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Foo Forum

    
Quarter Million Members & No Moderation Policy
Moderation, Moderators, Community trust
jimji




msg:4520945
 2:26 am on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Firstly, if I erred in posting this topic here, please let me know where it should have been posted. I'd appreciate the help.

Secondly, I am not here for ranting or any such activity. I am truly concerned about this issue. I truly need help from some of the wise and highly respected members of this community.

Thirdly, the heart of the matter.

Do you folks feel a moderation policy is a necessary tool for any forum, but especially one that has a size of over a quarter of a million members from all over the world?

What would be good reasons for not having a moderation policy? What would be good reasons for having a moderation policy?

Thank you for your help with this.

 

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4520948
 2:43 am on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

>What would be good reasons for having a moderation policy?

Complying with applicable laws. There may be scenarios/communities/pasttimes where moderators are not needed, or total freedom of speech and direction is preferred, but at the very least, pre-moderating your content can keep you out of trouble.

There's also the search engine angle, as anyone posting adult content could get you flagged by a searchengine & hurt your SE traffic.

btw, in regards to relevant forum, this one [webmasterworld.com] perhaps? Anyways, a mod will leave a trailing post if it does indeed get moved.

jimji




msg:4520956
 3:15 am on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thank you very much for your feedback.

Yes, I thought about that forum, but I was not sure if this fits the idea of building a forum, because the forum I am experiencing the problem on is built and certainly growing and probably won't stop growing.

I am being circumvent because I sincerely don't want to come across as this being into a rant. I sincerely hope that company over there with the strange policy will eventually see the light.

My view is having no moderation policy and having secret moderators and showing no sort of substantive information on penalties and appealing said penalties or providing information on time frames of penalties, and all those policies that I had come to take for granted in a forum community -- the discovery of all those being absent still has me in a sort of state of shock, to be honest. I've been a member of that community over there for about 7 years and had not known how bad the situation was.

Now the point about applicable laws is something I would like to ask about. What sort of applicable laws would you be thinking of? If you feel we are able to ask and answer such a question here.

I was asking them to inform the community members over there to at least tell us who of their groups of moderators can see the general membership IP addresses.

If an employee of that company can see our IP address I think we can assume that the employees have to follow company guidelines set out in agreements they sign. But the secret moderators are not company employees and I don't know what safeguards are in any law to protect us from possible abuse from a non-employee at that place.

EDIT of a spelling mistake.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4520967
 4:19 am on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ah, I was thinking for a minute that you were referring to a forum you own.

I agree in the general gist that any moderation should have transparency between the forum admins/mods & the community, though ultimately it is at the discretion of the forum owner as to how their site is run... within the realm of 'applicable law' of course.

In some countries like the UK you can insist on a copy of all info the company has about you, but I can't see that being as comprehensive to describe who within an organisation is privy to that information about you.

>point about applicable laws

IANAL, but of course I can give general ideas. My first thought is that particular countries don't take too kindly to comments about their parliamentary incumbents... hosting stolen content can lead to your site getting shut down and you possibly being prosecuted. Loads of examples really. Seems a bit OT now as you seem to be more interested in the transparency aspect.

IMO, I think in the most generic terms, you have the freedom of choice to use a forum or not, and you can exercise your right not to use it if you suspect foul play behind the scenes. Unless there's something illegal going on, in which case you may want to pursue the matter further.

From what I've read on these forums, a lot depends on which country the site is hosted in, and therefore the jurisdiction they answer to.

lucy24




msg:4520973
 4:34 am on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

:: pause to swear loudly because I accidentally closed browser window halfway through composing, and can't even blame it on the cat ::

My view is having no moderation policy and having secret moderators and showing no sort of substantive information on penalties and appealing said penalties or providing information on time frames of penalties

Are you positive you're talking about a forum and not about a well-known search engine?

I was asking them to inform the community members over there to at least tell us who of their groups of moderators can see the general membership IP addresses.

If an employee of that company can see our IP address I think we can assume that the employees have to follow company guidelines set out in agreements they sign. But the secret moderators are not company employees and I don't know what safeguards are in any law to protect us from possible abuse from a non-employee at that place.

"Employee" seems kind of a strong term. Most moderators are just, um, people. I used to be a moderator. (Technically still am, but the forum's pretty well moribund.) Probably most people are, somewhere. I'm sure nobody ever sat me down and said, Now remember, just because you can see people's IPs doesn't mean you're allowed to do anything naughty with them.

Same applies to the www in general. As you go surfing around websites, do you wonder who will end up seeing the logs and will thereby know something about you?

<topic drift>
When I saw the subject header I was reminded of something I read eons ago in, um, I want to say Vacuum Flowers but I have absolutely no hard evidence for this. It ran something like:

"Meet my friend Bill. He grew up in {artificial satellite colony}. They don't have a government."
"What do you mean, no government? That's impossible. Who do you complain to when something goes wrong?"
"Yes, that's the beauty of the system."
</drift>

jimji




msg:4520979
 5:51 am on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can see I have no choice but to be more specific, otherwise you folks won't understand the situation.

This is definitely a company forum. It is the support forum for their product line, which is anti-virus and such software.

That we now know there are secret moderators and no specific guidelines for community members to follow and it seems no guidelines for the secret moderator groups, by their own words, no guidelines for the secret moderators you see that leaving that forum also means leaving that software and changing to another software supplier of a similar product.

Seven years is essentially thrown down the tubes because these people want to act arbitrarily and play 19th century U.S. western style sheriff with all that mentality of if we don't like your message we run you out of town.

I see the situation as a community of over a quarter of a million people with a secret police and a law that can change day-by-day at the whim of any of these secret police.

It may seem harsh to call them secret police, but that is a community of human beings and those secret folks , I have recently learned, have the power to issue warnings that have the full weight of administrative authority behind it and the warnings are not even shown as warnings.

These secret moderators are also allowed to pass judgement upon what a poster's ideas are and then pass judgement on the reaction to those secret moderator's stated opinions.

If one secret moderator doesn't like the reaction of the poster, the community member, other secret police come in and help out the first secret moderator and then another comes in and they simply gang up on the community member and I suppose it might be they are trying to get the community member to snap and then they can serve penalties upon the target of their scorn.

You probably think I am exaggerating here, but I am absolutely not. Right out there on the forum one of the secret moderators informed me he would have me banned for being arrogant, if he had it his way. Now that is about as clear a statement as one can receive. Being banned for being arrogant. In my 13 or 14 plus years of participating on news boards and then forums I have never, ever heard of such a thing.

What's even more amazing is these secret moderators actually informed me three or four times I could start my own topic on privacy protection and data protection and then they went and slapped a penalty on me with these words:

Activist post style and causing disruption

I'm causing disruption in my own thread. As if somebody is forced to post in my thread. And "activist post style" is a whole new category of penalty for me. And that was after the three or four times they gave the okay to start an "activist style" topic.

This company is based in an EU area.

I'm looking at the preview and it looks like some sort of sick rant, but it is right out there for everyone to see, on that company's forum.

Seven years ago I thought the world of this company, but yesterday they snatched my rose-tinted glasses off my face and ground them underfoot. I was actually feeling ill at what was happening.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4520981
 5:59 am on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Your post doesn't seem like a rant at all and thanks for avoiding specifics & "outing" a company.

I am going to stick by my original thoughts and say that there's not much you can do about how they manage a forum. There's nothing stopping you giving them bad reviews on relevant websites mind you, such is the democratic nature of a POV online.

jimji




msg:4520986
 6:16 am on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thank you. I was very worried I had gone too far with the details.

I was actually trying to work the whole thing out on their forum, but I suspect I am going to have to go the next step and send a complete file to their headquarters and see what their top folks think of the whole thing.

It could very well be the top folks in that company don't have a clue what's going on in the trenches. And in a techinical company like that the support forum really is the trenches. It is very tough putting up with people that are angry about software glitches and such. Causes the helpers to develop a bad attitude and burn out or grow very thick skin. Either way, I think one becomes a bit unfriendly in that environment.

But I always thought there were minimums that one should adhere to and having a clearly written and easy to find moderation policy was something I had always taken for granted. So much so, that in my seven years there I never had thought to ask where it was.

My first indication of trouble and the first penalties they placed upon me was for ignoring warnings which I was not informed were warnings. But I figured I wouldn't bother too much about it, until I went looking for the moderation policy and that's when everything went south -- like all the way to the South Pole where I have to share bandwidth with those funny penguin creatures.

EDIT to correct spelling.

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