Global Warming: Are Sea Levels Rising?

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
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.
In that spirit, Laird, for the purpose of general discussion about moderation policy (and not about moderation specifics here about which I've had my say already - although I think they validate the concerns of those who've made grievances against an authoritarian style), let me suggest reading these little articles by people who are knowledgeable in the field (and also the comments from forum runners below). From Community Spark: Building Online Communities:
The real purpose of forum moderators revealed
Always avoid repressing your members
 
Last edited:
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
we kinda did that during a recent conversation that you were a part of. we hashed out the difficulties of moderation and even discussed specifics. at that time you decided that moderation was for you
In that spirit, Laird, for the purpose of general discussion about moderation policy (and not about moderation specifics here about which I've had my say already - although I think they validate the concerns of those who've made grievances against an authoritarian style), let me suggest reading these little articles by people who are knowledgeable in the field (and also the comments from forum runners below). From Community Spark: Building Online Communities:
The real purpose of forum moderators revealed
Always avoid repressing your members
pls start a private conversation with Laird on this. you can include me in after you hash it out.

pls move this post to a private conversation.

also... if you guys discuss this privately... and seek input from David and I... and then decide that you want it to be public, that's fine too... but first try and resolve privately.
 
we kinda did that during a recent conversation that you were a part of. we hashed out the difficulties of moderation and even discussed specifics. at that time you decided that moderation was [not] for you
I'm kind of unsure what you're referring to by "that", Alex. I think you mean we discussed whether to consult with the forum community on moderation principles? Yes, I floated that idea, and nobody got behind it, but I don't remember that we reached any definitive conclusions on it. Happy to be proved wrong if you have quotes to the contrary (and yes, you have my permission to quote anything I've said in those private moderation discussions publicly, so long as you grant me the same privilege - I don't think any of us has said anything that we'd be embarrassed or ashamed to have made public, it was all very civilised).

And yes, several times in our private conversations I wondered whether I was a bad fit for the moderation team, and whether I should stand down, since all I did was advocate for principles that nobody else supported. In hindsight, I kind of think it was so inevitable that we would part ways that I ought not to have joined the team in the first place! Oh well, we live and learn, and hopefully part ways with mutual respect.

pls start a private conversation with Laird on this. you can include me in after you hash it out.
I'm not sure what the point of a private conversation would be other than to exchange a perfunctory:

"You agree with this article?"
"Yep".
"Me too! You think the Skeptiko moderation team should take its perspective to heart?"
"Yep!"
"Me too".

Perhaps, though, Ian has some more imaginative ideas for a conversation! I welcome his PM!
 
nagging posters with trivial commands to use the post-quoting function when they write. Etc.
You may be surprised how few people bother to use that button - I expect most don't realise it is even there. Someone complained in fairly strong terms that I hadn't done anything about the discussion about intergenerational sex (as though in some way I approved!) - where in reality I hadn't seen it.

How can anyone expect me to see everything on the forum - I do rely on people reporting stuff that needs attention!

David
 
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.
The real problem is that every case is different!

Sometimes the action required is obvious, other times it is on a knife edge.

You have to balance how rude someone is to other posters, whether they say anything interesting, whether they just repeat themselves, whether they seem to respond to others, whether they are disruptive, whether they wish to discuss intergenerational sex, how long they have been on the forum, how many, if any people have complained......... You also have to bear in mind that moderators have other things to do - this can't end up as their full-time job!

Creating a policy like that would end up saying say everything and nothing. You simply have to let someone do the job, and then replace them if they don't seem to be doing it correctly. If you imagine me checking to see if rule 7 (paragraph C) would apply, and whether where it says "take whatever action is appropriate", what that could be taken to imply......, you haven't read all the disparaging things I have written about (classical) AI!

David
 
The real problem is that every case is different!

Sometimes the action required is obvious, other times it is on a knife edge.
And this is precisely why relatively precise policy can help. In the "obvious" case, the policy will agree with common sense ("obviousness"). In the "knife edge" case, it will make for a relatively ready, repeatable and predictable decision - saving you decision-making time, which, I gather, is one of your priorities, as well as giving posters foreknowledge as to when and why they will be banned if they do this or that - rather than the current situation, which is that people aren't quite sure what will get them banned, especially in the light of recent temp-bannings by Alex (in particular that of Malf), which have been, to many of us, inexplicably rash and intemperate.

You have to balance how rude someone is to other posters, whether they say anything interesting, whether they just repeat themselves, whether they seem to respond to others, whether they are disruptive, whether they wish to discuss intergenerational sex, how long they have been on the forum, how many, if any people have complained
Now you're talking specifics. Nice! Granted, there will always - as with any behavioural code interpreted by humans - be room for judgement, but, despite that, these separate points that you raise could be developed into a coherent and reliable policy, and it needn't be terribly verbose. The point of it would be for people to be able to predict when a moderator will take an action, and why. If (when) deficiencies are found, they could be corrected.

Those (knowing when and why moderation action would be taken) are not so unreasonable a couple of criteria to be provided, surely, and we needn't begrudge forum members and potential forum members that clarity on fear of turning ourselves into artificially intelligent automatons, surely?
 
You have to balance how rude someone is to other posters, whether they say anything interesting, whether they just repeat themselves, whether they seem to respond to others, whether they are disruptive, whether they wish to discuss intergenerational sex, how long they have been on the forum, how many, if any people have complained......... You also have to bear in mind that moderators have other things to do - this can't end up as their full-time job!
So many words in my last response! Here's something terser - what I should have said in response to the above:

Either you can provide some sort of balancing function for the specific criteria you list there - in which case, great, we have our moderation policy - or you don't have a single balancing function, and use a different one each time - in which case, your moderation is inconsistent. Doesn't it have to be one or the other?
 
So many words in my last response! Here's something terser - what I should have said in response to the above:

Either you can provide some sort of balancing function for the specific criteria you list there - in which case, great, we have our moderation policy - or you don't have a single balancing function, and use a different one each time - in which case, your moderation is inconsistent. Doesn't it have to be one or the other?
David is right... too many variables. If you don't like a specific moderation action work thru David thru PM and then to me thru PM if needed.

If you don't have any pressing issues right now, let's move on.
 
Perhaps the deniers don't want Andrew9's views to be public? ;)
That is not my aim, and we are having a very interesting discussion, trying to hammer out a few issues. In the meantime, Andrew9 is completely free to state his views publicly if he so wishes.

I wanted a private discussion precisely because I have had several public discussions on this issue, and have never emerged any the wiser - there is just too much heat generated :)

David
 
That is not my aim, and we are having a very interesting discussion, trying to hammer out a few issues. In the meantime, Andrew9 is completely free to state his views publicly if he so wishes.

I wanted a private discussion precisely because I have had several public discussions on this issue, and have never emerged any the wiser - there is just too much heat generated :)

David
Anything you feel more enlightened about? Any shift in your position?
 
Top