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 Post subject: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:38 pm 
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I'm not sure that this post will get through(I'm not sure how truly 1984 we are going here) but anyway.

What "Recent Events" brought this moderation extremity about? I don't know about you, but I find it annoying as a member that has been visiting these forums for a few years now, that suddenly I'm a little child that has to have mommy approve posts for him, at the expense of waiting a few minutes(or possibly hours) to get my posts posted.

And are you now going to be filtering out the noob questions to make sure people google first? This may be perfectly fine for most posts(and maybe should be done for new people) but what about the occasional post that a moderator throws out because it seems too googleable when really there is no entry in the wiki close to it.

I would like a little more information about this than just a "all posts will now be preapproved"

edit:
hmm.. am I part of The Party as my post came through instantly? or maybe they have no activated it yet...

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:00 pm 
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The problem is not with the "content" posts of this site. Helpful replies are always in short demand (by definition), and we are unlikely to be too Hitler-ish on those.

The recent events, and the reason this was implemented, is because of the large number of off-topic posts (in on-topic threads), the large number of trolling replies, and the large number of threads from people who really should have just searched the wiki (which is common even in members with post counts above 100). The comments in viewtopic.php?f=6&t=19377 just alerted us to the fact that there is a problem.

Your comment about "should be done for new people": We (the collective that decided on this measure) decided that this should be done for all users, regardless of post count, because some of the more regular members were not acting in the way they should be.

A forum is a permanent record, and it operates at quite a slow pace compared to other Internet mediums (I'm thinking of IRC). You have time to Google, you have time to grammar and spell-check your replies. You have time to make sure you are posting in the right forum. Nobody is going to bite if you're not first to reply. Take all this into account, and you'll be fine.

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:11 pm 
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Although I'm new here, I've been reading this forum for a while. (That's why I made my account, to participate and "give back" a little bit).

I just want to say that this new style of moderation is very disappointing. It ruins my interest in participating.

I don't see how this is going to help. The moderators have just as much work to do as before, but now everyone is inconvenienced. Why couldn't you just adopt a stricter policy on banning and deleting inappropriate threads/posts?


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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:22 pm 
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The point is that everybody is inconvenienced. It makes people think a little bit more about what they are writing, since it seems people didn't before.

Also, if you stop a stupid thread from starting, you then don't have to moderate every single one of the replies, since there won't be any. So for a given level of strictness, it's less work than coming back and moderating after the flame war has started.

And please, it's going to get tiring responding to all the "I'm inconvenienced!" posts. So before they begin, I say this: Let's give it a go for a while, and see if it works. Because if it works, then it was obviously the right thing to do.

The reason posts aren't moderated in the About This Site forum is for freedom-of-speech and technical support reasons. Please don't abuse it.

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:31 pm 
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Well why not try one of those other methods. I didn't see anyone suggest a god moderation in that thread. It is a lose-lose situation, in that it really solves nothing. Moderators still must deal with the same amount of crap except for now the regular users(the ones that come here once a day or more) must be inconvenienced by having a delay put on their post, and now the moderators must also read through all the good posts to make sure they are in fact good.

I say a troubleshooting or beginner forum be setup. This is how a game creation language forum I use to go to was setup, and it worked quite well. If you wanted to help noobs, you visited the beginner forum(which noobs tend to obey such titles), and the rest of us didn't have to worry about it. heck, I would even recommend 30 day pruning or something on the beginner forum.. This god moderation is *not* the way to go though.

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:47 pm 
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earlz wrote:
Well why not try one of those other methods. I didn't see anyone suggest a god moderation in that thread. It is a lose-lose situation, in that it really solves nothing. Moderators still must deal with the same amount of crap except for now the regular users(the ones that come here once a day or more) must be inconvenienced by having a delay put on their post, and now the moderators must also read through all the good posts to make sure they are in fact good.

This isn't any different for those of us that are moderators. We've previously had to read through everything as it was. Now we just have the option of stopping things entirely before they get out of hand, and actually improving the signal to noise ratio without having to split and merge posts or delete them entirely.

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I say a troubleshooting or beginner forum be setup. This is how a game creation language forum I use to go to was setup, and it worked quite well. If you wanted to help noobs, you visited the beginner forum(which noobs tend to obey such titles), and the rest of us didn't have to worry about it. heck, I would even recommend 30 day pruning or something on the beginner forum.

Why would people follow the rules for a specific beginner forum when they don't bother to follow the rules now? A beginner forum isn't going to solve anything. The only thing that will is being quite strict about the rules that are in place now.

As JackScott said, this inconveniences everybody. If you can't just give this a go for a while and keep your whining to yourself, then chances are that you are the exact type of user that has caused us to take this action.


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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:52 pm 
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Just one more comment to what quok has said:

If you prove yourself worthy, you'll get added to the list of those exempt from moderation. In which case, the moderation of other's posts just means you have to read less junk. Which is a win-win situation.

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:30 am 
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Hi,

Like most normal forum members I was appalled when I found out what happened, especially as there's guidelines for major changes to the forums that weren't followed.

I have reversed the change. As of now, the forums should be back to normal - no approval necessary for registered users, no special group of "blessed" users, and no more "Big Brother" announcement.

Despite the announcement, the recent "Big Brother" fiasco was *not* discussed with the community at all, wasn't discussed with all current moderators, and wasn't discussed with the forum's owner (Chase). As far as I can tell one moderator was mainly responsible and (via. IRC) they convinced 2 other moderators (who were not aware that it'd be implemented immediately) to agree to it.

In addition, there were no recent events that justified the need for extreme moderation that I am aware of (and I have examined the moderator logs looking for something to explain it and found nothing). The only explanation I can think of is something I'd call "moderator fatigue" (it's not necessarily easy being a moderator, and it can become tiring after a while).

This may not be the end of it; and after adequate discussion (hopefully in public, not in the "moderator only" forum and not in some obscure IRC channel) has taken place it is possible that the post approval will return.

I would also like to apologize to all forum members, especially those who have (justifiably) taken offense to being mistreated, and hope that these forums can quickly return to the informative and pleasant place it was.


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:36 am 
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Thanks Brendan, there was an temporary eerieness about these forums over the hours following the 1984 announcement.

If the approval system did make a return, may I suggest a simple rating or karma system? For example, each user starts out with a karma of 0, and next to each post there are two buttons, one labelled - and another labelled +, with a number next to it representing the poster's overall karma, and the post's specific karma. If you find a post useful, you can click + to increase their karma. Alternatively, if a post is off topic, feeding a troll, or offensive, you can click - to decrease their karma (which may result in it being negative). A user can only perform this action once per poster per hour.

If your karma is >1 (not 0 or lower) your post does not require moderator approval.

In most cases, you're not going to rate the karma of every post you read, only the exceptionally helpful posts will result in positive karma, yet slightly offensive posts will result in bad karma. Therefore one bad post may require a lot of good posts to make up for it. If your karma falls below 1, it's not the end of the world, since you can still post (your posts just require approval).

I believe this will encourage people to think twice before asking questions and posting answers, or starting flame wars. Even if it doesn't, only those users will be the ones requiring their posts to be moderated, therefore it's no worse of than the 1984 system anyways.

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Last edited by MessiahAndrw on Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:00 am 
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I don't believe in the goodness of mankind, and have seen too many voting systems being abused, or causing frustration because they don't really give the results you'd expect.

A bunch of people can vote each other up. A bunch of people can vote one person down. And they'll cheer and sneer about karma ratings.

People in weird timezones will have a much harder time being the one with the "good" answer than those in the same timezone as the OP (because they read it as soon as it's posted, instead of hours later). All in all, chances are slim that it works out, and very good that it will cause headaches.

That's not even taking into account that the system itself would have to be implemented, configured, and maintained.

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:10 am 
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Hi

I agree with Solar there, although perhaps a system where users can vote for which reply is marked as The Answer would be useful. That way, for any particular thread, the post which best answers the original question could be made to immediately stand out.

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:09 am 
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I have to say I was honestly scared by the godmod that was announced, even for a few hours. God moderation is, in my opinion, like martial law, and nobody wants that. I had a massive post in my brain ready for delivering here before I went to bed, but the topic was locked and it would have taken too long to post.

I'll just quickly sum it up: pulling this kind of crap could have, if it were to be in effect for multiple months, destabilized the community and broken it down to a state in which nobody is left but the moderators. I've seen it happen before.

Good to see that the less-than-a-day regime is gone.

Cheers,
Troy

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:31 am 
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Troy Martin wrote:
I have to say I was honestly scared by the godmod that was announced, even for a few hours. God moderation is, in my opinion, like martial law, and nobody wants that. I had a massive post in my brain ready for delivering here before I went to bed, but the topic was locked and it would have taken too long to post.

I'll just quickly sum it up: pulling this kind of crap could have, if it were to be in effect for multiple months, destabilized the community and broken it down to a state in which nobody is left but the moderators. I've seen it happen before.

Good to see that the less-than-a-day regime is gone.

Cheers,
Troy


This.
I don't normally agree with Troy, but I _also_ have seen it break down projects and leave only moderators left.


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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:37 am 
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Nah. It would have just caused an indignant fork, and then we'd have had a really weird sort of 'nationalist' "I'm staying here" set of leftovers here, and then, that would be just...boring.

Like it or not, the newcomer questions are actually interesting, in their own way.

And again: I'm going vote that we have a "Newbie forum". It would cause newcomers to isolate themselves to one area, and therefore filter out a bit of the static. I think it would be fun, and a bit more friendly in the end:

There would be much less hostility in the tone of responses to newbie questions if when you are going to answer, you're fully aware that you're posting in a newcomer topic, anyway. This will help to engender a sense of innate helpfulness whenever people go there, as long as the question isn't to obscure.

However, one thing to note is that if that IS to be done, we MUST sticky certain common fixes to the top of the newbie forum: "My GrUB setup is not supportive of my Executable File Format" or "Bare Bones doesn't compile"

But one thing to note is that there would be a fundamental shift in philosophy that would be implied: Whereas the previous policy indicated that we expected only experienced, knowledgeable individuals to even join the site, such that we wouldn't even have newbie questions, and therefore all members would already be at a predetermined level, the advent of a "Newbie" forum will indicate that we have opened up the doors to newbies, and therefore are condoning sub-standard preparedness, and are willing to babysit under-read members, and coach them.

An alternative to that would be to set up a "Clarification Forum" such that the idea of asking about a subject afresh, without prior knowledge is immediately thwarted, and we can still banhammer the "what is this/that/the other? How to do this/that/the other?" crowd. The idea that is forwarded with the word "Clarification" is also starkly contrasted wit the idea of "Explanation", and we can simply, if we deem a user to be too under-informed, tell him that he should RTFM.

So we can maintain our no-nonsense approach while isolating unwanted questions into one central location. One thing to note would be the adamant avoidance of naming the Clarification Forum a "Newbie" Clarification Forum.

A perfect implementation of such a forum would be as follows:

[url]Clarification Forum[/url]
Post up an explanation of a concept which you are failing to come to terms with, and indicate a specific part of the concept, or subset of concepts for clarafication here. ASM-C interoperability, and logical, educated newcomer questions may be posted here.

This implies that if you haven't read, you also shouldn't post. You'd be surprised what an effect careful application of the English Language's subtle nuances can bring about.

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 Post subject: Re: About Big Brother...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:57 am 
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Instead of God moderation, why don't we just have a post rating system. If it drops to -5 for example, it's automatically moved to the auto-delete forum. Make rating only available to people with >50 or >100 post count (or some other static value), and then, much like StackOverflow, users can help flag out bad posts. Don't know if it's possible on phpbb, but I recall seeing it somewhere else.


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