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[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. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
    KnightWriter - You seem to have singled me out as the moderator to question. I'd prefer it if you ceased this activity.

    I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.

    Could you please clarify?
  2. BobTheGoon

    BobTheGoon Moderator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 21, 2000
    Perhaps I should have clarified a bit more on that statement. I think it's too soon to really be discussing it with any objectivity. It's been a little less than three years, and it's still very sensitive.

    I have updated my post above, and included a link to the 30 bloodiest events int he 20th century. 9/11 doesn't crack the top 30, and based on the numbers I see there probably doesn't make the top 75 or 100 either. Many of those events are quite recent, as well, and with the global population of this board I'm sure many users have one or more personal connections to an atrocity.

    For example, some believe that there was a conspriacy within the Rwandan government to allow the Hutus to perform mass executions of the Tutsi population of the country. There are claims that the government owned radio stations aired propaganda that encouraged the extremist Hutus to kill the Tutsi and Hutu moderates. The Rwandan government has denied this, claiming that the Hutus acted alone and organized and armed themselves, despite evidence to the contrary. 800,000 were killed as a result of this conflict, and it happened less than 10 years ago.

    Would a thread calling into question the Rwandan governments claim that the conspiracy is a falsehood be given the same treatment?

    Let's say, rather, that not the subject itself, but the subject of whether or not it was a government conspiracy.

    Again, you begin to tread into people's personal beliefs. Once you start outlawing beliefs you start running into trouble.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm simply pointing out the dangers of making blanket qualifications and decisions based on personal experience.
  3. Protege-of-Thrawn

    Protege-of-Thrawn Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 14, 2001
    The discussion here is what to do if a moderator is deemed too "close" to an issue. Tonight, I held back from moderating something because I was "too close", and I let other moderators handle it. But that was nothing as controversial as a website about September 11.

    That is only part of a larger concern, namely the process by which Moderators reach a verdict on any situation. Specifically, if they have any business judging the veracity of a persons claims or the worth of their opinion as part of a judgement on any alleged infringement by that user. I think common sense and the need for objectivity points resoundingly to a conclusion here, that no, they don't have any business moderating like that.

    Given the nature of September 11 and the impact it's had on people, I personally do not believe the subject should be discussed. Some people are going to find it very, very sensitive.

    As Bob proved with his list above, this is an immature and unworkable viewpoint for the MS to adopt. A whole myriad of issues and subjects may be found deeply unsettling by a range of individuals: in this, 911 - whilst certainly tragic - is by no means unique. Why the membership may ask, should it be singled out for special treatment? Earlier in this thread Kimball noted that Evolution vs. Creation is a topic currently not up for discussion do to problems with advocates from both sides. Imagine one of the hardliner creationists in this debate was modded for whatever reason. To release dp4m and others in the MS to treat a claim that 911 was staged as TROLLING is akin to this hypothetical Mod taking action against a user for expressing his or her belief in evolution, or heaven forbid, linking to a website detailing evidence to support such an arguement.

    Now I use this example because my personal belief is that Organic Evolution is irrefutable and Creationism has no place in a modern world view. I perhaps feel as strongly on this issue as dp4m evidently does on the 911 issue. I think it absurd that anyone could disagree with me or have the gall to present a theory as patently obvious as creation. Yet, my arrogance in this belief aside, would I in the position of our hypothetical senate hardliner mod be correct in treating my strong belief as fact, to the exclusion of other beliefs or possibilties? Of course not.

    Similarly, it is foolish to take this absurd rule and apply it to any other issue, be it 911 or another. Moderation should be reliant on the behaviour and actions of a user, not the beliefs they espouse.

    And it does not matter if they are a moderator or not. Moderators are users, as well. You can either have approachable moderators or moderators who completely withdraw themselves from the structure of the community and act only as "policemen" when called upon. Now, do you want a moderator who's only here because it's a job, or do you want one who's here because he cares? You can't have both, so choose carefully.

    This is largely an irrelevant point. A moderator is tasked with executing the will of the administration, whose task it is to formulate a standard which will apply board-wide, be applied evenly by the moderation team to all boards, an incorporates a fair and clear system within which the membership can operate. The MS has a collective responsibility to ensure all policy is fair, objective and easily applicable to all forums and situations, and each individual moderator has a responsibility to uphold such policy without individual deviation or rogue decision making. On the surface it should be as simple as that.
  4. Dingo

    Dingo Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 23, 2001
    I think it's too soon to really be discussing it with any objectivity. It's been a little less than three years, and it's still very sensitive.

    Let me preface this with an absolutely sincere statement that I mean no disrespect to those that do think this is still an important and sensitive issue.

    But frankly I don't give a rat's regarding this, and didn't starting from about a week after it occurred. Was it a tragic event? No doubt. But it is just another in a long string of ones that occur around the world every month. The fact that it happened to occur in the US, and New York specifically 3 years ago does not make it any more significant or important that a lot of the terroristic and senseless violent events that occur across the globe. It should be an issue that is treated with no more care than anything else now since it's no longer something that *just* happened.


    KnightWriter - You seem to have singled me out as the moderator to question. I'd prefer it if you ceased this activity.

    Errr Dantana... you were the one that brought yourself into this discussion. In doing so you have to be prepared that someone might end up argueing against something that you say. It will be done regardless of whether it was you or someone else said those statements since it is the words you typed that are being argued, not something that is at its core "Dantana". KnightWriter is no more singling you out than he has KK, comet or any of the others he's quoted and then brought up a counterpoint to. Nor have I singled you out. I would have said the same regardless of who said it, since all that I am counter-pointing is the words on the screen.

    As a moderator are there people that will argue against you purely because you are a mod? You betcha there will. But you don't need to either a) respond to that kind of thing, just respond to the things they say and keep it out of the personal realms, and b) go looking for it where it doesn't exist. I do agree with the general statement that dp4m said in that there are some things that moderators and up can't say, because it is true, but then everyone who holds said position has agreed to deal with that fact by the nature of retaining that position.
  5. HawkNC

    HawkNC Former RSA: Oceania star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 23, 2001
    And Dark Lady Mara, any time you bring up any sort of specific example, regardless of whether or not you meant to incite "DRAMA!!!1" as you put it, you're going to.

    You're schooling DLM on drama? Heh.

    KnightWriter - You seem to have singled me out as the moderator to question. I'd prefer it if you ceased this activity.

    Perhaps he simply finds himself in disagreement with a lot of your opinions. Perhaps he thinks that you are simply an inexperienced mod - which, in relative terms to him, you are - and he's just trying to help you be better at your job. In this case, I'd say it's the former, but I'd also say it's been the latter in previous instances. I don't think paranoia or calling people out for personal issues are things that should be brought into Comms.
  6. Darth Mischievous

    Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Oct 12, 1999
    People take these boards WAY too seriously.
  7. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
    Well, I just thought I'd make a final post before heading off for the night.

    I apologize if I went too far at any point during this ongoing discussion, especially today. I can understand the position of being fired upon by fellow members and moderators, and it's not a position I cared much for.

    If I could sum up what I care most about, it's that moderators should be able to be objective to the best of their ability, no matter their personal beliefs, background and biases. That's a difficult task for everyone, including those of us in the regular membership, who also make judgments on various issues and discussions. I think most moderators (past, present and future) have done and will continue to do the best they can on this, and we should all probably expect a stumble here and there.

    Just as we should be understanding of the difficulties of moderating, moderators should also be ready to admit when they've made a mistake. It's okay to make mistakes, because there's no one moderator who hasn't made one at some point.

    I'm saying all this from the standpoint that moderators should strive to be objective and impartial. If you feel otherwise, it's unlikely you feel a mistake was made in the specific case being discussed here. I know that the sensitivity of the specific case being discussed has been raised as a justification, along with emotion. I can understand that, but at the same time, I look beyond that and see that the idea of moderating with personal feelings, biases, etc. has been put forward as understandable and perhaps even to be accepted as policy. If that's the case, the 9-11 thread's emotion and sensitive nature are pretty much irrelevant or otherwise beside the point, since moderators shouldn't be attempting to set aside their personal feelings anyway.

    So, with all this in mind, I'd just like to maybe return this discussion to a more calm and possibly more human balance point. We're all people here, and everyone has a stake in what goes on around the boards.

    Edit: Missing comma.
  8. Wald Balfed Your Mother

    Wald Balfed Your Mother Jedi Youngling star 3

    Mar 31, 2000
    Okay. I'm about ready to give the final word on this matter, but before I make my judgement can someone fill me in on what this 911 thing is that started the whole stupid argument?
  9. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002
    Just adding my two credits on the '3 years is too soon' comment. You're never going to have 'ulitmate objectivity' on anything. Religion, politics... different viewpoints are what make us who we are.

    I could site half a dozen examples of things I would find 'too hot to discuss', and generaly stay out of said same discussions because I feel the subjects are 'too close to home' and could see myself getting even more worked up or offended than the 911 topic ever could.

  10. Falcon

    Falcon Chosen One star 10

    Feb 7, 2002
    from my view point of view:

    dp4m threatened to ban anyone who said that anyone who believed that 9/11 was staged should be treated as a troll and will be banned.

    I know this is still a sensitive topic for some people but, you can't go around telling everyone they're banned because of their personal beliefs differ from others. Its just not right, how do we know that dp4m hasn't banned someone for just that after what he said in the thread in question?

    If the thread was on the brink off flames and being derailed then I can see how the warning would be accurate. You can't tell someone not to troll when no trolling has taken place at all. Its like pointing the finger at someone before they commit the crime.

    And the question is, when should a mod back off from a topic?

    I think this is the answer, when they're feeling emotional over a topic they should let someone else take over the moderating part. and as I said, post as a regular user means they should not excerise they're mod powers while posting in the thread.

  11. Jobo

    Jobo Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 14, 2000
    JediFalcon has it pretty much, Wald. A user posted a link to a site claiming the government was behind 9/11 (a fairly thorough site, too, not just big red flashing letters that said, "USA SUXORZ"). He asked what people thought of it. There was only one person I can recall who agreed with the site, but I don't think that matters much. Anyway, a little ways in dp posted saying that he would have no problem banning anyone who said they thought the government was behind the attacks, or somesuch, and then that started a whole big argument until Kat(ya) came in and told people to get back on topic. If you want to read the topic for yourself, it is [link=]right here.[/link] Enjoy...
  12. farraday

    farraday Jedi Knight star 7

    Jan 27, 2000
    well Falcon for a regular user it would be nigh impossible to tell if a user had been banned unless the user contacted them, however any mod could check the action log and verify that no one had been banned.
  13. PatttyB0123

    PatttyB0123 Former RSA star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 2, 2003
    The thread was a delicate topic and still fresh in our memories. Specially the people who live in New York. I am not defending or acussing anybody else in here, but I read the whole thread and some users went off by saying too many things. Some went off the topic and they got edited in the thread. I am just another regular user, but my idea is this thread could be in the senator floor. My two cents.

  14. Darth-Stryphe

    Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 24, 2001
    I feel compelled to weigh in, officially.

    Yes, if a matter is too close to home or is an issue that you, as a moderator, feel bias on, it is best to defer the matter to another moderator, or at least consult. I often asks Strilo to review posts that get under my skin, personally, before pressing my modding butons. Likewise, if he does not feel objective on a subject where potentially inflammatory posts are being made, he'll ask me to review them before taking any action.

    I'll admit, I slip on this at times, I mean, it's hard to avoid touchy subjects. But I do my best to avoid making that mistake.

    On a different but related note, I would also like to discourage any of my esteemed fellow mods, managers and admins from posting or defending posts that read something like "I really don't care if I get disciplined for banning anyone who [fill in the blank]". Whether or not you are abusing powers, you are basically telling the forum regulars that you are. After all, why would a moderator be disciplined (or even think s/he would be disciplined) if banning properly? At best, posts like this will only scare or upset regular members, even those not engaged in said supposed bannable offense.

    EDIT - bah! Grammar. Need more sleep.
  15. Falcon

    Falcon Chosen One star 10

    Feb 7, 2002
    Thank you Stryphe, you've demonstrated the perfect solution to a touchy subject. I feel that every mod should follow his examples, its the proper thing to do to avoid these types of situations.

    as for dp4m, I feel that if I seen him ban the user when in fact he hadn't, you'd think he had just abused his powers. Thats what everyone here is trying to get at. The regular user wouldn't know except for the user in question and the mod handing out the punishment.

    I think its best for dp4m to take a step back and take a look at certain examples that others have suggested to keep this type of threat
    excercising from happening again.
  16. dp4m

    dp4m JCC Playoff Pick 'Em Winner, Also a Narc star 10 VIP - Game Winner

    Nov 8, 2001
    And Dark Lady Mara, any time you bring up any sort of specific example, regardless of whether or not you meant to incite "DRAMA!!!1" as you put it, you're going to.

    As a note, I feel fairly confident in saying that (of all people in here) Mara absolutely didn't intend for this to occur when she posted the thread. I don't feel the slightest hesitation in posting that. :)

    Second, people need to look at the thread title again: personal opinion and reality. Saying one thing as objective fact and being wrong on a very, very touchy subject that we know to be demonstrably false *can* be construed as trolling. Saying one thing as an opinion on a very, very touchy subject *might* be trolling, but that would depend entirely on the context. I think KW and I have illustrated that previously in this thread.

    Third, BobTheGoon -- I wholeheartedly agree with you. NONE of those topics should be discussed outside of the Senate. This is obviously a different conversation for a different thread, but since the JCC is supposed to be "lighthearted" conversation (i.e. "as if 'amongst friends'"), I should be fully justified in relating the innappropriateness of my dad learning German in college and telling his much younger sister to "Hit ze showers" in a German accent; yet somehow (given someone else's joke to illustrate a poor taste thread on 9/11 "memorabilia" and being banned for it) I'd tend not to think it would be appropriate.

    Fourth, Vert; I sent you privately (and will now admit publicly) that I perhaps took this more strongly than I should have. Others have mentioned to me that, while they may agree with the intent, the method (e.g. the warning itself) was poor judgment in its delivery. I'll admit that: it is decidedly possible that I issued the warning in a poor fashion. Thus, I apologize for the way in which the warning was handled, as there were likely far more effective and better ways with which to accomplish the same goal.
  17. tonyf

    tonyf Moderator Emeritus star 1 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 25, 2000
    gotta love Mod-drama!!! [face_laugh]
  18. Jobo

    Jobo Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 14, 2000
    That's all I asked, dp. Thank you.
  19. Jedi_Learner

    Jedi_Learner Jedi Knight star 5

    Jul 10, 2002
    malkie edit highly unconstructive posting
  20. Transcendent_One

    Transcendent_One Jedi Youngling

    Jul 7, 2004
  21. IkritMan

    IkritMan Jedi Knight star 5

    Sep 11, 2002
  22. Dark Lady Mara

    Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 19, 1999
    I don't want this thread to completely cross over to the spam side of the Force, so a question to bring it back on topic. In general, what should moderators do about this in the future?
  23. carmenite42

    carmenite42 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 21, 2003
    ask for feedback from another mod before banning, threatening to ban, or using any of their powers over an issue that they are close to or emotionally involved with.
  24. Falcon

    Falcon Chosen One star 10

    Feb 7, 2002
    take a step back, ask another mod to get involved so that an innocient doesn't accidentally gets banned

    or get another opinion from another mod or admin. Remember you have to stay open minded and moderate fairly or you could accidentally abuse your powers

    remember you represent the MS and if a mod shows intent of abusing power in front of everyone then that puts on how the MS really operates into question.

  25. jp-30

    jp-30 Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 14, 2000
    >ask for feedback from another mod before banning, threatening to ban, or using any of their powers over an issue that they are close to or emotionally involved with.

    I also think much of this particular issue (well, all of it) would have been avoided if the JCC mods were notified of the thread by dp4m in the JCC thread in MS, and left to make their own decision as to its suitability. Non-territorial modding is fine for elinminating swearing & links to bootlegs etc, but perhaps more 'complicated' modding should be left to the specific forum mods, as in the past.
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