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Note: The topic of this thread is moderation; even though the context of the linked article is about Trump being banned from twitter, that's a politics discussion and following up on those details is off-topic here.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20210108/17022646023/not-easy-not-unreasonable-not-censorship-decision-to-ban-trump-twitter.shtml

Interesting observations, and ones that I think are true, in my experience here

Quote

...the problem with this framing is that it assumes that there are some magical rules you can put in place and then objectively apply them always. That's never ever been the case. The problem with so much of the content moderation debate is that all sides assume these things. They assume that it's easy to set up rules and easy to enforce them. Neither is true.

...

The platforms have rules because it gives them a framework to think about things, and those rules are useful in identifying both principles for moderation and some bright lines.

But every case is different.

 

We get complaints from some of our visitors about how they've been treated when they run afoul of the rules, and like this says, every case is different. The rules may seem vague because we need leeway to use judgement. Specific rules leave more opportunity for finding loopholes.

We update the rules on occasion when we apply what we've learned, and as some people try and exploit gaps and blind spots.

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2 hours ago, michel123456 said:

IMHO the issue with Moderation may arise when the Lawmaker, the Policeman, the Prosecutor and the Judge are the same and one person.

May arise?! The opportunities happen every day. It's always a temptation when it seems so efficient (I see the spider, capture it, and toss it out of the house), and I know my intentions are good, but we all know how fallible we are alone.

Most of our rules don't require us to separate these roles. We've reduced the number of judgement calls significantly over the years. In some instances, we even feel free to participate in threads we've moderated (for instance, if a thread needed to be moved to a different section). In most cases though, we try to keep moderation and participation in discussion separate.

In very few instances are mods allowed to call out an infraction and punish it all on their own. We do that if we get a drive-by troll, or if somebody flips out during an off time, but most times when we ban or suspend or even give a warning point there have been 3-4 staff members conferring about it behind the scenes. 

Honestly, I think some folks get bent out of shape here because they don't understand their own ideas enough to recognize the difference between the membership scientifically refuting it and being told (again) that it simply won't work. The leeway our rules give us helps compensate for that, I think.

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8 hours ago, michel123456 said:

IMHO the issue with Moderation may arise when the Lawmaker, the Policeman, the Prosecutor and the Judge are the same and one person.

There are a few insta-ban infractions (e.g. spam, pornography, sockpuppetry to evade a ban) which are pretty clear cut to apply.

As Phi notes, in cases not in those categories, multiple staff members are involved in approving a ban. 

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I think it’s also important to note that we don’t always agree on a particular course of action such as banning every time it is suggested and will make compromises that everyone can agree to regularly. Conferring with one another isn’t merely an exercise in box ticking. 

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In my time here in spurts, I find the moderation reasonable, even though at one time I had to cop the rough end of the pineapple for three days?😤.

The important thing is consistency in the application of rules and regulations. This horribly is missed out on other forums in particular instances.

Religious claims are a ticklish one, but also in my opinion, generally driven by dishonesty and the desire to conduct crusades against science in many circumstances. The people conducting these crusades know what is in store, just as I would if I burst into Church next Sunday, preaching the merits of the BB and how nothing being unstable, thus gave rise to the Universe/space/time.

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15 hours ago, Phi for All said:

May arise?! The opportunities happen every day. It's always a temptation when it seems so efficient (I see the spider, capture it, and toss it out of the house), and I know my intentions are good, but we all know how fallible we are alone.

Most of our rules don't require us to separate these roles. We've reduced the number of judgement calls significantly over the years. In some instances, we even feel free to participate in threads we've moderated (for instance, if a thread needed to be moved to a different section). In most cases though, we try to keep moderation and participation in discussion separate.

In very few instances are mods allowed to call out an infraction and punish it all on their own. We do that if we get a drive-by troll, or if somebody flips out during an off time, but most times when we ban or suspend or even give a warning point there have been 3-4 staff members conferring about it behind the scenes. 

Honestly, I think some folks get bent out of shape here because they don't understand their own ideas enough to recognize the difference between the membership scientifically refuting it and being told (again) that it simply won't work. The leeway our rules give us helps compensate for that, I think.

Nice clarification, thank you.

Maybe more transparency would be nice too.

For example; "this ban has been agreed by 3 Mods & 1 Expert & 3 Members of the Jury" or something like that.

In order to avoid fury toward a specific Mod, as has been seen lately (and erased quickly)

Edited by michel123456
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3 hours ago, michel123456 said:

Maybe more transparency would be nice too.

For example; "this ban has been agreed by 3 Mods & 1 Expert & 3 Members of the Jury" or something like that.

In order to avoid fury toward a specific Mod, as has been seen lately (and erased quickly)

Or you can assume this is exactly what happens in each applicable instance. I don't want any more paperwork to do. Remember we're already spending the time backstage discussing whether someone is just venting and do they use fallacies a lot? and that's not very civil and they need to answer the questions and is this a sockpuppet? and that's bad science and wow that's a sneaky way of getting your homework answered.

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Also, everyone on staff is 100% volunteering their time to help with this, plus all of us members are here voluntarily and are owed nothing... 

Phi is super polite. My immediate thought, however, was:

 

Smails.jpg

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21 minutes ago, iNow said:

Also, everyone on staff is 100% volunteering their time to help with this, plus all of us members are here voluntarily and are owed nothing... 

Phi is super polite. My immediate thought, however, was:

 

Smails.jpg

I don't LOL that often lately, but this struck a chord. I got the part of a newscaster in a high school play because I used my incredibly accurate Ted Baxter impression. Years later I tried out for the voice of the judge in a local production of Twelve Angry Men and my Judge Smails was less well received.

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On 1/13/2021 at 6:16 PM, michel123456 said:

IMHO the issue with Moderation may arise when the Lawmaker, the Policeman, the Prosecutor and the Judge are the same and one person.

In the list I forgot to mention the executioner.

Yes this Forum is most generally well moderated, I have to concede that.

However my feeling is that, like many elements over the Net, the construction of a civilized virtual society is still under its way.

The several  Forums that exist on the Web, this one included, do not have a structure comparable to the outside world (as I know it): imagine if the policemen (the Mods) were not paid, as if the lawmakers (the Staff) were inventing laws by sniffing their fingers, as if politicians (the Owner) were not ruling at all, as if members (the Members) had no right at all, as if free speech (what is that) were to be invented, etc.

At this point of History, the Net is organized more like a middle age Kingdom, ruled sometimes by an enlightened monarch, sometimes by a brutal dictator. The French Revolution has not arrived yet on the Internet.

Edited by michel123456
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We don’t have enough staff to have the separation of function you are suggesting. And, as Phi noted, the steps taken take time, and more steps take more time. I would rather spend my time here in discussion rather than engaged in moderation, and I strongly suspect other mods feel similarly.

No need for a revolution. Nothing in principle is stopping you from starting up your own site, and nothing keeping you at a site that’s not mostly aligned with your needs. 

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31 minutes ago, michel123456 said:

The several  Forums that exist on the Web, this one included, do not have a structure comparable to the outside world (as I know it): imagine if the policemen (the Mods) were not paid, as if the lawmakers (the Staff) were inventing laws by sniffing their fingers, as if politicians (the Owner) were not ruling at all, as if members (the Members) had no right at all, as if free speech (what is that) were to be invented, etc.

Yes, this is forum if you don't like the way it run you can just leave.  Free speech, the police, lawmakers have nothing to do with this privately owned forum.

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Sadly, the facts are simply that in society [and this forum] It is compulsory that we need  lawmakers, policemen, judges, and yes, even the odd moderator or two!

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38 minutes ago, michel123456 said:

However my feeling is that, like many elements over the Net, the construction of a civilized virtual society is still under its way.

Of course! Hopefully you feel the site has become better since you joined over a decade ago, and if you stay it should continue to improve.

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