I think and hope that that is not the case here. At least I hope examples of it are few and far between. Disagreement is fine. It would be really boring if we all agreed.
I think it is when posts turn into something more venomous that there is a problem. In this very thread, I’ve tried to have a light touch because I think this can be a constructive conversation, but even in Sam’s long post there is rancor that I hope, in hindsight, he can see is rancor rather than just disagreement.
Unfortunately, the thing I referenced is the exact reason I left the forums in the first place. A perfectly civil discussion was interrupted by a moderator who felt it was not civil, who then turned around and deleted our conversation from the thread entirely. It’s been so long that I don’t completely remember what the topic was about or anything, but I’m sure comments leading up to the discussion are still in my post history somewhere.
I was very, very offput and disgruntled. I deleted everything I could off the forum and swore I wouldn’t come back.
There is a lot to unpack and go through here, Sam.
Thanks for providing an illustrative example of shame posting and for bringing your grievances and grudges forward.
The moderator(s) I’ve talked with about the direction you have decided to take this discussion believe it would be best to have a conversation about grievance as you set forth here.
Before I go into the topic of grievance and the topic of shame posting is set aside, I’d like to use your post as a learning moment for the community.
As an opener, you have decided to lead off your post by pointing out what you see as a grammar-incorrect and bizarre title.
Trying to shame a person for their grammar in a public and unprompted manner is a form of bullying.
With a community made of many ESL users, this type of behavior can lead to them feeling attacked, isolated and unwelcomed.
Shame posting is a concern, because bullying of fellow forum users will lead to consequences that chip away at the forum being a welcoming and inclusive place for those often marginalized and unwelcome by other communities.
The long and short of this issue is that bullying of this nature is not allowed here.
Which leads me to:
As @Gower stated: the guidelines for the community to follow are a work in progress. Bullying by shame posting is a practice that I did not think would occur here, and I’m sure it never entered the minds of staff or other moderators.
The good news is that once this occurred here, the process for updating the FAQ setting forth the guidelines as not explicitly allowing this type of behavior was put in motion immediately thereafter.
The bad news is that this takes time; staff needs time to review and approve such changes, and this is not instantaneous, despite the times we live in. Instant gratification is something that can’t be given with changes and updates to the guidelines.
I’m going to insert a question from another user here to clarify, then I will refocus on the rest of your post, Sam.
When it comes to bullying (which shame posting is a form of) there is no way for the moderators to know if the permission granted to bully was freely given, or if it were bullied given. Because there is no way to truly tell from a moderation stand-point, forbidding the action of shame posting in all cases is the fairest thing to do. That way there are no questions where the red line is.
Now, I guess would be the time to focus on a grievance that names me specifically:
The short answer is: Because the warnings issued are needed.
@Gower does a wonderful job at going deeper on this, saying things better than I, so I will just quote him:
In your particular moderated action, after several polite warnings were issued to you regarding off-topic and factually wrong information while ranting on the faults of American society, a last warning shot with clear consequences was called for. Two other moderators thought you deserved suspension, but I wanted to avoid that outcome if it were possible.
Multiple mods have noticed and commented on the fact that the tone and focus of many of your posts violate the “Be Kind to Each Other” guideline and the lack of respect you have for others in the community is a concern.
An example, not involving myself, is how you publically called out a volunteer judge in a contest here for providing you feedback that you found to be objectable. This volunteer took her time to read and critique your contest entry… not only that but she provided detailed feedback for you to use.
Sourness, resentment, deep-seated ill will, malice or spitefulness should be kept out of posts especially when directed specifically at another. The post you made regarding that judge had one or more of those aspects in it.
I’ve had similar experiences, and still do. What you’re saying probably isn’t going to change a thing, unfortunately, but know there’s a lot of us and no one blames you. It’s definitely a longstanding problem on this Forum. They will always respond with a positively-intended message as seen above, but will never acknowledge that everyone with authority sometimes oversteps. Appeals to this problem often go ignored, as well.
I try not to make snap judgments, which is why I haven’t mentioned the moderator by name, because I’m not trying to brigade this person. At the time, though, I was so, so unbelievably angry by the behavior I witnessed. I hadn’t seen anything like it since my teen years on a fanfiction website colloquially referred to as Luna.
I feel that, the vast majority of us are adults. That type of “listen to me or I’ll delete your comments” behavior is more suited to disrespectful children. I am both a mother and teacher - I can tell the difference between when I am being treated as an equal and as an inferior, or, as an adult vs as a child.
I understand that the FAQ are a work in progress, but in the 5 years I’ve been here, they haven’t really been updated more than, I believe, once, in any true fashion. Maybe it’s time for the moderator team to take a weekend and rehash what is and is not acceptable - both for the average user and for moderators/leaders, because they should have rules they’re held accountable to, as well.
I have updated that thread over fifty times since I made it, making small and large changes. It’s not really rules–these are my norms, but I think a lot of moderators use similar sorts of thoughts as they make judgment calls. Anyhow, I’m always trying to refine it and rethink it. I’m sure I’ll revise it hundreds more times.
I’m glad to see you back, even if it’s briefly. I noticed you were gone and wondered.
I’d also like to add, that whenever there are issues, such as animal torture being written into games that glorify and fetishes such behavior, that are not explicitly covered by the FAQ, that there is a review and update process which is triggered.
To my knowledge, this process has been triggered multiple times in the last couple of months, so hopefully, the FAQ will be updated as well as @Gower 's thread.
I just want to interject a few points into this discussion:
If a post you write seems to get a much stronger reaction than you expected, there’s a high chance that some kind of miscommunication is happening. It can be a really good idea to step back and critically examine whether your choice of words might come across more aggressive than you meant it. I know I’ve had to do so, and even have talks with people over PMs, to clear up misunderstandings.
Writing a response while you feel annoyed, has a very high change of using stronger language than you would use in other situations, and just escalate problems instead of solving them.
You can PM a moderator to clarify why they did something, and discuss it politely. Taking it without a word, or making a post to complain about it, are not the only options. I have personally done this.
We all have very different levels for what we are comfortable with. What some might see as a ridiculous overreaction to a small thing, might be the exact reason others feel comfortable posting here.
I’ll be up front and say I didn’t know that thread existed, so it’s good there’s something
Thank you! I’m not sure if I’m back permanently, since I’m still feeling things out, but I have missed the community
Now, I’m on my way out the door to an interview, so I haven’t checked the thread you linked, but are there currently any genuine appeals processes or guidelines for moderator/leader behavior, that users should know? As much as we would love perfection, there are still going to be times when a moderator takes a hasty or incorrect action, and it seems only fair that there’s some sort of system to prevent it happening, like user appeals, three strikes for mods, etc.
I was writing a long explanation why I don’t think it’s a great choice that is absolutely suitable for any occasion, but accidentally deleted it, so I keep it short: assuming for the people that they are hurt and their bullies should be punished while person isn’t hurt, can in some cases lead to said "protected " person be off-putted from forum by this. From my own moderation experience I know that is usually a very hard choice, though, so I can understand your position.
For what it is worth, I think punishment severity is the main reason this place is perceived as being over-moderated. While on the whole there are more stringent guidelines here than other forums I have been a part of, the actual number of bans seems to be no higher than usual, and might actually be lower. But the bans are often egregiously long, the sort of thing most forums would only employ for a user who had a long history of previous shorter bans and other issues. Default ban lengths should be measured in days and weeks, not years and, uh, millennia in some cases.
Speaking from a decade of experience here, short bans accomplish very little. People do not moderate their behavior after a short ban. If anything, they just come back with a chip on their shoulders. Short bans typically lead to long bans very quickly. Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion that short bans are largely pointless and just lead to more trouble.
Long bans give people the opportunity to grow and mature and subsequently return with a different perspective.
I would advise you to add info about it in the rules. I thought that bans here are short especially for people who made mistakes for the first time, and I’m unpleasantly surprised of hearing about “years and millenias”. While I’m not planning to break any rules, as I can see, it’s up to mods.
I imagined that it is some eldritch abomination that was banned for racism to a human race or something
And after a millenia it would appear here with words like HAHAHA MORTALS MY WAITING IS FINALLY OVER
By the way!
Discussing is a great tool in modding a forum. Usually if a choice is hard you can discuss it with other mods or even have a voting. It helps a lot and makes the forum safer for common users. I really hope you have such a system, and if not, I recommend it, since its really cool and useful.