OG proposal #1 (June 09) - Cull worthless members?

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by James R, Jun 16, 2009.


Should we go ahead and remove useless members?

Poll closed Jun 23, 2009.
  1. Yes.

    10 vote(s)
  2. No.

    9 vote(s)
  3. Abstain.

    7 vote(s)
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  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I would like to gauge the opinions of the general membership as to whether sciforums currently has any members that do not contribute anything useful, and who should therefore be banned from the forum.

    In this thread, you are free to speak your mind about other members, so please feel free to list any you think do not belong here.


    1. You MUST give reasons why you believe the named member(s) should be banned.
    2. This is NOT a thread for free insulting of other members who you don't like. No name-calling. No calls for bans not backed by any argument. No personal sniping. Or I will close the thread and assume that members are not mature enough to discuss the issue.

    This cull of members, if it goes ahead, will be a once-off event, for now. The current thread is essentially for nominations of who should go. We will have a formal VOTE in a separate thread for any member who gets five or more nominations by different posters here.

    This process is a suggested one, also open for discussion in the current thread.
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  3. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    We still have to decide what is meant by useless. How would you describe a member who isn't contributing anything? How do we determine this because there are loads of people i think are useless members but so what, they may be deemed of value to others. There's too much of the witch hunt about this so I think I will refrain from making any suggestions as I can smell the blood from here. You are saying that this is not for members we don't like but you've been here long enough to know that anyone we deem as worthless is someone we don't like and think are contributing rubbish, and maybe they are but I don't think this is a healthy way of doing it. We've always had a natural culling method and usually the member gets themselves banned or is ignored.

    Here's a thought, unless we establish what kinds of posts are contributions and culling a member or two will not make much difference since in a month or two some other git or wanker will join to make us want to hang ourselves. There is no shortage of inane people, idiots not to mention the intelligent folk who are deceptively exasperating and aggravating or plain dishonest and inciting hostility or ill feeling. What will we do when we replace our tried and true numbskulls for a set of new ones?
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
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  5. John99 Banned Banned

    bad idea. lucy that is terrible, everyone contributes. i cant believe you would even entertain such thoughts.
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  7. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    What the hell is wrong with everyone today? First I'm labeled a racist for supporting integration, then I have to explain to the hypersensitive that retarded is a legitimate term and its ok to place them in special ed, now i have to explain to this one with the dunce cap a post obviously not in favor of this proposition.

    Everyones an asshole.
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Yes, we do. So, everybody feel free to define "useless member" in this thread.

    For example, here's a comment from Liebling in [thread=93804]this thread[/thread]:

    This sounds to me like:

    "useless member" = "member who rambles and adds nothing" and/or "member who views sciforums as a social chat forum rather than a discussion forum for science/politics/religion/etc."

    That's a problem, of course. The aim of this thread is to attempt to reach a consensus on when we do or do not regard a member as "useless".

    In other words (and this is a big discussion - maybe too big?), what is sciforums for? Who do we want here?

    The problem I have as an administrator is that I hear calls to get rid of certain members all the time - complaints that the place is being "dumbed down" by certain people, that back in the Glory Days sciforums used to be an intelligent community but now we're just a bunch of school kids and so on and so forth.

    But then, when I suggest we clean out the supposed "dead wood", I only hear the reasons for why we shouldn't do it.

    Can you see why the moderators/admins might get a little annoyed at the apparent inconsistency in what members say they want? What do you suggest I, as an administrator, do regarding this issue?

    Ah, but whenever a member is banned for contributing nothing useful, as judged by the moderators, we get complaints from some members saying that our decision was wrong and unfair and unjustified.

    Clearly, some members don't trust the admin/moderators to make these decisions. That's why I'm asking you all how you'd do it.

    I think that establishing what kinds of posts are to be counted as useful contributions and which are not is a very good start. If it is possible to do that by a general rule, that is. Which I doubt.

    My point is: I think that, in general, the moderators are generally able to judge whether people are contributing anything or not. So, they should be left alone to do their jobs, rather than second-guessed at every turn.

    But apparently not everybody thinks that way. So, if there's a better suggestion, I'd like to hear it.
  9. John99 Banned Banned

    it is just not right for us to judge people.
  10. leopold Valued Senior Member

    i'm with lucy, we need a definition for "useful"
    practically everything on this board is useful in some manner.

    suppose we do define useful.
    personally i would be for the concept but i would not participate in the voting process.
    i would probably tend to over analyze the problem.
    maybe that is part of the moderator problem, they over analyze a post until they don't know what to do.
  11. John99 Banned Banned

    this is giving me the chills.
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    When you say "us", do you mean moderators, general members, or both?

    I don't think I agree, but I'm abstaining from the vote.

    My perception is different. I think moderators are quite happy to moderate posts. But inevitably, when they do so, there'll always be somebody who wants to complain about it. Usually this is the person being moderated, but sometimes it includes his or her friends/fans too.

    Over a number of years of moderating here, there have only been a few occasions in which I have received a message from a moderated member who said "That's a fair call. I won't post like that again. Thanks for the warning." Those messages are far outnumbered by the ones which say "Why did you moderate me, and not Barney? I didn't even do anything wrong. He insulted me first, and in a worse way! You're biased. I hate you. Waaa!"
  13. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    I am a moderator on two other forums - well regulated ones - and I was a moderator on a third. On all three I have seen many instances of members acknowledging they were in wrong and thanking the moderating team for therre actions. I have received numerous pms to that effect for my own moderating efforts.

    Do you suppose that the absence of such commendations here says more about the members, or about the moderators? I suggest it is a mixture.
    If moderation is lax and unequal then 'poor quality' members will abound and some 'high quality' members will leave. Then even the good moderators will be at risk of making poor quality decisions because of the general mess that inhabits the forum and the difficulty of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

    I will argue with any and every moderation decision that effects me, not because I think I am in the right, but because I genuinely believe that the overall moderation here is abyssmal and I treat it with contempt. On other forums I am respectful, if sometimes vigorous, because they are set up as respectful environments.

    Yourself, Tiassa and SkinWalker are effective moderators. There are others. Not many. We need to set some clearer rules that operate across the forums. Clean out persistent offenders and remove biased or ignorant moderators.

    Or, we can just keep running it the way it is now, as the place you go to when you need to defecate.

    Note: I am British. When we seem to be critical of a situation it because we wish to see that situation improved. A whingeing pom is a winning pom.
  14. John99 Banned Banned

    i meant members. i dont mind moderation or even strict moderation, we are all not going to agree but sometimes it helps to see another side of an issue.

    that is a big problem. the decision of a moderator should be final, except on bans over 7 days.
  15. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Thanks James this outline was what I was looking for. Here’s the thing there are member’s who seem to be completely clueless about what is going on half the time, the ramblers as you say, I know of a few here but even these posters in my mind are relatively harmless, or at least they don’t bother me that much. One of them is even a source of humor though he doesn’t intend it to be so. Every member at some point engages in mindless social chatter and I am not aware if this is a huge problem or not for some members of this board. The problem here is that we risk creating a site that’s too intellectually dry though after today I think that would almost be more welcome than some of the misconstrued hysteria and irrational responses and rhetoric that goes around, dry intellectual discussion might indeed rid us of that and also force us into cleaning up our act and applying more thought into our posts, its too easy for even the highly intelligent among us to get lazy in that department. What I do fear is that this proposal will be used as a way for some members to exert themselves over others in self-gratifying terms and not in regards to what's in the best interest of the community at large. Everyone would like to shape this place into his or her image of what it should be in their eyes but alas there are too many of us so there will always be a struggle for influence.

    What is sciforums for? That’s a very good question. Personally this is a place where I come to explore a diversity of topics and ideas with people who have various and differing points of view, in the hope of broadening perspective on these issues or ideas, this isn’t easy. Too often we come here simply to defend pre-conceived ideas and prejudices so at best there may be one or two people who are capable of doing that in any given thread since it seems we rarely listen to each other. Demanding a more rigorous dialectic might change that.

    When I hear that this place used to be more intelligent I am apt to agree but yet I can’t help but recall that there were heros of yesteryear who scoffed at the idea of this place being an ‘intelligent community’, I think I would have described the past as more stimulating perhaps.

    Unfortunately I do not have any suggestions on how you and the mods should deal with this since I think moderation on the whole is just fine. I have mentioned to one or two posters that we can only blame ourselves as members if the site is too boring or lacks intelligent stimulation, its up to us, not the mods, to create the kind of atmosphere we want.

    I think the complaints and demand for action is in a way a sign of people demanding a more patriarchal system from mods and admin since our freedom requires members to take more responsibility and not rely on the mods to chastise others for us, keep our behaviour within acceptable boundaries and provide ourselves with stimulating interaction and engagement. But I bet if you were to give them this kind of system many would turn on you just to say ‘you not the boss of me’ and complain like a three year old.

    I think if we find someone to be a real nuisance put them on ignore, if any poster proves themselves to be a real pain in the ass no matter how intelligent they will either reap the animosity of the group and be ignored, or break so many rules that they are banned.

    We could try this proposal of yours but I don’t believe for one second that we would see the results some are expecting. The only way you could control the ‘dead wood’ is to have a members only site like they do at Chatham House, where anyone can read but only the chosen can post. A new member would have to prove themselves worthy and then the group would have to vote them into membership, a sort of elitism that would render 95% of the posters very nervous indeed. The only thing to do I guess is leave things as they are. They'll never be happy this lot.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  16. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

    James, this is a hard question; culling and not culling appeal to me equally.

    What John, are you judging judgemental people?

    We all seem to be in agreement to ban the really mean people and are mods already do that so I guess you can say consensus agrees with judging mean people.

    I might judge some crazy nutcases except they are actually more interesting than some of the not so crazy people.

    I just started becoming interested in the social chat side of Sciforums after previously ignoring it. The Sciforums political rant world that I got lost in was no more intellectually sophisticated than the social chit chat. Maybe some effort should be made to contain the social chat to "Free Thoughts" and "About the members" or maybe (half joking) each forum should come in two versions; one version serious and one version social chit chatty.

    Sciforums intellectual standards are quite low unless (we compare ourselves to average Americans) but if we wanted to raise the standards to a level higher than the "glory days" then 95% of the posts including most of my posts would have to be eliminated.

    There either isn't really isn't much that looks like sophisticated science discussion going on going on here or I have not been looking for it because it is over my head. Could Sciforums attract people who would have higher level scientific discussions if some people were purged? I don't know.

    What do the people paying for Sciforums want and why should they defer to the will of the non-paying members?
  17. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    A few things come to mind. First , when someone says some stupid things SOMETIMES but adds constructivly many others I wouldn't want to see them removed. Another thing is that moderators can get pretty picky about who they like and dislike and therefore want to remove someone who irritates them.

    Why not remove anyone who has not posted anything for 6 months? I see many "members" who have never posated anything since they arrived. :shrug:
  18. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Someone add Cosmic to the list immediately:bugeye:
  19. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    I'm already on many "lists" as it is, another won't bother me!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  20. John99 Banned Banned

    interesting. i agree that the 'nutcases' are much more interesting than people who google everything they post. they really are, for the most part, the only ones who get my mind working. there is a freedom in this perceived anonymity that would not come out in more intimate circumstances. i know i am more artist than scientist. i blend science with art to see what comes out of it. science with no art is just repetition. i cant read the repetition and the sermons of these so called intellectuals. take away google and they fold like houses made of playing cards.
  21. John99 Banned Banned

    which leads me to the logical conclusion that it is, in fact, google that needs to be culled. the thinning of the herd of uselessness on the internet. these sites devised by madmen in their basement need to be brought down to a lower lever. but how, how do you accomplish this task?
  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I'm not in favour of culling members. However, I do think that moderators should be more even handed or leave well alone. Anyone with fine sensibilities should be directed to the ignore button.
  23. John99 Banned Banned

    how can you say that? cull a memeber sends shivers down my spine.

    edit: sorry, i read that wrong.
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