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LostInParadise's avatar

Should Fluther moderators be permitted to remove posts from people they don't like?

Asked by LostInParadise (29137points) February 12th, 2021
25 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

Suppose that a moderator decides to flag any responses from particular people to any posting made by the moderator? Would this be appropriate, or would this interfere with Fluther as an open forum? It is definitely desirable to have moderators to keep things under control, but might it be counter-productive to vest too much power in them?

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janbb's avatar

I’ve never seen what I perceive to be an example of that.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think in theory this is always an ongoing fear. In practice though, we have some extraordinary mods, who do a phenomenal job in general. I don’t always agree with every decision, but on the whole, we’re very lucky to have such a great moderation team here. It sounds like a miserable, time-consuming and mostly thankless job.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Of course not. Any personal feelings need to be left at the door when you’re on the job. Highly inappropriate.
That being said, I have heard all kinds of stories about mods here over the years being inappropriate , reading PM’s, etc…with no evidence of such.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

They do a fine job under very difficult circumstances. Let’s not press our luck. They were also very gracious in offering to help me to retrieve an old account. No need to stress these good peeps out.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

@KNOWITALL Per the last part of your post, I don’t buy it. I think that’s paranoia on some ones part. The mods here are good folks, and very tolerant for the most part. Just my own two cents.

janbb's avatar

@KNOWITALL it is my understanding that Mods, or at least when we had a Community Manager, were able to read pms only if someone asked them to because they were being stalked or harassed in some way.

kritiper's avatar

No, but how could anyone know they were doing it and how could they be stopped?
As for the mods now, whoever they are, I think they do an outstanding job in all fairness.

Caravanfan's avatar

The moderators can do what they feel is best. This is a private site.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t think the Mods have too much power and what little they do have isn’t being abused to my knowledge.

flutherother's avatar

PS If this post disappears I may change my mind.

longgone's avatar

[Mod says] Absolutely not. Whatever we do is seen by the whole team. Anyone removing posts because they don’t like the author would be asked to resign. When we feel like we’re too invested in a particular topic, or otherwise unable to be fair, we step back from the thread and let the others handle it.

I think this is a great question, though. It’s evident from all the rules we have about bias that the founders and past mods have given the human element in mods a great deal of thought – because failure to moderate fairly would certainly be very damaging for Fluther.

Thanks for all the trust displayed in this thread. We do try to live up to it.

@janbb That’s still true, and taken very seriously.

@flutherother I was going to say “lol”, but the evil mod overlord is watching.

@LostInParadise Side note on “flagging”: When a post is flagged, it remains visible on the site. This is true when mods flag something, too. A flag just alerts the group of moderators that a post needs to be looked at. It is removed only if it’s then found to be breaking the rules.

LostInParadise's avatar

Well here is the deal. After answering a post by a moderator, I got a message from the moderator saying that any responses I gave to a post by said moderator would be flagged. They even said that there was nothing wrong with the particular post. And in fact my post was removed. I give permission to go through my PMs to verify what I am saying.

janbb's avatar

@LostInParadise Well, that bears investigating.

canidmajor's avatar

@LostInParadise, well, yikes! Since there are only three moderators anymore, if this was recent, then yes, it does bear investigating.
I, personally, have never seen the moderators be anything but fair, and considering that I have tried their patience a few times, I very much appreciate that none of them have come to my house to bop me in the snoot.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LostInParadise It’s none of my business, but did the mod give a reason?

Demosthenes's avatar

@KNOWITALL I’ve never had a mod read PMs here, but it happened to me on another site. Per the terms of service of that site, mods were not supposed to read PMs, but there was an instance where a user was banned, another user PMed me to ask about that banned user, and I told them what I had heard. Then I received a message from a mod saying “no discussing banned users, even in PMs”. I was shocked to see that. So clearly they were reading PMs generally or they specifically read mine because they had reason to think I’d talk about this banned user. I think mods should follow their own rules and I think they should provide reasons for actions they take.

I actually was a moderator once, at age 14. It…did not go well. Not because I abused my power but because many users were outraged that a 14-year-old could be a moderator and it turned people against the owner of the site. :(

janbb's avatar

Just a suggestion: This might be best leaving to the mod team and @LostInParadise to resolve at this point. (Said in my best Mom voice.)

canidmajor's avatar

^^^ Translation: ”Don’t make me stop this car!!”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Demosthenes I’ve heard so many people badmouth the mods here over the years, I don’t know what to believe.
Other than grammar Nazi mods I find irritating, they have never been anything but kind to me, maybe a few snips the first year or two when I participated more.

And honestly, PM’s are called private for a reason, so that would be a deal-breaker on most of my sites- if I had evidence. Seems like an abuse of power.

Oh wow, 14 years old is really young, I would have to wonder if you had the emotional intelligence to moderate, but shoot I’d give you a shot! :D

LostInParadise's avatar

I did not realize there were only three moderators. I am pretty sure the person in question is one of them. Are there cases where someone flags a response, but it is not removed? I would think this would be unlikely if the flagger was one of the moderators.

longgone's avatar

[mod says]

@LostInParadise “Are there cases where someone flags a response, but it is not removed?”

Yes, this happens multiple times a day.

As for your more personal question, please check your PMs. A large part of the story is missing here, most notably that nothing was wrong with the posts that were being flagged. I saw the moderator PM, and that’s not what it said…but I think I see the misunderstanding.

How, specifically, your posts clashed with the guidelines is explained in the newest PM. We won’t share that part – though you can, if you wish.

You’re always welcome to just ask us how any moderated post is against the rules, by the way! We’re happy to explain.

The reason your answers were flagged by a mod, not removed, is outlined in my previous post: since we’re users as well as mods, we sometimes need to take a step back to avoid unfair moderation. So that’s a feature, not a bug.

LostInParadise's avatar

For the record, the reason given for why I was told by the moderator not to interact with any of their posts is that I am a “disingenuous interlocutor”. I am not quite sure what that means. Apparently, it was decided a few years ago that we should not interact. I don’t recall being told, but I suppose it is possible. If I understand this correctly, that means that I can flag responses from this person in answer to my posts. It seems kind of silly, but I can live with it.

longgone's avatar

[mod says]

@LostInParadise

You’re right, the non-interaction goes both ways.

Just to explain for anyone who hasn’t heard of this possibility: When two jellies are having trouble getting along, they’re often asked to stop interacting for a while. This can happen for many reasons, and you’d be surprised how many users have needed to ignore each other to cool down. It usually works well. Tedious arguments by two people can really affect the quality of discourse for everyone else, and ignoring another user is preferable to being suspended just because that one person ruffles your feathers.

About that "disingenuous interlocutor": Whatever words were exchanged in conflict are not basis for any moderator decisions. As I said, decisions on whether to moderate flagged posts rest with the non-biased team members. The mod in question is completely removed from this process (and they voluntarily stepped back immediately).

Let’s take this to PM now, please. For any other member, we would have long since insisted on taking the discussion out of the public forum. There’s no indication that the mod in question was unprofessional. Further exploration of your personal conflict won’t be of any interest to the community.

JLoon's avatar

My own experience on another site has made me extremely skeptical about the notion of moderator impartiality without strictly enforced standards – Especially when they post their own topics or questions, openly display bias, and interact with members negatively in open forum discussions.

My view is that allowing this to go on, with nothing more than empty gestures at “self policing”, is a recipe for abuse.

KRD's avatar

That would be a good and bad idea. The good idea is that they could delete inappropriate things. The bad idea is that if they don’t like your post ex question: are wolves good and you answer yes and they don’t like it they will delete it. I think I don’t want them deleting posts.

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