Meta Question

muppetish's avatar

Would you like some answers to recent questions about the moderation process?

Asked by muppetish (14227points) October 7th, 2017

[Mod Says]

We’ve had several posts recently about moderation transparency when it comes to the banning process.

Step One – Warnings

If a member of Fluther exhibits a pattern in not following the guidelines (whether the issue is writing standards or baiting other users), they get a warning sent to them over PM by a moderator. In our experience, most users take their warnings in stride—even if they felt justified in deviating from the guidelines. Sometimes it’s months before a user slips up again if they do so at all. In the event that a user does break the guidelines, then we’ll send out another warning.

Step Two – Suspensions

If a user is sent multiple warnings in a relatively short span of time, they will receive a warning that explicitly states that continued behavior will result in their suspension for two weeks from the site.

Again, it’s not unusual for users to take these two weeks to cool off and when they come back they bounce back into the tide pool with no problem. Other times, they go back to old habits. Regardless, if the user breaks a rule again after their initial suspension, then they are sent a warning over PM.

Step Three – Additional Suspensions

If they continue breaking the guidelines after this warning, then the moderators deliberate their situation: does their behavior warrant a ban from the site, or could they benefit from another suspension? In most cases, we would lean towards a suspension.

Step Four – Bans

However, if a user has been suspended multiple times—especially in a short span of time—then we will warn the user that they will be subject to a ban if they do not adhere to the guidelines.

Unfortunately, some users continue breaching the guidelines so their account is banned as per the terms we communicated to them.

Reinstating Banned Users

Back when she was Community Manager, augustlan herself held the position that most banned users would not be permitted back to the site. A few users who have been banned in the past were particularly toxic to the site — whether visible to other users or not. (And keep in mind that the worst of any banned user’s contributions are both the most likely to be removed and the most likely to be responsible for them being banned. So the best evidence that someone ought to have been banned is unlikely to be available for public viewing.)

However, banned does not always mean banned for life (augustlan gives a few cases later in this thread of users who violated the rules and will NOT have their accounts reinstated). As recent as a few months ago, a banned user submitted an inquiry asking to rejoin the site. However, after multiple suspensions or a serious violation of the guidelines, we have to reflect very deeply on whether or not someone can return. It’s not a decision we would take lightly, but we’re not entirely opposed to it either.

That said, a ban is not going to be treated like a regular suspension. If we are going to consider reinstating a banned user’s account, then we must consider (1) time since the original ban, (2) how they handled the ban and its aftermath, and (3) if there were extenuating circumstances at the time of the original ban. Other factors may be considered as well.

Moderation Consistency

This approach to handling moderation is not unique to the current moderation team. It is how we were trained by augustlan, and this is what is communicated in the moderation guide.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

182 Answers

janbb's avatar

Transparent and clear. Thanks @muppetish !

BellaB's avatar

I’ve been poking around trying to find an answer to my question. Good you posted this, so I can ask here.

What is the definition here for baiting other users? is it addressed in a FAQ somewhere?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@muppetish Thank you for this very thorough explanation of the process.

muppetish's avatar

@BellaB I do not believe that there is an explicit definition of flame-bait and personal attacks on Fluther itself, but they both fall under the Important Rules section of the Guidelines: Hateful, abusive, or bigoted; harassment of other users.

Generally, baiting is when one user tries to get a negative rise out of another user. We rely on flagging to draw our attention to flamebait and personal attacks. If one moderator isn’t sure whether something constitutes flamebait or personal attacks, then we check with at least one other mod.

Soubresaut's avatar

Another thank you @muppetish for this explanation.

And thank you @muppetish, @longgone, and @SavoirFaire for all that you do. You are a wonderful team! You approach everything with consistency, judiciousness, and tact.

janbb's avatar

@Soubresaut And Stinley too, I believe.

muppetish's avatar

@janbb Stinley is on a break from modding, but I hear they were a great part of the team while I was on hiatus myself!

Soubresaut's avatar

Yes! And her too. I saw that she wasn’t on the mod list anymore so I left her off, but now I wish I hadn’t… Definitely her, too!

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’m glad to see some sort of response from the moderators, but has anyone asked @augustlan if she wants to be involved in this dispute or the discipline policy on Fluther? It would be highly unethical to bring her into this discussion without her expressed permission.

I too was trained by the former manager as a mod, and I acted as a mod for a couple of years under her guidance. I’m not at all convinced she would have approved this permanent banning. She took the banning of members, any members, but especially long-term members, very seriously.

In addition, it would help if the mods could provide some explanation of what rules the banned member broke. When I was a mod, there were people who really did not like each other and argued constantly. They were given time-outs and they were asked to ignore each other. Sometimes, that final request broke down, but they were not banned. One member who was under such a rule is still here as a member, the other has sadly passed. People argue, beyond cleaning up the abusive posts and sending people to their corners, mods should not take sides in disputes unless there is significant threatening behaviour. Given one mod at least has been having private conversations with the other party involved in the dispute with the banned member, perhaps some thought could be given to avoiding the impression of bias.

Thank you for clarifying the process for reconsidering a decision, but there has also not been any clear moderation response to more than 40 members asking the mods to reconsider their decision. Are the mods reconsidering their decision? A large number of people have asked that they do this.

I want to say I’m not anti-mod. I’ve been a mod. I know how hard it is. However, I also believe moderation has to be seen to be fair, consistent, unbiased and very importantly, where possible, transparent. That’s not happening here and I would suggest some open, public, transparency would help calm the waters.

muppetish's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit I should clarify: we turned to augustlan’s comments as a moderator to demonstrate how moderation decisions around bans have generally been handled in the past as these are moderation comments available for public record whereas our deliberation exchanges as moderators are not.

augustlan has not been involved in the ban decisions over the past year, including the ones we have been discussing on Fluther over the past week. Our post does not represent her position on recent user bans, as she has not reached out to us thus far.

If you, or any user, would like a clarification about a particular banned user’s situation, then please don’t hesitate to send us a PM. From there, you can provide us directly with any additional insight and input that you see fit.

We do still request that users take time-outs from each other. I can recall a handful from when I was first a moderator, and I believe there are a few that are still in place now. One of the problems with time-outs and suspensions, however, is that some users persist in ignoring these requests from the moderation team. That puts mods in a place where we have to deliberate how to handle those situations. We don’t take it lightly, and it’s never an easy decision to make.

janbb's avatar

It is my understanding that a banning would not usually arise from a single conflict between two Jellies but more likely from repeated patterns of behavior on several different threads that were not changed after warnings and suspensions, etc.

johnpowell's avatar

Really folks… I have only been told to stop interacting with a person. Which I did.

Not getting banned here is pretty easy.

I agree with the mods. Coloma should have been banned. I am not signing a petition. What they did was unconscionable. And I am not a fan of the other party either.

Kardamom's avatar

I have to agree with @Earthbound_Misfit that it is pretty clear (to those who want to see it) that this particular moderation team, especially one member of that team, has not treated both of the parties in this particular dispute equally.

Also, it is very apparent that there is some type of favoritism going on, that is reinforced by the people who are friends of the favored person, or the Mod in question, and those that do not like any kind of confrontation, even if there has been some wrong doing. Those of us who have a problem with this situation, who have signed the petition, did so out of sense of wrongdoing by more than one person.

There are so many folks here on Fluther that have personal problems (and some vendettas) against other members. Usually because they vehemently disagree about one thing or another, or in some cases, because nasty PM’s were exchanged that the bulk of users here do not see, and now we know that the Mods can see everything. They can, but they don’t always look back over the years, at some of the terrible things that some of the users have said, and because the current crop of mods is only looking at things more recently, they don’t know the whole history. It’s pretty easy to appear like peaches and cream in public, and be an asshat in private, especially when you are trying to appear like a peach in public.

What we seem to have learned in the last 24 hours, is that one of the people involved in this dispute is using someone else’s account, maybe a family members’s, to send nasty PM’s to some of the people who have spoken out about this issue. And that at least one of the Mods has been having private conversations with that person. None of this is kosher. That is why a lot of us are upset. Things are not being done as they are supposed to be done under Fluther’s own rules and standards.

All that being said, I think most of us still believe that even though there are some members who can’t stand each other, that is not a good enough reason to ban someone. And if it is, then both members of the dispute should be banned. Most of us also believe that neither one of the members in this dispute should be banned. There was a disagreement, then another disagreement, then someone decided that one of the members caused a completely different Jelly to flee from Fluther (and supposedly it was a brand new newbie member, which turned out to be completely false, it was a returning member who had ongoing problems with the answers they received on Fluther under at least one other different account name). We all had harsh words to say to that member, and that is why he fled again, because he still didn’t like the types of answers he received. None of this warrants anyone getting banned, lest we all get banned, even though telling the truth to a member on a Q isn’t going against any of the Fluther standards, at least not as far as I know.

I hate the fact that I now feel uncomfortable telling the truth. There is more information that I have, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, or embarrass anyone any more than I probably already have. There are plenty of people that are pretty pissed off at me already, for telling the truth. Sometimes people do not like to hear the truth, and that makes me fearful and sad. Those of us who have signed the petition, only want the truth to be told and for a good member of the collective to be re-instated, because we don’t believe that she was banned for the correct reasons, not was she banned fairly.

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longgone's avatar

[Mod says] Personal attacks are against Fluther guidelines, and references to moderated content will be removed for clarity’s sake. Please try to keep this thread constructive.

tinyfaery's avatar

Seems like a few more members need a time-out.

No one should come back from a ban. Well, maybe after a year or so.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Good lord folks. We may need to make some changes to the site. Instead of jellyfish, we should be changed to piranhas…

This is what Russia wants. A divided population. Putin got to us on Fluther. Diabolical!...

canidmajor's avatar

Such drama! Conspiracy theories! Clandestine meetings! Geez.

This is not a two-party issue, as some would claim. This is about one (count ‘em one) party. There was a lot of interaction and conflict with another user, yes, (who may have been warned themselves) that contributed to the decision, but really, there was a lot more going on that did not involve the second user.

I have in the past been warned to stop interacting with someone, and you know what? I stopped! Wow! There are a number of people here who dislike me, and have likely complained about me, I get stuff modded, I am not particular friends with any of the mods, and still I haven’t been suspended or banned.

What outstanding arrogance to assume to know more about all this than the mods, and to accuse them of being ignorant or unfair or lazy.

And I’m still not sure why people are assuming that this should be a democracy and the casual user should have some kind of say in policy. Because when it comes down to it, we are all casual users here, except the mods.

Fill out the comment card, fine, but to assume that you have a right (not a country, folks!) to make policy decisions especially when you don’t have all the info, is rather like the 3rd grade student council demanding to have a say in the running of the municipal school system.

jca's avatar

When one of the two people involved in a dispute is on FB saying that one of the mods had private conversations with her about the person being banned, something’s fishy in the tide pool.

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snowberry's avatar

I have been baited by mods (yes it’s true) as well as by other members. I have had awesome questions gutted because of other people taking offense at flames I’ve received. I’m not happy about that but there’s nothing I can do if a moderator chooses to remove negative posts on a question where I’m participating.

Even if I am being flamed I STILL prefer to handle it myself. I have developed my own solution to being flamed and it works quite well for me. Otherwise I wouldn’t still be here after all these years. But Fluther is what it is.

janbb's avatar

Anyone else feel like they’re back in high school where they never wanted to be in the first place? I think maybe Fluther needs a time out.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The banned user had a history of detrimental behavior with many others. This is not about interaction with only one other user, but with many, and the behavior goes back years.

And there were more than 2 suspensions. She’s lying.

canidmajor's avatar

Hahaha, oh @Hawaii_Jake, you know they don’t want to hear that. It’s much more important that the fingers be pointed elsewhere.

jca's avatar

There are a lot of others who are banned, too. Many who have been critical of the mods and then poof, all gone. I know I can’t name them but I found out this morning who they are. Very interesting. Dissent is not allowed, I guess.

stanleybmanly's avatar

If there is anything to be gained from these recent threads, it is the unavoidable conclusion on the absolute necessity for the mods. There is no way in hell that we might survive as a self governing bunch. It is ironic that the very process in quick scrubbing all evidence of acrimony fosters the illusion of we as a harmonious crowd. When presented with it, I quickly signed the petition, unaware of the history of our exiled companion. It was an emotional decision that I do not regret, and even with the subsequent revelations in mind I would almost certainly sign the thing again, but with neither the passion nor conviction of the first time around. Objectively, the mods position is unassailable. If their function is to maintain order and some semblance of harmony to this place, adherence to the rules takes a back seat to NOTHING. Clearly membership here was more than a trivial matter for our ousted comrade, and in view of her status as grizzled veteran, I would think the depriving her of the place through lengthy suspensions sufficient. I will sign the next petition when it appears because from what I saw, the disruptions about her resulted from a “low” setting on her emotional switch. I just can’t believe there is anything deliberately malevolent about her.

canidmajor's avatar

OMG, @jca! Of course you’re right! Secret bannings! Jack-booted thugs pulling us from our beds! Secret torture camps! Children and pets being taken by the secret police!
Really? People have been banned and chose not to make a big deal about it because this is really not a hill worth dying on!
It seems to be important that you try to bring the site down for the sake of one user’s vanity. How proud she must be to have a pointless and silly revolution started in her name. <eyeroll>

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Brian1946's avatar

I have a question about a lesser issue: one that doesn’t involve suspensions, bans, or protracted hostilities.

I’ve noticed that some of my posts have annoying word omissions that I’d like to correct. I’ve sent several requests to the mods via https://www.fluther.com/contact/ that they return the posts to me for editing.

Why haven’t I received any reply regarding any of this, let alone access to edit any of the posts?

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jca's avatar

To those who are sayng if you don’t like it, you can leave, that’s like saying if you don’t like the President, just leave the country. I don’t like him either, but just leaving is not the point. Maybe staying and trying to effect change is a better way to go. I work for a union and we could very well tell our members “if you don’t like the job’s rules, just leave. There are other jobs elsewhere.” However, that’s not helping anything.

chyna's avatar

Neither is saying the same thing over and over and over. You’re mad someone got banned, I’m not mad. If you know of a helpful way, then say so. Don’t just keep coming back here like a pouting kid “JB said so and so”! How is that helpful?

janbb's avatar

@Kardamom I’m not taking sides in the interaction between the two disputants. There’s been plenty of bad behavior all around. However, the mods have been inviting people all along to pm them for information so it seems a bit silly to complain that someone has. I pm mods; I’m sure everyone does at times. They’re people and members of the community too. It was bad form for a Jelly to publish a pm as a taunt.

And as had been said many, many times, the banning was not the result of one conflict solely.

To everyone, bringing your shit back over here from FB does not help anyone. If you want a place to bitch, go for it, but don’t bring in stories from there to here.

I was taunted for being bossy here by someone, I guess I can be. Too fucking bad.

rebbel's avatar

@janbb Language.
~

janbb's avatar

@rebbel Beat me for it?

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rebbel's avatar

@janbb No way, José. Too afraid you going to use your bottle of Fuck Off on me.
@canidmajor You’re excused.

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MrGrimm888's avatar

EMERGENCY WEATHER UPDATE! !!!!!!!!!!!

The forecast today calls for severe shit storms, with little chance of moving on…

Mods should shelter in place. Emergency services, and common decency will not be operable during the shit storms. Flooding of bullshit should be expected in the pond.

Civil jelly unrest is being reported in all areas of the pond.

Jellies hoping for an end to this cycle are advised to hope in one hand, and shit in the other. Report which hand fills up faster.

Jellies are advised to bring in their pets, and plants, as nothing is safe from the heavy fecal precipitation.

Stay tuned to this thread for ‘fluther’ information….

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^accurate weather report

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tinyfaery's avatar

Back to bashing the other member, but at the same time it’s not about her? Please.

Coloma doesn’t need to come back when a few here have picked up her mantle. All the bullshit; she’s still here.

jca's avatar

One cries victim. The advice given to her was accurate.

Muad_Dib's avatar

It’s going to be one boring-ass circle jerk around here when all is said and done, I’d wager.

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DominicY's avatar

Damn I’m at work (on a Sunday!), can’t respond. If this is still up when I get back, I’m jumpin’ In! Meanwhile have fun :)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

How much more old baggage shall we unpack? Who’s next?

JLeslie's avatar

I was modded? Lol.

Soubresaut's avatar

I’ve seen that some people are unhappy about what they feel is unfair or biased moderation. If they are confused about why their posts were moderated, or if they are under the impression that the moderation was a form of outright censorship (that’s just a vibe I’m getting from some; maybe I’m mistaken), I would kindly suggest they ask the mods for the actual reasons. That link is on the top of every page for a reason.

I am willing to bet all the cake in the frizzer, and my room in the mansion, that such impressions are incorrect.

That way, too, the users will know how to avoid repeating the things that caused their earlier posts to be modded in the first place, which means they can avoid future frustration when trying to express their perspectives.

If anyone’s been watching the modding, they will have seen that modding has happened to posts representing all sorts of different positions on this issue.

jca's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake: Nothing wrong with laying things on the table.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@jca Actually, it shows an inability to address emotions adequately. Rehashing old slights is done when we’re unable to process and move on.

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jca's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake: In your life, have you never told someone that something they did to you in the past was hurtful, upsetting, annoying, etc.? You just forget everything and move on without telling the person?

Muad_Dib's avatar

“Forgive and forget” was one of the favorite mottoes of every abusive family member I had.

Fuck that noise. I remember. I make notes. I use that knowledge to inform my actions going forward.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Still relevant

My words from the thread:

I had a communication class back in college a million years ago. I remember very little, but I remember we studied some things about group dynamics. Our group here at Fluther is quite frankly at a stage when the members begin to turn on each other. It happens as a group ages and doesn’t have much new blood entering it. It can go on a few different ways.
1. A miracle could happen, and we could start to get a lot of new blood.
2. The group could die.
3. The group could move past the personalities and work together to grow into something more than the individuals.

muppetish's avatar

[Mod Says] Please remember to disagree without being disagreeable. You’re free to question moderation decisions, individual moderators, and each other, but please follow the Guidelines. Any responses that do not follow the Guidelines, or are in response to a comment that was pulled, will be moderated shortly. Refrain from bringing up personal information about other jellies or sharing private conversations – including conversations from other sites – in your repsonses.

The mods are drafting a response to this thread addressing a number of valid questions that have been raised, and hope to have it posted tonight. Thank you for your input and patience.

Muad_Dib's avatar

So, if I’m reading this correctly, we’re only allowed to discuss conversations on this site that haven’t already been moderated.

That’s some hardcore censorship, yo.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake So, let’s work together. How do you propose we do it to resolve the issue?

muppetish's avatar

@Muad_Dib No—what it means is that responses to answers that have been removed will also be removed for the sake of clarity and continuity. We don’t typically leave up a response to an answer that has been removed.

snowberry's avatar

@Muad_Dib “Forgive and forget” was one of the favorite mottoes of every abusive family member I had.

I have found that to be true as well. But I found it advantageous to forgive, but
NEVER forget. Past history and appropriate boundaries are a must in dealing with people, whether they are abusive or not, and no matter who they are.

syz's avatar

Wow, it’s just like old times.

I missed everything about this apparent furor because I don’t come to Fluther much anymore (too few users and too few actual experts). But I’ve been here since August 2007 and I spent some of that time as a mod. And the bitching about favoritism and unfair moderation and lack of transparency and unfairness has been going on the entire 10 years that I’ve been around, regardless of who the mods happen to be.

Look, accept the fact that you (as a user) don’t have all of the pertinent facts. And you shouldn’t. It’s not your business – if you want to be in the know, be the sort of consistent, measured, even-tempered user that gets invited to be a mod and then donate your time. Otherwise, it’s none of your business.

Accept the fact that the mods are doing what they think best, that they’ve debated, investigated, and done what needs to be done to maintain the site’s standards.

And for God’s sake, quit with the drama.

Muad_Dib's avatar

A moderator just contacted me privately to discuss another user’s banning.

I let them know I’m uncomfortable with receiving such messages, and I feel if the information can be shared privately to some members it should be shared publicly to all members.

Just for transparency’s sake.

muppetish's avatar

[Mod Says]

a) How seriously do we take the banning of a longtime member?

Very. We deliberate over decisions like that for at least several weeks, often months or years. In the most recent case, the banned user has a written record dating back a few years. Despite a spike in the very same behavior that caused three earlier warnings, as well as a suspension, we suspended them two additional times rather than banning prematurely.

b) Which rules were broken in the most recent banning?

The banned user in this instance baited and personally attacked several users in a close time-frame, which resulted in a number of questions being seriously derailed. They were suspended twice in quick succession and asked not to interact with another user. When the jelly returned from their most recent suspension, they resumed the behavior that resulted in their previous bans by baiting users and initiating multiple exchanges with a jelly they had agreed not to engage with after returning to the tide pool. This, coupled with a longer history documented by previous moderators of not adhering to moderation requests extending several years back, is what led to the user’s ban.

c) Are we taking sides?

No, we are not. While a moderator did send a PM referencing the incident to one of the parties involved, this was to clear up some misunderstandings of prior moderator actions and to request that the user flag any future attacks rather than engaging with them because the team would not ignore any further infractions from anyone involved.

There was also a private conversation between the same two jellies referencing the current ongoing discussion—part of which has been shared publicly. In that message, the moderator expressed concern about jellies drawing conclusions from partial information, which is the same problem we are trying to fix here as best as we can. Maybe this discussion should not have taken place, but this issue has not been a behavioral pattern of the moderator in question. Moderators are human, too. Just like other jellies, however, they should not be raked over the coals for isolated incidents.

It is also important to note that serious moderation decisions are not made by just one person. We try to reach a unanimous decision before taking action—especially when said action involves the potential removal of a longstanding member of the community. And while the decision in this case was difficult, it was unanimous.

d) Are we reconsidering the case?

Not based on the petition’s outcome. We realize that the user in question is missed greatly. However, moderation decisions are not made on the basis of the popularity of individual users. Furthermore, several members have contacted us to say that they signed the petition without being aware of the banning’s circumstances.

We have, of course, been spending a lot of time on this case. But the decision we came to after months of deliberation has not been changed by this additional dialogue.

If the user in question would like to have their case reopened, or for us to look into additional information that we may have overlooked or otherwise been unaware about when the original decision was made, then they can send us a message through the “Contact the Mods” button. We are more than willing to hear them out now or down the line.

e) Do we read PMs?

Moderators do not have full access to everyone’s messages. Like any regular user, they can see the messages they have sent or received. In addition, they can see messages that other moderators have sent as a moderator (for those who have never received a moderator PM, official messages get marked as being sent “as a moderator”).

Only site administrators have full access to private messages, and they are not in the habit of checking those without an explicit reason. In the past, augustlan was the only one with that ability, and it was used when users informed her that they were being seriously harassed or threatened. She would check the messages to corroborate their story and decide how to move forward. When she stepped down, this ability went to two users, and now it belongs to only one.

We have not been directly asked by anyone regarding this particular situation to check private messages. If someone would like to make that request and feel that it would fit within the perimeters we described, please let us know over PM or email. We can’t moderate what we don’t see.

f) How come we’re being so stingy with information on bans?

One of the difficulties we are currently facing is the impasse between the privacy statement outlined in the guidelines vs one user’s direct statement to us that we can discuss their case publicly with the collective.

Though the user who was banned has given us this permission, we want to protect the privacy of all users implicated in our decision to move forward with the ban. This gets fuzzier, however, when one of these users steps forward and makes their involvement with the banned user quite public of their own volition.

As for the other two users banned this year who have come up across these threads: please ask us over PM if you want to know information about them. Unlike this situation, we have not been given any permission to discuss their bans publicly.

g) If several people have engaged in behavior similar to that of the banned party, shouldn’t they all be banned?

It depends on how similar the behavior is. Engaging in some of the same bad behaviors is not enough if what got someone banned is the combination of their bad behaviors. The frequency and severity of rule violations matters, as does someone’s reaction to warnings and suspensions. In any case, bad behavior on the part of one person cannot be used to justify bad behavior on the part of someone else.

We hope that these answers helped clarify the situation. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

janbb's avatar

And that’s a wrap.

longgone's avatar

@Muad_Dib As we’ve already noted, people are free to ask for a PM about why someone was banned. Since you asked, we thought you’d want to know.

Muad_Dib's avatar

I asked publicly. In this thread. I did not ask to be the bearer of private information.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Unless I’m free to share that PM in this thread without breaking rules, I find the message I received inappropriate.

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JLeslie's avatar

@muppetish I gave you a GA for taking the time to write out such a long explanation.

If Coloma didn’t lay off a specific jelly she was told to not interact with, then I see where you are coming from, but I can’t help but wonder if there was a miscommunication in what exactly that meant. I guess I can ask her what happened, what she was told, what she did. Same with Cruiser. Does that mean don’t go on any of they’re Q’s? Don’t address the directly? Don’t contradict them? Maybe you were very specific.

You mentionined baiting. So, if a jelly asks a leading question, or tries to get more information, is that a heinous crime here on our jelly site? Is that what you mean by baiting?

@janbb I have to say I am shocked. Why so rude to @Muad_Dib? Jellies are upset, and they want things to be fair. It’s impossible for it to be completely fair, I think we all know that. Maybe you just stop following if you’re tired of the conversation.

Muad_Dib's avatar

So, two messages just disappeared without a trace, unless my device is doing funny things.

janbb's avatar

I was actually going back to delete my remark but I can’t find it again either. Weird.

I apologize for my rudeness but I am frustrated that you will not accept the lengthy attempts by the mods to explain both publicly and privately. and that this issue is going on for so long when I consider it covered.

I will now take @JLeslie ‘s advice and stop following.

I’m glad my rude remark is gone.

JLeslie's avatar

This is why I don’t flag things. I like them to stay up.

Without a trace. That is bizarre. I didn’t even know that capability existed.

muppetish's avatar

@JLeslie Good question! When we make the decision to ask users not to interact with each other, we send the message to both parties. It outlines that they are not allowed to: (1) respond to each other’s questions, (2) respond to each other’s responses, and (3) sending each other private messages. We have a standard message that we adjust depending on the situation, and it’s the message that has been circulated over the past year in any situation like this one.

Identifying baiting in a question is tricky, but it’s not implausible. We have pushed questions to editing for “not being a genuine” question in the past. Sometimes, we’re not aware of the context that might alert others as to the baiting or leading nature of the question. Flagging helps clarify that for us.

@ all We are experiencing a glitch with moderated responses. I was told that Ben is aware of the glitch, but we’ll follow up with him to see if we can get it fixed.

JLeslie's avatar

@muppetish One more question. The person Coloma was told not to interact with, do they want her banned? Have they been asked? I never wanted any of the people banned who were upsetting me, I just wanted them to stop some very specific behavior. I didn’t want to not interact with them completely. Does that matter, or just the guidelines matter?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have a headache.

DominicY's avatar

@Muad_Dib It’s going to be one boring-ass circle jerk around here when all is said and done, I’d wager.

Indeed. I know there are many users who have long considered this site a “circle jerk”. I’d hate to see it become one even more so. Circle jerks aren’t fun, they’re just awkward.

Brian1946's avatar

@muppetish

Hopefully you’ll get to reserve some mental energy for the pursuit of your doctorate, or will your tour of Mod duty count toward your thesis? ;-o

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JLeslie You asked way up above about how to work together to resolve the issue. Thank you for asking. I appreciate it a great deal.

The issue I see is that we’re mostly a small clique of regular users. This is not optimal. In the little I remember about group dynamics, it leads to lots of infighting as the group ages. In one of the recent threads, @DominicY called it cabin fever. That fits somewhat.

The first thing we can do is simply recognize it and draw attention to it, which we’re doing in this and some other questions. Recognizing the problem is the only place to start. I think we’re doing that. Fluther has problems.

We’re not getting lots of new users like the site did in the early teens. It’s a mathematical fact. I doubt that’s going to change.

I think our second step is for each of us to recommit to observing the guidelines. Those and the moderation are what set Fluther apart from the vast majority of other sites. There is plenty of room for leeway in how we interact on here according to the guidelines. It’s one of the good things about them. Along the way, more issues will arise. Let’s agree to act civilly when those occasions happen.

I’m trying to think of a next step after that, and I’m coming up blank. That pretty much sums it up for me. I am very open to hearing what other people want to do. I’m so open I asked a question about it.

Let’s here what everyone wants to say. Let’s follow the guidelines as we say these things we have weighing on our minds.

muppetish's avatar

@JLeslie I can only speak for myself as a moderator, but I believe the others would likely agree with me: while I respect the opinions of everyone in the community, and will always listen to their input, and take into consideration how my decisions as a moderator might impact them, at the end of the day my decisions come down to the guidelines. If a rule is broken, then it needs to be addressed. Usually, a small reminder or nudge is more than enough, especially when a jelly is new to the site. When we talk about someone’s history impacting our decision, we only mean their history with the guidelines—not their history of popularity or lack thereof.

@muppetish Don’t call out my procrastination! At least we finally convinced @longgone to go to bed. I should get back to prepping for this exam shortly

snowberry's avatar

I’m with @JLeslie. Except for spam I also don’t flag anything.

Dutchess_III's avatar

All y’all mods just GO!

@Hawaii_Jake…it seems to come in waves here. Things will be pretty civil for a while then it all blows up again. It’s usually caused by one caustic user who left for a while then came back.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I can’t say nothing, but it’s extremely rare that I flag. I’d say 5 times a year. Maybe it’s a little more or less depending on the year. I like proof when I’m being harassed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And I almost never flag because someone is being a meanie to me.

cookieman's avatar

Um, anyone want a hug?

Mimishu1995's avatar

ME! @cookieman. I want as much hug as possible!

cookieman's avatar

(((HUGS)))

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s definitely time to hug it out.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m in! (((HUGS))) I give the mods a lot of credit! They do so much to keep this place running and (dare I say it?) loving.
Thanks Mods for all you.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

{{{{{{H U G S}}}}}}

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t like being touched, but I virtual hug you all.

Soubresaut's avatar

Okay, I’m in too! Hugs for everyone!

Dutchess_III's avatar

HUGS NOT FLAGS!! ♥ I know we help the mods by flagging but let us be circumspect about it.

MrGrimm888's avatar

#Hug life…

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^ flagged!!

longgone's avatar

[Mod says] From time to time, a moderated response will act in really strange ways. We don’t know what makes it happen, and we’d appreciate flags whenever something seems unusual. Ben will be working on that again today.

Thanks for the hugs, I feel all warm and fuzzy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Seriously? Tell him thank you very much. He can have my hugs.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
MrGrimm888's avatar

^Thanks for everything.

ben's avatar

[Founder Drop in]: Okay, I fixed the bug where modding of answers sometimes stopped working… It was a **really** tricky mysql bug that only happened in rare cases… Keep up all the hugs and great answering and general helpfulness. <3

janbb's avatar

HI Ben. Thanks Ben!

cookieman's avatar

Ah @ben, you’re such a mensch.

flutherother's avatar

There really is a God!

NomoreY_A's avatar

Well damn, after reading all this drama and trauma, I am surprised I haven’t been banned. I’m sure some of my wise-acre remarks and / or political rants have aggravated some people.

snowberry's avatar

@NomoreY_A Say anything you want but just be careful not to ruffle the wrong feathers and you’re golden! I should know!

NomoreY_A's avatar

@snowberry Thanks for the tip. Your guidance has been worth a million to me, I mean that sincerely. : )

SmashTheState's avatar

“The only obligation I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think is right.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I’ve gone to prison, defied judges, and punched cops when it was needful for me to do so; the threat of a ban doesn’t deter me in the slightest, nor should it. Thoreau wrote about how, when he was arrested for refusing to pay taxes to a State which permitted slavery, he laughed at the way they carefully locked his body behind bars, since, for one thing, it wasn’t his body they were afraid of but his thoughts – which they couldn’t imprison – but also that they were operating on the assumption that imprisonment is something all people fear above all else, and so they could modify his behaviour by imprisonment. But as the above quotation indicates, Thoreau was motivated only by the desire to follow his own internalized moral standard, and damned be the consequences.

I feel the same way, of course, which is why “authority figures” everywhere find me so infuriating; I very clearly follow only my own rules, and if they happen to coincide with those who claim authority over me then so much the better, but no amount of threat or force will make me obey any morality but my own. But the reason I’ve briefly returned to Fluther, at least long enough to post this, is I think this is a teachable moment for trying to explain to some of the apple-polishing conformists here why this is a good policy for all people to follow.

The basis of the voluntary community is that all members are there of their own free will, without coercion active or passive. It’s only in this way that it’s possible to have freedom, where people collaborate of their own desire rather than under the gun (whether figurative or literal) of some kind of coercive authority. For this to be the case, then people must follow only their own abstract and internalized morality, the sixth and final stage of Kohlberg’s moral hierarchy. Only in this way can it be possible to do away with the policeman and the moderator. And for that to be the case, then we must also accept that those whose personal morality transgresses that of the community must be put out of the community.

In other words, to create a voluntary community, we must allow for people to be themselves and then remove those whose behaviour puts them beyond the limits of the community’s accepted norms—preferably by mutual accord, with compassionate assistance in finding a place where such a person might be more comfortable. We see this kind of idea as the basis of the Greek polis, and why Socrates willingly drank the hemlock. To make a community better, then, a person should act without regard to any external authority and accept the consequences. Or, as Crowley put it, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@SmashTheState There is a glaring logical fallacy in your statement. If the community can put a member out for transgressions, that automatically makes the group an authority, which you claim doesn’t exist. So you made an authority of the group. (Why does this make me think of Monty Python?)

Personal question: Do you ever come here to answer questions with information, or is it only to tell us what awful people we are because we’re not enlightened anarchists?

johnpowell's avatar

Keep in mind the mods are volunteers. As far as I know none are paid.

Time spent modding here is time you can’t spend watching The Wire or baking snicker-doodles. So… It makes total sense to ban people that require babysitting time. I look at it that way. Muppetish wrote more words in this thread than I wrote for a single paper in my first year of college.

I run a forum and if you fuck up my day cleaning up your mess I will show you the door. I don’t have the time for that.

flutherother's avatar

So we should reject all authority figures while you give us three of your own; Thoreau, Kohlberg and Crowley. Moreover you put yourself forward as an authority figure by telling us how we should behave. Live your life as you want to live it – we can respect that, but don’t tell us what to do. The irony is insufferable.

ragingloli's avatar

Can I become a Mod?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

~ ~ ~ @ragingloli I think Qurell (sic) is looking for a few good level-headed people you’d be perfect.
JK

Dutchess_III's avatar

O. Is that my problem.

ragingloli's avatar

You know I would be the best mod ever.

tinyfaery's avatar

^only after I do

Brian1946's avatar

There are only 3 active mods- all 3 of you should jump in there and fight for the Crown.

Your first contest- compete to delete the most spam and ban the most spamsters in a 168-hour period. .

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Brian1946 The element you forgot to mention is, “Without Sleep”

The mods do a great job.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think so too. Sometimes they seem to go into overdrive, but they’re only human.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Brian1946 about spam, you forgot they will have another big competitor…

LornaLove's avatar

I really don’t know what transpired, as I don’t sign into fluther much anymore and I understand that things occur behind the scenes that I don’t know of. However, it does shock me that some members, one in particular for example, and this is just an example, who to my mind acted a few times in an abhorrently disgraceful way, including goading, flame baiting, insulting, personal insults, gang mentality, as in drawing in another member to partake in the verbal assault is still here! In fact, I find it hard to mention one rule they did not break in one thread and a few threads thereafter.
This, I find interesting. (Not to mention that many feel the same way about this person). I won’t mention who, I just avoid ‘it’. I think the said person is too delusional to know they are so abusive.

snowberry's avatar

^^ Yup! Stuff happens.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@LornaLove That’s the problem. I try to avoid the issue of “selective justice” because the defense of “so and so ran the light and you didn’t ticket HIM” won’t and shouldn’thold up. To this day, it bothers me that such turmoil can rage right in front of us with all evidence vanishing before we’re aware of it. That being said, I really prefer to believe that our mods would not deliberately collude with one of us in the biased banishment of another.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’m sure that the mods have better things to do with their lives, than to collude with one another, and a random user to destroy another… And then have to spend more time explaing/repeating the whole incident…

Dutchess_III's avatar

It is just odd how random selecting abusers seems to be to me.There are jellies here who are just as abusive, if not more so, and they haven’t gone anywhere. Does it all depend on flagging? Are the users acting like grown ups and not flagging them, and just ignoring them instead?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Dutchess_III This entire question and thread are an attempt by the moderation team to demonstrate that this was not a random act on their part. Their decision came after long deliberations and many attempts over many years to correct behavior that violated the guidelines.

“Not flagging” is not “grown up” behavior. Ignoring behavior that violates the guidelines is not appropriate. When behavior that violates the guidelines is observed, the most grownup thing a user here can do is to flag it. Grownups confront bad behavior and let the perpetrator know they are acting inappropriately.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t always confront bad behavior. Usually I just walk away.

I know it wasn’t a random act. I’m satisfied with their decision. I’m just wondering what the difference is between various users who are equally abusive.
Tattling because someone hurt your feelings is not acting like a grown up. Deal with it and move on.
If some one makes an actual threat or posted horrific comments about children then that person should be flagged and worse.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Tattling is not the same as flagging. Behavior that violates the guidelines is not the same thing as getting one’s feelings hurt. You are devaluing legitimate grievances by many users over many years.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes it is. “She’s being so mean to me,” is tattling. Other flags for other, more serious reasons are legit, IMO.

Hey, you flag what you want, I flag what I want. ‘Nuff said.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Hey, you flag what you want, I flag what I want. ‘Nuff said.

No. The guidelines provide us with objective standards for flagging. What you are alluding to is childish tattling. You are devaluing thoughtful use of the flagging system by users who had legitimate grievances. When you complain about the proper use of a grievance system like the flagging system here on Fluther, you make it harder for individuals with honest grievances to voice their experiences. You are choosing the side of the one who violates the guidelines.

The person who was banished, about whom this whole question and thread have been talking, was guilty of repeatedly violating the guidelines.

This is not based on opinion. This was subjected to rigorous deliberation among the moderators. This was not a popularity contest.

This was observable behavior that occurred over the course of many years.

NomoreY_A's avatar

I miss all the action. I want the scoop, the whole scoop, and nothing but the scoop. So help me, umm… Jupiter.

canidmajor's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake, I have noticed that the people who most ardently claim that flagging is the refuge of the tattle-tales are often the ones most active on the site, because they like the clean lines of this site.
They also fervently believe that it’s someone else’s job to do all the clean up.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t feel that way. I flag spam, if it hasn’t been flagged, and the more serious stuff. I ignore people who try to start fights, or who call names. Which means, of course, I ignore a lot of people at different times!

NomoreY_A's avatar

I haven’t been ticked off enough by any peeps in here to even sweat it much. Over at Y!A if people got nasty with me, I would usually handle things myself, just to pizz them off. I can be pretty caustic when I have to be, although I would rather keep things cordial. Is it true you used to dance in a flea circus? Is it true that your wife dumped you when she regained her eyesight? Is that a nose, or did you tape a banana to your face? And more of the same. WTF – it kept me entertained.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is that a vagina nose?

NomoreY_A's avatar

You’re learning Dutchess : )

SmashTheState's avatar

Authoritarians eat their own. When they run out of out-groups to persecute, they shrink the tent and create a new class of outsiders to run off. It’s why Fluther looks like a ghost town, and why authoritarianism is objectively wrong; over the long run it doesn’t work.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@SmashTheState So what system does work?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@SmashTheState You have not addressed the substance of my post to you nor that of @flutherother. You merely continue to tell us Fluther is not a good website, a form of an ad hominem illogical argument.

canidmajor's avatar

Wait…wasn’t @SmashTheState‘s algorithm supposed to send him to the laundromat thread???

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^lol

Because this is a long, contentious thread, there are probably more people following it, so more people will see his statements about what a bad site this is than if he said the same on the Laundromat thread.

canidmajor's avatar

Good point. Too bad, he could have some fun on the laundromat thread.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@SmashTheState Is it like if Superman runs out of enemies and goes after the lesser crimes , like J-walking , and eventually runs out of people, to persecute? Like a D&D paladin who goes after everyone when he is in charge and kills all of everyone’s freedoms and fun.

flutherother's avatar

@SmashTheState Is the Don Quixote of Fluther.

janbb's avatar

I actually like jca’s analogy of an acquaintance who knocks on your door periodically and asks if they can take a dump in your toilet.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@SmashTheState Maybe we could have a healthy balance between the two extremes?

Muad_Dib's avatar

@janbb – yep, and then they upper-decker it

Aethelwine's avatar

@SmashTheState offers great advice when he doesn’t answer meta questions. He has a lot of knowledge to share.

LornaLove's avatar

I just feel so sad that fluther is getting smaller and smaller. I’ll miss Coloma very much along with the other’s who left that were part of fluther.

dxs's avatar

What the…?

stanleybmanly's avatar

welcome back. As you can see, Tom Wolfe is right “you can’t go home again”

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