With reference to this post of Admin Jet's recent ban, in truth I find myself in the unenviable position of actually agreeing with sonnike's post #40. Not to question your moderation policies, but Jet's post that got him banned had to be the least objectionable post he's ever made on this forum. And Scott has gotten carried away. It's entirely possible there's more going on "behind the scenes" between you and Jet than I'm aware of. If so, I'd appreciate you letting us know.
One of the great things about this BB all along has been the exceptionally even-handed moderation. EVCforum has become the standard by which I judge all other websites - including my sort of "home away from home" on IIDB. EVCforum has always come out head and shoulders above the rest. If there's going to be a change, I'd appreciate a heads up...
[This message has been edited by Quetzal, 03-12-2004]
Yes Quetzal, it seems an overreaction by Admin. However Jet seems to have been a victim of his own careless reading or incomprehension. "Wind" was used in a reference to aerodynamics. A common tool of thet trade is the wind tunnel. Jet thinks so lowly of others that he assumes an unintended meaning.
I've seen at least one unregistered poster who appears more deserving of suspension.
Thanks for the inquiry. We welcome feedback about board moderation.
First, let me say that I don't think board moderation has quite achieved the standards we'd like. In some ways it seems more an art form than a science, and I think the moderators are learning as they go along, but our key need at present is increased resources. There is simply more activity here than moderators can keep up with.
Second, it would be greatly appreciated if members would bring suspected violations to the attention of moderators through email. Our addresses are Admin, Adminaquility and Adminnemooseus.
Third, Jet has a history here. He's already demonstrated that if given a free enough hand he can consume all the moderator resources for the board by himself. Now that moderators are aware of Jet's proclivities he is being kept on a very short leash. Naturally, he is welcome to post whatever he likes in the Free For All forum.
Fourth, other moderators will have their own opinions, and this thread is a good place for them to air their views.
quote:There is simply more activity here than moderators can keep up with.
There has been an ongoing, albeit perhaps feeble, effort to bring on more moderators.
The glitch is, is that Admin (Percy) feels the need to balance the numbers of creationist and evolutionist moderators. And as it currently sits, Adminquility (TB) is admin in title only; he has really not done anything (that I have noticed) in the "admin mode". Which is probably best, as he is so active as a debater, in so many topics.
Personally, I feel that a creationist/evolutionist balance is not that significant. I think we can have fair and proper administration/moderation, even if it came down to being that all moderators were from the evolution side.
Perhaps various members would like to e-mail me, with nominations for new moderators. These can be others, or themselves. Moderators can be specific to an individual forum, or to more than one forum.
In particular, my impression is that we really need help for the "Evolution" forum. My biology background is such, that my brain goes numb and my eyes glaze over when I even try to read the more technical stuff in that forum.
In conclusion, I'm not going to make any public judgement on the current Jet situation. At worst, the suspension is only for 24 hours. Even if Admin were wrong, it's not really that big of a deal.
I don't think a balance of evolutionist and creationist moderators is important. The important features are the integrity and fairness of the moderators, irrespective of their views on the topics. I think that moderation on this board has been very good, which was why the action on Jet seemed uncharacteristically precipitous. However I now understand the intention and it seems that Jet has become the victim of his own tendency to think the worst of others and the bad impression which he has left after his previous performances. As ye sow?
Like I said above, I haven't at all been monitoring the various "Evolution" topics that closely. But, I do seem to have seen a lot of messages constisting all or mostly of the trading of slurs and insults.
SLPx is certainly not the only guilty party. But he has succeded in making himself high profile. To me, the message in question (especially in the context of the Jet situation) was him jumping up and down, waving a red flag, begging for a suspension. So I did one.
If we had the ability and the desire, we (the administrators) could be issuing warnings and suspensions all over the place. Especially if we wished to enforce the guidelines hard core.
Personally, all I look for is for the participents to be reasonably nice to each other, try to put some real content into their messages, and try to stay somewhere in the vacinity of the topic of the forum. Or something like that.
I may be wrong, but hey, like I said before, a 24 hour suspension of posting rights at can't really be that big of a blow.
Assuming he hasn't quit the site entirely, SLPx's posting rights are scheduled to be restored at about 1:30 pm on 1/29.
quote:Admin (Percy) said: The moderator guidelines prohibit moderation of threads in which one participates, and since I'm participating in this discussion as Percy I am powerless here, so I only issued a general admonition.
quote:I, in the minnemooseus mode, have not taken part in this thread, or for that matter, much if any part, in any "Evolution" topic.
As minnemooseus, I have previously started a "Suggestion" topic, which suggested that Peter Bourger and his ideas might be best served by (at least for now) confining them to one topic (such as William Scott has done with his flood ideas). I don't think that Peter Bourger's "scatter shot" presentation of his GUToB is doing a service to to either his ideas, or to the discussion being done in the various topics.
I'm rather confident that the official forum guidelines can give me a weapon towards guiding Mr. Borger towards a more unified discourse on his theory, should push come to shove. Right now, I just wish to STRONGLY encourge Peter to take his theory to a single topic location, so that we can coherently discuss it's merits.
There is a GUToB topic in the "Welcome, Visitors" forum. I don't know why it was started in that forum, but perhaps it best be moved to "Evolution".
Maybe I should make this message it's own topic. We'll see.
I came down on Peter Borger rather hard here (although I still stand behind that position), and I'm rather surprised that there has been no response.
I think the general moderation efforts have been to error on the side of excessive freedom, rather than the side of excessive restriction. But, seemingly, things could stand for a bit of tightening up. But that is no small trick - any effort could easily swing too far the other direction.
Michael Schrage writes the In the Weeds column at MIT's Technology Review magazine. This month's column is titled Flaming Ideas, and it begins like this:
You are a fool. You are a moron. Nothing you write is worth reading. Please go away and contemplate just how stupid you really are.
That’s neither my opinion of Technology Review’s readers nor the feedback I get from writing these columns. But those comments fairly represent the disgraceful level of discourse at such online publications as salon.com, slate.msn.com, and nytimes.com. Talk about lucrative opportunities missed. Talk about failed innovation. Talk about misunderstanding a medium.
He also goes on to say something that I used to often repeat at our old site over at Yahoo. I somehow left the true path, but Mr. Schrage recalls me to it and says it much better:
Anyone schooled in economics is familiar with Gresham’s Law: bad money drives out good. Well, indifferent moderating invites a Gresham’s Law of Online Interaction: idiotic postings drive away contributors who have something interesting to say.
To an important extent it comes down to what people would like out of this site. The contributions of Ten-sai aka Zephan aka Back in Black aka Apple Toast, and those of Jet, and those of some other like-minded contributors, made for some very interesting and fun times, but productive? Informative? I don't think so. I think we might be better off to confine such styles to the Free For All forum.
There's another category of poster who is polite, or at least mostly polite, and sincere, but nearly impossible to have a productive discussion with, and for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes it's because they know nothing but concede nothing. Sometimes it's because they have trouble with logic or simple concepts. Sometimes it's because they avoid key issues. Sometimes it's because they seem purposefully vague or obcurantist. There are no simple rules for successfully dealing with these types of contributors, but I'm sure I speak for all EvC Forum moderators when I say that we are committed to being fair to all members while keeping in mind that pleasing everyone is never possible and that you can't throw out standards in the interest of fairness. The Forum Guidelines I hope represent a good basis upon which to work, and we'll continue to refine them.
So this message represents a sort of call to arms to all EvC Forum members, both present and future, to rededicate themselves to the interests of fair, open and honest debate such as will lead to enlightenment instead of obfuscation and partnership rather than antagonism.
First, I think it would be a good idea for people to read my Message 10 above titled Yes, moderation is probably changing that I wrote last month. In particular note where I quote Michael Schrage saying, "Idiotic postings drive away contributors who have something interesting to say."
I believe this, and I believe we've lost some good people because of it. I know there is always the question of, "Who gets to decide which posts are idiotic," but this is where the value of good moderators enters the picture. It's also where feedback from members is useful. For example, if debate with Peter Borger and Salty isn't an exercise in idiocy then I need members to explain to me why it is not so I can improve my moderator skills.
Mammuthus, I understand and share your concerns, you're not the first to express them, and I believe at least one of the other admins, Moose, shares them, too. But my vision for EvC Forum is that it be for serious discussion where both parties are sincerely interested in exploring the issues, and I see neither Peter Borger nor Salty exhibiting any hint that they're of this frame of mind.
Rather than fruitlessly wasting my time trying to bring sanity to the discussions Peter Borger and Salty engage in, and rather than causing frustration and disappointment amongst other members when discussion, however pointless (my opinion), is interrupted because of suspension, perhaps the better solution is to simply move Peter Borger and Salty threads to the Free For All forum where everyone can tilt with windmills to their heart's content.
Another possibility is to create another unmoderated forum for those proposing their own theories, perhaps called Unmoderated Debate of New Theories. Another idea is to have forums dedicated to particular moderators, with titles like Moderated by Moose, Moderated by Percy, Moderated by TB and Moderated by TC. Then people could choose the style of moderation they want for those topics where they think moderation could become an issue.
I'm open to proposals, folks, but get your feedback in now, because I *am* going to do something.
Hi Admin, Thanks for your response. I agree with you on most points but there are some special cases. With salty, I agree with you that his posts will probably be a waste of time. But that could not be known from the beginning..it only became apparent with time. The same goes for Zephan/ten-sai, sonnikke or Jet who are unwilling (and probably unable) to substantiate their assertions and usually refuse to even state their positions.
Borger is a bit different. Though I would not wish to put anyone through the torture of going back through the months of back and forth posts between myself and Peter (with a lot of help from Quetzal) we finally did manage to get him to go from claiming he had a "big theory" to actually stating it. The same with W. nobilis as his "evidence against evolution". Though both were thoroughly jumped on, the discussions were really interesting and not particularly hostile and a lot of people beyond myself, Peter or Quetzal ultimately participated. I see a similar pattern appearing with your attempts to get Peter to define GUToB and many of his other terms. It takes a lot of coaxing but he usually comes around. Tranquility Base is another similar case though he was never to my recollection hostile or belligerent towards anyone whereas Peter (like myself on occassion ) can be. Peter was out of line today so I don't question that you suspended him I only question the harshness of the supension given that some have posted much worse comments and recieved lesser punishment. It is your board to run the way you see fit and I am not here trying to pass judgement on your moderating. If I didnt like it, I would not be here. I just think that regardless of how annoying Peter is, he has been a major catalyst for discussion in the Evolution forum which is why I piped in...if you had suspended Zephan forever I would not have cared
In any case, I do see merit in the idea of separating the forum out a bit like you suggest. I think the idea of the Free for All containing threads where people can post whatever they want would be fine and A LOT of threads could be moved there from the other forums frankly. The moderated forums could then be a place to more seriously discuss the issues. If someone posted nonsense/insults/etc. they would then get suspended I assume but still retain the ability to post in the Free for All forums? That might encourage people to think before posting and get out of the minor league so that they could stay where the threads are on topic and interesting as opposed to being confined to the flame war room. It might work...I guess the other participants have some opinions?
Peter Borger and Salty at least make claims that are worth taking a look at, even if they also make a lot of claims that they cannot support, evade important issues and misrepresent opposing views. Granted the main point to looking at them might be to expose the errors, but at least in Salty's case there might be something worthwhile amongst all the dross. They may be more work than they are worth from a moderator's point of view but they are not COMPLETELY worthless.
Compared to drummachine, to use one example, there is at least a CHANCE of discussion even if it may be more work than it is worth. So far as I can see drummachine is a complete waste of time, and the only reason he has not been suspended is the lower volume of posts that he produces and the fact that he is so obviously a waste of time that he is easy to ignore.
On an unrelated point, might I suggest that if "Free For All" is used as a "dumping ground" as proposed, that there is an option on the main page to list topics from the moderated fora only (i.e. like "list all topics" but excluding "Free For All").