[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. BobTheGoon Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2000
    star 6
    a) I thought it was trolling the way the thread was presented and I still do.
    b) All moderators are expected to judge intent in posts and that requires "feelings" to come into play.

    What's to apologize for there?


    Apparently you didn't see Vertical's dissection of the offending post on the last page. You should read it carefully. His points do make sense, and probably represent the interpretation of events that most of us here share.
  2. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    So what should we do?? If we forbid every single one of the topics poeople might have objections about, there won't be anything left to discuss it.

    People are offended by the mere mention of homosexuality?? Ban the topic!!
    People don't like the EU?? Ban EU discussion!!
    People are ooffended by the theory of evolution? Ban its discussion!!

    See where that leads to??


    It leads people to take such discussions to their proper places.

    Homosexuality is a sensitive topic to discuss, but it was for discussions like that that the Senate was created. The same goes for religious topics in general. (However, Evolution v. Creation is currently not allowed because of how practically everyone on both sides has behaved relating to the topic.)

    The same goes for EU discussion, which is why there is an entire category of boards for the EU.

    That's what that sort of thing leads to.


    However, I can understand where dp4m was coming from, and I have to say that I would likely have taken a similar action. His personal reaction helps demonstrate why.

    Lately, it seems that everything, both in real life an on the boards, has become more and more inflammatory. This has become a serious problem in the Senate especially, because of the nature of the discussions that we have there. Currently, we are cracking down on many inflammatory statements and posts in an attempt to maintain some kind of order (and hoping that we are able to last past November without it blowing up).

    From what I've seen of the thread in question, it was set up in a way that can easily come across as inflammatory, from the title to the wording of several of the posts. Considering the current climate, those are things that I would have warned, and possibly banned people for. (I will note that I have banned people on both sides of political arguments recently for such behavior. It's not limited to one side.)

    Kimball Kinnison/>
  3. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    According to who?

    According to the latest in territorial moderating guidelines:

    1) We are expected to crack-down (ban, edit, etc.) on all egregious, clear-cut violations such as swearing, obvious flaming (e.g. "Eat **** and die!"), etc.
    2) We are expected to warn (in the Forum) and notify the Forum Mods when there is a questionable thread, post, etc. posted. This includes flaming that might not be obvious. (emphasis mine)

    Considering that we've now relegated flaming to the realm of "subjective," the new rules guarantee that we must moderate intent.
  4. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    I'm going to have to call shennanigans on that, KK. The original post in that thread could not possibly have been more innocuous for such a touchy subject. The poster was merely presenting a site for discussion, while claiming that he personally thought it was bunk.

    How on earth could that possibly be construed as inflammatory? How did the author inflame? Who was the target? What specifically did the author say that was inflammatory?

    You can't just forbid discussion on controversial or touchy subjects. Well, I suppose you *can*, but I think you'd be making a grave error in trying to become the thought police here. That is not your job, nor was it ever.

    Vertical
  5. Csillan_girl Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2003
    star 5
    KK: True, I've seen that kind of behaviour, too, no doubt about that. But that does not mean that everything that is currently posted has some malicious intent behind it, and you shouldn't, just because such things sometimes happen, search for such an intent out of habit. I think even what I'm posting here could be twisted to look malicious, it's not hard to interpret such a thing into almost everything.

    Most of the regular posters are not here just to intentionally break the rules or to antagonize every mod they see. We aren't all evil. ;)
  6. BobTheGoon Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2000
    star 6
    Considering that we've now relegated flaming to the realm of "subjective," the new rules guarantee that we must moderate intent.

    Yes, but can't you accept the possiblity that you interpreted the intent incorrectly?

    Insert another in- word here: __________
  7. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    You can't just forbid discussion on controversial or touchy subjects.

    They do already: you can only talk about homosexuality, religion, etc. in the Senate; not the JCC.
  8. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I'm going to have to call shennanigans on that, KK. The original post in that thread could not possibly have been more innocuous for such a touchy subject. The poster was merely presenting a site for discussion, while claiming that he personally thought it was bunk.

    You haven't been in the Senate much lately, have you?

    I've spent the better part of the last 2 weeks dealing with a lot of "innocuous" posts that instigate massive flame wars. Believe me, that one post there had enough in it to really make things go downhill quickly. I have to call things as I see them, and that one could easily have inflamed quite a few different situations, all of them bad. I've recently seen more "innocuous" posts do a lot more.

    As I said, I would have probably warned at the least, and possibly started banning people depending on where the thread went.

    Kimball Kinnison
  9. Csillan_girl Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2003
    star 5
    It would probably have been okay to warn people with a simple: "Careful, this might become a touchy subject". I think everyone would have gotten the message. What was done was like: "Stop this at once and don't dare to bring this up again, or I'll ban you", effectively trying to silence the discussion completely.

    As I said: Ruling through fear is effective - but is it always wise??
  10. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    From what I've seen of the thread in question, it was set up in a way that can easily come across as inflammatory, from the title to the wording of several of the posts

    Except that there wasn't anything inflammatory about the opening post (outside of the subject itself, perhaps, which was only a problem to those who didn't stop to read the post), and things didn't become problematic until the threat to ban people came along. Then it got inflammatory in a hurry.

    (I will note that I have banned people on both sides of political arguments recently for such behavior. It's not limited to one side.

    And I agree with the actions you've taken in the Senate. However, there wasn't much parallel behavior in that thread, or in this thread. In short, what's happened lately in the Senate doesn't seem to be relevant to this discussion.

    According to the latest in territorial moderating guidelines:

    Where can we find these guidelines?

    As I said, I would have probably warned at the least, and possibly started banning people depending on where the thread went.

    What posts do you think were questionable before dp4m jumped in?

    A post by Qui Gon Moon was edited before dp4m posted, but it was edited immediately and seemed to stop any trouble related to it.
  11. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    Insert another in- word here: __________

    infamous!

    "He's SO famous, he's INfamous!"
  12. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    I don't like where this is going. It seems now the rules are being defined as to imply that if you don't agree with the admin you could be accused of trolling.

    What if the poster genuinely believed that page had some truth? There were actually a couple of replies from brave souls who actually did imply that the theory presented might have some validity - not that I agree with them, but the manner in which they presented thier thoughts was quite within the TOS. Indeed, they actually handeled their presentation in a manner that would shame a lot of posters. They were polite, and non accusitory. Indeed, that thread would be a fine example of 'how to hold a debate on a volitial topic without going bananas'...
  13. Csillan_girl Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2003
    star 5
    Exactly my thoughts, Breezy. It's frightening indeed.
  14. _Derisa_Ollamhin_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    KnightWriter said: Consider the people, David. Dashy, Hawk, jp, Dark Lady Mara, Vertical, Kaya_Jade, Darth Dark Helmet and AmazingB have all disagreed with you in one form or another, and almost no one of note has agreed with the actions you've taken. These are all noteworthy people, people who've spent a lot of time on the JC. There hasn't been anyone of their stature who's agreed with you.

    Nice. Explicit classism is new. Good to know it's extant on the JC Comms. :( The idea that there are a better class of users (and most if not all the named parties are ex-mods) is abhorrent to those of us who have been around a long time, who have contributed and served the JC but who don't rise to mod radar that often. There should be no classes of users.

    If there are people who agreed with what you did (a scary thought), why don't they post here?

    I can answer that, as one of those people: because it might have walked the line, but a) I respect dp4m's position and judgement, as evidenced by the fact that he did not edit or lock the thread, or ban anyone in it, and b) I've seen much much worse moderating, including utterly inoffensive threads with productive discussions taking place being locked out of hand with no reason given; users being warned with a banning if they keep discussing pertinent issues (or try to debunk some mod-shovelled kreff...) et cetera.

    I understand and respect dp's position on this: I would have found the posts that commented support for site's posited theory offensive in point of fact, and could easily see them as baiting or trolling to cause a flame war (and hey, look at this thread: unmitigating attacks on a well-respected moderator because not everyone agrees with his wording of his issues with the thread: if he meant to start a flame war, he did, just here, not over in the JCC). If y'all aren't attacking him, calling for his resignation is a bit over the top.

    I'm finding the environment in this thread hostile in the extreme. I don't believe dp4m deserves the bash fest, and I am posting with my heart in my throat because I really don't need to be jumped on either. People may not be responding (I wasn't until that clssist comment pushed a hot button for me) because of the hostility and utter lack of any attempts to understand dp's reasoning. Who wants to jump from the safe frying pan of holding an opinion into the fire of this thread to stand up and defend that opinion?


    KnightWriter continued:Again, I state that you listed one of the primary reasons for taking the action you did to be trolling, a reason that has been clearly shown to be without basis.

    Trolling means to post to incite a storm of negative responses, (correct me if I'm wrong on that; one of the issues that should be being looked at here is how the TOS has no definitions of these various terms). I don't know the person's original motivations for posting that thread, but I found the initial post contradictory: "Here's this site, I think it's wrong!" Then why propagate it? what was that person't motivation? I think dp asked that same question, followed the discussion a bit and then said, "I think there are people in here trolling. This is not commonly accepted truth, therefore it falls under the "knowingly false" clause." Then he posting a warning.

    The initial poster even said something like "I think this is utter nonsense": if that isn't admitting he knows the falseness of the site, what is? If he knew the site was nonsense, he posted in conflict with the TOS.

    KnightWriter again: I don't believe you've admitted yourself to be incorrect there, and you still haven't admitted that allowing your personal biases and feelings to influence your moderating to be inappropriate and unbecoming of a moderator. If you believe both those things are fine, there's a serious problem here.

    I can see both sides of this issue, but I think bashing the hell out of a moderator for holding personal b
  15. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    I don't like where this is going. It seems now the rules are being defined as to imply that if you don't agree with the admin you could be accused of trolling.

    I don't think there's any danger of that, per se.

    For example, you could get banned for that NOW by ignoring a Mod's warning on engaging in a canon debate (where canon debates aren't allowed). No one thinks that's out of line.

    Furthermore, if you qualify your thoughts by opinion (e.g. "I think that..." or "I believe...") it's unlikely to be construed as trolling, unless you do it over and over or in inappropriate locations. I gave a good example of that earlier in the thread:
    "I think that Jesus screamed like a little girl on the cross, begging for his life in abject terror."


    As KW points out, that might be fine if it were in such a discussion that might engender such a response; but in a commonplace discussion, it'd be way ot of line.

    But, here's another example to support you, Breezy... in the current discussion in Comms about EU and non-EU forums... why do we allow TF.n to enforce policies created by staff here that CONTRADICTS the Official LFL Policy on the matter? We don't allow someone in the movie forums to state "The EU is canon!" when giving an answer to a question easily answered by the EU -- WHEN THAT IS 100% FACT ACCORDING TO THE SOURCE OF CANON.

    So, already TF.n and the JC differs in enforcement of "fact" by interpretation.
  16. BobTheGoon Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2000
    star 6
    So, already TF.n and the JC differs in enforcement of "fact" by interpretation.

    TF.N and the JC differ on a lot of things. Someone up on 3SA main forgot to read the Hyperspace policy.
  17. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    The idea that there are a better class of users (and most if not all the named parties are ex-mods) is abhorrent to those of us who have been around a long time, who have contributed and served the JC but who don't rise to mod radar that often.

    In the preceding post of mine to the one you posted, I said this:

    So why have so many people disagreed with you? People with years of service as administrators, moderators and members have all stated positions contrary to yours.


    My intent was to include people who've been around here a long while as regular members, and I probably didn't help my cause by specifically naming people in my next post.

    I don't mean to exclude newer members by saying any of that, because newer members offer their own important perspective, and registration date is obviously no indicator of intelligence.

    I can answer that, as one of those people: because it might have walked the line, but a) I respect dp4m's position and judgement, as evidenced by the fact that he did not edit or lock the thread, or ban anyone in it,

    But the *threat* of banning people is moderating in itself, and as anyone can observe in the thread, the discussion took a major turn as soon as dp4m posted what he did. Before that, the discussion was fine.

    I understand and respect dp's position on this, I would have found the posts that commented support for site's posited theory offensive in point of fact, and could easily see them as baiting or trolling to cause a flame war

    But what posts qualified as any of that before dp4m first announced the threat of a ban?

    Where was the need to step in? Dashy stepped in to edit a post, but that's all. The thread was allowed to continue by a JCC moderator.

    I'm finding the environment in this thread hostile in the extreme. I don't believe dp4m deserves the bash fest, and I am posting with my heart in my throat because I really don't need to be jumped on either.

    Yes, I agree that it's a bit hostile. Perhaps things could be said with a little less strongly than they've been said so far, though I don't believe anyone has stooped to personal insults or flames.

    The initial poster even said something like "I think this is utter nonsense": if that isn't admitting he knows the falseness of the site, what is? If he knew the site was nonsense, he posted in conflict with the TOS.

    The original poster was asking for opinions on the site. Perhaps using the strictist interpretation of the TOS imaginable, he violated it by saying he thought it was "blasphemy". However, I think common sense shows that he was just looking for outside opinions and wasn't aiming to cause trouble.

    I can see both sides of this issue, but I think bashing the hell out of a moderator for holding personal beliefs and, in this one instance, moderating in line with them is a huge overkill.

    But you simply cannot do that as a moderator. You just cannot do that if you want to do a good job. We all have our personal views, beliefs and biases, and moderators must do the best they can to set them aside and moderate objectively. I think all of us who have been moderators have faltered at one point or another with regard to that. However, I'd like to think we made an effort to keep from doing it again, rather than saying that it's perfectly okay to moderate while allowing personal feelings to enter the mix.

    This thread has been thoroughly derailed from it's original poster's intent, and should return to it: using the incident to clarify policy.

    The original post dealt with the distinction between personal opinion and reality, and we've had repeated statements that say that it's okay to allow personal opinion to influence moderating (or "reality"). I think we're still discussing that, even if it may be a little more specific than was originally intended.

    So we can all remember what the first post said, here it is:

    All right, we all know there's a certain degree
  18. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    TF.N and the JC differ on a lot of things. Someone up on 3SA main forgot to read the Hyperspace policy.

    Whoops, unclear much? [face_blush] I meant that TF.n and the JC differ on a lot of things FROM OTHER SOURCES (e.g. The Official Site, LFL, etc.) when it comes to interpreting "fact"...
  19. Csillan_girl Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2003
    star 5
    Derisa: So does that mean that just because someone is a respected moderator, we are not allowed to criticize his decisions if we think they are wrong??
    And I am not, in any way, trying to create a "hostile environment" here. I'm just pointing out that I think that there was a mistake made. By your reasoning, I don't have the right to do that. Sorry, but this is just plain wrong, unless there was another change in policy that I'm not yet aware of.
  20. _Derisa_Ollamhin_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Thanks for the reply, KW. :)

    I do think the classist thing needs to be discussed out in the open, but not here. We could start a different thread, perhaps.


    I said: The initial poster even said something like "I think this is utter nonsense": if that isn't admitting he knows the falseness of the site, what is? If he knew the site was nonsense, he posted in conflict with the TOS.

    KnightWriter replied: The original poster was asking for opinions on the site. Perhaps using the strictist interpretation of the TOS imaginable, he violated it by saying he thought it was "blasphemy". However, I think common sense shows that he was just looking for outside opinions and wasn't aiming to cause trouble.

    The original poster had already formed his opinion of the site: he called it blasphemy. I do believe his motivatiosn should be examined, as I can easily see dp's point that he may have been trolling.


    The hostile environment of this thread may be one reason no one is posting support for dp's action, that was my point. You've acknowledged the heat of this debate, and I appreciate that. Can you acknowledge there may be people who agree with him who haven't posted because of that high temperature? If things cool off a bit, perhaps they'll come out of the woodwork.


    *Derisa*


  21. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    />
    dp4m for reacting with his emotion.

    In fact, in the PM exchange I had with dp4m, I conceded as much - that his reaction was understandable (which it is), that his disgust at such a website is entirely understandable, but that his reaction with threats of bannishment for simply asking others thoughts about a controversial subject was a very dangerous step towards the wrong direction.

    I've seen it before, in several Moderators - most notably PreacherBoy, who simply threatened to ban several times when people simply disagreed with him. PreacherBoy was a cancer within the MS due to his arrogant, heavy-handed, power-lording style of moderation.

    While dp4m's intention was to try and 'crack down' on threads and subjects which could potentially cause flame-fests, it was also, IMO, clearly motivated on his strong personal belief (BELIEF, NOT fact) that the US government did not plan 9/11. He appealed to his own authority to silence an opinion which he did not like and which offended him, which is a dangerous precedent to set. If members of the forum allow this, and do not "bash the hell" out of the moderator for liberal use of rules just because he didn't like what the post said, I am afraid we could end up posting in an environment where the best rule of thumb isn't "Post politely" but rather "Know what viewpoints piss the moderators off, and don't ever mention them".

    I know which forum I'd prefer to be a member of.

    Quite frankly, your issues in the Senate don't interest me. I don't care. What I care about is moderators who are using their own biases and arrogant 'infallible' approach to moderating.

    It is entirely possible, and in fact I'd say it's almost a certainty, that the moderating reaction on that thread was an over-reaction based on personal and politcal beliefs.

    I'm horrified that when discussing this matter in private, via PM, I get an entirely different story than I'm seeing here. It's disgusting. The absolute hypocrisy is shameful.

    Not only that, but reading through the justifications for dp4m's over-reaction is baffling and logic-defying. Reasons have been given, rebutted, contradicted, facts ignored, stories changed... the back-pedalling and focus-shifting is laughable.

    If he over-reacted, fine. Then do the responsible thing and own up to it, and reassure people that although you may have goofed, you realize it, as opposed to what's going on here - remaining bullheadedly insistant that he never ever ever could have possibly over-reacted!

    EDIT:

    />

    Can I not post a link to a site about Roswell, and say "although I don't buy it, I want to know what you guys think"?

    Can I not post a link to a site about the moon-landing, and say "Although I don't think it was staged, what do you guys think?"

    Is that trolling? Unbelievable!

    Vertical />/>/>/>
  22. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    :eek: Agrees with KW :eek:

    My intent was to include people who've been around here a long while as regular members, and I probably didn't help my cause by specifically naming people in my next post.

    I too was a bit taken aback at first, but then I realized that KW was siting names off the top of his head. We all do that...

    But the *threat* of banning people is moderating in itself...

    Yes, I'm afraid so.

    But you simply cannot do that as a moderator. You just cannot do that if you want to do a good job. We all have our personal views, beliefs and biases, and moderators must do the best they can to set them aside and moderate objectively.

    EXACTLY. Take the case of appointing Fan Fiction Mods... I don't think people on 'the outside' realise how closely the mod choice was watched by the 'regulars' to the point where if certain people were placed in the position, many writers would have probably removed their works before they were asked to all because that person's opinion of policy/procedure/standards are all too well known.

    So. What happens when the opinion of a moderator is clearly deviating from general concensus?

    Then the subject at hand (INCLUDING the Moderators actions) should be at least called into discussion.

  23. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    The original poster had already formed his opinion of the site: he called it blasphemy. I do believe his motivatiosn should be examined, as I can easily see dp's point that he may have been trolling.

    I can't see it at all. It just plain doesn't compute to me.

    Let me write something that could be considered trolling:

    I found this site that lists the *true* events of 9-11. If you go here, you'll see what the Bush administration doesn't want you to see or know. You can see that the events of September 11 were the result of a government conspiracy and that the government has covered it up. What do you all think about this?


    Now, if something like that had been posted, trolling might apply. But it was just one person soliciting opinions on a site they didn't personally care for but wanted others to see. I guess none of us has thought to ask the thread's author to come in here and state what their intentions were.

    Has anyone asked that person privately what they were thinking?

    Can you acknowledge there may be people who agree with him who haven't posted because of that high temperature? If things cool off a bit, perhaps they'll come out of the woodwork.

    Oh, I imagine that more people on the other side might come out in a less heated discussion. But, more heated and animated discussion can be hard to avoid sometimes.

    Let me state that I definitely understand dp4m's initial reaction, and I'd understand anyone's reaction to the site. In that thread, I noted that I sympathized with him, and I sympathize with anyone who was personally affected by 9-11.
  24. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    I found this site that lists the *true* events of 9-11. If you go here, you'll see what the Bush administration doesn't want you to see or know. You can see that the events of September 11 were the result of a government conspiracy and that the government has covered it up. What do you all think about this?

    Honestly KW, much as I disagree with that 'post', I would be hard pressed to even call that *trolling*. Hot, yes. Contraversial, most decidedly, but true Trolling?

    *this* is what I would consider a Troll post:

    I found this site that lists the *true* events of 9-11. If you go here, you'll see what the Bush administration doesn't want you to see or know. You can see that the events of September 11 were the result of a government conspiracy and that the government has covered it up.

    Starts the same, but to make it into a Troll thread:

    This is the TRUTH! And if you don't believe me, You're all a bunch of Star Wars, Lucas ass kissing freaks!

    It's the second part that makes the difference. Ther eis no invitaion for discussion, only a statement that would incite the fire Bug in even the most level headed of posters.
  25. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 8
    I found this site that lists the *true* events of 9-11. If you go here, you'll see what the Bush administration doesn't want you to see or know. You can see that the events of September 11 were the result of a government conspiracy and that the government has covered it up. What do you all think about this?

    That would've gotten the thread into flames faster then the blink of an eye.

    Trolling: Posts a topic to incite negative feedback from users.

    Ok I can see how it may have been viewed as some trolling but, I also disagree in how the manner was handled.

    IMHO The author of the thread gave an overview on what the website was about but also he disagreed with their proof and found the information on the site inaccurate. I also seen he was asking for other opinions to see if everyone thought the same way.


    I don't agree with the way dp4m handled the warning and the threat.

    I think if he reworded the warning differently then this conversation wouldn't even be happening

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