Forums: Announcements: Policy on Moderation: Edit Log

Partner j_ung

Nov 20, 2008, 6:09 PM

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Registered: Nov 21, 2003
Posts: 18690

     Policy on Moderation
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I hope the following will help to clarify our policies on moderation in the forums. FYI: some of this is new. Notably, however, at this moment there are no new Forum Rules. Everything that was not allowed before still isn’t allowed. This is an attempt to address when you can expect moderator intervention and how much moderator intervention you can expect.

As of right now, we have three levels of forums: BLUE, GREEN and BLACK. Within the next few days these forums will begin to appear in their respective colors on the main and subordinate forum indexes, and threads within them will also show up that color on My Topics, Recent Posts and the home page.

We’re going to moderate blue forums pretty aggressively. They include:

• Access Issues & Closures
• The Ladies Room
• Injuries & Accidents (this will soon be split into two new forums -- the accident forum will be blue, the injury forum will not)
• In Memory Of
• Photo Critique
• Warrior's Way
• The Lab

“Moderating aggressively” does not mean that we're going to go all Mighty-Thor with the ban hammer. It does mean is that, when things go awry, we'll try to be quicker to step in and initiate the moderation process. In general, we'll be less lenient here. See below for more details on what that is. Please note that this is no change from what we have tried to do all along. The change, hopefully, is in the consistency with which we apply it.

We are going to moderate green forums only sparingly. Green forums include:

• Campground
• Soapbox

We’re going to try to be very relaxed in these forums. This is where you can go to get a little crazy. Ranting, paranoid flaming (as long as it doesn’t go too far over the top), and nudity up to a Sports-Illustrated-type level will be left alone here. What is over the top? Pics of and links to sex acts (from mild all the way up to tubgirl, 2girlsonecup and beyond (if that's even possible)), starting threads specifically to attack others (we regard this as harassment), threats of violence, malicious hate speech (beyond the usual Soapboxiness) and pedophilia (or anything that makes us feel creepy like that).

As of right now, nothing will change in the other (black) forums. The Forum Rules apply here, but we will try to err on the side of being a little more relaxed. I hope that eventually – via post rating, filters and other tools – you’ll be able to pretty much moderate for yourselves here. No promises, but there are a few items in the works.

If we think a situation calls for us to step in, here’s what we prefer to do. In every case, we’ll first consider beginning at #1 and escalate only as needed. If, however, we think a situation is either already out of hand or headed that way quickly – or if the thing we’re moderating is blatant and malicious, such as a personal attack thread – we may skip to a further step right from the get go.

I am very in favor of transparency. It helps us stay consistent and clarify why we take what actions we do. In every case, we’ll take that into account by leaving notes in modded threads, etc. But if you need a level of transparency such that you know which Mod thought what and how they expressed it, be forewarned, you’ll be disappointed.

1. Ask everybody to stay on track and/or ask people to self edit. Also appropriate at this stage is a PM to the user(s) asking for the same.

2. Move threads to a more appropriate forum.

3. Hide posts. This is less-intrusive relative of number 4, below. It effectively allows us to remove a single post, without also removing everything threaded to it.

4. Recycle posts. I believe this step is entirely appropriate if we didn't catch something early and there's a long line of quotes that are in violation. In those cases, this may be the first step. We’ll leave a note. (We call it “recycling,” because when we do it, there’s a chance we can bring it back. Recycling makes it possible for us to correct our errors. Mods do not have the authority to “delete” anything but their own posts. But if you want to call recycling deleting, fine. We’ll know what you mean.)

5. Lock the thread. This may be necessary to keep a thread from getting worse while we figure out what, if anything, to do. Don’t assume that a lock is always permanent. It may just be there to buy us time. We’ll leave a note.

From here down, we’ll try our best to discuss the matter in the Green Room, our mods-only forum, before we take action. In some cases, however, please recognize that this might not be possible. There isn’t always several of us online.

6. Recycle the entire thread. If a thread is just way too far out of hand, either locking for good or recycling will do. Blah, blah, leave note, blah…

7. In the event a user is just not getting the hint, short bans (1-2 days) from the forum in question may occur. We’ll leave a note, if we didn’t recycle the whole thing. If we did, we’ll start a new – locked – thread explaining what happened.

8. If, after all our attempts, the user still seems intent on not playing by the rules, longer bans, 1 week to 1 month from the forum in question, will occur. Note, blah… One of the people whose feedback I solicited on this suggested listed what gets a long ban vs. a short. Only two things separate the two: the degree to which the user persists in doing what we’ve asked him or her not to do and, to a lesser extent, his or her history on the site.

9. Stronger measures – I reserve the sole authority to enact permanent bans. Mods do not have the authority to do this, except for free-iPod-style spammers, who will be shot on sight and disposed of, their accounts disabled for all time.

What moderators are not allowed to do:

1. Edit your post
2. Delete (in the literal sense) your post
3. Moderate threads and posts in which they are emotionally embroiled.
4. Enact permanent bans.

Some of you are no doubt wondering how moderators will be held accountable for their actions. I hope you understand how seriously I take this issue and how important I know it is to users. I had several ideas on this ranging from user review groups to anonymous mod-only polling. But in the end, I came to a very simple conclusion. I am, in every sense of the word, the supervisor of the moderators. I get paid to be so and I don’t really have the option of abdicating the responsibility to anybody else. If they do not or cannot police themselves, then it is my sole responsibility to do so. I hope that’s enough for you. I’ll do my best to be fair.

If you feel you’ve been unfairly targeted by a moderator, you have three acceptable courses of action. One: start a mature, respectful thread in Suggestions & Feedback or in the forum in which the action occurred. Expect us to moderate such threads aggressively regardless of which forum they're in. Two: PM the moderator directly and begin a mature dialog. Three: PM the lead moderator (philbox) or forum administrator (me) and begin a mature dialog. Our inboxes are wide open for your feedback and complaints.

Lemme be very clear on this next thing: The days of threads attacking moderators and demanding explanations from the facist regime are over. All such threads will be killed on sight with no preliminary discussion. We want to hear your feedback. We need it in order to do our jobs effectively. But phase it like an adult or get bent.

Other items of note:

1. I’m fully aware that a lot of this can be read subjectively. I'm not sure how it can be anything else without turning into Sunday school. The line between what is and isn't allowed can be blurry, so rather than being dogmatic about it, we must reserve some leeway for judgment calls. So here's the deal: instead of testing us in the forums, please feel free to toss out some examples of situations in which you think the above might not be clear. In return, I’ll do my best to explain how we might act (or not act) on it. Include the forum and the example.

2. Over the course of the next couple months, expect tweaks to the forum rules. I’ll try my best to make announcements whenever that happens.

3. There will be times when we miss things. There are only a few of us and most of us have other responsibilities to attend to throughout the day. Feel free to help us out. Use the previously mentioned methods to point out threads that need help or to let us know you think we screwed up. We can take criticism when it’s presented calmly and rationally.

4. We have no intention of wading into every thread on the site and correcting anything that didn't get modded previously. So, if you're wondering why we did something in one thread, but not another, that may be one explanation. Number three above may be another.

5. There will be times when you think we’re playing favorites. Actually, it might not be so far from the truth. If a user has a long illustrious history of being a complete asshole to moderators and other users, we might just hold it against him or her. What comes around goes around. I respectfully suggest you try not to be an asshole.

6. Eventually, there will be a link to this thread in our Forum Rules, so please expect me to moderate it aggressively and lock it later on in an effort to keep it as succinct as possible.

If you need clarification on any of this, please just ask.

(This post was edited by j_ung on Dec 22, 2008, 5:14 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by j_ung () on Nov 20, 2008, 8:12 PM
Post edited by j_ung () on Nov 20, 2008, 11:24 PM
Post edited by j_ung () on Nov 22, 2008, 1:44 PM
Post edited by j_ung () on Dec 22, 2008, 5:14 PM

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