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PICList Thread
'[ADMIN] Message moderation and list policy'
2010\02\26@021450 by Vitaliy

The original discussion got off-track, therefore I'm posting this under the
tag the OP intended.

Herbert Graf wrote:
>> I can't help but agree with Olin. Ban*, don't moderate.
> All this theoretical talk is interesting, but let's step back a sec and
> consider a practical issue: how do you "ban" a person?

Simple: you prevent the person from posting, for a set period of time. You
make the ban public, "So-and-so was banned for violating part X of the
piclist rules. The ban will last Y days."

> Anybody can join this list, under any email address, under any name. How
> would a ban (or suspension as you are suggesting) work? How would YOU
> implement a ban?

You are forgetting that the main reason most people are willing to share
their knowledge and expertise on this list FOR FREE is because they get
something in return: status and name recognition. The fact that it's easy to
change one's identity from a technical perspective, means nothing.

> The same can of course be said for moderation.

Of course. Why *doesn't* Olin simply resubscribe using a different email
address to circumvent the moderation? See above.

> The
> difference is moderation hurts a persons ego far less then a ban,
> meaning fewer "retribution" acts.

I would argue (and Olin would agree) that message moderation (later in this
post, just "moderation") hurts far more than a ban. The threat of a
subsequent (perhaps, lengthier) ban is what would keep the "retribution
acts" from happening.

The worst thing about moderation is that it is done in secret, by a single
person, who may have strong biases and agendas. The person subject to
moderation can simply "disappear", without anybody (except the admin elite)
knowing what happened to him.

> Sure, we could restrict list membership, but that increases the work
> load on us admins. It also wouldn't really solve anything since how
> would WE determine that a new arrival is a banned individual? The answer
> is you can't.

So what's the worst case scenario? They resubscribe, then post and sign the
post with their name. You ban them. Big deal!

How is this different from moderation? I insult a list member, you put me on
moderation, and out of spite I resubscribe using an alias and post more
abuse to the list.

The truth of the matter is, it just doesn't happen, for the same reasons
Wikipedia does not become a useless collection of vandalism.

> The fact is moderation, as distasteful as it is, works. The list has run
> FAR smoother in the "time of moderation" then it did before.

Yes, if you mean it in the same sense that a police state runs "smoother"
than a democracy.

However, ever since the policy had been implemented, I've had a number of
ever-escalating run-ins with one of the admins, who actually said that he
considers me his personal enemy. It only makes sense then that in his hands,
message moderation is a tool that he uses to try to bully me. He threatens
me in public and moderates in secret, inconsistently and unfairly.

Moderation affected Olin enough for him to consider leaving the list, and I
believe that he really means it. I can relate.

> People may
> not prefer the solution, but I haven't heard of any other workable
> solution that has the potential of being more effective.

Olin proposed a solution that I support. Why do you dismiss it as

The current policy of giving every individual admin the power to secretly
impose message moderation is broken. It hurts everyone and doesn't help

- Since it's done in secret, the victim feels that the offender escaped
punishment. He may try to "get even", or simply leave in disgust.
- The offender is less likely to contribute because he feels that somebody
is always reading over his shoulder.
- The community is worse off because the phony "peace" comes at the cost of
less knowledge being shared and the loss of members.

Who wants this kind of stability?

The solution that Olin and I are proposing, will be better for all, and will
mean *less* work for admins -- you won't have to read and approve messages


2010\02\26@035053 by Nicola Perotto

picon face

On 26/02/2010 8.13, Vitaliy wrote:
> ...
> The current policy of giving every individual admin the power to secretly
> impose message moderation is broken. It hurts everyone and doesn't help
> anyone:
> ...
I fully agree with Vitaliy.
An interesting reading: On Crimes and Punishments

2010\02\26@061543 by Russell McMahon

face picon face
On 26 February 2010 20:13, Vitaliy <> wrote:
> The original discussion got off-track, therefore I'm posting this under the
> tag the OP intended.

That is NOT the appropriate tag/
Please use OT.
By all means change the subject tag.

ADMIN is for ADMIN messages that everyone sees and while occasionally
a brief user exchange may be appropriate it is not where this
conversation should be held. Y'ALL seeing this may look in OT if it
interests you. If ADMINS have major things to say on this as a
consequence it may appear here.



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