Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Johanna » 2018-02-20, 6:11

vijayjohn wrote:I get that it's subject to laws. I also get that Texas law has nothing to do with this forum.

You also don't seem to understand that Dutch law has everything to do with this forum. It seems like you want us to disregard it in order to cater to your preferences, despite the fact that it could land the owner in deep trouble.

I used Texas law as an example, simply because there is where you live.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-02-20, 13:04

Johanna wrote:You also don't seem to understand that Dutch law has everything to do with this forum. It seems like you want us to disregard it in order to cater to your preferences, despite the fact that it could land the owner in deep trouble.

You're exaggerating; it doesn't have everything to do with this forum, just what motivates part of the forum rules. I'm also questioning whether your interpretation of Dutch law is valid.

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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-20, 17:12

Following quote excerpted from this post in the Forum policy review 2018 thread.
linguoboy wrote:You want to know a concrete step the moderators can take to rebuild trust?
Johanna wrote:This discussion has spurred a bunch of them among us forum admins and global mods, especially about transparency vs privacy and how we have handled and are handling those issues.

Show us those discussions. This is at the root of our complaints with Unilang: that too much is decided behind closed doors out of view of members and without their input. So make those conversations public and let's see how you all talk about us when you think we're not listening.

I would like to see a response to this. If the answer is "no" (as I suspect it will be), I would like that made explicit and some justification given. Unless y'all use your real names in the mod forum or something (and even in that case, the names could simply be redacted), a blanket appeal to "privacy" is insufficient.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby dEhiN » 2018-02-21, 6:49

linguoboy wrote:Following quote excerpted from this post in the Forum policy review 2018 thread.
linguoboy wrote:You want to know a concrete step the moderators can take to rebuild trust?
Johanna wrote:This discussion has spurred a bunch of them among us forum admins and global mods, especially about transparency vs privacy and how we have handled and are handling those issues.

Show us those discussions. This is at the root of our complaints with Unilang: that too much is decided behind closed doors out of view of members and without their input. So make those conversations public and let's see how you all talk about us when you think we're not listening.

I would like to see a response to this. If the answer is "no" (as I suspect it will be), I would like that made explicit and some justification given. Unless y'all use your real names in the mod forum or something (and even in that case, the names could simply be redacted), a blanket appeal to "privacy" is insufficient.

I can't speak for all the mods, but since initially you wrote this in response to a question I had posed, I will share my thoughts on what you're asking.

Linguoboy, you shared about your organization hiring an outside consultant to help you guys restructure things in a less hierarchical, more transparent way. What were some of the specific outcomes of that? And specifically relating to your question, did the restructuring involve the management divulging in full detail all of their discussions to the non-management? Because that is how I understand your question.

I do think that transparency is necessary and a good thing, but I don't believe that the full discussions should be shown publicly. And it's not because of privacy (although that can be a factor, but as you've mentioned - either here or elsewhere - we can also hide behind that word). I was giving it some thought, and realized that every leadership team I've ever been on (of which, this is the first online one) has had discussions about the things that they were responsible for, things that by nature of the team being a leadership team means affected others, and yet those teams have never made public the full discussion to those affected. Sure, there are times where some details of the discussion are shared. And there are times where only the results of the discussion are shared. To me, that's the nature of there being a leadership team.

One further thing I would like to add is that Johanna shared that there has been discussion amongst the mods about the issues of transparency vs privacy and how issues have been and are being handled. She didn't mention anything about decisions.

In fact, the only two decisions that I recall being made were two polls between the mods to see who's in favour of more open moderation and who's in favour of changing the forum policy. And for both polls, the unanimous vote was yes. Now, you could look at the very fact that we had a poll in the first place as "see, we ask for these things and they first had to decide whether they were willing to do it", or even ask "well, what would've happened if the majority had voted no". In truth, I don't know what would have happened, though I suspect we would've talked it out, especially considering that these were things everyone on the forum is asking for. But I see the polls as simply a leadership team making sure everyone is on the same page first.

The rest of the discussion has been centred around practical things such as Luís (if I remember correctly) suggesting about the extension we could use for bans, which was then shared with everyone in the "Forum Policy Discussion" thread, or JackFrost asking for a proofread of his mod message before he posted it on the "Random Thread". So, basically team related discussions.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-21, 18:16

dEhiN wrote:Linguoboy, you shared about your organization hiring an outside consultant to help you guys restructure things in a less hierarchical, more transparent way. What were some of the specific outcomes of that? And specifically relating to your question, did the restructuring involve the management divulging in full detail all of their discussions to the non-management? Because that is how I understand your question.

I think one of the key realisations to come out of the most recent iteration of this process which began about three years ago (just in case anyone thinks these things can be rushed) is that our internal culture is very information-withholding and that this is at odds with our core mission, which is to connect users with information. Even though the head of the organisation has been in favour of greater transparency and openness, there had been no systematic attempt to spread this ethos throughout the organisation.

What this meant was that before communicating anything, the question people asked themselves was "Who needs to know about this?" as opposed to "What reason, if any, exists not to share this?" One direct result of this mindset was that it often cut people out of the loop who should have been included, leading to poorer decision-making , not to mention lots of bitterness. It's the main reason why we ended up with such a trust gap between the administration and the rest of the organisation: Staff felt like they had no say in decisions which had a major impact on them and their work.

Some of the concrete changes we've made include:
  • Making more meetings open meetings. As I said, before the mentality was, "Who needs to be explicitly invited to this meeting?" Now the question we ask is, "What justifies excluding people?" In some cases, such as high-level business meetings involving contracts still in negotiation, it's obvious that the list of attendees needs to be kept strictly limited. But most of our meetings aren't like that and now it's common to send out general invites welcoming anyone who might possibility be interested in the topics discussed, even if these don't relate directly to their present role in the organisation.
  • Sharing agenda and minutes from these meetings in a timely manner. The former lets people know if something concerning them is to be discussed so they can plan to attend or communicate their concerns to an attendee. The latter makes it easier for staff to keep abreast of decisions and proposals. These are posted on the staff intranet where anybody can read them. We also now have a weekly e-mail communication from the head plus quarterly all-staff meetings and a weekly e-mail roundup from our workgroup leader, who also leads a biweekly standup session where she fills us in on the latest meeting of the operations group.
  • Diversifying participation in committees, workgroups, etc. At the same time that staff were complaining about not being involved in decisions which affected them, administration were complaining about having too many meetings to attend. What was happening was that people were being assigned to groups more on the basis of their role and title than on their expertise and interest and that selection was becoming self-reinforcing: people tended to select people to serve that they'd already worked with instead of recruiting others. We're using a variety of approaches to expand participation, such as putting out more general calls for volunteers and providing more training for staff who have the interest but not necessarily the specific skills they need to, say, serve on a hiring committee or do assessment.
There's a lot more than that, but those are some of the initiatives which I think are most relevant to the discussion at hand. In particular, the whole question of what does and doesn't need to be done out of view of the general membership of the board or the general public. "Does this need to be mods only?" is a question the mods seldom if ever seem to ask themselves; y'all're more comfortable doing it that way, you've always done it that way, so why change?

dEhiN wrote:I do think that transparency is necessary and a good thing, but I don't believe that the full discussions should be shown publicly.

Why not?

dEhiN wrote:I was giving it some thought, and realized that every leadership team I've ever been on (of which, this is the first online one) has had discussions about the things that they were responsible for, things that by nature of the team being a leadership team means affected others, and yet those teams have never made public the full discussion to those affected. Sure, there are times where some details of the discussion are shared. And there are times where only the results of the discussion are shared. To me, that's the nature of there being a leadership team.

That explanation amounts to "That's the way I've always done it." That's not a policy justification, it's just a summary of your experiences.

dEhiN wrote:One further thing I would like to add is that Johanna shared that there has been discussion amongst the mods about the issues of transparency vs privacy and how issues have been and are being handled. She didn't mention anything about decisions.

The irony here gets thicker by the day.

Why isn't the whole board being invited to that conversation, since it's at the crux of most of the issues being aired here?

dEhiN wrote:In fact, the only two decisions that I recall being made were two polls between the mods to see who's in favour of more open moderation and who's in favour of changing the forum policy. And for both polls, the unanimous vote was yes.

Was this before or after I asked:
linguoboy wrote:What buy-in do we have from the moderation team on this?
And, in either case, why did it take so long for one of the mods to admit such a poll had even taken place let alone reveal the results to the membership?

This is why I asked for you all to make the contents of your discussions public. Right now, we're in a situation where you all decide what you think we can be trusted to know and your default is to tell us nothing. I've had to push and push for three days to get even this little scrap of information. Why? What possible purpose does that serve except to continue communicating the message that you don't consider us responsible adults, let alone equal partners in this venture?

This leads us back to the question about what is the business of Unilang. If it is--as Luís, Car, and I all agree--just a social club that meets in a virtual space, then let me ask you how you would feel about a social club that excludes most of its members from decision-making in this way. If you think it's something else (something closer to the businesses that you and I work for), then what is that other thing?

dEhiN wrote:The rest of the discussion has been centred around practical things such as Luís (if I remember correctly) suggesting about the extension we could use for bans, which was then shared with everyone in the "Forum Policy Discussion" thread, or JackFrost asking for a proofread of his mod message before he posted it on the "Random Thread". So, basically team related discussions.

If you say so. I have no way of knowing what else you're leaving out because (charitable interpretation) you think it isn't important for others to know about.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby Luís » 2018-02-21, 19:23

linguoboy wrote:Why isn't the whole board being invited to that conversation, since it's at the crux of most of the issues being aired here?


But the whole board is being invited to the conversation...

I already made a few suggestions there and so have other mods and users. There's no discussion (much less decisions) happening elsewhere. Like dEhiN said, we did talk about the issue and conducted a couple of polls, but that was before the thread was opened. I had already mentioned it here.

linguoboy wrote:Right now, we're in a situation where you all decide what you think we can be trusted to know and your default is to tell us nothing. I've had to push and push for three days to get even this little scrap of information. Why? What possible purpose does that serve except to continue communicating the message that you don't consider us responsible adults, let alone equal partners in this venture?


I actually spent a great deal of my day yesterday trying to find a technical solution that might solve some of the issues that were raised and searching the database for information that was then made public (I had zero feedback, btw).

And yet, while reading you, it feels as if absolutely nothing has changed. I feel like I'm repeating myself here, but as the responsible adults that we all are, let's start by assuming good faith and work together.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-21, 21:30

Luís wrote:There's no discussion (much less decisions) happening elsewhere. Like dEhiN said, we did talk about the issue and conducted a couple of polls, but that was before the thread was opened. I had already mentioned it here:
We're not really having any parallel discussion there at the moment regarding the forum policy (this is the thread to be :) ). We did have a talk yesterday and earlier this morning regarding opening this thread and making changes to the moderation in order to make it more transparent, though.
.

1. You don't tell us what the outcome of those discussions was. Even dEhiN doesn't know whether they resulted in any decisions being made or not. ("She didn't mention anything about decisions.")
2. You don't mention polls.
3. "We're not really having any parallel discussion there at the moment" isn't a pledge not to continue discussion there and "at the moment" suggests that it is only suspended, not concluded. At any point in the past couple days, y'all could have resumed your discussion there and not told us just like you didn't tell us it was happening in the first place until after you'd taken a poll to open a new thread.

Luís wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Right now, we're in a situation where you all decide what you think we can be trusted to know and your default is to tell us nothing. I've had to push and push for three days to get even this little scrap of information. Why? What possible purpose does that serve except to continue communicating the message that you don't consider us responsible adults, let alone equal partners in this venture?

I actually spent a great deal of my day yesterday trying to find a technical solution that might solve some of the issues that were raised and searching the database for information that was then made public (I had zero feedback, btw).

I feel like we're talking past each other. The work you're doing on solving the issue of communicating who is currently banned, while important and much appreciated, is separate from the larger issues I've raised about the culture and mission of Unilang. If you solve this technical problem but nothing else about board moderation changes, I will feel like this current effort has been a failure.

Luís wrote:And yet, while reading you, it feels as if absolutely nothing has changed.

Funny, I feel the same way.

Luís wrote:I feel like I'm repeating myself here, but as the responsible adults that we all are, let's start by assuming good faith and work together.

"Assume" makes an ass of you and me.

Are you familiar with the expression "trust but verify"? Being all but powerless in this situation, I have no choice but to trust. Whenever I try to verify, though, I either get ignored or get pushback.

At this point, I'm fairly convinced of your good faith, Luís. And if you were the only person involved, we could move on to next steps. But you're not, and that's why things are stuck where they are. I'm sorry that's frustrating for you. It's frustrating for me, too. I've spent no small amount of time and effort here trying to move things forward and I'm equally disappointed in the response.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby Luís » 2018-02-21, 23:04

linguoboy wrote:1. You don't tell us what the outcome of those discussions was


1. To open this thread in order to discuss policy changes with the rest of the community

2. To make information about bans and banned users public

linguoboy wrote:2. You don't mention polls.


The polls were mostly pro forma. As dEhiN mentioned, they were a good way to guarantee that everyone was in the same boat. As you can imagine, it wouldn't make sense for me to open a thread were we commit ourselves to changing the forum policy if no one else agreed to it.

linguoboy wrote:3. "We're not really having any parallel discussion there at the moment" isn't a pledge not to continue discussion there and "at the moment" suggests that it is only suspended, not concluded.


I didn't intend it like that. I just wanted to say that we were not discussing it anymore.

At any point in the past couple days, y'all could have resumed your discussion there and not told us


We didn't.

linguoboy wrote:Are you familiar with the expression "trust but verify"?


Less than a week ago you were convinced you'd be banned for simply speaking your mind and yet here we are happily discussing how we can make this forum a better place. I hope that in the future you will also look back and see that your mistrust in everything I and other mods are saying, although understandable, isn't justified.

linguoboy wrote: I'm sorry that's frustrating for you. It's frustrating for me, too.


It is...if you don't mind, I'm going to take some time out from this discussion. I hope other mods can comment and respond to some of your questions as well.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby Car » 2018-02-22, 12:25

linguoboy wrote:Why isn't the whole board being invited to that conversation, since it's at the crux of most of the issues being aired here?


Everyone is free to voice their opinion on that topic here. So if anyone wants to say something about it, please speak up.

This is why I asked for you all to make the contents of your discussions public. Right now, we're in a situation where you all decide what you think we can be trusted to know and your default is to tell us nothing. I've had to push and push for three days to get even this little scrap of information. Why? What possible purpose does that serve except to continue communicating the message that you don't consider us responsible adults, let alone equal partners in this venture?


Can mods/ admins and non-admin/mod users be considered equal partners? Wouldn't that imply equal rights and responsibilities?

This leads us back to the question about what is the business of Unilang. If it is--as Luís, Car, and I all agree--just a social club that meets in a virtual space, then let me ask you how you would feel about a social club that excludes most of its members from decision-making in this way. If you think it's something else (something closer to the businesses that you and I work for), then what is that other thing?


Isn't that the default for social clubs? At least in the social clubs I was involved in, everyone who was not involved in running it was excluded from the decision-making and AFAIK, that's also how it works in other clubs.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-22, 17:06

Luís wrote:
At any point in the past couple days, y'all could have resumed your discussion there and not told us

We didn't.

The point is that we are still without any sort of broader agreement on what information needs to be shared with the larger group and which discussions should be limited to the mods vs which discussions should be open to all. It's nice of you to tell me this, but nothing in the forum's policies or behavioural norms obligates you to. I think that should change.

Luís wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Are you familiar with the expression "trust but verify"?

Less than a week ago you were convinced you'd be banned for simply speaking your mind and yet here we are happily discussing how we can make this forum a better place. I hope that in the future you will also look back and see that your mistrust in everything I and other mods are saying, although understandable, isn't justified.

I hope so, too. Believe me, there's nothing I'd like more than to be wrong about that.

Luís wrote:It is...if you don't mind, I'm going to take some time out from this discussion.

I absolutely don't mind. As I said, if it's going to succeed, this process is going to take sustained time and effort. Taking breaks is essential. I'm surprised I haven't needed on yet but it's still early days.

Car wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Why isn't the whole board being invited to that conversation, since it's at the crux of most of the issues being aired here?

Everyone is free to voice their opinion on that topic here. So if anyone wants to say something about it, please speak up.

As I've already said a couple times, it would be easier to do that if I knew what had been said already. I appreciate that y'all are sharing something, but a one-sentence summary is no substitute for seeing the what was actually said.

Car wrote:
This is why I asked for you all to make the contents of your discussions public. Right now, we're in a situation where you all decide what you think we can be trusted to know and your default is to tell us nothing. I've had to push and push for three days to get even this little scrap of information. Why? What possible purpose does that serve except to continue communicating the message that you don't consider us responsible adults, let alone equal partners in this venture?

Can mods/ admins and non-admin/mod users be considered equal partners? Wouldn't that imply equal rights and responsibilities?

Don't we all have equal rights? That's one of the founding principles of my country. I thought it was for yours, too.

I have different day-to-day responsibilities than anyone else in my organisation. Does it necessarily follow from that that our responsibilities are "unequal"? Don't we all all have the common responsibility here to make Unilang a welcoming, well-run place?

Car wrote:
This leads us back to the question about what is the business of Unilang. If it is--as Luís, Car, and I all agree--just a social club that meets in a virtual space, then let me ask you how you would feel about a social club that excludes most of its members from decision-making in this way. If you think it's something else (something closer to the businesses that you and I work for), then what is that other thing?

Isn't that the default for social clubs? At least in the social clubs I was involved in, everyone who was not involved in running it was excluded from the decision-making and AFAIK, that's also how it works in other clubs.

Maybe social clubs work very differently in Europe than they do here? Because that's not the rule with the ones I've been a part of. We've regularly had general discussions and votes about issues of importance to the entire group. My homeowners' association does that even though not required by law because we think it's important for everyone to participate and feel included. The board only meets in closed sessions when they need to discuss legal matters and they would open themselves up to liability if something was made public which shouldn't have been.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby Car » 2018-02-22, 17:30

linguoboy wrote:
Car wrote:
This is why I asked for you all to make the contents of your discussions public. Right now, we're in a situation where you all decide what you think we can be trusted to know and your default is to tell us nothing. I've had to push and push for three days to get even this little scrap of information. Why? What possible purpose does that serve except to continue communicating the message that you don't consider us responsible adults, let alone equal partners in this venture?

Can mods/ admins and non-admin/mod users be considered equal partners? Wouldn't that imply equal rights and responsibilities?

Don't we all have equal rights? That's one of the founding principles of my country. I thought it was for yours, too.

I have different day-to-day responsibilities than anyone else in my organisation. Does it necessarily follow from that that our responsibilities are "unequal"? Don't we all all have the common responsibility here to make Unilang a welcoming, well-run place?


As citizens of our respective countries, yes, but not everyone has the same rights in all situations. E.g. Trump has more rights as president of the USA than you do, let alone I if I were to visit the States (if you let me in), but if he were to join UniLang, he wouldn't even be able to ban a spammer, something which I'm able to do. Since I'm an admin, I'm expected to do my duties here regularly whereas you're free to stay away for months or years without an explanation without it affecting your position here.

So you think you have the same responsibilities as your boss(es)?
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-22, 17:39

Car wrote:As citizens of our respective countries, yes, but not everyone has the same rights in all situations. E.g. Trump has more rights as president of the USA than you do

He absolutely does not. Like I said, this is a basic principle of our legal system.

He has more legal privileges than the average citizen, at least in some areas, but he could literally be stripped of all these tomorrow by a vote of his cabinet. (In other areas, he's subject to restrictions that don't apply to the rest of us--some of which he ignores, but that's a different story.)

Car wrote:Since I'm an admin, I'm expected to do my duties here regularly whereas you're free to stay away for months or years without an explanation without it affecting your position here.

If all the active members in this group stayed away for months or years, the group wouldn't suffer for it?

Car wrote:So you think you have the same responsibilities as your boss(es)?

"equal" ≠ "same"
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby Car » 2018-02-22, 19:38

linguoboy wrote:He absolutely does not. Like I said, this is a basic principle of our legal system.

He has more legal privileges than the average citizen, at least in some areas, but he could literally be stripped of all these tomorrow by a vote of his cabinet. (In other areas, he's subject to restrictions that don't apply to the rest of us--some of which he ignores, but that's a different story.)


That's what I meant.

Car wrote:Since I'm an admin, I'm expected to do my duties here regularly whereas you're free to stay away for months or years without an explanation without it affecting your position here.

If all the active members in this group stayed away for months or years, the group wouldn't suffer for it?


Sure, but that's not the same thing.

Car wrote:So you think you have the same responsibilities as your boss(es)?

"equal" ≠ "same"


Isn't that rather nitpicking considering the nature of this thread?
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby dEhiN » 2018-02-23, 14:17

linguoboy wrote:The point is that we are still without any sort of broader agreement on what information needs to be shared with the larger group and which discussions should be limited to the mods vs which discussions should be open to all. It's nice of you to tell me this, but nothing in the forum's policies or behavioural norms obligates you to. I think that should change.

While we continue to have a tête-à-tête about equal vs same privileges and responsibilities, why don't we also have a concurrent discussion about the exchange of information. My understanding of the Forum Policy Review thread was a place for everyone to suggest edits, subtractions and additions to the policy. So far I believe the majority, if not all, of the discussion in that thread around the current policy has taken as its starting point the current policy. That is, we've talked about what the current points are, and whether they are still needed, should be reworded, etc.

It seems to me that you're wanting to discuss possible additions centred around specifically the exchange of information between the moderating team and everyone else, as well as possibly the delineation of roles and responsibilities between the moderation team and everyone else with respect to the current and future culture of UniLang. (I say possibly because I'm not sure if you specifically want there to be policy dictating and governing that delineation, or if you just want to have a discussion around it).

If so, then would you like to start with specific suggestions? What are some new policies that you think needs to be added to the UniLang Forum Policy that would govern the exchange of information as well as the interaction between the moderation team and everyone else? I think that discussing specific policies might make more sense than each side persistently trying to get the other to see their point of view. Even if that were to succeed to the degree we each desire, if everything is just talked about and nothing written down concretely (by way of policy, for example), there's no real deterrent from things either never truly changing or changing but then going back to the way it was.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-23, 16:20

Car wrote:
linguoboy wrote:He has more legal privileges than the average citizen, at least in some areas, but he could literally be stripped of all these tomorrow by a vote of his cabinet. (In other areas, he's subject to restrictions that don't apply to the rest of us--some of which he ignores, but that's a different story.)

That's what I meant.

But it's not what you said and words mean things.

Car wrote:
Car wrote:Since I'm an admin, I'm expected to do my duties here regularly whereas you're free to stay away for months or years without an explanation without it affecting your position here.

If all the active members in this group stayed away for months or years, the group wouldn't suffer for it?

Sure, but that's not the same thing.

So what do you see as the important differences?

Car wrote:
Car wrote:So you think you have the same responsibilities as your boss(es)?

"equal" ≠ "same"

Isn't that rather nitpicking considering the nature of this thread?

I'm not sure what you mean by "the nature of this thread", but this is absolutely not nitpicking. This is a very important point in law. Treating me and someone who is visually impaired "the same" is not at all equivalent to treating us "equally".
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-23, 16:35

dEhiN wrote:It seems to me that you're wanting to discuss possible additions centred around specifically the exchange of information between the moderating team and everyone else, as well as possibly the delineation of roles and responsibilities between the moderation team and everyone else with respect to the current and future culture of UniLang. (I say possibly because I'm not sure if you specifically want there to be policy dictating and governing that delineation, or if you just want to have a discussion around it).

I'm talking about changes I'd like to see to the culture of Unilang. If there's a willingness to alter the norms of behaviour we expect the moderation team to follow, then this will be reflected to some extent in particular policies. But if there's no willingness, then suggesting specific policy changes will go nowhere. I'm still seeing a lot of defensiveness around this conversation.

dEhiN wrote:I think that discussing specific policies might make more sense than each side persistently trying to get the other to see their point of view.

Why?

If you're looking to discuss specific policies, they're not to difficult to extract from what I've posted already to this thread. I even gave you bullet points!

dEhiN wrote:Even if that were to succeed to the degree we each desire, if everything is just talked about and nothing written down concretely (by way of policy, for example), there's no real deterrent from things either never truly changing or changing but then going back to the way it was.

This is a bizarre point to make. No one is suggesting having a discussion is a substitute for making policy changes. I'm saying that we're not yet to the point of making specific policy changes. There's a difference.

I feel like y'all want to railroad me into focussing on specific policies as a way of avoiding a discussion of underlying values and principles and I'm not pleased by it. (I also still haven't received an adequate answer to why you refuse to make your behind-the-scenes discussions of forum policy public as a goodwill gesture, but I always figured that was a lost cause.)
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby Car » 2018-02-24, 12:37

linguoboy wrote:
Car wrote:
linguoboy wrote:He has more legal privileges than the average citizen, at least in some areas, but he could literally be stripped of all these tomorrow by a vote of his cabinet. (In other areas, he's subject to restrictions that don't apply to the rest of us--some of which he ignores, but that's a different story.)

That's what I meant.

But it's not what you said and words mean things.


Yes, I might not have expressed it as well, but I'm neither a native English speaker nor a legal expert.

Car wrote:
Car wrote:Since I'm an admin, I'm expected to do my duties here regularly whereas you're free to stay away for months or years without an explanation without it affecting your position here.

If all the active members in this group stayed away for months or years, the group wouldn't suffer for it?

Sure, but that's not the same thing.

So what do you see as the important differences?


That staying away has no consequences for the individual member, but it does for the individual mod? That one member staying away has less an effect on the forum overall (although that depends on their activity here)?

Car wrote:
Car wrote:So you think you have the same responsibilities as your boss(es)?

"equal" ≠ "same"

Isn't that rather nitpicking considering the nature of this thread?

I'm not sure what you mean by "the nature of this thread", but this is absolutely not nitpicking. This is a very important point in law. Treating me and someone who is visually impaired "the same" is not at all equivalent to treating us "equally".


That this thread was supposed to be about what we can do better instead of discussing the difference in meaning between words?

I feel like y'all want to railroad me into focussing on specific policies as a way of avoiding a discussion of underlying values and principles and I'm not pleased by it. (I also still haven't received an adequate answer to why you refuse to make your behind-the-scenes discussions of forum policy public as a goodwill gesture, but I always figured that was a lost cause.)


Some admins don't feel comfortable with it considering that the posts were made under the assumption that they would remain private.

I've yet to see a forum where such discussions are made public and I'm also a member of a forum where most of the users and mods are from North America. Speaking of that forum, I've had posts of mine removed without being informed about it (I only found out by chance), something which also happened on Facebook.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby Ashucky » 2018-02-24, 14:09

Car wrote:That staying away has no consequences for the individual member, but it does for the individual mod? That one member staying away has less an effect on the forum overall (although that depends on their activity here)?

I agree with that.

Car wrote:I've yet to see a forum where such discussions are made public and I'm also a member of a forum where most of the users and mods are from North America. Speaking of that forum, I've had posts of mine removed without being informed about it (I only found out by chance), something which also happened on Facebook.

Likewise, I'm also part of other online forums and many Facebook groups (generally not run by Europeans) where the admins do not disclose their private discussions to everyone (in part, I assume, to protect other people's privacy and their own). The same applies to almost every other group or club that I've been part of IRL as well, and the only exception to this have been groups of only a few people (usually less than ten people).

At my current job (a relatively small language school), a colleague and I are currently actively engaged in a back-and-forth discussion with our boss(es) because we'd like to improve a couple of things in our specific language "department". They are open to suggestions and things are slowly moving on and improving but we're still not requiring them to disclose their internal discussions (and frankly, we don't care about those). I know it's not exactly the same (business vs. a social group) but it's a good enough analogy, IMO - problems have been pointed out and we've opened a thread where everyone is welcome to voice their opinion and give suggestions on improving the site and moderation, and some members have already done so.

That thread and the suggestions provided have given us some ideas to think about, such as the state of UniLang at the moment, our past decisions, the way we're perceived by other members, and the thread is also a great opportunity for us (mods/admins) to do some self-reflection on what has been done in the past and what can be done now, as well as what (and how) we can do in the future.
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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-02-25, 18:27

I may not have heard of a forum where these discussions were made public, but then I've also never heard of a forum with such a harsh moderation style where, at the same time, the moderators were so extremely reluctant to discuss this moderation style.

Like I said at the beginning of this thread, two years ago, I was punished for discussing it in private with the mods. As you can see, I already warned you back then that you would lose users with this moderation style and that you needed to open a public discussion about it, and guess what happened? Not only did you do nothing until two years later and lose users, but also you punished me further for discussing these things in the first place.

Now y'all are repeatedly insisting that I won't be punished for discussing it now even though this whole discussion is public and I am far more cynical about the moderation of this forum than I was back then. How do any of us (including you!) know that you won't change your minds about whether to punish discussion all over again or not in another two years, again without informing us beforehand, given that you never once clarified up front whether this would be punished or not before the discussion already started?
linguoboy wrote:"Does this need to be mods only?" is a question the mods seldom if ever seem to ask themselves; y'all're more comfortable doing it that way, you've always done it that way, so why change?

I know you weren't talking to me, but I actually have asked myself this question because like I've said before, as a language forum mod, there is some information that I am privy to but non-mods like you are not. I've mentioned the moderator log as an example; there is also a spam forum and a forum for moderators. There is no valid reason I can see for making any of this private (except the moderators' IP addresses in the log; whose bright idea was it to include that? :?), certainly no more than for the conversations amongst the admins and global mods that we've been discussing in this thread. From my perspective as a language forum moderator, the fact that it is private is almost funny as there is no confidential information in it as far as I can see.
Luís wrote:It is...if you don't mind, I'm going to take some time out from this discussion.

I absolutely don't mind. As I said, if it's going to succeed, this process is going to take sustained time and effort. Taking breaks is essential. I'm surprised I haven't needed on yet but it's still early days.

Yep, I need to do this, too. This is part of the reason why I haven't been saying anything about it in almost a week.

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Re: Historic grievances/specific cases [split]

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-25, 18:50

Car wrote:That staying away has no consequences for the individual member, but it does for the individual mod?

Does it? Given the low level of activity on the board, how long would a mod have to stay away before their absence was even noticed, let alone before they were disciplined in some way?

Car wrote:That one member staying away has less an effect on the forum overall (although that depends on their activity here)?

I strongly contest this. Many of the most active participants here have been non-mods (or at most language forum mods) and you would definitely notice if they stopped posting. People have, in fact; that's the entire reason we're having this discussion now.

Car wrote:
Car wrote:
"equal" ≠ "same"

Isn't that rather nitpicking considering the nature of this thread?

I'm not sure what you mean by "the nature of this thread", but this is absolutely not nitpicking. This is a very important point in law. Treating me and someone who is visually impaired "the same" is not at all equivalent to treating us "equally".

That this thread was supposed to be about what we can do better instead of discussing the difference in meaning between words?

In a discussion laced with irony, the irony of someone on a board dedicated to learning and talking about languages complaining that we are discussing the meanings of words here may be crowning one.

How can you discuss anything if you don't know what people are using words to mean? I choose my terms here carefully; if you don't understand the distinctions I'm making, please ask.

Car wrote:
(I also still haven't received an adequate answer to why you refuse to make your behind-the-scenes discussions of forum policy public as a goodwill gesture, but I always figured that was a lost cause.)

Some admins don't feel comfortable with it considering that the posts were made under the assumption that they would remain private.

THANK YOU! Was that so hard? That was the answer I expected. Why it take almost a week for someone to come up with it?

Follow-up questions: How do the admins in question think they would have expressed themselves differently if they knew that what they said would eventually be made public and why?

Second Follow-up question: Why are the moderators more worthy of this kind of consideration than other board members, who have had things we told them privately posted here publicly without our consent?

Car wrote:I've yet to see a forum where such discussions are made public and I'm also a member of a forum where most of the users and mods are from North America.

This. Is Not. A Reason.

We have a saying in my profession: "Precedent is only the easier way to go wrong." If you don't know why you're continuing to do something, then how do you know that it's the right thing to do? Unilang is not any other forum. It is not a company. It is not a real-life social group. It is it's own thing and we can decide how we want to do things here without any reference to other social spaces. Tell me why you want to keep things this way. What do you see as the benefits and what would you miss if the practices were changed?
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


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