Moderation. What's okay and what's not?

D, I see that you're still catching flack even though you've made the first step. Please let it go. Under these circumstances, it would be admirable not to engage.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.

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This whole thread started with a question about a thread being prematurely shut down because a moderator determined the conversation was over. Mert felt the need to open this thread to discuss forum moderation. As LJ pointed out, an MSC had answered the question and, as far as she was concerned, that was the end of the conversation. Mert indicated she still had questions she would have liked to pose to the MSC and she did not consider the topic closed. I think comments were made that the handling of this topic by the moderator was appropriate, even though there is little history of closing threads so quickly.

Now forum members have chosen to call this conversation over, even though I, for one, have asked multiple questions of DSpeakes, hoping to either understand her better, or help her to examine her experiences to understand that people did not intend to attack or hurt her. So why is the conversation being shut down by forum members? Now we not only have to worry about reaching the appropriate level of humor, sans obvious sarcasm, that wont offend anyone, we now have some forum members deciding to put an end to the conversation by insinuating that all is well, and the worst offender is the hero for taking the high road. I don't appreciate being told that the conversation is done, and being intimidated by people. Talk about heavy handed moderation, here is a good example of moderation by intimidation. And before anyone jumps in to defend there comments, dspeakes did not take the high road, in her last post she continued her flame throwing conversation and then tossed in a couple of comments that indicated she was willing to let it drop if everyone behaves the way she thinks they should. How exactly was her post taking the high road?

So if it is okay with everyone, I would like to continue this conversation with DSpeakes. DSpeakes, I would like to hear your response to my questions. I also would like to know what you have to say about Lisa's comments about your changing your forum identity. If you actually were a long time participant of the forum I might better understand your hurt feelings when you made your first post under your new identity.

"We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm."

- Winston Churchill

“Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

- Paul Brandt
Rovergirl, I asked D if we could make peace and she agreed, so D and I made peace.

The forum, the thread, and the subject are not closed.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Rovergirl, according to a great philosopher, you can't always get what you want.

True, I did not want the thread closed. We had the ear of the scheduling company, and I had a concern. The thread was re-opened. Others had stuff to say. By then, the window of opportunity for my concern had closed. I imagine no one was more pleased than the scheduler. How's that for irony on a shopper's forum. We sometimes get in our own way.

I agree with you about heavy-handed moderation. And, when someone states that the conversation is over, that is an attempt to squelch. Unless there's a blatant personal, or offensive attack, no one should assume a superior position and close a thread. That rankles, and gives me ideas of all sorts of unspoken conversation. Having said that, I believe that certain topics of conversation don't belong in the forum and should be addressed via private message. But, that's me.
Mary, thanks for the clarification, I didn't read anything in the thread that I thought you and D had to make peace over.

Mert, it looks like you are correct and I won't get what I want. Not the first time, and certainly not the last.

"We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm."

- Winston Churchill

“Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

- Paul Brandt
I take it that the second to the last paragraph was only said due to the Christmas season of goodwill, right?

@dspeakes wrote:

LisaSTL Wrote:
> Not all those posts were purged and you have
> simply rewritten history with this one. Some
> people questioned, some people disagreed and now
> you claim it to be much more than it actually was.
> You were not told you shouldn't question anything.
> You were told Flash had included links and quoted
> specific IRS regulations which contradicted your
> posts. When asked to provide information to
> support your assertions, you said you were going
> to research some items.

No, I'm not the one who rewrote history. You're rewriting it now. Go look at that thread. Every single post I made two years ago is gone. Flash's incorrect information stands unchallenged, and uncorrectable, at this point, because the thread is now locked. When I discovered that, I sent Jacob a letter detailing all of the inaccurate or outdated information in that thread and he made no response to my email and has let the thread stand. There were 22 corrections needed. Some of that information is 5 or 6 years old. Things have changed. That thread has not.

Flash did not include links to her source of information, at least not to the particular information I said was incorrect. In the original thread, I copied information right from the IRS website, but that wasn't good enough for you and wales. All you wanted to do was defend Flash, and cite some unnamed CPA who talked at one MS conference who told people what they wanted to hear, even though there was no reference to any IRS publication to back up what was said, and who was contradicted on that point by eight other CPA's another shopper questioned on the matter (her post was also purged from the thread).

The thing I said I was going to research I did research and the only IRS statement I found on the matter supported my position. I quoted that and you continued to argue with me. ("You" collectively, I don't remember who specifically was involved in that particular dogpile.)

Anyone who wants to know what in that thread is incorrect can PM me and I will send them what I wrote to Jacob and the details of all the errors I found in that thread -- a couple of which are repeated in several places.

(Flash, if you read this, it has never been my intention to criticize you for what you wrote. You never held yourself out as a tax expert; you were passing on information you believed was correct, and you hedged a lot of your comments with "I believe this is the case" and other comments indicating you were not claiming expertise. But while some of your advice was good, particularly about record keeping, a lot of it is either not true, not true any more, or true only under some circumstances. The tax code is very complex; there are numerous exceptions, and things change every year. Things that were advisable for you under your situation may be bad advice or even illegal for others. Things that were true in 2008 or 2009 are not true in 2014. Things you said cannot be done sometimes can be done.)

But you, Lisa, are ignoring my point: that I was viciously attacked and ridiculed on my first arrival here, just because I knew some things that the "old timers" didn't know, and they didn't like what I had to tell them. My point was about the ATTACK. Nobody even questioned whether maybe I was right and knew what I was talking about. One of your own was disagreed with, and you all ATTACKED.

Just like the attack that was launched on newcomer Tony Lorenzini, all because someone decided, in the total and complete absence of any proof whatsoever, that he was lying to us. Even after it was proven that he was not lying, the attackers continued to defend themselves, blaming Tony for not being more clear about his situation.

I stood up for Tony. I stood up for Erika. I have stood up for others who were ridiculed, called names, or called a liar here. (And thank you, Storm Cloud, for seeing that.) But because I have stood up for them against the "old guard" or whatever term we want to use for the early arrivers who now think they own the forum, I get attacked over and over again.

The reason I stand up for the attacked is because I know what that feels like, to come into this new place, excited about connecting with fellow shoppers, and the first words out of our mouth we're being called names and run out of town on a rail. Because that's what happened to me.

I read the preceding several posts with interest. I really think if everyone (myself included; I let some of you push my buttons too easily) makes a concerted effort to consider the hurtfulness of what they are inclined to dish out, and maybe consider that very few people actually post here with nefarious or malicious intentions and consider that maybe a request for clarification of what they meant might be better than ripping them a new one for what you think they meant, maybe some of this nastiness can finally stop.

It appears some of us want peace and harmony here. Joking around is one thing. Name calling and accusations of lying are quite another. Let's add a smiley face to the jokes so it is clear when we are joking. Let's stop calling people liars.

And please, let's be gentler with the newbies. All of them. Even the ones who dare to give us advice in their first post. They just might know what they're talking about.
Interesting turn of events. The moderation thread has been moderated. My updates show new posts to the thread, but the posts have been deleted.

Must have been a big brouhaha that rose to such a level that posts would be deleted. I am not in favor of such heavy-handed moderation. Did someone's feathers merely get ruffled, was there abuse, personal attacks, what?! Moderator response would be appreciated.
Posts have also been deleted from other Meta threads last night. I read 3 posts that I saw deleted a couple of hours later. Those 3 posts did contain comments addessed between 2 posters who vigorously disagree, but I did not think the comments rose to attacks, and the posts by the same two posters addressing each other in other threads have not been deleted. Other posts in Meta appear to have been deleted that I either had not read or do not remember the content. Thread closure has been inconsistently used. Recent moderation seems heavy-handed, inconsistent, and not applied objectively.
I fully agree with AM and Mert. Inconsistant, subjective and heavy-handed moderation appears to have risen significantly in recent weeks.

Surely if Jacob has given mods any guidelines, these must include objectivity and consistancy!? Jabob?

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I'm in favor of more moderation.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
@MDavisnowell wrote:

I'm in favor of more moderation.

I am in favor of a bit more moderation as well, but I would like the moderation to be consistently applied and implemented. I would encourage a more objective use of moderation than the moderation in recent weeks. Simply deleting posts is not effective moderation IMHO. I propose editing all or some of the text from an unacceptable post and adding a mod note advising what the offense was. Simply removing a post does nothing to identify limits and impact forum behavior.
Austin, I have to disagree here. (Where's that disagree button when you need it?)

I'm in favor of simply deleting with a note inside the post area indicating the reason, such as "Deleted for ICA Violation", "Deleted for Profanity", "Deleted for Personal Attack", "Deleted for Trolling", "Deleted for Spam", etc. I'm opposed to an individualized comment regarding the post or to making any changes to the post and otherwise letting it stand. Individualized comment would personalize the action and I think the action should be taken in response to the violation, not to the content.

I favor heavier moderation to preserve the integrity of the forum and to assure our respect within the shopping community.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
I think we are saying the same thing, Mary. My point is the same as yours: I favor deleting the text in a post. A personalized mod note is not necessary or even desirable. I'm fine with =Deleted for ICA Violation= or =Deleted for Personal Attack= What I am opposed to is having a post completely deleted - gone. That is what has happened in recent moderations. Entire posts are simply deleted, leaving no hint that the post was ever made. That is my objection.
Okay, maybe we are on the same page.

I favor deleting the entire content of the post and replacing it with a general comment, such as "Deleted for Personal Attack". I'm not in favor of taking it out entirely for two reasons:

(1) The offender is not actually instructed if the post is taken out entirely and no correcting message given.
(2) Taking out the post entirely will often destroy the continuity of the thread. Leaving it in with the general comment gives some idea of what took place, who commented, and whose comment got deleted.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Wait, let me make sure I have this straight. Sometimes I need a picture in my head to help. Let's say I post something like: "John Doe, you are always saying ignorant things. How stupid are you? You must never ask for a receipt more than once for that shop."

AustinMom would want just the first two sentences deleted. The post would now only contain the the third sentence and no comments from a mod would appear.

Mary would want the entire post deleted and replaced with a mod note that said "Post deleted for personal attack".

Is that what you're debating?

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
@LJ wrote:

. . .Mary would want the entire post deleted and replaced with a mod note that said "Post deleted for personal attack". . .

Is that what you're debating?

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Oops. Sorry, hit "reply" before I commented. Yes, that's what I'd like to see. Not sure about Austin.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
No, I think we are saying exactly the same thing. We both would like offending text removed from the post (up to the mod how much or how little is removed) with some mod note explaining the removal, like =Removed for Personal Attack.=

I believe we are also both saying we do not favor deletion of a post - taking it out entirely - poof, gone, like it never existed. I don't think we disagree. I think we are on the same page.
I think I'm having a mental block on this, and I'm feeling very stupid right now. Does that ever happen to you? Where you just can't seem to grasp something that everyone else gets?

Austin, when you say "offending text", you mean only the specific sentence(s) but not the entirety of the post? And Mary thinks the entire post should go - even the non-offensive text and just be replaced with the mod note?

Ugh! I'm making myself crazy here.

See, it matters to me which way because at first, I thought if the entire post is removed except for a mod note, it might prevent future problems. If I took five minutes to carefully write some good information and then totally ruined it by typing belittling someone at the end resulting in my entire post being wiped out (except for mod note), I'd be really careful not to do that again. The next time I composed a post , I'd check myself before hitting that "reply" button. If only the offensive part was deleted, I might still do it. I'd think "This insult will end up getting deleted by a mod, but at least that old so-and-so will probably read it first." I'd know the rest of my post would remain.

On the other hand, if I had good information that got deleted and I wasn't inclined to go back and type it over again.... oh who am I trying to kid? For every piece of good information there are 5 more people who will post the same thing eventually.

Just wipe out the whole thing. :p

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
I think there is no one-size-fits-all as far as saying what should or should not be moderated. The mod
who is moderating a post needs to decide IF it needs to be moderated AND how much of the text should be removed based on the content. A post which contains a personal attack, for instance, might include 3 paragraphs. Two paragraghs might contain valuable (and nonattacking) information while one paragraph contains an attack. I would be in favor of leaving the info that does not contain an attack, but how much or how little text to remove would be a mod's call.

How much text is removed from a moderated post is not a big concern to me unless I happened to be the mod who had to make that decision. A bigger deal to me is that I think entire posts should not be completely deleted, leaving no trace that a post was ever made.
I believe ALL the text in an offending post should be deleted. Here's why:

(1) The moderator should not be charged with revising a post by taking out pieces of it. If any part of it should go, the whole thing should go. It should be pass/fail, nothing in between. Quick and clean and get it over with.

(2) We're not in the business of bringing up children.

(3) I made a great post that was 97% acceptable and it got deleted? Too bad, my bad. I can always re-post the 97% if it's important to me. Next time I'll know better than to get mean.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Mary makes a good point for deleting all. I could live with that. How much or how little text is deleted is not a big deal to me, but I strongly feel the post itself, with text deleted, should remain visible on the forum.

"I favor deleting the entire content of the post and replacing it with a general comment, such as "Deleted for Personal Attack"."

Another viewpoint: I remember back, several months ago, when this is exactly what happened to three or four posts that I personally didn't consider anywhere close to a "personal attack". I was stunned. If this is what the three of you are advocating, IMHO, as obvious as it sounds, I believe Jacob would need to set clear guidelines as to what constitutes a "personal attack".


I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
I totally agree with the need for consistency. I saw some of the posts that were completely deleted last night and there did not seem to be anything terrible that should have caused a mod to delete them.
Yes, that's exactly what I meant by deleting the whole thing. I didn't mean to leave no trace. There should be a comment, as Mary said, indicating that a post was removed.

I agree, I wouldn't want to be the mod making that decision. Specific guidelines from JJ would be necessary. I think that's why he has this forum meta. Let's let him know what we think should be deleted.

That's one of the reasons I like the fading posts idea and why I think JJ brought it up. It leaves the power to the masses to be self-governing.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
It is my understanding that mods are unpaid volunteers who serve for periods of time before another forum member is rotated into the moderator position.
Mary said we are not here to raise children, or some such. I agree. If someone wants to be a butt, s/he builds a reputation for being a butt; being disagreeable; stirring the pot; stalking a member(s), and generally wasting space and the time of readers. Regardless, we can pick and choose who to read and who to write off. I do not favor censorship, except in the extreme. Being a disagreeable, pot stirring, stalking butt may not rise to a level warranting deletion.

I asked earlier, and will ask again for response from the moderator. We're all in this together.
I've come to realize the The Mod, who I adore, btw, is more than one person, so I think you might want to direct your question to Jacob.


I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
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