Trusted User Guidelines
This site uses a system called "Mojo" to try to keep the comments as high-signal as possible. All users can rate all comments, except their own, between 1 and 5. When your comments are rated by others, those ratings are combined into a weighted average (newer comments count more than older ones) called your "Mojo". This, roughly, represents the rating we could expect your next comment to receive based on your past comments.
Users who have a mojo greater than a certain minimum, and who have posted a sufficient number of comments, such as yourself, for example, are considered "trusted" users, and have the added capability to rate comments below the normal minimum rating, and also to see comments rated below the minimum (they are hidden from normal users).
This is a great responsibility for you. It means you've earned the right to peer-review content from untrusted users, and determine if it is spam. We rely on you to rate as much as you can, and to keep the comments as high-signal as we've all come to expect.
Please use your "zero" rating with care! It is *only* for use on comments that are wholly content-free. If you think the poster is clueless, or an idiot, or you just don't agree with them, that is *not* grounds for a zero rating. Zero is for comments that are offensive, script-generated, or otherwise content-free and intended solely to annoy and/or abuse other readers.
Please do not rate duplicate comments 0! As virtually all duplicate comments are accidental, this unfairly impacts the poster's mojo. A "1" rating and an email to firstname.lastname@example.org notifying us of the duplicate (please include direct link to the comment) is the appropriate response.
You also have a duty to read comments posted by untrusted users (you are the only ones who can!) and rate them up if they deserve to be viewable. We hate to see users become untrusted, and want them to rejoin the community, and rating them up when they post good comments is the only way for that to happen.
It is a cruel irony that those who are trusted, in any context, usually have more work with no particular reward for that work, and that is the case here as well. You still post with no initial rating, like a normal user, and your ratings do not carry any extra weight or power. The big reward for being trusted is that you get to see the bottom-of-the-barrel dreck. But basically, someone has to do this, and you have shown the rest of the TalkLeft readers that you have the responsibility and perception to be trusted with this task. Hopefully there are enough of you that no one person will have to expend any unreasonable efforts.
Thank you for contributing to TalkLeft, and for taking on the mantle of responsibility for keeping the site as high-quality as you've helped make it. I, and all the other readers, salute you.