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Subject: Thread locking in a community forum rss

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Pete
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natureslayer wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
natureslayer wrote:
Octavian wrote:

There are pros and cons with any moderation system, and that's certainly true for moderating privately and with the decision to generally not delete users posts that violate the rules.


Cons: Private moderation makes vulnerable and discriminated-against populations feel more alone and attacked.

"Deplorables" (already a dogwhistle) are encouraged to derail and lock threads they don't like.

Pros: Intolerant people get to feel warm and fuzzy.

I love it when my feelings are less important than other peoples.


Exactly.

When the privacy of those being moderated is more important than justice, it's not hard to see how those priorities will be reflected in the community. It has the effect of providing shelter for malicious-but-clever offenders and broken stairs, while making people who feel powerless feel like they have nobody to defend them. This is true even if you are in fact defending them.

The thing is that the other effect of those priorities is to make moderators wholly unaccountable. I can see how that might be appealing, but there's a flipside, which is that it ensures nobody trusts you. We have no evidence that the process is fair, and when action is taken against individuals we do not see or feel that. All we see is people piling into our threads and then they get locked and it feels like a loss, and it feels like there's nobody going to bat for us.

I will say that every single community that I have ever been a part of that had similar procedures designed to protect offenders from the social fallout of their actions has had similar problems with lack of trust, corruption (seriously, there's a self-avowed white nationalist on admin staff), and repeat offenders that might see some private censure but have no difficulty maintaining their place in the community.
Wait...you guys are in favor of public shaming?

Pete (finds that somewhat contradictory)


Intolerance of intolerance is not hypocrisy.
That doesn't answer the question...

Pete (shrugs)
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
natureslayer wrote:
Octavian wrote:

There are pros and cons with any moderation system, and that's certainly true for moderating privately and with the decision to generally not delete users posts that violate the rules.


Cons: Private moderation makes vulnerable and discriminated-against populations feel more alone and attacked.

"Deplorables" (already a dogwhistle) are encouraged to derail and lock threads they don't like.

Pros: Intolerant people get to feel warm and fuzzy.

I love it when my feelings are less important than other peoples.


Exactly.

When the privacy of those being moderated is more important than justice, it's not hard to see how those priorities will be reflected in the community. It has the effect of providing shelter for malicious-but-clever offenders and broken stairs, while making people who feel powerless feel like they have nobody to defend them. This is true even if you are in fact defending them.

The thing is that the other effect of those priorities is to make moderators wholly unaccountable. I can see how that might be appealing, but there's a flipside, which is that it ensures nobody trusts you. We have no evidence that the process is fair, and when action is taken against individuals we do not see or feel that. All we see is people piling into our threads and then they get locked and it feels like a loss, and it feels like there's nobody going to bat for us.

I will say that every single community that I have ever been a part of that had similar procedures designed to protect offenders from the social fallout of their actions has had similar problems with lack of trust, corruption (seriously, there's a self-avowed white nationalist on admin staff), and repeat offenders that might see some private censure but have no difficulty maintaining their place in the community.
Wait...you guys are in favor of public shaming?

Pete (finds that somewhat contradictory)


There's a difference between public shaming and transparency.

I'm talking about my experiences both here and elsewhere where intentionally obfuscated moderation have produced the same effect: lack of trust, corruption, and shelter for repeat offenders. I'd much rather be put in a position where I need to apologize or lose face than a position where I just take my 24 hours in silence. One of those things builds the bonds of community and the other destroys them.

I've been moderated, and aside from a few thread locks/moves that appeared to me to be unwarranted, I felt like the actions taken against me were fair. The thing is without transparency, the people I wronged have no way of knowing that. In a situation where there is a concerted effort to wrong an underprivileged group of people, that lack of information is actively harmful.
I actively avoid RSP and have little or no interest in Rainbow/Women interest threads myself, so I cannot speak on what goes on there and how the moderation standards work there.

I can say that I do not think public shaming or even transparency as you are defining it here would be beneficial to the site at large. It's possible (even perhaps probable) that the subforums need different levels of intervention, but I don't think most of BGG would benefit from more public moderation. Again, when I get moderated, I'd rather not have it be public. I'm not in the habit of being moderated though, so I'm not the best test case.

Pete (is glad you answered his question so directly)
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plezercruz wrote:
I have been moderated a few times. I far prefer that it be handled privately.

Pete (can't speak for everyone else)


Yeah, but you could listen to other user's concerns about how the private moderation on BGG stifles discussion and creates an atmosphere that's encourages derailing and locking threads. Or that private moderation rather than outright deletion of posts adds a lot of dreck. For instance, now we're having to deal with someone on the Rainbow BGG forum that are coming in and derailing conversations. Rather than being able to delete the comments and stop the user from posting misogynistic and bad faith non sequiters and increase the overall happiness level and productivity of the discussions, the only recourse is to x them and hope they go away. That's some bad private moderation.
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dthurston wrote:
Octavian wrote:
piman wrote:

You do realize the extent to which BGG is viewed as a toxic pit of racism and sexism by much of the broader gaming community, right? You know that the reason there's not been a right-wing spinoff as there have been for so many other hobbyist sites is that BGG is its own right-wing spinoff?

That's all on you and your idiosyncratic "moderation." And you still show no interest in fixing it, nor even real awareness that this is the state of things.


I don't know how to even begin when you set up disagreeing with the premise as being proof of the premise.
I don't understand what you're getting at, Octavian, can you expand?


Calling BGG a "right-wing spinoff" is such a flawed premise to begin with that the rest of the argument becomes incomprehensible.
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natureslayer wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
I have been moderated a few times. I far prefer that it be handled privately.

Pete (can't speak for everyone else)


Yeah, but you could listen to other user's concerns about how the private moderation on BGG stifles discussion and creates an atmosphere that's encourages derailing and locking threads. Or that private moderation rather than outright deletion of posts adds a lot of dreck. For instance, now we're having to deal with someone on the Rainbow BGG forum that are coming in and derailing conversations. Rather than being able to delete the comments and stop the user from posting misogynistic and bad faith non sequiters and increase the overall happiness level and productivity of the discussions, the only recourse is to x them and hope they go away. That's some bad private moderation.
Sure. I'd welcome a link, if you want to show me what the person is doing. Maybe PM it to me so we don't advertise that person's antics to everyone (though there aren't a whole lot of complaint forum subscribers to begin with).

Pete (would like to have a look)
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motoyugota wrote:
dthurston wrote:
Octavian wrote:
piman wrote:

You do realize the extent to which BGG is viewed as a toxic pit of racism and sexism by much of the broader gaming community, right? You know that the reason there's not been a right-wing spinoff as there have been for so many other hobbyist sites is that BGG is its own right-wing spinoff?

That's all on you and your idiosyncratic "moderation." And you still show no interest in fixing it, nor even real awareness that this is the state of things.


I don't know how to even begin when you set up disagreeing with the premise as being proof of the premise.
I don't understand what you're getting at, Octavian, can you expand?


Calling BGG a "right-wing spinoff" is such a flawed premise to begin with that the rest of the argument becomes incomprehensible.
Besides, there really is a right-wing spinoff site, possibly two.

Pete (won't glorify them by naming them)
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natureslayer wrote:
Yeah, but you could listen to other user's concerns about how the private moderation on BGG stifles discussion and creates an atmosphere that's encourages derailing and locking threads. Or that private moderation rather than outright deletion of posts adds a lot of dreck. For instance, now we're having to deal with someone on the Rainbow BGG forum that are coming in and derailing conversations. Rather than being able to delete the comments and stop the user from posting misogynistic and bad faith non sequiters and increase the overall happiness level and productivity of the discussions, the only recourse is to x them and hope they go away. That's some bad private moderation.


One of the benefits of having a guild is that the guild admin can set rules of conduct in addition to the normal site rules; and can delete threads/posts and lock threads if needed (i.e. can self-moderate to a degree, without needing to burden Octavian).
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col_w wrote:
natureslayer wrote:
Yeah, but you could listen to other user's concerns about how the private moderation on BGG stifles discussion and creates an atmosphere that's encourages derailing and locking threads. Or that private moderation rather than outright deletion of posts adds a lot of dreck. For instance, now we're having to deal with someone on the Rainbow BGG forum that are coming in and derailing conversations. Rather than being able to delete the comments and stop the user from posting misogynistic and bad faith non sequiters and increase the overall happiness level and productivity of the discussions, the only recourse is to x them and hope they go away. That's some bad private moderation.


One of the benefits of having a guild is that the guild admin can set rules of conduct in addition to the normal site rules; and can delete threads/posts and lock threads if needed (i.e. can self-moderate to a degree, without needing to burden Octavian).

I made this point in the original thread requesting the rainbow forum, but the community consensus at the time was that a forum was preferred to a guild (I think the guild did follow shortly after though).


That's always been one of my points about the guilds too. But the argument is always "guilds are too hard to find". To which I say - then let's fix THAT problem instead. Guilds make far more sense than "community forums" for that exact reason (among many other reasons).

Oh, and the guild predates the forum by quite a bit, BTW.
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I have tried to get "into" guilds. For whatever reason there's not enough going on in most of them to keep me interested.

Pete (has removed most of his guild subscriptions)
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plezercruz wrote:
I have tried to get "into" guilds. For whatever reason there's not enough going on in most of them to keep me interested.

Pete (has removed most of his guild subscriptions)


And the reason for that is "they're too hard to find", which goes back to my previous response
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motoyugota wrote:
Oh, and the guild predates the forum by quite a bit, BTW.

OK, thanks - removed that bit.
 
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col_w wrote:
natureslayer wrote:
Yeah, but you could listen to other user's concerns about how the private moderation on BGG stifles discussion and creates an atmosphere that's encourages derailing and locking threads. Or that private moderation rather than outright deletion of posts adds a lot of dreck. For instance, now we're having to deal with someone on the Rainbow BGG forum that are coming in and derailing conversations. Rather than being able to delete the comments and stop the user from posting misogynistic and bad faith non sequiters and increase the overall happiness level and productivity of the discussions, the only recourse is to x them and hope they go away. That's some bad private moderation.


One of the benefits of having a guild is that the guild admin can set rules of conduct in addition to the normal site rules; and can delete threads/posts and lock threads if needed (i.e. can self-moderate to a degree, without needing to burden Octavian).

This seems like a great solution. I don't understand why this isn't seen as an answer to people's moderation issues. Perception bias? A guild is somehow "less" than a devoted community-specific forum? I'm curious.

edit: And if there was already a guild, why would you want to give up that control in exchange for the whims of BGG moderation (which has already been identified as inadequate or objectionable)?

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Adverb wrote:
This seems like a great solution. I don't understand why this isn't seen as an answer to people's moderation issues. Perception bias? A guild is somehow "less" than a devoted community-specific forum? I'm curious.
Their are other reasons, but I think the #1 thing is really that they are so difficult to find. There was a LGBTQ+ guild for a long time, and hardly any one had heard of it. The subforum has much, much more visibility.

(And please don't dismiss the concern by saying "fix the technical problem". Yes, the technical problem should be fixed, but we also didn't want to wait.)
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My experience is that few sites follow their stated moderation policies. And the more hate, and the more slurs target a group, the less moderators are willing to do anything about the slurs...
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dthurston wrote:
Adverb wrote:
This seems like a great solution. I don't understand why this isn't seen as an answer to people's moderation issues. Perception bias? A guild is somehow "less" than a devoted community-specific forum? I'm curious.
Their are other reasons, but I think the #1 thing is really that they are so difficult to find. There was a LGBTQ+ guild for a long time, and hardly any one had heard of it. The subforum has much, much more visibility.

(And please don't dismiss the concern by saying "fix the technical problem". Yes, the technical problem should be fixed, but we also didn't want to wait.)

Fair enough. It is pretty impossible to track down a guild, if you don't know exactly what you're looking for.

 
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dthurston wrote:
Adverb wrote:
This seems like a great solution. I don't understand why this isn't seen as an answer to people's moderation issues. Perception bias? A guild is somehow "less" than a devoted community-specific forum? I'm curious.
Their are other reasons, but I think the #1 thing is really that they are so difficult to find. There was a LGBTQ+ guild for a long time, and hardly any one had heard of it. The subforum has much, much more visibility.

(And please don't dismiss the concern by saying "fix the technical problem". Yes, the technical problem should be fixed, but we also didn't want to wait.)


You could also have directed those on the general gaming forum to the guild. Or guided those that you know to the guild by other means. The problems you are having with the forum are the exact problems that multiple people said you were going to have with a forum (as opposed to the guild) and the people involved in the discussion there dismissed those concerns entirely by saying "it won't happen" or "we'll let the site moderation do its job like it does everywhere else". And now the complaint is that those two beliefs were wrong.

The solution IS "make the guilds more visible". I'm sorry, but it's true. You didn't want to wait? That's fine - it's your right to be impatient as much as you want. But you know what? People have to wait all the time, for all sorts of things they want.

But in this case, I really do think that BGG should have made the hard call and said - "we understand your concerns - let us fix guilds and you'll have a better way to have the conversations you want to have", and then actually done the work to make it happen (rather than Octavian repeatedly saying "I really want to make Guilds more prevalent than they are" with no follow-through).
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Marja E wrote:
My experience is that few sites follow their stated moderation policies. And the more hate, and the more slurs target a group, the less moderators are willing to do anything about the slurs...


Please flag an posts containing bigotry so we can moderate them. The main reason something wouldn't get moderated is because no moderator sees it in the first place. Flagging offensive posts gets them on the radar for the moderators to deal with.
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natureslayer wrote:
Intolerance of intolerance is not hypocrisy.
You know, when you posted this, I didn't know what to think. I pondered it for a little while, but came to no conclusion. Then, thanks to my subscription to Octavian, I came across Sandy Petersen's Goodbye thread.

I can't say I'm sure yet what to think of your statement, but I will say this...

...the results sure do look the same.

Pete (isn't sure you're right)
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motoyugota wrote:
dthurston wrote:
Adverb wrote:
This seems like a great solution. I don't understand why this isn't seen as an answer to people's moderation issues. Perception bias? A guild is somehow "less" than a devoted community-specific forum? I'm curious.
Their are other reasons, but I think the #1 thing is really that they are so difficult to find. There was a LGBTQ+ guild for a long time, and hardly any one had heard of it. The subforum has much, much more visibility.

(And please don't dismiss the concern by saying "fix the technical problem". Yes, the technical problem should be fixed, but we also didn't want to wait.)


You could also have directed those on the general gaming forum to the guild. Or guided those that you know to the guild by other means. The problems you are having with the forum are the exact problems that multiple people said you were going to have with a forum (as opposed to the guild) and the people involved in the discussion there dismissed those concerns entirely by saying "it won't happen" or "we'll let the site moderation do its job like it does everywhere else". And now the complaint is that those two beliefs were wrong.

The solution IS "make the guilds more visible". I'm sorry, but it's true. You didn't want to wait? That's fine - it's your right to be impatient as much as you want. But you know what? People have to wait all the time, for all sorts of things they want.

But in this case, I really do think that BGG should have made the hard call and said - "we understand your concerns - let us fix guilds and you'll have a better way to have the conversations you want to have", and then actually done the work to make it happen (rather than Octavian repeatedly saying "I really want to make Guilds more prevalent than they are" with no follow-through).


That's one possible solution to one small problem, which is how to effectively moderate this particular community.

There's still the bigger problem, which is many LGBT+ people don't feel comfortable or safe on the site at large because bigotry, especially when it's implicit and not overtly declared, often goes unchecked. Breaking the site down into a bunch of subreddit fiefdoms is no solution to that problem.
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
motoyugota wrote:
dthurston wrote:
Adverb wrote:
This seems like a great solution. I don't understand why this isn't seen as an answer to people's moderation issues. Perception bias? A guild is somehow "less" than a devoted community-specific forum? I'm curious.
Their are other reasons, but I think the #1 thing is really that they are so difficult to find. There was a LGBTQ+ guild for a long time, and hardly any one had heard of it. The subforum has much, much more visibility.

(And please don't dismiss the concern by saying "fix the technical problem". Yes, the technical problem should be fixed, but we also didn't want to wait.)


You could also have directed those on the general gaming forum to the guild. Or guided those that you know to the guild by other means. The problems you are having with the forum are the exact problems that multiple people said you were going to have with a forum (as opposed to the guild) and the people involved in the discussion there dismissed those concerns entirely by saying "it won't happen" or "we'll let the site moderation do its job like it does everywhere else". And now the complaint is that those two beliefs were wrong.

The solution IS "make the guilds more visible". I'm sorry, but it's true. You didn't want to wait? That's fine - it's your right to be impatient as much as you want. But you know what? People have to wait all the time, for all sorts of things they want.

But in this case, I really do think that BGG should have made the hard call and said - "we understand your concerns - let us fix guilds and you'll have a better way to have the conversations you want to have", and then actually done the work to make it happen (rather than Octavian repeatedly saying "I really want to make Guilds more prevalent than they are" with no follow-through).


That's one possible solution to one small problem, which is how to effectively moderate this particular community.

There's still the bigger problem, which is many LGBT+ people don't feel comfortable or safe on the site at large because bigotry, especially when it's implicit and not overtly declared, often goes unchecked. Breaking the site down into a bunch of subreddit fiefdoms is no solution to that problem.
Subforums are nice, but I suspect most of us do not visit this website to not talk to other gamers. The main forums are where the action is.

Pete (wouldn't want to be shunted to a subforum either)
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
There's still the bigger problem, which is many LGBT+ people don't feel comfortable or safe on the site at large because bigotry, especially when it's implicit and not overtly declared, often goes unchecked.

This is incredibly sad to hear.

And it makes me feel incredibly oblivious.

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Octavian wrote:
dthurston wrote:
The thing I understand much less is why BGG has this policy against deleting posts. Like, I agree with the admins that certain posts really have no place. Why are they left up unless the user decides to delete it?

This stems from wanting moderation to be handled privately. We moderate privately to protect someone who has an uncharacteristic slip or has a bad day and lashes out from being stigmatized for it. Moderators deleting posts would be a public indicator.

It also happens that some deplorables "benefit" from private moderation practices in the short term by not being publicly called out by moderators for their posts. But it has been my experience that they tend to be repeat offenders who quickly find themselves suspended for long lengths of time to the point that they may as well not be on the site any longer.

There are pros and cons with any moderation system, and that's certainly true for moderating privately and with the decision to generally not delete users posts that violate the rules.

I could believe that perhaps, in the general case, repeat offenders getting moderated out of the system might mean the harm of thread-locking / lack of visible consequences for offenders is lower than the harm low-key public moderation might do. (It seems implausible to me - if I'm an ass to my neighbors or gaming friends, I sure don't get a free pass on social consequences because I was having a bad day - but I'm nothing like an expert on forum moderation.) And egads, I wouldn't want to deal with moderation myself; I respect that you do a job that's nearly guaranteed to draw ire no matter how you do it.

That being said: I'd suggest that when weighing the harm done by any policy, context is important. And in particular, that a policy which effectively results in per-thread DOS attacks is an exceptionally poor match for any community which has historically been silenced and oppressed.
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I'm reminded of a discussion on the Ludology podcast about balance, and how in a game design it's not enough to be balanced, it also has to appear balanced to new players. Thinking more broadly in society, it's not enough that the administration of laws be just, they also have to appear just.

I do see differences between being just/balanced and appearing just/balanced, and in both cases there are aspects that are opaque to outsiders/new players.
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having been a mod on a music site where modding was public, I can see the benefits and drawbacks of such a system. While it may look better to the members, it can also lead to unbalanced modding and claims of bias or preferential treatment. When modding is public, knowing that one person got modded while another didn't leads to all sorts of accusations and attacks. Here, we can speculate about how modding was handled, but no one really knows. Maybe the bully actually was modded out of existence.

Unfortunately what happened here was a bog standard example of why minority spaces need to have different rules. There is simply no way to ever have these conversation not be derailed by defenders of the status quo who win even when they lose. Back when we started here I wrote a post Do We Have Different Rules Here which was meant to be a rhetorical question that the post answered (the answer was supposed to be "yes" BTW). My hope was that derailing simply wouldn't be allowed in RainbowBGG and that conversations wouldn't get locked because outsiders had successfully done so. Sure we are supposed red x those people but we all know others will engage them. Using that as an excuse to say "both sides derailed things" and shutting down the whole topic is simply doing what has always been done and allowing the people opposed to the discussion to win.

So once again we have proof that discussions of racism, sexism and bigotry as they relate to board games are simply not possible to have here because the "neutral" view is the one that allows the most obnoxious voices to prevail.
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
When the privacy of those being moderated is more important than justice, it's not hard to see how those priorities will be reflected in the community. It has the effect of providing shelter for malicious-but-clever offenders and broken stairs, while making people who feel powerless feel like they have nobody to defend them. This is true even if you are in fact defending them.

The thing is that the other effect of those priorities is to make moderators wholly unaccountable. I can see how that might be appealing, but there's a flipside, which is that it ensures nobody trusts you. We have no evidence that the process is fair, and when action is taken against individuals we do not see or feel that. All we see is people piling into our threads and then they get locked and it feels like a loss, and it feels like there's nobody going to bat for us.


Unfortunately, there are plenty on all sides that would take public "justice" and use it as a bludgeon for vengeance. Is that a can of worms we really want to see opened?
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