Advogato Status Report
A new rev of mod_virgule
code is live on Advogato. See the changelog
for the details.
Mostly minor stuff. Setting a project staff relation to none
now consistently removes the relation from your user
profile. Thanks to Gary Benson for noticing the bug. I
upgraded the server from CentOS
4.4 to 4.5. This was just a
maintenance update and shouldn't cause any changes. We're
having another wave of account spam lately but the new
flagging system has largely controlled it. One of the
spammers discovered a way of circumventing the code which
strips anchor tags posted in the notes field of untrusted
accounts. I've fixed the bug that allowed this.
GPL v3 Release Party in Dallas?
The GPLv3 is supposed to be released on 29 June. I saw
mention a GPLv3 release part in Brooklyn and figured, why
not here in Dallas too? If there are any other Advogatoans
in the DFW area who'd like to get together to celebrate the
release of the new and improved GPL, let me know.
Trust Metric Growing Pains
The good news is that Advogato is growing again. The bad
news is that this is bringing to light some issues with the
trust metrics. First, there are a growing number of new users
who have multiple certs but are still rated as observer.
Second, there was the related incident with user
OpenSpecies. Many people thought his blog posts looked
spammy and flagged him as spam. Other users trusted him at
Apprentice or Journeyer level but even with six or seven
certs he never acquired enough gato-juice to reach
Apprentice level. Because he stayed at Observer level, his
account was always at risk of being classified as spam.
This happened once, resulting in the decision to increase
the spam score required to delete an account. I reinstated
his account from a backup. A few months later it had been
flagged as spam enough times to get deleted again. I
restored it, however, OpenSpecies opted to move elsewhere
and requested the account be permanently deleted.
The lack of gato-juice available for certifying people can
be traced back to an issue with the trust metric seed users.
Of the four original seed users, only raph is actively
visiting Advogato and certifying users. Federico
in the last year but no longer certifies any users. Miguel
hasn't visited in many years and only certified a handful of
users. Alan has
certified many users but no longer seems to be an
active user himself (hopefully I'm wrong about that). This means
there are really only two seeds and
almost all the trust flowing to new users through
certification is at best several generations removed from them.
To improve the situation, I'm going to add a few new seed
users. This will need to be done gradually so that we can
make sure it fixes the problem without resulting in cert
inflation. My criteria for selecting new seed users will be:
1) Must be currently rated as a master by at least one of
the original seed users 2) Must be rated as master by other
non-seed users 3) Must be an active Advogato user who
visits the site regularly and has posted at least one
article 4) Must be reasonably well known within the
community and have occasion to meet and interact with many
other Free Software developers in person.
I talked with Raph about possible ways of handling this.
nominations, automated selection by the trust metric itself,
or just picking someone. Eventually, I think it would be
interesting to have the trust metric select new seeds
automatically as needed but that will take more time for
testing and experimenting than I've got right now. So,
initially I've opted for picking someone who meets the qualifications to save
time. Our first new seed is: mako. By a
handy coincidence, he's traveling to several European
conferences over the next few weeks, giving him a chance to
meet more people who may need certifying.
This is one of several things that I think should start
pumping some new life into the trust metrics. Another issue
I'm looking at is what to do with inactive users who have
become stagnant sources in the trust metric network flow. These include
users who will not return for one reason or another such as
Trust passing through these nodes is essentially
unchangeable, which is a problem because trust in the real
world is dynamic. Sometimes we trust
a person today that we didn't yesterday. Sometimes we no
longer trust someone that we trusted in the past. If enough
certs become stagnant and cannot be removed, this tends to
make the trust metrics innaccurate. One way of dealing with
this is to identify users who are inactive and expire their
outbound certs automatically after enough time has
elapsed. The tricky part is deciding how long a user has to
go without visiting the site before being considered
inactive. DV, for
example, is an active user yet has gone for as much as a
year between logins. Federico,
one of our seed users, hasn't logged in for seven months.
Right now, I'm thinking that exceeding one year without a
login is a pretty good indication of inactivity.
Advogato showed up on a list of social network site
statistics at the X2iN blog: Social
Network Marketing, the Sky is the Limit.
Advogato's founder Raph Levien
will be giving a talk titled Advogato:
Lessons Learned at 6:30 PM on Monday, June 25 as part of
Google's Open Source Developers @ Google series. The talk
will be at Google's Mountain View campus. Guest are welcome
and should sign in at Building 43.