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master steward
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Apparently something went down yesterday and the staff moved it to where it could be dealt with later.  Good call staff!

And then several people said "put it back now or else i will leave" or something similar.   We call this sort of wording "a swan song".  We used to let those folks leave, and then they tend to come back a month later and push the boundaries to see how much awful they can get away with.   So the swan song people of the past have taught us that we will all be happier if we lock the account.  

So this morning I woke up and learned that several people did their swan song and had their accounts locked.  

I think that it is fair for people to try to understand our moderation stuff.   And the thing to do is to ask in the tinkering forum.   I think the staff is pretty good at saying "this is an edge case and we are having oodles of discussion in staff to figure out what we think is best."

Some people might say "it's only ten posts long and they were good posts!" - But they don't see the 60 posts that have already been removed.  And sometimes a topic just consumes too much staff time to deal with it.   But usually, somebody on staff steps in and says "I care about this topic - I will do the work."  And there ya go - we're back in business.

I have a lot of meetings today and am focused on getting this year's events set up.  But I hope that later today I will get a moment to look at the thread in question and decide what to do.   I think it is a good topic, and needs to be discussed.   At the same time, the posts need to meet our publishing standards.  And if folks cannot keep it within our publishing standards ....  they just can't help but lose their shit ...   and it is more than one person ....    well, maybe our community isn't quite ready for this topic.


 
master steward & author
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Thanks Paul,

I was at dinner for most of the drama and only popped in at the end.  Damn the permies staff are good!  

I read a lot about moderation fatigue and PTSD that comes from paid moderation.  We're very, very lucky here that our users are generally so much kinder than the rest of the internet that this sort of thing seldom happens.  Well, I say lucky, but I think niceness breeds niceness and vitriol breeds hate.  Nice people are attracted to nice sites and people who have trouble with this kind of moderating often come to the understanding that they would be happier elsewhere.  


The topic from last night would have been a brilliant topic for permaculture.  The big problem was, it started as problem-focused and by the third post, devolved into insults.  It's a great example of moderating for niceness - looking at how the words were written instead of the content.  The thread identified a problem that exists in our culture. Instead of talking about all the things that are wrong, we could be talking about how to make it better.  That is the conversation I would help nurture.  


The other day, we had a different thread that had gotten nasty with the potential to get even worse.  But I thought it was such an important topic that had started out solution-focused, that I felt it worth saving.  So I got two other staff members on a conference call and we spent nearly two hours going through every word of the thread to see what met publishing standards and what didn't.  In the end, we came away with a brilliant thread that I think will be helpful to many.  Often when a thread is locked, it is because a moderator said: "I think this topic is important and I want to help this thread meet publishing standards".  If we didn't say that, I suspect the thread would quietly vanish.  

 
pollinator
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Wow, the staff puts an awful lot of effort into moderating! Thank you for all of you!!! It is very much appreciated.
 
pollinator
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I never did the Swan Song, but I did leave here for about a month.

I like the place, and like the people, but especially the so many varied topics in which I can discuss things.

I have no idea what the drama was last night, but I left for awhile because there was a huge uptick in moderators citing the "leave room for other people's opinion."

What is that all about?

This is a forum, people state their opinions, and then the person that asked the question has the ability to chose what they feel is right for their situation. This is no different than if a person has a question, and they go to the local library to get a bunch of books on the subject, and they get an idea on the many ways possible to deal with the situation. A person would never tell an author, "leave room for other people's ideas", that would be silly, they are author's, of course they are going to be biased; everyone expects them to be!

Really what I saw happening with way too much frequency was, there are just too many moderators to regular people on this site. So a person reads what I have written, does not agree with it, and then cites the "leave room for other people's ideas" nonsense reply, and puts it on edit status. In my first 3500 posts that might have happened once, if that...in the past few weeks it happened three times or more...in a row. I am pretty dumb, but I can see patterns.

I read, and reread what I wrote, and it was not mean-spirited at all; a person just did not agree, so it went on edit-status.

An example was a thread about a dressmaker that was comparing apples to oranges. She was trying to compare a handmade costume to a factory-made costume, and I pointed that out. A person that sews, who also is a moderator, came on, read what I wrote, cited the silly "leave room for other people's ideas" rule, and put it on edit status. There was gobs of room for other people's ideas, she just did not agree with me, and had the power to eliminate my post.

That is fine, and if it happens once...twice...a few times over a long span...what do I care, it happens, it is no big deal. But when it happens again and again; then I lose interest in posting.

It just comes down to over-moderation; too many people have too much control over what is posted. Over the last few months, I have seen this really start to become a problem on here. It never was before that though.
 
r ranson
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There's a huge difference between "this is my experience with this individual and situation"  and "all XYZ are stupid, ignorant, harmful, arrogant, myopic, inadequate, deliberately harmful, drunk, stoned, inept, negligent, homicidal, bastards"  (these words extracted from last night's drama.)

I'm fine with the first example.  A person specifies their experience and shares it as a cautionary story.

Making blanket insults about an entire group of people - many of which are members of this site - is just not nice.  It worries me when people think it is.  

 
paul wheaton
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It just comes down to over-moderation; too many people have too much control over what is posted.  



If that is the case, how is it that hundreds or thousands of posts appear each week and there is no issue.

I think there are several important things to keep in mind:

  - the staff are 100% volunteers

  - the staff are not trained

So if there is any post the comes close to the edge, 40 different unpaid volunteers effectively need to approve it.  

Further, if the position presented is the same as the position of the staff member evaluating it, it will probably seem fine even if there are, technically, some things that fall outside of our publication standards.   The corollary is that if the position is different, then the staff member will probably "make mountains out of mole hills."   Therefore, if you wish for your position to remain, you might want to make sure your post has no mole hills.

 
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I'm very thankful for the effort put into moderation.  

I know the work and thoughtfulness involved, having been back there for awhile, and I know it is not an easy job.

On the other hand, my nosy self is quite curious about what went down last night
 
gardener
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Travis Johnson wrote:

A person would never tell an author, "leave room for other people's ideas", that would be silly, they are author's, of course they are going to be biased; everyone expects them to be!  

Yes, an author's book is an author's, but a permies thread belongs to the whole community. Frequently it is not what is being said, but how it is being said. There is a huge difference between, "I'm angry and frustrated because XYZ happened to me," and "this horrible thing happened to me so everybody who works as an XYZ is a lousy, incompetent jerk."

To give a very positive example of when a thread which was generating huge anger and frustration from both sides of an extremely difficult and anxiety-creating subject, I invite all members to go and read:
https://permies.com/t/130046/compassionate-discussion-mental-health

Staff worked *very* hard on that thread to keep the focus on growing healthy solutions to a very difficult problem, giving people a place to vent so long as they kept within the bounds of my first example above rather than the sliding into the second. To me, that is exactly why I spend time on permies. I believe Paul Wheaton is very clear on his goal for permies - something about spending time doing cool things instead of being angry at the bad guys?
 
pollinator
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That's a fun bit of hyperbole in the title, and I appreciate the "swan song" solution.

But I agree with Travis in that moderation sometimes gets too involved with what seem to be personal bugaboos rather than decisions that descend from objective assessment.

Yes, this is covered in Paul's answer above. We have a good work-around with the Cider Press, and that works with most edge-case issues, but we all know that the process is still rife with individual betes noir.

I think that a lot of the issues that arise have to do with the distributed nature of the moderation base. In addition to personal leanings, everyone on this site lives in places where the political baseline might be radically different than others. Liberal issues or ones that have ceased to be at all controversial might still be taboo in some places.

We on the other side don't see anything other than posts to the Tinkering... forum and requests for editing, and sometimes, if we're really special, personal staff PMs, if we notice anything other than posts disappearing.

One really easy way I have found to get around most sensibilities is to post as briefly as possible about potential edge-case topics, and usually only to direct the reader to relevant information in the appropriate thread, safely in the Cider Press. As has been stressed repeatedly, you don't need any apples to read what's in the Cider Press, so it's a great place to direct the conversation to keep it from flaming out in the normal forums, as well as to be able to have a separate conversation focused on that edge-case issue within the larger conversation that is ongoing in the original thread. Everyone gets to politely and respectfully say everything they need to say, and no conversations in the main forums gets derailed with edge-case flamewars.

I also like direct quotations, keeping in mind that sensitive subject matter will probably still be relegated to the Cider Press. But if an author publishes something, and you are quoting the publication, that is then the author's opinion, and not the poster's. The mods always have the penultimate word, just before Paul's, but that's a non-sneaky way of addressing the issue, because published authors will often have already done the work of carefully positioning statements as opinion or as qualified by the specific context.

I also appreciate the work that the mods do, and I want to stress that again here. We don't always agree, but I believe their work is crucial to keeping permies.com to the standard we all expect. Thanks again, everyone.

And I must also be nosy, because any time I hear about problem posts, I want to read them. We should have a separate forum for them. I especially like the swan song posts, offering an ultimatum as Paul has described, and then the posters disappear forever...

-CK
 
r ranson
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One thing I didn't know before I became staff.

Over 80% of the hate and drama is removed so quickly, most people will never see it.  

It's easy to say moderators should do such and such when one only sees 20% of the problem.  Like the titanic - it will be fine going next to that ice cube.  Don't worry.  
 
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And breathe......
 
master pollinator
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Judith Browning wrote:

On the other hand, my nosy self is quite curious about what went down last night



Me too
 
gardener
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Well put Amy!

Eric
 
pollinator
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I think I saw the thread that caused the kerfuffle last night - and I really appreciate the speed that staff here move on things, whether it be spam or questionable posts.

I was already upset about something else in real life, and was unwilling to let it stand, and wanted to leave an angry reply reminding people not to be so judgmental, but I knew that, here, the content wouldn't meet publishing standards, and I didn't HAVE to fight. It's remarkable how unstressful that is!

This is one of the nicest, calmest places on the internet, and I really appreciate it. There's some other sites I post on - I do so every time worrying about if someone will say something judgemental or nasty, or go back through my entire posting history to string together quotes without context to make it seem like there's something wrong with me. It definitely makes me less inclined to ask questions! That doesn't happen here, or if it does, it quickly disappears. I have no idea if any of my posts have disappeared - if they have, I'm okay with that, if it means that permies keeps it's character. I would LOVE it if some of the other sites I visit adopted permies' publishing standards!

Thanks moderators, for keeping most of this stuff out of sight!
 
pollinator
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Amy Francis wrote:And breathe......




Yep, I agree
 
pollinator
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Re the old "Swan Song"... we call it the flounce in my group. When they post something provoactive, blast out that they are leaving... then hang around to watch the fireworks.

Our moderating policy, like Paul's, is that if someone states they don't want to be in our group. We send them a polite farewell and remove them from the group.
 
steward
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I haven't been keeping up with recent moderator discussions. I'm enrolled in a yoga-teacher training course that is taking up a lot of time, and I'm getting ready to travel to the OSA conference next week in Corvallis Oregon. (Hoping to see some of you there!)

I read this thread though, and want to mention that it's super common for a moderator to say, "I am involved in the thread, so I don't want to moderate it, could y'all look at it?", or "I really care about this topic, but that makes me biased, so what do y'all think?" If anything, it seems to me that moderators are too lenient about allowing not nice things to linger on the site, because they worry about taking action against not-nice commentary because they also disagree with the content. Many years ago, there was a rouge moderator, who was dealt with, and systems were put in place to prevent it from happening again. It's the ancient question of "Who watches the watchers?": The bots watch the watchers. The watchers watch the watchers. The community watches the watchers. Gives the moderation  system a strong anti-bias feeling.

There are also grammatical constructs, and turns of phrase, that often lead to hurt feelings, nasty rebuttals, drama, and turmoil. Even on innocuous topics, staff often nip those in the bud. It's not about the content or ideas being expressed, it's about expressing them in a way that invites conflict.

It's rather common for staff to delete posts with not-nice quotes from "off permies locations". We don't publish not-nice commentary, whether it is written by members of the forum, or quoting a non-member.
 
Mother Tree
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I've been moderating here a *long* time, and I see patterns too.

If a member suddenly starts getting a lot more posts put on probation, or 'almost a post' as we call it now, it's a pretty sure sign that something has changed in the style of writing. If they are too 'truthy' or insist that only their opinion is correct, we ask for the post to be changed to allow for other people's opinions.  If you consider such a request to be nonsense, then that's just tough because we don't allow people to claim that they are right and other people are wrong - there's no better way to drive away all the people that might be helped than by telling them that they are wrong.

If we put posts on probation and they remain unedited, eventually they get deleted.  If it happens a lot we get fed up and just delete that members posts without bothering to ask for an edit if it's not fit to publish as it was written.

It's true that there are a lot more moderators here these days.  This is a very good thing because for a long time there were precious few of us and when most of the decisions fell to me I would burn out and be very, very quick to remove things without a second thought. With plenty of behind-the-scenes help, I can take a back seat and allow the newer staff to discuss issues, sometimes in considerable depth, and decide what to do. Which actually means that moderation is now slower and softer than it used to be.  And things certainly don't get removed because one moderator doesn't agree with them, whatever members think!

These days I tend to just stick my nose in occasionally, make a few posts of my own, and help out with moderation that is a bit 'heavier' or more wearing on other staff members. I've developed a thick skin over the years so I get to deal with members who are known to be a bit aggressive or accusatory to see if I can kick a bit of sense into them. And if it becomes obvious that I can't, I'm quite happy to dust the ban hammer off so I can deal decisively with aggression, retreat to my hermitage, and leave the rest of the staff to the less stressful moderating decisions.
 
Travis Johnson
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Ironically moderation is not a difficult concept to comprehend...moderate in moderation.

Certainly without moderation this place would be a mess, and I recognize the hard work done by all the moderators, but equally it is easy to see how it can swing too far in the other direction on over-moderation too.

A person can give the messenger flack on this for sure, but I have just noticed that the moderating has swung a little too far in the past few months.

Now how that is corrected, is up for debate. Does it mean there are too many moderators? Perhaps, limiting the moderators would certainly reduce the amount of opinions and thus the potential for over-stepping their limits. But another answer might be to just point out that a problem is developing and to remind moderators to not overstep their control. Having tons of moderators, be less restrictive, would ease the problem s well.

The worst thing to do is bury a person's head and say "oh there is no problem here, the problem is with you."

Well not so fast. That would be like trying to run a business and if a person points out there is a problem developing within the company, to just fire the person. I have seen businesses do that, and they never get very far. That is the easy way out, and as we all know, the easy way is not often the best way to deal with an issue. That is because the problem is still there and just gets worse and worse.

All Chris and I are saying is...and nicely...not in a Swan Song is, "over-moderation is starting to be an issue". That is it, no drama, no ulterior motives, just us noting there is a problem developing.

I believe the fabled story was called "The Emperor has No Clothes."

Some people need to leave for sure, but I think a lot of good people are leaving too because of over-moderation.

 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Travis, with all due respect, your posts are no-where near as nice as they used to be.

The problem is not with the moderation.

 
Judith Browning
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A person can give the messenger flack on this for sure, but I have just noticed that the moderating has swung a little too far in the past few months.

Now how that is corrected, is up for debate. Does it mean there are too many moderators? Perhaps, limiting the moderators would certainly reduce the amount of opinions and thus the potential for over-stepping their limits. But another answer might be to just point out that a problem is developing and to remind moderators to not overstep their control. Having tons of moderators, be less restrictive, would ease the problem s well.  



From my point of view, I've been really thankful for the tight moderation here and because of it I feel comfortable and at home.

Moderating an international site is difficult and sensitive.
I'm happy that there is plenty of staff to share the load.
I think that the moderators here are doing an excellent job.








 
Chris Kott
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Travis, I truly believe yours are some of the contributions to this forum that have moved me along furthest in my understanding of the practical implementation of permaculture in the real world. I don't know if I would describe the issue as you do, though.

We are all biased; we all write from the first-person, as much as we'd like to offer objective opinions. Most of the time when I am asked to edit posts, it's due to the influence of my particular biases, and specifically their built-in blindspots. Everything might be technically right with something I'm saying as a matter of opinion, but I have left out some critical social calculus that perhaps flavours my message in ways I hadn't intended, or realised.

I have to acknowledge that, due to the fact that I am not a moderator and do not see the things going on behind the scenes, I don't have a complete grasp on the dynamics of the moderation process. I can't offer judgement, therefore, except that we're damn lucky to have such a dedicated moderation staff, as much as we sometimes disagree.

If anything, I would suggest that we need more moderators, and a way to streamline day-to-day publishing standards judgement calls, so that for every decision, there is representation from every perceived interest block, a left for every right, a liberal for every conservative, however one prefers to phrase such a thing. But for all I know, such a standard already exists, unless they just go to Paul.

I am actually concerned for the overall mental health of the moderation staff. If there were a larger pool of moderators, it would be possible to spread the load around, and have a better ability for those who need it to take mental health retreats, if even to just step away from the most wearing aspects of moderation. But I suppose if wishes were wings, pigs would fly. And we'd get pork wings. *drools and shudders*... pork wings...



I hope the idea of pork wings brightens everyone's day. Wipe your chin.

-CK
 
gardener
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Just a bit of perspective as a new staff person:

The amount of thought and discussion that goes into what is done with controversial posts behind the scenes is astounding. But lest you think it's all just weedwacking posts into submission to conform to some party line, hold on.

There are lengthy discussions about what might be going on with a particular person who posted something "off", what a new member might have meant, how we could possibly be misinterpreting them. *Everyone* gets the benefit of the doubt, at least initially.
I regularly see staff asking for someone else to look at a post for a neutral opinion.
The staff are not staff because they pledge allegiance to some certain belief scheme. In fact, we seem to be all over the place! The one thing we seem to have in common is that we enjoy helping folks and creating a friendly place with lots of good info.

This is the one place on the interwebz that I can come to and get away from people pushing their opinions or telling me what is true and what I have to believe. Someone can post about waving a cow horn over their eggplant seedlings under the full moon while singing a song with their pet mushroom, and nobody is going to call them nuts or insult their intelligence. (we might ask what kind of eggplant, though, and if the yields are better, and please post pics).
 
pollinator
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i have been posting less and generally avoid anything that is not pretty much directly homesteading/agriculture in nature. In terms of conflict and constructive opinion sharing it’s just too much overhead for me in word smithing and I think exponentially for the moderators.

My opinion shaped by my single data point is that that is those topics are likely to increase the velocity of permaculture more than the other topics and likely create less havoc.
 
paul wheaton
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Travis Johnson wrote:Some people need to leave for sure, but I think a lot of good people are leaving too because of over-moderation.



That's good news!

Other people that are not a fit for these forums are also leaving.  So only the people that appreciate this path remain.   It sounds like that worked out perfectly for everybody.
 
master steward
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I would like to reiterate some comments that Joseph made above. Permies staff makes it a point to set our personal opinions and beliefs on the shelf when moderating. That can be difficult, and many times I have seen moderators, and myself included, step away from a particular thread because the content is sensitive for the individual. There was one thread in particular a year or two ago that blew up. Other moderators were sharing thoughts on how some of the content was written, and I myself couldn’t even finish reading the first post. I told the others I would be unable to assist with this thread because I was biased and couldn’t think clearly enough to weigh fairly. I personally will not moderate threads that I started, or threads where I am involved in the discussion as I believe it is conflict of interest and I may be unable to be fair, or my moderating could be interpreted as preferential, so I will always ask the team of moderators to have a look if I see something potentially unacceptable, with the exception of spam. If someone shows up to spam Permies about blow up dolls, viagra, counterfeit currency or where to rent an apartment in Jakarta etc., I remove that shit immediately.

Permies staff strive for fairness while also making sure posts meet publishing standards. Permies is solely and wholly owned by Paul Wheaton, and has guidelines that he has set that content must meet. Permies is curated and published content. I have seen Paul remove content because he didn’t feel like publishing it. It’s his website and his choice and I don’t question his choices, I just volunteer here. Some may interpret moderating as censorship, but I assure you Permies does not censor. No one on Permies staff, including Paul himself, is going to stop anybody from going anywhere to say whatever they choose to say. If someone doesn’t like Permies publishing guidelines, no one is forcing anyone to stay here. If one decides they don’t like it here, go, be free, there are other groups of people on the internet having discussions to join, or even start your own forum to discuss whatever and however you choose. If one decides they don’t like the pessimism, denigrating and hate in other corners of the internet, come back and join us. We’ll be here helping one another farm & garden, build rocket mass heaters and natural buildings, and sharing helpful ideas, nurturing and encouraging people and self reliant living.

 
Chris Kott
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This is the type of detail to which I refer. We don't get this picture, and I think it helps to be mindful of the fact that we don't see the whole machine in operation.

As someone who has no intention of leaving, I need to work within the sensibilities of the moderators. If I need to be creative to express specific ideas, how I do that is up to me, as long as I can do so while following the publication standards.

-CK
 
r ranson
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Burra Maluca wrote: Which actually means that moderation is now slower and softer than it used to be.



I've noticed this too and I've been wondering for a while now if THIS is a big problem with the way permies is heading.

When I first came on staff, decisions were swift and any iffy posts were simply removed because "I ain't got time for that" and everyone behind the scenes gave a little cheer.  This wasn't such a bad thing because chronic offenders very quickly got fed up and did their swan song or they quickly learned how to write in a nice way.  Every now and again, someone would take on a project (a thread or a poster) to help them become better at meeting publishing standards.  I can see some of you in this thread - I'm very glad were willing to work with us to stick around.  I'm looking at one of you in particular and your writing style has come a long way and your posts are now a joy to read.

Now there is a lot of time spent on every post and there a lot of things that make it through moderation that NEVER would have got through a few years ago.  Moderation here is a lot softer than it was.  That's not a good or bad thing, it's just the nature of having more staff who want to help and make permies a better place.  More staff willing to step up and say "I care about that thread/post/person enough to help them even if it means they are going to be angry and aggressive towards me."  Quite often, one person will help and then call in Burra or I to write a little note in the thread reminding people to be kind to each other.  Lately, I've been feeling a lot of aggression towards me from some of our members over moderation decisions I had nothing to do with.  Some of this misplaced aggression even in this thread, but it means that my role as a lightning rod is working and the rest of the staff can get on with the task at hand.  I don't actually press many moderation buttons these days as I'm too busy getting ready for a big change in my life.  I just get called in when staff want a sixth opinion on something.  

It also means a lot more edge case posts are making it through.  Like generates like.  We have one HELL of a lot more edge case posts written here than we used to.  When moderation was stricter here, people knew not to bother posting edge case posts because they wouldn't make it through.  Now, edge case is getting to be pretty standard.  Keep on posting edge case posts and you're gonna keep on feeling the brunt of moderation.  Eventually, moderators are going to get fed up and return to removing anything that even smells of an edge case.

If you write something and think "I wonder if those stinking moderators will take issue with this?" then STOP!  Take a break and have your favourite hot beverage of choice.  Come back and re-write the post.  
 
r ranson
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I want to give an example of how moderation has gotten a lot softer.

A while back, there was a beautiful post.  Nearly 2,000 words long and overflowing with helpful information that I thought was brilliant.  And in the middle of that post, they had the word cannabis.  Two years ago, this post would simply vanish.  As my hand hovered over the 'vanish' button, a staff member said "WAIT!  I think this is brilliant!  We should keep it!"  And after much discussion we decided that...

... it's only a small mention, it's not like anyone would notice and
... maybe with pot being legal in some parts of the world, we are ready as a community to have this conversation.

So we left it as an experiment and within 5 hours, the thread was overflowing with the same old political pot crap, blablabla.  People were flying in from the either to get in on the fray. The same old crap that happens every time we let marijuana stay on the main forums. Much of it was removed instantly so what looked to a regular user like maybe 10 posts of pot-talk was more like 50.  It took hours to clean it up,  Two years ago, that whole thread would have simply vanished and be done with it.  But instead, someone stepped up to clean up the thread.  A few people got asked to alter their posts and a few different people got seriously angry and aggressive towards the staff for trying to help.  And now we know that the community isn't ready to talk about this topic.

But it's like the titanic analogy from earlier.  What a user sees is an ice cube so it's easy to say "you should have...".  The staff have sonar and can see beneath the waves.  We see what was removed and how big the mess really was.
 
paul wheaton
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Excellent point R.

For somebody that has never managed a forum, everything seems really simple and obvious.   And they are frustrated that we do not subscribe to what, to them, is simple and obvious.  

 
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Being involved in moderation here at Permies is not my first moderation rodeo, or even my fifth.  I've been involved in various online forums with various levels of participation in moderation processes for nearly thirty years.  (The first one was so long ago, the reader software dialed a modem to connect to the forum, then downloaded all the new posts in threads you were subscribed to for you to read offline, and then hung up the modem to free up your phone line and keep you from racking up per-minute phone charges.)  

What we've got going on here at Permies is not just unusual, it's singular.  As a community, it's a spectacular success, however constraining we each may find it in a particular moment.   Maybe the way it works is not the way I would have set it up.  That means nothing; I've set up forums.  They are gone; they are forgotten.  Maybe they worked briefly, but they didn't thrive.  

So when people say, not even "run the site my way or I will leave" but just "if you ran the site my way it would be better" I don't credit it much.  I think that too, every day.  And then I remember that when a very complex and hard thing to do is working, the wise often choose not to fuck with it.  Tend it, yes; groom it and pet it, yes.  But not fuck with it.  "If I break this, could I build another one?"  "Er, no, remember that one time you tried, and people stayed away in droves?"
 
paul wheaton
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Dan ...   compuserve and tapcis?  Or something with fido?
 
Trace Oswald
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Dan Boone wrote:Being involved in moderation here at Permies is not my first moderation rodeo, or even my fifth.  I've been involved in various online forums with various levels of participation in moderation processes for nearly thirty years.  (The first one was so long ago, the reader software dialed a modem to connect to the forum, then downloaded all the new posts in threads you were subscribed to for you to read offline, and then hung up the modem to free up your phone line and keep you from racking up per-minute phone charges.)  

What we've got going on here at Permies is not just unusual, it's singular.  As a community, it's a spectacular success, however constraining we each may find it in a particular moment.   Maybe the way it works is not the way I would have set it up.  That means nothing; I've set up forums.  They are gone; they are forgotten.  Maybe they worked briefly, but they didn't thrive.  

So when people say, not even "run the site my way or I will leave" but just "if you ran the site my way it would be better" I don't credit it much.  I think that too, every day.  And then I remember that when a very complex and hard thing to do is working, the wise often choose not to fuck with it.  Tend it, yes; groom it and pet it, yes.  But not fuck with it.  "If I break this, could I build another one?"  "Er, no, remember that one time you tried, and people stayed away in droves?"



Amen.  I helped mod an MMA forum quite some years ago.  Threads and posts were allowed to be all-out balls-to-the-wall flame-fests.  Honestly, sometimes it was fun.  There are some very, very bright people in the world that can write a post that makes you emit an audible "ouch".  In spite of that, the forum has long since passed away.  There was really fantastic information available on that forum.  The problem was that finding it was like using your hand to find a gold nugget in your septic tank, and your arm wasn't quite long enough to reach the bottom.  Sometimes you would catch a nugget.  Most times it was too quickly buried in shit to catch it, and if it slipped from your hand, never mind even trying to find it again.  Compare and contrast with this forum.  Here, great information is EVERWHERE, and you don't have to get a shit-covered arm to find it.  I like the change.
 
Dan Boone
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paul wheaton wrote:Dan ...   compuserve and tapcis?  Or something with fido?



Close!  SFRT and other forums on GEnie -- which was the internet, before there was an internet, as imagined and implemented by General Electric corporation.  A dial up BBS on serious corporate steroids.  

I did use FidoNet-connected BBSs, but mostly just to download pictures like that one of a banana being used for an improbable purpose.
 
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I get posts sent back for editing. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I find that my humor doesn't sound all that humorous to some, so if I was just trying to be funny and it came out offensive I just don't edit it and let it be gone.

I've also had topics I felt strongly about get deleted. I could see why. Didn't mean I liked it, but I understood why. No promises that I'll behave all the time, but I do try to be a good girl on permies!

I do appreciate staff at permies! I enjoy this site immensely!
 
elle sagenev
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r ranson wrote:If you write something and think "I wonder if those stinking moderators will take issue with this?" then STOP!  Take a break and have your favourite hot beverage of choice.  Come back and re-write the post.  



Have a taco. It's hard to be crazy when you're eating a taco! It's also hard to type. ;)
 
Chris Kott
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I don't know if I've ever caused the same kind of hesitation as the 2000-word helpful cannabis sandwich post, but I definitely appreciate it when, in a conversation about something else, to which the edge-case topic is only laterally related, instead of the post being deleted, a careful edit with a link to the Cider Press saves all else that is useful about the post.

When the membership, or humanity as a whole, matures to the level required, I am sure we will be able to mention all kinds of edge-case topics without flame wars. When I started posting on this site, I didn't know how to "be nice," and I don't think it was even being discussed in that way, but I learned and grew. Such is possible for everyone, so that eventually there will be no real need of a Cider Press, or at least less stress for the mods outside of it.

-CK
 
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I get posts sent back for editing periodically and scratch my head and wonder "what is wrong with this?

Generally I eventually figure out that I have stated my opinion as fact.  Of course this is my opinion, and I'm pretty sure it's correct, otherwise I wouldn't have posted it.  What I've realized is that not everyone is ready for every truth.  We are at different stages in different areas of our lives.  While we are united by permaculture, it is entirely possible that what is accepted wisdom in west Texas might ruffle feathers on Holland, or vice versa (just an example, I'm from neither area).  

Sometimes I might even state my truth in a way that could be misunderstood by someone else even though  90 other people more culturally similar to me will see clearly what I'm saying.  

Leaving 'wiggle room' allows more people to be exposed exposed to new ideas without becoming offended.  We are here to learn from each other.

I appreciate the staffs work, even as it sometimes leaves me scratching my head.  
 
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I for one very much appreciate the moderators. Historically, I was on dozens of 'helping/sharing' forums, they all failed me, personally, due to ineffective moderation.

Jealousy abounded, attacks became constant, noxious and virulent. Time after time cliques formed and tag team harassed those who would suggest innovation or even the slightest variation from "we have always done it/believed this way".

Moderators are who and what makes permies the safe sharing place it is. Brainstorming, sharing, innovation, and helping are, to me why we are here. There are other sites for being aggressive, dogmatic or accusatory, please continue your efforts to keep this forum the wonderful place it is.
 
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