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

[Edit added 18.40 pm CET 20/08/2018 by Alan Fox]

As the comments have ballooned, Lizzie would very much like members to summarize their thoughts and suggestions into one statement and there is now a dedicated thread, “Summaries”, where they can be posted. Please just post one summary and please do not add other comments. You are welcome to comment on other people’s summaries in this thread. The idea of the “Summaries” thread is to make it easier for Lizzie to get your input. Comments judged by admins not to be summaries will move to guano.

Members who would rather keep their thoughts confidential are invited to use the private messaging system. Lizzie’s address is Elizabeth.

1,218 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.

    Lizzie has asked her moderators to err on the side of light moderation. The example above shows Alan doing the opposite.

    And of course my 30-day suspension is a spectacular example of the opposite. A 30-day suspension is unprecedented and draconian, yet the moderators — after almost three weeks — still haven’t been able to justify it.

  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.

    fifth:

    I’d add making guano private…

    Hiding comments is tantamount to deleting them. That kind of censorship is exactly what Lizzie was trying to avoid when setting up TSZ.

    …also a limit to the number of posts per day per participant would be nice

    Be careful what you wish for. I counted 37 comments from you in a single 24-hour period on the “goal of scientific research” thread, starting here. (And 16 more comments over the next 6 hours.)

    Your suggestion makes no sense. The whole point of TSZ is to encourage discussions like the one you were engaged in. Why would TSZ want to step into the middle of your discussion and say “HALT. You have exceeded your comment limit for the day. This discussion must cease, and may not resume until 8 AM tomorrow”?

  3. newton:
    Patrick:

    She also choose to let the moderators use their best judgement, she verbally supportedthe decision taken with keiths post with good job if I recall , correct ?

    She authorized them to put his comments into pre-moderation so that they would need approval before appearing. They exceeded their authority by banning him for 30 days.

    Keiths had the choice to resubmit an self edited version of his post, correct?

    He did so, and Alan and Neil refused to post it.

    This is pure grudge settling at this point.

  4. fifthmonarchyman:
    . . .
    What I do say is that I sincerely believe folks know lots of things subconsciously that they might not be consciously aware of and also at times we all hold explicit beliefs that conflict and contradict things we know implicitly.This would include our knowledge of God’s existence as well as lots of other things as well.

    Patrick has said loudly and repeatedly that he believes this assertion is against the rules for some reason and demanded that I withdraw it or leave this forum.

    fifthmonarchyman,

    I’m glad you replied. First I’ll address the specific issue you raised, then I’ll explain why I’m happy to have the opportunity to have this exchange with you.

    My argument that your statement that “everyone believes in god”, after being told by several people that they do not believe in any god or gods, breaks the rules is as follows:
    1) It is against the rules to accuse another member of dishonesty.
    2) It is against the rules to accuse another member of ignorance.
    3) It is against the rules to accuse another member of stupidity.
    4) It is against the rules to accuse another member of being mentally ill.
    5) It is against the rules to accuse another member of being demented.
    Therefore, your claim that you know better than another member what they believe is against the rules. At the very least, you are asserting that they are ignorant of their beliefs.

    As far as leaving the forum, I think an argument can be made that, if you’re unwilling to park your priors by the door and consider, even arguendo, that you might be wrong, then you are not aligned with the goals for this site. It’s up to your personal ethics as to whether you can participate with integrity.

    Now I’ll draw a line under that, because it’s more important that I thank you. You are one of the primary reasons I stopped participating here. As I mentioned when I left, I returned from a meditation workshop where I realized that arguing about intelligent design creationism online no longer served me. Part of the reason for that was my discussions with you.

    I found your arrogance in telling me what I believed infuriating. I found your refusal to consider other points of view annoying. I found what I saw as your smugness in holding your ridiculous presuppositions irrational and exasperating. I found your equivocations galling.

    I could go on, but that’s enough to show the problem. Your behavior is yours. My reactions to it are mine. I can’t (and wouldn’t want to) control you. I can take responsibility for how I respond, though. It turns out, I can actually let go of my attachments to that. It’s not even that hard, after the fact (the process can be a little rocky).

    There’s an aphorism that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I didn’t expect the teacher to be you and I didn’t learn what you may want to teach, but thank you for appearing.

    Now get back out there and tell us all what we think!

  5. BruceS:
    walto:

    . . .
    I have never seen a justification for public moderation beyond subjecting the moderators to public scorn, which is no justification at all.Some have mentioned that it will help uncover bias in moderators, but Idon’t see what a public moderation forum adds to private complaint processes for doing that.It’s up to LIzze, not to a public referendum, to draw such conclusions.

    Both keiths and I have noted that public moderation prevents abuse of power by the admins. If a lurker hadn’t reached out to me, keiths would have been silenced by the admins for 30 days while they created their own narrative to cover up their abuses. Now we know that keiths broke no rule, that the admins exceeded what Elizabeth authorized for a punishment, and that their entire response is better explained by the idea that they’re setting a personal score rather than that keiths did anything that hasn’t been done here before.

    Alan, Neil, and DNA_Jock have demonstrated that they can’t be trusted to moderate fairly. Public oversight is essential.

    The cost of public moderation in wasted time and public scorn for moderators is much too high for the questionable benefits public moderation brings.

    You’re ignoring the benefits of public moderation and the costs of not enough sunshine on the process. If you want the kind of moderation you’re suggesting, there is always Uncommon Descent. TSZ is supposed to be better.

  6. William J. Murray:
    . . .
    I agree that there should be no public criticism or discussion of moderators – if you have an issue, use private message or email to address them. IMO, the “moderation” thread should be removed.

  7. Alan Fox: She also confirmed the chances of wading through this thread are minimal.

    Thus the exercise of Free Speech rights by some commenters has effectively denied Free Speech rights to others.
    This, Patrick, you own.

  8. Neil loves the idea of deleting posts or banning posters with no public scrutiny of his actions.

    Gee, what a surprise.

  9. Patrick,

    Say what you want, the conversations at UD are about 95% more civil than here, with 100% less keithsesque thread derailing into motive-mongering, character-smearing and about 100% less time spent bashing moderators.

  10. DNA_Jock:

    Alan Fox: She also confirmed the chances of wading through this thread are minimal.

    Thus the exercise of Free Speech rights by some commenters has effectively denied Free Speech rights to others.
    This, Patrick, you own.

    Of course, having three people abusing their privileges to deny a fourth the ability to reply while the three construct their self-serving narrative of why their abuses were acceptable is much more aligned with the principle of free speech.

    This entire thread would be unnecessary if you, Alan, and Neil followed the rules, didn’t overreact, and followed Elizabeth’s instructions.

    Freedom is messy, but it beats the hell out of being at the whims of petty authoritarians.

  11. Neil Rickert writes, on the Summaries thread:

    My summary view:

    (1) We should move to forum software, instead of blog software.

    (2) No “Noyau”.

    (3) No public disputing of moderation decisions. That just pollutes the discussion and hurts the site.

    (4) There needs to be an ability to suspend users who persistently break the guidelines.

    (5) Any user who posts while under suspension should be permanently banned. Any user who aids and abets such posting-while-suspended should be permanently banned.

    Neil,

    I must say I’m surprised. Asking for more power and less oversight after abusing the privileges you already have is . . . aggressive, if nothing else.

    This comment is a perfect example of why you should not be a TSZ admin.

  12. 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.

    Alan:

    She also confirmed the chances of wading through this thread are minimal.

    DNA_Jock:

    Thus the exercise of Free Speech rights by some commenters has effectively denied Free Speech rights to others.
    This, Patrick, you own.

    So by Jock logic, the way to guarantee free speech is to deny it completely to certain people.

    And when Lizzie opens a thread asking for input about the problems at TSZ and possible solutions, Jock think it’s smart to prevent certain people — specifically, those against whom he harbors personal grudges — from providing input about the problems at TSZ and possible solutions.

    Jock, did you even think for five seconds before posting that comment?

    You’re a censor at heart. Lizzie, thankfully, is not.

  13. 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.

    From Neil’s post on the Summaries thread:

    (4) There needs to be an ability to suspend users who persistently break the guidelines.

    Oops.

    Neil just admitted that the moderators don’t have the power to suspend people.

    So tell us, Neil: Why is my illicit suspension still in place after almost three weeks?

  14. 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.

    Besides that self-incriminating admission, Neil writes the following:

    (3) No public disputing of moderation decisions. That just pollutes the discussion and hurts the site.

    (5) Any user who posts while under suspension should be permanently banned. Any user who aids and abets such posting-while-suspended should be permanently banned.

    In other words, “My critics must be silenced!”

    Neil Arrington.

  15. 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.

    Alan, on the Summaries thread:

    The best way to reinvigorate TSZ would be the return of Elizabeth Liddle.

    The problem isn’t that TSZ lacks vigor. Look at the amount of activity we’ve seen, and are seeing, on various threads! (Including my thread on walto’s paper, which was thriving until you and your fellow moderators censored me, putting a halt to the discussion.)

    Lack of vigor ain’t the problem. TSZ is plenty vigorous. The problem is with the moderation abuses and the kerfuffles and discussion they generate. It’s a distraction from what TSZ is for.

    The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to continue with endless arguments over moderation.

    You’d obviously like to sweep the incriminating evidence under the rug and get us all to stop talking about it. That’s why you abused your privileges to close the Moderation Issues (4) thread, after all.

  16. 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.

    Bruce,

    You’ve argued here and in the Summaries thread that moderation discussions should be private, not public. Patrick and I strongly disagree, for reasons we’ve already given.

    But what do you think about the “choose your own moderators” proposal? It would dramatically reduce the amount of moderation discussion, since there’s no reason to complain about guanoing if the only guanoing is virtual guanoing, done by citizen-moderators selected by each reader him or herself. If there’s little or no moderation discussion, then the issue of public vs. private no longer matters.

    You’ve also lamented the difficulty of recruiting moderators when moderation discussions are public:

    5. With public moderation, the pool of potential moderators is also reduced because many people do not want to bear the burden having decisions they made as volunteers and in good faith being open to public scorn.

    The “choose your own moderators” scheme solves that problem. No one needs to complain about the decisions made by one of their citizen-moderators. They can just “fire” that moderator and replace him or her with another whose moderating style they find more congenial.

  17. DNA_Jock:

    Although the idea was partly in response to my reading of the tone of Lizzie’s post, my reason for suggesting the summaries was mainly positive and constructive. I think they give posters the chance to organize their thoughts, emphasize their key points, and incorporate what they learned from the input of others. My views expressed in my summary are changed from many of the things I said in this thread.

    Think of it this way. When one reads academic papers, one often sees acknowledgement of helpful input of others in discussions. But people don’t publish the transcripts of these discussions instead of the paper.

  18. Patrick: Why would TSZ want to step into the middle of your discussion and say “HALT. You have exceeded your comment limit for the day. This discussion must cease, and may not resume until 8 AM tomorrow”?

    Because a limit would force posters to think more about what we are posting.

    It should cause us (myself included) to not be so concerned with answering every slight or getting into unnecessary quibbles about unimportant details but instead work to be clear and concise with our comments.

    peace

  19. Patrick: My argument that your statement that “everyone believes in god”, after being told by several people that they do not believe in any god or gods, breaks the rules is as follows:

    I have never and would never claim that everyone believes in God……..

    Instead I assert that everyone knows God exists. That is a very different statement

    Patrick: I found your refusal to consider other points of view annoying.

    I have no idea why you would say I refuse to consider other points of view.

    I think you mistake my confidence for intransigence.

    I’m not responsible for your mistaken impressions

    Patrick: Therefore, your claim that you know better than another member what they believe is against the rules.

    Again I never claimed to know better than another member what he believed.

    I claimed to know someone who is in the unique position to know what everyone knows.

    Patrick: I realized that arguing about intelligent design creationism online no longer served me.

    So instead of discussing ideas here you choose spend your time attacking moderators and advocating changes that are unpopular with most of those who do choose to participate??

    How exactly does that serve you??

    peace

  20. fifthmonarchyman: I have never and would never claim that everyone believes in God……..

    Instead I assert that everyone knows God exists. That is a very different statement

    I’m not going to play semantics games. You do you.

    I realized that arguing about intelligent design creationism online no longer served me.

    So instead of discussing ideas here you choose spend your time attacking moderators and advocating changes that are unpopular with most of those who do choose to participate??

    How exactly does that serve you??

    The admins have abused their privileges, exceeded the authority granted by Elizabeth, and are treating keiths unfairly. They have earned all the opprobrium directed at them.

    As I’ve noted several times in this thread, free speech is under attack by both the right and left here in the US. When we have a chance to stand up for it, we should. I’d like to continue to be able to recommend TSZ to people as a place where Enlightenment principles are valued. With the current behavior of the admins, I cannot. I hope Elizabeth will listen to my arguments and make the right choice.

    It’s possible to have a successful site without top-down censorship, all authoritarian fear mongering to the contrary.

  21. William J. Murray:
    Patrick,

    Say what you want, the conversations at UD are about 95% more civil than here, with 100% less keithsesque thread derailing into motive-mongering, character-smearing and about 100% less time spent bashing moderators.

    True, and 100% more bans for disagreeing with the owner.

  22. Patrick: It’s possible to have a successful site without top-down censorship, all authoritarian fear mongering to the contrary.

    Why not put that hypothesis to the test?

    Start your own site where anything goes and compete for participants.

    I for one would wish you luck.

    peace

  23. Patrick: I have never and would never claim that everyone believes in God……..

    I agree you never made that claim, and I was letting it lie as requested

    Instead I assert that everyone knows God exists. That is a very different statement

    Knowledge is just a certain kind of belief, correct?.

  24. fifthmonarchyman: So instead of discussing ideas here you choose spend your time attacking moderators and advocating changes that are unpopular with most of those who do choose to participate??

    How exactly does that serve you??

    Great question. These are its priorities, obviously. These guys have lots of ideas how Lizzie ought to run her site (in some manner THEY like but nobody else here wants). So will they start their own beacon in the wilderness? Oh no. I’d send fifty bucks their way today if they’d use it for that (noble) purpose.

    But nope–just speechify and pontificate. That’s its thing. They’re like the self-proclaimed ‘revolutionaries’ the bolsheviks rightly laughed at.

  25. newton,

    This place is certainly better than UD. It could be better still, though. You take the best characteristics of each group–and keep human frailties in mind.

  26. 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.

    keiths:

    Why would TSZ want to step into the middle of your discussion and say “HALT. You have exceeded your comment limit for the day. This discussion must cease, and may not resume until 8 AM tomorrow”?

    fifth:

    Because a limit would force posters to think more about what we are posting.

    We are adults here. I, for one, think carefully about what I post, and as an adult, I am capable of deciding when, and in what quantity, to post. TSZ should not be in the business of dictating the number of daily comments that members are permitted, cutting them off in the middle of vigorous discussions if they exceed that limit.

    If you are not thinking carefully about what you are posting, I urge you to correct that. Making TSZ your (and everyone else’s) nanny is not the solution.

    You need to let go of your urge to control other people, fifth. I think you’ll be happier if you do.

  27. 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.

    William:

    …and about 100% less time spent bashing moderators [at UD].

    newton:

    True, and 100% more bans for disagreeing with the owner.

    Anyone who thinks UD-style moderation is a good idea — private, often silent, with no complaints allowed — should check out the record of bannings at UD.

    William is all for it, of course.

  28. 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:

    These guys have lots of ideas how Lizzie ought to run her site (in some manner THEY like but nobody else here wants).

    My “choose your own moderators” proposal is based on Lizzie’s stated aims for moderation. But feel free to tell us how unimportant her aims are at a site she owns.

    Also, if you don’t like “choose your own moderators”, please tell us why you think it is a bad idea. Be specific.

    This thread is intended for such discussions, so please share your thoughts with us.

  29. 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:

    So will they start their own beacon in the wilderness? Oh no. I’d send fifty bucks their way today if they’d use it for that (noble) purpose.

    Why would we abandon TSZ to its fate and start our own site? It makes far more sense to defend TSZ against the corrupt moderators, hoping that Lizzie will step in and set things right.

    Think about it. It’s common sense.

    If the wiper blades wear out on your car, do you throw the car away and buy a new one?

  30. Patrick: It makes far more sense to defend TSZ against the corrupt moderators, hoping that Lizzie will step in and set things right.

    Think about it. It’s common sense.

    If the wiper blades wear out on your car, do you throw the car away and buy a new one?

    Yep. You’d put steak knives there.

  31. newton: Knowledge is just a certain kind of belief, correct?.

    Belief is a slippery sort of word subject to all sorts of confusion,

    For instance I would not say I believe in pedophiles or cancer but I know those things exist

    But how about we just let it lie?

    peace

  32. newton: True, and 100% more bans for disagreeingwith the owner.

    To be fair, it’s relatively easy to disagree with Mr. Arrington and not get banned. For instance, he and I disagree on whether or not a physical universe actually exists. That said, I didn’t say that everything that UD does should be mimicked here, but “Not being like UD” is not a good core premise to base rules on. UD does some things that seem to work very well as far as keeping discourse civil.

    Notice that I’ve said there should be a zero tolerance policy on comments about character, motives, etc. Not exactly something you can say about how EL’s situation was handled at UD.

  33. Patrick:

    Also, if you don’t like “choose your own moderators”, please tell us why you think it is a bad idea.Be specific.

    It’s up to Lizzie to pick rules that reflect the posting culture she believes in and which can be transparently applied and justified (whether by public or private moderation). Then it is up to her to pick and monitor moderators so that they implement her rules and culture fairly.

    Given that, moderators should be fungible, so I see no theoretical reason why people cannot choose their own moderators. But there do seem to be practical problems:

    1. What if one of their chosen moderators is not available when a poster wants to post. Does that mean all posts have to go to a waiting for moderation queue? That seems to be a change from current technology.

    2. How can Lizzie balance the workload among moderators?

    3. What happens if a chosen moderator takes a few days away from the site?

    4. Does a moderator have any input into who gets assigned to them? For example, could they reject being solely responsible for someone they consider a tough case?

    If there are answers to these implementation issues, I look forward to seeing them in the Summaries thread. (I apologize if they are already there; please let me know where).

  34. If I understand you correctly Patrick, you are fine with your role in denying the Free Speech rights of the (non-keiths) commenters on this thread.
    Is that because you don’t agree with them, or is there some other reason?

  35. Patrick: Both keiths and I have noted that public moderation prevents abuse of power by the admins.
    […]

    Alan, Neil, and DNA_Jock have demonstrated that they can’t be trusted to moderate fairly.Public oversight is essential.

    Are there suggestions for implementing public moderation that make it a fair, open process that leads in a specific way to a decision point (whether on the admissibility of a particular post or the bias of a moderator)?

    Right now, people simply trade opinions, as far as I can see. I don’t think that is enough. Instead, perhaps consider trial-by-jury as a model:
    1. The charge is openly made. Its scope and nature are clearly stated.
    2. “Attorneys” for each side are appointed to present and question the evidence.
    3. All get to question those presentations and perhaps the questions of others on the presentations (it is not just the other attorney that poses questions, as in a jury model).
    4. Lizzie acts as judge to moderate any posts by anyone she thinks are not objective evidence or objective arguments. If asked, she offers her input on whether the rules are being correctly appealed to in making an argument.
    5. There is a fixed time limit to the process. When it ends, a poll is created to vote on the outcome.

    If that is the sort of thing anyone has in mind, I’d suggest a post in the summary thread so that Lizzie can consider it.

  36. 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.

    William:

    To be fair, it’s relatively easy to disagree with Mr. Arrington and not get banned.

    Talk about damning with faint praise!

    “It was relatively easy to disagree with Mr. Stalin and not get purged. You just had to be careful what you disagreed with him about.”

    You crack me up, William.

  37. 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,

    I didn’t see a response to this:

    walto:

    These guys have lots of ideas how Lizzie ought to run her site (in some manner THEY like but nobody else here wants).

    keiths:

    My “choose your own moderators” proposal is based on Lizzie’s stated aims for moderation. But feel free to tell us how unimportant her aims are at a site she owns.

    Also, if you don’t like “choose your own moderators”, please tell us why you think it is a bad idea. Be specific.

    This thread is intended for such discussions, so please share your thoughts with us.

    Why, specifically, do you think the “choose your own moderators” scheme is a bad idea? Why is a proposal that honors Lizzie’s stated aims for moderation a bad thing, in your view?

  38. 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.

    And a repost:

    As far as I can see, the “choose your own moderators” [CYOM] scheme, if implemented, would satisfy everyone except for two categories of people:

    a) the moderators, who are clinging to their unearned powers; and

    b) people who want to control — or want others to control — what TSZ members read and write.

    Lizzie doesn’t want to control what members read and write, fortunately, so the folks in category (b) are out of luck in that regard.

    People who should be pleased with CYOM:

    1) Folks like Patrick and me who don’t want any guanoing to be done on our behalf. We can simply opt out altogether by selecting no “citizen-moderators”.

    2) Folks who want guanoing to be done for them, but are unhappy with the way it’s currently being done. Those folks can select citizen-moderators who are better in tune with their own ideas of what should and shouldn’t be guanoed.

    3) Folks who, for whatever unaccountable reason, think that the current moderators are the best people for the job. Those folks can select the current moderators as their citizen-moderators.

    And everyone would benefit from the massive reduction in moderation-related discussion and kerfuffles.

  39. 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.

    A recap of the advantages of the “choose your own moderators” proposal:

    1. It satisfies Lizzie’s stated aims for moderation: a) not controlling what people write, b) not controlling what they read, and c) providing a “housekeeping” service so they don’t have to step in guano if they choose not to. And it satisfies these aims far better than the current moderation scheme.

    2. It solves the perennial problem of endless moderation discussions. CYOM is essentially a fancier version of the Ignore button — one in which you designate others to have a role in how your Ignore button operates, comment by comment. There are no official moderators to complain to, or about. Just people operating their Ignore buttons as they choose.

    3. It solves the problem of moderator abuses. The moderators become admins, with limited powers. They can’t abuse powers that they don’t have.

    4. It becomes far easier to recruit admins. Admin responsibilities are far lighter than moderator duties. The policing function vanishes, so they aren’t subject to criticism for how they police others. Admins just have to keep the site running by doing routine work like fishing comments out of the spam queue. Their moderation duties are limited to notifying Lizzie in the rare event of potentially bannable offenses.

    5. It provides a customizable experience for readers, thus solving the Goldilocks problem — the endless disagreements over whether moderation is too light or too heavy, and whether it should include this or that. Readers can pick citizen moderators who share their opinions on what counts as guano. Moderators aren’t forced upon readers — they’re chosen. Folks who are like Patrick and me can opt out entirely and read what we wish without interference from official moderators.

  40. BruceS:

    keiths: Also, if you don’t like “choose your own moderators”, please tell us why you think it is a bad idea.Be specific.

    It’s up to Lizzie to pick rules that reflect the posting culture she believes in and which can be transparently applied and justified (whether by public or private moderation).Then it is up to her to pick and monitor moderators so that they implement her rules and culture fairly.

    Given that, moderators should be fungible, so I see no theoretical reason why people cannot choose their own moderators.But there do seem to be practical problems:

    1. What if one of their chosen moderators is not available when a poster wants to post.Does that mean all posts have to go to a waiting for moderation queue?That seems to be a change from current technology.

    keiths can answer questions himself (with a little help at the moment), but my understanding is that the situation will be just as it is now when no admins are around — nothing goes to Guano, all comments are visible to all members.

    Technically, I see the choose-your-own-moderator system implemented with tags on each comment. If I subscribe to you as a moderator, any comment with the tag “Guano — BruceS” would be displayed only as a link in my feed. I could choose to view it if I wanted, or easily scroll to the next comment.

    2. How can Lizzie balance the workload among moderators?

    There is no balancing. Anyone can choose to be a moderator and anyone can use the services of zero or more moderators.

    3. What happens if a chosen moderator takes a few days away from the site?

    Same as in question 1.

    4. Does a moderator have any input into who gets assigned to them?For example, could they reject being solely responsible for someone they consider a tough case?

    If other members want that, they’ll follow that moderator. If a moderator gets too aggressive, fewer members will use his or her services.

    I agree with keiths that this solution best fits Elizabeth’s stated goals for the site. It will require some coding, however.

  41. DNA_Jock:
    If I understand you correctly Patrick, you are fine with your role in denying the Free Speech rights of the (non-keiths) commenters on this thread.
    Is that because you don’t agree with them, or is there some other reason?

    You should re-read 1984 along with Newton. As it turns out, war is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength, and letting people speak is not denying free speech. You both clearly got the wrong message the first time around.

    Accusing me of denying people free speech when you, Alan, and Neil broke the rules, exceeded Elizabeth’s authorization, and abused your admin privileges to settle a personal score with keiths is beyond hypocritical.

  42. Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to say that I think the “choose your own moderators” [CYOM] scheme has merit. Assuming that it’s technically feasible to implement, it sounds like a fair solution all round. Cheers.

  43. vjtorley:
    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to say that I think the “choose your own moderators” [CYOM] scheme has merit. Assuming that it’s technically feasible to implement, it sounds like a fair solution all round. Cheers.

    Yup. A thread author should have the privilege of deciding the terms of engagement and participation. Simple!

    So if I kick someone, let us call him Mr. Troll, off of my thread, Mr. Troll can create his own thread and kick me off of his thread. Fair is fair.

    I found however, Mr. Troll is a heckler, he wants to derail and heckle, that’s why he insists on forcing his presence into a discussion much like that obnoxious guy at a reception who feels he can disrupt every conversation going on, or that little kid who wants people to play with him, but everyone is dissing him.

  44. stcordova: Yup.A thread author should have the privilege of deciding the terms of engagement and participation. Simple!

    So if I kick someone, let us call him Mr. Troll, off of my thread, Mr. Troll can create his own thread and kick me off of his thread.Fair is fair.

    I found however, Mr. Troll is a heckler, he wants to derail and heckle, that’s why he insists on forcing his presence into a discussion much like that obnoxious guy at a reception who feels he can disrupt every conversation going on, or that little kid who wants people to play with him, but everyone is dissing him.

    In forums where the thread author ran the rules of the thread, the trolls left that forum in short order. 🙂

    The trolls would create their own thread, and no one would participate. I’d start my own thread and tell Mr. Troll to buzz off and the thread continued wonderfully. In protest, Mr. Troll would start his own thread, “response to that liar Salvador”, and his free-speech rights were thus preserved. But, no one wanted to tune in to his thread. What Mr. Troll fails to do is earn the right to continue in conversation, so instead he has to poop all over other conversations that would otherwise be quite fruitful.

    I realized then, in effect, when I create my own websites and give my own talks, I effectively alleviate myself of Mr. Troll. Unlike Arrington who uses UD for advocacy, TSZ is a place to learn. So I don’t care much anymore if someone like Keiths and Glen Davidson and Entropy poop all over my threads. I put them on ignore, and encourage interested readers with my viewpoint to do the same.

  45. William J. Murray: To be fair, it’s relatively easy to disagree with Mr. Arrington and not get banned.For instance, he and I disagree on whether or not a physical universe actually exists.

    Always try to be fair, I agree it is not automatic and sometimes not an outright ban. It just depends on Mr.Arrington’s mood. And that is his prerogative.

    That said, I didn’t say that everything that UD does should be mimicked here, but “Not being like UD” is not a good core premise to base rules on.UD does some things that seem to work very well as far as keeping discourse civil.

    It does not take incivilty to no longer be able to discourse at UD. What things?

    Notice that I’ve said there should be a zero tolerance policy on comments about character, motives, etc.Not exactly something you can say about how EL’s situation was handled at UD.

    I take you to be saying the tolerance of incivility at UD depends who says it and to whom it is direct at, is that correct or am I misunderstanding you?

  46. Of course CYOM suffers from the same Balkanization risk as Sal’s delightful “yelling over the wall” scenario, but users might not be aware of the degree to which they had, by their choice of moderator, consigned themselves to an echo chamber.
    Certainly in line with Lizzie’s goals for the site.

  47. As indicated previously, I choose hotshoe and RB. Go get ’em!

    I mean, suppose I chose one of the four people here who has actually volunteered to be a moderator—Vince. Would I get a moderator?

    It’s like choose your own tesla!

  48. Patrick, This thread had an intended audience of one: Lizzie:

    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.

    Unfortunately:

    Alan Fox:

    She [Lizzie] also confirmed the chances of wading through this thread are minimal.

    DNA_Jock:

    Alan Fox: She also confirmed the chances of wading through this thread are minimal.

    Thus the exercise of Free Speech rights by some commenters has effectively denied Free Speech rights to others.
    This, Patrick, you own.

    Patrick:

    Freedom is messy, but it beats the hell out of being at the whims of petty authoritarians.
    [i.o.w. so what?]

    DNA_Jock:

    If I understand you correctly Patrick, you are fine with your role in denying the Free Speech rights of the (non-keiths) commenters on this thread.
    Is that because you don’t agree with them, or is there some other reason?

    Patrick:

    Accusing me of denying people free speech … is beyond hypocritical.
    [i.o.w. it’s fine for me to drown out voices that don’t agree with me]

    Cool cape, bro.

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