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. Kantian Naturalist: But I’ve put keiths on Ignore Commentator, thereby joining Gregory and Robert Byers in the illustrious company of people with whom a reasonable conversation is utterly futile.

    That’s quite an accomplishment keiths. First Tom English and now KN. That could be a first here.

    I had keiths on Ignore, but my fragile ego wouldn’t allow me to keep him there. I wanted to be able to see it if he makes a comment that violates the rules so that I could report him. It seems to really bother him when one of his posts is sent to Guano. So I want to make sure I facilitate that. 🙂

  2. Coud Evo-Info 3: Evolution is not search be removed of the featured OP?
    Not much is going on there but it contains another video that for some reason takes forever to load…
    If the activity increases, as I hope it does with some of my comments there, then it can go back up again…
    Just a suggestion to help those who have slow internet connections…

  3. Mung:

    don’t you have some wordpress development you need to be doing?

    Not without assurances that the code will actually be used. That’s Lizzie’s call, not Alan or Neil’s.

    Note to readers: We’re talking about a proposal of mine in which

    a) Guanoing would cease, and all comments would remain in place in their original threads.

    b) Readers could choose their own moderators from among the commenters, or they could choose none at all. All comments would be visible to them except for those flagged by their chosen moderator(s), if any.

    So let’s say that reader A chooses no moderators, reader B chooses Allan Miller, and the misguided reader C chooses Alan and Neil. Then reader A would see all comments. Reader B would see all comments except those flagged by Allan Miller. Reader C would see all comments except those flagged by either Alan, Neil, or both.

    This scheme satisfies Lizzie’s desire not to control what people read or write, while still allowing readers to “subscribe” to moderation as a purely voluntary service.

    I’m not aware of an existing plugin that does this. I would be willing to work on one if I had Lizzie’s assurances that the code would actually be used, or we could hire a WordPress expert to implement it. I would be willing to donate toward the expert’s fee, if we took that approach.

  4. Mung,

    As for KN’s latest flounce, he’s done that at least four times now. He always comes quietly tiptoeing back, once he cools off and realizes that flouncing only makes him look petulant and immature.

    I made the following observation in my earlier OP on mistake denial:

    The denier is fighting to preserve a self-image which would be threatened by admitting the mistake. Even if no one else buys it, the denier — if they’re able to pull off the self-deception — has avoided facing an uncomfortable truth: they aren’t as competent as they’d like to believe.

    Mistake denial, then, is not just about social standing. It’s also about defending one’s self-image against an uncomfortable reality. When you see someone denying an obvious mistake, look for a disparity between their self-image and their actual level of competence, seen objectively. If you keep this in mind, you can often make sense of cases of mistake denial that are otherwise baffling.

    That fits both Alan and KN to a T. The self-images they cultivate simply aren’t sustainable at TSZ, and each of them lashes out when faced with the actual, uncomfortable truth. In KN’s case, that uncomfortable truth includes the fact that errors of his — including philosophical errors — are routinely pointed out by commenters at TSZ who have no formal training in philosophy. Not a comforting thought for someone who is a professional philosopher.

    So he flounces, as if that’s the way to solve the problem. And then he deflounces, when he realizes it doesn’t. And then, at some point, he flounces again.

  5. keiths: He always comes quietly tiptoeing back, once he cools off and realizes that flouncing only makes him look petulant and immature.

    I think it makes him look kinda sexy.

  6. TSZ is broken, and Lizzie presently does not care to work at fixing it. Which posts are featured, and which are not, is at the discretion of the moderations. I suggest that, to reduce the payoff for exploiting the present rules, the moderators keep the front page almost full of featured posts.

    Alan and Neil, it’s not a great solution. But I think it’s wrong to let things go as they presently are. It’s generally easy to tell whether or not a member of the community is earnestly seeking to foster discussion. If it’s not clear, then the post is probably low in quality.

    I’m saying that most posts should be featured for a time. The moderators do not have to justify all of their decisions. It benefits everyone in the community to have TSZ put its best face forward to the world. What constitutes TSZ’s best face is a matter of judgment. So go ahead and judge. It’ll beat the hell out of what we’ve got now. You won’t be depriving anyone access to the forum. We’ve got plenty of participants who will argue away on the back pages.

  7. Tom English,

    That is completely contrary to the spirit of the intention of this site. All views are supposed to count, not just the ones you like Tom.

    Your post has been featured here way way too long. Your post is just a personal grudge of yours whining away because you feel it challenges your academic views. There is nothing of value in your post whatsoever, and furthermore, its a classless attempt to try to get people to engage with you who likely are not interested. You have been totally unable to articulate your complaints about their book in a condensed and succinct manner, and instead you are just fishing around, hoping others will help you to find some gottcha, that you can claim refutes their book.

    You have failed at that so far. There is no excuse for featuring any post, and especially not your self serving one. You are just lucky that the moderators have the same biased intentions as you, because Lizzie would never have a neutral voice as a moderator.

  8. phoodoo: You have failed at that so far. There is no excuse for featuring any post, and especially not your self serving one. You are just lucky that the moderators have the same biased intentions as you, because Lizzie would never have a neutral voice as a moderator.

    I would be curious to read your critique of how Tom is misguided about the mathematics of DEM.

  9. newton,

    My critique is in how Tom has presented his critique. If the math is wrong, write the math, show where it is wrong and be done with it. That is not what he has done.

  10. Tom English: I’m saying that most posts should be featured for a time.

    phoodoo [de-ranted]: That is completely contrary to the spirit of the intention of this site. All views are supposed to count, not just the ones you like Tom.

    Your post has been featured here way way too long. Your post is just a personal grudge of yours whining away because you feel it challenges your academic views. There is nothing of value in your post whatsoever, and furthermore, its a classless attempt to try to get people to engage with you who likely are not interested. You have been totally unable to articulate your complaints about their book in a condensed and succinct manner, and instead you are just fishing around, hoping others will help you to find some gottcha, that you can claim refutes their book.

    You have failed at that so far. There is no excuse for featuring any post, and especially not your self serving one. You are just lucky that the moderators have the same biased intentions as you, because Lizzie would never have a neutral voice as a moderator.

    Lizzie has personally decided to feature a couple of my previous posts, one of which encouraged Ewert to enter into discussion here. (Neither of the posts was on par with the post currently featured — which is particularly interesting, because I’m applying what I learned from an excellent post by Joe Felsenstein. We’re functioning at a level here that Uncommon Descent never has, and never will, come close to matching.) So the notion that Lizzie wanted all views to count equally is wrong.

    Your problem is that the ID opposition is strong here, while the ID advocacy is weak. I think you benefit if the site is dominated by a blathering sock puppet. Proves just how ignorable TSZ is, doesn’t it?

    TSZ is sort of like a universal medical insurance program. You don’t just set it up, and have it work without a number of tweaks. Lizzie is in a Republican phase (excuse my America-centrism). The moderators have a certain amount of latitude for executive action. I see nothing at all wrong with taking advantage of it. Lizzie has left them in a bad situation, and they’re saints to work on as they do. Someone is presently abusing the site. The admins should use what power the absentee owner has granted them to at least ameliorate the problem. (I’d say also that posts taking digs at people — I’m guilty of a couple of them — also should not be featured.)

    I don’t mind saying openly that I’ve put some serious work into preparation of posts, and don’t want to see the site made into a joke. Of course, I’m not the only person who has worked hard at substantive contributions to the site. But I should speak for myself when I say that I’ve trusted that the site would be maintained — I think that was an entirely reasonable expectation — and that I see neglect of the site as a violation of my trust. I’m willing to set up a nonprofit TSZ Foundation, and buy the site from Lizzie. But she says that she’s going to return. Great. I love Lizzie — really. But, in the meantime, we’ve got to deal with things as best we can.

  11. Tom,

    You’re proposing to give the moderators even more control over what people read. That’s a bad idea.

    We can hope that J-Mac’s stream of vacuous OPs will taper off on its own. If not, then there are other options for dealing with the problem besides giving the moderators more power.

    In keeping with Lizzie’s desire not to control what people read or write, we could:

    1) Extend the ‘ignore commenter’ functionality to apply to OPs. All output from an ignored commenter would be filtered, including both comments and OPs.

    2) Extend my “moderation as subscription service” proposal so that a reader’s chosen moderators could flag OPs as well as comments, causing them to be hidden from that reader.

    And as I said earlier, I’m willing to look into making the changes myself, and also willing to donate toward the hiring of a WordPress expert should the changes be too hairy for a novice.

  12. Sigh. Lately, Alan is demonstrating, on a regular basis, why he is unqualified to be a moderator at TSZ.

    He just moved these three comments by John and me to Guano, accomplishing nothing other than interfering with the discussion and disrupting the continuity of the thread.

    A good moderator would have paused to consider the effects before acting. Alan blundered ahead blindly, as usual.

    Please go away more often, Alan. TSZ suffers when you are around.

  13. @ Neil, all subject to your veto, of course.

    Tom English:
    TSZ is broken, and Lizzie presently does not care to work at fixing it.

    My strong suspicion is that Lizzie does not relish the seemingly endless wrangling over moderation issues. She is genuinely mystified why members can’t follow her simple and not-very-onerous rules. One way to reduce barriers to Lizzie’s return would be to adopt her aim of free and open discussion with minimum rancour.

    Which posts are featured, and which are not, is at the discretion of the moderations.

    admins, Tom! 🙂

    I suggest that, to reduce the payoff for exploiting the present rules, the moderators keep the front page almost full of featured posts.

    Alan and Neil, it’s not a great solution. But I think it’s wrong to let things go as they presently are. It’s generally easy to tell whether or not a member of the community is earnestly seeking to foster discussion. If it’s not clear, then the post is probably low in quality.

    Lizzie has already made clear she retains full editorial control and she holds OP authors to a higher standard than commenters. There is precedent for dealing with OPs that don’t meet a minimum standard of supported factual content. None of those methods are ideal, certainly.

    I’ve already expressed concern over PRATT OPs. An option is to withdraw automatic publishing rights from authors that post them. I don’t like that option and would welcome less draconian solutions (my preferred one being that authors would take the hint themselves!)

    I’m saying that most posts should be featured for a time. The moderators do not have to justify all of their decisions. It benefits everyone in the community to have TSZ put its best face forward to the world. What constitutes TSZ’s best face is a matter of judgment. So go ahead and judge. It’ll beat the hell out of what we’ve got now. You won’t be depriving anyone access to the forum. We’ve got plenty of participants who will argue away on the back pages.

    The ideal solution is that Lizzie returns, nobody hassles her with moderation issues, new and current members contribute more interesting and challenging OPs. Proper use of the “more” button might help.

    Tom, I do think your suggestion has merit.

  14. Tom English:
    Lizzie has personally decided to feature a couple of my previous posts, one of which encouraged Ewert to enter into discussion here. (Neither of the posts was on par with the post currently featured — which is particularly interesting, because I’m applying what I learned from an excellent post by Joe Felsenstein. We’re functioning at a level here that Uncommon Descent never has, and never will, come close to matching.) So the notion that Lizzie wanted all views to count equally is wrong.

    Indeed, she has said so. It does seem there’s a two-speed blog at TSZ sometimes.

    TSZ is sort of like a universal medical insurance program. You don’t just set it up, and have it work without a number of tweaks. Lizzie is in a Republican phase (excuse my America-centrism). The moderators have a certain amount of latitude for executive action. I see nothing at all wrong with taking advantage of it. Lizzie has left them in a bad situation, and they’re saints to work on as they do.

    Can’t speak for Neil, but it’s because of the mix of views, the interesting contributions over a spectrum of political and religious conviction from a bunch of members that I largely like and admire that I help out.

    Someone is presently abusing the site.

    If you’re referring to J-mac’s flurry of nonsense, I agree.

    The admins should use what power the absentee owner has granted them to at least ameliorate the problem. (I’d say also that posts taking digs at people — I’m guilty of a couple of them — also should not be featured.)

    Lizzie is an absolute monarch, and she has delegated that absolute power, in her absence, to Neil and myself. I’m invested in the best way to ensure TSZ remains popular, challenging, open and in no way discouraging to views honestly held and expressed. The PRATT issue is only a problem if people post PRATt and other sub-standard OPs. Maybe we should incorporate some kind of rating system for OPs. At the end of the day, people will vote with their feet. I’m pleasantly surprised that the readership remains buoyant in this rudderless boat.

    I don’t mind saying openly that I’ve put some serious work into preparation of posts, and don’t want to see the site made into a joke. Of course, I’m not the only person who has worked hard at substantive contributions to the site. But I should speak for myself when I say that I’ve trusted that the site would be maintained — I think that was an entirely reasonable expectation — and that I see neglect of the site as a violation of my trust.

    That’s a fair point.

    I’m willing to set up a nonprofit TSZ Foundation, and buy the site from Lizzie. But she says that she’s going to return. Great. I love Lizzie — really. But, in the meantime, we’ve got to deal with things as best we can.

    I think your best course is to approach Lizzie directly. I’ll add my voice in support. Anyone else missing her presence is encouraged to do the same.

  15. I am now responding to that suggestion for the third time. See the end of this comment.

    Lizzie entrusted you with a job, and you egregiously betrayed that trust. You put yourself first, at great cost to TSZ. Don’t pretend that you’re “invested” in TSZ’s success.

  16. Alan Fox: If you’re referring to J-mac’s flurry of nonsense, I agree.

    So, let’s put Tom’s complaint into English; he wrote an OP on the book he didn’t read or ignored the issues in it he now can’t defend and such as guided evolution mentioned on page 68-69 of Demski’s book… He didn’t consider non-random mutations via-quantum coherence process into his “calculations”, so he wants me banned for pointing it out…It’s obvious Tom… I get it… Pity

    BTW: How are you going to handle the writers of the book if you can’t handle me? Maybe I’m them? 😉

  17. Lizzie is the blog owner. If you feel so strongly you must contact her.

    Buzz off, Alan. You’re in no position to dictate what I “must” do.

  18. Alan,

    I’m the drama queen?

    You’re the one telling me “You must contact her. Your conscience surely demands it!”

    Regarding software changes, what I wrote to Mung is correct:

    That’s Lizzie’s call, not Alan or Neil’s.

  19. Tom English: We’re functioning at a level here that Uncommon Descent never has, and never will, come close to matching.

    You and Joe, you mean. If only everyone else followed your example.

  20. Mung: 1. Why not?

    It hasn’t come to that yet. I don’t expect it will.

    2. Not even Frankie?

    Nope. Suspended subject to undertaking as to future conduct. Though, according to emails from Fankie/Joe published by Patrick, no such undertaking can be expected.

  21. Alan Fox: She is genuinely mystified why members can’t follow her simple and not-very-onerous rules. One way to reduce barriers to Lizzie’s return would be to adopt her aim of free and open discussion with minimum rancour.

    ding ding ding

    Moderation needs to be less lenient and stronger measures need to be taken against repeat offenders.

    Make it happen.

  22. keiths: LMAO. You’re a fraud, Alan.

    But at least your OUR fraud Alan. There’s no doubt in my mind that this site would improve if keiths left. I can’t say I think it would improve if you left.

  23. Alan Fox: Mung, You could set an example, too. what is it… be the example you hope to see?

    You mean you haven’t noticed the change, lol? Shucks. All that work for naught.

  24. J-Mac September 19, 2017 at 5:29 pm
    Neil Rickert: Yesterday, I was traveling.Today, I was playing catch-up.

    Yes, I saw many posts that probably should be in guano.But I was playing catch-up, and that would have slowed me down.So I gave them a pass.

    (J-mac) But you would agree with me that whoever threatens another blog member:

    Tom English writes to phoodooo: “You should just leave. At this point, if you venture to reveal your “clever” catch, I will humiliate you…with humiliation and gets away with it deserves AT LEAST the very same thing he was threatening with?

    What do others think?

  25. Mung:
    I think it doesn’t matter.

    Really? Why do you constantly try to “make life difficult” for Sal then, if things like that don’t matter to you???

  26. keiths,

    The site would improve enormously if we could drop the interminable discussions of moderation.

    What other site should be the model? UD Sandwalk?

  27. keiths,

    There’s an easy way to accomplish that: forbid the Guanoing of comments.

    I actually support that, on balance. I have small reservations: I’m unsure how much it would actually reduce discussions about the discussion, and what would happen if an unshackled Joe-G-alike rolled up.

    But as far as insults directed at me are concerned, screw ’em! I ain’t no snowflake!

  28. J-Mac: Why do you constantly try to “make life difficult” for Sal then, if things like that don’t matter to you?

    Salvador has me on Ignore. If that makes things difficult for him that’s his problem.

  29. colewd,

    What other site should be the model? UD Sandwalk?

    Why model TSZ after another site?

    I’m suggesting just one change: forbid the Guanoing of comments.

    Things get better at TSZ when Guanoing is light or nonexistent, as when Alan is busy with “real life”, for example. Things get worse when Guanoing is heavy.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize “Hmm, maybe this Guano thing wasn’t such a great idea.”

  30. keiths: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize “Hmm, maybe this Guano thing wasn’t such a great idea.”

    Guano was Alan’s idea? I thought Noyau was Alan’s idea. Are you re-writing history again keiths?

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