Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Glemp » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:12 am

Perhaps using background colours instead of boxes? That would differentiate it from the Big Stompy Voice, and also make it look more informal.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby RocketScientist » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:53 am

I like them. Thanks Moose.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby nikohl » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:19 am

I'm on ProSilver and the first one stands out a little bit, but not "omg moderator shout!"-level much...which I assume is the point. S'good.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby SculptsAir » Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:37 am

[dropshadow=#00AFFF]Sure, all of those options look good.[/dropshadow]
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby ChuckDaRighteous » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:42 am

Honestly I think the rules are for the most part fine. I believe that usually people should be able to use common sense on what is appropriate. I once helped run a clan forum (no where near this size though) for a game and our only rule was pretty much "use common sense" and it worked out just fine. And like you said for the most part the user base has been fine. The few who aren't, probably wouldn't be regardless of extra rules. The only rule I'd suggest is a no gloating rule. There are times where a mod has stepped in and afterwards other people have posted things along the lines of "don't you just hate insulting people." I feel like if someone is hit by a mod enforcement, they can't really defend what they said without disobeying the mods and it creates a somewhat nasty shield for other people to hide their insults behind.

And I feel like the mods for the most part have been fine. I do feel like they need more consistency on the controversy forum though. People's passions tend to get very inflamed on subjects particularly those they have some sort of personal stake or connection too. This creates a place where there is a much thinner line between expressing themselves and crossing the line. I think this has led to a lot of inconsistency. Not saying this is the mod's fault but perhaps you should have clearer guidelines on when to intervene in this particular forum. There are times where I feel like the mods stepped in to early and squashed a view point rather than inappropriate behavior and other times where they let someone get away with an absolutely horrible violation. I think more attention needs to be payed (by both users and mods) to the difference between criticism of a viewpoint and criticism of a user. There are times where I've seen people take any criticism of a viewpoint as personal insult and run to the mods.

I will say that I did clash with the mods once when they squashed one of my viewpoints because people tried to dismiss it as unrelated. However when I contacted those mods, they were responsive and reasonable. In the end we were able to resolve the issue amicably and I respect and commend the effort they made. Only once has a mod failed to get back to me, but I don't expect perfection.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Glemp » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:10 am

Currently, the informal Modbox looks a bit too much like the [offtopic] box. Can changes be made to either to differentiate them?
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Krulle » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:27 am

WearsHats wrote:The first one is almost invisible if you're set to ProSilver, though.

Not really. I am using the prosilver surface, and both are very well visible.
[offtopic]I've been banned, yet I am posting here. Am I breaking rules witht his first post while being banned ? ;)[/offtopic]
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby SeeAMoose » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:15 am

Probably, but then so was I so we can be renegades together :P. Also, thanks again for all of the ideas everyone. We're working on putting together better guidelines for moderating.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby WearsHats » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:28 am

ChuckDaRighteous wrote:And I feel like the mods for the most part have been fine. I do feel like they need more consistency on the controversy forum though. People's passions tend to get very inflamed on subjects particularly those they have some sort of personal stake or connection too. This creates a place where there is a much thinner line between expressing themselves and crossing the line. I think this has led to a lot of inconsistency. Not saying this is the mod's fault but perhaps you should have clearer guidelines on when to intervene in this particular forum. There are times where I feel like the mods stepped in to early and squashed a view point rather than inappropriate behavior and other times where they let someone get away with an absolutely horrible violation. I think more attention needs to be payed (by both users and mods) to the difference between criticism of a viewpoint and criticism of a user. There are times where I've seen people take any criticism of a viewpoint as personal insult and run to the mods.


Controversy is a tricky one. For the most part, you're allowed to take any position you want, as long as you're not hurting anyone. But the definition of hurting someone can be sticky.

Where, exactly, is the line between being harsh and abrasive (acceptable, if not preferable) and being rude and insulting (not allowed)? We try to be as objective about that as we can, but you're never going to get 100% agreement over that kind of thing.

We also don't allow bigotry or discrimination. That means quashing some viewpoints. Viewpoints from people who, of course, would not agree that their views fall into that category.

But yes, you have to be able to make the distinction between attacking someone's views and attacking them personally. We have intervened in the past to tell people that the two are not the same, and, in fact, that's in the forum rules. But there can be some dicey gray areas between the two.

In short, there are a lot of fine lines and tough calls. And things that personal biases (which we all have) will skew to look over the line or not.

What hasn't helped is that I've had a very bad year, health-wise. These past few weeks, I've spent long periods flat out on the couch because I just wasn't feeling well enough to sit up. You'll note that I haven't posted very much lately, and most of those have been either very short or venting about how poorly I was feeling and how frustrated I was with that. So I asked the other mods to fill in for me. Which, yes, will make things more inconsistent. And perhaps less closely monitored. I do feel bad that I had to leave a situation somewhat unresolved, but I just haven't been well enough to review it like I'd planned. Navigating those fine lines takes a lot of concentration.

But I'll take this chance to repeat:

If you see a post that you think goes over the line, please report it. (It's the little ! button next to the quote button.) At least one of us will review it. We may not agree with you, but we'll give it the attention it deserves. We do our best, but sometimes things get overlooked.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby willpell » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:21 pm

Speaking as someone who has been all-but-banned from this forum, and actually banned from two other forums since then, and is rapidly running out of places where he's welcome on the Internet, I have this to say. People vastly overestimate both the concept of free will and the average person's capacity for self-control. Thunt's absence is due largely to his inability to perfectly control his nervous reactions, and I would characterize the issues that led to my repeated warnings and temporary ban, as well as to previous and subsequent bannings on other fora, as being entirely tied to the fact that my programmed reaction to any sort of conflict is to escalate it. That is not something I choose to do, nor something I can choose to stop, any more than a typical cat can choose to lie quietly and patiently in one of those cat-carriers while it's being hauled off to the vet. Animals have only so much capability to process the reality that surrounds them, and cannot suppress their instinctive reactions to situations that their grandfather's grandfather's grandfather never had to deal with because the technology hadn't been invented yet. Human beings are also animals of a sort, and are not that much better than cats about adapting to constant change - we're just a lot better at causing it. People get fired from their jobs due to stress all the time, and one of the sources of that stress is that our primitive hindbrain sees an irate manager yelling at them for their latest failures, and mentally substitutes the image of an enraged cave bear which needs to be swiftly stone-axed in the face before it tears them apart. We cannot control this sort of thing, at least not simply by deciding to.

My point? In order to have the most productive community and the fewest unfortunate incidents, I submit that the moderators' and administrators' default attitude, at all times until after SEVERE and consistent provocation (that means more than one "go screw yourself"; sometimes people just blurt stuff like that out in the heat of the moment and shouldn't be judged too harshly for it), needs to be "help me help you." If someone like me is constantly getting into arguments and seems to have a pattern of escalation, place them on a "all posts must be manually approved by a moderator" kind of a basis, rather than outright banning them. That way, if they try to post in anger, their post can be edited by a calm and neutral moderator and submitted back to them for approval; the same message can be gotten across, but in a more publically acceptible tone. Since this would obviously be labor-intensive for the moderation team, it would necessitate recruiting additional moderators, probably with some sort of grade system to indicate the level of privileges a given moderator has earned. (As a side note, this could eventually evolve to the point that a forumite who's proven themself a fair and skillful moderator could put this site on their resume as a reference, having demonstrated the ability to resolve conflicts and generate positive productivity in a way that would make them very in-demand to future employers. Obviously that would require a lot of credibility-building, given where we're starting from, but I don't think it's impossible as a long-term goal.) Perhaps replace these lower levels of moderators with other names, such as "trustee" or "intermediary". Actively recruit such individuals, perhaps approaching longtime lurkers, roleplay players (not GMs), or others who are frequently online, but not constantly posting, to see whether they'd be interested in providing this service for the benefit of others. Since greater interpersonal contact means greater potential for interpersonal conflict, this should be accompanied by a very generous "strikes" policy; if a "probationary poster" is unable to reach an accord with one such intercessor, give them several more chances to try to find a sympatico personality, whom they'll be willing and able to work with.

TLDR: Let the moderators help the forumites help the moderators, by using various technical tools to submit questionable posts for peer review and any necessary modification, so that those who don't know when to keep their mouths shut can still speak, by way of having someone else speak for them with a level of tact and diplomacy the original poster cannot manage. Recruit more moderators until there are enough to provide this service when it is required, and give greater degrees of moderation privileges to those who have done more to deserve it, so that "moderator" is not a title which must be stingily given out only to those who have been most thoroughly vetted. In this way, those who spawn conflicts without meaning to are given every opportunity to speak respectfully to the rest of the community, despite not having the capability to do it in and of themselves.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby SeeAMoose » Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:50 pm

Willpell, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we actually are considering implementing a probation and moderated posts option prior to banning. The bad news is that we aren't going to do it your way and even if we were you are so far past the point of where we would use probation that you wouldn't qualify.

If in fact you are not able to control yourself then I do feel sorry for you... but we have to treat everyone like they are rational adult capable of making informed choices, including you. Regardless of whether you think you are capable of controlling yourself, actions have consequences and you will just have to live with them. We are

On to what we will be doing in the future. We have created a Probation group and we will use it prior to using either temporary or permanent bans (undetermined as yet). People will be placed on probation for about a week during which time their posts will be reviewed before they post and either accepted or rejected with a brief explanation. We will not be editing people's posts to make them appropriate because frankly it would take far too much time. Moreover, if we were actually to follow through with your plan, people like yourself would flip out about how we were repressing them.

Sorry, but you will just need to learn to behave appropriately if you want to continue to participate in this forum.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby willpell » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:48 pm

SeeAMoose wrote:The bad news is that we aren't going to do it your way and even if we were you are so far past the point of where we would use probation that you wouldn't qualify.


Had the system been in place at the time, I would quite probably never have gotten to that point. I think it is somewhat unfair of you to not be willing to expand the benefits of this new structure to those who had already run afoul of the inadequacies of the old system (not just me, anyone who you banned or almost banned in the past, unless it was for outright crimes like spamming).

If in fact you are not able to control yourself then I do feel sorry for you... but we have to treat everyone like they are rational adult capable of making informed choices


Why, exactly? Chemical imbalances in the brain are a real thing, and this community has no controls whatsoever in place to verify that people who sign up for it are "of sound mind", whatever the heck that meant back when it was a common phrase in jurisprudence, before the science of psychology had even been invented.

Moreover, if we were actually to follow through with your plan, people like yourself would flip out about how we were repressing them.


Only if you were extremely insensitive in your rejections or suggested revisions. The whole point of my suggested system is to extensively work WITH the "unacceptible" person to help them become "acceptible". A system should be engineered to serve the needs of its most vulnerable sub-population; that's pretty much always been the logic behind how our social structures (not things like big businesses, but governments and nonprofits and various similar people-focused agencies) are operated.

Sorry, but you will just need to learn to behave appropriately if you want to continue to participate in this forum.


Well, I have been trying and I will continue to try, but I object to the condescending notion that I "need to learn". I am not some unruly child; I am a person with a serious mental health problem that has no real cure, and I have profound difficulties functioning in society, even without being constantly stigmatized, marginalized, and otherwise mistreated by people who refuse to understand the nature of the problem. Right now, it is extremely difficult for me to restrain myself from exploding with anger toward you, and keep this to a civilly-phrased objection to the fact I believe I am being treated unjustly.

If you think you've been pushed past the point where you just don't care anymore, you've lost all sympathy for me and people like me and you just aren't going to listen to any complaints, then I respectfully submit that maybe you don't really want the responsibility of being in charge anymore, and should consider stepping aside, delegating someone else to shoulder the burden for a while. Because as long as you are in charge, you have a responsibility not to let your feelings - or your personal biases, which I believe you may be using in deciding what kind of person I am - interfere with your ability to objectively interact with members of this community. It's a tall order; there's no shame in you saying that you're just not up for it anymore. But you cannot do your job well if you're too jaded to take a complaint like mine seriously; I'm not saying you have to agree, but I think you at least owe me an apology for talking down to me so, as I do not deserve to have my problems belittled.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby SeeAMoose » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:48 pm

willpell wrote:
SeeAMoose wrote:The bad news is that we aren't going to do it your way and even if we were you are so far past the point of where we would use probation that you wouldn't qualify.


Had the system been in place at the time, I would quite probably never have gotten to that point. I think it is somewhat unfair of you to not be willing to expand the benefits of this new structure to those who had already run afoul of the inadequacies of the old system (not just me, anyone who you banned or almost banned in the past, unless it was for outright crimes like spamming).


Willpell, to be clear, this new policy will not apply to Controversy so it would have had precisely zero impact on your ban from that subforum. As you know, Controversy has its own stricter rules. Additionally, probation is meant to be a temporary thing, probably for a week to give someone one final chance before a final ban. You are the only one who has come this close to being banned permanently (with the exception of the person Thunt banned). If you will recall, I did try to work with you extensively prior to your ban from Controversy and we did try to explain to you what would be considered acceptable. Unfortunately, there were few changes in your behavior despite the time we invested. If anything, I think the fact that we haven't banned you is a testament to our restraint.

If in fact you are not able to control yourself then I do feel sorry for you... but we have to treat everyone like they are rational adult capable of making informed choices


Why, exactly? Chemical imbalances in the brain are a real thing, and this community has no controls whatsoever in place to verify that people who sign up for it are "of sound mind", whatever the heck that meant back when it was a common phrase in jurisprudence, before the science of psychology had even been invented.

Agreed, chemical imbalances in the brain are a real thing. Everyone has some issues, myself included and we all need to deal with them however we can. I do sympathize with you, and I'm sorry that you have to deal with these issues. However, what we as moderators have to consider is behavior and how that behavior affects the community. If a forumite's behavior has a harmful impact on the community we have to take action, even if they say that they aren't responsible for their own behavior. Also, bear in mind that we do not have the resources of a government.

Moreover, if we were actually to follow through with your plan, people like yourself would flip out about how we were repressing them.


Only if you were extremely insensitive in your rejections or suggested revisions. The whole point of my suggested system is to extensively work WITH the "unacceptible" person to help them become "acceptible". A system should be engineered to serve the needs of its most vulnerable sub-population; that's pretty much always been the logic behind how our social structures (not things like big businesses, but governments and nonprofits and various similar people-focused agencies) are operated.

By whose definition of acceptable? Your suggested system is unworkable in practice. What you suggest is for us to essentially keep adding moderators to edit your posts until you are happy with their revisions (and you expect people to edit your entire posts to make them acceptable which would by definition be by our definition of acceptable... and which you would undoubtedly consider insensitive). Now, I'm simply basing this on your past reactions to us telling you that your behavior was unacceptable, so I could be wrong. However, to me the cure would be worse than the poison. I am a firm believer in protecting vulnerable sub-populations... but there is a limit. You are talking about a subgroup of one, namely yourself. You want us to make accommodations for your poor behavior that will require significant investments of time and energy in order for you to be able to say whatever you want, possibly far in excess of the time you would have to invest to make the post.

Sorry, but you will just need to learn to behave appropriately if you want to continue to participate in this forum.


Well, I have been trying and I will continue to try, but I object to the condescending notion that I "need to learn". I am not some unruly child; I am a person with a serious mental health problem that has no real cure, and I have profound difficulties functioning in society, even without being constantly stigmatized, marginalized, and otherwise mistreated by people who refuse to understand the nature of the problem. Right now, it is extremely difficult for me to restrain myself from exploding with anger toward you, and keep this to a civilly-phrased objection to the fact I believe I am being treated unjustly.

If you think you've been pushed past the point where you just don't care anymore, you've lost all sympathy for me and people like me and you just aren't going to listen to any complaints, then I respectfully submit that maybe you don't really want the responsibility of being in charge anymore, and should consider stepping aside, delegating someone else to shoulder the burden for a while. Because as long as you are in charge, you have a responsibility not to let your feelings - or your personal biases, which I believe you may be using in deciding what kind of person I am - interfere with your ability to objectively interact with members of this community. It's a tall order; there's no shame in you saying that you're just not up for it anymore. But you cannot do your job well if you're too jaded to take a complaint like mine seriously; I'm not saying you have to agree, but I think you at least owe me an apology for talking down to me so, as I do not deserve to have my problems belittled.


Willpell, I am more than willing to work with people to help them learn to participate appropriately in this forum, and I have done so with you before. However, what I cannot do is continue to cater to the needs of one person who refuses to behave appropriately, regardless of whether they are fully in control of their actions. In fact, that's even more the case if they actually can't control themselves because that means that they're more likely to harm the community.

You would also be wise to think through your argument to its logical conclusion. You say that you cannot control your own behavior. What point is there in us trying to teach you when we have already tried before and you just told me it really won't matter? Not saying I'm going to ban you... but you really should think before you speak.

Again, I do sympathize with you, I really do, but we can only go so far before it becomes ridiculous. In any other forum you would have been banned long ago, and as you have noted in many of them you have been banned. The only reason you haven't been banned yet in this forum is that I have stressed leniency in all cases, especially when it is hard. If anyone else were in charge you would have been banned months ago... and to be honest they would probably have been right to do so. As to your suggestion that I step down as admin because you don't think you're being treated fairly... well as I have actually taken your concerns seriously every time you brought something up, and I am the only reason you haven't been banned yet... :lol: :lol: :lol: I think I'll pass.


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This is not an invitation to argue. I would remind you that you are already on thin ice and you should be mindful of what you say if you want to remain a member of this community.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby willpell » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:04 am

SeeAMoose wrote:By whose definition of acceptable?


A mutually satisfactory one.

Your suggested system is unworkable in practice.


Possibly so; I definitely buy that you don't have the resources it would require to put it into effect, that's a perfectly sensible statement to which I have no counter. I still think it is theoretically what would be correct.

Now, I'm simply basing this on your past reactions to us telling you that your behavior was unacceptable, so I could be wrong.


You are. No one should ever assume that they can predict or understand me based on any incomplete data set. I know everything there is to know about me (except for what I've forgotten), and even I don't know what I was really thinking in the past or what I'm going to end up doing in future. But I think that in this regard, I differ from the vast majority of human beings only in the matter of degree or scale. Human nature is inherently incomprehensible, I believe, and human societies are too quick to make assumptions and categorizations, which should be done to the absolute minimum possible degree in all cases, I'm adamantly certain of that.

You are talking about a subgroup of one, namely yourself.


No, I am talking about a principle, and one which I believe would benefit everyone. Who knows how much more expressive some forumites, who currently only lurk or post infrequently, might become if they were more confident that they could speak freely and safely, without fear of retribution? Having rules against trolls doesn't stop actual trolls, it only stops people from posting earnestly in ways that they fear might cause them to be mistaken for trolls. Actual trolls will always find clever ways of working around any barriers placed in their path; it's better for everyone else just not to have more than the bare minimum number of barriers in the first place (and inflict extremely heavy sanctions on anyone who crosses those few lines, so that most people never stray even remotely close to them).

I am not the sole beneficiary; I am simply the self-appointed speaker for a silent legion of uncertain size.

You would also be wise to think through your argument to its logical conclusion. You say that you cannot control your own behavior. What point is there in us trying to teach you when we have already tried before and you just told me it really won't matter?


There it is again, the condescenscion, which I'm making an effort to keep from getting to me. What makes you think you have the right to teach me anything? I'm not a child, I'm a person who's doing the best they can to get through their life - THEIR life, their own, their responsibility. As a public servant, it is your responsibility to cater to my needs, as you do to the needs of each other forumite; it is not in any way your responsibility to instruct or guide any of us unless we specifically request it. I (and various unspecified others, past and present and hypothetical future) cannot always control my own behavior, and so you should not inflexibly enforce the rules against me (and those same others); there should be leeway (and there is some, I know, I just think there should be more), enough that ALL situations can be resolved amicably, unless one party is clearly being completely unreasonable and not even trying to accomodate the other - which would include both a troll who never intended to follow the rules AND a leadership that unfailingly enforced them exactly as written.

As to your suggestion that I step down as admin because you don't think you're being treated fairly...


That was not even me saying you should, it was just a hypothetical. As I said, your authority position means you must be held to an extremely high standard for your behavior, far more than would be reasonable to expect of me as just another forumite. I would never try to do your job, because I know I'm not capable of keeping my personal biases from influencing my performance. Whether you are capable of doing so, only you know...I'm merely creating an if/then statement, IF you aren't able to perform objectively, seeing to the needs of even someone you have a personal grudge against, THEN you don't belong in authority. I apply that principle to ALL authority positions, from the shift manager at Burger King to the POTUS or the chair of the UN. Nobody who would ever act in a less than perfectly objective fashion has a right to make decisions, period. Leadership roles are not about being in charge, they are the ultimate form of subservience, which only the most devoted, humble, and self-sacrificing person should hold - and I'm 99.999% certain that NO human who ever lived can be that charitable forever, so I think all leadership positions should regularly rotate out, to minimize the wear and tear that wearing a heavy crown takes on the psyche. Since this is not done in the world we have, little wonder that nearly all our leaders end up corrupt and the whole of society is pretty much circling the drain as we speak; it's the inevitable result of treating power as a privilege, when it was always a burden.

This is not an invitation to argue. I would remind you that you are already on thin ice and you should be mindful of what you say if you want to remain a member of this community.


I still regard this as a debate rather than an argument, and I am being extremely mindful of what I say (and fortunately, my issues are not flaring up at the moment, so I am able to maintain that mindfulness without much trouble). I've more or less said my piece now, I think; if you still have things to say in response, I may find myself having things to say in response to those, but it appears likely that the conversation is largely wrapped up for the moment. (And in case anyone thinks this, no I'm not the kind of person who has to get the last word, just that I have to finish speaking whatever's on my mind, until nothing more strongly needs to be said.)
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Arch Lich Burns » Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:10 pm

willpell wrote:
Your suggested system is unworkable in practice.


Possibly so; I definitely buy that you don't have the resources it would require to put it into effect, that's a perfectly sensible statement to which I have no counter. I still think it is theoretically what would be correct.

Becoming a police state is not something which we wish to become nor should we strive for, also please note that it would be a lot of hard work on our part to police everybody to beneifit only you.

Now, I'm simply basing this on your past reactions to us telling you that your behavior was unacceptable, so I could be wrong.


You are. No one should ever assume that they can predict or understand me based on any incomplete data set. I know everything there is to know about me (except for what I've forgotten), and even I don't know what I was really thinking in the past or what I'm going to end up doing in future. But I think that in this regard, I differ from the vast majority of human beings only in the matter of degree or scale. Human nature is inherently incomprehensible, I believe, and human societies are too quick to make assumptions and categorizations, which should be done to the absolute minimum possible degree in all cases, I'm adamantly certain of that.

That does not excuse, Willspell, and honestly everybody else (or a vast majority) is capabable of following social codes and not throw insults.

You are talking about a subgroup of one, namely yourself.


No, I am talking about a principle, and one which I believe would benefit everyone. Who knows how much more expressive some forumites, who currently only lurk or post infrequently, might become if they were more confident that they could speak freely and safely, without fear of retribution? Having rules against trolls doesn't stop actual trolls, it only stops people from posting earnestly in ways that they fear might cause them to be mistaken for trolls. Actual trolls will always find clever ways of working around any barriers placed in their path; it's better for everyone else just not to have more than the bare minimum number of barriers in the first place (and inflict extremely heavy sanctions on anyone who crosses those few lines, so that most people never stray even remotely close to them).

I am not the sole beneficiary; I am simply the self-appointed speaker for a silent legion of uncertain size.

You are correct that we do not know the number, but if they wished to speak they could have. And while rules do not stop them, we can prevent them from devistating the community as a whole. I find it somewhat amusing for you to say that trolls can try to breach borders, which you have done so many times before. And we gave you several warnings as a result. W are already have these barriers.

Saying that you have a group behind you and showing no proof at all, leads me to think that you do not have any group at all, and are the only one that is benifiting.
You would also be wise to think through your argument to its logical conclusion. You say that you cannot control your own behavior. What point is there in us trying to teach you when we have already tried before and you just told me it really won't matter?


There it is again, the condescenscion, which I'm making an effort to keep from getting to me. What makes you think you have the right to teach me anything? I'm not a child, I'm a person who's doing the best they can to get through their life - THEIR life, their own, their responsibility. As a public servant, it is your responsibility to cater to my needs, as you do to the needs of each other forumite; it is not in any way your responsibility to instruct or guide any of us unless we specifically request it. I (and various unspecified others, past and present and hypothetical future) cannot always control my own behavior, and so you should not inflexibly enforce the rules against me (and those same others); there should be leeway (and there is some, I know, I just think there should be more), enough that ALL situations can be resolved amicably, unless one party is clearly being completely unreasonable and not even trying to accomodate the other - which would include both a troll who never intended to follow the rules AND a leadership that unfailingly enforced them exactly as written.

No willspell. No we don't. We do NOT have to cater to you. We do NOT have to be pushed around like this. It is our responsiblity to guide you if you go to damage society on the whole. If you say you have responsibility in your own life then go with it, but it is obvious that you cannot and that you are being unreasonable.


As to your suggestion that I step down as admin because you don't think you're being treated fairly...


That was not even me saying you should, it was just a hypothetical. As I said, your authority position means you must be held to an extremely high standard for your behavior, far more than would be reasonable to expect of me as just another forumite. I would never try to do your job, because I know I'm not capable of keeping my personal biases from influencing my performance. Whether you are capable of doing so, only you know...I'm merely creating an if/then statement, IF you aren't able to perform objectively, seeing to the needs of even someone you have a personal grudge against, THEN you don't belong in authority. I apply that principle to ALL authority positions, from the shift manager at Burger King to the POTUS or the chair of the UN. Nobody who would ever act in a less than perfectly objective fashion has a right to make decisions, period. Leadership roles are not about being in charge, they are the ultimate form of subservience, which only the most devoted, humble, and self-sacrificing person should hold - and I'm 99.999% certain that NO human who ever lived can be that charitable forever, so I think all leadership positions should regularly rotate out, to minimize the wear and tear that wearing a heavy crown takes on the psyche. Since this is not done in the world we have, little wonder that nearly all our leaders end up corrupt and the whole of society is pretty much circling the drain as we speak; it's the inevitable result of treating power as a privilege, when it was always a burden.

We are trying to be as objective as we could, and yes we all have our biases that does not mean we can't be authorities, especially with one that constantly goes out of their way to break the rules.

This is not an invitation to argue. I would remind you that you are already on thin ice and you should be mindful of what you say if you want to remain a member of this community.


I still regard this as a debate rather than an argument, and I am being extremely mindful of what I say (and fortunately, my issues are not flaring up at the moment, so I am able to maintain that mindfulness without much trouble). I've more or less said my piece now, I think; if you still have things to say in response, I may find myself having things to say in response to those, but it appears likely that the conversation is largely wrapped up for the moment. (And in case anyone thinks this, no I'm not the kind of person who has to get the last word, just that I have to finish speaking whatever's on my mind, until nothing more strongly needs to be said.)

Riiiiiiiiiight. And totally not a way to try to undermine us.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby WearsHats » Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:44 pm

Now, I'm simply basing this on your past reactions to us telling you that your behavior was unacceptable, so I could be wrong.


You are. No one should ever assume that they can predict or understand me based on any incomplete data set. I know everything there is to know about me (except for what I've forgotten), and even I don't know what I was really thinking in the past or what I'm going to end up doing in future. But I think that in this regard, I differ from the vast majority of human beings only in the matter of degree or scale. Human nature is inherently incomprehensible, I believe, and human societies are too quick to make assumptions and categorizations, which should be done to the absolute minimum possible degree in all cases, I'm adamantly certain of that.


We can never truly know anyone 100%, including ourselves. That's true. But you've established a very consistent pattern within these specific circumstances, and I'd say it's fair to make projections based on that.

You are talking about a subgroup of one, namely yourself.


No, I am talking about a principle, and one which I believe would benefit everyone. Who knows how much more expressive some forumites, who currently only lurk or post infrequently, might become if they were more confident that they could speak freely and safely, without fear of retribution? Having rules against trolls doesn't stop actual trolls, it only stops people from posting earnestly in ways that they fear might cause them to be mistaken for trolls. Actual trolls will always find clever ways of working around any barriers placed in their path; it's better for everyone else just not to have more than the bare minimum number of barriers in the first place (and inflict extremely heavy sanctions on anyone who crosses those few lines, so that most people never stray even remotely close to them).

I am not the sole beneficiary; I am simply the self-appointed speaker for a silent legion of uncertain size.


So, hypothetically, there are a bunch of lurkers out there who are too afraid of the mods to speak up. Even though we go out of our way to let everyone speak, even when we strongly disagree with what they're saying, so long as they're not breaking the rules. And even when they do break the rules, we give them the benefit of the doubt, point out that the rules are being broken, and politely request that they amend their behavior in the future. But, somehow, these hypothetical lurkers for whom you are the self-appointed spokesman would be less afraid of us if we instead put them on indefinite probation and edited all their posts before anyone was allowed to see them. That seems highly dubious.

What you're actually suggesting here is that we scrap all punishments for breaking the rules and instead step in to un-break the rules by putting our words in someone else's metaphorical mouth. In a place and a way that no one else can see. I find the idea of such a society terrifying and oppressive. I'm shocked that you don't.

There it is again, the condescenscion, which I'm making an effort to keep from getting to me. What makes you think you have the right to teach me anything?


You're asking us to teach you how to stay within the rules by working with you to individually edit each and every post you make so that it conforms to what's acceptable within the rules of the community, and now you're telling us that we don't have the right to teach you and that attempting to do so is condescending and treating you like a child.

You say you're not a child, and then you follow that up with a statement that you can't control your own behavior in the way generally expected of an adult.

You can't have it both ways.

I (and various unspecified others, past and present and hypothetical future) cannot always control my own behavior, and so you should not inflexibly enforce the rules against me (and those same others); there should be leeway (and there is some, I know, I just think there should be more),


You just said it yourself. We're not inflexible. We have tried to work with you. But when you break the rules, you face the consequences for doing so. That's how rules work. That's how society works. (Also, when we do provide flexibility, people complain that we don't enforce the rules fairly and evenly.)

If we gave more leeway, there wouldn't be rules at all. Which, come to think, is something you've explicitly said was the way it should be. That's not going to happen.

enough that ALL situations can be resolved amicably, unless one party is clearly being completely unreasonable and not even trying to accomodate the other - which would include both a troll who never intended to follow the rules AND a leadership that unfailingly enforced them exactly as written.


I'll remind you that you've also explicitly said, after being punished for your behavior in Controversy, that you would, upon being allowed back in to that forum, behave yourself properly just long enough for tempers to cool and then go right back to what you were doing before. Which statement you followed up by doing exactly that. Which proves that you are aware of the limits and that you can stay within them when you want to. Also, that you will only accommodate the rules when forced to under threat of banishment.

I still regard this as a debate rather than an argument


And yet, your response to a counterargument is to claim that Moose is being condescending and treating you like a child. You can't have it both ways.

if you still have things to say in response, I may find myself having things to say in response to those, but it appears likely that the conversation is largely wrapped up for the moment. (And in case anyone thinks this, no I'm not the kind of person who has to get the last word, just that I have to finish speaking whatever's on my mind, until nothing more strongly needs to be said.)


Your suggested system is unworkable in practice.


Possibly so; I definitely buy that you don't have the resources it would require to put it into effect, that's a perfectly sensible statement to which I have no counter. I still think it is theoretically what would be correct.


Yes. Perhaps it's best that we just drop this. You've made your suggestion. It's been deemed unworkable. Let's move on.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Ansan Gotti » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:18 am

Generally speaking, I think the rules are fair, and generally speaking, I don't think the mods act with a heavy hand, even during the "troubles" of these past couple of months.

However, it is precisely because mod action is relatively rare and not heavy handed, that it is all the more important to make sure that the rules are enforced as objectively and as free of bias as possible.

None of this is rocket science or particularly novel, just my $0.02.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Ansan Gotti » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:43 am

I'm moving a small portion of a response from another thread to this thread, as it seems more appropriate here.

RocketScientist wrote:Um. Did I give you warning? Did you get in any sort of trouble at all? Did I even suggest that you were in trouble? It was a "please don't do this" reminder.


Here's something for mods to perhaps consider as food for thought... you may not be speaking in mod voice, and you may not be giving a formal warning, but a declaration or order from you will often be received just like a declaration or order from a uniformed police officer, which will be received as a statement from authority. And that's true regardless of whether someone is acting in an official capacity in any given situation or not.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Wolfie » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:50 am

Ansan Gotti wrote:I'm moving a small portion of a response from another thread to this thread, as it seems more appropriate here.

RocketScientist wrote:Um. Did I give you warning? Did you get in any sort of trouble at all? Did I even suggest that you were in trouble? It was a "please don't do this" reminder.


Here's something for mods to perhaps consider as food for thought... you may not be speaking in mod voice, and you may not be giving a formal warning, but a declaration or order from you will often be received just like a declaration or order from a uniformed police officer, which will be received as a statement from authority. And that's true regardless of whether someone is acting in an official capacity in any given situation or not.


It's also implied that what is said outside of a Mod voice or the Info box is informal and not a smack on the hand. It's like your mom reminding you speak nicely to your brother. Did the request come from authority? Yes. Did your middle name come out and the tone of voice change? Nope. So you take the suggestion to heart but without the implication that if you don't something bad will happen.

I realize that just being a mod or admin carries with it a little more clout in everyday conversations, but we're also users who like to join in on the conversations. In most instances, a small nudge like that is something I would write even if I wasn't a mod/admin and was just a user. CooksACarrot is pretty good at trying to step in and be a mod without actually being one. Just one of the guys looking out for the others.

In short, if it isn't in an Info Box or a Mod Voice box, take it as a nudge or friendly reminder and keep going.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Ansan Gotti » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:08 am

All of that may be true, but a problem of perception can sometimes occur when you have mods who, as you say, "like to join in the conversations," but then start handing out "nudges" for borderline or immaterial matters against people they are actively conversing with (or even more so, actively disagreeing with), while other similar borderline or immaterial matters in the same thread have passed without comment.

This is not intended as an accusation or a complaint; truly it isn't. It's a comment intended to help explain why there may be a perception problem with some folks. I am NOT suggesting that mods shouldn't join in the conversation, because I think this forum would be a much, much poorer place without that input. Rather, I'm suggesting that it may be a good thing to exercise restraint in "nudges" toward people with whom you're actively engaged and/or disagreeing.

If it's a formal violation, then sure, give a formal warning and come down on the person. I think everyone would understand and even respect that, for clear-cut violations. It's the "ticky-tack" stuff that can sometimes have the perception of bias, or even pettiness, at times.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby CooksACarrot » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:15 am

Wolfie wrote:I realize that just being a mod or admin carries with it a little more clout in everyday conversations, but we're also users who like to join in on the conversations. In most instances, a small nudge like that is something I would write even if I wasn't a mod/admin and was just a user. CooksACarrot is pretty good at trying to step in and be a mod without actually being one. Just one of the guys looking out for the others.


Thanks for that, you couldn't get me to do your job if you paid me. I do think that the Mods in this forum work much, much harder than people realize to not formally warn or punish people or use the various tools at your disposal. Unfortunately, some people (and I am in no way naming ANY names, or pointing at anybody specifically) either choose to use that to their advantage, or perceive the minimal intervention you do use as heavy handed because they do not understand how much more you could do to silence them.

Mods do have authority, yes, but they are also people. When they speak outside of Mod Voice, that is an invitation to realize that the way you are conducting yourself is inappropriate or damaging to yourself or others, and to correct how you are going about things. There is always a way to carry yourself that maintains this place as welcoming and accepting, no matter what the topic. The goal should be to provoke thought, not rage or tears.

If you really think that a Mod is being inappropriate, or misunderstanding or misrepresenting what you have said, the appropriate response is to PM them and explain yourself or make them understand how you feel about their actions. Treat them like a person, with respect and understanding. They have a lot of work to do, and a lot of threads to follow, and it is a volunteer position. Sometimes they will make mistakes, or misunderstand you. Give them a chance to apologize and correct themselves, just as you would want from them before they deploy the banhammer. If you do not feel satisfied by that, talk to another Mod. Do not call them out in open on the forum. That is simply an invitation to formal reprimand.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Ansan Gotti » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:23 am

This may surprise you, but I agree with the vast majority of what you're saying. (And I don't think that disagreement is required between your position, and what I'm saying in terms of perception.)
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby CooksACarrot » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:30 am

I don't necessarily think they are incompatible either. Mods do need to understand that anything they say might be interpreted as coming "From a Mod" (not that I necessarily think the Mods here are unaware of this). But other forumites also have to understand when the Mods are showing restraint, and how to go about seeking redress in a respectful way.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby RocketScientist » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:00 am

Ansan Gotti wrote:I'm moving a small portion of a response from another thread to this thread, as it seems more appropriate here.

RocketScientist wrote:Um. Did I give you warning? Did you get in any sort of trouble at all? Did I even suggest that you were in trouble? It was a "please don't do this" reminder.


Here's something for mods to perhaps consider as food for thought... you may not be speaking in mod voice, and you may not be giving a formal warning, but a declaration or order from you will often be received just like a declaration or order from a uniformed police officer, which will be received as a statement from authority. And that's true regardless of whether someone is acting in an official capacity in any given situation or not.


Please give me some credit for realizing this. However, I have to wonder, would you complain to the hypothetical officer's superiors if s/he said "hey, don't ride your skateboard in this park, ok? It's not permitted here." Would you assume s/he is only saying that because the person was annoying him/her? Would you make an announcement in the newspaper saying you're not trying to start an argument, but police speak with authority, and may inadvertently upset some people? Because literally (real, dictionary meaning of literally in use here) every single post I make is dissected, argued with and complained about. And my patience with this behavior is wearing thin.
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Re: Forum-wide Rules and Moderation Discussion

Postby Ansan Gotti » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:09 am

I can't speak to your patience, although I can assure you that my own personal intention is not to try yours.

At the end of the day, you are obviously free -- more free than just about anyone here -- to do as you see fit.

There are multiple ways to filter and respond to feedback, however, ranging from, "Everyone else is wrong and has a bias," to "I am so crushed and mortified by that one person's comment that I will never post again." Or from, "I have my own personal convictions and the rest of the world can hang with their argument by popularity," to "Hmm, perhaps if multiple different people perceive something, maybe there's some seed of truth lurking there beneath all of the rhetoric."

All my best.
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