(alpha) Reinventing Sciforums -2- Transparency and Council of Great Old Ones

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Avatar, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Continuing the series on reinventing Sciforums, here's my take on transparency in Sciforums. As most of you know until recently I have been a mod, so I have had an intimate and a rather unpleasant relationship with the secret mod forum. I've also been a member for 7 whole years and I know the ins and outs of this place. I've seen so many revolutions and revolutionaries it ain't funny, I've observed their causes and consequences.

    And sometimes, like in the last unfortunate episode that lead to my own recent actions, the reason why I had to act was the lack of transparency. I chose justice above secrecy and thus broke a rule and was thrown out of the mod team. Fair enough for me, I knew, what I was walking in, but there should have been no reason to do it in the first place.

    So here's my initial proposition. I'll most likely imporve on it in the following days, I hope you'll help me.

    [2] Transparency and Council of Great Old Ones

    A few premises:

    [1] There are two kinds of information:
    1) Public information
    2) Restricted information

    [2] Public information and Restricted information are defined in Sciforums rules.
    Please help me drawing up the definition.
    We should define Restricted information and define that all other information is public.

    [3] Any governing body needs to have some restricted in-house information in order to govern efficiently and properly.

    [4] There should be checks so that Public information is not classified as Restricted.


    Restricted information:
    Information which is needed for Mods and Admins in order for them to fulfill their functions, and the revealing of which because of the nature or content of said information would hamper the normal functioning of Sciforums, or could harm any members of Sciforums.

    Examples of RE information are:
    1) Discussions on Warning members
    2) Discussions on Banning members
    3) Discussions on giving Recommendations to members, who wish to become mods
    4) Discussions that due to their nature contain any private information of a member

    Public information:
    1) any information that is not Restricted,
    2) any information which points to Abuse of Power by mods, but doesn't contain any private/personal information of a member. (Restricted information can be revealed by excluding the parts which are private information of a member)


    1. Mods have their invisible subforum (Modforum), where only they can post. Only restricted information should be discussed there. All other informtion should be discussed in Open Government.

    2. Modforum can be read, but not posted in by members of the Council of Great Old Ones (Council).

    3. Council consists of members who are not moderators, but have been members of Sciforums for at least X (3) years and who have been approved by the Council.
    First 3 members of the Council are chosen by the first 3 mods that are voted in according to my proposed new mod voting in ruls (1).

    4.Council members can read the Modforum and so check if all is fair. If there is posted information that they all think is Public information and should be a concern for the community, they make a thread on it in Open Government.
    Council members are not prosecuted for this action.

    5. Council members have some other functions and cool privileges that will be decided later in a seperate thread.

    Please discuss. Remember - ALPHA rules apply here.
    I'll be off now, have a nice evening.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
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  3. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    I feel a bit like the Orange board guys with some ideas.

    I only mean in the sense of the titling "The Great Old Ones", It's an interesting concept. I'm not sure how functional it would be, I know it mirrors the Peerage in the UK (The House of Lords) and the equivalent in other countries. To be honest if such methods were implemented then I'd suggest more in regards to the sites development so there are tools for the job. However development is another issue altogether.
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  5. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    I'm all for transparency. Why not make the mod forum viewable ? People can then offer their views here or in Site Feedback

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  7. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Because there are issues discussed that should not be for the general knowledge.
    The most common one - should a member be banned or not.
    Always in the past discussing such things openly has led to a major disruption of forum life, members dividing in camps, bloody feuds, loss of valued members, etc.

    The Council would see if a member is being banned for the right or wrong reasons and then alert the public, if the reasons are wrong.

    However, banning is another topic, so please let's stick to ALPHA rules and not discuss this offtopic here.
    I'll make a thread on bannings on monday, I think
  8. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    The title is taken from H.P. Lovecraft.

    There is no reason why it wouldn't work exactly because the model is working in many countries.

    I think it can all be solved through creating a separate Member Group. But maybe not. Any way, it's a technical issue, and not a big one, I think.
  9. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    But that happens anyway after the member in question is banned.

    Ok, but what if the council is in league with the mods ?

    lol ok, I didn't bring up banning though

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  10. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Maybe yes or maybe no, depends on the member banned. And no private information concerning that member is revealed, if there is such.

    Additional idea:
    Members can ask the Council to give information regarding ban of a particular member.
    Council would not reveal any Restricted information, but would only tell, if it was ok, or not. Also giving a small description of the discussions that took place.

    Then the devil would have won. Really, it's a question of trust that would be put, first, into Mods by the new procedure of choosing mods, and then by the procedure of choosing Council members.

    Like: Do you trust One_Raven, Avatar, comsictraveler, Dr. Lou and Inzomnia, etc. each and every one of them to tell you the truth regarding a particular case.
    Because then they all would have to be in legue with the devil, it would take just one member of the Council to do, what I did in Baron Max's case - take some screenshots.
  11. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Ok fair enough. I like your idea

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  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    This proposal, in essence, seems to suggest a two-tiered system of moderators, with the second tier having no actual power but merely an oversight function.

    If the second tier is to be trusted to be privy to all private moderator functions, then why not make them first-tier moderators in the first place?
  13. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

    I like the idea.
    I have no desire to be a moderator, but I would certainly like to be a "Great Old One" (especially if that's what it is called).

    It's not a two-tiered moderation system, James - it's citizen-member oversight committee.
  14. Bells Staff Member

    In which case, many members of the oversight committee will only ever speak out about any injustice they personally perceive if a discussion is raised about a member they happen to like. Other times, they will either have half of the members who could come up for discussion on ignore or not bother at all because they either don't happen to care for or like that particular member.

    I don't really mind a system of oversight. But I also need to be able to ensure the privacy of members who file complaints about another member. And if a complaint is filed against a member who happens to be on the council? What then? If a member is being harassed by a member who happens to be on the oversight team, that member will be afraid to come forward and approach a moderator about their problem or issue simply because he/she will know that the individual they are complaining about will be able to view their complaint and any course of action the moderators will see fit to implement.. That oversight member will then be free to take screenshots or copy the page in question and then claim an unfair bias and that we are somehow overstepping our boundaries.. also disclosing the name of the original complainant.

    As such, the system being proposed by Avatar would not guarantee the privacy of members who wish to have an issue discussed or raised in the moderator's forum.
  15. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

    I wouldn't.
    Do you think I would?

    Having a council member view them is somehow more of a breach iof privacy than having a mod view them?

    And if there is a complain about a mod? What then?

    What is really the difference?
    I assume that if the complaint is about a mod, the mod who received teh complaint would practice some discretion and take it up with an Admin directly - wouldn't you?
    What's the difference here?

    Nor does it now by the exact same standards.
  16. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

    Council members can be nominated by the Mod/Admin team and their suggestions could be out to the community to be approved by referendum.
  17. Bells Staff Member

    I am not saying you would. I am saying that not everyone is you or has your stringent moral standards.

    My issue is that a member's privacy cannot be assured if members of the oversight committee can take screen shots or copy pages out of the moderators forum and then post it to the general membership for whatever reason they see fit (eg. if they think the discussion being held is a breach of moderator power).. Can you guarantee that your fellow oversight members would black out the names of members who appear in what is being copied and pasted? We have already had one incident where it was not.

    I have always held the belief that if a member wishes to complain about me as a mod, then they should be free to do so.. I am a moderator and would not infringe on a member's right to complain about me in that capacity. But if a member is filing a complaint about another member's harassment (as one example) and one member of the oversight committee happens to like that member or favours it and thinks that any discussion which could result in a ban of said member is a breach of our powers and then discloses the complaint filed by the original complainant (eg with a screenshot as one example), what then?

    The moderators and administration deletes the screenshot or the thread and we are thus accused of a conspiracy and of overstepping our boundaries.

    There had been an expectation of privacy. I think the rest is better left unsaid at this point.

    As I said, the thought of an oversight committee does not bother me. But who would be the members of that site? You? Fine. I trust you. Others? There are few now on this site that I would trust to not disclose personal information such as member complaints.. especially in light of very recent events.
  18. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    i find it ironic that the very infomation avatar thinks should remain private is the infomation he chose to publish

    we already have oversite, and a complaints resolution method. It goes up the chain, mod, styder, james and finally plazma.

    Of course there is no one higher but what do you expect?, i surpose you could spend the effort tracking down plazma's company and then complaining to them but really for what purpose?

    if this started happerning its possable the company could decide the expences arnt worth it and just close the whole site. Concidering whats been happerning i wouldnt be surprised if they did that anyway.

    in the end we ONLY post at the conveniance of the one who pays for there servers and that is the company who employ plazma.
  19. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Because the current mods won't have it

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  20. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    actually enmos there is lots of room for new mods. I have been adertising for one in B&E for ages and no one wanted the job
  21. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    But this is about replacing all current mods with new ones, right ? Understandably the current mods are against that

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  22. Gustav Banned Banned


    so? business as usual, ja?
    substitute "oversight commitee" with "moderators"

    what? is the victim underage? raped?

    What is the Right Of Accused To Confront Witnesses?

    The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of someone accused of a crime to be confronted with witnesses against him. This right is usually termed as the confrontation clause.

    What Is The Purpose Of Protecting The Right To Be Confronted With Witnessess Against An Accused?

    The purpose of securing an accused's right to be confronted with witnesses against him is closely tied with the idea of being innocent until proven guilty. By protecting the accused's right to be confronted with witnesses against him, the accused secures the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. Not only does this enable the accused to challenge the accusations of the witness, but allows the trier of fact (either the judge or jury) to weigh the demeanor of the witness before making a determination on guilt.

    What Does The Right To Be Confronted With Witnesses Protect?

    There are three protections afforded by the right to be confronted with witnesses:

    * the right of confrontation: this right compels the witnesses to stand face-to-face with the accused and appear before him/her in court in order that the credibility of the witness may be judged by the judge or jury
    * the right of cross-examination: this is considered the most important of the three protections and allows the accused to challenge the testimony offered by the witness during direct examination
    * the right to have testimony offered under sanction of oath: this right assures legal sanctions if the witnesses' accusations are false

    Are There Any Instances Where A Witness May Have Privileges Against The Confrontation Clause?

    There have been cases where special protection of a particular witness has been required. In those instances, an individual determination that a particular witness needs special protection is required. If special protection has been granted, the witnesses may be privileged from making a face-to-face confrontation with the accused. Special protection is usually afforded to children in a child molestation case or individuals whose life may be threatened if they appear.

    your "privacy" is the exception not the rule
    the accused should be able to protest right off the bat, not after you retards have been swayed by an one sided argument

    lookee here
    there is nothing to fear
    if the discussions in mod forum is governed by reason and logic, why be bashful? it would certainly curb useless emoting
  23. Gustav Banned Banned

    still heiling away after all these years


    the innumerable accommodations made over the years by the admins on behalf of the community easily belies your kneejerkism

    sci in its present form if tailored for our convenience, not theirs

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