[GEN] Moderators and the distinction between personal opinion and reality.

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Dark Lady Mara, Jul 1, 2004.

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  1. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    All right, we all know there's a certain degree of arrogance implicit in being a moderator because the job requires that one assume their interpretation of events is adequate to judge when rules have been broken. That's fair enough, because we as users can generally trust the moderators' judgement will be reasonable and somewhat close to what the average person would most likely think. But what happens when a moderator holds an opinion that is clearly outside the bounds of normalcy and tries to enforce it?

    Although I'd prefer this thread didn't break down into a discussion of one specific incident, for the sake of providing an example I'll point out the series of posts that inspired this thread. Here. In that JCC thread, dp4m argued that because he disagrees with the opinion that 9/11 was a government hoax, anyone who posts such an opinion is in violation of the "knowingly false" clause of the TOS. I think most of us here will agree that's rather extreme and posting a defensible opinion is nowhere near the same thing as outright libel. (And no offense meant, David; it just happened that this was the most recent event of that sort to occur. I don't mean to start DRAMA!!1 against you personally.)

    So. What happens when the opinion of a moderator is clearly deviating from general concensus?
  2. Night4554 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 9, 2000
    star 5
    So. What happens when the opinion of a moderator is clearly deviating from general concensus?

    The moderator takes actions that he feels are right, they are reviewed by the SC, and a punishment is handed out. That's what I imagine would happen.

    We all have things that just send us over the end. Sometimes you know what they are, and sometimes you don't until you come across them. Is it a strength knowing them ahead of time? Some might say yes, but all it does is lurk in the back of your mind knowing you would have to either choose between your morals and your "job". [face_plain]

    ¤Night
  3. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    It's not a matter of choosing between your morals and your job. The "moral" thing to do, if you accept the responsibility of being a moderator, is to enforce the rules you've been asked to enforce. It's not necessary to agree with every rule personally as long as you can accept that you're doing something that's best for the community as a whole. For example, I'm obviously strongly opposed to the ban on slash. I argued against it whenever I could, but as a moderator I enforced it anyway. I suppose I can understand why Josh passed such a rule, even though I find it discriminatory, and what's good for me may not be good for people as a whole.

    The moderator takes actions that he feels are right, they are reviewed by the SC, and a punishment is handed out.

    But, should it have to go that far? I think what I'm arguing is if large numbers of posters clearly think a moderator's decision doesn't make sense, the moderator should be willing to reconsider without being forced to by a higher power.

    Edit: Me speak English real good.
  4. Jobo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 5
    Well yeah, but I mean, it was a website about the government planning the 9/11 attacks. It's not like it had anything to do with the severity of them, or the tragicity. All though the site struck me as ridiculous, it is certainly not bannable, and not even against one's morals, to say you believe it. And had dp4m just let it slide, I doubt he would have been kept up all night. So I do not think choosing between morals and your job counts here. And there are better ways to go about putting down people you disagree with than threatening them with bans. Like he could have done a clever little, "Yeah, whatever you say *coughstupidcough*" and then run away.


    Yes.
    _jOBO
  5. Night4554 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 9, 2000
    star 5
    The "moral" thing to do, if you accept the responsibility of being a moderator, is to enforce the rules you've been asked to enforce.

    That's a slipperly slope, I think a better thing to say would be that the "responsible" (although even that word doesn't mesh perfectly) thing to do is to enforce the rules of your job, and that morals have nothing to do with your job. I could always bring up examples, but most of the ones I can think of are over the top when we're talking about a messageboard.

    I think what I'm arguing is if large numbers of posters clearly think a moderator's decision doesn't make sense, the moderator should be willing to reconsider without being forced to by a higher power.

    Like what I said above, you're basically asking a person to compromise their morals, their deep set beleifs. I think a much more human thing to ask of them would be to just step back, not involve themselves anymore, and leave the situation to another person.

    ¤Night
  6. Wes_Janson Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2004
    star 5
    User agrees not to post material that is knowingly false and/or defamatory, misleading, inaccurate





    Theres all the reason that Dp needs.




    And I think Dp has a point, especily sincs its a sensitice issue, and any thing like that would bait a LOT of users.
  7. Darth_Dagsy Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2000
    star 6
    I think a mod might also need to be able to determine if they're *too close* to be able to exercise reasonable judgement on an issue, and remove themselves accordingly.

    As for the SC punishing mods, Night. When was the last time you ever saw that happen? Abuses of power at various levels of the hierarchy go unchecked nowadays. They have for a long time.
  8. Jobo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 5
    Can you prove it without a doubt one way or the other?
    _jOBO
  9. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    User agrees not to post material that is knowingly false and/or defamatory, misleading, inaccurate


    :rolleyes: Knowingly false-- whether it is false or not is irrelevant; the person has to know and believe his statement is false to have violated the TOS. Yes, to believe the 9-11 attacks were orchestrated by the government is more than a little farfetched, but there are still people who genuinely believe it.
  10. Jobo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 5
    We may as well ban all religious or non-religious people, depending on what the majority of the mods practice. After all, if the majority says there's a big green hippo watching us, everyone else is breaking the TOS.
    _jOBO
  11. comet1440 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2004
    star 4
    mods are regular humans who has access to a ban button , just like there are certain things that piss any normal user off their are things that make mods pissed , DP was personally offended by those false 911 claims and he was just expressing his anger in a human fashion .
  12. -_-_-_-_-_- Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 6
    I think at a certain point when a moderator becomes too emotionally involved with an issue, their judgement can be altered. At that point, they need to step back and ask another moderator, someone who is impartial and has no emotional stake in the issue, to step in and handle things appropriately. I think this may have been what happened in the example you cited above. We all get emotional from time to time, but it's when we do not realize this and fail to remove ourselves from a possibly volatile situation that decisions can be biased and are questionable.
  13. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    Also bear in mind, I was epxressing my opinion in that thread. If everyone else is allowed to do so, I'm allowed to do so.

    My finger never even got close to a ban button. So, lest there be any concern that there was any abuse of power: there wasn't.

    On the other hand...
    1) Anyone who says that 9/11 was staged by the government of the United States can be considered trolling IMO. We ban trolls.
    2) Anyone who says that the planes were swapped and the towers fell due to any other reason other than planes full of fuel and people smashing into them is posting something knowingly false. That's against the TOS as well.
    3) It doesn't matter if the user is ignorant of actual facts; if it looks like a troll, it's likely to be dealt with as such. The example I posted in the thread is that if you start a thread stating "2 + 2 = 5" that regardless of your beliefs (and quasi-fuzzy math that can almost prove it) you're just going to look like an idiot and not a troll. If you post that the US Government switched planes and that people didn't die on them when it slammed into the WTC, then you're going to look like a troll.

    That's my $0.02.
  14. HawkNC Former RSA: Oceania

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 6
    1) Anyone who says that 9/11 was staged by the government of the United States can be considered trolling IMO. We ban trolls.

    Why?

    2) Anyone who says that the planes were swapped and the towers fell due to any other reason other than planes full of fuel and people smashing into them is posting something knowingly false. That's against the TOS as well.

    Why? People are allowed to believe what they want, it's no more ridiculous than saying we didn't land on the moon.

    3) It doesn't matter if the user is ignorant of actual facts; if it looks like a troll, it's likely to be dealt with as such. The example I posted in the thread is that if you start a thread stating "2 + 2 = 5" that regardless of your beliefs (and quasi-fuzzy math that can almost prove it) you're just going to look like an idiot and not a troll. If you post that the US Government switched planes and that people didn't die on them when it slammed into the WTC, then you're going to look like a troll.

    I think you need to review your definition of a troll...the people in that thread weren't trying to disrupt everyone on the JC, they were expressing an opinion. If you want to know what trolling really is, maybe you should ask a 3SA mod, they deal with them every day.
  15. Wes_Janson Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2004
    star 5
    I gotta agree with dp here.
  16. Jobo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 5
    Also bear in mind, I was epxressing my opinion in that thread. If everyone else is allowed to do so, I'm allowed to do so.

    Expressing your opinion is fine. Keeping other people from doing so with threats, however empty, is not.
    _jOBO
  17. Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2002
    star 5
    I agree, dp.

    It's always going to be a judgement call, on a case-by-case basis. I think it would depend on the situation, the moderator involved, what actions resulted, and whether there was an impartial moderator around at the time, as well.



    Dana

  18. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    Why?

    Because 3000+ of my city men and women were killed on 9/11, and to suggest that the government had anything to do with it with OVERWHELMING proof otherwise is trolling.

    Why? People are allowed to believe what they want, it's no more ridiculous than saying we didn't land on the moon.

    Because it's been proven otherwise ('bout the people on the planes and the dying) and because people are more upset about denial of death than about denial of scientific truth. It's akin to denying the Holocaust. Sure people believe it (like Mel Gibson's dad and possibly Mel) but we don't have to put up with that crap here. It's knowingly false.

    I think you need to review your definition of a troll...the people in that thread weren't trying to disrupt everyone on the JC, they were expressing an opinion. If you want to know what trolling really is, maybe you should ask a 3SA mod, they deal with them every day.

    I was expressing an opinion as well. Same as I'm doing above.
  19. Jobo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 5
    And again I must say, expressing your opinion was fine. Nobody cares about that. It's that you kept others from expressing theirs in fear of being banned.
    _jOBO
  20. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    I have no doubt in my mind that in this instance beating people who think such things with wiffle bats would not be out of line.

    However, as zerosleep has steadfastly refused to make a "beat with wiffle bats" button, we can't can we?

    dp4m you should have recused yourself. I understand why you didn't, but you should have.

    In a more general view, I'd say this points to some of the serious flaws in moderating from the TOS. Something like knowingly false is rife for misuse and misunderstanding. While it was not used to justify a bannign here there is no question several people posting here think it would be justified.

    As it is, the MS should seriously consider guidelines because it's obvious the TOS, or at the very least the interpritations of the TOS are not as clear in this matter as they should be.
  21. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    And again I must say, expressing your opinion was fine. Nobody cares about that. It's that you kept others from expressing theirs in fear of being banned.


    No, I was expressing my opinion that it was banworthy if you spouted that website's nonsense as facts. Much as I posted above in this thread.
  22. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    I agree with dp4m part of the way. I?ll use a case other than the 9/11 attacks to try to illustrate what I think.

    Take the whole Palpatine/Sidious debate. Is Palpatine really Darth Sidious? There have been theories about Sidious or Palpatine being a clone, there have been theories about them being look-alikes, and all manner of strange ideas to be able to say that Palpatine != Sidious. Here is a case where I think that all moderators are in agreement: Palpatine is Sidious. It?s obvious from TPM, AOTC, ROTJ, COD, DM:SH, Republic, and other sources. Palpatine is Sidious, Sidious is Palpatine. To say Palpatine is not Sidious or Sidious is not Palpatine is to say something that is false. We have locked and probably will lock threads on that in the future. We also have a crazy theories thread to post such theories into in 3SA, but that?s as far as it goes to the best of my knowledge.

    I think that that?s the way it should be. When something is pretty well certain, there comes a point where you put your foot down and say ?no, sorry, those ?facts? are not admissible in this debate.? If someone went into the Senate and started making up statistics, or went into Literature and back up their points by making up events, we?d tell them to stop. If you can?t back it up adequately, I think that we should reserve the right to tell you to stop. It shouldn?t be something automatically invoked ? I have no problem with GriffZ being a six year old Irish girl or AmazingB being a cross-dressing astronaut and Communist spy from Micronesia or whatever it was that I didn?t know about him ? but neither should we freely allow people to post false statements as proof.

    How do we determine what is proof or not? In Literature, I?d check up with some of the experts on the EU, like Valiento. In the Senate, I?d ask for links to the statistics or quotes or facts in question. In 3SA, where things are slightly murkier, I?d try to go with common sense, and if something was too far outside what was believed about the movie I?d considering locking.
  23. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    1) Anyone who says that 9/11 was staged by the government of the United States can be considered trolling IMO. We ban trolls.

    It depends on the context as much as anything else, David. What AT_60 did over a period of several weeks last March and April was considered trolling by the majority of the Mod Squad, partly for his extreme opinions. However, it was more than just the opinions that mattered. It was also how they were posted, which constantly managed to incite people and threads with problems.

    My finger never even got close to a ban button. So, lest there be any concern that there was any abuse of power: there wasn't.

    How were regular members (not to mention other moderators) supposed to know how serious you were?

    Because 3000+ of my city men and women were killed on 9/11, and to suggest that the government had anything to do with it with OVERWHELMING proof otherwise is trolling.

    I'm not sure you know what trolling is.

    Trolling involves deliberately causing problems for other members, threads or forum (among other things).

    What AT_60 did last year with regard to the Iraq issue(s) was trolling. Merely stating in a thread that 9-11 was staged, or something to that effect, is not trolling.

    One might suggest that you were trolling by so heavily imposing your personal opinions on the thread and disrupting it with the threat of banning. The thread was clearly derailed by it, so think about that.

    I was expressing an opinion as well. Same as I'm doing above.

    It's more than expressing an opinion if you declare that anyone expressing a certain opinion will be banned.

    No, I was expressing my opinion that it was banworthy if you spouted that website's nonsense as facts. Much as I posted above in this thread.

    No, David. It was more than saying it was banworthy. You specifically said people would be banned for expressing such an opinion.
  24. Jobo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 5
    Yes, Gandy, but if someone in a thread said, "I believe that they are different" he would not be banned or even edited, I should hope. Also, you know, nobody trustworthy has said anything about this 9/11 thing. LFL guys have said Palpy and Sidious are the same.
    _jOBO
  25. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    I have no doubt in my mind that in this instance beating people who think such things with wiffle bats would not be out of line.

    Man, I needed the laugh. I've been stuck at work and dealing with this. I needed that... ;)

    LFL guys have said Palpy and Sidious are the same.

    My virgin eyes!!!

    //dies


    No, David. It was more than saying it was banworthy. You specifically said people would be banned for expressing such an opinion.

    No, I said they'd be banned for posting those things were facts. You'll note that I clearly DID NOT ban the person who tested me (baiting) by saying they believed the website.

    Trolling involves deliberately causing problems for other members, threads or forum (among other things).

    It is a problem FOR ME when people post ridiculous falsehoods about 9/11. Hence, trolling by your definition.

    If someone started a thread denying the Holocaust, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be having this discussion. I don't care if someone *believes* the Holocaust didn't exist; I can't help irrational thought. I care if someone posts, as fact, that the Holocaust didn't happen. Then I'll ban 'em.

    EDIT: And dammit, when will Sape change back? I feel ridiculous arguing in Comms in these colors! :p
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