Author Topic: Some guidance requested  (Read 3208 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Louie

  • Actually three chimps tag-teaming a keyboard.
  • God Emeritus
  • Frequent Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 2203
  • Let the elephant make everything kushtee.
Re: Some guidance requested
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2017, 12:32:56 PM »
Edit: I'm putting this at the top, because it is important. As a general notification: Do not weaponise the report button. If you have reported someone for a particular spat, we don't need reports for all of their individual posts. And if you're grumpy about something and decide to make a statement by spamming us with reports, we'll look into making our own by giving you a week or so to cool down.

First off, NEKSkeptic, you're right that the rule in question needs a bit of a rewrite. The way we've always enforced it doesn't require the use of abusive or insulting comments. That is a matter of interpretation, though. Calling another member a troll is insulting. A distinct tonal shift to "gee whiz, mister, won't you just listen to the nice moderators?" could easily be interpreted as an insult through condescension.

Our apologies for the unclear wording of the rule. That will be addressed.

I'm going to make this sweet and simple by pointing out that regardless of the faulty clause,  the key bit in this case is the one about ceasing to offer anything substantive to the discussion, and instead engaging in an "am not - are too" discussion. In other words: bickering, which is defined as 'to engage in petulant or peevish argument'.

Incidentally, whether you report something or not has absolutely no bearing on how you choose to respond in the thread. You're expected to adhere to the rules at all times. Even if you're being attacked by another member, that is not an acute threat to anything tangible: you can choose to stop responding or to use the ignore function. It's not an excuse to do some rule-breaking of your own.

Finally, as Wastrel pointed out, I don't leap out of bed whistling each morning to set the rest of my life aside. I don't brim with eagerness to tackle shit like this, because some of our members appear to be physically unable to employ the ignore function. Additionally, neither I nor my colleagues are idiots. We tend spot attempts at rule-lawyering and crocodile tears. And because this isn't a court of law but a private internet forum, we have plenty of leeway to deal with those.

Try getting anything done within half a day out in the real world, by people who are actually getting paid. If you want a decent response that we've actually put some thought into, I heartily recommend you practice some patience.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 01:15:55 PM by Louie »
"It can't end like this. Tell them I said something." - Pancho Villa's last words (1923).

Offline NEKSkeptic

  • Banned
  • Well Established
  • *
  • Posts: 1000
Re: Some guidance requested
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2017, 12:44:10 PM »
Thank you very much. That was extremely helpful. 

Offline TheIrreverend

  • A Nonsensical Man
  • Global Moderator
  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1755
  • On Her Majesty's Prosecution Service
Re: Some guidance requested
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2017, 02:00:52 PM »
I also commend our dearly departed leader's post to you: FAQ: You Just Got A Warning - Now What?.

After receiving a warning, members often go through a process that closely resembles
the seven stages of grief.
This FAQ has been designed to answer the questions that often get PMed to us
after a warning is received.

Q1. Why did I get this warning?
A1. Read the text of the warning message you were sent. It probably looks a lot like this:
    Subject: You have received a warning


    You have received a warning for <offense>. <Offense> is <a description of the offense>, and it contravenes the forum rules. The post in question is <your post>. Please cease this disruptive activity and abide by the forum rules; otherwise, we will take further action.

    A copy of the forum rules can be found at,4.0.html.

    The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe Moderation Team
You received the warning because of what you said in the post.  For your convenience, we have provided a link so you may review the post in question.

Sometimes we give out warnings which do not reference a specific post. The reason for the warning will be spelled out in the warning text you received.

Q2. I see the post, but what exactly in that post did I say to deserve this?
A2. Read the post out loud to yourself. See if you can determine what might be considered abusive or rule-breaking. Imagine reading it to your favorite grandmother, your significant other, or a firefighter. Think about what part of it they would disapprove of. That's the part you got the warning for.

Q3. But I said that in response to someone who was mean to me first! It's their fault that I posted that.
A3. You, and you alone, are responsible for the content of your posts here. Blaming someone else for your mistakes is ridiculous and childish. If another member is bickering with you or harassing you, report their post by using the Report To Moderator link in the bottom right corner of their post.

Q4. Who sent me this warning? It's from some faceless account!
A4. Yes, it is. That's how this forum software is designed. Warnings are sent on behalf of the entire team of moderators.

Q5. Why did I get a warning, but this other guy didn't?
A5. Don't assume they didn't.

Q6. Did you give the other guy a warning?
A6. That's none of your business. Individual warnings are not made public, and it's our policy to not discuss warnings with anyone but the person warned and the moderation team.  We only publicly announce sanctions at the higher (Suspended, Moderated, and Banned) levels.

Q7. I reported a post. How do I know that you've acted on it?
A7. Unfortunately, the forum software isn't designed to give responses to moderation reports, so the answer is: you don't.

Q8. I really want a response. Should I report this directly via a PM to a moderator?
A8. We review possible infractions of the rules in two ways: we come across them ourselves, or they get reported to us by members and we investigate those reports. The latter is an entirely different process from the PM system; it tracks things better and lets us discuss reports amongst ourselves. If you send a PM to just one of us, or even to all of us, we can't use that extra functionality. In short: we occasionally act on reports submitted through PM, but it makes our job tougher to do so.

Q9. This setup is really frustrating! It seems like it's designed to keep the process as mysterious and user-unfriendly as possible.
A9. A lot of it is designed by the forum developers to be anonymous and secret, it's true. This has both advantages and disadvantages. One of its main advantages is that it keeps the drama down. By keeping warnings private, other members aren't tempted to bait a member who is on the brink of getting suspended into breaking the rules one more time. By keeping the issuer of a warning anonymous, the member who received a warning is less likely to target a specific moderator for retaliation.
"I'm this generation's Disney" - Kanye West, philosopher