Moderation Issues (5)

Please use this thread for (and only for) alerting admins to moderation issues and for raising complaints arising from particular decisions. We remind participants that TSZ is a benign dictatorship, the property of Dr. Elizabeth Liddle. All decisions regarding policy and implementation are hers alone.

959 thoughts on “Moderation Issues (5)

  1. keiths, to Alan:

    There was no valid reason for closing comments. Your excuse is bogus.

    newton:

    Every previous moderation thread has been closed.

    Damn, newton. I’ve already addressed that. There were valid reasons to close the earlier Mod Issues threads. There was no valid reason to close Mod Issues 4. Alan’s excuse was phony.

    If you think Alan’s excuse was valid, then defend its validity. Show us why it makes sense.

    Or squirm to avoid the question, as Alan is.

  2. Alan:

    Didn’t lie, hypocrite.

    If your excuse weren’t phony, you’d be able — and willing — to defend it.

  3. keiths,

    I presume from that you are not going to support or withdraw your allegation of lying. Makes you a hypocrite, Hypocrite.

  4. Worth a repost:

    newton:

    To call people liars and cowards is just lazy. Up your game keiths.

    Silly newton. As if I haven’t been backing up my claims all along.

    Let’s look at your case, for instance.

    Here’s Alan’s bogus excuse:

    As I believe all outstanding specific queries have now been addressed I’m closing comments in this thread. You will see there is a fresh, new moderation issues page, number 5. My hope is that we can avoid Lizzie having to step straight into an enormous shit-pile of mod issues so to provide a venue for more general ideas regarding how the rules etc could be improved, I (with Neil’s input) will be posting a new OP shortly.

    You started out actually trying to defend that phony excuse:

    keiths:

    Are you telling us that you actually bought Alan’s excuse for closing comments?

    newton:

    Did you have unaddressed issues?

    keiths:

    As if it were a normal practice to close the Moderation Issues threads whenever there were no “unaddressed issues”.

    Come on, newton.

    You tried another tack, arguing that Alan’s action hadn’t changed anything, since you could still view either thread with one click:

    Certainly is, I can view it with one click, same as this thread.

    My response:

    So you’re saying that Alan closed comments in order to achieve… nothing?

    And that it’s just a coincidence that he had disgraced himself in the thread, and been forced to issue a humiliating apology, just before his decision to close comments?

    The very idea is laughable.

    That didn’t go too well for newton. But if your excuse is valid, then you should have no fear. Defend it, O Brave One. Explain to us why it made sense to close comments right in the middle of an ongoing discussion, as you did.

  5. walto,

    It’s been more than a week, and you’re still afraid to answer my simple question:

    What do you think of Alan’s excuse for closing comments in Mod Issues 4, walto?

  6. keiths: As if it were a normal practice to close the Moderation Issues threads whenever there were no “unaddressed issues”.

    What is the common practice? Three previous threads have been closed.

  7. keiths: And that it’s just a coincidence that he had disgraced himself in the thread, and been forced to issue a humiliating apology, just before his decision to close comments?

    Which of course are still visible for all to see. And if there was someone who cared they would be able to continue reposting that apology or anything they wanted .All things easily predictable and known by Alan.

  8. keiths:
    walto,

    What do you think of Alan’s excuse for closing comments in Mod Issues 4, walto?

    It’s been more than a week, and you’re still afraid to answer my simple question:

    we have settled that I am fearful, lying, etc., etc. But, not being completely nuts, I don’t think of it at all. That’s what I think of it.

  9. keiths: But if your excuse is valid, then you should have no fear. Defend it, O Brave One. Explain to us why it made sense to close comments right in the middle of an ongoing discussion, as you did.

    Ah! This is addressed to me, I presume, Hypocrite.

    What’s to defend, Hypocrite? I gave my reasons for my actions. I didn’t lie, Hypocrite. Your claim. You produce evidence that I lied or withdraw the allegation, Hypocrite.

    Thanks in advance.

  10. This is amusing.

    Poor walto doesn’t even want to say whether he buys Alan’s excuse for closing comments. If he says “yes”, he’ll look like an idiot. If he says “no”, he’ll be confirming that I’m right, which horrifies him. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. So he squirms to avoid the question, throwing in some mockery in hopes of distracting readers from the squirming.

    Alan, meanwhile, is doing his own squirming. He knows he can’t defend his phony excuse, so when challenged to do so, he responds with evasions like this:

    I stated my reason.

    And:

    My reason was as stated. I know this.

    And:

    I gave my reasons for my actions.

    …as if any of those addressed the actual issue, which is the validity of his excuse. He also mindlessly repeats the word “hypocrite”, as if the incantation could somehow transform me into one.

    Since even Alan is smart enough not to defend his excuse, that leaves newton as the only one stupid enough to try. But he already bungled the job, making two arguments that are just as ridiculous as Alan’s original excuse:

    a) He argued that since Moderation Issues threads had been closed before, it was therefore legitimate for Alan to close this particular one. As if reasons didn’t matter, and as if there hadn’t been actual, valid reasons (the page bug and the ignore feature) for closing the earlier threads.

    b) He argued that closing the thread had no effect, since anyone could still read either thread by clicking on it. Which means that according to newton, Alan closed comments in order to achieve… nothing. And that it was somehow important to achieve nothing right then, by closing comments in the middle of a vigorous, ongoing discussion. It had nothing to do with the fact that Alan had just disgraced himself and been forced to issue a humiliating apology. No, the timing was just a coincidence. Right, newton?

  11. Yet another moderation screwup.

    Cross-posted from the “Joe G Memorial Math Problem” thread:

    Neil, to phoodoo:

    No, you are not blocked. I guess you had not yet discovered that.

    Christ, Neil. Why didn’t you announce it, so that phoodoo would know?

    You and Alan were the ones who screwed up, so it was your responsibility to fix the problem and announce that you had done so:

    a) You singled out phoodoo for censorship, even though the rules don’t permit you to do that.

    b) You offered to unblock him only if he would make a promise that isn’t required of anyone else.

    c) He wisely declined to make that promise.

    d) You finally backed down and fixed your screwup.

    e) Yet even when you finally got around to fixing it, you didn’t announce it. Were you ashamed to admit it?

    As a result of your actions, phoodoo spent more than seven weeks under censorship.

    What the hell is wrong with you two?

  12. And Alan compounds the screwup by guanoing my comment out of the Joe G Math thread.

    Note that Neil’s comment remains in place despite the fact that it discusses moderation.

    But of course Alan and Neil don’t think the rules apply to them.

    They are, to use one of Alan’s favorite words, hypocrites.

  13. Heh. Now Alan guanoes Neil’s comment, after giving it an automatic pass before.

    Why must readers point out your hypocrisy before you recognize it, Alan?

  14. keiths,
    My reason for establishing a new moderation issues thread was as stated. I know Lizzie does not relish having to deal with moderation complaints and is baffled that members don’t either accept her aims or move on. I was hoping at hat time (and still hope that Lizzie will return soon) and the possibility of her returning would be improved if there were no outstanding issues to deal with.

    You can argue that this was misguided, counterproductive, etc. but these stated reasons were my reasons. I was not lying, Hypocrite.

  15. You didn’t answer the question:

    Why must readers point out your hypocrisy before you recognize it, Alan?

    Neil’s comment obviously discussed moderation. But you didn’t want to guano his comment — you wanted to guano mine, and you were looking for an excuse to do so, regardless of the consequences. You only rectified the unequal treatment after your hypocrisy was pointed out.

    And why guano any of those comments? Doing so didn’t make TSZ a better place, and you are yet again ignoring Lizzie’s admonitions about keeping moderation on the light side.

    It’s just one fuckup after another with you.

  16. Alan,

    I was hoping at hat time (and still hope that Lizzie will return soon) and the possibility of her returning would be improved if there were no outstanding issues to deal with.

    As if closing the Mod Issues thread would make the outstanding issues go away!

    What a phony excuse.

  17. keiths: As if closing the Mod Issues thread would make the outstanding issues go away!

    Exactly. As I remarked: “Fat Chance!”

  18. Which goes to show how phony your excuse is.

    You knew that closing the thread wouldn’t magically solve any outstanding issues. You were just hoping that people would be less likely to read about your disgrace in the ALurker affair, and less likely to see the humiliating apology you were subsequently forced to offer for your immaturity, dishonesty, and moderation abuses.

  19. Announcement
    I’ve been hoping Lizzie would have had time by now to announce that we have two new admins. Vincent Torley (vjtorley) and DNA_Jock have both offered their services (though Vincent points out his current commitments will limit his time available) and Lizzie is pleased to accept their offers.

    In consequence, I am able to step back from admin duties and let others take a turn.

    Lizzie still says she plans to return to participate and should have been making this announcement but I need to reduce my time spent here as it cuts into time I need to be doing other stuff.

    Many thanks to Vincent and DNA_Jock for taking up the challenge. Best of luck!

  20. Alan:

    Vincent Torley (vjtorley) and DNA_Jock have both offered their services (though Vincent points out his current commitments will limit his time available) and Lizzie is pleased to accept their offers.

    Here’s hoping that they do all the things that you and Neil have failed to do, and:

    a) moderate honestly;
    b) moderate very lightly, as Lizzie has asked;
    c) moderate within the rules, and refrain from inventing their own;
    d) refrain from censorship;
    e) consider the consequences of their decisions before acting;
    f) act (as moderators) in the service of TSZ’s interests, not their own;
    g) refrain from indulging personal grudges in their capacity as moderators;
    h) respond constructively to questions about their moderation decisions;
    i) acknowledge any moderation mistakes they make and correct them; and
    j) refrain from abusing their moderation privileges.

    May it be thus. Amen.

  21. Why should I be unblocked from moderation? If you had a reason for blocking me before, what has changed now? Certainly nothing on my part.

    If you are going to make up rules and then make up other rules to justify the other rules you made up, what is to keep you from just doing more of the same later?

    Nothing. So why should anyone listen to you or accept you?

    You had no reason to block me, and no rules to justify it then, and you don’t now.

  22. Hi keiths,

    Your ten-point request sounds reasonable enough to me. I hope I can honor it to everyone’s satisfaction. Cheers.

  23. Alan Fox: In consequence, I am able to step back from admin duties and let others take a turn.

    Lizzie still says she plans to return to participate and should have been making this announcement but I need to reduce my time spent here as it cuts into time I need to be doing other stuff.

    Thanks for keeping the site functional in EL’s absence, enjoy your reprieve.

  24. vjtorley:

    Hi keiths,

    Your ten-point request sounds reasonable enough to me. I hope I can honor it to everyone’s satisfaction. Cheers.

    Thanks, Vincent.

  25. keiths: a) moderate honestly;
    b) moderate very lightly, as Lizzie has asked;
    c) moderate within the rules, and refrain from inventing their own;
    d) refrain from censorship;
    e) consider the consequences of their decisions before acting;
    f) act (as moderators) in the service of TSZ’s interests, not their own;
    g) refrain from indulging personal grudges in their capacity as moderators;
    h) respond constructively to questions about their moderation decisions;
    i) acknowledge any moderation mistakes they make and correct them; and
    j) refrain from abusing their moderation privileges.

    That’s a good list. It’s just too bad, imho, that the rules aren’t very good.

  26. walto,

    It’s just too bad, imho, that the rules aren’t very good.

    I agree with that assessment, though you and I obviously don’t agree on what to do about it.

    The fact that the rules tend to punish honesty, and reward dishonesty, is a huge flaw.

  27. keiths:
    walto,

    I agree with that assessment, though you and I obviously don’t agree on what to do about it.

    The fact that the rules tend to punish honesty, and reward dishonesty, is a huge flaw.

    Can’t let honesty assessments be first-person only.

  28. walto,

    Can’t let honesty assessments be first-person only.

    They aren’t. And in any case, the rules don’t require an assessment of honesty.

    That the rules favor dishonesty is obvious:

    1. Commenter A can make an obviously dishonest claim that will not be guanoed.

    2. If commenter B honestly points out the dishonesty, the comment can be guanoed.

  29. walto: That’s a good list. It’s just too bad, imho, that the rules aren’t very good.

    What are the rules for non-moderators?

  30. keiths,

    keiths: And in any case, the rules don’t require an assessment of honesty.

    That the rules favor dishonesty is obvious:

    1. Commenter A can make an obviously dishonest claim that will not be guanoed.

    2. If commenter B honestly points out the dishonesty, the comment can be guanoed.

    This is correct. And since it is documented (heh) it is a feature, not a bug.
    Under TSZ rules, commenter B is restricted (in regular threads) to explaining how commenter A is, in fact, incorrect. Commenter B is prohibited from endless speculation as to the motivations behind commenter A’s behavior.
    It is a feature that does ‘reward dishonesty’ and furthermore leaves the site vulnerable to incessant trolling; on the other hand, it does not appear to cause any problem for the majority of commenters here…

  31. DNA_Jock: keiths: And in any case, the rules don’t require an assessment of honesty.

    That the rules favor dishonesty is obvious:

    1. Commenter A can make an obviously dishonest claim that will not be guanoed.

    2. If commenter B honestly points out the dishonesty, the comment can be guanoed.

    This is correct. And since it is documented (heh) it is a feature, not a bug.
    Under TSZ rules, commenter B is restricted (in regular threads) to explaining how commenter A is, in fact, incorrect. Commenter B is prohibited from endless speculation as to the motivations behind commenter A’s behavior.
    It is a feature that does ‘reward dishonesty’ and furthermore leaves the site vulnerable to incessant trolling; on the other hand, it does not appear to cause any problem for the majority of commenters here…

    FWIW, I don’t think any of that is correct. You can tell by switching “honest” and “dishonest” and get the same result.

  32. walto: FWIW, I don’t think any of that is correct. You can tell by switching “honest” and “dishonest” and get the same result.

    You are going to have to explain: I am having trouble parsing (or imagining) “2. If commenter B dishonestly points out the honesty, the comment can be guanoed.”

  33. Don’t much like this kind of discussion, but I understand the intention of “The Rule” it is to avoid characterizing posters, that is, people.

    I’m sure Lizzie never intended to say we couldn’t characterize arguments as dishonest.

  34. DNA_Jock: You are going to have to explain: I am having trouble parsing (or imagining) “2. If commenter B dishonestly points out the honesty, the comment can be guanoed.”

    Don’t need to do that, I don’t think. (You’re very meticulous) I think you can just note that it doesn’t actually matter whether A or B is lying/incorrect.

  35. walto,

    Absolutely. Very important point. In fact, AIUI, your original point. And I concur.
    NOT having to make and enforce judgements about honesty/dishonesty is an delightful benefit of the ruleset, but I look on it as a side benefit. I view the primary benefit as not having to wade through the interminable ascribing of nefarious motives.
    Being a moderator may change my views on the relative importances here, of course…

  36. petrushka: I’m sure Lizzie never intended to say we couldn’t characterize arguments as dishonest.

    Arguments are sound or unsound and valid or invalid. They are neither honest nor dishonest.

  37. Yes, my identity is a secret.
    Outside of the admins, there is one other poster who knows it, and walto can figure it out.
    I can provide biographical details as requested, but I have non-TSZ-related reasons for not connecting my handle to my IRL identity.

  38. Mung: Arguments are sound or unsound and valid or invalid. They are neither honest nor dishonest.

    True enough, but some times arguments rely on data, and if some data is left out intentionally, which if included would alter the conclusion of the argument, then the argument is dishonest.

    Now, it is possible to not include such data out of ignorance, as in simply not knowing the data exists. Or having forgot it exists. Or having somehow managed to make an unintended error in reasoning, that the left out data is irrelevant to the argument.

    As frustrating as it can be to see arguments like that laid out time and again, the fact is we can’t ever really know what takes place inside another person’s head. Did they make an error in reasoning, perhaps contingent on some entirely human and common cognitive bias?

    It can be challenging to keep giving the charitable interpretation to misleading arguments that they are unintentionally misleading due to such errors such as mere ignorance, confabulation, and/or other common cognitive biases.

    I some times think the moderation issues thread serves an alternative purpose, such as for people who find it increasingly challenging to extend charitable interpretations to other people’s mistakes, it is an outlet for their frustrations. 😀

    For those same reasons I wouldn’t want other people censored even though I feel they are not being honest actors, because I know that I actually don’t really know.

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