Backgrounds in moderation

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by GeoffP, Aug 19, 2011.

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  1. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    Some paths will become overgrown, as fewer find reasons to follow them.
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  3. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Finally - someone who's caught the point I was trying to get across.

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    I cannot see *any* reason why one would need to be super-educated in any particular field in order to be an effective moderator.

    In my opinion, that function would be best performed by an individual who has a sincere interest and desire in helping people and keeping conversations moving along as smoothly as possible. Not just a moderator but also a mediator. As I said before, calming the hotheads and performing the role of peacemaker when things start going out of control.

    Besides - taking this forum as an example - there are people here who are highly intelligent, some with degrees, and others with a particular range of experience and/or plain, old, good common sense.
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    Phrenology. We actually had a couple wannabe phrenologists a while ago.
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  7. leopold Valued Senior Member

    isn't that . . . ?
    OMG, no, it can't be.

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  8. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Human Science and Science in Society. There's one - what? lawyer? - there and no one with any scientific background. SF doesn't seem aimed at a really rigorous investigation of scientific principles, mind.
  9. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    About that...Um...

    I do happen to have have half a sociology degree and am vaguely well-read in trauma treatment...what I hope to specialize in treating someday.

    OTOH major depression has been kicking my butt for 2 years now, why said degree is not getting more progress.
    It's hard to concentrate in class while thinking of creative ways of killing oneself...again... :facepalm:
    And can I keep stable for an entire semester? Gawd I get on my own nerves.
    I also have a habit of fighting my depression by exhibiting a sense of humor that seems to make James R reach for the bear mace. Yes, that's why the juvenile humor.

    Should I get my brain to behave itself to mine own satisfaction I'd be happy to mod human science, but I'll not ask for the job unless and until I believe I can do it properly.
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Sciforums is what the com,unity makes it

    Sciforums is only what our community makes it.

    For instance, I was recently attempting to have a discussion with a member who, when he doesn't get his way, just starts making up random shit.

    It's actually hard to get anything done when one spends the lion's share of the time it takes to deal with him (a) figuring out what the hell he's talking about, and (b) correcting the most apparent mistakes in the made-up shit. Maybe we could rigorously pursue scientific principles if we decided to no longer put up with members of our community who constantly whine at us about their own delusions.

    No, seriously. We get so many complaints from people that have no connection to reality whatsoever. I've spent the last day dealing with one of those. No, literally, the guy just keeps making up random shit; you can put the record in front of him and it doesn't matter.

    So, yeah. I think perhaps if we run a pogrom against psychiatric dysfunction, we might be able to become a cold, nerdish, sciency site where even light banter is against the rules.

    And, to the other, there is always the fact that whenever we do anything to encourage scientific principles, academic integrity, and the like, people start bawling about fascism and tyranny.

    I mean, hell, remember that even among people who consider their arguments scientific, few can write a proper, or even vaguely informative citation. And can you imagine how people will freak out if we decide that light banter is against the rules?

    I think if we pursued really rigorous investigation of scientific principles as a site focus, we'd probably cut our traffic to, at best, a quarter of what it is now, and the community would eventually disappear for lack of interest.

    Really. Sciforums is what its members make it. And if they should choose to leave that shaping to the hands of the moderators, well, that's fine. But if they really, really, really want us to focus on really rigorous investigation of scientific principles, well, I suppose we can try. I just don't expect they'll be pleased with the outcome. You know, the whole, be careful what you wish for, thing.
  11. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    I'm pretty sure you know the forum will be dead as a door nail if you do that.

    But if you let standards totally slide...then it becomes flush with stupid.
    The internet has a plentiful supply of stupid already.

    To offer a forum worth visiting, you have to strike a balance between snarking, socializing, and science.
    Which will doubtlessly aggravate everybody.

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    @ Tiassa...I've mentioned the whole selection-bias hypothesis thingie I have regarding nutters and the internet?
    We loonies don't get out as much because of our collective psych problems...thus we spend more time online...bothering you...the mods of the internut fora...

    *waves* Hi Tiassa, I like you too....

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  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Aye, it's a conundrum

    In the context of many of the complaints we receive about how the site is run, that balance you recommend is simply too complicated.

    Like I'm dealing with a member who is upset, among other things that a single post worth of silly, minor banter, isn't considered a violation of the rules. The idea that I look at multiple situations and see differences of context is, simply, evil. Rather, I should simply accept that what this member tells me as beyond reproach, doubt, contest, or anything like that.

    In other words, we're tyrants as long as we don't give him everything he wants, all the time.

    You'd be amazed at how much of that we put up with.

    To the other, we never do show these people what real tyranny looks like.

    I mean, I had to do the math for someone recently. Thirteen minus two does not equal zero. With this pointed out, the member then attempted to lie to me.

    Now, here's the thing I don't get: When you write something down, with your name attached, how can you possibly say you didn't say it?

    When we're talking, yeah, I can see that. The record isn't fixed. One can say, "I didn't say that," and if it comes down to it, explain what they really meant. Even if they actually did say the words five seconds before claiming they didn't say it.

    But when we have it written down?

    Yeah. People still try to tell us that they didn't say it.

    And yet we don't throw their asses out in the gutter where they belong.

    To the other, we long had a very simple attribution standard against plagiarism, and it is absolutely crazy how many people apparently thought that too much to ask.

    No, really, it was author and, if available, hyperlink.

    Too much. Too hard. Too difficult.

    Can you imagine if one day we put down MLA, Chicago, and Harvard citation style sheets and said, "Okay, pick one, and use it, but formal citation is now required for all source material."

    You know why we haven't? Because it would kill traffic. Because author and hyperlink is just too damn hard.

    So, now, we've got people on the one hand complaining about tyranny while, to the other, we have some complaining about a lack of what the former call tyranny.

    Sadly, I need not wonder what it looks like when a member tries to play on both sides of that point at once. We see it regularly.
  13. Bells Staff Member


    Is there anyone you have in mind?

    Had you but asked.. I am about a year short of my anthropology degree, which I took out of pure interest and joy, but stopped when I had my children and life being what it is, I have not had the time to go back and complete it. Mixed in with that is quite a bit of social science and archaeology.

    While I do not have a doctorate in the scientific field I currently moderate, if you have a suggestion for someone who does on this forum and who will not dictate the sub-forum with their pet ideals and ideology, then by all means, suggest someone..

    Since you picked myself and the sub-forum I moderate directly, is there something you feel I should be doing differently? What do you expect as a poster/member in Human Science?

    Depends. I tend to avoid a lot of discussion in Human Science for the specific reason that I don't want to have someone claim bias if I do moderate. When I do participate in a discussion, quite actively that is, like I currently am in one thread there, if a need arises for moderation, I normally request a review from my colleagues to make sure that it is all above board.

    But that is me personally.. I would not expect anyone else to be 'like me'..

    What? But.. I like the discussions in EM&J and I like debating there as a member.. Don't take that away from me..

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    Ie.. Banish the thought from your mind... Banish I say..
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    By the Goddess ...

    ... I'll dig out the athame and perform the ritual tonight.

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    (via Asiya's Shadows)
  15. Mr MacGillivray Banned Banned

    Take a chill pill then or move on. If it is that much it clearly isn't your thing.
  16. Gustav Banned Banned

    Backgrounds in Moderation

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  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    Always remember, sir, that when you assume, you are thinking like a fish.

    However, in attempting to extract something of value from your post, I would start by reminding that we can simply decide to not put up with it.

    I mean, we let people run around like angry monkeys flinging spurious shit at one another because they insist. But, of course, when they get hit by phony monkey poo, they come crying to us.

    That's not so bothersome to us, otherwise we'd just kick those monkeys back out in the street, and maybe they could get together and make a website about how evil we are for not putting up with their complete lack of integrity. And, perhaps, if their numbers grow to infinite, they might start making sense someday. Or maybe they'll just come back under new user names and utterly fail to make any sense.

    Meanwhile, the point stands. While our neighbor Chimpkin admirably states the challenge—

    "But if you let standards totally slide...then it becomes flush with stupid.
    The internet has a plentiful supply of stupid already.

    To offer a forum worth visiting, you have to strike a balance between snarking, socializing, and science.
    Which will doubtlessly aggravate everybody.

    —it's too complicated a formula for all those angry monkeys fetishizing their spurious poo.
  18. Varda The Bug Lady Valued Senior Member

    Hey, what may be poo to you, to others, may be pure gold.
  19. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Indeed. I often laugh when I see some of the comments regarding moderation on this forum.

    I'm a member of another forum where precisely zero off topic chit-chat is tolerated. The forum in question occupies a very specific niche, and does very well - they even get genuine bona-fide NASA scientists dropping in and using their work.

    On the other hand, I'm a member of another forum that has the same kind of general discussion we find here, but the tone of the discussion is, well, elevated, compared to much of what we find around here. I don't recall what the traffic numbers are like, however :shrugs:
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Poogold factpoo

    Indeed. And what may be a fact according to reality, to others, may be spurious poo.

    Tempers are as tempers do, and, certainly, we all have slightly different notions of civility and propriety, but some things transcend the boundaries of opinion.

    I'm even as sympathetic as I can manage to people who are somehow managing to interpret what one another say in such a way as to think it says the exact opposite.

    Or people who genuinely slip up on their factual recollection. These are all human outcomes.

    But when someone writes something down, with their own name on it, posting it for the world to read, and later tries to say they didn't say it, that's not really a question of poo or gold. That's a question of fact or poo.
  21. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Wow, that level of.......that's beyond juvenile...hmm, (precoffee) what is that????

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    I don't get it...if you don't own the forum, you do not set the standards.
    If you don't like it, go make your own'll probably run you less than $100 a month.
    The standards seem to mostly work in that community has been created.
    Else I would not be here.
    Therefore it behooves me to obey the rules...mostly.
    Sometimes I'm just going to be difficult.

    I AM a nutter.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    Well, see, that's the thing about subtlety. Some people don't understand the difference between sometimes things just get difficult, or someone pushes just a bit too far, and going out of one's way to be obnoxious, offensive, or spurious.

    Yeah, they don't get it.

    It's like answering the cops, in some ways. Once upon a time, the cops had me dead to rights. It was a traffic accident. Some guy pulled out of a traffic line in front of me and stopped; I nailed his Land Rover's back right tire with the nose of a 280Z at about forty miles an hour.

    The guy railed at me. He railed at the cops. Apparently, he killed his engine with the clutch when pulling out. Cussing left and right, storming about how I almost killed him. The attending officer, at one point, gave me a glance aside and smiled like, "Really? We have to put up with this?"

    And then, as he was running all the relevant information, the cop had to come back to me and tell me that my license was suspended.

    I was genuinely shocked. Of course, I shouldn't have been, but it turns out I was. I think he even saw that moment of, "Oh, yeah. Must be about that," in my expression.

    I found out several years later that there was, at the time, a bench warrant for me.

    I figure he didn't bring me in because, were it not for the raving lunatic who couldn't drive his car properly, he wouldn't be there at all. I mean, that's a wild guess, but whatever it was, I appreciate it.

    To the other, though, I can only imagine what would have happened if I got all haughty and indignant and insulting about it.

    Or maybe I'd rather not.

    But, you know. Subtlety. Sometimes a glacier smacking people in the head isn't direct enough.

    Now that I think about it, when the guy contested his ticket for causing the wreck, the judge didn't order me arrested on the warrant, either. Maybe because I showed up for the hearing, and the other guy didn't.

    I mean, I eventually got the letter from the state about my suspension, but it wasn't until 2005, when a friend killing time at the law office where she worked decided to pull up my arrest record that I found out there was an outstanding bench warrant consistently renewed for nine freaking years. A lawyer and two hearings later, the charges were dropped in exchange for a small sum of money as bail forfeiture.

    It still puzzles me that I wasn't arrested, though.

    (The 280Z burned later that day in an electrical fire resulting from the wreck.)
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Although not all moderators agree with me, I think it's our duty to ensure that the scientific method is respected here, or at least not flouted except in jest. This occasionally requires stepping in and performing a peer review, specifically enforcing the Rule of Laplace (extraordinary assertions must be supported by extraordinary evidence before we are obliged to treat them with respect) when a huge piece of crap is inserted into a thread. It also requires patrolling for intellectual dishonesty: asserting something one knows is not true (because he's had this same discussion before and been shot down) in order to manipulate the readers into missing an important point.

    I am in fact currently trying to write up a synopsis of the scientific method to include in the rules. Since concision has never been one of my virtues, this isn't easy.
    Why break with the moderators' tradition?

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    Funny, just yesterday I was explaining to a couple of members that this is why we only give them fifteen minutes to edit or delete a post.

    "I never said that!"

    "Yes you did!"

    "When? Where?"

    "It was right up here... just a minute, I'll find it... where the hell was that post? Oh crap I can't find it but I know you said it."
    I think there's already a thread on transmutation on one of the hard science boards.

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