About moderation - Feedback

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
Detail Man
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Re: Moderator Note : For the record
In reply to Deleted1929, 10 months ago

sjgcit wrote:

You appreciate that I'm not going to be drawn into specifics.

I'm simply acknowledging that actions have been taken by moderators rather than leaving the impression that none are.

There is always going to be a gray area where moderators regard something as being too a rule breach and posters regard it as being fine. Moderators, however, make the decision. That's just how it works. The correct way for any member who feels wronged by any decision to try and correct that is to use Feedback to contact the Administrators. Strangely some people refuse to do this. That's their problem, not ours. A few people have tried to make it our problem. There's only going to be one looser in such a fight. That's just common sense.

The word is actually spelled, "LOSER". I would suggest that the plural is here arguably applicable.

Thankfully the vast majority of members don't even experience moderator action, and most of those that do are reasonable - unhappy, but reasonable.

That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough.

- Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, Chapter XV

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Detail Man
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Re: Proof is in the eating
In reply to Erik Magnuson, 10 months ago

Erik Magnuson wrote:

John Marsh wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

............. What members/readers need is accountability.

Accountability owed to readers should be directly proportional to the price they pay for the service.

Users pay in page views - that's what DPR has to sell to advertisers. So the questions would be:

  • Since moderation began, are forum page views up or down? Total or as a percentage of traffic?
  • Are the page views becoming more or less valuable? E.g. are new users/lurkers reading more or less? Are "contributor/senior/pro" users reading more or less?

DPR will run the site they want to run. Most likely they will tend towards the options that produce more income in the longer term, but there are other factors. As an extreme example, allowing nude photos could increase total page views but it might decrease the market value of those views. Or it might just turn the site into something the current management/employees don't want to be associated with even if it makes more money.

A cardiologist tells his patient that the only remaining hope is for a heart transplant. Trusting the expert's recommendation, the patient makes one request.

"I would like to have the heart of a banker," he says.

"Why?" asked the doctor.

"Because it has never been used," answers the patient.

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Detail Man
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Re: Moderator Note : For the record
In reply to bobn2, 10 months ago

Bobn2 wrote:

sjgcit wrote:

I didn't put any spin on the actions for the simple reason I didn't detail them.

I would respectfully suggest that your post did 'put a spin' on the actions. You said:

Posts in this thread have also been deleted because a very small number of members seem unable to accept that there are rules and they are not immune. Bans are an inevitable consequence for the more obstinate ones who ignore warnings.

So you are telling us that the cause of the deletions is people who seem unable to accept that there are rules and they are not immune.

I would hazard a guess that the people that you are talking about, whoever they are, may see the matter very differently from you. It is quite possible that they do not believe that they have violated any rule, and that the moderation that they have been subjected to is heavy handed and unreasonable. However, we shall never know, because they cannot put their side of the story the way things work here. that is what I meant by 'one sided'.

My post was simply to correct a false impression that no actions took place at all. They do.

For that action you should be commended, because it would be impossible for a mere member to make that point, because it is likely that their posts would be removed for violating the 'no talking about moderation rule'. In fact it is possible that this might actually have happened.

As for what "some people" think, I frankly don't care unless they're "some people" who write the rules. Moderators don't write the rules. Neither do you. And it's not a democracy either. The people who pay for the forum's running costs get to make the rules. Talk to them.

I would suggest, again respectfully, that any system where it is only the opinion of the rule makers that matters, and not those of the people subject to the rules, has gone deeply astray.

It is very good to again be able to read and consider your thoughts, Bob - which are observant, incisive, and very often constitute a valuable contribution to the content of (various) DPR Forums.

Indeed, it is very true - and well worthy of note - that "the absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence". A wise person looks beyond merely that which they are presented by others.

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Sapper987
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Re: Moderator Note : For the record
In reply to Deleted1929, 10 months ago

sjgcit wrote:

You appreciate that I'm not going to be drawn into specifics.

I'm simply acknowledging that actions have been taken by moderators rather than leaving the impression that none are.

There is always going to be a gray area where moderators regard something as being too a rule breach and posters regard it as being fine.  Moderators, however, make the decision.  That's just how it works.  The correct way for any member who feels wronged by any decision to try and correct that is to use Feedback to contact the Administrators.  Strangely some people refuse to do this.  That's their problem, not ours.  A few people have tried to make it our problem.  There's only going to be one looser in such a fight.  That's just common sense.

Thankfully the vast majority of members don't even experience moderator action, and most of those that do are reasonable - unhappy, but reasonable.

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StephenG

Again, this is why if an action is being moderated it is the duty of the moderator to cite the specific rule that is in violation and how the user violated that rule. This would lead to more consistent moderation and would probably prevent some of the "feels wronged" by members at large. It also would likely promote more civil responses from the user and create useful dialog.

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Mako2011
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Situations differ
In reply to Sapper987, 10 months ago

Sapper987 wrote:

sjgcit wrote:

You appreciate that I'm not going to be drawn into specifics.

I'm simply acknowledging that actions have been taken by moderators rather than leaving the impression that none are.

There is always going to be a gray area where moderators regard something as being too a rule breach and posters regard it as being fine. Moderators, however, make the decision. That's just how it works. The correct way for any member who feels wronged by any decision to try and correct that is to use Feedback to contact the Administrators. Strangely some people refuse to do this. That's their problem, not ours. A few people have tried to make it our problem. There's only going to be one looser in such a fight. That's just common sense.

Thankfully the vast majority of members don't even experience moderator action, and most of those that do are reasonable - unhappy, but reasonable.

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StephenG

Again, this is why if an action is being moderated it is the duty of the moderator to cite the specific rule that is in violation and how the user violated that rule.

In general that seems to most often be the case, but not every situation lends itself to that nor is it always necessary...just as I don't expect every member to read the rules before posting. Though I would call that their duty as well. If they did that (they are reminded of them each time they post) then in many cases the reason for moderation would be obvious and no need to "remind" them of there duty and responsibility as members. That action alone by members would generate more civil responses from the user and create useful dialog.

This would lead to more consistent moderation and would probably prevent some of the "feels wronged" by members at large. It also would likely promote more civil responses from the user and create useful dialog.

It does normally work like that, IMO, but not every situation lends it self to that nor is it necessary. And is must be understood that no system will be perfect. After the 4th PM reminding a member of the rules and the one he broke for the 4th time...why bother? Just an example. Point being that an absolute approach may not be the best course of action in each case. I would think it good technique though to strive to inform the members in a way that helps and educates. I have found though that a few members take great offense when they are informed...hense a flexable approach often is betterr than a more automated/static one...with guide lines vs absolutes.

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My opinions are my own and not those of DPR or its administration. They carry no 'special' value (except to me and Lacie of course)

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Deleted1929
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Re: Moderator Note : For the record
In reply to Sapper987, 10 months ago

I don't know specifically what all moderators do and specific instances will always have exceptions, but AFAIK we generally try to inform the member involved why actions are taken.

> It also would likely promote more civil responses from the user and create useful dialog.

Firstly moderators are not obliged to enter a dialog.  It's not a democracy and people need to stop trying to convince themselves it is.  Moderators are there to make decisions which are not, practically by definition, going to be popular or agreed with by the people on the receiving end.

For example, anyone under the impression that someone whose post has been deleted for trolling is going to engage in a useful dialog with a moderator is, I can tell you from personal experience, going to get a rude awakening.

In any case, as a matter of practical reality volunteer moderators do not have the time to litigate their way through endless pseudo-legal claptrap that we do indeed get from members determined to change our minds.

This isn't court, we're not judges and you're not lawyers.  We're moderators and we make decisions based on our common sense interpretation of rules.  Don't like those decisions ?  Take it up with the Admins via Feedback.

That's how it works.  Simple.

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Kendall Helmstetter Gelner
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Re: About moderation - Feedback
In reply to AllMankind, 10 months ago

AllMankind wrote:

DonA2 wrote:

A bit of respect is small payment.

Respect needs to be EARNED.

Moderators are inherently going to not be respected by those they moderate, because the interpretation of rules differs.

It is impossible to both moderate and "earn the respect" of those you are moderating.

Similarly it is also very hard for a moderator to "earn the respect" of the forum population at large, because (to quote the Barenaked Ladies song about a window-cleaner in Fall); "A crystal clear canvas is my masterpiece".  Most forum members will have no idea many actions have taken place except for brief glimpses, and we cannot even discuss moderation in forums, therefore what you ask is pretty much impossible for a moderator outside private conversation.  The quality of moderation can thus not be judged by respect of the moderator, but only by the level of enjoyment users have within a forum.

The actions of some mods here has caused me to lose respect for them. And while I do realize that the actions of a few should not reflect on the majority, that is the way respect works. Now the rest have to work harder to regain lost trust and respect. And that will happen ONLY if DPR reigns in the rogue mods. Or better yet, defrocks them.

Is that not a two-way street though?  It seems like it's always a handful of people are ones who are generally disruptive of any given forum (this has been true since the days of Usenet), yet often the cry from that handful is that they are to be treated equally.  How can a moderator treat a user "equally" to other forum members who never engage in questionable action, when the user repeatedly take actions that  the moderator has to evaluate and take action on?  In truth they themselves have removed the possibility of "equality" from any judgements made, so every judgement is made on the merits of the contributions of the user being judged.

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Oppose Tyranny in all its forms.

Trolling and flamewars are a form of tyranny too, holding hostage all the peaceable members of a forum who simply want to enjoy discussion related to what the forum is about.  They are a more destructive form of tyranny because they crowd out reasoned debate and conversation, leaving only ashes.

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Kendall Helmstetter Gelner
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An even more reasonable question
In reply to Detail Man, 10 months ago

Detail Man wrote:

<...>What is actually motivating these people to allegedly "work for free" ?

What is motivating any user to post helpful advice in a forum anywhere? They too are working for free. How is that any different?

The internet is chock full of people helping other people for free. If I go to http://www.khanacademy.org, I can watch 3000+ videos providing education on a wide variety of topics, all for free.

Indeed looking across the internet, free is the norm and paid is the exception.  If you go to just about any site for help you expect it to be free.  If you send a message on twitter looking for help from followers you do not deposit $1 to tweet.

People love helping other people, a fact which the internet has channeled to grand effect.  It's simply human nature to help others for no personal gain.

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bosjohn21
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Re: About moderation - Feedback
In reply to quadrox, 10 months ago

quadrox wrote:

You want to make all the rules and do not want to know what the other forum members have to say. This is your right of course (or more precisely, DPRs right), but this way lies malcontent for many of us. Therefore I am creating this thread to bring some much needed balance.

I am not doing this out of hostility, I am doing this so that you can understand my/other members thoughts. You guys are probably doing a load of good that I am not even aware of right now, but it feels like I would rather have fewer moderators than some of the mods we have today.

So let me respond to your post to be a bit more clear about what I see as a problem.

How to volunteer moderating works :

1. We're volunteers, so try to remember we don't have unlimited time to double check everything, read everything or read your minds. We do as best we can with limited time.

With power comes responsibility - it must be so. If you are not dead certain of a wrongdoing and you do not have the time to investigate or analyse, then don't take any action. If you wan't to hide behind "I'm only a volunteer, I don't have time to do this properly" then please just do not do anything.

2. If you have an issue related to a moderator you feel strongly about then the ONLY legitimate ways to deal with it are either PM the moderator in reasonably civil terms and explain your position or contact an administrator using Feedback. That's all there is. Any public attacks or multiple personal messages threatening or abusing moderators will at best get you ignored and at worst banned.

I agree with the public attacks part, but being unable to make your voice heard in a case of perceived injustice feels like you are an oppresive bunch of dictators. Even if you all just do your best, this is how it is perceived. Flaming/trolling/abuse should of course not be tolerated, but a civilized discussion should definitely be allowed.

3. We are normal members. We ARE entitled to express our views in threads. [...]

For the most part yes. But remember, with power comes responsibility. If you do not want the responsibility of making sure your post is not misunderstood as authorative, then you should not be a moderator - and I have seen a post of yours recently that was not stated so much as an opinion but a statement of fact. I know it was meant to be an opinion, but as moderator (I think) you must work even harder than everyone else to make this clear.

4. We don't get paid. We don't get anything material from this. If that kind of work interests you then contact DPR. They'd love a larger pool of moderators. People do leave - it's stressful and time consuming.

I would not mind being a mod, and being fair. Not sure that DPR wants me though.

5. We are subject to oversight from DPR. I can't give you details, but we do pool our information and we do have a private moderator forum. Admins do over-rule us sometimes. We basically don't care if they do because ultimately it's their website.

Ok.

6. To the best of my knowledge DPR has never tried to influence what moderators post outside of things that directly relate to moderation. We are not toeing a party line.

I am not sure, but I doubt that this what is being complained about.

7. Although moderators can edit any post any time, I have seen this done only on very rare occasions. We are not seeking to censor or to control what is said beyond trying to maintain a reasonably civil forum. It would be as dull as dishwater otherwise.

Ok.

I have heard much about the rules and the feedback forum but there is no link to either the rules or the feedback forum in the main forums menu. Is this an oversite? I should think you would want these to be easilly found. I have just spent half an hour looking for the rules with no luck.

i humbly suggest that at least one thing you can do is to include rules and feedback in the main forum menu

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Deleted1929
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Re: About moderation - Feedback
In reply to bosjohn21, 10 months ago

There is no Feedback Forum.  There is a Feedback page where you send feedback to DPR.  The link is at the bottom of every page.

The rules are linked to on the top of the forum listings AND in the text above the editor pane.  I can see the link in blue ( embedded in a white on black text as I type this ).

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StephenG

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bosjohn21
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Re: Moderator Note : For the record
In reply to Deleted1929, 10 months ago

sjgcit wrote:

I don't know specifically what all moderators do and specific instances will always have exceptions, but AFAIK we generally try to inform the member involved why actions are taken.

> It also would likely promote more civil responses from the user and create useful dialog.

Firstly moderators are not obliged to enter a dialog. It's not a democracy and people need to stop trying to convince themselves it is. Moderators are there to make decisions which are not, practically by definition, going to be popular or agreed with by the people on the receiving end.

For example, anyone under the impression that someone whose post has been deleted for trolling is going to engage in a useful dialog with a moderator is, I can tell you from personal experience, going to get a rude awakening.

In any case, as a matter of practical reality volunteer moderators do not have the time to litigate their way through endless pseudo-legal claptrap that we do indeed get from members determined to change our minds.

This isn't court, we're not judges and you're not lawyers. We're moderators and we make decisions based on our common sense interpretation of rules. Don't like those decisions ? Take it up with the Admins via Feedback.

That's how it works. Simple.

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StephenG

That there is a problem here at dpreview is evident from the numerous threads like the one in whcih we are engaged, thinking everythins is hunky dory is burrying our collective heads in the sand,

but as the moderators have pointed out, and I feel quite well; its not, as stated above, a democracy.

In the few actions that have directly affected me I have received full explinations from the mods as to why an action was taken, while I think one or two silly there it is. They were doing what they signed on to do.

We as the generaly posters have no recourse for redress beyond what the owners allow. We are guests here. guests of the owners and should keep that in mind. we have no rights other than the rights granted by the owners and administration.

But yes I know there is always a but.

There is a direct corolation between rules and thier administration and the vitality of a forum.

more rules and stricter enforcment make for a peacful but unexciting experience, fewer rules and looser enforcment will encourage more dynamic and exciting and make for a less diciplined forum. It is up to you, the moderators to shape the experience here. Your the ones responsible for setting the level of tolerance and accomodation. I am assuming you have met with eachother and have a good idea of where you want this experience to go.

what kind of forum do you want? ( in this case you is a collective pronoun) it your call, but to make the best call you need to know what we participants want as well as the owners. If you don't listen to the unwashed masses of we posters you run the risk of the whole thing whithering on the vine.

I came to dpreview a short time before the Leica M8 was introduced in 2006 and have been here on and off since. I participate here out of a love of photography, a desire to learn and to contribute, but mostly I come here to have fun, fun to meet with friends on the Leica forum, fun to have livly debates, fun to share photos with my fellow Leica forumers, fun to learn etc.

I am guessing I am not much different than most other posters, We have a very interesting mix of well educated pro and amateur photographers here united by our love of making images.

But if the forums become over moderated to the point they loose their vitality I will porbably leave.

You have a tough row to hoe in keeping order and allowing free discourse. I would urge you as an unwritten rule of thumb if your going to error error on the side of less moderation rather than more.

So even though we have not legal standing and its you and the administration who will set the tone of the forums it has beed determined by the owners that the forums are very very good for business and increase the traffic at dpreview  so do not think for a moment we have no leverage.

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bosjohn21
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Re: About moderation - Feedback
In reply to Deleted1929, 10 months ago

sjgcit wrote:

There is no Feedback Forum. There is a Feedback page where you send feedback to DPR. The link is at the bottom of every page.

The rules are linked to on the top of the forum listings AND in the text above the editor pane. I can see the link in blue ( embedded in a white on black text as I type this ).

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StephenG

thanks I found the feed back but i am still not seeing anything in blue for the rules

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Kendall Helmstetter Gelner
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Think of all possible forum readers, and efficiency
In reply to lenshoarder, 10 months ago

lenshoarder wrote:

More importantly, most forums allow users to ignore other users. So if someone "trolls", simply ignore them and they can't troll you since you don't even see their posts. Some prefer to censor what others write. I think it's better that we simply censor what we choose to read.

That helps you, but ignores a huge number of people that read DPReview without ever creating an account.  They don't know who is a troll.  If they decide someone is a troll they cannot block them from future reading (because they have no account).

You have to remember that inherently each forum is a body of work meant to help ALL people interested in the forum topic, not just one person or even registered users only.  So all moderation should err on the side of making threads generally useful to readers in that forum who are there specifically for the topic the forum is built around.

Trolling and flamewars do not help the causal reader coming in to learn more about the subject under discussion.  On top of that it is really inefficient for each user to have to individually figure out what is trolling and flaming and so on.  Instead it makes a lot more sense to have a small handful of dedicated forum readers who understand every subtlety of a forum and the users posting there, to help shape as useful and interesting a stream of information as possible for everyone to enjoy.

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bosjohn21
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Re: About moderation - Feedback
In reply to Deleted1929, 10 months ago

sjgcit wrote:

There is no Feedback Forum. There is a Feedback page where you send feedback to DPR. The link is at the bottom of every page.

The rules are linked to on the top of the forum listings AND in the text above the editor pane. I can see the link in blue ( embedded in a white on black text as I type this ).

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StephenG

ok I found it the rules

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Kendall Helmstetter Gelner
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On Excitement
In reply to bosjohn21, 10 months ago

bosjohn21 wrote:

more rules and stricter enforcment make for a peacful but unexciting experience

Watching buildings be demolished is very exciting.

But you can only do that so often before you have no city.

At some point you have to allow time for buildings, cities, and communities to be built.

Even if it's not exciting, more comes from it in the long run.

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bosjohn21
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Re: On Excitement
In reply to Kendall Helmstetter Gelner, 10 months ago

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner wrote:

bosjohn21 wrote:

more rules and stricter enforcment make for a peacful but unexciting experience

Watching buildings be demolished is very exciting.

But you can only do that so often before you have no city.

At some point you have to allow time for buildings, cities, and communities to be built.

Even if it's not exciting, more comes from it in the long run.

I dont understand the buildings being demolished reference. I am not advocating anarchy only pointing out how moderation can effect our experience. I prefer a more livly forum because I have developed a thinkish skin over the years others will feel more comfortable with strict rules and dicipline. but I what I think I am hearing is the general concensus is for less moderation rather than more I could be wrong I often am

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mehdrtr
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Re: On Excitement
In reply to bosjohn21, 10 months ago

bosjohn21 wrote:

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner wrote:

bosjohn21 wrote:

more rules and stricter enforcment make for a peacful but unexciting experience

Watching buildings be demolished is very exciting.

But you can only do that so often before you have no city.

At some point you have to allow time for buildings, cities, and communities to be built.

Even if it's not exciting, more comes from it in the long run.

I dont understand the buildings being demolished reference. I am not advocating anarchy only pointing out how moderation can effect our experience. I prefer a more livly forum because I have developed a thinkish skin over the years others will feel more comfortable with strict rules and dicipline. but I what I think I am hearing is the general concensus is for less moderation rather than more I could be wrong I often am

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John aka bosjohn21

I don't know what you're talking about. It's not like these forums could exist without moderation. I don't think that they were ever unmoderated and if they were surely nothing good came out of it.

As for liveliness, I don't see how they could be more lively than now. I think what we all want is a place that can be enjoyed in a friendly and adult way. This can only happen when everybody mostly agrees on everything and that's what moderators are for.

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Re: Moderator Note : For the record
In reply to bobn2, 10 months ago

Bobn2 wrote:

sjgcit wrote:

I didn't put any spin on the actions for the simple reason I didn't detail them.

I would respectfully suggest that your post did 'put a spin' on the actions. You said:

Posts in this thread have also been deleted because a very small number of members seem unable to accept that there are rules and they are not immune. Bans are an inevitable consequence for the more obstinate ones who ignore warnings.

So you are telling us that the cause of the deletions is people who seem unable to accept that there are rules and they are not immune.

I would hazard a guess that the people that you are talking about, whoever they are, may see the matter very differently from you. It is quite possible that they do not believe that they have violated any rule, and that the moderation that they have been subjected to is heavy handed and unreasonable.

I can see why you're confused. You seem like a good person, if with issues with authority, so I'll offer you a new angle that may help you  understand.

How would you know right from wrong were not for the preachers vested with special powers?

However, we shall never know, because they cannot put their side of the story the way things work here. that is what I meant by 'one sided'.

My post was simply to correct a false impression that no actions took place at all. They do.

For that action you should be commended, because it would be impossible for a mere member to make that point, because it is likely that their posts would be removed for violating the 'no talking about moderation rule'. In fact it is possible that this might actually have happened.

As for what "some people" think, I frankly don't care unless they're "some people" who write the rules. Moderators don't write the rules. Neither do you. And it's not a democracy either. The people who pay for the forum's running costs get to make the rules. Talk to them.

I would suggest, again respectfully, that any system where it is only the opinion of the rule makers that matters, and not those of the people subject to the rules, has gone deeply astray.

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Bob

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bosjohn21
Senior MemberPosts: 2,594Gear list
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Re: On Excitement
In reply to mehdrtr, 10 months ago

mehdrtr wrote:

bosjohn21 wrote:

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner wrote:

bosjohn21 wrote:

more rules and stricter enforcment make for a peacful but unexciting experience

Watching buildings be demolished is very exciting.

But you can only do that so often before you have no city.

At some point you have to allow time for buildings, cities, and communities to be built.

Even if it's not exciting, more comes from it in the long run.

I dont understand the buildings being demolished reference. I am not advocating anarchy only pointing out how moderation can effect our experience. I prefer a more livly forum because I have developed a thinkish skin over the years others will feel more comfortable with strict rules and dicipline. but I what I think I am hearing is the general concensus is for less moderation rather than more I could be wrong I often am

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John aka bosjohn21

I don't know what you're talking about. It's not like these forums could exist without moderation. I don't think that they were ever unmoderated and if they were surely nothing good came out of it.

As for liveliness, I don't see how they could be more lively than now. I think what we all want is a place that can be enjoyed in a friendly and adult way. This can only happen when everybody mostly agrees on everything and that's what moderators are for.

did you read the post he was replying too? I have followed this and many threads here about moderation the feeling I get from them is that folks want a bit less. Of course there must be moderation all we are discussiing is how much is a good balance. I think I made that clear

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John aka bosjohn21

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AllMankind
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Re: I think that is a bad idea
In reply to SigmaChrome, 10 months ago

SigmaChrome wrote:

It's not just the level of moderation, Kendall, it's quality of it too.

If moderation becomes over-zealous, lively discussion is suppressed. People need to feel that they can express themselves without their personality being policed -- censored. All this does, IMO, is to drive people away. Don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting that aggressive personal attacks should be tolerated, but I do think a moderator should suggest that a poster should use a more civil tone -- before they get too abusive. Simply censoring a comment is not necessarily moderating -- sometimes it is just 'butting in'. I really think a moderator's job is analogous to that of a chairperson, not a policeman.

Well said.  One of the big problems with the moderation on DPR is that it is over zealous and often heavy handed.  Combine that with snide remarks from some mods and you end up with a hostile atmosphere that will drive people away just as surely as troll and fanboy attacks.

Change is needed DPR.  Anyone listening?

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