Jim_B's Note should be upgraded to a Warning at least

If we claim to respect the autonomy and judgment of mods to give warnings, then we must also respect when they choose to consult with their peers in council.

This is just the decision about issuing a warning they’re talking about. Certainly seems like they thought they needed to vet a simple warning. When they’ve been doing the job for 11 months now.

No, I don’t think I “must” respect that a mod who’s been one for almost a year is paralyzed with inaction over such an obvious call. One does not entail the other.

It speaks of a culture of fear of criticism in the mod staff against using their own initiative to take action against super-obvious trolls and jerks. So much for new brooms.

It does explain much about the moderation of bigots and trolls here (see also: the “deliberate racism” thread that got crickets from all but 2 of the mod staff) But as a poster, I don’t have to like that status quo.

I’m absolutely in favor of firmer and faster moderation, but in this case I think you’re being unfair and more than a little unkind.

I can’t sign on with going that far. It’s a legitimate criticism, despite the clear frustration behind it. I think the mods are taking it a bit more personally than it was intended.

I myself usually try a more moderated approach, but I do notice how often that approach seems to result in my being ignored. And I share his frustration about the bigotry thread that only two mods would get on board, even if I see this thread as a sign things are moving in the right direction on that front.

For sure. It’s not a criticism of Aspenglow, it’s a criticism of the moderation process. If that’s too personal, that’s a problem. I see them (especially all the new ones) as some of the victims of system, here.

There should be an update on the bigotry thread soonish I believe. It is still be discussed. I would guess next week. But I can’t be sure or actually provide any more information than that.

Sorry, but I fully acknowledge some things do move slowly here.


It had the appearance of being a criticism of Aspenglow’s moderation. I did think that was unfair as I stand by my statement she did everything right, including indicating in the initial modnote that there might be more to come.

Is that discussion somehow preventing individual mods from making the same kind of statement yourself and puzzlegal made?

See my edited post, above.

FWIW I think I understand what MrDibble is saying. I took it as he felt it was unfortunate that the mod felt they had to vet their decision because they were the newest one.

She didn’t say because of this specific post or content, or just because she wanted to be extra sure about something. Getting guidance from the mod loop is never a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be because a mod is nervous about acting independently in general.

I think MrDibble is saying that unnecessary caution is because posters can be pretty harsh in criticisms of what they think are bad decisions.

Now it’s likely that Aspenglow didn’t mean it as much of a blanket statement and there was something about this situation that made them want additional feedback, but I also went “hmmm, that’s not quite right” when I saw it.

She’s a terrific mod and I don’t think anyone is criticizing her at all.

Yep, exactly. There shouldn’t be seniority in the mods (after a couple months probation).

Individual mods should dish out warnings. Sure, yes, there’d be an ATMB thread likely as not - trolls and bigots don’t go quietly (yes, nor do us lefty agitators) - that’s good, that’s the system working. And a chance for the rest of the posters to weigh in.

I see this. I withdraw the ‘unkind’ sentiment but not the ‘unfair’ one.

I might agree in a different context, but Aspenglow (rightly) called out the thread as hate speech. That’s not only a strong and appropriate response, but it’s a stronger response than we might’ve had at various points in the past.

If Aspenglow wants to consult with the Galactic Senate before deciding on precisely what actions to take about said hate speech, that’s her prerogative.

In the future, I hope she’ll feel more comfortable going full stompy jackboots with the best of them, but it’s not my prerogative to arbitrate her comfort level. The mods are a distinct community which I’m not a part of, so how can I reasonably comment on how and why they decide to take things to their loop?

There isn’t.

Agreed. I was just chiming in because I thought people were misinterpreting what MrDibble was saying. Mods seeking guidance based on their judgment that it’d be helpful is fine. Seeking guidance because they don’t feel empowered to make a warning without guidance, is not.

I do doubt that Aspenglow actually feels she can’t make decisions on her own, but I can see how her post could be read that way.

But MrDibble doesn’t need me as a defender, so I’ll leave it at that.

Absent the later warning for said hate speech, it’s not a strong response at all. Closing the thread was a slightly stronger response, but that has way less effect like a warning does.

You don’t think the populace are allowed to have opinions on how the watchmen conduct their business?

That’s not what it looks like at all. More than one mod has mentioned (here and in PMs) being/feeling new, in talking about consulting the modloop. That may not be official seniority, but it’s the same effect.

I hope. I was afraid that one had simply fallen down a hole and would be ignored.

I do find it very good (and unusual) that these boards allow and have a place for public discussion of moderator actions.

That’s a good decision. It’s like getting a written writeup at work. No matter how many verbal warnings a person gets, it is not until it is official that some realize, “Oh crap, they really are serious.”

Yes, I do see MrDibble’s intent was primarily to criticize a perceived flaw in the system, but I prefer to focus on outcomes rather than intent.

The positive outcomes were:

  • The post was explicitly called out as hate speech.
  • The poster was giving a warning.
  • The poster was given a topic ban.

Of course we can. I didn’t intend to suggest otherwise.

If our wish is for a mod to feel empowered in situations like this, it’s more productive to be supportive of good outcomes than to criticize the approach and tell them their feelings are wrong. They’re still humans, they have voluntarily taken up a very difficult job, and it’s unfair to make them defend themselves for taking a ‘measure twice, cut once’ approach when the shirt they made ended up fitting just fine.

I think you’re losing the forest for the trees in this one.

But do @ me the next time somebody’s hate speech is allowed to slip past with just a mod note and no further action. I’ll bring the torches if you bring the pitchforks.

The second two only happened after my initial comment here.

This is the “Everyone gets a trophy” style of mod criticism, and I’m not down with it. Note that this whole conversation has been about my initial, pre-warning post.

I was supportive of the good outcome.

And then people came for my original post.

They could have made the shirt quicker, more emphatically, and nearly everyone with any taste and style would have loved how they made it (as the accompanying Pit thread shows).

Are you taking credit for it?

WTF? No, I’m saying it had no bearing on my initial criticism of the mod system.

Okay, so what do you want us to do about it? Forbid new mods to mention that they’re new? There’s no seniority system at play. That’s explicitly part of the rules for moderators. If there’s a disagreement between moderators that can’t be settled by talking it out, we’re supposed to go to Ed about it. None of us have any authority over any of the rest of us. I am, I think, the most senior mod, and I can’t command or correct any other moderator. I can offer advice and the perspective of experience, and some mods - God help them - see that as valuable, but that’s the extent of my influence.