What do you expect from your moderators?

What do you want to see here? Some more categories, forums, and mods? Hmm...
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Lucifer
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What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Lucifer »

Ok, the reason I'm starting this thread is because I've seen folks already getting annoyed at a moderator and I just wasted the last hour of my life (which I will never get back!) going over the logs to see what the fuss was about.

We're not here to talk about that, however, I just wanted to express my annoyance before I got to the part we're here to talk about.

What do you think moderators should do?

Here's the tools we have:
* We can edit posts
* We can send users warnings for posts and attach a note on what the warning is.
* We can lock threads
* We can delete posts
* We can delete threads (we can, right? I thought I saw a button for it...)
* We can move posts around

Of these, the only one I'm seeing that might be causing difficulty is being able to warn users for posts. Those warnings get tracked, and I can see a day where two users are having an argument and a moderator wants to stop it so he/she goes and looks to see how many warnings each of them has. From that, the moderator concludes that one user is a regular troublemaker, and the other user usually stays out of trouble. Other than that, I don't see any other purpose to the warning system. There isn't a "automatically ban people after x warnings", is there?

Some ground rules:
* define your conduct. If you want to say "stop offensive conduct", fine, but define "offensive" clearly. Many of the things moderators get in trouble for in servers are things that are clearly up to interpretation.
* Do not attack someone in this thread. If you want to criticize someone's behavior, then do so. Criticizing someone is often interpreted as an attack, where criticizing someone's behavior usually gets by.
* Please provide links. If you say "moderator A did B, and that wasn't fair", please provide a link to B so we can go look at it. I'll reserve the right to edit posts and mark such things as uncited and therefore untrustworthy, so keep your citations in line here. I'm interested in opinions grounded in fact, so make sure any facts you cite are supported.
* The purpose of this thread isn't to establish any rules of any kind, nor is it to change the moderator policies. It's to give everybody a chance to say what they want out of moderators. However, if this thread turns into a place where people will come to complain about moderator activity over time, that's fine too. Make sure you link the thread in question when you post.

(I didn't see any such post anywhere else, so I apologize if such a post exists somewhere else)
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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by saragei »

epsy wrote:Posts split over there.
This, to me, is an example of perfect forum moderation.

The thread where this action was necessary is still about "Open vs. Closed" and not about the pros and cons of a completely different subject. Also, the split posts were moved to a place where they fit well.
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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Lackadaisical »

Personally I agree with this sentiment by yourself:
Lucifer wrote:In my not-so-humble opinion, the only real job of moderators is to stop flamewars after they start. Maybe splitting off-topic threads when the original topic is still active as well as the off-topic topic.

Otherwise, it's a can of worms. People get mad from time to time and post stuff they later think twice over. Most of the time, the post stands and is left alone, no fight develops over it. Trying to *prevent* flamewars isn't really within the range of what can be achieved with mod powers.
If I had to give an example where moderation is definitely needed it would be the 15 pages-in-one-day shitstorm a couple months back. But to be honest I've started avoiding a lot of topics (not sure if any type of moderation could change that since some arguments are in principle fine but just so damn annoying to read and don't seem to lead anywhere anyway)

Regarding user warnings, I'm kinda uncomfortable with the big red letter post-edits because it feels a bit degrading (not sure if this actually happens anymore). I think just making a reply stating what's wrong does the same job without the unnecessary power-display.

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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Concord »

ideally, the moderators sole role is to split threads. Anything else is just response to people being idiots. Ideally, no one acts idiotically.

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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by subby »

Let's not reinvent the wheel completely, here is an example of some of the forum rules from a very popular photography site (users in the thousands) http://photography-on-the.net/forum/sho ... p?p=353304
4. (The "don't be a jerk" language)

1. Have fun!
2. See Rule Number 1!!!
3. We think empathy ,caring and sharing is cool
4. Intelligence is valued but not required
5. People can not see your face, use smileys when needed
6. Though we encourage members to engage in healthy debate, we do not condone personal attacks on members. Ideas can be disputed or challenged, but attacks on a personal level are unacceptable and when they are discovered or brought to the attention of the staff, will be dealt with accordingly. Ideas can be attacked, but individuals cannot.
7. You will not "stalk" or otherwise harass other members.
8. Goodbye posts (post seeking attention when you are abandoning the forums) are forbidden.
9. If you know an answer to a question either answer it or say nothing. Giving newbies blunt answers like "search the forum" is not allowed - please use the typing effort to giving the answer instead. Or just give the link to that post you wished the newbie should have searched for. Respect newbies - you were a newbie once.
10. Falsifying your identity to promote a site or business in which you are involved and/or solicitations are expressly prohibited on these Forums.
11. Falsifying your identity with numerous postings under different names is not permitted and can be cause for deletion of your postings regardless of the content.
12. You will not upload or attach files that contain viruses, corrupted files, or any other similar software or programs that may damage the operation of another's computer.
13. You will not attempt to access any protected sections of the sites or Forums, nor make use of any hacks, cracks, bug exploits, etc. to bypass or modify the features of the Forum software at Canon-Digital-Photography.

5. (And of course, Big brother is watching)

1. Forum leaders such as Administrators and Moderators are entrusted with the ability and responsibility of removing objectionable posts. Warnings may also be sent out to the offending party or parties involved.
2. If violations to these rules are severe, or they continue after warnings, a user's privileges to this forum may be suspended for any length of time, up to and including a permanent ban..
3. You will, if asked by a Forums leader, cease posting any content, and/or links to content, deemed offensive, objectionable, or in poor taste by a Forum leader. NOTE: If you really need help in deciding if your intended post is acceptable, PM the text to admin or moderators for review.
4. Personal Messages (PM) between user and moderator are not to be discussed in public. Note that moderators may share moderator related PM content between other moderators.
Offcourse it's not all relevant but lets start with something that seems to work well.

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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Lucifer »

Um, actually, I'm not looking to make rules. I hate rules. :) I'm wanting people to tell us what they want from their moderators. The motivation is the other thread where several people are throwing around stuff like "Moderators should do <xxx>" and "No, that's not what they should do". Whoever's right or wrong over there depends entirely on what their expectations are.

I'm also not trying to determine who's right or wrong over there, I want everybody to just settle down and come here and tell us what they think a moderator should be doing. I looked for such a thread and didn't find one, so I thought we should have one.

If I were interested in rules, your quoted rules mostly look good to me, although I'd object to answering a frequently asked question with the answer, since the first frequently asked question that gets a straight answer is usually followed by at least one more frequently asked question, so it's to everybody's benefit to refer the poster to the FAQ. :)

Keep in mind that we already have a strong history of dealing with complaints about in-game moderators, and we generally haven't sided with the "victims" in those situations. On the rare occasion anybody here has taken sides, it's been with the moderator, and mostly we refer people to the server admin to straighten things out. When it's a matter of jurisdiction, well, the forum moderators here have jurisdiction, and if we're going to have the same sorts of fights over moderating on the forums that we've seen over in-game moderators, then we ought to have a discussion about what moderators are supposed to be doing.
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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Phytotron »

Well, I stated much of my view in the other thread here, including examples of "offensive conduct" and whatnot. Of course, some of it may be subject to addendum, elaboration, or clarification. In addition:

• If you want to criticize someone's behavior, then do so. Criticizing someone is often interpreted as an attack, where criticizing someone's behavior usually gets by.
• Ideas can be disputed or challenged, but attacks on a personal level are unacceptable and when they are discovered or brought to the attention of the staff, will be dealt with accordingly. Ideas can be attacked, but individuals cannot.

Again, important distinctions that moderators (especially, thus far, epsy) need to understand. Throw out this unreasoned relativism. Making even the most strident criticism or rebuke of an idea is not equivalent to verbal abuse. Scolding or reprimanding bad behaviour is not equivalent to the bad behaviour itself.

I also want to reiterate: Ignoring or suppressing something in hopes it'll go away doesn't work.

With respect to topic splits, let's not get carried away and too "anal" about it. Z-Man has pointed out, I think rightly, that it's OK for threads to take a normal, natural conversational course, especially if the original topic has been exhausted. I don't see why topics have to stay absolutely in line with the topic title. People digress, they go on tangents. It's how we communicate. When you're with a group of friends or acquaintances, you don't insist that first a specific topic be named, then everyone converse only on that topic. If having a party, you don't require that every circle of people remain on just one subject, and if someone wants to bring something else up they have to move over to a different part of the room. This is a casual forum, not a formal professional conference.

So long as a post relates to some actual content within the thread, not necessarily the title, I think that's OK. Even the occasional humourous non-sequitur should be fine. Some examples of things that warrant a split:

- Hijacking a thread for another purpose, especially a narcissistic or malicious one.
- If an unexhausted topic gets derailed into multiple pages of something else.
- If an exhausted topic digresses into multiple pages of something else that's worth having its own topic. That doesn't only include negative stuff.
- This forum does have technical sections, in Development and Support—those should probably remain mostly "pure," for organisational and browsing purposes.

But, as mentioned in that same thread above, moderators shouldn't be poised to immediately leap upon the first hint of a possible, potential digression. Let it develop first, then decide if it really warrants a split.

Same principle should go for a lot of other situations, with obvious exceptions. OK, obviously not so obvious, hence this discussion. But, look to that other thread for examples of what I might consider exceptions.

Don't unload your gun when all a guy is doing is reaching for his wallet.

And, I may have other little comments and responses to add here and there, but I'm sick of writing long posts lately. Getting sick of reading myself type.

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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Phytotron »

A distinction that might be made between this forum and in-game moderation is that game servers basically exist and function in a sort of decentralised autonomy; they're all separate and independent of one another. Whereas my impression of this forum has always been that it supposedly, or at least ostensibly, serves as more of an overall umbrella for the community at large—this being distinct, as well, from some of the clan-specific forums and whatnot.

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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Lucifer »

I think the red notification text shows up when a moderator hits the "warn user" button. I haven't warned a user about anything yet, so I don't know exactly what happens, but I've read the warnings others have sent. So I'm guessing (and if one of you wants to be a guinea pig, speak up) that after the button's pressed, the moderator gets a text box with a reason for the warning, and the whole package gets sent to the user via PM.

Generally, I think if *I* were to warn a user for a post, I'd start by replying in the thread. Editing the post doesn't trigger new email notifications, and if nobody posts in the thread after I edit the post to warn the user, then the user I'm trying to warn won't know to go check the thread. If that didn't work, the red notification text is a good, relatively harmless muscle-flexer. :)

For those of you curious about it, if you report a post, it gets put in a queue that all moderators have access to. Then we get a convenient link to go look at the post, where all the mod buttons are given so we can deal with it.

Phytotron: You inadvertently bring up an interesting point. As an umbrella forum, don't our moderators here set the example we expect out of moderators and admins all over the community? We have tried to show server admins how we think servers should be run, even while saying they can run it their own ways. I mean, setting an example and making rules are two different approaches. People choose to follow the example or not.
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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by ZURD101 »

Word wrote: I would only edit posts if they are extremely offensive, but even then it shouldn't change the direction of the post (for example i would replace "asshole" with "idiot"), otherwise its whole context might get lost.
I would NOT warn users by editing/deleting their text [...]

Why do the forums have to be "family-friendly"? No families here... that doesn't mean I'd prefer an unfriendly place but I would hate to be part of it when most of the friendliness is constrained.

-----------------------------------

IMO both the moderators and the rest of the community should agree on rules or at least clear guidelines (which shouldn't be too strict) to ensure that the moderators don't abuse their power and if they use it they aren't blamed just for doing their job.
one more time.

IMO both the moderators and the rest of the community should agree on rules or at least clear guidelines (which shouldn't be too strict) to ensure that the moderators don't abuse their power and if they use it they aren't blamed just for doing their job.
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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Z-Man »

I'm with Lucifer, strict rules are to be avoided, at least strict rules what kind of behavior of users should be allowed. Jerks can be very creative and being jerks while still following rules. 'thou shalt not' rules always need to be examples of stuff we don't want to see, not exhaustive lists. We have a list similar to what subby posted in the private sections and are just waiting for tank to post it somewhere official.

I'm all for rules for the moderators, however. For example, we should not ban users without having warned them first, and not permaban them without a previous temporary ban. What's up for you to discuss is whether we should be allowed cosmetic edits. Like, epsy merged some obnoxious quadruple posts, and fixed some formatting elsewhere. Is that stuff you want us to do? What about embedded pictures that are too wide for not-so-large screens? It's all stuff we can do, and the question is whether we should.

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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by subby »

Z-Man wrote: What's up for you to discuss is whether we should be allowed cosmetic edits. Like, epsy merged some obnoxious quadruple posts, and fixed some formatting elsewhere. Is that stuff you want us to do? What about embedded pictures that are too wide for not-so-large screens? It's all stuff we can do, and the question is whether we should.
Simple answer: no
mod·er·a·tion

 /ˌmɒdəˈreɪʃən/ Show Spelled[mod-uh-rey-shuhn] Show IPA
–noun
1.
the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.
I feel what epsy maybe doing (from the examples given by z-man above) is editing and not necessarily moderation.

As far as pictures too wide, I think that's a technical issue and not a moderation issue.

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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Hoax »

luci wrote:My personal view is to let the fires burn themselves out and only step in when they get out of hand. Where to draw the line is often subjective, but I'd as soon leave everybody alone.
& topic splitting is rather useful
Z-Man wrote:What about embedded pictures that are too wide for not-so-large screens? It's all stuff we can do, and the question is whether we should.
What is a not-so-large screen? What if the people with large screens want to view it in it's original size? I think this place is fine as it is and if you have an issue with a picture size (I guess now being used as a metaphor here); then you should make it known so the person posting the large picture will know to make it smaller or use a thumbnail next time.

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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Lackadaisical »

subby wrote:As far as pictures too wide, I think that's a technical issue and not a moderation issue.
Yeah, and it's 'fixed' in the armaunified theme.

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Re: What do you expect from your moderators?

Post by Concord »

I've had more incorrect and offensive adjectives attached to me by epsy in the past week than I could possibly garner. It's not for him to decide what is appropriate, it's for the community to decide. He is just the hammer. In the specific example I made a pleasant remark that he assumed was sarcastic. No one in the thread had apparently agreed with him, but in the process of trying to prove to me my own intentions he has called me moronic and arrogant. Now I don't really care what epsy thinks of me and I give him full permission to throw whatever adjectives he wants at me. I do care about how he is moderating. Interpreting the meaning of posts is not his duty nor an activity he should undertake. It is not for him to decide what is offensive, what is contributing to the discussion. I would ask that he and the other moderators heed the community's or any community member's judgment on what should be locked or deleted or edited, and not their own. Lawmakers do not enforce laws and law enforcers do not make laws. That separation exists in the real world for good reasons and should exist here as well.

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