AppleInsider's updated commenting guidelines

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 55
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,477member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    I've no issue with humor. Heck I've tossed a few one-liners at Soli, Island Hermit and probably even you at some point. Even TS. GTR and I use it in criss-crossing posts between us all the time. Because it keeps things from taking too much of a serious tone humor can be a great tool.

    The problem occurs when a comment that might otherwise be written in jest is directed at another member you constantly butt heads with, someone you have a history of trading insults with. Then it's not necessarily perceived as humor, nor might that be the intent to begin with. It becomes just another dig intended to get a response.

    But humor between regulars with no serious bone to pick, or used to keep things from becoming personal is always welcome. Just my take. No biggie.

    You see, I don't have any personal, direct tension with TS. I've managed to avoid his wrath :)

    My only concern is for members who are trying to make a useful contribution are shot down by him rather ruthlessly. If I were a newbie member who was called an idiotic troll by him, if probably be inclined not to post again to the site, especially if the behavior goes on unchecked. For the rest of us, we know that that is just him.

    I think there is a big difference between members joking with each other and outright insulting others on a regular basis.
    MacPro
  • Reply 42 of 55
    mazda 3s wrote: »
    gatorguy wrote: »
    I've no issue with humor. Heck I've tossed a few one-liners at Soli, Island Hermit and probably even you at some point. Even TS. GTR and I use it in criss-crossing posts between us all the time. Because it keeps things from taking too much of a serious tone humor can be a great tool.

    The problem occurs when a comment that might otherwise be written in jest is directed at another member you constantly butt heads with, someone you have a history of trading insults with. Then it's not necessarily perceived as humor, nor might that be the intent to begin with. It becomes just another dig intended to get a response.

    But humor between regulars with no serious bone to pick, or used to keep things from becoming personal is always welcome. Just my take. No biggie.

    You see, I don't have any personal, direct tension with TS. I've managed to avoid his wrath :)

    My only concern is for members who are trying to make a useful contribution are shot down by him rather ruthlessly. If I were a newbie member who was called an idiotic troll by him, if probably be inclined not to post again to the site, especially if the behavior goes on unchecked. For the rest of us, we know that that is just him.

    I think there is a big difference between members joking with each other and outright insulting others on a regular basis.

    Insults are fine when they are directed at the content, presuming there are grounds for them. There always are when they emanate from Mr. Skil, so I welcome his direct style. It's a breath of fresh air in this weaselly world.

    It's personal attacks that one should try to avoid. When someone writes an idiotic comment, one may be inclined to point out the idiocy of the comment, but one should resist referring to the poster as an idiot, however much one may be tempted to.
  • Reply 43 of 55

    Sharing tricks is a kind affair. To be a kind and helpful man who will get help from others. Nobody can ensure he won't suffer from any problems or trouble.

  • Reply 44 of 55

    Why don't you just visibly flag to everyone comments for a month that you intend to delete? This would provide some idea of your censorship and you would get valuable feedback whether this seems reasonable to the reasonable participant – or not.

  • Reply 45 of 55
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

    My only concern is for members who are trying to make a useful contribution are shot down by him rather ruthlessly. 

     

    Examples, please.

     

    If I were a newbie member...


     

    Well, there you go. Why should we suffer one-posters their garbage lies? 

  • Reply 46 of 55

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  • Reply 47 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



    ...

    It's not really feasible to send a note to everyone on why their posts are removed.


    ...

    Some threads get dozens of posts deleted because they've been derailed into all sorts of insulting or heavily political discussion.


    ...

    If you can't stand what a particular member is saying on a regular basis then the appropriate response is not to push them into arguments in order to get them banned or declare that what they're saying should warrant a ban, you would put them on your ignore list by clicking their username and blocking their posts so you don't have to read them any more. There is a flag button at the bottom of posts if you feel that a comment is breaking the rules.

     

    First, I believe what they were asking for was simply to be notified that a post was removed not specifically why it was removed. I would concur with this and it could (and should) be done programmatically through the forum software. If a post of mine is removed there should be some indication in my profile with the post that was removed (and grouped by thread). This shouldn't be something you have to manually do and most certainly can be automated.

     

    Secondly, I do not like the heavy handedness of this censorship and think the more appropriate method of handling this would be to provide (and use) better tools to allow readers to shape their experiences themselves rather than selectively removing anything. The fact that you state here that things have been deleted because they included heavily political discussions is disappointing.

     

    Thirdly, I assume that authors have the same tools available to normal users and as such if they find that an individual is consistently responding to their stories with negative personal attacks they should simply ignore the user. Likewise, rather than deleting posts based on what a moderator deems as breaking some set of rules, leave it to the members to decide these issues by making use of the flag as inappropriate button. Work on setting appropriate thresholds to auto hide the posts rather than deleting them. This could be done in much the same way as a post by a user on my ignore list. The post would simply show up as hidden due to being flagged as inappropriate. Obviously things such as threats should be removed and the user banned, however, If I express for example that I think Neil's articles suck you should not delete such a post nor ban my account. Neil should simply add my account to his ignore list just as you would expect us as users to do.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    It's not just once that it happens, there's been commentary on the use of the 'editorial' tag. That discussion doesn't need to go into the thread itself. There's a feedback section on the forum where each issue can be contained in its own thread. Readers in general want to read about the topic of the article since it's how they reach the discussion thread in the first place. Someone clicking on a promotion of some sort clicked it because they're interested in the promotion, a discussion about whether the promotion is legitimate or properly advertised as a promotion is not relevant.



    Put yourself in the place of the authors making the articles. You spend time putting together a story, trying to use the research you managed to do from the sources you could get hold of in a timely enough manner so people will be interested in it and then people just dismiss it as click-bait, mislabelled, late or they pick out typos and make some derogatory comments about the author. That commentary doesn't do anything positive for the forum discussions and likely won't prevent it happening again.



    The more that people do it, the more other people are encouraged to do the same. If all those meaningless discussions were removed, you'd lose nothing at all from the conversation. If people have such a fetish for this kind of minutia, there are more appropriate ways to deal with it, use feedback or email directly.



    The forum exists in its present form because of the articles the authors post, consider if it was just members making threads and they are supported by the promotions. It's not too much to ask that forum members show them a little respect. After operating the site for 18 years now, I think they've earned that much. Constructive criticism is useful, the guidelines are helping people to understand what is constructive and what is destructive.

     

    What this says to me is that many of the authors at AI have had their feelings hurt because some people didn't like their work. As authors writing to a public forum you should expect that there will always be people who will offer more than constructive criticism. You should also expect that the issue with Neil about "breaking news" (that obviously prompted this post) will occur. I would argue that incident would fall in the realm of constructive criticism. In my opinion that could have been handled by Neil in a much better way similarly to how he did at the start of this tread. Simply explaining why you chose to label the story as breaking, and then agree to disagree upon the second followup about it and stop responding. Instead of doing this Neil continued to "feed the troll" debating his editorial decision. Lastly on this incident, if you look back to the stories that day, AppleInsider posted three stories that were all relatively the same, and all were regarding some iteration of "Apple eating Intel's lunch". Not only was this a tad excessive, it also demonstrated to me that maybe AppleInsider could stand to be a little more introspective about their organizational efficiency (something like the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing).

     

    Again, I would much prefer to see improved forum tools that give both the authors and readers better control in filtering out things they do not wish to see. This would include the ability for a reader to, for example, block content from a specific author. Another example of these tools that could stand to be improved is the ignore list. Currently if I place a user on my ignore list, it hides their posts and labels the post as from a user on my ignore list (this would be the preferred method of what I described above). If this post gets quoted by another user, however, it does not get hidden like I would expect it to be. The quote system should display in the same way the original post does by showing that the quote is from a user on my ignore list rather than displaying the quoted post.

     

    In summary, I don't need you to protect me from some childish member who resorts to name calling; and neither should the AppleInsider staff. Provide the tools to manage our experience and let the community handle themselves.

     

    -PopinFRESH

  • Reply 48 of 55
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,858moderator
    popinfresh wrote: »
    First, I believe what they were asking for was simply to be notified that a post was removed not specifically why it was removed. I would concur with this and it could (and should) be done programmatically through the forum software. If a post of mine is removed there should be some indication in my profile with the post that was removed (and grouped by thread).

    Secondly, I do not like the heavy handedness of this censorship and think the more appropriate method of handling this would be to provide (and use) better tools to allow readers to shape their experiences themselves rather than selectively removing anything. The fact that you state here that things have been deleted because they included heavily political discussions is disappointing.

    The discussion thread reflects on the website so the quality of the discussion there has to be maintained. Some discussion threads are political in nature but some aren't. It's more about avoiding straying too far off-topic. If a thread is supposed to be about smartphones and reaches a point where it becomes all about how Nazi Germany started then it has taken a wrong turn somewhere and it needs to be pruned at the source of that derailment to get back on track. The moderation on this forum is far from heavy-handed. The more common complaint is that not enough posts are being deleted. Moderation is about balancing between people who want a free-for-all and people who want a more conservative discussion. It's never going to please everyone but rules that can be applied consistently to maintain civilized discussion are necessary.

    To give you an idea about post deletion rates, the forum has around 500 new posts per day and around 8 are deleted per day and the vast majority of those are for ad-hom insults or posts that are nothing more than arguing.
    popinfresh wrote: »
    Thirdly, I assume that authors have the same tools available to normal users and as such if they find that an individual is consistently responding to their stories with negative personal attacks they should simply ignore the user. Likewise, rather than deleting posts based on what a moderator deems as breaking some set of rules, leave it to the members to decide these issues by making use of the flag as inappropriate button.

    The forum members don't decide the forum rules. The site owners decide the rules and the moderators enforce those rules. This is how it works on most forums. It's very rare that moderation is crowd-sourced because it leads to a majority rule. This has been tried on tech sites and the majority of Windows/Android users would just downvote any pro-Apple comments to hide them so they eventually revert back to moderated discussions with upvote only.

    Non-registered site visitors aren't able to control what they read and the discussion thread reflects on the site so some content has to be removed globally. Leaving deleted content visible for members also allows them to continue to derail discussions.
    popinfresh wrote: »
    If I express for example that I think Neil's articles suck you should not delete such a post nor ban my account. Neil should simply add my account to his ignore list just as you would expect us as users to do.

    There are appropriate ways to express yourself. If you have a problem with an article then you would explain why the article is wrong. Saying a particular author's work sucks is not constructive and it directs the attack at the author rather than the article itself. If an article is so bad in someone's view that it doesn't warrant an explanation about why it's bad then they should skip it or provide feedback by email to the authors.
    popinfresh wrote: »
    What this says to me is that many of the authors at AI have had their feelings hurt because some people didn't like their work. As authors writing to a public forum you should expect that there will always be people who will offer more than constructive criticism. You should also expect that the issue with Neil about "breaking news" (that obviously prompted this post) will occur. I would argue that incident would fall in the realm of constructive criticism.

    You would contact them about it directly and not use the discussion thread as a way to express that. As I've said before, the authors don't all read the discussion thread so focusing on those unimportant aspects of the article derails the discussion. The authors are free to run their site and articles as they choose just as you would be on your own website. There is also a special feedback forum subsection that few people seem to use. Feedback suggestions can go in there too.
    popinfresh wrote: »
    if you look back to the stories that day, AppleInsider posted three stories that were all relatively the same, and all were regarding some iteration of "Apple eating Intel's lunch". Not only was this a tad excessive, it also demonstrated to me that maybe AppleInsider could stand to be a little more introspective about their organizational efficiency (something like the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing).

    That's for them to decide though. Authors have to be paid for their work. A TV network might re-run a TV series to get more views. This is an Apple forum and unfortunately Apple takes a long time to update things so it leaves a lot of downtime. They have to fill the space somehow so 3rd party product reviews, speculative articles fill the space. You can see the Mac magazines that have stopped production. Unless people would rather have even more articles about other companies and what they're doing, this is the way it has to be.
    popinfresh wrote: »
    In summary, I don't need you to protect me from some childish member who resorts to name calling; and neither should the AppleInsider staff. Provide the tools to manage our experience and let the community handle themselves.

    The way the community handles themselves tends to be to respond in kind. One ad-hom begets another and arguing between a few members can take over a discussion. It's very rare that people walk away from an argument without first ruining a discussion thread.
  • Reply 49 of 55
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    The discussion thread reflects on the website so the quality of the discussion there has to be maintained...

     

    Thanks for taking the time to reply and I completely agree that it's their (owners of AppleInsider.com) site and they set the rules. I was just expressing my concern that this can lead pushing people out of the discussion and that I would prefer to see more development of better forum tools to make everyones lives easier on this site. I understand the challenge of maintaining and moderating a forum and it's definitely not an easy task.

     

    Also, these rules are often heavily slanted toward "negative" posts which does tend to undermine the stated intent of the rules which is to keep discussions on track and use the appropriate avenues for feedback. For example, a post such as "This is terrible and poorly written, you suck" will get removed, however, a post such as "This is great and well written, you're awesome" probably wouldn't be removed. They are two sides of the same coin and both do not add anything to the discussion of the topic at hand. It's this type of bias that ends up coming off as self-serving and dissuades critique.

     

    These are just my thoughts on the matter and I hope we don't devolve into CultofMac as I usually enjoy the more open debate among AI readers. Thanks again for the thoughtful response.

     

    -PopinFRESH

  • Reply 50 of 55
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,858moderator
    popinfresh wrote: »
    these rules are often heavily slanted toward "negative" posts which does tend to undermine the stated intent of the rules which is to keep discussions on track and use the appropriate avenues for feedback. For example, a post such as "This is terrible and poorly written, you suck" will get removed, however, a post such as "This is great and well written, you're awesome" probably wouldn't be removed. They are two sides of the same coin and both do not add anything to the discussion of the topic at hand. It's this type of bias that ends up coming off as self-serving and dissuades critique.

    Positive and negative comments wouldn't result in the same outcome. Other members would gloss over positive comments. In much the same way if you said to your partner 'you look nice today' vs 'you're not the slim person I married and you could use a bath'. Only one of those statements is likely to result in conflict. You can give negative feedback to authors directly by email so it's not like that opinion is stifled. Expressing that negativity in the discussion thread is usually done in order to try and force a change by getting other members involved. Like if a company does something bad then writing a letter to management would be ignored but getting customers to protest would change their mind more quickly. In the case of the forum, the issues people have about the articles are minor and rallying negativity to combat them is not particularly helpful.

    Comments that take an opposing view to the article subject matter are constructive so it's not that the agenda is self-serving as far as the article conclusions go. Negative off-topic comments are solely destructive to the discussion thread. The way things are expressed matters too, you can express things politely or rudely e.g:

    'this reads like it was written by a two year old, the author should go back to school and the site should hire some better authors'

    That's a rude way of expressing discontent with an article and has no place on the forum. If you said:

    'the article wasn't very clear about the points being made, I don't think the conclusions are accurate'

    that's a bit more polite. It doesn't explain the discontent so isn't a very constructive comment but it probably won't make other members react to it and the discussion thread wouldn't descend into an argument.

    I think this is already the case here for the most part but clearly some people feel that negative off-topic comments are constructive in the discussion thread. That isn't supported by the outcome that has resulted from those comments in the past.
  • Reply 51 of 55

    I just came across this thread because it was referenced in another recent thread.

     

    It doesn't surprise me that most of the OP's message is ignored and considered by more than a few respondents as "heavy handed censorship", like that's a bad thing. I've been a reader and a member of AI for over a decade, under another name. The bickering and pettiness of more than a few regular posters made the Comments section almost unbearable with it's ridiculously high noise to signal ratio.  

     

    Ultimately, I stopped participating after a fairly short time and just dropped in to read the articles. It just wasn't worth the effort to discuss anything as "discussion" was not part of the agenda of many posters. Occasionally I would read some of the comments on an interesting article, but more often than not the signal would drop and the noise would quickly and inevitably make reading a waste of time.

     

    In reading the Administrator's message I was heartened that Dodge was being cleaned up, and constructive, intelligent discourse would be the rule rather than the exception. Then I looked at the date  of this thread. After almost a year, the same issues that affected my early participation continue on, unabated, to my eye. If there has been any significant improvement since this thread, then things are worse than I realized. 

     

    From time to time, I will see a post that has useful and/or interesting information. More often than not it comes from someone with an early Joined date but with a low post count. This has been such a frequent observation that it begs the question- why don't those members participate more? There a few possible answers, so I won't openly speculate. But these posts are few and far between, surrounded and buried by either trolls or some posters with high post counts who seem to believe they are a big fish in this pond.

     

    My tolerance for boorish behavior is much lower than that of the Admins, and to my eyes, the message has only been lightly enforced. I'd like to see that changed. The Verge, at one point shut down its Comments section because of the high noise to signal ratio. As a rule, I try to ignore most sites' Comments section as many tend to be unruly, at best.

     

    It's not the job of AI to teach people the difference between opinion and fact, objectivity and bias. I get that. But AI could moderate more (yes, that is a form of censorship) and make visiting the Comments much more friendly. Civility should not be confused with political correctness. PC isn't automatically bad, and civility never is.

     

    Unfortunately both civility and objectivity are in short supply or usually buried by the noise. It's worse in some forums; in others it's decidedly not. I hope that changes here but AI would have to get tougher. The original message is greatly appreciated. I'd just like to see it treated and adhered to as Gospel.

  • Reply 52 of 55
    MacProMacPro Posts: 15,981member
    The guidelines are sensible IMHO, but I have to say ...  I do miss the thumbs down option in this new format.. :)
  • Reply 53 of 55
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 200administrator
    MacPro said:
    The guidelines are sensible IMHO, but I have to say ...  I do miss the thumbs down option in this new format..
    The guidelines haven't really changed in a year+ (with the exception of adding in the specific trump/politics rule; we used to not have to say that.) The difference is that we're just actually enforcing them now : )

    edited December 2016
  • Reply 54 of 55

    muppetry said:
    Definitely. If the board goes so PC that humor is outlawed then we have been defeated by the trolls.
    This is a great statement, mainly because of dual interpretation of PC.
    edited December 2016 singularity
  • Reply 55 of 55
    tontontonton Posts: 14,067member
    I've decided to pay for the game based on the comments here in this thread. Thanks guys.

    i absolutely support the "pay once, play all" model more than any other.
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