Squawk box

I sense a disturbance in the force.

This thread is for people to tell me what they think is going on, going wrong, and what they think we should do about it.  I’m listening.

Lizzie

911 thoughts on “Squawk box

  1. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Patrick, to newton:

    He certainly didn’t de-escalate. Looking at it from his perspective, though, why should he? He didn’t break any rules, but the admins did. Kowtowing to them would only legitimize their behavior. Is his response likely to win them over? Of course not. Is it within the rules and a reasonable reaction to admin abuses? I’d say yes.

    Exactly. As this thread has revealed, the abuses have gone on literally for years. Standing up to them is the right thing for me — or anyone — to do. For TSZ’s sake, as well as my own.

  2. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    newton:

    Keiths was not suspended for the original post, it was his reaction to the taking the post down , from what I gather.

    Alan gave us the reason, and it’s ridiculous:

    The suspension was intended to stop the unwarranted abuse Neil and DNA-Jock were getting from Keiths for their efforts in trying to solve the problem of the arguably libellous OP.

    As everyone knows — including you, newton — Lizzie intended for her moderators to be subject to challenge and questioning. The reason Alan gave for the suspension is therefore bogus. He’s childishly rebelling, out of spite, against Lizzie’s clearly-articulated wishes.

    Patrick:

    I haven’t seen a straight answer from the admins, aside from Alan admitting that keiths didn’t break any rule.

    Indeed, they can’t settle on an answer, even after sixteen days. It’s a Keystone Kops routine.

    Q: Why has keiths been suspended for an unprecedented 30 days?
    A: We can’t give you a reason, but we’ll find one one of these days.

    What a crock.

  3. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    As an indication of just how hard Alan is straining to come up with excuses for the suspension, consider this, from his first comment in this threada comment he says he still stands by:

    The events which led me to (attempting to) suspend Keiths’s account began with remarks to walto about posting an OP criticizing a philosophy paper walto had recently had published. It sounded, on my reading, as almost a threat.

    My incredulous response:

    A “threat” to publish an OP? You can’t be serious, Alan. I had already told walto that I was thinking of publishing one. And why not? The OP was going to be about his paper.

    Here’s the exchange you interpreted as a “almost a threat”:

    walto:

    I can’t!!!! I tell you I can’t admit I was really talking about instantiation! I just can’t stop lying about this! I don’t know why I should think this is important or that anybody in the universe but me would, but I DO!!!

    I DO!!!! Can’t everyone see that someone needs help?? (And I’m not talking about mung here.). 🙁

    keiths:

    walto,
    Given the extent of your meltdown today, I have to ask: Are you sure you’ll be able to handle it if I publish an OP critical of your epistemic closure paper?

    The fact that Alan could even perceive that as threatening is bizarre.

    Alan knows he can’t justify the suspension, but he isn’t willing to reverse it, as a good moderator would. So he’s scraping the bottom of the barrel for an unimaginably ridiculous and implausible justification: that I was “threatening” walto.

    You can’t make this stuff up. Alan is a walking parody of himself.

  4. Patrick: The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    I think someone here believes it…Byers? Do you have faith???

    Can someone please stop this nonsense?!
    Who allows this to continue and why?

  5. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Patrick:

    The only data we have from Elizabeth is that she recommended requiring keiths’ comments to be subject to pre-moderation. The admins exceeded their authority in banning him for 30 days.

    Not only did they exceed their authority by far with the 30-day suspension, but even Lizzie’s much milder pre-moderation recommendation was based on a false report from the moderators.

    Lizzie wrote:

    So my first response was based solely on their reports, which was that a post had been made that they considered violated TSZ rules…

    And:

    I’d say, put him in pre-moderation, and explain why. If the problem recurs, ban.

    Alan has since confirmed that the OP did not violate any rules:

    There was no specific rule. There should be.

    And there you have it. There was no rule violation and no basis for a 30-day suspension. And even Lizzie’s pre-moderation recommendation was based on a report of a rule-violating OP from the moderators — a report which Alan now acknowledges was false, since there was no rule violation.

    So once again, Alan convicts himself. Alan knows full well that the suspension is bogus. It should have been reversed long ago.

  6. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    It’s remarkable that the current moderators — all three of them — are engaged in an abuse so blatant that a former moderator, Patrick, has to step in and protest.

    He is standing up for TSZ while the moderators themselves work to undercut it and Lizzie’s aims for it.

    That’s a sad state of affairs, and its symptomatic of how badly broken the current moderation scheme is.

  7. I have just received a private message from another realm.
    They have asked me to take a day off.. Who can blame them?

  8. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    walto, to phoodoo:

    We’d all be improved by cutting the crap. And if all crap was disallowed, it would be harder for mods to cheat–and much easier to see it (and harder to deny) when they do.

    If all crap was disallowed by whom? The moderators. And so you’d have the same corruption problem as before. A site administered by untrustworthy moderators, deciding what is and isn’t “crap” based on their personal prejudices.

    Look, Lizzie herself selected the moderators. She thought they were trustworthy people (though I’m sure she regrets that, now that she’s read about the rampant abuses they’ve committed). She trusted them enough that she allowed them to go unsupervised for years while she was off doing other things.

    The results have been disastrous, and that’s why we’re having this discussion.

    For guano-style moderation, you need trustworthy moderators. Lizzie hasn’t been able to find them (except for Patrick, who is sadly no longer a moderator).

    There are three proposals on the table, beyond the “status quo” option — “opt-in”, “choose your own moderators”, and “no-guano”. Under two of those proposals — “no-guano” and “choose your own moderators” — the problem of finding trustworthy moderators vanishes. Lizzie would only need admins, not moderators, and without the power to guano, the admins would be able to do far less damage than the current moderators can.

    With “no-guano”, there’s no moderation (except in the extreme, bannable cases where Lizzie would get involved anyway). No moderation = no moderation abuses.

    With “choose your own moderators”, each reader can “hire” and “fire” his or her moderators at will. You say you want “crap” to be disallowed — well, “choose your own moderators” is ideal for you then, because you get to pick personal moderators who agree with you about exactly what constitutes “crap” and what doesn’t. It gives the control to the reader, where it belongs. We are adults here, and there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to choose our own moderators rather than having them forced upon us.

  9. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Lizzie has undertaken a couple of bold experiments already at TSZ:

    1) creating a site where comments are never deleted; and
    2) allowing OPs from everyone, not just an elite handful of contributors from the traditional “skeptic” side.

    Those have been great successes. (Some of you are now saying “A site containing lots of J-Mac OPs is not a success”, but let me point something out: J-Mac’s OPs may not be very insightful, but the discussions that follow in the comment threads often are).

    It would be exciting if she were to give “no-guano” or “choose your own moderators” a try. Those, too, are bold experiments (and reversible, of course, if they don’t work out for some reason.) And both schemes meet Lizzie’s stated aims for moderation far better than the current one, which isn’t working anyway.

  10. I strongly support keiths’ “choose your own moderators” suggestion. I don’t know if there are existing WordPress plugins that support it, and I estimate it would be at least two solid weeks of work for a proficient PHP programmer to develop.

    If that’s not an option, the “no Guano” approach is worth a serious test.

  11. The following is a copy of a private email from keiths, posted with his permission. I am sharing it because I believe it is pertinent to this thread and nothing in the Rules prohibits doing so.

    Patrick:

    I strongly support keiths’ “choose your own moderators” suggestion. I don’t know if there are existing WordPress plugins that support it, and I estimate it would be at least two solid weeks of work for a proficient PHP programmer to develop.

    I, for one, would be willing to donate significantly toward the development costs.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.