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A proposal to the moderators

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
I'm an infrequent poster but a frequent reader. I benefit far more from reading posts from all these folks than I contribute (at least at present as I'm still a newbie in this field and really don't have much to add beyond oohs and aahs).

Lately, there seems to have been a rash of bannings or self-imposed exiles. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons sound and unsound behind such. I'm also sure the transgressions cover a spectrum from the "straw that broke the camel's back" to far worse. In some cases, I imagine it's just emotions -- which everyone has though obviosly people express and act on them in different ways.

Perhaps the rules can be modified with something short of banning.

Though my suggestions may seem childlike, how about some moderation along the lines that some households work. For example, perhaps slight transgressions require some form of public service to compensate, e.g., small contribution to the forum fund to help the administrator with costs and better hardware and software? Some households do something like this when people curse. (My kids are going to college on this fund.) Likewise, perhaps flair ups should require some form of apologies (e.g., via PM or the like).

Just a thought. I just hate to see folks like aportnoy and sysdoc land others leave and even some of the goofballs like vaclav (though it sounds like he made a serious mistake). Perhaps a little modification to the moderation is in order.

Keep up the good work. I truly appreciate the forum.
post #2 of 60
This is one of a few forums I read regularly. The other is flyertalk, for frequent travelers. There they have suspensions. I think this is good, just a little time-out, as opposed to being banned.
post #3 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton
For example, perhaps slight transgressions require some form of public service to compensate, e.g., small contribution to the forum fund to help the administrator with costs and better hardware and software?

Fines?!?! Not only is this not in the spirit of an internet forum, but it leaves less money for people to buy stuff (aka doing research for the good of the forum).
post #4 of 60
Fines are, honestly, an utterly terrible idea. You'll do nothing to stop trolls and you'll drive away reasonable people. Temp bans and time outs do happen here. They've just been rare, lately, as most of the bannings are (I think) the result of some sort of secret forum war between SF and.. someone? Sadly, it's kind of working. New members who are probably legitimate are immediately treated as trolls (Holly may be a likely recent case of this; Martinis at 8 was the last, though he turned out to be asshole all on his own anyway).
post #5 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton
I'm an infrequent poster but a frequent reader. I benefit far more from reading posts from all these folks than I contribute (at least at present as I'm still a newbie in this field and really don't have much to add beyond oohs and aahs).

Lately, there seems to have been a rash of bannings or self-imposed exiles. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons sound and unsound behind such. I'm also sure the transgressions cover a spectrum from the "straw that broke the camel's back" to far worse. In some cases, I imagine it's just emotions -- which everyone has though obviosly people express and act on them in different ways.

Perhaps the rules can be modified with something short of banning.

Though my suggestions may seem childlike, how about some moderation along the lines that some households work. For example, perhaps slight transgressions require some form of public service to compensate, e.g., small contribution to the forum fund to help the administrator with costs and better hardware and software? Some households do something like this when people curse. (My kids are going to college on this fund.) Likewise, perhaps flair ups should require some form of apologies (e.g., via PM or the like).

Just a thought. I just hate to see folks like aportnoy and sysdoc land others leave and even some of the goofballs like vaclav (though it sounds like he made a serious mistake). Perhaps a little modification to the moderation is in order.

Keep up the good work. I truly appreciate the forum.
I/we appreciate the input. I would not consider a monetary penalty to be appropriate, but usually with sincere apologies people can come back, assuming they haven't done something that people will not forgive and forget. We do have timeouts and we are working on making a more standardized system for what transgression merits what punishment, etc. I'd rather not lose anyone (well, anyone who contributes anything worthwhile) forever either.

I don't know what has been going on lately, but for whatever reason we suddenly have had a rash of both random spammers and persistent trolls, and it sets everyone on edge, especially the mods and myself who can't just ignore it.
post #6 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton
I'm an infrequent poster but a frequent reader. I benefit far more from reading posts from all these folks than I contribute (at least at present as I'm still a newbie in this field and really don't have much to add beyond oohs and aahs).

Lately, there seems to have been a rash of bannings or self-imposed exiles. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons sound and unsound behind such. I'm also sure the transgressions cover a spectrum from the "straw that broke the camel's back" to far worse. In some cases, I imagine it's just emotions -- which everyone has though obviosly people express and act on them in different ways.

Perhaps the rules can be modified with something short of banning.

Though my suggestions may seem childlike, how about some moderation along the lines that some households work. For example, perhaps slight transgressions require some form of public service to compensate, e.g., small contribution to the forum fund to help the administrator with costs and better hardware and software? Some households do something like this when people curse. (My kids are going to college on this fund.) Likewise, perhaps flair ups should require some form of apologies (e.g., via PM or the like).

Just a thought. I just hate to see folks like aportnoy and sysdoc land others leave and even some of the goofballs like vaclav (though it sounds like he made a serious mistake). Perhaps a little modification to the moderation is in order.

Keep up the good work. I truly appreciate the forum.

Interesting idea, but I don't think that your proposed solutions would solve our current problems, which are not with transgression of forum rules, but with parties feeling that there has been some sort of injustice wrought against them.

There is a "time out" or "cooling off" system for minor or first time transgressions. Permanent bans are saved for habitual and deliberate troublemakers and those who just can't get along with others after repeated warnings. Self-imposed exites are a posters choice. In some cases, this has been the result of trolling against that poster, and we miss those posters.

Self-imposed exiles who leave the forum because they disagree with moderation judgements we can do nothing about. I am glad that aportnoy came back. I have found him to generally friendly and a good contributor. However, moderation is not an easy job, and often we must weigh the concerns of one member against that of another. Unfortunately, at least one party feels agrieved by our judgements. We try our best to be transparent in our moderation and explain why a certain action has been taken, but it is sometimes impossible to please everyone, nor is it our intent. It is a privilege, and not a right, to be a member of this community. An implicit part of being part of the community is to show proper respect for moderators' judgements. The moderators here cannot and will not be coerced into a course of action by a forum member.

Note that sysdoc is still a member of this forum. I hope that he will grow up and continue to be a contributing member. I cannot, however, make him do so. Nor can anyone else.

Fok.
post #7 of 60
Horton:

Appreciate your input.

WE do have a "time out" system. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.

The recent shoe flap is something everyone could have handled better, including MOST DEFINITELY me.

Most of the bannings, however, have been either spammers or members who have been banned before and are trying to sign up anew under different names. Often more names than one at the same time. You'd figure people would have better things to do with their lives.
post #8 of 60
Quote:
don't know what has been going on lately, but for whatever reason we suddenly have had a rash of both random spammers and persistent trolls, and it sets everyone on edge, especially the mods and myself who can't just ignore it.

It's been all hands on deck for damn near a week now...
post #9 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B.
It's been all hands on deck for damn near a week now...

Arg, ya scurvy dogs! All hands to starboard!
post #10 of 60
Thread Starter 
Perhaps some PMs or emails or solicitations from some of the appreciated (even if not universally) members who left may be in order to get their ideas. They probably have the most meaningful input.

I wasn't thinking of hefty fines and maybe it is a bad idea. But $1 in the curse bucket is a way of waking oneself up to cut down on foul language even though the $1 is rarely missed.

I've heard about the time-outs. They're a great idea. My only suggestion would be to not publicize the punishment of minor transgressions. Shaming should be a second tier punishment, not something for a first offense IMO.

Again keep up the good work.
post #11 of 60
Quote:
I wasn't thinking of hefty fines and maybe it is a bad idea. But $1 in the curse bucket is a way of waking oneself up to cut down on foul language even though the $1 is rarely missed.

Jon would have to take out a loan...

(Meant as a joke, not a shaming)
post #12 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton

I've heard about the time-outs. They're a great idea. My only suggestion would be to not publicize the punishment of minor transgressions. Shaming should be a second tier punishment, not something for a first offense IMO.

Again keep up the good work.

Well, that was the practice until recently, when anytime someone got a timeout, there was a rash of "Whatever happened to X" and "What did he do to deserve a timeout! Injustice!" which is why there is the "Transpatent moderation" thread on the General forum now. Sigh...
post #13 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton
My only suggestion would be to not publicize the punishment of minor transgressions. Shaming should be a second tier punishment, not something for a first offense IMO.


But some members wear their time-outs as a badge of pride.
post #14 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy
Arg, ya scurvy dogs! All hands to starboard!
There's the answer: we just have to run the forum like a pirate ship!
post #15 of 60
I hear ya horton, I know what you're talking about, but taken in context, the bannings have all been deserved. I think some sort of "fine" would work out in a sense of offenders getting fined for information. I.e. post a pictoral guide to antiquing or your ass is grass! However, it would be hard to enforce. How could we expect anyone to have the time and knowledge to really do such a thing? It is an absolute shame to see sysdoc, andrew portnoy and others leave and such, but correct me if I'm wrong - this had nothing to do with the moderators. The disputes between the members were between them and not us. Styleforum has been around for awhile, and it's no news that a lot of the members here are more pleased to participate in the social aspect of the site instead of doing research or asking immediate questions. With this, we've seen a lot more alter-ego trolling accounts, and I've noticed that attitudes have changed (perhaps some people just go bitter when they're bored?). I think we're at a point where people, especially when posting on a thread that has a high flammability, have to examine their behavior, ask themselves if it's really worth it to behave in such a way, and consider if they're helping the situation by posting. If it doesn't satisfy all three of these, just sit on your hands. If one can't manage these tasks but still insists on posting, then I think it would be best to see them go. In the thread about sysdoc's message, I read a lot of posts that I agreed with but at the same time thought that they were done in such a way that they just were not helping at all. Remember that you can read over everything you wrote *before* you hit "post reply." (Disclaimer: the above paragraph was not directed at anyone in particular, but is a reference to the attitude in general)
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