we wrote about in this paper, so I wonder if that is the case with comments for all blogs, or just high-traffic ones like Slashdot.
It's certainly an interesting moderating scheme, considering the computational methods for finding "interesting" things are not there yet.