Meta Question

crazyivan's avatar

Is it just me or has there been a lot of unnecessary moderating of late?

Asked by crazyivan (4471points) September 30th, 2010

Been on the site for a few weeks and all of a sudden today I’ve been thwarted by mods at every turn. On-topic responses are being moved (not mine, just good ones that were there and then vanished), I got a question sent back for excessive typos but couldn’t find a single typo in it…

Am I just having a bad Fluther day or are they undergoing some kind of rule change?

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62 Answers

ucme's avatar

Good god no! This place is almost a moderation free paradise since the “changes.” More power to it say I.Time was when you couldn’t breathe without fear of being modded. Again, it had it’s place & was for the most part completely justifiable. Relax in a sea of tranquility…..just be wary of those damn stinging jellies. Some of them anyway :¬)

wundayatta's avatar

There’s a time and a place for all things. Including moderation.

augustlan's avatar

We all have our days… today just must not be yours. For the record, the question returned to you for typos just had some weird capitalization in the title. After you corrected that, it was reposted.

We do our very best to be fair in our moderation, and to adhere to the guidelines. We even mod other mods and the founders of the site… nobody is immune from the exasperation. :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think there has been better moderation, if you ask me.

BoBo1946's avatar

I’m happy with the “mod-els!”

bob_'s avatar

I still think there’s uneven moderation, but hey, that’s just me.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Gee, I feel like I’ve been seeing less! I thought everybody was playing nice… oh, well…

bob_'s avatar

@JilltheTooth ‘round here we play for keeps.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@bob_: I like keeps.

crazyivan's avatar

Yeah, I’ve had zero issues up until now so I was figuring it was just a weird day for me… I’ve heard bad things about the modding in the past so I was just making sure.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I know my opinion isn’t going to account for much here because I can be accused of bias, but I just want to say that the mod team works hard to be fair. We don’t play favorites or pick on people unnecessarily. Sure, we each have our own loves and hates in terms of the user base, but even so, the rules are set fairly and applied to everyone as it is fitting.

Promise.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MissAnthrope I disagree with your first statement.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think some people, most certainly including myself, might just need to pay more attention to whether or not they are asking and answering questions in the general section or in the social section. Sometimes with bouncing back and forth between the two sections, particularly with my comments, I don’t always pay attention to which section I am in, that the standards for each section are different and that something that gets modded in general is going to perfectly o.k. in social. Just a thought. Or maybe it’s just me that does that.

bob_'s avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir You don’t think the mod team works hard to be fair?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ucme When was this time? I’m not sure if I was here or not.

BoBo1946's avatar

@bob_ No, she does not think MsA is biased. I agree. She is fair.

lillycoyote's avatar

@bob_ I have been thinking a long the same lines as @BoBo1946, that the statement that @Simone_De_Beauvoir disagrees with is that @MissAnthrope is biased but we will have to wait for her, meaning @Simone_De_Beauvoir to weigh in.

That’s a lot of thats and a lot @s, sorry

Seek's avatar

If the responses you’re talking about were in General, they could be technically on-topic, but still not helpful to the question. Those are often removed.

I admit, there have been more than a few times of late when I’ve forgotten my place and chatted overmuch in General. Thank you, Mods, for removing those quips. ^_^ Keeping it clean. Hats off to the Mods!

crazyivan's avatar

I have actually been overwhelmed by how well the site is moderated up until this point. The mods seem to have an uncanny knack for fairness when it comes to what is and is not constructive or appropriate and I love knowing I’m not going to run into terrible spelling, missing and nonsensical text-speak.

What prompted the question had nothing to do with a perceived bias, but rather a perceived randomness. In retrospect it is certainly a simple case of something unusual happening twice in quick succession and I feared a trend where there was none.

But I want to be very clear that I think the mods on this site to an excellent job at least as far as I’ve seen.

…of course, I stay away from the touchier subjects.

…sort of.

Dog's avatar

Hi All,

The moved quip referred to by @crazyivan was moved by myself. Sometimes being a mod means making tough decisions.

Let me explain a bit clearer why a quip is removed in General for being unhelpful even if it is somewhat on topic. The issue lies in keeping a question focused as the asking party intended.

The quip in question was brilliantly written but focused on a fringe aspect of the question which was not the intent of the asking party. The problem with such a post is that it in itself inspires more conversation that veers off the original topic. The quip was brought to our attention when it was flagged.

I gave much consideration to it but already new off-topic quips were being posted in response to the flagged quip so I made the tough choice to remove the quip along with the other off-topic ones to maintain the focus on the original question.

I took care to copy and send the original post back to the asking party along with all the reference links so that it could again be used on a question focused on the area it was written about.

As I said- sometimes these decisions are not easy ones. Keep in mind that as mods we are always happy to send the quips that have to be removed to the author as we greatly respect the effort and time that goes into the written expression of the members.

We also respect the wishes of those who are asking the question and if a quip is not helpful or threatens to take the conversation off-topic we are here to be sure it does not happen.

Again this applies to the General section. In Social a broader range of responses are allowed. This is why it is up to the user to choose which section to post in so they have some control over the types of response they wish to get.

I hope that explains things a bit better.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bob_ @BoBo1946 @lillycoyote The only thing I was disagreeing with is that her opinion doesn’t count for much here, because it does, to me.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I think the mods here are extraordinarily fair. That is one of the biggest things that keeps me here.
However, I know a couple of people that were not willing to stay very long because they thought that the mods were unfair. I guess it is all perception, but personally I think the fluther mods do an excellent job. I really mean that.

ucme's avatar

@papayalily Oh around the turn of the year.I mean it’s no secret that since the changes to “social” & so on, whether for better or worse, the guidelines have been somewhat relaxed.
@MissAnthrope Are you saying there are some people on here that you “hate”!?! That’s a very strong word, not to say emotion. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, care to clarify?

jrpowell's avatar

@ucme :: I don’t think using hate is a strong word. I have people here I hate and refuse to help if they actually need help. I keep a list. Pretty much the only way to get on the list is if you say shit like, “Fags are going to hell.” This list isn’t long. But there are active members on it.

And somehow I ended up on the mod mailing list and received some insights into the inner workings (that bug was fixed). They are pretty damn fair I would say after seeing the belly of the beast.

ucme's avatar

@johnpowell Well that’s fair enough I suppose. I mean, we’re all different. I’m just of the opinion that to hate someone when all you’ve got to go on is pretty much words on a screen is a little extreme. Obviously if an individual is displaying nothing but an odious persona through their words then yeah, that decision kind of makes itself. Still as I say, just my take on the matter.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir could not agree more! She can be on my team anyday! Class act. I’m not sucking up, that is not me, mean every word.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – That’s how I took it (that lurve was from me) – thank you for saying so. I was pretty certain you didn’t have any bones to pick with me. :)

@ucme – I was being casual with my language, I should have probably said ‘dislikes’. I personally don’t hate anyone on Fluther, no. The number of people that exist in the world, that I hate, I could probably count on one hand.

@BoBo1946 – Awwwwwshucks. You’re sweet. Thank you. :)

BoBo1946's avatar

@MissAnthrope :)))- Take care MsA!

Cirbryn's avatar

@Dog Thanks for your response. Since mine was the quip removed I thought add my 2 cents.

> The issue lies in keeping a question focused as the asking party intended.

That’s not what the guidelines say. Responses are supposed to be on topic, but not as judged by the asking party. If the asking party were the judge, then an asker could work all manner of unsupported assumptions and veiled insults into her questions, and no one could call her on them because they wouldn’t (in her opinion) be the primary focus of the question. That’s exactly what was done in the thread where my quip was removed. The asker used atheistic evolutionists as “examples” of hypocritical people with whom there is no point in arguing. The fact that there were no other such examples strongly implies that the entire point of the question was simply to call such people hypocrites. My response, which you removed, addressed that assumption and showed why it is not hypocritical to be both atheistic and accept evolution.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Cirbryn That discussion wasn’t meant to be about evolution, which is why that was considered off topic. @Dog even redirected the thread because the topic was asking if hypocrisy is a necessary element of debate. The guidelines do say that answers in the general section must be on topic. If the person asking the question feels they are off topic, they can flag them and the mods will take a look.

Seek's avatar

IMO – Asking party is the only person that can judge whether a particular quip is on topic. It’s their thread.

For example, I recently posted a question asking for assistance in developing the astronomy of my fantasy planet. The question sort of morphed into a discussion of different fantasy planets already in existence – which I actually found really helpful – so I put a quip in as a note to mods saying “It’s is my official judgment that all astrological science-fiction talk be considered on-topic for purposes of this thread” or something to that effect. If I had not done so, all of the interesting references to Asimov and Marion Zimmer Bradley novels would be considered off-topic, as the question clearly asked “What would be the hypothetical effects of two moons on the Earth”.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr That’s my opinion. That the original asker should at least be consulted as to whether he or she wants a post modded on a thread. I have never thought to post a quip like yours that might influence the mods as to whether or not a certain post should be removed. I’m not a big asker, but I ask all my questions that are not meta questions in social, because I like everyone, including myself to have the freedom to post pretty much whatever they want, but for at least one question I asked, I had to practically beg for someone to post something that actually answered my question. The mods have a difficult job, but you are also right. What you, the asker may find on-topic and helpful may be different from what the mods see as on-topic and helpful.

Cirbryn's avatar

@Seaofclouds

> That discussion wasn’t meant to be about evolution, which is why that was considered off topic. @Dog even redirected the thread because the topic was asking if hypocrisy is a necessary element of debate. The guidelines do say that answers in the general section must be on topic. If the person asking the question feels they are off topic, they can flag them and the mods will take a look.

You’re not addressing what I said. I know the guidelines say answers must be on topic and I know the asker can flag the question if she feels they are off topic. This is not helpful.

My points are as follows:
1) My quip was on topic because it addressed an assumption (and veiled insult) inherent in the question.

2) If we aren’t allowed to do that, then every questioner’s assumptions and veiled insults will go unchallenged. Think about that: I could, for instance, ask why Jews are conspiring to ruin the US economy; or why Blacks are less intelligent than Whites. Anyone who responded by saying those things aren’t true would be (in the opinion of the asker) off topic, and their responses would be removed. Those are obviously blatant examples of the problem, but not much more blatant than a question that assumes that all atheistic evolutionists are hypocrites. I find that assumption personally offensive. I should have the right to address it and show that it’s not true.

@Seek Kolinahr
> IMO – Asking party is the only person that can judge whether a particular quip is on topic. It’s their thread.

No, it’s his or her topic. The thread consists of the string of responses, and the responses still belong to the people who make them. Generally, I don’t see a problem with the asker steering the conversation to keep it to the question, UNLESS she uses that power to make assumptions or veiled insults that can’t be challenged.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Cirbryn The responses aren’t automatically removed when flagged as off topic, the mods look at them and look at the content of the question. It is helpful because first and foremost, this is a question and answer site. It is meant for people to be able to ask their questions and get answers to the question they are asking without a lot of excess chatter (when in the general section). If you don’t understand why your quip was off topic, perhaps the mods could try explaining it again. The question was not about the examples given in the details of the question. They were examples that the question asker did not want to discuss (since they were merely examples). Discussing those examples caused other people to respond with more quips that were off topic from what the question asker was asking. If you really feel that strongly about that topic, you can make a separate question/discussion about it or take it to PMs.

The mods here do a wonderful job and make sure that questions aren’t meant as just an opportunity for the question asker to state their point of view without encouraging a discussion (which is also part of the guidelines when asking a question). I get what you are saying and I have seen such questions, and honestly, they don’t last long before being sent back for editing or being removed.

Cirbryn's avatar

@Seaofclouds

> The responses aren’t automatically removed when flagged as off topic

Yes I know, thanks.

> If you don’t understand why your quip was off topic, perhaps the mods could try explaining it again.

The mod already did explain it. He didn’t say it was off topic. He said it was removed “for being unhelpful even if it is somewhat on topic.” He then continued: “The issue lies in keeping a question focused as the asking party intended.” I have since responded by pointing out the problem with using that standard at all times.

> The question was not about the examples given in the details of the question.

Yes it was. There were no other examples given because no other examples exist. The question makes little to no sense when applied generally. Hypocrisy is obviously not a necessary element in debate generally. The point of the question was to make a veiled insult.

> If you really feel that strongly about that topic, you can make a separate question/discussion about it or take it to PMs.

The point of the question was to publicly insult people like myself. I should be able to address such insults publicly and reasonably, where they occur.

> The mods here do a wonderful job and make sure that questions aren’t meant as just an opportunity for the question asker to state their point of view without encouraging a discussion

There’s a difference between making a question into a rant, which I gather is what you’re talking about, and throwing in veiled insults and assumptions.

Seek's avatar

^ Who’s turning a question into a rant?

Seriously, move on. It’s not that big an issue.

bob_'s avatar

^ That is the response you’ll eventually get when you complain about modding, @Cirbryn, even if you’re right.

Harold's avatar

Moderators can’t take criticism of the US, so yes, unnecessary moderation.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Harold I’ve seen quite a lot of mods criticize the US. It might not be why you’re criticizing the US, but it is there. They’re just generally more into the criticisms that go like this “I’m not a fan of policy x, because it demonstrates b, and is damaging in c,d, and e ways, and I’d really like to see the politicians who voted for it voted out/impeached (if there was any unethical/illegal behavior)” than “OMG, die Nazi president, die, cuz we gonna rape yo’ ass!”. It’s part of the whole thoughtful discussion.

Harold's avatar

@MissAnthrope – ORLY? Sorry, that has gone through to the keeper…....

@papayalily – Fair comment, but I am not referring to the last type of criticism. Of course that needs to be moderated.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Harold Then I haven’t seen the other type being moded unless it violated guidelines in some other form like being off-topic, unhelpful, not meeting quality standards (I’m talking to you, users who have a problem with capitalization and punctuation marks…).

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Harold – Do you have any examples of this? I simply don’t see it happening, myself.

augustlan's avatar

@Cirbryn You make some good points. There is definitely a fine line, and sometimes it’s hard to decide what stays and what goes. We do try our absolute best to be fair and consistent, but we can’t please everyone all the time.

@Harold That is absolutely untrue. We never remove comments simply for being critical of the US. There has to be some other reason it was removed.

Harold's avatar

@MissAnthrope – Yes, there was a question, “What is so great about the US?”, and I answered “The first plane out to Australia”. The fact that it is not a direct answer does not mean that it is not an answer, because the obvious implication is that the best thing about the US is that you are free to leave, unlike North Korea, for example. But no, it gets moderated out. It was far more relevant to the question than some of the answers above it, which were allowed to stay.

@augustlan – you know that is true. Either it offended your US sensitivity, or you simply did not catch on to the meaning. Either way, my comment stands.

augustlan's avatar

@Harold I remember that answer, now. It was removed because it seemed like a one-liner. A joke, which is not allowed in the General Section. It definitely wasn’t removed due to offensiveness at all.

crazyivan's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr As a test of your hypothesis, I flagged your response as “unhelpful” to see what would come of it. It was unhelpful as Cirbryn’s post was not only on-topic, but in regards to precisely the reason that this question was posted. You tell him to “move on” or “get on with it” or whatever your dismissive nonsense was… well what the hell is the point of Fluther is we’re not using it to discuss questions/problems/etc.?

And to @Cirbryn‘s point, the problem was not his lack of understanding of the question, but rather the lack of understanding of the mod in question. A thorough review of the thread would have clearly showed that his response was every bit as “on Topic” (as much as anything could be on topic for such a silly question) as any other response in the thread. In @Dog‘s defense, it was a long thread with a lot of long responses.

Seek's avatar

@crazyivan Your test is flawed. This is Meta, not General. Different rules, different moderating.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@crazyivan The question asker in that question mentioned several times that he did not want to discuss his examples, that is what makes the discussion of those examples off topic. He wanted to discuss hypocrisy in debate. Perhaps his questions would have had more success if he left the examples out, but either way, he clearly said he didn’t want a discuss about the examples.

JilltheTooth's avatar

IMO, it was very considerate of @Dog to do all that cutting and pasting and returning with links intact etc etc recognizing that the poster had put a lot of thought and effort into it. I don’t think she was required to do that was she? so how about some appreciation for her effort, even if you don’t agree with her modding? Remember, mods are volunteers, and while they’re busy modding they don’t get to just sit back and enjoy Fluthering.
Yay, @Dog !

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Harold – I certainly hope you are not drawing such conclusions based entirely on one instance.. that’s not really fair, nor does it begin to cover how things work here. It’s natural to feel a bit miffed if something you thought was good got pulled, but hopefully you can see how inaccurate it is to make such a huge generalization based on the moderating of one quip.

By that reasoning, we mods sure can’t stand a wide variety of opinions and subjects. That’s like saying I have a grudge against carrot lovers because I had to pull an off-topic carrot-based post. (no, I have no idea why ‘carrots’ was the topic that leapt to my mind first)

In any case, we really don’t take pains to censor people here and we are soooo far from that kind of fascist regime. You just have to follow the guidelines and behave with some modicum of civility, regardless of topic.

For what it’s worth, I am really not that fond of the US and as soon as I find a country that’ll have me, I’m OUT. ;)

JilltheTooth's avatar

@MissAnthrope: OK, so chocolate instead of carrot cake for your birthday, right? I’ll get right on it…

MissAnthrope's avatar

@JilltheTooth – Actually, I think I like carrots more than chocolate.. how sick is that?

JilltheTooth's avatar

@MissAnthrope: It’s OK, sweetie, your seasonal avatar indicates confusion. We’ll work through it.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@MissAnthrope That is sick. I mean, there’s pedophilia, and then there’s this. ;P

crazyivan's avatar

@Seaofclouds But the question used those examples to accuse a certain group of hypocrisy and he didn’t flag any of his own responses (which discussed the forbidden example topics) as being off topic. How does one discuss a question without discussing the examples on which the premise of the question is based?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@crazyivan Of course he wouldn’t flag his own, but anyone else could have. You guys could have even flagged the question itself and had the mods review it. You could have come up with you own examples of why hypocrisy isn’t a necessary debate too. I just don’t see the point in continuing to talk answer a question with something that the asker has already said they are not looking for, but that’s me.

Cirbryn's avatar

@augustlan wrote: “You make some good points.”

Well thanks. I don’t imagine everyone’s going to jump up and fix things right away, but I appreciate that you seem to be giving the problem some thought. I hope Dog is also.

@JilltheTooth wrote: “IMO, it was very considerate of @Dog to do all that cutting and pasting and returning with links intact etc etc recognizing that the poster had put a lot of thought and effort into it.”

I agree it was. I hope I didn’t come across as unappreciative. There’s nothing worse than finding out the post you worked on for an hour is gone forever due to modding, so I really am grateful that Dog copied it and sent it to me. He or she seems like a nice person as well. My only complaint is about the system.

And thanks also to @crazyivan, both for allowing me the leeway to make these points here in the thread he started, and for backing them up himself.

@Seaofclouds wrote: “The question asker in that question mentioned several times that he did not want to discuss his examples”

And I’ve mentioned several times there was only the one “example”, and the question didn’t make sense applied generally.

crisw's avatar

@Seaofclouds

“The question asker in that question mentioned several times that he did not want to discuss his examples”

I do have to point out that this particular question-asker reacts negatively in many threads when asked to discuss or defend his examples. Personal dislikes shouldn’t be allowed to rule the conversation.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@crisw Yet people know that about the poster and still choose to debate with him. There is a difference between the two things though. In that particular instance, he was clear that he didn’t want to discuss his examples. In other situations, where a discussion has started in other ways (as in he isn’t the asker or it’s the discussion he wanted), people have a choice to keep responding. If you think his responses (or anyone else’s) are unhelpful, off topic, or against the guidelines in any other way, you are free to flag them and let the mods take care of it.

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