Moderation

As this site is still a fledgling, I’m feeling my way with regard to rules.

So I’m going to start a bit vague, then get more specific as need arises.The principle is in the strapline: Park your priors by the door.  Everyone has priors, they are crucial to way we make sense of the world.  But the impetus behind this site is to be a place where they can be loosened and adjusted while you wait.  So leave them by the door, and pick them up again as you leave!

There are plenty of blogs and forums where people with like priors can hang out and scoff at those who do not share them.  There’s nothing wrong with those sites, and I’ve learned a lot from them. But the idea here is to provide a venue where people with very different priors can come to discover what common ground they share; what misunderstandings of other views they hold; and, having cleared away the straw men, find out where their real differences lie.  In my experience, when you reach that point, who is right becomes obvious to both parties :)

So draft rules:

  • Assume all other posters are posting in good faith.
    • For example, do not accuse other posters of being deliberately misleading
  • Do not use turn this site into as a peanut gallery for observing the antics on other boards. (there are plenty of places on the web where you can do that!)
  • Address the post, not the poster.
    • This means that accusing others of ignorance or stupidity is off topic
    • As is implying that other posters are mentally ill or demented.
  • Don’t advocate illegal activities.
  • Don’t post porn, or links to porn, or any material liable to risk the integrity of another poster’s computer*.

ETA 8th September 2013

  • If you have author permissions, and post an OP, you may find you have the technical ability to edit comments to your post, and move them.  Please do not do so.  Rule violating posts will be moved by moderators, and it is a principle of this site that comments are not edited, deleted, or hidden.

ETA 27th January 2014

  • Don’t use this site to try to “out” other internet denizens or indulge in ad hominem speculations.  Such speculations may, notwithstanding general principles regarding deletion, be deleted.

That’ll do for starters!

Posts won’t be moderated unless I find there’s a problem – if your post is held in moderation it’ll just be because the spam filter caught it.

If you want to post OPs, let me know and I’ll register you as a Subscriber.  That means your OPs will be held in moderation until I click the publish button.  If all goes well, I’ll push people up to Author.

One last thing – I’ve set the nesting for threaded comments to be quite deep, because I like nested sites – derails are much less of a problem and I’m an inveterate derailer.  So use the nesting if it suits your post i.e. if you are replying to a specific post rather than making a general point re the OP.

And thanks for coming!

Lizzie

ETA: I’ve added the coloured text above for clarity (22.2.2012)

ETA2: Blue text added above for clarity (7.05.2012)

ETA3: New rule added in purple (12.05.2012)

ETA4: *Violation of rule in purple will result in immediate and permanent ban (14.05.2012)

ETA5: Peanut rule gallery relaxed a little (5th November 2012)

 

410 thoughts on “Moderation

  1. Joe Felsenstein:
    Elizabeth —

    Sorry, but I am having a problem.In this post I noticed that the phrase in the first pargraph “against that this theorem is incorrect” should actually read “that this theorem is incorrect”.However, try as I can I cannot retroactively edit the post.When I go to the Dashboard it shows the post but no option for editing it.Do I need to ask you to do this edit, or is there some way?

    Fixed

  2. Elizabeth:
    . . .
    But it’s not the words themselves that bother me, it’s the fact that it violates the principle of “assuming the poster is posting in good faith”.
    . . .
    But the most important thing to remember is that the whole point – of this site is to provide a forum in which we can actually find out where we disagree, in an atmosphere of respectful enquiry, putting our prejudices to one side, and actually trying to figure out why the other person has come to the conclusions s/he has.

    We all stand to learn, and even to have our minds changed.
    . . . .

    Elizabeth,

    Your goals for this site are noble and I look forward to the successful creation of a community aligned with your vision.

    Online communities are, however, fragile; subject to disruption by both deliberate trolls and clueless boors. As a hypothetical example, consider a participant who makes broad, wild claims in nearly every comment but refuses to provide any support for those claims, or even answer questions about them, despite being repeatedly and politely asked to do so. To make the (purely hypothetical, still) situation worse, assume that this participant is prolific enough to account for fifty percent or more of all comments on a given day.

    On Usenet, tools like killfiles have been developed to deal with such disruptive commenters, giving control to each individual. Forums like The Panda’s Thumb use a combination of The Bathroom Wall (analogous to your Guano) and threads dedicated to the disruptive commenter, where all of that person’s posts are directed.

    Were such an individual to appear here, would you consider that behavior to violate the “atmosphere of respectful enquiry” you are aiming for? If so, what do you think would be the best mechanism for addressing the problem?

  3. Thorton:
    OK, this thread is done.

    Joe G’s OP claim were refuted, his lack of understanding of the topic was demonstrated, and his failure to provide his claimed alternate explanation was noted.

    Business as usual.

    FWIW, I agree.
    It’s a real shame that there are so very few anti-evolutionists of any stripe willing to come to a forum like this – which is, without JoeG’s everlasting profanities and insults, pretty civilised – to defend their talking points coherently, and to respond to relevant questions.

    I don’t know what Elizabeth, or any other blog owner can do to prevent the sort of fragmentation grenade atacks indulged in by JoeG without actually banning him.

    It’s quite funny at first, but…
    ‘Twas ever thus

  4. damitall: FWIW, I agree.
    It’s a real shame that there are so very few anti-evolutionists of any stripe willing to come to a forum like this – which is, without JoeG’s everlasting profanities and insults, pretty civilised – to defend their talking points coherently, and to respond to relevant questions.

    I don’t know what Elizabeth, or any other blog owner can do to prevent the sort of fragmentation grenade atacks indulged in by JoeG without actually banning him.

    It’s quite funny at first, but…
    ‘Twas ever thus

    Yup and another evopunk chimes in on the wrong side of reason.

    Why is it taht evoTARDs nonsense is OK but when I treat them as the shit they are it comes back to me?

  5. Joe, why don’t you try honestly answering the questions that were asked of you instead of making all the extra work for Dr. Liddle having to clean up your insults?

    That goes for all the threads you’ve participated in.

  6. Joe G: Yup and another evopunk chimes in on the wrong side of reason.

    Why is it taht evoTARDs nonsense is OK but when I treat them as the shit they are it comes back to me?

    Point proved, I think.
    Amazing how you can manage to control your foul language at UD, but not here…

    perhaps Elizabeth might consider mimicking some of their “moderation” policies, and save herself some work.

  7. damitall: Point proved, I think.
    Amazing how you can manage to control your foul language at UD, but not here…

    perhaps Elizabeth might consider mimicking some of their “moderation” policies, and save herself some work.

    Yes- if she did that people like you, OM, TWiT and thortard wouldn’t be allowed to post in my threads

  8. I’ve moved these posts here so we can discuss moderation.

    Joe, I agree, I have seen you less foul-mouthed so I know you can do it. Please try. However, it is not the foul-mouthedness per se that I have a problem with – it’s the continued focus on the moral and intellectual deficiencies of others.

    And that goes for posts addressed to Joe as well. I do not base my moves on the rudeness of the words. “Ignorant wanker” is neither better nor worse in my view than “You are not interested in learning anything”. They mean exactly the same thing, and both go to Guano.

    I’m not going to adopt moderation policies from other boards, and I’m not going to ban anyone. I will continue to move posts that violate the game rules that hold in the “Home” area of this site, and, if necessary, I’ll co-opt some nice phlegmatic volunteer to help out.

    Better still would be if everyone just exercised a bit of self-discipline. As a believer in Free Will, I know it’s possible.

    heh.

  9. Elizabeth,

    After my morning meditation I realized that I can no longer honestly claim to be assuming good faith on the part of at least one other participant here. I simply find it impossible to maintain a polite pretense in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary.

    I respect the fact that we are your guests on this blog and that we are obliged to follow your rules. Since I am unable to do so, I will be taking a break. I do intend to check in from time to time as a lurker to see if any ID proponents show up to engage in a real discussion.

    You have a well-deserved excellent reputation online and I wish you the best in this experiment. I do not, however, believe that you will be successful without addressing the very real problem of people who refuse to support their claims or answer reasonable questions while posting voluminously in a bizarre spectacle of self-aggrandizement. Your goals are admirable and your attitude exemplary, but not everyone deserves the continued respect you grant them. Trolls have destroyed many other online fora before this; without some mechanisms in place to prevent it, I suspect the same will happen here.

    I sincerely hope I am wrong and wish you the best.

    Regards,

    Patrick

  10. I think you have a point, Patrick, and I take it. I was just about to post a link to this announcement

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=540

    when I saw your post above.

    I don’t want to ban people, and I won’t, nor will I delete comments. However, the spate of comments from Joe G that together with some responses to them, and the occasional provocative posts, I had to move to guano, has just been too much for the health of the site.

    So I’ve done two things: I’ve restricted comments to registered users, and I’ve installed a plug in that allows me to place certain users “in moderation”, i.e. an admin has to approve the comment before it is posted. If it isn’t approved, it will be posted in guano.

    I hope that will increase the density of substantive posts, and stop trouble before it gets into threads, not after.

    My apologies for not acting sooner.

  11. Oh, and Joe G, you aren’t in moderation yet. But if I have to move another post to guano, you will be.

    No second notice will be given.

  12. Yes Elizabeth- I would expect nothing less from you.

    And the reason I can be nicer on UD is that the evo attack dogs don’t get their chance to harrass me there.

    Just sayin’…

  13. Joe, you are a free agent. The person who posts your comments is you. You are responsible for them. No-one else. The posts other people are responsible for are their own.

  14. Joe, your posts will now go to moderation (or should do – I’ve been struggling with the plug-in). I’ll put them up as and when I get time, and in the appropriate places.

  15. Well, it looks like the WP plug-in writers hadn’t envisaged that blog-owners might grant posting rights to people whose comments they might want to moderate, so it’s possible that your posts on your own threads may escape my eagle eye.

    So I shall have to call on your better nature, Joe G.

  16. Excellent idea to put Joe G in moderation. I enjoyed reading this blog a lot at first. I even enjoyed the first hilarious thread of Joe G, but it went downhill quickly after Joe started to overwhelm nearly all threads with his insults and refusal to engage in “good faith”. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  17. You are out now :)

    But I have to set moderation as the default for the plug-in to work.

  18. Elizabeth,

    Thanks for the changes, even if they don’t work quite as well as we might like.

    On a slightly related topic – I went through spam, and deleted several. I can only delete spam that consists of comments to threads I started. I left two there that weren’t really spam. I could have marked them as not-spam, but they seemed more appropriate for guano so I left them in the spam heap.

  19. Elizabeth —

    I am getting emails from WordPress asking me to “moderate” certain comments. I think I should not be the one to do that, unless you hand them over to me. I find that subsequently you have posted the comments so I don’t need to moderate them.

  20. Joe Felsenstein: I am getting emails from WordPress asking me to “moderate” certain comments.

    If they are in your thread, you probably have the power to moderate them (approve or mark as spam or delete).

    Personally, if in a thread I started, I would approve if it looked like a normal reply attempt, but leave it for Elizabeth if it looked like guano droppings.

    I’m guessing that your message and my reply really belong in the moderation thread. Sorry about giving Elizabeth work moving it, but if I reply here then you (Joe F.) are more likely to see it.

  21. I just tried making my first post under the new system and got an “awaiting moderation” too.

    I kan has post pleeze? Tan cue!

  22. Hello; just a test-post here to get the mandatory moderation thingie out of the way.

    Regarding JoeG: Let’s just say… it’s not clear to me that your ground rules are well-suited to helping you deal with persons who simply do not post in good faith, and do not engage in the back-and-forth of intellectual discussion which you would prefer to foster.

  23. No, they probably aren’t. But while I’m not Canute, I can at least channel the tide into a culvert, and divert it to appropriate places.

  24. And I’m convinced there are benefits, if the disadvantages can be ameliorated. I’d like people to be able to post what they actually think, and have a sporting chance of having it heard, and not dismissed out of hand because of its source. It seems to me to be working, after a fashion, and thanks to all for that.

  25. Moving stuff to the ditch is a lot better than deleting, editing and banning.

  26. My comment on WJM’s thread ended up in moderation after being editing. Not sure what triggered that.

  27. Elizabeth:
    I do, Joe.I understand it quite well.Consider, please, the possibility that the error of understanding may be on your part.In fact, scroll up to the top of this page, and read

    Liz, I have a suggestion. Why not open a new sandbox for Joe G. to play in?

  28. Elizabeth:
    Yes, it seems to be idiosyncratic.

    LoL! Of course YOU are going to agree with him- neither one of you has a clue wrt CSI- as far as you are concerned it is just another TV show.

    You do realize that thnere is a reason why your shit won’t fly in an unmoderated forum in which you would actually have to support the shit you post.

    Just sayin’…

  29. Joe G: LoL! Of course YOU are going to agree with him- neither one of you has a clue wrt CSI- as far as you are concerned it is just another TV show.

    You do realize that thnere is a reason why your shit won’t fly in an unmoderated forum in which you would actually have to support the shit you post.

    Just sayin’…

    I’d just like to point out that this is, essentially, an “unmoderated” forum. The only moderation I do is to move posts. I do not withhold them or delete them. I do sometimes (and sometimes it happens automatically) have posts held “in moderation”, but they are always eventually posted, if occasionally in guano rather than the post to which they were written.

    Joe, your posts are held in moderation because far too many of your posts ended up in guano, because they violated the perfectly clear rules. But you are not banned, and I have even invited you to write guest posts.

    A little courtesy in return would be appreciated.

  30. Hey, I am all for good faith and courtesy- but you guys scew all that with your blatant misrepresentations. You do realize it is the lack of good faith that got evos booted from UD.

    As I have been saying- the way to the design inference is through materialism. Therefor the way to refute ID is also via materialism. If Intelligent Design didn’t exist you still wouldn’t have any positive evidence for materialism. So your focus is misplaced.

  31. Joe G:
    Hey, I am all for good faith and courtesy- but you guys scew all that with your blatant misrepresentations. You do realize it is the lack of good faith that got evos booted from UD.

    I realise that it was perceived lack of good faith. The point about this place is that the rule is: “assume other posters are posting in good faith”. That applies whether you think it is true or not.

    In my experience, most people post in good faith, but find it hard to believe that other honest intelligent people can come to a different position, and therefore infer either bad faith or stupidity.

    You obviously think “evos” misrepresent ID. Well, I think you misrepresent or at least misunderstand evolutionary claims and theories. To be honest, I also think you misunderstand some ID theories.

    But that is my honest perception, just as yours is that I and others are misrepresenting your views.

    So please stick with the rules, Joe, whether or not other people do. I try to be fair, but the line is inevitably fuzzy. The best guide is Cromwell’s words, in the banner at the top of every page.

    Cheers

    Lizzie

  32. Umm, Liz, I can and have supported what I say about evolutionary claims.

    OTOH all I get in return are more false accusations.

    And yes, Liz, I may be mistaken, but until there is evidence to that affect I cannot address it.

  33. Liz- perhaps you need to look up the term “good faith” because neither you nor any evoTARD seems to know what that is.

  34. No, taunts are not OK, Joe, although I give a bit of leeway on both sides for frustration.

  35. Well, I’m not going to clean up Joe’s act, but I expect that was a typo :)

    Sure.

  36. Done.

    The plug-ins I’ve installed are slightly idiosyncratic. I should test various features with my various socks to see what works for whom!

  37. No Lizzie- I will not sit around and be attacked by a bunch of rabid evoTARDs.

    If you can’t keep your dogs in check perhaps you should just close the blog.

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