Comment on moderator action in LiPo Matching Thread - Page 5 - RC Groups
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Aug 23, 2004, 07:16 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by atlantae
So the material deleted was the formula to cure cancer? Or aids? or the solution to world hunger?.. No? Then is trivial.

Enough said...unsubscribing.
I guess it could be said that this whole forum is trivial, then. Might as well unsubscribe to everything.

Of course, it's all a personal decision what one finds important. I personally find good moderation important to help separate the sewage from the drinking water. I believe RC Groups has the best moderation I've found in any type of forum on the internet. I never had any problem with Brian's moderating. I do think this one action did raise some questions worthy of being brought to Jim Bourke's attention, which is why Site Suggestions/Complaints exists in the first place. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the process here. I don't see why anyone would want to waste their time following this thread if they didn't think it had at least a little bit of importance.
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Aug 23, 2004, 11:44 PM
jbourke's Avatar
1. To archive material deleted by moderators for a short time, and
That is the way things are supposed to work. Moderators are not supposed to delete threads or posts except in extreme circumstances. By "extreme" I mean things that are offensive or illegal.

We have a special private sub-forum which is used to save threads that are being heavily edited. This is meant to allow us to retrieve accidentally deleted content.

At times human beings will make mistakes.

2. To clarify the rule controlling supplier postings, so as to allow general information from them regarding products offered by other suppliers.
Rule 7 is: Vendors will refrain from commenting in threads relating exclusively to other vendors' products or services.

It seems pretty clear to me what that means. A thread that is started by a vendor or by any other user about a vendor, will not be replied to by anyone else that is an R/C vendor.

That rule was written in response to numerous complaints we received about a few threads where vendors were arguing heatedly. Some of the complaints, ironically, came from the vendors who were participating in the heated arguments.

The rule doesn't make any allowance for the fact that vendors may represent sets of products that do not intersect with the sets of products from another vendor. On that reasoning, there should be some common-sense applied to the rule.

However, determining exactly what products a vendor sells is time-consuming, and faced with a bit of ambiguity, I can easily see why a moderator would prefer to interpret the rule in a different way.

Perhaps rule #7 should be amended to remove this ambiguity, or even done away with entirely.

For the record, it's perfectly fair for users to ask genuine questions about any of the rules we have, whether for clarification or to challenge their efficacy. This sort of discussion is very valuable to me as I try to determine site policy.

Here's what I'll do based on the feedback within this thread:

I'm going to spell out the procedures the moderators are to follow and make them available not just to the moderators but also to the users. That way if a moderator makes a mistake it will be understood as a mistake and not a draconian policy.

I'll also amend the rules to remove some ambiguities and while I do that I'll consider whether rule #7 was a mistake.

Aug 24, 2004, 01:02 AM
jbourke's Avatar
Just to clarify, I didn't mean to imply that Brian had performed his duties incorrectly in my response to RD Blakeslee's first point. Brian had saved off a copy of the thread in our "quarantine" area just as he should have.

Also, my comment:

That way if a moderator makes a mistake it will be understood as a mistake and not a draconian policy.
is not to be read as an indication that I think a mistake was made here. Brian faithfully executed his duties in enforcing site policy.

I'm speaking toward the general case in my post above, defending Brian's capacity to interpret the rules and enforce site policy while also allowing for the fact that many of our users were obviously uncomfortable with the end result.

If I clarify the situation it will be easier for users to see, in a situation like this, that the moderator is acting according to his duties, and they will then cast their attention directly upon the policy. Likewise, in a situation where a moderator does make an error, a user like RD Blakeslee will not need to ask if we can change the procedures to accomodate a policy that already exists.

Aug 24, 2004, 07:45 AM
Registered User
Jim, I think your responses above are well-considered and reasonable.

I personally supported the original institution of rule # 7 because it seemed reasonable at the time, given the emotional nature of some Li-poly threads with multiple vendor participation. The situation was that one vendor would start a thread to provide information and answer questions about his product, and other vendors would begin posting about their products in that thread. This often led to contentiousness and violation of rule # 2. Essentially, rule # 7 was created to reduce violations of rule # 2.

Rule # 2 is the key to civilized behavior at RC Groups. In retrospect, any rule that tries to anticipate that rule # 2 might be violated and tries to prevent those violations before they begin is going to be difficult to word in such a way as to avoid misinterpretation. For instance, an unintended effect of rule # 7 is that it eliminates participation by non-competing vendors, which is a net loss for everyone.

Rule # 7 was instituted before the Vendors forum was opened. The Vendors forum is one place where a vendor should be allowed to start a thread about his product without being sniped at by rival vendors. So perhaps rule # 7 could apply only to the Vendors forum. I think it is to everyone's advantage if all threads in other forums are open to free discussion by all participants -- within the limits of rule # 2.

Swift, fair and equitable enforcement of rule # 2 resolves vendor disputes as well as it does member disputes. We all need to embrace rule # 2, and report messages that are in violation, or appear to be headed that way. Some moderators on this forum are very good about posting a brief warning message that a thread is in danger of being closed due to violation of rule # 2 when the thread starts tilting toward violation of rule # 2. This eliminates the need for rule # 7.
Aug 24, 2004, 08:41 AM
Registered User
I very much agree that all participating members should assume some responsibility for degeneration of a thread, due to violation of Rule 2.

That responsibilty goes beyond self-control; it also applies to reporting the posts of others to moderators, not just posts which the complainant feels are personally offensive.

While this can be expected to increase the volume of messages to the moderators, it will help them deal with the problem they have, being charged with moderating all threads without browsing the forums 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.

I sometimes think that a rule outlawing the use of personal names and their pronouns, characterizations and motivations in posts, requiring discussion in terms of an issue only, not the proponent, would help, but that's too draconian, I guess.

Or is it?

- RD
Last edited by RD Blakeslee; Aug 24, 2004 at 08:52 AM. Reason: completeness
Aug 24, 2004, 08:55 AM
Registered User
Example: "Member X must be dumb as a post to believe ... (etc.)"

Would have to be posted as "It has been asserted that ... (etc.)"

- RD
Aug 24, 2004, 04:38 PM
Registered User
Not at all. Just use a little initiative. One could easily post "Anyone who thinks (copy in what Member X just said) must be dumb as...."

No names used, could in theory be taken as a general coment, but Member X would have to be really dumb not to take offence .

It is not possible to auto-moderate forums like this or to set completely definitive rules. The rules set the scene and overall feel for the forums but basically anyone who doesn't like the way they are applied by those putting in the actual work always has the final choice. They can go away. Or I suppose they can drive away the moderators and see how well they like the site without them.


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