Meta Question

thebeadholder's avatar

How can I make my voice be heard?

Asked by thebeadholder (872points) July 8th, 2008

Are the “Fluther Gods” consistent in their actions? Why are they willing to listen (and beta test) the “old familiars” but are not willing to listen or respond to the unhappy/disgruntled Flutherer? I have recently written them via email and via Fluther about concerns/feelings I have about Fluther with no response. It seems the moderators are quick to moderate what I have to say but not so quick to listen to and possibly learn from people who question consistency. I am a true believer in good customer service and listening to your clients (see google ads on the right to determine if you are a client). I have seen the answers from others that if you are not happy with the site then leave. I don’t want to leave, I would like my voice to be heard. Do any of yo feel the same way or am I way off base?

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61 Answers

Allie's avatar

I’m sure they listen, but I imagine it’s hard to give each Flutherite that contacts them a personal reply. Don’t forget that they probably get hundreds of comments/suggestions/complaints/praises each day.

Breefield's avatar

I would disagree with you on the “client” side of things, I think user / client differs in that Fluther makes money by you viewing passively where a client would have to pay to use the service at all.
Mayhaps you can step down off your high horse. I don’t think the Fluther moderators go about deleting what YOU have to say willy nilly. They most likely have good reason.
I think you should have listed “entitlement” as one of your topics.

andrew's avatar

A better way to get a response would be not to swear in your feedback.

We understand that it’s frustrating to get a question pulled, and yes, our moderators are human, but please don’t take it personally.

ben's avatar

Also: We do get inundated with feedback these days, and so we don’t have time to respond to everything. But we do read everything. Just FYI.

robmandu's avatar

So, lemme get this straight.

You ask a relatively calm, well-worded Q here about not feelin’ the Fluther lurve…

… but…

The feedback you left there had some level of cussin’ and attitude in it… enough obviously to not warranty an immediate reply in any case.

So, how about posting here what you wrote there? And then we can provide more insightful feedback.

shilolo's avatar

It appears that you are getting your voice heard now :-)

I would second the idea that to expect a response to every comment is a bit much. That said, I do believe that “you catch more bees with honey.” When I have commented to Fluther in the past, I did get some feedback from Fluther based on my comments, and, while I can’t prove it, I imagine that being polite encouraged a response in kind. This is, after all, a community of real people, and real people have feelings too. On a more practical note, sometimes you can find Ben or Andrew at the Man O’ War chat room, where you can express yourself directly, and in real time.

marinelife's avatar

Dear thebeadholder,

I am interested too in seeing a copy of the comment you sent. I was surprised at your reference to “old familiars”. I, for example first joined Fluther less than a month before you did. PnL joined a couple of weeks after you did. What do you base “they are willing to listen (and beta test) old familiars, but are not willing to listen . . .” on? How do you know you are being treated any differently or less than anyone else?

When I went to look the information up on our respective join dates, I found a comment I had made to you three weeks ago regarding your post on a thread about Fluther factions. In that post, you said, “Most newbies have to act like fools just to get attention around here. Maybe not??? I’m just not feeling the lurve…perhaps my skin isn’t thick enough for the phenomenon that is Fluther.”

I remember being surprised at the heat of that post and wondering what you meant by “act like fools to get attention” and “I’m just not feeling the lurve . . .”. At the time, you had been on the site right around a month! What were you expecting I wondered? I wrote the comment to you to show that I had noticed your joining and posts and to make you feel part of the community.

I don’t really expect Fluther to meet my emotional needs. I am wondering what it is that you want or expect from the site, and is Fluther a good choice for those expectations?

Pippa's avatar

Often times when I find myself upset at someone or something, it is a defense because something they said or did I took personally when I shouldn’t have. Beadholder, we are all sensitive beings. That being said, it’s not all about you ever, so try not to take life personally. Try reading The Four Agreements. It really helped me understand where I stand in the scope of things and in contrast to others.

thebeadholder's avatar

Here is the original question:

I know, a version of this question has been asked before here, here, here, here and here (sorry, I beat you to it). I am a quote junkie and see new quotes that I love all the time. I also have noticed there are quite a few new people on here so I thought I’d ask again.

This question was pulled because:

The question you asked on Fluther, What are some of your favorite quotes?, was flagged by a moderator because:
Your question is a duplicate.
Your question is an open-ended survey.

My response was:

(1st response) So the five other open ended surveys are ok but mine…no?????
I realize it is a duplicate as is many of the questions that hardly ever get pulled. I just thought there were a lot of new people recently on Fluther and good quotes are endless.
I have agreed with every other question you have pulled but this is BULLSHIT. Is this being FAIR? Do you treat everyone equally???? hmmmm….....

(2nd response after first was not responded to) p.s. it is NOT a survey question. Do you like quotes? is a survey. Wow, you are SO bogged down you can pull questions and answers left and right but have no time for “disgruntled” (yet LOYAL) users? I guess I have the “choice” not to come back, huh? Fluther’s answer to everything that goes wrong….

So I apologize for using the word “bullshit” in my response. I wasn’t aware that your virgin ears were so sensitive since I see many responses containing words a lot worse than this that do not get moderated.

And @Breefield, as for the term “client” I used it to mean that if someone is making money through our clicking on the google ads, then we are the client for those who make a living through our clicks. Unless I am really unclear of how the google ads work. Which is a distinct possibility. Please someone correct me on this one if Fluther does not make money by the placement and the click count for the google ads.

As for the point about people not being treated fairly, I see it all the time in the awarding of lurve to some and not to others. If you guys don’t see it, then I am just insane, but I have PM’d others who do see it. I see questions where one person will provide the same answer as someone else and the first will not get lurve and the 2nd will. I see some responses getting moderated and some others, that are just as wacky or off the point or sarcastic not getting pulled. I see people getting great answered for saying stuff like “yes” or “happy” or meaningless (rather than well thought out) simple answers. All I want is for there to be consistency from the moderators.

@Marina: As for the part about “acting like fools to get attention”, I remember melonking most vividly. Granted, at times he was a real idiot, but boy did he get the collective moving! I expect to be treated fairly and to be answered without having to resort to publicly asking a question on why I didn’t get an answer.

robmandu's avatar

(in falsetto voco) Someone’s taking Fluther a wee bit too seriously-e-e-e-e-e.

playthebanjo's avatar

that’s your insightful feedback?

robmandu's avatar

@banjo, I had used the collective “we”, implying that you could do so… and I might not.

That said, @beadholder’s lurve score is doing pretty alright for only being here about two months. At the rate s/he is going, s/he’ll will pass my lurve score in much less time that it took for me to get it.

So why so whiny? Upset because s/he doesn’t like how fast other folks’ accumulate lurve?

There are so many more useful/worthwhile things to worry about.

tinyfaery's avatar

There are clicks everywhere; I personally think no one ever really leaves high school. Likewise, there are inconsistencies in all parts of life. And the moderators are human. I’m fairly new, and I sometimes feel that my reponses or questions go unheeded. But I try not to take it personally. Fluther is not only what you make it, but what you perceive it to be. I don’t see it as a hostile place. Well, not taking into account how people are responding to you now. :) Love, not lurve, to you.

playthebanjo's avatar

I didn’t find it whiny. The question thebeadholder asked was why she didn’t get a response. The answer was because she said bullshit and they got busy, but they did read it and did not feel it was worthy of a response… Until she publicly asked for it. I see it as less about any lurve aspect and more about a lack of response about a serious issue among mods, that being a lack of consistency.

thebeadholder's avatar

Thank you, playthebanjo :-) You took the words right out of my mouth!!!!

robmandu's avatar

@banjo, you’re right, that is the context of this question here. GA for staying on point, muchacho!

I was distracted by the context of the feedback s/he provided… that was the driver for this question.

playthebanjo's avatar

I am certainly guilty of taking fluther way too seriously myself…probably we all are at some point in the day. But I know that Andrew and Ben take it seriously too. But I have to know…is “bullshit” really that bad of a word?

marinelife's avatar

What is this obsession with Lurve and how is that Fluther’s fault or Andrew & Ben’s, or the moderators?

I do not study every answer that gets lurve to see if it deserves it. I think my response to that is get a life.

playthebanjo's avatar

not sure I follow that little bit of vitriol, marina. to whom was it directed? When I was speaking of consistency, it was in reference to some things getting pulled and some not. I am happy to post my latest 12 rounds with one of the moderators for you. He told me that my “flippant” answers were not valuable to the collective.

thebeadholder's avatar

This one is not about lurve. It is about voicing my opinion privately to the creators of this sight, wanting to be heard and then responded to. I guess I got my answers. I’m off now to read The Four Agreements!!!

gailcalled's avatar

@tinyfaery: what’s a “click”?

marinelife's avatar

@ptheb Sorry if I did not make that clear. I had to race out the door at that moment. My last post was in response to this from thebeadholder:

“As for the point about people not being treated fairly, I see it all the time in the awarding of lurve to some and not to others. If you guys don’t see it, then I am just insane, but I have PM’d others who do see it. I see questions where one person will provide the same answer as someone else and the first will not get lurve and the 2nd will. I see some responses getting moderated and some others, that are just as wacky or off the point or sarcastic not getting pulled. I see people getting great answered for saying stuff like “yes” or “happy” or meaningless (rather than well thought out) simple answers. All I want is for there to be consistency from the moderators.”

playthebanjo's avatar

I think it was just another example of tinyfairies “highschool clicks” that she tried to point out. But as she said in response, the question really is not about lurve. It is about non-responsiveness (or perceived non-responsiveness which amounts to the same thing). But I have to wonder…would she have received an answer if this question had not been posted?

marinelife's avatar

I was also thinking about the question of fairness of the moderators while I was gone. Moderators are more than one person at any given time. Moderators are human. I suspect that differences in type of action may relate to who, what and when.

I think as a user a person should work on conforming to the site’s norms rather than making the site conform to the user’s personal needs.

When I first posted questions and had other Flutherites point to earlier threads, I didn’t get mad, I started searching harder and better before posting. I honestly do not even remember if I have had a question pulled, but if my questions got pulled, I would work harder at crafting them in an acceptable way, not get pissed off at someone who pulled them.

I also suspect that there is not a flood of complaints of the same nature as thebeadholder’s or there would be a response.

marinelife's avatar

@ptheb Where is it written that every comment or complaint must have an answer? In the Web world, I bet those guys need flak jackets to help keep the crap off.

I have not received a single answer to any feedback I have provided recently, but I did not assume there was something wrong or the feedback would not be taken into consideration. I also did not assume it would be acted on. I had my say; it is up to them what, if anything, they do about it. Isn’t that pretty much how the world works?

playthebanjo's avatar

Moderators are certainly more than one person, each with their own vision of what Fluther is and is not supposed to be. That’s really my big gripe. I with that we could know what types of answers and questions are likely to be pulled from one day to the next. But we can’t since all moderators see things differently. And you are also correct about learning to navigate around fluther…I too asked a couple of questions early on that were duplicates of earlier ones….even ones that I knew were going to be the most original fluther question ever. I learned to search the past questions, just like you did.

You are correct…each complaint need not have an answer, but if the goal is to retain members and grow through some amount of customer service then they should answer them in some fashion…even a I received your email and I will get to it in a couple of days/weeks when I get done updating the code on the site…it’s really hectic right now, but your feedback is important to us”. After all, Ben said that they did read the question.

But maybe that growth is not the goal. Then what is? Obviously, from the use of the google ads, one goal is to make money. I am certainly not saying that that is the primary goal, I have no idea what the primary goal is, but if the ads weren’t supposed to make money they wouldn’t be on the site. If you want more money, you need more clicks, if you want more clicks, you need more people, if you want more people, then treat people with good customer service and they will stay your people instead of becoming someone else’s people.

If it’s not money, what else might it be? A social experiment? Maybe. Now with the newer features to be added, a new social networking site. Hopefully I will not log onto Fluther in the near future and see “Hot Women in your area Want you to click here!”.

Do you know what the point of fluther is? To make the everyperson the expert or something like that? A way to get answers? A fun place to go? All those things?

tinyfaery's avatar

Sorry. Clique.

Knotmyday's avatar

@gail/tiny- clique. The sound of french-tipped nails clacking together.

soundedfury's avatar

I there is a misunderstanding of how moderation works. We are remarkably consistent in what we moderate. We are much less consistent in what we fail to moderate, which is what you are noticing. This isn’t a function of our personalities, or a failure in vision. It’s simply that we’re not moderating 24/7.

Let me repeat that – there are periods of time when no one is actively moderating. During those times, the most you’re seeing is response to users flagging content. For instance, I mod things from work based on what comes through as flagged, but I’m not actively monitoring all questions during that time period. The same is true for other mods at different times.

This means that a question that was flagged might get modded but a different question asked at the same time might not. Since we’re bypassing the front page and going directly to the flagged question, we’re not seeing all the other questions asked.

Can we do better at being more active? Sure. But right now it is an all-volunteer effort and there are only so many of us.

thebeadholder's avatar


playthebanjo's avatar

Thank you for that clarification. In an effort to help with the moderation, I happily nominate myself as a moderator. Andrew? Ben?

gailcalled's avatar

In the interests of full disclosure, should Bead and Banjo fess up?

soundedfury's avatar

@thebeadholder – I have no idea what you mean by that. My choice of words was directly related to @playthebanjo’s of the word “vision” above.

playthebanjo's avatar

I didn’t write anything for her…she is plenty smart enough to speak her own mind…but birds of a feather

playthebanjo's avatar

Does that mean I’m on the NO list for possible moderator?

playthebanjo's avatar

And we don’t always agree, as evidenced by this fluther thread (and I did not agree with her last statement, either)

aaaaaaa's avatar

Just calm down, take a deep breath, and relax. We’re all here for your emotional needs any time~.
Let me ask you this, do you feel left out? Well talk to us, let all your emotional setbacks pour out like a fountain on the Fluther community and weep with me. I’m sorry for your feelings that you’re going through at the moment~.

wildflower's avatar

Honestly, I don’t get what all the fuzz is about. I’ve had a good few responses and at least one question removed and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The mods/admins know what complies with the guidelines for use (after all, they wrote them), so I will take their word for it if they say it doesn’t comply. Live and learn!

breedmitch's avatar

@bead and banjo: A little fluther history. Andrew and Ben started this site. About a year ago they added Eric. The site flourished and they recruited loyal and hardworking members to moderate.

From what I can gather, they seem to have turned over much of the flagging responsibility to the group of moderators, while they work to improve the site. These mods are very young in the time line of fluther history. They were only added a few months ago (shortly before you joined) to help relieve our overworked site founders. You weren’t here yet, but believe me when I say that Andrew and Ben’s choice of moderators was impeccable. I had never seen a rude or ungracious remark from any of them. There were playful or sarcastic posts, yes, but always with the best interest of helping the asker.

I’m saddened by this question because I don’t think it’s necessary. Both of you have (I feel) been very effective at getting your voice heard (by the collective at least). I have learned from each of you, laughed with each of you, and been upset by comments each of you has made. That is the way of fluther. Most recently, I was disheartened by you, bead, when I read your flippant, rude inquiry to our hosts.

I’ve never felt this way about another member, but if this is the way either of you feel, then I think you should go. Fluther is not what you thought it was.

It’s not a government agency. It doesn’t have to conform to your sense of “fairness”. We should all view ourselves as their guests here, and be thankful for the community they founded and continue to nourish.

You may take your marbles, and go.
I’ve got marbles!

shilolo's avatar

@Breed (and everyone else ganging up on Bead). In fairness, I think you all should settle down. Telling someone to leave is rude and insensitive. To say that she cares too much misses the point completely. I would bet my life that Ben and Andrew want people to be passionate about Fluther rather than be ambivalent.

If you consider Bead’s two major complaints, one was that she felt slighted by the mods and Ben/Andrew, and the proximal complaint was the inconsistent application of Fluther guidelines. I, for one, happen to agree with her that the guidelines are applied very inconsistently. The question in question was flagged for being a duplicate and a survey. I’m sure we could all agree that there are many questions that fulfill one or both of those criteria that go unflagged and left alone. So, Bead has a legitimate gripe. Some have argued that this is much ado about nothing, but Bead was clearly more upset by the silence than by the question getting pulled.

In reality, this thread would not have occurred if someone like Soundedfury had provided his explanation to her directly (i.e. “Sorry we nailed you on this question, but we have a limited staff and cannot capture all redundant/survey questions. Yours was flagged by another user, which is why we came across it, and therefore deemed it to be a bad question.”)

In my experience, allowing someone to vent their frustration and then providing an empathic explanation can work wonders.

breedmitch's avatar

I’m sorry if my comment sounded rude. I never asked them to go. I simply meant that if this is really the source of such consternation for them, then they should look deep inside themselves and decide if this is the place for them.

I believe you’re correct in saying it was the silence from The mods that upset bead more, but I read her feedback as hostile, flippant, and rude. It’s no wonder they chose not to respond. If bead thinks she’s receiving poor “customer service” then she should vote with her feet and leave the store. That’s not the same thing as me asking her to leave.

shilolo's avatar

@Breed. I respectfully disagree with you. You said “I’ve never felt this way about another member, but if this is the way either of you feel, then I think you should go.” (emphasis yours) and “You may take your marbles, and go.” Moreover, Marina was a bit more polite and indirect when she said “I am wondering what it is that you want or expect from the site, and is Fluther a good choice for those expectations?” Perhaps this is semantics, but both of these comments directed Bead and PlaytheBanjo to leave. And for what? For spamming, lying, cheating or abusing the site? No; you directed them to leave for basically complaining about an inherent problem, which is lack of consistency (a problem faced by many user run websites, such as Wikipedia) and frustration at a lack of a response.

I would add that using a customer service analogy is inappropriate here (both for you and Bead). Fluther is more of a collective (as it says right there on the top), and many people view it that way. If you were to disagree with a friend (or to extend the analogy, a member of the collective), and they gave you the silent treatment, I think you would be upset. Moreover, I doubt you would ever tell a friend to their face to “take your marbles and go.” That is rude and flippant and frankly, unwarranted. This is my problem with your comments, as well as Marina’s and Robmandu’s.

Edit: Clearly, the Fluther collective favors Breed’s answers given the 4 GAs (!) for his response. I am happy to stand in the minority on this issue!

wildflower's avatar

Opinions and…..... – everyone’s got one!
Whether playthebanjo and thebeadholder stay active users of Fluther really is gonna come down to their opinion of Fluther, the mods and the collective.
Overall I think both add something to the Fluther experience and I’d prefer they stayed.

I will say this, you gotta respect the moderators and admins for keeping the site as clean and high quality as they do! The way I see it, it’s a bit like bouncers at a club trying to turn away all the underage and visibly intoxicated people, but they’re still human and don’t have a fool-proof system, so some will slip past them.
As for understanding and being given the chance to debate the reason for a question being pulled; yes, it’d be nice if it was very clear or fully explained every time, but in the end, we all know it’s because the moderators saw it as conflicting with guidelines – personally I would rarely need more info than that, but if I did, I’d certainly appeal to a reasonable and constructive dialog.

thebeadholder's avatar

Dear all,
I have received an email from Andrew and I thanked him. I think arguing this any further is a mute point. I want to thank all of you for your comments, as I listen and learn from them all. I do believe I approached the creators (perhaps) inappropriately and I am sorry for that. I think there are some kinks that need to be worked out on this site. I realize it is still a “baby” and there is tremendous room for growth. With growth comes learning and I hope in some small way…we have all learned a little something in this thread (whatever it may be).

robmandu's avatar


Nice wrap up, @bead.

Maybe others don’t see it. But what I’ve witnessed time and again, over and over, round and round, is that the fluther mods and gods do indeed (eventually) get engaged with the unhappy flutherite and will hash out the problem extensively in a good faith effort to resolve to the satisfaction of everyone.

If there ever is a way to short-circuit the asking of over-repeated questions, I hope that this topic (that is, cry outs for attention) is nailed.

Seriously, I have yet to see another site where the admins spend so much one-on-one time with the participants. It’s obviously the reason why fluther is what it is: greatness.

marinelife's avatar

I am glad that the issue has been resolved to thebeadholder’s satisfaction. I would love to let it lie at this point, but I do want to go on record and say, despite shilolo’s statement to the contrary, that I never asked nor suggested, nor would I ask or suggest that thebeadholder or playthebanjo (or any other Flutherer) for that matter to leave.

I would think that a great loss, as I would and do feel it is a loss that, apparently, cameraobscura has made that choice.

I am a writer. I use words very precisely. I am also a direct person. If I was going to make such a suggestion, I would have done so.

At the time I wrote it, I meant absolutely and precisely what I said. “I am wondering what it is that you want or expect from the site, and is Fluther a good choice for those expectations?” That in no way implies someone should leave. It might imply someone should reaxamine or adjust their expectations, but even that is a stretch.

shockvalue's avatar

Well that was fun to read!

scamp's avatar

I’ve always found threads like this rude. Andrew and Ben work hard to give us this wonderful place to be, and it amazes me how many people try to tell them how to run it. I’m sure suggestions are welcomed, but complaining because you didn’t get the type of attention you want seems pretty childish to me. I would much rather not have to read any more temper tantrums from disgruntled attention seekers. This is not meant to point a finger at any one person in paticular, just a general statement about threads of this type.

To me this type of behavior is like having a houseguest complain because you don’t have your house decorated in the style they like for theirs. This is the house that Andrew and Ben built, and warmly welcomed us all to make ourselves at home. To show such disrespect for them out in the open like this to me is just shamefull. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my mother taught me to be a better guest than that.

delirium's avatar

Scamp couldn’t have said it better.

Stocky's avatar

Well said Scamp

shockvalue's avatar

Well said Delirium and Stocky.

Knotmyday's avatar

Ditto @scamp, delirium, Stocky, and shockvalue.

Stocky's avatar

@Knotmyday I disagree completely what I said was ridiculous

Knotmyday's avatar

Ditto@scamp, delirium, (deleted), and shockvalue.

is everyone happy now?

Allie's avatar

I’d like to be thanked for my lack of contribution. (I’m kidding.)

Stocky's avatar

well done

shockvalue's avatar

Thanks for the jokes Allie. (I love kidding around.)

thebeadholder's avatar

still producing responses…WOW! came back to check and i see my opinions are still being criticized (and “punished”) by people just as rude and opinionated…reasons why i left this place to begin with. EVEN AFTER I APOLOGIZED AND SAID I HAD LEARNED FROM EVERYONE. amazing…nothing’s changed.

robmandu's avatar

yah… apparently not.

Response moderated (Spam)

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