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Fer cryin' out loud. Someone's got to moderate if we don't want a free for all. Complainers can always bugger off and find some other forum instead of moaning here. I think David's doing a good job -- he's not perfect, but then who the heck is? It's not a job I'd want, and like Alex says, we don't see a lot of the efforts he puts in. Give the man a break and grow up!
 
I don't know like the direction things have taken the last few weeks, but honestly I'm having trouble understanding the uproar. Do I think David is a great moderator? No. Do I think he sucks? Not really. I think people are creating this overly melodramatic situation out of something that is just not that damning.

For starters, even if you agreed with Max, the way he was expressing his opinions was incredibly immature and childish. His temporary banning was entirely justified.

I don't supporting deleting whole threads or controlling conversations, but to act as if David's moderation, or its spectre, is what is causing the forum to lose membership or become less exciting, is really really narrow minded, and in my opinion wholely inaccurate. I'll reiterate: I don't think David is anything special as a moderator, but to me he's kind of just okay. I don't think he significantly detracts from my experience on this forum, and I think the way people have gotten up in arms about this is as telling about how hungry for some excitement around the forum they are as it is about David's actual moderation.
 
To discuss your grievances - but please try to be specific!
I don't have specific grievances, but the question arose about your ability as a moderator and I thought it better that I give my opinion outright which I did here on July 12th in the 'Are we slipping into too many political discussions?' thread, started by you. Post #72. As you started the thread, I assumed that you had seen it.

I wish this nonsense would die down and we could return to contemplating more interesting matters
You asked the question. And if I'm not mistaken raised the thread I mentioned above which kicked it all off !

No doubt the forum will continue with you as a moderator and Alex shooting from the hip at any that dare even ask questions that sometimes need to be asked. Its a pity.
 
I don't have specific grievances, but the question arose about your ability as a moderator and I thought it better that I give my opinion outright which I did here on July 12th in the 'Are we slipping into too many political discussions?' thread, started by you. Post #72. As you started the thread, I assumed that you had seen it.
OK - I will respond to you by PM about your #72.

David
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
what specific issues have you had with the moderation?
Alex, that wasn't the central point of my post, but if I have to answer your question: the moderation actions taken almost always appear to me to be unnecessary and heavy-handed. Examples: needlessly deleting threads; closing threads because the discussion gets "heated" on a specific topic (while also bringing up the topic himself in later threads); banning a new member because he's debating NDEs from a religious viewpoint instead of (supposedly, very arguably) "according to the evidence", even though said poster was polite and not belligerent (and even if the discussion was in the Skeptic vs. Proponent sub-forum); nagging posters with trivial commands to use the post-quoting function when they write. Etc.

More than anything, revealing and disturbing comments about wanting the forum to go in certain direction, rather than letting people be and allowing the forum to naturally go where it will go and just addressing truly obnoxious behavior. Like Chuck and others here, I have problems with the specific intention stated about "choosing people like dinner party guests". That seems to be the opposite of the open and welcoming orientation of Skeptiko - it's exclusive and elitist. And I can't see how that isn't completely opposite to a podcast that is in the end about spirituality.

Also, I find it sadly ironic that both Tim and Max B are no longer here in reaction to D.'s moderation, after D. unnecessarily stepped in the first place to address a heated debate between them.

(And the forum wasn't a free-for-all before D. joined the moderators. There was a spam problem that was taken care of, but people have been generally well-behaved for a few years now. Also, Craig was a volunteer but he was given the boot for being equally heavy-handed, although by the time that happened, sadly, he had toned it down quite a bit.)

But I've now said what I had to say about this and don't wish to go on.
 
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Alex, that wasn't the central point of my post
it should have been. moderation is a difficult task. when you have a specific complaint about a real problem with the moderation you can contact me.

Examples: needlessly deleting threads;
which ones? the only one I can think of had to do with "intergenerational sex"... what are you referring to?

closing threads because the discussion gets "heated" on a specific topic (while also bringing up the topic himself in later threads);
provide examples

banning a new member because he's debating NDEs from a religious viewpoint instead of (supposedly, very arguably) "according to the evidence", even though said poster was polite and not belligerent (and even if the discussion was in the Skeptic vs. Proponent sub-forum);
ok, he can come back... in fact, anyone can come back (that's always been the policy)... they just have to agree to be moderated. and if he's asked to tone down the bible-thumping a bit we need to see some action along those lines. we've all been down the road with Christian fanatics... it's tiresome.

nagging posters with trivial commands to use the post-quoting function when they write. Etc.
WTF Ian! this is a complaint you need to voice here! pls take a look at yr role in fueling this nonsense!

I have problems with the specific intention stated about "choosing people like dinner party guests". That seems to be the opposite of the open and welcoming orientation of Skeptiko - it's exclusive and elitist. And I can't see how that isn't completely opposite to a podcast that is in the end about spirituality.
sounds like a lot of spin in order to defend yr position. I don't see any evidence of this.
 
Also, I find it sadly ironic that both Tim and Max B are no longer here in reaction to D.'s moderation, after D. unnecessarily stepped in the first place to address a heated debate between them.
one more thing... why do you suppose these people have not emailed me and asked to come back? I really don't have much respect for people who can't take a little pushback about their behavior on the forum. I have had to apologize plenty of times. I've had to reverse my position plenty too. as Michael said a few posts back - grow up!
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
Alex, I'll be brief because I've got to get to work. Reading these replies I was starting to mentally prepare a reply of my own for later posting tonight, but with your posts here and the PM's from David and you I'm getting, I see there's no point. It's a catch-22: I'm off base to begin with by daring to criticize the moderation, apparently, so it's pointless to further buttressing my argument. (And I think you have a false impression of the moderation because you don't spend significant time on the forum outside the Skeptiko show threads, or this thread that you've set up.) I was also responding to your question, by the way.

Ian is not a volunteer, he's a poster.

That's right, Alex. I'm just a (lowly?) poster, like many others here (who supposedly form a community?). No, I don't think it gives me any privileges. Yes, I do feel, after having spent many years (5) investing my time here, like many other forum members, that I'm allowed to care about seeing something that, in my very subjective view (but apparently I'm not alone), is hurting the forum, even though I recognize it's not my place to make any decisions.

(On "not being a volunteer", I'll just say that I have helped you a few times putting shows together, also like other members here, and also putting 60+ hours in helping you start writing your book. I don't think that gives me any privileges, but I just thought I'd put out there re: "not being a volunteer".) Over and out for me on any of this.
 
Alex, I'll be brief because I've got to get to work. Reading these replies I was starting to mentally prepare a reply of my own for later posting tonight, but with your posts here and the PM's from David and you I'm getting, I see there's no point. It's a catch-22: I'm off base to begin with by daring to criticize the moderation, apparently, so it's pointless to further buttressing my argument. (And I think you have a false impression of the moderation because you don't spend significant time on the forum outside the Skeptiko show threads, or this thread that you've set up.) I was also responding to your question, by the way.

Ian is not a volunteer, he's a poster.

That's right, Alex. I'm just a (lowly?) poster, like many others here (who supposedly form a community?). No, I don't think it gives me any privileges. Yes, I do feel, after having spent many years (5) investing my time here, like many other forum members, that I'm allowed to care about seeing something that, in my very subjective view (but apparently I'm not alone), is hurting the forum, even though I recognize I don't make any decisions.

(On "not being a volunteer", I'll just say that I have helped you a few times putting shows together, and also putting 60+ hours in helping you start writing your book. I don't think that gives me any privileges, but I just thought I'd put out there re: "not being a volunteer".) Over and out for me on any of this.
I think this may be confusing to some since you've replied to a private message thru a public forum. why did you do that?
 
I'd like to make a proposal. Beefs about moderation in future should be off limits in the forums. They should be made by PM to moderators and/or Alex and sorted out with them. We could maybe include some instructions to this effect in the Forum Rules thread in the Guidelines & Introductions forum.
 
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A suggestion, for what it's worth, and without having run this by Alex or David (or anybody else) first: it is obvious that some members of the community have grievances with moderation, so let's get together as a community and come to a consensus on that which is glaringly missing from current practice: a moderation policy. This policy would set out when and why a moderator can/should take any given action, from warnings and thread closings to thread deletions and temporary/permanent bannings. We could have a community discussion on the contents of this policy, leading (ideally) to a consensus or at least a majority-supported document, in a thread seeded with the following from Ian's post above, which seems like a good summary of that about which those who have grievances are aggrieved. Those who don't care would be free to ignore the thread/process. Those who are in favour of existing practices could state their case and their opposition to Ian's summation and would get an equal hearing.

Let's give the Skeptiko community a meaningful say in how the Skeptiko forums are moderated.

the moderation actions taken almost always appear to me to be unnecessary and heavy-handed. Examples: needlessly deleting threads; closing threads because the discussion gets "heated" on a specific topic (while also bringing up the topic himself in later threads); banning a new member because he's debating NDEs from a religious viewpoint instead of (supposedly, very arguably) "according to the evidence", even though said poster was polite and not belligerent (and even if the discussion was in the Skeptic vs. Proponent sub-forum); nagging posters with trivial commands to use the post-quoting function when they write. Etc.

More than anything, revealing and disturbing comments about wanting the forum to go in certain direction, rather than letting people be and allowing the forum to naturally go where it will go and just addressing truly obnoxious behavior. Like Chuck and others here, I have problems with the specific intention stated about "choosing people like dinner party guests". That seems to be the opposite of the open and welcoming orientation of Skeptiko - it's exclusive and elitist. And I can't see how that isn't completely opposite to a podcast that is in the end about spirituality.
 
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