The moderators are fine, but the moderation policies are probably Fluther’s biggest drawback. The only reasons to remove a post should be for spamming or serious personal attacks. And there should be a neutral appeals system.
OK… Well, I loved this site and thought it had great quality answers, but I noticed my questions were asked to be edited. When this happens, you have to edit the question before anyone else can see it again. Well, I’m not on Fluther very often, so my question slowly gets pushed farther and farther back. When this happens, after I edit the question and it is good to go, I notice that after a while still no one is answering. If it stayed on the main page and wasn’t asked to be edited for “more details,” I would actually have answers. And they say this is because they want you to be able to get more quality answers, but I would rather have less quality answers than no answers at, so it defeats the whole purpose of the system. For example, one of my question was “Should drugs be legalized or not?” It’s not that complicated that people have to have details to know what I am talking about. And I barely even know anything about this drug issue, so I want the answerers to give me their details.
To address your example, ”Should drugs be legalized?”, if I had seen that question I would have flagged it as being too broad, without details. There are gazillions of drugs, lots of them illegal, you could mean anything from illegal street heroin to marijuana, and I wouldn’t have known what you were interested in. If you say “everything” there are many issues involved with each drug, it’s just too broad a question! If your question about 13 being a normal age to watch CNN indicates that you are actually 13, then learn something, here. Address a more specific area of your interest and you will get some genuine, helpful, and informative feedback. There are many questions here every day, and I’d personally rather answer one that I can address in a narrower focus.
I’d just like to qualify my earlier remark. That was just a play on words, couldn’t resist. My true feelings however are that they are solid gold, bless their ickle hearts. Of course I have my favourites, but that would be telling now wouldn’t it :¬)
Yes, I like the moderators. I have never had a problem with anything that I have had removed. One personally followed up on a post I flagged that didn’t deserve it by PM. She just posted a clarifying question and the poster’s response then made perfect sense. They have their different styles on how they moderate, yet I have to run across one that seems better than another.
I think that there are 14 of them, and a few are in my Fluther collective; not for their title, but for the fact that I value their questions and answers. And yes @chels, you are all good looking. I have no idea what you all physically look like, but from a personality aspect, it is indeed a true statement.
@Drewseph It sucks that your questions get pushed down with editing. Perhaps you could run your questions by one of the mods (while you are getting use to the standards here) before asking to make sure it will meet the guidelines or stick around for a bit after you ask the question to be sure it doesn’t go to editing.
There are things I don’t like on Fluther (but the general question category cured most of my concerns—I just don’t go there because it is frustrating to me that people don’t google some simple factual answers). As for moderating, I get very annoyed with questions that don’t make any sense and the moderators keep me from my worst self by getting rid of questions until they do make sense or require them to be altered to include spelling that can be deciphered, etc.
Nope, all things considered, I don’t think I have the constitution to hang out at other Q&A sites where precision of language has no value. It is too easy to tangle with folks over a misunderstanding—at least give us a question we understand before the conversation devolves (and, yep, we have mods for that too). Fluther fits for me!
And this question should have been added to the Meta section and not the General section. Perhaps the question should be, “Will learning to follow directions on Fluther make my real life easier?” And the answer to that question is a resounding yes. In addition to all the interesting stuff you can learn on Fluther that you won’t learn from people your age, learning how to be a better writer, pay attention to detail and direction, and reworking something that has been returned to you because it’s not right, being accepted by people who are older than you is not usually something that happens IRL. Moderators return things to you to be corrected because it matters to the overall quality of Fluther. Why would you NOT like that?
@Cirbryn : Do you also get pissed off if your letter to the editor of a newspaper isn’t printed? And of course you had to use the word “censorship” as if quality control to maintain coherency is a bad thing, and an absolute indicator of a Fascist state. Suck it up, write better and you won’t get modded.
@Cirbryn “Power trip” implies that we get pleasure from pushing questions to edit or removing off-topic quips. Quite the contrary actually. None of us enjoy having to push a question to a user or remove quips taking a question off-topic or attacking others.
We get pleasure when the site has awesome questions and focused discussions. I am thrilled when we attract awesome new members and keep existing members because we are a place that values intelligence and has standards.
I just can’t help but wonder why people stay on Fluther if they dislike the guidelines. Just as @augustlan said, I am here because that is one of the things I like the most about Fluther. There are plenty of Q&A sites out there where you can do and say damn near whatever you want.
Anyone worth their salt will test the boundaries to see how far they can go. A kid doesn’t appreciate their parents until they are kicked out of the house for a while. I didn’t appreciate fluther until they banned me for three months.
Now I know how far I can go. If I want to go farther, then I’ll cat around at frostcloud.com.
Well, I’m not on Fluther very often, so my question slowly gets pushed farther and farther back. When this happens, after I edit the question and it is good to go, I notice that after a while still no one is answering.
Moderators, is this true? If a question is asked today, and it gets submitted for moderation today but the OP doesn’t return to the site until, say, three days from now and edits it, will it still show up in the questions for today’s date, or does it get put in the ‘date edited and approved’?
If it stayed on the main page and wasn’t asked to be edited for “more details,” I would actually have answers. And they say this is because they want you to be able to get more quality answers, but I would rather have less quality answers than no answers at, so it defeats the whole purpose of the system. Anyone asking a question should certainly hope it would generate quality answers. Why bother asking a question for quantity of responses vs. quality? I asked a question once that was answered in the first response. That was good enough for me.
I’ve found that that the members of Fluther take responding to questions rather seriously, even if humor is used or we get off-track. After running across other Q&A sites where posts are not moderated in the intent to assist or to let anything be posted, I have no interest in participating. ‘To each his own’, it is said.
The moderators are tasked with providing assistance, and they do so. It is not their problem if it takes you more than a day log back in and edit the question. If your concern is about the visibility of a question in order to receive responses, it should be blamed not on the moderators, but on the way the system is designed, and more importantly on the quality of the question itself.
Oh they noticed @gailcalled. But you’re one of their favorites, so they let it slide. No really, when most people get the prompts of “the Nobel committee called…” or “We like your style…”, I always get “We like @gailcalled much better than you.”
No, I don’t like any of the moderators. I just pretend to because I’m a big suck up and try to curry favor with them so I don’t get modded so much. It doesn’t seem to be a very good strategy though, to be honest, because they don’t appear to play favorites and to be fair and reasonable most of the time.
Just kidding! Except for the last bit. I meant that part.
I like them. I can’t think of one I don’t like. I know some of the moderators better than others and Iike them, on a personal level, very much, as opposed to liking them just in their capacity as moderators. They’re all also members of the community who participate, in the same way the rest of us do; as the unique and interesting people they each are; they’re not just “the mod squad.”
The question is “Do you like the Moderators at Fluther?” Right? Not “Do you like the moderation Fluther?” That’s a different question for which I might have a different answer.
@Pied_Pfeffer – It is true and something I’ve noticed since I became a mod. I would personally like to see the edited questions placed back on top (or somewhere in the recent questions), as I feel like they get lost in the question stream if too much time passes between moderation and editing. However, I haven’t said anything to anyone about this because I’m fairly new and I figured there was probably a reason for it to work like this (such as perhaps motivation to get your question perfect the first time).
I like all the mods. I talk to Auggie almost every night (I promise to stop sending you those links…you know what I’m talking about lol) and I’ve had plenty of nice PM conversations with both Dog and MissAnthrope.
@Cirbryn Augustlan is not on any sort of power trip. Clearly you haven’t been around Fluther long enough if that’s your opinion of her. She is one of the main reasons I like this site as much as I do, and I know many others feel the same.
“I don’t consider “quality of prose” to be a good reason for censorship.”
I’ve got to disagree with you here, and that doesn’t happen very often :>)
I have seen questions on here that simply make no sense. They are unanswerable for that reason. Thus, they contribute little to the site. The person asking the question won’t get quality answers, and the users won’t get anything out of the senseless question. Such questions usually disappear very quickly., due to moderation.
This isn’t “censorship.” No one is stating “don’t ask this question”- just “clarify this question” or “clean up the grammar so we can understand what you are saying.” If someone does so, the question gets posted.
If every question asked by anyone, no matter how illiterate was guaranteed to be posted, then I doubt this site would be navigable or usable or enjoyable.
I edit at a quiz site. I routinely send back quizzes because the questions on them have already been asked on other quizzes. Do you consider this to be censorship? I don’t- because seeing the same question 10,000 times is boring to our users. Similarly, I don’t see a problem with sending a question here back because it’s already been asked too many times.
I am not stating that moderation is always perfect. I know about one of your run-ins with moderation, and I am on your side for that one. But, for any participatory site, moderation is very necessary for it to function well.
I do like the arbitration idea. I don’t know if anything like that exists here.
Hello? This question was readily available on my “activity for you” when I logged in. I think some people get hung up on immediate gratification and lose sight of the fact that Fluther is not like any other Question and Answer site.
It should be billed as a Question and discussion site. Discussion requires a functional level of quality of submissions to avoid falling into a “explain what you mean, I don’t understand xxx?” because you said blub, blub when you really meant blab, blab. We have enough of that with well written responses.
Oh, and I don’t even know any of the moderators, personally, but I do like the level of moderation on this site.
Yes I do. Some are very sexy, ahem Sarcasm, some are beautiful inside and out, all moderators, and I respect each and every one of them. They volunteer their time to do this job and I am certain they get a lot of shit for no reason.
@FutureMemory and @chyna Right there with you, I try to behave, really I do. But there’s just a little devil on one of my shoulders that sometimes gets the best of me. I, like you, am also a habitual offender in the “off-topic chatter and quiping in the general section” department. About 99 percent of the times I have been modded it has been for that. And I continue to do it, even though I know I shouldn’t and I’m going to get modded. Though it’s usually more about off-topic chatter, with the socializing in the general section, it’s more that I kind of forget where I am. I’m a chatter what can I say? But with the quipping? That’s mostly just willful disobedience. :-)
I like them fine. Auggie and Dog have been helpful to me a lot in my first days here.
However I must admit, I don’t always enjoy the results that come from what they must enforce, whether that’s dealt to me or another.
@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You’re going to have to try a lot harder if a little light weight swearing is all you’ve got. See at @ucme‘s comments on this thread. Not modded. You’re going to have to bring more to the table if you want to get modded for profanities and obscenities. :-)
@FutureMemory“Sometimes I just can’t resist posting in General with a Social style answer.”
EXACTLY!!! Ain’t that the challenge… It’s like swiping a cookie when mom’s not looking. It’s the Art of FlutherWar. It’s the joke that nobody gets, the punchline that few will hear. It’s a lil’ poke-n-jab to test the metal of all this seriousness. And if the seriousness cain’t stand a lil’ poke-n-jab, then in the immortal words of the venerable Mr. @johnpowell, “Keep Fucking that chicken.”
@gailcalled maybe most of the people @RealEyesRealizeRealLies knows in real life have extremely elaborate and abundant body piercings so maybe he usually is testing someone’s metal. Have you considered that? :-)
Yes, I like them! I like how they make themselves a vital part of this community by participating as regular jellies, and I love when they put on the parent hat by saying ”[Mod says]”—this alone makes me smile almost every time. It’s like having a parent on the playground who’s got your back, protecting us against bullies and jellies who choose not to play by the rules. This makes coming back again and again to the playground a safe experience, as well as a place to build a real community of people who actually want to help each other and communicate. I’ve never experienced anything like this online, and I’m thankful to the moderators who make it work!
Moderating is a bit like parenting… sometimes we have to do things you won’t like, but it’s for your own good. :)
And that is why, @augustlan, as an occasionally moderated child, I both hate you and love you all at times. I know you’re just doing it because you have to to make the site better, but that’s now going to stop me from running upstairs, slamming my door, and pouting in my room while playing my music real loud for a bit. ;-)
Nah, @iamthemob , he’ll probably just have a “moderators are Fascists” type question, next. He’ll post it in General, then get pissed when it’s moved to Meta, then say something about us all being humorless drones, then quit in a snit.
Moderating is a bit like parenting… sometimes we have to do things you won’t like, but it’s for your own good. :)
I remember one time Zen and I were kind of acting up, misbehaving on a thread in the general section, nothing bad really, just a little playful off-topic and unhelpful back and forth, and I think it was actually Zen’s question to begin with, but before we both got modded @augustlan popped in and said something like “KIds, I swear, if I have to pull this car over…” It was hilarious.
@augustlan All I can say is that many of you, many of the people on fluther, including the veterans, who should know better, are not terribly good about using the @ feature as far as I can tell, so how exactly am I supposed to know who you are talking to or talking about???? :-)
@crisw wrote: ” I have seen questions on here that simply make no sense. They are unanswerable for that reason. Thus, they contribute little to the site.”
Response: I was actually talking about removal of posted responses (“quips”), not editing of questions. Although I think drewseph pointed out some legitimate problems with the question editing as well. Questions taken off the front page for editing by the mods should be treated as new when the editing is completed, so they get the normal amount of time on the front page where everyone can see them. This is basic, no-brainer stuff. Additionally, we have one would-be moderator who thinks “Should drugs be legalized” is too vague to make a good question, despite the fact that it got 40 responses, and we have an actual moderator who claims it should have been “sent back” because it’s been asked before, implying that a question can only be asked once on Fluther, after which it’s considered off limits for all time. And this despite the fact that there is nothing in the guidelines regarding avoiding the duplication of questions, and despite the fact that newly-asked questions do tend to get new and different responses.
But my actual point regarded posted responses rather than questions. “Clarity of prose” is not a good reason to remove someone’s post – unless possibly if the author is immediately provided a copy and afforded an opportunity to fix and repost it. From what I gather that’s not normally the way it’s done. And because both the term “clarity of prose” and the actual guidelines are so uninformative regarding what merits removal, the moderators essentially have carte blanche to remove almost anything.
And as if that weren’t enough there’s the requirement to stay on topic, which sounds workable but actually isn’t. Most of the posts in this thread are off topic, in that they discuss the moderation rather than whether we like the moderators. At what point is a post so off topic as to merit removal? That answer will differ with different mods, and probably with the same mod on different days.
And even if I liked the mods a lot (most of whom I have no opinion about) that wouldn’t mean they should be given the power to arbitrarily remove people’s work. There’s a reason people bristle when the word “censorship” is mentioned. Removal of someone’s work is, and should be, a big deal. It should be a last resort, and it should be applied fairly and predictably – without arbitrariness. There are apparently people here who want to be treated like a parent treats a toddler. Personally I don’t swing that way.
@Cirbryn The reason the answers here haven’t been modded for being off topic is because it is in meta. Meta is the most relaxed of all 3 areas.
The thing about duplicate questions is that it depends on the situation and the question. If the last time it was asked it was a long time ago, they usually stay because they’ll get fresh answers. If it was just asked last week, it’s usually frowned upon. It’s just the way the site is run.
As far as censorship, this is a site with guidelines and the administrators of the site are allowed to set the guidelines they want to be followed on their site. If you don’t agree with it, that’s fine, but they are allowed to do so and we either follow them or get modded. This isn’t the only site on the internet that has rules and guidelines that must be followed. I’ve been on sites with more and less and I think what we have here is a nice balance. The mods aren’t arbitrarily given power, they were each individually picked for the job based on their actions as members of Fluther. They have guidelines they follow and they work together as a team. Everything they do is visible to all of the other mods.
If you don’t like the standards on Fluther, why do you stay? I don’t understand why you would continue with something when you obviously don’t like it.
@Cirbryn – Let me know if I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen any significant modding (or any real modding at all) in either (1) the social or (2) the meta sections (I recently asked one question that was the exception – but the moderated posts were, in fact, way to personal when I think about it, although I’m upset the thread got sort of destroyed Weezer “Sweater Song” style). The only real modding that you’re speaking of seems to be in the General section – and I think that the General section is a good way to keep people who want a question answered in a tailored way participating in fluther when Social can get derailed very quickly. Granted, there are always going to be times when it’s misused…but I think the balance is near ideal.
@Cirbryn:Re “clarity of prose”...the mods are not brooding about Nobel level discourse (they certainly don’t have time) but asking for writing that follows the guidelines.
A question that falls short is always sent back immediately to the writer with a clear reason and an invitation to correct and resubmit. I wrote recently about an imersion blender but spelled it “emersion.” Back it came; out it went. Did I feel infantilized? No.
Either stay, leave, or start your own .com site. And consider also writing a PhD thesis on a topic that will earn you something meaningful.
Ironically, @Seaofclouds mentioned two basic items of information that are not mentioned anywhere in the guidelines, and then wrote: “As far as censorship, this is a site with guidelines”.
Think about that. The whole point of guidelines is to inform people about what’s allowed and to prevent arbitrary punishments. You must think that’s important, since you just mentioned them. So why don’t they cover what you were just talking about?
@Seaofclouds wrote: “The mods aren’t arbitrarily given power, they were each individually picked for the job”
I’m not claiming they were grabbed off the street. I’m saying that without guidelines that actually guide, and without an appeals system to establish consistency, the best that any moderator can hope to accomplish is to consistently enforce rules that aren’t made clear, in ways that no one else is consistently using.
@Seaofclouds wrote: “If you don’t like the standards on Fluther, why do you stay?”
I don’t know that I will. I don’t spend much time here now. However some of the conversations are interesting. Do you really think the only two options are to love things the way they are or to leave? What about trying to improve things a little?
@iamthemob wrote: “Let me know if I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen any significant modding (or any real modding at all) in either (1) the social or (2) the meta sections”
Great. So what does that mean? Do we have to follow the guidelines for the social section or not? The guidelines say posts have to adhere to the writing standards, which in turn say that all content must be spelled correctly. So is that still true? Was it ever? If not, why doesn’t it reflect reality?
And why are there no guidelines at all for the meta section? Is it “anything goes” here?
@gailcalled wrote: “A question that falls short is always sent back immediately to the writer with a clear reason and an invitation to correct and resubmit.”
Great. How does that address the problem Drewseph raised? And what about posted responses that get removed? Are they sent back immediately to the writer with a clear reason and an invitation to correct and resubmit?
@Cirbryn If you don’t agree with being modded, you can always pm the mods and ask them about it. They will discuss it with you and go from there. Yes, some things are not clearly outlined in the guidelines (like the duplicate questions) and I agree that they should be.
I don’t think the only options are to love things or leave, but you seem to have a lot of dislike for the moderation on Fluther and I really doubt it is going to go anywhere. If anything, I could see the guidelines being updated to be more specific about homework questions and duplicate questions. I really don’t understand why you feel that there are answers being removed that don’t need to be removed or why you have a problem with questions being sent back for editing to be more specific. It’s a good thing for maintaining quality on the site.
The rules for general and social are different, you still have to follow the rules for the section you are in. It’s just that the rules are more lax in the social section. Answers that are modded do not get sent back to the person that wrote them. They are simply removed. If something is removed and you don’t think it should have been, pm @augustlan and discuss your concern about the removal with her.
@Cirbryn I’d like to address some of your concerns, if I may. The very first thing I’d like to point out is that normally a question that is vague but has prompted a good discussion before we see it will not be removed. In this particular case, there are issues that you are unaware of, and those remain between @Drewseph and the moderation team, unless @Drewseph decides to reveal those issues. Suffice it to say, we did have valid reasons for removing it.
On to the guidelines. I actually agree with you, in that our guidelines could be clearer regarding questions. In fact, this is a current topic of discussion among the mods and the staff. So, yes… they could be better, and I hope they will be in the near future. Even then, though, they probably won’t be perfectly clear, as there will always be judgment calls that must be made. Such is life with human moderation. In our opinion, it beats the heck out of the alternatives.
I also agree with you that edited questions should be reposted at the top of the page, rather than in the spot they originally occupied. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it is. Anyone who has been on Fluther for any length of time knows about this limitation. I’m honestly not sure whether the current set-up is due to technical difficulty or a conscious decision on the part of the site’s owners. In either case, it’s definitely something to consider.
As for removing answers… The guidelines are very clear as to what kinds of answers may be removed. Spam, personal attacks, and poor writing may be removed anywhere on the site. Off-topic and unhelpful answers may be removed in the General Section. If one is willing to post in violation of those guidelines, one must be prepared to have it removed. If an answer is very long, we often do copy and paste it in a PM to the member who wrote it, as a simple courtesy. In addition, any member may contact any moderator and ask for a copy of their removed question or answer, and we will happily provide one.
There are fourteen moderators, from a good cross-section of our membership, so no single mod could go on a power trip or anything silly like that. Anything that isn’t clear cut is discussed and decided on as a team. While there is no formal appeals process, there is a de facto one. Anyone may contact a moderator or myself to discuss why something was removed, and to present a case for why it shouldn’t have been. It doesn’t happen very often, but we do reverse our decisions from time to time. We are, after all, human. We do make mistakes every now and again.
@Cirbryn – I’ve only seen one person get modded for not meeting the quality standards – and it was only after (1) there were several member complaints, (2) the person continued to post repeated posts with bad grammar, spelling, textspeak, etc., (3) the person was contacted by a mod, (4) the person outed the mod, and refused to change their postings. Otherwise, the clarity of prose and spelling issue are dealt with in the gentle manner brought up in this thread. It seems that many would rather not know why a question was modded or flagged – or really that it’s proper to just contact the moderators, and they get plenty of flack for modding when people think it’s inappropriate. Finally – a lot of answers that are modded are done so because they are also flagged – therefore, there is much of the time two levels of review before anything is taken off. Considering that you can contact the moderators, as @augustlan, there is already a de facto appeals process for it…so there seems to be upwards of four or so levels of review if necessary.
This may get me some flack, but really, @Cirbryn , is anyone’s prose so deathless here that it is above reproach? The mods go out of their way to to send posts back to the user that have obviously had a lot of work and thought put into them. But to get so upset? Really? I don’t think the Nobel committee is hanging out on Fluther waiting for posts on which to make their decisions. I learn a lot from the intelligent discourse here, and I think it can be valuable, helpful and insightful, but if it is that important, for God’s sake go to a place where it will have an impact on the grand scheme of things.