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19th Dec 2016, 2:38 AM #21
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While it's a good idea in theory, that's punishing those who were not involved by not allowing them to continue the conversation. I think the main issue that you had with threads closing is that they punish more than just the people who were causing problems.
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19th Dec 2016, 2:39 AM #22
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Nama:In all honesty, i'm really not flooded with problems on the site so much as everything bad that happens just happens so fast i can't do anything until it's too late.

and when actually moderating a thread i can't really post fast enough before other people jump on the person


And this is why I'm so hopeful we can work out a proactive moderation policy! A thread can go south in the course of only a couple of posts, and it's just not possible to respond effectively once that starts - or even to consistently notice it. If we had the resources to step in before things started getting heated, and policies to make that work effectively, then we could nip these problems in the bud before they take over whole threads. Besides that, in doing so, we'll empower non-mod forum members to step forward and do the same thing unofficially.

Unfortunately, those policies are going to be tricky - as Nama remarked on the noticeboard, we run the risk of the mods being written off as draconian and ignored. I'm no diplomat (as my moderation record can attest, I'm sure), so, once again, if anyone has an idea, feel free to step forward. What kinds of guidelines would make proactive intervention seem neutral, not draconian or like censorship?
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19th Dec 2016, 2:41 AM #23
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Nama:While it's a good idea in theory, that's punishing those who were not involved by not allowing them to continue the conversation. I think the main issue that you had with threads closing is that they punish more than just the people who were causing problems.


Yes, but a temporary closing is good to allow the mods to handle the bad things wrong with it, publicly and behind the scenes, so when it does open back up, in theory, everything can return back to normal. Also, some people should have a break when they start posting in threads with the sole intent to reply to the provocative comment, or when all people are doing is replying to the provocative comment. A lot of people say that taking a breather is a good way to not stir drama, and this method would allow them to do that. Like Seeen said earlier, some freedoms do have to go.
19th Dec 2016, 2:42 AM #24
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Bolderousness:A thing I'd do is allow a cool down period for the thread if it's boiling over too fast. Lock the thread temporarily for a day or two while giving a public message of what's wrong. PM the hit-list of people to tell them the situation. Once everything is seemingly sorted out, open it back up and see if the water is gonna be alright.


Hm. I think this is certainly preferable to shutting down the thread entirely, but like Nama said above, it could just make everyone feel punished and therefore iffy about continuing the discussion. I'd say it's not off the table, and maybe it should be a tool in the moderators' metaphorical toolbox, but might there be a more fine-grained approach?
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19th Dec 2016, 3:40 AM #25
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I think it's better the way it is. No need for heavily moderated and approved discussion. It leads to big arguments now and the for about 2 hours but that's fine isn't it.
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19th Dec 2016, 3:40 AM #26
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Xenocartographer: A thread can go south in the course of only a couple of posts, and it's just not possible to respond effectively once that starts - or even to consistently notice it. If we had the resources to step in before things started getting heated, and policies to make that work effectively, then we could nip these problems in the bud before they take over whole threads. Besides that, in doing so, we'll empower non-mod forum members to step forward and do the same thing unofficially.

Unfortunately, those policies are going to be tricky - as Nama remarked on the noticeboard, we run the risk of the mods being written off as draconian and ignored. I'm no diplomat (as my moderation record can attest, I'm sure), so, once again, if anyone has an idea, feel free to step forward. What kinds of guidelines would make proactive intervention seem neutral, not draconian or like censorship?



well for one you need to accept there will be no perfect system. and that will happen in threads regardless of what systems are in place (quick snowballing) it's simply just the nature of message boards. you have factors like timezones that come into play. actually quite heavily. when there's a large group of members from one relative timezone on at the same time discussion happens fast. posts happen fast. and it becomes harder to moderate and stay on top of.

and honestly thats ok. its a fact of life and sometimes things need to be vented out and feelings aired. and sometimes moderation needs to be exercised. you cant erase it completely, and i know you're not suggesting that. just something to keep in mind.

one thing about moderating boards is that its not just looking at the rules and checking them off, you literally have to moderate temperaments. viewing and watching threads and knowing and taking into consideration the personalities involved and the possible intent of a post. its interjecting where needed, and keeping a finger on the pulse so to speak.

things will get heated, there is no ruling that out. you can only moderate troublemakers out of the equation or closed a thread. (the cooling off period is interesting and can work) and you shouldnt worry about 'punishing' those who didnt contribute to the closure. everyone knows the rules. everyone accepts that that will happen if things get out of hand. and it would open back up after a certain period. thats not punishing its moderating. there's a difference.



as for fixes/adaptations, again the cooling off period is a potential. great idea actually.

-as stated before there need to be more moderators period. and they should be from various timezones. so there's coverage when one moderator is at work or asleep etc.

-at a previous board we did it like this, we had one to two moderators per room, who only had access to that room. (when one wasnt there another was) but we had one over-arching mod who could step in and police all rooms. step in when others were away etc. our tools were simple, room rules, closure/deletion of thread, and banning. it works not by more tools so much as mod respect and judicious and fair implementation of the rules (which the mods here do well)

-the thread specific ban you mentioned xeno is a good idea. i dont know how that would be implemented on the back end but good idea. in the meantime/event that cant happen. honestly the best solution is issue a warning to the people making a ruckus and then ban them. you make a fuss, you ignore the mod, you get punished. pure and simple. you have chances.


-also, you need to had a set of rules for EACH room. there's the overarching mandatory rules of the boards. but then theres a set of rules for each specific room. especially for med ave, and general discussion. you use the problems you've encountered in that specific room and develop a set of rules for it. rules/guidelines for discussions, behavior that will and will not be tolerated and state how much leeway you as a mod are going to allow. and you sticky it to the top of the room. this does a couple things:
1. it introduces you as a mod to the general public
2. it sets the tone for the room
3. it establishes clear cut guidelines for the room.
4. it allows the regular posters to know and help enforce said rules as things develop. they see someone break a rule they can warn them before a mod steps in. (aids in self policing)
5. it clears up any misconceptions and confusion about what can be said or should be said.
6. it begins to reign in the free for all wild west feel around here.

people can comment and suggest more rules or changes as things go along. but its up to the mod to decide how relevant and helpful it is. and honestly i'm surprised there arent rules for rooms in place here.
19th Dec 2016, 4:30 AM #27
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And this is why I'm so hopeful we can work out a proactive moderation policy! A thread can go south in the course of only a couple of posts, and it's just not possible to respond effectively once that starts - or even to consistently notice it. If we had the resources to step in before things started getting heated, and policies to make that work effectively, then we could nip these problems in the bud before they take over whole threads.


There's still the problem of a thread getting closed before an issue happens failing to set a precedent, and thus making it unclear what exactly went wrong. Nipping a problem in the bud is all well and good, but it keeps the other buds from learning from any example when they bloom.
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19th Dec 2016, 4:40 AM #28
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I really like stackexchange's Q&A system, and how users can sub-comment on and upvote/downvote on every post. That really helps participants understand what they did right or wrong. Users get incentivised to post good stuff with their point system, so it's kind of gamified. Downvoted stuff fades out in barely readable text after so many votes. Maybe unpleasant posts in this forum can be downvoted to get an automated "spoiler"-like tag wrapped around them, so the noone has to read anything unclean. Just a little crowd-sourced moderation at your service.
19th Dec 2016, 5:10 AM #29
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I haven't read all the threads recently. Would someone be able to summarise what's actually happened recently? Were there flame wars? Were people just stressed by the discussions? Was there resentment between people? How many people who were involved were actually upset?

I never go through with my threats to stay out.

e: I know Xenocartographer gave a summary but maybe we need to look at the specific problem in a little more detail we're talking about hypotheticals a lot.
19th Dec 2016, 5:27 AM #30
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@Sheik
In order, these threads have to do with it.
Thread 1
Thread 2, which is a response to Thread 1
Not related to Thread 1 but part of the problem
Thread about Thread 1 and 2 you participated in

The general issues come with criticizing the thread within the thread, opinions and disagreement, uncontrolled tempers, miscommunication, and some would argue improper moderation. I think it really is best to read through all of them and develop your opinion that way, because someone else's interpretation like mine isn't exactly what you might agree with, and there's already been enough miscommunication in this issue to begin with.
19th Dec 2016, 6:51 AM #31
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19th Dec 2016, 9:27 AM #32
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Okay if people don't mind, I'd like to actually try and discuss this and isolate the problem:

Thread 1:
I thought the discussion went fine for the most part. I think there was a user who could have been a bit more respectful and it created a bit of a snowball effect but by the end of the thread it wasn't such a big deal.

I still think perhaps it could have been handled early on. Something like "Hey, friend we just want to have a nice chat here." if they don't want to play along, report it. Everything else just heads towards derailment.


Thread 2:
Med avenue thread. I didn't see any massive issue: it got a bit derailed and pointless, but it was shut down by a mod. Tensions did get a bit high, but you need to give people some breathing room to discuss things and disagree. Certainly empathy can always help but I can't think of anything specific to address here.


Thread 3: Gender discussion.
Okay here we go. This thread was actually going pretty well initially. I found it very interesting actually and people were commenting on how happy they were with the thread early on.

There were a couple of posts in the first couple of pages where the poster stated their position in a way that was a bit disparaging, but they weren't massively disrespectful. People discussed those posts and I don't think they were the ones that ignited the trouble.

By page 3 I think there were definitely red flags that needed to be dealt with. It's easy to see this in retrospect, but I think at the time people just want things to go smoothly and not create a fuss etc. but I really think this is were things started, and they need to be addressed sooner rather than later. I think there was some significant lack of respect and somewhere along the line, attack on the person rather the argument.

By page 4 shit had completely hit the fan and got progressively worse.

I don't think clearly defined rules are as big a deal as people think: I think it's part of it, but don't I think it's the whole solution. I think mods and other users need to read between the lines and notice when feelings are hurt and tensions are starting to get high and people start ranting in a really angry way, even if specific rules aren't being broken. Doesn't mean the ban hammer needs to be brought out: Hopefully things can be resolved before it gets to that point.


Thread 4: Other' appreciation thread.
I think you were totally within reason to start the thread SekaNeko543. I think other people made the decision to derail it but that was completely on them. It doesn't matter what was going on in other threads that doesn't give any none mod the right to be the self appointed judge on who gets to start what thread.


Once tensions are high lots of different people, wittingly and unwittingly will throw a spanner in the works in lots of different ways. Trouble seems to attract jesters funnily enough idk what's going on there.

Moderation doesn't have to be handing out bans and laying down the law. I don't believe in the draconian police state argument: Ask someone respectfully to be civil, if they don't want to, they don't belong in a discussion thread. Trouble really does seem to stem from a single point: I don't think people are going to be pestered left right and centre, although I do think it needs to be done a little bit more and sooner.

I strongly suspect this discussion isn't going to lead to anything. I'm not going to go into solutions unless it looks otherwise. Basically we need to decide that either we want more moderation, or we decide to just deal with it and move on.
19th Dec 2016, 2:43 PM #33
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Sheik:Moderation doesn't have to be handing out bans and laying down the law. I don't believe in the draconian police state argument: Ask someone respectfully to be civil, if they don't want to, they don't belong in a discussion thread. Trouble really does seem to stem from a single point: I don't think people are going to be pestered left right and centre, although I do think it needs to be done a little bit more and sooner.

I strongly suspect this discussion isn't going to lead to anything. I'm not going to go into solutions unless it looks otherwise. Basically we need to decide that either we want more moderation, or we decide to just deal with it and move on.


Realistically, I think more mods is the best option to having a furthering of progression. It'll form a team with Nama, blank and blank. They can listen to suggestions and criticisms while going with pragmatic solutions and set up their own guidelines for modding. I also agree with moderation being more than just rule handling, but I understand that Nama is one person so he's probably stuck in that corner out of sheer stress and time management.
19th Dec 2016, 3:29 PM #34
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As I said before I'm really not overwhelmed with anything
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19th Dec 2016, 3:30 PM #35
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Alright then. My misunderstanding
19th Dec 2016, 3:30 PM #36
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*Accidental doublepost
19th Dec 2016, 5:06 PM #37
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doublepost


But how?





Bolderousness:I also agree with moderation being more than just rule handling, but I understand that Nama is one person so he's probably stuck in that corner out of sheer stress and time management.


The way I see it (and Nama, please feel free to comment on this), when some drama thread or another flares up, there's usually just so much going on all at once that it's hard to make sense of. This is why I think a more proactive policy makes sense. At the same time, Nama on his own can't be all that proactive since he can't be everywhere at once, or always on CF.

Does that make sense to anyone else?
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19th Dec 2016, 6:23 PM #38
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That makes sense, but nobody else can be here 100% either. I guess that means assigning hourly shifts where mods constantly refresh their browser to see what's happening. That would require 12 to 24 dedicated mods to cover every hour of the day.

PS>> crowd-sourcing the moderation shouldn't be that hard, like connecting the "dislike" to a counter and wrapping entire posts in "Spoiler" tags after X dislikes.
19th Dec 2016, 10:19 PM #39
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Robotwin.com:That makes sense, but nobody else can be here 100% either. I guess that means assigning hourly shifts where mods constantly refresh their browser to see what's happening. That would require 12 to 24 dedicated mods to cover every hour of the day.


Not... really? This isn't a very large forum, and drama tends to happen as a here-and-there thing. You can especially help the moderation keep track if you file reports (or just plain PM them; that might work better given that reports are still only accessible by a single moderator) about things going sour somewhere.

Merged Doublepost:

Okay, so, I have a suggestion. How about a Reports forum for moderators? The "Report a Post" button will trigger a thread creation or post creation for this forum, which will not be readable by anyone other than the Mods. (You can post in it, but you can't read it, basically.)

It would solve the problem of reports only being able to be with one moderator at a time without requiring the development of an entirely new system, and given that reports use the PMs now, I don't think it would be too far a stretch, especially because things like the Noticeboard have shown to effectively reuse the Forum code in new ways.

Hell, on that note, it could even work like the Noticeboard, just with only the mods being able to read past posts. Maybe saving a few more of them in case of a high report volume?

Maybe it could even make it so that it creates different topics for different threads. This doesn't seem like a far stretch either, given that the PM-based report system has already shown that it can list the name of and a link to the thread that is being reported.
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19th Dec 2016, 11:31 PM #40
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My opinion doesn't really hold any sway, I know, but I don't see this problem going away on its own because people are just not likely to drop it and let it go when a sensitive topic comes up and somebody says something they don't like. They seem to want to be able to make a point. People have the option to show their displeasure using the dislike button, though. But the threads don't show likes and dislikes to anybody but the person who wrote the reply, so I have no way of knowing if the feature gets much use. Still, I think it's worth looking into a related feature, burying.

I've seen other forums and comments sections use a bury function on comments that get too many downvotes in order to help minimize trolling and flame wars. Obviously, I don't know anything about coding or if it's realistically practical to implement such a system here. But, if it were theoretically possible, maybe that could be a potential tool to shut down some of the people who are just being jerks. It wouldn't fix everything, but it might be helpful.

The worst-case scenario is it gets abused to the point that entire threads get buried because people keep downvoting everything, but that's only likely in the hot-button threads and the effect of that wouldn't be much different than mods having to lock those threads down constantly, which is the current situation. The best-case scenario would be that obvious trolls get shown the door and perhaps hot-button threads can simply smolder out quietly as people lose interest. For my part, I would guess the most likely outcome is some threads would use it better than others and there will always be people who just can't resist picking a fight. Either way, if a bury feature is possible to implement here without too much hassle, would it be feasible to take it for a spin and see if it helps?
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