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josie's avatar

Do Fluther moderators have a bias.

Asked by josie (30926points) July 17th, 2010

On occasion, in the passion of debate, I have (I admit it) pushed the limits of civility in my responses. Nothing profane mind you, but occasionally impulsive. I also, occasionally have been “moderated” by the Fluther panel, whomever they may be. Fair enought. But I have noticed that some Flutherites, with a particular point of view, are less likely to be moderated than me. Is there a moderator bias on Fluther?

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123 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

How do you know how likely someone else is to be moderated or how often that person is moderated?

Just wondering what you’re going by as a basis of comparison. I know that plenty goes on outside my range of vision.

dpworkin's avatar

No one who told another person that they weren’t human, and told them to “get lost” would get away without being moderated. You have nothing to bitch about.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve never thought so. You can also tell who the moderators are – it’s on their profiles.

jaytkay's avatar

I would have to see a lot of examples to have an opinion on this.

janbb's avatar

I think that most of us opinionated Jellies – left, right, center, purple and yellow – have been moderated frequently. I had several posts moderated off my own thread yesterday; fairly enough since I had deliberately posted it in General to keep the discussion “on topic.” Mods are human, they bring to it who they are, but if there is a political bias, I can’t detect it.

DominicX's avatar

Bias is often subconscious. Even if they have a bias, they’re not necessarily aware of it.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I haven’t seen any bias and now that the little place holder doesn’t tell us who was modded, it’s really hard to tell who is and isn’t being modded unless you saw the response before it was modded. @josie can you give some examples of the bias you are feeling?

Jeruba's avatar

I think about half the people who get modded imagine they’re being discriminated against. It’s an inexact statistic, to be sure, but I base that opinion on the number of times I’ve seen people raise this question or voice agreement on it.

FutureMemory's avatar

I think some folks don’t have as much aptitude as others when it comes to judging whether or not something they say will get moderated. Every time I’ve been moderated I expected it to happen.

KatawaGrey's avatar

As a moderator I can tell you we definitely have a bias.

We are biased toward thoughtful, well-written answers that enhance the fluther experience.

We are biased against anything that conflicts with the guidelines.

I have found that the bias of which you speak works in the other direction. Many times, users will call me out when they have been modded or when someone else hasn’t been modded and then get mad when they don’t get special treatment.

For example, swearing is not against the guidelines, but we get a lot of folks who flag things based on foul language and then get mad when we leave the quip or question up.

There are also problem users who make inappropriate comments all the time. It may seem as if these individuals are modded more heavily than others because we sometimes keep an eye on them.

tinyfaery's avatar

Yes. They hate you.

Sigh.

bob_'s avatar

Well, they’re human (or so they claim). It’s natural to have some bias.

anartist's avatar

In as much as they are each individuals, yes. Do they try to overcome it? I believe so.
Curious, some moderator feedback?
I may be wrong, but it does seem that newcomers whose personalities are less developed on Fluther, may get a little more moderation—or is it guidance?

chyna's avatar

@anartist @KatawaGrey is a moderator, she gave feedback.^^

Sarcasm's avatar

There’s no way to make there be no bias. We’re humans.

If you don’t flag the quips, then most of us won’t know about the person pushing the limits. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, so to speak.

And it comes down to what mods are online at the time, and what their personalities are. again, we’re humans.
I’m incredibly reluctant to moderate quips, unless they’re spam, or they’re blatantly offensive, or multiple people report the quip.
But you have moderators like @augustlan who doesn’t afraid of anything, and she’ll moderate anything she can. Well, I guess that’s a minor exaggeration.

edit: And for the record, you can see the list of mods here.

gailcalled's avatar

Milo here: Even I get modded occasionally. And you know that I set the bar here.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Sarcasm: “who doesn’t afraid of anything”? You put us to shame sir. ~

Jeruba's avatar

He obviously meant “who doesn’t be afraid of anything.”

rebbel's avatar

Like Edward Albee actually wanted to write Who does afraid of Virginia Woolf??

zenele's avatar

No, not at all.

But then, neither do reporters and journalists.

UScitizen's avatar

Everyone has some degree of bias. Sometime the mods hide their bias well. Other times, the bias is obvious. The most obvious is when one of the “golden” is allowed to engage in insults and name calling.

chyna's avatar

@FutureMemory You need to put NSFW beside the last link.

Jeruba's avatar

Ok, @FutureMemory. Guess I’d have to question how much of a meme something is if it doesn’t come anywhere near the mainstream, but I can accept that it was deliberate. Not every reference or allusion is automatically a meme.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Jeruba Yeah it’s from 4chan, not exactly something the average person knows much about.

dpworkin's avatar

@UScitizen Who are the “golden”?

gailcalled's avatar

@dpworkin: I was about to ask that.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@UScitizen: If someone whether they are one of the golden of whom you speak or not makes a comment that you think violates the guidelines, please flag the comment.

jerv's avatar

Yes, as they are Fluther users, but they also have the professionalism to keep things separated. If they disagree with you, they will post as a normal user. The only time they will post as a mod is if they feel that you are violating the rules and such posts always begin with ”[MOD SAYS]” and are devoid of emotion.

As for moderating responses off the board, they only do so if someone else flags them and not always even then.

cookieman's avatar

I’d like to be one of these “golden(s)”. Sadly, I think I’m more of a bronze.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Of course there is bias. They like me the best.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Everyone has a bias in most areas. The trick is to be aware of them and set them aside if you are placed in a position of authority, a very difficult thing to do. I’m glad to be away from all that now and responsible only for my own actions. I admire what the mods do, but I wouldn’t do it even for high pay.

Cruiser's avatar

I will only say that of the very few times I had to interact/inquire with the mods I was handed condescending albeit polite replies…left a crappy taste in my mouth.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Cruiser It depends on which one you deal with. From what I’ve heard some have less-than-wonderful people skills. I haven’t had anything but pleasant experiences myself.

Dog's avatar

Another note from a Mod.

We are a team of humans.
We have mods from all different walks of life.
Many of us have unique views on things.
Sometimes we mis-interpret things.

But you all need to know that NOTHING we mod is transparent.
Nobody is a Maverick.
EVERYTHING is sent to the attention of the entire moderation staff as well as Andrew and Ben.
It is a check and balance of sorts and YES there have been quips restored and discussions over actions.

* Regarding “Golden” users could you please flag the responses? *

@Cruiser Ouch. I never thought I was ever condescending with you when we interacted. It was certainly never an intent to come off that way at all. I have always admired your input to the collective and would never knowingly treat you or any other user that way.

Dog's avatar

I just want to add this:

PLEASE- if you feel that we have unfairly removed a quip that you have written and have not seen in the guidelines why it was removed please feel free to contact a mod and ask for clarification. I know of at least one case where a quip was removed on accident and the moderator was not even aware it had happened. Another mod questioned it and it was restored. Please do not assume it is personal. Ask us!

As previously mentioned all the mods get the copies of moderation action. Though we all work odd and unpredictable hours we do get back to users so any of us can help. Augustlan is the leader of the pack so if you are seeking to address issues regarding PMs she is who you need to contact. Other than that all of us can help.

YARNLADY's avatar

How do I apply to be one of the “golden”? I want to be able to avoid being modded too.

Dog's avatar

@YARNLADY If I find out I will let you know- I get modded too.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY I don’t get modded despite being me, and I think you know me well enough to know how that is. Therefore, I must already be one of The Golden!

Jeruba's avatar

“Golden” users? Fiddlesticks. I don’t care how someone defines it, there’s no such thing.

FutureMemory's avatar

I’ve flagged plenty of Golden* people, with each post being removed as expected (within 15ish mins).

*Assuming “golden” means the well known/long term/frequent posters.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t think there is a such thing as “golden users”, but I have seen long-term users not get modded for insulting a newbie before. I’ve seen it; it happened. Not lying. Other stuff was modded in that question too, so mods were obviously present. That may also be a bias in the users themselves for not flagging an insult from a long-term user to a newbie.

Keysha's avatar

I have to say that I feel there is a bit of a bias towards those that have been here longest. I know, when I first came here, I ‘got into it’ with another member, and I was modded, with their posts being left. Since they had resorted to name-calling and the like, while I resorted to saying they were behaving like a spoiled child, I thought it unfair.

After that, which left a bad taste in my mouth, it was a long time before I posted again.

tranquilsea's avatar

From what I have observed about the different comments that have been moderated is that they probably should have been. I’ve been generally impressed with how the members here can discuss hot button topics and keep it on the level. There is a reason why many forums don’t allow discussions of religion or politics as some topics do tend to ramp up the level of emotions and people lose their heads. Name calling and derogatory comments have no place in civilized discourse.

Moderators generally have a terrible time of it. It can be a very “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” job.

jerv's avatar

The only time I recall being modded was when my post was a blatant personal attack; something along the lines of “batshit crazy asshole retard” only more colorful.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dog Did I say it was you?? Presumptuous and way off base.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

My memory is too short to remember if I ever get modded. And since they removed the user name from modded comments, I have no way of checking. I must conclude that I have matured to golden status. Yes, that must be it.

Blondesjon's avatar

No. They all love me equally.

Dog's avatar

@DominicX I will not deny that this is possible. Sometimes I am working and only have time to respond to flags which are the most important task we have. I will go directly to the quip flagged and remove it if it does not meet guidelines. I then, due to time issues, I leave the question without reading the other quips.
I will try to make a better effort in the future because really it does not matter how long a person has been here- the guidelines apply to all.

Also keep in mind that you can flag a quip even months after it has been posted. If you see it later even after a mod has removed something do not assume it was “approved.”
If it was in violation of the guidelines at the time it was written it can still be removed.

Can I say one more thing here?

I have a copy of every flag ever posted since I became a mod. I go back after questions like this one and look and see that often the person who is getting “preferential treatment” in the eyes of others never was flagged.

You do NOT get in trouble for flagging.
Nobody but the mods and staff know who flagged what.

I guess what I am trying to say is:
If you see the dog throw up behind the couch then tell someone! Do not sit on the couch and complain about the stench.

Oh and for those who add funny little notes to the flags we do love them!

@Cruiser- I am glad it was just a presumption. Your statement seemed all-inclusive to your experience with all moderators. I would not want to ever give someone that feeling even by accident.

bob_'s avatar

@Dog Hey, technical question. Can we include a comment in a flag even when we don’t select “Other” as the reason for flagging?

Dog's avatar

Yep- notes are always allowed.

chyna's avatar

@dog
Good to know. I’ll start adding notes. :-)

AmWiser's avatar

@Keysha I too remember when I first joined Fluther I almost ‘got into it’ with another member, and quickly apologized. I have been modded and I appreciated it because it was a learning experience. On the other hand I do think some members are more bias and really quick to point out your faux pas rather quickly (I just wonder would it have been better to PM them).

FutureMemory's avatar

Some of my “notes” added to flags:

“Seems kinda assholish thing to say”

“This question is just all kinds of wrong”

“You guys need to allow more than one check mark, as you can see this post has multiple things wrong with it”

“This question is just plain dumb”

anartist's avatar

I was new and got into it with another member. Neither one of us was modded. I got tired of fighting and stopped posting. A third party declared the other the winner. I still disagree but don’t really care. I am glad nothing was modded.

Blondesjon's avatar

@anartist . . . If there is no physical prize, there is no winner.

you are a winner in my book though

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@anartist “A third party declared the other the winner.”

What a loser.

Way to wax the eloquent integrity @anartist.

augustlan's avatar

I know I’ve said this multiple times in the last couple of days, but here it is again.

I’m the Community Manager here. I get modded. Andrew is one of the founders of the site. I have personally modded him, and more than once. Nearly every mod has been modded. We try very hard to be consistent in our moderation, but we are only human.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I remember when I was a newbie that’s right, mods don’t spring fully-grown from the brow of Dr. Jelly and I hardly ever got modded. I have been modded before and I’m sure it will happen again. However, I never witnessed this bias towards older users that some of you claim there is. Maybe it was different two years ago, or maybe those users, both new and old, who get modded a lot, ahem, deserve it. I certainly try to moderate everyone who needs moderating and leave those quips and questions that need leaving.

Once again, a moderator that’s me! implores you: FLAG STUFF!!! I am not going to read through a question with a hundred responses just because I got one flag in the question. If I only get one flag, you know what I’m going to assume? I’m going to assume that’s the only quip with issues.

Grumble gurmble. I’m up too early…

rooeytoo's avatar

I always forget which question had a response that I flagged so I never check whether the offensive remark has been removed or not.

Could the mods please provide me of a list of all my flaggelations so that I can go back and see.

anartist's avatar

@KatawaGrey ‘that’s right, mods don’t spring fully-grown from the brow of Dr. Jelly’ hahaha
are you saying that the whole thread has to be full of flags or one quip has to be flagged many times to make it noteworthy?

dpworkin's avatar

If long-time user = “golden” then I think everyone here can attest that I am the most-modded Golden ever, and I would like my award, please.

Buttonstc's avatar

“Stay Gold, Ponyboy, stay Gold ! ”

Don’t listen to that Robert Frost guy. He didn’t know what he was talkin’ about :)

janbb's avatar

I hereby award @dpworkin the Golden Fucking Flagged Award. Nobody deserves it more than him!

Seaofclouds's avatar

@anartist I’ve asked about that before. What I was told was that if there is a thread with two people going at it and really derailing the thread, it’s best to flag the question as other and write what’s going on instead of one individual quip. That way they look at all the answers.

If you flag only one quip, then most of the time, they only look at that one quip and not the answers before and after that. For example, if you and I were going at it and I flagged you but you didn’t flag me, the mods might not read what I wrote and end up only modding you (or vice versa if you flagged me but I didn’t flag you). If someone flagged the question, they would read what both of us had said and end up modding both of us.

anartist's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I am not sure I understand you. Are you calling me a sore loser? I am not sure I ever felt like it was winning or losing. I just would never agree and agreed to disagree and left the thread. this thread

gailcalled's avatar

Assuming “golden” means the well known/long term/frequent posters.

The above describes three different kids of posters. Plenty of newcomers are already notorious well-known, plenty of long-term posters are not frequent ones: and there are people who just arrived who appear to stay up very late in order to think up several new questions daily.

FutureMemory's avatar

@gailcalled

Nowhere did I describe anyone as a “kid”.

gailcalled's avatar

@FutureMemory: Sorry, you lost me. What does “kid” have to do with anything?

janbb's avatar

Proofread, my dear @gailcalled , proofread.

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb:Ya got me. I guess that ‘s why we should never be our own editors.

@FutureMemory: I did mean kind, of course. It’s interesting how my eyes slid over that word on three separate occasions.

FutureMemory's avatar

@gailcalled I know. I was just trying to be funny since you’re writing skills are usually so awesome :).

dpworkin's avatar

@janbb certainly you meant “more than he” but accidentally typed “more than him.”

gailcalled's avatar

@FutureMemory: Finally, I understand. And if I had my way, (which, luckily, I don’t) I would mod out every “asshole,” “awesome,” and “quite unique.”

We had a question, a while ago, asking about synonyms for “awesome.” I think I asked it. There were dozens of appropriate and funny answers.

janbb's avatar

@dpworkin I’ve actually been thinking about that question all morning; whether it should be “him” or “he” but I keep landing on the side of “him.” I couldn’t be wrong, could me?

gailcalled's avatar

The way you check is to finish the sentence in your head; “Nobody deserves it more than he (deserves it). It sounds very pedantic when you’re speaking but best when you’re writing. Another trick is to avoid the turn of phrase. “He deserves it more than anyone.”

Similar to the “It is I,” or “It is we.”

FutureMemory's avatar

@gailcalled Ohh I missed that one. Considering I’m from SoCal and grew up in the 80s, it sounds like it would have been fun. Every other word out of my mouth is either “awesome”, “gnarly”, “dude”, “sweet”, “rad” etc.—and I am not ashamed.

gailcalled's avatar

@FutureMemory: Hold your head like up high and be, you know, proud.

Jabe73's avatar

Compared to some other Q & A websites I have made comments on I believe the moderators do a pretty good job on here. Fluther has general and social topic categories each with their own guidelines. I will admit I havn’t read every question on here so maybe I’ve missed some examples. It seems if you stay on topic you shouldn’t have any problems on here.

Blondesjon's avatar

@gailcalled . . . Don’t you mean, “Hold your head like up high and be, you know, proud and stuff.”?

gailcalled's avatar

@Blondesjon: Yeah. Right on, dude. How’s it shakin’?

Blondesjon's avatar

@gailcalled . . . Long and strong baby! How ‘bout yer own bad self?

gailcalled's avatar

@Blondesjon: Whatever (except for the almost dead not quite whole mouse who is twitching on my deck).

janbb's avatar

Milo here: Mouse? Do I hear a mouse?

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb: That would be the past tense of “hear,” please. This mouse’s vocal cords are definitely dead meat now.

janbb's avatar

Ah, I thought the twitching signaled some sound.

tinyfaery's avatar

Can I just say that I’m glad I only need to pick-up a dead bug part once in a awhile?

janbb's avatar

How’d we get here from there?

tinyfaery's avatar

Cats are tricky.

anartist's avatar

@Blondesjon I just discovered the small print in your comment 20 comments ago. Thank you. blush

Jeruba's avatar

One peeved user throws out this term “golden” and all of a sudden it’s in our lexicon? Do please let’s not countenance this “us and them” nonsense.

janbb's avatar

^^^^^ yeah

KatawaGrey's avatar

@anartist: @Seaofclouds put it just right. Flag one quip, we look at one quip. Flag multiple quips, we look at multiple quips. Flag a question, we’ll look at the question. Flag the question and let us know the thread has been derailed and we will take a look at that.

Buttonstc's avatar

So when are they going to get around to enabling flagging for us poor iPhone users?

Don’t we deserve more than second class status?

Dog's avatar

I need to add some important information.

This question and the assumption of being special or protected is flawed because users do not know what is happening behind the scenes. Most of the time the moderation team is working with users issuing warnings, and sometimes even suspending a user before a permanent ban takes place.

My point is that because you do not see what is going on behind the scenes it does not mean action is not being taken. For all you know whom ever you are assuming is “golden” might in fact be only one post from being banned.

Of course since moderation is private it is easy to assume we are not taking action. But if we are getting flags and are aware of an issue we are most likely discussing it and taking some form of action.

Your best bet is to always flag quips and even PM Augustlan or another Mod with your concerns.

bob_'s avatar

@Dog You mean, concerns about the site, or in general? ‘Cause I’m very concerned about this whole global-warming thing! Y’all doin’ something about it?

Dog's avatar

@bob_ Oh we are. Right now dr.J is busy trying to use himself to plug the oil leak in the Gulf. After that we are addressing global warming and world peace.

dpworkin's avatar

Speaking of peeved users, when does the staff get an apology from @josie and @perspicacious and @UScitizen I wonder?

bob_'s avatar

@dpworkin It sure sucks monkey dick when people don’t apologize, doesn’t it? ~

Dog's avatar

@bob_ don’t let Gorillapaws hear you say that.~

bob_'s avatar

@Dog Man, I gotta get me one of these golden user applications.

Golden_Jellie's avatar

@bob_ The reports of my existence are greatly exaggerated.

anartist's avatar

please everybody note @Dog‘s announcement of Dr J’s efforts to solve the world’s problems.
Hooray for Dr J!

janbb's avatar

Dr. J for Pres! Change we hope we will think we can still believe in 2 years after the election!

Buttonstc's avatar

@jan

Was that intentionally trying to sound like Yoda or accidental?

It’s cute :)

janbb's avatar

@Buttonstc I guess I’ll say yes.

Buttonstc's avatar

To accidental or intentional?

I’m glad you didn’t edit a change. I like it that way:)

bob_'s avatar

Hey, another question. It’s been said here that mods have different ways to aproach things (i.e., one might be more likely to mod something than another). Does that mean that if the “gun-shy” mod (for lack of a better term) sees a flag first, he or she might be all “eh, that’s not so bad, I’ll let it slide” (heh), and that’s that? Or do the other mods see it too? In other words, once a mod “responds” to a flag, is the case closed?

Dog's avatar

Nope- it is active for all to see.
We get a note if a quip or question is removed. Also we add notes to quips or questions especially if we are not sure if we should take action. The notes are also sent to all the mods. If it is a gray area the quip might remain till Augustlan can make a final call.

If you are wondering at length of response time not all mods are active. Some are in school, work or have families and obligations. There are no set hours so if a flag goes unattended and it is a clear violation of guidelines it is likely that there is a temporary gap in mod coverage.

We really do try to address flags right away though.

bob_'s avatar

You get a note every time something is removed? How do you not get swamped?

Dog's avatar

Actually we do get swamped.

To date as a mod I have recieved roughly 28,058 notes. I have been a mod for about 9 months.

If you think that is a wild number Augustlan as community manager gets a lot more!

augustlan's avatar

@bob_ We all get an email not only every time something is removed, but every time something is flagged, every time an edited question is ready to re-post (or not), every time a member responds to an edit request, and for every Mod PM sent. That’s not even mentioning all the back and forth emailing the mods do with each other to discuss all of the above. Suffice it to say, there is a lot of email involved. ;)

MaryW's avatar

Well some jellyfish have stingers but usually you have to break a collective rule, slap another jellie, or attempt to polute the pool to get stung. And actually part of the fun is that we are collectively schooled :-/ in politeness and civility so no I do not think there is bias as such, the moderators are just keeping the pool clean.

josie's avatar

More belated lurve. Another lost question, found. In retrospect, it seems like a stupid question. What was I thinking?

augustlan's avatar

Speaking of swamped by email, I just found out that I’ve received/replied/sent somewhere around 73 thousand Fluther related emails since February 2010. Holy cow.

Cruiser's avatar

@augustlan That is insane! Wow! That’s 7 times the amount of my replies and e-mails no less! I hope they pay you well.

rooeytoo's avatar

@augustlan – and I would wager each response you sent was polite and nice. You are a fluther hero!!!

augustlan's avatar

I love you guys.

tranquilsea's avatar

@augustlan need an assistant? That is a LOT of e-mails!

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