Are lies/libels by a moderator not accountable to same rules?

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by RealityCheck, Aug 3, 2012.

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  1. RealityCheck Banned Banned

    DISCLAIMER: This may be treated as a hypothetical scenario applying across the internet forums 'landscape'. Not intended to be specific to any one particular site/moderator etc. Thankyou.

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    I have often noted in internet forums generally where certain people profess to take the supposed 'high ground' by making much of the rules when wishing to put an ordinary member 'in their place'.

    Some hypothetical questions to anyone interested in replying....

    What are your hypothetical views regarding hypothetical lies and libels by moderators against ordinary members?

    The usual hypothetical forum procedures make much of what ordinary members cannot do, but where are the explicit hypothetical rules for what moderators themselves cannot do?

    If hypothetically moderators have the power to threaten throwing the book at members, who hypothetically has the power to threaten throwing the book at moderators?

    If complaints in the 'approved process' manner do not work hypothetically, how credible/genuine are the usual exhortations by certain people to ordinary members to 'follow approved procedure' by the rules etc etc, especially if the one making the exhortations might be hypothetically himself a moderator who has lied and libeled and the system gives no fair recourse for the affected member to get remedy, simply because the hypothetical forum 'system' may be effectively 'stacked against' the ordinary member irrespective of 'the rules' lofty original intentions?

    No claims made. Just canvassing views on hypothetical scenarios which may or may not exist in reality across the internet forum 'landscape'.

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    All genuine and constructive 'hypothetical views' on this will be welcome!

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  3. prometheus viva voce! Registered Senior Member

    Isn't this restarting a closed thread?
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  5. RealityCheck Banned Banned

    So, one cannot ask a hypothetical regarding PAN-internet scenarios without being accused by a MOD of 'restarting a closed thread' which may or may not have similarities in some respects to some past thread purely by accident?

    Is this you, a MOD, trying to intimidate an ordinary member just because you may find the hypothetical 'unpalatable'? That is your problem, not mine.

    I would appreciate it, if you cannot be objective, then please try not to 'frame' a thread and intimidate potential respondents like that. Thankyou!


    PS: Talking of PAN-internet matters: Did you read my general announcement where I advise that there is another person going by the name "Realitycheck" (lower case "c")? I trust any confusion between that person and myself will soon be dispelled. Cheers!
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  7. prometheus viva voce! Registered Senior Member

    If you reread my post without applying your acute bias you will see that I did nothing more than ask a question. No intimidation. No suggestion of subjectivity. Just a question.

    If I wanted to intimidate you, with a little insult thrown in for good measure, I would have posted something akin to this:
    Do you see the difference?
  8. RealityCheck Banned Banned


    Oh come on, mate! That is what subtlety and disingenuousness is all about. You would really be silly to come out and say it that way, because you would have no 'plausible deniability' if rumbled.

    I rumbled your latest attempt at intimidation as a mod. Period. Now you came back with that lame 'line' acting all innocent.

    If you had any doubt, such that you needed to ASK me whether that was restarting a thread, then you would have applied the benefit of the doubt and left it could have PMd me and just asked me before making that insinuation as a mod and so casting the thread into a light which you wanted to cast on it by the form of your 'question' as put.

    But you couldn't resist flexing your mod status and intimidating while pretending to 'ask a question'.

    Well, what is good for the goose is good for the gander mate. I was only asking a hypothetical regarding general pan-internet issues in this area. So why need you 'ask' at all, if that was made abundantly clear already, unless you wanted to impose and frame as I rumbled you in the act there?

    This is the sort of general mod behaviour which reeks of double standards and intimidatory subtlety which the ordinary member finds frustrating and impossible to counter when the mod and system is so obviously 'manipulated' to look 'innocent' when it is in effect most sinister and deplorable.

    And by doing what you just did, you brought the matter from a general hypothetical to a specific instance which you provided by that post of yours which highlighted/illustrated the hypotheticals I asked for responses to. Thanks for that at least.

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    No-one is fooled, prom.


  9. prometheus viva voce! Registered Senior Member

    What do I do?! I've got nothing.

    I'm going to leave you to your paranoia now. Before I do, and I'd hate to spoil your little delusion fest with, y'know, some facts but here they are anyway.

    1) I am a moderator of physics and maths and astronomy and cosmology. I have no power at all in this forum.
    2) I think the general consensus on the last "intimidation" nonsense was that I didn't intimidate anyone, nor attempt to do so. I presume the admins agree with this because I haven't received my marching orders just yet.
    3) Your "hypothetical situation" is so familiar from, oh, a day ago that it's a bit like Neil Armstrong striking up a conversation with someone about a guy who stood on the moon and said "One giant leap for humankind."
    4) Why would I PM you? Quite clearly you think it's not a repeat post or else you wouldn't have done it. Either that or you're trolling so you wouldn't care.
    5) I don't do passive aggressive and being rumbled by you holds no fear for me (you seem to think you rumble me all the time, so what can I do?). Take a look at my posting history (which you should be familiar with since you were around when I posted on physorg under the same username) - when I want to be blunt I am exactly that.
  10. AlphaNumeric Fully ionized Registered Senior Member

    Yes, what are people's views given that I pointed out you misrepresenting myself and Prometheus several times in the most recent of your closed threads. Would you like me to give specific examples? QQ complained I used the word 'dishonest' a great many times but he neglected to acknowledge that I pointed out specific instances where what you said our (Prom and myself) views to be were in direct and stark contradiction to what we'd actually said. Hence why I said it so many times, you had continued to misrepresent us.

    This constant "They are abusing their power!" thing neglects the fact (again, demonstrable things) I didn't enforce the letter of the rules with you. I didn't give you a warning for derailing a thread unnecessarily and I said you could start a new discussion. Both of those are actually things I shouldn't have done but I don't wield my moderator powers like a sledge hammer. The admin will be able to confirm that I rarely use my powers and almost all the times I do it is to ban people spamming Iphone adverts on the forum.

    Do you not have something better to do with your time than do this?

    Can you give examples of such supposed transgressions?

    JamesR is an admin. He gave Prometheus and I our moderating positions after we'd been members here a long time. He also actively moderators the same forum as us so it's not like we're hiding in some rarely visited corner of the site. If James has a problem with one of us I would hope that he'd say so. Thus far he has not.

    Again with the faux pleasantries. Do you think anyone doesn't realise what this 'hypothetical' situation is? But if you insist....

    My genuine and constructive 'hypothetical view' is that if Person A misrepresents Persons B and C in direct contradiction to clear statements made by Persons B and C then it is reasonable for Person B or C to call Person A a liar. In such a hypothetical instance it is a statement of fact. Libel involves causing a negative image of someone. An acceptable defence to the legal accusation of libel is to demonstrate the comment, despite being negative about the person, was in fact true. If Person B or C can give an instance where Person A says something which misrepresents the views of Persons B or C, such as by showing Person A's comments are in direct contradiction to comments Persons B or C had made previously and which Person A was aware of, then not only has Person B or C demonstrated the accusation of Person A that Persons B or C have engaged in libel but it is grounds to conclude Person A has engaged in it instead.

    For example, here's a hypothetical statement. Suppose Person B says "I wish more of people outside of Group X would engage in activity Y" and Person A is aware of the details of the conversation that was said in, perhaps even being a participant in the conversation. If Person A then says "Persons B and C wish only for people inside of Group X to engage in activity Y" then Person A has misrepresented Person B. Person B then had justification to say Person A is lying about them because Person A has seen Person B say the opposite. Of course Person A might not like being told by Person B that Person A is being dishonest but it nevertheless the truth and Person B has every reason to say as much.

    How about another 'hypothetical'? Person B and C have the ability to do some action X. They have had the ability for quite a while but in fact engage in action Y which has the opposite outcome to action X. Person A says that Persons B and C are trying to engage in action X. Not only that but Person A asserts Persons B and C act with impunity and without due regard and greatly desire to do action X. Persons B and C are justified in pointing out not only the lack of evidence for Person A's assertion but the contradiction of it by their repeated action Y. My ' genuine and constructive 'hypothetical view'' is that in such a circumstance Persons B and C are able to point out the contradiction between Person A's claims and their actions. It is reasonable for Person B or C to consider it a misrepresentation of them. If Person A has been observing the actions of Persons B and C for some time and is aware of the lack of implementation of action X then Persons B and C could consider the misrepresentation to be based in dishonesty rather than lack of relevant information. Again. Persons B and C would be making a fair statement about Person A if they pointed out the dubious nature of Person A's representation of them, even going so far as to call Person A dishonest.

    But those are just hypothetical situations where I've given my comments. Of course particular example scenarios which have actually occurred might be provided if required.
  11. RealityCheck Banned Banned

    OK prom, let's dissect all that just so we're all clear....

    What do you do? You can stop it.

    You've got nothing? Then why keep intruding with your size 15 jackboots where you shouldn't?

    See? You've just 'painted' someone's legitimate observations as 'paranoia', 'delusion' etc etc. You have mod status here, irrespective of whether in this particular section or not. You have certain implied standards expected of you at all times, not just where you mod per se. It is that 'status' that makes your posts intimidatory where an ordinary member's post would not carry the same implied 'weight' and/or 'threat' behind it. So please take care in the tone you use everywhere here, mindful of your status as mod wherever at this site.

    Please see above. Furthermore, you DO have power here in this forum, because you are 'associated' with all the other mods as a group. The tendency of a group is to 'close ranks' and work to 'unspoken' common-protection rules which may come into play in the background when an ordinary member posts in other sections, such that a 'tone of disapproval regarding one member' in one section may influence the preconclusionary attitudes of other mods in the group towards that ordinary member. Before you call that paranoid or delusional, you know it's how group dynamics and personal prejudice and preconceived impressions works. So don't bother to 'paint' that observation in the 'usual' dismissive way, ok? Thanks.

    I suspect that, in your 'defensive' frame of mind, you may have misunderstood the intention of airing out that issue. It was not aimed in any way to bring about you getting your "marching orders"!

    The purpose was to bring about improvements which would benefit all here, including yourself and all mods. It would be to no-one's benefit to simply 'give you your marching orders', as you put it, and so waste all the time and trouble we have already taken in discussing the issues and the improvements it has resulted in already! You should stay. No question. That is what I want and what everyone wants....but with the points made taken to heart and reflected in your future moderator actions/duties. That was the whole point. Otherwise I would not have bothered, if you were just cast aside and another 'green' mod came along and just continued the problem where you would not because of what we have just all discussed. I trust that is clear now? Nothing personal. Nothing aimed at dismissal. Just retention with improvement. OK?

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    Now you are being selective and effectively bringing 'baggage' and judgmental preconclusions into my thread from elsewhere. That is what I meant about painting and framing a thread and so subtly imposing/intimidating without overtly seeming to. Your opinion is your opinion. Don't let it colour your reading like that. That is perhaps why you jumped in again as you did, perhaps without realizing what you did by doing so, as I observed in both cases now.

    That was not the point. Instead of 'asking' like that in open forum and so effectively prejudicing the whole tone of the potential responses/discussion, you should have remained aloof (if you weren't sure and had to 'ask' as you did)....OR.....since it was you that seemed to be unsure about it, then instead of just jumping in like that you might have put your 'doubts' to the author in a PM and we could have come to an agreement BEFORE you effectively intimidated/imposed your 'painting' of the thread by that disingenuous 'innocent question'.

    See? The very same 'argument' you just used in the previous point you posted to me in 3) above can be applied to your 'innocent question' gambit which I rumbled. Only it was properly applied to your original 'innocent question', but not so above to my thread hypotheticals on pan-internet issues as put.

    It's not a question of subtlety or bluntness when moderation is involved. It is about transparency and no double standards or witting/unwitting intimidation becoming a problem. I pointed out how that may arise wittingly/unwittingly and how the trolls take advantage of any seeming bias against genuine posters and favour (whether wittingly/unwittingly) shown by the mods towards the trolls.

    UPSHOT: If the trolls/spoilers could be effectively put in their place immediately and without any equivocation, instead of always making the genuine posters have to justify complaints etc etc ad nauseum, then there may be a lot less complaining from genuine members and the mods would enjoy the experience more than they do and with much less unnecessary stress all round.

    The aim is improvements, not continuing finger pointing. If there is improved awareness that mods have a special status/weight which may adversely affect threads/members, then perhaps there would not be such a lot of inadvertent mod intrusion where it is not warranted; and more direct action against the actual trolls in any particular thread?

    Just because the internet started out 'swampy', it does not mean we cannot all get together and 'drain' it of many of its problematic issues, hey?

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    Positive thinking. That's all. Cheers prom, everyone!

    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  12. RealityCheck Banned Banned

    Thankyou for your constructive 'hypothetical' response, AN.

    Regarding the case in point you mentioned, I did respond to QQ at the time, and said I appreciated the magnanimous gesture but declined because it did not answer the original problem which led to the closure in the first place. That was the point then and it still is now.

    The general issue about the difference between what mods and ordinary members do or have power to do still remains to be generally discussed once all respondents here have had their say. The hypothetical being that ordinary members are behind the 8-ball from the word go when it coms to lies and libel. The ordinary member is obliged to justify and jump through hoops while the mods just keep quoting the rules. But the ordinary members cannot do likewise and make the mods jumpt through the same hoops etc.

    That is what is apparent across all the internet forums. While the rules are used to keep ordinarry members in their place, the rules seem not to work when it is a mod that needs to be put in the same place according to the rules. Hence the use of the rules and procedures merely makes the ordinary member frustrated because of no justice while the mods and trolls get away scot free.

    It is the pattern and repetition of that problem over many threads that is the frustrating part. It is not about just one instance of a closed thread. It is the continual 'chasing one's tail' like in a revolving door, where no matter how many threads one is allowed to open/re-open, the same troll-mod actions eventually cruel the thread 'as usual' and leaves the affectd ordinary member feeling helpless and with the dejavu feeling of having been there many times and the system merely gets in the way because it just perpetuates the problem when the trolls feel empowered by that system which makes the ordinary member the one to complain and then is victimised when he does so, while the trolls etc get away again and again to re-do the same pattern.

    That was all. Any particular instance is merely one of many. It is the repetition and frustration that is the problem that the system is not tackling. If it could be made policy to stop the trolls and punish them on the spot before the thread gets out of hand and used as an excuse to close it prematurely, then the complaints wouldn't be as justified as they are at the moment across many threads/instances across the internet forums.

    As for prom and yourselves per se, I did not aim to make it 'personal', just observed the problems as I saw them and as demonstrated previously. I do not want anyone to feel personally attacked in this. I am only observing what the 'system' allows regarding trolls/spoilers, and what it results in regarding prematurely/unfairly closed threads (again and again) irrespective of the genuine starter/respondents, again as described. That's all. If the improvements are implemented then we all shall be better off and no-one except trolls/spoilers etc should have any gripes about having had this discussion in the open instead of again being shunted into the background where the system can be manipulated to make the good guys out to be the bad guys while trolls get way again.

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    I trust that this last lot of discussions will have been cathartic for every genuine member/mod here and elsewhere on the net forums!

    Cheers AN, and thanks for your previous magnanimous gesture. A pity that the continuing problem will make it useless for me to restart that thread until the original problem is solved!

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    PS: AN, prom, everyone: Did you catch my general announcement about possible mistaken identity problems with another person calling themselves "Realitycheck" (lower case "c" instead of capital "C")? I trust that annuncement clears up any confusion that may have arisen which led anyone to think that that person and I are one and the same.....we are not. Cheers!
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I think the question here is, actually, whether it is even theoretically, ideally possible that in a supervision system, the humans who are in the position to supervise, be held to the same standards as those humans they supervise.

    Perhaps if robots would be supervisors, that might work. But as long as the supervisors are human, it seems that every system of supervision is stacked against the ordinary member.

    There is the principle, Cuius regio, eius religio - the ruler gets to decide what the religion of the state he rules will be, and the people must either convert, get expatriated or otherwise punished, or they have to pretend they have accepted the imposed religion.

    The same principle applies in other social systems as well. Those in position of power get to decide what the official "policy of truth" is to be.

    There is, of course, an inherent clash between this policy and the original intention of a forum like this.
    It gets silly to try to discuss issues of truth, thinking that it is not yet clear what the truth is, when the powers that be already decided what is to be considered the truth ...
  14. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    This thread clearly can no longer be mistaken for anything other than restarting a closed thread, and a blatant flaunting of the forum rules. The OP's capacity for playing the victim has been commented on elsewhere and is only further demonstrated with each restarting of a closed thread to vent one's spleen about imagined injustices.

    RealityCheck, you have not only refused to take AN up on his magnanimous gesture to allow you to restart your Physics & Math thread, but you are now restarting threads that have not been extended that same courtesy. This seems to be intended to frustrate the moderators into taking the action necessary to prove your doggedly self-fulfilling prophecy of persecution.

    A sane person would not take aim at his own foot so many times.
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member


    The moderators' refusal to discuss the implications of holding a position of power is proportional to the amount of -suspected- trolling at the forums:
    The more the moderators refuse to discuss the implications of holding a position of power, the more -suspected- trolling there is at the forums.
  16. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    *blinks* I do believe that realitycheck needs a, ahem, reality check... let me put this to rest for ya:

    No, mate, "they" are not actually "out to get you"... at least, not yet. We haven't opened "their" cages yet... *giggles madly*
  17. RealityCheck Banned Banned

    Hi wynn.

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    Thanks for your response.

    If a site is merely a BLOG, then of course what you observe would apply as you say. However, some sites (including this one, for example) is more like a community/discussion forum, not a blog.

    That is what evolving social/group systems are about, especially now that the internet has introduced a global dynamics dimension to the usual social/group scene, whether scientific or other oriented.

    It is within our power as a democratically enlightened community to change the way that things are done so that they more closely represent the values (both scientific and social) which more enlightened sites CAN aspire to, and, with a little more positive thinking/effort can achieve more equitably than at present.

    Just because the internet started out as 'the wild west', it does not follow that it cannot be 'civilized' given the goodwill of all those that wish to realize the full great potential of the internet discussion forum 'format' and 'venue' in the (hopefully near/imminent?) future.

    All it will take is fair and equitable rules enacted and enforced by enlightened people who get together as a democratic association (instead of a wild west troll paradise) in order to better what started out in the early and unenlightened/unregulated environment of the internet in its infancy.

    Things evolve. Internet forums/dynamics are not immune from that dictum. Let's try to see just how good we CAN be as internet forum communities of goodwill discussing everything under the sun with mutual respect as a first response. Hey?

    We won't know what will come of efforts such as these until we have tried as best we can to be the best we can as civilized internet communities instead of internet wilds where only the trolls prosper!

    Cheers and thanks again for your 'constructive hypothetical' inputs, wynn!

  18. RealityCheck Banned Banned

    Hi Syne.

    Most of your opinion-based personally prejudiced preconclusions have been already countered. Please read my responses to both prom and AN above, including where I explained why I could not avail myself of AN's magnanimous gesture while the original problem continued and probably would just move onto and infect the new thread as well; and where I explained that it wasn't personal at all, only observed pattern of behaviour etc (as clearly demonstrated already) which got threads closed. Thanks.

    Your present post only continues the 'opinionated' preconclusions with which you troll and personalize a thread irrespective of what has actually been demonstrated to be the opposite of what you opinionate/preconclude.

    That would make you the troll, again. Is your capacity for trolling and making personalizing empty/meaningless posts like that not yet exhausted?

    Should I report you like the 'rules' say I should? Where is the percentage in that if the trolls can still be allowed to do what originally caused the closure of threads as demonstrated before?

    I will leave the mods/members to read your above post and see for themselves where the proof of the 'troll' pudding lay. Q.E.D.

    Watch your own foot, mate!........Never mind, since you and your troll mates have now been well and truly 'outed' you'll only be shooting 'troll blanks' anyway from now on in, so no harm done to anything, including your own foot, hey!

    Good luck!

  19. RealityCheck Banned Banned

    Thanks for the giggles, mate!

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  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    You must be really thick if you honestly believe that this thread was not personal to begin with. Not amount of thinly veiled pretense at "hypothetical" detachment can hide that. So why do you not simply move past this and actually demonstrate the sentiments you feign?

    But hypothetically, AN is dead on. There is no other honest and objective take on the matter.
  21. RealityCheck Banned Banned

    Do you even realize you are following the very same opinionating, personalizing trolling/baiting 'pattern' that eventually brought all these issues to a head?

    How many such examples do the mods need before they take proactive action against you, troll?

    Let's wait and see.

  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I am not familiar with the other thread(s) some of you are talking about, so I see no problem with this thread.
    It is a legitimate topic that comes up at this forum every now and then.

    And even if this thread is based on some particular dispute in another thread, that still doesn't make this thread redundant or somehow wrong.

    It is precisely when dealing with particular disputes that people tend to try to figure out the general principles of the terms of engagement.
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    While I think that while your motivation is noble, I am not so sure it is realistic.

    I don't think this is even theoretically possible.

    What you suggest may work in a group of people that generally have the same or at least very similar and compatible beliefs and values.
    But some people's beliefs and values are so different that a respectful verbal exchange is not possible between these people.

    At this point, I'd also question the use of discussion forums as such.
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