Candid Dialogue About Moderation

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by joromiller, Oct 12, 2014.

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  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    As it applies to BeerAdvocate, moderation is the enforcement of rules. Rules that the user agreed to upon joining the site. Censorship? Not really.

    We could debate this all day long (forum mods and censorship trolls have been for decades), but at the end of the day it doesn't matter. The user agreed to the rules upon joining the site.
     
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  2. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Let's get this thread back on track vs. flexing e-peens.

    If anyone has any questions about moderation on BeerAdvocate, or constructive ideas on how we can all improve how we communication, let's hear them.
     
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  3. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Champion (863) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia

    There will always been the popular idea that moderators are "on the other side of the fence" and not part of the community, but simply another group that is acting like big brother. Many people in general balk at the idea of any official presence of authority.

    I think people scream censorship, and believe there is one person who controls the yes's and no's behind a black curtain. When it fact it's a diverse group of people who all have their own subset of what is "yes and no" built within the foundation of the forum rules.

    The biggest thing, is building a rapport with the community you serve. Such as your local public service officials. If you see them frequently, converse with them, and understand their ways, you find them easier to approach and understand their stance. The issue is, there are simply WAY more users than moderation staff, and it's a consistently growing community, so it's rather hard to see the "staff" being involved in the daily posts/threads via communication other than a simple snip and delete to keep a thread on track or cleaned up.
     
  4. cookiequiz

    cookiequiz Aspirant (249) Apr 15, 2013 California

    You're apparently making up your own definitions for the words 'moderation' and 'censorship'. I said nothing about following rules or justification for deletion of posts, and I don't take general umbrage with the principle of enforcement.

    I offered my opinions about when it's helpful to delete things and when it's not and how it leads to a perception of moderation as power-tripping. In the end, fine, you do what you want, it's your site.
     
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  5. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Champion (863) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia

    Not speaking for anyone but myself, but I understand what you are saying about cherry picking what gets deleted and locked, it's simply not as harassing, or black and white as you make it. If you browse the site as a whole, you can easily see the amount of off topic and posts that add nothing to a thread, that are simply allowed.

    Even someone commenting that they like the idea, when there is a "like" button for that very reason, are usually left up. If the power tripping was full on, I'm sure those would be deleted post haste.

    Keep in mind, BA is a community AND a resource. There has to be a balance, otherwise you end up with places like reddit or the bodybuilding forums as an example.
     
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  6. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Nope. I don't think I am.
    OK. But I never challenged you on this either.
    Yes. You did earlier. But my general reply to the thread (that you replied to) and subsequent replies to you (based on that reply) had nothing to do with your opinion on when deleting things is helpful or not.

    I'm just getting tired of the whole censorship debate. It's old hat and isn't helping the discussion.
     
  7. dwmetsfan13

    dwmetsfan13 Initiate (175) Jul 22, 2013 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Another site I visit has a "moderator action" thread in which the mods explain all of their actions. Although I think that BA may be too busy for such a thread to be feasible...
     
  8. cookiequiz

    cookiequiz Aspirant (249) Apr 15, 2013 California

    Yeah, I agree it's not a black and white issue or even pervasive across the site, and overall I think you have a good perspective. I'm just attempting to point out that there are judgement calls necessarily being made and they—to me—don't always seem to be the best ones. I hope that's understood just as a request for mindfulness and isn't seen as a 'too broad a brush' kind of complaint.
     
  9. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Champion (863) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia


    You are correct. There would simply be no time for that. There is however, a function that when moderation takes place, the affected will be sent a notification of the action and a reason if warranted.

    Most are accepting of it, but leaving it open ended for argument doesnt ever fix the issue. It's simply a "hey, I deleted this because of violation of TOS, please understand it's not acceptable." Both parties move on.
     
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  10. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    No need to. It's already been acknowledged early on in this discussion that moderation is not perfect. http://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/candid-dialogue-about-moderation.218522/#post-2852900

    No one should expect every mod action to be "best" judgement call when you're dealing with humans with emotions and opinions, who are also members of this community that have volunteered their time to deal with various types of people, situations, judgement calls, and personal attacks.
     
  11. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    What @FATC1TY said. It would be extremely time consuming, but the Alert with message on moderation seems to be curbing a lot of confusion and issues.
     
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  12. KendallKid

    KendallKid Initiate (0) Jun 9, 2014 New York

    I understand know one wants this to be the Craigslist Rants and Raves for beer.. I have not read about the thinking behind banning some BAers as trolls however ....
     
  13. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Are you asking why some users are banned for trolling? I think the answer would be obvious (they're trolls). But as a previously banned user (WassailWilly, I believe), do you have any specific questions?
     
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  14. ReTag

    ReTag Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2012 Minnesota

    can you clarify? Were some old members banned for taking part of a different site? Does someone's actions / comments on a different site carry repercussions on this one?
     
  15. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Yes, in the past a small group of members (and their duplicate accounts) were banned for their actions on other sites. This answers your second question. But why? The reasons vary; personal attacks, threats of physical violence towards BAs, threats of website attacks/organized trolling, posting private information, asking to be banned, etc.
     
  16. ReTag

    ReTag Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2012 Minnesota

    This might be taken as argumentative, but it is not intended that way. Taking the threats of violence out of it, why does it matter? I wont go jumping on the censorship horse, but they were following the ToS on your site, but because they were on another, they get banned from yours. Seems like it became a big witch hunt when a different site first began. Kind of a thumb in the eye that basically meant that if you planned on venturing to another site, we dont want you here. This will probably get me banned again, but I was one of them. I did not make any personal attacks or any of the above, but was called a troll and then banned. This is after a lengthy time out where I was called a troll for the first time. I admit that the time out was probably warranted and I did have some posts that would of been better served for a more sober time. But the last one, I feel, was unwarranted because all I did was post on a different site. If you would like to discuss this via beer mail, I would welcome it. If I get banned, I get banned again.
     
  17. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    I'm not taking it as argumentative. Another mod thought differently (and I understand why), but I've reversed that so I can address your post.
    • Discussing it here is fine. It's the purpose of the thread. And I have no intention of banning you for simply asking some questions.
    • You've openly admitted to trolling and that you've deserved past bans. Important to note.
    • Fact: We don't ban people simply because they use another site. Never have. Never will.
    • You're obviously referring to a specific case, wherein BAs reported the actions of other BAs on another site and BA mods made calls based the nature of the content (see my previous reply for some examples). We can debate each case, and whether it was warranted or not, but that would be pointless. At the end of the day we felt it was necessary and it immediately benefitted the BA community.
    • Severe cases aside, why does it matter? At the time it mattered; given the severity of related actions. In some cases we admittedly overreacted (we're all human), and we lifted some bans accordingly after the user in question reached out to us personally.
    Moderation is not perfect. I've made this clear several times in this thread, however, there's always an underlying reason when it comes to bans and at least 2 or 3 sides to every story.
     
  18. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    As a follow-up to my above post, ReTag retired their account and is back under a previously (now un)banned account.
     
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  19. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,731) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    This forum's moderation is completely humorless. Heaven forbid anyone post a joke as jokes are off topic. I'm trusting your assertion that this thread is for candid comments. And, this post is most definitely NOT a joke.
     
  20. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Champion (863) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia


    Trust me.. It's not from the moderators. Look to your fellow community members. We rarely go for a "stroll" and search out things to be asshole about and delete or change, contrary to popular belief.

    99% of what is altered is something that has been reported or complained about by your fellow community members, and is brought to the attention of the moderation group.
     
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  21. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,731) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    Even if that is true, the mods have to take the action, which means they agree with the complaint. Banning humor is just uptight grumpiness.
     
  22. blue-dream

    blue-dream Initiate (0) Aug 22, 2013 Virgin Islands (U.S.)

    Im going to have to respectfully disagree here, there is lots of good hearted humor on this site, the WBAYDN thread has lots daily,a bunch of the BIF's and LIF's as well. And not all reports are handled with a deletion. It really depends if its an "inside joke" , dirty joke, or just plain disrespectful. Trust me the mods are not "uptight" or "grumpy", each situation has a way to be delt with. There is a time and place for everything.
     
  23. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,731) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    @blue-dream, my post was none of those things. It was just a word-play joke. Completely innocent.
     
  24. blue-dream

    blue-dream Initiate (0) Aug 22, 2013 Virgin Islands (U.S.)

    Well, you never said your post , you generalized all humor on this site. If it was in the trade forums , which i mod, there is no room for jokes there, people want to trade their beers and that why they are there. Im sure what ever post in which you speak of, was looked at and determined to not be needed at the time. Evey mod is different and we all look at reports in a certain way, dont take it personaly the person who reported it might have taken it the wrong way, but the mod who took care of it might have been doing it to stop a larger problem from happening in the thread later.
     
  25. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,731) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    It was not in the trade forum. Humor is obviously banned. Too bad. You guys must be a lot of fun in bars. I don't intend to debate this further. The record stands on its own. I am far from the only member to have noticed this.
     
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  26. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Champion (863) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia


    Care to give the example that you seem upset about, rather than throwing generalization and being enigmatic about it?
     
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  27. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,731) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    Well, it may be hard to believe, but I don't keep copies of my posts. Why don't you ask the mod that deleted it?
     
  28. F2brewers

    F2brewers Champion (825) Mar 12, 2005 Massachusetts
    Fest Crew Society Trader

    with that attitude, you don't come off as a sympathetic figure.

    trolling multiple mods in this thread isn't helping your case either.

    the purpose of the thread isn't to air your complaints about moderation...it's to have a candid and respectful discussion about moderation. your posts here are not respectful nor do they qualify as discussion.

    there's plenty of humor across the site in many of the forums. we keep a tighter lid on it in the trade forums for reasons discussed earlier in the thread.

    if you don't agree with the reasoning, that's fine. agree to disagree and move along since you're not interested in "deatibg" the point.
     
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  29. Yohann

    Yohann Aspirant (230) Apr 29, 2014 Wisconsin
    Trader

    FWIW, I'd like to echo this sentiment as being (IMHO) significant:
    My ratio of successful to "crickets" ISO/FT threads went up radically when I started making a point of reading the banter that went back and forth in other people's threads. Without that banter, it would have taken me much longer to learn what works, I would have contributed more to the noise level with useless ISO/FT threads, and I might have possibly given up entirely in frustration.
     
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  30. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,934) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    I have been a member of other sites including unmoderated political forums back in the wild west days of the internet, and careful moderation is a good thing for this site, so we don't become anything like those flame war free for all messes of rants and opinions. Those complaining most about moderation are those who least understand the alternatives, IMO. We claim all to be adults but there is nothing like an anonymous platform to make us act like children.

    Those who desire to be in a more free for all atmosphere are free to go where we all know that atmosphere exists.

    Speaking specifically to traders here, but once you go to those forums to trade it will be a short time until you are back here, because once you get there you find all the assholes kicked off here, and once you are there for a while you are reminded why they were kicked off, and what is great about here.

    Beer Advocate has always been a haven for the better things about beer, and a place for the finer folks to inquire about, gather, and share their knowledge. We all have a stake in that, and I am glad this back and forth is happening to make clear what it is we can do to make the site work better, and be more valuable for us all.

    And not directed at a specific person, and just my .02, but if you get multiple deletions for reposts in ISO, I would suggest you be honest with yourself, and ask if perhaps you need to step back your trading just a bit. If it gets to the point that your desire for a specific beer cannot wait 48 hours to be re posted, when you probably have a cellar of 300+ beers, and there are probably 400 great beers at your local stores you haven't tried, you may need to take a serious look at whether you are trading a wee bit too much for your and others' goods
     
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  31. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,731) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    Entirely untrue, at least with respect to me. I've been around from before the days of newgroups and newsreaders, so I know all about unmoderated internet "discussions". I am not complaining about moderation in general. I am complaining about the apparent fear of harmless humor. If some tight sphincter member complains, Lord help us. A little humor using word-play, not directed at anyone but only at the general flow of the thread or even self-depreciating (as the one that was removed was) is harmless and will not erupt into a flame war. In fact, such posts (by my long and diverse experience in web postings and discussions) will generally defuse a smoldering flame. I said before I was not going to debate this further, but, Dave, your assumption about me is flat wrong and therefore I responded again.
     
  32. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,934) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Well, all I can say is, since you have been around as long as I, you obviously kinow there are styles of moderation, interpreting TOS, at every site, and there is no way to learn those styles' fine points except by being deleted or warned. Wasn't trying to single you out, I guess I was merely acting on my feeling that old timers like us know the ropes, know moderation, and would be the least likely to complain or be bothered by any of it. Obviously I was wrong.
     
  33. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,731) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    Just to explain: I am not bothered by moderation; I support the need for it, and sympathize with the job. I performed the job a few years ago on a (supposedly) professional discussion board. People can be dicks, no doubt about it. Complete humorlessness, though, is moderation down a dark path, IMO, and is NOT a positive thing for the site. JMO, obviously, and the owners of this site are (also obviously) free to run it as they please. I saw this thread, and took it as a genuine solicitation of views on how moderation was working on this site. Obviously, I was wrong.
     
  34. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,934) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    I don't think you were wrong, and I do think that all involved in this have learned a lot, and I do think that all involved were sincere with solicitation of honest opinions.

    I also think all the explanations given by mods and by Todd have been pretty clear, and that if you have additional specific questions about something pertaining to you it might better be addressed privately.

    I do speak from the experience of seeing the effort that has gone into keeping quality the number one consideration of this site. I think you are wrong about there being a prejudice against humor, but I didn't read the post you refer to as being unfairly deleted, so that is all I can say about it. I mean, I haven't been banned yet, how much more evidence of a tolerance for humor do you need:slight_smile:
     
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  35. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    May I commend to your attention my first post in this thread which appears on Page 1, post #32. While not written with your examples in mind it does address some of the issues you raise.
     
  36. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Actually if the mods and all BAs were truly anti-humor it wouldn't be just you, more than one of us would be banned from here as well.
     
  37. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,941) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    And now you're trolling the thread and mods, and using gross exaggerations to add weight to a weightless argument. You have zero proof that we ban humor, because we don't. You're just upset that one of your threads was pulled for not adding any value to the site.

    Pro-tip: Don't take moderation personally and read the thread before posting next time.
     
  38. KendallKid

    KendallKid Initiate (0) Jun 9, 2014 New York

    Value to the site is yet another broad sweeping term..
    One person's values may not the same as the next that is a given..
    Occasional drunken posts need to be taken in context .
    Toleration NOT moderation
     
  39. F2brewers

    F2brewers Champion (825) Mar 12, 2005 Massachusetts
    Fest Crew Society Trader

    lol wassailwilly.

    value added to the site is our discretion. we're all dfferent, but you're off the map. if we're wrong, so be it. what do you care?

    did you have something to add to the conversation?

    your drunken posts reveal you for the troll you are.
     
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  40. KendallKid

    KendallKid Initiate (0) Jun 9, 2014 New York

    Drunken posts reveal what the true definition of a troll is ?... Interesting
    Glad we all can be so candid !!
     
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