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Arguments for moderation policy reform

Who needs it, who got it, who hands it out and why.

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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:10 pm

Neo Art wrote:What again makes this so utterly bizarre to me is my own perspective, and my own situation. As mentioned before, my job is one that requires me to make decisions, every day. I'm no stranger to the process, I'm no stranger to the idea. My job is to review facts, interpret law, apply one to the other and make a decision. And these decisions carry weight. hundreds, thousands, often tens of thousands of dollars is at stake in each one, and I make...what...30 a week?

I do what you do every day, in a professional capacity, with real laws, real policies, real procedures, and real things at stake. This isn't a hobby to me. It's not a pass-time. It's my work. It's my profession. It's the thing that puts food on my table. I am paid for my ability to make sound, reasoned, and rationale decisions. And if my ability to make sound, reasoned and rationale decisions ever becomes suspect, I won't be uninvited to the secret club. I won't be not shown the secret handshake.

I'll lose my job. So I have a HELL of a lot more riding on my ability to do it than the moderators here do on theirs, at least as far as NSG goes. That's not insulting, that's not demeaning, it's merely pointing out that the things you all do as a hobby, I do as my profession, and there's a lot more riding on my ability to do that for me, than there is on your ability for you. If you can't do it, you get asked to not be a moderator anymore.

If I can't do it, I get asked to not have a job anymore.

So if I, who has EVERY reason to be a LOT more protective of my reputation as someone who is seen as a person capable of making sound, reasoned, and rational decisions, doesn't consider it an attack on me when someone has the temerity to suggest that I might have gotten it wrong (which happens a whole lot), then why in the WORLD would people, with, let's be honest, so very little actually at stake, take SUCH a personal affront as to equate an appeal of A DECISION they made with an accusation of PERSONAL wrongdoing?

it's...unfathomable to me, and is truly indicative of a systematic problem here, that moderators truly do take being questioned personally.


Oh yeah? Well I.... make people laugh professionally. And if I don't do my job well, people heckle me and throw things. That was stressful enough when it was at a 9 year old's birthday party, but now that I'm writing for a living, the thrown objects are frequently staplers and stuff. :(

And they call their coffees and teas by the blend name instead of 'coffee' and 'tea' which really messes with my head. :unsure:
Last edited by Lunatic Goofballs on Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
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Neo Art
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Postby Neo Art » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:12 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
And they call their coffees and teas by the blend name instead of 'coffee' and 'tea' which really messes with my head. :unsure:


Who is this Earl Gray anyway and what's he want with my tea?
if you were Batman you'd be home by now

"Consistency is a matter we are attempting to remedy." - Dread Lady Nathinaca

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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:13 pm

Neo Art wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
And they call their coffees and teas by the blend name instead of 'coffee' and 'tea' which really messes with my head. :unsure:


Who is this Earl Gray anyway and what's he want with my tea?


I don't know, but I spent 20 minutes looking at the bird feeder for an 'orange pekoe'. No luck. :(
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
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Neo Art
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Postby Neo Art » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:15 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Neo Art wrote:
Who is this Earl Gray anyway and what's he want with my tea?


I don't know, but I spent 20 minutes looking at the bird feeder for an 'orange pekoe'. No luck. :(


Did you know the most valuable coffee in the world is hand picked from the shit of giant rats?
if you were Batman you'd be home by now

"Consistency is a matter we are attempting to remedy." - Dread Lady Nathinaca

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Geniasis
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Postby Geniasis » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:21 pm

Neo Art wrote:Did you know the most valuable coffee in the world is hand picked from the shit of giant rats?


That's a load of crap. I refuse to believe it.
Supporter of making [citation needed] the official NSG way to say "source?"

Myrensis wrote:I say turn it into a brothel, that way Muslims and Christians can be offended together.


DaWoad wrote:nah, she only fought because, as everyone knows, the brits can't make a decent purse to save their lives and she had a VERY important shopping trip coming up!


Reichskommissariat ost wrote:Women are as good as men , I dont know why they constantly whine about things.


Euronion wrote:because how dare me ever ever try to demand rights for myself, right men, we should just lie down and let the women trample over us, let them take awa our rights, our right to vote will be next just don't say I didn't warn ou

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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:26 pm

Geniasis wrote:
Neo Art wrote:Did you know the most valuable coffee in the world is hand picked from the shit of giant rats?


That's a load of crap. I refuse to believe it.

:eyebrow: Come into my blog with those puns and see what happens. You'll come running to hide behind the solid stone wall of mods here. :p
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Neo Art
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Postby Neo Art » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:27 pm

Geniasis wrote:
Neo Art wrote:Did you know the most valuable coffee in the world is hand picked from the shit of giant rats?


That's a load of crap. I refuse to believe it.


Seriously, no bullshit
if you were Batman you'd be home by now

"Consistency is a matter we are attempting to remedy." - Dread Lady Nathinaca

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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:27 pm

Neo Art wrote:
Geniasis wrote:
That's a load of crap. I refuse to believe it.


Seriously, no bullshit

Of course not. It's rat shit. Bullshit is the cheap stuff.
Kick back at Cafe Muravyets
And check out my other RP, too. (Don't take others' word for it -- see for yourself. ;) )
I agree with Muravyets because she scares me. -- Verdigroth
However, I am still not the topic of this thread.

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Geniasis
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Postby Geniasis » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:28 pm

Muravyets wrote: :eyebrow: Come into my blog with those puns and see what happens. You'll come running to hide behind the solid stone wall of mods here. :p


I'd rather not. When a Lionness offers you the opportunity to pour steak sauce over oneself and come traipsing in her den alone and unarmed, one does not take the bait.
Supporter of making [citation needed] the official NSG way to say "source?"

Myrensis wrote:I say turn it into a brothel, that way Muslims and Christians can be offended together.


DaWoad wrote:nah, she only fought because, as everyone knows, the brits can't make a decent purse to save their lives and she had a VERY important shopping trip coming up!


Reichskommissariat ost wrote:Women are as good as men , I dont know why they constantly whine about things.


Euronion wrote:because how dare me ever ever try to demand rights for myself, right men, we should just lie down and let the women trample over us, let them take awa our rights, our right to vote will be next just don't say I didn't warn ou

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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:29 pm

Neo Art wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
I don't know, but I spent 20 minutes looking at the bird feeder for an 'orange pekoe'. No luck. :(


Did you know the most valuable coffee in the world is hand picked from the shit of giant rats?


I thought it was cats. Either way, I can see the appeal. :blink:

Okay, I suppose I ought to say something on-topic while I'm here. Just for show. I've avoided this thread so far because I don't really care for how seriously people are taking this. Speaking for myself, when one of my moderator decisions is questioned, even after a clarification, I present the issue on the mods' forums, explain my reasoning and then let the mods review my decision. This seems to be more or less the norm for most mods and it doesn't seem anywhere near as complicated in my head as some of this thread has made it sound.

So far, the only real legitimate complaint I've seen that I think needs to be considered is the italicized portion above. Some people seem to think that the moderator has unfair access to the review process. WHile I think it's a legitimate point of discussion, It tends to frame the issue as 'accused' vs 'mod' when frequently, it's 'accuser' vs 'accused' with the mod acting as something as a cross between a beat cop and a judge. I'm not sure where the line for mods between cop and judge is, but it seems to me that accuser and accused do have equal access to us in the Moderation forum. Regardless however, I don't feel comfortable with the image of 'accused' vs 'moderator'. I don't see my role that way.
Last edited by Lunatic Goofballs on Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:30 pm

Geniasis wrote:
Neo Art wrote:Did you know the most valuable coffee in the world is hand picked from the shit of giant rats?


That's a load of crap. I refuse to believe it.


I''d like to see their feces when they find out that it really is cat(?) crap. The shit will really hit the fan. :p
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
Hunter S. Thompson

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Neo Art
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Postby Neo Art » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Honestly lg, the only person here who has analogized mod as defendant has been a fellow mod. Folks like TC and myself have tried very hard to reject that notion and frame mods as judges not litigants

So if you're unsure where it comes from, all I can suggest is look to see who has actually been propogating it.
if you were Batman you'd be home by now

"Consistency is a matter we are attempting to remedy." - Dread Lady Nathinaca

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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:42 pm

Neo Art wrote:Honestly lg, the only person here who has analogized mod as defendant has been a fellow mod. Folks like TC and myself have tried very hard to reject that notion and frame mods as judges not litigants

So if you're unsure where it comes from, all I can suggest is look to see who has actually been propogating it.


Well, much like a real life judge or cop, we can get pretty defensive when we have our judgments or impartiality questioned. I'm not forgiving it, and I'm not immune to it. It's a fairly human response though. For the most part, I've managed to buffer my reactions with a combination of irreverence and an inability to take anything seriously. My typical response to any discussion that comes up in private regarding any player is, 'Destroy Him!' It makes me feel better. :)
Last edited by Lunatic Goofballs on Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
Hunter S. Thompson

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Neo Art
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Postby Neo Art » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Neo Art wrote:Honestly lg, the only person here who has analogized mod as defendant has been a fellow mod. Folks like TC and myself have tried very hard to reject that notion and frame mods as judges not litigants

So if you're unsure where it comes from, all I can suggest is look to see who has actually been propogating it.


Well, much like a real life judge or cop, we can get pretty defensive when we have our judgments or impartiality questioned. I'm not forgiving it, and I'm not immune to it. It's a fairly human response though. For the most part, I've managed to buffer my reactions with a combination of irreverence and an inability to take anything seriously. My typical response to any discussion that comes up in private regarding any player is, 'Destroy Him!' It makes me feel better. :)


In honesty, I couldn't give a flying fuck how you feel about it. I care how you handle it.

Someone who can't handle their decisions being questioned doesn't deserve a job making decisions. End of.

And if any mod can't handle it they need to either get a grip or resign. Anything else is unfair to the population
if you were Batman you'd be home by now

"Consistency is a matter we are attempting to remedy." - Dread Lady Nathinaca

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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:59 pm

Neo Art wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Well, much like a real life judge or cop, we can get pretty defensive when we have our judgments or impartiality questioned. I'm not forgiving it, and I'm not immune to it. It's a fairly human response though. For the most part, I've managed to buffer my reactions with a combination of irreverence and an inability to take anything seriously. My typical response to any discussion that comes up in private regarding any player is, 'Destroy Him!' It makes me feel better. :)


In honesty, I couldn't give a flying fuck how you feel about it. I care how you handle it.

Someone who can't handle their decisions being questioned doesn't deserve a job making decisions. End of.

And if any mod can't handle it they need to either get a grip or resign. Anything else is unfair to the population

It's not a job. It's an adventure. :p
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
Hunter S. Thompson

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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:04 pm

Geniasis wrote:
Muravyets wrote: :eyebrow: Come into my blog with those puns and see what happens. You'll come running to hide behind the solid stone wall of mods here. :p


I'd rather not. When a Lionness offers you the opportunity to pour steak sauce over oneself and come traipsing in her den alone and unarmed, one does not take the bait.

Feh. Coward. ;)


Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Neo Art wrote:Honestly lg, the only person here who has analogized mod as defendant has been a fellow mod. Folks like TC and myself have tried very hard to reject that notion and frame mods as judges not litigants

So if you're unsure where it comes from, all I can suggest is look to see who has actually been propogating it.


Well, much like a real life judge or cop, we can get pretty defensive when we have our judgments or impartiality questioned. I'm not forgiving it, and I'm not immune to it. It's a fairly human response though. For the most part, I've managed to buffer my reactions with a combination of irreverence and an inability to take anything seriously. My typical response to any discussion that comes up in private regarding any player is, 'Destroy Him!' It makes me feel better. :)

LG, I'd like to draw a distinction that I didn't pick up in your comments. Not sure if it's really getting confused but I just want to make sure of it.

The role of moderator at the time a ruling is made is as cop/judge/execu--- let's just say Judge Dredd -- between accuser and accused, i.e. two players. (Sometimes, it's like that, sometimes not, when more than 2 players are involved, or no one made a complaint per se, but whatever.)

But the role of the moderator is different in the appeal process. There it's not a matter of accusations at all. It's a matter of facts. A ruling was made. Said ruling is being challenged, questioned, or submitted for further review. Then the ruling moderator is not between anyone. In fact, as Neo Art put it, he/she properly isn't in it at all. Only the ruling is.

So there are two completely separate things: The making of a ruling on one hand, and the appeal of a ruling on the other. They are not the same thing.

Now granted, there are plenty of players who will include accusations against moderators when they appeal a ruling. Some of those will have some legitimacy whether they are pertinent or correct or not. Others will be stupid and frivolous. Sometimes people are like that, sometimes situations are like that. But that does not mean that we see the normal relationship of players and mods as hostile or adversarial.

Quite the opposite, in fact. The suggestions that have been made here have been aimed at the goal of helping to reduce, if not eliminate, any adversarial or accusatory feelings between players and mods. I, for one, think such feelings do come up and they're not good for NS and are usually based on misunderstandings of what mods are doing as well as frustration with a system that doesn't seem to make sense. I'd like to see those problems get fixed because, contrary to what some may believe, I do care about this site.
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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:43 pm

Muravyets wrote:
Geniasis wrote:
I'd rather not. When a Lionness offers you the opportunity to pour steak sauce over oneself and come traipsing in her den alone and unarmed, one does not take the bait.

Feh. Coward. ;)


Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Well, much like a real life judge or cop, we can get pretty defensive when we have our judgments or impartiality questioned. I'm not forgiving it, and I'm not immune to it. It's a fairly human response though. For the most part, I've managed to buffer my reactions with a combination of irreverence and an inability to take anything seriously. My typical response to any discussion that comes up in private regarding any player is, 'Destroy Him!' It makes me feel better. :)

LG, I'd like to draw a distinction that I didn't pick up in your comments. Not sure if it's really getting confused but I just want to make sure of it.

The role of moderator at the time a ruling is made is as cop/judge/execu--- let's just say Judge Dredd -- between accuser and accused, i.e. two players. (Sometimes, it's like that, sometimes not, when more than 2 players are involved, or no one made a complaint per se, but whatever.)

But the role of the moderator is different in the appeal process. There it's not a matter of accusations at all. It's a matter of facts. A ruling was made. Said ruling is being challenged, questioned, or submitted for further review. Then the ruling moderator is not between anyone. In fact, as Neo Art put it, he/she properly isn't in it at all. Only the ruling is.

So there are two completely separate things: The making of a ruling on one hand, and the appeal of a ruling on the other. They are not the same thing.

Now granted, there are plenty of players who will include accusations against moderators when they appeal a ruling. Some of those will have some legitimacy whether they are pertinent or correct or not. Others will be stupid and frivolous. Sometimes people are like that, sometimes situations are like that. But that does not mean that we see the normal relationship of players and mods as hostile or adversarial.

Quite the opposite, in fact. The suggestions that have been made here have been aimed at the goal of helping to reduce, if not eliminate, any adversarial or accusatory feelings between players and mods. I, for one, think such feelings do come up and they're not good for NS and are usually based on misunderstandings of what mods are doing as well as frustration with a system that doesn't seem to make sense. I'd like to see those problems get fixed because, contrary to what some may believe, I do care about this site.


A worthwhile goal to be sure. Just keep in mind that we're players too. Like you, I can vote with my feet by finding a forum more to my liking. What keeps me here moderating isn't any kind of responsibility. It's the same thing it was when I wasn't a mod; a desire to entertain. I want people to be entertained here because I know that just like me, they can vote with their feet.

Like all the mods, I'm fettered in that by a couple challenges; one is that I have rules to enforce that have to be as flexible as the player base itself. That's the way the rules must be. That's also the way moderator decisions have to me made; as a subjective but impartial application of flexible rules. Even if a computer could do this job, I very much doubt you'd like the job it did. The second is that I have to judge the intent of people I see as equals. Now when it comes to reviewing the decision of another moderator, I've got a double dose of this; Not only to I have to subjectively yet impartially apply flexible rules to an equally flexible player base and do so to people I view as equals, now I have to understand that whole process that another moderator went through. Frequently with borderline calls where I'm not entirely certain where I lean(a very common occurrence and certainly the most contested), reviewing a moderator decision is more about understanding their decision than reaching my own. Of course, if I don't understand that decision, then chances are, I'm disagreeing with it. I'm not sure how clear I explained that, and I'm not sure if I can clarify it further so I hope it's clear enough.

Just try to understand this: The hardest cases to judge are frequently the most contested. But as you mention here:

There it's not a matter of accusations at all. It's a matter of facts. A ruling was made. Said ruling is being challenged, questioned, or submitted for further review. Then the ruling moderator is not between anyone.


The review is of the decision and not the moderator. But what you left out is that it's also not about the players. Oh, the prior history or behavior of a player may become involved, but I'd like to think that all other things being equal, if your name were 'Smedleyburg' and everything else about you were the same, I'd enforce a rule on you the same way or review a moderator's decision on that rule the same way.
Last edited by Lunatic Goofballs on Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
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The Norwegian Blue
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Postby The Norwegian Blue » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:56 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Neo Art wrote:Honestly lg, the only person here who has analogized mod as defendant has been a fellow mod. Folks like TC and myself have tried very hard to reject that notion and frame mods as judges not litigants

So if you're unsure where it comes from, all I can suggest is look to see who has actually been propogating it.


Well, much like a real life judge or cop, we can get pretty defensive when we have our judgments or impartiality questioned. I'm not forgiving it, and I'm not immune to it. It's a fairly human response though.


It is indeed a very human response. And mods are very human. (Well, except for NERVUN. He's clearly a tentacle monster in a cleverly-made costume, but that's beside the point.) And if there's one defining quality of humanity, it's that no matter how great we try to be, sometimes, we fuck up.

I want to be very clear: I think that, overall, the moderation staff here does a good job. I think that, for any given mod, roughly 99% of their decisions are perfectly good ones. But 1% of the time, any human being is going to be tired or distracted or grumpy or drunk or in a hurry or, yes, biased, and they're going to fuck up. It would be simply bizarre if they didn't. And, again, to be perfectly clear, I have absolutely zero doubt that if I were in your shoes, sometimes I'd be tired or distracted or grumpy or biased and I'd fuck up, too. This is what human beings do.

And yes, it's also human to get defensive when someone says, "Hey, I think you fucked this thing up." That very decidedly doesn't make it a good or productive response, and it's intensely frustrating to have, "Hey, person I generally respect! You are fallible!" treated as if it's "OMG, you horrible person, you are clearly a monstrous monster of monstrosity!" Like I said in a previous post in the other thread, I understand perfectly well how this happens, and I get that dealing with the people who actually do accuse you of being monstrous monsters is really annoying, but that's not what's happening here. If any mod is reading that into anything most of the players in this thread have said, that is your frustration being projected onto us, because we've been really, really clear about not saying that, and in fact saying that the attitude that moderators and players are somehow in opposition to each other is stupid and something we want to get rid of.

So. You are human. Sometimes you make mistakes. And it is not an attack on you or your ability to moderate to say that sometimes, as mods, you're going to get things wrong. To use a real-life comparison (and one that may resonate with a couple of the mods), my mother is a teacher, and I think she's a very good one. I've also teased her for years about a final exam she gave her class a decade ago featuring the question, "What process is featured in the diagram below?" immediately followed by a white space with a line of text in it saying, "DON'T FORGET TO PUT DIAGRAM OF RESPIRATION HERE." It was pretty hilarious. It was also a really dumb question to put on a final. Did that one boneheaded mistake turn her into a Bad Teacher? Should she feel that her legitimacy and value as a teacher is under attack when I say that it was a boneheaded mistake? Of freaking course not. Similarly, when a poster says, "I think Kat's judgment here was wrong," or "I don't think Czar read my post correctly" or "I think LG's ruling was biased, since my post saying clowns eat babies was obviously a joke and not actually flamebaiting," that's not an attack on those mods. It does not turn the mod into the "defendant" in some sort of case to redeem themselves. It's just what it says on the tin - a statement that they think you got something wrong. Which, without question, you will all do sometimes. If you seriously cannot deal with people thinking you're fallible, well, then, I kinda have to echo NA and say "get a grip."

And yes, sometimes people aren't going to be super nice about it, because this is NS and sometimes people aren't super nice. Sometimes those complaints are going to be phrased as "I think Kat's judgment was STUPID" or "Czar totally IGNORED what I actually said" or "LG is a pro-clown BIGOT!" You have every right to find that annoying - but in the end, again, this is NS. "People say annoying things" is not some cross that only you have to bear here. In the end, the consequences of someone publicly saying annoying things about you are...someone publicly saying annoying things about you. The consequences of you making an incorrect judgment call are that someone gets banned who didn't deserve it, or someone feels like attacks against them aren't taken seriously - and in the long run, the consequences there add up to "people stop trusting the mods to enforce the rules fairly," which, while still a pretty small deal in the grand scheme of things, is a pretty big deal in the running of a web forum.

Which brings me to a very simple question. There's been a lot of resistance to the idea that moderators should recuse themselves from discussions of their decisions. What, exactly, are the negative consequences you see of doing so? What, exactly, do you have to lose by making whatever case you feel you need to make for your decision publicly and staying out of the private discussion altogether? We've laid out what you have to gain - specifically, a much clearer public perception that the mods are doing their best to avoid bias - so if you think it's a bad idea, please, can you explain what you actually have to lose?
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Barringtonia
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Postby Barringtonia » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:10 pm

The Norwegian Blue wrote:Which brings me to a very simple question. There's been a lot of resistance to the idea that moderators should recuse themselves from discussions of their decisions. What, exactly, are the negative consequences you see of doing so? What, exactly, do you have to lose by making whatever case you feel you need to make for your decision publicly and staying out of the private discussion altogether? We've laid out what you have to gain - specifically, a much clearer public perception that the mods are doing their best to avoid bias - so if you think it's a bad idea, please, can you explain what you actually have to lose?


I'd imagine it's related to the point that the most debated rulings, the most contentious, run a very fine line that essentially comes down to opinion.

Now, the purpose of moderators discussing it is to resolve the situation, hence internal discussion on the context and ruling before a united front is presented. Generally the reasons for that ruling are provided.

The purpose of the poster is to be right, and therefore is inherently less impartial on the subject and, wherever it's coming down a matter of opinion, the debate can thus be endless. Therefore to bring them into the discussion is fruitless since one knows their position anyway, their presumption is that they're innocent and thus their opinion and argument follows.

There might be a case for recusing the moderator who made the ruling, personally I don't see it as too much of an issue unless, geneuinely, there is some history between the poster and moderator, but that generally seems done - what people seem to want is proof of this.

The point is, it's a question of difference in purpose, the charge is that moderators are primarily seeking to defend their decision and they're saying that's not the case.

Frankly I don' think it all so important as to lay too heavy a burden of proof on that.
Last edited by Barringtonia on Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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The Cat-Tribe
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Ex-Nation

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:16 pm

Barringtonia wrote:
The Norwegian Blue wrote:Which brings me to a very simple question. There's been a lot of resistance to the idea that moderators should recuse themselves from discussions of their decisions. What, exactly, are the negative consequences you see of doing so? What, exactly, do you have to lose by making whatever case you feel you need to make for your decision publicly and staying out of the private discussion altogether? We've laid out what you have to gain - specifically, a much clearer public perception that the mods are doing their best to avoid bias - so if you think it's a bad idea, please, can you explain what you actually have to lose?


I'd imagine it's related to the point that the most debated rulings, the most contentious, run a very fine line that essentially comes down to opinion.

Now, the purpose of moderators discussing it is to resolve the situation, hence internal discussion on the context and ruling before a united front is presented. Generally the reasons for that ruling are provided.

The purpose of the poster is to be right, and therefore is inherently less impartial on the subject and, wherever it's coming down a matter of opinion, the debate can thus be endless. Therefore to bring them into the discussion is fruitless since one knows their position anyway, their presumption is that they're innocent and thus their opinion and argument follows.

There might be a case for recusing the moderator who made the ruling, personally I don't see it as too much of an issue unless, geneuinely, there is some history between the poster and moderator, but that generally seems done - what people seem to want is proof of this.

The point is, it's a question of difference in purpose, the charge is that moderators are primarily seeking to defend their decision and they're saying that's not the case.

Frankly I don' think it all so important as to lay too heavy a burden of proof on that.


Before this discussion, I would have agreed with you. I think Melkor, Kat, and Czardas at least have made it very clear they consider the role of the Moderate who made the challenged ruling to "defend" their ruling (like a Defendant in court) against all allegations that said Moderator erred.
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Ex-Nation

Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:16 pm

The Norwegian Blue wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Well, much like a real life judge or cop, we can get pretty defensive when we have our judgments or impartiality questioned. I'm not forgiving it, and I'm not immune to it. It's a fairly human response though.


It is indeed a very human response. And mods are very human. (Well, except for NERVUN. He's clearly a tentacle monster in a cleverly-made costume, but that's beside the point.) And if there's one defining quality of humanity, it's that no matter how great we try to be, sometimes, we fuck up.

I want to be very clear: I think that, overall, the moderation staff here does a good job. I think that, for any given mod, roughly 99% of their decisions are perfectly good ones. But 1% of the time, any human being is going to be tired or distracted or grumpy or drunk or in a hurry or, yes, biased, and they're going to fuck up. It would be simply bizarre if they didn't. And, again, to be perfectly clear, I have absolutely zero doubt that if I were in your shoes, sometimes I'd be tired or distracted or grumpy or biased and I'd fuck up, too. This is what human beings do.

And yes, it's also human to get defensive when someone says, "Hey, I think you fucked this thing up." That very decidedly doesn't make it a good or productive response, and it's intensely frustrating to have, "Hey, person I generally respect! You are fallible!" treated as if it's "OMG, you horrible person, you are clearly a monstrous monster of monstrosity!" Like I said in a previous post in the other thread, I understand perfectly well how this happens, and I get that dealing with the people who actually do accuse you of being monstrous monsters is really annoying, but that's not what's happening here. If any mod is reading that into anything most of the players in this thread have said, that is your frustration being projected onto us, because we've been really, really clear about not saying that, and in fact saying that the attitude that moderators and players are somehow in opposition to each other is stupid and something we want to get rid of.

So. You are human. Sometimes you make mistakes. And it is not an attack on you or your ability to moderate to say that sometimes, as mods, you're going to get things wrong. To use a real-life comparison (and one that may resonate with a couple of the mods), my mother is a teacher, and I think she's a very good one. I've also teased her for years about a final exam she gave her class a decade ago featuring the question, "What process is featured in the diagram below?" immediately followed by a white space with a line of text in it saying, "DON'T FORGET TO PUT DIAGRAM OF RESPIRATION HERE." It was pretty hilarious. It was also a really dumb question to put on a final. Did that one boneheaded mistake turn her into a Bad Teacher? Should she feel that her legitimacy and value as a teacher is under attack when I say that it was a boneheaded mistake? Of freaking course not. Similarly, when a poster says, "I think Kat's judgment here was wrong," or "I don't think Czar read my post correctly" or "I think LG's ruling was biased, since my post saying clowns eat babies was obviously a joke and not actually flamebaiting," that's not an attack on those mods. It does not turn the mod into the "defendant" in some sort of case to redeem themselves. It's just what it says on the tin - a statement that they think you got something wrong. Which, without question, you will all do sometimes. If you seriously cannot deal with people thinking you're fallible, well, then, I kinda have to echo NA and say "get a grip."

And yes, sometimes people aren't going to be super nice about it, because this is NS and sometimes people aren't super nice. Sometimes those complaints are going to be phrased as "I think Kat's judgment was STUPID" or "Czar totally IGNORED what I actually said" or "LG is a pro-clown BIGOT!" You have every right to find that annoying - but in the end, again, this is NS. "People say annoying things" is not some cross that only you have to bear here. In the end, the consequences of someone publicly saying annoying things about you are...someone publicly saying annoying things about you. The consequences of you making an incorrect judgment call are that someone gets banned who didn't deserve it, or someone feels like attacks against them aren't taken seriously - and in the long run, the consequences there add up to "people stop trusting the mods to enforce the rules fairly," which, while still a pretty small deal in the grand scheme of things, is a pretty big deal in the running of a web forum.

Which brings me to a very simple question. There's been a lot of resistance to the idea that moderators should recuse themselves from discussions of their decisions.What, exactly, are the negative consequences you see of doing so? What, exactly, do you have to lose by making whatever case you feel you need to make for your decision publicly and staying out of the private discussion altogether? We've laid out what you have to gain - specifically, a much clearer public perception that the mods are doing their best to avoid bias - so if you think it's a bad idea, please, can you explain what you actually have to lose?


Responding primarily to the bolded part: Has there been a lot of resistance? I'm not really seeing it. I for one am willing to discuss it. I might even be in favor of it. But there ARE a couple potential consequences to doing so worth discussing. First, we risk losing the perspective of the moderator making the original decision. As I mentioned, the most difficult calls are frequently the most contested. More than once, I found myself so on the fence one way or another that I find it easier to try to understand what the original moderator was thinking. If I can, that's typically enough to nudge me to one side or the other. If I can't, it usually means I need more mod opinions.

The second thing we risk is cohesion. There's a reason why we build consensus in private and act together even if some of us disagree. Sometimes I think the US Supreme Court would be a lot less political and controversial if they just released a decision and not the 5-4 counts and all that jazz. On the other hand, they seem to get along with eachother just fine, so maybe I'm overestimating the risks. What I'm concerned about is that we have to work together. I don't think it would be very productive if Melkor and Kat went at eachother the way Neo Art and Jingoistic Hippostan do. I think talking these things out, even with the original moderator helps us maintain civility among ourselves.
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Geniasis
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Ex-Nation

Postby Geniasis » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:24 pm

Oooh, now there's a fun idea. Have appeals released as a formal statement that includes the names of the moderators involved, a X-Y ruling, and a statement of the majority and minority opinions. :p

Somehow I think we can all agree that's probably a bit excessive for this.
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Ex-Nation

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:28 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:*snip*

A worthwhile goal to be sure. Just keep in mind that we're players too. Like you, I can vote with my feet by finding a forum more to my liking. What keeps me here moderating isn't any kind of responsibility. It's the same thing it was when I wasn't a mod; a desire to entertain. I want people to be entertained here because I know that just like me, they can vote with their feet.

Like all the mods, I'm fettered in that by a couple challenges; one is that I have rules to enforce that have to be as flexible as the player base itself. That's the way the rules must be. That's also the way moderator decisions have to me made; as a subjective but impartial application of flexible rules. Even if a computer could do this job, I very much doubt you'd like the job it did. The second is that I have to judge the intent of people I see as equals. Now when it comes to reviewing the decision of another moderator, I've got a double dose of this; Not only to I have to subjectively yet impartially apply flexible rules to an equally flexible player base and do so to people I view as equals, now I have to understand that whole process that another moderator went through. Frequently with borderline calls where I'm not entirely certain where I lean(a very common occurrence and certainly the most contested)
, reviewing a moderator decision is more about understanding their decision than reaching my own.
Of course, if I don't understand that decision, then chances are, I'm disagreeing with it. I'm not sure how clear I explained that, and I'm not sure if I can clarify it further so I hope it's clear enough.

Just try to understand this: The hardest cases to judge are frequently the most contested. But as you mention here:

There it's not a matter of accusations at all. It's a matter of facts. A ruling was made. Said ruling is being challenged, questioned, or submitted for further review. Then the ruling moderator is not between anyone.


The review is of the decision and not the moderator. But what you left out is that it's also not about the players. Oh, the prior history or behavior of a player may become involved, but I'd like to think that all other things being equal, if your name were 'Smedleyburg' and everything else about you were the same, I'd enforce a rule on you the same way or review a moderator's decision on that rule the same way.


I appreciate your thoughtful input, but the sentenct/phrase I've highlighted disturbs me. Should the issue be whether a Mod's decision is objectively correct (or at least subjective correct to each of the Mods voting on the appeal who are trying to be objective) and not whether the decision made sense from the perspective of the Mod that made it at the time?

Again, this suggests a subtle presumption that Moderator decisions are always correct and should only be overturned if the Mod can't justify the decision (at least from their own perspective) to the other Mods.

That isn't necessarily wrong per se. In U.S. courts, for example, some parts of a trial court's decision are shown a certain amount of deference by the appellate court (it gets complicated as to what gets what level of deference). But, other parts of a trial court's decision aren't shown any deference. The problem is, the deference shown to trial courts is usually based on their being in a better position to judge things like the credibility of a testifying witness. Things the trial court experienced or looked at that the appellate court can't. Things the appellate court can look at as easily as the trial court aren't generally entitled to deference. Applying that logic to NS appeals, I see no reason why (given that posts and threads and posting history can be looked at by "appellate Mods" as easily as "trial Mods") initial rulings should be presumed to be correct all the time.

But I am open to hear explanations as to why I am wrong. This is really not about trying to be difficult. It is about trying to clear things up.
I quit (again).
The Altani Confederacy wrote:
The Cat-Tribe wrote:With that, I am done with these shenanigans. Do as thou wilt.

Can't miss you until you're gone, Ambassador. Seriously, your delegation is like one of those stores that has a "Going Out Of Business" sale for twenty years. Stay or go, already.*snip*
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Lunatic Goofballs
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Ex-Nation

Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:37 pm

The Cat-Tribe wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:*snip*

A worthwhile goal to be sure. Just keep in mind that we're players too. Like you, I can vote with my feet by finding a forum more to my liking. What keeps me here moderating isn't any kind of responsibility. It's the same thing it was when I wasn't a mod; a desire to entertain. I want people to be entertained here because I know that just like me, they can vote with their feet.

Like all the mods, I'm fettered in that by a couple challenges; one is that I have rules to enforce that have to be as flexible as the player base itself. That's the way the rules must be. That's also the way moderator decisions have to me made; as a subjective but impartial application of flexible rules. Even if a computer could do this job, I very much doubt you'd like the job it did. The second is that I have to judge the intent of people I see as equals. Now when it comes to reviewing the decision of another moderator, I've got a double dose of this; Not only to I have to subjectively yet impartially apply flexible rules to an equally flexible player base and do so to people I view as equals, now I have to understand that whole process that another moderator went through. Frequently with borderline calls where I'm not entirely certain where I lean(a very common occurrence and certainly the most contested)
, reviewing a moderator decision is more about understanding their decision than reaching my own.
Of course, if I don't understand that decision, then chances are, I'm disagreeing with it. I'm not sure how clear I explained that, and I'm not sure if I can clarify it further so I hope it's clear enough.

Just try to understand this: The hardest cases to judge are frequently the most contested. But as you mention here:



The review is of the decision and not the moderator. But what you left out is that it's also not about the players. Oh, the prior history or behavior of a player may become involved, but I'd like to think that all other things being equal, if your name were 'Smedleyburg' and everything else about you were the same, I'd enforce a rule on you the same way or review a moderator's decision on that rule the same way.


I appreciate your thoughtful input, but the sentenct/phrase I've highlighted disturbs me. Should the issue be whether a Mod's decision is objectively correct (or at least subjective correct to each of the Mods voting on the appeal who are trying to be objective) and not whether the decision made sense from the perspective of the Mod that made it at the time?

Again, this suggests a subtle presumption that Moderator decisions are always correct and should only be overturned if the Mod can't justify the decision (at least from their own perspective) to the other Mods.

That isn't necessarily wrong per se. In U.S. courts, for example, some parts of a trial court's decision are shown a certain amount of deference by the appellate court (it gets complicated as to what gets what level of deference). But, other parts of a trial court's decision aren't shown any deference. The problem is, the deference shown to trial courts is usually based on their being in a better position to judge things like the credibility of a testifying witness. Things the trial court experienced or looked at that the appellate court can't. Things the appellate court can look at as easily as the trial court aren't generally entitled to deference. Applying that logic to NS appeals, I see no reason why (given that posts and threads and posting history can be looked at by "appellate Mods" as easily as "trial Mods") initial rulings should be presumed to be correct all the time.

But I am open to hear explanations as to why I am wrong. This is really not about trying to be difficult. It is about trying to clear things up.


Lunatic Goofballs wrote:Frequently with borderline calls where I'm not entirely certain where I lean(a very common occurrence and certainly the most contested)
, reviewing a moderator decision is more about understanding their decision than reaching my own.
I quoted my whole sentence and bolded a line above: I don't see it that way. I don't see it as a subtle presumption that a moderator decision is always correct; I see it as a blatant presumption that a moderator's decision has to be understood TO BE correct.

We have to apply very flexible rules to a very flexible population of players and in the difficult cases, when I'm not even sure where I fall, I find trying to understand the original ruling moderator's thought process helpful in understanding the case better. I don't presume the original moderator is right; I presume that if i can't understand their decision, I need a third(at least) moderator's input.

Edit: Made a few changes
Last edited by Lunatic Goofballs on Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Cat-Tribe
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Ex-Nation

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:40 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Neo Art wrote:Honestly lg, the only person here who has analogized mod as defendant has been a fellow mod. Folks like TC and myself have tried very hard to reject that notion and frame mods as judges not litigants

So if you're unsure where it comes from, all I can suggest is look to see who has actually been propogating it.


Well, much like a real life judge or cop, we can get pretty defensive when we have our judgments or impartiality questioned. I'm not forgiving it, and I'm not immune to it. It's a fairly human response though. For the most part, I've managed to buffer my reactions with a combination of irreverence and an inability to take anything seriously. My typical response to any discussion that comes up in private regarding any player is, 'Destroy Him!' It makes me feel better. :)


I applaud your honesty. And I understand and empathize with your position.

And I'm sure you can understand that posters get defensive or frustrated when they are given warnings they don't believe they deserve or wrongdoers they think deserve warnings go unpunished.

Ard's somewhat harsh advice to posters is: "Grow . A. Skin."

Shouldn't the same apply even more to Moderators? When I worked for Judges, we had to remain impartial and maintain a stoic demeanor in court -- even in the face of emotional topics and vitriol. Same when I was an active attorney (except for the impartial part). Many jobs require that you smile and act like the "customer is always right" when the customer is a jackass. Most of us have had jobs were our boss questioned or overrode our best judgment and we had to grin and bear it -- even when the boss was being an idiot. Given that you don't even have to hide facial experssion, can verbally vent all you want, etc., is it too much to ask that when acting as a decision-maker on an appeal or as the Mod whose decision is being challenged, you suck it up and act professionally?
I quit (again).
The Altani Confederacy wrote:
The Cat-Tribe wrote:With that, I am done with these shenanigans. Do as thou wilt.

Can't miss you until you're gone, Ambassador. Seriously, your delegation is like one of those stores that has a "Going Out Of Business" sale for twenty years. Stay or go, already.*snip*
"Don't give me no shit because . . . I've been Tired . . ." ~ Pixies
With that, "he put his boots on, he took a face from the Ancient Gallery, and he walked on down the Hall . . ."

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