Are mods kept an eye on? How are they selected? Any vetting?

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Mootoo
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11 Aug 2016, 8:34 pm

We all know that personal circumstances and opinions dictate actions and approaches... so, this may be hoping for too much considering this site's usual issues (just the software by itself), but is there any kind of system in place? There are at least inconsistencies (while getting messages from a sample of two, so that is 50%)... while I assume there weren't political motivations, I had just a day previously specifically asked another as to whether I can simply counteract what at least one other user is doing (which the latter should also have a problem with if it's just about redundant threads) and they did say that the candidates themselves could very much be discussed - besides, can a single person not have a bossy approach? Since when does that work collegially for online forums? Even corporations have poorer results when people are overbearing, with most in Silicon Valley seemingly having opposite results with the opposite approach.



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12 Aug 2016, 2:26 am

There are hardly any guidelines for moderators to follow regarding quality in any online forum. Most of it is arbitrary judgements from moderators and their own interpretations of the rules.

As for vetting, being a forum moderator is hardly on the same level as having a government position.


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12 Aug 2016, 8:11 am

The moderators have the same rules to follow as we do, plus a few more that Alex has laid down for them.

What these extra rules and the vetting process may be is between Alex and the moderators.

Keep in mind that moderators on this website are not paid for their services, and that the stress of being what are essentially "playground attendants, hall monitors, referees, and designated drivers at an adult day-care center" may leave some of them a bit frazzled and frustrated, and dealing with the same problems coming from the same people day after day does not lend moderating any kind of "glamour" to the job, either.

I don't envy them.

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Mootoo
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12 Aug 2016, 6:25 pm

If one ends up stressed then surely they shouldn't stress themselves further... though I'm thinking this was a spur-of-the-moment message, as they didn't even notice my reply yet, unless (1 new message) is too inconspicuous. If I needed to similarly message someone due to an issue I've encountered I wouldn't simply write a simple, short sentence seemingly on a whim and then not even care about any replies... pay is irrelevant as that is the point of volunteering... there should still be a system, otherwise what's the point of having 'referees' (this had nothing to do with mediation though, it was a message exclusively motivated by their subjectivity, seemingly...)

Anyway, if they don't care for replies (not that I said much, but clearly they didn't want a conversation) then I assume their message is redundant. If there aren't any guidelines then arbitrary just won't hold...



alex
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12 Aug 2016, 6:51 pm

Ichinin wrote:
There are hardly any guidelines for moderators to follow regarding quality in any online forum. Most of it is arbitrary judgements from moderators and their own interpretations of the rules.

As for vetting, being a forum moderator is hardly on the same level as having a government position.

I wrote a set of guidelines that moderators are expected to follow and all new moderators are required to read all of the guidelines.


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Mootoo
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17 Aug 2016, 12:10 am

So... monitor their application of those guidelines, otherwise you really can't expect anyone to care about an undemocratic, dysfunctional, inconsistent 'system'. Wikipedia has elections, so at least a collective responsibility lays with mods, but how anyone expect anything rational out of an opaque process?



Campin_Cat
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18 Aug 2016, 1:39 pm

With the exception of this last post sounding like the "bossy approach" you were referring to in your OP, I have to agree with you on this one, Mootoo.

Recently, there's been an awful lot of policing threads. I don't agree that a moderator should change someone's words in a thread title, for instance----yet, this has happened, AT LEAST TWICE. One thread's title contained a cuss word----and, though I don't agree with the way it was changed (when a cuss word is used in a post, this site has been set-up so that a letter or two is replaced by asterisks, and that is acceptable), I agree that it SHOULD have been changed, as cussing is against the site rules. Another thread title was changed, recently, apparently because the moderator just didn't like how it was worded:


http://wrongplanet.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=325358&p=7233561#p7233561

This is NOT acceptable, IMO.

I, personally, have had at least THREE posts deleted, recently. One, a moderator confirmed that it had, indeed, been deleted; and, when I asked "why", the moderator, as of this posting, has not returned a response (that was, like, a week ago). How am I to learn what I did wrong, if no one tells me? Yes, I've read the rules, MANY times----but, the problem, is they're being interpreted differently, by different moderators (a moderator recently locked a thread that has been ACTIVE for years----YEARS----on this site; I'm thinking if it's been acceptable THIS long, what's this moderator DOING?).

Another post was deleted, and the thread was locked (I didn't make the thread), and when I asked where my post went, the moderator RETURNED it to the thread, UNLOCKED the thread, POSTED in the thread, and then wrote to me and told me they could not find where it had been deleted----AND, this was a RE-posting of a thread (so, not only did the moderator remove MY post, they removed THEIR post that said cross-posting wasn't allowed, and then CONTRIBUTED to the thread!! LOL UNbeLIEVable!!) OF COURSE they couldn't find where my post had been deleted, after they returned it to the thread!! The thing that, apparently, some moderators don't realize is that when they delete a post, it REMAINS in our "Post History" (when we click on it, it says "You are not authorized to view that post", or something like that, but the proof is THERE).

I can't remember, right now, what was the situation with the other post.

Then, there's been INNUMEROUS occasions where the words INSIDE a post have been CHANGED by a moderator----replaced by, something like, "Part of this post has been edited, due to ______" (or, whatever). I just really feel this should NOT be allowed----again, if it's a cuss word, that the system doesn't automatically change, then add a couple of asterisks. If it's some kind of violent wording, add some asterisks----anything ELSE, IMO, is CENSORING, and people have a right to say what they want (unless of course, it goes against the rules).

Here's the thing..... I get a sneaking suspicion that it's quite possible that some of the moderators are being manipulated by ONE particular user (it could be more-than-one, of course), and these same moderators are being led-around by a ring this user(s) has put-through their nose----BUT, in their defense, let's face it, we Aspies are not the best at confrontations, generally speaking.

Bottom line, for ME, is a user's words should NOT be changed (unless, of course the user requests it, or it goes against the rules); a user SHOULD be allowed to make a topic about ANYTHING they want, and WORD it (the title OR the post) ANY WAY they want (unless, of course, it breaks a rule), and should NOT be changed by a moderator who decides it's lying, for instance, because it was worded the way it was. A moderator is to keep peace, IMO----and, that does NOT mean by kow-towing to a bully user(s) (meaning that, if, in-fact there is someone[s] manipulating the moderators).

Don't get me wrong----I KNOW what a thankless job, moderating is (I've done it, on other sites), but I've NEVER seen anything like this, and I've been on the net / contributing to forums, for over 20 years!!



Adamantium
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18 Aug 2016, 4:27 pm

Faced with a post containing obscene content or a personal attack, the mods have the choice of removing the entire post or removing that portion of it that contains the problem image/language/video.

If someone complains about a personal attack, and the mod finds there is a personal attack, it has to go.

For example, if someone posts, "memberX is too stupid to post. It's astounding that someone as dumb as memberX can even type, given the quality of their views. Can't we stop memberX from posting again?"

That stuff has got to go. There is no "free speech" right to insult other members or private individuals on WrongPlanet.

The mod can give an informal message about why that kind of personal attack is not OK, or a formal board warning if the attack or obscene language is egregious.

The rules are pretty clear about what can and can't be posted: WP Rules

As long as you are following those rules, everything should be OK.

If you feel that a moderator has been unfair or judged something incorrectly, send them a PM about it, or take it up with another mod or Alex. They will try to set things right or explain why the judgment went the way it did if they agree with the original mod's decision.

In general, try to bear in mind that the Mods are not cattle being led by nose rings controlled by other members, or power hungry narcissists who get off on policing these boards, but volunteers who are trying to keep the spam out and follow Alex's guidelines.

By the way, this is Alex's site and he has final authority on everything. There is no democracy or pretense of democracy about that.

If I should happen to screw up when I am trying to moderate some situation involving one of your posts, please try to think of a charitable explanation for my incompetence before you go off accusing me of all sorts of wrong doing. If you want to correct some error I have made, feel free to let the other mods know about it. None of us are perfect and there is no reason to feel that you can't seek redress when a mod judged badly.

On the other hand, if you think you should be free to hurl insults at people with impunity, and annoyed that you were told to stop, you would be better off looking for another place to do it.



TheSpectrum
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18 Aug 2016, 4:46 pm

Adamantium wrote:
On the other hand, if you think you should be free to hurl insults at people with impunity, and annoyed that you were told to stop, you would be better off looking for another place to do it.

Indeed. And I have a theory behind why some think THEIR abuse is ok and for others it is not:

There seems to be a bizarre concept that there is some sort of hierarchical structure of privileged people and professional victims based on upbringing, disability (or level of), gender, race, sexuality, political views etc and those with the most privilege "deserve" to be a punching bag for others in spite of the rule system in place, should another user disagree with them (or even if they agree but don't like them based on factors beyond their control, which is ironically the discrimination many hurling the abuse claim to be against).

No one should have more (or any right) to be abusive to another person on WP.
It's ultimately a support site, the last place you expect to find any abuse.

If you find an opinion too much to handle then be an adult and don't engage in it or simply agree to disagree.


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Empathy
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18 Aug 2016, 5:42 pm

Spectrum has it in the bag, and I also have concerns over some moderators inability to listen and only take sides when they feel like it.
viewtopic.php?f=21&t=324902&start=30 My post got edited here and looks like a snarl post put in place. The O.P and other members of this thread clearly had no reason but to ridicule other members for saying what they like and then throw tantrums, which is surely biased anyway.. when the subject matter was open to all discussion.

A step down in cloudfare doesn't mean a step up in toxic editing remarks so I'm wondering if posting this thread is an empty threat to all responsible posters.
I've very rarely argued with anyone the whole time I've been here, and then get accused of being something I'm not which I beg to differ on the circumstances that started it to begin with.

When can I start moaning and reporting someone I dislike? oh never, because I NEVER make things that personal to start or end up with.

People who can't handle their own arguments, are probably no good at handling failure.



Adamantium
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18 Aug 2016, 6:36 pm

Strange reaction, Empathy.

Your post was reported by another member.
I looked at it and saw that you were attacking two members by name. It was unambiguously personal.

I was not taking sides and have no interest in the argument. I was telling you that you can't make personal attacks.

Because you can't.

You or someone else might do it and get away with it for a while because no mod read that post, but if someone reports it, it will get moderated and if it's a personal attack it will get taken down.



Empathy
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19 Aug 2016, 4:28 am

^^
No stranger than you continuously foul mouthing me whilst bringing up the rear on someone else's behalf.

No mod stalking should be listed in suggestions, this volume is rising and members are resisting by dropping away as a result.

I don't associate with sociopaths, and everything you're saying is to grab my attention to test me because Alex's rules make you exempt, and this therefore makes you a coward for inciting it.

Well, you're rude and are clearly basking in my reaction to pin the blame on me because that's what people like you do constantly.. for your fear of self-inadequacy for want of a stronger reaction. I'm no bait for your bad moderation and I DON'T THINK you should be test trailing it on me.

When you're done with spreading ill feeling(one that I can resist) and testing everyone's boundaries, you can stay extinct.

I never made any offensive comment to any individual, they just didn't like their thread being over-lapped and threw a hissy fit.
I've blocked P.M'S anyway because I'd rather not get dragged into silly child's play with another member.

I respect this site owner, so I'm sure he'll understand if I say if no breach of conduct was made intentionally.

QuoteBy the way, this is Alex's site and he has final authority on everything. There is no democracy or pretense of democracy about that.

I don't identify with false adult pretences either.



Adamantium
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19 Aug 2016, 8:02 am

My removing your personal attack on other members was not a personal attack on you.

I am sorry that you see it that way. It may well be that I am an overbearing, clumsy oaf in such interactions and am ill-suited to the role of moderator. In any case I bear no personal animosity toward you and have no interest in a quarrel with you.

Please do bear the posting guidelines in mind and avoid personal attacks in future.



TheSpectrum
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19 Aug 2016, 8:22 am

Ever cynical, I don't see how personally attacking a mod in the public eye supports your claim to victim hood.


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The_Walrus
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19 Aug 2016, 9:13 am

I have to echo Addy.

Generally, our current mods are the sort of people who won't be taken for a merry ride by a user. Speaking personally, I know I'm much less likely to "do someone's bidding" if they send me a bunch of confrontational messages full of bold text than if they quietly reach out and ask for help. Of course, I try my very best to treat all rule breaches the same, but I would be surprised if anyone is being bullied into action.

WrongPlanet has rules. There was a long period where they basically weren't enforced after TallyMan and Cornflake stepped down. Now they're being enforced again.

During this time, threads weren't being locked or merged, abuse often wasn't being removed, and so forth. Most users perceived a build-up in support for Donald Trump, while many conservatives thought that they were seen as "fair game".

I understand that reverting to the status quo seems quite heavy-handed now, but merging duplicate threads, locking "bait" threads, and editing out abuse are all necessary parts of a "moderated" forum. The alternative is 4chan.



Mootoo
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19 Aug 2016, 10:37 am

Well, abusive content is one thing (although how does one deal with the abusive nominee? What a dilemma) - but then, why 'bait' threads and not posts? (I think as I mentioned in the other topic the one reporting everyone's posts is seemingly specialized in 'bait' posts) - and then, you got the issue of everyone disagreeing, with a few not favouring megathreads.

With regards to democracy, this is the whole point... the other WP claims it's not either (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... _democracy) - but consensus is preferred instead, not some vacuum relying on a handful of people randomly appointed. If a majority of people disagree what then? If it goes from randomness to dictatorships thereafter then simply no one will take anyone seriously, and I assume indeed like what must have happened in many other dysfunctional fora, people leave.

(And, yes, a week after I posted this XFilesGeek still hasn't replied... so much for random appointments, then again, it doesn't seem to have worked for NK's Kim ending up exacting vengeance on his family's own ironically nepotistic appointment.)