Moderation Issues (4)

Please use this thread for alerting admins to moderation issues and for discussion or complaints arising from particular decisions. This thread has been reissued as a post rather than a page as the “ignore commenter” button does not apply to threads started as pages.

714 thoughts on “Moderation Issues (4)

  1. keiths:
    walto,

    In your opinion, do good moderators start bumbling and lying when they are criticized?Do they abuse their moderator powers and silence their critics?

    Good, Shmood. He’s better than nobody–apparently irreplaceable even, and definitely better than you or I would be. Sometimes he fucks up–the consequences are hardly dire when that happens. And you get the opportunity to torture him! It’s a win-win.

  2. walto:

    He’s better than nobody–apparently irreplaceable even…

    How on earth did you come to the conclusion that he is “irreplaceable”?

  3. I get that from the fact that solicitations have been made for moderators and nobody seems to ever respond–except maybe mung, and too many people here would object to him, I think.

    Who the hell wants that job?

  4. keiths: Christ, Jock. The clannishness causes the defensive behavior, not the other way around.

    Err, that was my point, keiths.

    Keiths: I see defensive behavior, I conclude clannishness.
    Jock: [observing walto defend someone] How very clannish of you, walto.
    Keiths: See DNA_Jock’s logic fail.
    Jock: Not my logic, mate, yours…

    Perhaps keiths missed the satire in my “How very clannish of you, walto.” and thought that I was actually accusing walto of clannishness. Naah, that would never happen, keiths has an infallible irony-detector..

  5. Jock,

    Even walto tried to explain it to you:

    On the clan issue, I thought keiths was referring to the moderator clan (I think that’s # XF7-46(g).)

    I saw clan members defending other clan members, so I inferred clannishness. I saw walto, who is not a member of the clan, (sort of) defending a clan member. Thus I did not infer clannishness in that case.

    It really isn’t that difficult.

  6. walto:

    Incidentally, I don’t agree that things have been better in Alan’s absence. You’ve liked the situations more is all.

    You don’t think that the absence of moderation screwups makes TSZ better?

  7. Keiths:

    I saw clan members defending other clan members

    Speaking of the clan, my great great grandfather was the vice-president of the KKK.

    The Katipunan (usually abbreviated to KKK) was a Philippine revolutionary society founded by anti-Spanish Filipinos in Manila in 1892,

  8. keiths:
    newton:

    Why would we even need to replace him?

    Ask the owner who thought it was a good idea in the first place to have three moderators. You have problems with Neil ,too. That would leave ,zero.

    Who will enforce all the existing rules you are concerned about?

  9. newton,

    Who will enforce all the existing rules you are concerned about?

    I’ve explained this already. I think TSZ would be better off without rules, other than the ones regarding bannable offenses. But if we do have rules, then they should be enforced fairly, the moderators should abide by them, and the moderators should not be allowed to roll their own without the blog owner’s approval.

    Interestingly, my proposal (the cessation of guanoing) could happen immediately, without any rule changes, because it’s already the case that moderators are not required to guano rule-violating comments. They could simply stop guanoing.

  10. As I commented earlier in the thread, people have magical beliefs about the protective effects of moderation. DNA_Jock was arguing that we need guanoing to prevent TSZ from descending into a chaos of flame wars, but where is the evidence for that?

    It seems to be the opposite. Moderation screwups create chaos, and there are a lot of them. Just look at the Moderation Issues threads.

    As for the supposed protective effect, why does TSZ hum along just fine when the moderators are absent? Why did Alan’s experiment (turning the FMM/bus thread into a Noyau adjunct) fail to generate chaos?

    What’s the evidence that we need guanoing to keep things running smoothly here? I’ve seen plenty of evidence that it screws things up, especially in the incompetent hands of Alan and Neil. Where is the evidence that guanoing is vital?

  11. Sorry for my absence. I do indeed have other things to do that take priority but, in this case, I’ve been exchanging emails with Patrick and Lizzie and waiting for replies.

    First let me apologise to one and all for my lapses of judgement. First in publicly voicing suspicions of sock-puppetry rather than raising the issue directly. Second in not restraining myself from responding publicly to third parties.

    I’ve had an email exchange with Patrick, with an unreserved apology from me, who seems pretty laid back in the circumstances. He also confirms he has no interest in returning here so I wish him well.

    I’ve heard from Lizzie and she says she is “snowed under” but hopes to return soon. I’ve asked her again to find a replacement for me and have passed on the one offer I’ve received. Again, if there’s anyone who supports Lizzie’s ideas on civil exchange who could spare the time, I’m sure Lizzie would welcome the help.

    I’ve emailed Alurker but no response so far.

    Let me make clear that my actions here were mine alone and I take full responsibility.

  12. Let me make clear that my actions here were mine alone and I take full responsibility.

    Thank you for acknowledging that, Alan.

  13. Alan:

    Second in not restraining myself from responding publicly to third parties.

    Not sure why you’re apologizing for that. Moderation affects everyone, and as a moderator you are expected to respond to questions and criticisms regarding your moderation decisions.

  14. How appointing about Keiths as moderator along side Alan.

    I suggest Keiths appointment to become moderator not as a promotion, but as a means of punishment!

    That way Keiths can guano his own comments and complain to himself about his moderation decisions in the moderation thread.

    Keiths will also be responsible for guanoing each and every comment in violation of rules. He’ll have to address endless complaints about his moderation decisions.

    Let Alan, Neil, and JohnnyB take well deserved vacations after Keiths becomes mod.

  15. keiths:
    newton,

    I’ve explained this already.I think TSZ would be better off without rules, other than the ones regarding bannable offenses.But if we do have rules, then they should be enforced fairly, the moderators should abide by them, and the moderators should not be allowed to roll their own without the blog owner’s approval.

    And you know the blog owner has not given the present moderators some leeway in that regard?

    Interestingly, my proposal (the cessation of guanoing) could happen immediately, without any rule changes, because it’s already the case that moderators are not required to guano rule-violating comments.They could simply stop guanoing.

    You would enforce the rule against attacking the poster by not enforcing the rule, that sounds a bit like making a rule that anything less than bannable offenses goes.

    Al lurker : He makes up new rules (making the “Do Atheists Exist?” thread an extension of Noyau).

    Newton :Keiths has contended that Alan has the authority to do that for that whole blog,, you seem pretty simpatico with keiths, why is this an issue is there a rule to prohibit it?

    You disagreed that was your position. Please clarify how that differs from not guanoing? Thanks ,I had thought I understood your position but you seemed to feel otherwise.

  16. keiths: What about this thread demonstrates the need for guanoing?

    The necessity of the creation of this thread. As I recall before this thread was created a person could derail any thread with endless moderation discussions, however since that broke no specific rule they could not be put in guano without an another endless moderation discussion.

    With your plan to eliminate guano you eliminate the usefulness of this thread to confine the endless discussions of moderation.

  17. With your plan to eliminate guano you eliminate the usefulness of this thread to confine the endless discussions of moderation.

    Think about it, newton. If we eliminated guano, we’d eliminate the endless discussions surrounding the guanoing of comments. You don’t need to “confine the endless discussions of moderation” when there are no endless discussions of moderation.

    No one would complain about a comment being guanoed, because no comments would ever be guanoed.

    No one would complain about a comment not being guanoed, because everyone would know that comments simply aren’t guanoed — ever.

    The moderators’ workload would decrease dramatically. They wouldn’t have to read through all the threads, look for rule-violating comments. They wouldn’t have to respond to guano requests or complaints. They would just have to keep the site up and running, fish comments out of the spam queue, etc.

    There would be no issues of fairness, because every comment would be treated equally and left unguanoed. No problem with moderator bias, whether intentional or not, because there would be no way for such bias to manifest itself. The “punish the honest, reward the dishonest” effect would vanish.

    What’s not to like about this scheme?

  18. newton, regarding Alan’s Noyau-izing of ALurker’s thread:

    You disagreed that was your position. Please clarify how that differs from not guanoing?

    It was selective, only applying to one thread. And it was against the thread owner’s wishes.

    It was also an obvious abuse of moderator privileges by Alan, who proposed it for his own benefit, not for TSZ’s, and imposed it on an unwilling thread author. Alan is an ass.

  19. Actually newton, that wasn’t my take on the situation.
    I was referencing (obliquely, because it’s funnier that way) keiths`s inability to have a disagreement without eventually impugning the motives of his interlocutor.
    On this thread, he’s done it in spades. He also does it on “normal” threads, where it constitutes a rule-violation. He’s rarely guanoed for this behavior – if I were a moderator, many more of his posts would end up guanoed. But if there were no whistle-for-bad-behavior at all, normal threads would become flame-fests, thanks in large part to his inability to control himself.

    Seriously, I’m trying to think of a time when keiths managed to disagree with someone WITHOUT impugning or second-guessing their motives…

    “Roger Scruton on altruism”

    “Common design vs Common descent”

    And, best of all, the irony-meter-exploding “The psychology of (not) admitting mistakes”

    Does anyone have any nominations? Bueller? Bueller?

    Perhaps the solution is to have a special thread, “Keiths`s Moderation Issues”, where he can complain to his little heart`s content, and not clog up the grown-up`s discussion of moderation issues. That, and enforcing the rules quite strictly against him on regular threads, might make TSZ more conducive to rational discourse. Hey, a guy can hope.

    It is pretty hilarious that dear Dr. “What’s not to like about this scheme?” Pangloss here is the worst offender in the history of TSZ.

    ETA: and keiths even managed to get into a picayune argument about what constitutes doxxing, proving that his “no guano” solution is no such thing.

  20. Continuing on the theme of my earlier comment, ALurker isn’t the only one to have a thread Noyau-ized by (unjustified) fiat. Alan pulled the same stunt on one of my threads against my wishes, also excusing it as an “experiment” as he did in ALurker’s case. The rules were suspended and no comments were guanoed.

    The results? Everything was fine. The thread went on for a couple of weeks and then petered out. No chaos.

    Why didn’t you hear about this? Because it wasn’t the result Alan was hoping for. It undermined his case. So he decided to re-run the “experiment” on ALurker’s thread, hoping for a different result this time.

  21. keiths: Think about it, newton. If we eliminated guano, we’d eliminate the endless discussions surrounding the guanoing of comments

    I would predict we would still have endless discussions about that why there is no guano , and why have rules if they are not enforced as was ALurker’s original complaint, and escalation of insults and discussions about that. By acknowledging no repercussions you lose any semblance of control without some control discussions on the internet devolve.

    You don’t need to “confine the endless discussions of moderation” when there are no endless discussions of moderation.

    Nope unless someone just wanted to stir the pot.

    No one would complain about a comment being guanoed, because no comments would ever be guanoed.

    No they will complain that there is no guano, that you are making up rules and you are being dishonest about what the owner wants. Sound familiar?

    No one would complain about a comment not being guanoed, because everyone would know that comments simply aren’t guanoed — ever.

    That is not the rule, it is the informal relaxation of the rule. Saying you aren’t enforcing a rule is not the same as not having the rule. People like to endlessly complain. People like to start flame wars. Have you not been on the internet?

    The moderators’ workload would decrease dramatically. They wouldn’t have to read through all the threads, look for rule-violating comments. They wouldn’t have to respond to guano requests or complaints. They would just have to keep the site up and running, fish comments out of the spam queue, etc.

    True all you have to do is watch the posters and commenters who prefer a civil atmosphere disappear and soon the will be no workload at all. On the plus side the owner can save a couple of bucks.

    There would be no issues of fairness, because every comment would be treated equally and left unguanoed. No problem with moderator bias, whether intentional or not, because there would be no way for such bias to manifest itself. The “punish the honest, reward the dishonest” effect would vanish.

    Except the duty of the moderator to assist the mission of the blog is an utter failure without civility , so you cured a necessary evil by killing the patient.

    What’s not to like about this scheme?

    Since the blog no longer resembles the vision the owner started the blog to achieve she will fold her tent and move on. Another libertarian dream achieved

  22. newton,

    I would predict we would still have endless discussions about that why there is no guano ,

    I can think of a way to test your prediction, and I’d be willing to bet that the quantity of moderation-related comments would decrease dramatically.

    …and why have rules if they are not enforced as was ALurker’s original complaint…

    I think you’re confused about something. When I pointed out that the moderators already have the power to stop guanoing, I wasn’t saying that this was the preferred way to implement a no-guano solution. I brought it up because Lizzie had been AWOL for such a long time and there was no indication of when she might return. My point was that moderators could go ahead and implement the scheme in the meantime under the authority she had already granted to them: the authority to refrain from guanoing rule-violating comments at their discretion.

    The equivalent permanent solution would be for Lizzie to declare an end to guanoing and to remove the guano-related rules from the rules page, so that no one would wonder why we have rules that aren’t enforced.

    By acknowledging no repercussions you lose any semblance of control without some control discussions on the internet devolve.

    The internet is not a homogeneous entity. One blog is not identical to another. The contributors are different. The readers are different. The commenters are different. The vibe is different. To say that TSZ will “devolve” without guanoing is just speculation, and the evidence actually suggests the opposite.

    keiths:

    You don’t need to “confine the endless discussions of moderation” when there are no endless discussions of moderation.

    newton:

    Nope unless someone just wanted to stir the pot.

    Someone who wants to stir the pot can stir the pot, with or without guanoing.

    No they will complain that there is no guano, that you are making up rules and you are being dishonest about what the owner wants. Sound familiar?

    See my remarks above about the preferable way of implementing no-guano.

    That is not the rule, it is the informal relaxation of the rule. Saying you aren’t enforcing a rule is not the same as not having the rule.

    Ditto.

    People like to endlessly complain. People like to start flame wars. Have you not been on the internet?

    See earlier remarks.

    keiths:

    The moderators’ workload would decrease dramatically. They wouldn’t have to read through all the threads, look for rule-violating comments. They wouldn’t have to respond to guano requests or complaints. They would just have to keep the site up and running, fish comments out of the spam queue, etc.

    newton:

    True all you have to do is watch the posters and commenters who prefer a civil atmosphere disappear and soon the will be no workload at all.

    And you know this, how? It seems to be an article of faith for you that this would happen on TSZ if guanoing were eliminated. The evidence suggests otherwise.

    Also, you seem to be forgetting that the current moderation scheme does not create a “civil atmosphere” here (at least in the way you seem to envision one). All the current scheme does is move certain comments from one thread to another. Moving a comment won’t magically transform it from uncivil to civil.

    Except the duty of the moderator to assist the mission of the blog is an utter failure without civility , so you cured a necessary evil by killing the patient.

    Civility is not the mission of this blog, though you may have gotten that impression from Alan and his repeated (and incorrect) insistence that Lizzie is aiming for “rancour-free” discussion. Lizzie is more realistic than that, and she’s even stated that politeness is not a particular goal of the site. The rules were not intended to keep people polite or to prevent hurt feelings; they were intended to keep substantive discussion flowing.

    keiths:

    What’s not to like about this scheme?

    newton:

    Since the blog no longer resembles the vision the owner started the blog to achieve she will fold her tent and move on.

    See above.

  23. Alan Fox:

    I’ll repeat my email address alanfox@free.fr for the benefit of Alurker.

    I’m not sending email to someone who has shown he shouldn’t be trusted not to abuse his access to data. I’ve told you who I’m not. Unless you think fifthmonarchyman and phoodoo are those people’s given names, you don’t need to know mine.

    This is all a distraction from answering my simple questions:

    You’ve had your time to ignore the rules, add new rules, and break the rules, all without any input from Lizzie. It’s pretty obvious that you don’t really think you need her approval for anything.

    So just tell us how it’s going to be. Are you going to let fifthmonarchyman keep breaking the rules? Are you going to continue to treat “Do Atheists Exist?” as another version of Noyau, despite the thread author asking you not to? Are you going to speculate some more on my real life identity (check my IP — perhaps I’m Frankie now)? The rules as written are obviously not the rules the site is operating under. The least you could do is tell us what the real rules are.

    Seriously. I took a little break, caught up on some work, and realized I was getting distracted too. I delurked (which I’m regretting more and more) because I liked reading this blog and had some concerns about how the unfair application of the rules could hurt it. So how about just telling us what the real rules are and if you’re going to enforce them fairly or not.

  24. ALurker,

    Actually my real name is oodoohp. I didn’t think spelling it backwards was actually fooling anyone.

    With your background in special ops and undermining political organizations through infiltration and mocking, it no doubt was obvious to you.

    Can you kill pigs with mental concentration?

    Keiths can kill the desire to read, with just two fingers. Perhaps one.

  25. newton: Thanks but my question is , what is your view of proper moderation and how does one accomplish that goal within the existing parameters that exist?

    Is your only complaint is moderators should strictly follow the rules until they are changedand the fact that Lizzie herself did not strictly abide by the rules is irrelevant? I thought there was an issue about sending too many posts to guano.

    I’d like to see the rules followed fairly. You get what you encourage. I see high quality commenters getting sent to Guano for minor violations while low quality commenters rarely do even when they break the rules more seriously. That’s a good way to get more from the people you’re giving a pass.

    If the actual rules, as opposed to the written rules, are that fifthmonarchyman gets to say whatever he wants because he truly believes it, well then I’ve got some true beliefs to express as well. If he’s getting a pass because he’s incapable of following the rules, I’d actually be pretty happy to see that made explicit.

    The current enforcement is eventually going to drive the actual content producers away and increase the trash from the UD crowd. That would be a shame.

  26. ALurker: I’d like to see the rules followed fairly.

    That’s a lie!

    ALurker: I see high quality commenters getting sent to Guano

    Ha!

    ALurker: well then I’ve got some true beliefs to express as well.

    Blatant lie!

    ALurker: I’d actually be pretty happy

    Preposterous.

    ALurker: increase the trash

    Just like you were trained!

    Now, what about those pigs?

  27. Hi ALurker, glad to see you back.
    I’m going to take your comment as an explicit statement that you have not commented here under another handle. Please correct me if I am wrong.
    My apologies for reading into your circumlocution something that wasn’t there.
    Let’s return to the topic that preceded this latest kerfuffle: the rules and how to deal with rule-violating posters. As I noted previously, you are correct that fmm consistently breaks the rules.
    What’s a guy or gal to do?
    I don’t think your current approach is effective, and I would gladly discuss why I think this, if you are interested. If not, then that’s fine too.

  28. DNA_Jock: As I noted previously, you are correct that fmm consistently breaks the rules.

    Saying someone is lying to themselves is not against the rules.

    Why are you lying Jock?

  29. phoodoo: Saying someone is lying to themselves is not against the rules.

    I think you have an idiosyncratic interpretation of ‘assume the poster is arguing in good faith’, or ‘lying’, or both.

  30. I know this is moderation but would just like to say I posted a thread.
    If TSZ would kindly review it for possible publishing please.
    Thanks

  31. DNA_Jock, to ALurker:

    My apologies for reading into your circumlocution something that wasn’t there.

    What circumlocution?

  32. keiths, to newton:

    Also, you seem to be forgetting that the current moderation scheme does not create a “civil atmosphere” here (at least in the way you seem to envision one). All the current scheme does is move certain comments from one thread to another. Moving a comment won’t magically transform it from uncivil to civil.

    I’ll add that plenty of uncivil comments don’t violate the rules and therefore cannot be guanoed. So again, newton: guanoing does not make TSZ a “civil” place, and that is not what Lizzie intended it to do.

  33. A lot of people, and not just newton, seem to be confused about Lizzie’s aims regarding Guano. Let me quote an exchange I had with her on the topic.

    keiths:

    Would you regard the following as a fair summary of your position?

    1. You don’t want to control what people write, and moving comments to Guano is not intended to punish or shame them.

    2. You don’t want to control what people read, which is why you’re adamant about not deleting comments.

    3. You do see moving comments to Guano as a housekeeping function that keeps the “living area” clean, so that people aren’t forced to step in shit as they they move about.

    Lizzie:

    Yes, although I don’t want to over do the “shit” metaphor.

    keiths:

    Yes, the “Guano” title is unfortunate, because it strongly implies that the comments therein were judged to be shit.

    Lizzie:

    I would prefer to phrase it as:

    3. I do see moving comments to Guano as a housekeeping function that keeps the discussion focussed on content by removing intervening posts that are not.

  34. This one in particular deserves emphasis:

    1. You don’t want to control what people write, and moving comments to Guano is not intended to punish or shame them.

    Alan routinely disregards this, scolding people right and left when he guanoes their comments, often following up with one of his lectures about “rancour-free” discussion.

    He disregards Lizzie’s stated vision and substitutes his own, then congratulates himself on “supporting Lizzie’s aims” and “carrying out her prime directive”.

    We are fortunate that he’s now on his way out.

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