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eG Forums Moderation Policy Discussion: Fall 2013


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#1 Chris Hennes

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 09:41 PM

In the "eGullet and Food Writers" topic members and staff began a discussion of various forums moderation policies: that discussion picks up here. Since forums moderation is the whole point of the topic, discussion of it is of course allowed, though normally it would not be. That said, this is not a venue for discussion of particular individual moderation decisions, but rather big-picture policies, and the Member Agreement applies in all other ways. Discussion of individual moderation activity is not permitted, and will be deleted. It is my sincere hope that we can focus on the future, rather than the past. While there are no doubt many who feel they've been moderated unfairly in the past, or that various past rules were inappropriate, the intent of this discussion is to focus on how we can improve, rather than to reminisce about "the good ol' days."

 

We are currently evaluating two changes to our hosting policy, the first related to a modification of the registration procedure's "Personal Statement" and the second to allowing for more extensive digressions from the main topic during discussions. Our intent is to implement and evaluate (perhaps in small scale) these changes during Fall 2013, and then open a new discussion about the results in December. Until then, our volunteer staff will not, in general, be participating in this discussion; it is primarily a place for members to discuss and brainstorm potential changes.


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#2 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 12:48 AM

Having the advantage of being in a different time zone I'll be the first to start off the new thread as a continuation of the old one.

 

First, I must say that I'm glad that management in the form of Chris seems to be listening and, perhaps, willing to make changes.

 

I am a bit surprised, however, that we haven't heard anything from our leader, Mr Scanlon. I might have thought (hoped) that he would have made some input by now. You don't lead by not participating.

 

In general, however, I'll look forward to seeing how the discussion continues and will contribute if I think I have anything worthwhile to say.


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#3 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 06:13 AM

And right off the bat I'm irritated. In the previous thread, the discussion was about how eGullet has changed, sometimes not for the better, and how moderation has led to a deadening and narrowing of topics, in some folks' opinion. But it was a wide ranging discussion. Now that one is locked and we come here to be scolded: we are NOT to go off topic, we are NOT to talk about anything except what is allowed, we ARE not to talk about the past.

Let some air in, please. And don't threaten to rap our knuckles with the ruler.
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#4 Alex

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:22 AM

And right off the bat I'm irritated. In the previous thread, the discussion was about how eGullet has changed, sometimes not for the better, and how moderation has led to a deadening and narrowing of topics, in some folks' opinion. But it was a wide ranging discussion. Now that one is locked and we come here to be scolded: we are NOT to go off topic, we are NOT to talk about anything except what is allowed, we ARE not to talk about the past.

Let some air in, please. And don't threaten to rap our knuckles with the ruler.

 

I was thinking precisely the same thing, Sylvia, but you have faster fingers. Or a faster brain. Or both.

 

Based on my one contact with him, Chris seems like a nice guy, and I'm sure he's not being malicious here, but I think that he--and quite possibly all of management--are simply tone-deaf about this issue. I'm all for solutions rather than rehashing old grievances or complaining about particular individuals. However, there's a good reason why we old-timers--at least those who are still here--might want to post about the "good ol' days." And mgmt should be willing to read those posts, and learn from them.


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#5 annabelle

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:50 AM

Well said Sylvia and Alex.

 

The problem as I see it is the over-controlling nature of Administration toward the membership.  Since all of the newer rules and codicils were implemented (I won't respeak them since they have been covered by those of us with a grievance) management is more interested in following the letter of the law than the spirit of the law.  The idea that allowing a natural conversation to take place is somehow anathema to discussing food is ridiculous.  In the same way that a college professor may meticulously plan a lesson for the day, the lesson may spark an idea that catches fire with the students in a way that the planned lesson never would have and is indeed only tangential to the planned lesson yet is still ON TOPIC.  It doesn't mean that nothing is learned, it means that the initial approach to the topic was wrong for the audience.

 

I see management as cozening its control over who can say what to whom and when as a power trip dressed up as "running a tight ship".

 

I urge all to watch "Mutiny on the Bounty" to see what comes of those sort of actions.


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#6 Bill Klapp

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 10:27 AM

Look, I understand Chris's desire not to go to war a second time on a given specific issue or decision, but if a serious general complaint needs to be illustrated with a specific past example, I say have at it. Chris, I was co-moderator of the Italy board many years ago, and I find the complaint that moderation is stifling this board to have merit. I do not pat myself on the back at all for this, but years ago, when the country forums were a good deal more vital than they are today, there was a particular Francophile who, instead of contributing to the French forum, came over to the Italian forum to rant about how lame Italian cuisine is compared to French, and how no cuisine that included a pasta course could be taken seriously. With a lot of help and continuous PM encouragement (mostly from moderators!), I laid waste to him logically over the course of many days, and had a hand in driving him off the board. That is NOT what we want for our daily bread here, but if you seek out that thread, you will find a vigorous, interesting debate where a bunch of sane, knowledgeable people shouted down a persistent moron (who ultimately confessed that he did not even eat pasta, due to a wheat allergy!)

The truth is that every blog, chat room or subject-matter-driven board that goes the "no thread drift" route goes to hell by slow turns. Indeed, in my humble opinion, the absence of meaningful, vigorous debate and the obsession with political correctness has destroyed American democracy. The country was founded by a bunch of argumentative loudmouths! Ad hominem attack is another matter altogether, and that is a line that must be drawn at some point. However, the occasional snarkfest can be a great thing. There are a few too many mutually reinforcing stuffed shirts around here. (I may well be one of them.) But in a forum of such incredible expertise and experience and strong and passionate opinions, you do not want to get in the way of the discussion with always subjective and sometimes arbitrary moderation. I know firsthand what a pain in the butt the job can be, but less is ultimately more. Argumentative threads die. Grownups have their say and then walk away from pissing contests. The litmus test is probably holding off until PM complaints about one or more posters flow in in paying quantities.

Ask yourself this: if Gordon Ramsay shows up and declares his undying love for eGullet, but starts ruffling feathers and dropping the "f"-bomb now and again, is anybody going to kick him off of the island? Nah. And if people mix it up here a little now and again (sans "f"-bomb, I think) and provide information and entertainment, why not? MC has its disciples, deservedly so, but obsessing over the finer points there can get mighty dry and technical. EGullet needs that, but it needs more, and it needs it as unfettered as humanly possible...
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#7 sigma

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 01:20 PM

I agree completely.  The only that that keeps us sane is criticism from our peers, and sometimes that criticism deserves to be a bit harsh.  If you never hear it because it is deleted so as to not hurt feelings you end up in your own personal echo chamber where everything shows how right you are, and that hardly leads to a thriving community.


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#8 Tri2Cook

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 02:18 PM

I'm not going to go into my opinions on what I think should or shouldn't be in regards to the amount of moderation right now... but, whether the moderating is heavy or light handed, it needs to be consistent. The problem with following the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law is that it allows moderators (who are human as well) to have their personal opinions, thoughts, feelings, etc. play a part in the moderating decisions with the additional perk of being in a position to enforce their opinion without being answerable to anyone. Basically, without the requirement to follow the letter of the law, there's nothing moderating the moderators. I'm much more comfortable with having my post deleted because it violated a rule (regardless of whether or not I happen to like that particular rule) than having it deleted because a moderator decided it didn't fit their personal definition of what they want to see in the forums.

That said, I'd rather see eGullet moderated into extinction than have it turn into a clique-ish pissing contest where people can verbally pile onto anything they don't agree with and browbeat the other idea/thought/opinion/etc. into submission. I disagree completely that anything related to food discussion requires "harsh criticism from our peers". No, it doesn't. Eat what you want to eat, drink what you want to drink, cook how you want to cook, think about food/drink/cooking the way you want to... and then extend that courtesy to others. It's okay to disagree and even express that disagreement, it's not okay to try to make another person feel inferior or embarrassed because what they do doesn't measure up to someone else's standard.


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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#9 dcarch

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 02:33 PM

--------That said, I'd rather see eGullet moderated into extinction than have it turn into a clique-ish pissing contest where people can verbally pile onto anything they don't agree with and browbeat the other idea/thought/opinion/etc. into submission. I disagree completely that anything related to food discussion requires "harsh criticism from our peers". No, it doesn't. Eat what you want to eat, drink what you want to drink, cook how you want to cook, think about food/drink/cooking the way you want to... and then extend that courtesy to others. It's okay to disagree and even express that disagreement, it's not okay to try to make another person feel inferior or embarrassed because what they do doesn't measure up to someone else's standard.

 

 

I agree 100% +100%.

 

In the many years of participating in many forums of different topics, invariably criticisms always lead to instant pissing shouting name calling matches. 

 

Criticism is not the same as suggestions.

 

dcarch



#10 annabelle

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 02:36 PM

Be that as it may, Tri2Cook, that is exactly what happens.  The "rules" are enforced in an uneven manner.  That is why I said on the now locked thread, that either everyone is held to the same standard or no one is.  Right now, we have a subset of privileged posters who regularly mock those with whom they disagree.  Suggestions are taken as criticisms even when they are not meant that way.

 

Moderate away, but make sure that the standard used applies to all.


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#11 Tri2Cook

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 03:04 PM

Be that as it may, Tri2Cook, that is exactly what happens.  The "rules" are enforced in an uneven manner.  That is why I said on the now locked thread, that either everyone is held to the same standard or no one is.  Right now, we have a subset of privileged posters who regularly mock those with whom they disagree.  Suggestions are taken as criticisms even when they are not meant that way.

 

Moderate away, but make sure that the standard used applies to all.


We're in agreement and I know it happens. I was respecting the request to stay within the realm of the future. It's the only thing that can be changed. Moderating is a thankless job, one I wouldn't want to do. The only people you hear from are those with complaints. Nobody thinks what they have to say should be considered in violation of the rules. And the moderators are human, so it's not an easy task to completely separate themselves from their opinions. If there's a clear-cut letter of the law style of moderating, they should be able to be taken to task for moderating outside of their jurisdiction or unevenly. If they can't be taken to task for it, then the system is still flawed. I'm not expressing any opinions on what is or was, just, as was asked, what I think should be.


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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#12 annabelle

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 03:15 PM

Thanks for the clarification.  I kind of thought that was where you were going in your earlier post, but just wanted to make sure.

 

Fwiw, I have never reported another member for anything.  A jerk is a jerk is a jerk and popular opinion will cull them from the herd.  Even if it seems to take forever at times.  Like many others, I have a thick skin so insult me and snicker to your merry band of idiots and know that I know exactly what you are doing and that I'm not taking the bait.*

 

*that is a generic "you", y'all, so no one need unduly take umbrage.


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#13 quiet1

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 03:40 PM

It seems like there are two primary areas of concern regarding the moderation policies?

 

1. Where do you draw the line with criticism? If someone is wrong, wrong, utterly wrong, and being a jerk about it, and people inform him of how wrong he is, do they get moderated? How do you handle that if things are getting a bit heated so people don't feel driven out or jumped on if they're not part of the right group? I've been on the internet enough to know that this is a real issue, but I think it's also tricky for moderators because some social self-policing seems to be part of creating a community online (based on totally unscientific observation.) Perhaps because you feel more invested in the community if you feel like you have some role in determining what it's like to be a part of?

 

One forum I know of deals with things getting a bit heated by bringing in more than one moderator to assess and discuss the situation, so they get more of a variety of perspectives before taking action. In the event that something is going on when more than one mod isn't available, then those posts are put into essentially time out - the thread is locked pending more moderators being available to read and discuss. Often after the mod discussion the thread is unlocked again, but possibly with some of the more inflammatory elements edited out of the posts with a note that the mods have made the edit for that reason. It seems to work pretty well even for highly inflammatory topics like religion or politics - I think the time out period helps in that it forces people to go and do something else because they can't continue the back and forth, and often when people return they've chilled out some and can converse more sensibly.

 

2. Topic drift in a thread - how much is okay? A recent example came up in the thread about a water tasting menu, where there was an admittedly off-topic diversion of a few posts that wandered into talking about the weird drinking habits of pets - the off topic posts were removed, but actually I had been thinking about it more, in relation to animals and sense of smell and taste, and probably would have edited one of my posts to add questions that would have directed things back to being on topic. Without the diversion, I don't think I would've been thinking about things from the angle that resulted in the questions. (I haven't actually posted since because without the off topic posts the questions seem like they'd be coming kind of out of left field. I suppose I could summarize the removed conversation to give the necessary context, but that's a lot of work for a thread about water.)

 

But that's what I see as part of the value of letting threads drift - unless it's gone wildly astray and has nothing whatsoever to do with the original topic, often it does result in people thinking about things from a different perspective or reminds people of something, or otherwise stimulates the conversation and you end up with a discussion of the original topic that may not have come up without the drift. As I said in the other thread about moderating - one thing I've seen be successful elsewhere in managing topic drift is rather than an all or nothing approach, mods will as needed politely post a reminder to bring things back to the original topic - sometimes with a question or comment relating to the topic that helps redirect, but not always. Often people will successfully redirect themselves when reminded to. (If the topic drift continues then the thread is either split - if the drift is still on topic for the board - or if necessary the thread is locked. The posts that go off topic are rarely deleted entirely.)

 

Just some thoughts for people to consider/kick around.


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#14 Arey

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:04 PM

I have to agree with quiet1.  There has to be a limit to how far a topic is allowed to drift. To give an example which is non food related, unless you're a pleco catfish, on a garden pond forum a thread was started about controlling algae in garden ponds. It drifted so far off topic that one poster posted pictures of their Boston Terriers latest batch of puppies.   The next few posts were about how adorable the puppies were. Now I love Boston Terriers, and puppies don't come much adorable than Boston Terrier puppies what the h**l have Boston Terrier puppies got to do with controlling algae in garden ponds? 


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"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson


#15 gfweb

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:07 PM

Airedale puppies are much more adorable. Drifting.......
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#16 Bill Klapp

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:59 PM

I'm not going to go into my opinions on what I think should or shouldn't be in regards to the amount of moderation right now... but, whether the moderating is heavy or light handed, it needs to be consistent. The problem with following the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law is that it allows moderators (who are human as well) to have their personal opinions, thoughts, feelings, etc. play a part in the moderating decisions with the additional perk of being in a position to enforce their opinion without being answerable to anyone. Basically, without the requirement to follow the letter of the law, there's nothing moderating the moderators. I'm much more comfortable with having my post deleted because it violated a rule (regardless of whether or not I happen to like that particular rule) than having it deleted because a moderator decided it didn't fit their personal definition of what they want to see in the forums.That said, I'd rather see eGullet moderated into extinction than have it turn into a clique-ish pissing contest where people can verbally pile onto anything they don't agree with and browbeat the other idea/thought/opinion/etc. into submission. I disagree completely that anything related to food discussion requires "harsh criticism from our peers". No, it doesn't. Eat what you want to eat, drink what you want to drink, cook how you want to cook, think about food/drink/cooking the way you want to... and then extend that courtesy to others. It's okay to disagree and even express that disagreement, it's not okay to try to make another person feel inferior or embarrassed because what they do doesn't measure up to someone else's standard.


This, it seems to me, is the politically correct view. I'm OK, you're OK. No clash of ideas is worth the risk of interpersonal unpleasantness. it is structuring children's games and sports so that there are no losers. It does not address the problem sometimes confronted here. If there is a cliquishness, and I think that many perceive that there is among a handful of jaded old-timers, its members sometimes come from a place of self-importance and even arrogance and mild dismissiveness. Seems to me these are the folks that can stand being taken down a peg or two for the good of the order. People asking honest questions generally get respectful, detailed, helpful answers. I do not see much in the way of, "My, what a stupid question!" People in the know shine for the good of all most of the time. The friction comes when somebody presumes to be in the know and discovers after a few contrary posts from those REALLY in the know that he or she is full of beans and has been called out for it. If the moderator can see that the subject individual is full of beans, why stop the discussion? The good news is that the situation does not come up that often, which, to me, argues in favor of self-policing unless and until the debate of facts or opinions turns into personal attack unrelated to the subject matter.
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#17 huiray

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 06:03 PM

"Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it"

...and variations upon it.

 

George Santayana.


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#18 Tri2Cook

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 06:16 PM

 

The friction comes when somebody presumes to be in the know and discovers after a few contrary posts from those REALLY in the know that he or she is full of beans and has been called out for it. If the moderator can see that the subject individual is full of beans, why stop the discussion? The good news is that the situation does not come up that often, which, to me, argues in favor of self-policing unless and until the debate of facts or opinions turns into personal attack unrelated to the subject matter.


If it's pointed out that the person is full of beans and why and the person accepts that, the problem takes care of itself. If the person doesn't accept it but can discuss it rationally, the problem takes care of itself. If those scenarios don't happen, what's going to be accomplished by allowing 10 pages of people telling the person "you're full of beans" while the person gets more and more defensive until it escalates into nastiness? It's not at all about everybody being a winner. It's a food forum. Nobody wins or loses, not because of political correctness, but because there is nothing to win or lose. I'm not a big fan of self-policing on internet forums. Or rather, I'm not confident in most people's ability to do so. I think there's plenty of evidence in existence regarding people's (in general) (in)ability to moderate themselves on the internet when nothing is forcing them to. The fact that the situation doesn't come up often here could be tied to the fact that it's not allowed to happen. It gets stomped out before it gets out of hand and everybody knows that. Those that don't know it find out quickly. But I'm not asking anybody to agree with me, just throwing my 2 cents in the bucket as requested.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#19 nonblonde007

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 06:43 PM

I have not posted in EG for a long time, but read it daily.  One of the reasons for this, is because it has become so "Politically Correct" that it ceased to be a wonderful place to have open debate and discussions about things we love, and became an editted kindergarten playground, where all win and none could possibly learn something new.  If frank discussion is squelched, there can be no growth. The last time I checked, we were all adults, and able to choose not to read something that didn't please us.  I understand, that cursing and such, should be limited, and personal attacks be stopped.  But for goodness sakes, we are adults here and have the ability to press the "x" if something offends us personally.  Lets not let my adored Egullet become a nanny state. 


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#20 Shelby

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:03 PM

I have not posted in EG for a long time, but read it daily.  One of the reasons for this, is because it has become so "Politically Correct" that it ceased to be a wonderful place to have open debate and discussions about things we love, and became an editted kindergarten playground, where all win and none could possibly learn something new.  If frank discussion is squelched, there can be no growth. The last time I checked, we were all adults, and able to choose not to read something that didn't please us.  I understand, that cursing and such, should be limited, and personal attacks be stopped.  But for goodness sakes, we are adults here and have the ability to press the "x" if something offends us personally.  Lets not let my adored Egullet become a nanny state. 

HI!!!

 

You are exactly one of the "ones " that I think of when I say that people have left eGullet.  I always loved reading your posts.

 

Just making sure that you've read this thread, if you haven't, please do, it's what started this whole discussion:

 

 http://forums.egulle...d-food-writers/


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#21 nonblonde007

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:08 PM

"Hugs Shelby"

 

I will, and thank you.  : )


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Brenda



I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

#22 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:46 PM

Other than moderating for foul language or interpersonal nastiness, and for keeping way off topic stuff tamped down, I think there should be as little moderation as possible.  If things wander a bit, why is that a problem unless the participants start feeling like topics become free-for-alls and stop participating?    My preference would be to let things fly a LOT more and to limit moderation to stepping on egregious behavior.   

 

Being a bit repetitive but explanatory:  I hate that comments deemed off-topic are poofed away.  If things are going too off the rails, I can see a moderator stepping in and asking folks to get back to the topic or lay off the dog stories, but disappearing those posts seems almost Stalinist or something.


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#23 annabelle

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:55 PM

I feel the same way.  A mod could simply post a "let's get back to talking about X" and have a boiler-plate statement appended about not beating a dead horse.  But keep it short. 

 

Several forums I have participated in have a rule that is similar.  If you get warned too many times you get a PM to watch yourself.  That's usually enough to get people in line without being Disappeared.


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#24 Bill Klapp

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 12:16 AM

 
The friction comes when somebody presumes to be in the know and discovers after a few contrary posts from those REALLY in the know that he or she is full of beans and has been called out for it. If the moderator can see that the subject individual is full of beans, why stop the discussion? The good news is that the situation does not come up that often, which, to me, argues in favor of self-policing unless and until the debate of facts or opinions turns into personal attack unrelated to the subject matter.


If it's pointed out that the person is full of beans and why and the person accepts that, the problem takes care of itself. If the person doesn't accept it but can discuss it rationally, the problem takes care of itself. If those scenarios don't happen, what's going to be accomplished by allowing 10 pages of people telling the person "you're full of beans" while the person gets more and more defensive until it escalates into nastiness? It's not at all about everybody being a winner. It's a food forum. Nobody wins or loses, not because of political correctness, but because there is nothing to win or lose. I'm not a big fan of self-policing on internet forums. Or rather, I'm not confident in most people's ability to do so. I think there's plenty of evidence in existence regarding people's (in general) (in)ability to moderate themselves on the internet when nothing is forcing them to. The fact that the situation doesn't come up often here could be tied to the fact that it's not allowed to happen. It gets stomped out before it gets out of hand and everybody knows that. Those that don't know it find out quickly. But I'm not asking anybody to agree with me, just throwing my 2 cents in the bucket as requested.

We are absolutely on the same page regarding there being no need for 10 pages of full of beans, and while the line between a little snarkiness and nastiness is a subjective one, nastiness for its own sake accomplishes nothing. Before we get to that point, I would hope that one or posters would chime in with "enough already", or if not, that is where a moderator can do some good by saying, "OK, we have established that most find X's position full of beans. Can we move on?" That is vastly superior to closing threads and deleting posts. If people on the thread refuse to move on after a time, THEN action may need to be taken. However, people occasionally pounding each other with fact and logic, as happens daily in almost every endeavor out in the real world, is the lifeblood of good online forums. Thesis-antithesis-synthesis, as it were.

Another point about deletion: it too often seems calculated to "protect" somebody or something. Silly to say it this way, I know, but it has the effect of saving face for people who may not deserve it by "destroying the evidence" of the stuff that was being spewed. It keeps the broader audience from making its own judgments regarding X's "bean content". (I apologize that beans, as delicious and nutritious as they are, are taking an unfair beating here!) On occasion, bullies are being protected, and there are times when the bullies are, in fact, the moderators. Finally, while there may be nothing to lose, I think there is, in fact, something to "win" by full, thoughtful and unfettered discussion, which is quite often the arrival at a superior way to accomplish something and/or debunking of urban myths or out-and-out BS. Sometimes the process gets a little self-righteous around here, and sometimes ego balloons can stand popping. I am suggesting that there is too quick a hook on that on eGullet, and it suffers for it. The ability of eGullet to attract new members may also suffer, but I readily concede that if, on the flip side, eGullet is perceived as a verbal war zone, members could also be lost. I find that most U.S.-based boards, chat rooms, etc. harbor a small number of whiny types who want to dictate and censor the thoughts and words of others so that any unpleasantness can be avoided. Such types rarely contribute anything of substance to discussions. Too busy refereeing. And like sports, calling the game too closely ruins it. It is why everybody hates referees! Your last few sentences are flat out scary. Stalin, Hitler, Saadam Hussein, take your pick, all got where they got because "it got stomped out and everybody knew that", eh? Hardly the same human impact here, but EXACTLY the same principle...
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#25 Nicolai

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 01:14 AM

I just love the way such discussions are taking place under the guise of you can select any colour as long as it is black! LoL.

In other words: We, the High and Mighty, are authorizing you, the Proletariat, to air and discuss your grievances for as much time as we think is fit lest we get bored of your blurb.

 

I would like to mention "en passant" that egullet is composed of different nationalities with one common English language.

 

And here is the crux whereby the English of Brits is different from the Americans and from French - German...etc.

I am not talking about spelling but about "Tournure de Phrase".

 

To simplify as example, the way the Brits write is different from the Americans and I raise my hand in sometime not fully understanding the American twist of the sentence.

This has lead to embarrassing situations on other boards with moderators of different nationalities.

 

The humour or sarcasm or irony of the British English is most of the time lost on other nationalities not well versed in the language of Shakespeare!

 

For the Brits, a disaster is termed as a bit of a problem and a cut in the finger is called a tragedy.

 

Please give some leeway to English speakers with little English vocabulary or different English vocabulary.

 

We do not "always" write acerbic posts!

 

So by all means do moderate but with the longest stretch of the word.


Edited by Nicolai, 08 September 2013 - 01:31 AM.

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#26 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 01:55 AM

Nicolai. I wholeheartedly agree. The old cliché about Britain and America being two countries separated by a common language is very true.

 

As an American who lived in England for 15 years and who has been married to a British woman for over 20 years I can say that we still have language difficulties at times.

 

Now, if one thinks of other nationalities who participate on eGullet and whose native language is not English the probability of misunderstanding rises exponentially.  .

 

And, finally my real point. That is that not all of us a are comfortable with putting our thoughts down in a written form. I see quite a few posts where what I read is not exactly what I think the writer had in mind. We should all read posts with that in mind.

 

As for moderation I think that as adults we can be trusted to deal with malicious posts most of the time. We can & should either respond in a civilized manner or ignore the poster entirely. That usually stops things very quickly. Moderators should only step in in very bad situations and even then a PM to the offender(s) should be the first response.

 

And let us all wander a bit before declaring us to be off topic and starting to delete things. So long as the topic remains food or food related matters why stop the discussion? Occasionally it may be of use to split the wandering into another thread or two, but deleting should be a last resort.

 

We still haven't heard from the boss. Does he exist? Does he care? 


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#27 liuzhou

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 02:42 AM

It isn't so much malicious posts being deleted that annoys me. In fact, I've seen very few of those (perhaps because they were deleted!)
 
What annoys me is totally innocuous posts being deleted. On one thread about Chinese New Year food traditions, when New Year's Day actually came around, I said "Happy New Year" in a post. It was deleted and I got a stern patronising warning lecture from senior management for being off topic and breaking the rules.

I nearly quit posting then, but decided not to let the idiocy ruin the pleasure. It still rankled though.
 

Edited by liuzhou, 08 September 2013 - 02:43 AM.

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#28 Bill Klapp

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 03:50 AM

It isn't so much malicious posts being deleted that annoys me. In fact, I've seen very few of those (perhaps because they were deleted!)
 
What annoys me is totally innocuous posts being deleted. On one thread about Chinese New Year food traditions, when New Year's Day actually came around, I said "Happy New Year" in a post. It was deleted and I got a stern patronising warning lecture from senior management for being off topic and breaking the rules.

I nearly quit posting then, but decided not to let the idiocy ruin the pleasure. It still rankled though.
 

A good point here, which is, once something is deleted, only the direct participants in the deleted thread and its readers know that it  has been deleted.  And there have been instances here of purging the "offending" posts and leaving an innocuous and useless thread that no longer really hangs together behind.  That smacks of censorship and/or ego-tripping on the moderator's part.  If moderators are going to use the blue pencil, there should be no editing of threads to suit your own friendships, politics or purposes.  Lock the thread and leave it intact, or (much worse, but better than editing) kill the entire thread.  Otherwise, you are playing favorites, pure and simple.  If you need to moderate, leave a trail of what you did and why.  It lets all involved know what constitutes acceptable posting behavior here.  If somebody posts something that is questionable on its face and is called on it, you do not get to delete the posts of those who called BS and leave the posts of the BSer intact.  That happened here quite recently.

 

One other critically important point:  those that post are paying to play here.  That spigot can be turned off just as quickly as it was turned on.  I do not say that to lead a boycott or make a veiled threat.  My point is only that if you take money to allow access, you assume a duty to your members that arguably would not exist if the board were free and open to all.  In that case, it is the website operator's ball, and he or she is free to palm it all he or she likes.

 

I suspect that sums up my thoughts on the subject...

 

P.S.  I have not been ignoring the excellent posts above.  In the interest of time (mine, today!), I have merely read, absorbed and tried to build on the themes being developed here.  I hope that eGullet management appreciates that these are not the voices of a tiny band of malcontents.  People who are not posting here are privately "liking" some of my points.  These are the voices of people who care about the future of eGullet, and I think would like to see it preserve the best of its own past while creating an environment for positive and interesting future growth.


Edited by Bill Klapp, 08 September 2013 - 03:57 AM.

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#29 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 04:13 AM

It isn't so much malicious posts being deleted that annoys me. In fact, I've seen very few of those (perhaps because they were deleted!)
 
What annoys me is totally innocuous posts being deleted. On one thread about Chinese New Year food traditions, when New Year's Day actually came around, I said "Happy New Year" in a post. It was deleted and I got a stern patronising warning lecture from senior management for being off topic and breaking the rules.

I nearly quit posting then, but decided not to let the idiocy ruin the pleasure. It still rankled though.
 

I agree, but one person's  innocuous may  well be another person's malicious.

 

I recall a thread a few years back where I got involved with somebody who got very malicious in the end and in this case didn't get moderated. Had to just quit to finally stop it. Like you it nearly caused me to quit and in fact I didn't post much for quite a while after that.

 

I think my point is that we as adults should be allowed to handle the vast majority of 'inappropriate' posts without intervention. 

 

A happy 4711 to you. 



#30 dcarch

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 04:15 AM

I have not been following this topic completely, if this has been discussed, I apologize.

 

I find it a problem. on some topics, when a member asks a question about something, someone, and not necessarily a Moderator immediately comes around and post "Yes, this has been discussed here on this thread "xxxxxxxxxxxx" , all 578 posts.

 

First, I am not going to re-read all 578 posts, second, this complete discourage posting new ideas from other members.

 

Please, there is not one topic that has not been discussed in this forum before, and don't yell at someone who asks a simple question to use the "Search" function.

 

dcarch 


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