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"run the site my way or else I will leave"

 
Posts: 75
Location: 10 miles NW of Helena Montana
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I know I don't have what it takes to be a moderator for forums!

My hat would be off to the  moderators, but I am follicly challenged on top of the ol' bean and it is very cold out.  ;-)

Some things never change in this world, negativity being one I don't care for.  When I see someone being negative in a post I just skip over it or move on to another post.

I love Permies and spend most of my computer time on this site.

Besides, Paul and the World Domination theme boosts my spirits all the time!
 
Posts: 87
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I was a moderator back in the dial up days and an admin later.  This isn't my first rodeo posting to this kind of topic.   My favorite analogy has always been something like this:

This website/forum is a privately owned entity much like your house or the apartment you lease. This is Paul's space or intellectual property.  It's his online living room that he has invited others to hold conversations.

In the same way that you would not enter someone's home or private space and tell them how to run it or else you'll leave, its disrespectful to do so here.

I always invited those who disagreed to start their own forums if they didn't like the way I ran them.   To this day as far as I'm aware no one has, or if they did they weren't as successful.  Many who disagree aren't willing to do the work themselves, yet are willing enough to disagree in someone else's privately owned space when things don't suit them.

Hi to everyone! I know I'm not on hardly at all but I read a lot!
 
master steward & author
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My understanding is that permies runs in the red - Paul pays for it out of pocket.

I often wonder what would happen if it didn't.  If it was 100% community funded.  What if we had a bit more money and could pay for 10 of the active moderators to go do some training?  Something of a dream of mine, but we need to get more people selling things on the digital market, get more people using the affiliate links on the digital market (so they can make money while helping to fund permies), and more people buying PIE.  

But for now, we do the best we can with what we have.  Moderating is a soft science and every situation is unique.  
 
pollinator
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I find that the leave room rule means that I cannot post a lot of times, because when I see someone posting outright lies that can cause harm to themselves and other people.. I cannot disagree as they have to have room for their opinion. so I simply don't post, and I am pretty sure others do not either which means the threads often become echo chambers for one opinion. Which can be both dangerous and disruptive to improvement.
 
r ranson
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Skandi Rogers wrote:...I see someone posting outright lies that can cause harm to themselves and other people...



We have a button for that.  It says "report" and you can use it to alert the moderators to that post.  They will have a look, probably discuss it for a few hours, then decide if it meets publishing standards or not.  

Paul goes into great detail with different examples in this thread: https://permies.com/t/2296/nice
 
steward
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I find that the leave room rule means that I cannot post a lot of times, because when I see someone posting outright lies that can cause harm to themselves and other people.. I cannot disagree as they have to have room for their opinion. so I simply don't post, and I am pretty sure others do not either which means the threads often become echo chambers for one opinion. Which can be both dangerous and disruptive to improvement.



I am not sure if you are talking about this forum, or some other forum.

Here, we encourage people to present their position, and not "THE truth."  
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I find that the leave room rule means that I cannot post a lot of times, because when I see someone posting outright lies that can cause harm to themselves and other people.. I cannot disagree as they have to have room for their opinion. so I simply don't post, and I am pretty sure others do not either which means the threads often become echo chambers for one opinion. Which can be both dangerous and disruptive to improvement.



That's when we can use the 'report' button

Or just ignore the post we disagree with and post our own thoughts about the issue without dismissing someone elses' idea.

Or say that you think something could be dangerous and explain why and that might be OK?  where as saying something is an 'outright lie' would not.
 
pollinator
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Skandi, trust me, there's almost always a way to both leave room for the existence of someone else's opinion and to call into question it's validity, gently, by running it down and clubbing it over the head with the logic club. Except that's an analogy, and if you do club something to death with your arguments, you're still likely to be called out for not allowing room for another's opinion.

I often do so interrogatively. If I am asking questions about something, even if I already know the answer I would give, I am not making definitive statements, but inviting the reader to ask the question themselves. I also lead them to the specific answer that I want them to arrive at through the wording of the question and progression of the analysis, but they could still choose to believe the opinion that doesn't hold up to scrutiny if they want to.

The reason we do things is often very telling. If I am walking through the issue as I see it to provide options that wouldn't otherwise be obvious from the other person's perspective, my reasoning is positive and so should be the outcome. If my goal is to make the other person look dumb and feel bad, then the tone of the message won't lend itself to positivity, and won't seem helpful, except to those already holding that opinion, for whom it will just be troll-porn. We don't like troll-porn.

I think it always comes back to "be nice." We do need to open "echo chamber" discussions for them to be any good to anyone at all. Healthy thought requires a semi-regular smell-check of personal mood, intent, and integrity, or else we fall victim to the same sort of "echo chamber" mentality. But we have to be nice in doing it, so as to not close anyone off to other ideas because we're too judgemental about it.

-CK
 
Mother Tree
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Here's a link to a thread which discusses the idea of leaving room for other people's opinion - Leaving room for other peoples ideas

And one to a page with links to all sorts of discussions about the way the site works, and why it works like that - How permies.com works - links to useful threads
 
master steward
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I want to offer a glimpse of how moderation works here on Permies. I’d like to share a couple simple examples of how something might be posted here on permies, and try to show how one way will result in moderation, and the other way will not.

That’s wrong. That’s not true. That’s not going to work. This way is better.

See how those phrases come across as truthy and bossy? These examples do not meet publishing standards. I can think of two words can be added to each of the above phrases that suddenly make them meet publishing standards. They are “I think” and also “I believe”.

I think that’s wrong. I believe that’s not true. I think that’s not going to work. I think this way is better.

See how those phrases now leave room for others? Another option is to consider adding words like could/could be, might/might be, maybe/maybe not, to also modify those previous phrases to meet publishing standards.

That could be wrong. That might not be true. That might not work. This way could be better.

These are also acceptable ways to convey the same thoughts. One can even combine the previously mentioned examples!

I think that could be wrong. I believe that might not be true. I think that might not work. I believe this way could be better.

Even better! The same idea or concept still gets the idea across but has improved from being truthy and possibly being interpreted as rude/bossy to being nice.

The exclusion of words like I think and the other examples noted above results in a good percentage of what gets moderated here.


 
Robbie Asay
Posts: 87
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r ranson wrote:My understanding is that permies runs in the red - Paul pays for it out of pocket.

I often wonder what would happen if it didn't.  If it was 100% community funded.

But for now, we do the best we can with what we have.  Moderating is a soft science and every situation is unique.  



We had community donations and it was a double edge sword.  On one hand the site was funded most of the time.  On the other it took an extreme amount of work and encouragement to get there then deal with those that became entitled to tell us how to run things because they paid for it.

Moderating is often a thankless job because those who can't see behind the curtain also can't see how much work it takes to hash things out objectively.  They don't understand that discussion boards are NOT subject to free speech, don't understand how free speech works(because a discussion board is not a government entity) and only see the end result.  
 
pollinator
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Robbie Asay wrote:with those that became entitled to tell us how to run things because they paid for it.

Moderating is often a thankless job because those who can't see behind the curtain also can't see how much work it takes to hash things out objectively.  They don't understand that discussion boards are NOT subject to free speech, don't understand how free speech works(because a discussion board is not a government entity) and only see the end result.  



In fairness, that is a different situation in my mind.  If people directly help you pay for something, I believe they should have some say in how things are run.  If they help pay indirectly, like purchasing videos that Paul made or something, I don't believe that entitles anyone to have any say.  I agree with the analogy that this forum is like a person's house.  You go to a person's house, you don't put your feet on the coffee table and tell them all the reasons you have a right to do it.  You follow their rules, or go home.  And on the way out, thank them for making something available to you for free, even if you were too stupid to be grateful for it.
 
pollinator
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I really like permies.com and everyone who posted on this thread.
Keep up the good conversations!
I'm here to learn from all of you guys & gals
and I  have  learned  so  much  over  the   years  from  each  and  every one  of  you

THANK YOU.
 
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I've certainly had people disagree with me on permies, sometimes I've been surprised they made it through the monitors.  Most of the time I came out of it with the same opinion.  Once in a while I have realized I was using either bad data or was looking from the wrong angle.

I generally learn less when everyone is in agreement, (at least on philosophical things), than when there are different opinions expressed.  If nothing else, it forces me to reevaluate why I believe what I do.  That is a valuable service!
 
pollinator
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Mick Fisch wrote:
I generally learn less when everyone is in agreement, (at least on philosophical things), than when there are different opinions expressed.  If nothing else, it forces me to reevaluate why I believe what I do.



I agree with this in a general sense, and I'm well aware of my own temperament regarding it. I'd rather be told bluntly what I'm doing wrong and why, rather than have to read between the line of overly delicate subtle niceties. I recently had a conversation with a colleague who is also a good friend. She was able to tell me what needed to be said directly, on a delicate matter, knowing that I would rather have it that way than any other. But that trust was built on her knowledge of me, and long years of work together. But I'm also well aware that many other people would have found that same conversation awkward and potentially hurtful.

I learned more in two minutes of that conversation than I might have learned in a whole term of politely skirting round the issue. And it went on to productive conversation about making changes that benefited both of us.

Disagreement and challenge can vastly accelerate the learning process - but that only works when the both parties are engaging on that level, with trust and care for the other. That dynamic is rare and delicate, and not a good basis for building a huge international community of strangers.
 
pollinator
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I sometimes laugh at the suggestions that are made here of how to word things to make them "nice." To me a lot of them just sound snarky, passive aggressive, or condescending - way worse than the direct wording. But it seems to work for most other people, and I've got thick skin, so I'm happy to play along.
 
Nina Jay
pollinator
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I think there are generally two types of people (very, very broadly speaking and generalizing):
"tough-minded" and "friendly"

"Tough-minded" people can be (and often are)  friendly.
"Friendly"  people can be (and often are) tough-minded

It's a matter of how different types of people speak.

What matters to me most is what the intention behind the words is.

If the intention behind the words is good, then good things generally result, even if the writer e.g. uses the full beauty of the English language (Or Finnish, for that matter ;-D)

The difficulty of course is, that none of us are experts at guessing the intentions behind the writer's words.
We only see the words here.
No facial expressions, no voice.

The possibilities for misundestandings are: well, I think, endless really.

I have a lot of respect for the moderators and editors in this world.
Not just permies. com but of course especially here

 
Robbie Asay
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Robbie Asay wrote:with those that became entitled to tell us how to run things because they paid for it.  



In fairness, that is a different situation in my mind.  If people directly help you pay for something, I believe they should have some say in how things are run.  If they help pay indirectly, like purchasing videos that Paul made or something, I don't believe that entitles anyone to have any say.



When people join a discussion board they do so because they have an interest.  If they decide to stay it's because there's something they like about it that warrants sticking around, such as the community that develops.  Most often that's a direct result of the owners vision and why they started the board.  That doesn't mean that they aren't open to suggestion but it does mean that they aren't obligated to use those suggestions no matter how good they may appear to the person making them.

The same is true when asking for funds to pay for the site in some way.  If people enjoy the content that much that they are willing to volunteer some cash for it, that's exactly what it is, you are contributing to assist in the continuation of what you like.  Many times there are goodies offered and maybe tier packages based on the amount paid.  But one thing is very clear; you are only getting what is offered and what you pay for.  At no time is that an invitation to be able to influence the direction of the board. The owner still owns the board, you aren't buying a stake in it and one is not being offered.   This is a unfortunate but common misconception.  

If I help someone pay their rent they are under no obligation to allow me to tell them how to keep their house.  I merely assisted them in being able to continue to live there because their friendship(or in this case community) is worth it.
 
r ranson
master steward & author
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One thing I want to say to people when they say "run the site my way..." is there's a reason why you like it here.  Maybe that reason is the way this site is run?

I've never found the polite way to phrase it, so I never get to say it to their face.  
 
pioneer
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I would NOT want to be a moderator on a site like this!  Many people feel very passionately about a topic and, unfortunately, seem so invested in the topic that anything said that doesn't agree with their view comes across as a personal attack.  I came here to learn, and I came here to share some of the things I learn along the way.  I've had people post responses that were borderline condescending.  I've also had responses that pretty much echoed what I said, the responder just didn't think I worded it "right".  While both can be aggravating and even discouraging, I shrug them off and press on.  Not everyone has the ability to shrug things off.  I have a younger sister who at age 55 is as likely to be driven to tears by people's words as she was when she was 5.  

IMHO, the anonymity of the internet leads to some poor behavior.  Nobody here knows me.  I highly doubt I will ever run into any Permies while out and about town.  I could say whatever I want, however I want, be as hateful as I want, and the only consequence would be getting blocked.  If I behaved that way in my small town, I'd be ostracized, if not poked in the nose!  There is so much ugly in the world.  If it is such a struggle to be nice and you resent the idea that you are being asked to be nice to people, then maybe you need to do some self examination.  

A wise man once told me that if the worst someone can say about him is that he was too nice, he could live with that just fine.
 
Nina Jay
pollinator
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r ranson wrote:One thing I want to say to people when they say "run the site my way..." is there's a reason why you like it here.  Maybe that reason is the way this site is run?

I've never found the polite way to phrase it, so I never get to say it to their face.  




One suggestion comes to my mind as a possible phrase to use... I don't know if it would help in the situations you face (probably not), but this is what I have learned after some hard lessons in the school of life so to speak and it works with so-called "normal" people:

I understand how you feel, but I don't agree

That is what I say to my teenagers.

I understand how you feel, this site really can be XYZ at times. However, this is the way we run things here. Sorry I can't do more for you, Sir/ Madam.

- could work in SOME cases?
- I must stress that (as I've also spent quite some time on other social media platforms, too!)
that there definitely are "cases" where nothing will work and there is no polite way to answer.


From what I've seen in Facebook:
Sometimes a poster can be in a personal situation (high stress, eg.) that they are not fully able to communicate to others. Their answers reflect their own state in those cases. These situations may be temporary and as the life situation eases up, the person IS once again able to communicate without any problems.
This is also my personal experience.
I too can go over-the-line and become irrational, when I'm stressed out.

I understand how you feel, but there is nothing I can do about it at this point in time.
- This is what I say to my goats, when they are "in heat" and I'm not going to take them to the buck It seems to calm them down It feels better to me, when I can say something And when I feel better, the goat senses that and she relaxes, too I think that is the secret recipe in this case

Now to the very, very over-the-line cases... when a person is clearly not normal in that moment (is going through some really serious challenges)  and is writing stuff that is basically incomprehensible ( = does not make any sense whatsoever) AND very hurtful ... "Ok" and "Thank you for understanding" are the two phrases that I have come up with that make the other one just, well, basically shut up, which is the only desirable scenario anyway, if he or she is BOTH verbally abusing others AND not making any sense.
 
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Apart from being arrogant, there's obviously a glaring flaw in the view of 'run the site my way'..... Which way is that?  Is your way reflective of how the other members might want it run?  With so many diverse opinions clearly that way lies mayhem!

The owner of the site is fully entitled to have the forum the way he would like it to run...bit of a no brainer!  Having read Paul's explanations of dealing with problematic posts, it seems fair/reasonable PLUS having other mods here indicates that a troublesome member might be discussed with the team before a decision is made.
 
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Mick Fisch wrote:  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.  




There is wisdom in what Emily Dickinson said, "The Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind." I love that quote and sometimes think about it when I realize I'm getting too fervent about whatever geeky topic I'm discussing with someone.  
We've all told our kids to stop and T.H.I.N.K. first before speaking. (THINK : is it True, is it Helpful, is it Inspiring, is it Necessary, is it Kind.) Some lucky people seem to be born with this understanding, but I believe, and hope, that wisdom can be learned if we take the time to stop and think.

Most of us here have the same goals when it comes to permaculture and stewardship of the earth, our home. We want to spread the word that we can build a better world in our backyard and, as we know, new ideas can never be forced, they must be born with an 'ah ha' moment and a spark of understanding that becomes something we own. The purpose of Paul and Shawn's book is to give it away and hope for that spark. As for the two recipients of my books, one has received it with an explosion of possibilities. The other, not so much. But that's ok. The truth can dazzle gradually.
 
paul wheaton
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Due to some comments here, I wish to direct some folks to this thread from a long time ago called


       "I disagree" vs. "I have a different position"




 
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"The Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind." Emily Dickinson

"We've all told our kids to stop and T.H.I.N.K. first before speaking. (THINK : is it True, is it Helpful, is it Inspiring, is it Necessary, is it Kind.) "

I love both of these comments and intend to steal them and spread them far and wide!!! Thank you.
 
pollinator
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Thank you to all moderators for the very hard work they do. I appreciate coming to a site where kindness and respect for one another is enforced: This site offers a huge wealth of good information, so it is not too surprising that there will be differences of opinion. I am grateful that this staff handles it out of sight so that we may always swim in calm waters.
When you think about it, this is but one of the great advantages of this forum. Of all the posts I have contributed, I had only one that was stopped by the moderators. I had not meant to be abrasive but my post was considered abrasive. I tweaked it and it was accepted. It hurts a little when you spend a lot of time on one post and it is rejected. Learn why it was rejected and move on.
I remember my mom teaching me humility:"You are but ONE individual in a world of billions"she would say. "so take your place, but only your place and be grateful you have a place to shine."
Here, we share a wealth of information in a friendly and quiet setting. We should be grateful that the moderators work tirelessly to keep it this way.
We should never have the audacity to think that the worth of what we are writing rises to a Pulitzer prize and should not be censured. We are all neighbors talking to neighbors.
 
author & pollinator
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I found this thread on the "Interesting permies threads you might have missed" email and have to give my kudos to the staff. I'm still learning my way around Permies, but have to say that my first impression was that it was extremely well set up and well moderated. This is one of the most valuable forums I belong to, so preserving its integrity is something I appreciate more than I can properly find words for. Until this thread, however, I didn't realize how much actual work went into it. Wow! Thank you so much for your dedication!

What I'm especially grateful for is the extra effort that's put into trying to see beyond the words and rather into the intent. As someone who's on the aspie spectrum, I already know I have trouble with "normal" communication. I've had a lifetime of saying things that I thought made a contribution to a conversation, only to be shut down as being inappropriate and off-the-wall. So, I just want to say that the extra time and work Staff puts into fair moderation, truly makes this forum a real gem. Again, thank you!

 
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