Should moderator actions be in public or in private?

Is this something that has actually occurred?

Yes, to me

Is there some context or evidence? This is a fairly extraordinary claim that if brought up, requires some level of evidence.

Well, if a moderator wants to talk to me about it, they are welcome to contact me privately.
Yes, there is proof, the post itself and the private message in which I told said moderator where he could go and what he could do to himself when he got there, but I’m not posting my personal FB information here.
I’ll be damned if a moderator from this board is going to tell me what I can and cannot do on other sites.

How does a moderator of these forums have your personal facebook information to begin with, and what specifically did this mysterious unnamed moderator “tell you to post or not post” on Facebook?

I disagree. Moderation should be mostly public. Unless we want mainly day-trippers and a very small core membership, and overworked mods. Public moderation serves as a reminder of the rules. It also makes discussion of moderation easy and common, which is desirable (within limits).

Hiding moderation away means people get fewer reminders of what the rules are and a much more skewed idea of how common moderation is. It also raises the threshold for participating in discussion of moderation. In a “moderation is mostly private” scenario if I get moderated for something and want to discuss it I have much less of an idea of if I’m being singled out, and so does everyone else, except for the moderators.

And yet forums with thousands of more members than us handle moderation privately every day.

Remember that the mods are volunteers and are normal people with normal personality quirks. At one time there was a mod who sent PMs to lots of people saying this as a joke

Obviously that’s not something that is condoned by the SDMB admins, but that can happen with a volunteer mod team.

People here share a lot of details. It’s not impossible to pick up a few clues that lead to someone’s FB page because they did something like post a link to one of their FB photos of their dog. If someone, mod or not, wanted to harass someone on other sites, it can happen.

Forums with thousands of more members than us are also completely different in many other ways. I’m seeing no good arguments for why moderation should be private on this one, and I’m not going to go and familiarize myself with a representative number of larger forums to evaluate whether they have made the right choice by making moderation private.

I mean I have done that, not for this purpose, but just in my ordinary “web life” I participate in lots of other forums. I frankly think the moderators of this board do more work and produce worse outcomes than any moderation staff of any forum I post on.

I 100% do not think this is because the mods are bad, I think it’s because the paradigm is bad. It’d be like if I tried to mow my lawn with a pair of moustache scissors, the result would not be good but I’d be doing far more work than anyone on my block. I think the moderation paradigm here creates a huge work load and poor results, frankly.

Are you arguing for less vigorous enforcement of board rules or for less public enforcement of board rules? Or less rules in general?

I mean I consider myself an intelligent man, if you asked me to write the current board rules in a 1 page word document I could not. The rules are not incredibly well documented, and are spread among a bunch of pin posts, and some rules have fallen into disuse over time, while there’s also lots of informal rules. A typical high quality subreddit has a side bar with maybe 4-8 listed rules, and that’s enough to run forums with hundreds of thousands of members.

I think the rules should be more specific, simpler, more rigorously enforced and with a very set escalation that results in a “lengthening suspension” model of punishment. If people can’t behave they’ll get longer and longer vacations. I think moderation should not be something that is commonly either asked for or alluded to in a huge number of threads, and the moderators shouldn’t be “holding court” in topic threads or in ATMB on a regular basis. High level discussion of sweeping board policies might still have a place, but most individual mod decisions don’t need community involvement under a more regimented framework. I think part of the reason it is felt we need that now is most of the moderation of these boards is so subjective that a lot of decisions are basically based on what side of the bed the mod woke up on that day, but that is something you can mitigate by firming up and codifying the rules better.

Most other forums are subject-specific, and tend to be much easier to moderate than boards like this which deal with a lot of contentious issues.

Simply put, the problem with mostly private moderation is that there is mostly no accountability. I agree with what @naita said up in post #26 about the benefits of public moderation; I also agree with @codinghorror that a robust discussion of moderation strategies and decisions contributes to a healthy community, but I disagree on the matter of private moderation because in order to have the kinds of discussions we have in ATMB, moderation decisions have to be visible to the community. It’s no coincidence that the boards I’m familiar with that practice private moderation also strictly prohibit any complaints about moderator decisions, anywhere, at any time. That’s not my idea of a healthy community for general discussion.

And my experience is frankly the exact opposite.

That which is jerkish to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole of the Rules, the rest is commentary.

This is my sense too. The forum that I manage has two moderators and we moderate privately (usually). I agree that the mods are good but the legalistic paradigm is bad. It creates work for the mods.

Which is applied on a sliding scale the closer one gets to the pit.

From my, limited, reddit experience, a typical subreddit has a narrow focus and one of the rules is “stick to this overarching topic”. That simplifies things a lot.

Places where discussion can get more contentious, even if on topic, presumably have more complicated rules. For instance r/religions first rule expands to include this:

“Bigotry of any kind is not allowed on this sub, this includes racism, sexism, religious prejudice, unfair/inaccurate criticism of religions, ignorant comments, etc. This includes links and copy/pastes from pseudo-intellectual conspiracy theory sites.”

Seems open to just the kind of discussions and disagreements that we have here, but with less opportunity to hash them out.

Besides I see there’s a " To ex-athiest what made you a thiest ?" thread that’s been up for 5 hours without anyone making an “athy, ahtier, athiest” joke. If that doesn’t tell you everything about what reddit-moderation leads to I don’t know if you can be helped. :wink:

I’ve said this elsewhere but in the community that I manage, the first tier of behaviour modification (I won’t say “punishment” because I think that’s the wrong paradigm) is to send a quiet note privately (“We don’t say that kind of thing here. Here’s why.”). We try to avoid confrontation and use language that emphasises the desired behaviour rather than condemning the bad behaviour.

Second tier is to put a poster on moderation with a private message to explain why. This serves two goals: it heads off the desire to escalate and it’s mildly annoying to have all your posts moderated (though not as annoying as being suspended) and the transgressor is highly motivated to get back on the straight and narrow.

I will grant that our members are less conflict-oriented than most members here and the topics of discussion are (usually) less contentious. But we put someone on moderation perhaps one per month (in a significantly larger community) and ban someone perhaps once per year.

I highly recommend that the SDMB consider the “back on moderation” as a first or second step. Perhaps the the Discourse Trust Tiers could be leveraged in some way.

Mods have said? One ex-mod said that the Pit helped with Socks, but…

I am not sure all Modding needs to be private. Group Notes have to be public.

And of course we could question, and the Mods could show that they issued Warnings for this post and that post etc. I do not see why you even thought that they could not mention the warnings when they banned someone, it would be easy to do.

And i am not saying all Moderation has to be private, but I know that at least with myself, a nice request would work ten times better than a nastygram in public. Of course, maybe for some Mods that is the idea- they want to publicly shame the supposed transgressor.

They also do not allow personal insults, I bet. We are just about the only one. The sop thrown to rename the titles of the Pit threads is not enough- just stop the personal insults there.

I like this.

What is the problem we’re trying to solve by making moderation private? I see the benefits of public moderation are that other posters are made aware of what is frowned upon, and we have transparency in understanding why someone has been suspended or suffered other consequences. The downside is when people gloat.

Are there other downsides? If it’s only gloating, we could put a stop to that and still retain the benefits.