Inquiry: Should Moderators Just Shut the Hell Up?

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Tiassa, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Believe Happy medium Valued Senior Member

    I think that it's cool as long as you don't swing the ban hammer for someone dissagreeing with your.
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  3. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    pry..i was going for the sense of the adjective, IE Moderation in all things..

    but yours is more relevant..
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  5. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    so a good question would be what about those that do not explicitly break any rules but create conflict anyway..the annoying ones?
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  7. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Strikes you as slightly hypocritical, that? For shame, gustav.

    Also workable, although I think my proposal is more succinct. Harumph harumph.

  8. Believe Happy medium Valued Senior Member

    Are they not allowed to have any fun?

    My own answer to that would depend on if they are compensated for their services or not (I.E. do they get paid). If they are compensated then no, they should be professional at all times. If they are not compensated then yes, they should be allowed to fuck about just as we are

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  9. Gustav Banned Banned

    i like the mod spiel
    y'know, thankless and whatnot

    its like the pig speil
    yknow, life on the line everyday

    in actuality..
    the former just posts
    the latter eats doughnuts

    until they get bored and start kickin it off

    just a lite jab b/w buddies
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Two sides of the coin

    Well, this is Sciforums. As nice as the proposition sounds, it just doesn't seem to suit the community.
  11. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Anti-flag said it well.
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    In a word: Yes.

    I think that moderators should be the board's referees. Ideally they should be impartial enforcers of the board's rules. They can't simultaneously be players for a particular team.

    That doesn't necessarily mean that moderators need to be forbidden from participating in discussions. But it does suggest that the 'sock-puppet' rule should perhaps be relaxed for moderators, with moderators being allowed to operate a normal posting persona like everyone else's in addition to their moderator persona.

    That would make it less intimidating for the rest of us to disagree with what the moderator is saying. And it would reduce the impression that I sometimes get that moderators are actively promoting a Sciforums "party-line" on some of the forums.

    The problem that I see with that suggestion is that if a moderator creates a separate posting persona, then that persona could get away with anything. That persona could be as aggressive as desired, with no likelihood of ever being called on it. So if a moderator was already abusing his or her powers prior to the change, it would soon become apparent to everyone that double-standards continue to apply and that some participants are being allowed to get away with behavior that everyone else isn't.

    So we are back at the 'moderating the moderators' problem. It seems to me that's probably the forum administrator's job.

    I think that moderators should have the right to be just as stupid as the rest of us.

    But Sciforums participants shouldn't have to feel like their continued participation here is in jeopardy if they dare to post something that contradicts a moderator's deeply held views.

    Sadly, failure to keep moderating and opining separate currently makes Sciforums a lot less enjoyable than it could be. But that's life, I guess. I was doing fine before I discovered this place and I'll still be happy after I'm banned and gone.
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Re bolded part -
    But this is precisely the problem that the sock-puppet posting persona for moderators would not cause.
    The posting persona gets treated the same as all other members.

    I suggested earlier in this thread in post no. 23 to introduce sock puppets for the moderator functions, with names like "Moderator01", "Moderator02" etc.

    This would make for a clear separation of the poster's functions between being a regular poster, and being a moderator.

    Do you fear that a moderator would wreak havoc when posting as a regular poster, but then cover up his or her wrongdoing via his moderator function (such as deleting or ignoring reports of his posts)?
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Perceptions, Reality, and the Convenience of Disingenuity

    I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that the staff's hands are clean, but there is a legitimate question about whether someone really is being punished for contradicting a moderator's personal views, or how often that is just their excuse.

    Did one get flagged for repeatedly supporting a dubious argument with a discredited source? Then he obviously was punished for contradicting a moderator's deeply held view.

    Did one get flagged for routinely being an asshole trying to piss everyone off? Then he obviously was punished for contradicting a moderator's deeply held view.

    Did get flagged for directly and immediately violating a moderator's order by simply reposting the verboten material or continuing the forbidden behavior? Then he obviously was punished for contradicting a moderator's deeply held view.

    And so on.

    No, I won't pretend punishment has never been, or will never be, handed out for the simple crime of disagreeing. It happens. And if you've noticed, the staff sometimes puts on paroxysmal public displays when we think that is happening. Indeed, we're still repairing the damage from the last episode.

    But punishment for contradicting a moderator's political or religious beliefs is often merely an excuse.

    And maybe some perceive a chilling effect, but the number of rude, disingenuous, and otherwise objectionable characters we let hang around this site simply because various authority figures loathe them, and won't be seen with so obvious an appearance of conflicted interest, ought to count for something.
  15. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    So you think they will warn and ban their own sock? And then presumably they would just create a new one? :shrug:

    Yep, if they cover up mod actions as a mod, why the heck would that change with socks? If anything it seems a good way to goad others into getting banned along with the worthless sock. :shrug:
  16. Bells Staff Member

    ^^^^ This..

    The only mod actions that are currently public are bans, since they show up in the ban list. Infraction lists can only be seen by each individual if said list is their own, and moderators can also see them.

    I can understand the desire to keep things private, as I would guess there would be many members who may not want their list to be available for public viewing. So their need for privacy also needs to be respected. This of course is a response to your statements of more public infractions.

    I guess a good way to counter that, so that members can see if and when moderators receive warnings or infractions could be to have a public warning list, closed to all member participation, where infractions to moderators could be listed with their consent (the same as members would have to consent to their infraction list being made public). There are times, however, when warnings will be given in private and public.

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  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Duh. No. But that as a regular poster, they would be subject to the usual forum guidelines and moderation (by other moderators, that is).

    There is no way to account for the actions of immoral people.

    A person who at a forum is functioning both as a moderator and as a regular poster, and has two different accounts, would simply have it easier to separate the two functions, and so would the posters. That is all.

    In order to separate the two functions, some moderators now use a disclaimer when they post in their function as moderators (such as "Mod Hat On").
    But this doesn't really do away with the bias that many posters have when it comes to moderators. Whether a post opens with "Mod Hat On" or not, a post by someone who is known to be a moderator, is still a post by a moderator, with all the implications.
  18. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    One thing that many people that come up with ingenious and elaborate methods of moderation tend to miss is they include way too many moving parts. One of the main downfalls of Bureaucracy is Bureaucracy in the sense that if the methods employed are too complex, there is too much room for error.

    So rather than trying to overcompensate by complexity, any posed method should actually be plain and simple, so the margin of error is reduced.

    This basically means the utilisation of socks to moderate, is itself too complex and quite messy. There are many simple automated solutions that would decrease moderator workloads, however a lot of members tend to frown on being Starred out everytime they use a banned word.

    As for moderator "Management", currently there isn't really anyone as a manager, moderators are volunteers, currently they answer to the team and administrators but there is no individual that is seen as the "Hirer and firer of moderators" and this to me is likely a problem since it undermines any notion of leadership. Leadership is obviously a necessity in an online project like a forum, so it's taken a while for various moderators/administrators to attempt to fill the void.

    As for already motioned current changes, we'll have to evaluate them as time progresses forwards.
  19. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    So... again, requiring some sort of consensus for any kind of ban action, or maybe one longer than 24 hours... so that one mod's ego isn't the real reason why someone's getting the boot...but someone's genuinely disruptive behavior.
    ...And maybe public posting of infractions? I dunno.
    If I know what's going to get me in trouble, I'm not going to get myself in trouble, main worry is fuzzy boundaries. I'm not clear on what I'm going to get yelled at for.
  20. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    Mods should have the ability to post like anyone else. The idea of mods maybe having seperate *normal user* accounts for regular posting is interesting (as those accounts could in theory be moderated). Those accounts would of course have to be made in a way that even the mods would not know who each others normal user counterparts were... which I am betting IP address comparison would not make possible at the moment.
  21. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    So that only half solves the issue then. And still does not stop them being corrupt moderators. :shrug:

    All we can do is make the rules as simple and straightforward as possible and apply them to everyone. Then the immoral people will show through very quickly.

    Isn't that better than the covert removal of members and complete safety the mod would have? They need never post again, but could still moderate badly and with bias, in fact moreso. We'd go from Nazi mods that we know about to NKVD mods....
  22. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    True, which also helps to cover their tracks - although of course they as mods can't be banned/infracted anyways(is infracted a word? I like it...).

    I can understand it, but I don't see a reasonable alternative than making things public so we can see what is being ignored - it would also clear up exactly what is and isn't punishable.
    I'd post my infraction publicly but I have a feeling it's against forum rules somehow. It illustrates perfectly how mods can use the same insults and get away with things.
    I do believe reports should go to more than one mod, this way if the report only goes to the mod in question it can't just be ignored.
    I'm not sure I'd want to offer mods the 'get out' of consent as that could result in things remaining the same - I would favour openness and clarity.
    I notice in that post spurious was banned and others merely warned, does this support my case?

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  23. Bells Staff Member

    Of course they can.

    Moderators can and have been banned and yes, also receive infractions. And like everyone else, their infractions can be seen by themselves and by the 'staff'.

    Reports go to the moderator(s) of that particular forum and also to this site's administrators (James, Plazma, pseud0 and Zox). It is automatic. In other words, if I hit the report button in a thread, I cannot bypass it not being sent to this site's administrators and owners.

    So if a moderator is using insults and being insulting, hit report, regardless of whether it is in the forum they are moderating or not, as the report will go to this site's administrators and owners as well. And yes, infractions can and are handed out as a result.

    Ah yes. It was a while ago, but looking at that thread, at a guess, I would say it was his post at #16 that would have tipped it over for his being banned. I am sure if I had turned around and started calling people "homo 'c-bomb'" and a plethora of other choice terms, I'd have been banned as well.

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    As for openness, hey, sure. But is everyone willing to have everyone see all their infractions and/or warnings? I believe it may or may not be a software issue (since as a member I cannot see other people's infractions, but as a moderator I can). Not sure how to go about that to be honest.

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