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Rule Change: Publication of Infraction Appeal Threads

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Camikaze, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    The infraction system (and moderation in general) is all about defining the boundaries of acceptable posting and containing those who repeatedly go beyond them. Punishment based systems are poor at changing the behavior of those who are prone to rule breaking. In order to create the appearance of effectiveness, punishment based systems tend to grow stricter and more punishing over time.

    Increasingly long bans for bad behavior will remove a bad poster's platform for "look at me" posting and still allow an easy return to the community if he wants to participate under the rules.

    If we ask civility and community on the part of posters, we shouldn't be needlessly punishing posters. It sets a bad example.
     
  2. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    I did not know that, thanks. So this means, in the case of Domen, he was unable to steer clear of those 7 more infractions, if I understand correctly. (I was using the 5 year permanent point notion as an extreme example, obviously, to make a clear point.)

    And my apologies for the late reply.

    If you'd read carefully you might have spotted that in the analogy the thief hadn't been a good boy for 6 months. (Since he had received warnings in that time.) I don't agree that yours is a 'better analogy', since it's crystal clear that the thief is Domen - which makes it rather pointless to term it an analogy. An analogy is used to present a similar situation (for instance), not to simply transpose the present situation to another location, which seems more of a paraphrase of said analogy - in this case taken to extreme. But I'm glad you liked the analogy enough to embellish it.
     
  3. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    This is PDMA material by the way, which is technically not acceptable in this dump.

    Speaking of the definition of spam, I've once raised this absurdity in a dispute started by ori but multiple volunteers decided that's the way to go. You can't argue with gits and expect results. For reference, here's how this forum defines "spam" - it does not make sense but that's how things are done in this particular website:

    For all the annoyance Domen causes, he's a decent personality to have in a forum. It is great to hear that he is banned because he is now forced to contribute elsewhere to a (hopefully) more appreciative audience. If you see him, tell him to come join us at:
    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/

    Edit: Ah, so Quacker's banned too? What a pity :lol:
     
  4. Takhisis

    Takhisis Would-be overnight hero

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    Excuse me, whom are you calling a git?
     
  5. Tolina

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

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    One of the lesser known rules in CFC is that someone must complain about the PDMA at least once in three months.
     
  6. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    So there have been relatively few appeals since this went into place. Is the number of appeals comparative to the number prior to this policy?
     
  7. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Roughly the same, maybe a slight decrease. I'd guess that decrease might correlate to a decrease in the number of infractions rather than a decrease in the percentage of infractions that are appealed.
     
  8. Healz

    Healz General

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    One of the biggest problems is that as soon as the Moderators don't like an opinion or follow the truth a thread gets shutdown. We had a thread where it was getting explained why Civ V was unliked, it starts to get to the nuts and bolts and boom a moderator comes along and closes it especially when there are inconvenient facts... Why some of us were sceptical at the moment about Civ VI and boom it gets closed. This is the real problem the moderators need to fix. Stop closing threads that pose questions for your view of the world. Especially when they do relate to the topic at hand....
     
  9. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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  10. nunor

    nunor Chieftain

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    Where can I find out more about how the infraction system works (yellow cards, red cards, points...)?
     
  11. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    This is a basic explanation of the infraction system:
     
  12. nunor

    nunor Chieftain

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    Thank you :)
     
  13. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    One thing that has come to light in reading the appeal threads is this concept:

    This concept, in one form or another, has occurred in several appeal threads over time, so my post is intended as a general airing of an issue that should be of interest to the posting and moderating communities.

    I think that a moderator should look at context to help determine intent and if a poster pushes back against an infraction by showing that his or her intent has been misinterpreted, then it should be a moderator's job to evaluate such a claim for credibility. It seems that a good number of infractions are given by a misunderstanding of intent, context, and/or sub forum culture/history.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
    hobbsyoyo and Valka D'Ur like this.
  14. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    I'm not sure what argument is being presented here as it doesn't go against what already happens.

    To put it bluntly, it is not the responsibility of a moderator, be they super or admin, to attempt clairvoyance and suss out the true intent of what a member has said.

    If a member is infracted, they can debate that infraction with the moderator that issued it. It's during this process that a member is expected to make their case, be it loose or ironclad, and then see if the moderator agrees or can realistically see the explanation as being the more likely answer than what the moderator initially thought. This becomes tricky when a post is infracted for multiple reasons but the underlying point remains the same: it is the member's responsibility to make their case during this PM conversation.

    An appeal is then possible if the moderator upholds the infraction and the member strongly believes that it's not justified. From there, a panel of super moderators and administrators will review the infraction itself (as well as the past few posts in the applicable thread where it took place), the PM conversation between the member and moderator, and then finally any additional information provided by the member or moderator at the beginning of the appeal. In extraordinary circumstances, additional information may be sought after by the panel if need be. This is my understanding as a member who supported the addition of publishing appeals and as a moderator who has now been involved in the appeals process twice.

    But this is where I begin to not understand the point you're making. The context and intent is already being offered for review. The panel is there to determine if the counterargument can be realistically believed and whether or not the infraction is justified. If the panel decides to uphold the infraction, it does not mean they're simply ignoring the true intent. It means that the panel believes the member did not do a good enough job of making that true intent clear to both a public and private audience. A member is responsible for what they post regardless of how they intended it to be received or understood. A member is also responsible for the evidence they provide during the initial appeal and then the super moderator/admin appeal.
     
  15. Bootstoots

    Bootstoots Chieftain Super Moderator

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    We do, in general, look at context and take that into account. This varies by moderator, but I definitely try to read things multiple ways and do take posters' claims about what they meant seriously, sometimes enough to reverse or lighten the infraction.

    Ultimately, though, if someone makes an ambiguous post which could reasonably be interpreted as rule-violating, it is subject to moderation even if the poster may have meant something more benign by it. Keep in mind as well that other posters with differing opinions have a strong tendency to read posts in the worst possible light, so ambiguous posts often do lead to flamewars and other disruptions just like actual intentional trolling.
     
  16. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Intent is often relevant, but that's usually objective rather than subjective intent. The question commonly posed is what the interpretation of a reasonable reader of the post would be, and obviously enough purely subjective intent is quite irrelevant to that question. However, context certainly isn't irrelevant. A reasonable reader would take into account the context of the post in forming their interpretation. It may be clear from the surrounding context, for example, that a comment is a joke, even if the post taken in complete isolation would suggest otherwise. But if, having taken into account context, the reasonable interpretation remains that the post is still rule-breaking, then it's beside the point that the poster may not have subjectively intended for their post to have been interpreted that way. That simply demonstrates that they've recklessly broken the rules, rather than intentionally done so.

    This approach is reflected in the OT Moderating Guidelines, which I think have been quoted in part in the past in review threads. For reference, this is what those guidelines say about trolling in RD threads (and please note that these guidelines do not form part of the forum rules, and are merely guidelines used by staff as a starting point, which are often modified by alternative interpretive practice):
     
  17. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    And yet it has happened many times before, and will likely happen again. The moderator says, "You said ____, which means you deliberately insulted/trolled/flamed ______." Whereupon the infractee realizes that a misunderstanding has happened, and tries to explain: "No, I didn't mean to insult/troll/flame, what I meant was _____."

    And then the moderator says, "No, you meant to insult/troll/flame _____."

    Period, end of story, the moderator claims telepathy/clairvoyance/the power to know what the infractee meant, and doesn't even begin to entertain the possibility that the infractee could be correct.

    (note that the above example is generic, and a situation I have seen on numerous occasions on various forums)

    For what it's worth, I usually found it worth the effort to find out if a misunderstanding occurred, if it wasn't immediately obvious that the perceived insult really was an insult. That, too, is something that has happened on numerous occasions, on various forums - still happens, as I currently serve as a moderator and admin on other forums. It sometimes takes longer and more patience, particularly if the member's first language is not English, but the results are usually beneficial. Both moderator and member can engage respectfully and learn from one another. There is far less chance of an unjust infraction occurring in such cases.

    This works if the moderator is acting in good faith and not on the principle of "my mind is made up; don't bother me with facts or other possibilities."

    The point seems clear enough to me.

    @Camikaze: This "reasonable reader" is a subjective concept. What's reasonable to me is not necessarily reasonable to others, and vice-versa. This could be on the basis of slang (as one example) - you know that there are words that are considered offensive to Americans that don't even register as anything wrong to non-Americans (and the reverse is true as well). As one example, consider the words to a particular song that was popular in WWI. They used to play it during the Remembrance Day ceremonies here in Canada, when we still had veterans from that war who were able to march in the parade. I can't quote the specific word here, since it's part of the words in the autofilter. The word has a much different popular connotation now than it did decades ago, yet if we were to ever have a thread discussing the lyrics of popular war songs, the lyrics to that specific song can't be quoted without incurring an infraction for inappropriate language.

    Here's another example: I recall an incident from many years ago when someone was reported for using the word "Canuck" and the reason for the report was the person thought it was an ethnic slur. The Canadians simply shrugged, pointed out that it's hardly an ethnic slur, given that we have an NHL team that has that word in its name. If no Canadians had been available to point that out, would the infraction have occurred?
     
  18. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    I think if this is a genuine belief someone or a large segment of a site's membership holds that there are bigger problems with staff than the specifics of an infraction appeal process.

    And to be honest, I don't see that mantra gelling well here on CFC especially with the infraction appeal process in mind. If a moderator is acting irrationally or otherwise tyrannical it would become apparent through the review. It would require collusion of everyone in upper management to allow a close-minded moderator to continue operating today. In the past, complaining about a moderator would require contacting an admin or super moderator privately and pointing to specific interactions and from there it would maybe get shared with other mods. Myself I know I never complained about a moderator here on CFC in the past mostly because it felt very "anonymous complaint box" to me, which is to say pointless.

    An appeal, however, puts a moderator's behaviour directly under the microscope of those responsible for the more important aspects of CFC's management and makes the moderator's behaviour public as well if the PM logs aren't redacted. I would be genuinely surprised if a moderator was on record as a jerk and it was ignored.

    This is also something that the appeal process addresses indirectly. If a moderator is being unreasonable but not a jerk, the super moderators and admins will likely rule in favour of the member and overturn the infraction. A moderator's judgement is not infallible and there's precedence for higher staff willing to reverse decisions made by a moderator if the collective agreement is that it's either questionable enough or entirely innocuous. Moderators are left to operate largely as they see fit but it's not unheard of for us to be coached or corrected if we've done something wrong or dealt with something inappropriately. On my end I've made several errors since becoming a moderator and most have been addressed by a super moderator or administrator in short order.
     
  19. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Reasonableness is a legally objective concept, but you're right that it's not ontologically objective. It's perhaps best thought of as an intersubjective concept. It is true that staff aren't omniscient, and to the extent that the moderation team lacks the contextual understanding of the rest of the forum, space exists between how staff thinks a reasonable reader would interpret a post, and how the hypothetical reasonable reader actually would interpret a post. This does not mean the concept is flawed; it's just a necessary agency cost of any hierarchical system of rules. The cost can be lessened somewhat through staff diversity. It isn't impossible for non-Canadian staff to figure out whether 'Canuck' is a slur, but it does help to have a Canadian on staff. Currently we have a reasonable variety of nationalities represented on the Off-Topic team - 3 American (one from the east coast, one from the west coast, and one from somewhere in between), 2 British, 1 German, 1 Swiss, 1 Dutch, 1 Canadian. They are assisted by super moderators and admins from the US, UK, Australia & New Zealand.
     
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  20. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Sorry; I haven't memorized either the dictionary or your law books. This isn't a court room, Camikaze. It's a gaming forum with a diverse membership. That includes people like me who haven't taken law and find it hard at times to wade through some of your posts.

    Diversity is good; it helps prevent unjust infractions, and can also help point out where posts occur that do violate the rules.
     

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