A call for clearer moderation.

I know we’ve done this before, but, well, as long as it keeps happening. . .

Moderation is inconsistent. We all know that. You’re all different, you see minor violations differently, sometimes on different days of the week. That’s just how it works. I wager pretty much anyone taking on the job would be the same or similar. I get it.

What I’m having a problem with, though, is posters knowing what warnings mean, how serious they are, and so on. I know there are not really any hard rules regarding this, and I know that probably none will result from this thread. That’s ok, this is just for your consideration.

Weirddave was suspended. In the thread announcing it in ATMB, TubaDiva posts six threads as sort of a “case file,” leading up to the suspension. Tomndebb is doing a very good job of rationally answering questions in the current thread on that particular incident (hopefully this thread will keep the same tone…). However, I noticed an example which puzzles me, and so I’m asking.

Winston Smith started this thread in ATMB, stating that he had been warned and what does that mean? TubaDiva posted a satisfactory answer and also said:

All well and good, but look at the post Winston was warned in:

And the title is “Mod Warning:”

I realize it was from before these things got at least a little more standardized, but two of the six threads listed in Weirddave’s suspension thread (I know, they didn’t count, but they were still “on the record”) had no more of a severe admonishment than “Do not do this again.”

I guess it’s better that someone gets warned and it doesn’t “count” than to not get warned and it does count, but how are we as posters supposed to know what counts and what doesn’t, when “Mod Warning: . . .You have been warned.” doesn’t…sometimes?

You know you’re really in trouble when they say “I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record.”

I don’t think suspensions and bannings come like lightening bolts out of the blue. I bet it has a lot to do with how you respond to the Mods. I know for a fact that when I was new here I had way ore than three warnings. I always got an e-mail along the lines of chill the fuck out ya spazz. I responded with acknowledgement of my transgresion and apologies. At first I could not seem to go a week without Lynn justifiably slapping me down. I was never banned. I think the mods do a pretty good job of weeding the arogant pricks from the ignorant newbies just feeling their oats.

I think all the fretting about what warnings really count is much ado about nothing. With few exceptions heeding mod direction will prevent banning. I think how you respond to private commuication from mods has alot to do with the actions they take.

I might be wrong but thats how I see it.

Is there really a good reason why peoples number of warnings count isn’t visible in their profile. I know it may lead to the ocasional “Why hasn’t X been banned yet” thread. But if X really does have a large number of warnings against them (more than people who have allready been banned) the question is valid. It would also allow people to know for sure if they are on unsteady ground so they have no excuse that they didn’t know they were risking susspension.
At least allow people to know privately how many official warnings they have had against them, if they so request.

'Course the best way to deal with this is to not do anything that can result in a warning. No warnings=nothing to “count”.

What he said.

I’m always amused at threads like these. I have multiple warnings, and I couldn’t care less. Why? because I don’t go looking for trouble, and people know that.

Get a rep, get the boot. That’s really the bottom line.

And the number of actionable warnings vary from poster to poster. Look at how many warnings Collunsbury, december, and Aldebaran racked up before ultimately given the boot.

You all seem to be answering a question I’m not asking, namely, “How can I avoid getting a warning or getting banned?”

“Get a rep, get the boot.” I know.

“[don’t] do anything that can result in a warning.” I know.

“… heeding mod direction will prevent banning.” I know.

I’m not looking for information on how to “skirt the line” or whatever…I’ve been here seven years, I’m aware of the rules and the niceties of mod interaction, and have, to my knowledge, (taking a guess. . .) less than two official warnings. I’m just asking for information or clarification.

Perhaps it would be helpful for me to clarify my question: Once an admonishment is given, how is one supposed to know how much weight it carries, given the examples in the OP?

This issue was raised a while ago (I don’t remember exactly how long – sometime in the last year) and we agreed to clearly label official, goes-on-your-permanent-record warnings in order to distinguish them from unofficial moderator growling. Since then, all mods are now supposed to explicitly include the word warning in every official warning message, either in the title (e.g. Mod Warning) or in the message itself (e.g. “this is a warning”). If you get admonished by a mod without either of these labels, you can safely assume it’s not going on your permanent record.

Yes. To death.

Yes, it will. And no amount of “calling for clearer moderation”, questioning judgments, or whining is going to change that.

Then why, for the love of Pete, do you need to ask nitpicky, senseless questions that have been asked hundreds of times before?

A warning is a warning. There’s no special grading system, there’s no magic number, there’s no time limit. All there is is repeated, dogged, and really fucking annoying whining about it. Constantly. Endlessly. Tirelessly.

I don’t mean to single you out Garfield, but this thread is the provebial straw, and, you knew it before you posted it. You knew it’s been done before, you knew moderation is, and will always be, inconsistent, and you knew nothing good could come from it. What do you want? A Terrorism-type warning system?

Caution, you’ve been warned! You are now at moderator warning level Puce. Any further warnings will raise that level to Red, unless it is a type 2(b)(I)(6) admonishment, in which case, it will be levelled out at Fushia. Consult Section 35(d) of the Moderation handbook for further details.

Buncha fricking nitpicking whiners, the lot of you.

Perhaps they could do it in a different font size?

Like Warning for a first offence, then

Um. Fuchsia is spelled F-U-C-H-S-I-A, not F-U-S-H-I-A…

I wasn’t aware we were answering anything.

I’ve asked for a clarification on Winston Smith myself, as I read the post to indicate that he was being yelled at/cautioned rather than being issued a formal write it up count against you Warning.

It’s analogous to the cop talking to you rather than writing a ticket; that’s how I interpreted Skip’s post.

If that’s incorrect, of course I’ll 'splain accordingly.

When we find a violation of rules we would prefer it that people listen to what we have to say to them in a cautionary way, straighten up and fly right, and we have no more problems accordingly. More often that not that’s the case.

It is rare that we have to warn someone formally/write them up. It’s even rarer that we have to do this over and over again for the same person . . . and often the same offenses. When that happens, then we have to do something else. That’s the whole enforcement situation in a nutshell.

For the overwhelming majority of our communty members, this is not an issue. It never has been an issue. For the few that have, I dunno, conflicts of one kind or another with forum rules, with being asked to do different/better, for those with an agenda/axe to grind/problems, there are enforcement actions. Removal from the board is a last resort and a place most people never know about.


What I think is strange here is the talk of what goes on your “permanent record.” As long as all the posts here are archived, everything you have ever posted is on your “permanent record.”

I know I have seen threads where the mods have discussed the decision process in regard to banning/suspending people, and they talk about reviewing their posting history to find patterns of behavior.

As others have mentioned, it’s not really possible to apply objective/quantifiable criteria to a very subjective process. A lot depends on the severity of the offense, not the number of times it was repeated.

I asked almost exactly the same question yesterday in this post, pointing out the different types of warnings that seem to get saved, and the apparent arbitrariness of the process.

I got a response from tomndebb which made some good points, but didn’t completely mollify me.

I responded in turn, making the following point:

I was also concerned with the issue of how long warnings stay active. As i said:

In response, tomndebb said:

That seems reasonable to me.

I’ve never been personally affected by any abitrary or capricious moderation, and i think that the mods do a good job. I also think that most people who get suspended or banned deserve it. For me, it’s more a concern over exactly how they balance issues of transparency and consistency, on the one hand, with the need to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, on the other.

Is there somewhere we can go to view our Official Warnings? That way, if we’re going to go on a rant, we can check first to determine how full of piss and/or vinegar we are free to be.

Surely it’s:

Anyway, I post on another board which has a formalised warning level system. Everybody has a little warning bar under their name (only visible to the individual concerned, and to the mods). It’s expressed as a percentage, and you’ll “cop a 5%” for a typical transgression of a minor nature, with larger ones getting more. Bannage at 100%, and warnings do expire after a while. The rationale is that it provides a consistent record of precedent when a mod is deciding how to deal with a particular matter. But I don’t like it. It’s too rigid, and doesn’t take into account individual circumstances. I’m used to the SDMB’s clunky, vagues system. It pisses me off sometimes, but I kinda like it.


Mmmm. Mushrooms.