Personal views in a Mod Post.

Yes, it’s another one of these. Sorry, all.

Here’s a question that I feel important to ask based on the current “looming crisis in human genetics” thread in GD. tomndebb makes a modly note at brickbacon;

It seems to me that tomndebb managed to stealth insult, likely entirely without active malice, several unnamed posters there. I was under the impression that, while it was acceptable to insult a group that may contain posters, it was unacceptable to insult a group that consists of only Dopers.

Oddly enough though, i’d say this was the lesser of the two problems. After some more general acrimoniousness, Marley23 makes another modly note directed to brickbacon.

Now, Marley clearly says he only agrees with **brickbacon’**s characterization of Chief Pedant’s posts, not of **CP **himself, so I don’t think there’s any rule-breaking per se. That said, it seems a bit unreasonable to me for a mod to put forth their own personal views on a debate in a post marked as moderation. When the mod hat is on, posts of, essentially, “I agree with you in part, but stop being a dick about it” seem a wee bit too much of mixing of roles.

The notion that some number of entirely unidentified posters might be racist on a message board of several hundred active members is hardly some amazing news or insight and hardly rises to the level of insulting any particular poster who has not been identified.
The point was quite clear that accusations of racism are directed at posters from various perspectives. Accusations of racism are often lodged against arguments supporting and opposing Affirmative Action, reparations, drug law policies, housing access, hiring practices, educational policies, and any number of social issues, to say nothing of the recurring discussions regarding the measure of intelligence among groups, and there is always an undercurrent among a few posters that those with whom they disagree are the “real” racists for holding those positions. My point is that the accusations serve no purpose in any discussion.

“Might” be racist seems a bit of a step back from “I have no doubt”. Note too that I didn’t claim you were insulting any particular poster; as I said, I was under the impression that it was verboten not just to insult particular posters but also to insult a group of people which consist solely of Dopers. Am I wrong, or perhaps it’s acceptable to insult a group consisting solely of Dopers so long as the insult is sufficiently obvious?

I understood your overall point, thank you, and would agree with it. Yet more reason I would say that calling some posters racist, even an particular group with unidentified members, is a good idea.

I went back to have a look at what I’d got the “no insulting only-Doper groups” idea from (I remembered that it was a conversation between CK and Shodan), but I didn’t remember which was the specific cite Shodan had used to make his point.

**Shodan’s **cite therein linked;

I almost always avoid making those kinds of comments when I’m moderating. I made an exception here because I felt the characterization was correct, and even Chief Pedant wasn’t arguing with it, and because if I’d made no acknowledgment of the content of the posts it would have lead to a longer argument about the rules.

brickbacon was asking, in essence, if it’s okay to call a poster a racist in Great Debates if it’s true, or if the poster acknowledges it. I think tomndebb and I agree that in both cases, it isn’t because it’s still a personal remark.

I think your understanding of the group insults idea is correct. But vaguely saying “many” people are racists is too vague to be a personal insult in my opinion.

It really bothers me. I don’t even like when twickster makes a comment on a thread and then in the same post, will do a mod action. And she’s not even being inflammatory. I think they should be separate all the time.

I don’t expect to get my wish anytime soon though.

One hundred percent in agreement with Anaamika.

If you’re gonna pull my car over for speeding, be sure you have your cop badge on you. But if you’re gonna come to my party, don’t be flashing no badge.

That’s how I see it.

Even though I clearly label which is which? Huh. I had no idea.

No skin off my nose, I’ll be happy to do separate posts if it bothers people. (Let’s face it, my post count is out of control, an extra post here and there ain’t gonna make a difference.)

Sorry. This really seems to be an odd claim.

The hypothetical statements
“Dopers who support Bush/Obama are idiots”
“Dopers who support/oppose Affirmative Action are racists”
“Dopers who believe/disbelieve in a god are fools”

are examples of insulting a particular group of Dopers. The support or beliefs are generally recognizable by any poster simply by reading any posts by any other poster. It takes no great perception to recognize that Polycarp is a theist or that Der Trihs is an atheist.
Noting that among the many dopers who post on various topics, some are racist, without identifying any specific group of Dopers or even providing identifying characteristics by which someone else could identify them is not insulting a “group” of Dopers. The only characteristic by which they could even be considered a “group” would be to identify them as racists–and there are too many conflicting definitions for such an arbitrary “group,” (which would include individuals with diametrically opposed positions), to be gathered into a recognizable entity or to assign membership by any poster to that supposed “group.”

Well, one reason it’s an odd claim is that I should have put a “not” in there, but oh well. :wink:

Actually, i’d tend to disagree with you that there are no identifying characteristics - in your hypothetical, sure, “many dopers who post on various topics” pretty much includes all of us. But to quote your post in the other thread again;

It seems to me that you were defining the group among whom were racists by referring to participants in threads such as the one in question, and Dopers who hold the “extreme views” on either end. To match your examples, that’d be “Any number of Dopers who participate in these threads are racist”, “Some Dopers who hold extreme views on this subject are racists”.

Honestly, i’d consider your claim to be the odder. It’s acceptable because the members of the “group” in question are too diverse to be identified? It seems like you’re saying the important thing is that the people who are being insulted (or onlookers) cannot tell who is being insulted. I mean, by this logic, it would seem reasonable for me to claim in GD, “Any number of participants who post in religion-debating threads are idiots”. And that I may claim that in the very thread the subject is being debated. So long as I am unclear as to who I assign to group X, so long as it is not obvious or common knowledge who belongs in group X, I may insult group X all I wish?

I can’t speak for tomndebb, but I don’t see it as a question of “too diverse to be identified,” but rather “unidentified.” If one says, “There are some Dopers who are idiots,” who – who, precisely – has been insulted? Who is going to take offense at that?

Context and intent matter, of course. To say “there are some unidentified Dopers (whose names begin with ‘Tom’) who are idiots,” is clearly targeting particular individuals.

Thanks! It’s like I said, when you’re flashing your badge, you’re a cop. When you’re a guest where I’m a guest, keep your badge in your pocket. Labeling is better than nothing, of course. But nothing is better than a single post in which you’re officially acting as a moderator.

See, what can happen — which isn’t to say that it happens with you — is that, even though you label the mod portion of the post, there are times when the user portion of the post is heavy laden with opinion. It can then look like you’re using your mod powers to sort of credentialize that opinon.

But a post with just-the-facts-ma’am leaves behind not just ambiguity, but other baggage as well.

I had a small concern that sometimes it LOOKED just a little bit like a mod would shut down a thread/issue warnings when he/she didn’t agree with/didn’t like a poster/the subject.

If I may suggest something: it might LOOK better if a mod should close a thread/issue warnings only if he/she has NOT posted in the thread. The posting mod could refer/report the problems to another mod. Admittedly then we could get accusations about how the mods stick together and cooperate in warning/closing.

While this is not a terrible suggestion, there are problems with it. All the Mods watch on the hours we have available. If a rules violation occurs–particularly one in which a thread is about to be disrupted–following this suggested practice would result in the posting Mod standing around watching the thread go to hell while waiting for a different Mod to happen to sign on and discover the problem. There have been any number of occasions when one forum or another has only had a single Mod watching it for a number of days or weeks due to real life obligations keeping other Mods occupied.

I suspect that the more practical solution is to simply continue the practice of publicly beating up any Mod who appears to have shown favoritism while Moderating. If a Mod was truly showing favoritism all the time, there would be a groundswell of voices from the TM to remove that Mod.

Sorry, Tom, but that’s a fallacious premise. If you (generally) are sutting down only the unpopular posters (like Carol Stream, for example), then there will be no groundswell from the TM. If on the other hand you were shutting down Polycarp, you’d be strung up and hanged.

It’s not that you can’t have posted in the thread. That’s impractical, as you say. But make your mod announcement, pronouncement, or decree clearly separate and apart from all your other posts by making it in a post of its own without editorial or expression of opinon about the topic.

You are responding to a different point of discussiion. The matter of Mod-as-poster comments appearing in Mod-as-Mod posts was one on which I was already challenged several months ago and I have made it a point to keep them separate since that time, (although it was never a steafy habit, to begin with). My current post was in response to the idea that a Mod should never intervene in a thread in which he or she participated and that is definitely not practical. It is also, in my opinion, not necessary, but that is a point on which some of us differ.

Ok–I saw one (and I can’t find the reference. I’ve looked) that was similar that went something like this:

Poster A- I think blah, blah and blah proves my case!

Poster B-Are the right-tards* who actually try to use the “blah, blah and blah” argument stupid or lying or both?

To me, that’s a clear violation of the rules. B is insulting A by attacking a group A just put himself into. To me, it’s much more narrow than “all Democrats” or “all left-handed Baptists”.

Like I said, I can’t find the post that had me wondering, but if I see something of that nature again, is it a rules violation worth reporting?


*It was something very close to that, but a search in GD (righttard, rightard, right tard) doesn’t call up anything. Certainly there have been examples of righties doing this the other way.

Allow me to support this–I’ve done some moderating on a smaller board and I was very much in favor of the “mods stay in their own forums except in an emergency*” and “Don’t mod in a thread you’ve posted in” theories. I’ve supported them on the Dope previously.

Heh–now that I’m actually doing it, Tom’s right. It doesn’t work. You’d need too many mods per forum.

*Posting personal info, threats of real violence, etc

That looks like a clear violation to me, too.
OTOH, if the remark was in regard to Right wing media types commenting on (responding to) a separate discussion when no actual posters had commented from the perspective of the Right, it might have been judged differently. Or, it could be that no Mod saw the post.

Whatever thread it was was fast moving. I’d bet that no-one saw it.