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Trolls, Trolling and WebmasterWorld
Shaddows




msg:4292346
 11:04 am on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know questioning the modgods is frowned upon. I understand this post might, in a twist of irony, be deleted itself. However...

Trolls and trolling behaviour detracts from the excellent WebmasterWorld experience. Purely trollish threads should obviously be removed at the outset, or at the earliest opportunity.

OTOH, in a thread containing legitimate content from multiple Senior members, which has cleared 60 posts, is it proportionate to delete the entire thing? Given it was posted in a pre-mod forum, the OP had been pre-screened. Even if the thread got closed as often happens in Foo, at least valid contributions could have been referenced, perhaps in a new thread with a less provocative title and opening post?

 

Samizdata




msg:4292371
 11:46 am on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sounds like you had a recent bad experience. But you will survive.

I have only ever had one post deleted on WebmasterWorld, and it was a long time ago - I wasn't particularly pleased, but moderators have to make the calls and if it were my site I would have no qualms about editing user-generated content as I saw fit.

Trolling and sock-puppetry are very boring for the reader. I often wonder where people get the energy - there are some company names that are guaranteed to attract "hate posts" from the usual suspects, something I find really tiresome.

Life is too short to "hate" Google/Apple/Microsoft or any other corporation, let alone monitor WebmasterWorld threads in order to badmouth them at every opportunity.

WebmasterWorld moderators have a pretty thankless task. They can make mistakes like anybody else but these forums would be unusable without them, and we all have our own sites if we want to publish our unedited opinions.

...

Shaddows




msg:4292384
 12:10 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Wasn't my thread, and indeed I had barely participated. The OP is well known (and well moderated by his own accounts). Participants included some of the most valued members of that particular forum.

I agree that life is too short to hate <big name here>. In fact, the thread in question was specifically AGAINST bashing the big names, about taking resposibility for your own business' success or otherwise.

Doubtless, some members were offended by the provocative tone of the OP, and the thread was then hijacked by a troll. But to delete the whole thing seems... wrong.

So for clarity, I have no personal stake in the thread (beyond general agreement that blaming the big boys is pretty pointless), just in the deletion of several pages of debate, most of which was non-trolling, non-provocative and insightful.

incrediBILL




msg:4292386
 12:13 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

which has cleared 60 posts


I didn't delete the thread, but I'll address it because thread was further off course than Amelia Earhart over the Atlantic. About 40 of those 96 posts had absolutely nothing to do with the topic. Not accusing anyone of doing anything in specific, but people weren't being respectful of each other, debating personalities instead of the topic, it was rising in tension, then it went full tilt sideways. The best way to avoid losing a provocative thread is to keep steering it on topic, regardless of the topic, and ignore trolls, which is primarily why the thread was removed.

Try and remember that the volunteer mods and admins are here to assist and even learn too, not spend an hour or so trying to clean up large messes, which that thread became. Removing a post or two is easy, removing most of the posts and sending stickymail per poster, very time consuming. At some point someone made a decision it was too much work to recover, and I respect that decision because it was a big time consuming mess to fix.

Would our time be better spent promoting new threads and helping answer the next HTML/PHP/CSS or SEO question instead or cleaning up big messes?

Personally, I could answer 10 new questions in the time it would take to clean that thread.

I'd opt for the next thread, cut our losses, learn from our mistakes, handle threads like that better next time, and move on, thanks.

And you're absolutely right, there was some good content in there, a real shame to lose, and perhaps people will think about that before feeding a troll or taking a thread off topic next time, seriously.

Leosghost




msg:4292393
 1:01 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

The best way to avoid losing a provocative thread is to keep steering it on topic, regardless of the topic, and ignore trolls, which is primarily why the thread was removed.


So the best way to avoid losing a thread is to remove it ?..

Serious hole in your logic there Bill..;-)

Threads can and do drift off and come back on topic..that thread got out of hand when the OP was being insulted from many sides..and it was allowed to run while the insults continued..

It got pulled when netmeg and myself ( and even the OP ) attempted to "lighten it up" in order to try to stop the attacks on the OP..from those who think that their ranking change since Panda is someone else's fault and that any search engine "owes" them.

incrediBILL




msg:4292405
 1:26 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

So the best way to avoid losing a thread is to remove it ?..


I said steering it back on course is the best way to avoid losing a thread, which didn't happen here, it went further the other way.

Although I understand attempts to lighten it up, sometimes that doesn't help and just adds to the noise, it went further south instead.

Best is to ignore the trolls and the mess, leave it to the mods, and just stick to the topic.

ken_b




msg:4292412
 1:35 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

This thread should be pulled before it gets out of hand, which is where it's headed already.

sigh....

ken_b




msg:4292414
 1:37 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

leave it to the mods, and just stick to the topic.

Mods were participating in that thread.

Didn't seem to help.

incrediBILL




msg:4292484
 3:41 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Mods were participating in that thread.


Mods can only directly alter forums mods have control over, nothing I could do directly.

By the time I spotted the problem a whole 30+ posts had gone south, it was kind of a lost cause by then.

Like I said, we all learned something, let's take that and move on.

wheel




msg:4292486
 3:44 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Like I said, we all learned something,
I didn't learn anything.

I've got another post in the mod queue, ready to roll!

wyweb




msg:4292495
 3:49 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know questioning the modgods is frowned upon


Who says. I question them all the time. There's questioning and there's questioning though.

The mods here do a good job. An excellent job, in fact. They may seem a little heavy handed if you're coming straight over from DP or SP but there's a good reason for it. I don't even post at those places anymore, nor will I probably ever again.

Ask a reasonable question to one of the mods here and you'll usually get an answer back within hours. An accurate answer. Try that with your ISP or your registrar. They'll put you on hold for days brother.

[edited by: wyweb at 4:11 pm (utc) on Apr 5, 2011]

wyweb




msg:4292496
 3:52 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

This thread should be pulled before it gets out of hand, which is where it's headed already.


No it's not. Let it get out of hand first and then pull it. You don't need a preemptive first strike just because you think it's headed that way.

wyweb




msg:4292498
 3:54 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I like it when mods do participate. They didn't get to be mods here because they're somebodys cousin okay? They know what the hell they're talking about.

Most times anyway..

Shaddows




msg:4292502
 4:02 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Fair enough. Obviously 30-odd posts were made after I last viewed the thread. If they were off topic and personally offensive, I can understand the situation was non-recoverable.

As you say, Mods dont have the time to extricate value from a thread that has truly gone south, especially on a board where policy is that everyone gets an explanatory PM. Its just a shame that the thread ended up that way, and a shame it couldn't just be locked.

engine




msg:4292526
 4:35 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

This thread is another example of why we don't discuss moderating in public. The reason is simple: There is no one correct answer and often the Moderators are faced with a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. I can pretty much guarantee that differing views will mean that moderation by committee will not work.

The Moderator team works hard to get it right, and we know that we don't always get it right. If we weren't to try, anarchy and spam would reign and members would soon depart for safer places.

The Moderator team are volunteers and give their time freely to help all members. In addition, they cannot be here 24/7 to keep an eye on everything that goes on. A few rogue posts can take a thread off topic quite quickly, and recovering it is sometimes very difficult, or impossible.

The Moderator Team here are not only the best of people, they are very knowledgeable, experienced and some of the best in the business. They should be given every respect, even if they do get things wrong occasionally. I know I do, quite often, and thankfully, the Team here put me back on the straight and narrow.

I'd like to thank the Mod Team for all their efforts.

Cheers
Neil

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