# The most absurd moderation in Sci history

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Norsefire, Aug 5, 2010.

1. ### EmilValued Senior Member

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I think moderators should not need to be so severe.(But I admit correct)
I am convinced that people who are here know how to take care of themselves.
They know whom to choose to respond and whom to ignore.
If necessary, they know how to reply.Those who attend can draw conclusions.
In real life we do not have moderators to eliminate those unpleasant guys.
So we must be able to handle such a situations.

3. ### GustavBannedBanned

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while either devil or redemption is probably in the details, a casual reading leads me to consider that sci is lucky to have james and plazma at the helm. plazma's amnesty was a highpoint in sci's history and james seemingly gives endless opportunities for people to come back and reinvent themselves.

i mean, norse is coming back aint he?
will he be sacrificed if you were admin hype?
would i sacrifice if i were?

/cackle

5. ### StrawDogdisseminated primatemaiaValued Senior Member

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In James defense, I have seen his hate speech moderation actioned on both sides of this fence. :m:

7. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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I have the same problem with James R except he calls me names and then backs away or devolves into rant when asked to substantiate his allegations. As for Norsefire, after the first time I engaged him in debate, I have never had the same problem with him. Can you guess why?

Generally when engaging in debate I tend to consider what I would do if this was a person in real life [ie not a jumble of words on the internet]. We cannot wish away people off line as we can online, but we still have the choice whether or not to engage in debate with them.

What I find really ridiculous is the notion that because someone expresses an opinion we do not agree with, we must gag and or ban that person or force him or her to take back or not express themselves. Instead of telling other people what to do about their opinions, how about exercising a bit of self control? Banning gendanken or Norsefire because people are offended is merely catering to the heckler rule. Instead, recommend the ignore button.

I just read something Pande wrote in another thread which expresses what I want to say very articulately:

...simply because you have the power to remove people from a discussion in order to support a viewpoint you favour.

Thats it.

8. ### BellsStaff Member

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You'd best be apologising to Nutter then.

9. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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Nutter and I have already discussed the issue. You are free to contact him and ask him if he has any pending issues on the matter.

While searching the sciforums database, I came across this astonishing statement:

Apparently James believes that we are not obliged to comply with someone else's demands to provide sources. I would like to know how this statement of his goes together with demanding replies under threat of bans.

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*aghast*

11. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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In principle James and I are very alike. He just tends to let the way he feels get in the way he thinks. But at heart, he's a good sort.

So is Bells, for that matter. No one is infallible. And Gustav is right, sciforums is pretty lucky to have them.

But just because I like them, doesn't mean they can get away with pulling shit like this

12. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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SAM:

There's really not much argument in the real world when you say "The Jews sobotaged the banks and were responsible for their own holocaust". That's objectively hate speech, SAM. You've just got some catching up to do with polite society and reasonable behaviour.

The general rule in intellectual debate, SAM, is that the onus of proof is on the person making a claim. It is not up to opponents to disprove every nonsense notion that somebody comes up with.

There's no real debate on whether the Jews were responsible for the Holocaust. So if somebody makes that extraordinary claim, they'd better damn well be prepared to back it up with appropriate extraordinary evidence.

Regarding the issue of timers and countdowns, time limits have been imposed on members here less than 5 times in total, by my estimate. In every case, enough time has been allowed for the member to respond in detail, and we have kept track of when the member is online so that we know they know about the limit that has been imposed and so that they have a fair amount of time to respond. Time limits, when they have been imposed, have been imposed mainly to stop the offending member from simply avoiding or ignoring the request to provide evidence or retract the claim, thereby stringing out the issue until it just goes away. Some members have to be held accountable from time to time because they have a history of avoiding personal responsibility for their actions whenever they can. You'd be very familiar with the modus operandi yourself, of course. You're always avoiding direct questions, changing the topic, going off on tangents - anything but facing up to what you've written and standing by and defending your expressed views.

Your lack of knowledge is not necessarily representative of everybody "outside the west". I don't know what makes you think you represent people, SAM. You presume to represent the Palestinians all the time, for example, but as far as I can tell you've never been to Gaza or the West Bank, you don't know anybody directly affected, you live a life totally different from the everyday experience of the average Palestinian, and yet you somehow understand their plight better than they do.

It's more about how obsessive you are about all things Jewish. You're projecting.

This idea of moderators "taking a side" and moderating on the basis of opinion is silly. Moderators moderate according to the rules of the forum. Hate speech is not that hard to identify. Insults are not hard to identify. Posting pornography is not hard to identify. Spam is not hard to identify. If a moderator thinks "That post is spam. I'll delete it", then 99 times out of 100 (or more), I'll wager that they're right.

So you'd agree that Indians were responsible for whatever massacres and oppression took place in India, would you SAM? You wouldn't find that at all offensive?

Well, "perspective" is a slippery word, isn't it? Moderators inevitably have a "perspective" on every post that they read. When it comes to moderation the only perspective that matters is "Does this post breach forum posting guidelines?" Like it or not, it's their job to moderate based "merely" on their "perspective" on that. If you or anybody else thinks a wrong decision has been made, there are avenues you can take to address that problem.

Then it's a good thing we don't work on arbitrary standards, isn't it? As for subjectivity, moderators are human, so there'll always be an element of that. It's why nobody has invented an automoderation bot yet. Live with it.

See where I talked about onus of proof, above. Also, there's an important exception in the case where opinion has been previously discussed and refuted and a member reposts the same thing again.

Participants at scientific conferences are pre-vetted by the conference organisers. They submit an abstract of their work, which is reviewed to see that it is not nutty, a waste of everybody's time, unscientific nonsense etc. At sciforums, we don't pre-vet members. We have to weed out the nuts and the trolls as we go along.

Now I'm wondering whether you've read enough Derrida. How about that? :bugeye:

But apparently we have to explain this to you.

You've apparently forgotten all of your experience as a moderator - except when it's convenient for you to recall parts of it. Par for the course for you, isn't it SAM? I wonder whether this kind of thing is conscious or subconscious for you. I'm not sure which would be worse.

I don't believe I have ever called you names, SAM. Please link to any examples you can find of that, or else you owe me an apology.

As for backing away, that's your tactic, not mine. Most of the time I don't bother reading your posts any more, since they tend to be repetitive and boring, but every now and then I'll dip into a thread. Sometimes I'm motivated to call you on some of your bullshit. Invariably, whenever I do that you initially try to change the topic and/or answer questions with irrelevant questions. When pressed to a point where you have no option, you inevitably disengage. Then, a day or a week later you pick up where you left off, seemingly oblivious to the entire content of the previous discussion.

Of course, it's also when you are backed into a corner that all posts contrary to your position become "rants". That's a self-defence mechanism, I guess. Never acknowledge that somebody else has a point, and at all costs never do so when they disagree with you.

If you can't understand why gendanken keeps getting banned, you're really a lost cause. The reason is simple, SAM - we have a set of minimum standards of expected behaviour here. I shouldn't need to explain them to you again, so I won't. I advise you to go off and properly read the site posting guidelines. And I mean really read them, until you comprehend what we're trying to do.

13. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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I don't think so. Stryder actually gave a very clear and objective response to Norses post which I think bears repeating:

That is I think, a clear and reasoned response, presenting a valid argument without any threats or invective. It is also the correct way to deal with such conspiracies, dismissing them rather than making a BFD out of them vastly out of proportion to what they deserve.

In that case, its a good thing no one is actually debating that.

I don't claim to represent anyone other than myself. My statement was "Discussions about Jews and the Holocaust are restricted in the west and irrelevant in the east"

This is an observation based on my 30 years of stay in the East, 5 years in the Middle East and 5 years in the west. In 35 years I never heard a single person mention the holocaust in ANY context and in 5 years in the west, you cannot get away from hearing about it ad nauseum in some context or the other. I don't need to represent anyone to make this observation.

Agreed, but that is not what happened here. A moderator issued a subpoena to a poster demanding a response and banned him when that response was not forthcoming.

The onus of proof is within the context of a discussion. During the discussion in the Sam and James thread, you presented some vague allegations then refused to respond when asked to clarify how they pertained to your accusations of bigotry. You even went so far as to say that quoting someone elses words is tantamount to owning them. Should I demand that since you accused me of bigotry, the onus of proof is on you to substantiate it? Should I set a clock and ban you for 31 days for misreading and misinterpreting my posts as you have done? Or is abuse of power only in the domain of moderators?

Oh wait:

You owe me several apologies James. Unfortunately, I don't have a subpoena ban handy to force you to apologise.

We do? Thats news to me. I have disagreed with every one of her bans, including the current one. Since when do we ban members for a week for posting personal information of other members? Gendy is also subject to unique standards, which if consistently applied across the forums, would be very hard to maintain.

Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
14. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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SAM:

There's not much that's new in your last post, so just briefly...

What happened was that a moderator asked for evidence to back up the claim that was made or, failing that, a retraction of the original statement. There was a response. The response was a few sentences comprising a half-hearted attempt at self-justification, coupled with a refusal to retract the statement in question.

By the way, in case there's some confusion here, Norsefire's second ban was Bell's decision and action, not mine. I had previously banned Norsefire for 3 days for the original statement, and as far as I was concerned he had done his time for that particular offence. Bells, on the other hand, clearly judged that he was repeating the same statement that got him banned in the first place. Now, to me that comes across as a somewhat stupid move for him, but it's the path he chose to walk. I had no intention of interfering with Bells' moderation action and I stand behind her decision.

If I recall correctly, I admitted I made a mistake in that particular instance, apologised to you and lifted your ban. Correct me if I'm wrong. I have done a lot of moderating since ... when was it? ... last November?

For what?

The policy to ban members for revealing personal details and/or names of other members without permission has been in place at least for several years, probably dating back to when you were a moderator. It's just not acceptable on a forum like this where they can be real-world repercussions of such activities.

The length of the particular ban gendanken was given this time was determined entirely by where she is up to in the ban cycle - as are the lengths of all temporary bans handed out by moderators/administrators.

No. She would like to be subject to unique standards, as would you no doubt. But she isn't. She is expected to abide by the same standards as everybody else. Length of time or number of posts on the forum doesn't make you special.

15. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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You're wrong. You set a timer for 24 hours and banned me for 31 days. You didn't apologise. Last Dec/Jan I believe.

Not true. My first ban was for 14 days, my second for 7 days which you altered to 3 days, my third for 31 days. And gendaken has never been banned only for one day. Her last ban was for a week which you changed to 2 or 3 days. The ban length is arbitrary.

Once again, a moderator is either participating as a poster or moderating unbiasedly. A moderator abusing his power as a participant is unethical.

16. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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Is it important? Is there some ground here that we haven't already covered regarding that particular incident?

No. There's a clear announcement setting out the policy. Have you read it?

I don't know when your first ban was, but the current system came into play in March this year (from memory - the date is on the announcement).

Ban lengths are based on accumulated infraction points. 1 point is handed out every time somebody gets a temporary ban, and points expire 4 months after the ban for which the point was given. Maximum ban-length limits are set for each number of points. Moderators may, at their discretion, hand out a ban for less than the maximum allowed length.

None of this is arbitrary.

17. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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You asked me correct you if you were wrong.

The policy came into being when I was a mod. Thats much longer than a year, its more like three years

We'll take your word for it, even though personal experience says otherwise. I had less than 2 infraction points when you banned me for 31 days.

I cannot see Gendaken's infraction points but her ban lengths have always been more than 3 days.

Anyway, my major argument here is not the arbitrary moderation, which is a separate topic here, it is moderators participating in a discussion and using mod powers to remove posters with unfavourable opinion

I am also disturbed by how you appear to interpret posts rather than read them:

I'm not certain what that is symptomatic of.

18. ### BellsStaff Member

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Which begs the question Sam. Why won't you report me to Plazma or seek a review from the other moderators?

To quote Ben in the thread you quoted:

My my..

But that's alright Sam. Lesson learned. Next time I'll be like you and just delete anything that I find disagreeable.

Is that what you think I did? Then report me to Plazma!

But you have thus far, point blank refused to.

Personally, I find your argument in this to be highly hypocritical when I consider how strict you were in how you moderated. You never even gave people a chance to provide sources. You just deleted and red-carded any member who posted something you found disagreeable. I have him a chance to support or retract his statement. He refused. In other words, he was held accountable.

But again, you have options to your horror of how I moderate. Report me. Failure to do so makes you more of a hypocrite to be honest. If you really don't think I should get away with this, then you'd report me or seek a review.

19. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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I don't think deleting a couple of off topic posts qualifies as "strict"

Like I said, I have no hassles moderating for content. I did not participate in that discussion as a poster. A correct analogy would be if I participated in the argument and deleted the posts that opposed my stance and banned everyone who did not respond in the way I wanted them too.

I have already stated I have no desire to report. This is SFOG right? I am posting as a member of the forum who does not believe that mods should ban members who refuse to reply under threat of banning. I also think that no one in any forum has the right to force a response.

20. ### BellsStaff Member

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You mean how you participated in that thread and just deleted any post you found disagreeable? Okay.

Sam, my responses to Norse were clear from the start. I gave him his options. I acted within the rules of this site. In fact, to some, I gave him too much leeway in asking for evidence instead of just banning him outright for a repeat of anti-semitism that was reported and resulted in his being banned originally.

Now, you find my actions horrible and unethical and biased. So biased and horrid that we've been going at this for how many pages now? Yet you still refuse to report me or even seek a review from the other moderators you trust. I don't get that. If you feel that my actions were that wrong, you'd want my decision to at the very least be reviewed and if found to be unethical, then reversed and I made to apologise. But you do not. You refuse to. So frankly, I really don't see why I should discuss this any further with you. Can you give me a reason why? You know that I stand by my decision. Or is this a good opportunity to dig the boot in? If you don't want to report me, you don't want to seek a review. Why are you still complaining about my actions in banning Norse if you refuse to do anything about it?

I've been pretty patient. I've put up with even being called a 'pig'. I've put up with being lied about and misrepresented. And my responses to those individuals was the same as it is to you. Report me if you feel my actions were that bad.

Otherwise, we will just be going around and around in circles.

21. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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S.A.M.:

The following announcement was posted on 18 March, 2010 and was displayed on every subforum until 1 April, 2010:
-----------
Forum warnings, temporary bans and the ban cycle

Some minor changes have been made to the warning and temporary ban process, as follows:

1. For a first offence, for minor offences, or for any offence at moderator discretion, members may be issued an official Warning. A yellow card will appear on any post that attracts a warning, and a PM will be sent to the member in question. No infraction points accrue for warnings.

2. Warnings may also be given where a member has had no warnings or bans for a considerable period of time.

3. For more serious offences or repeat offences, or offences committed after previous warning(s), moderators may issue a Temporary Ban. The maximum length of any ban will depend on the member's current infraction point total. You can view your current infraction point total by viewing your profile and looking at the "Infractions" tab.

4. Moderators may issue bans of the following lengths or less, at their discretion, depending on the member's current total number of infraction points:
Code:
Number of infraction points    Maximum permissible ban
0                               3 days
1                               7 days
2                              14 days
3                               1 month
4 or more                       1 month + membership reviewed
This is the "ban cycle".

5. Each time a member is temporarily banned, 1 infraction point will be added to their active infraction point total.

6. Each infraction point expires automatically 4 months after the ban associated with the point was issued.

7. Any member with 4 or more active infraction points will be a candidate for permanent banning from sciforums. This decision will be made by administrators in consultation with the moderators.

8. After a member returns from a temporary ban, there will be a red card on the post (or one of the posts) that attracted the ban, and a PM will be available informing the member of why they were banned (including the offending post).

9. Obvious spammers or vandals may be immediately permanently banned by moderators without prejudice and without following the ban cycle given above.
----

Now, to respond to your post:

Read the information at the top of this post. Clearly you didn't read it when it was originally posted.

There, now I've corrected you when you were wrong.

Please note that things have changed since you were a moderator. You ought to pay more attention if you want to start arguments about these things. The moderator group has moved on without you, believe it or not.

So says you. Maybe you're wrong about that, too.

Anything new to add, SAM? Or are you at the rehashing old ground phase of your cycle now?

I merely paraphrased the statement that we have been talking about for the entire thread. If you're worried, go back and look at the first 10 times or so that I quoted the complete version. Also note that I did not quote the paraphrased version as being Norsefire's words.

Your attempt to slur me just makes you look petty, SAM.

22. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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You used quotation marks. According to rules of grammar quotation marks means you are quoting. Also I have personal experience of you similarly "paraphrasing" my post when you only saw "kill" and banned me for 7 days, later changing it to 3 days after the other mods and Geoff pointed out your comprehension problems.

Finally re:infraction points. I have two, one from string for "off topic" posting and one from you for "hate speech"

i.e. this

Since your definition of hate speech [=Jews]and strings definition of off topic [=Americans] are both subjective - it really all boils down to moderators using their power to stifle debate when they participate as posters

FYI

Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
23. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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SAM:

Here's my original statement from post #289, in full:

Did I mention Norsefire at all there? No I did not. In fact, I mentioned a generic "you", meaning when anybody says ...

I was not quoting Norsefire or pretending to quote him directly.

It is, however, quite obvious that the implication of what he did write was that the Jews, being responsible in his opinion for all the conditions leading to World War II, were also consequently responsible for their own holocaust.

Once again, I note that your attempt to slur me only makes you look petty.

Old news, SAM. Previously discussed in excrutiating detail with you - just like the current ban (that doesn't involve you at all, by the way).

But you don't remember inconvenient past conversations, do you?