Moderation Issues (3)

Please use this thread for alerting admins to moderation issues and for discussion or complaints arising from particular decisions.

4,124 thoughts on “Moderation Issues (3)

  1. walto: Yes what makes a site tolerable or intolerable is whether people can tolerate it. That seems like a pretty low bar to me though. The point of civility isn’t just to ensure that discussions are tolerable I don’t think. It’s to create an atmosphere where they’re likely to be good–enlightening and enjoyable to all who have any interest in learning something.

    I think we agree that a modicum of civility increases the likelihood that discussions will be good. Too much civility may lead to “Up to a point, Lord Copper” banality.

    E.g. would you make it your daughter’s responsibility to tolerate insults (or issue her ear plugs)? At some point doesn’t the requirement of civility by all parties make more sense?

    I think not. The requirement for something as subjective as “civility” is an invitation to uneven enforcement and to boring meta-discussions. UD, for example, takes pride in the enforced “civility” of its discourse.
    😮
    My daughters understand that when they are insulted, their reaction is their choice. And that refusing to take the bait can be a witheringly effective response. Thankfully, they are better at this than I.

  2. Absolutely. One of the benefits of education is learning when to ignore.

    Ignoring is the most useful skill in parenting, and the most difficult.

  3. Mung,

    I ask again, given Elizabeth’s decision to abandon the site, is it going to just be anarchy, or do the mods have a vision for the site? Do the mods even talk to each other?

    I answer again, it doesn’t matter what any admin’s vision may be. This is Lizzie’s site and her rules tightly constrain what the admins are allowed to do. And, as Neil notes, she hasn’t abandoned the site. She’s readily available by email should the need arise.

    Another reason the admins’ visions don’t matter is that we’re not the primary content providers here (you were last year, actually). This is a forum for open discussion, without authoritarian restrictions to enforce any particular subjective view of civility or usefulness. That means that if you have a vision for what this site should be, you can make that happen. Want more discussion of the intersection of science and philosophy? Write those posts and participate in those discussions. Want to understand how GAs model, simulate, or instantiate evolution? Participate in those. Want more of what you consider civility? Use the ignore functionality and your scroll wheel and be the change you want to see. Want TSZ to consist primarily of one-line, obtuse responses to others’ comments? Well, the admins won’t stop you.

    Discussion sites depend completely on their voluntary participants to create a community. One person’s vision is neither necessary nor sufficient.

  4. Not knowing “the most useful skill in parenting” (or in anything else really) ourselves, my wife and I have settled on flailing around mostly inconsistently and largely ineffectually. The results have been, I don’t know….strange? I’d maybe hazard that the most useful and difficult quality (if not skill) to have is luck. We’ve been fortunate in that area….so far, and continue to depend on it to make up for our blundering.

  5. Walto,

    Well, I just put up a discussion with you in mind since you like philosophy:

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/philosophy-and-complexity-of-rube-goldberg-machines/

    It’s a discussion about the philosophical and mathematically issue surrounding toys.

    I hope you use the ignore button a lot if you read it and find a lot of low quality comments.

    The discussion really shouldn’t devolve into mud slinging since its a philosophical and mathematical discussion about toys, but who knows….

  6. keiths:
    walto:

    Sure you can.A good discussion requires just two willing participants, and a useful speech only one.No enforcement necessary.

    How is a speech that can’t be heard over hecklers “useful”? You mean in the sense that a primal scream is useful to the screamer?

  7. Walto,

    I sympathize with your view, but it’s not my website. I guess I was just pleading with you to hang around a little more. And I don’t think there is going to be much of a change in policy.

    But if you find more suitable venues places to explore ideas, I hope you have fun.

    Sal

  8. Claims of “quote-mining” are no different from claiming that someone is being dishonest. They belong in Guano.

  9. Au contraire, Mung.
    Quote-mining, when intentional, is dishonest. However, it can also be the result of a failure to comprehend: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”
    😉

  10. Sorry, but quote mining is a claim about facts.

    If you say Vancouver is the capital of the United States, I can point out that it is not true. If one cannot point out that another poster is being untruthful, communication is impossible.

    If I go on to say you quote mine because of [fill in the blank], that would be personal.

  11. keiths,

    I’m not quite sure how to do that. But I’ll try.

    I changed your role from “New Author” to “Author”. I’m guessing that does it. And I probably should change that back when you are done.

  12. A question for CharlieM about your recent post.

    Is there any good reason why comments are turned off for this post? This really is a discussion site, and I would like to turn comments back on. But I want to give you a chance to react before I turn them on.

  13. Neil Rickert:
    A question for CharlieM about your recent post.

    Is there any good reason why comments are turned off for this post?This really is a discussion site, and I would like to turn comments back on.But I want to give you a chance to react before I turn them on.

    I didn’t realise they were off. I’ve been trying to get back in to edit it but don’t know how. Help would be appreciated.

  14. I’ve tried moving it to trash so that I could start again, but to no avail. I was trying to get back in to correct a name. I wrote “Robert Carroll” it should have been “Sean Carroll”

  15. I’ve saved a copy of “Tetrapod Evolution and the Evolution of Consciousness” as a draft. Should I publish it again immediately or should I wait for a moderator to move the original post to trash and then publish it. (The “allow comments” box is definitely ticked this time.)

  16. Responding to TomMueller from here

    I was concerned that, as a new member, you may not be aware of the aims of Elizabeth Liddle’s site which is to enable open but rancour-free discussion between people of widely differing viewpoints. The “address the comment – not the commenter” rule is intended to further those aims. Neither Lizzie nor I wish to censor anyone so no need for any deletions.

  17. Alan Fox should be banned for attacking me and then trashing my on-topic responses to his bullshit. What a sad coward you are, Alan

  18. Frankie,

    Joe, we’re letting you post here, despite your track record. Just stick to the rules and your comments will not move to guano.

  19. Alan Fox:
    Frankie,

    Joe, we’re letting you post here, despite your track record. Just stick to the rules and your comments will not move to guano.

    LoL! Your track record is much worse than mine. And you should stick to the rules or else you are a hypocrite

  20. Frankie: LoL! Your track record is much worse than mine. And you should stick to the rules or else you are a hypocrite

    Have you considered reading your own comments before posting them?

  21. Alan Fox: Have you considered reading your own comments before posting them?

    Have you? Heck it is clear that you cannot understand the comments that you respond to

  22. Responding to mung here:

    Yep, I take the point. “You’re pathetic” is clearly rule-breaking. “That’s pathetic” when referring to a specific claim is not though preferably with an addendum stating why that claim is “pathetic”.

    “Pathetic” on its own? I might read that as directed at the person rather than the substance of a comment.

    ETA: Lizzie quoted a comment by DNA-Jock on her rules page:

    Things that increase vs. decrease the probability of guanoing:
    1 Clearly breaks rules vs. may be interpreted as rule-breaking.
    2 Guanoing requested vs. Target requests post not be guanoed
    3 Author perceived to be “home” side vs. Author perceived to be “visitor”
    4 Target perceived to be “visitor” vs. Target is an admin
    5 Substantive content is low vs. Substantive content is high
    6 Derailing active discussion vs. ancient bloody history.

    which brings a bit of nuance to moderating decisions.

  23. Alan Fox (in that den of iniquity Noyau):

    I enjoyed reading Asimov in my youth, especially the Foundation trilogy. Think of Lizzie as Hari Seldon, who made sweeping predictions using psycho-history that had to be revised by Seldon’s secret second-foundation cabal in the face of the unexpected mutant, the mule. I’ll leave you to work out who is a cabal member, and the mule.

    I just referred to Trump as The Mule to my wife this morning. She didn’t get it.

    Lizzie asked me to act as admin and has said she wants people to be pro-active during her absences.

    I’m not doubting you, but I don’t recall seeing this. Got a pointer?

    The brief outburst of obscenity was a new phenomenon and I predict Lizzie would have responded similarly, were she around. Also, I take something else that Lizzie has said that I try to apply. My intention in intervening is to de-escalate, wherever I happen to see trouble brewing.So, tough, Keiths. You’ll have to put up with my pro-active de-escalating until Lizzie finds time to return and take your advice, which shouldn’t be too long, I understand.

    De-escalation is a worthy endeavor. I suspect it would be better received from non-admins, but it’s worth a try.

    My only concern is that the rules as written do not allow admins to take any action on comments in Noyau. My understanding is that Noyau is Lizzie’s experiment within an experiment, where all rules aside from the Bannable Offenses do not apply. I don’t know how you interpret being pro-active in Noyau, but I hope you’ll drop Lizzie an email before pinning on your silver star and mounting your horse.

  24. Patrick: I’m not doubting you, but I don’t recall seeing this. Got a pointer?

    I’m not the World’s best searcher and this isn’t the one I remember but
    this comment has a similar sentiment.

    I have to point out that “Waiting for Lizzie” can be, essentially, “Waiting for Godot”.

    The site would grind to a halt if the admins did that, and I selected them on the understanding that they wouldn’t 🙂

    I’ll keep looking.

  25. Patrick: I hope you’ll drop Lizzie an email before pinning on your silver star and mounting your horse.

    I have already been in touch. I fully expect Godot’s return in the not-too-distant future.

  26. Alan Fox: I have already been in touch. I fully expect Godot’s return in the not-too-distant future.

    Excellent! I suspect, as you do, that Noyau may not be the result she was looking for, but we’ll see.

  27. Patrick: Noyau may not be the result she was looking for…

    There have been times when I’ve had the slight suspicion that the whole site is an experiment – we are rats in Lizzie’s maze – that may feature in a future paper by Dr Liddle! 😉

  28. Patrick, to Alan:

    My only concern is that the rules as written do not allow admins to take any action on comments in Noyau. My understanding is that Noyau is Lizzie’s experiment within an experiment, where all rules aside from the Bannable Offenses do not apply. I don’t know how you interpret being pro-active in Noyau, but I hope you’ll drop Lizzie an email before pinning on your silver star and mounting your horse.

    Amen.

    How many times does this have to happen before Alan learns his lesson? It’s beyond ridiculous.

  29. Alan,

    Lizzie asked me to act as admin and has said she wants people to be pro-active during her absences.

    I recall her saying that she wants mods to be proactive when necessary.

    The fact that you got the vapors over some vulgar language in Noyau does not constitute a “necessity” for moderator intervention.

    The very first exchange in Noyau:

    Mung:

    Is this the thread where we get to post anything that is off limits in all the other threads?

    Lizzie:

    Yes.

    Patrick’s summary is correct:

    My understanding is that Noyau is Lizzie’s experiment within an experiment, where all rules aside from the Bannable Offenses do not apply.

  30. Also, I would be remiss in not pointing out Alan’s stated position regarding Lizzie’s rules:

    keiths:

    [Alan is] actually arguing that he never committed to abiding by Lizzie’s rules in the first place:

    keiths:

    When you volunteered for moderator duty, you agreed to moderate within the boundaries set by Lizzie’s rules. You are acting as a proxy for her. This is her website, not yours. Try to keep your own unhelpful wishes and desires out of your moderation decisions and things will go much more smoothly.

    Stick to Lizzie’s rules instead of inventing your own.

    Alan:

    I did not volunteer to be an admin for TSZ. Lizzie asked me to do it. I gave no specific undertakings because Lizzie asked for none.

    Behold your moderator, folks. When asked why he isn’t doing his job, his response is that he never actually agreed to do it in the first place. He just accepted the position.

  31. We need a thread for moderator issues as it seems all of TSZ’s moderators have serious issues that should be dealt with

  32. Frankie:
    Why is it OK for someone to insult me but not OK when I respond in kind?

    If you feel that a comment violates the rules, please provide a link to it in this thread with a reference to the rule you think is violated.

    Comments are moved to Guano most often when they fail to assume good faith or when they address the person rather than the content of the post or comment. The rules are not particularly onerous or difficult to understand.

  33. Frankie:
    Patrick,

    Are you daft? The comment I was responding to broke the rules.

    If you feel that a comment violates the rules, please provide a link to it in this thread with a reference to the rule you think is violated.

  34. keiths:
    Patrick, to Alan:

    Amen.

    How many times does this have to happen before Alan learns his lesson?It’s beyond ridiculous.

    The irony of being the resident anarchist and standing up for the rules is a bit ridiculous as well. 😉

  35. Patrick,

    The irony of being the resident anarchist and standing up for the rules is a bit ridiculous as well. 😉

    Ironic, but honorable. When you accepted the job, you agreed to be bound by the rules, and you’re honoring that agreement.

    Alan, meanwhile, is offering the lamest possible excuse for not sticking to Lizzie’s rules:

    I did not volunteer to be an admin for TSZ. Lizzie asked me to do it. I gave no specific undertakings because Lizzie asked for none.

  36. Patrick: The rules are not particularly onerous or difficult to understand.

    Yes, but unfortunately virtually impossible for someone like you to apply rationally without bias.

  37. I have another new post for publishing- “Life with Intelligent Design” (not the other one- that needs work)

  38. Some comments in the What Modern Science Has To Say About Guided Evolution thread have identified a problem with the rules. Mung wrote:

    “Evolution is a directed process…it’s directed.”

    – Lawrence Krauss

    Lawrence Krauss must be an IDiot.

    Since this is quite at odds with Krauss’ known views, Mung was accused of dishonesty and quote mining. keiths found the full context of the quote:

    The part of the thing that flabbergasted me was before you got ill [Meyer suffered a migraine during the debate], which I was amazed to read about. Something that I think would fail high school biology. Evolution is not a random process. Richard talks about it at length, and so should we all. Evolution is a directed process. It’s directed by natural selection.

    The argument you gave is the same as the old argument that creating a living being by evolution is like a hurricane going through a junkyard and producing a 747. That sounds pretty convincing if you talk about all the possibilities for all the parts in the junkyard, but that’s not how it works. It’s directed.

    This makes it clear that Mung did, in fact, quote mine Krauss. Mung removed essential context and made it appear that Krauss supports a position different from what Krauss actually supports. That thread provides hard, empirical evidence that Mung behaved dishonestly.

    The problem is that The Rules ™ prohibit accusing other participants of dishonesty. There is no exception for cases where the evidence for the accusation is clear and unambiguous. According to The Rules, as an admin I should move all the accusations to Guano.

    I’m not going to do so. The goal of this site, in Lizzie’s own words, is:

    But the idea here is to provide a venue where people with very different priors can come to discover what common ground we share; what misunderstandings of other views we hold; and, having cleared away the straw men, find out where our real differences lie.

    The rules are intended to support this goal. Deliberate dishonesty, including quote mining, undermines that goal. Enforcing a rule against people who point out such dishonesty, with clear and convincing evidence, undermines that goal.

    I’m firmly convinced that the best response to bad speech is good speech. Preventing good speech means allowing bad speech an unfair advantage. I refuse to do that.

    I’ve sent Lizzie an email letting her know about the situation and offering to step down as an admin if my position is unacceptable to her.

  39. So Patrick, you think rule breaking can be justified? So if I decide to out someone or post porn and/or malware and can find a moderator to justify it, that it’s ok?

    You’ve gone from moderating to advocating for one side over the other when one side is clearly breaking the rules. You should voluntarily step down. You’re clearly incapable of or unwilling to be objective.

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