What's the meaning of a moderator non-warning?

There have been examples of moderators making posts in whcih they specifically state that they are posting in their role as a moderator and also state that they are not issuing a warning. So what exactly does that mean?

As an example, let’s say I don’t like President Obama and begin referring to him as Barry O’Bama every time I mention him.

Now a moderator comes along and posts:

What happens now if I disagree and decide to continue using Barry O’Bama in my posts?

If the moderator comes back and takes more substantial action, I’m going to be justifiably pissed off. I was specifically told that I was not receiving a warning of a rules violation. If I had been warned, I would have stopped doing it, regardless of whether or not I agreed with the decision. But absent a warning, I assumed what was said was just a matter of opinion which I was free to disagree with.

Or would the next step be an official warning, telling me to stop calling the President by funny names. If so, then isn’t a non-warning really just a preliminary warning? Essentially saying “I’m not officially warning you yet but if you do it again you will be officially warned” - and if so, why not just issue the official warning in the first place? It seems passive-aggressive to me to pretend the first statement wasn’t a warning under these circumstances.

Or is it, in fact, really just an expression of an opinion? The moderator was telling me he feels that Barry O’Bama is disrespectful - but I’m free to do it if I want to. In that case, why post it as a moderator statement at all? Why not just express it as an opinion in a regular post?

As far as I know, it means that a poster is getting close to a line (or has crossed over it a bit), and if they keep on this way, next step is indeed a warning. I’d consider it a shot over my bow.

I’d say Cat Whisperer got it in one. In your hypothetical, the mod is giving you a chance to back off. You’re not getting a warning, but you are likely to get one if you keep saying “Barry O’Bama.”

I’m more alarmed by the ruling itself. Why does the poster need to be “respectful” of someone off board? Since when have we held that a president can’t be called by a disrespectful name? It sure didn’t apply to Bush or Cheney or any other political figure.

There is nothing in our rules that cover this, not even the “don’t be a jerk” loophole.

It’s a hypothetical, BigT. It’s not a real mod note. Sarcastic and critical comments about public figures are definitely allowed (although in some threads they might get moderated for being off-topic).

Watch out, that one almost parted your hair. :smiley:

Then it’s a warning. Why not call it such?

Marley’s correct. I used a hypothetical example to avoid bringing in a debate over some particular real post.

Because it’s not a warning. It’s less serious and it’s intended to preempt a warning. Warnings get written up, we keep track of them, and repeated warnings can lead to a suspension or a ban. We don’t keep track of mod notes.

On this board a warning is an official notice, kind of like getting a traffic ticket.
What you got could be termed an advisement to not do something but no black mark in your permanent record.

In GQ I frequently give “Moderator Notes” for first offenses for rules violations (mild insults, political jabs, or other remarks that that are close to the line), especially for newbies that may not be familiar with our rules and conventions. If it’s an official warning, I will label it “Moderator Warning.” Marley has described the difference between Moderator Warnings and Moderator Notes.

However, posters sometimes confuse the two and think they have an official warning when all they have received is a note. Because of this, I (and some other mods) have made it a practice of adding “No warning issued” for Moderator Notes, in order to avoid this confusion.

As runner pat says, getting an official warning is something like getting a traffic ticket: a notation goes on your record. “Moderator Notes” are more like a cop letting you off with a warning that you were over the speed limit, and telling you not to do it again. While no record is kept outside the post itself, the next time he sees you speeding he’s going to write out a ticket.

A traffic ticket is not a warning. It’s a notice that you’re being charged with a crime and are summoned to appear in court.

I see there being three possible levels.

  1. Nothing. This is a moderator expressing a personal opinion or a cop telling you that there’s some construction up ahead on the expressway. You’re free to follow or ignore what they say as you choose without consequence.

  2. Warning. This is when a moderator tells you you’re breaking a board rule or a cop tells you he’ll give you a ticket the next time he catches you driving over the speed limit. This is when you are advised that there will be no consequences for your actions this time but there will be negative consequences if you continue doing the same action in the future.

  3. Consequences. This is when a moderator takes action or a cop writes the ticket. You’ve broken the rules and now you’ll suffer the consequences.

I think it’s bad policy to not be clear about what your intentions are. If someone is doing something wrong and will suffer consequences if they continue doing it, then it’s your responsibility to make this clear. Give them a warning and tell them it’s a warning.

You’re calling #2 a warning, we’re calling it a mod note. I think that’s all that is going on here. A mod note can be an advisement that you’re breaking a rule or it can be a pointer that if you continue doing what you’re doing, you’ll be breaking a rule. The warning is #3, consequences.

It was an analogy. A traffic ticket often puts points on your license, which is something like an Official Warning does. Accumulate too many and your license is revoked.

This is not the case when a Moderator Note or Moderator Instruction. Continuing similar behavior will normally result in an Official Warning.

As Marley says, we call this type of action a Moderator Note.

This is an Official Warning.

I think it’s pretty clear to most people, especially after it’s been explained to them. This is the first time I recall anyone objecting to our stating “no warning issued” when giving a mod note.

So you think we should issue an Official Warning for each and every rules violation? We prefer not to be so draconian as that. I generally think it’s better to give someone a heads up first before issuing a warning (at least for minor violations). I think I probably issue at least 10 mod notes for every official warning I give out.

Now I’m even more confused. Marley is saying that the warning is the consequences and Colibri is saying the consequences are the warning.

I used to be a manager. And I learned you have to be clear about these things in order to be fair to people. You don’t tell somebody “It would be nice if you used less sick time” if what you mean is “If you take two more sick days you’ll be fired.” And on the opposite side, you don’t threaten to fire somebody for taking two more sick days and then do nothing except make more threats when they take three, five, or ten more.

Saying a situation exists or expressing an opinion are not warnings, except in passive-aggressive world. Don’t hint around about a problem - explain what it is and tell people what’s going to happen. You’re not doing anyone any favors by hiding what you’re thinking.

And remember that a warning is an alternative to the serious consequences. I always made sure people understood this. I explained that this time they got a warning and the next time they would get the real consequences and told them what that would be.

I think most people here do understand how this works, so we’re not failing to be clear. And we try to be upfront about what’s going on with mod notes. I don’t think there’s anything passive aggressive about them. The whole point of the note is that it lets us explain what a poster is doing wrong and gives him a chance to stop it before we start handing out official warnings.

Then how do you know when someone has piled up enough to earn a warning?

Last year there was an outspoken pedophile who earned several cautions for derailing every single thread about children. Somehow, he was savvy enough to fly under the radar until TPTB finally sat down and noticed what a problem he’d become.

To the OP: for some reason, I misread the title as “non-moderator warning.” Please don’t do that again (no warning issued.)

11+ years and ~30,000 posts and now the question comes up? :dubious:

The moderators are being as clear as day. The fault doesn’t lie with their explanations nor with the helpful explanations of other posters.

Plus, this isn’t a work environment and the moderators aren’t our managers. I really wish posters would stop putting them on a pedestal they don’t have.

To use your analogy, a mod note would be something like: “You are taking more sick days than we expect; please watch your usage of sick time.” A mod warning would be “If you take two more sick days, you’ll be fired.” The first is a heads up there is problem that the employee/poster might not be aware of.

That’s not how it works. We don’t have to gives notes before handing out warnings, so it’s not a process of accumulating enough notes and then graduating to warnings. Mod notes are usually instructions specific to a particular thread, so we don’t need to keep track. In the cases where they are not specific to one thread - say, when a poster has been told to stop hijacking threads or posting about a particular topic - we inform the other mods so everybody can be consistent.