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Here's a shocker: I want more moderation

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
OK, so a while back I basically gave up on Political Outsider, partly because the generally talk had degenerated so sharply, but also because it seemed like heavy handed moderation was turning every thread into "who can coax an 'ad hom' out of somebody and get him banned" fest.

But oddly, even as PO was being moderated to fair-thee-well, the rest of the forums seemed to have basically abandoned the idea.

As a result, there are many threads that just have that pissy, quick to take offense quick to retaliate tone that gets very wearying. It's not uncommon, anymore, for people to call one another assholes or idiots or suggest people "try to keep up" because they "lack reading comprehension" or because they're "retarded", etc., etc.

When the moderation in PO would be explained, it would be presented as necessary because lots and lots of people who might not comment were looking in, and we couldn't be turning then off with our petty squabbling. Wouldn't that be even more the case for the technical forums, which presumably are what most people come to AI to look at?

Any chance the mods could put their heads together and get some kind of consistent idea about how much we intend to follow the guidelines? Because, as it stand, the moderation in PO seems pointlessly punitive, while the moderation everywhere else seems slim to none.

And yes, I know I have been guilty as the next guy, that doesn't mean I wouldn't welcome reliable, predictable moderation that encourages civl discourse.

Oh, and I think it might be a violation to post publicly about moderation at all, so by all means if anyone wants to go to town with irony, you can ban me for wondering why we don't seem to have any rules, anymore.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

OK, so a while back I basically gave up on Political Outsider, partly because the generally talk had degenerated so sharply, but also because it seemed like heavy handed moderation was turning every thread into "who can coax an 'ad hom' out of somebody and get him banned" fest.

But oddly, even as PO was being moderated to fair-thee-well, the rest of the forums seemed to have basically abandoned the idea.

As a result, there are many threads that just have that pissy, quick to take offense quick to retaliate tone that gets very wearying. It's not uncommon, anymore, for people to call one another assholes or idiots or suggest people "try to keep up" because they "lack reading comprehension" or because they're "retarded", etc., etc.

When the moderation in PO would be explained, it would be presented as necessary because lots and lots of people who might not comment were looking in, and we couldn't be turning then off with our petty squabbling. Wouldn't that be even more the case for the technical forums, which presumably are what most people come to AI to look at?

Any chance the mods could put their heads together and get some kind of consistent idea about how much we intend to follow the guidelines? Because, as it stand, the moderation in PO seems pointlessly punitive, while the moderation everywhere else seems slim to none.

And yes, I know I have been guilty as the next guy, that doesn't mean I wouldn't welcome reliable, predictable moderation that encourages civl discourse.

Oh, and I think it might be a violation to post publicly about moderation at all, so by all means if anyone wants to go to town with irony, you can ban me for wondering why we don't seem to have any rules, anymore.


you want rules
go to china
whats in a name ? 
beatles
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whats in a name ? 
beatles
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post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

you want rules
go to china

Ain't that just a jewel of a comment.

Not only an inflammatory remark, but one with flat out wrong implications. That rules don't exist anywhere other than China.

A strengthening of the OPs point if there ever was one!!!


Now does a crappy post like that have any value other than pimping the commercial link in the sig? Smells like spam to me...
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post #4 of 10
Interesting. For years I participated heavily in another forum that is more heavily moderated. Unfortunately the moderating team was allowed to dwindle in size even as the forum grew, and some of the moderators developed a heavy hand for topics and people they didn't like. So the moderation became essentially random, even prejudicial. I don't do that forum any longer (and not because I was the one having their posts edited or deleted). The only thing worse than no rules are arbitrarily enforced rules.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #5 of 10
It's difficult to apply fixed rules to everyone. There are no real rules for what constitutes a thread or post that incites people to make personal attacks. But there are rules against making personal attacks. If 5 people respond in an offensive way to a thread or post that is designed to be inflammatory, do those 5 people get infractions? Technically they should but they may have had just cause for their reaction. Similarly, the thread or post creator may not have explicitly broken any forum rules.

In cases where arguments escalate over a number of pages, it just takes too much time to try and assign blame and to blame everyone wouldn't really get anywhere. This is why some arguments just get left to resolve themselves. You can assume to some extent that people here are old enough and mature enough to self moderate just as they do in everyday life.

There's also the issue of people having differing senses of humor. Like the above remarks about China. Some would take it as a light hearted comment about how China implements strict internet communications regulations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interne...ublic_of_China

Others might see it as stereotypical or in some cases racist remarks. A lot of the impact and offense in a comment is perceived differently from one person to another. Moderation is about keeping a balance between people having interesting discussions and not just throwing insults at one another. The more emotional people get about a topic, generally that's when it becomes more interesting but of course that can go too far and that's when moderation may be required. It should however be viewed in context. Another example:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro

Now does a crappy post like that have any value other than pimping the commercial link in the sig? Smells like spam to me...

The link was added from another thread and is not a site the person has any affiliation with. When viewed in the context of the thread, it has a different impact.

If there is something that anyone finds particularly offensive and isn't being dealt with, there is a report button under each post. Moderators can't be all places at all times and involved in every discussion. If there is excessively foul language or personal attacks then report it and it will be dealt with but don't focus on policing peoples' comments. Everyone is here to have enjoyable discussions and moderation begins at home. If someone is getting out of hand or off-topic, try mentioning it in the thread first or put it back on track.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

If 5 people respond in an offensive way to a thread or post that is designed to be inflammatory, do those 5 people get infractions? Technically they should but they may have had just cause for their reaction.

No,no. An inflammatory post, which isn't offensive in itself, should by no means be answered offensively. The "cause" is in this case called "the lack of web browsing experience".

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It's difficult to apply fixed rules to everyone.

I don't think it's so difficult if the rules are clear and promptly enforced. If the rules prohibit personal attacks and insults, a post containing a personal attack or insult should be edited or deleted immediately when noticed or reported. The message is soon understood by most if not all that the rule is meaningful. Have a rule in name only or enforce it only sporadically, or after multiple complaints against one person, and the message is understood that some get away with it and others do not.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

No,no. An inflammatory post, which isn't offensive in itself, should by no means be answered offensively. The "cause" is in this case called "the lack of web browsing experience".

But offensiveness is not universally defined. Moderators can ascertain the offensiveness of a comment to a certain extent based on language, intent etc but there's always a degree of individual bias that may not comply with vocal respondents and the certainty of the offensive nature is crucial to the action taken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss

If the rules prohibit personal attacks and insults, a post containing a personal attack or insult should be edited or deleted immediately when noticed or reported

Editing/deletion can be troublesome if they are spread over a few pages and then you'd get people complaining about how their post was edited out but not one of equal offensiveness. Plus there is the issue of infractions, which are handed out when rules are broken and it's whether or not everyone gets an infraction.

For example, if person x calls person y an idiot and then person y calls person x an idiot then should they both get infractions or just the first one and the second edited? I know that technically they both made personal attacks, however one was in response to another.

It seems like an easy answer to say yes of course that's how it should be but again it's not always so clean cut. Someone may make a post saying 'I was just hanging out with my mates' and someone else may make a remark like 'you like hanging out with the boys don't you?', which could be intended as a personal attack but is relatively mild in the context of the previous post. The target may respond with 'you're an idiot'.

They are both personal attacks but one is much more direct than the other and it escalates but who gets the blame and by how much are they punished? If you start punishing people for the slightest hint of emotion in their posts that offends people, you eventually get a state where people show very false levels of politeness towards each other and discussions will just die out very quickly with no real interest and the reality is that as everyone is aware, we do actually have a lot of idiots in the world and sometimes they need to be called on it or they don't change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss

Have a rule in name only or enforce it only sporadically, or after multiple complaints against one person, and the message is understood that some get away with it and others do not.

That's generally understood to be the case with most rules in life though. Human nature, language, culture and so on are so varied that there are always exceptions to rules.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

But offensiveness is not universally defined. Moderators can ascertain the offensiveness of a comment to a certain extent based on language, intent etc but there's always a degree of individual bias that may not comply with vocal respondents and the certainty of the offensive nature is crucial to the action taken.

Moderator's judgement should take priority, IMO. It should be tough work to cope with our endless complaints, yet, 5 complaints seem always better, than 5 more "f..." posts in thread.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Editing/deletion can be troublesome if they are spread over a few pages and then you'd get people complaining about how their post was edited out but not one of equal offensiveness. Plus there is the issue of infractions, which are handed out when rules are broken and it's whether or not everyone gets an infraction.

For example, if person x calls person y an idiot and then person y calls person x an idiot then should they both get infractions or just the first one and the second edited? I know that technically they both made personal attacks, however one was in response to another.

It seems like an easy answer to say yes of course that's how it should be but again it's not always so clean cut. Someone may make a post saying 'I was just hanging out with my mates' and someone else may make a remark like 'you like hanging out with the boys don't you?', which could be intended as a personal attack but is relatively mild in the context of the previous post. The target may respond with 'you're an idiot'.

They are both personal attacks but one is much more direct than the other and it escalates but who gets the blame and by how much are they punished? If you start punishing people for the slightest hint of emotion in their posts that offends people, you eventually get a state where people show very false levels of politeness towards each other and discussions will just die out very quickly with no real interest and the reality is that as everyone is aware, we do actually have a lot of idiots in the world and sometimes they need to be called on it or they don't change.

I understand your point, but I think you are making this more complicated than necessary. Insults are generally clear-cut and take the form we all recognize. You don't really need to worry about borderline issues. If a situation is developing, a moderator can warn everyone to cool off. If warnings are ignored, and borderline cases escalate into obvious name-calling, those posts get edited or deleted.

IMO, this isn't about not having anyone be offended. It's also not punishment to have a posted edited or deleted. It's about the basic ground-rules for having a civil discussion.

Quote:
That's generally understood to be the case with most rules in life though. Human nature, language, culture and so on are so varied that there are always exceptions to rules.

Again, I understand your point, but this should not be license for anyone to name-call, if only because these things have a habit of spiraling out of control, which really only punishes the people who are trying to have a civil discussion. I won't say this is necessarily easy, but it is about drawing a firm line, wherever you think it ought to be drawn, and holding it.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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