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Why is public discussion of moderator actions prohibited?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by AtlantaMarty, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. AtlantaMarty

    AtlantaMarty No longer active

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    There's no reason for me to stay here
    Oh.

    Well, either way, I think the fewer rules and regulations, the better. I am a libertarian conservative, after all.
     
  2. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    I want to leave a comment on this even though this is a while ago.

    That's very far from the truth. There were huge threads about this some years past with plenty of people complaining about moderators/admins rulings being arbitrary and non-transparent. Those who are not satisfied with these gag-orders are more likely to have moved on from here to web experiences that are less like the PRC.

    I also want to advise that the point about preventing "derail" is an excuse because one is forbidden to discuss any moderator action anywhere. Not even in a dedicated thread in some public relations forum. The real intent is to enforce authority and prevent moderators losing morale from being publicly challenged by a mob. Guess what real-world countries love this policy.

    Again, it's completely voluntary for someone to participate here. If one doesn't like this, then leave.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  3. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    "CFC is equivalent to an IRL totalitarian state." is not a new perspective, but it's always been a silly one.

    I have been a moderator, here and elsewhere, and the number of people who try to discuss a specific moderator action in good faith publicly is dwarfed by the people who just want to start a fight and feel personally offended that they were infracted for something.

    The administration is responsible for fostering the environment it wants to have; regularly scheduled food fights about what their volunteer enforcers have gotten up to lately is not a part of that environment. But the extension of that approach is that if their enforcers are doing something they don't want, like, say, unfairly infracting someone, there are avenues available for regular members to seek change. The infraction appeal is the most obvious route, but you can also privately contact a super moderator or admin with your concern (respectfully put and reasonably described). If there is even an inkling of desire within the upper echelons to see something changed, they'll start to discuss it. And if the rule is what they want it to be and they feel the moderator is doing a bang-up job enforcing the rule as envisioned, there is nothing for them to change.

    You are right that it is completely voluntary for someone to participate on CFC, so it seems unclear why it's unacceptable for the administration to want a specific environment. CFC is doing just fine, and its users are interacting just fine, with the PDMA rules as they are. That ~5% of users wanting to publicly put a moderator's actions under a microscope are doing so in good faith does not erase the other 95% who are just mad and don't have the emotional control to deal with it. This is not an insult, I too have issues differentiating between a low mental health dip and other people. But recognize it for what it is, instead of believing it's the system at fault.
     
  4. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Retired Moderator Supporter

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    This discussion is btw 1.5 years old. Is there a specific reason to necro it ^^?
     
  5. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    I wouldn't go as far as comparing CFC to a totalitarian state, since this little fan club has as much power over people as a Stanford Experiment does.

    It is important to have an appreciation for Super Duper Moderators here volunteering their time to maintain order, but let's not forget that this is a website and not some aristocratic bureaucracy. IRL, most of us can speak openly about our politicians, teachers, and superiors. It just doesn't make sense that we somehow suddenly have to be hush hush when it comes to discussing the actions of moderators residing in this website. What makes them so special that necessitates such atypical reverence?

    I totally understand that there needs to be a way to deal with the countless trolls, crybabies, and drama queens that roam the cyberspace. However, this is not a problem unique to CFC and many social media forums do not need to resort to such punitive measures.

    The strategy of keeping everything completely behind close doors relies on the moderating team at large to be consistently acting correctly. Unfortunately, these Super Moderators are average people like us and are quite fallible too. There's nothing really preventing them acting biased or covering each other's behind. At the same time, I'd argue that public scrutiny would serve to increase the quality of moderating ruling since there's concept of public accountability to consider and moderators would likely be more cautious with their actions.

    In any case, CFC is a pretty website with a slick look. It can be enjoyable to be here but the moderating team sure needs to get off its high horse.

    > I have been a moderator, here and elsewhere, and the number of people who try to discuss a specific moderator action in good faith publicly is dwarfed by the people who just want to start a fight and feel personally offended that they were infracted for something.

    Then maybe you should think about on the psychology behind infractions instead of just insinuating that all of these personally-offended people are snowflakes. Infractions are by nature quite personal because it is a formal negative judgment made on an individual.

    Consider yourself in scenario where you are engaged in a heated conversation with another. How would you feel if someone pulls you over and gives you a short auto-generated text and say you've been infracted? It can be a bit impolite.

    Instead of dropping infractions at the first sign of behavioural non-compliance, I'd suggest to restrict the use of infraction to serious cases and only after at least one politely-worded verbal warning/suggestion. I'd also add that the method at which one delivers a message can make a world of difference towards the outcome. If one can't bother to be tactful with these communications, then maybe he shouldn't be a moderator.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  6. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    I did not say that people who get infracted are snowflakes. If you are going to put words into my mouth, at least be more creative with it.

    I don't need to consider that scenario; I've been on CFC for 13 years and have received over a dozen infractions throughout that time, although I've been a Very Good Boy™ since 2012. Obviously it sucks to receive an infraction. That's what it's supposed to feel like. It's a quick negative consequence for negative actions, and most people alter their behaviour accordingly after receiving one. They may get more infractions in the future, but typically for different rules or only during high-stress situations (most common in OT, as far as I remember).

    Receiving an infraction isn't a traumatizing experience or something that should only be reserved for the "serious cases." It's just not that significant. The points from an infraction aren't permanent unless the user displays a long-term history of being antagonistic and dismissive of the community's rules. Otherwise they expire, and they expire quickly. The vast majority of members are never at any risk of being banned or otherwise impeded in any way because to get to that point requires consistent, frequent behaviour. An infraction, at its core, simply delivers a "Stop doing that." message. It's not a judgement of your character or some type of eternal stain on your soul. You behaved in a certain way. This certain way broke a rule. The infraction tells you this, and makes it clear that you should stop behaving in that certain way. Beginning and end—unless you insist on continuing to behave that certain way. Then the consequences ramp up, then the chance of being banned arises, and then there's more stakes behind an infraction. But you not being able to complain about it publicly is not the cause of this.

    In any case, Xenforo auto-generates boilerplate warning text. The moderator then adds context. It should be clear from the message why you were infracted. If you disagree or if that information is missing, that's a problem, but I don't see how this problem is in any way resolved with permissible PDMA.

    On the matter of "other sites not resorting to such punitive measures": Maybe? The groups I've been a part of generally are more vague than CFC by a rather large degree, and the consequences for breaking rules are more dire. Many I've been a member of have 3-strike rules, where even three minor offenses gets you permanently banned. No expiration date on the offenses either. That on CFC you can keep breaking rules for years before there's a chance of permanent consequences puts this site near the top in terms of authority and how it gets enforced. At least in my experience.

    Right, let's not forget that this is a website. They don't need to volunteer themselves to be insulted publicly or to have their every action assessed by dozens of people in real time. They are not teachers, politicians, or superiors. They have no power IRL. Their only job is to maintain a set of rules in an online community. They get scrutinized by private record. If you don't trust the private record, what do you think public threads will solve about that, exactly? We're already allowed to discuss specific rules. We're already allowed to discuss how those rules manifest in the community. We're just not allowed to point to Moderator Y and say it's their fault. That's pretty reasonable. Rules can be discussed. Nothing is gained by letting people dissect a specific moderator's actions in full public discourse in the process of trying to change a rule or how a rule is enforced.
     
  7. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    It sure sounded like people were almost always unreasonable with their complaints. according to your tone.

    Then maybe you've grown used to that status quo then, especially when you are part of the big boy's club. That doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist though.

    Oh, that's pretty unreasonable. Everyone makes mistakes and seldom do we have anyone who's above public critique. Can you name one IRL? Besides, it's is also extremely inconvenient to discuss rules and their improper enforcement if specific instances cannot be referenced to. Furthermore, the appeal process (from what I remember years back) was a completely closed door discussion with no input from anyone but moderators - That also is a messed up system.

    What's reasonable is to have a public forum dedicated for dispute resolution. If you guys want to volunteer to be moderators, then you should also be responsible enough to stand up for your decisions. If they were justified, there will likely be no dispute and if there are, then some people will jump to your defense no doubt. But right now, it seems like you guys simply don't have the spine for this. Perhaps that's because that jeopardizes that almighty authority you have where people can't talk back to you? I suspect that's the issue.
     
  8. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    :lol: Okay. You've made your opinion about authority pretty transparent with the remarks about how the staff here have no spine and believe themselves almighty. There's no value in responding further. Take care. :)
     
  9. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    The point was

    (Bolded part on my account.)
     
  10. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    AFAIK no-one "want to volunteer" to be a moderator, the staff search candidates and ask them if they want to help the site.

    No one is forced to agree, sure, but it's different than asking for the job. Personally I've accepted to help to give back to a modding community that had given me a lot.

    I'm not sure that someone really wanting to do it would be a good candidate BTW.

    Back to the point, moderators apply the site rules, not their owns, reports are handled by more than one moderator when there are questions about the rules interpretation, it's not one man decision.
     
  11. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    Then they did volunteer when they asked? That's considered volunteering, no?

    Unfortunately, that's likely pretty close to the truth. After all, what real world entities are there whom it is forbidden to critique their actions?

    Gosh, all that fear of people DARING to scrutinize your actions must be so overwhelming! How else can you keep these sheeps under control?!
     
  12. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    There is a difference between wanting to do something and accepting to do something.

    You're basing your argumentation on the assumption that we want to be moderators but this assumption is wrong.
     
  13. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    volunteer
    [ vol-uh n-teer ]
    |
    SEE MORE SYNONYMS FOR volunteer ON THESAURUS.COM
    noun
    a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.
    a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

    Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/volunteer?s=t

    Can you please tell me if (1) you are being paid for this role and (2) you are offering your service unwillingly. If it's the latter, then can you explain why the moderating team is being forced to be in this role?

    I also want to ask that if moderators are those who are chosen due to a certain fitness towards a desired psychological profile, why are they not fit to be cross-examined for their actions by the public when they need arises? Is there a need to adjust the acceptance criteria upwards so that such a basic requirement can be accommodated?

    Edit: I was just privately messaged about how an individual here doesn't "want" to be a moderator which in turn makes him not a volunteer. I don't really understand that display of mental gymnastic or why somebody would be so insistent in rejecting "volunteer" as a label. It's comical.

    In any case, this exchange with a few moderators here has been educational (in various aspects). J initially argued that PDMA was there to prevent derailment of threads: https://forums.civfanatics.com/thre...ator-actions-prohibited.631072/#post-15092589

    But then the moderators are still vehemently against it even when provided options that would address that particular problem. I believe it really comes down to the notion of exceptionalism and a fear of public scrutiny. Since that's not a problem in a majority of successful online sites, I wonder if there's a problem in training and recruitment criteria that necessitate such... protections for the moderators. Can't say I am impressed at all by what I am seeing here at least.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  14. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    We seem to be digressing a bit here...
     
  15. Hans66

    Hans66 Chieftain

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    Must be better here though than on Twitter, Fartbook and else where?
    But as somebody said already, take it or leave it, this place here.
    But on a side note i would like to say that if somebody have a problem with somebody´s moderation here they should at least be able to take it up with the person in question privately. If the person refuse to do it, some other moderator that will decide if some moderator then have misbehaved and should be questioned totally.

    I´m no fan then of places where the moderators got just too much power and are right no matter what.
     
  16. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    The idea here is to prevent cases in which some moderators decide to misbehave and use that rule to make things difficult. In any case, I do agree that participation of this forum is completely voluntary. I only decided to chime in on this topic because some moderators put up a lame excuse on why they want to enforce that gag order and tried to play it off as an issue that nobody ever cared about. Even though things are unlikely to change, it does feel a bit satisfying to set the records straight.
     
  17. steveg700

    steveg700 Warlord

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    Well, there's only a difference between wanting and accepting if you were compelled by circumstances to accept against your wishes.

    Otherwise, I'm not sure what hair you're trying to split between seeking the position out versus being solicited. Someone offered you the position of moderator, and you accepted it because you wanted to accept it.

    To answer the original question, the reason discussion of moderator action is not open to discussion is that moderators are endowed with a scrap of authority without much evaluation of their merits. They sometimes make errors in judgment, some let their personal biases lead to unfair behavior, and that's the price of doing business in this forum, because nobody wants to convene a court of appeals. They just want to move on with their lives and hope the good moderation decisions outweigh the bad.

    Pretty much just like any forum where mods are volunteers.
     
  18. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    https://forums.civfanatics.com/forums/infraction-review.531/
     
  19. steveg700

    steveg700 Warlord

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    Thanks, I'm familiar with this forum where these matters are sort of shuffled off to the side. More than most places have, to be sure.

    To clarify, I was referring to the sort of thing the OP is referring to as banned discussion, holding a court of appeals in the course of a thread. I think the first response rather summarized the matter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 6:07 PM
  20. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Chieftain

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    From your experience, how often are there forums where moderator actions are not allowed to be discussed in public?

    Edit: After glancing through a couple of these "infraction reviews", I can't help but find the whole infraction process is executed in an overtly vindictive and bureaucratic manner. It seems like as soon as someone has a (alleged) misdemeanor, a moderator butts in and condemns you with big red text, and then issues you some punishment points. It does humiliate the recipient of the action a fair bit.

    I wonder for those who work in PR or management, whether or not they agree with this style of communication. Unless it is a repeated offense, good moderators should be able to guide people away from bad behaviour without resorting to threats.

    Good faith individuals are much more willing to listen and not to file these bureaucratic appeals if moderators utilize their "enforcement powers" in a more mature manner.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019 at 9:08 PM

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