Asking clarification regarding moderation

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Again, it depends on context.

If you just started a thread claiming ”Jesus is God!” unrelated to an RPG product or similar topic that typically appears on this site*, it would get closed ASAP and might earn you a warning point.

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Maggan

Writer for CY_BORG, Forbidden Lands and Dragonbane
My views are:

1. To me, moderation is guidance. I am being guided in how I can contribute to the forum being a better place, according to the philosophy of Morrus.
2. Moderation has to be somewhat fuzzy. There is not a chance on this green earth that a set of rules can be 100 % comprehensive and cover all bases*.
3. Given this, there will be some difficult calls to be made by the moderators.
4. I expect those calls to be made in a way that benefits the forum first and foremost. That means that there will be moderating that I disagree with, but accept. I am not the center of this forum.
5. I also expect those calls to be made based first on context, then on tone, and lastly on content. There are ways a talented writer can twist words to get away with murder, so putting content first will inevitable result in someone managing to be hurtful while technically staying within the rules.
6. Thus the cardinal rule of "keep it civil". A catch-all that allows the moderators some space to act without getting drawn into lengthy debates as to whether or not one rule will allow this or that.

So sometimes a joke gets moderated because the context makes it explosive. And sometimes the context makes the same joke fine or at least not target for moderation. So sometimes the moderators step in and try to guide the thread in the direction of not exploding, which is what I believe is what happened in the bible thread.

*Not even actual laws reach that standard.
 

Hussar

Legend
A few things to keep in mind about moderation and being on the receiving end of red ink. :D

1. It's very, very rarely personal. As in almost never.
2. It isn't about making a statement. It's about keeping the conversation going and not spiraling endlessly downward.
3. It is not about who's right or wrong. That's never the point. It's about keeping the peace. Which means that yes, it might look like a double standard. But, that's probably because no complaints were lodged regarding one point and were lodged regarding another. So, comments about Zeus (to use an earlier example) probably pass under the radar because no one reports it. Whereas comments about Christianity likely draw more complaints. Is it right or wrong? That's not the point of moderation. It's about keeping the peace.

That's where a lot of people get it wrong. They think that moderation is the site taking a stand on an issue. It's not. It's that whatever just got said drew reports and the mods are then somewhat obligated to step in. Not because the comment was wrong, bad or right and justified. But, to keep the peace.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
But if people want to debate the point, and other issues associated with it, there is probably a better platform or venue for that.
I've found one good way to avoid launching into a long dissertation that is off-EnWorld-topic is to say instead,
"Here's a book about the subject. Read through and decide what you think."
-insert title or link-
This naturally draws people into a platform / venue that is conducive to the subject at hand.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
3. It is not about who's right or wrong. That's never the point. It's about keeping the peace. Which means that yes, it might look like a double standard. But, that's probably because no complaints were lodged regarding one point and were lodged regarding another. So, comments about Zeus (to use an earlier example) probably pass under the radar because no one reports it. Whereas comments about Christianity likely draw more complaints. Is it right or wrong? That's not the point of moderation. It's about keeping the peace.
Which brings up another issue that us non-mod plebes don't have the answer to unless a mod tells us: how much of the modding is complaint-driven and how much is proactive?

I ask because if it's mostly complaint-driven then all that happens is - much like with local bylaw enforcement - the squeaky wheel gets the grease and those of us whose first recourse on seeing something annoying is not the "report" button* end up on the short end. Proactive - i.e. modding not based on complaints - is much fairer.

* - I grew up in a culture that very much frowned on tattletales and try my best not to be one myself, it's just not how I roll. I can't remember the last time I reported a post (other than spam) if ever, though I might have at some point.
 

I think that - while there can be some hiccups - moderation here is pretty good. I don't always agree with Mod choices, but I wouldn't want that job for all the tea in China. When I've been at the sharp end, it's usually because I've been snarky or rude, and invariably justified.

I tend to be circumspect about even engaging in threads which touch on religion or politics, as I tend to get pretty fired up. Especially when they touch on archaic religion, or Eastern Mediterranean religion from the centuries around the turn of the Common Era - these are my areas of particular interest, and I have pretty strong opinions about their religious historiography (especially of the latter).

If I want to wrestle in the mud, I'll go to academic forums dedicated to religious debate - which tend to be far ruder and inhabited by people who are even more obnoxious and opinionated than me.

Lastly, with regard to the use of the word "myth" wrt contemporary beliefs: I agree that, from a phenomenology-of-religion perspective, it doesn't really mean anything more than "a significant story." But it's probably best to avoid it, as it inevitably has negative connotations for some people, and it's not a good use of energy to have to define the meaning every time you use a word.
 
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Maggan

Writer for CY_BORG, Forbidden Lands and Dragonbane
how much of the modding is complaint-driven and how much is proactive?

I don't think the mods have the time to read the amount of messages needed to stay on front of people reporting problem messages.

I don't know the split of course, but given the size of the forum and the number of posts generated I would guess that moderation is mostly a mix of proactive general monitoring of threads with subjects that commonly devolve into shouting matches and reactive moderation based on reports from users.
 

Hussar

Legend
Which brings up another issue that us non-mod plebes don't have the answer to unless a mod tells us: how much of the modding is complaint-driven and how much is proactive?

I ask because if it's mostly complaint-driven then all that happens is - much like with local bylaw enforcement - the squeaky wheel gets the grease and those of us whose first recourse on seeing something annoying is not the "report" button* end up on the short end. Proactive - i.e. modding not based on complaints - is much fairer.

* - I grew up in a culture that very much frowned on tattletales and try my best not to be one myself, it's just not how I roll. I can't remember the last time I reported a post (other than spam) if ever, though I might have at some point.
The question of "fair" doesn't really enter into it though. Again, the point isn't to say who's right or wrong, nor is it to punish or change behavior particularly.

The whole point of moderation is to keep people talking and keep the peace. So, yes, "the squeaky wheel" most definitely gets the grease. Of course it does. If a post gathers fifteen reports, (picking a random number), I'd suspect that that poster is going to run foul of Red Text far faster than a post that gets no reports. Note, the whole point of the "squeaky wheel" thing is that it would be one (or a small number of) people making noise.

However, since reporting isn't anonymous, it would become very clear, very quickly if someone (or a group of someones) was trying to game the system in order to shut down conversation. We've both on the boards long enough to know that that doesn't happen. And, frankly, we've both been on the boards long enough to know when someone is trying to commit suicide by moderation. It's usually pretty clear (even when I'm on the receiving end).

Do I always agree with the mods? Of course not. But, overall? Yeah, not going to get too bent out of shape about it. The trolls eventually get smacked down and sent back under their bridges, inevitably.

I have to admit though, I'm much faster now than I used to be to hit that report button. It's just good sense. That and hitting that ignore button helps too. And, probably the biggest thing that I should do more often, is hitting that unsubscribe button to threads. I'm soooo guilty of not doing that. :p
 

I have to say that I don't think the logic of handing infractions in that thread is clear to me.
It's not just you and not just the buy bull thread. A few weeks ago I got red texted for some mild commentary calling Jim Ward a hack. Now there's a thread full of "Jim's a hack!" posts and not a single bit of red text to be seen. The moderation on this forum is inconsistent at best.
 


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