Asking clarification regarding moderation

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Sorry you feel that way.

I can tell you that at least one of the times Morrus dinged my modding, it was because of a report (not a PM), and I did go back and edit the reported post. I’d like to think that if the communication had been via PM, the results would have been the same. 🤷🏾
In my own experience, PMing mods with questions or clarifications has been very helpful as well.
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Sorry you feel that way.

Yeah. I've had PM discussions that have ended up with a correction on my part as well.

But we can look at why it isn't often fruitful. The times when a poster has changed my mind, it hasn't been by coming at me angry, insulting, and entitled - and alas, this is the most common. I am much more likely to change my mind when the person comes to me trying to clear up a misunderstanding.

That, of course, requires there to have been an actual misunderstanding.

Nobody likes being moderated. But we are not going to change a ruling because you vent your annoyance at us.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Lots of good comments in here.

I think there's a little bit of a double standard in regard to how pagan religions can be discussed vs. how Christianity can be, but that it's an unavoidable one given their relative cultural status and influence.

Those of us who are followers of neopagan or reconstructionist pagan religions tend to be perfectly comfortable with and accustomed to seeing our religions (or more usually, those of our pagan forebears, which have no connection of contiguous tradition to modern practice) spoken of lightly, and are usually not sensitive to such comments.

Since, as has been noted, the objective of moderation is to keep the peace, rather than to aspire to some perfect principle of fairness, this means that it's rarely going to be needed in regards to discussions of paganism. And I think that's ok.

That being said, from everything I've seen of moderation here, if someone were being directly or deliberately hurtful in regard to my religion, I have confidence that the moderation would step in appropriately. Either if they happened to see it, or if I were to report it.
I think it's a hard concept to learn that sometimes the same exact words (or very similar ones) may be offensive to one group and not to another (or at least not nearly as much). It tends to rub our sense of 'fairness' the wrong way and some people like myself are pretty sensitive toward what seems like hypocrisy.

So I personally take claims like that really seriously no matter which side they arise from - but now I try to check and see if maybe there's another perspective where such behavior could be seen as fair - such as hurt of the offense instead of simply whether the same or similar words were said in the interaction because IMO there's more than one scale to measure fairness on.
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
And yes- because we’re not perfect, the moderators do check each other’s gaffes. I can recall at least 3 times when I legitimately posted something outside of the rules, and Umbran & Morrus pointed it out.
To me having this knowledge helps build my confidence in moderation. I think it will for others as well.

It's pretty easy to perceive it as the @Umbran show. And knowing you keep each other in check helps. IMO.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Yeah. I've had PM discussions that have ended up with a correction on my part as well.

But we can look at why it isn't often fruitful. The times when a poster has changed my mind, it hasn't been by coming at me angry, insulting, and entitled - and alas, this is the most common. I am much more likely to change my mind when the person comes to me trying to clear up a misunderstanding.

That, of course, requires there to have been an actual misunderstanding.
Coming from the experience of someone that's gotten themselves modded way to many times, I think underlying most frustration with modding is a lack of understanding around the process and philosophy going into it, around why certain posts are modded and others that seem similar enough aren't, etc. When I personally responded angerly, insultingly and entitled these were personally some of the underlying reasons. I was generally an ahole poster at the time so I deserved the modding and probably would not have listened anyways, but I think it could go a long way in deescalation to explain these kinds of things clearly when people act in such ways *and want to talk about it in PM.

Nobody likes being moderated. But we are not going to change a ruling because you vent your annoyance at us.
Agreed here. Though I think sometimes the comment made in red text can come across a bit snarky even if it's not intended to be and that can lend toward escalating the situation. IMO. There's a big difference in how a person will react to 'you did X' and 'it really comes across that you were doing X.' Though you may very well have already tried that approach early on in your mod career and found from experience it doesn't work well at all.

I guess the best way to say this is to just ask if you've ever considered anything like that before?
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Agreed here. Though I think sometimes the comment made in red text can come across a bit snarky even if it's not intended to be and that can lend toward escalating the situation. IMO. There's a big difference in how a person will react to 'you did X' and 'it really comes across that you were doing X.'

There can be a big difference, sometimes. Others, not so much.

Indeed, you'll note that the two constructions are relying on different things: One relies on The Rules (you did X, and X is not allowed). The other really relies on the person caring how they come across to others.

Folks in the middle of an argument often do not care in that moment how they come across. Indeed, if that was a primary concern, the problem usually wouldn't have happened!

I guess the best way to say this is to just ask if you've ever considered anything like that before?

Of course. And, indeed, we don't word things in the same way all the time. What I have found is... there's no perfect wording. Indeed, a wording that was successful with one person once may fail with that same person at a later time, in a different situation. We pick approaches as best we can.

There are also some practical limitations here. We are working asynchronously. We are going to leave a note, and the person to whom it is directed may not see it for a half hour, and we might not be back on the boards for hours after that. If we are too direct, it may cheese off a poster at us. If we are insufficiently imperative, the poster may not alter course sufficiently to avoid further issues, and things will escalate while we are not around.
 

Moderation would be a lot more tolerable if the "company line", as it were, was a lot more obvious. It would also prevent a lot of moderation events from happening if people just knew a head of time which opinions aren't allowed to be expressed here. The forum rules are not nearly obvious enough. Right now, just casually looking through the community drop down, forum rules are no where (obvious) to be found.

Adding "Forum Rules" in bold above "Forums & Topics" would be helpful for new people and even just as a visual reminder for regular folks, just to remind which ideas/opinions are axiomatic at enworld.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Right now, just casually looking through the community drop down, forum rules are no where (obvious) to be found.

There is a "Terms and rules" link at the bottom of every single forum page.

That we should select a list of specific words, opinions, and topics has been suggested before. But, with respect, this is a forum filled with rules lawyers. Making a specific list just leads to people trying to find ways to talk around the specific list, and it leads to issues when a new topic of contention comes up, and hasn't been put on a list.

Ultimately, we are talking about human behavior, which is very flexible. Inflexible fixed lists don't work well in managing the behavior.
 

There is a "Terms and rules" link at the bottom of every single forum page.
I didn't say the rules were impossible to find, I said they were not in a glaringly obvious location. It is much more likely people would view them if they were immediately adjacent to the other forum links, rather than being at the bottom of a page where you typically find the sorts of ToS that people never read.
That we should select a list of specific words, opinions, and topics has been suggested before. But, with respect, this is a forum filled with rules lawyers.
The point of rules, and laws, is that they are predictable and solid so that people actually know when they have or haven't violated a rule. If you cannot explicate the forum rules in absolutely concrete terms, what that really just means is that moderation is truly and completely subjective - which is exactly my criticism.

How can someone follow the rules if they don't actually know what the rules are? Or, how can you censure someone for violating the rules if it's not possible in principle for a person to know what counts as a violation.
Inflexible fixed lists don't work well in managing the behavior.
If I created a thread titled "Inclusivity is not a virtue in TTRPGs" would it not instantly locked/deleted? This would seem like a prime example of a position that is axiomatically disallowed from discussion.

It could be that I simply have a very different view of forums and rules. I do not see "managing behavior" as "directing behavior" so much as having a set of codes/rules/laws that are explicit enough for people to know when they have or haven't violated them.

That moderators see their role as being one of "directing" behavior is, itself, problematic to me.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I didn't say the rules were impossible to find, I said they were not in a glaringly obvious location.

And I didn't say you did say that. When someone notes a thing is difficult to find, it is reasonable to say where it can be found, you know?

The point of rules, and laws, is that they are predictable and solid so that people actually know when they have or haven't violated a rule. If you cannot explicate the forum rules in absolutely concrete terms, what that really just means is that moderation is truly and completely subjective - which is exactly my criticism.

And I understand your position, and I can understand the frustration. However, my point is that static fixed rules without human review don't produce better results in the long run.

That said, if you make your case to Morrus, more power to you.
 

And I understand your position, and I can understand the frustration. However, my point is that static fixed rules without human review don't produce better results in the long run.

That said, if you make your case to Morrus, more power to you.
I really just want the moderation team and morrus to be honest and explicitly say that the rules are whatever they feel like at any given moment - which is absolutely my impression seeing how people's posts have been flagged/moderated/etc.

That there are acceptable and unacceptable views is definitely up to Morrus - it's his website after all - I just want that to be made obvious.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I really just want the moderation team and morrus to be honest and explicitly say that the rules are whatever they feel like at any given moment - which is absolutely my impression seeing how people's posts have been flagged/moderated/etc.

That there are acceptable and unacceptable views is definitely up to Morrus - it's his website after all - I just want that to be made obvious.
But...that would be a lie, because that is not what the rules say.
 

But...that would be a lie, because that is not what the rules say.
The entire point of what I'm saying is that what the rules say explicitly, and how they are enforced, don't always jive with each other.

So, I would agree with you. The rules DON'T make that claim - I'm saying that they SHOULD make that claim because that is what is done in practice.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The entire point of what I'm saying is that what the rules say explicitly, and how they are enforced, don't always jive with each other.

So, I would agree with you. The rules DON'T make that claim - I'm saying that they SHOULD make that claim because that is what is done in practice.

I'm not sure where you are going with this, but here's as far as I will follow:

Usually, when people ask for an explicit list of DO's and DON'Ts, it isn't for the purpose of clarity or understanding: it's for circumvention. They want to see exactly where the line in the sand is drawn, so that they can get as close to it as they possibly can without fear of consequence. And that is something that the moderators want to avoid, which I appreciate.

That is why these rules do not contain a list of dozens of topics that are off-limits, and a list of ten thousand phrases that will get you in trouble. Instead, the rules assume that people know the difference between being polite and being rude, and expect us all to act accordingly. Nobody accidentally challenges moderation, for example.

Anyway. I'll butt out of the conversation.
 
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Irlo

Hero
The entire point of what I'm saying is that what the rules say explicitly, and how they are enforced, don't always jive with each other.
Many years ago, I worked in a large warehouse-style retail facility. We had rules posted, which included “No Spitting.” I dealt with a customer who argued that since the rules did not explicitly prohibit blowing snot out of his nose onto the floor that I couldn’t require him to stop leaving slippery gobs on the floor.

There’s no need for pages and pages of explicit rules (IMO). I don’t see a problem with moderators communicating with posters as things come up.
 

Usually, when people ask for an explicit list of DO's and DON'Ts, it isn't for the purpose of clarity or understanding: it's for circumvention. They want to see exactly where the line in the sand is drawn, so that they can get as close to it as they possibly can without fear of consequence. And that is something that the moderators want to avoid, and something that I appreciate.
That is absolutely true - and it's the 'unfortunate' double edge of having clear and precise rules. I don't believe in the 'spirit' of laws, just the letter. So, if I'm not breaking an explicit rule that is literally all that matters, regardless of my intention or how hard I'm pressing against it. That is just the very nature of 'technicalities' and it's not something I believe you can stop without making the rules so subjective as to make them pointless.
 


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