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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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The Cat-Tribe
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5548
Founded: Jan 18, 2005
Ex-Nation

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:45 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
The Cat-Tribe wrote:
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 bolded a key 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.


For the purposes of my concern, I guess I don't understand the import of the distinction you are making.

That said, those that run these forums (Mods/Admins/etc) are free to decide a blanket rule that a moderator's decision has to be understood to be correct. I don't like that, but you are free to do it.
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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Muravyets
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Founded: Aug 18, 2005
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Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:47 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Muravyets wrote:Feh. Coward. ;)



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.

Sorry, LG, I was not pleased with that answer. I spoilered my response so that no one needs to read it unless they want to, because it's not very friendly. I will not be at all put out if people choose to skip it.

Ah.

"Patterns of behavior."

That wonderful Star Chamber tradition of NS in which the moderators get together behind closed doors and pick over which players please with their behavior and personality and which do not -- without the player ever having to break any rule at all. Yet on the basis of that "pattern" of not being to the liking of some people or else of being a bit more to the liking of some people, a player will be judged more heavily -- again even if they never break a rule -- or less heavily, even if they break rules multiple times. And the best part of it is that you can prejudge a player's destiny in NS [whisper]without them ever even knowing it[/whisper]. Yeah, I can see where juggling such secrets while acting like you all respect the people you're doing it to must be a heavy burden to bear.

Sorry, LG, but I happen to think that of all the opaque, secretive, "hive mind" like guff that gets pulled in NS, that business of judging the patterns of a player's history is the most pernicious and unfair thing you do. Especially when we look back at this thread and see the failure of some even senior mods to have any clear idea of exactly what the rules of the site are, what their own procedures are, etc. Yeah, reminding me of how in addition to that you're also watching and judging players like Big Brother is sure going to make me sympathetic to difficulties of being a mod.

That was maybe the wrong argument to pick, LG. You might try to make an effort to be fair while applying a system that, the way you describe it, cannot be fair and is hardly a system at all, but I think we've seen pretty clearly that others are not so motivated.

I won't say I hate to be harsh, because harsh is my normal state the way funny is yours. So I'll just go ahead and be harsh and just put you down in the "isn't interested" column and move on.
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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Czardas
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Founded: Feb 25, 2005
Ex-Nation

Postby Czardas » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:51 pm

Muravyets wrote:
Czardas wrote:Well, yeah. There's never a guarantee that someone will be online precisely when you want them to. Or that your message won't be buried under other messages and not noticed unless you call our attention to it later on. I don't see why this counts as some kind of point against moderation. That kind of thing happens all the time.

So you're admitting that there is no rule and no system that you all follow as a code of How To Be a Moderator in NS? Then is this whole thread about a fictional construct? Should it be moved to an RP forum as we're talking about improving something that doesn't exist?

There is a system, but that's not really part of it. The means of contacting mods as stated in the OSRS do exist, and are encouraged, but GHRs and IRC aren't the only ways to contact mods (and people seem to dismiss GHRs out of hand, not unreasonably I suppose -- they're encouraged because they go to a higher authority [i.e. Game Mods only] and are logged, making tasks and resolutions easy to track down, but there's no actual conversation involved).

EDIT: Seriously, if you have zero interest in giving any consideration to what we say, I think continuing would be a waste of our time.

We try to encourage player input and take everything that's been said under due consideration. Don't assume that our counter-arguments are meant to shoot down player input; we're merely pointing out flaws in ideas that are otherwise potentially workable. Shooting down arguments would be more along the lines of locking this thread or a simple "We're not implementing that, end of story, no explanation."

The Cat-Tribe wrote:2. Although I understand it is possible for me to do so, I do not currently have access to #themodcave. Perhaps I should correct that. Are you advising posters that they can argue their moderation appeals in #themodcave AND that they will be listened to the same as the Moderator whose decision they are appealing? If not, you are being disingenuous at best.

That is both possible and, I believe, has happened before: decisions have been appealed in #themodcave, with the appellant given the opportunity to explain their reasoning in detail. I'll admit it's not equal access, however; if the mod whose decision is being appealed is online they may be capable of viewing (although not contributing to) the deliberations by the panel of uninvolved mods, which the player cannot. I'm not sure how undesirable this is and I can't think offhand of any practical means of counteracting it -- yes, "mods should leave the IRC (or whatever) when an appeal of their rulings is discussed" can be added to the Code of Conduct, but there's no way for any player to verify that this is actually being honoured -- but it's certainly contrary to normal judicial practice.

The Cat-Tribe wrote:1. "The four of us" (and whoever else has joined in) are responding to Melkor's posts and past posts from other Mods explaining how the appeals process "actually works." Correct him and them if they misspoke.

The appeals process is really another of those things we take on a case-by-case basis. If the appeal is fairly straightforward and the uninvolved mods are in agreement there will usually be no discussion with either the appellant or the involved mod. I'd say this happens most of the time, actually. At other times discussion is beneficial. For instance, on one occasion Melkor and I (the only mods online at the time) made a decision which the other mods largely disagreed with. When it was appealed, we were asked why we'd done what we did; our reasoning was deemed unsatisfactory and the decision was overturned. (Actually, I think a lack of clarity in the wording of the decision itself may have contributed. There was a fair bit of NSG-style debate on the topic as I recall.)

I named "the four of you" since it's basically four or five people carrying the main thrust of this particular argument; there are a few other contributors, but they are far less vocal and their arguments are less extensive.

3. It bothers me a great deal that this all appears to be ignoring the constructive comments and suggestions that were made -- including ones Melkor said he thought were good ideas -- in order to circle the wagons around a few things that were said less than eloquently by Melkor about the appeals process. Rather than dump on us, just correct the record and move on.

The constructive suggestions have been acknowledged, but I agree that this discussion seems to be going in circles. While the current system obviously hasn't been adequately explained, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the main cause of this is the OSRS itself, which, like the stickies, has mushroomed.

The Cat-Tribe wrote:3. The "group of univolved moderators" -- and I am glad to hear definitively that is who makes the decision on the appeal alone -- doesn't solict further input from the poster who filed the appeal. Their only input is the brief GHR (and anything that may have been previously posted in Moderation).

Further input by the player usually isn't necessary, however. Further input by the mod is necessary when the mod thought their reasoning was self-evident (as many rulings are, in fact) when it was not. This is always going to be an issue on boards where subjective offenses like "trolling" are punishable with anything short of court proceedings.

I am honestly not trying to make this into an "us" vs. "them" discussion, but it seems that you, Czardas, and (to a degree) Melkor are.

For the record, I don't view this as an "us vs. them" issue at all and in my posts was mostly trying to explain aspects of the current system that seemed to be poorly understood. Nor can I recall finding myself taking it personally when someone objects to one of my rulings. I take it personally when my sarcasm is taken seriously, but that's about it. <.< In terms of "defending" a contested ruling that seemed merely the best vocabulary choice to describe exactly what happens: the involved mod describes why they did what they did. Not really meant in a defendant vs. plaintiff way, although unsurprising that it should be taken that way since we're in a thread full of lawyers. :P

I also agree with LG.
Last edited by Czardas on Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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The Cat-Tribe
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Founded: Jan 18, 2005
Ex-Nation

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:54 pm

Barringtonia wrote:
Even if access were provided to the private channels, where a ruling was contentious people would still assume the Mods are talking to each other, whether by IM or some other means. Where does trust end, perhaps a poster should be housed with every Mod to ensure they're not conversing with each other, bed and board provided by the Mod of course.

The point remains the same, adding another level - either in appeal transparency or opening final deliberations - simply serves to increase Mod workload overall through providing material for people to debate further when that result goes against them.

People have complained for the last 5 years, people will complain for the next 5 years, since that will remain a constant the question becomes: what effect do changes really have? The answer is that they simply add.

My points about rules, I think the current rules are way too long but essentially evidence that constantly asking for clarifications and revisions and greater access to understanding merely lead to a large jumble of possibly contradictory rulings. Perhaps given time I might volunteer myself to prune and/or rewrite the overall rules to make them smaller and simpler and the Mods can edit, unless someone else with a more rigid mind - i.e. anyone - might help, or it's a shared project or something... anyone... Bueller... anyone...?

Actually, the principle ties into the same issue I have on the structure thread - stickies, constantly growing until they become more distracting than they're worth.


You are correct some complaints will occur under any system. The question is whether there are any valid complaints about the current system and whether the number of valid complaints can be reduced.

Also, remember that the Mods have admitted they don't currently follow the OSRS as written concerning appeals. It needs either to be changed or followed as written. It seems unlikely the Mods are going to change current procedures to match the OSRS. Thus it makes sense to discuss possible changes (even if, as I've indicated myself, some of the suggestions seem a bit much).
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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Neo Art
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Founded: Jan 09, 2007
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Postby Neo Art » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:57 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote: I see it as a blatant presumption that a moderator's decision has to be understood TO BE correct.


I'm not sure that makes any sense what so ever.

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.


This makes even less sense. Your whole argument is basically "we have a diverse population and we need to be flexible." NS is, what, a few hundred active members?

In a grand scheme of things, that's a small 9th grade class in a local public school. I'm truly unsure how concepts like "have clearly defined definitions, clearly defined rules, and clearly defined punishments" and "original fact finders should be screened from the appeal of the decision" is somehow too inflexible and too ridged to work with our "very flexible population" of...two hundred or so, but somehow seem to work just fine as concept of a judicial system that govern 350 million.

Honestly, if you're really having trouble finding a way where these suggestions can be implemented on a population that's basically the size of the last new years party I went to...I'm not sure what else to say. Perhaps you have slightly too grandiose a perception of the complexity of rules like "don't troll the forum" are, and how complex they need to be. I really hate to say it, but I am truly confounded as to how "difficult" some of these cases can possibly be.

Seriously, without sounding rude, and but at the end of the day this is an internet forum. What's the most complex case that could possibly arise that would leave our moderation staff stymied in how to to explain their reasoning?
Last edited by Neo Art on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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"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 10:00 pm

The Cat-Tribe 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. :)


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?


Sometimes. :p

We're not professionals. Oh, we try. Some of us are simply incapable of stoic demeanors. Some of us are simply naturally abrasive people. Others of us are consummate goofoffs( Image ). What's I find amazing is how much our demeanors here reflect our real life jobs. I just found out what Dread Late Nathicana's was and said to myself, "That explains everything". We're a lot like players here, actually. Weird huh?

I don't think we were chosen to be mods because of our demeanor. I sure as hell wasn't. I think we were chosen because we were impartial, dedicated to the site, helpful to other players and brought new and interesting recipes to the collection. Your name had been mentioned more than once for moderatorhood. I recommend sharing more recipes. ;)

We're dedicated amateurs.
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 10:02 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote: I think we were chosen because we were impartial


What part of taking personal affront and feeling attacked when someone questions your decision is impartial again, exactly?
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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The Cat-Tribe
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Founded: Jan 18, 2005
Ex-Nation

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:03 pm

Czardas wrote:*snip*


Nevermind.

I truly believe (despite some angry words I may have said earlier) that you, Kat, Melkor, LG, and any others I've overlooked are trying to listen and understand, but you also seem entrenched in defending the system as is -- even though it violates the OSRS and has at least the appearance of unfairness.

I don't know how to get through to you and I agree this part of the discussion is running in circles. So I quit. Please consider the suggestions I made earlier about improving Moderation.

(By the way, it wasn't just poor wording by you that led to "the ruling Mod as defendant" analogy. Kat used in expressly. IIRC, so did Melkor.)

Anyway, take care all. Nothing I have said should be taken as a lack of respect for the Moderators or the unpaid work they do. It is appreciated. The idea was to suggest improvements. It took a bad turn. That is unfortunate.
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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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:04 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
The Cat-Tribe wrote:
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?

Sometimes. :p

We're not professionals. Oh, we try. Some of us are simply incapable of stoic demeanors. Some of us are simply naturally abrasive people. Others of us are consummate goofoffs( Image ). What's I find amazing is how much our demeanors here reflect our real life jobs. I just found out what Dread Late Nathicana's was and said to myself, "That explains everything". We're a lot like players here, actually. Weird huh?

I don't think we were chosen to be mods because of our demeanor. I sure as hell wasn't. I think we were chosen because we were impartial, dedicated to the site, helpful to other players and brought new and interesting recipes to the collection. Your name had been mentioned more than once for moderatorhood. I recommend sharing more recipes. ;)

We're dedicated amateurs.

Amateurs =/= doesn't have to try to do it well. Professionalism is not limited to professionals. Professionalism is the approach you take to what you do when you care about whether you give a good result or not. It means you strive to be as good at it (or as near as you can get in the time you have available) as a professional. Being an amateur forum moderator does not, in and of itself, absolve you folks of any responsibility to strive for some semblance of professionalism in how you do the task you chose to take on.

EDIT: Sorry, I know that you do try to do your best, but I am sick to death of that particular lame excuse for failing to maintain a standard. Being an amateur is not a bar to adopting an attitude of professionalism in one's work and activities, especially when one takes on a responsibility for the sake of others.
Last edited by Muravyets on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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Neo Art
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Postby Neo Art » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:07 pm

Czardas wrote:Further input by the mod is necessary when the mod thought their reasoning was self-evident (as many rulings are, in fact) when it was not.


Which, again, is the fault of the moderator and I see no reason why a moderator should get a second bite at the apple when he failed to do his job well enough the first time around. Basing a system of appeals on the presumption that the mod might have fucked up the first time is a poor rationale.

I'm also, again, quite confused as to what POSSIBLY could really be THAT complicated on a few hundred person internet forum.
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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The Cat-Tribe
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Founded: Jan 18, 2005
Ex-Nation

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:08 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
The Cat-Tribe wrote:
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?


Sometimes. :p

We're not professionals. Oh, we try. Some of us are simply incapable of stoic demeanors. Some of us are simply naturally abrasive people. Others of us are consummate goofoffs( Image ). What's I find amazing is how much our demeanors here reflect our real life jobs. I just found out what Dread Late Nathicana's was and said to myself, "That explains everything". We're a lot like players here, actually. Weird huh?

I don't think we were chosen to be mods because of our demeanor. I sure as hell wasn't. I think we were chosen because we were impartial, dedicated to the site, helpful to other players and brought new and interesting recipes to the collection. Your name had been mentioned more than once for moderatorhood. I recommend sharing more recipes. ;)

We're dedicated amateurs.


:bow: 8) :rofl:

Still, amateurs can (and often are) expected to act with a "professional" decorum.

Regardless, Ard's "Grow. A. Skin." shouldn't just apply to posters. Not to get too personal, but if she can say it to me after I've been insulted about my mental illness, it must apply to a Moderator who merely is having a ruling appealed.
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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Northwest Slobovia
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Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:09 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote: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.

You're overestimating the risks. :) The Supremes disagree with each other -- publically, when they write dissents -- and yet the court generally works extremely well at dispensing justice and not having judges go at each other with cream pies and bottles of seltzer water.

IMHO, I wouldn't mind hearing of the disagreements between the mods, even anonymized. I think it does two things:

1) It makes y'all seem much more human. Showing that y'all don't always agree on everything is good; it makes it easier for us to understand the difficulty of the work. Which in turn makes us more willing to work with y'all civily and like that.

2) It breaks down the wall of silence that leads to many of the suspicions already aired. Wanna make us (or at least me) happier with appeals? "We looked it over and 3 mods felt like this, 1 mod felt like that, and 2 recused themselves for various reasons." looks a lot more like a functioning appeals process than "The Borg Mod Collective has Rendered Judgement. Resistance is futile.". ;)
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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:13 pm

Northwest Slobovia wrote:<snip>
You're overestimating the risks. :) The Supremes disagree with each other -- <snip>

Had to interrupt my reading of this post to say that, for a second there, for the life of me, I thought you meant the Motown goddesses. :lol:

EDIT: Yes, taken as a whole, very good points. :)
Last edited by Muravyets on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:14 pm

Neo Art wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote: I see it as a blatant presumption that a moderator's decision has to be understood TO BE correct.


I'm not sure that makes any sense what so ever.

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.


This makes even less sense. Your whole argument is basically "we have a diverse population and we need to be flexible." NS is, what, a few hundred active members?

In a grand scheme of things, that's a small 9th grade class in a local public school. I'm truly unsure how concepts like "have clearly defined definitions, clearly defined rules, and clearly defined punishments" and "original fact finders should be screened from the appeal of the decision" is somehow too inflexible and too ridged to work with our "very flexible population" of...two hundred or so, but somehow seem to work just fine as concept of a judicial system that govern 350 million.

Honestly, if you're really having trouble finding a way where these suggestions can be implemented on a population that's basically the size of the last new years party I went to...I'm not sure what else to say. Perhaps you have slightly too grandiose a perception of the complexity of rules like "don't troll the forum" are, and how complex they need to be. I really hate to say it, but I am truly confounded as to how "difficult" some of these cases can possibly be.

Seriously, without sounding rude, and but at the end of the day this is an internet forum. What's the most complex case that could possibly arise that would leave our moderation staff stymied in how to to explain their reasoning?


For me, the hard cases are cases of trolling in which someone says something I disagree with personally. Just because someone believes what he says doesn't mean it isn't trolling and just because people get angry or offended doesn't mean it is trolling. Trolling is about the intent of the person, not the reaction of other people.

Even harder for me(maybe hardest of all) are the cases of trolling in which someone says something I AGREE with personally. It's very hard to see intent to anger, offend or derail when you aren't angered, offended or derailed. When a moderator warns someone for trolling and I don't see it at first because I don't feel it, It find it's helpful to talk to that moderator to understand their position and relate to it. Then I can judge better whether the statement happened to be inflammatory or was intended to be inflammatory.
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Postby Geniasis » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:15 pm

The Cat-Tribe wrote:Ard's somewhat harsh advice to posters is: "Grow . A. Skin."


Honestly considering the context, that remark made me lose a fair amount of respect for Ard.

Not sure how much bearing that really has on the conversation, but it certainly didn't help matters.
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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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Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:17 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Neo Art wrote:
I'm not sure that makes any sense what so ever.



This makes even less sense. Your whole argument is basically "we have a diverse population and we need to be flexible." NS is, what, a few hundred active members?

In a grand scheme of things, that's a small 9th grade class in a local public school. I'm truly unsure how concepts like "have clearly defined definitions, clearly defined rules, and clearly defined punishments" and "original fact finders should be screened from the appeal of the decision" is somehow too inflexible and too ridged to work with our "very flexible population" of...two hundred or so, but somehow seem to work just fine as concept of a judicial system that govern 350 million.

Honestly, if you're really having trouble finding a way where these suggestions can be implemented on a population that's basically the size of the last new years party I went to...I'm not sure what else to say. Perhaps you have slightly too grandiose a perception of the complexity of rules like "don't troll the forum" are, and how complex they need to be. I really hate to say it, but I am truly confounded as to how "difficult" some of these cases can possibly be.

Seriously, without sounding rude, and but at the end of the day this is an internet forum. What's the most complex case that could possibly arise that would leave our moderation staff stymied in how to to explain their reasoning?


For me, the hard cases are cases of trolling in which someone says something I disagree with personally. Just because someone believes what he says doesn't mean it isn't trolling and just because people get angry or offended doesn't mean it is trolling. Trolling is about the intent of the person, not the reaction of other people.

Even harder for me(maybe hardest of all) are the cases of trolling in which someone says something I AGREE with personally. It's very hard to see intent to anger, offend or derail when you aren't angered, offended or derailed. When a moderator warns someone for trolling and I don't see it at first because I don't feel it, It find it's helpful to talk to that moderator to understand their position and relate to it. Then I can judge better whether the statement happened to be inflammatory or was intended to be inflammatory.

Do you also talk to the player the moderator warned, in private, personally, to get their perspective?
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Postby Neo Art » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:19 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:When a moderator warns someone for trolling and I don't see it at first because I don't feel it, It find it's helpful to talk to that moderator to understand their position and relate to it.


And why is this not something said moderator couldn't have explained the first time around?

Honestly, forgive me for not resisting the urge to roll my eyes a bit, but if the hardest decision, the "most complex cases" you come across are trying to decide if someone's trolling or not, I don't see in any way this is something that would require such an insight by the original moderator that merely explaining it at the time is somehow impossible.

Or, to put it another way, your hardest issues...ain't. And it's once again more than a little unfair to take the time to ask questions, in private, to try to understand the moderator's position, and relate to it. But not the other players. Are you going to ask me my position? Are you going to try and relate to my perspective?

Do you ask ME, the warned player, what I think about it?

No, you don't. You let my posts, and appeal, speak for itself. You let my material, already submitted, stand as my only defense. I'm not afforded nearly the same privilege.

Of course, as Czard points out, there's the IRC channel...which may or may not be empty. There's TGs...which the rules discourage us from using. And there's emails. Which may or may not be read at all.

Somehow, not really the same thing
Last edited by Neo Art on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Glen-Rhodes » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:27 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote: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. ...

This worries me, to be honest. It sounds like there's an expectation of unanimity. That can easily lead to, as it does in real-life, group-think. Mod decisions shouldn't be put forth as a consensus if there isn't a real consensus. I hope mods are voicing disagreement if they have it. If a mod disagrees with a decision, what is really the big danger? Knowing that a mod disagrees with a decision won't really cause any kind of negative change. Clearly, there already are private disagreements. Yet, the mod team hasn't devolved into rabid bar fights, as far as anybody can tell.

P.S. Totally bumping this since it's like a little more than tangentially related!
Last edited by Glen-Rhodes on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:29 pm

Muravyets wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:


For me, the hard cases are cases of trolling in which someone says something I disagree with personally. Just because someone believes what he says doesn't mean it isn't trolling and just because people get angry or offended doesn't mean it is trolling. Trolling is about the intent of the person, not the reaction of other people.

Even harder for me(maybe hardest of all) are the cases of trolling in which someone says something I AGREE with personally. It's very hard to see intent to anger, offend or derail when you aren't angered, offended or derailed. When a moderator warns someone for trolling and I don't see it at first because I don't feel it, It find it's helpful to talk to that moderator to understand their position and relate to it. Then I can judge better whether the statement happened to be inflammatory or was intended to be inflammatory.

Do you also talk to the player the moderator warned, in private, personally, to get their perspective?


In private? No. I also don't have a private personal conversation with the accusers or angered players in private to get their perspective. For two reasons; first, when wearing the mod hat, I prefer to discuss moderation with players on the public record. Second, if it has reached the review stage, the accused and accusers have already made their cases publicly. In the difficult cases I mentioned above, the problem isn't usually the accused or accuser's perspective, it's more often stepping out of mine.
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Postby The Norwegian Blue » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:30 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
The Norwegian Blue wrote:
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.


Except you don't, as has been said a few times. Moderators should be giving sufficient explanations of their rulings as part of those rulings. If somehow they forget to or something (because, again, fallible), I'm totally cool with mods saying, "oops, left this out of the ruling" and clarifying their position in public the same way the poster asking for the appeal can. To stick with the courtroom example (badly flawed as it is), no one is saying that only the defendant gets a say and the plaintiff can just fuck right off. We are saying that it hardly looks like fair and unbiased judgment when the plaintiff gets a say in open court and then the defendant gets a say in open court and then the plaintiff gets ANOTHER say in the deliberation room where the defendant can't go. The fact that you've all clarified that he doesn't actually get to be vote number 13 on the jury is nice and all, but "we could do an even worse job of looking like we're trying to avoid bias!" isn't actually much of a defense against the fact that what's being done does a poor job of that. (And, like I've said since my first post on the subject, the issue here is not so much about avoiding bias as it is about actually looking like you WANT to avoid bias.)

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.


I'm...kinda forced back to the "get a grip/grow some skin/deal with it" school of commentary here. If simply being asked to sit out decisions in which (s)he was involved was enough to make a mod feel like (s)he was incapable of working with the rest of you or not "going at" each other, that person does not seem to me like someone with a clear enough head to moderate this forum. Like I said, I like and respect almost all the mods here, and because I like and respect you, I have difficulty wrapping my brain around the idea that any of you are incapable of remaining on good terms with each other simply because of a standard and universal policy that you don't get to be in the modcave while there's a discussion of your decision going on.
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Postby Geniasis » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:30 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:In private? No. I also don't have a private personal conversation with the accusers or angered players in private to get their perspective. For two reasons; first, when wearing the mod hat, I prefer to discuss moderation with players on the public record. Second, if it has reached the review stage, the accused and accusers have already made their cases publicly. In the difficult cases I mentioned above, the problem isn't usually the accused or accuser's perspective, it's more often stepping out of mine.


So then why does the moderator get an additional chance to make his or her case privately during the appeal process?
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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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Postby NERVUN » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:33 pm

Glen-Rhodes wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote: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. ...

This worries me, to be honest. It sounds like there's an expectation of unanimity. That can easily lead to, as it does in real-life, group-think. Mod decisions shouldn't be put forth as a consensus if there isn't a real consensus. I hope mods are voicing disagreement if they have it. If a mod disagrees with a decision, what is really the big danger? Knowing that a mod disagrees with a decision won't really cause any kind of negative change. Clearly, there already are private disagreements. Yet, the mod team hasn't devolved into rabid bar fights, as far as anybody can tell.

P.S. Totally bumping this since it's like a little more than tangentially related!

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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:33 pm

Neo Art wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:When a moderator warns someone for trolling and I don't see it at first because I don't feel it, It find it's helpful to talk to that moderator to understand their position and relate to it.


And why is this not something said moderator couldn't have explained the first time around?

Honestly, forgive me for not resisting the urge to roll my eyes a bit, but if the hardest decision, the "most complex cases" you come across are trying to decide if someone's trolling or not, I don't see in any way this is something that would require such an insight by the original moderator that merely explaining it at the time is somehow impossible.

Or, to put it another way, your hardest issues...ain't. And it's once again more than a little unfair to take the time to ask questions, in private, to try to understand the moderator's position, and relate to it. But not the other players. Are you going to ask me my position? Are you going to try and relate to my perspective?

Do you ask ME, the warned player, what I think about it?

No, you don't. You let my posts, and appeal, speak for itself. You let my material, already submitted, stand as my only defense. I'm not afforded nearly the same privilege.

Of course, as Czard points out, there's the IRC channel...which may or may not be empty. There's TGs...which the rules discourage us from using. And there's emails. Which may or may not be read at all.

Somehow, not really the same thing


I give the warned player the same benefit as the accusing or affected players. The original moderator is a TOOL for helping me set aside my own biases.
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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:34 pm

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Muravyets wrote:Do you also talk to the player the moderator warned, in private, personally, to get their perspective?


In private? No. I also don't have a private personal conversation with the accusers or angered players in private to get their perspective. For two reasons; first, when wearing the mod hat, I prefer to discuss moderation with players on the public record. Second, if it has reached the review stage, the accused and accusers have already made their cases publicly. In the difficult cases I mentioned above, the problem isn't usually the accused or accuser's perspective, it's more often stepping out of mine.

I see, you apply a double standard, and then you only seek guidance as to one way of thinking. You allow a type of discourse with moderators that you do not allow with players, even though you earlier argued that we should all remember that you're also players just like us and that you think of us as equals. And you only seek to get out of your perspective and into the other mod's but not into that of the offended/ing player.
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:35 pm

Geniasis wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:In private? No. I also don't have a private personal conversation with the accusers or angered players in private to get their perspective. For two reasons; first, when wearing the mod hat, I prefer to discuss moderation with players on the public record. Second, if it has reached the review stage, the accused and accusers have already made their cases publicly. In the difficult cases I mentioned above, the problem isn't usually the accused or accuser's perspective, it's more often stepping out of mine.


So then why does the moderator get an additional chance to make his or her case privately during the appeal process?


He's not making his or her case. He's explaining his decision. If I'm having trouble understanding it, talking to the original moderator can help. Once I understand the case, I can better rule on it.
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