Can we discuss recent trends in moderation?

I do not believe I am alone in perceiving a recent trend towards more active moderation in several respects - accompanied by some changed rules. Has there been any public discussion of this apparent trend? Is such a discussion appropriate? If so, is this the correct forum?

Some types of examples can be seen in threads here, where people ask why threads were closed, or why warnings were issued. It seems as though mods are more eager than in the past to shut down “hijacks.” And nascent threads have been closed for being “too Pitty.” At first it seemed to me that just a couple of mods had become VERY quick on the trigger, but more recently it seems to be more common across all of the fora.

I was not personally aware of the need for such changes - but I am not the best at paying attention to administrative notices that I feel do not immediately concern myself. Were the reasons announced and the changes explained?

These fora are still the best online place for discussion that I am aware of, but I was just wondering if we could discuss what we perceive - and perhaps be informed what was decided by whom, how, and why.

On edit - drat, I thought I was in ATMB. Flagged to be moved.

I have noticed this too.

There is, of course, absolutely no chance that in the current climate of political angst, or zeitgeist or whatever is the appropriate meme (alas, I’m too old and antipodean to be able to keep up) that the OPs and posts have merited closer moderation.

I’d think ATMB would be the place to be, as always.

Yeah, wrong forum.

Yeah - in my OP I acknowledge this is the wrong forum, and that I’ve asked to have it moved. Apologies.

This place was built on a crass, funky, funny alternative newspaper column. I don’t think that energy should be forgotten.

There’s a level of crass, funky, funny that you can do in a low volume newspaper column that’s vetted and edited, but which becomes high risk if a couple of hundred people try emulating it in interacting with each other and newcomers.

Current moderation is just fine.

What a nice thing to hear. Thanks. :slight_smile:

I’m in the wrong frame of mind to comment extensively on this, so I won’t. But I will say a couple of things about hijacks.

First, hijacks come up more in P&E and GD than other forums because OPs are often narrowly framed. The OP wants to discuss a particular thing, they take their time to put their OP together, and then someone comes along and has fun with their thread and it gets out of hand. Moderators have the task of deciding when a hijack goes too far. Not an enviable task.

Second, someone is always going to be irritated when we make calls about hijacks. Call it too soon and we’re spoil sports. Call it too late and the OP is upset because their thread got derailed.

In P&E, we’re agreed we’re focusing on the updated and good rules left to us in 2020 by Jonathan Chance. Hijacks were his number one concern. Personally, I understand why.

My philosophy re hijacks is, I don’t mind if they run on for a few posts. But when more people join in with the hijack and pay less and less attention to the OP, then I’m going to act. Posters should be mindful of this and do their best to pay attention to mod instructions already given in a thread. An easy way to do that is to examine posts of moderators within the thread. You can do a search of just What_Exit or raventhief or Aspenglow from the OP, and if it’s a fast-moving thread where you don’t want to review the whole thing, that’s a quick shortcut to see if you’ve missed a mod instruction.

Which brings me to my last point: You have the same 3 moderators in both P&E and GD. It’s always going to be one of us moderating in these fora except on rare occasions. Because P&E and GD are where we tend to moderate more heavily for hijacks based on reasons stated above, you’ll see it more than in other forums where hijacks are not only allowed but in some cases, even encouraged.

I can’t say I’ve noticed a lot more moderation re hijacking in other parts of the forum, but maybe I’ve just missed it.

This is an intentional change.

It used to be that if a post was too much of a Pit-style rant, we would just move it to the Pit. In a lot of cases, this had an overall negative result. Either the OP did not want their thread in the Pit, or the regular Pit folks did not consider it to be Pit-worthy. Our Pit mod (Miller) requested that we stop moving threads to the Pit because of these issues, so now we instead close the thread and offer the OP a choice to either leave the thread closed or to have it moved to the Pit.

Overall, this seems to be an improvement, so we are keeping this change.

There have been two other similar changes that are also intentional.

First, we used to move threads to GD if they seemed like they were a debatable topic. In recent years, GD has been moving towards more formal debates, and moving threads there also started to be problematic. So now it is much more likely that the thread will be moved to IMHO instead, where people can still give their opinions and have a bit of debate on the topic, and GD is reserved for things that are more properly framed as a debate from the outset.

Second, it used to be that all “witnessing” type threads were just summarily moved to GD. This also caused problems, so witnessing type threads are now moved to whatever forum seems more appropriate for that particular OP and thread.

I wasn’t commenting solely about P&E and GD. I’ve perceived a lot of more active - and IMO somewhat inconsistent - moderating in IMHO, and possibly MPSIMS.

I remember back when going to the Pit could pretty much sear your eyeballs. While that didn’t really bother me, I’m not all that concerned w/ the milder Pit. I don’t spend too much time there anyway.

But there was a political thread where folk were talking about some idiot’s flag patch, and after maybe 4 comments talking about display of the flag, a mod saw fit to add a note. That was quite a wide open thread. I didn’t see any reason why a few comments about flag decals were risking derailing any tight discussion.

I perceive the benefit from being quick to cut off REALLY offensive stuff - racism, hate speech, misogyny, and likely a few others. But ISTM that there is more active moderation for a much wider range of potential perceived slights. I don’t know how thick of skins or how fragile our community is expected to be.

And there is more of the “wrong format” sort of moderation. Such as a GD post being closed because it inadequately sets forth a position. Or the hypersensitivity to certain comments in “breaking news” threads.

I’m happy to make these boards “kinder and gentler.” But I personally think it has been going a tad far. Do you lack the tools to discipline the truly “bad actors” such that you need to crack down across the p=board?

Yeah - I guess my observation is that I disagree with how “too Pitty” is determined, and I perceive it as applied inconsistently.


Can you link to some threads to show this inconsistency?

It’s also not 1973. I’m okay with the current moderation.

A lot of things that were acceptable a decade or two ago are no longer acceptable now. We can’t use the standards of the past to moderate in the present.

People aren’t exactly jumping all over themselves to hang out with stuffy, self-important, senior citizens. “Boob” got a mod note for being crude. Slug drew and published a picture of a lady peeing on someone’s face. I think we can find a middle ground that embraces the spirit of the column while recognizing changes in society.

Nothing personal to the mods. It’s a thankless job. I might be just one of the younger people who has been around for a bit.

The flag stuff was at the end of this. When someone posted the candidate’s photo, I felt it wasn’t out of place to make an observation. I know those sorts of threads tend to get somewhat wild, but I think this was an example of a mod being quick on the trigger.

Re: the inconsistency, I’m glad to say not petty enough to keep records of such perceived actions. I noted a couple of them after I was told I was too Pitty in a thread I tried to start about Brittany Griner. And then later, another thread was started asking why there was no thread on the topic. Around that time, I perceived a couple of other threads that either set forth their premises aggressively, or that simply raised an issue hoping for a discussion, without sufficiently setting forth a debate position.

If that is the position, I think it should be stated VERY clearly. Over the past while I have been trying - and generally succeeding - in modifying my thoughts and actions in several respects. Te world has indeed changed. But that doesn’t mean that I feel EVERY expressed sensitivity warrants changing policy. I’m a big fan of people using words to discuss their disagreement.

And I wish to echo my appreciation fr the mods. I would not participate in an un-modded board. I just wished to discuss my perception that modding has been becoming increasingly heavy-handed.

I also acknowledge the POSSIBILITY that what I am perceiving is, in fact, a reaction to changed posting behavior on MY part. It is possible that I’ve been crankier and less diplomatic in recent years than before. But I have perceived more active modding WRT posters other than myself as well.

I have two major complaints about the moderation.

First, there is too much aggressive behavior on this site and the mods don’t always note it. I feel like too many posters are looking for an argument they can win, rather than a discussion they can learn from. That is, we need more mod-notes to tone down aggressive posters. Given “fighting ignorance”, focus more on the latter than the former.

Second, there aren’t enough moderators. Many hands make light work. The moderation here has its own culture, which I think is a good one, but they’ve set standards that are difficult for themselves to meet. This site needs moderation and I wouldn’t post here without it. Moderation is one of the site’s advantages and it needs to be strengthened.

…exactly how much clearer do you really need this to be exactly?

It’s not as if this board is the only place that doesn’t use the standards of the past to moderate in the present. That’s pretty much how things work pretty much everywhere. Things evolve. That’s just the way everything works.

I am deeply sorry that my quick comparison wasn’t accurate with regards to the demographic realities of the board. :roll_eyes: And I’ll have you know I’m a self-important, middle aged non-citizen!