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Should the moderators take more action against aggressive forum members?
Poll ended at Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:55 am
Yes 58%  58%  [ 11 ]
No 37%  37%  [ 7 ]
I don't know/I don't care 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 19
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 Post subject: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:55 am 
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OK, here comes a poll: Should the moderators take more action against aggressive forum members?

Greetings
Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:52 pm 
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Not really relevant, but how did you create a poll?


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:28 pm 
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If you start a new thread, there is an option for a poll below the message textbox (after the attachment option).


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:52 pm 
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Together with your other thread this begins to look like bullying.

Forum members have it within their own control to ignore posters who annoy them. Use that capability rather than trying to start a lynch mob.


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:36 pm 
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iansjack wrote:
Together with your other thread this begins to look like bullying.
Agreed.

bzt's presence in this forum actually makes me more confident in my replies. Because I also sometimes get confrontational, though not as much as him. So as long as his conduct is largely tolerated, I can be secure in the knowledge mine will be as well. If bzt were to be reprimanded, or even banned, that security would disappear. The limit of acceptable conduct would shift closer to my own, and I don't like that. I also don't like where that kind of thought would be heading: Straight into a filter bubble.

So while he can be tiring, his presence is a net benefit to the community. Or to say it with Voltaire: I detest what he says, but I fight for his right to say it.

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Thou hast outraged, not insulted me, sir; but for that I ask thee not to beware of Starbuck; thou wouldst but laugh; but let Ahab beware of Ahab; beware of thyself, old man.


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:43 am 
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nullplan wrote:
iansjack wrote:
Together with your other thread this begins to look like bullying.
Agreed.

I also agree. I don't think that was PeterX's intention, but this is not a direction things should be going. Bad behaviour needs to be called out, but let's not start attacking the offenders back.

nullplan wrote:
bzt's presence in this forum actually makes me more confident in my replies. Because I also sometimes get confrontational, though not as much as him. So as long as his conduct is largely tolerated, I can be secure in the knowledge mine will be as well. If bzt were to be reprimanded, or even banned, that security would disappear. The limit of acceptable conduct would shift closer to my own, and I don't like that. I also don't like where that kind of thought would be heading: Straight into a filter bubble.

I am very surprised to hear this from you and not sure where this is coming from. I consider you one of the mature and valuable person on this forum. I've never seen any bad behaviour from you.

I understand and share your concern with bullying and this is also unacceptable to me. But I disagree that his behaviour should be "largely tolerated". Some of the things he says or do are simply unacceptable, period. And you are not guilty of any of these.

nullplan wrote:
So while he can be tiring, his presence is a net benefit to the community.

I remain unconvinced of this. The damage done by his behaviour is considerable. His posts are turning people away. He spreads misinformation and lies intentionally. In the end, he is tarnishing the reputation of this web site and community.

That said I believe his presence can be valuable if he stops these bad behaviours. I do believe he understands this and can learn and improve based on his last few posts. When his BS and lies are called out, he stops doing it. Or at least it appears this way so far. Whether or not he should be reprimanded or banned is really up to him.

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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:52 am 
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Obviously, if aggressive and useless


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:58 am 
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nullplan, I think your image of yourself is much worse than it should be. I actually never saw you lose temper in a way that hurt other people. You are one of the members of this forum that I respect most, because you have a lot of technical knowledge and rarely participate in unnecessary arguments. You do not need another forum user to "hide behind".

I won't comment on the moderation issue; I think I have said enough in other threads.

Instead, let me give my 2¢ on the meta discussion. I have two points here:
  • These kinds of discussion are actually healthy and necessary. Especially if moderation takes a laid-back approach in this forum, we need discussions on appropriate content such that the community itself can define what's acceptable and what isn't. We cannot have free speech without the right to complain about the current state of affairs! Hence, moderating meta discussions without also moderating technical discussions is the worst of all possible approaches.
  • The advise to just ignore offending posts is horrible (EDIT: not because it does not work, but rather because it is hard to apply -- it's like telling a fat person to just eat less). It is often claimed that we can all be adults and just walk away from discussions that hurt us, but that is not how humans behave in reality. We have emotions. When we are hurt, we want to defend ourselves. We do not want to be painted as incompetent by others. We want to be respected by others, and when others try to draggle our public image, we want to fight back.

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managarm: Microkernel-based OS capable of running a Wayland desktop (Discord: https://discord.gg/7WB6Ur3). My OS-dev projects: [mlibc: Portable C library for managarm, qword, Linux, Sigma, ...] [LAI: AML interpreter] [xbstrap: Build system for OS distributions].


Last edited by Korona on Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:13 am 
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Korona wrote:
We do not want to be painted as incompetent by others. We want to be respected by others, and when others try to draggle our public image, we want to fight back.


You'll always know what you are capable of, and if others disagree- that does not control the existence of your capability.


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:31 am 
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That is true of course but it is also meaningless. That is not how our psychology works -- we can pretend that we are all stoic beings but we really aren't. And I don't think that it is useful to ignore that fact.

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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:14 am 
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Korona wrote:
The advise to just ignore offending posts is horrible
No it's not.

Just add the offending party to your enemies list and then use a modicum of self control. It's either that or censorship, as how terrible another poster is is just a matter of opinion. I trust my judgement of what I find unacceptable to be better than the judgement of a moderator (as to what I find unacceptable). And I have the means to control whether or not I see posts from another poster.


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:21 am 
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VolTeK wrote:
Korona wrote:
We do not want to be painted as incompetent by others. We want to be respected by others, and when others try to draggle our public image, we want to fight back.


You'll always know what you are capable of, and if others disagree- that does not control the existence of your capability.
And, in extremis, you just don't interact with those who disagree with you. Better to take control for yourself rather than asking some authority to do it for you.

All of us are a pain in the @$$ at times - so where do you draw the line? Censorship is a slippery slope.

As an aside, don't put too much faith in a moderator when it comes to personal squabbles. We've all seen where that leads.


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:49 am 
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iansjack wrote:
It's either that or censorship, as how terrible another poster is is just a matter of opinion.

No, that is a false dichotomy. You can moderate peoples tone w/o moderating their technical contributions. You can have a moderator post a statement saying "Poster X, please adjust your tone, it is not appropriate here." without handing out any bans. Posts can be hidden (as in a spoiler tag) without removing them. There is a wide range of actions that you can take without censoring people.

iansjack wrote:
All of us are a pain in the @$$ at times - so where do you draw the line? Censorship is a slippery slope.

As an aside, don't put too much faith in a moderator when it comes to personal squabbles. We've all seen where that leads.

There are mechanisms to prevent that, namely transparency. Moderation actions should be publicly logged. Moderators should never moderate people in discussions that they participate in.

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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:06 am 
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But the problem is that a person's technical contribution is the root of the disagreement here.
Korona wrote:
Moderation actions should be publicly logged. Moderators should never moderate people in discussions that they participate in.
That's a great theory. But history shows that a rogue moderator can easily circumvent such restrictions.

This is all an unnecessary discussion, IMO. If I have a problem with someone in real life I don't need a third party to deal with it for me. Contrary to what you say, I am an adult and I am quite capable of looking after myself when it comes to disagreements.

Self-selecting polls like this are worse than useless. Those who have strong feelings about a particular individual will respond; those who think it is all a storm in a teacup probably won't bother. So we get a highly skewed result. I suppose it has the effect of bolstering those who think that a third party should control their lives, but I'm not sure that it is healthy. Even less so when taken in conjunction with the other thread from the OPwhich sneakily seeks to denigrate an individual.


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 Post subject: Re: Poll: Moderating aggressive forum members
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:28 am 
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iansjack wrote:
But the problem is that a person's technical contribution is the root of the disagreement here.

No, I don't think that's true. Technical statements might be controversial but they should not be moderated. If I claim that 1+2=5, that's within my right. I am wrong but I should not punished for my ignorance. However, if I state "1+2=5 and the reason why you cannot believe this is that you are all pathetic apes", the latter part of that sentence certainly should be moderated.

iansjack wrote:
Korona wrote:
Moderation actions should be publicly logged. Moderators should never moderate people in discussions that they participate in.
That's a great theory. But history shows that a rogue moderator can easily circumvent such restrictions.

That is because the system was implemented poorly. There are technical and social ways to prevent that from happening. Many modern forums offer the possibility to have a public audit log. Socially, this issue can be prevented by having multiple active moderators who can veto and/or override decisions by consensus.

iansjack wrote:
This is all an unnecessary discussion, IMO. If I have a problem with someone in real life I don't need a third party to deal with it for me. Contrary to what you say, I am an adult and I am quite capable of looking after myself when it comes to disagreements.

I do not doubt that anyone on this forum is an adult or that they can handle themselves in real life. In fact, that's quite a strange argument. In real life, you do not have an ignore button (which is what you advocate for online?). In real life, I defend my projects just like I do on this forum. If you walk away and ignore your opponent in a public discussion round, that will rarely be considered as a strength.

About the authority: moderators should not act as virtual gods and decide for themselves what acceptable content is. The community itself should define acceptable content and moderators should merely execute the community's will. I am all for holding moderators accountable. Make moderation decisions public. When posts are censored or removed, make a public log entry that still contains the offending content. Define a process to appeal in case of moderation issues. Define a process for the community to define what content is acceptable and to override moderator decisions. This is what is done in real life all the time! Discussions are moderated in real life, whether its through peer pressure, through an explicit moderator for public talks and discussion rounds, or through some authority (like a judge in a court room, a supervisor in a meeting, a president of a parliament, etc).

I strongly disagree with the assertion "we have no moderation at all XOR moderators are virtual gods and censorship cannot be controlled". Back in the days (before Brendan became the effective authority of this forum), we did have a working moderation team. When I joined in 2007, this forum was a welcoming place. We had well-moderated discussion without censorship, mostly because we did have multiple active moderators (while these days, only klange seems to visit the forum at all). Heck, that was even the case when Combuster was still active. Why cannot we go back to that state? Why does Brendan's failure still have to impact this forum negatively years after he was banned? We certainly have to learn lessons about accountability from Brendan's case but extracting that moderation is inherently bad is misguided.

I don't have a strong opinion about the validity of this poll but I do believe that meta discussions about the state of the community are absolutely necessary and reasonable.

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