Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dicks?

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Hammer » Mon May 10, 2010 2:16 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:I'm just kidding. He's not really banned.

Which I checked to make sure of when I first saw the statement that he had been.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon May 10, 2010 2:18 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:There's a reasonably reasonable reason he used it.

I know it just amused me.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby King Author » Thu May 13, 2010 9:36 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Wallydraigle wrote:Most people who seek out positions of power are the kind of people who would abuse it.

True, which is why here, like probably many other forums, the fastest way to make sure you never become a mod is to ask to become a mod.

Aaeriele wrote:I think confirmation bias has a lot to do with it.

You never really pay attention when the mods are being nice, because they're not going out of their way to say "HI, I'M MODERATING YOU BUT I'M BEING REALLY, REALLY NICE ABOUT IT" - after all, they're trying to be nice. :P

You only notice when a moderator goes out of their way to say "you stepped over the line here, and we are not happy."

In other words, "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."

Epic.

Raeluna wrote:As a site admin/mod on another busy fora, allow me to explain why we often let power-hungry/dickish mods run around.

When people get into a position of power, a lot of times they let it go to their heads and yeah, they DO pick on members sometimes. Sure, I could strip their mod status - even ban/delete them if I really wanted to, but unless they're being a total psycho, I'm going to for the most part, leave them be. I might talk to them, let them know t knock off the shit, but chances are good I won't actually boot them from their shiny mod chair. Why? Because booting them will draw a shit-storm not ONLY from that person, but from their friends and the people who supported what they were doing. Then you get into the realm of being called biased, a dictator, evil, what about free speech, you controlling bitch/bastard, you're taking away all our fun, etc etc. Site Admin (at least on my fora) are essentially god. We can do whatever we want to the site and the members because its our site. I get even more PMs about drama and cleaning up steaming piles than the mods do, and after dealing with all the members shit-storms all the time, I REALLY don't want to delve into the horrible realm of decommissioning a mod. Because like I said, unless they're being truly psycho, it is not worth the days (and possibly WEEKS) of drama-rama that will follow.

Apologies to anyone who's ever had their ass chewed into hamburger by a rogue mod, but yeah. :/

That's...a really terrible excuse. "Meh, I don't wanna rock the boat." And precisely what I said was happening. It's a cop-out response. I'll allow that it's at least less aggrivating than "I'd like to see you do better."

Poochy wrote:To quote Douglas Adams, It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

Uh, I don't think that was Douglas Adams (he was quoting someone else, I mean). I do, however, agree 100%. Those best suited to power rarely seek it. Those who seek power are rarely suited to it. It's like how there's a lot more pedophile priests and scout masters and coaches and school teachers than construction workers or some such -- pedophiles seek out positions where they'll be in trusting, private relationships with children.

Poochy wrote:Any site will have a bunch of power-hungry, egomaniacal, know-nothing know-it-alls who try to get mod positions so they can rule over others. It's the same with any position of power, really - look at all the crap about corrupt politicians, police, religious leaders (especially cults), and so on. You can only hope that the admins ban them for being idiots instead of rewarding them with mod positions for their constant sucking up.

Of course, much like the aforementioned groups, you'll also have plenty of people who have the best intentions; it's just the worst 20% or so who give the rest a bad name. But every sufficiently big site gets a metric buttload of idiots who don't read the rules, more idiots who insist everybody who disagrees with them is delusional, and even more idiots who... well, you get the idea. In my personal experience, at least 1/3rd of the human population is insufferably stupid like that, and I consider that a conservative estimate. Anyways, those who aren't corrupt and power-hungry tend to end up feeling like Liz Lemon. Dealing with idiots constantly will make nearly anyone cynical and snarky.

The problem is that the 20% are always the most active. The good ones - by definition of being good mods - tend to have a light touch (like a safe cracker or a pickpocket). The bad ones get all up in your grill and do a lot of collatoral damage in the process.

What gets me though is that even the good moderations are - essentially - unnecessary. So you've got a "no swears" rule and somebody says "shit." Yeah it's against the rules, yeah they shouldn't do it, but it's not necessarily likely they'll do it again, or at least frequently. You could go ahead and just not enforce that rule and everything would be peachy. Same thing with double posts, thread necromancy and all the plethora rules that make up most forums' policies.

Honestly, the only things that really need moderator attention are illegal things that'd get your website nuked by the feds. Even "no insults" rarely needs to be enforced. The online disinhibition effect aside, people on forums in general tend not to make the sorts of posts that moderators would mod anyway. I firmly believe a forum could do just fine without mods. To a point, of course -- any sufficiently large or commercially-owned forum would need mods in the first case due to sheer size drumming up the possibility of totally destructive douches who need banned, and in the latter to follow company policy and protect their public image.

Vandole wrote:One of the more interesting systems (Which has since been removed, sadly) was the meta-moderation system for GameFAQs. Basically, any user in good standing could review random decisions made by mods and rate the harshness and suitability of the response. However, due to the huge lack of moderators on gameFAQs it was essentially a hive of scum and villainy anyway. No idea what it's like now that cNet took over - I'm guessing still pretty dumb but maybe more civil. It strikes me as an interesting way to get feedback from the userbase though.

Actually, the problem with the Meta-Modding system, according to CJayC, is that users overwhelmingly said the vast majority of moderations were too harsh. And surely, the mods must be right and the posters must be wrong. Any Given Internet Forum: A Microcosm of Fascism.

Low Caliber wrote:I find the biggest problem with mods to be that when someone is out of line they feel and they are pissed off, they just want to explode and make fun of the person, rather then simply deleting the relevant part of the post and pming the person with why that was not allowable. It is funny when it happens to someone else, but the offender has no way of defending himself in that the mod can just keep coming down on them. I understand that mods are only human but they still need to be held to significantly higher standards then the average forum-goer. Perhaps if there was the voting system suggested earlier, or perhaps two moderators of differing attitudes for every forum who would place temporary blocks, on topics and posts before they enacted a punishment allowing them time to consult, it might work better.

after all Waaaaaaaaaah

My point exactly. Moderators should always take the "simply delete the material and PM "that wasn't allowed"" approach, rather than being dicks about it and taking their Freudian problems out on the forumite.

Aetius wrote:I was once on a forum where I was "permanently banned" and unbanned no less than six times, because one mod hated me and one mod favored me. That place was a clusterfuck of moderation, and it eventually split the board in half.

Acmlm?

Hammer wrote:Just as a side note: When people have written me angry messages berating me for doing a particular thing, I've found that the reasons and personality traits they have assigned to me, and are subsequently furious with me about, are almost always inaccurate. People tend to find my actual reasons for taking particular mod actions much less infuriating than the ones they make up for me. :)

Yes, well, me a forumgoer is going to blame the moderator and you a moderator are going to blame the forumgoer. I guess the lesson is, humans are self-serving.

Link wrote:If a moderator goes apeshit on you, but not on "the other guy", that moderator, in all likelihood, has good reason for doing so. If, then, you downright call into question the aptitude of that moderator, who has already made it clear they don't particularly like you, you are essentially bullying them whilst saying "you can't do anything because you're the 'bigger man'/'bigger woman'!" - and at some point they will have had enough and snap back. If you feel you've been banned unfairly, take it up with an administrator. If they don't think it was unfair, then suck it up. Contrary to popular belief, the internet is not a democracy.

Ah, my favorite kind of post -- "it's not a big deal, you shouldn't have made this topic."

Lounge wrote:You are going to dislike some moderators; you are going to like some. Just as you are going to like and dislike some people.

The best thing you can do when you do something that a moderator disagrees with is figure out

1) Why are they taking action? - What did I do that caused this?
2) What do I need to do so this doesn't happen again?

Oh, and 0) Take a step back and calm down. I'm guessing as soon as you got chewed out you went after the moderator. That's not the greatest idea.

Nowhere on this list will you see

A) Make sure the other guy I was with is getting punished too!
B) Try and find a loophole in the rules where it turns out I was right!
C) Complain about what happened to anyone that will listen.
D) Make generalizations of the entire internet because of how I was treated.

I'm not saying everything Mods do is right and amazing and you should mindlessly obey them, but judging by what few details of your case you gave: Both people got reprimanded but you just wanted the other guy to get a tougher punishment, so you kept pushing it instead of dropping it. (Which is probably why they took action to begin with, both of your refusal to drop whatever it was.)

EDIT: Really sloppy, trying to work and post. Fixed it up some.

Everyone keeps saying, "mods are human" "mods are just people" "you don't like everyone you meet IRL, do you?" Yeah, well that's all very heartwarmingly Hallmark, but any given actual person I mean doesn't have power over me and the means to abuse it without any repercussions. You can't compare moderators to "anybody you meet on the street," it's a completely false metaphor. Moderators are comparable to police IRL, not any given Joe Blow.

Most human beings are lackluster human beings. Most police are lackluster police, most mods are lackluster mods, and most forumites are lackluster forumites. It's easy to say they're all in the same boat, you can't hold anybody to higher standards, but I think I can. I think it's completely reasonable to hold those with power to higher standards than those they have power over. If you're the kind of person who loses your temper and holds grudges and seeks revenge, you shouldn't be a moderator, police officer or anything comparable. I think many mods have the attitude that they have a right to their position. Not at all! It's the exact opposite -- police and mods have fewer rights than the people over whom they wield power. And it has to be that way, lest corruption and abuse of power rule.

There's a lot more out-of-control mods than out-of-control police officers, and the reason is simple; mods don't face the possibility of retribution. If a police officer treats people like crap - even if they don't technically break any rules or regulations - citizens can complain, inquiries can be made and the jerk can get fired. Moderators are completely immune; they wield their power with absolute impugnity, and we all know the saying about absolute power.

I wonder about this -- if there were no anonymity on the internet, if on every forum and in online game you belonged to, you had to use your face as an avatar and your real name as a username, would moderators still get away with abuse?

Low Caliber wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Low Caliber wrote:Waaaaaaaaaah

Hammer.

You got a problem with that?


One of my biggest problems with the interwebs is that I can never tell whether people are joking or actually angry at me. To clarify that had not actually been directed at this forum, but was more generally directed at forums in general.

innumerable apologies if it were taken as an attack on this forum

Spoiler:
Also the biggest problem I have with Plato's response is that it is extremely difficult to guard against yourself. The problem, in my mind, is that telling the guardians they are better then other people might cause them to view the lesser people as expendable and worthless, like instead of being a parent figure who takes care of the lesser people, they become more like a rich slave owner. Although this is rather counteracted by the assertion that they must be instilled with a dislike of their role as guardians, and make them want their shifts to be over.

Heh, I missed that. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes indeed. That really is the problem -- most admins on most forums I've ever used are austere figures, like the Christian God; spoken of, thought to exist, but never showing themselves. This means that the buck stops at the moderators, who don't have to answer to anyone.

Oh my god. Elected mods. Imagine if moderators had something to lose and someone to answer to.

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:What I've noticed is moderators overwhelmingly appoint people they like as other moderators, regardless of whether that person would be any good for the job and/or whether there are other people who would do be better suited but whom they don't know as well.

Mm, good point.

Dave_Wise wrote:
I always liked Plato's response.

I'm intrigued. What was Plato's response to the question of why moderators are such dicks?

My response, having briefly been a moderator on another board is this: You would be too if you had to deal with hundreds of the kind of little snots that populate message boards.

*points to his own "these kinds of people shouldn't have power" speech a moment ago*
*wry smile*
*points to his own "I hate when they say I'd like to see you do better" line, too*

In all seriousness, I could handle it. I don't have a very large or very fragile ego, I can handle crap and ingratefulness.

Here's a good example. If you treat a waiter like total garbage in any given restaurant, what do you think is going to be the consequence? A little something extra in your dinner, and I don't mean a lemon wedge. Why would a waiter seek revenge for being treated poorly? Because they have an expectation that they'll be treated respectfully. A violation of that expectation threatens their ego, and they have to use some defense mechanism or another to protect their ego.

From the outside looking in, however, we can easily point out that being treated snippily by a customer isn't a big deal, it's not a deal at all. So what? But in the first person, most of us aren't very self-secure, so we let things like that get to us. But not everybody is like that. You wouldn't believe half the stories I have of terrible customers when I worked at TGIF. I always interpreted it like an animal or child insulting me, though -- what do I care? I was able to wait with a smile no matter my own mood or the way I was treated by my customers.

And of course, the rest of the waitstaff hated me for it. Americans don't like pleasant people; we like assholes. If you're not cynical and pissy, people think there must be something wrong with you.

I quit, by the way, because the pay wasn't good enough and nobody really tipped well enough to make up for it.

Which is all to say, in response to your "I'd like to see you do better," I think I could. A lot better. Delete what needs deleted and send a short PM saying, "that was against the rules." Done and done. No reason to get personal.

Aaeriele wrote:
Dave_Wise wrote:
I always liked Plato's response.

I'm intrigued. What was Plato's response to the question of why moderators are such dicks?


The essential problem was posed by Plato in The Republic, his work on government and morality. The perfect society as described by Socrates, the main character in this Socratic dialogue, relies on laborers, slaves and tradesmen. The guardian class is to protect the city. The question is put to Socrates, "Who will guard the guardians?" or, "Who will protect us against the protectors?" Plato's answer to this is that they will guard themselves against themselves. We must tell the guardians a "noble lie".[1] The noble lie will assure them that they are better than those they serve and it is therefore their responsibility to guard and protect those lesser than themselves. We will instill in them a distaste for power or privilege; they will rule because they believe it right, not because they desire it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quis_custo ... ustodes%3F

For perhaps the most famous philosopher of all time, Plato sure was naive.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Aaeriele » Thu May 13, 2010 10:01 am UTC

King Author wrote:Oh my god. Elected mods. Imagine if moderators had something to lose and someone to answer to.


I've actually seen/managed this in practice. It doesn't work that well because the mods are all running scared and thus are afraid to actually deal with the genuine troublemakers. As it turns out, a board where trolls are allowed to flourish runs even worse than a board where the occasional overly harsh act of moderation takes place.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Felstaff » Thu May 13, 2010 10:44 am UTC

Aaeriele wrote:It doesn't work that well because
to vote in a democracy, one needs to be a citizen of that nation; to vote in a forum, one needs, uh, an email address.

Potential for abuse? Pretty much absolute. Mainly because I would totally abuse the system myself.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Aaeriele » Thu May 13, 2010 11:42 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:
Aaeriele wrote:It doesn't work that well because
to vote in a democracy, one needs to be a citizen of that nation; to vote in a forum, one needs, uh, an email address.

Potential for abuse? Pretty much absolute. Mainly because I would totally abuse the system myself.


Well, an email address and an HTTP proxy, if we want to nitpick. But yes.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Hammer » Thu May 13, 2010 3:11 pm UTC

King Author wrote:
Hammer wrote:Just as a side note: When people have written me angry messages berating me for doing a particular thing, I've found that the reasons and personality traits they have assigned to me, and are subsequently furious with me about, are almost always inaccurate. People tend to find my actual reasons for taking particular mod actions much less infuriating than the ones they make up for me. :)

Yes, well, me a forumgoer is going to blame the moderator and you a moderator are going to blame the forumgoer. I guess the lesson is, humans are self-serving.

Um...that's...not what I said. I said that people often assume I've done things for particular reasons and get mad about it. Once they ask me and find out why I've actually done something, they often understand and are therefore not mad anymore. Communication can be a good thing.

I also smile when people start going on about power-hunger in this particular context. I'm afraid that I don't consider the sum total of my administrative capabilites in this little corner of the internet to add up to much actual power. I suppose I have the power to annoy and mildly inconvenience, but I'm not really impressed by my ability to do that. I like being an admin here because it allows me to be of service to this community that I enjoy and and to help make sure that people can interact as well and happily and constructively as possible in such a diverse environment.

FWIW, around here, we try to respect different moderation levels for different areas of the fora so people can pick the amount of moderation they want. The highest level occurs in Dear SB; the lowest in FaiD. Be as moderated or unmoderated as you like: your choice. And, BTW, we do keep an eye on each other for abuse of what small amount of "power" we have. (For example, when Felstaff joked about having banned you for this thread, I went and made sure that he had done no such thing.) There is a review process in place and I do my best to make sure that mods are moderating in a way that is appropriate to the part of the board they are in.

We're not perfect, but we're not all "MWAAAAHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!" either. :)
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Lounge » Thu May 13, 2010 3:19 pm UTC

King Author wrote:What gets me though is that even the good moderations are - essentially - unnecessary. So you've got a "no swears" rule and somebody says "shit." Yeah it's against the rules, yeah they shouldn't do it, but it's not necessarily likely they'll do it again, or at least frequently. You could go ahead and just not enforce that rule and everything would be peachy. Same thing with double posts, thread necromancy and all the plethora rules that make up most forums' policies.

Until someone sees one person bend the rule, figures it's okay, and bends it a little more. Then another person breaks it entirely and has a post of half cuss words because he's having a bad day. But it was just a bad day, it's okay. Pretty soon no swearing isn't a rule anymore, and anyone who complains about it gets told "Yeah, but we've been swearing for awhile, nobody really cares."
There's a lot more out-of-control mods than out-of-control police officers, and the reason is simple; mods don't face the possibility of retribution. If a police officer treats people like crap - even if they don't technically break any rules or regulations - citizens can complain, inquiries can be made and the jerk can get fired. Moderators are completely immune; they wield their power with absolute impugnity, and we all know the saying about absolute power.

Or the owner of the forum can remove moderation privilages. Or people can stop showing up at your forum and make their own.
I wonder about this -- if there were no anonymity on the internet, if on every forum and in online game you belonged to, you had to use your face as an avatar and your real name as a username, would moderators still get away with abuse?

Would the forum members not so willingly break rules then? It'd be an entirely different situation.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Felstaff » Thu May 13, 2010 3:30 pm UTC

<3 Hammer

Around here, all the moderating staff wear a WWHD? wristband. Things would be eternally civil if all users wore this wristband.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Dason » Thu May 13, 2010 3:46 pm UTC

Lounge wrote:
King Author wrote:I wonder about this -- if there were no anonymity on the internet, if on every forum and in online game you belonged to, you had to use your face as an avatar and your real name as a username, would moderators still get away with abuse?

Would the forum members not so willingly break rules then? It'd be an entirely different situation.

Exactly. Here in the real world I'm not going to call most people that I have a conversation with an asshat unless i) they're a good friend and a being a little bit like an asshat or ii) they're being ridiculous and I literally am cutting off communication with the person. On this great things we call the internets most people feel much more free to call you an asshat just because they have a different identity and they don't really know the person they're talking to (in most cases).

Moderators might be different if we all used our "true" identites but I think the main difference would be in the forumite population. There would be much more accountability and more respectable posts (in general). Of course some people won't care because it's still the internet and "when am I ever going to meet any of those people?"

I've been part of a forum community where quite literally every single person on that board knew each other and there was little need for moderation. The only thing I really ever had to do as a mod was move some threads when somebody started a topic in the wrong section on accident. So I wouldn't get away with abuse as a moderator but nobody got away with being an asshat on that forum.

At least speaking from experience at the xkcd forums I think the mods are (more or less) model forumites. Almost all the posts I read from mods contain some sort of quality, they follow the forum rules, and typically don't detract from the ongoing conversation. I'm not saying that most forumites aren't like this but the mods seem to post quality material (with an occasional hiccup). A lot of new posters are good at this too but from some anecdotal experience the only times I ever read a post and go "Oh god does that person seriously know what they just submitted for the whole internet to see?" is for somebody with a post count less than 30.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 13, 2010 8:47 pm UTC

King Author wrote:Imagine if moderators had something to lose and someone to answer to.
We already do.

It isn't you.

And voting for moderators on a forum you choose whether or not to join is not like voting for government officials in a country where you're born. It'd be more like voting for the bouncers in any club you chose to enter. But also the bouncers couldn't restrict your entry, either. Which would be a fucking stupid way to run a club.

King Author wrote:I wonder about this -- if there were no anonymity on the internet, if on every forum and in online game you belonged to, you had to use your face as an avatar and your real name as a username, would moderators still get away with abuse?
My avatar is my face, and my username does uniquely identify me by real name. And yet that has nothing to do with why I don't abuse my power here.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 13, 2010 8:54 pm UTC

Sorta interesting - being that I've gone by the name SecondTalon or Second Talon for years (figure out the filter, people!).. and I do mean years.. early 1998... I'm .. actually fairly easy to track. I have no doubt that within a few hours of searching you would probably have my real name, home address, high school, and so on.

Good thing about keeping the same name more or less forever, like a real name - people instantly know it's me.

Bad thing about keeping the same name more or less forever, like a real name - you people can search and dig up all the stupid shit I've ever said anywhere. And probably track my adult entertainment habits.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby JayAr » Thu May 13, 2010 11:21 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Sorta interesting - being that I've gone by the name SexyTalon or SexyTalon for years (figure out the filter, people!).. and I do mean years.. early 1998... I'm .. actually fairly easy to track. I have no doubt that within a few hours of searching you would probably have my real name, home address, high school, and so on.

Good thing about keeping the same name more or less forever, like a real name - people instantly know it's me.

Bad thing about keeping the same name more or less forever, like a real name - you people can search and dig up all the stupid shit I've ever said anywhere. And probably track my adult entertainment habits.


I didn't know there was a car called the SexyTalon! Also about 7 pages into google you come across a *ahem* 'escort' service with that name. Also a French high heel.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 14, 2010 12:24 am UTC

Hey, I gotta pay for this internet connection somehow.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby King Author » Fri May 14, 2010 7:11 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:
Aaeriele wrote:It doesn't work that well because
to vote in a democracy, one needs to be a citizen of that nation; to vote in a forum, one needs, uh, an email address.

Potential for abuse? Pretty much absolute. Mainly because I would totally abuse the system myself.

¬_¬
Well the obvious solution is to limit voting to long-time (year+) members with good standing. Certainly, a lot of thought and testing would have to be done to make a quality system.

Hammer wrote:
King Author wrote:
Hammer wrote:Just as a side note: When people have written me angry messages berating me for doing a particular thing, I've found that the reasons and personality traits they have assigned to me, and are subsequently furious with me about, are almost always inaccurate. People tend to find my actual reasons for taking particular mod actions much less infuriating than the ones they make up for me. :)

Yes, well, me a forumgoer is going to blame the moderator and you a moderator are going to blame the forumgoer. I guess the lesson is, humans are self-serving.

Um...that's...not what I said. I said that people often assume I've done things for particular reasons and get mad about it. Once they ask me and find out why I've actually done something, they often understand and are therefore not mad anymore. Communication can be a good thing.

I also smile when people start going on about power-hunger in this particular context. I'm afraid that I don't consider the sum total of my administrative capabilites in this little corner of the internet to add up to much actual power. I suppose I have the power to annoy and mildly inconvenience, but I'm not really impressed by my ability to do that. I like being an admin here because it allows me to be of service to this community that I enjoy and and to help make sure that people can interact as well and happily and constructively as possible in such a diverse environment.

FWIW, around here, we try to respect different moderation levels for different areas of the fora so people can pick the amount of moderation they want. The highest level occurs in Dear SB; the lowest in FaiD. Be as moderated or unmoderated as you like: your choice. And, BTW, we do keep an eye on each other for abuse of what small amount of "power" we have. (For example, when Felstaff joked about having banned you for this thread, I went and made sure that he had done no such thing.) There is a review process in place and I do my best to make sure that mods are moderating in a way that is appropriate to the part of the board they are in.

We're not perfect, but we're not all "MWAAAAHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!" either. :)

I hardly think you = all moderators. The power aspect is a major thing, even if it doesn't affect you personally. It's completely irrelevant that the power is meaningless in the grand scheme of things, that's not the way the human mind works, we aren't rational creatures. Do you have any idea how much of a hardon moderator privileges gives some people?

Lounge wrote:Until someone sees one person bend the rule, figures it's okay, and bends it a little more. Then another person breaks it entirely and has a post of half cuss words because he's having a bad day. But it was just a bad day, it's okay. Pretty soon no swearing isn't a rule anymore, and anyone who complains about it gets told "Yeah, but we've been swearing for awhile, nobody really cares."

For fear of sending too much traffic it's way, I won't link to it, but right now I belong to a medium-sized forum with essentially no moderators, and everything's essentially always gone fine. Like in real conversation, we tend to moderate ourselves. If I feel it's justified to swear, I do it. I don't do it all the time, and sometimes I think twice before posting. Pretty much everybody does that, I guess, because you have a few cusses here and there, but it's not complete un-understandable anarchy.

Lounge wrote:Or the owner of the forum can remove moderation privilages. Or people can stop showing up at your forum and make their own.

We've already covered how admins are extremely hesitant to remove moderator privileges. Also, most people won't stop showing up at a forum with a crazed moderator or even team thereof, simply because making their own is too much of a hassle. Acmlm's totally ruined because one egotistical jerk hacked the server, gave himself all privileges, the moderators didn't care and let him have his way, the admin got bored and gave him the server, but the majority of people didn't leave because the douche only has a beef with a few people, and most are content to allow him to get away with his bullshit.

Lounge wrote:Would the forum members not so willingly break rules then? It'd be an entirely different situation.

As I said, most forum rules in most forums are pedantic and unnecessary. "Don't post anything illegal and don't be so disruptive that people can't follow a thread" -- that's all the rules you need. Everything else is essentially unnecessary. Because really, all things like "don't post one-word topics, don't double/triple/quadruple post, don't swear excessively, don't insult other users," etc. are all just for the sake of preventing a thread from being so disrupted that nobody can follow it.

The thing is, when someone who clearly isn't disrupting anything technically violates one of the thousands of pedantic rules, they have to be modded just to keep up face. Meanwhile, disruptive a-holes who manage to find loopholes in the rules and skirt around technicalities make the board a miserable place for other users without facing any consequences. In other words, it's just like real life -- the enforcers of the law are more concerned with enforcing the law for the sake of it than protecting the citizenry from the things those laws were designed to prevent.

Felstaff wrote:<3 Hammer

Around here, all the moderating staff wear a WWHD? wristband. Things would be eternally civil if all users wore this wristband.

I think things are more civil on most forums than the moderators are willing to admit. After all, if there aren't any problems, moderators are useless, and if moderators are useless, there's no sense in having more than one, and nobody wants to lose their power, so "problems" are imagined to keep the mods busy. A microcosm of fascism, I said earlier. The more I think about it, the more appropriate that analogy is.

gmalivuk wrote:
King Author wrote:Imagine if moderators had something to lose and someone to answer to.
We already do.

It isn't you.

And voting for moderators on a forum you choose whether or not to join is not like voting for government officials in a country where you're born. It'd be more like voting for the bouncers in any club you chose to enter. But also the bouncers couldn't restrict your entry, either. Which would be a fucking stupid way to run a club.

My point is that most moderators around the internet don't have anyone to answer to, because admins are rarely highly involved in the forums they own, so the buck stops at the mods, who are left to "guard themselves," as the saying goes. Also, a voting system would obviously have to be carefully designed and nuanced. You can't compare an ideal version of one system (admins appoint mods, watch them diligently and remove their privileges if they become a problem) to a less-than-ideal version of another system (any jerk with an email address can run around the internet voting for mods irresponsibly); that's logical fallacy.

gmalivuk wrote:
King Author wrote:I wonder about this -- if there were no anonymity on the internet, if on every forum and in online game you belonged to, you had to use your face as an avatar and your real name as a username, would moderators still get away with abuse?
My avatar is my face, and my username does uniquely identify me by real name. And yet that has nothing to do with why I don't abuse my power here.

You know what I meant. If un-anonymity were the rule. If everyone's avatar were the face and username were their actual, "John Bobson" name and you could see their home address or some such. If you literally had absolutely no anonymity, like in real life.

SecondTalon wrote:Sorta interesting - being that I've gone by the name SexyTalon or SexyTalon for years (figure out the filter, people!).. and I do mean years.. early 1998... I'm .. actually fairly easy to track. I have no doubt that within a few hours of searching you would probably have my real name, home address, high school, and so on.

Good thing about keeping the same name more or less forever, like a real name - people instantly know it's me.

Bad thing about keeping the same name more or less forever, like a real name - you people can search and dig up all the stupid shit I've ever said anywhere. And probably track my adult entertainment habits.

*does just that*
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Cane » Fri May 14, 2010 12:16 pm UTC

King Author, I think you're getting such a negative reaction here because you are making claims that just don't seem to be true on this forum. They may be true elsewhere, but the people here are obviously most familiar with the xkcd moderators, who we all seem to agree are a pretty great group. These alleged power-hungry dicks probably do exist somewhere, but they're not here and they're not on any forum that I've ever chosen to spend any time. I just don't see a broken system that needs to be fixed by any voting system or change in accountability.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 14, 2010 12:50 pm UTC

Eh, I could see a user-based banning being interesting. Some forums have the whole "Like/Dislike" karma kudos applaud whatever system, so automating the process (Get a -X score? Autobanned) could possibly be not a bad idea.

Possibly.

Depends on the maturity of the users. I mean, there's plenty of people here of whom I have completely different political views and I can say that no, I'm not their friend and don't want to be their friend and don't particularly care for them either. But I don't want to see them banned either, because that's just being a dick for no good reason. I prefer to be a dick when it's funny.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby GraphiteGirl » Fri May 14, 2010 1:02 pm UTC

Cane wrote:King Author, I think you're getting such a negative reaction here because you are making claims that just don't seem to be true on this forum. They may be true elsewhere, but the people here are obviously most familiar with the xkcd moderators, who we all seem to agree are a pretty great group. These alleged power-hungry dicks probably do exist somewhere, but they're not here and they're not on any forum that I've ever chosen to spend any time. I just don't see a broken system that needs to be fixed by any voting system or change in accountability.

To be fair, Cane wrote this entire post whilst held at gunpoint by Felstaff and Gmal.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 14, 2010 1:04 pm UTC

To be fair, the .45 isn't so much a gun as it is a hand cannon.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Cane » Fri May 14, 2010 1:07 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:To be fair, the .45 isn't so much a gun as it is a hand cannon.

An excellent point, sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar.


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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 14, 2010 1:41 pm UTC

Aww, and you hadn't even noticed the anthrax yet.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Felstaff » Fri May 14, 2010 2:24 pm UTC

Motherfucker hired them to play a stealth concert.

This is why, around the whole internet, moderators are such dicks.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby DSenette » Fri May 14, 2010 2:27 pm UTC

i've kind of stayed out of this one because it seems like everyone is saying things that i agree with. but i'm bored, so i'll chime in.

i've been active on the intertubes for quite a while now, and i've been a member (and am currently a member) of quite a few forums over the years. (bbs anyone?). and i've RARELY seen the abuses you're talking about (in reality). i've seen quite a few instances where someone get's moderated, and a clamoring mass of idiots all post at the same time to say how unfair that moderation was, when in fact there was nothing wrong with the action. it's just a bunch of douche kids who didn't get their way, so they got all their douche friends to "join up in revolt" against the "oppressive hand of authority".

i moderate/admin/staff SEVERAL forums now, and none of them experience the crap you're talking about. "we" (mod/admin teams) get accused of such activity all the time, but i've not once actually seen a real instance of abuse.

i think you're just visiting the wrong forums. the kind of stuff you're describing happens QUITE frequently on gaming boards and h4x0rz boards where the median chronological age is 12 and the median mental maturity age is 4. you put a 12 year old in a position of power and they're going to be EXTREMELY douchie.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby kaimason1 » Sat May 15, 2010 12:10 am UTC

I'm fifteen, and sometimes have a maturity level of four, but for the most part I am more mature than average. On the internet as a poor user I show more of my stupid side, but I doubt the idiocracies talked about here. Every mod I myself have met is fairly good; and I definitely wouldn't accept mod position in a large forum. I applaud those who do. I do own my own fora, though, and even though we only have just over one hundred posts, I understand the difficulties of administrating. A user, in my opinion, is generally only handed the option of modhood if they are a model poster. The admins don't just forget, either; it is actually hard to forget your responsibilities as admin. I have only heard of one occasion of mods being dicks, and that was quickly taken care of by stripping mod privileges. It caused chaos for a while, but died down after a few days as people stepped back and looked at the whole thing. Also, if an admin is a dick, it probably isn't a good forum; don't complain. You don't throw a shoe at a king or his governor, even if you talk about them behind their backs. If you don't like them, you move to a country with better leaders and quit complaining.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby King Author » Sun May 16, 2010 10:53 am UTC

Cane wrote:King Author, I think you're getting such a negative reaction here because you are making claims that just don't seem to be true on this forum. They may be true elsewhere, but the people here are obviously most familiar with the xkcd moderators, who we all seem to agree are a pretty great group.

Well duh. I can't complain about a board's moderators on that board -- that'd be suicide! I have to go to another board to complain about the moderators of a given board, which is why I'm here where I felt I'd have, at most, a 15% chance of the topic getting locked out of nervousness. However, I see almost as much agreement as criticism, so...

Cane wrote:These alleged power-hungry dicks probably do exist somewhere, but they're not here and they're not on any forum that I've ever chosen to spend any time. I just don't see a broken system that needs to be fixed by any voting system or change in accountability.

That was just a random thought.

SecondTalon wrote:Eh, I could see a user-based banning being interesting. Some forums have the whole "Like/Dislike" karma kudos applaud whatever system, so automating the process (Get a -X score? Autobanned) could possibly be not a bad idea.

Possibly.

Depends on the maturity of the users. I mean, there's plenty of people here of whom I have completely different political views and I can say that no, I'm not their friend and don't want to be their friend and don't particularly care for them either. But I don't want to see them banned either, because that's just being a dick for no good reason. I prefer to be a dick when it's funny.

That reminds me of a good example of "douche trying to make others miserable but technically not breaking any rules so the moderators sit back and do nothing." I once belonged to an LGBT-themed forum, it was really small, maybe a few dozen daily posters, a good hundred or so occasional ones, and the total number of registered users never hit more than around ten thousand. Well, back in 2006 or seven, a group of right-wingers joined out of the blue and well...it was kinda like a skinhead showing up at a Jewish funeral, you know what I mean? Their merely being there was an insult and they made everyone uncomfortable. But then they had the nerve to start trying to "convert" everyone to their way of thinking. On the social board, which we normally used to just talk about whatever, they started these big anti-gay marraige topics, "homosexuality is a choice" topics, and so forth.

Technically, they weren't breaking any of the board rules (even though they were clearly breaking every single law of etiquette there is), so the moderators let them run amok. Within a few months, all those core few dozen regulars wandered away, and the board's been dead ever since. All because the moderators didn't have the balls to take action.

DSenette wrote:i've kind of stayed out of this one because it seems like everyone is saying things that i agree with. but i'm bored, so i'll chime in.

i've been active on the intertubes for quite a while now, and i've been a member (and am currently a member) of quite a few forums over the years. (bbs anyone?). and i've RARELY seen the abuses you're talking about (in reality). i've seen quite a few instances where someone get's moderated, and a clamoring mass of idiots all post at the same time to say how unfair that moderation was, when in fact there was nothing wrong with the action. it's just a bunch of douche kids who didn't get their way, so they got all their douche friends to "join up in revolt" against the "oppressive hand of authority".

Surely, the only explanation is that I'm wrong or lying. You certainly can't be wrong, ne?

DSenette wrote:i moderate/admin/staff SEVERAL forums now, and none of them experience the crap you're talking about. "we" (mod/admin teams) get accused of such activity all the time, but i've not once actually seen a real instance of abuse.

Well there's an unbiased, non-invested opinion if there ever were one.
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DSenette wrote:i think you're just visiting the wrong forums. the kind of stuff you're describing happens QUITE frequently on gaming boards and h4x0rz boards where the median chronological age is 12 and the median mental maturity age is 4. you put a 12 year old in a position of power and they're going to be EXTREMELY douchie.

Oh no, quite the contrary. These boards of which I speak (a tabletop RPG board, an LGBT forum, a conlanging forum, a programmer's forum, a writer's forum and another, different tabletop RPG board) are all pretty decent in terms of users. The LGBT forum and conlanging forum in particularly were inhabited mostly by unusually mature individuals, especially for the internet. But that's actually part of the problem; a good user base means there's gonna be good mods, and good mods are light-handed, tactful and subtle, which means they largely go by unnoticed. This also means that the few out-of-control douchebag mods are allowed to run freely, because all the good mods are too polite to say anything bad against them, and the admin won't de-mod a moderator if it's only the users saying there's a problem; he's gonna ask the other mods what they think. They're all, "ho-hum, if you can't say anything nice," so the maniac is allow to run free.

Balls. Users have 'em. Moderators need 'em.

kaimason1 wrote:I'm fifteen, and sometimes have a maturity level of four, but for the most part I am more mature than average. On the internet as a poor user I show more of my stupid side, but I doubt the idiocracies talked about here. Every mod I myself have met is fairly good; and I definitely wouldn't accept mod position in a large forum. I applaud those who do. I do own my own fora, though, and even though we only have just over one hundred posts, I understand the difficulties of administrating. A user, in my opinion, is generally only handed the option of modhood if they are a model poster. The admins don't just forget, either; it is actually hard to forget your responsibilities as admin. I have only heard of one occasion of mods being dicks, and that was quickly taken care of by stripping mod privileges. It caused chaos for a while, but died down after a few days as people stepped back and looked at the whole thing. Also, if an admin is a dick, it probably isn't a good forum; don't complain. You don't throw a shoe at a king or his governor, even if you talk about them behind their backs. If you don't like them, you move to a country with better leaders and quit complaining.

That's...a horrible metaphor. Love it or leave it? That's utterly puerile. If a government is abusing power, it's the citizens duty to change it, not to frackin' leave. "Don't complain." What an utterly useless thing to say.

If I had a nickle for every content-less post I've seen that just says "I don't think this topic is worth talking about, we should all just move along" I'd be one rich son of a submariner.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby kaimason1 » Sun May 16, 2010 3:21 pm UTC

King Author wrote:
kaimason1 wrote:I'm fifteen, and sometimes have a maturity level of four, but for the most part I am more mature than average. On the internet as a poor user I show more of my stupid side, but I doubt the idiocracies talked about here. Every mod I myself have met is fairly good; and I definitely wouldn't accept mod position in a large forum. I applaud those who do. I do own my own fora, though, and even though we only have just over one hundred posts, I understand the difficulties of administrating. A user, in my opinion, is generally only handed the option of modhood if they are a model poster. The admins don't just forget, either; it is actually hard to forget your responsibilities as admin. I have only heard of one occasion of mods being dicks, and that was quickly taken care of by stripping mod privileges. It caused chaos for a while, but died down after a few days as people stepped back and looked at the whole thing. Also, if an admin is a dick, it probably isn't a good forum; don't complain. You don't throw a shoe at a king or his governor, even if you talk about them behind their backs. If you don't like them, you move to a country with better leaders and quit complaining.

That's...a horrible metaphor. Love it or leave it? That's utterly puerile. If a government is abusing power, it's the citizens duty to change it, not to frackin' leave. "Don't complain." What an utterly useless thing to say.

If I had a nickle for every content-less post I've seen that just says "I don't think this topic is worth talking about, we should all just move along" I'd be one rich son of a submariner.

Oh God, that isn't what I meant. Revolutions are fine, but if a King's governor punishes you unfairly, you don't offend them to their face, lest you want to be banished; you take it up privately with the King of said country, not the citizens of the next after getting yourself banned for throwing a shoe, an illegal act. If the King is corrupt, you have no say whatsoever, and you should hightail it out of the country. The same applies to forums, because it is not a democracy, and there is no way to make it so. You can't even start a revolution against an admin because they own the site often enough. The same structure applies to the internet as did with medieval states, only forums are a dime a dozen and you can easily leave one and find another. Sometimes the difficulty isn't 'having balls' with moderation. It's the fact that when a mod does have 'balls' to one person, there are twice as many that will attack him for it. The LGBT board incident you mentioned is a situation very difficult to deal with: with such a small amount of mods, as I guess there were, and such a suddenly large amount of trolls, which I'm guessing was between thirty and fifty, they can't get every offending post, and more just crop up. It's the classic kill one and two more fill it's place. Many mods are normal users who are very strung out with the workload. It is difficult, in fact, to delete posts, ban users, and all the other modding responsibilities (there's more than you know involved). Actually banning users often falls on the admins, who are often one person scanning through tens or hundreds of requests. It just doesn't work when a troll mob comes in, so often forums only survive if they keep a low profile until they are huge in userbase and have a matching modbase.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby King Author » Sun May 16, 2010 5:58 pm UTC

Still a really bad metaphor; if nobody ever resisted kings, we'd still all be living under monarchies, and I wouldn't even be here (in the U.S.).
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby gmalivuk » Sun May 16, 2010 6:17 pm UTC

King Author wrote:I have to go to another board to complain about the moderators of a given board
The problem is, you're not complaining about "the moderators of a given board". You're complaining about moderators "around the whole internet". Which means that when you say stupid shit about "what mods are like" or whatever, it's taken to mean mods around the whole internet since that's what you titled your damn thread. Most of the disagreement you're facing in this thread seems to stem from that, since you're saying "mods everywhere are all power-hungry dicks" and getting responses like, "Well I know dozens of places where that's *not* true, so you're full of shit."
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby kaimason1 » Sun May 16, 2010 8:11 pm UTC

King Author wrote:Still a really bad metaphor; if nobody ever resisted kings, we'd still all be living under monarchies, and I wouldn't even be here (in the U.S.).

I pointed out that in this case, revolution is impossible. There is no physical comparison, because it is possible to kill a king and whatnot. It is not possible to forcibly take over a board: you can kill it with proxies and fake accounts, but you can't keep it alive AND take it over / remove an admin; it is the admin's property. And also, if you really want to focus on this one incident, I have known of a few dickish mods, but most are really cool people. If you would give us a link to this incident or actually provide proof for your case, we may be able to explain some more to you or even side with you in this if it is deserving.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby smw543 » Mon May 17, 2010 8:36 am UTC

King Author wrote:Well duh. I can't complain about a board's moderators on that board -- that'd be suicide! I have to go to another board to complain about the moderators of a given board, which is why I'm here where I felt I'd have, at most, a 15% chance of the topic getting locked out of nervousness. However, I see almost as much agreement as criticism, so...
Bullshit. Right now, I could start a thread about how much I fucking hate the mods here, outlining in precise detail why I think they should all go eat a bag of dicks, and it wouldn't get locked. I could even go over to the Art & Links forum and post a drawing of SexyTalon giving a reach-around to Adolf Hitler and it wouldn't get locked (as long as I censored out the naughty bits).

King Author wrote:
DSenette wrote:i've kind of stayed out of this one because it seems like everyone is saying things that i agree with. but i'm bored, so i'll chime in.

i've been active on the intertubes for quite a while now, and i've been a member (and am currently a member) of quite a few forums over the years. (bbs anyone?). and i've RARELY seen the abuses you're talking about (in reality). i've seen quite a few instances where someone get's moderated, and a clamoring mass of idiots all post at the same time to say how unfair that moderation was, when in fact there was nothing wrong with the action. it's just a bunch of douche kids who didn't get their way, so they got all their douche friends to "join up in revolt" against the "oppressive hand of authority".
Surely, the only explanation is that I'm wrong or lying. You certainly can't be wrong, ne?
Well, quite a few people have already described similar experiences, and I don't really see what motivation they have to lie. Conversely, I can think of a reason for you to lie: You made a stupid thread that, at best, could've been tolerated as a post in the rant thread, and were thoroughly rebuked, so now you have to insist on a fictional version of the internet where you're a victim and everyone else is the idiot.

It was already said, but it bears repeating: The only constant in all your bad forum experiences is you.

King Author wrote:But that's actually part of the problem; a good user base means there's gonna be good mods, and good mods are light-handed, tactful and subtle, which means they largely go by unnoticed. This also means that the few out-of-control douchebag mods are allowed to run freely, because all the good mods are too polite to say anything bad against them, and the admin won't de-mod a moderator if it's only the users saying there's a problem; he's gonna ask the other mods what they think. They're all, "ho-hum, if you can't say anything nice," so the maniac is allow to run free.

Balls. Users have 'em. Moderators need 'em.
So now you like dicks? Or you like balls? Or are a moderator's actions only dickish when targeted at you, but ballsy when you agree?
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Felstaff » Mon May 17, 2010 9:31 am UTC

smw543 wrote:I could even go over to the Art & Links forum and post a drawing of SexyTalon giving a reach-around to Adolf Hitler and it wouldn't get locked (as long as I censored out the naughty bits).

It's a good effort, I'd say. I like the shading and existential quandary posed by the subject's grimace. But why would you think that Hitler's philtrum needed censoring?
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby King Author » Mon May 17, 2010 11:25 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
King Author wrote:I have to go to another board to complain about the moderators of a given board
The problem is, you're not complaining about "the moderators of a given board". You're complaining about moderators "around the whole internet". Which means that when you say stupid shit about "what mods are like" or whatever, it's taken to mean mods around the whole internet since that's what you titled your damn thread. Most of the disagreement you're facing in this thread seems to stem from that, since you're saying "mods everywhere are all power-hungry dicks" and getting responses like, "Well I know dozens of places where that's *not* true, so you're full of shit."

*shrugs*
We see what we want to see. Ultimately, I think I'll just post links to all the boards I've ever been to with dicks for mods. However, I'd like you to note that most of the disagreement in this thread (I don't see nearly as much as you apparently do, though) is coming from either moderators or users who say they've never had any problems with any mods. In other words, two groups of people whose self-interest in the former case and lack of experience in the latter case preclude them from seeing what dicks mods can be.

kaimason1 wrote:
King Author wrote:Still a really bad metaphor; if nobody ever resisted kings, we'd still all be living under monarchies, and I wouldn't even be here (in the U.S.).

I pointed out that in this case, revolution is impossible. There is no physical comparison, because it is possible to kill a king and whatnot. It is not possible to forcibly take over a board: you can kill it with proxies and fake accounts, but you can't keep it alive AND take it over / remove an admin; it is the admin's property. And also, if you really want to focus on this one incident, I have known of a few dickish mods, but most are really cool people. If you would give us a link to this incident or actually provide proof for your case, we may be able to explain some more to you or even side with you in this if it is deserving.

I said the metaphor is bad. The metaphor. The scenario you're using to explain your idea. I don't disagree about what you're saying about admins and so forth, but the metaphor of saying "that's the way it is with kings" is absolute nonsense.

smw543 wrote:
King Author wrote:Well duh. I can't complain about a board's moderators on that board -- that'd be suicide! I have to go to another board to complain about the moderators of a given board, which is why I'm here where I felt I'd have, at most, a 15% chance of the topic getting locked out of nervousness. However, I see almost as much agreement as criticism, so...
Bullshit. Right now, I could start a thread about how much I fucking hate the mods here, outlining in precise detail why I think they should all go eat a bag of dicks, and it wouldn't get locked. I could even go over to the Art & Links forum and post a drawing of SexyTalon giving a reach-around to Adolf Hitler and it wouldn't get locked (as long as I censored out the naughty bits).

I'm more cautious than you; 15% is my default expectation of banning. In other words, I didn't add any extra chance for the mods specific to Echochamber, because I agree that they're among the better mods on the intertubes.

smw543 wrote:
King Author wrote:
DSenette wrote:i've kind of stayed out of this one because it seems like everyone is saying things that i agree with. but i'm bored, so i'll chime in.

i've been active on the intertubes for quite a while now, and i've been a member (and am currently a member) of quite a few forums over the years. (bbs anyone?). and i've RARELY seen the abuses you're talking about (in reality). i've seen quite a few instances where someone get's moderated, and a clamoring mass of idiots all post at the same time to say how unfair that moderation was, when in fact there was nothing wrong with the action. it's just a bunch of douche kids who didn't get their way, so they got all their douche friends to "join up in revolt" against the "oppressive hand of authority".
Surely, the only explanation is that I'm wrong or lying. You certainly can't be wrong, ne?
Well, quite a few people have already described similar experiences, and I don't really see what motivation they have to lie. Conversely, I can think of a reason for you to lie: You made a stupid thread that, at best, could've been tolerated as a post in the rant thread, and were thoroughly rebuked, so now you have to insist on a fictional version of the internet where you're a victim and everyone else is the idiot.

I don't think anyone's an idiot. I don't see why you're taking this so personally. Can't you engage in a debate without resorting to personal attacks? Also, you and I clearly have wildly different criteria for what constitutes a "thorough" rebuking. All I see here is people (myself included) sharing their experiences. A few their bad experiences (me and a couple others), most good experiences, but this isn't a thing of ultimate conclusions or of proof -- this isn't about "winning."

I'd recommend taking a chill pill before you burst a blood valve. And let me just offer a small gem of advice; dividing up an argument into "me and the idiots who disagree with me," even in paradigm, is dangerous business. You're only hurting yourself, in the big picture.

smw543 wrote:It was already said, but it bears repeating: The only constant in all your bad forum experiences is you.

You can't really know that, can you? There could be several dozen constants. It's entirely possible that every bad mod I've ever dealt with had parental abandonment issues, or all came from an upper-middle class background, or were all of a certain age or other demographic. I can't know any of that, either. I have observed a few common threads, though, the most recurrent of which is ego problems. Like the RPG board I was just banned from -- this psycho mod had the expectation that everyone lick her boots and be thankful for the mere grace of her presence. When I dared to question her decision (which I did incredibly politely and deferentially, as I always do when first dealing with a mod), she had a coniption. Another common thread (which even the mods around here admit to) is not wanting to rock the boat. The LGBT example I gave was good; the invasive and obnoxious new users were driving away the long-timers in droves, but not technically breaking any rules, so the mods decided to do nothing, not even ask the offenders to cool down.

Laziness and ego fragility. Common to pretty much every bad mod I've ever seen.

smw543 wrote:
King Author wrote:But that's actually part of the problem; a good user base means there's gonna be good mods, and good mods are light-handed, tactful and subtle, which means they largely go by unnoticed. This also means that the few out-of-control douchebag mods are allowed to run freely, because all the good mods are too polite to say anything bad against them, and the admin won't de-mod a moderator if it's only the users saying there's a problem; he's gonna ask the other mods what they think. They're all, "ho-hum, if you can't say anything nice," so the maniac is allow to run free.

Balls. Users have 'em. Moderators need 'em.
So now you like dicks? Or you like balls? Or are a moderator's actions only dickish when targeted at you, but ballsy when you agree?

I've...never seen words minced quite like that. I...don't know how to react. I honestly can't tell if you're being facetious, or if you don't understand that "being a dick" and "having balls" are two different things. So, rather than make an assumption and respond, potentially misinterpreting the whole thing, I'll just go ahead and keep quiet, and give you an odd look.

...

O_o
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 17, 2010 11:39 am UTC

King Author wrote:most of the disagreement in this thread (I don't see nearly as much as you apparently do, though)

Really? Every post on this page that you didn't write yourself is in disagreement with you.

I'd like to see your revisionist interpretation where that somehow isn't the case.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby King Author » Mon May 17, 2010 11:42 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
King Author wrote:most of the disagreement in this thread (I don't see nearly as much as you apparently do, though)

Really? Every post on this page that you didn't write yourself is in disagreement with you.

I'd like to see your revisionist interpretation where that somehow isn't the case.

Two or three people said they had problems with moderators too, didn't they? Or am I thinking of another topic. And most people aren't explicitly disagreeing with me, just saying, "I haven't run into any of that." Disagreeing would be "you're wrong, most mods aren't like that," but most people are saying, "I haven't experienced anything you're saying."
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Felstaff » Mon May 17, 2010 11:46 am UTC

Hammer wrote:
Felstaff wrote:I'm just kidding. He's not really banned.

Which I checked to make sure of when I first saw the statement that he had been.

I bet y'all're annoyed I was only joking now, huh? HUH? [inappropriateivoraemoticon]

Yeah. There's been overwhelmingly positive response by the fora at large in support of how the mods mod, and how kind and fair they are on people (pfft. sycophantic luddites).
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby SecondTalon » Mon May 17, 2010 11:55 am UTC

smw543 wrote:I could even go over to the Art & Links forum and post a drawing of SexyTalon giving a reach-around to Adolf Hitler and it wouldn't get locked (as long as I censored out the naughty bits).
Could you go with Idi Amin? Hitler's a little played out.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby King Author » Mon May 17, 2010 12:12 pm UTC

Ah! I've made a minor mistake! I would've said major, but that'd be kinda hyperbolous. I didn't define what I mean by "being a dick!" I'm sure everyone takes that a little differently. Here's what I mean.

First, a moderator is a good moderator in my eyes if, whenever the time comes to moderate someone, they...
Alert them to the moderation in PM.
Say nothing other than, "You broke X rule in Y thread, so I took Z action."
Perhaps add "Please read the rules / don't do it again."
And that's it. If it stops at that, that's good moderation. Efficient, impersonal, concise and to-the-point.

By contrast, a moderator is being a dick when they do any of the following...
Use personal insults against the user they're taking actions against.
Call the user out in the topic or on the forum (i.e. an ATTN: topic), rather than using PM.
Refer to the boards as "my boards" all territorially when said moderator does not, in fact, own the server or the site.
Refuse to cite a specific rule that was being broken when a request for as much is made.
Take actions against users based on personal grudges/dislike.
Take far too-severe actions against disproportionately-innocuous offenses.
Take far too-light actions against disproportionately-severe offenses.
Afford oldbies far more leniency with the rules just because they're oldbies.
Afford newbies far more leniency with the rules just because they're newbies.
Speak with excessive rudeness and lack of respect.
Make excessive demands for respect/praise/bootlicking.
Make general complaints about the user's personality or long-past offenses when taking action against them.
Take action against people they're currently engaged in discussion with, rather than deferring to another mod.
Get into very heated arguments in the first place.
Interpret the rules so broadly or myopically as to circumvent the spirit of the rules.
Enforce rules for the sake of enforcement while ignoring the spirit of the rules.
Unevenly enforce rules, allowing those they like to get away with rulebreaking they'd otherwise take action against.
Ban a user without consulting other moderators or the admins.
Ban first, ask questions later.
Ban in such a way that the user can't use PM or email to ask why they were banned.
Refuse to respond to questions about the actions they've taken.
Take action against those who question the actions they've taken.
Refuse to take actions based on a "don't rock the boat" rationalization.
Do absolutely nothing (accept the mod title, lourd it over people, but not actually do any work).

Can a single moderator on the internet claim to have never made such an offense? Can more than half say they don't routinely make such offenses? js
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Felstaff » Mon May 17, 2010 12:16 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
smw543 wrote:I could even go over to the Art & Links forum and post a drawing of SexyTalon giving a reach-around to Adolf Hitler and it wouldn't get locked (as long as I censored out the naughty bits).
Could I go with Idi Amin now? Hitler's a little worn out.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby SecondTalon » Mon May 17, 2010 12:20 pm UTC

Hey, I don'ts knows good arts, I just knows whats I likes.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby DSenette » Mon May 17, 2010 1:24 pm UTC

Well there's an unbiased, non-invested opinion if there ever were one.
White Guy: I don't see too much racism around, I think it's just exaggerated.
Attourney: Lawyers aren't really as bad as people say.
HMO: Health care reform will only hurt the public.
i would consider my opinion unbiased because A:) i'm not a moderator here, or a moderator on any of the forums you're bitching about. i'm also not a moderator on all of the forums on the internet. i AM a moderator on several VERY efficiently moderated forums though, and i AM a member (not Felstaff*) on QUITE a few highly inefficiently moderated forums, so i've seen both sides of the coin.

based on my observations of the way these things work. there are 3 types of dick moderators.

1) the perceived dick: this guy ISN'T a dick, and 90% of his moderation activity is thoroughly justified. the general population of the forum this guy works on is comprised of complete idiots/assholes/immature children/etc... therefore when he takes action, the whole board jumps on the "this guy's a dick" bandwagon. everything this guy does is through dedication to the board he works on, because he cares about it's success.

2) the forced dick: this guy IS a dick, but he has to be. this guy works on a board where no one else has any back bone, everyone is too god damned polite, and the board suffers for it (some boards can flourish QUITE nicely with a group of "nice" staff that have no "backbone" but it's rare). almost every discussion thread on this board descends into a flame war, no one ever listens to the gentle suggestions of the rest of the staff, and it's general chaos, EXCEPT the places where the "forced dick" has the ability to take action. those sections of the board are kept in line, conversations are more civil, and business is more smooth. everyone in the areas with free reign stay where they are because "this guy's a dick, don't go in that area if you're going to act like a douche" and in that area they probably bad mouth the "forced dick". everything this guy does is through dedication to the board he works on, because he cares about it's success.

3) the actual dick: this one's self explanatory, the guy's a douche, there's no reason for him to be a douche, he's just a douche. he won't last long, and if he does, the forum in question won't last long either. everything this guy does is because he's a dick and he's allowed to be a dick.

now...being an Admin on the forums that i'm an admin gives me EVEN MORE experience on both sides of this. most effective admins treat their forum like a business, they are dedicated to keeping their board running smoothly and making sure that the highest percentage of visitors are happy that can be made happy. some people can't be made happy, some people can't follow board rules, and some people are dicks. those people get moderated. if the admin is effective and truly gives a shit about the success of their board, then they don't tolerate (unreasonable) dick moderators, period. and as admins they're typically privy to QUITE a bit more information about what their "staff" is doing than the general population (i guarantee you that this forum has at least one staff area, where all of your favorite mods, admins, whathaveyous, hang out and discuss their "jobs" here. as well as doing some healthy bitching about the idiots that float around here).


First, a moderator is a good moderator in my eyes if, whenever the time comes to moderate someone, they...
Alert them to the moderation in PM.
Say nothing other than, "You broke X rule in Y thread, so I took Z action."
Perhaps add "Please read the rules / don't do it again."
And that's it. If it stops at that, that's good moderation. Efficient, impersonal, concise and to-the-point.
moderating via PM is inefficient. especially on a heavily trafficked forum. as an example, on my main board that i admin/moderate/whatever, i preform probably close to 100 moderation related activities in an 8 hour period (we've got A LOT of members/visitors/spam gremlins), that would require me to edit/moderate 100 posts, and send 100 PMs. this would get overwhelming very quickly. if the moderation is done in public, then other visitors to the forum will be made well aware of the culture that's expected on the board, and will know how to follow the rules. SOME moderation via PM is warranted but it shouldn't be the primary method.

By contrast, a moderator is being a dick when they do any of the following...
Use personal insults against the user they're taking actions against. agreed
Call the user out in the topic or on the forum (i.e. an ATTN: topic), rather than using PM. agreed to the second part, disagree to the first. calling out an error in the topic where the error occurred is not in and of itself dickish, it's only dickish if it's done in a rude, condescending manner.
Refer to the boards as "my boards" all territorially when said moderator does not, in fact, own the server or the site.I disagree, to be effective, all "staff" should feel a direct connection to the board they're working on, and they SHOULD feel a sense of ownership of the board. otherwise they're not going to care enough to do their job
Refuse to cite a specific rule that was being broken when a request for as much is made. agreed
Take actions against users based on personal grudges/dislike. agreed
Take far too-severe actions against disproportionately-innocuous offenses. agreed
Take far too-light actions against disproportionately-severe offenses.unless you mean this in the context of the one above, then i don't see the point
Afford oldbies far more leniency with the rules just because they're oldbies. this is situational and completely up for interpretation. seniority sometimes earns a little bit of leeway on rules that matter less. this is the case on the intertubes and everywhere else
Afford newbies far more leniency with the rules just because they're newbies.also situational. if they're new, they haven't yet grasped the culture of the forum. if they broke a rule about posting porn, then they should be moderated. if they broke some rule that only exists on the board in question, and is more of a spoken rule (don't post about cheese burning you) then they should be alerted to the rule, not moderated
Speak with excessive rudeness and lack of respect. agreed
Make excessive demands for respect/praise/bootlicking. agreed
Make general complaints about the user's personality or long-past offenses when taking action against them. agreed
Take action against people they're currently engaged in discussion with, rather than deferring to another mod.not always possible, not always applicable. as long as the moderation action is within the rules of the board there's no issue here
Get into very heated arguments in the first place.moderators are still people, and they're still members of their forum, they are allowed to have whatever discussion they like, and argue any points they choose. just because they're a mod, doesn't mean they aren't allowed to express their opinion, as long as they follow the rules of the forum during that discussion
Interpret the rules so broadly or myopically as to circumvent the spirit of the rules. agreed
Enforce rules for the sake of enforcement while ignoring the spirit of the rules.this is more an issue with the rules of the board than the mod
Unevenly enforce rules, allowing those they like to get away with rulebreaking they'd otherwise take action against. agreed
Ban a user without consulting other moderators or the admins.depends on the offense and the moderator culture on that board
Ban first, ask questions later. agreed
Ban in such a way that the user can't use PM or email to ask why they were banned. depends on the situation
Refuse to respond to questions about the actions they've taken. agreed
Take action against those who question the actions they've taken. depends on the action (on both sides of the event) and depends on the questions
Refuse to take actions based on a "don't rock the boat" rationalization. agreed
Do absolutely nothing (accept the mod title, lourd it over people, but not actually do any work). agreed

Can a single moderator on the internet claim to have never made such an offense? Can more than half say they don't routinely make such offenses? js

with regards to the ones that i actually think are offenses, yes i have never done those.


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Also, I changed your answers to blue, as red is reserved for mod colouring.
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