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'Liking' Posts is Now PDMA: A Discussion

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Synsensa, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    Pardon the minor PDMA here. It was recently revealed that 'liking' moderator actions will now constitute as an infractable offense.

    Quoting this isn't meant to be a discussion of that specific action, or the moderator who broke the news, but instead to convey that it's now an enforceable, official policy on CFC. Or, at least, it is in OT.

    A short discussion immediately sprang forth in the thread in question and I felt it would be best if there was a dedicated space to discuss this change in Site Feedback as this will impact more than just OT.

    I have thoughts on this but I'll probably wait until others have replied before jumping in. In general, though, I'm opposed to this policy and will be explaining why later once I have a bit more time. I believe this change will not be a positive one for the community or for the staff team. I also believe this will open the door to advocating for other infractable offenses through the 'like' system, something that I feel shares the above belief that this would not be a positive change.

    What gets shared here obviously isn't meant to be a demand on the staff team, but I hope what people say gets taken into consideration in regards to this policy and its enforcement in the future.
     
    Valka D'Ur likes this.
  2. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Copied from the above referenced thread:
     
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  3. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

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    Wow, this has to be the stupidest policy implementation (asides from PDMA as a whole) that I've seen.
     
  4. Catharsis

    Catharsis tasteful picture of a horse

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    Shucks guys, looks like our secret plan to undermine the moderators' authority by liking their posts has been scuppered. We almost toppled them, but I guess they finally won. Now it's time for us to straighten up, fly right, and get real jobs. See you in church.
     
  5. Sonereal

    Sonereal Call Me Ish Supporter

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    10/10 funpost.

    Stop liking actions taken by moderators.

    (Love you guys though keep up the good work)
     
  6. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    Wording a serious post to resist the incorporation of this new policy was a bit difficult, mostly in that I found it challenging to do it succinctly. There's admittedly a lot of room for tangents and snide remarks on this subject.

    I believe incorporating the 'like' system into CFC's disciplinary system to be a mistake. I think that this will increase workload to tackle a non-existent issue, having the same results as unnecessary city ordinances but without the profiteering for the staff team. It does not appear to pose a positive gain for anyone involved in this equation.

    To contextualize as minimally as possible: The 'liking' of moderator actions isn't enough of a problem to warrant intervention by an authority, and I feel that it's dishonest to seriously argue that 'liking' a moderator action constitutes the same as openly debating or supporting the action.

    I primarily believe this because the 'like' system is not intended to operate as a method of direct communication. A 'like' means many different things to different people and to a single person it can possess several meanings. Any type of interpretation from a staff member is just that, an interpretation, and I don't think it would be beneficial to the forum and its community to make this decision for the person (so that you can then punish them for it).

    The thread being linked to in the OP is about this subject. It asks why people 'like' posts and there are a wide range of answers. Many people have multiple scenarios where they 'like' a post. It's most often meant to show a passive approval of what the post conveys, but nothing more. It is not meant to say something to the individual in question. It is not meant to be an alternative method of participation.

    This is what the rule on PDMA says:

    There are two paths to take here:

    1) 'Liking' a post is considered to be direct communication and therefore a 'like' is publicly discussing the action.

    2) 'Liking' a post is considered to be a passive supplement to the forum experience, wherein the purpose and meaning is at the giver's discretion and isn't a replacement for direct communication.

    It seems with the change in policy that the staff team has elected to travel path one instead of path two. The question to ask here is: why?

    I recognize that there is legal precedence on this planet where people have gotten arrested for 'liking' posts on social media. Is this model something the staff team wishes to emulate?

    More specifically, what problem do you believe you are solving with this rule, and what benefit do you believe you are providing the community by policing such an inconsequential aspect of the forum experience?

    Are you willing to ban people for 'liking' posts? Will infracting people for this be considered maintaining order and fostering a positive environment for discussions?

    ---

    As an aside, this will be problematic logistically. Since I was on the inside, I can say confidently that this will result in hard feelings between the staff and the members. Since 'likes' aren't tracked by an external aggregate, the moderator whose post was 'liked' will inevitably be the only person aware of the transgression. I don't believe it will go well if someone likes a moderator's post and then receives a PM minutes later from that very same moderator telling them to unlike it immediately and that they've received an official infraction, something permanent on their record, for something innocuous and low-impact.

    To tackle this issue, the moderator in question can make a thread in the staff section to ask another moderator to infract it for them. This is an unnecessary addition to the workload, and ties back to the questions I asked above. It's also easily seen through: again, this would only be brought to the staff's attention when the moderator in question logs in and sees the alert. No matter which way you slice it, the member who is being infracted will know that they are being infracted because the person whose post they 'liked' decided it was worth disciplinary action.

    Furthermore, there would be no way of telling who got infracted and who didn't at a glance. You could mandate that members unlike the post after their infraction. What will you do if they don't? What will you do if they log out and don't come back on time to see your demand? Will you increase their infraction tally for noncompliance? How far are you willing to go? This again ties back to the questions I asked above. Are you willing to ban someone because they 'liked' a moderator's post?
     
  7. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    All that ^^^ is nice and correct. I liked it. The tldr is that such a rule is stupid and silly. Likes should be ignored by moderators. What happens if I like a post and then that post gets infracted by moderator A; then Moderator B comes along and sees that I have liked a post with moderator action. Will I be infracted? Will a moderator unlike my like? It just creates more useless work that does nothing to improve the community.
     
    shadowplay likes this.
  8. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    One should keep in mind that moderators can infract any post that violates community standards. They do not need special rules to do so. Clearly "liking" moderator posts has not been a problem and it is only a thread about liking posts in general that the situation has arisen. If a situation happens in which liking a moderator post is a problem, then all a mod has to do is say something like: Liking my post was not appropriate because....., please unlike it or if you want, I can unlike it for you. Thanks. Nothing more need be said. Blue or green color keeps it light and noticeable; the reason explains why; and the thank you is polite. Making it a PDMA offense just makes it more complicated than it should be. Train your moderators to think and use good judgement rather than just blindly follow rules.
     
  9. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

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    Okay, but why would liking a post be inappropriate? I don't understand this of the whole situation.
     
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  10. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    I think this policy is on the same level of silliness as the policy that liking posts that contain content that might be against the rule, might in itself be an offense worthy of an infraction. Or maybe even more so, because in that context, the rule about liking posts is at least clearly stated to be in a context of moderator discretion - a moderator will decide if such a like is an act of trolling, and according to Camikaze such an infraction has never occurred (or at least had never occurred until March of last year when I asked him). So that rule is clearly a "Last resort"-option against very elaborate 'like'-trolling (which is why I think such a rule does not need to exist, as moderator discretion already covers it - but afaik the moderators have still not created a rule-set about the like-feature, so it's not a written rule anyway).

    This rule (which is also not written down in the rules-thread, and only exists as a questionable interpretation of the rules that exist) on the other hand positively states that the liking of a moderator action is in fact PDMA and will be treated as such, which means that any such like for any reason is worthy of an infraction. That's, I would argue, completely unenforceable. Because the thing about PDMA is, there is not much thought spent on the "intent" of the poster, a person may have the best intentions in mind when he responds to PDMA, and will either receive an infraction, or a warning to stop PDMA, as far as I'm aware. I'm sure I've seen a number of threads where there was a heated discussion going on that is dragging the thread away from the topic before a moderator stepped in, and made a statement that people should go back to topic, and then that statement got a few likes from people who were thankful that the moderator is trying to get the thread back on track.

    And I'm positive that so far, this "rule" has not been in place at all. The first moderator action of the thread that was referenced by the OP has three such likes, and I was able to find more threads pretty easily just by looking through my post history and clicking on threads that I remembered had been closed.

    So what is this? What are moderators going to do? Will they now start messaging people with warning texts because those people clicked the like button as a "Thank you for keeping the forums in order!"? Because that's the only interpretation in which liking a moderator action can be "PDMA", as a validation that the moderators are doing their job well. Even though as far as I can tell, there has never been any trouble caused by those likes? Or, if this is another empty "Last resort"-option that will only ever be made use of if it's done with obvious intent at causing chaos, then it's surely not presented as such.

    I think the rule is petty, nonsensical, and serves no actual purpose - it should not exist.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
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  11. rah

    rah Chieftain Supporter

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    The rule is silly. Almost makes me wish I hadn't recently become a paid supporter after all these years.

    I don't mind the over moderation here, but this like rule is just way over the top.

    And I've been that moderator at other forums.
     
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  12. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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  13. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey Lord of Misrule

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    You're in a heated discussion with another poster. That poster crosses the line and gets reprimanded by the moderator. You like the moderator's post. That like comes across as a message to your opponent: ha, ha, the moderator has shut you down. Stuff like that.
     
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  14. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    In discussions where only one person is going too far, moderators usually (always?) put a mod action into the post of that user where they think that user went to far, which - somewhat ironically - the other person then can put a like into without it being "PDMA". These likes do already, in that very theoretical case where it suddenly matters, fall under the rules against trolling as was argued for by Camikaze in the thread that BvBPL linked above.

    As far as I know, all mod actions that stand on their own - those that would fall under that rule - always address the people in the thread as a group, never a person in particular. The only such action that I could vaguely conceive as being "targeted" at an individual, are those that are made when closing a thread that is deemed to be inappropriate, but even that is personal only on a very low level.
     
  15. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Staff opinions would be appreciated. This does involve you all, you know.
     
  16. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    The original discussion about this was started soon after the implementation of the "like" feature, at the time it was not decided to edit the original PDMA rule and moderator could act on liked post at their appreciation.

    The discussion has been reopened to give a clear answer here.
     
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  17. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    That's good news; keep us posted on your progress. You could even post the best arguments (unsigned) from each side in the discussion if there are two sides. :)
     
  18. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    I'm not sure that I share the 'good news' position here. This policy was officially instated without any recent internal discussion?
     
  19. ori

    ori Repair Guy Super Moderator

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    Based on the internal discussion that had been had beforehand the interpretation regarding likes of moderator posts as being akin to PDMA and as such discouraged at best was and is reasonable - that this particular thread sparked a new and somewhat more focussed discussion on this point does not actually alter that even if the eventual policy would be different.
    Likes are a difficult thing to interpret and in most cases I personally would not interpret them at all - excemptions being likes of posts that only have one possible interpretation - liking a post purely and unequivocally flaming another user would in my view be just as rule breaking as the post itself - liking a post that contains other content and some flaming on the other hand is something I hope users refrain from but would not find actionable. Similiarly liking a post that merely contains a mod tagged action is something that may fall under the PDMA rule (now why we would want to discourage public shows of support for our actions is another complicated topic as such support can be context dependent [in the right context may very well be trolling other users for example] and a blanked discouragement is much easier enforced than a context dependent rule).
     
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  20. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Yes, it is complicated. Hence, good judgement is better than more rules. Certainly, liking a moderator's punishment post against a particular person after the fact, is on the easy end. But what if the post was liked before the infraction? Can staff tell? Can staff remove likes?

    Now, I liked Ori post above. I really, actually did, for the content and for his participation in this thread. But, given the context of this thread and this discussion, it could be construed as mocking him or baiting him. If Ori is paranoid, he might interpret it that way. As the person in power, Ori gets to choose to either just move along or raise the issue with a warning, pm, infraction or other moderator action. Regardless of my actual intent, I am likely to respond to such action with some level of irritation and will most certainly claim my liking was wholly supportive of him. So perhaps we go round and round about my intentions and his interpretation. blah blah blah with no possibility of an ending without bad feelings and wasted time all around. That is a bad and needless path. We have now given this issue it's 15 minutes of fame and it is time to let it fade back into the depths of CFC archives.
     
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