Forum policy review 2018

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Naava
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Naava » 2018-03-04, 18:47

Luís wrote: However, it there's a troll posting in Finnish somewhere else you're probably in a good position to warn the rest of the moderators, considering most of them don't speak Finnish ;)

Of course. :D

We only start new threads when it comes to games and stuff like the "Random X thread". I suppose no one will check page 57, but posts will still show up when you use the search button (you can search inside a specific subforum). I really don't see an issue with the information being there, you never know if it might be useful to someone.

I'm just doubtful anyone would care to search or read previous posts when they can just make their own thread post much faster.

Luís wrote:We're updating the whole forum policy anyway, so I guess we can update the guidelines after that.

Great! :)

We only start new threads when it comes to games and stuff like the "Random X thread"

In the subforum you mod, you can choose whether you start a new thread after 100 pages or not.

This is something we could add to the guidelines. Just saying so that I won't forget it.

Aurinĭa wrote:
Naava wrote:Should they be merged into a new thread, something like "ancient miscellaneous questions about Finnish"?

That's a good idea, I might do that for Dutch. People should really learn to ask simple questions in the "Questions about [language]" thread instead of starting lots of new topics that only get a few posts each.

Hmm, I could try to go through the threads and see if I could sort them into different categories. Then I could make several threads for them (instead of one huge thread for everything), like "translation requests", "looking for a friend" and "grammar questions". (Those were examples of what kind of common themes I've noticed, I haven't yet decided anything.)

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-03-04, 19:13

linguoboy wrote:I would assume the chief thing they want is not to have to see posts like that again

I actually have something to say about this. I report posts fairly often, including one of this user's posts (if I understood correctly which user Luís is talking about). I do this because admins have told me directly in the past to report posts that I felt were violating the rules and also told me that we should be reporting anything we even think might be a violation, even if we're not sure, so that they can look at them and decide for themselves. They have even expressed some puzzlement over the fact that other users don't use the reporting function (because keeping track of what's going on on the forum is totally other users' responsibility rather than their own, right?). Besides, I obviously don't want to be banned again if I can help it because I've made a lot of friends on this forum and didn't have any in real life until recently (and even then it's not easy to interact with them often).

In other words, I usually don't do this because I want anything; I do it because that's my understanding of what they want, and given how extremely erratic their behavior towards me has been over the years, I have no way of knowing they won't suddenly decide to punish me one day if I were to stop doing it. Some of them don't even seem to understand the simple fact that I can't read their minds.
Luís wrote:We never really delete any posts, we just move them to the moderation forum (either temporarily or permanently). Posts made by spammers are moved to the Spam forum (but that one gets auto pruned after 60 days IIRC).

Do you admins really have to point this distinction out every single time a non-admin happens to use the word "delete" in reference to an admin's actions? The distinction is meaningless for the person you're talking to. He doesn't have the authority to delete or remove anyone else's posts on this forum, and neither do the vast majority of users, including language forum moderators in most cases. All we can see is that one moment, we saw a post, and the next, it disappears, and we never see it again. Whether you deleted it or removed it or shredded it or fed it to some cattle makes no difference whatsoever to what we actually see at this point.
Aurinĭa wrote:
księżycowy wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:The problem is there's nothing in particular to moderate.

I feel the same way. :P

Is that a problem? :P

It's not a problem in and of itself, but it is a problem both for the request to see us do more (when was the last time you saw someone spam any part of this forum in any South Asian language?) and for the argument that non-mods see us as people who have some sort of meaningful authority. I have seen at least one admin make this argument before, but I can't agree with it. It doesn't make sense to claim that we have authority in any practical sense of the word when we don't get to do anything with it. Our authority is almost entirely theoretical.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby kevin » 2018-03-04, 19:43

Naava wrote:I'm just doubtful anyone would care to search or read previous posts when they can just make their own thread post much faster.

I do occasionally search for a conversation of which I remember that it happened, but forgot the details. Writing a new message doesn't really solve my problem in such cases.

vijayjohn wrote:In other words, I usually don't do this because I want anything; I do it because that's my understanding of what they want, and given how extremely erratic their behavior towards me has been over the years, I have no way of knowing they won't suddenly decide to punish me one day if I were to stop doing it.

What? People have been punished for not reporting things? :para:

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Luís » 2018-03-04, 19:51

kevin wrote:What? People have been punished for not reporting things? :para:


Seriously, how would that even work? :ohwell:
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-03-04, 19:53

kevin wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:In other words, I usually don't do this because I want anything; I do it because that's my understanding of what they want, and given how extremely erratic their behavior towards me has been over the years, I have no way of knowing they won't suddenly decide to punish me one day if I were to stop doing it.

What? People have been punished for not reporting things? :para:

Not that I know of, but I never know with this moderation team. They're the ones with the authority to punish anyone they decide to, citing whatever excuse they want (you're violating Dutch law! You're resisting moderation too much!), and the rest of us are powerless in the face of their decisions.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Aurinĭa » 2018-03-04, 19:55

The distinction between deleting and removing is meaningful for two reasons. 1) If the word delete is used, mods could get confused and think it's actually ok to delete posts, when it's not. 2) If posts are deleted, there is no evidence left in case a user got a warning or ban and wants to appeal that decision; or if the same user commits the same offence again.

kevin wrote:
Naava wrote:I'm just doubtful anyone would care to search or read previous posts when they can just make their own thread post much faster.

I do occasionally search for a conversation of which I remember that it happened, but forgot the details. Writing a new message doesn't really solve my problem in such cases.

Same.

vijayjohn wrote:In other words, I usually don't do this because I want anything; I do it because that's my understanding of what they want, and given how extremely erratic their behavior towards me has been over the years, I have no way of knowing they won't suddenly decide to punish me one day if I were to stop doing it.

What? People have been punished for not reporting things? :para:

No. People have been given reminders for replying to posts that clearly break the policy rather than reporting them (as specified by 2.4; report, don't reply; don't feed the troll.)

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Naava » 2018-03-04, 19:57

kevin wrote:
Naava wrote:I'm just doubtful anyone would care to search or read previous posts when they can just make their own thread post much faster.

I do occasionally search for a conversation of which I remember that it happened, but forgot the details. Writing a new message doesn't really solve my problem in such cases.

I was thinking about the "questions about X language" threads that are mostly filled with random questions (which is the point of the thread). If you don't know if your question has been asked already or not, it's faster to just post your question without searching first. But it's true that if you've seen a conversation before, it's easier to search for it than try to, idk, redo it? :D

Luís wrote:
kevin wrote:What? People have been punished for not reporting things? :para:


Seriously, how would that even work? :ohwell:

1984 8-)

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-03-04, 19:58

Aurinĭa wrote:The distinction between deleting and removing is meaningful for two reasons. 1) If the word delete is used, mods could get confused and think it's actually ok to delete posts, when it's not. 2) If posts are deleted, there is no evidence left in case a user got a warning or ban and wants to appeal that decision; or if the same user commits the same offence again.

Except that I said it's meaningless for the person Luís was talking to. The person he was talking to is not a mod and has no access to the evidence anyway. The same is true for the vast majority of users.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Aurinĭa » 2018-03-04, 20:07

Naava wrote:
kevin wrote:
Naava wrote:I'm just doubtful anyone would care to search or read previous posts when they can just make their own thread post much faster.

I do occasionally search for a conversation of which I remember that it happened, but forgot the details. Writing a new message doesn't really solve my problem in such cases.

I was thinking about the "questions about X language" threads that are mostly filled with random questions (which is the point of the thread). If you don't know if your question has been asked already or not, it's faster to just post your question without searching first. But it's true that if you've seen a conversation before, it's easier to search for it than try to, idk, redo it? :D

I still prefer to try to find an answer first. I think it's easier to search for an answer myself, if it's been answered before, than to write a post detailing my question. It's also easier for the native speakers, so they don't have to answer the same questions again and again. :P

vijayjohn, one of the things people have been asking for is more insight into moderation. Being open about not deleting posts, but moving them to a hidden forum instead and why we do it that way, could be said to be part of that, no?

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-03-04, 20:10

Aurinĭa wrote:vijayjohn, one of the things people have been asking for is more insight into moderation. Being open about not deleting posts, but moving them to a hidden forum instead and why we do it that way, could be said to be part of that, no?

...No, that's not any more than you've already been saying for years. If the rest of us users could see them in that hidden forum, or the forum wasn't hidden, then that would be a different story.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby linguoboy » 2018-03-04, 20:53

vijayjohn wrote:
Aurinĭa wrote:vijayjohn, one of the things people have been asking for is more insight into moderation. Being open about not deleting posts, but moving them to a hidden forum instead and why we do it that way, could be said to be part of that, no?

...No, that's not any more than you've already been saying for years. If the rest of us users could see them in that hidden forum, or the forum wasn't hidden, then that would be a different story.

Or any sort of indication that this is, in fact, what had happened.

Right now when someone reports a post and it's moved to a hidden forum while the mods discuss what action, if any, should be taken, the only way I ever find out is if (a) I have notifications set for that thread; (b) someone posts to it between the last time I read it and the time it's moved to a hidden forum; and (c) I click on the resulting notification which gives me a "You're not authorised to view this". This gives me a little shock every time because, of course, it's the same message you get when you've been banned. So my first thought is not, "Oh, the thread's being moderated" by "WTF did I do now?"

This is, to put it mildly, a very flawed communication process.

Then if some action is taken, we never find out what it is because "privacy". This essentially makes it impossible to view directly how the rules are being interpreted and enforced. You don't know what the penalty is, so you have no way of knowing if these are being applied fairly and consistently, and you don't know what the offence was, so you can't see how the mods are interpreting the rules, let alone object. If you did happen to see the thread before it was disappeared, you may be able to hazard a guess, but that's a very poor substitute for getting an actual explanation.

When I complain about the lack of transparency here, this is one of the chief practices I have in mind.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby linguoboy » 2018-03-04, 21:02

vijayjohn wrote: report posts fairly often, including one of this user's posts (if I understood correctly which user Luís is talking about). I do this because admins have told me directly in the past to report posts that I felt were violating the rules and also told me that we should be reporting anything we even think might be a violation, even if we're not sure, so that they can look at them and decide for themselves. They have even expressed some puzzlement over the fact that other users don't use the reporting function (because keeping track of what's going on on the forum is totally other users' responsibility rather than their own, right?).

I used to routinely report any spam posts I saw (which was a lot, because I'd often login after 0:00 UTC, when most of the mods are presumably asleep). I would also reluctantly report problem users when their conduct was egregious.

Now I do neither and won't ever resume unless I receive some clarification on how "privacy"--which we've been told again and again is sacrosanct here on Unilang--applies to these communications, if it even does.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Car » 2018-03-05, 10:15

Aurinĭa wrote:The distinction between deleting and removing is meaningful for two reasons. 1) If the word delete is used, mods could get confused and think it's actually ok to delete posts, when it's not. 2) If posts are deleted, there is no evidence left in case a user got a warning or ban and wants to appeal that decision; or if the same user commits the same offence again.

And 3) We can move posts back to the forum they were originally posted in. That has happened before.
Please correct my mistakes!

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Aurinĭa » 2018-03-05, 10:31

Car wrote:
Aurinĭa wrote:The distinction between deleting and removing is meaningful for two reasons. 1) If the word delete is used, mods could get confused and think it's actually ok to delete posts, when it's not. 2) If posts are deleted, there is no evidence left in case a user got a warning or ban and wants to appeal that decision; or if the same user commits the same offence again.

And 3) We can move posts back to the forum they were originally posted in. That has happened before.

Aah, that was it! I knew there was another reason, but somehow I had managed to forget it between clicking reply and writing the first reason. :roll:

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Luís » 2018-03-05, 14:19

I'm not sure if I understand correctly what you guys (vijayjohn and linguoboy) are trying to say...

Do you think that we should:

a) leave the posts are they are (regardless of their content and whether they have been reported or not)
b) move the posts to a new location, where they would still be visible (but where people wouldn't be able to reply, for instance)
c) something else

linguoboy wrote:Now I do neither and won't ever resume unless I receive some clarification on how "privacy"--which we've been told again and again is sacrosanct here on Unilang--applies to these communications, if it even does.


I suggested something a couple of pages ago:

Luís wrote:Apart from my comments above, I suggest including a section dealing with confidentiality (i.e. making all private communication between users and mods confidential, including exchanges via the "Report Post" button)
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby linguoboy » 2018-03-05, 15:51

Luís wrote:a) leave the posts are they are (regardless of their content and whether they have been reported or not)
b) move the posts to a new location, where they would still be visible (but where people wouldn't be able to reply, for instance)
c) something else

I think it might depend on the content of the posts. For instance, if the cause of complaint is a graphic image, it would defeat the purpose to leave it viewable. But it could be replaced with a brief description (e.g. "[graphic image of flayed animal removed]").

Whatever is done, I'm asking that some communication from the mods occur to indicate that an intervention took place. It is very spooky to return to a thread and find the posts you remember being there gone with no explanation why.

A link to a members-only read-only forum might be a good compromise between leaving posts in plain view and hiding them completely. That way, anyone interested in why a post was removed could see the exact language in context, but casual visitors wouldn't be put off from registering here by coming across something potentially offensive. Whatever happens to the original post(s), there should be a post to the thread from a moderator saying something to the effect of "Post removed for being in violation of [rule] and poster warned/tempbanned/etc." I know you all prize neatness here, but a little messiness is a small price to pay for communicating clearly.

Luís wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Now I do neither and won't ever resume unless I receive some clarification on how "privacy"--which we've been told again and again is sacrosanct here on Unilang--applies to these communications, if it even does.

I suggested something a couple of pages ago:
Luís wrote:Apart from my comments above, I suggest including a section dealing with confidentiality (i.e. making all private communication between users and mods confidential, including exchanges via the "Report Post" button)

I saw that. What I didn't see was any discussion of it. Furthermore, it's still merely a proposal and isn't in effect yet, so my statement above still stands.

But since you bring up that proposal, it's a good beginning but only a beginning. There are conditions under which confidentiality might have to be broken and we need to lay exactly what those are.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby kevin » 2018-03-05, 16:37

linguoboy wrote:A link to a members-only read-only forum might be a good compromise between leaving posts in plain view and hiding them completely. That way, anyone interested in why a post was removed could see the exact language in context, but casual visitors wouldn't be put off from registering here by coming across something potentially offensive.

Depends on the kind of violation, of course. If a post is suspected to be potentially illegal, a read-only forum is probably not enough to handle it. I also still think that keeping spam accessible isn't a good thing, even if it's just for users. Most people certainly wouldn't want to see that subforum. Maybe that could be dealt with by having an open user group that everybody can join in their preferences (but nobody is added by default) and making the forum visible only for that group.

So we would have up to three different forums for (re)moved posts: An invisible one for potentially illegal things, one for spam, and one for the actually interesting stuff. But if we do this, how would you be able to trust the mods that they move the posts into the right category?

Whatever happens to the original post(s), there should be a post to the thread from a moderator saying something to the effect of "Post removed for being in violation of [rule] and poster warned/tempbanned/etc." I know you all prize neatness here, but a little messiness is a small price to pay for communicating clearly.

As I understand the process, the decision about warning/tempbanning/etc. only happens after the post has been removed. But I agree, just writing a simple note to say at least "Something was removed here while we decide whether it was a policy violation" would be nice and shouldn't be a big deal.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-03-05, 16:41

kevin wrote:I also still think that keeping spam accessible isn't a good thing, even if it's just for users. Most people certainly wouldn't want to see that subforum.

I don't understand why that's a problem. Do most language forum moderators or global mods or even admins want to see that subforum? But it's there in case we do.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby linguoboy » 2018-03-05, 16:44

vijayjohn wrote:
kevin wrote:I also still think that keeping spam accessible isn't a good thing, even if it's just for users. Most people certainly wouldn't want to see that subforum.

I don't understand why that's a problem. Do most language forum moderators or global mods or even admins want to see that subforum? But it's there in case we do.

So do we retain all spam here instead of deleting it?
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby kevin » 2018-03-05, 16:46

vijayjohn wrote:I don't understand why that's a problem. Do most language forum moderators or global mods or even admins want to see that subforum? But it's there in case we do.

I just think that leaving spam accessible is supporting the business of spammers, and that's something I don't want to do.

Moderators have to see the forum because they couldn't move spam threads there otherwise, but I wouldn't mind it disappearing from my board index page if it were technically possible.

Edit: Another thing to consider is that spam and illegal can and do overlap. I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect that mods check all the links in spam posts to find out whether they point to something potentially illegal.


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