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Moderators fiddling

Raise issues with Admin (Stooz, Clariman, Redsturgeon) e.g. alert to something important on the site or ask Admin about a moderation decision. You will be answered, but there is no response time guarantee.
GoSeigen
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Moderators fiddling

#184865

Postby GoSeigen » December 5th, 2018, 12:42 pm

Moderator Message:
Removed repetitive quotes from this and previous posts (In my view, it is not necessary to quote all of a previous post which itself quotes previous posts) (chas49)


There was a period when moderators had so much to do that they could not inform users that their post was deleted. Glad to see things have calmed down now...

However, please could we have moderation based on rules not whim.

Besides, how are posters going to be notified of replies if we are no longer free to quote their post, and what possible harm is there in quoting anyway? If I don't want to read a quote I skim over it -- quotes are quite distinctly identified within a contrasting-coloured box!

Rant over.


GS

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184869

Postby PinkDalek » December 5th, 2018, 12:59 pm

Did you manage to read that thread on a mobile, scrolling down to see full repeated quotes is not an enjoyable activity.

It is simply to cut down the full quote, as I'm sure you know, but involves effort on the part of the poster.

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184871

Postby PinkDalek » December 5th, 2018, 1:02 pm

GoSeigen wrote:

Besides, how are posters going to be notified of replies if we are no longer free to quote their post, and what possible harm is there in quoting anyway?



The posts I saw, before they were partially redacted, involved the poster repeating in full from his immediately preceding post and then adding something more in a separate post. He wouldn't have needed a notification to have known he replied to himself.

chas49
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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184872

Postby chas49 » December 5th, 2018, 1:17 pm

As you know, the general policy is that moderators do not enter into debate about moderation decisions.

On this occasion I feel that I should briefly respond to a post with a title which at least has the appearance of trying to provoke this response. I won't however get into a continued debate.

My attention was drawn to the topic by the message which I moderated being reported by another user. I agreed with the report that the quoting of all of a previous post which was itself quoting all of a previous post was excessive. As the quote facility was not being used to highlight particular parts of the post which were being responded to, I felt that it would be helpful to other users to remove the quotes.

The editing of those posts did not in my view detract in any way from the sense of the thread, as all the originally quoted material is still present up-thread.

The user who reported it at least shared that view. At least one user doesn't share that view.

Maybe a request to curb excessive quoting would have been enough. We don't always get it right - though to be honest I don't particularly think I got it badly wrong here either.

That's my view. I won't discuss this specific mod action further. If people want to debate the general principle that's fine (on this board only) - but any detailed discussion of the specific mod action should be taken over to Room 101.

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184876

Postby GoSeigen » December 5th, 2018, 1:40 pm

PinkDalek wrote:Did you manage to read that thread on a mobile, scrolling down to see full repeated quotes is not an enjoyable activity.

It is simply to cut down the full quote, as I'm sure you know, but involves effort on the part of the poster.


And where is this explained in the rules or T&C?

The poster concerned is one of my favourites because he practically ALWAYS posts evidence of his points and/or the full context he's referring to. If you don't like his quoting why don't you simply put him on ignore?


GS

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184877

Postby GoSeigen » December 5th, 2018, 1:46 pm

chas49 wrote:Maybe a request to curb excessive quoting would have been enough. We don't always get it right - though to be honest I don't particularly think I got it badly wrong here either.

That's my view. I won't discuss this specific mod action further. If people want to debate the general principle that's fine (on this board only) - but any detailed discussion of the specific mod action should be taken over to Room 101.


Thanks for the response. I didn't see the unedited post so only had the comment to go on -- I don't think you got it badly wrong but I also see no harm in mods erring on the side of inactivity, especially if "polite discussion" is not at risk...


GS
P.S. I'd forgotten about Room 101, please move thread there if necessary.

chas49
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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184878

Postby chas49 » December 5th, 2018, 1:50 pm

GoSeigen wrote:P.S. I'd forgotten about Room 101, please move thread there if necessary.


This thread is fine where it is.
Thanks

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184886

Postby PinkDalek » December 5th, 2018, 2:16 pm

GoSeigen wrote:And where is this explained in the rules or T&C?


It may not be defined anywhere but might involve a certain amount of etiquette and consideration for other viewers.

The poster concerned is one of my favourites because he practically ALWAYS posts evidence of his points and/or the full context he's referring to. If you don't like his quoting why don't you simply put him on ignore?


As you later say, you didn't see the threads in question so you may not be aware of what was edited down. I have no-one on ignore and, as it happens, I find his informative posts, ermm, informative. I was merely commenting on the excessive full repeated quoting. The replies to self were not commenting on what had gone before but adding further fresh information.

This isn't a problem that is solely applicable to him. Others hit the full quote button and carry on regardless.

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184919

Postby Gengulphus » December 5th, 2018, 4:21 pm

GoSeigen wrote:
PinkDalek wrote:Did you manage to read that thread on a mobile, scrolling down to see full repeated quotes is not an enjoyable activity.

It is simply to cut down the full quote, as I'm sure you know, but involves effort on the part of the poster.

And where is this explained in the rules or T&C?

The following from the TLF rules is relevant IMHO:

"◦To make this a valued and successful discussion forum, LemonFool asks all users to be respectful, understanding and helpful to other posters" (with my bold)

Very long quotes are not helpful to other users, especially when just replying to one point somewhere in the middle of them. Not only is there the already-mentioned issue of having to do a lot of scrolling through them to get to the new stuff, especially on mobiles, but it can also be rather hard for readers to work out what point in the quote is being replied to. That applies especially when the reply is worded in a highly non-specific way, e.g. "That's not true - they could go to social services about the problem". What's not true? Who are "they"? What problem? It can take some careful, detailed reading of an excessively-long quote to identify what is being said - or even that might not be enough if there are multiple possible matches to "that", "they" and "the problem". It's not quite as unhelpful to readers as a similarly worded reply without any quote at the end of a long thread that isn't a reply to the immediately preceding post, when what's being replied to might be in any of the earlier posts, but as far as helpfulness is concerned, that's like scoring 1 out of 10 rather than 0 out of 10...

By the way, this is meant as a comment on the general practice of moderators cutting long quotes down or getting rid of them completely. AFAIAA, I haven't seen the specific example you've encountered of such moderation and described in your OP, and so I don't have any view on whether moderator action made sense in that case. But as a general practice, used appropriately it's able to make the boards considerably easier to read.

Gengulphus

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184925

Postby Gengulphus » December 5th, 2018, 5:11 pm

PinkDalek wrote:This isn't a problem that is solely applicable to him. Others hit the full quote button and carry on regardless.

One observation to add to that is that editing quotes down safely does require the person doing it to have some feel for the structure of the BBCode language and even if they do, there are some 'traps' in it. For example, every so often I see what is clearly intended to be a quote, but just a bit too much has been cut off its start, so that in the BBCode, it is of the form [quote="UserName...[/quote] rather than [quote="UserName"]...[/quote], with the "..."s being the part of what UserName wrote that they want to quote. The result is that the phpBB software fails to recognise it as a valid quote sequence and just shows it as is.

And I'm pretty certain that I know what the trap that leads to that is (from having fallen into it enough times myself, at least as far as only noticing it in preview!). If the full quote starts with a nested quote, then the BBCode produced by hitting the full quote button starts with [quote="User1"][quote="User2"]. If you want to delete its start, including the nested quote, the natural thing to do (at least on Windows tablets, laptops and desktops and using a mouse) is a click-and-drag selection starting after the first "] and before the immediately following [ followed by deleting the selection. But if you do that, the Windows software has (at least by default) a 'helpful' (*) correct-misclicks-not-at-word-starts-or-ends feature that results in it deciding you really meant to start the click-and-drag before that "] and the incorrect BBCode results unless you're paying careful attention...

Anyway, the point is that I wouldn't be at all surprised if quite a few TLF users have tried editing quotes down and experienced enough problems with doing so that they've given up trying, and either don't quote at all or use the full quote button without any subsequent editing-down of the quote. Not saying either of those is helpful behaviour for readers, but they are understandable, especially when the user concerned isn't especially computer-savvy.

(*) No doubt a feature many Windows users do indeed find helpful, because they're sloppy clickers or using a less accurate pointing device than a mouse. But absolutely maddening for those who have learnt to click accurately!

Gengulphus

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184943

Postby csearle » December 5th, 2018, 7:45 pm

My opinion is that hitting the quote button of a very long post and just adding a comment of a word or two is a pain in the rear end to read and is rude in the sense that you are expecting the reader to wade through the whole of that post to seek out the bit to which the response applies.

Don't be lazy, snip out the bit you are referring to for the sake of your readership, and don't have a go at a moderator that is trying to tidy up your mess.

Chris

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184954

Postby Urbandreamer » December 5th, 2018, 9:10 pm

chas49 wrote:As you know, the general policy is that moderators do not enter into debate about moderation decisions.


This actually WAS the ding dong that I got into with TMF.

In my mind there is a significant difference between the "Umpires decisions are final" and "We pick the rules and won't tell you what they are"!

I was actually responding to the former member who asked that all his posts be removed at the point that the moderators started to impliment his request. My response was one of simpathy.

On TMF such a post would be judged exactly as you describe. Hence my ding dong with them and the reason that I left the boards. They were TOTALLY unwiling to explain why expressing simpathy and remarking that you yourself had had posts removed was so VERY wrong!

I knew many of TLF's moderators on TMF and respect their intentions. Your comment, given my former experiences, is disturbing. Can I plead that moderators be willing to explain and to some small extent argue their position if asked by the OP via PM. The TMF software prevented the author of a deleated post communicating with the moderator who made a decision, which might have ramped up my disagreement with them.

Ps, I recognise that there are technical dificulties, preventing abuse, however I regard the social and moral issues as highly important.

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184976

Postby redsturgeon » December 6th, 2018, 7:10 am

Urbandreamer wrote:Can I plead that moderators be willing to explain and to some small extent argue their position if asked by the OP via PM.


Moderators do explain decisions if asked and either PM or this board are the correct channels. What they will not generally do is enter into a protracted discussion about decisions made.

We also have the final resort of "Room 101" if users are still not happy.

Room 101
Raise issues with Admin (Stooz, Clariman, Redsturgeon) e.g. alert to something important on the site or ask Admin about a moderation decision. You will be answered, but there is no response time guarantee.


John

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#184979

Postby Urbandreamer » December 6th, 2018, 7:30 am

redsturgeon wrote:
Urbandreamer wrote:Can I plead that moderators be willing to explain and to some small extent argue their position if asked by the OP via PM.


Moderators do explain decisions if asked and either PM or this board are the correct channels. What they will not generally do is enter into a protracted discussion about decisions made.

We also have the final resort of "Room 101" if users are still not happy.

Room 101
Raise issues with Admin (Stooz, Clariman, Redsturgeon) e.g. alert to something important on the site or ask Admin about a moderation decision. You will be answered, but there is no response time guarantee.


John


Thanks John. That's all that I could wish for.

chas49
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Re: Moderators fiddling

#185000

Postby chas49 » December 6th, 2018, 9:29 am

Urbandreamer wrote:
chas49 wrote:As you know, the general policy is that moderators do not enter into debate about moderation decisions.


This actually WAS the ding dong that I got into with TMF.

......

Ps, I recognise that there are technical dificulties, preventing abuse, however I regard the social and moral issues as highly important.


I think my quoted comment was a bit too brief. What I intended to convey (and failed) was that we won't enter into extended debate. A brief explanation of a specific decision (here on BB rather than on the forum where the moderation occurred) is OK. But we don't get into long arguments.

Complaints can be taken to R 101.

I think that's been clarified in the discussion that followed, but I just wanted to clarify what I ought to have said!

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#185077

Postby Gengulphus » December 6th, 2018, 12:49 pm

Urbandreamer wrote:On TMF such a post would be judged exactly as you describe. Hence my ding dong with them and the reason that I left the boards. They were TOTALLY unwiling to explain why expressing simpathy and remarking that you yourself had had posts removed was so VERY wrong!

It would have been a bit difficult for them to do that when their reason for removing a post wasn't that it was "VERY wrong", but something else. For instance, I had a TMF post removed on quite a few occasions for having been "left dangling" by another removal: they weren't saying that I'd done anything wrong at all by posting it, let alone "VERY wrong". Nor were they saying that I hadn't done anything wrong: very likely I had done so in some of them, due e.g. to following the earlier removed post into off-topic territory. They were basically just saying "your post no longer makes sense because it's lost its context, so it's too liable to be misunderstood and needs to go for the good of the boards" and saving themselves the trouble of deciding whether I'd done anything wrong. About all I could assume about doing wrong from what they said is that they hadn't happened to spot anything really obvious that I'd said that was VERY wrong: if they had, no doubt I would have received more than just a simple removal notice from them!

What I strongly suspect was their attitude to posts expressing sympathy with someone whose posts have been removed and saying that one had had that happen as well is that there was little wrong with them in principle, but in practice they were far too liable to attract lots of further posts about moderator decisions in reply. Some of them probably wouldn't be so harmless (certainly I saw some pretty abusive comments in cases when the moderators weren't able to respond quickly enough) and even when they were all pretty harmless, they could cause the actual subject of the thread to be drowned out and so 'hijack' the thread. That has to be prevented from happening for the good of the boards, and without taking up too much moderator time - leaving other boards unmoderated in order to spend lots of time sorting out one problem isn't for the good of the boards either.

So they ended up with a rule that basically any discussion of moderation decisions was only on-topic on one board (the Civil Discussion Forum) and enforcing it pretty rigorously: the earlier they nipped such discussions on other boards in the bud, the less work it would be for them and the less the disruption to the board (and for similar reasons, they engaged only pretty minimally with such discussions when they were held on the Civil Discussion Forum). Some comments about moderator decisions doubtless did survive on other boards just because they never came to the moderators' attention, but making such comments was basically a matter of putting a "Remove me!" notice on the post and hoping the moderators didn't happen to read it!

And basically, it seems clear to me that the TLF admins and moderators have been heading for something similar over the last couple of years as they've gained experience. There are some different details, e.g. two 'special' boards (the Biscuit Bar for general moderation policy and Room 101 for discussing specific instances) rather than just one, moderators have more options available for dealing with comments about moderation decisions on other boards, and the constraint on moderator time is how much of it people are willing to volunteer rather than how much of it the owners are willing to pay for. But it's essentially the same problem, and so I'm not surprised that they've ended up with a similar solution.

Gengulphus

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#185085

Postby chas49 » December 6th, 2018, 1:21 pm

Gengulphus wrote:.......it seems clear to me that the TLF admins and moderators have been heading for something similar over the last couple of years as they've gained experience. There are some different details, e.g. two 'special' boards (the Biscuit Bar for general moderation policy and Room 101 for discussing specific instances) rather than just one, moderators have more options available for dealing with comments about moderation decisions on other boards, and the constraint on moderator time is how much of it people are willing to volunteer rather than how much of it the owners are willing to pay for. But it's essentially the same problem, and so I'm not surprised that they've ended up with a similar solution.

Gengulphus



Actually (as per this announcement: viewtopic.php?f=21&t=13514#p164181), discussion of moderation is not permitted in the Biscuit Bar either. So, according to the rules, this thread should have been deleted or moved to Room 101 from the outset.

It's my error that I responded here (although in line with the principles, I said I would only respond once on the specific issue). I compounded my error by saying it was OK for this thread to stay here!

Just for reference, here's an extract from the announcement:

Discussions on Moderation are only permitted on the new Room 101 board viewforum.php?f=91. Any discussion of moderation elsewhere is no longer permitted and will be deleted, including in the Biscuit Bar.
....
  • If you are unhappy with or don’t understand a moderation decision, you can request a clarification or explanation from a Moderator by Private Message. Moderators do not have to explain their actions, but we anticipate that they will reply to polite requests, if and when they have time. Impolite messages will be ignored.
  • Moderators will NOT enter into debates with you about moderation. You will receive one explanation or clarification.
    If you are unhappy with the answer, take a step back. Do not take the decisions personally and remember that moderators are volunteers who are doing their best to maintain the site for your and everyone else’s benefit. They will not get it right every time. Forgive or forget -and then move on.
  • If you are still unhappy, then you have one route and one route only to take it further. You can post your issue on the new “Room 101” board which will be managed by the site’s 3 Administrators – Stooz (co-owner), Clariman (co-owner) and Redsturgeon (Moderator). They will monitor the board and respond appropriately – either on the board or by PM. Again, there is no intention to engage in lengthy debates.


I've looked quickly at topic headings in the BB forum since that announcement and it doesn't look as if there has been much (if any) further discussion of moderation until this post.

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#185137

Postby Lootman » December 6th, 2018, 4:43 pm

Gengulphus wrote:
Urbandreamer wrote:On TMF such a post would be judged exactly as you describe. Hence my ding dong with them and the reason that I left the boards. They were TOTALLY unwiling to explain why expressing simpathy and remarking that you yourself had had posts removed was so VERY wrong!

It would have been a bit difficult for them to do that when their reason for removing a post wasn't that it was "VERY wrong", but something else. For instance, I had a TMF post removed on quite a few occasions for having been "left dangling" by another removal: they weren't saying that I'd done anything wrong at all by posting it, let alone "VERY wrong". Nor were they saying that I hadn't done anything wrong: very likely I had done so in some of them, due e.g. to following the earlier removed post into off-topic territory. They were basically just saying "your post no longer makes sense because it's lost its context, so it's too liable to be misunderstood and needs to go for the good of the boards" and saving themselves the trouble of deciding whether I'd done anything wrong. About all I could assume about doing wrong from what they said is that they hadn't happened to spot anything really obvious that I'd said that was VERY wrong: if they had, no doubt I would have received more than just a simple removal notice from them!

Presumably you did do something wrong because you replied to a post that broke a TMF rule. The usual advice on TMF was to either report such an errant post or ignore it, but not to reply to it.

Assuming that you did not report the errant post, on the basis that you replied to it, then another Fool must have reported the errant post, which was then removed, along with yours.

Now, it is not "very wrong" of you to reply to an errant post since you might not have known that it broke a rule. But on the basis that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, some fault can still be found there. Or, like me, you might have sometimes known that it broke a rule but responded to it anyway. But again there is fault there.

If a post is errant and you reply then that is a problem, as you appear to acknowledge when you say: "following the earlier removed post into off-topic territory." I'd say that will always be the case to some extent, unless perhaps the errant post was removed for no reason other than that its author requested it be removed.

Responding to posts that break the rules also encourages people to break the rules more. Personally I virtually never report a post for any reason, but then that's just my personal philosophy. I'm not advocating it for others, but it not against the rules to see a bad post and not report it. I just shouldn't reply to it.

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#185169

Postby melonfool » December 6th, 2018, 8:20 pm

If you're replying on a phone it's really difficult to do selective quotes, especially if there are a number of embedded ones - far easier to hit the " button and let the software do it (and let a mod tidy up later :lol: ).

I did happen to see the post referred to - it was about the same length as War and Peace, so I can imagine on a phone it would have been really annoying and as the poster was indeed replying to themselves there is no issue in this case of them needed to know they were quoted (though there were other embedded quotes too).

In this case I think it's "thank you, moderator, for keeping an eye on us and making the boards easy to read, and thanks reporter for helping the mods in their role".

Maybe just trust the mods' judgment?

Mel

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Re: Moderators fiddling

#185171

Postby Lootman » December 6th, 2018, 8:30 pm

melonfool wrote:I did happen to see the post referred to - it was about the same length as War and Peace, so I can imagine on a phone it would have been really annoying

I do not view TLF on a phone but even so I find some posts are just way too long, and that's annoying even if not re-quoted.

Brevity is not the just the soul of wit; it is the essence of wisdom, and a sign of respect to readers. Absent a word limit in TLF could people perhaps just be implored to not ramble on and on? Not many people are going to read long posts and the opportunity for misunderstanding and misrepresentation is inevitably going to increase if someone cannot express themselves clearly without employing hundreds of words.


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