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Susan Wise Bauer

Moderation Suggestions?

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If you'd like to offer suggestions about moderating methods on this board, please do so here. We'll review them periodically.

 

Please keep in mind a few of the limitations of our moderating: above all, that this software does not allow moderators to leave a "deleted post" note when a post is removed. The only way to note that a post has been removed is to deleted the content of the post individually, replace it with text such as "nm", and make a note in the "edited by" field.  While moderators try to do this when able, it is time consuming, and when multiple posts are removed it isn't always possible to make a note on each one.

 

The software also doesn't allow us to leave a "thread removed" note.

 

Please remain constructive in your remarks...thanks.

 

SWB

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That the Site News and Discussion thread be checked at least daily Monday-Friday by an admin or moderator so that technical issues will be noticed, with a note that it is being worked on made.

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A question that you can perhaps answer. Are the moderators employees of PHP, volunteers from outwit the community or are they community members who also have community memberships?

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Well, I'll be the one to say it.

 

I'd really appreciate it if we could start showing the same respect to our gay members as we do to our members of different ethnicities, nationalities, etc. The comments about being "not natural" and such seem to be ok when justified by religion, where those of us who call out those posters get deleted and warned. There have been several members who have left these boards because of the attitude and comments that continue to be allowed. It's no better than allowing the discussion of someone's worthiness as a person based on skin color.

 

It would be great if we could officially take a stand that we are going to start treating those comments as other derogatory comments are treated. I realize this has nothing to do with education, but over the years it has been a source of deep hurt on the chat board.

 

I'd love to see this board continue to grow in inclusivity, respect, and intelligence. There are some amazing people here.

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I would like to see more warnings given before a thread is closed, perhaps a 1,2,3 strikes and done approach. Then perhaps closed with comment instead of straight deletion. Over the years, I've learned a lot from many of these hot button issues. I've expanded my viewpoint and solidified my stance many times, even while simply lurking on these threads. I agree that many of them turn into out right arguments, but it seems we've (as a community) been shying away from a spirit of argumentation as a craft. 

 

I know this can be seen as just a message board, but it's not. It's a community of people that many times turns into real positive involvement in the lives of other members. I've taken many of these highly moderated issues and used them as talking points with my son. We've had many wonderful discussions about some pretty serious stuff. When people are willing and able to argue properly about those HMI (highly moderated issues), it helps me bring several viewpoints to our discussions. 

 

Perhaps we need a tutorial on argumentation for new members.  :thumbup1:

 

 

Another issue that I'm not sure is even possible with this software is an ignore thread option. It would be nice for some things I don't want to see and those that are harder to step away from. 

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I have never been on a board that is better moderated including one where I am a moderator. I say this even though I have had many of my threads deleted because other people chose to derail them.

 

I have learned so much about the world as a result of this board. It has made me more aware, more thoughtful and I hope a better contributor to this on line community that supports homeschoolers so well.

 

Thank you SWB for all you do for us.

 

I am curious about who the mods are and how many there are. I realize this is technically none of our business. :)

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Overall, I think the moderators do a pretty good job.

About the only thing I would like to see was suggested in the first post: check the site board for questions and submit a timely response. I know that there are many times I don't PM a moderator, because I'm off the boards for a few days at a time, and assume that my question has already been asked...I don't bother a moderator because I figure someone has already done so. Particularly if a post suggests that it has already been done. 

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I'd like more openness and less secrecy in regards to who the moderators are and how they moderate. I was a moderating team manager and a board over 4 times the size of this one, and we all used our own accounts to moderate, we had conversations with members over whether or not something should be locked, we explained why we did what we did and split threads apart when something was off topic instead of locking it. We were also a huge part of the community, participating in threads, being silly with the rest of the members and contributing where we could. It worked very well and the moderators were looked at very positively and with a lot of respect. They were also forced to be respectful of others and to be accountable, because they used their own usernames - there was nothing to hide behind.

 

I think part of the problem here is that the members see 'one' moderator deleting posts and locking threads fairly arbitrarily. To some of us, it seems like they are unfairly targeting certain members while ignoring others that post things that could be seen as much more offensive. This may or may not be the case, but we can only see what we see - there is a lack of communication between the member base and the administrative team, here. In my experience, having the administrators and moderators being a visible part of the community (and not only to moderate, but also to participate) goes a very long way.

 

Also, as mentioned before, when members are trying to contact moderators or administrators, there tends to be a long wait for a reply, if they get any (especially on this board we're currently in). Most forums use a volunteer moderating team, I don't know if this is the case here, and if it isn't, this may be more difficult - but since things aren't getting replied to in a timely manner, you may want to look at getting more moderators OR making it more of a priority to respond to concerns that members have.

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Whenever possible, I like it when a thread can be locked and a few replies removed instead of deleted.  And when the mods put in a short explanation, even when it's an, "Okay, this is played out."  I like the suggestion of a warning, though I know sometimes that by the time a thread comes to the attention of the mods, it has already gotten out of hand and needs to be shut down.

 

Mostly I think we all appreciate how well you keep this place running and keep it really nice.  I feel bad that in one of the likes threads I said people had pm'ed and it turned out they hadn't! But I swear I saw people mention it in one of them that they were going to.  Oh well.  I guess I realized how much we all need to be better about reporting issues since you guys really rely on us to do so.

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I have never been on a board that is better moderated including one where I am a moderator. I say this even though I have had many of my threads deleted because other people chose to derail them.

 

I have learned so much about the world as a result of this board. It has made me more aware, more thoughtful and I hope a better contributor to this on line community that supports homeschoolers so well.

 

Thank you SWB for all you do for us.

 

I am curious about who the mods are and how many there are. I realize this is technically none of our business. :)

 

I will agree that this board seems better cultivated than many other places.  There is a space for a lot of dissenting opinions and discussion, but I've seen little profanity and far less name calling than in other places.  I also appreciate that there isn't wholesale deletion of opinions that aren't party line (whatever that party line might be).

 

I have also had to learn to have some tough skin and decide that there are discussions I just won't partake in. 

 

It would be helpful to have a way to comment on members I put on ignore.  It would be nice to be able to see why I put them on ignore.  Was it too many comments around an election cycle or current events issue, general unreliability, trollish behavior or patty meanness?  Because a couple of times, I've cooled down and reconsidered ignoring someone.

 

Please try to bring back the ability for commenters to tag threads.  It seems that only the original poster has the ability and they often don't know the common tags that were used for previous discussion of that topic.  Tagging was a really useful tool on the high school board, where things like "service academy", "NCAA", "high school biology" or "AP Literature" were used to link new questions with valuable older discussions.

 

It would be helpful to have a clear button to report technical issues, such as when a pinned High School Biology thread got linked up to a closed social group.

 

I also appreciate it when threads are locked, but remain (mostly intact) on the board.  If nothing else, it gives a chance to see where discussions veered astray.

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Well, I'll be the one to say it.

 

I'd really appreciate it if we could start showing the same respect to our gay members as we do to our members of different ethnicities, nationalities, etc. The comments about being "not natural" and such seem to be ok when justified by religion, where those of us who call out those posters get deleted and warned. There have been several members who have left these boards because of the attitude and comments that continue to be allowed. It's no better than allowing the discussion of someone's worthiness as a person based on skin color.

 

It would be great if we could officially take a stand that we are going to start treating those comments as other derogatory comments are treated. I realize this has nothing to do with education, but over the years it has been a source of deep hurt on the chat board.

 

I'd love to see this board continue to grow in inclusivity, respect, and intelligence. There are some amazing people here.

This. And not just about race and sexual orientation. I started a thread asking for strategies to help my 10 year old (non Christian) deal with children who were proselytising to my son. The conversation was pleasant and I was getting good information. Everyone was respectful. The mods locked it without warning. Why? I do recall another thread where there was a reverse of the situation and it was not locked. 

 

On the rare occasion I I have report a post (name calling and insulting another poster) and nothing happens. Why is that? The entire process seems very arbitrary at best.

 

What about when the moderators edit a post for snarkiness and yet they leave a snarky comment? That seems to be very hypocritical. 

 

At the risk of sounding argumentative and rude and risking being banned for life, my final thought. Honesty is needed. I understand that this next bit does not show you in a good light but I feel it is important to share. I have direct quoted you and then linked to screen shots that have the notifications of deletions with date and time. 

 

From your post:

 

 

So far as I can see, a total of five posts were removed from a single discussion thread, with a reminder to follow board rules. The moderator who deleted the posts treated them the same way that posts in a public thread would be treated

 

But I had 6 deleted and I was not the only one complaining. I am including a screen shot of the notifications I received about the moderators deleted 6 of my posts. 

 

WTM.jpg

 

 

Your post

WTMSWB.jpg

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Another vote for locking threads instead of deleting, with a moderator's note as to why. I hate to see a long and mostly-useful thread disappear because a couple of people became over-invested. This also promotes transparency and allows posters to form more accurate opinions of each other. 

I would also like to praise the admin for maintaining the board so well and allowing us this space in which to safely engage in debate of often touchy issues.

 

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I think part of the issue is that, at least since moving to the new board format, the moderation has seemed....uneven?

 

There are questions about board rules/policies that have gone unanswered, even when the attempt has been addressed privately. The bannings have not been consistent, (one poster getting 24 hours, another 48, and yet another almost a month), and not been well explained.

 

While you are certainly entitled to have the moderation handled in whatever way you deem best, I have to agree with pp that the other boards I have been heavily involved in have moderators that are not anonymous and regurally are involved as posters. Their "voices" are known and so it is easier for regular posters to interpret their tone. Also, if an issue arises, it is much easier to pm admin with a specific issue with a specific mod instead of the unseen mod army.

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I agree there appears to be uneven moderation.

 

Moderators shouldn't be anonymous.

 

Even if each has their own individual screen name. Such has Moderator-Jane.

 

It provides accountability, and prevents hiding behind the moderator title.

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Well, I'll be the one to say it.

 

I'd really appreciate it if we could start showing the same respect to our gay members as we do to our members of different ethnicities, nationalities, etc. The comments about being "not natural" and such seem to be ok when justified by religion, where those of us who call out those posters get deleted and warned. There have been several members who have left these boards because of the attitude and comments that continue to be allowed. It's no better than allowing the discussion of someone's worthiness as a person based on skin color.

 

It would be great if we could officially take a stand that we are going to start treating those comments as other derogatory comments are treated. I realize this has nothing to do with education, but over the years it has been a source of deep hurt on the chat board.

 

I'd love to see this board continue to grow in inclusivity, respect, and intelligence. There are some amazing people here.

 

Nicely said. I won't hold my breath for moderation that didn't serve a religious privilege, but it's something to consider nevertheless. 

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Mostly I think we all appreciate how well you keep this place running and keep it really nice.  I feel bad that in one of the likes threads I said people had pm'ed and it turned out they hadn't! But I swear I saw people mention it in one of them that they were going to.  Oh well.  I guess I realized how much we all need to be better about reporting issues since you guys really rely on us to do so.

Yes!  I was on that likes thread, and we were having a wonderful time -  but all of us evidently believed that some of the rest of us had reported our issue to the moderators.  It was quite embarrassing.  (I still had fun on the thread, though, and made some new friends.  :) )

 

I appreciate the moderators and the board.  I have been a moderator on an online forum previously, and it can be a burden and a thankless job.  I also appreciate a light hand with moderation. 

 

I don't mind the moderators being incognito under the "Moderator" username.  I have always assumed that they are likely members who are also doing double duty as mods, but of course I could be wrong.

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Yes! I was on that likes thread, and we were having a wonderful time - but all of us evidently believed that some of the rest of us had reported our issue to the moderators. It was quite embarrassing. (I still had fun on the thread, though, and made some new friends. :) )

 

I appreciate the moderators and the board. I have been a moderator on an online forum previously, and it can be a burden and a thankless job. I also appreciate a light hand with moderation.

 

I don't mind the moderators being incognito under the "Moderator" username. I have always assumed that they are likely members who are also doing double duty as mods, but of course I could be wrong.

They could still be members and still have individual moderator names as well.

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They could still be members and still have individual moderator names as well.

 

Like "Moderator Moe," "Moderator Larry," "Moderator Curly."

 

:smash:

 

I'd take Larry. He was by far the coolest of the three. 

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They could still be members and still have individual moderator names as well.

That would be fine.  I would not personally want to moderate under my own username...but I'm shy like that.  ;)  It likely would not bother others.

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I agree, it seems like there is a lack of objectivity in moderation. Almost like it depends on the mood of the moderator on any given day. So I think more clear cut, objective criteria for what gets deleted would be nice.

 

I also think that the anonymity is a problem. I could take having a thread/post deleted so much more easily if a well respected, even keeled, trusted board member did it. It's difficult to have an unknown person delete without explanation. It would be a different scenario for me entirely if let's say EL said, Kate, knock it off you're being a jerk. I could concede to that and realize oh, ok yes, I really must be out of line here.

 

If we're coming up with criteria for what gets moderated, and I have to think on this a bit more, but I'm pretty sure I don't think "verbal attacks" should be deleted. Someone saying offensive things should not be deleted. It's too difficult to define what is a verbal attack and what isn't. I read that all the time, someone says you're attacking me or that's offensive and then someone responds with oh come on, that's not an attack it's the Truth :001_rolleyes:

 

However, I would be in favor of having a thread get locked once it has deteriorated into unproductive bickering. But then again, locked not deleted and an explanation provided.

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They could still be members and still have individual moderator names as well.

 

 

Like "Moderator Moe," "Moderator Larry," "Moderator Curly."

 

:smash:

 

I'd take Larry. He was by far the coolest of the three. 

Yes.  I think this would help.   So it isn't just some generic "Moderator" label.

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Yes.  I think this would help.   So it isn't just some generic "Moderator" label.

 

Yeah, of course that was a joke, but I don't think identifying any particular mod is really helpful in any meaningful way. It may be nice for some people, others couldn't't care less (I'm in that camp myself). There's a palatable bias privilege on these forums and moderation blatantly contributes to that. Well, it's probably not blatant to those who enjoy the privilege. Short of keeping data (which seems terribly burdensome and a bit overkill for the situation, or maybe not), there's no way to confirm or deny it, as confirmation bias will certainly skew one's perceptions. Anyway, if the mods are interested in providing a more even-handed approach to these boards, they might consider looking at the posts they edit and delete and keep some kind of tab in the back room to see if they are in fact editing and deleting in favor of certain ideologies, and by extension, ignoring the same rule breaking done by those who advocate those ideologies. In other words, keep an eye out for double standards. Of course the mod team will do what works most effectively according to their goals and desires, but I imagine a community dedicated to education would approach this... academically - logically, and reasonably. 

 

I still think Larry is the coolest of the Stooges, hands down. 

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I don't feel like the mods need to be non-anonymous.  If they were, that would be fine, but I don't feel like it's a must.  Maybe if I felt like the moderation was wildly inconsistent...  There have been times when the moderation confused me (such as when a post I made about which type of jeans I liked was removed...  still wondering about that) or seemed inconsistent (I do remember the thread that Greek name chicka referred to and didn't understand that one either), but those times have been few and far between.

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I don't feel like the mods need to be non-anonymous.  If they were, that would be fine, but I don't feel like it's a must.  Maybe if I felt like the moderation was wildly inconsistent...  There have been times when the moderation confused me (such as when a post I made about which type of jeans I liked was removed...  still wondering about that) or seemed inconsistent (I do remember the thread that Greek name chicka referred to and didn't understand that one either), but those times have been few and far between.

 

Maybe they only appear few and far between because posts have been deleted by the time you've come across the thread. Just an idea. 

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Charon, I apologize for the misstatement. Six, not five. I'm not aware of others but members are more than welcome to PM me with their post count and concerns.

 

This thread is helpful--thanks to all of you who have offered feedback. Please keep the discussion going. I do agree that as the boards have evolved, our moderation hasn't necessarily evolved with them, and we need to do a rethink.

 

Thanks also for the generally constructive tone.

 

SWB

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Guest inoubliable

1 - No more anonymous Mods. If we don't know who they are, and the moderation is so arbitrary, then members feel like the Mods are targeting them. 

2 - Put a limit on how many times a person can report. Good grief. I think most of us feel like there must be just a few people who get all in a bunch over certain posters, and topics, and report, report, report. Those people need to get a thicker skin, use the ignore feature, or not go into those types of threads. There needs to be some personal responsibility, imo.

 

3 - Stop deleting threads. There's usually a lot of good discussion or information in those threads. Deleting them is ridiculous. If someone is getting overly-enthusiastic, well that's a perfect chance for members to use the ignore feature or leave the thread and take it to PM. But everyone should get to include their voice - even if the voice tends to be rough around the edges.

 

4 - I'd prefer if posts weren't deleted either. I had one deleted once (and got a ban out of it) when in a debate about homosexuality I responded with "No one gives a sh*t what you believe". In context it was meant to say that no one was saying their religion was wrong, that no one cared what they believed. In context, my comment meant that their belief was their own and that was fine, but that the LEGAL question of giving a significant portion of the population the same legal rights had nothing to do with their religion. Was it the word "sh*t"? Nope. There was a lot of "cussing" in the thread. I was told that no one was allowed to say that phrase. Huh? That made no sense and I got a ban and warning points out of it. All this to say that I think a lot of threads/posts are moderated without a Moderator giving it much thought. They get a report, they delete.

5 - If snark isn't allowed here, have the Mods follow the same rules. 
http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/512737-how-do-you-know-what-you-believe/page-12?do=findComment&comment=5629914
And that's not the only example, just the one I pulled up first. 

 

6 - On the topic of no more anonymous Mods, I propose an election at first. Yes. Honestly. Let's let the community pick who moderates them. Let's get a good mix of religious, non-religious, liberal, conservative, unschooler, my-child-works-for-eight-hours-a-day, kind and mellow, rough and tell-it-like-it-is. Let's have people who are active in the community and are known. 

 

My two cents. 

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The chat board is already in shambles. It needs more moderation, not less. It's giving the whole board a bad name and driving people away. However, I will agree that the moderation does seem uneven. I've seen horribly rude threads go on for days without moderator intervention and and then on other days threads disappearing suddenly and seemingly at random with participants left wondering exactly what was done wrong. I haven't seen a bias, though; I believe that it's the uneveness of moderation that makes everyone feel singled out. A group I moderate has shifts we volunteer for so the group is covered during our busiest times. Maybe consider doing that?

 

ETA: Better?

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Could we please have this discussion without accusations against other board members? The last thing I want is for this thread to degenerate into an argument between different members about their behavior. I'm really interested in suggestions about moderation.

 

Thanks.

 

SWB

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Clear communication is my biggest problem.

 

I've asked questions about tags in the support board (you can see the thread here http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/443360-is-there-any-way-we-can-tag-posts/

 

You can also see how long we have gone without a response. One comment saying it was being looked at, then nothing despite repeated bumps. I sent OtherJohn a PM sometime in 2013 and never got a reply. You can see Moira's questions about TapaTalk on this page...she never got an update.

 

This is where the boards have a serious communication problem with the members.

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RE. the "likes thread".  We did PM OtherJohn.  I know that I thought that was the same or really better than PMing the moderators because my understanding was that as a technical issue that it was his domain and not the moderators' domain.  

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Perhaps any time a thread is closed the moderator could include a summary of the rules of behavior, so everyone would have a chance to review them (not just the rule that was broken). It seems there is often confusion about the rules and expectations.

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Meh, I have felt that some of my threads were unfairly moderated. I am anonymous on this board but for some reason someone takes offense at me over sharing.......and I have had several threads deleted for that reason. A few of those threads were started by me at the darkest points of my life and I really needed the support....I remember feeling very despondent a few times....but oh well life goes on and this board is not my personal therapist.

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I was referencing your comment on a recently closed thread.

 

I'm not clear on the standard. I have a naughty point. I have been edited/ deleted for sarcasm. I recently had a post quoted by another poster with the reply afairly succinct "bull crap"

 

I don't get the rules. And I doubt I am alone. It seems to me that moderation needs to have clear objectives and clearly stated guidelines.

And when there's been confusion and then discussion on the chat board about what seems to be unfair moderation, those threads are locked or deleted with the admonishment not to discuss the boards.

 

It's been very very frustrating for quite some time.

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I must admit I really don't know what exactly is an acceptable post and what is not.  Some things that have been deleted really confused me because they did not seem to be insulting or terribly controversial.  And several times had lots of useful information I was sorry to see go.  Or sorry to see locked before the conversation was done because some posters with useful info hadn't had a chance to finish responding.  Other posts seemed to devolve into something really insulting, not just sharing information or ideas but genuinely disrespectful of the OP and some of those lasted days and days.  

 

I do think a more specific set of consistent guidelines, as well as a reminder of those guidelines and specific explanation as to what was objected to when a thread must be deleted or closed, might really help.  I also do believe the majority of people on this board truly want to follow whatever guidelines are in place.  I guess there are just quite a few of us that aren't completely clear on what those are.

 

Best wishes to all.

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Thanks for starting this.  I don't have any suggestions yet.  I have not noticed anything wrong so far.  I appreciate the fact that there are moderators.  

Social Groups also help with privacy/ and I do appreciate that too.  I hope I have not broken any rules.  .  

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I am wondering about the board guidelines for dealing with inappropriate posts.  Obviously, the guidelines are against posting inappropriately in the first place, but when it does happen, what steps does the board want the rest of us to take, and in what order?

 

Recently, someone blatantly misquoted me and spewed nastiness and name calling.  I, and a couple other posters, responded calmly and the inappropriate poster left the thread...all's well that ends well.  In hindsight, though, I started wondering if that is the preferred route, or if the powers that be would rather we report all inappropriate posts, both so they can see a pattern of a member being insulting in many different threads, and so they can keep an eye on a thread which is starting to be derailed and step in with a warning before the thread has to be locked completely.

 

OTOH, reporting all nastiness seems that it would inundate the moderators with reports and make it hard for them to effectively deal with real problems.

 

I'd love some guidelines to help me decide how to handle issues in the future.

 

Thank you.

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Clearly, we need to draw up a "When to Report" page (or something like that) for members. We have the Community Guidelines (http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/index.php?app=forums&module=extras&section=boardrules) but no real guide as to what to do when you see people breaking them. One of our frustrations, and I think I'm seeing it reflected in your posts as well, is that moderators generally only see threads and posts that are reported--we don't do a systematic sweep through the whole board (it's just too big)--so board rules can be happily violated and never touched by a moderator if no one ever hits a report button.

 

And then, on the other hand,we often get reports on perfectly fine posts--shouts of "Rude! Rude!" when all that's going on is a little bit of vigorous discussion.

 

And also people report posts about the Duggars. Seriously, yesterday we had a slew of reports with reasons like, "This post is rude to the Duggars! We're not supposed to be rude on this board."   :mad:

 

SWB

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Clearly, we need to draw up a "When to Report" page (or something like that) for members. We have the Community Guidelines (http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/index.php?app=forums&module=extras&section=boardrules) but no real guide as to what to do when you see people breaking them. One of our frustrations, and I think I'm seeing it reflected in your posts as well, is that moderators generally only see threads and posts that are reported--we don't do a systematic sweep through the whole board (it's just too big)--so board rules can be happily violated and never touched by a moderator if no one ever hits a report button.

 

And then, on the other hand,we often get reports on perfectly fine posts--shouts of "Rude! Rude!" when all that's going on is a little bit of vigorous discussion.

 

And also people report posts about the Duggars. Seriously, yesterday we had a slew of reports with reasons like, "This post is rude to the Duggars! We're not supposed to be rude on this board."   :mad:

 

SWB

:grouphug:

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I'd like more openness and less secrecy in regards to who the moderators are and how they moderate. I was a moderating team manager and a board over 4 times the size of this one, and we all used our own accounts to moderate,

4 times the size of this board? Wow, that is big.

 

I am a moderator on a board using my own user name. I like the accountability but it does limit me in my own discussions because I am not as vocal as I might otherwise be. We also try to keep a couple of moderators off of hot topic threads in case there has to be a flag thrown or penalty of some sort.

 

We also try to have 3 mods agree before action is taken except for the most blatant attacks or in the case of someone revealing personal information that could affect their safety or legal standing. We have a mod thread visible to us only and we are held to a very high standard of conduct. We aren't allowed to bash posters even though we have some crazy posters there just like here. :)

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I think any increase in guidelines probably won't do much, as a given side already feels slighted depending on the discussion. More transparency about what is being edited or deleted or locked and some warning to get it back on track if a particular vein is edging toward problematic would be super helpful. I think there is some confusion over what is causing issues and what isn't, and it likely isn't arbitrary but might seem so from the outside?

 

Moderating large boards is so hard.

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Perhaps do an automatic review of any thread that receives more than X number of posts?  It seems like the ones that devolve are usually several pages long. 

 

I see a lot of mention of a bias in one direction, where I would perceive the bias in the opposite direction.  I tend avoid posting anything belief-based on this board and the response is usually very negative and hard not to take personally.  I think this perception issue is the key.  Someone who calls an opposing viewpoint ignorant, crazy, or abusive believes that they are correct and thus just stating fact.  Offense is then taken that these "statements of fact" are censored.  Guidelines aren't going to eliminate perception problems.  :(

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Clearly, we need to draw up a "When to Report" page (or something like that) for members. We have the Community Guidelines (http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/index.php?app=forums&module=extras&section=boardrules) but no real guide as to what to do when you see people breaking them. One of our frustrations, and I think I'm seeing it reflected in your posts as well, is that moderators generally only see threads and posts that are reported--we don't do a systematic sweep through the whole board (it's just too big)--so board rules can be happily violated and never touched by a moderator if no one ever hits a report button.

 

And then, on the other hand,we often get reports on perfectly fine posts--shouts of "Rude! Rude!" when all that's going on is a little bit of vigorous discussion.

 

And also people report posts about the Duggars. Seriously, yesterday we had a slew of reports with reasons like, "This post is rude to the Duggars! We're not supposed to be rude on this board."   :mad:

 

SWB

 

Giving warning points to those who report like this might help your moderation staff in the long run. It might inspire people to think a little more critically before reporting inappropriately. On most forums, reporting posts is reserved for spam and porn. Personal differences are left to be settled by the persons involved. 

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I think any increase in guidelines probably won't do much, as a given side already feels slighted depending on the discussion. More transparency about what is being edited or deleted or locked and some warning to get it back on track if a particular vein is edging toward problematic would be super helpful. I think there is some confusion over what is causing issues and what isn't, and it likely isn't arbitrary but might seem so from the outside?

Moderating large boards is so hard.

 

 

:iagree:

 

 

Perhaps do an automatic review of any thread that receives more than X number of posts?  It seems like the ones that devolve are usually several pages long. 

 

I see a lot of mention of a bias in one direction, where I would perceive the bias in the opposite direction.  I tend avoid posting anything belief-based on this board and the response is usually very negative and hard not to take personally.  I think this perception issue is the key.  Someone who calls an opposing viewpoint ignorant, crazy, or abusive believes that they are correct and thus just stating fact.  Offense is then taken that these "statements of fact" are censored.  Guidelines aren't going to eliminate perception problems.  :(

:iagree:

 

I think much of the "moderator bias" thing is completely subjective. If your side is getting picked on, it's unfair and discriminatory, but if the other side gets their collective hand slapped, the moderators are doing a great job. :rolleyes:

 

I do think a moderator should be assigned to each of the busiest forums -- mainly the Chat forum -- so he or she can keep an eye on things and hopefully post little warning notes when things start to go poorly, rather than waiting until things are so bad that people start reporting each other.

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I think I'm a lone voice here but I'd like a quicker lock down on political, religious, and "hot topic" threads.  I don't see this as being a board of politics and detailed discussion of current events ... I prefer the focus on homeschooling, teaching, family, reading, etc.  There are other places to get into detailed discussions on religion.  I don't think they should be forbidden but possibly stricter guidelines on what's allowed.  We're a group that can get heated over crockpots, do we really want to try to talk about a deeply held beliefs also?

 

Also, thank you for what you do.  I can't imagine a more thankless job!  

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:iagree:

 

 

:iagree:

 

I think much of the "moderator bias" thing is completely subjective. If your side is getting picked on, it's unfair and discriminatory, but if the other side gets their collective hand slapped, the moderators are doing a great job. :rolleyes:

 

I do think a moderator should be assigned to each of the busiest forums -- mainly the Chat forum -- so he or she can keep an eye on things and hopefully post little warning notes when things start to go poorly, rather than waiting until things are so bad that people start reporting each other.

:iagree:

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I think I'm a lone voice here but I'd like a quicker lock down on political, religious, and "hot topic" threads.  I don't see this as being a board of politics and detailed discussion of current events ... I prefer the focus on homeschooling, teaching, family, reading, etc.  There are other places to get into detailed discussions on religion.  I don't think they should be forbidden but possibly stricter guidelines on what's allowed.  We're a group that can get heated over crockpots, do we really want to try to talk about a deeply held beliefs also?

 

Also, thank you for what you do.  I can't imagine a more thankless job!  

 

You can avoid those things by not visiting the chat board, though. I've actually learned a lot from many of the the religious threads and some of them are the reason my family is now in RCIA and feel like we've found our place. I'm no longer homeschooling but I still visit the boards because they've been a help to me in many other areas.

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I think I'm a lone voice here but I'd like a quicker lock down on political, religious, and "hot topic" threads.  I don't see this as being a board of politics and detailed discussion of current events ... I prefer the focus on homeschooling, teaching, family, reading, etc.  There are other places to get into detailed discussions on religion.  I don't think they should be forbidden but possibly stricter guidelines on what's allowed.  We're a group that can get heated over crockpots, do we really want to try to talk about a deeply held beliefs also?

 

Also, thank you for what you do.  I can't imagine a more thankless job!  

 

I agree with the bolded.

 

You can avoid those things by not visiting the chat board, though. I've actually learned a lot from many of the the religious threads and some of them are the reason my family is now in RCIA and feel like we've found our place. I'm no longer homeschooling but I still visit the boards because they've been a help to me in many other areas.

but..........respectfully  :iagree:  with Horton regarding the rest.  

Honestly I do think that the Chat board shouldn't have to only deal with homeschooling.   I have learned a ton on the Chat board that had nothing to do with homeschooling that I am better for, and in many instances so is my family.  Also, I have had some really fun discussions there and have learned a TON about different religions and other topics and viewpoints  I had never even thought to ask about before.  There are several great sub-forums for education topics.  I would hate to lose the Chat board for topics that are not always directly education related.

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You can avoid those things by not visiting the chat board, though. I've actually learned a lot from many of the the religious threads and some of them are the reason my family is now in RCIA and feel like we've found our place. I'm no longer homeschooling but I still visit the boards because they've been a help to me in many other areas.

I agree.

 

I'm glad the political stuff is prohibited, though, because those discussions never end well.

 

As for the religious/atheist threads, I think a bit of "self-moderation" would help the "real moderators" have less work to do. If a thread title says "cc" or "atheist content" or "Catholics only" or whatever -- it generally means that the OP is looking for comments from people of that given persuasion, so it's probably not the place to tell an atheist that she should pray for guidance or that she wouldn't be in a bad situation if she accepted Jesus as her savior. Conversely, it's not helpful to go into a "cc" thread and tell the OP that believing in God is stupid and unscientific and that she might as well believe in Santa and unicorns. And most Catholics don't want to hear that they're "not real Christians."

 

Obviously, there are many more examples of this.

 

If the thread title or the OP doesn't ask for advice from a specific group of people, all bets are off, and everyone should feel free to reply, but I do think it would be helpful to keeping the peace in the Chat forum if people would be more respectful of an OP's requests for advice from likeminded people. I don't think it should be a rule or a requirement, but I do think it's simple common courtesy.

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