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View Poll Results: Are you satisfied with the way members are moderated?
Yes, no complaints! 16 61.54%
Yes, but there's room for improvement 6 23.08%
Undecided/Don't know/Don't care 3 11.54%
No, there's some good but methods should improve 0 0%
No, moderators do a bad job moderating members 1 3.85%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-28-2009, 05:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
Juicious Maximus III
 
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Default How satisfied are you with the way members are moderated?

Some have complained about the way the site is moderated. Predictably, some of the complainers are people who have been moderated, but this is not always the case. Of course we moderators delete spam and ban spammers, but this is not about that job, it's about how we moderate regular members.

Right now, there's a reasonable amount of freedom in the way we moderators work. We are expected to be fair and do things for good reason, but just how we go about that is very much up to us. The most common scenario is that moderators PM members and ask them to improve and failing to do so, they might get a warning in the shape of a formal warning or infraction and if they still fail to improve their behaviour, they are banned - either temporarily or permanently.

What do you think? Should there be a stricter framework for how we do things? Are we too nice? Are we too strict? Are the rules silly? What's the best way to moderate members who break rules? Let us know what you think and if you have suggestions for improvement, fire away.

edit :

Those who are not completely satisfied, please elaborate.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I can compile a list of suggestions here if anyone can think of anything specific, then perhaps we moderators can go over them. Since there are none yet, I can think of a couple :


Suggestions List
  • When a member of the community (>150 posts or something) is permabanned, mods could make a thread or a post in a thread explaining why. This thread is locked as it's not for discussion, but for information.
  • MB Jury - When a member who's been a part of the community for a significant amount of time gets permabanned, a jury can vote and potentially turn a permaban into a tempban.
  • MB Courtroom - A thread where regular members crimes and punishments are posted

Feel free to discuss suggestions of course.
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've never been a member of another forum, but so far I feel the mods have done a great job and keep a nice balance between weilding the banhammer and letting certain things slide.

For those who say the moderation is too lax, I'd argue that the laid back vibe lets people feel free express their opinions openly without fear of being reprimanded (unless things get out of hand of course). In my opinion, a stricter environment would stifle free expression. And for those who say the moderation is too strict...well, it would seem to me that those people are usually *******s or trolls who get their knickers in a twist because they aren't allowed to post whatever offensive or senseless thought they have. But I could be way off base here...
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There is an alternative way to moderate these forums, a way in which the vbulletin forums are designed in accordance with but which is still little known of here. After I'd started as a moderator, I was very much a supporter of it, but now I'm not so sure. It was debated on the mod forum, but little of that ever reached our regular members.

It has to do with the infractions system. Today, an infraction is handed out rarely and it's usually a notification that you did something wrong and a warning that if you keep it up, you may get some form of ban down the line. However, recieving an infraction has little immediate practical relevance for the user.

That's of course not the way the infractions system is supposed to work. An infraction expires after X amount of time and you can gain several timing out at different times. Whenever you have 10 or more, you are banned from the forums until enough of them expire to bring you under 10. For them to work like this, they can't be handed out rarely. Rather, they have to be handed out every time a user does something wrong and recieving one is obviously not a big deal - you'd have to get 9 more before there's any practical effect (in a way, you are allowed to break the rules to some extent). By such a system, infractions would be handed out by moderators much more often - it would be a consequence of all actions that are in conflict with the rules. Most users would get them and when they misbehave too much, they are banned from the forums for X amount of time depending on how many infractions they've been given and when they expire.

One idea behind it is that if moderators are told to hand out infractions every time a member is insulted (ex) regardless of who does it, moderation becomes non-personal and it helps eliminate certain human errors from moderation like favoritism. The length of infraction-caused-bans are not decided by any one moderator, they just give you the infraction(s) that the rulebook says you should have regardless of it's effect on you as a user. Everyone face the same consequences, everyone gain infractions. Rather than getting explained to you in a PM what you did wrong, an infraction message - because they would be sent out so much more frequent - would probably just quote the post causing the infraction and a link to a thread where the system is explained.

It would be an attempt at introducing consequence and objective moderation to the forum. Moderators would act a little more robotic, but a downside is of course that moderators would have to moderate much more which is of course a job. Members would have to put up with being moderated more often and some have argued earlier that this might cause a little social tension and drive a wedge between the moderators and the regular users. Personally, I'm not so sure if that would be a problem if the regular members understand the system, but I guess it's a possibility.


There's of course no reason to use this system if things are going smoothly the way we work now and for the most part, my opinion is that moderation the way it is now is working. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

Anyways, now you know about it. I used to hand out more infractions back in the day .. now I've conformed
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Nah, I've always thought if it weren't for the moderation, this board my have a prayer of being interesting. It's over the top.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toretorden View Post
I can compile a list of suggestions here if anyone can think of anything specific, then perhaps we moderators can go over them. Since there are none yet, I can think of a couple :

Suggestions List
  • When a member of the community (>150 posts or something) is permabanned, mods could make a thread or a post in a thread explaining why. This thread is locked as it's not for discussion, but for information.

Feel free to discuss suggestions of course.
Hi Tore,

Thanks for starting this thread. I voted that I feel the moderators are doing a good job, but I see areas where there could be improvement:
(1) Increase consistency and reduce bias.
(2) Perhaps involve the community in decisions about permanent banning by either giving a banned person a chance to work off bannings or allow those who were hurt by the person's behavior to come to that person's defense.

First, I want to say I appreciate all you moderators for doing your (non-paid) jobs for the MB site for the benefit of all of us and for music. I feel moderators are almost always doing a good job trying to stop people from making personal insults (which are different than insulting ideas or views). I agree with this philosophy of behavior and so the rules make me feel quite safe on the site. It is nice to feel there are a bunch of benevolent volunteer "police" trying to make sure we play nice.

I don't want to make more work for moderators by expecting them to try to be more consistent by handing out infractions for every little transgression, especially since sometimes it is still a judgement call as to whether someone really put down another person "personally" or not, or plugged her/his own stuff more than is considered desirable. I feel the temporary banning system works well as is, and I think the moderators are doing a good job of weeding out new posters who appear, quite obviously, to not have music discussion and a desire for being part of an online community as high priorities. My main concern is with permanent banning.

There are a few times when I have seen moderators say things that I view as being nasty...or they respond personally to a criticism of their actions...without anyone moderating the moderators. I am a little afraid of some of the moderators...which is not a good sign. I've felt that some of the moderators do not deal with each other as harshly as they would with a non-moderator member. I have seen one instance when it felt like a few moderators were ganging up on someone because they didn't appear to like him. Their verbal behavior toward him in the threads appeared to be different when compared to their treatment of someone whom they did like who had, nevertheless, also put people down personally (and thus was temporarily banned).

I have some suggestions for how to handle permanent banning. I am thinking now of permanent banning due mostly to a person making personal attacks on others. Why am I interested in permanent banning? I am troubled when a long-standing member of the community is banned. Permanent banning is the equivalent of life in jail in the real world, though to me it feels more like capital punishment (which I oppose) since the permabanned person is permantly shunned, gone forever from the community. Ideally, in the real world, jail time (banning) is supposed to protect the public but also give the jailed (banned) person a time to change, a method for learning to do so, and something that the person can do to make up for the infraction. I wish there were a way on MB for people who are in danger of permanent banning to reduce their sentences by somehow doing something to make up for the infractions, or by having others (non-moderators) come to their defense. Currently, the government system at MB is a benevolent dictatorship (that listens to input), which makes running the site efficient, but at the risk of a greater chance of injustice toward a member. Ideally, any government would have some sort of check-and-balance system and a method for correcting possible errors on the part of the leadership.

SUGGESTION 1: Perhaps there could be a member-based way to veto a perma-banning, such as by posting a "jury" thread on behalf of a member whom moderators want to permaban, and if enough people (a critical mass) say to keep the person in the community, then the permanent ban gets reduced to a temporary ban. This would allow all those who like and value that person to come to her/his defense. Maybe if enough people value that person in the community, then she/he could have a permanent ban reduced to a temporary ban.

As you know, when I've seen temporary bannings in the past that I feared had to do with me, I've written in to you in defense of the person. I hate to think that a permanent ban occurred partly due to a temporary ban perhaps given to someone for behavior for which I forgive the person. Let's say there were a "jury" thread about permabanning someone and whether s/he should be permanbanned. If I wrote in and said, "S/he and I discussed her/his transgression against me and I forgive her/him," then I think it would be good to strike off one of the temporary bans from the total used to determine if the person gets permanently banned.

DRAWBACK to my suggestion 1: One wants to respect and protect those who have been hurt (called mean names, etc.). It isn't fair to let an individual be attacked personally and not have the attacker brought fully "to justice" just because many people like the attacker. In other words, no one should be "let off the hook" completely. However, I completely support subtracting temporary bans from the total (used to determine if someone gets a permanent ban) especially if the "accused" has sorted things out with the person s/he verbally attacked.

SUGGESTION 2: Provide for some sort of community service that a banned member can perform in order to get back in good standing more quickly. Let's say someone has received a temporary ban or is, based on the number of tempbans, supposed to be permanently banned. Maybe there could be some sort of "community service" thread where banned members can do some sort of community service to have the length of the ban reduced, or the permanent ban reduced to a temporary ban? Perhaps write a brief essay on some music group, ha ha!

Ideally, of course, people would apologize to those they attacked personally, or apologize for an action, and actually feel remorse and understand why they were called out on their behavior...but one can't force emotions, and no one wants hollow apologies. The "community service" idea might be a way to at least show the person is willing to try to compensate for an infraction. Eh...I know this idea would be hard to implement.

YOUR SUGGESTION: I do think that, at the very least, it would help people understand why someone is being banned if there is a public "MB courtroom" thread that provides information (but not discussion...discussion could be in a "Jury" thread! ). An "MB courtroom" thread would mirror real life in that we (the public) at least get to hear most facts in most court cases (sometimes after the fact). As long as it is stated in the MB rules that this is how misbehaviors are handled, I feel it would be fair to have an "MB courtroom" thread to list what behaviors on the threads were considered ban-worthy ("temporary bans given to So-and-So for posts x, y, and z). Since everything we post in threads is public, there would be no violation of privacy by describing exactly why a person received a warning or a ban...and it could help clarify what behaviors are discouraged on MB, so that it is all out in the open. People will have very clear examples of what *not* to say in their posts.

One reason this topic is especially on my mind is that I miss someone who was permanently banned. I felt he had a wealth of musical knowledge that I saw him share with others in the music forums. And, he actually read my vegan songs, which he hated, but at least he told me why! Sometimes I saw him making personal attacks on others and so I understood his temporary bannings. I felt, though, with regards to me he *had* been controlling himself and critiquing only my songs and not making put-downs of me, personally.

Then, before he was permabanned, I saw what I would describe as moderators taunting him in some threads...taunting him that they were going to ban him permanently soon. In retrospect, I should have stepped in then, in the thread, to challenge that moderator behavior by simply saying that the moderators' behavior was scaring me and I felt the person had valid points. I hoped they were joking about the permanent banning that was being threatened.

Several days later, though, I found out this individual *was* permanently banned, and I was sad. Although I know I do not see all that goes on (in private messages) between the member who is misbehaving and the moderators, I felt his loss was overall a loss to the community.

After his permabanning, I read in the shout box the words of a moderator who said s/he was delighted about the banning, and that it felt good to do it, which saddened me more. (The shoutbox was how I learned about the permanent banning.) This situation is what inspired me to write about the issue of how permanent bans are given on MB and how they might be reduced to temporary bans.

Thanks for asking for feedback, Tore.

--Erica
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Last edited by VEGANGELICA; 10-28-2009 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Overall, I'm very satisfied. Thanks to the mods who get rid of the scumbags who troll the forums and make them un-enjoyable for the "normal" users.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I think I'm satisfied as I don't remember ever being annoyed by the moderation.

I've been on many other forums, where there's 2 admins and more than 8 mods and sometimes some special members and very other useless titles. I guess they just do it to encourage as many members to stay on the board, and usually these cases, some of the mods begin some anti-group trying to get other mods of the board etc ... etc ...

*So from my experience, this is the best moderation I've encountered.

On another subject, I guess the only thing I find annoying is the big number of censured words. In many cases it does seem weird and not logical.

*Plus it does make citing Herbie Hancock a very annoying task.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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To Erica,

thanks for the suggestions They are both interesting!

I'm not sure if all punishment should be subject to comment and scrutiny from the regular members. Something peple should remember is that we don't always enjoy our job and on occasion, we make decisions we think are tough. The system as it is with moderators wouldn't work as smoothly as it does if we had to answer not only to other mods, but to the whole community every time we make a decision and having people judge our every move would make us vulnerable and the job more unpleasant .. I think.

I like your first suggestion better, the one where an MB Jury can turn a tempban into a permban.

I think it's unfortunate that you've seen mods use their powers to bully other members. Although I can't say for sure I haven't, I feel like I at least try not to do it. Ultimately, we're in this position to do a job for you guys and the owner of the site. We're not supposed to moderate for personal gain and although it may not always look like it, it is taken seriously and there is some level of policing between moderators. Decisions to moderate regular members occasionally get discussed, sometimes hotly, in the moderators forum. Outside the mods forum, we try to appear like a more unified force although that sometimes fails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NumberNineDream View Post
On another subject, I guess the only thing I find annoying is the big number of censured words. In many cases it does seem weird and not logical.
This is not something we have control over I'm afraid. As far as I know, it has to do with google and is non-negotiable. At least there are workarounds!
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NumberNineDream View Post

On another subject, I guess the only thing I find annoying is the big number of censured words. In many cases it does seem weird and not logical.

*Plus it does make citing Herbie Hancock a very annoying task.
That's not a mod decision that's an Admin decision.
With a swear filter in place the site gets a bigger Google ranking.

It's not going to be got ridden of anytime soon i'm afraid.
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