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iamthemob's avatar

Should we have an option to view moderated responses?

Asked by iamthemob (17123 points ) January 1st, 2011

A lot of people complain about the modding – my opinion that it’s fine and generally located in the general section, but that’s my opinion.

Do we think that if there was a “view” option on moderated responses, allowing the individual reader to see any posts that had been taken off as unhelpful, off-topic, etc., it might help (1) lessen the complaints regarding moderation and (2) help the moderators get more general feedback about whether the community thinks it was fair to take a certain response down?

NOTE – My one caveat to such a system would be that there should be no option to view a response moderated due to “spam” or “personal attacks.”

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54 Answers

marinelife's avatar

No. Being able to view the moderated responses sort of negates the moderation, doesn’t it?

Seaofclouds's avatar

It would be an interesting idea (since I’m always curious what was there), but I think it would defeat the whole purpose of it being removed in the first place.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds, @marinelife – I feel like that depends on what the purpose of moderation is.

The thing is, the thread would always initially appear as moderated, so if the purpose is to keep out the clutter that’s not undermined.

I feel like the only purpose that would be undermined would be one where the intent is to prevent users from seeing certain things, which makes it a little nefarious.

Do you think there is a neutral purpose that’s undermined?

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it’s also to stop any further quips in response to the moderated response. If we don’t see the response, we can’t respond to it. If we suddenly have the option to see the responses, what’s to stop someone from responding to it, and thus further derailing the question?

I don’t consider moderation having anything to do with removing clutter, just strictly to prevent the further off topic responses, unhelpful responses, or personal attacks that would follow the answers that were removed had they not been removed.

SavoirFaire's avatar

No. It’s exactly as @marinelife and @Seaofclouds say: being able to view what has been moderated negates the moderation; and if we can see the moderated comment, we can respond to the moderated comment.

HungryGuy's avatar

I agree. At least temporarily (say 24 to 48 hours). A link that lets you see moderated comments will allow all to judge for themselves whether the comment was removed fairly or not and to discuss the moderation. I think such a feature will go a long way toward ending the moderation arguments. And whoever wants to blindly trust the moderators is still free to do so by not clicking the link.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds – that’s one that I thought of as well. I think you’re right, but I wonder if it would be a huge drawback. Plus, although it might make the thread look more moderated, those little gray bars aren’t a big interruption.

The thing is I feel like this is a bit paternalistic. If the purpose is to stop us from responding to off-topic responses, the assumption is we can’t recognize something as off-topic more often than not. The nature of the thread wouldn’t change – it just might look a little more moderated. So the integrity of the OP is maintained.

And if there are a lot of people who end up responding to something the moderators have deemed off-topic, it indicates that the decision might have been incorrect.

@HungryGuy – I think tailoring it so that the view is temporary is an interesting change. And that discussion is precisely what I think would (1) make the forum more democratic, and (2) allow for the moderators to do their jobs better.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Looking at it from a site admin’s point of view though, a question full of moderated responses because they allowed users to see and respond to moderated responses would look really bad. It would look tacky and take away from the site, especially for someone new to the site that didn’t realize they could see all the moderated responses.

Also, multiple responses to one off topic response doesn’t mean the off topic response wasn’t off topic, just that multiple people were interested in adressing it in one way or another (which could still be off topic from the question that was asked).

As far as discussions about moderation, I really believe they should be left between the question asker, the person that was modded, and the mods and be left in private. I really don’t think the rest of us need to be involved in it because it just acts as a distraction from the site and what the site is really about. There have been numerous questions about moderation and they all turn out the same.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds – I agree. I think that making it temporary would help fix that. But I also think that more often than not people would not simply respond to an off-topic answer, but would more than likely incorporate the off-topic aspect of the response into something more on-topic.

As long as part of the response is on topic, it would still be valuable therefore.

I don’t disagree that it might just be as you described – but I think it’s more possible than probable.

AmWiser's avatar

If a response is modded, the person that was modded should rephrase their answer if they think it is important enough. Also they do have the option of asking a moderator what exactly was wrong with their answer.

Math321's avatar

I have a solution.

The moderators can choose whether the response is viewable or not after modding. If it’s viewable, there’s a little button that expands/retracts the post, if not, you can’t click on it to open it like usual.

Or…
If you have a certain amount of lurve or higher you get to see modded posts.

Are either of these good ideas, or do any of you have a idea for post moderation procedure changes?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Math321 I think if a mod is going to decide that an answer be viewable after modding, they they just shouldn’t mod it to begin with. Having a high lurve score doesn’t mean those people won’t response to the moderated quip, so it defeats the purpose of having removed quips to begin with.

I’m always curious about what was modded, but it’s removed for a reason. Allowing us to see it and therefore respond to it defeats the purpose of removing it to begin with. If a post could be deemed viewable, then it shouldn’t have ever been removed. Plain and simple.

I get that we all want to know what was there, but moderation serves it’s purpose. If there is a question about why something was modded, the question asker and the person that was modded can ask the mods about it and go from there.

The only way I see it working would be if there was a stipulation that we were not allowed to respond to the moderated posts and anyone caught doing so would be punished for violating the rules. It would have to be a harsh punishment though in order to keep people from further responding or else it would be pointless. Honestly though, I don’t think that’s a good idea and would end up hurting the site more than helping.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@HungryGuy If we had discussions on what got modded, all we would ever discuss on here was if something was unfairly modded. Hell, that’s a good chunk of what we discuss as it is.

iamthemob's avatar

@papayalily – Then what’s the difference? ;-)

SavoirFaire's avatar

@HungryGuy I agree with @papayalily. From past experience at other sites where users could see moderated comments, the discussions about moderation only got worse after the removed content became available again.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I don’t think so, no. As has been said, that negates the whole purpose of moderating posts. I understand the reasoning behind this idea and I also know there are people that take the whole concept of moderation rather personally, but the moderation team is fair and there is a system of checks and balances in place to ensure that things are running the way they should.

As always, if you don’t feel like something should have been moderated, the best and most constructive thing to do would be to contact the mod team. I have restored posts that I had personally censored, after the user presented a respectful and thoughtful argument. I saw they were right, and I unmoderated it.

Another option, which no one hardly ever takes for some reason, is to take off-topic discussions and start a new question, where the discussion would be fitting. I think emotions tend to run high sometimes, we get into it with people, and we don’t want to budge for some reason. I suppose it’s easy to transfer those heightened feelings onto the moderator, who is interrupting the discussion.

I have to say, though, I don’t really understand, if the discussion is so important and engaging, why folks don’t just take what is off-topic on one thread and make a question for it, so they can continue! A lot of times, we don’t pull posts because of the content of these discussions, so there is nothing inherently wrong with them, it’s just that they get posted in General and have to be removed because they violate our posting guidelines.

augustlan's avatar

There is a slight chance that we’ll have threaded responses in the future, which would allow members to view off-topic responses or not (but never spam or personal attacks). It’s pretty unlikely at the moment though.

HungryGuy's avatar

@augustlan – That sounds like a good solution to me. The contention isn’t over spam and personal attacks, but rather that one person’s definition of “off-topic” is different than another’s.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@augustlan The ability to view off-topic responses does not seem inappropriate to me. It’s all the other categories that seem worth keeping hidden.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@MissAnthrope I’ve stopped doing it because the conversation never actually moves to the new question. It’s a really good idea that somehow dies in practice.

janbb's avatar

Since little developemnt is going to be done on the site for at least quite a while, I find these discussions somewhat moot. Is that an off or on-topic comment? :-)

iamthemob's avatar

@janbb – it’s in Meta, so there’s little concern. ;-) Besides, it’s still important to talk about.

janbb's avatar

Sure – let’s talk away!

Dog's avatar

I also want to add that we really try NOT to remove quips. If in doubt it stays.

If need be and there are flags we confer with one another or ask @augustlan to make the decision before removal if it is borderline.

janbb's avatar

(I have borderline quip disorder. Just sayin’)

Not_the_CIA's avatar

One way to go is to do it like Reddit. Only the really bad shit gets deleted. Other stuff that gets “flagged” enough by the community gets collapsed so you can see it if you want.

But most off the stuff there is 400+ replies so most never bother looking at the collapsed stuff. And it is threaded so you barely see the responses to things that were collapsed.

I still think Fluther is to small for threaded comments.

Response moderated (Spam)
Response moderated (Spam)
bob_'s avatar

I’d actually like to read the personal attacks.

augustlan's avatar

@bob_ I can personally attack you via PM, if you like. Kinky!

janbb's avatar

Yeah – him and his damned sandwiches anyway!

bob_'s avatar

@augustlan I’m listening.

iamthemob's avatar

All you motherfuckers who want to read the public personal attacks – fuck you! You’re all fucks…

is it real? is it?

bob_'s avatar

@iamthemob I’ll see you in court, beeyotch!

iamthemob's avatar

From your closed circuit television in jail, motherfucker.

bob_'s avatar

@iamthemob That, I am.

Also, you should call your mother more often. Just don’t be surprised when I answer the phone, punk.

iamthemob's avatar

@bob_ – You’re right…dammit. I should…

iamthemob's avatar

PS – Can I just point out the amazing fact that there are moderated posts on this thread? Ahh, so appropriate…

HungryGuy's avatar

No. I don’t want to read personal attacks. Personal attacks need to go pronto!

But, for the record, what started this latest brou-ha-ha… Another jelly posted what he believed to be an on-topic post in a question in the General section. His post was censored moderated. He posted a follow-up post defending how his first post was on-topic and asking that his post be reinstated. Instead, not only wasn’t his post restored, but all subsequent discussion was censored moderated.

Now, we don’t know what discussion subsequently went on between him and the mods in private, but the fact that his original post was never restored reveals the lies that moderators lean toward keeping posts that are in doubt and that they are willing to listen to differences of opinion.

And that’s one of the problems with censorship. You only hear the side of those in power, and “negotiation” is kept secret.

Now, that jelly and the mods may very well have come to a mutual agreement about the nature of that original post, and I may be all wet here. But, again, due to the censorship moderation, the truth of what happened is, effectively, a secret. And that’s another problem with censorship, it leads to rumors and distrust.

augustlan's avatar

For the record, we have thoroughly addressed ^^ this situation with the member in question. He is free to reveal the details of our conversations, or not, as he sees fit, but we won’t. It’s his privacy we’re protecting, not our own.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Ah, “censorship.” The cry of the spoilsport. Every moderator everywhere has been accused of censorship at least once, yet the vast majority of unmoderated communities—which do exist for those who prefer them—are virtually unbearable for anyone of even moderate intelligence. If you think this community is worthwhile, the odds are quite high that you have the moderators to thank for it. And if you don’t think this community is worthwhile, either make it better or leave.

JilltheTooth's avatar

What? Over 40 posts here and no one has used the word “fascist” yet? I thought that was a requirement on any Q with the words “moderators” or “moderation” in it. Hmmmmmm. Must’ve just missed it in my perusal.

iamthemob's avatar

We did just get the “c” word ;-)

JilltheTooth's avatar

We always get the “c” word. Waiting for the “f” word, and a bit later, the “n” (Nazi) word. This is starting to sound like a kindergarten song!

JilltheTooth's avatar

I find it interesting that it’s writers that get so upset about this. I would think by now that they would understand that editing and rejection of submissions sometimes are part and parcel of the process, and maybe should have developed a slightly thicker skin.

bob_'s avatar

@iamthemob Who said cunt?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh, @bob_ , that’s just the stapler talking. ;-)

janbb's avatar

Now his “stapler” talks??

iamthemob's avatar

Is stapler a euphamism? Did I miss that? I think it should be. I’m going to start that up in the northeast, yo…

JilltheTooth's avatar

@iamthemob : Too late! janbb and I already did!

janbb's avatar

@iamthemob You’re a day late and a dollar short. Can’t keep up with the dirty old ladies!

JilltheTooth's avatar

Jersey Girls Rock!!!

janbb's avatar

Yeah, big hair, stilettos, tattoos and all!

Dog's avatar

<—Taking notes.

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