About moderation - Feedback

Started Jun 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,679
Excerpts From the DPReview Moderator Handbook

Simon Joinson wrote:

I will eventually put this in the public domain, but let me give you a few quotes rom the handbook to give you a taste of how the more ambiguous rules are interpreted.

5. Be civil.

By far the biggest source of complaints - and moderation activity - come from the breaking of rule no 5. We operate relatively light moderation on our forums, and we tolerate ‘robust’ arguments and conversations. Problems arise when users post simply for the purpose of antagonizing other users (or groups of users), when they repeatedly target the same people, when they resort to name-calling, swearing, baiting and trolling.

Flaming/bashing/Trolling/baiting entire forums is surprisingly common, and can be either overt (posting ‘canon sucks’ in a canon forum, for example) or more subtle. You’ll see a lot of complaints from some members offended by any negative comment about their chosen brand / product. most of these are actually innocent.

Trolling, Flaming and Baiting

We want to encourage free, open exchange of ideas and opinions in our forums, and our light-handed approach to moderation is designed to help, not hinder conversation. We tolerate a fairly robust level of interaction, and do not consider arguing to be a problem, per se. but we do want to maintain a level of civility and to avoid personal arguments drowning out constructive interactions.

What we won’t tolerate is behaviour deliberately intended to provoke reaction, to cause argument or to personally insult other members. Although a lot of trolling is obvious, the more experienced trolls work in ways subtle enough

that it can be difficult to identify intention behaviour by reading a single post. They needle away at their targets until they provoke a response strong enough that it is the target that ends up being moderated, and possibly punished.

It is therefore important to (i) intervene early in these cases and (ii) to look at the context (past conversations, posting history) of both parties before making any decisions. It’s not uncommon for such battles to result in a permanent ban for the instigator (the troll) and a temporary ban for the victim (since they broke a rule). We want to avoid victims of trolling getting so worked up they risk losing their posting rights.

Flame wars are hard to moderate because, as mentioned, it can be hard to determine exactly who is to blame, who started it, and what caused the disagreement in the first place. This is why we place importance on early intervention and why we moderate ‘victims’ if they break the rules.

Allowed: These do not, in themselves, normally require moderation unless they are part of a systematic trolling attack or occur after a warning has been issued.

  • Disagreements The key thing here is to keep the conversation civil and to avoid threads descending into flamefests. Arguing / debating and a little sparring is fine if it doesn’t get too personal.
  • Complaining about products/pointing out flaws
    You will see a lot of complaints about posts with perfectly valid content that is critical of a product/brand/feature etc.. The assumption seems to be that any non-complimentary comment is trolling. It is not. The key thing here is intent, and it’s usually obvious if someone is trolling.
  • Posting picture threads in camera forums
    Generally these don’t upset other users if they relate to the forum topic (i.e. are taken using a relevant product)

Not allowed: These are the kind of posts you should delete and potentially take action against the poster:

  • Swearing: [...that is total sh!t...], [...Canon fcked up the SX20...] [..STFU..]
    Since most swearwords are blocked expect characters to be replaced/removed
  • Personal insults: [..this guy is a moron..], [...your pictures are crap...]
    About or to any other member. Includes baseless accusations of lying/shilling etc..
  • Brainless Brand bashing [..Canon is for losers..], [...Nikon makes crap cameras...] Specifically in a trolling context (i.e. in a forum where such posts would constitute flamebait and are designed purely to provoke a reaction
  • Offensive text / image content (racist, homophobic, pornographic, gore, NSFW etc.) This includes offensive usernames, avatars and signatures.
  • Thread stuffing
    Trying to close out a conversation by posting empty messages until the count hits 150
  • Harassment
    Includes revealing other users’ personal information (including private correspondence), starting threads to attack another user, derailing threads by dragging old arguments into unrelated conversations.
  • Nonsense posting (aka drunk posts)
    Attempting to derail conversations by taking them off-topic, posting gibberish or making ‘jokes’

Simon Joinson, Editor-in-chief

The above text is excerpted from this post: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50943454

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