A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

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mjr
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by mjr »

thirdcrank wrote: 31 Mar 2021, 4:02pm mjr

Would it be intrusive to ask you to estimate how many posts you report over, say, a typical month?
I have no idea. I don't keep count. It probably varies wildly depending how many people are posting bad stuff I happened to read before others or the mods.

I just got two "report closed" notices, one for signature spam and one for trolling. Neither has been dealt with. The trolling one is maybe borderline (appeared to be trying to continue some spat from another thread) but I really don't understand how the spam is.

I feel this is why people don't bother to report much because it feels like a waste of time, a very negative user experience, like the site rules are just words that the mods don't feel they need implement, or even change the words to match the practice.
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by Cyril Haearn »

Were I a moderator, I should act on nearly all reports, unless there was a good reason not to
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by thirdcrank »

mjr

Thanks for that.
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by mjr »

Cyril Haearn wrote: 7 Apr 2021, 10:31am Were I a moderator, I should act on nearly all reports, unless there was a good reason not to
I suspect you may be underestimating the number of deliberate misreports against posters that the reporter simply dislikes, based on my experience moderating other sites.
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by Vorpal »

mjr wrote: 7 Apr 2021, 10:26am

I just got two "report closed" notices, one for signature spam and one for trolling. Neither has been dealt with. The trolling one is maybe borderline (appeared to be trying to continue some spat from another thread) but I really don't understand how the spam is.

I feel this is why people don't bother to report much because it feels like a waste of time, a very negative user experience, like the site rules are just words that the mods don't feel they need implement, or even change the words to match the practice.
The spam has been dealt with. I banned the spammer & closed your report, then realised that the signature was still there, but I cannot delete signatures from a banned account, so I had to restore it, delete the signature, then ban them again.

The vast majority of reports are are things that we do take action on.

As for the words and the practice, if there is something that you feel is out of sync, you are welcome to recommend specific changes.
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by horizon »

mjr wrote:
I feel this is why people don't bother to report much because it feels like a waste of time, a very negative user experience, like the site rules are just words that the mods don't feel they need implement, or even change the words to match the practice.
I have reported maybe two or three posts in the past. None was about vitriolic comments but usually a specific point about someone crossing a line (I remember one about a post revealing someone else's identity). All were dealt with promptly and effectively.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by Cyril Haearn »

We have a lot of expert amateur psychologists on these fora, they explain what others are trying to say, think, explain, feel

Can someone explain why one cares what others (hundreds of miles away, whom one shall never meet) think of one?
..
Actually I do not care mostly. Anyone resorting to insults has lost the argument :wink:
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by DevonDamo »

Cyril Haearn wrote: 19 Apr 2021, 11:44am We have a lot of expert amateur psychologists on these fora, they explain what others are trying to say, think, explain, feel

Can someone explain why one cares what others (hundreds of miles away, whom one shall never meet) think of one?
..
Actually I do not care mostly. Anyone resorting to insults has lost the argument :wink:
I have no idea what this latest online argument you've got yourself into is, but going to an unrelated thread in order to complain about "expert amateur psychologists" who've resorted to insults and have therefore lost the argument isn't indicative of someone who doesn't care. But that's by the by - I'll leave you to have that discussion with whoever has upset you.

I've avoided responding to two recent-ish forum contributions of yours: I held my tongue about your attempt to derail the 'best wishes for Brucey' thread with your pedestrian crossing button pushing campaign and your more recent non-sequitur announcement to users of the eBikes thread that they were unsafe/antisocial. However, as the context here is a thread about moderation, I think this is an appropriate place for me to say my piece. (As we both know, you'll be getting our 'politeness moderator' to delete this pronto, but even though this particular essay is doomed for the dustbin, I'll be content that it's at least been said.)

The bizarre approach to moderation on this forum has sheltered you from the reactions you would normally expect to get in normal interactions with normal people. I actually found it painful to read the obviously-muted reactions to your uninvited contribution to the eBikes thread. People were clearly treading on egg-shells and avoiding saying what they really, and understandably, wanted to say to you. I'm no more interested in eBikes than you are, but I do understand that if I barge uninvited into a technical discussion between a group of enthusiasts to inform them of their moral failings, based on made-up data, they will rightly tell me to sling my hook, and I won't be surprised about that or complain.

Despite the above, I'm all in favour of your off-kilter contributions to this forum. It's the characters that liven up a forum and the 'robust' responses they get actually constitutes a democratic process by which the forum establishes its norms of what is and what isn't cricket. What I'm not in favour of is the terrible moderation, which means that anyone who responds to a forum character directly, honestly and robustly, no matter how justified that response, will be censored, whilst the original offending comment can get away with murder, providing it's cloaked in respectable language. What it's resulted in is a kind of 'Stepford Wives' situation (as we can see in the eBike thread) where people are basically forced to respond to inflammatory remarks with unnatural language, through gritted teeth and fake plastic smiles. If you're interested in living in some terrible 1970s sitcom, that fake veneer of politeness and respectability probably appeals to you, but there is not one person on this forum who is fooled by it. And consequently this forum just gets plagued by never-ending, ill-tempered sniping between the usual suspects, rather than a good old-fashioned blow-up, followed by (justified) moderation, a bit of wound-licking and the establishment of norms and boundaries.
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by Cyril Haearn »

@DD
Thanks for writing. I shall not be reporting you

As for trying to divert the thread about Brucey, someone else mentioned my passion for whatever reason and I took the chance to take up the baton, perhaps in an inappropriate place. But I can think of few things more important, simple, effective, and I think it is worth mentioning at every opportunity!

I see these fora like chatting in the pub where one soon finds oneself talking about different things, not so much like being challenged on a dissertation where one should stay on topic

A wise person once said: 'it is much more worthwhile to talk to ones opponents, one learns much more from them than ones allies'. That could apply to both of us
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by Ride-sleep-repeat »

Cyril Haearn wrote: 19 Apr 2021, 1:44pm @DD
Thanks for writing. I shall not be reporting you
As for trying to divert the thread about Brucey, someone else mentioned my passion for whatever reason and I took the chance to take up the baton, perhaps in an inappropriate place. But I can think of few things more important, simple, effective, and I think it is worth mentioning at every opportunity!
Perhaps inappropriate?
It was totally inappropriate to bring the spotlight on (your) subject that almost everyone but you thinks is a pretty stupid idea in the first place!
Cyril Haearn wrote: 19 Apr 2021, 1:44pm I see these fora like chatting in the pub where one soon finds oneself talking about different things, not so much like being challenged on a dissertation where one should stay on topic
So why take pride in reporting folk?Would you 'report' folk in a pub?
Pub arguments get heated,loud and sometimes violent...then 10 minutes later everyone are friends again.Maybe if you did take a similar approach then you might not report as much as you seem happy to admit to?
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by DevonDamo »

Cyril Haearn wrote: 19 Apr 2021, 1:44pm@DD
Thanks for writing. I shall not be reporting you...
I'm very glad I managed to type all that without mortally offending you Cyril, as my target was the way 'handbag battles' are moderated on here, rather than a personal swipe at yourself. You've got every right to report anything which you think has crossed the line. I've done it myself a couple of times, and have always held up my hand to having done so, if only to take the heat off the moderators for any subsequent toys being thrown from prams. And you've also got every right to expound your views on motorists/eBike users/etc regardless of how much backlash you get from it. My point is that it's counterproductive, and just a bit odd, for a moderator to be enforcing an unnatural, undefined standard of 'politeness' on these debates. It's a job that most of us don't want the moderators to be doing at all, but if they insist on doing it, then they need to be doing it properly so as not to be accused of bias or fighting battles on behalf of those who're prepared to engage in bizarre, linguistic gymnastics to stay within these unwritten rules. It would be far better for everyone if we were given the space to have straightforward, non-cryptic, robust 'exchanges of views' with sanctions only being taken when people cross simple lines which we all understand - expletives, name-calling, threats etc. You eventually get weary of any internet spat, and that's the point when people start self-policing, i.e. avoiding further provocation and giving the proverbial slow handclap to anyone determined to dig up old controversies. There are a few recent threads on here which are perfect examples of why this forum's enforced politeness policy doesn't work - strained language, cryptic insults, simmering resentment etc. I'd post links, but that would be crossing the line.
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by thirdcrank »

On the subject of dodgy websites associated with new accounts, this page of new members from a week ago has over a dozen examples

memberlist.php?sk=c&sd=d&start=50
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by mattheus »

DevonDamo wrote: 19 Apr 2021, 12:57pm ...
Despite the above, I'm all in favour of your off-kilter contributions to this forum. It's the characters that liven up a forum and the 'robust' responses they get actually constitutes a democratic process by which the forum establishes its norms of what is and what isn't cricket. What I'm not in favour of is the terrible moderation, which means that anyone who responds to a forum character directly, honestly and robustly, no matter how justified that response, will be censored, whilst the original offending comment can get away with murder, providing it's cloaked in respectable language. What it's resulted in is a kind of 'Stepford Wives' situation (as we can see in the eBike thread) where people are basically forced to respond to inflammatory remarks with unnatural language, through gritted teeth and fake plastic smiles. If you're interested in living in some terrible 1970s sitcom, that fake veneer of politeness and respectability probably appeals to you, but there is not one person on this forum who is fooled by it. And consequently this forum just gets plagued by never-ending, ill-tempered sniping between the usual suspects, rather than a good old-fashioned blow-up, followed by (justified) moderation, a bit of wound-licking and the establishment of norms and boundaries.
Well said Damo. You've summed up the one thing that I find almost ruins this forum - despite the Mods no doubt having the best intentions.

(The other flavour of this is that one can craft really very unpleasant personal insults to a member, provided you use sufficiently verbose/circular/archaic/eccentric grammar or vocabulary. But do NOT go beyond "DRAT" or similar offensive terms! )
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by Cyril Haearn »

@DD you mention people 'getting away with murder', but I feel sure no-one has died. Could you please please use appropriate factual language and explain what you mean?

Some nasty comments elsewhere have been left, not deleted, I think that is ok, says a lot about those who choose to use bad language, rather than about those they are attacking
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Re: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

Post by DevonDamo »

Cyril Haearn wrote: 23 Apr 2021, 7:28pm @DD you mention people 'getting away with murder', but I feel sure no-one has died. Could you please please use appropriate factual language and explain what you mean?
Just another one of my metaphors Cyril. I was referring to people getting away with posting something objectionable and succeeding in having any challenges quashed by reporting them. I'll continue to avoid citing any 'live' examples as that would just be re-igniting those particular debates, but there is one older exchange which I can safely use as an example. There was a chap on here who had spent years posting website links etc. which, once you'd spotted the pattern, were obviously part of a campaign to promote a particularly intolerant social/political view. I started to challenge him when he did this but I was twice reported and censored for having done so. I hadn't used any insults, and hadn't even bothered with sarcasm, but my exchanges with him were censored for being confrontational, whilst the content he was posting stayed up. Action was eventually taken against this individual, but only after I'd had a particularly whiny whine about how this had been moderated. This chap had definitely been getting away with murder, and one little post-script: despite his public claims of innocence and outrage that I was being so rude by confronting him, his mask did slip when he let fly an expletive-laden post at one of the other forum members who'd also picked up on his little game. That one never got spotted by the moderators and is still up for all to see on the forum.
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