Moderation Complaints

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25 Mar 2019 15:45 - 25 Mar 2019 16:22 #294458 by Anjou Valentine
Posted in response to several redacted entries on Play Matt: Are Competitive Men a Board Gaming Blight? ":

Here is a thread on these forums from 10 years ago, simultaneously wishing DWTripp / Steve Weeks a happy birthday and "jokingly" denigrating women in the BSG universe: therewillbe.games/forum/15-games-catchal...rash-holiday?start=0

Quoted from back-to-back posts:

"I already have women from the "third world" clean my toilets, but I pay them pretty well."
//
"Mad Malthus is my new hero. He is showing some real Pre-banned Barnes fire!"

One of those users was subsequently banned, but none of the posts appear to have been removed or edited. It's... really hard to figure out who might be joking there. Especially because at least one person from that thread is here now posting about "the gay guy" in his gaming group, arguing about cis-gendered gamers, and telling us "don't play where you feel uncomfortable."

I think editing the posts in the current discussion is a slippery slope. On the one hand, you can't tolerate inflammatory/hate speech - much of what the ed's have removed sounds like that. But ten years from now, I'd rather look back to see the community rallying against intolerance in response to "Are Competitive Men a Board Gaming Blight?" than a handful of sanitized comments about poker betting.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2019 16:22 by ubarose.
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25 Mar 2019 16:01 #294467 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Moderation Complaints
We understand that. But what we're trying to do is encourage discussion, not simply delete everything that someone says that's objectionable. There's been a fair amount of emotional posting on this already, but emotional posting is fine, as long as it doesn't lead to personal attacks (some of which has already been removed.) Uba's post above is the most salient point about the meta-discussion: There's really no need for anyone to get torqued about this, since Matt wasn't attacking anyone; in specific or in general except a small segment of the overall community, most of whom don't join the discussions on this site and are in the spotlight as to whether what they bring to the community is worthwhile.

If there's are gaming trolls out there who've read Matt's piece and object to it, you're going to have to cry me a river because I don't care. If there are people who object to aspects of it (as many already have) and want to post in a civil (there's that word again) manner about why they think it's wrong, I hope/encourage/practically insist that they do so. That's what we want. There are legitimate discussion points about the level of competition and competitive tactics that have been raised. If we can continue on those, great. But Matt wasn't posting a rallying cry against intolerance. The mods are already here to exemplify that. He was asking a question.
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25 Mar 2019 16:21 - 25 Mar 2019 16:47 #294469 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Moderation Complaints
What Jackwraith just said largely reflects my own attitude. Couple additional things:

This is not a troll and I am being completely sincere. Part of me is not sure what your example is arguing here; we used to have little moderation on these boards and some of the things posted on this board ten years ago I would hope to hell would be completely unacceptable these days. We don't have the time and manpower to subsequently go back and moderate our past; from my perspective it probably deserves to be moderated as there is some gross stuff in there.

The staff here has changed either literally or in attitude over such a long time. There are my own posts on these boards from 10 years ago I am not proud of, so this relates to me as well. I would have benefitted from some moderation back then.

On the second part, this is a fair comment and has been the source of a great deal of back room debate about how to moderate, which is why we still haven't rolled out a new official policy. The new policy will not return to our limited moderation policy one way or another. Mad Dog, our previous community manager, generally held to a delete posts and to a lesser extent lock threads strategy. He may yet be right. We wanted to move away from that approach so people could not wreck threads and get them locked when they were topics that we felt reflected the values of the site or at least the staff that keeps it running.

I am unsure if our current editing when possible, deleting when necessary strategy is the right one but we are going to try it for a while so that conversations can continue and not be completely derailed (eg friday freakout). I appreciate that people do not like their posts edited, so I try to offer all people moderated the opportunity to reply to me when they are edited so I can delete their whole post.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2019 16:47 by Gary Sax.
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25 Mar 2019 17:12 #294475 by Anjou Valentine
Far from attacking anyone, I thought Matt came out on the side of being thoughtful and considerate in his piece. But it clearly provoked the ire of a couple dudes who got defensive in response to being reminded that they are the titular "Men" in a classically white, male, hetero-hobby. I think's it's naive to title an article "Are Competitive Men a Board Gaming Blight?" without expecting some pushback from your male-dominated readership.

@Gary Sax: Manic Monday! Not criticizing the site or the moderators, current or past. I had pulled up that old thread to reference a user whose comments have been completely stricken from Matt's current article.

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25 Mar 2019 17:26 - 25 Mar 2019 17:27 #294479 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Moderation Complaints
I expected push-back. I expected some passionate discussion and debate. Ultimately, I expected some comments that would allow me to understand these issues from a guy's point of view.

I didn't expect name calling between members or offensive off-topic comments.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2019 17:27 by ubarose.

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25 Mar 2019 17:51 #294483 by ChristopherMD
Replied by ChristopherMD on topic Moderation Complaints

Gary Sax wrote: Mad Dog, our previous community manager, generally held to a delete posts and to a lesser extent lock threads strategy.


Only time I purposely deleted posts was with Steve Weeks. A few other times it was by accident and I never locked a single thread here. The community was originally intended to be self-policing but that never worked ideally. Turns out that in the long run most people would rather ignore someones bullshit instead of calling them out on it. That's why we have a lot of older posts we aren't proud of. So hats off to Anjou Valentine for calling people out on their bullshit. We could have used more of that back then.

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25 Mar 2019 18:11 - 25 Mar 2019 18:11 #294485 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Moderation Complaints
Sorry, didn't mean to put words in your mouth/attribute actions to you Christopher. That was all out of my memory and I haven't been on the team long.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2019 18:11 by Gary Sax.

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25 Mar 2019 18:59 #294496 by Michael Barnes
The staff here has changed either literally or in attitude over such a long time. There are my own posts on these boards from 10 years ago I am not proud of, so this relates to me as well. I would have benefitted from some moderation back then.


This is important. We have been around longer than any other board gaming forums barring BGG. 13 years is a long time. I was 30 when this site started. I don’t think the same way about some things today as I did 5, 10 years ago. So you can’t really dig up these ancient posts and hold them up as any kind of example of the site’s current direction, tone, or agenda.

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25 Mar 2019 19:24 #294498 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Moderation Complaints
I don't think anyone is dredging up the old stuff to condemn anyone who's still here. The point is that modifying posts, as good as the intentions may be, paints a very different picture than other forms of moderation.

That said it's your forum. Handle it how you please.
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25 Mar 2019 19:36 - 25 Mar 2019 19:37 #294499 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Moderation Complaints
Anjou and Vysetron,

I am earnestly trying to get at the larger implication of what you're saying, so help me out here. I understand it on a literal level---editing posts and deleting posts eliminates the evidence that someone ever posted something objectionable vs. locking and ending discussion or... I'm thinking what other moderation tools we might use that would leave a trace. Peer pressure from others by calling out posts and directing attention at objectionable content? Or is this more of an philisophical argument about leaving content without active moderation?

What do y'all feel is the important upside of leaving a remnant of hostilility between users or, say, a "yeeeech" mysognistic or vaguely racist post like the one you pulled up from the site's past? Again these are earnest, non-gotcha questions on my part.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2019 19:37 by Gary Sax.
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25 Mar 2019 19:51 #294501 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Moderation Complaints
I can't speak for Anjou, but I'll elaborate on what I mean.

Most forums I've been a part of have some moderation rules that are grounds for removal of posts. That's not inherently an issue. What's less OK is not having that be public when it happens. The same is true for removal of particular parts of posts. There should be some kind of flag to denote that the post was touched by a moderator because otherwise it can significantly change how a post reads, their intent, etc. Then their name is on it and they may not ever realize that things have been changed. It undermines the credibility and longevity of a forum if you can never be sure when a post is unmodified.

PMs for moderation are great. Please don't stop doing that. Just make it obvious when moderation has occurred and why.
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25 Mar 2019 20:00 #294502 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Moderation Complaints

Vysetron wrote: I can't speak for Anjou, but I'll elaborate on what I mean.

There should be some kind of flag to denote that the post was touched by a moderator


Done.
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25 Mar 2019 20:09 - 25 Mar 2019 20:09 #294504 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Moderation Complaints
Yes, that sounds like a productive idea. Thanks ubarose and Vysetron.

Now you will also be subjected to my big labels on my own posts for every post as I endlessly edit my post in the 4 minutes after posting.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2019 20:09 by Gary Sax.
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25 Mar 2019 20:11 #294505 by Vysetron
Replied by Vysetron on topic Moderation Complaints
I won't be much better off, I can only catch typos when I hit publish.

Being able to see a listed reason for the modding would be cool but this is a great start. Thanks to both of you for being open and willing to make changes.
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26 Mar 2019 09:48 #294517 by GorillaGrody
Replied by GorillaGrody on topic Moderation Complaints
I’m glad you’re rethinking the way moderation works. For a long time now, traditional enemies of free speech have used online tools (banning, voting down, sequestering threads, talking points spam) to suppress free speech. And I’m not pointing the finger at anyone here; the moderation and removal of points is a serious step, one I wouldn’t have agreed with 5 years ago. But radical steps had to be taken somewhere so that any two people can have an actual conversation anywhere on the internet. In this case, on TWBG.
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