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jca's avatar

Is it possible there are no mods on Fluther for over 16 hours, and if so, what is going on?

Asked by jca (29283 points ) May 20th, 2014

There’s been this ridiculous question on Fluther in General since yesterday – one of those “what does my dream mean” things. It has spelling errors (for example, “bin” for “been”) and is about 6 lines long. In other words, one of those that would and should definitely be modded off asap.

I flagged it around 3 pm yesterday. It’s now 6:44 in the morning and it’s still up.

There’s a discussion on FB about the erratic modding on this site. Sometimes things are aggressively modded, seemingly inconsistently, and other times (like the dream question referenced above), not modded for a very long time. I have been confused myself at some threads in Social, which were modded so heavily (in Social? Really?) and not for flame or insults, that they are virtually unreadable. Some Jellies have expressed frustration and quit, or decided to keep their profiles up but stop coming around (in other words, quit without quitting).

I love Fluther. I give any mods credit for their volunteer work. I was asked to become a mod a few months ago and declined because I don’t have the time to dedicate to the arduous task that it would be.

However, I am shaking my head with the General “dream” question that’s been up so long. It’s baffling that this has been allowed to stay up. Nobody’s minding the ship? Yet other times ripped apart threads erratically?

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61 Answers

ucme's avatar

The modding has always been biased & erratic, but dare mention it & the over sensitive pinheads rattle their cages & foam at the mouth in defence of their “gods”
Overall the mods do a fine job & i’ve no complaints or even care about it the majority of the time, but sometimes it’s so blatant, the denials are kind of embarrassing.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Please don’t tell me @Cruiser and @Symbeline are too pissed off…

I find the persistent existence of that dream question odd too. The mods can sometimes be inconsistent like that I think. I have learned to put up with it. But that dream question… the mods seem to be out of character today…

But I still don’t understand why everyone is so pissed off. I mean… I don’t find that kind of inconsistency particularly frustrating enough…

jca's avatar

@Mimishu1995: I’m not very pissed off. I’m curious as to what is happening and asked the question to see if others feel that way. That’s all. It takes way more than this and not from a website to piss me off!

Mimishu1995's avatar

@jca I think I have pretty much the same feeling as you. But I don’t know if the mods’ inconsistency is the reason why @Cruiser left and @Symbeline acted strangely today…

cookieman's avatar

I have noticed more SPAM than usual popping up. S’okay though. I assume, as they are volunteers, the mods have other, more pressing, real-life concerns. Also, without @augustlan here riding herd, there may be less consistency.

dxs's avatar

I noticed yesterday that @Cruiser left and I was so bummed. What’s this talk about @Symbeline?
Does the site need more moderators? I’ll PM Hearkat if they are in need because I’m always here.

JLeslie's avatar

Sure it’s possible. There is no scheduled time the mods have to be online. If you flagged it smeine is sure to see it I would think. Without the flag it is more luck whether or not a mod finds a problem.

FlyingWolf's avatar

I disagree wholeheartedly with the assertion that the moderation here has always been biased and erratic, or that mod practices are not to be discussed. I believe the mods have always done their absolute best to be fair and apply the guidelines in an unbiased manner. That being said, I do think that in the absence of a leader who has committed to visiting the board several times a day and leading the group is clearly hurting the moderation process.

The question you mention is still up along with two more new dream questions and a couple obvious spam questions. My main issue is that questions such as those detract from Fluther’s quality and most likely deter users. That is a bummer because lack of strong and effective moderation is what will likely lead to the site’s demise.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I agree about the bizarre modding in Social. I questioned it once recently (within the same thread) and received a coldly-worded PM telling me to fill out a form if I had questions about the moderation process. This tells me that no one is even bothering to read comments.

It’s plain that the mods don’t have time to handle the workload. What’s not plain is what, if anything, can be done about that.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Something happened
Spam cleaned up.

09:38 EDT 5/20/14

turtlesandbox's avatar

Fluther lost its biggest cheerleader when Augustlan left. She held this place together when Ben and Andrew left for Twitter. I don’t think it will ever be the same without a leader like her. She was caring and personable. Dealing with moderators now is like dealing with an automated answering system. Fluther has lost its heart.

Seaofclouds's avatar

[Mod says] Yes, it is obviously possibly as you saw. There are currently 6 moderators. We volunteer our free time and that means we are not here every minute of every day. I know this is a source of frustration for many users, especially when some questions get pulled almost instantly, because we happen to be online at the time, and others get to stay up for hours. We are actively trying to come up with a solution for our time constraints.

[As myself] I’m sorry our users are getting frustrated with the moderation. Depsite what many may think, we are trying very hard to keep things going well for Fluther. I understand many of you feel lost in regards to where to turn for specific answers that Auggie use to handle. I’m sorry that we don’t have one set leader, but that is unfortunately the hand we are left to work with and we really are trying our best. I am always willing to answer any question someone has, but it may take a little while for me to respond. I will admit that I have very little time for Fluther these days. I started school last week. I now work full time, go to school full time, and have a family (husband and 3 kids) to spend time with as well. I’m sorry that I’m not here more for Fluther and while the thought of stepping down has crossed my mind, the idea of not being here to try to help keep Fluther running as smoothly as possible leaves me feeling like a failure. When Auggie asked me to become a mod, I was honored and privileged. I have a strong sense of duty to Flutehr and will not give up just because my time is tighter than it use to be. I hate seeing the discord on Fluther right now and wish there was a quick fix. Fluther means a lot to me and to many of you. Only as a team (the regular users and the moderators) can we keep Fluther running smoothly. Now I must get back to some studying/lecture watching/paper writing. I will be keeping my e-mail and Fluther open to see if anything else pops up.

jca's avatar

@Mimishu1995: I wasn’t aware Cruiser left. I was actually talking about someone else.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@turtlesandbox I have to agree with you. I believe the only way for Fluther to reclaim its heart, is for someone with the same dedication and experience as Auggie to step up and fill the void she left. I don’t think that is impossible, but it will definitely be a challenge, especially in light of the exodus of Fluther vets.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@FlyingWolf Unfortunately, I do not believe it is as simple as having someone step up. When Auggie stepped down, there was a decision made not to replace the community manager position and to instead have a mod team handle everything. This decision came from Ben. As far as I have heard, there is no plan to have a paid community manager again. Of course things could change in the future, but that is how it was explained to us when Auggie told us about the change.

jca's avatar

The person I was referring to was someone who, on FB, made mention of his upset with the erratic modding (he wrote a question that got modded off, and he didn’t feel it was justified). He said he is keeping his profile up but just taking a break.

@Seaofclouds: I have never complained about the moderation before. I don’t write that many questions and when I do, I try very carefully to word them properly and use proper spelling and punctuation, and adhere to the rules. The reason I brought up this question about the dream was that it was so obviously “bad” – badly written, way too long in the question portion, with improper spelling as I referenced above (“bin” for “been” to name one of a bunch). What I didn’t understand was that I flagged it yesterday around 3 pm (maybe earlier, not sure) and yet as of this morning around 7 am it was still up. That tells me there are no mods at all for that long, which is quite a long time to have nobody checking. That, coupled with the users who have expressed frustration in the FB Tide Pool group are what made me ask this, now.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca There’s a FB Tide Pool group?

jca's avatar

@dappled_leaves: Yes, it’s secret. Are you on FB?

What would be nice is if all the Jellies who are on FB would raise their hand. That’s a whole ‘nother question.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@Seaofclouds while it may not be a panacea, someone stepping up would certainly be beneficial to the site. The leadership vacuum is clearly causing some of these issues. I say that because when there was a community manager who dedicated a certain amount of time to the site daily, questions such as those @jca mentioned would not be around nearly as long and the spam is better controlled. Obviously it is the site owner’s call, but I think if Fluther is going to be around long term, selecting a community manager will probably have to be reconsidered.

filmfann's avatar

If there are 6 mods, and they are here a generous 3 hours a day, that still leaves 6 hours each day with no mods, at least, since there may be times when 2 mods are on at the same time.
We all need to calm down. This site isn’t going to the dogs, yet.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca Not as dappled_leaves, sadly. But thanks for the info – I wouldn’t have expected there was a secret group for a public website. :)

jca's avatar

@filmfann: But as many users do, the mods probably are not on 3 hours straight. I don’t know about how you “Fluther” but I check in often throughout the day. Even if each checked once every twelve hours, that would eliminate the Question being up for as long as it was.

filmfann's avatar

@jca That would be true, if there wasn’t a back up of things that needed addressing.
My current fluther pattern is to be on about ½ hour in the mornings, and check in for 5 minutes a couple times during the day.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@jca I didn’t take it as you complaining, just explaining that yes there are times we aren’t around. For example, yesterday when that question was flagged, I was at work. I work 12 hours shifts. I got home at 8pm. On the days that I work, I get up at 5:30am, leave the house at 6am, and often don’t get home until 8pm. While I can check my Fluther e-mail on my phone at work, I don’t get on Fluther unless there is an emergency (like a major spam strike or major personal attacks going on). When I got home last night, I proceeded to put my two youngest children to bed, spend some time with my oldest, and eat dinner. After all three kids were in bed, I spent some time catching up with my husband (as yesterday was day 3/3 for 12 hours shifts at work and we hadn’t had much time to talk all weekend). By the time my husband was heading to bed, and I was getting ready to get on Fluther, my youngest woke up with a fever and lots of congestion. I sat up with her rocking her until almost 2am. Then I crashed (after having been up almost 24 hours). When I woke up this morning, I had to get all 3 kids up and ready to head to school/daycare. I then got some breakfast, got my school stuff together, and then opened up my laptop. I addressed the issues as soon as I saw them. I can’t say for sure what the other 5 mods were doing, but life happens and it is quite possible that we may not be able to get on at a given point in time or even a given day. As I said, we are actively working on a plan to correct this issue.

While this explanation may have not been necessary for you, I feel like more and more users want explanations of everything we are doing and why we aren’t doing what they think we should be doing. So here it is and back to my studying I go…

Mimishu1995's avatar

@dxs Go to @Symbeline’s profile and you’ll see. I’m just worried she will do the same thing @Cruiser did. She is a good jelly and I really admire her. I’ve just PMed her but so far she hasn’t replied.

@jca I have never complained about the moderation before.
I think I don’t either, to some extent. Sometimes I am confused as to why things are modded, but I never really complain, as I only think: “the mods have their own reason”.

@Seaofclouds I understand. And given the fact that all of you are from the almost same timeline, there can be time when all of you guys aren’t around. At first I didn’t have any particular issue with that dream question because I just thought “the mods may not be here”, but now that question has stayed there for so long (longer than I expected), I wonder what was up with the mods too.

jca's avatar

@filmfann: I fluther the way you do, too. Checking in throughout the day after one initial long session.

@Mimishu1995: I’m glad it’s not just me who was wondering what was going on.

Coloma's avatar

I pay, virtually no attention, to what the mods are doing. Now that it has been mentioned, I did notice the obvious flaws in that dream question, but I figure the mods are volunteers and get to things as they are able. Now the sad news that @cruiser and @symbeline might be gone, that really bums me out. Two outstanding jellies and this pod can’t afford to lose some of it’s best and brightest from the fluther pool. Bah!

FlyingWolf's avatar

@filmfann I would tend to agree that Fluther isn’t going to the dogs quite yet, but I would also assert that the Dr. J’s glory days may be behind him and the hiccups in moderation could be hastening the site’s decline.

Disclaimer: I do not blame the mods in any way shape or form. I know for sure that the moderators do their very best to do all they can to keep the site top notch, the realities of life sometimes get in the way and yesterday there was the perfect storm that caused problem questions to be up way too long. A new community manager might go a long way to help prevent that from happening in the future.

jca's avatar

Why did Cruiser leave?

Coloma's avatar

^^^ ? No idea.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@jca I was bewildered at Cruiser’s leaving too. Before he left he changed his avatar, just like Symbeline did now. And aside from that, there was no sign of him ready to leave. It just…

JLeslie's avatar

Auggie left? Gone gone?

gailcalled's avatar

She is still here as a jelly . She resigned her post as community manager in March.

http://blog.fluther.com/why-auggie-is-both-happy-and-sad/

turtlesandbox's avatar

As someone mentioned before, Cruiser has left many times before and he always comes back. Many of us do this. Life gets busy and becomes more important than Fluther.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled Thanks! I’m so happy for her!

josie's avatar

There is definitely a Mod bias on this site. And that is all I have to say to say about that.

jca's avatar

@turtlesandbox: Yes, there are others who do the same – come and go. Just curious if it was one of the issues mentioned here why he left.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I find the moderation here to be quite delightful and even-handed. I say Keep Up the Good Work Mods!

—As for that dream thread with the misspellings in its title, let’s please keep that going a leetle longer as I am getting some serious GA points ~~~ Hey, wait a sec. it’s gone. that wonderful dream question which i so expertly analyzed?
*sniff *

Maybe you guys are right about the moderatin’ here. Did I lose all my GA points when the question got deleted?

jca's avatar

I’ve been chastised via PM and on FB for commenting on threads that are going to be modded off.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Commenting on threads that are going to be modded of, such as that dream question and spam, make extra work for the mod team because we remove the comments as well as the original question. Flagging works fine by itself, we just need time to take care of the question. The more activity those questions receive, the more they pull in, making more and more work. That is why we ask users to not comment on such questions.

@Dan_Lyons No you don’t lose any points earned on deleted questions.

Coloma's avatar

I have zero desire to get my panties all in a wad over who or what or how something is modded. I have no complaints against the mods. and when I get modded, I deserve it, my off topic penchant that rears it’s head now and then in a moment of unconscious non-linear babble. I think the mods do a fine job.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I’m sorry if I caused extra work on that dream question the other day @Seaofclouds but I just couldn’t resist because the OP just set me up for it.

I never comment on the spam threads, not even to say I flagged it. (One of the mods stated earlier in the month how this causes you mods extra work).

gailcalled's avatar

@Seaofclouds: Why do some people here find that request so hard to comply with? Mods have asked it over and over.

syz's avatar

@jca On the issue of checking in for a few moments during the day, that doesn’t necessarily work. When I was modding, I would get 3–4 hundred emails from Fluther a day. It takes quite a while to go through them all.

Honestly, I haven’t noticed anything different about Fluther. Same old, same old.

Symbeline's avatar

I just want to tell some of you guys, yeah I think I need to take a break from here, but none of that has anything to do with how the moderation works. Auggie told me last night on FaceBook that most mods were not available for a while, which is why that question remained. (and it’s gone now, so…) This was explained to me before I made a decision to go on a break, and I have nothing against any of the mods or how things are done. Do I think it could use work? Yes, but they’re doing what they can. I sure as fuck wouldn’t do it, so until I’m willing to, I,m not oging to nitpick on the small stuff.
Whatever the case is with them, my beef isn’t with them. I should have wrote it in my profile that I was on a break though, and I will fix it after this. I do apologize about that.
So mods and everyone else please don’t worry, I am not dissatisfied with how things work here, but right now Fluther isn’t the place for me and I have to take care of some other shit. I’ll keep in touch with those who want to, and you can find me on FB as well.

ucme's avatar

<sobs like a baba with a shitty nappy>
@Symbeline Who the fuck am I gonna have a laff with now eh?
I don’t do facebook & now i’m gonna miss you & that makes me sad <whimper>

downtide's avatar

It really makes me sad that people perceive bias in our moderating when we are struggling to find enough time just to keep on top of the spam as well as everything else. However I can assure you that the rules are enforced equally for everyone – even if it takes us longer sometimes to get around to dealing with it. Unfortunately I wasn’t around at the right time to deal with the dream question.

We get hundreds of emails every day from Fluther, not just from flags but also us mods mail each other to ask for opinions on modding decisions especially when something might be controversial. We are a team, and some decisions can’t be made without some kind of consensus amongst us, and that may also mean waiting longer for action to be taken.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

One other thing. There was a Q&A social kind of site sponsored by Facebook, I think it was minekey. it no longer exists due mostly to no moderation and a-holes taking advantage of that fact and just ruining the thing until all that was left were the trolls and spammers.
Thanks to the Mods here, Fluther is quite enjoyable and for the most part has some really cool jellies.

downtide's avatar

If you want to see what a Q&A site without moderation looks like, just take a look at Answerbag. Many jellies quit AB for good reasons (myself included).

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Dan_Lyons I remember Minekey. It was originally called iThink (I believe) and I loved it then but when it became Minekey it also became shit!

hug_of_war's avatar

I have no issue with how fluther is moderated, but I feel decisions like ben/andrew no longer having an active presence here and the community manager position disappearing are bad for the health of fluther.

I think it’s a hard situation when it’s all dependant on volunteers. It makes me sad a bit to see how much fluther has deterioated, and that we all have to adjust our expectations. There is no going back to the way things were, even just a few months ago when we still had a community manager.

cookieman's avatar

^^ Yes. That.

jca's avatar

My comments about 16 hours being too long a time period for there to have been no mods checking in was not an insult to the mods, it was more a tip off to the site’s management and owners that there’s nobody minding the shop.

I understand the mods are volunteer and I appreciate the work that they do, and understand that whatever they do, their labor is free.

Seaofclouds's avatar

The problem is that their is no management to inform and the owners have moved on. It is a hard situation.

jca's avatar

Like I said, a ship without a captain.

jca's avatar

@Seaofclouds: Yes, but someone made a conscientious decision not to keep Augie. There’s someone, somewhere, keeping track of what goes on. When Augie got paid, someone either wrote out her check or paid a payroll administration company to take care of it, handle the direct deposit, etc. When she left, someone somewhere made a decision to not replace her. So although we think of it as “there is no management to inform and the owners have moved on” there is someone backstage who is aware of what goes on.

cookieman's avatar

^^ Yes. That too.

Coloma's avatar

Well, I think the Fluther crew is pretty good at captaining our own ship, I see no signs of mutiny and the occasional pirate does walk the plank. Maybe not as quickly as some would prefer, but, all in all, I don’t see any major issues going on here that can’t wait a few extra hours to be rectified.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I agree completely with @Coloma. I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal that a crap question was left for 16 hours. If it was still there a week later and more crap questions were appearing and going un-modded, then I would understand the concern but right now I think that there’s a bit of over reacting going on.

longgone's avatar

I think the mods are doing fine, considering they are working for free and dealing with a lot of abuse. I’m sure there have been cases of moderators going over the top, but I do believe they’re trying to be fair. In Mod I trust, I guess.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’m not annoyed about it at all. I just feel a bit strange (as I have never seen a need-to-be-modded question stay for so long). And I’m kind of confused as to why some are pissed off by the mods so much that they… “overreact” (like @jca said).

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