Meta Question

hearkat's avatar

Did you know that Fluther is not a Social Network site?

Asked by hearkat (22728points) June 27th, 2014

I understand the the blog post is very long, and it seems that some Jellies didn’t get the heart of the message: We are very lucky that Fluther is allowed to continue at no charge to us.

Here is the key paragraph from the blog:
Although our founders have moved on to other career opportunities and now have families of their own, they have allowed the site to remain up, and free for members to use. Many of us have experienced the disappointment when other sites that have closed, so we owe it to the founders of Fluther to uphold their vision of what they want the site to be out of respect for what they created (which still bears their names), and out of appreciation for them allowing us to continue to use their servers and site. We have been in touch with them regarding this transition, and there will be no changes made in the Guidelines at this time.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

FOR EXAMPLE:

If the site doesn’t physically support most foreign languages, can’t you simply respect the guidelines and use English?

If the founders want the Question Titles to be safe for work, is it really asking too much that you put a little thought and effort into phrasing the title carefully and adding an [NSFW]?

If the site was developed and designed to be an educational Question-and-Answer site, can’t you stay on topic in the threads with the understanding that the goal is to helpfully discuss the question for all the collective and the internet to see, and to hold your casual conversations in the chat rooms and Private Messages?

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

We don’t have one “Manager”, we currently have six – which means that each of us has authority and abilities that Auggie had: we each have our own whip. We have clarified the rules and guidelines with the Founders (in which it was indicated that they don’t want the site to turn into YouTube comments), and we are enforcing them as consistently as we can.

However, the members of the Mod Team are on the verge of burnout because so many Jellies want to gripe and complain about what we do – even though we are simply doing our jobs for which we get no pay and little recognition. If the team implodes, the site will likely close. Is it really too much to ask those that have FREE membership on the site respect the parameters in which we have to operate?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

228 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Amen, sister. Any way to make this required reading for every member? I guess not.

Mimishu1995's avatar

When I first joined, someone used to tell me that this site is a social network site. And somehow I feel that there are some aspects of this site which resemble a social network site.

However, I respect the mods and I try to obey the rules except for those unspoken ones that I may break because I don’t know.

Well, don’t use any languages other than English? Oh right, no more language duel. Keep the question safe for work? Right, I’ll find another word. Stay on topic? OK, I learned a big lesson from the time when I tended to derail things and I try to refrain my inner demon though I don’t always win.

Are there any more rules that I have to learn? And one question: can game threads stay?

dxs's avatar

For me, it’s educational in a social way.
The guidelines are fair enough. If this place bothered me as much as I see it bother some other people, I’d just leave.
This is Internetland for crying out loud. Go make a difference somewhere that it actually matters…all you’d be doing here is whining.

cookieman's avatar

Sure.
Now, have a cookie and take a breath.

El_Cadejo's avatar

“the site was developed and designed to be an educational Question-and-Answer site,”

That’s laughable at best. Sure it’s where it started but it hasn’t been that for about 5 years now.

“Does he like me?” “whats does this dream mean?” “should I ask her out?” “what should I name my cactus?”

Pachy's avatar

I, for one, am sorry our mods have to defend themselves. They’re simply doing the guideline-enforcement job they volunteered to do, and members who don’t agree with and follow those guidelines—or who don’t like the kind of questions and comments on the site—are always free to go elsewhere.

And by the way, I’m not crazy about many of the Q&A’s myself, but still I find great social value in the site.

jca's avatar

“If the site was developed and designed to be an educational Question-and-Answer site, can’t you stay on topic in the threads with the understanding that the goal is to helpfully discuss the question for all the collective and the internet to see, and to hold your casual conversations in the chat rooms and Private Messages?”

I am not one to use foreign phrases and I don’t believe I have ever asked a “NSFW” question (but wouldn’t swear to it that I haven’t). However, I am I am confused as to why there is a division between General and Social, if Social is not for off-topic discussion. I thought I remembered when Social was created, that’s what it was for, specifically. Can someone please clarify?

CWMcCall's avatar

I find it interesting that this is being made such an issue

“If the site was developed and designed to be an educational Question-and-Answer site, can’t you stay on topic in the threads with the understanding that the goal is to helpfully discuss the question for all the collective and the internet to see, and to hold your casual conversations in the chat rooms and Private Messages?”

and I would think it not be an issue except for the fact that it seems some of the long term members are the worst offenders of the above guildeline.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@jca Responses in social are allowed to ebb and flow as long as they happen during the progression of the original discussion (so a discussion about grilled veggies may become a discussion about favorite restaurants as long as it happened as the discussion progressed). Someone coming into a discussion in social and stating something completely unrelated (to the current discussion) or starting “chit chat” with a specific user is not what social was meant for. That is how there can be off topic answers in the social section. Those interactions are best suited for the chat room or PMs. We clarified this with the founders earlier this month.

Responses in general are suppose to stay related to the actual question asked.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@CWMcCall Because as I said above, it’s been this way for literally years here, even when Ben and Andrew were running the site, I can find you questions with well over 300 off topic responses.

I’d also like to clarify what I said above, I don’t so much have an issue with the site or anything, but I see it how it actually is now rather than what the guidelines claim it is.

downtide's avatar

I have announced to the other mods my decision to step down, effective immediately.

It has got to the point where I just dread opening my fluther email because I know it will be full of more of the same rubbish – people complaining about our decisions and posting trollish questions for the sole purpose of pushing our buttons and seeing how far they can stretch the rules, for a laugh.

If your aim is to drive us away, congratulations, you’ve won.

If your aim is to get Fluther closed down, again congratulations, keep it up another week or so and you’ll achieve that too.

I hope you’re all proud of yourselves.

I don’t think I even want to participate here as a user any more.

Coloma's avatar

@downtide Awwww….this sucks! I’m sorry.
I can say I have only complained once, 4 years ago when a very abrasive member called me a nasty name I never have complained to a mod about anything. Why is it so hard to just get along and have fun, learn something new?

Bah Humbug!

downtide's avatar

@Coloma {{hugs}} I think the people I addressed that to, know who they are.

CWMcCall's avatar

@El_Cadejo That is what makes this recent focus of attention of the guidelines ever more curiouser seeing you’re saying that it has been this way since inception. I just hit stop following if and when the thread becomes idle chit chat.

tinyfaery's avatar

Amen, sister. That is why I hated the move that separated general and social. I really think that had a major impact. Just answer the fuckin’ question, really.

It sucks that being a mod is such a trying position. I try to be good. The mods are awesome. Maybe what we need around here is a boat load of suspensions.

Some people just can’t learn. That’s why we can never have nice things.

marinelife's avatar

I find the tone of your post hectoring and schoolmarmish unlike the blog post, which was admirably even-toned. I am going to choose to go by what the blog says not what you say, which is not helpful.

Desipte your annoying question, I try, as I always have, not to make work for the mods.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@CWMcCall Not saying I don’t do my fair share of the idle chit chat, but I always wished the guidelines were more strictly enforced, especially regarding questions.

@tinyfaery I agree with you completely. The split was a dumb idea, hated it then, hate it now. It gave refuge to a lot of the shitty questions/answers.

hearkat's avatar

@marinelife – Since I wrote the blog post as well as this question, perhaps you will consider that this question was a reaction to the fact that the moderators are frustrated, as our recently departed @downtide so clearly expressed.

Aethelwine's avatar

I find it fascinating when people complain about hating Facebook, a social media site, then spend time on Fluther all day just as a person would do on Facebook. Some questions here might as well be Buzzfeed quizzes, and some questions here might as well be Words With Friends.

At least with Facebook I can control the audience for my questions and I know I will get supportive and helpful answers for my problems, and no one is going to tell me how ignorant I am or what a horrible person I am.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Speechless here…

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Fluther shouldn’t also be used as a platform for “TELL ME I’M RIGHT.”
@downtide That was actually pretty infuriating for me to read, but I understand. It’s not cool that people pushed your buttons and made your job harder than it should be. Thanks for being a mod.

JLeslie's avatar

I think the social aspect of this site helps keep the site going. The relationships we develop with each other is part of the draw for many jellies I think. I go to webMD maybe once a month, but I come to fluther every day, because I like the humor, I like seeing my familiar internet friends.

At the same time, I do understand why it is important to stay on topic, especially in general. However, sometimes I learn a lot during a tangent, and if it had been done in PM I might have missed out on it. I think it depends how off topic it is and if it can eventually be tied back.

I have to wonder if NSFW questions are asked more than once by an individual jelly in a way that is unnacceptable? I would think once someone is told the rules they take it seriously and any future sex questions are done correctly. I think people expect new jellies to read all the rules, and I think that is unrealistic.

Overall, I like the modding. Some mods are definitely more brutal than others. You can kind of tell which ones are such sticklers that it drives them a little batty when people are not complying as they should.

Recently I was modded, which I deserved, and the mod was nice enough to copy paste for me in a PM the part of my answer that did have useful info so I could repost it, which I really appreciated. I realize I created work for the mods in that case, but being treated with a little understanding that part of my answer had some worth rather than be scolded and just deleted in total was really appreciated. I don’t think we should feel adversarial with the mods, we should all be trying to preserve the integrity of the site.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You are absolutely right that it is the social aspect that keeps us going @JLeslie. I mean, we can find the answers to our questions elsewhere on the net, but we want input from our friends, people we “know,” not some random, computer generated answer. In that respect it IS a social networking site.

jca's avatar

I agree with @marinelife and will take a spanking, if necessary, for saying I agree with her. I also agree with @JLeslie that it is the social aspect of the site that is enjoyable.

Berserker's avatar

I am going to use this thread to declare, from now on, I am no longer, besides flagging spam, getting involved with any guideline/moderation related subjects/discussions, ever again. My aim was never to piss anyone off or push buttons or anything of the sort.

Aethelwine's avatar

It could be possible that the social aspect of Fluther is what drove many people away and is the reason why there are so few members left.

just a thought. don’t know if it’s true

Dutchess_III's avatar

You could be right @jonsblond, but what would this place be like without the sociability? That’s what brought them here in the first place.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Do the mods know? Most of them have answered that question, which is a social media-style announcement, not a question for a strict Q & A site.

As others have said, this site has a distinct social flavour, and has had for many years. Especially with the drop in active members, there has to be a reason for people to check in to Fluther, so that they’ll see new questions in their fields of expertise. We talk amongst ourselves until that happens. This is evidently not 100% distasteful to you – you do sometimes join in these conversations.

jca's avatar

@dappled_leaves: Good point. Wishing someone well for any occasion (which has been done many times over the years), or saying you’re sorry about someone’s sick relative or death in the family or sick pet are “social network” types of discussions. Whether it’s considered a social network or was intended to be one, it seems to have become one.

hearkat's avatar

[Mod Says]

As we mentioned in the blog and above, we have included the Founders in this discussion and asked them what they were OK with, and we were instructed a couple weeks ago to stick to the Guidelines as they are.

Meta is where the collective talks about the collective – it is the place for those occasional congratulatory and well-wishing types of conversations, and can be more ‘social’ in nature. This is why it has the loosest moderation on the site. The names chosen for the sections are rather misleading, and that has been discussed on the site plenty of times, but again – there are no changes being made at this time.

This post is referring to Fluther as a whole. The General and Social Sections are places where the site was meant to be for helping others by answering questions directly (General) and discussing more abstract concepts and ideas (Social). There is no clear definition of the sections, because there are conversations that can be posted in either section. We’ve had OPs choose General because they don’t want sarcastic replies, even though the question leads to more opinion-based replies than factual answers.

The greatest exception to the Guidelines are the game threads. Originally, games were not allowed at all. Somewhere along the way the decision was made to allow them and to have them in Social; however, they would be better-suited in Meta, since it is interplay among Jellies and not tightly moderated. This may be one of the factors that has led to confusion about the intentions of the sections. Hopefully, the blog entry and this post will clarify things.

Just as across all humanity, there are people who crave more social interaction than others. Some Jellies in this post have mentioned that they never wanted the social aspect to the site, and some state that it is what brought them here. Yes, Fluther straddles the line because we do have a sense of community – and we do value that. However, just like in the real world, there is a time and place for everything – General and Social are for Q&A, while chat rooms and PMs and Meta Lurve parties are for socializing.

marinelife's avatar

@hearkat OK, if you wrote the blog post too, I’ll forgive you for the tone of this question. I am not sure what prompted it. I thought that the comments I read about the blog post were pretty positive in tone.

I am very happy, on the whole, with the moderation on this site and always have been. I realize that it is hard work, and that it is a labor of love for those who do it.

I am hoping that the topic of moderation can be put to bed, and that people will endeavor to follow the guidelines. I very much wish @downtide would reconsider.

Blondesjon's avatar

<—Totally agrees with @hearkat and doesn’t get all butt hurt when his wrist gets slapped.

lurve you fluther

dappled_leaves's avatar

The thing that rankles for me is this. The guidelines have not changed substantially over many years, but we are seeing a lot of effort lately being put into explaining what the guidelines are, especially directed at many of us who have been here for years and are quite well aware of them. There is a reason that you’re finding a need to do this: the guidelines are being interpreted differently by some, resulting in the removal of posts which would normally stand unmolested.

If last year, it was perfectly acceptable to say “Merci” as a lighthearted thank you to a jelly who also knows French, then the modding of such a comment this year raises questions. And it should raise questions! The guidelines did not suddenly change. What changed is their interpretation by the mod who removed the comment. Whereas before, such a comment would be ignored, now it is “creating work for the mods! Don’t you know we’re overworked?” Well, of course the mods are overworked. They have always been overworked – so why are they creating more work for themselves with this nitpicking?

My observation is that there is currently a small minority amongst the mods who take the guidelines so literally that by enforcing it using their interpretation, they are actually changing the character of Fluther. Whereas I used to be strongly sympathetic to the mod plight, I now picture the modding process as a strict school marm gritting her teeth and muttering, “You will sit down and be quiet and colour between the lines!”

This is all the more baffling when the modding is not for anyone’s apparent benefit – comments are removed from threads that are a couple of days old, which have long since become a conversation between 2 or 3 people in Social. Who cares? What is the harm in allowing that to continue? And frankly, how do you have time to comb over aging threads looking for something to be offended by? The mods are overworked!

Has anyone in the mod team suggested that, say, there be a bit of a backing off in Social, so that we can all just breathe here? Would we really suffer more as a community if the whip were reserved for General, spam, and personal attacks than we do from its constant flicking at our fingers? I understand that mods are lately feeling defensive, and will circle the wagons, but I find it very difficult to believe that you all speak with one voice – this voice.

jca's avatar

And then we have things like this, flagged by me a week ago because of the spelling in the question. How is that ok to leave up? This is very confusing.

http://www.fluther.com/173080/how-can-i-convince-my-parents-to-let-me-live-with/

chyna's avatar

Seriously, can’t we just stop all this and move on? At the end of the day, this is just a question and answer site. A place to visit. It is not ours and, as @downtide says, if the bitching doesn’t stop, this place will close. So your question gets modded or your answer gets modded.
Stop complaining and move on.
The mods have a very hard job to do and it saddens me that all this bickering has forced @downtide to leave.

CWMcCall's avatar

@jca Why on earth would you feel it necessary to flag a question because of spelling or grammar. The OP is clearly from another country and even absent that reality, I don’t think anyone posting in the tide pool should be flagged for spelling or grammar. This is Fluther not Oxford. Sheesh! No wonder the Mods have their undies in a bunch over cry baby crud like that they have to deal with probably hourly if not more.

hearkat's avatar

@jca – We do allow a little extra leeway for new members, especially if they are non-native English speakers – especially if the post is seeing activity. We send them a PM to let them know about the Guidelines. We do intend to go back to address it when the activity calms down, but sometimes other stuff happens and we get busy and forget.

@CWMcCall – the guidelines do call for proper English. We advise non-native English speakers that while we do appreciate how challenging English is, it is to everyone’s benefit that the content on the site is understandable. We know that people have different language backgrounds and education levels and are accessing the site via different technology platforms. We can forgive a typo or auto-correct error here-and-there, but we do ask all members to put their best efforts into using proper English when contributing to Fluther.

jca's avatar

@CWMcCall: I was taught long ago by Augie that spelling on this site is important. My flag for spelling is not in itself making the mods busy. “Cry baby crud?” That’s a matter of opinion, but some may feel that things being removed for an occasional French phrase is “cry baby crud” (as you so eloquently put it).

What was not clear is why the new mods are so stringent in some areas (like foreign phrases) but yet not others (spelling, as I pointed out above, for example). Previously it was the opposite, and so to question things shouldn’t be seen as a negative or something to be punished for (as @tinyfaery said, “what we need around here is a boatload of suspensions”) but should be a good thing. This isn’t North Korea, after all. We can question, things may change, things may stay the same, things may evolve or revolve. The mods and the owners have the final say, of course, but what’s the harm in questioning and discussing?

Furthermore, if the mods are upset at being kept busy, maybe they’re busy not from my occasional flag for spelling, but perhaps from their self imposed newly stringent moderation of certain types of issues but not others.

As far as @downtide leaving, it’s sad when any Jelly leaves, as the Collective is like a neighborhood, and he is valued, but when one announces that they’re leaving (which has been done by many), instead of just leaving quietly, seems to be looking for sympathy or people to beg them to stay.

chyna's avatar

This isn’t North Korea, after all. We can question, things may change, things may stay the same, things may evolve or revolve. The mods and the owners have the final say, of course, but what’s the harm in questioning and discussing? @jca There is no harm in questioning and discussing. But to do it over and over and over…..
As I said before, enough bitching will get this site closed down.
As far as @downtide‘s announcement? This wasn’t for pity or sympathy. It was to say “the mod job is over.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

@CWMcCall The spelling and grammar are probably the #1 rule around here. I like it. It keeps most teens and riff raff out. Hopefully it encourages a more mature and intelligent type of person to join.

jca's avatar

Good point, @Dutchess_III. I like it along with “no text speak.”

@chyna: @dappled_leaves made the point that the mods seem to be making their own work. It’s lovely that they’re gung-ho but they seem to be making things toughest for themselves. I can’t say it any better than @dappled_leaves. I’m not bringing up the topic “over and over.” However, if I read posts that I disagree with, I will discuss as I feel necessary.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Blondesjon has important stuff to say…

Blondesjon's avatar

Fluther has incarnations.

During Fluther’s last incarnation it was perfectly acceptable for @gailcalled and I to whisper to each other in Finnish. It was fun, but it didn’t necessarily make Fluther, well, Fluther. Guidelines or no, @gailcalled and I were able to continue our torrid love affair.

During this incarnation whispering to each other in Finnish gets modded, but it doesn’t necessarily make Fluther, well, Fluther. Guidelines or no, @gailcalled and I are still able to continue our torrid love affair.

I call it a win/win.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’d be a mod, but no one will let me. :)

Also, the older regulars that were here a very long time left due to the socialization and chat style threads. The new regulars seem to have made fluther a place to be social instead of answer questions.

The original purpose of fluther is gone and something new, but not necessarily better, has taken its place.

Why do people get so worked up? It’s just the internet. Words on a screen.

Aethelwine's avatar

the older regulars that were here a very long time left due to the socialization and chat style threads.

The older regulars saved their socializing for the chat room. Once they left the chat rooms died. Didn’t we have about 5 rooms at one time?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think the social section made it better. From what I heard, most people did. We still have General so people have a choice. If they don’t like the socializing, they can just stay with General.

muppetish's avatar

I have always believed, when I was an average-jelly and as a moderator, that questioning moderation is healthy for the collective. It’s productive to ask Meta questions where we hold discussions about the community and the way it functions. Not only does it demonstrate that users are invested and care about the direction of the site, but it also offers all parties involved a dose of perspective. It’s important to revisit the Guidelines. It’s necessary to assess, and reassess, our calls as moderators. It’s also vital that we take a clear look at what we want this site to be as a community.

When the collective cried out that the moderation lacked consistency, we listened. We agreed that we needed a bigger staff for fuller coverage of the site (which is in the works… we hope), but we also agreed that before we can hire any new moderators we needed to make sure that we had a solid grasp of the Guidelines we would be training those moderators to uphold. We wanted a consistent staff and that takes time.

One problem with being consistent is that it either requires that we relax the guidelines or that we tighten them—a wishy, washy, gray middle-ground will leave too many holes. And while there will always be some holes (believe me, we know), we want to minimize them as best as we can. I want everyone to know that we DID consider whether we should loosen some of the Guidelines (particularly for the Social section.) We picked apart which ones would need to stay rigid and which ones could pass if they relaxed.

However, when we presented some of our ideas to Ben, to check how he ultimately wanted the Guidelines to be interpreted, we were advised not to loosen them. Fluther was designed to be a Q&A site—one free of the txtspk and chattiness observable on other websites. Despite the lengthy conversations we held about possibly changing our approach, we agreed to uphold his vision of the site. We are moderators; not the founders. We uphold the Guidelines; we do not create them.

I realize that from the user end, it looks as though we are finding problems that don’t exist. But we are not on a witch hunt. We read flags. We weigh situations. We annotate and e-mail. Check and double-check.

When it came to making difficult decisions, we combed through archives of questions to see how previous moderators handled situations (including foreign language which experienced different levels of commentary over the years, and different levels of consistency 2009 2011 2013—and NSFW questions 2011 and 2011) and also held (or in the case of foreign languages, continue to hold as we are not finished discussing the issue at present) extensive discussions. We have pages worth of e-mail. We don’t take situations lightly. We have varying opinions.

We need time to work things out.

I appreciate user input; I do. Being called lazy isn’t useful input, though. Being told that we aren’t doing our jobs “correctly” isn’t constructive criticism. Just as users don’t want the mods on a witch hunt for potential Guidelines violations, we don’t want to feel like our lives are under a microscope, either.

I could have quit this morning. It’s not the first time I’ve thought about it. Part of me still wants to do it. But I want to see this site through, and I hope that everyone will see it through with us.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hang in there Mods.

jca's avatar

Thank you, @muppetish, for a great, level headed explanation. It was nice and descriptive without feeling like a lecture, as some of the mods’ explanations did above.

JLeslie's avatar

Even though I also have felt some things have been over moderated lately, I will defend that it is really hard for mods to catch everything that should be moderated. Flagging obviously is the best way to get something at least reviewed.

As far as foreign language. Just a day or two ago someone wrote an answer in Spanosh to me. When I replied my answer in English made it obvious what the person had said, I did it on purpose some someone who does not speak Spanish would understand, and we both stayed in English after that. I hope that one Spanish sentence was not modded. I don’t know if it was. That was logical within the conversation and didn’t leave people out.

CWOTUS's avatar

Meh. The site is self-destructing anyway, partly because of inconsistent and heavy-handed moderation. No wonder they’re burning out; it’s self-immolation and martyrdom.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I don’t think announcing one is leaving is always just to get attention or begged back. I think for many jellies they really enjoy their time here and they are upset they have to make the choice to leave. They are venting to friends.

jca's avatar

When I google “Social Network site Fluther” a bunch of stuff comes up including the preachy question here.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Is there some sort of recent spike regarding the bitching and nagging, or are the mods just wearing down from the constant load? It’s unavoidable that a place such as fluther is going to attract its share of folks with “wiring” issues, but I’m surprised that the load is so daunting.

PhiNotPi's avatar

@stanleybmanly The load can be daunting. Most people are probably unaware of the numbers involved. The mod team can receive over 400 emails in one day.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Man. Are they all bitchy and whining?

You know folks—If we can’t moderate ourselves,we’re going to lose Fluther.

CWMcCall's avatar

@jca Instead of flagging poor spelling why do you not just become a mod? I hear there is an opening.

janbb's avatar

@muppetish That was a wonderful post – very levelheaded, explanatory and clear. The best of Flutherness.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Pretty much every good point has been stated. There is not much for me to say now. As a stupid jelly who just joined for a year, here are my thought:

I am one of those who come here for the “social” aspect (maybe among the minority). I like the social aspect. It connects me with the jellies here. I come here not only for questions and answers, but also to have fun, to share thoughts. I am generally sastisfied with the current status of Fluther, and I have almost no complaint for the mods.

I know not many people want the social aspects. I’m OK with that, no objection. I just personally like it. I picture the social aspects as “develop a close-knit relationsip, get to know each other better, and relax”, not “be an attention-seeking bitch, ask unreasonable questions, and chit-chat everywhere”. I still have fun, but I still try to stay on-topic when I think it’s necessary (though I’m not alwayss successful). I may not like a question/think a question is stupid, but I still try to answer as objectively as possible.

I want this site to just stay this way (which some allowance for some playful foreign language posts if possible) so that Fluther remains an educational Q&A site while jellies can still have fun. Without a few social aspects, this site is just like a cold answering machine to me. For a cold answering machine, I can use Google.

I always love Fluther for all the clever members and the fun I have. Fluther is one of the gem I find on the internet. I’m sorry for all the troubles the mods have to suffer lately. Sometimes I may question the mods, but that’s because I’m curious, and want to know more so that I know where to go. I respect everyone here and don’t want to piss anyone off.

I know that what I’m saying is stupid but that’s just what I think.

@CWMcCall That’s what I want to, but no one lets me to.

jca's avatar

@CWMcCall: I was asked to become a mod by Augie, about (I’m guessing) a year ago. I said no. I could go back and look at my pm’s regarding our conversation, but I think it was a year ago.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Given there is a lack of moderation staff, I’d say people flagging problem questions and responses is a useful thing. Obviously, there are a lot of threads and posts to moderate. If mods can respond to flags rather than trawling to find problems themselves, that has to help them resolve problems.

It does seem there’s a lot of angst about how people view the site and demanding people follow rules and behave in a specific way. The more rules there are and the more complicated those rules are, the more difficult they will be to apply. The guidelines don’t seem that complicated to me. As to the use of foreign language and the like, as I said on a different thread, context is everything. Moderators have to use common sense when applying rules and members need to use common courtesy when writing posts. If everyone tries to do that there might be a lot less anxiety.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I vote for @Mimishu1995 for Mod!

ragingloli's avatar

I guess it is time for you then to rename the “social” section to something else.
How about “General 2”?
The social aspect is the only thing that keeps Fluther relevant and alive.
also I flagged this question for not being a real question

CWMcCall's avatar

@jca Truly I appreciate your interpretation of the writing standards originally set forth by the founders. I would argue that a lot on the internet has changed since they set those lofty writing standards. It is apparent that many of the Jellies here are logging on on tablets and cell phones now and using text speak and voice recognition at times that often will create less than perfect grammatical and spelling contribution as those devices lack easy to use spell checkers. To now demand perfect grammar and spelling IMVHO will slow down the process and make it tedious to engaged the “social” process that Fluther is today. I would promote dialogue over Oxford approved content. I have yet to see any ‘gross’ abuses of the English language set forth here and to flag and nit pick over grammar and spelling IMVHO just deflates the process and injures the poster who I hope is here just to have a little fun in their day. Poke someone enough times with grammatical or spelling complaints and they will go elsewhere, that I can gurenty!

downtide's avatar

@jca “As far as @downtide leaving, it’s sad when any Jelly leaves, as the Collective is like a neighborhood, and he is valued, but when one announces that they’re leaving (which has been done by many), instead of just leaving quietly, seems to be looking for sympathy or people to beg them to stay.”

It’s actually neither of those things. It’s more like a warning. Because if things don’t change there will be no more Fluther. I used to love this community but what has been happening here in the last few months makes me think there’s no hope left at all.

I posted my resignation announcement publically because I desperately want this rebellion to stop.

That is all.

jca's avatar

@downtide: It is sad that questioning newly enforced guidelines or a change in the tone of a site is seen as “rebellion.” Do we accept everything in life or do we question things we don’t understand. Think about our rights that we take for granted – right for women to vote, labor laws, etc. Those things came about because people fought for them and questioned the way things were.

On Fluther, things were one way for a long time, and now they’re changing. Look, just above you, @CWMcCall takes issue with enforcement of spelling rules. That’s something that I like but maybe others don’t. It’s being more laxly enforced now, whereas it used to be more strictly enforced. Other things used to be lax, now they’re stringent.

It’s very sad that some feel what is going on as rebellion. I think that is a short sighted viewpoint.

CWMcCall's avatar

@jca I would point out that your incessant flagging of grammar and spelling errors tells me writing standards enforcement is worse that ever. Please just become a mod, it will be so much cleaner that weigh.

jca's avatar

@CWMcCall: When you say “incessant” you are making an assumption, as you have no idea how often I do it.

CWOTUS's avatar

Eye sea wot chew did dare, @CWMcCall.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve never even seen @jca correct someone’s spelling…

Coloma's avatar

Personally, I think it all comes down to individual personality, guidelines aside. I too enjoy the social aspect and I think it boils down to a conflict of temperament styles. Some people are more the, in the moment, free wheeling, bend the rules, lets have some fun, types and others are more the by the book, follow the rules, don’t rock the boat types.
It’s that simple. I am much more of a boat rocker and fun loving type, and while I respect rules, I also believe there is always room to soften the edges and allow for something new to unfold, and god forbid, some much needed levity. haha

I am not of an authoritarian or policing mindset and have zero desire to appoint myself as deputy and ride shotgun on anyone.

longgone's avatar

Hm. I was involved in the recent discussion about foreign languages, I don’t think the other points apply to me. I’ve been modded maybe three times, if that.

I’m sad to see @downtide stepping down, and @muppetish‘s wonderful post made a lot of sense to me. I think you mods asking for time to work things out is reasonable. Anyway…I’ve said what I wanted to say. I don’t plan to make a habit of griping about moderation.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Asking questions is the essence of Fluther. If asking questions about the moderation process is “rebellion” now, I don’t understand anything about Fluther anymore. How ridiculous. I’m glad not all the mods feel that way.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@jca It is sad that questioning newly enforced guidelines or a change in the tone of a site is seen as “rebellion”

While I agree with you, I still feel sympathetic for @downtide for making that statement. He is in too much stress right now, like the rest of the mods.

I think it would be better if people just question the mods calmly and avoid using statements like “inconsistence”...

Dutchess_III's avatar

You guys. Above one of the mods, I think it was @downtide, said that people push their buttons, pushing the line as far as they can, for no other reason than just to do it. That’s childish and just wrong and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be. We all need to act like adults.

The moderation has changed a little, so we need to change with it. If Fluther makes it through this, it’ll change again in the future.

Do we want to keep this site or not? You have to decide whether your desire to bitch is more important than the whole community.

janbb's avatar

I would hate for this site to degenerate into an us/them scenario. I think it’s clear that we sink or swim together, and sinking is ever imminent.

How can we question policy decisions or readings of the guidelines at times without the mods getting overwhelmed or feeling under attack?

Clearly, the last things we want is for a mass resignation of the mod team which would spell the end of Fluther, but is there a way to voice policy concerns?

I, for one, don’t care much about individual posts being modded off but do care when it seems like a reading of the guidelines that leads to a diminishment of quality on the site. Of course, I realize that that is a personal judgment call so maybe we users just need to back off?

And ultimately, the site is still up by the grace of Ben so his rules go.

One idea I had is to be stricter in Social as regards side-chat, foreign language usage and games, and allow everything except personal attacks to hang out in Meta. Just a thought.

Response moderated
janbb's avatar

@CWMcCall I don’t know about the instances you are aware of, but those have been the rules of Fluther. No misspellings, no txtspk and “use proper English.”

CWMcCall's avatar

@jca Please take a moment and think about what you just admitted to on this very thread.

“And then we have things like this, flagged by me a week ago because of the spelling in the question. How is that ok to leave up? This is very confusing.”

http://www.fluther.com/173080/how-can-i-convince-my-parents-to-let-me-live-with/

Really, was that necessary? So sad IMO and ruins the fun for so many newbies who are just trying to find a home for their thoughts. Just become a mod already and do what you feel the need to do behind the scenes already!

Seaofclouds's avatar

@jca One if the issues you are missing here is that we are not only dealing with users asking why we are doing things in a respectful manner. Instead, we are being called names like “lazy”, “ignorant”, and being told we don’t take our positions seriously when we are trying to explain things. Then, rather than having a discussion with us, users ask questions (not about the issue) just to get a reaction from us and other users. We also receive private messages that are verbally abusive and rude. This behavior is what was being referring to with the term rebellion.

Also, as we have tried to say numerous times, the decision to enforce the guidelines as they are written came from Ben just this month. We tried to get things changed, he told us no. Our job is to enforce the guidelines as the founders want, not as the users want, unfortunately.

@janbb we can have discussions respectfully and constructively. Rather than calling us names (as mentioned above) and just telling us we are wrong, it would be nice if users actually made suggestions. I have asked a couple users how they would prefer it be done and none of them gave suggestions, instead they left it with a “it’s your job to figure out” type of answer. That really doesn’t help with problem solving.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Seaofclouds One if the issues you are missing here is that we are not only dealing with users asking why we are doing things in a respectful manner. Instead, we are being called names like “lazy”, “ignorant”, and being told we don’t take our positions seriously when we are trying to explain things.

That’s what I try to imply above. Remember that question about why a question about names of some birds got modded? While I agreed with the OP in some ways, I think the way the question was worded and how the OP reacted to you were a little too much. Why not just calm down and sort things out in peace so that no one is harmed?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@CWMcCall We were all newbies at one time, and got modded until we got the hang of it. It’s kind of a rite of passage. If you make it through, you’re one of us. If you don’t, you just won’t be here.

You can’t let someone get away with awful spelling and grammar for a while, then expect them to miraculously change.

CWMcCall's avatar

@Dutchess_III Such a warm welcome and no wonder the attrition rate here is so high!

longgone's avatar

@Seaofclouds “We tried to get things changed, he told us no.”

That’s important. Thank you for letting us know. Before @muppetish‘s post, I was unaware Ben was even considered in these discussions. It makes sense, of course, but I had never thought about it. If those PMs are sent by (relatively) new users, it’s possible that they don’t entirely understand the process. At first glance, the moderation team does seem to hold the reins.

It’s unfortunate that the plea to keep criticism of moderation constructive is easily mis-interpreted as a ban on all criticism. Precisely the more level-headed users with a real interest in keeping Fluther running might be scared off by this. The jerks sending unnecessary PMs, meanwhile, will probably continue to do so.

janbb's avatar

@Seaofclouds Did you read my last post? I made a very clear suggestion in it. I also have never been derogatory to the mods.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Seaofclouds Yes, I made suggestions as well, and have never hurled abuse or sent PMs. Neither have I seen anyone call the mods “lazy” or “ignorant”. Asking questions and being critical of the modding process is not the same as being disrespectful, unappreciative, or “rebellious”, despite the lurve counts on all of these threads.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@janbb I never said you were. You asked, “How can we question policy decisions or readings of the guidelines at times without the mods getting overwhelmed or feeling under attack?” I was responding to that. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@dappled_leaves Just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen? Would like a link? A lot if that was said publicly, but some has been privately. I agree that asking questions alone isn’t the issue. It is the way some of the questions are worded that can be the problem.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@CWMcCall Welcome to Fluther! Prepare to be modded!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@dappled_leaves I’ve seen some folks say some pretty awful stuff about the mods, mostly on the Tidepool on FB. No telling what they’re saying in PMs.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Seaofclouds Oh, I’m absolutely sure it happens. But unfortunately, it isn’t happening in public, so when someone like me or @janbb asks questions about the modding, and we receive an answer that contains words to the effect of “People are always slagging us off for the modding”, it kind of sounds like we’re the ones who do it. And we’re not. I just want to make that clear.

janbb's avatar

I was taken aback by the foreign language prohibition because that was something we always had done and not been shot down from. But if Ben now says that the guidelines prohibit it – or limit it to some sections – that is what it is.

@Seaofclouds I truly understand that you guys get a lot of shit thrown at you and don’t like that this thread is descending into a shitstorm in which you must defend yourself yet again.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@janbb ”...don’t like that this thread is descending into a shitstorm…”

But… it isn’t though. Or it doesn’t have to. I see people here with questions, and I see mods trying to answer them – but there’s no actual abuse here, unless the original and quite provocative question counts. Just as @downtide sees a rebellion where there isn’t one, we shouldn’t rush to say “this is becoming a shitstorm” when it’s really not.

janbb's avatar

@dappled_leaves I see what you are saying. It just seems like the mod team is on the defensive and I don’t know how we can get away from that and talk productively.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@janbb It seems to me that the worst of it is coming from a now ex-mod. The others who have responded in this thread have been pretty even-handed.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t feel that this is a shitstorm either. I also don’t feel like I’m defending myself right now. I’m really just trying to bridge the understanding of what the mods have been going through and what we have already tried to do to fix it (such as talking to Ben). I want users to understand where we are coming from and what we have to work with. Unfortunately, even amongst the users there is disagreement about what would be best (as you can see in this thread alone). This shows more reason to have discussions, but we must keep what the founders want in mind when we have those discussions.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But the founders, when they were here, were obviously willing to move away from their original plans when things changed. The Social section is the result of that. Nothing stays exactly the same for ever. We all have to give a little.

I guess I don’t quite see what’s wrong with the way it is now.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Dutchess_III When we talked to Ben earlier this month, he said chit chat in social was never in the plan and that was what the chat rooms and PMs were for. He said the conversation could shift on its own, but things not related to that conversation and chit chat should be pulled. We were trying to loosen up the guidelines, but he said that was what he wanted. This is how there can be off topic responses even in social. We aren’t making these decisions and interpretations on our own. We have talked to Ben several times about them.

jca's avatar

I have never called the mods names like lazy or ignorant or any other negative name, either here, in p.m or on the Facebook secret group. I have not said nasty things about the mods, I have only questioned the modding practices of late and I’ve reacted to some of the “preachy” posts and the feeling of receiving a lecture and feeling like I’ve been a bad school girl.

I learned what is allowed and not allowed over time, mostly on rare occasions when I was modded myself (once was from not using capital letters when I started sentences. Otherwise, very rarely am I modded because I generally spell well and type well). I learned by being modded. I learned what the rules were and because I disliked being modded, I try my best not to repeat the same mistakes. Like @Dutchess_111 said, it’s a rite of passage.

From what Augie told me, and what played a big part in my not wanting to be a mod when I was asked, was that mods and Augie got nasty p.m’s from people reacting badly to being modded. That’s part of why I didn’t want to be a mod. I would take that stuff to heart.

It’s not ok for people to send nasty p.m’s to the mods or to anybody else, and it’s not ok to call names directed at mods or anybody else. My point here is that it’s nothing that just started recently from the present “rebellion” as it’s been referred to.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Seaofclouds Ok. I see where you’re coming from now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You know, this kind of reminds me of an old boss I had. As the front line to customer service, I got to deal with all kinds of nasty people. People would want to cancel their cell phones early, then rage about the $200 cancellation fee.
Occasionally I felt a customer had a valid reason to cancel with no penalty. My boss had to give permission for that to happen. She usually said “No.” Well one time she said, “No,” and I convinced her to take a particular call from an extremely irate customer. She folded in a heartbeat.

What is similar, is that Ben isn’t here. He’s not really seeing the evolution and he isn’t having to deal with the stuff you guys are. He’s hanging on to what was in the past, but that’s gone.

I really think the essence, the spirit of Fluther, is still here. It’s just carrying the flavor of the personalities.

I don’t know why people get so irate when they get modded anyway.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@jca No, the overall aspect of the behavior is not new, but it has increased to the point that all of the current mod team has considered leaving, and one has. The five of us remaining don’t really want to quit as we love Fluther and want to see it continue. We recognize that Fluther would not survive without mods. The spam alone would be overwhelming to the site/servers, let alone the other issues that would come up. We don’t want that.

I apologize if some of you feel blindsided and lectured by this post. If the issues we were having were with one or two users, it wouldn’t have come to this. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The issues have come from many users and we needed to reach all of Fluther to get things straightened out. That’s where the blog came from. The blog post lead to some confusion and issues, which lead to this post.

Aethelwine's avatar

@dappled_leaves I’ve seen the abuse and rebellion that @downtide is referring to. Someone asked a meta question about their “tits and boobies” question in social being sent to editing. The question was about birds. This user and many others were upset because they couldn’t use specific NSFW words in the title of their questions. There were many public insults in the responses. Then several users asked their own questions to see what words they could get away with in the title of their questions. They were trying to prove a point. It was all very childish.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Dutchess_III We have in the past tried to look at the individual situations (as in your example). Unfortunately that lead to being told we are inconsistent. If users want consistency (which is what we’ve heard from a majority), we can’t really be flexible and look at those individual cases. We are really stuck between a rock and a hard place on this. I’m not sure what the answer is and we are trying to figure that out as a team.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right. I, for one, will try to be more careful.

hearkat's avatar

The whole point of the Blog post and this Meta question has been to try to create an understanding between all Jellies and the Mods. Yes, this post is a rant (and I got approval from the other Mods), but it contains some valid questions for the community. We aren’t trying to defend ourselves, we’re trying to explain what we’re doing and why, and to address the concerns that have been brought up by the community while we’ve been going through this transition. We are also trying to keep Fluther going. It’s been mentioned elsewhere, but I think it warrants re-stating: In order for the Mod on duty to manage the site consistently with the next mod, we have to all approach the guidelines the same way, so we reviewed the guidelines amongst ourselves and then with Ben, and the Blog post is our effort to communicate the results of that with the collective.

The Blog post addresses the evolution of the site, and that we are operating under the direction of the founders. One thing that wasn’t specifically mentioned was the foreign language issue, because that was just kicking up as we were preparing to post the Blog entry. Yes, they founders would use French and other terminology at times in the past, but back then, the majority of original users were friends and family and then it expanded to people from western cultures where these phrases were more culturally known.

Since then, Fluther’s membership has expanded to be more global. We physically can not support languages that use different character sets, and users have flagged responses that were in Asian and Middle Eastern languages. Therefore, we have to take a position that does not discriminate against some foreign languages and not others. It also helps with the moderation process, since online translators are still rather poor. Plus, we are sometimes accessing from mobile devices, which makes the process of copying and pasting and moderating even more cumbersome. We’re still seeking ways to clarify whether the use of a foreign word or phrase might be deemed acceptable within a comment, and what goes too far, so we can communicate that guideline to the collective, as well.

@janbb’s suggestion is actually pretty close to what we’re doing and what I described in my last post: General is the most tightly modded and comments must relate to the OP’s question; Social allows for the conversation to unfold and evolve relative to the OP’s question, and lighthearted joking references to the topic are allowed. Meta is where we can have parties and play games; and chit-chat is best served in the chat rooms and PMs. The one post that was removed from this thread was self-edited and had no content – we always remove those; just as we always remove flame-bait and personal attacks. Please remember to use the tilde ~ when being sarcastic, to clarify your intent.

None of this is truly new, and we found instances in the archives where most of the issues we’re addressing now have come up previously (some of which are referenced in @muppetish‘s reply). Part of the issue seems to stem from moderation inconsistency over the years on the site, due to variations in coverage by whatever team was in place at the time, and having to ‘choose their battles’. Again, our goal is to be more consistent, so that the Jellies feel fairly clear and confident when crafting a Question or Reply that is is appropriate to the Guidelines.

Coloma's avatar

Well, I for one do not want to see a shoot out at the Fluther corral. I think the solution is really simple.

1. Follow the guidelines to the best of your ability and let the mods lasso the strays.

2. Don’t be lily livered little greenhorns and whine about every little thing, you have to be tough if you’re going to ride on this chuck wagon.

3. Stop with all the self appointed deputy crap, and don’t make it harder on the mods than it already is. Censor your complaints and pull up your britches, walk like a man, or a woman.

4. If you don’t have what it takes to ride the Fluther trail or your ass is too saddle sore to mount up, than get along little doggie.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wait..the foreign language thing is a server problem? Is that what you’re saying @hearkat?

Dutchess_III's avatar

When did you turn into a cowboy @Coloma?!

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III I was always a bohemian cowgirl. lol
Uh oh…somebody get a rope, we’re running roughshod now. ;-)

janbb's avatar

I do see that it is a problem potentially if whole posts – like mine – are put in a foreign language (although the person who it was directed at knew exactly what I meant) but I hope you won’t mod out cognates and phrases that have become common usage amongst educated English speakers. Examples would be, “quid pro quo”, “ad hominen” and yes, “je ne sais quo.” Surely they are an opportunity for others to learn and since many of the more intellectual Jellies use these phrases in our common parlance you don’t want us to dumb ourselves down? That would be a loss to the community we established here. And if a Jelly or mod doesn’t understand it and Google doesn’t translate it correctly, the poster could be asked to elucidate.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it’s the special characters that they have a problem with. Like Chinese, and Spanish where they put those tilde over their “e’s” and stuff. I don’t think phrases like the ones you just posted, with no special characters, are a problem.

But I don’t know.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But still @dappled_leaves, it IS their website, and they can take it down if they want to. Just like Bill Cosby. The question is, are we willing to do what we need to do to keep it up? Oh. I just heard thunder. I think God is getting ready to chime in on this!

hearkat's avatar

@janbb – That’s what we’re trying to distinguish now, because it’s a fine-line to tread and not be accused of inconsistency or discrimination or playing favorites.

One point I want to make though is about your parenthetical comment, ”although the person who it was directed at knew exactly what I meant” – responses in the General and Social are supposed to be directed toward advancing the discussion as a whole – not a comment for one particular user. That is what they want the chat rooms and PMs used for.

CWOTUS's avatar

Whaddaya mean “elucidate”, there, @janbb? Shouldn’t you have flagged that response as [NSFW]? We’re not gonna stand for no elucidatin’ in public here. Keep it on the DL and in the PM, sister.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@hearkat Could you address my question about the foreign language issue?

janbb's avatar

@hearkat Yeah, I get that part of it now.

hearkat's avatar

@Dutchess_III – I can’t explain the technical details, but we’ve been told that the system doesn’t support it; but I don’t know if that’s hardware, software, or both. Perhaps PhiNotPhi can elaborate.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is it just the special characters, like the tilde they use in Spanish? The French examples @janbb don’t use any special characters, just the English alphabet, although the words are in French.

Just trying to understand it. I don’t use much in the way of foreign language, anyway.

hearkat's avatar

Again, @Dutchess_III, we weren’t given the specifics – just that it’s “not supported”. We use the tilde for our sarcasm commentary, so that’s not the issue, and I use the accent over the e in fiancé all the time. I suspect the problem is with languages that have a completely different alphabet, like Japanese, Greek, or Hebrew. BUT the problem is how can we say it’s cool to use French and Spanish, but not Korean, Russian, or Hindi?

thorninmud's avatar

Yesterday, when this discussion started, I went back and dusted off the old gmail account I used when I was modding many years ago. That was the time several of us here get nostalgic about—lots of active users, the founders were still around, etc. I did this so I could refresh my memory of what it was like to be a mod in those days compared to now. The gmail account is a pretty good representation of “a day in the life” of a mod.

One striking thing in that old account: barely any activity having to do with spam. Really, next to none. Now, that’s most of what we do.

I also see that at various times the mods hammered on different things. “Your question title doesn’t really explain your question” was a common cause for taken a Q down for awhile. As was “Your question would be better suited to the chat room” (remember those?).

I came across instances of Andrew modding chatty stuff from Social questions, Auggie letting typos slide, Auggie being hard-nosed about typos, etc. The fact is that people have selective memories about how things were. Moderation has always been messy and variable.

I’m reluctant to buy into the “rebellion” narrative, though it’s clear that something has shifted here. In my mind, I’m attributing a lot of the unrest to the lack of a central figure who can be seen as the “leader” of the community. I remember back when Alan Greenspan was chairman of the Fed and the economy was riding high. He was seen as some kind of guru who knew exactly how to steer the economy, so he inspired great confidence in the markets. Someone asked a legislator (McCain?) what would happen if Greenspan should die (he was already quite old), and the reply was, “We should stuff him and not tell anybody”.

In situations like the economy—and Fluther—confidence on the part of participants can make a huge difference. Having a familiar and trusted figure in charge is in itself at least as important as what that figure actually does.

When Auggie was at the helm, lots of us loved her, but she also drew plenty of ire. That’s inevitable when you’re in a position of leadership. For the most part, when people had problems with the moderation, their anger was somewhat moderated by their personal feelings toward Auggie. She was the face of the moderation, yes, but she was also this person that we all interacted with in positive ways in the threads, we knew her kids, etc. It’s easy to get angry with an institution; it’s harder to get angry with someone you know and like.

Now, when people get frustrated about the moderation, they don’t conjure up the image of this affable friend; it’s now The Mods they’re dealing with. That’s an institution, not a person. They’re free to imagine all kinds of things about what The Mods are up to. Some people are very mistrustful of authority in institutional form. I get that.

The problem is that on the mod side of things, we are people. The hostility directed toward The Mods gets absorbed not by The Mods, but by Seaofclouds or muppetish or Phi or Downtide…people, not an institution. That disconnect makes the rancor harder to process.

I don’t have a great solution to offer. Too late to stuff Auggie and pretend she never left. But maybe just understanding the dynamics of this situation can help us all keep a little bit better perspective.

Blondesjon's avatar

I’m just wondering if the users here that have such a problem with the guidelines also have a hard time following simple rules in real life. Would they behave this way in a public place where they didn’t agree with the management?

Or is it just easier here since the Internet gives you anonymity?

PhiNotPi's avatar

To elaborate on @thorninmud‘s post, most users probably do not realize that the transition from Manager-led to team-led was not done overnight. There was actually a period of several months between when Auggie found her job opportunity and when she officially resigned. I believe that much of what happened immediately after her resignation was a shift in perspective rather than a shift in how the mod team functions. The mod team currently uses a majority voting method to approve major decisions, but that’s how it worked under Auggie’s leadership as well.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I don’t understand why users here are pestering the mods at all. Are they like some kind of babies? You know, like tattletales.
I have only flagged them twice because I was being attacked by an asshole member who likes to dump on me. I cannot mention names because they suspend and ban you here for that.

I think the mods should check who has emailed them and if it is one of the babies who constantly do so, they should simply delete the email w/out even reading it.

janbb's avatar

@thorninmud Your post is compelling and insightful as you usually are. (Can I stuff you? Oops – that didn’t sound right.) Just one thing I want to mention is that Auggie got tons of “hate” mail too as I’ve heard directly from her. I think there were always times of greater discord and disturbance on Fluther and times of more equanimity. But I agree, we are in a period of transition.

@all I don’t quite get the posts about not making decisions on individual cases because they are always individual cases although I understand you are striving for consistency in policy.

And I am not quite clear about what you want us to do about flagging – is it helpful or not? Obviously for spam, but in cases of poor usage or personal attack would you prefer we don’t? Some of the Jellies here seem to think that is the preferred scenario; I am ok with either direction. Not a big flag raiser anyway.

muppetish's avatar

@janbb Flagging is always, always, always going to be tremendously helpful to us. We do not want to discourage any users from flagging. The reality is, however, that we cannot rely purely on flagging. I have seen users direct personal attacks toward users that go unflagged (sometimes for days) because that user is unpopular. If the users won’t flag that, and that attack stands, then we are not upholding the Guidelines fairly. That’s why, in addition to checking our e-mail from flags, we also try to comb through active posts to see what we, and users, may have missed.

Lately, we have all been swamped with stuff in our personal lives. We have missed typos. I don’t doubt that we may have missed personal attacks as well. We need people to flag. But we also need users to understand that content that goes unflagged may still need to be pulled if it goes against the Guidelines.

There will also be instances where content is flagged, but may not be addressed by the moderators. This may happen either because the flagged content is not in violation of the Guidelines, or we may just miss it. I have already combed through over a hundred messages that spanned from when I went to bed last night and when I woke this morning. Sometimes we may miss something in the process of catching up.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

In my mind, I’m attributing a lot of the unrest to the lack of a central figure who can be seen as the “leader” of the community.
I nominate myself as the supreme leader of Fluther.
Entice me with your ire; I drink the tears of those who desperately need Preparation H

jca's avatar

Although I have not made any personal attacks toward mods or anybody on this site or the FB site as I stated previously, I find that those that have questioned the moderation and did what’s being called “rebelling” have been, on this thread, referred to as “cry babies,” “tattletales” and our flagging has been referred to as “cry baby crud.” I find this language to be unnecessarily nasty and uncalled for.

janbb's avatar

@muppetish Gotcha!

I think the summary statement all around is: “Nobody’s perfect.”

tinyfaery's avatar

Gah! No wonder the mods are cracking down or even leaving. Reading all this is giving me a headache. It’s egotistical nonsense. Everyone needs to get over themselves. You are not special and you do not deserve to alienate the mods or other Jellies.

Just leave. Start your own site and take your minions with you.

I left this place for a long time because of this bullshit. I come back and now it’s even worse.

RIP Fluther. I don’t know what this site is now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can’t imagine having to go through all the questions in all 3 sections trying to find errors! That’s a monumental task.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I have had one or two problems with one or two people here, but other than that I see absolutely no personal attacks going on. I wonder to what bullshit @tinyfaery is referring?

longgone's avatar

I don’t know about everyone else…but I, for one, have had a few misunderstandings cleared up. I plan to give the mods some time and hope the foreign language issue is cleared up soon. Meanwhile, I resolve to be a tremendous jelly on the whole. I think this thread is going pretty well.

johnpowell's avatar

On the blog post ibstubro posted this:

“I know that about last September, under Auggie’s watch, it was nearly impossible to ask a social question that was not derailed. It was openly talked about, discussed, and frequently celebrated. I came to accept — and even embrace — it.

I can’t help but feel betrayed when I see responses removed for being “off topic” in Social. Back then, that was my expectation (unmet), now you tell me that it never happened.

Can you post links to the “Pancakes” and “Frizzer” questions so we may see how to craft fun questions within the guidelines of the original developers?”

I think part of the problem here is that the original vision for the site shifted over time. At first it was pure Q&A and problem solving and that is what they wanted. It worked well and everyone was happy.

Then it got some traction and it turned into investors and hopefully a million dollar exit for Ben and Andrew. At that point they were forced to show growth to keep investors interested. So guidelines were relaxed (and social) if it meant hockey stick growth.

That fell through so now it is back to the original idea. Even during the cactus thing Andrew sent out a e-mail saying all the shit was diverting his time from finding someone to buy or invest in the site.

JLeslie's avatar

I want to comment about the chat rooms. I used to go into them once in a while and they were always filled with so much sarcasm, and often odd humor (to me) and it just felt like another planet to me too often. I wonder if the chat rooms should be tried more again? We have had some change in our collective, old jellies leaving, and new ones joining, it might be worth trying again for side conversations. I don’t know how other people feel about it.

ragingloli's avatar

I was in the chat rooms once, too.
They were always empty

CWMcCall's avatar

@jca I take it back, you do not have what it takes to be a mod.

hearkat's avatar

Re: @JLeslie‘s comment: The chat rooms are often empty now – which means that if one PMs others that they want to have a casual conversation with and suggest meeting in there, they can have a relaxed back-and-forth gab session.

janbb's avatar

@johnpowell I agree with what you said for the main but in my understanding Social was created because we were getting too off-topic in General and that was causing a detraction from Fluther’s main function in Ben and Andrew’s view.

I didn’t like the chat room because I couldn’t relate to that “hello, hello, goodbye, goodbye” environment but I am happy to PM.

Oh – I just read @hearkat‘s post which would make it more usable for me.

gailcalled's avatar

@johnpowell: What cactus thing?

johnpowell's avatar

@janbb :: There was a townhall meeting in the chatroom with around 70 people in it when the idea of general was floated around. At the time it seemed that it would be more of a place to discus current events. At least that was my understanding. But that was around the time the site was growing really fast so more clicks were great for them.

@gailcalled :: http://www.fluther.com/102991/can-the-qs-on-fluther-get-any-more-nonsensical-what-can/

janbb's avatar

@johnpowell That question you linked to is so funny. We keep going round and round in the same cycles.

zenzen's avatar

Re. The OP… Word.

Re. The jelly above me… Hi sexy bubby how are you? Indeed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I guess I a bit confused. I mean, if it’s to be strictly a serious Q & A site, how could it possibly live? I mean, you can get any answer to any question anywhere.

I thought the Social section was invented so that people could relax, let their hair down and….socialize.

Well, I guess I’ll just hang out, and if things get modded that didn’t used to get modded, I’ll adapt.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah! I went in that link! And seriously, when I first got here, every time I asked a question the response was “Google it.”

gailcalled's avatar

@johnpowell: Thanks. I notice the question was asked in Nov., 2009 and received 396 answers; most astonishing, not one of them was from either me or Milo.

johnpowell's avatar

@Dutchess_III :: I actually have a question about a houseplant that I have bean meaning to ask for a few months that I was hoping Gail would answer.

Google can provide answers. But I trust Gail with the life of my plant.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@CWMcCall There are times when I too have wondered about about the lofty rigidity implied by spelling and grammatical standards. I disagree however with your assessment on the supposed “ruthless” enforcement of such rules here. While the rules themselves might lend a whiff of snooty elitism to the place, the actual enforcement of the standards is for the most part lenient to the point that they can be regarded as close to arbitrary. Now there are exceptions, and it always tickles me when I encounter the wrath of the “gods’. Personally, I feel that omnipotence is small enough reward for anyone willing to take on the truly thankless job of attempting to moderate this place, and I’m usually shocked at the tact that accompanies admonishment,

ibstubro's avatar

I have not read a single post to this “question” after @downtide‘s announcement that he was stepping down. Sad, sad state of affairs.

Not surprisingly, I would argue with Ben about ‘The original concept’ versus the ‘current incarnation’ of Fluther. Yes, ‘The original concept’ was Q&A, then you created “Social”. If “Social” is currently dominating, what’s the harm? It’s the vibrancy we want to retain, encourage. Yes we’re primarily English language, so who cares if someone posts profanity in Swahili? Who’s to know?

@downtide was a valued moderator and contributor for years. Let’s ask what’s changed in the past couple months that’s led to his disaffection. I do not believe it is the membership or their participation.

johnpowell's avatar

Oh, I totally forgot about this. A few years ago one of the female mods was made the target of a psycho male user that had been banned after a year of activity. He started making videos on youtube about how she was horrible and should be punished and how he was always modded. A real MRA asshole.

There were multiple videos and all were disturbing. Even worse is that they lived within a few hours drive of each other.

Aethelwine's avatar

@ibstubro Argue with Ben and he might just say fuck it and shut the site down. You don’t argue with a host who is letting us use his beach cottage for free.

ibstubro's avatar

I accept that, @jonsblond.

I know that. But you can’t fault me for fighting for what I love as long as I can.

ibstubro's avatar

General, Social, Meta.

Aethelwine's avatar

Can you fault Ben for fighting for what he loves? Fluther is his first baby you know. (speaking of babies, you do know he has a real life newborn, right? You think he has time for this shit? do you think he really wants to go back and forth with the mods because some users are unhappy?)

Brian1946's avatar

@johnpowell

“A real MRA asshole.”

Men’s Rights ASSociation?

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’m beginning to wonder whether or not it might just be natural for sites such as Fluther or Askville to deteriorate in quality with the passage of time. It must be recognized that the more dynamic and busy minds here might well be pulled away from this site in pursuit of other goals. I suspect that a lot of the folks who arrive here, are here “between things” whether they realize it or not. I know for a fact that my time here is a deliberate dodge of effort I should be devoting to more productive (lucrative) endeavors. Since I’ve been here, I’ve noticed the diminished participation of several stalwarts, and the disappearance of folks I regarded as champions of the place. There is a rock-steady group at the core of this place, and the mods best exemplify this bunch, but perhaps we must accept the fact that the best and the brightest were merely “passin thru”.

Mimishu1995's avatar

This is one of the saddest moments I have encountered on Fluther, if not the saddest. I do agree often with some complaints from users, and I think it’s good for jellies to question the mods and receive reasonable answers when something isn’t clear. But why so aggressive? Why call the mods with all the bad names you can think of? Why not just calmly ask and listen? Why PM the mods and bash them so ruthlessly because they fail to do what you want?

There is a difference between “Why did you do it? I just want an explanation.” and “Don’t you think it’s lazy/inconsistent of you to do that? Tell me why the hell you did that! Take your job seriously!”

Maybe @downtide calls all the questioning “rebellion” because he’s sick of having to see all those aggressive comments, not the questioning in general, and unfortunately he sees more “aggressive comments” than the milder ones.

If Fluther was a house, then I’d say this house was falling apart, from the inside, because people in the house were fighting with each other.

I want all of this to stop too. No one wants to see a house that has become so meaningful to them collapse at least that’s my thought. Please, Fluther, don’t fall apart!

JLeslie's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Your metaphor of a house makes me think the jellies need a really big party in the mansion to relieve some tension.

I think most jellies do want to give constructive criticism to I prove the site and keep it going and don’t mean to be offensive. It’s on both sides you know, some jellies are feeling some mods are being overly heavy handed in their actions and tone and some mods are feeling negative feedback is ungrateful and overly critical, even when it might not be the intent of the jelly giving the feedback. Some people in the collective are rude, unrealistic, and insensitive, but I think most are not.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They’re saying that that isn’t what the founders originally envisioned. I wonder what kinds of question they hoped people would ask? Lots of science and business questions, maybe?

Blondesjon's avatar

@Kardamom . . . Those questions have a social network feel but are still just questions that can be answered in a manner befitting the section they are in.

Kardamom's avatar

@Blondesjon but to claim that Fluther isn’t a Social Network Site, just isn’t accurate. The Q’s above and many, many others show that. Maybe the founders didn’t want a SNS, but that is partly what Fluther has evolved into, and I’m glad for it.

JLeslie's avatar

A thought: when asking a question I think it might help if the first choice is Social rather than General. General automatically fills in and you have to change it to Social or Meta. I know people will say its easy to change, but I think a lot of people skip through things without really reading. I know I do. It’s part of the reason I go off subject in general Q’s, I almost never notice if the Q is in general or social, I have tried in the last few months to be more careful about it.

How often is the original poster bothered by answers going off subject a little? How often does an OP tell a mod, “please leave it in general.” I don’t know the answers to that, but the mods would. If the original poster almost always wants a Q switched to social when asked, then I say make Social the default.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Fluther is a site where people communicate with each other. Regardless of what the founders originally anticipated, how that communication evolves will be determined by the users. That evolution can be guided but to try to force a group of people to conform rigidly to an ideal seems doomed to failure to me.

It’s quite clear that discussions in General should be on topic. In Social, the name says it all and unless the content posted is abusive, racist, homophobic, very poorly written, spam etc. some leeway for people to play makes more sense. Within reason, Fluther has to be what people want it to be. Not all Fluther members want to be serious. One only has to read some of the historic threads to see that.

Just managing writing quality, spam and dealing with conflict when it occurs would seem like enough of a task without trying to POLICE people staying on topic and asking serious questions across three sections.

JLeslie's avatar

I guess we also need to know the ultimate goal of the founders. I know when I was made a topic editor it seemed like the goal was not only to improve search for fluther users, but also for google search and maybe using fluther as a database of information to feed other sites. If they let fluther go willy mildly they can not market the site properly I’m thinking. I don’t want to put words into the mouths of the founders, because I am unclear about what I am saying, but I wonder if that is part of it.

cookieman's avatar

What the founders intended…
What the founders intended…

Where have I heard that phrase before?

Blondesjon's avatar

tea in the water is verrry harmful to jellyfish

dxs's avatar

@cookieman I was thinking the same thing. This is a perfect representation of it if you’re thinking what I’m thinking.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Say, didn’t the Social section evolve after the influx of new users from Wis.Dm and Askville?
Didn’t the folks from Wis.dm prove that these sorts of sites die a miserable death when there is no moderation?
I was recently suspended from here for certain offenses and because I enjoy this place and most of the Jellies here I try follow the rules more closely now.
There are still some here who are complete assholes and they know who they are but I am trying to mind my manners and not let them troll me.
I myself was on another site much like this only much more socially oriented called Minekey (which started with a different name) and I watched it die a miserable death as asshole after asshole made personal attacks and wrote hundreds of nonsensical questions in a row to purposely drive people away.
And that’s exactly what happened until Minekey simply vanished.
The mods there did little or nothing to prevent its death.
I have looked around and there are not any other sites as friendly and helpful as this one.
I sure would hate to see this site die, too.

JLeslie's avatar

I just want to double check, there is no mod assigned as the mod superior, is that right? All mods have the ability to see everything, even PM’s? No single mod to manage the others. No one really in charge of the site?

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s right. Which is why it’s really important for us to moderate ourselves. Mom and Dad moved out!

hearkat's avatar

@JLeslie – Yes; the five of us remaining are in charge of managing the site the way Augustlan was.

Kardamom's avatar

@JLeslie I do recall a thread from a few days ago in which 2 of the Mods are the only ones that can see everything like Auggie did, so they’re not all sitting around giggling about our PM’s to each other. At least I hope not.

hearkat's avatar

@Kardamom – When the transition first happened different Mods had different abilities. We decided for consistency sake and to improve the ability to respond promptly when issues arise, that we all should have equal powers.

We ONLY look at PMs when it is necessary – such as claims of harassment or deception.

Considering that some here have commented that we’re like finger-wagging schoolmarms, I hope that at least comforts y’all in knowing that we do take the job seriously and try to comport ourselves objectively in order to moderate fairly.

Kardamom's avatar

@hearkat That’s what I thought, and that makes sense.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t even know who all the mods are and I never have. I guess that information is available somewhere. Not that it matters.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just curious…have things been a little calmer for you mods since this was posted?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@cookieman Ahhaha twice now we’re seeing eye to eye on this whole thing. When reading over this thread and the post above about “interpretation of the guidelines” I couldn’t help but think the same thing.

CWMcCall's avatar

They, the founders from the beginning made it crystal clear that Fluther is a community Q&A site, crowd sourced question and answer site and nothing more. So stop trying to turn this place into some mischievous social stomping ground and obey the writing standards while you are here or else!

ibstubro's avatar

@CWMcCall, then they added “Social”.

gailcalled's avatar

And then they were five…possibly none if this continues. It does seem to be the goal of some really over-fanatical participants to keep stirring the pot.

Coloma's avatar

Well…I much prefer cake in the frizzer over sticks in the mud.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Coloma So you are saying that Ben is a stick in the mud? Because the mods are only doing what he told them to do.

Kardamom's avatar

Even though it took years for me to ask my first question, I don’t think I’m a stirrer of pots (unless it comes to real soup) but I believe that I had to ask a few questions that seemed to have upset the apple cart. I didn’t mean to cause a shirt storm. I talked to Auggie, privately, on several occasions and she was very compassionate, and that was very supportive. I wish Auggie, could be resureccted,

Coloma's avatar

@jonsblond Not at all. Just generalizing, balance between cake and mud. :-)

gailcalled's avatar

(If wishes were horses…)

cookieman's avatar

I thought it was “fishes”.

ucme's avatar

Took me until now to post here because I wanted no part of the mass hysteria.
Seems to me the whining & uneccesary complaining, which in turn leads to the heavy workload of the mod team, is predominantly down to the very people who point the blame at those who see themselves as “victims”. Constant flagging of stuff where they were personally offended where none is evident, posts they deem as inadequate, inappropriate, or even unfunny, I mean, really?

Fluther has, at least in my time here, adapted to change in its core membership & welcomed humour & a social element as well as maintaining its origins as an educational & sober Q&A site.
Unfortunately, personality clashes have guided judgement & inevitably left a rift between warring factions where there was really no need.
Probably asking too much for people to just get along & accept a variety of personalities, instead of bleating on with entirely negative thinking.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ucme “Warring factions”, really?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m on the same Fluther everyone else is on. I don’t recognize that characterization at all.

ucme's avatar

@dappled_leaves Yeah, pretty pathetic, but judging by PM’s it’s rearing its ugly head.
Just a little site tucked away in a corner of the internet…not for some.

marinelife's avatar

I personally think that this discussion should be closed. Nothing new or worthy of consideration is being posted.

ibstubro's avatar

Har! I’ve been [unintentionally] crosswise of both @ucme and @dappled_leaves who see ‘no reason for conflict’.

cookieman's avatar

I agree with @marinelife completely. There is no longer any point to this thread (if there ever was one). Frankly, the blog post did a splendid job of updating the collective as to the current state of affairs. Should have just left it at that. All this thread does is serve as a blight on the site (ooh, rhyming) that could only serve to drive away any potential new jellies should they happen upon it. Kill this puppy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I, for one, appreciate this thread. It allowed us to ask questions and get clarification. I think this thread was a good move.

ucme's avatar

Nothing happened that wasn’t already clear anyway, at least to me, same old, same old.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@cookieman I agree that there is no point in continuing discussing here now, but I don’t think it should be deleted. There are still some things that have been sorted out, like @Dutchess_III said.

It’s better to just leave it be than delete it completely.

Also new jellies don’t tend to go to Meta section. And the ones who did come here don’t seem to be traumatized at all :p

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I tried to log onto Fluther earlier, but was having difficulty with my neighbors’ wifi signals. I managed to get to a sign in page that had testimonials to Fluther from users and visitors.
A couple of the testimonials being used to help influence others to visit and join or buy advertising space directly mentioned the social aspect of Fluther in very high regard.
I believe it is the social interaction that once had this place one hopping good time with what looks like (if you go back to past threads) hundreds of users and answers on most questions with some seriously personal social interacting going on.
So it may have begun as a Q & A site but even the big ones like Yahoo Answers are kept alive by the social interacting.
Heck, many people wouldn’t interact with other humans at all if it weren’t for sites like this one. On the other hand they’d probably get a lot more other stuff accomplished were there no computers at all.

FlyingWolf's avatar

Wow! It has been a long time since I’ve seen this much bellyaching on a Fluther!

Haven’t any of you ever gotten a new boss? Been assigned to a new team at work? Had to adjust to a new set of rules? It takes time to settle in to a new normal and the road there is not always smooth.

It is to be expected that the mod team is going to go through a period of adjustment with Auggie’s departure. It happens. If we all want to support the site and try to keep it alive, we need to be flexible and supportive while the mods work toward a new normal. How about everyone take a step back, practice some patience and work with the mods instead of against them. Hint: A start might be quit complaining, seek clarity when necessary, and when you disagree do it respectfully.

@CWMcCall I have to say that one thing that has always set Fluther apart and (IMO) put it head and shoulders about other Q & A and discussion sites is the enforcement of strict rules about grammar, txtspk, typos, etc. Loosening up on that to attract new users will do nothing but lower the quality and lead to Fluther’s demise.

JLeslie's avatar

@FlyingWolf Have the rules changed? As far as I can tell they haven’t.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@JLeslie really? Isn’t this whole thread about the rules and how enforcement has changed? The scenario are listed in the second paragraph was a hypothetical about adjusting to a new set of circumstances. No need to take it so literally.

JLeslie's avatar

The enforcement maybe, but the rules, not so much from where I sit. And, not even the enforcement as much as the mods maybe asking we follow the rules better. Isn’t that what the OP was asking for?

At least one of the new mods, maybe more, have come on strong, and has a different style, that has rubbed some jellies the wrong way. But, most of them in my opinion are just fine as always and we are happy to have moderation n this site. I think all mods really care about doing a good job and helping the site and us jellies.

There was an entire thread about foreign language rules and from what I can tell we wound up with the same rule we have always played by. Or, I should say the rule is the same as I have always thought it was. The rule was totally logical then, and it still is now.

I agree with you that when there is a change in management there is usually some rumblings and everyone has to get used to the new way. I think the new mods also maybe need to get used to their positions. I could be wrong. To be honest, I don’t even know who is new and who isn’t, because I dn’t pay that much attention to who is modding unless they get really overzealous. Maybe what I perceive as overzealous the founders would perceive as perfectly acceptable. It is their site, not mine.

I personally don’t think having six mods with full site privileges is a good idea (another thing mentioned by the OP and is a change from before) but it isn’t my decision, nor did anyone ask my opinion. It certainly is not something that angers me, I just find it a little frustrating.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@JLeslie there are only 5 mods currently, though we are planning to expand the team. The newest mod we have is Hearkat, but she’s been a mod for about 6 months or so now.

ibstubro's avatar

I was only vaguely aware of the moderator’s individual voices until Auggie left, as they always seemed pretty unified until then. When I discussed something with a mod, I never really paid attention to who it was, as I believed I was talking to the mod team as a whole. I’m now keenly aware of certain moderators, as their individual styles have outstripped the ‘team’ approach. I don’t see that as a move in the right direction.

As I said on another thread, if we the members can help with a decision, then by all means, the mod team should throw it out there. However, expect a long and possibly heated discussion. If we’re not an active part of the process, then I would make a decision, post it, and circle the wagons. I vote for the latter, and the discussion threads are just too repetitive and exhausting for everyone. I mean, I care, but I don’t sit and read people bitching and carping for an hour at a time.

ibstubro's avatar

I can never remember if @thorninmud is a mod or not, and I thought @anarondackwannabe (sp) was for the longest time.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, ^^^ @thorninmud is a mod, he is a great guy, extremely sage and diplomatic, a born leader.

ibstubro's avatar

And into the ether went my comment “Agreed, @Coloma.” @thorninmud is always a welcome face/avatar/presence.

Paradox25's avatar

I’ve found it funny that a few of the people complaining on here about stricter guidelines have repeatedly violated these themselves when they invade other user’s questions, including a few of my own. The mods caught it, but the hypocrisy is a bit ironic here from some users. Self-righteous lately?

LornaLove's avatar

Sorry if I am repeating, but too many answers to look at. Great question by the way.

If Fluther was not a social network site, it would have folded long before the owners lost interest. That is my personal opinion.

There are so many Q&A sites that one wonders what made fluther stand out? The social aspect of it.

It did also cause issues as we know, when people got too personal or possessive over the site with the attitude of ‘Arf! Arf! I’m an old timer, bow down oh little one’.

that kind of thing.

Overall I like the layout of this site, the people, the types of questions and a whole host of things. It would be a sad day when the door closes, if it did.

One wonders also why a site that is as well known is not used to create more money opportunities. Not that I know how to do that of course.

I don’t need mods in the sense that I am going to gripe about them. I just behave, I think! haha! They are appreciated and as far as I can see complimented very often.

ibstubro's avatar

I’m curious. Has a moderator ever pushed a question from General to Social?

It just occurred to me that if Fluther’s primary focus was on information sharing rather than socializing, the moderators would constantly be pushing questions from social to general. Instead, the opposite seems to be true.

If Fluther is not a social networking site, why would a question ever be pushed from general to social?

jca's avatar

@ibstubro: If there’s lots of off topic discussion on a General thread, mods will pm the OP and the question will be moved only with the OP’s permission.

Your points are good and very valid.

ibstubro's avatar

I am not – I repeat not – trying to light any fires, but to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.

I have seen social questions turn into little gems of information, but never seen a moderator say, “The information contained in this question is just too good to waste. Would you mind if we push it to general so we can remove all the chit chat?”

Instead, we see moderators asking, “Mind if we push this question from general to social so we don’t have to remove all the fun and witty bits?”

Can we imagine a time when a Moderator would send a question to editing with the admonition, “This seems to be a very serious subject. Would you mind tightening the question up so we can push it to general? Thanks!”

Most importantly, I think a social site can exist with light moderation. I think a strict Q&A site requires 24/7, 365 attention.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro I still think you are misunderstanding the difference between General and Social. There is no “lack of information” requirement for Social. Nor are the questions in Social of poorer quality, as you seem to keep saying. It’s just that a bit of conversation around the topic is permitted, as it is not in General.

The only reason to move (not “push”) a question from Social to General is to prevent chit chat on the question. In my experience, this usually happens if people have strong feelings about the topic, where flame bait and personal attacks are perceived as likely.

Leaving a question in Social is never a “waste” of information.

Aethelwine's avatar

@ibstubro It doesn’t happen often, but I have seen questions moved from Social to General when the user became fed up with all the one-liners and jokes on a question they wanted specific answers to. I believe I suggested this one time to a new user. I may have asked for this myself on one of my questions. People do come to this site for help with specific problems and they don’t want 2 or 3 users making their question all about Aunt Nancy’s fabulous banana bread.

gailcalled's avatar

@ibstubro;This horse is so dead.

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled Haha…yep, it is now fully rendered into glue.

ibstubro's avatar

I guess my point being that I’ve seen the moderators suggest moving a lot of questions from general to social, making the argument “Fluther is not a social site” dubious at best.

I repeat, I’m not trying to start any fires. I’m areguing for sustainability, and the fact that this “question” was posted by a moderator makes further discussion valid.

I started to post my thoughts as a question. I was afraid that would really start a fire, so I looked this question up and posted here. Members are free to participate or not. If you feel as though the horse is dead, stop beating it. I personally feel there’s still valuable discussion here, and I welcome the thoughts of @dappled_leaves and @jonsblond.

”...we’re moving the thread to Social. You first chose General when you posted it; then you chose General again when we suggested moving it, only to change your mind a few hours later.”

“If we remove the two comments that you’ve flagged, then we really should remove ALL of the comments that aren’t directly responding to your OP… which is probably more than half of what’s there.

OR, we could move the post to Social.”

Blondesjon's avatar

Somebody let me know whinny is done.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’ve been waiting to post after @Blondesjon to put our avatar puzzle together

ibstubro's avatar

I already knew it was Hart to Hart.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro I’m not surprised by the comments which – I assume – you are quoting from a mod. They are probably frustrated by your resisting a move to Social for a question you want treated as a Social question. Again, I suspect you resist the move because you perceive a loss of respect for Social questions, as you think they are of lower quality. But you really do seem to be in the minority in this respect. There is no difference in quality between General and Social. Only a difference in how conversational we can be about our answers.

Consider how you personally would answer a question in either section. Given the same question, would you answer truthfully in General, but falsely in Social? Would you give your actual opinion in General, but a made-up one in Social? My guess is that your answer to the same question would be true and accurate in both sections. However, the way in which you choose to express that answer would probably differ.

Of course, there are a couple of jellies (I’m sure I don’t need to name them) who I would expect to answer falsely, but they would do so in both sections. So again… not really a difference.

@Blondesjon @jonsblond I always suspect the two of you fought crime in your off hours.

ibstubro's avatar

In both instances I asked the question in general because I wanted thoughtful responses, @dappled_leaves.
One was about the artwork of GWBush and I honestly wanted opinions on the art, not the politician. I understood that there might be moderation, what I didn’t take into account was that there would be dozens of posts before moderation occurred. Obviously, the moderator didn’t want to start hysteria by removing ½ the posts, so I allowed it to go to Social and unfollowed my own question.
The second was a question I asked in general, with fairly strict guidelines included in the question. I was forced to move the qualifiers to ‘details’ although the question was only 2 short sentences. As I had known it would, the question ran off in a social direction once it was modified, and it ticked me off. I resisted moving to social, then gave in to the push. Moderated moderating.
I seldom ask general questions, and when I do I ask them the way in which I choose to express that question differs. The responses seem to be fairly consistently ‘social’.

Honestly, @dappled_leaves, I appreciate your discussion over the passive/aggressive “dead horse” stance.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro Yeah, I’ve never understood why people would rather force others to stop talking rather than unfollow the question.

But I have to admit, I don’t know why you didn’t leave both of the questions you mention in General. Rows of “Response moderated” may be aesthetically displeasing, but they do exactly what they should – and exactly what you seem to want them to – limit the answers to those which are on topic and helpful. You can’t pick and choose which answers get moderated on your own question.

This “push” you keep referencing only has as much power as you give it. No one can force you to move your question from one section to the other.

FlyingWolf's avatar

As a mod I gutted many questions that have gone wwwaaayyyy far afield in General. I never minded doing so because two things that annoy the heck out of me: 1) awesome general questions going to crap because of ridiculous banter and 2) awesome general questions being forced to get even more ridiculous because they are moved to Social. In my experience most mods don’t mind gutting a good question in General and giving an admonition to stay on track, rather then moving it to Social. I have also been asked about moving my questions and I agree with @dappled_leaves: your question – your call. I have almost always opted to leave it in General.

I have seen questions moved from Social to General, but it happens only rarely.

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