Moderation Issues (2)

cropped-adelie-penguin-antarctica_89655_990x7421.jpgAs the replacement Moderation page has developed the old bug so that permalinks no longer navigate to the appropriate comment, so here is yet another page for continuing discussion on moderating issues. The Rules can be found there so anyone with an issue should check that they are familiar with them.

2,308 thoughts on “Moderation Issues (2)

  1. It occurs to me that this is why oaths of office were invented.

    Otherwise it’s too easy to imagine someone pulling an Alan and saying something like “Well, I never actually agreed to uphold the Constitution, so don’t complain if I don’t. I gave no specific undertakings.”

  2. keiths: We’re not talking about some special moderation agreement between Alan and me.

    Of course you are. Agreements are interpersonal. That’s part of the meaning of “agree”.

    You are not very good at this language thingy.

  3. keiths:

    We’re not talking about some special moderation agreement between Alan and me. This is about Alan publicly committing to doing his job as moderator by honoring Lizzie’s rules instead of inventing his own:

    Neil:

    Of course you are. Agreements are interpersonal. That’s part of the meaning of “agree”.

    All moderators are expected to honor Lizzie’s rules and refrain from inventing their own. This is not some special agreement I’m trying to establish between me and Alan — it’s part of what it means to be a moderator. Haven’t you noticed?

    You are not very good at this language thingy.

    You are not very good at this reasoning thingy.

  4. Neil Rickert: Rather, it would be bizarre for a moderator to make an agreement with keiths (or anybody else other than Lizzie) about moderation.

    Yup. I’d find it bizarre should Lizzie make such a demand now having had the evidence of my actions as admin over a couple of years or so. Keiths will have to resign himself to the fact that I’m carrying on as normal using Lizzie’s stated aims as the prime directive.

  5. keiths: All moderators are expected to honor Lizzie’s rules and refrain from inventing their own.

    There are no moderators here, this is part of what admins do. Lizzie seconded several folks to help her run the site as fellow admins.

    That aside, it sounds like you are trying to invent a new rule, something I thought you abhorred. I don’t recall Lizzie saying anything except that she wished admins to intervene proactively when necessary, especially during her absences.

  6. Alan,

    I’d find it bizarre should Lizzie make such a demand now…

    She shouldn’t need to. Your acceptance of the moderator job was a commitment to actually doing it. Doing the job means being subject to the rules. That’s why we have the Moderation Issues thread.

    To argue that you aren’t actually bound by the rules because you “gave no specific undertakings” to Lizzie is the worst kind of weaseling.

  7. Alan,

    Well, I’m carrying on as normal and you can put up with it or you can continue to whine about it.

    Hey, why not create a new thread and move my complaints there? I know…you can call it the Wine Cellar! Get it? The W(h)ine Cellar.

    And you can invent a new rule that allows moderators to move comments there, and then Lizzie can come along, rescind your rule, and clean up the mess you’ve left.

    Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?

  8. As for “putting up with it”, hopefully that won’t be necessary much longer.

    If we can find a way to implement this proposal, then the only people affected by your poor moderation decisions will be those who actually sign up for it.

  9. keiths: Mung’s logic needs a tuneup.

    Only if the proper way to judge admin actions here at TSZ is to compare them not with the written rules here (Alan), but with what goes on over at UD. You seem to be confused about which one you want to argue, or you want to have your cake and eat it too.

    My position is that what goes on at UD ought to be unrelated to what goes on here. But you can’t have that, because you need to be able to appeal to how I act at UD in comparison to how I act here. I admit I act differently there. I’ve explained why.

    If TSZ is supposed to be like UD then perhaps you have a point. If it’s not, then there’s no logical reason I should act the same here as I do there when it comes to censorship.

    Think, keiths.

    Further, you seem to be far less concerned with whether I think closing of threads at UD is censorship than with whether I bitch about it over at UD. So it’s not really about logic at all.

  10. keiths: It occurs to me that this is why oaths of office were invented.

    Don’t blame Alan, blame Elizabeth. She probably never thought it necessary to bind her admins. She was either wrong or she chooses to condone what they do in spite of it.

    It’s odd, really, how Elizabeth can never manage to state that some belief or action is wrong, yet close comments on a thread that harms no one and doesn’t advocate for anything other than to “be like Lizzie.”

    She is so conflicted.

  11. keiths: All moderators are expected to honor Lizzie’s rules and refrain from inventing their own.

    You’re talking to Neil.

    Alan wasn’t the only one to move comments out of “Moderation Issues.”

  12. Alan Fox: There are no moderators here, this [moderation] is part of what admins do.

    What a freaking dipshit. Do you have any clue how idiotic this is? I bet you don’t. I bet you really are this effing ignorant. You’re ill and on drugs, right?

    It is such a commentary on this site that from one moment to the next I am unable to defend Lizzie’s chosen admins.

    From the site RULEZ:

    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.

    From the site RULEZ!

    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.

    Neil Rickert:

    You can ask moderators to move posts, if you think that appropriate.

    I bet if I tried I could come up with even more. You’re such an ass Alan. And a liar.

  13. Elizabeth, in stating her “rules” for this site, doesn’t even mention admins. The reason is obvious. Moderation activities are performed by moderators.

  14. Flint asks:

    Even so, why close any thread? So long as people are still interacting, it’s worth having. If everyone loses interest, so what? Originally, when TSZ opened, I thought people would only be banned for posting porn or viruses (or outright spam), and threads would live forever. I don’t see why this won’t work.

    The rules have developed over time with revisions to take account of new situations. Lizzie is attempting to encourage dialogue across widely differing viewpoints and I hope participants here agree with her stated aims.

    Lizzie is intending to draft something up to make things clearer (it would be especially useful for those who don’t follow this blog regularly) and I hope we don’t need to wait too long for that. A problem that contributes to misunderstanding is that much discussion about rules and moderation has taken place spread over different threads and it makes much more sense to have a dedicated thread so that other threads aren’t cluttered with off-topic comments and that decisions and clarifications are in one place for easy reference. Hence the development of this thread as the go-to place for raising points about moderation.

    Regarding Mung and Lizzie closing comments on the last of several threads he started on moderation issues (when Lizzie had already indicated her wishes that moderation discussions should be concentrated in the appropriate thread). Frankly, it’s hard for me to see this as a censorship issue as nobody is being prevented from commenting. A dedicated thread is available. And let me point out again, nobody is currently banned from this site. Two members have been previously banned but those restrictions are no longer in place.

    I happen to think it wasn’t necessary to close comments on that thread but Lizzie operates a benign dictatorship here and it is for her alone to decide those issues.

  15. Let me get this straight Alan, you moved this post of mine:

    Adapa,

    Then provide some evidence. You just yap and yap, to fill your quote of junk mining.

    But you didn’t move this from Adapa, which mine was in reply to?? :

    phoodoo:
    First off Joe, Jerry Coyne doesn’t even allow opposing viewpoints to post on his blog.

    Sure he does. He just doesn’t allow obscenity-spewing assholes to post off topic rants. That’s why you got the gate, not your viewpoint.

    phoodoo:
    First off Joe, Jerry Coyne doesn’t even allow opposing viewpoints to post on his blog.

    Sure he does. He just doesn’t allow obscenity-spewing assholes to post off topic rants. That’s why you got the gate, not your viewpoint.

    Are you fucking joking? Tell me you are just trying to be absurd Alan. You are trying to see how ridiculous you can be without being called on it?

  16. Mung,

    It’s a question of dates. Lizzie wrote opening posts when setting up this blog. She conscripted admin help later when the success of the blog made demands on her time she couldn’t spare. There’s a comment from her that sums up her view somewhere. (Another reason perhaps for a new summary of the rules).

  17. phoodoo: First off Joe, Jerry Coyne doesn’t even allow opposing viewpoints to post on his blog.

    Sure he does. He just doesn’t allow obscenity-spewing assholes to post off topic rants. That’s why you got the gate, not your viewpoint.

    I did consider it, phoodoo, on the grounds that it discusses moderation issues but as it is another site it is merely off-topic. I apologise for overlooking that the comment claims you are an obscenity-spewing asshole. I’ll move it now.

  18. It’s just like Alan to refuse to admit even an inconsequential mistake.

    I wrote:

    All moderators are expected to honor Lizzie’s rules and refrain from inventing their own.

    Alan puffed out his chest and declared:

    There are no moderators here, this is part of what admins do.

    Mung showed that Alan was wrong, and Alan tried to weasel out of it:

    It’s a question of dates. Lizzie wrote opening posts when setting up this blog. She conscripted admin help later when the success of the blog made demands on her time she couldn’t spare.

    It’s not a question of dates, Alan. Mung is right and you are wrong.

    You made a mistake. Yes, you look foolish, especially given your pompous “I’m an admin, so don’t call me a moderator” attitude. But it’s just not that important. Why not admit your mistake and move on? What is the point of denying even such an obvious and unimportant error?

  19. I continue to believe that the current rule-set is an interesting and worthwhile experiment.
    What the rule-set cannot, by its very nature, protect against is incessant trolling. We just have to live with that.

    Currently, a lot of trolling/complaining revolves around the acts of administrators, specifically which comments get guano’ed and the closing of threads to further comments.
    It’s important to remember what people are NOT complaining about: which comments were edited, defaced or deleted, and which commenters were banned.
    There’s a old adage amongst Rugby refs: if, after the game, both teams are complaining about not-straight in the line-out or scrum (i.e. minor infractions), then you did a pretty good job.
    I want to extend this sporting analogy a bit: Rugby refs know that spectators are both clueless and unimportant. The people who matter are the PLAYERS, and 95% of the players are completely comfortable with the idea that some of your calls may not conform to the letter of the Law; it’s the spirit of the Law that must be honored.
    Now my analogy is weak in the sense that TSZ doesn’t have a bright-line divide between players and spectators. As I see it, the difference is between people who are invested in the substantive discussion — those who have skin in the game — on the one hand, and on the other hand the cheerleaders on the side-lines shaking their partisan pom-poms, who have little better to do than scream about apparent technical infractions.

    Matt. 7:20

  20. DNA_Jock,

    We shouldn’t expect perfection from our “referees”, but we can and should ask them to do the jobs they signed up for.

    Suppose you have a rugby ref who continually changes the rules, despite the chaos this causes. When the players complain, he responds that when he accepted the job, he never agreed to adhere to the rules — he “gave no specific undertakings” to that effect. They ask him if he will follow the rules going forward, and he refuses to answer.

    In that situation, would it be too much for the players to ask the ref to get his shit together and stop messing up the game for everyone else?

  21. DNA_Jock: I continue to believe that the current rule-set is an interesting and worthwhile experiment.

    That’s good to hear! The rugby analogy is an appropriate one and Lizzie has often referred to moving a rule-breaking comment as the blow of the referee’s whistle. She wants to enable dialogue and I strongly support that. Neither an echo chamber nor a free-for-all encourages open dialogue.

  22. keiths:

    We shouldn’t expect perfection from our “referees”, but we can and should ask them to do the jobs they signed up for.

    We can ask that. Not so sure about “should”. What we cannot do is unilaterally declare what that “job” consists of.

    Suppose you have a rugby ref who continually changes the rules, despite the chaos this causes.

    Well, the Laws of the Game do require the ref to apply the rules “without variation or omission”.
    However, any referee who applied the rules strictly “without variation or omission” would be an extremely mediocre ref. I would avoid assigning him to any top level games, or any youth games.

    They ask him if he will follow the rules going forward, and he refuses to answer.

    Players will sometimes (coaches more often) ask the ref before the game. “Hey Ref, if we do X, how would you call that?” We teach refs to refuse to answer this loaded question, deflecting it with “I’d really have to see it happen” or “That would depend on the circumstances”.

    In that situation, would it be too much for the players to ask the ref to get his shit together and stop messing up the game for everyone else?

    We teach the ref to communicate to the players that enforcement will, of necessity, be stochastic, and will always depend on the context, as it should. Almost all players get the importance of context and the spirit of the Laws; almost all spectators do not.
    In case you were unaware, Matt 7:20 is “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

  23. keiths:

    We shouldn’t expect perfection from our “referees”, but we can and should ask them to do the jobs they signed up for.

    DNA_Jock:

    We can ask that. Not so sure about “should”. What we cannot do is unilaterally declare what that “job” consists of.

    Asking a referee to follow the rules is hardly a “unilateral declaration” of what the job consists of.

    keiths:

    Suppose you have a rugby ref who continually changes the rules, despite the chaos this causes.

    DNA_Jock:

    Well, the Laws of the Game do require the ref to apply the rules “without variation or omission”.
    However, any referee who applied the rules strictly “without variation or omission” would be an extremely mediocre ref.

    It’s certainly possible for situations to arise in which the rules need to be violated. If a military helicopter lands on the field during the game, disgorging a squad of soldiers toting AK-47’s, it is inappropriate for the ref to insist that the game continue, even if the rules don’t allow him to stop it.

    If one commenter were physically threatening another here at TSZ, and there appeared to be a real danger that the threats were about to be acted on, it would be entirely appropriate for the moderators to suspend the rules if necessary in order to protect a commenter from physical harm.

    The cases we are concerned with are nothing like the above. When Neil created his “timeout” rule, and when Alan created the Wine Cellar, neither was responding to an emergency or urgent situation in which the existing rules were inadequate. What actually happened is that each of them got annoyed, lost his cool, and indulged himself by reacting impulsively and abusing his moderator privileges.

    Let’s say a ref — call him ‘Alan’ — gets annoyed and decides that he is going to create an entirely new rugby rule that’s not in the books. The players have every right to complain. They came to play rugby, not Alanball. Alan agreed to be a rugby ref, not an Alanball ref.

    Now suppose that Alan responds to their complaint by saying, “Well, I never said I was going to follow the rugby rules. I gave no specific undertakings when I accepted the job.” Can you imagine the players’ reactions? This being a rugby match, something more than harsh words might follow.

    Now imagine that the players ask Alan if he will follow the rules going forward, and he refuses to answer, instead saying “I’ll go on doing exactly what I’ve been doing.” It’s laughable.

    Players will sometimes (coaches more often) ask the ref before the game. “Hey Ref, if we do X, how would you call that?” We teach refs to refuse to answer this loaded question, deflecting it with “I’d really have to see it happen” or “That would depend on the circumstances”.

    That isn’t analogous. Asking if a ref is willing to follow the rules is different from asking about a particular scenario. In any case, there’s nothing wrong with a player or coach asking the latter sort of question, nor with a ref who gives an answer when it is possible to do so. Let’s say that the two teams playing are from different rugby unions that follow slightly different rules. It would be entirely appropriate for a coach to ask the ref “will you be enforcing our version of rule X or theirs during the match?”, and no reason for the ref to refuse to answer.

    keiths:

    Suppose you have a rugby ref who continually changes the rules, despite the chaos this causes. When the players complain, he responds that when he accepted the job, he never agreed to adhere to the rules — he “gave no specific undertakings” to that effect. They ask him if he will follow the rules going forward, and he refuses to answer.

    In that situation, would it be too much for the players to ask the ref to get his shit together and stop messing up the game for everyone else?

    DNA_Jock:

    We teach the ref to communicate to the players that enforcement will, of necessity, be stochastic…

    We aren’t talking about stochastic enforcement. We’re talking about someone making up rules out of whole cloth when it isn’t necessary, then trying to weasel out of responsibility by claiming that he never agreed to the rules in the first place.

    We’re also talking about someone brazenly violating the rules by preventing criticism of his actions from being lodged in the Moderation Issues thread.

    Given abuses of that magnitude, it would be ridiculous not to complain.

  24. keiths,

    Well, Neil think the rules should be ignored. He thinks you should be able call someone a garbage spewing asshole, if that furthers the discussion.

    So I think Neil must be a garbage spewing asshole along with Patrick.

  25. Thank you, keiths, for your rather unusual recommendations on what Rugby refs should do. I’ll take them under advisement.
    You still don’t get it.

    It’s certainly possible for situations to arise in which the rules need to be violated. If a military helicopter lands on the field during the game, disgorging a squad of soldiers toting AK-47’s, it is inappropriate for the ref to insist that the game continue, even if the rules don’t allow him to stop it.

    Don’t worry, the Laws have that situation covered.

    Let’s say a ref — call him ‘Alan’ — gets annoyed and decides that he is going to create an entirely new rugby rule that’s not in the books. The players have every right to complain. They came to play rugby, not Alanball. Alan agreed to be a rugby ref, not an Alanball ref.

    No. I keep trying to explain this, and you don’t seem to be listening. Alan might make a call that fails to apply the Laws “without variation or omission”, but is consistent with the spirit of the Laws. It is even conceivable that, in order to stay within the spirit of the Laws, the ref must go outside the letter of the Law.
    Perhaps a real life, AK47-free, example will help:

    In soccer, the winner of the toss gets to choose ends, and the other team must kick off.
    In American football, the winner of the toss can either choose ends, or choose whether to kick off or not. The loser gets to make the other choice. (There’s some extreme weirdness around “deferring” and what happens at the start of the 3rd quarter, but that’s not relevant here.)
    In Rugby, the winner of the toss can either choose ends or elect to kick off. If he chooses ends, the other team must kick off.
    At least half a dozen times, typically with college players confused by the gridiron rules, the winner of the toss has said to me “We’ll receive”. The Laws DO NOT ALLOW THIS. Whenever this happens, I remain silent, and turn to face the other captain. On one occasion, the losing captain responded – “Is he allowed to do that?” In this case I patiently explained that, no, he is not. He can select an end, in which case he will also receive the kick-off. On another occasion, the losing captain said “Is he allo….[pause, light dawns]….we’ll take this end.” And I’ve had losing captains who just make eye contact, smile and choose the end they want.

    In this situation, I AM making up Laws out of whole cloth. But I am also serving the spirit of the Laws, which want the winner of the toss to be afforded the minimum benefit necessary to get the game underway. I am also winning an instant ally in the toss-losing captain; this will be useful later in the game…

    DNA_Jock:

    We teach the ref to communicate to the players that enforcement will, of necessity, be stochastic…

    We aren’t talking about stochastic enforcement. We’re talking about someone making up rules out of whole cloth when it isn’t necessary, then trying to weasel out of responsibility by claiming that he never agreed to the rules in the first place.

    Firstly, we ARE talking about stochastic enforcement: you are seeking an undertaking that enforcement will, in the future, be less stochastic. Secondly, you just quote-mined me. What I wrote was:

    We teach the ref to communicate to the players that enforcement will, of necessity, be stochastic, and will always depend on the context, as it should. Almost all players get the importance of context and the spirit of the Laws; almost all spectators do not.

    Omitting the context about context makes it appear….aaaarggh! infinite recursion loop loop loop loop
    Matt 7:20

  26. keiths:

    It’s certainly possible for situations to arise in which the rules need to be violated. If a military helicopter lands on the field during the game, disgorging a squad of soldiers toting AK-47’s, it is inappropriate for the ref to insist that the game continue, even if the rules don’t allow him to stop it.

    DNA_Jock:

    Don’t worry, the Laws have that situation covered.

    Even if they didn’t, it would be inappropriate for the ref to demand a continuation of the game. Don’t you agree? A slavish obedience to the rules would be stupid in that case.

    keiths:

    Let’s say a ref — call him ‘Alan’ — gets annoyed and decides that he is going to create an entirely new rugby rule that’s not in the books. The players have every right to complain. They came to play rugby, not Alanball. Alan agreed to be a rugby ref, not an Alanball ref.

    DNA_Jock:

    No. I keep trying to explain this, and you don’t seem to be listening. Alan might make a call that fails to apply the Laws “without variation or omission”, but is consistent with the spirit of the Laws. It is even conceivable that, in order to stay within the spirit of the Laws, the ref must go outside the letter of the Law.

    Sure, but that isn’t what happened here. Let’s look at specifics.

    On impulse, Neil created a “timeout” rule that prevented walto and me from commenting. That’s censorship, and it was against both the letter and the spirit of the rules. Patrick intervened, and Lizzie wisely declined to retain the bogus rule.

    Alan created the Wine Cellar in a fit of pique and started moving comments there over the objections of the commenters. It was outside of the rules and against Lizzie’s desire that moderation be light at TSZ. Lizzie ditched Alan’s rule, cleaned up his mess, and adopted Patrick’s much more sensible suggestion of a voluntary thread — the current Noyau.

    In the midst of the Wine Cellar fiasco, Alan actively prevented me from posting my complaints here in the Moderation Issues thread, when that is exactly what Lizzie intended it for. It’s one of the reasons I laugh when Alan says “Oh, I’m just promoting Lizzie’s aims for the site.”

    Three bad ideas, implemented impulsively and emotionally, that were out of step with both the letter and the spirit of the rules and of Lizzie’s aims for TSZ. She wisely rejected them.

    We don’t need this kind of crap. If Alan and Neil want new rules, they should follow Patrick’s example: publicly suggest the new rule, allowing for discussion pro and con, with the final decision being made by the site owner.

  27. keiths:

    We aren’t talking about stochastic enforcement. We’re talking about someone making up rules out of whole cloth when it isn’t necessary, then trying to weasel out of responsibility by claiming that he never agreed to the rules in the first place.

    DNA_Jock:

    Firstly, we ARE talking about stochastic enforcement: you are seeking an undertaking that enforcement will, in the future, be less stochastic.

    No. Deterministic enforcement of Alan’s rules would be even more of a disaster. What I’m seeking is for Alan to honor Lizzie’s rules instead of creating his own.

    The existing rules can, in fact, be enforced stochastically. Moderators are allowed, but not obligated, to move rule-violating comments to Guano.

    Secondly, you just quote-mined me.

    Come on, DNA_Jock. You’re usually better than this.

    It isn’t a quote mine. You made two points in your sentence: a) that enforcement will be stochastic, and b) that it will depend on the context. I was responding to the first point, so I quoted that part of your sentence:

    We teach the ref to communicate to the players that enforcement will, of necessity, be stochastic…

    Restoring the context does not change the meaning of the part I quoted:

    We teach the ref to communicate to the players that enforcement will, of necessity, be stochastic, and will always depend on the context, as it should.

    Therefore, no quote mine.

    You obviously have strong feelings about the moderation issue (perhaps deriving from your experiences as a rugby ref), but try to stay rational, DNA_Jock.

    Given the magnitude of the moderation abuses mentioned in my previous comment, it would have been ridiculous of me not to complain. As a rugby ref, you might be inclined toward a world in which referees and moderators are never questioned, but that would be a disaster.

    It is entirely appropriate, and desirable, to call out abuses of moderation privileges.

  28. Ack! You’re still quote-mining me!

    We teach the ref to communicate to the players that enforcement will, of necessity, be stochastic, and will always depend on the context, as it should. Almost all players get the importance of context and the spirit of the Laws; almost all spectators do not.

    I had one point: that we teach refs to communicate two things. The second thing is the relevant one here, as my second sentence makes clear. Which you omitted, yet again. Just in case the Matt 7:20 message hasn’t penetrated yet, I am likening you (and Mung and phoodoo) to spectators…

    As a rugby ref, you might be inclined toward a world in which referees and moderators are never questioned, but that would be a disaster.

    Well, as it happens, I’m not so inclined. Refs get evaluated by Referee Evaluators, like me (analogously, moderators get evaluated by Lizzie). Evaluations by coaches (like some high school leagues do), or by pom-pom wielding partisan spectators, turns out to be useless. A “disaster”, you might say….
    We also encourage refs to hang out with the teams at the post-game piss-up, in order to discuss how the game was called (subject to certain caveats re personal safety). Usually this leads to dispute resolution, but sometimes it boils down to the ref having to say “Well, that’s not how I saw it.” And then, they both being grown-ups, they move on: “Ok, then. Another beer?” “Why thank you!”
    Regarding your characterization of Alan and Neil’s behavior: “Well, that’s not how I saw it.”
    Time for an adult beverage, perhaps?

  29. Ack! You’re still quote-mining me!

    Good grief, DNA_Jock. I know you’re intelligent enough to understand what quotemining is, so there’s no excuse for these accusations.

    You made two points in that sentence, not one. I quoted the first point:

    We teach the ref to communicate to the players that enforcement will, of necessity, be stochastic…

    The meaning of the first point does not change when the second point is included:

    We teach the ref to communicate to the players that enforcement will, of necessity, be stochastic, and will always depend on the context, as it should.

    The intended meaning of the first point, in context, is that enforcement is, of necessity, stochastic. I responded to your intended meaning — you chose those particular words for a reason, after all — and I agreed with it. The meaning wasn’t distorted. It wasn’t a quote mine.

    Also, I didn’t ignore your point about context — I addressed it directly, providing two examples of contexts in which it would make perfect sense to disregard the rules:

    It’s certainly possible for situations to arise in which the rules need to be violated. If a military helicopter lands on the field during the game, disgorging a squad of soldiers toting AK-47’s, it is inappropriate for the ref to insist that the game continue, even if the rules don’t allow him to stop it.

    If one commenter were physically threatening another here at TSZ, and there appeared to be a real danger that the threats were about to be acted on, it would be entirely appropriate for the moderators to suspend the rules if necessary in order to protect a commenter from physical harm.

    The cases we are concerned with are nothing like the above.

    Regarding your repeated invocation of Matthew 7:20 (“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”), how do you suppose your “fruits” — false accusations of quotemining — reflect on your character?

  30. DNA_Jock,

    Regarding your characterization of Alan and Neil’s behavior: “Well, that’s not how I saw it.”

    Well, you might want to support your characterization with an actual argument. When Alan prevented me from posting in the Moderation Issues thread, how was that “in the spirit” of the rules and of Lizzie’s aims for TSZ?

    And if Neil’s “timeout” rule, Alan’s Wine Cellar rule, and Alan’s interference with the Moderation Issues thread were all “in the spirit” of the rules and of Lizzie’s intentions, why do you suppose she nixed all of them?

    Your emotions are getting the better of you, DNA_Jock. Had you been calmer, I don’t think you would have hitched your wagon to this lame horse.

  31. keiths: It’s just like Alan to refuse to admit even an inconsequential mistake.

    It would appear that to the moderators admins it’s not so inconsequential. For a period I was satisfied to employ sarcasm in response when referring to the moderators admins. Alan, Patrick, Neil and Elizabeth are all moderators. Some more often than others. The charade needs to end.

    Alan, perhaps, functions as an admin. It’s a role. Alan, without doubt, functions as a moderator. That too, is a role. Insisting otherwise is just being dishonest and is unbecoming.

    But Lizzie’s site, Lizzie’s moderators. Blame Lizzie. She’s the one that condones it. Alan is just taking advantage because “it’s what Lizzie would do.”

  32. DNA_Jock: I continue to believe that the current rule-set is an interesting and worthwhile experiment.

    I agree. I abide by the current rule set. The moderators don’t. I’ve repeatedly stated that I will abide by the rules or leave.

    What rule indicates that a thread may be closed by a moderator along with the conditions that must obtain to justify such an action?

    What rule states that a moderator can restrict the ability of a member to post an OP under the pretense that the potential OP might violate a rule?

    Do I post porn or links to porn or threaten to post porn or links to porn?

    Do I post malware or links to malware or threaten to post malware or links to malware?

    Do I out people or threaten to out people?

    Those are the rules.

    For other infractions THE MODERATORS are allowed to move posts to Guano.

    If other rules exist, they ought to be posted HERE.

  33. Alan Fox: The rugby analogy is an appropriate one and Lizzie has often referred to moving a rule-breaking comment as the blow of the referee’s whistle. She wants to enable dialogue and I strongly support that. Neither an echo chamber nor a free-for-all encourages open dialogue.

    Yes, the rules allow that posts may be moved to Guano. Your actions exceed those boundaries. So did Lizzie’s actions in closing threads. No wonder people complain.

  34. keiths: When Neil created his “timeout” rule, and when Alan created the Wine Cellar, neither was responding to an emergency or urgent situation in which the existing rules were inadequate. What actually happened is that each of them got annoyed, lost his cool, and indulged himself by reacting impulsively and abusing his moderator privileges.

    Is Elizabeth somehow immune? I think not. But Elizabeth can’t admit she made a mistake, and the other moderators follow her lead.

  35. DNA_Jock: Thank you, keiths, for your rather unusual recommendations on what Rugby refs should do. I’ll take them under advisement. You still don’t get it.

    The “ref” has made up new rules and demands that others agree to abide by them and doesn’t allow them to play if they don’t agree. Is that what keiths doesn’t understand?

  36. keiths: We don’t need this kind of crap. If Alan and Neil want new rules, they should follow Patrick’s example: publicly suggest the new rule, allowing for discussion pro and con, with the final decision being made by the site owner.

    You must be in love with Elizabeth, because your brain only knows one direction when her actions are in sight.

    First Elizabeth was against moderator action (timeout).
    Then Elizabeth thought moderation action was a good idea (Noyau).
    Then Elizabeth herself closed down threads.

    I see the progression even if you don’t. And Elizabeth failed to submit her new ideas for discussion, so why should her chosen admins?

  37. Mung,

    You must be in love with Elizabeth, because your brain only knows one direction when her actions are in sight.

    That’s a bizarre assertion, Mung. I don’t hesitate to criticize Lizzie’s actions and policies when I disagree with them.

    I just recognize that it’s her site and that she gets to make the final decisions whether or not I — or you — agree.

  38. Mung: Elizabeth failed to submit her new ideas for discussion, so why should her chosen admins?

    Glad to see you’ve posted comments about moderation issues in the moderation issues thread.

    It’s Lzzies’s blog and a benign dictatorship so, while she takes on boardf helpful suggestions, she decides. One point she has made that I work with is that she expects admins to deal with stuff in her absence using their own judgement.

    Once again, I repeat, I do what I do always having in mind Lizzie’s stated aims intending to encourage an open venue where diverse views, including minority ones, can be expressed without being censored or shouted down. I hope and believe that goes for Neil and Patrick too.

    Regarding the issue of closing threads to comments and promoting OPs, I agree with Neil about what was done and why. That particular problem was created because someone kept publishing OPs on moderation after being asked to use the existing moderation issues thread. It makes sense to keep such discussions in one place. It’s the thread Lizzie says she always makes sure to read, it keeps other threads clear of off-topic comments and it is easier to find earlier comments and discussion for reference.

    In the hope that you’ll respect Lizzie’s request to use this thread for queries and complaints about moderation in future, I’ll restore your ability to publish opening posts.

    Congratulations on winning TSZ Most Prolific Poster 2015, BTW.

  39. Alan, to DNA_Jock:

    Thanks for trying!

    Alan,

    Perhaps you can answer the questions that stopped DNA_Jock in his tracks:

    Well, you might want to support your characterization with an actual argument. When Alan prevented me from posting in the Moderation Issues thread, how was that “in the spirit” of the rules and of Lizzie’s aims for TSZ?

    And if Neil’s “timeout” rule, Alan’s Wine Cellar rule, and Alan’s interference with the Moderation Issues thread were all “in the spirit” of the rules and of Lizzie’s intentions, why do you suppose she nixed all of them?

  40. Mung: The “ref” has made up new rules and demands that others agree to abide by them and doesn’t allow them to play if they don’t agree. Is that what keiths doesn’t understand?

    See! Even Mung gets it.
    A good ref will make up new Laws in order to preserve their spirit. See my coin toss example up-thread.
    I have other examples if you like, but they require some knowledge of Rugby.
    My original, unexpurgated point:

    Almost all players get the importance of context and the spirit of the Laws; almost all spectators do not.
    Matt 7:20

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